27th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took the chair at 2.30 p.m. and read prayers.
-I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition ofthe undersigned citizens of Australia respectively showeth.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that Honourable Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will seek to ensure that Commonwealth legislation bearing on films, literature and radio and television programmes is so framed and so administered as to give the maximum freedom to adults to choose what they will watch, read and listen to, even in the face of pressure from those who seek to impose their ideas and morals on others who do not share them.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I wish to inform the House that the Minister for the Army (Mr Peacock) left Australia on Friday on the inaugural flight of Alitalia to Rome. The Minister is expected to return to Australia on 30th September, and during his absence the Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch) is Acting Minister for the Army.
– I move:
The Opposition believes this to be a matter of the gravest importance. It is a matter which should be clarified immediately because the personal reputation of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) depends on it. The status and prestige of the Australian News and Information Bureau, which is the official vehicle for publicising and promoting Australia overseas, has been gravely questioned by the coverage of the Moratorium March. By a careless and irresponsible action the Prime Minister has impugned the operation of the Bureau, the tactics it employs in its work-
– Order! The motion before the Chair at the present time seeks the suspension of the Standing Orders. The subject matter of the motion which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition wants to move is not yet before the Chair. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition may give his reasons why the Standing Orders should be suspended, but he may not base his case on the matter which is the subject of the motion which he has foreshadowed.
– I do not want to canvass your ruling, Mr Speaker, but as 1 understand the position it is in order for me to move for the suspension of standing orders to deal with a certain matter. I am now giving the reasons why 1 believe that standing orders should be suspended to deal with the 4 matters in the motion I shall move.
– That is quite so. I appreciate the viewpoint of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. But 1 remind him that he may not debate the subject matter of the motion which he seeks to move eventually. He may give his reasons why the Standing Orders should be suspended.
– I feel that I must be able to put a case for the .suspension of standing orders.
– I am not endeavouring to prevent the Deputy Leader of the Opposition from doing that, but 1 do not want the case that he proposes to put in support of the subsequent motion to be advanced in full as reasons why the Standing Orders should be suspended. The other matter is not before the Chair at this stage.
– 1 must be able to give reasons why I believe standing orders should be suspended.
-I agree, but the Deputy Leader of the Opposition cannot debate the other motion.
– I was saying that by a careless and irresponsible action the Prime Minister has impugned the operations of the Bureau, the tactics it employs in its work and the reputation and integrity of its officers. In essence, the Opposition submits that the Government has used the News and Information Bureau for the political objectives of the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party. Further, it has used the Bureau as an associate of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, which has a completely different charter and set of functions. The Prime Minister has destroyed in one stroke the objectivity of Australia’s international publicity agency. Until this matter is clarified and responsible principles laid down for the use of the Bureau -
– I rise to order. I submit that the argument that the Deputy Leader of the
Opposition advances should be and must be restricted as to why standing orders should be suspended. I further submit that it is not open to the honourable gentleman to canvass in any way at all the merits of the propositions that he has within his motion. [ would further and finally submit that the honourable gentleman in pursuing the argument he is following at the moment is completely and utterly out of order.
– I wish to speak to the point of order, lt seems to me thai the suspension of the Standing Orders is a very important operation which requires a special vote of this House, and that it cannot receive proper consideration unless the facts requiring the suspension of the Standing Orders are placed before the House. Whilst admittedly one can become confused and debate the major issue, how can members of the House who are not privy to the decision to ask for the suspension of the Standing Orders vote correctly unless all the arguments have been put before them and unless the true importance of the issue before the House is understood.
-Order! Again I would say that the subject of the motion is not before the House. What the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is seeking is the opinion of the House as to whether or not the Standing Orders will be suspended, lt is, of course, almost impossible for the Deputy Leader of the Opposition not to raise some points in relation to the matters that are within the terms of his motion. But he should not continue to make these matters the main point of his argument in relation to the suspension of the Standing Orders.
– Mr Speaker, I appreciate the difficulty that you have in ruling on this matter. But I think, if I may say so, that the point that was made by the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) is quite a valid one. lt is extremely difficult for me to move for the suspension of the Standing Orders on 4 specific matters that I have read to this House without the opportunity to give to honourable members the reasons why I believe that standing orders should be suspended. Surely honourable members are not expected to make a decision on whether or not the Standing Orders should be suspended until they have heard me give some clarification and the reasons why I beieve that, on the points that I have put to this House, the Standing Orders should be suspended. 1 think that is another point. Therefore-
-Order! If the honourable member had listened to me carefully, he would know that I go along with him to some degree on this point. But he cannot deal with each of the items that he has stated in his motion seriatim in debating the subject matter of it. The items in his motion are not before the House at the present time.
– I must accept your ruling on this issue. Frankly, I cannot understand why the Minister for the Navy (Mr Killen), the Prime Minister or the Leader of the House (Mr Snedden) have not been prepared to accept this motion for the suspension of standing orders. After all, if the Government is satisfied that it can refute the 4 points that I have put to this Parliament and which I have given as my reason for moving for the suspension of standing orders, I can see no logical reason why the Prime Minister should not be prepared to allow a debate on this matter.
I do not wish to read again the reasons why I believe that standing orders should be suspended. But yesterday I read in the Press of this country, first of all, a statement by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon), who is responsible for the department under consideration, in relation to this issue. The Minister said that his department was not instructed in any way at all. A short time afterwards, a very senior member of the Prime Minister’s staff issued to the public of this country a statement in which he said that the department had been instructed in this way. Whom are we to believe - the Minister for the Interior or the senior member of the Prime Minister’s staff who frankly admitted that the department was under instruction from the Prime Minister to photograph the Moratorium, to photograph the Leader of the Opposition and, if possible, to show the Leader of the Opposition closely associated with the Vietcong flag? I do not think that anyone in this Parliament, any leader, or anyone who has held the responsible position that the Prime Minister now occupies has stooped to these kinds of tactics before.
Here we have the unprecedented case of a Prime Minister authorising a department in this country, whose sole objective under its charter is the dissemination of news and information, to photograph the Leader of the Opposition in what he wanted to call uncompromising circumstances. And the Prime Minister sits on the other side of the table and so far has not had the decency to acknowledge that the Standing Orders will be suspended in order to enable this matter to be clarified once and for all. I have asked that the Director of the News and Information Bureau be called to the bar of this House. He should be called to the bar of this House to explain the matters that I have put to this Parliament in support of the motion which I have moved for the suspension of the Standing Orders. What does the Prime Minister have to hide? What does the Minister for the Interior have to hide in this matter?
If those who are responsible for the News and Information Bureau directed officers of the Bureau to undertake the course of action that they did on the day that the Moratorium was held surely the Prime Minister and the Minister responsible for the Bureau ought to be able to give to this House an explanation that will justify the kind of decision that they made on that occasion - a decision which, as I have already indicated to the House, has never previously been made by a Prime Minister of this country. How does the Minister - the so-called Minister - answer the charge, which he has not denied, that the photograph supposedly showing the Leader of the Opposition under a Vietcong flag was doctored? Everybody knows that it was falsified. It has been proved that it was falsified. Indeed, the newspapers rejected the Government’s proposition that they should publish a photograph that had, as they knew, been falsified. They chose to print the original photograph and this, of course, showed an entirely different set of circumstances. Therefore I believe that the Government has a case to answer.
There was one statement from the Minister who is responsible for the Bureau and another statement from a senior member of the Prime Minister’s staff - one contradicting the other. It was admitted in one statement that the Bureau had no responsibility to act for the purpose for which the Prime Minister directed that it should be used on that occasion. Who is in a better position to answer this case than the Director of the Bureau himself? What I have suggested in the terms o£ my motion is that the Director should be brought before the bar of this House and placed in a position where he can answer the questions which I have posed to the Government on this occasion. This is a reasonable proposition. One would expect that the Prime Minister particularly would take the opportunity to have this matter debated in full.
If there is nothing to hide, why stifle a debate? The Prime Minister knows that he is being judged not only by honourable members on this side of the House - and 1 suggest by some honourable members on his own side - but he is being judged by people outside this country who do not support the kind of attitude which has been adopted by the Prime Minister in relation to this issue. They do not support the attitude adopted by the News and Information Bureau on this occasion which was directed to sneak on the Leader of the Opposition or to photograph him in what the Prime Minister would regard as a compromising situation. So it has been proved beyond doubt that there arc 2 issues at stake. The first is that the Prime Minister or a senior member of his staff did direct the News and Information Bureau to photograph the Moratorium. The second is that someone in the Bureau did falsify a photograph that was tabled in this Parliament. I do not blame the honourable member for La Trobe for tabling the photograph because I do not think he knew that it had been falsified. If he had known he certainly would not have tabled it in this Parliament.
Until this matter is cleared up it will leave a doubt in the minds of the people of this country as to whether a service which has no relationship to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation was being used for that purpose. If the News and Information Bureau is being used as an adjunct of ASIO why does the Government not say so? It has not been used for this purpose before. I submit that the reasons I have advanced fully justify the suspension of standing orders to enable Parliament to debate this issue. Honourable members on this side of the House support the proposition and people outside the House support the proposition because they know that the tactics adopted by the Prime Minister on this occasion are the kind of tactics no Prime Minister of this country would be expected to adopt. No Prime Minister should be expected to stoop to this level. But the Prime Minister did. He directed a government instrumentality, whose sole responsibility is for the dissemination of news and information in Australia and outside Australia, to take photographs and used this information for the sole purpose of incriminating the Leader of the Opposition. To compound the felony the Government obviously went on to give instructions to falsify the photograph. It hoped that this could be a charge that could be levelled against the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr Speaker, you have indicated that I am not in a position to canvass all of the arguments why I believe standing orders should be suspended to enable me to proceed with my motion. But I put it lo the House that the 4 reasons I have already given to the House are sufficient justification for the suspension of standing orders.
– I second the motion. Sir, I will not be very long because the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) has dealt with the matter fairly fully. No-one in this Parliament can be satisfied and no-one in the country will be satisfied until the character and the credibility of 2 people sitting on the front bench are either established, or. if not established, they are removed from office. The Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has made a statement that the News and Information Bureau acted upon his instructions. The Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) said that no instructions were given and that no instructions could be given. He now says by way of interjection, by me’, which strengthens my point that the instructions were given. The Minister is very careful to qualify this by saying that they were not given by hint. But the Minister said more in his public statement - that they were not given by him and could not be given by anyone else. I believe that the British precedent in the Profumo case is one that no self respecting Parliament-
– No, the Whitlam case.
– I am surprised that Government supporters laugh about Profumo. Is it because Profumo represented the same side of politics as they represent that they see nothing wrong in a Minister of the Crown telling Her Majesty’s Parliament a deliberate lie?
– Profumo, I am speaking about, sir.
-Order! I would hope that you were because I feel that by-
– But I am going to go very close to the same sort of thing in a minute.
-Order! I would remind the honourable member for Hinmarsh, as I reminded the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, that he may speak in relation to the suspension of standing orders but if an attempt is to be made to debate a motion that is not before the House I will have to judge the situation.
– I am well aware of the Standing Orders and I am well aware of the meaning of your ruling, Sir, and I do not disagree with it, but this Parliament cannot determine who is telling the truth in this issue until we bring to the bar of the House the person who is in charge of the Bureau. We have to remember some things about this that are terribly relevant to whether or not we should suspend standing orders for the purpose of dealing with this matter. There is, first of all, the Prime Minister’s statement when he said:
It is all very well for the Leader of the Opposition to make soothing noises as to what is going on but yesterday we saw him speaking to a crowd, an orderly crowd, but a crowd with Vietcong flags flying above them and above his head as he spoke to them.
– Hear, hear!
– ‘Hear, hear*, says the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister say that is still true?
– He was speaking to a crowd flying Vietcong flags in front of him and they were higher than his head. How can he answer that?
– All right, that is the first part. Do you say that the flags were flying above his head as he spoke?
-Order! The honourable member for Hindmarsh is now going out side the province of the Standing Orders and I suggest he come back to the motion before the House.
– The fact that we cannot get a reply from the Prime Minister to that request shows that there is a need to get an answer from the head of the Information Bureau. This is a most serious thing. I have been in this Parliament for 21 years and never once in the whole of the time I have been in this chamber have I seen anybody in this Parliament face a motion of this character. This is the most serious thing that I have ever heard of or read about. This is a measure of the credibility of Government members if they laugh this off and think it is just a joke. 1 have never in my life ever known a Prime .Minister of this country to be treated as one whose word had to be tested at the bar of the House.
-Order! If the honourable member for Hinmarsh continues in this strain I will have to ask him to resume his seat. On a previous occasion I have informed him that the debate is limited to the question whether we suspend standing orders or not. Any matter outside of that is irrelevant.
– Good. Sir, the only way that we can ascertain certain most important, vital and crucial facts is to have the head of the Bureau before us so that we can question him. The vital facts that require the suspension of standing orders in order that this can be tested are these: If it is true that the Information Bureau was in attendance, as we were told in order to catch pictures of people in conflict with the police so that the police would have a defence against other pictures that might be produced against them, then why were pictures taken of the Leader of the Opposition when he was nowhere near a police officer, nowhere near a scuffle and nowhere near any disorder? And why is it, we want to know, that the picture that was taken was falsified and faked by somebody before it was presented to the Parliament? We ought to be able to ascertain whether the honourable member for LaTrobe (Mr Jess) knew that he was misleading Her Majesty’s Parliament when he presented and tabled a faked photograph because, if he did, that is a serious matter. I do not believe that he did. I disagree with the honourable member on many, if not most, things but I regard him as a man of integrity. 1 do not believe that he would willingly lend himself to such a scurvy trick as this to discredit a member of this House, much less the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, but I do want to know who faked the picture.
I want to know whether it is true that a member of the Prime Minister’s own staff admitted that the picture had been faked and whether an officer of the Prime Minister’s own staff actually demonstrated to a Press man how it was faked and. drew a line on the original picture to show the parts that were taken out, and whether it is true that on the original picture it showed clearly that there was a roadway between the Leader of the Opposition and the Vietcong Hag. I want to know who carried the Vietcong flag - whether it was being carried by an officer of the News and Information Bureau. 1 want to know whether the Prime Minister has stooped to this sort of faking, because whoever was responsible for faking the photograph would have faked the flag and would have had a faked carrier of the flag. 1 want to know who carried the flag. Was he employed by the Government? If not. was he a Liberal supporter? Was the person carrying the flag working in concert with the person who took the. photograph? To me, this is a most serious matter and it can only be resolved by having the head of the Information Bureau stand at the bar of the House so that he may be questioned on oath as to the facts of the matter. Until that is done 1 believe that a cloud of suspicion and doubt hangs over the head of the Minister for the Interior and a cloud of suspicion and doubt - very great doubt indeed - hangs over the integrity of the Prime Minister.
-The question is: ‘That the motion be agreed to.’ Those in favour say aye, to the contrary no.
Opposition Members - Aye.
– You have something to hide.
– Mr Speaker, I rise to a point of order. May I have your direction on this matter now? In view of the fact that, the motion for the suspension of standing orders has been carried, surely I am entitled to put my case.
– No, the question has not been carried. It was only proposed. I gave no ruling.
– This is quite clearly purely a diversionary attempt to draw public attention away from the statements made in recent days by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) which he cannot deny but which he finds embarrassing and therefore which he does not wish to be subject of debate. Let me make it quite clear, Mr Speaker: We are not going to be diverted, nor are we going to adopt the practice of calling before this House any public servant whom the Opposition may seek to have called before it to be crossexamined. Let me also make it perfectly clear that most of the matters raised by those 2 who have spoken do not even need any examination. But let me make this clear, too: In spite of what the proposer of this motion said, it is entirely within the charter of the Australian News and Information Bureau to carry out activities, as it did, when the Moratorium was being held, ft is entirely within its charter, which contains these words: That it is part of its duty within Australia to act as a common service agency for the supply of specialised publicity and information services to departments and instrumentalities requiring them.
-Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition was heard in comparative silence.
– He was not.
– Yes, he was, and I suggest that the Prime Minister also should be accorded that privilege.
– Secondly, there is no question and no dispute at all but that I asked the ANIB not directly but through my staff to take an official record of the Moratorium outside Parliament House.
– For what reasons?
– I am asked: ‘For what reasons?’ I would ask why there should not be such an official record of such gatherings. 1 believe there ought to be because we have seen over recent months the development of a process where people produce photographic evidence in order to show that they have been unfairly arrested and that brutality has been used against them. Yes, we all know that this is so. Why, only last week we saw the Premier of New South Wales in a television interview on the Australian Broadcasting Commission being presented with photographs purporting to show this action on the part of the police. They are a purely partial record and surely there should be a far wider coverage than that. Perhaps the honourable member who moved this motion or the Leader of the Opposition might say: Well, why not just leave it to the police to take photographs?’ Many honourable members on the Opposition side would not agree with that because they object even to that. But I would ask: If such photographs were produced by the police what would be the likely response from the Opposition?
– They would not be falsied
– I think I can answer that on the evidence of what the Leader of the Opposition himself has said over the Macquarie Network regarding the police where he smeared all returned servicemen from Vietnam in the police force, not by saying that they were thugs but by saying publicly that some unspecified and anonymous person had said to him that those who had come back from Vietnam were thugs.
– I rise to order. In the course of the speeches by both the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the honourable member for Hindmarsh you, Mr Speaker, went to considerable trouble to ask them to conne their remarks to the question before the House, which was that Standing Orders be suspended. I submit that the Prime Minister is debating the issue and I ask that he be ruled out of order.
-I think the question in relation to the police force is slightly wide of the mark but up to that time I think the Prime Minister had been answering those questions that had been raised in the debate by the 2 preceding speakers.
– I was endeavouring to leave no doubt but that I had asked the ANIB to conduct this coverage and to indicate the reasons why I felt it quite right and proper that such a coverage be undertaken. Indeed, that is the first point which was raised by the honourable member who moved this motion. In the second point he raised, he made a claim in relation to some doctored photographs and pretended that there are 2 photographs each of which gives a different pictorial story of what in fact was happening. This is simply, factually and visually not true. Both the photographs referred to are here. I ask for the permission of the House to tabic them so that anybody looking at them can see that there is no pictorial difference in the story and there is no question of any faking or doctoring of any photographs that can arise.
– I rise to order. Are the photographs tabled or not?
– Yes, the Prime Minister can table them at any time.
– That being so, it is open to any honourable member of this House to use his eyes to see whether there is any truth in this ridiculous accusation. If the Opposition wants to debate the question of whether it is right or not right for the ANIB, although its charter permits it, to take an official record of such gatherings let it debate that. If members of the Opposition want to debate the question of whether there has been any alteration in the 2 photographs before them then let them debate that with the evidence of those photographs. But let them not try a diversionary tactic by calling a public servant before this House for the sole purpose, as I believe, of diverting attention from what has been said in recent days. They are diverting attention from the fact that Vietnam veterans in the New South Wales Police Force have been smeared-
– This is obviously a reference to Vietnam. I know the Prime Minister does not know that this is out of order, Mr Speaker, but T think you ought to remind him.
-I think the question of Vietnam is a bit wide of the motion.
– Let us have a debate on it and then you can say what you want to say.
– I am asked by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition why we do not have a debate on these matters. I would be deligted to have a debate on these matters but he has not called for one. He has called for something else. I will let him have a debate on this if he wants it, but we will not suspend standing orders to call public servants before this House. I move:
Question put. The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)
Majority . . . . 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
That the motion (Mr Barnard’s) be agreed to.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)
Majority . . . . 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I give notice that the Prime Minister no longer possesses the confidence of the House in that he allowed a faked photograph to be tabled in the House.
– Order! Are you giving notice?
– I ask the Prime Minister whether he is accepting it as a censure motion.
– All the honourable member has said so far is that he gives notice of something. What is he going to do about it?
– I give notice that the Prime Minister no longer possesses the confidence of the House.
-I am sorry,I do not understand what the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is doing.
– I could not make it any clearer than that.
– When are you going to move it?
– May I make my point clear, for the benefit of the Prime Minister who does not want to accept any kind of motion-
– Order! The honourable member cannot speak if he is giving notice of motion. I accept that as it is. But the honourable member cannot speak if he is giving notice.
– Mr Speaker, I have moved this as a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister; andI move-
– Order! The question is that you have given notice only; you have not moved any motion.
– Order! In regard to the motion, if you did say ‘I move’ in the beginning.I regret that I did not hear it.
-I did say it.
Government members - You did not.
– Well, I did not hear it. To move a motion of this nature, you will require leave of the House.
– Mr Speaker, mayI just explain the position because Iheard some members on the Government point out that I did not indicate that I was moving the motion. It is true that, when I moved my motion initially, I did not say at the beginning of the resolution that ‘I move’. What I said at the end of the motion was that ‘I move’. I put it around the other way.
– Order! Before you move this-
– I am moving the motion.
– The Deputy Leader of the Opposition can do this by leave only. Is leave granted?
– Leave is granted.
– Mr Speaker, I move:
That the Prime Minister no longer possesses the confidence of the House in that he allowed a faked photograph to be tabled in the House.
After all the difficulty that we have experienced since the House met at half-past two, the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has agreed to a debate now because of the course of action adopted by the Opposition in moving that the Prime Minister no longer possesses the confidence of this House. Surely there was no one in the Parliament who could have been impressed with the reply made by the Prime Minister in relation to the motion which I moved only a short time ago for the suspension of the Standing Orders.
Mr Speaker, because we are dealing now with a censure motion, a motion which in essence states that the Prime Miniser no longer has the confidence of this House, I think thatI should indicate why I moved the motion in the terms that I moved it originally.I repeat that the original motion for the suspension of the Standing Orders was moved because we believe that the Director of the News and Information
Bureau should be called before the Bar of the House to determine:
When the Prime Minister replied to my original motion, he made no attempt to deal with the question of the faked photograph. He made no reference to this matter at all. He admitted that he had issued instructions to the News and Information Bureau to photograph the Moratorium, but this was as far as the right honourable gentleman went. The plain fact is that yesterday the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon), the responsible Minister, said emphatically that his department had not been given instructions. Well, this means in effect, as I said originally, that either the Prime Minister or the Minister for the Interior was not telling the truth. It appears that it was the Minister for the Interior who was not telling the truth. The Prime Minister admitted that he issued these instructions. Therefore, in essence, the Opposition submits that the Government has used the News and Information Bureau for the political objectives of the Liberal and Country Parties. Further, it has used the Bureau as an associate of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation which has a completely different charter and set of functions. The Prime Minister has destroyed in one stroke the objectivity of Australia’s international publicity agency. Until this matter is clarified and responsible principles laid down for the further use of the Bureau it is impossible for the Bureau to be regarded as anything but an adjunct of the Federal Liberal Party secretariat.
On 18th September, as part of the national Moratorium Campaign, marches were held in all major centres in Australia. A march was held in Canberra on the morning of 18th September. I believe it moved from the Australian National University to Parliament House. When the marchers assembled outside the House the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) left the Parliament and made a brief address to the people, mostly students, assembled on the steps of the House and on the lawns nearby. He then walked back through the crowd, pausing to speak to a number of marchers before returning to the House. In his brief address to the crowd the Leader of the Opposition stressed the need for complete orderliness and co-operation during the Moratorium march in Canberra. At this meeting he did exactly what he had done during the previous Moratorium march in May. This completely legitimate and consistent performance of his duties by the Leader of the Opposition haw been used in a scurrilous attempt to identify him with the presence on the outskirts of the crowd of 2 demonstrators carrying Vietcong Hags. They were stationed immediately outside the window of the parliamentary office of the Minister for the Interior. There were other flags and banners in the crowd, including several Australian flags and a flag of the Government of South Vietnam and the Thieu-Ky regime.
During question time last Thursday a concerted attempt was made by members of the government to vilify the Leader of the Opposition because of his address to the meeting. It was even suggested by the Minister for the Interior in a distortion of the vilest possible kind that the Leader of the Opposition spoke under the Vietcong flag. This shameful untruth was subsequently picked up and repeated by the Prime Minister in a weekend address to members of his party. Sir, to refute this untruth the Leader of the Opposition tabled in this House a picture obtained from a newspaper source which showed there were no Vietcong flags visible in the gathering addressed by the Leader of the Opposition. Subsequently the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) tabled a picture which showed the Leader of the Opposition talking to members of the crowd while an obscured demonstrator carrying a Vietcong flag was passing in the background. As both the pictures were tabled in this House they were available for inspection by honourable members in the office of the Clerk. An examination revealed that the picture tabled by the honourable member for La Trobe had been taken by the Australian
News and Information Bureau. That photograph was released to the Press Gallery by the Prime Ministers press secretary on the same evening.
With the knowledge that the picture had been taken by the national News and Information Bureau the Leader of the Opposition’s office contacted the Bureau seeking that all pictures of the march taken by the Bureau be made available to the Opposition. And how many pictures were taken on this occasion? T understand that no fewer than 71 photos were taken by the News and Information Bureau and the only one that the Prime Minister has had tabled in this House - not by himself, of course, but by one of his stooges whom 1 believe was quite innocent and unaware that the photograph had been doctored and had been falsified - is the one which was tabled by the honourable member for La Trobe. With the knowledge that the picture had been taken by the News and Information Bureau the Leader of the Opposition quite properly sought copies of the photographs. I understand that the deputy head of the Bureau referred the request to the Minister for the Interior who gave his approval. Some 60 pictures were then made available by the Bureau to the office of the Leader of the Opposition. On examination these pictures revealed 3 important matters.
In the first place, the march had been most intensively covered by the News and Information Bureau. It could be fairly said that everyone who took part in the march is photographed at some stage in one of the pictures. The second point is that the Bureau pictures confirm that there were no Vietcong flags within cooee of the Leader of the Opposition while he spoke to the crowd. There are several pictures of the Leader of the Opposition during his address. The pictures show a clergyman; they show students carrying placards: but there is not a Vietcong flag in sight. This refutes on the evidence of Australia’s official publicity Bureau that the statement by the Prime Minister and the Minister for the Interior that the Leader of the Opposition spoke under the Vietcong flag was an untruth of the most contemptible kind. The third point refers to the one picture the Government could find as evidence of the presence of a Vietcong flag in the crowd. On examination this one picture showed that the version tabled by the honourable member for La Trobe and distributed by the Prime Minister’s office had been very severely tampered with. The photograph supplied by the Bureau shows the Leader of the Opposition standing by the roadway talking to marchers. In the background at least 50 yards away an obscured person is carrying a Vietcong flag.
The version tabled by the honourable member for La Trobe has been sharply cropped and considerably blown up by darkroom processing. The Leader of the Opposition is magnified: the Vietcong flag is magnified. The perspective is completely destroyed. The Administration Building which can be seen in the background of the original picture cannot be identified in the tabled version. The whole effect is to bring the Vietcong flag much closer to the Leader of the Opposition and to conceal the fact that it is on the other side of the roadway at least 50 yards from him. This was tabled by the honourable member for La Trobe. As I have already said I make no criticism of him for doing this. I. believe he was completely innocent in this respect. I prefer to believe that he was not aware of his responsibility in tabling in this House a picture which sought to cook the evidence. The same assumption cannot be made about the professional ethics of those responsible for doctoring the picture in this way and distributing it to the Press. The confusion about the pictures is evidenced in the Press coverage the next morning. Most papers used the original News and Information Bureau’s version. This is to their credit.
In these photographic reproductions the background is so dark that it is difficult to pick out the flag at all. One newspaper, the Sydney ‘Daily Telegraph’, had to circle the flag to draw it to the attention of its readers. In another newspaper, the ‘West Australian’, the picture has been so cropped for publication that ironically the Vietcong flag is not visible at all. 1 understand that another version has been published with a rectangle on the original Bureau’s photograph outlining the area to be blown up. This one picture was the only evidence the Government could produce in support of a completely false claim that the Leader of the Opposition spoke under a Vietcong flag. It should be emphasised that it had at its disposal the resources of the News and Information Bureau. Presumably, it had also the not inadequate facilities of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. There were also photographers in the crowd from the Australian Captial Territory Police, who also had a mobile film crew at their disposal. The Minister admitted this and defended the use of Police photographers in this House last week. There were also many Press and television photographers.
The proceedings outside this House on the morning of the Moratorium were the most intensely filmed by still and movie photographers of any event since the Normandy invasion. Yet the best the Government could dredge out was this not in the least incriminating shot and the Government was afraid to mount its case without resorting to darkroom dishonesty. With all of the photographers at its disposal - the News and Information Bureau, the police in Canberra and Press men - all the Government could produce was one photograph which, as I have already pointed out to the House, had been doctored by the News and Information Bureau to meet the wishes of the Government. The Opposition rightly resented this most improper use of the Bureau to obtain this picture. The Leader of the Opposition made this perfectly clear in a number of strong statements over the weekend.
Yesterday morning the Minister for the Interior was questioned by a reporter at the Melbourne Airport about the use of the News and Information Bureau. According to this report the Minister denied charges that Bureau staff had been briefed to cover the Moratorium at Canberra on 18th September. He said further, as reported in yesterday’s Melbourne Herald’:
The News and Information Bureau has a legitimate right to cover events, whether it be a Moomba or a Moratorium.
The Bureau operates under its own charter and neither I nor anyone else in the Government tells it what to do, restricts or censors it.
The report states further that the Minister was answering charges made by the Leader of the Opposition. According to the story, the Leader of the Opposition had claimed that the News and Information Bureau’s role was to promote immigration, tourism and trade. It seems this statement was made by the Minister for the Interior to a reporter from the Melbourne ‘Herald’ at
Melbourne Airport yesterday morning. 1 understand that the reporter has confirmed that the published story is a fair and accurate report of what the Minister said. In the course of the day it was revealed in Canberra that the Prime Minister had directed the News and Information Bureau to cover the march. This was confirmed by the right honourable gentleman last night on the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s programme ‘This Day Tonight’. The Prime Minister was asked by interviewer Gerald Stone whether he had requested the News and Information Bureau to cover the Moratorium rally with the express purpose of trying to get a picture of the Leader of the Opposition in relation to the Vietcong flag. The Prime Minister answered, and I quote from the transcript issued by his office:
No, I asked the Australian News and Information Bureau or sent a message to them to cover the Moratorium because after all there are a lot of pictures taken from a lot of different sources at these kinds of gatherings and they tend to bc brought forward later as evidence of police brutality or something of that kind, and I think its not a bad thing to have official records of what in fact goes on at them.
This was the statement made by the Prime Minister last night on the programme This Day Tonight’. It approximates what the Prime Minister said in his reply this afternoon. Mr Stone asked whether he considered the News and Information Bureau to be a fit source to be taking this type of picture. The Prime Minister replied:
Two comments need to be made on these answers. The Prime Minister claimed he wanted an official record of the gathering in case of later charges of brutality against the police. This, I believe, is utter nonsense. As the right honourable gentleman knows, and as the Minister for the Interior has stated repeatedly in the House, the police has already taken ample care for their protection. They did not need the solicitude of either the Prime Minister or the News and Information Bureau; they had their own cameramen. In any case, if the Prime Minister really feared for the reputation of the police, why did he not order similar pictures to be taken in the main capital cities for the same reason? Did the Prime Minister ring the News and Information Bureau agencies in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane and give a similar direction? In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I do not believe he did.
The second point lo be made about this television interview is that the Prime Minister completely shelved the Minister for the Interior. The Minister had claimed that neither be nor anyone else in the Government told the News and Information Bureau what to do or restricted oi censored it. The Prime Minister said in the plainest possible terms that he had directed the Bureau to photograph the Moratorium, and he confirmed it this afternoon. This put the Minister for the Interior in a completely ‘hopeless position. The most charitable assumption that can be made is that the honourable gentleman did not know of the Prime Minister’s direct intervention in his Department. It seems that neither the Prime Minister’s office nor the Bureau had informed him of the direction to the Bureau. In any case, the Minister was forced to put out at Melbourne airport a version of his remarks Which differed sharply from the report which appeared in the Melbourne ‘Herald’. In this statement the Minister said he had been asked by a newsman at Melbourne airport whether he had instructed the Bureau to photograph the march. This is the Minister’s version of his reply:
No. It is not my practice to restrict, inhibit, or censor in any way the activities ot the ANIB. It is quite legitimate for the ANIB to take photographs of the Melbourne Cup or Moomba or the Moratorium. So far as the Moratorium is concerned. … as I understand it, there was a call from the Prime Minister’s office to the ANIB asking if a photographer would be present at the march.
This completely contradicts the report which states that neither he nor anyone else in the Government directed the Bureau. I suppose one has to make one’s own assessment of whether to take the word of the Minister or that of the reporter. Certainly, it would not be beyond a Government capable of doctoring a photograph to doctor the spoken word. Beyond the complete destruction of the credibility, confidence and day to day awareness of the Minister for the Interior a much graver issue emerges. This is the propriety of the Prime Minister in instructing the News and Information Bureau to take these photographs. The Prime Minister has accepted responsibility; he sees nothing wrong in this course of action. His explanation that it was done to protect the police is beyond ali credence. It is no part of the function of the Bureau to perform in this way. The only attempt made to justify this direction to the News and Information Bureau was a reference to clause (f) of the Bureau’s charter. This clause states that within Australia it is one of the functions of the Bureau lo act as a common service agency for the supply of specialised publicity and information services to departments and instrumentalities requiring them. This is the statement the Prime Minister used this afternoon. He seized on this as a legitimate reason for using the Bureau as an agency of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
I challenge anyone in the Government to explain how the Prime Minister’s action came within the ambit of this provision? Quite clearly it does not permit the taking of photographs to protect the police in demonstrations, even if this were the legitimate motive of the Government. The Opposition is gravely disturbed by these events; the Government’s official publicity agency has been used against the Australian Labor Party and we resent it. We have become used to public servants writing speeches and submissions for the Australian Country Party. This intrusion of the News and Information Bureau into party politics cannot be countenanced. This is why we want this matter completely aired; we want the head of the Bureau to come before this House so that these matters can be probed. We want to know what instructions were given to the Bureau by the Prime Minister’s office. In particular we want to know whether the Bureau was instructed specifically to get a photograph of the Leader of the Opposition and a Vietcong flag. Until this is clarified the Opposition believes that this instruction was given by the Prime Minister. Until it is shown otherwise we believe that a photograph taken by the News and Information Bureau was deliberately distorted and doctored in the Prime Minister’s office. Let the Prime Minister deny the charge. It was then tabled in the House and distributed to the Press. Until these matters are clarified and the grave charges repudiated, the Government, by its action, has besmirched the reputation of an agency which has given honourable service to this country. It is the duty of the Government to facilitate the
Bureau in clearing its reputation. Further, it is the duty of the Bureau to show that the entire responsibility for this abominable sequence of events must rest squarely, as I believe it does, on the Government. This is why I moved on behalf of the Opposition that the head of the News and Information Bureau be brought to the Bar of this House so that a full exposure could be made of the whole squalid business of the Moratorium pictures. What the Prime Minister said in reply this afternoon certainly does not satisfy honourable members on this side of the House.
The Prime Minister has not been able to set aside the accusations that have been levelled at the Government and at the Prime Minister in particular that the Prime Minister sought to use for his own purposes an agency- of this country which has rendered very valuable service, according to its statute, in providing for the dissemination of news and information in Australia and abroad. He wanted to be able to put the Leader of the Opposition in an incriminating position. He. wanted to be able to use this agency against him and there is no excuse for a Prime Minister, first, to be able to use a Commonwealth agency in this way and, secondly, to use that agency for a political purpose to suit the motives of the Liberal and Country Parties - to use it to gain political advantage. Surely there can be no crime worse than the one which has been perpetrated by the Prime Minister on this occasion - not only to use the agency for this purpose but then to stoop to the unprecedented practice of doctoring a picture which the Prime Minister believed could be used for political purposes.
T have outlined to the House the reasons why, in the first instance, I attempted to move for the suspension of standing orders. The Prime Minister could have accepted that motion. He was not prepared to do so. I was, therefore, forced into the position where a censure motion had to be moved against the Prime Minister. We believe that he no longer possesses the confidence of this House and T submit the motion to the House for its approval.
-Is the motion seconded?
– I second the motion. The motion is a very serious one and it involves a serious criticism of the Prime Minister.
– I rise to order. Mr Speaker. Is the honourable member proposing to speak now as the seconder of the motion?
– Does it not sound like it?
– This ls not usual practice. It has already been done this afternoon once.
– Let him go.
– It is a very serious motion to move that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) lacks the confidence of the House. The Opposition has moved the motion because we believe there is a strong case - much stronger than a prima facie case - that the Prime Minister has been willing to give directions to a government department for purely political reasons. He has been prepared to give directions to the Australian News and Information Bureau to go out and get photographs that he intended to use for political purposes - not to use as Prime Minister and head of this nation. He intended, not to use the News and Information Bureau within its charter, but to use it for purely petty Liberal Party political purposes.
If the Prime Minister of this country will openly - and I suggest the evidence clearly demonstrates it - use a government department for a purpose like this he will use any government department for a purpose like this. He will use any power he possesses for a purely political purpose. If the Prime Minister will do this once he will do it again, and if it can be shown that he has done it once there is a probability that he will do it again and, therefore, he does not merit any longer the confidence of this House. He is no longer impartial in the sense of using government departments for their proper function. He has shown, I believe, that he will use government departments for a purely political purpose. This being the case he cannot be trusted as Prime Minister of this country. There are many other reasons. Not only has the Prime Minister been prepared to use a government department for a political purpose but he has been prepared to see the evidence collected by that government department changed and distorted to make that political purpose more effective, even at the expense of a distortion.
What we are witnessing today is a government that is prepared to design a system of spying and surveillance in modern, democratic Australia. The Prime Minister seeks to justify using a government department, using the police, using anyone else to go around with cameras and tape recorders to take evidence of ordinary Australian citizens in ordinary political activity. The Prime Minister of Australia is supervising the introduction of the early steps of a police State in this country. This is the first criticism 1 have to make of him. I have never heard a Minister in this Parliament until now justify conduct of this kind, but the right honourable gentleman not only does it, he justifies it. He justifies a system which the one-time Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Chifley, called a system of spies, pimps and perjurers’.
The episode we are considering involves an alteration of evidence. This is not as strong as perjury, but is plain and clear deception. The Prime Minister intends to give the Australian people notice that he is prepared to introduce this into this country and the Australian people must take notice of what the Prime Minister is telling them. The Australian people must be prepared to say whether they want a Prime Minister of this kind or not. The Australian people must be prepared to say whether they want a system of this kind or not - a system in which public servants are used for overtly political purposes. For a long time in and around this House public servants have been used for these purposes under the Government of the present Prime Minister. One has the feeling all over the House that people are watching what is going on and that they are being paid with public money in their departments to watch what is going on, that we have a system of surveillance going on in this House and that the Prime Minister is prepared to give that his authority. He has said so. He has said that he will give it his authority. It is for the Government and its supporters to say whether they want a system of spies in and around Parliament House, equipped with tape recorders, equipped with cameras, walking around the corridors and outside the House spying on people and being paid public money to do it, That is what the Prime Minister has given notice to this country that he intends to introduce into it.
Not only do we have a system of spies and people with cameras and tape recorders but they are paid as public servants for doing this work. In addition they do not hesitate between them - that is, the Prime Minister and those he employs - to give a false impression of what they are able to pick up in their spying activities. In this case they said that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) was speaking beneath a Vietcong flag. That was the whole purpose of the exercise. This is well known around the House. One has only to go outside here and now to encounter two or three journalists who would say that they know that the Prime Minister asked Mr Eggleton to ring the News and Information Bureau and get a photograph of the Leader of the Opposition speaking under a Vietcong flag, lt is well known around the corridors of the House that this is what the Prime Minister asked his Press Secretary to do - not to go out and get some photographs that might be used to defend the police if there were any criticism of the police. It is specifically spoken around here by Press men attached to various newspapers that it is well known that the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary was asked to ask the News and Information Bureau to get a photograph of Mr Whitlam speaking under a Vietcong flag. It did not succeed in getting a photograph of Mr Whitlam speaking under a Vietcong flag. The photograph which the Bureau got of Mr Whitlam - it has been tabled in the House of Representatives, and it is evidence presumably that came from the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) - shows the Leader of the Opposition speaking but there is no sign anywhere of a Vietcong flag.
That did not prevent various Government supporters, including the honourable member for La Trobe, from getting a photograph - 1 think the Prime Minister himself used the expression - of the Leader of the Opposition speaking under a Vietcong flag. There is the photograph, but there is no sign of a Vietcong flag on it. The only evidence of the association between the Leader of the Opposition and a Vietcong flag is in a ‘clipped’ photograph. What a beautiful word - ‘clipped’. I think that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) called it dark room deception. The Prime Minister has been in a dark room before, and he ought to be extremely suspicious of dark rooms.
What happened, of course, is that the only photograph showing a Vietcong flag does not show the Leader of the Opposition speaking at all. He is not shown to be speaking on this photograph, lt shows him simply standing, presumably listening to someone who was speaking to him. There is no evidence on any of these photographs to indicate that the Leader of the Opposition was speaking under a Vietcong flag at all, as has been claimed by Government supporters. There is further evidence that they are prepared not only to clip photographs in the dark room to get a particular result, but also to twist the descriptions which they give to what they have clipped in the dark room. Why did they clip this photograph? Firstly, let me ask the question: Why did they select this photograph and not other photographs which were available? They selected this photograph because it shows the Leader of the Opposition in a crowd where also there is a Vietcong flag as though it was close to him, as though it was part of the crowd, as though he would be aware of it, as though it would support their accusation that he was speaking under a Vietcong flag.
I have a photograph which also was taken by the News and Information Bureau. This photograph was available to the Press Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the honourable member for La Trobe in their consultations in some room somewhere or other. It. shows the full width of the road between the Leader of the Opposition and the Vietcong flag, fi shows the Leader of the Opposition in exactly the same position as tie is in the other photograph and talking to exactly the same person. I repeat that it shows the full width of the road between him and the Vietcong flag. That is the truth, but that is not good enough for Government supporters. It is a photograph of exactly the same scene, exactly the same flag, at near enough to exactly the same time. But it does not show what Government supporters want. It does not show the flag as part of the same scene. It shows a road between the flag and the Leader of the Opposition, which would not suit their purposes at all.
Why did they select this particular photograph and why did they clip it down? I have seen photographs of exactly the same scene that are inches larger than this photograph. Why did they clip off the edges, the bottom and the top? They clipped off the edges so that the road would not be seen and the flag would appear to be in the centre of the photograph instead of away off in the distance. They clipped the photograph in order to give a false impression of the situation, and I suggest that when they clipped it they knew precisely what they were doing.
So the evidence suggests that the Prime Minister is prepared not only to introduce a system of spies, pimps, photographers and tape recorders in and around this House but also to preside over a system which is ready to alter the evidence that those people procure in. order to give an impression that suits his purposes. If the Prime Minister will do this for such a petty thing as to catch the Leader of the Opposition in association with a Vietcong flag, what would he do if the issue was really serious? What limits would the morality of the Prime Minister set to his conduct if there was something really significant at issue? I would not like to make a guess about that, but it seems to me that even if the guess was the mildest one which one could make it is time that this House re-assessed its confidence in the Prime Minister.
The particular purpose of this exercise was to get a photograph of the Leader of the Opposition in association with a Vietcong flag. Would anyone deny that that was not the purpose of the exercise, or at least a purpose of the exercise? But afterwards, when this photograph is produced in order to make it look incidental, uneventful, just a chance discovery, the Prime Minister says that it was not for that purpose at all; it was to provide evidence to offset claims that might have been used against the police. 1 think this explanation was arrived at well after the event. Had the Prime Minister been concerned to protect the police, was not the obvious thing to do to ask the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) to get in touch with the police department to make sure that the police took adequate photographs with which to defend themselves if the need arose? The police are very well equipped to take photographs, too. You do not have to use the
News and Information Bureau to get photographs of this kind, if you want them. Would it not have been far more sensible for the police to have taken the photographs?’
Supposing that the precaution which the Prime Minister was taking proved to be necessary, that it was necessary to produce evidence to defend the police or to clarify a situation in court, would the Prime Minister have wanted to call a member of the staff of the News and Information Bureau to give that evidence? Was that what he intended to do, if the precaution had proved to be necessary? Would it not have been far better, would it not have been the logical and natural thing to do, to have got police photographers to do this? These people are experienced in taking photographs in these circumstances and in giving evidence after they have taken photographs. This, of course, is what should have happened. The Prime Minister’s story, that he wanted to use the News and Information Bureau to protect the police, does not hold a drop of water. It is a story which falls down as soon as it is told. It is obvious that it was nothing more than a defence, nothing more than an alibi, to cover the situation when the Prime Minister realised that he was in an embarrassing position.
The other point, I think, that goes to confidence in the Prime Minister is that he did not take the Minister for the Interior into his confidence when he was arranging this thing. If the Prime Minister had wanted to have photographs taken, would it not have been natural for him to ask somebody to get in touch with the Minister for the Interior who is responsible for the News and Information Bureau? How many times does the Prime Minister override the responsible Minister and go through to the department under the Minister? How many times does the Prime Minister get his Press Secretary or somebody to give to a department an instruction of which the responsible Minister is not aware? I would think that the Minister for the Interior would be inclined to join with the Opposition and say: ‘I lack confidence in the Prime Minister. He did not ask me to arrange this. He undercut me. He went round me in order to do this.’ Why did he do that? Why did he not get somebody to get in touch with the responsible Minister and say: ‘Look, your Department has the News and Information Bureau in it. We want some photographs taken. Will you arrange it?’ That is the perfectly natural thing to do. What is the good of having a Minister if the Prime Minister is going to do his job? I would think that the Minister for the Interior, if he were able to express his own private thoughts, would be a little bit concerned at the way in which the Prime Minister got one of the members of his staff to undercut him in this way.
Why did the Prime Minister do this? It may well be that he thought perhaps the Minister for the Interior may not be too willing to see the News and Information Bureau used in this way, to see his Department used for what is so obviously a political purpose. It may be that the attitude of the Minister for the Interior to these questions was different from that possessed by the Prime Minister. I think that when all these factors are taken into account it is time that this business came to a stop. It is time that this House was no longer being used for these petty, stupid political purposes that the Prime Minister of this nation has seen fit to identify himself with in this case. Surely it is an extraordinarily petty thing for a Prime Minister to give indirect instructions to a Government department for one of its members to go out wilh a camera and then to come back - even though he was not told to get a photograph of the Leader of the Opposition under a Vietcong flag - with such a photograph, fs it not an extraordinarily petty thing to have staff, paid 1 do not know how many thousands of dollars a year, go through the photographs and select one of the Leader or the Opposition standing near a Vietcong flag? This is kindergarten stuff.
It is time that honourable members of this Parliament said: ‘We have no confidence in a Prime Minister who is prepared to use his office, for which he is paid $25,000 a year plus allowances and all the rest of it, for this sort of thing.’ ls it not time that the Prime Minister used the time of this House for the serious business of the state of the economy? Is it not time that this House discussed the reasons why the farmers are getting ready to come here to show their reaction by demonstration against the bankruptcy of the Government’s policy? Is it not necessary that we have the time of this House used in an attempt to implement policy which will correct the distortions that are present throughout our economy? Is it not necessary that we have the time of this House used to discuss what might be necessary in the field of foreign policy when great changes are going on all around us and when no time whatever is taken to discuss them. ls it not time that we discussed in this House what is happening with tariffs, what is happening with the Tariff Board and so on? I have been waiting for weeks for an opportunity to try to discuss these things. I was able to speak for only a quarter of an hour during the discussion of the estimates of the Department of Customs and Excise the other day and I was not able to take any more time because had I done so 1 would have taken time that other people wanted to use. At the same time as the Prime Minister is doing this he is leading the nation in this trivia and the idiotic matter he is introducing here in Dorothy Dix questions. The only time the Prime Minister ever has .anything to say is when he is answering those questions. Since I have been here I think he has been able to go beyond 10 minutes in making a speech only once, and on the occasion he exceeded 10 minutes he had a carefully typed speech. But whenever he comes in relatively unprepared with a few pages of scattered notes he has great difficulty staying on his feet for more than about 5 minutes.
I think it is about time that honourable members of this House said: ‘We have had enough of this trivia and of this use of Government departments for obviously political purposes. We have had enough of this system of spies and informers who go around this House and outside this House for petty political reasons such as this matter.’ It is clearly indicated, and the evidence is overwhelming, that this is for political reasons and therefore I suggest that the Prime Minister does not warrant the confidence of this House and the motion moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition should be carried.
– I would repeat what I said at the beginning of an abortive attempt by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) in his motion and say that this must appear to all hearing it as a desperate attempt to divert attention away from matters which are not trivial - not trivial at all - but matters which bear strongly on the effective use of our own armed forces and on the breaking or keeping of the law by citizens of this country. These things are not trivial, but this motion and these speeches which we have heard attempting to divert attention away from those matters are trivial. I have already indicated to the House that I believe there should be the fullest possible record of such actions as a Moratorium meeting or other meetings of that kind outside this House. I have indicated that T can see no reason why a pictorial record of what goes on at such meetings should not be had. Why is it that the Opposition objects to there being such a record? Why is it that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition assumes as he does in his speech that any record of such a gathering must automatically be detrimental to the Labor Party and aimed at it. I do not see why this should be so.
I believe there should be the greatest and fullest pictorial coverage possible and I have already indicated, in reply to some of the things that the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) said, that I think it as well to have a pictorial coverage, when it is our responsibility to take it, as it is here, which goes beyond that which is taken by the police. We have records, as I have told the House, of the police being subjected to vilification and attack. There was an occasion when the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) went into public and did not himself say that returned servicemen from Vietnam in the police Force were thugs but relied on quoting an anonymous and unknown police officer who is alleged to have said it to him. It would have the same result, and since no individuals were mentioned must result in the smearing of all men in the New South Wales Police Force who have returned from Vietnam. It appears from this that evidence put forward by police could well be. and probably would be, attacked in this way. It also appears that the Leader of the Opposition is not content merely to advise young men to break the law - to join the Army and to disobey a legitimate order - but be has gone further than that now by indicating that, if a young man joins the Army, does not have conscientious objections then, does go to Vietnam, but when he is in Vietnam develops some conscientious objections he should go to his commanding officer and say that he does not feel he could carry on there.
The Leader of the Opposition is not only prepared to offer this advice but is even prepared to attack en masse young men in the police force - he did not say all of them, merely that there are some of them - who have returned to Australia having rendered service to this country in Vietnam. These are reasons why I believe a pictorial coverage of this kind is quite right and proper. The major point claimed by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in this debate is that faked and doctored photographs have been tabled in this House. Let us examine that suggestion and the suggestion that they were tabled in this House for the specific purpose of showing the Leader of the Opposition speaking under a Vietcong flag. These are the charges that have been made. Let us recall how it is that this photograph came to be tabled in this House. It came as a result of this matter of the Moratorium and of Vietcong flags being raised during question time. We had all seen this. I assume all of us had seen it. We could see the crowds outside, we could see the Vietcong flags and the people speaking. This question was raised in this House and the Leader of the Opposition, in the course of the discussion on that, had this to say:
I have no knowledge of any Vietcong flags being anywhere near me when I spoke to 2,000 Australian National University students in front of Parliament House last Friday morning.
We heard later a speech by the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) in which he told this House that he had been in company with the Leader of the Opposition while these flags were there and had pointed them out to him. The honourable member for La Trobe was kind enough to say that the Leader of the Opposition may not have seen them, but he must have known they were there unless he is prepared to disbelieve entirely the honourable member for La Trobe. Then the Leader of the Opposition went on to say:
There were no Vietcong flags anywhere in my vicinity or in my sight.
Let us forget about him talking under them. He said:
There were no Vietcong flags anywhere in my vicinity or in my sight. There were none last
May, and certainly last Friday there were none in my sight as J spoke or anywhere in my vicinity as I approached the rostrum.
These were the statements made by the Leader of the Opposition. Following those statements the Leader of the Opposition went to the lengths of tabling a photograph purporting to support his statements; purporting to show that there were in fact no Vietcong flags in his vicinity or in his sight and purporting to substantiate what he had put to this Parliament. At that stage the honourable member for La Trobe tabled another photograph showing that if such Vietcong flags were not in the sight of the Leader of the Opposition he must indeed be blind or have been deliberately looking the other way. The true objection is not to the tabling of this photograph; the true objection is to the fact that the tabling of his photograph disproved the statements made by the Leader of the Opposition on this matter just a short time before.
Then we are told that this is supposed in some way to be a changed, a faked photograph. I have presented to this House the photographs in question and it is claimed that one of them has been changed in such a way as to alter the pictorial story it gives. It has not. Those who listened on the air to the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) might gather, because they did not have this visual evidence, that there is some such difference. Indeed, this attempt to convey this impression was made by the honourable member for Lalor by holding up in the air a completely different photograph, not one of the photographs we are talking about at all - nothing to do with the case. But those who see the photographs when they are published for the nation to see, will, I believe, come to the conclusion that there is absolutely no difference in the pictorial stories told by those photographs. The roads are still there, the vehicle is still there, the distance is still there, the Leader of the Opposition is still there and the Vietcong flag is still there, all in the same juxtaposition. I believe that this attempt to pretend that there has been some alteration of significance in this photograph is, by the evidence of the eyes of all to whom I have produced it, shown to be quite false. It has been stated in this matter, and stated publicly by the Leader of the Opposition in support of this puerile attempt to pretend there has been some change in a photograph, that I had doctored a photograph - that I produced a doctored photograph. He said this publicly. That is completely and utterly untrue.
– I did not. 1 said you arranged it and you did.
– Do you deny you said I produced and I doctored it? I have your transcript. Will you deny that you said that?
– You arranged it.
-Order! I suggest that all matters concerning this debate be directed through the Chair.
– These were the statements that were made by the Leader of the Opposition, as the transcript will show. The fact of the matter is that I neither saw nor knew of the existence of this photograph until after it had been tabled in this House by the honourable member for La Trobe.
– You are trying to put the blame on the Public Service.
– I am not trying to put the blame on anybody. There is no blame involved in this whatever, no blame at all and the honourable member is wrong to assume there is. All I am saying is that this and the other photographs concerned were not called for by me at any time because there were no incidents and there was no need for a coverage such as I had wanted to have. I was not interested in photographs of the Leader of the Opposition and 1 did not call for them. But when he rose in this House and in front of this House denied that any such flags were in his vicinity - denied that he could see them or that they were in front of him or anywhere around him - not I, but somebody else believed there ought to be pictorial evidence to set against the verbal evidence he had given. Who can blame them for that except those whose verbal evidence is overthrown by the pictorial evidence brought into this House.
I believe, as I said at the outset, that the whole object of this motion is to attempt to divert attention away from matters which are of real significance; the significance of a Leader of the Opposition in bis responsible position claiming that Vietnam veterans who return and serve in the police force are - some of them - thugs, without specifying who they are. The motion is an attempt to divert attention from advice given by the Leader of the Opposition to young men to break the law - to join the Army and to refuse to obey a legal order, thus placing themselves in serious danger of punishment - rather than giving them the proper advice that they should, if they have conscientious objection to going to Vietnam, join the CMF and so be excused. T believe there is an attempt to divert attention from the further step taken by the Leader of the Opposition of saying that even when a man gets to Vietnam, if he does not like it and then develops some conscientious objection he should go to his commanding officer and say he cannot carry on there in Vietnam.
These are matters of significance and these are the matters which this smokescreen is designed to obscure. Also it is designed to obscure the fact that on 24t.h September in this House the Leader of the Opposition made statements that Vietcong flags were not in his vicinity - were not anywhere near him when he was speaking - and those statements have been shown to be untrue. I do not think that is very significant and important in itself as far as the Vietcong flag is concerned, but I think it is significant and important that when something is produced to rebut that statement an attack is made because that statement has been rebutted. I have only one more thing to say. The Leader of the Opposition spoke about this matter not only concerning last Friday but concerning the May demonstration. As I said, he had this to say:
There were no Vietcong flags anywhere in my vicinity or in ray sight. There were none last May and certainly last Friday there were none. . . .
Mr Speaker, I have here a photograph ; yes, another photograph ; which I would like the permission of the House to table. When you look at the back of it you will see that it was taken by the ‘Canberra Times’ and it is copyright. Perhaps I might be charged with subverting the ‘Canberra Times’ by producing this photograph. It shows that at least there were Vietcong banners in the vicinity of the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy) and the honourable member for Lalor. They need to be there to disprove the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition concerning last May’s Moratorium. It is a little strange that the honourable member for Lalor should be so upset at the thought of there being a record of the Leader of the Opposition appearing near Vietcong flags. After all, he was the honourable member who suggested that members of the Vietcong and North Vietnam should come here for the Moratorium. Apparently he believes that the Leader of the Opposition has a different approach - I do not know. All I know is this: There were photographs taken for a full official coverage of the Moratorium. 1 believe this was right and proper. When noth’ing happened I did not calf for or see or know of the existance of the photographs that had been taken in any way at all.
– Why did you take them in the first place?
– I have explained it about three times. In fact, the photograph in question, which is not a photograph altered in any way to distort the pictorial story which it gives, was a photograph presented before I had seen it but, I believe, properly presented to give the pictorial rebuttal to the verbal statements of the Leader of the Opposition.
– As I said earlier, I cannot ever recall a more serious, more solemn and more distressing circumstance than the one which we now have to face. Never before, as I said, can 1 ever recall this sort of thing happening in the Parliament of the Commonwealth in the whole history of the Commonwealth. I searched the records as quickly as I could and I can find no reference at all to where a Prime Minister’s integrity or his word of honour has been under impeachment as it now and where people are doubting the integrity of the man who holds the highest position in the land. I want to know some very important and most relevant things. I am now going to ask the Government speakers who follow me to answer these questions. Who gave the photograph to the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) which he tabled?
– That is none of your business.
-It is very much the business of the Parliament to try to get to the depth of a charge of faking photographs which have been taken by a Government agency and which are now being used for party political purposes. It is very much my business and it is very much the business of this Parliament to get to the depth of this matter. I notice that the honourable member for La Trobe has disappeared. I wish someone would bring him back and invite him to stand up in this place I would prefer him to stand at the dispatch box - and tell this Parliament where he got the photograph. I am informed that he got it from an officer of the Prime Minister’s Department - a member of the Prime Minister’s staff. Now that I have made that allegation it is the bounden duty of the honourable member for La Trobe to deny it if it is not true. If it is true. I do not believe the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) when he says that he knew nothing of the photograph until it was tabled in the Parliament. The Prime Minister twitted the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) for saying that, as far as he could recall, there was no Vietcong flag in the vicinity of his meeting and that he could not recall speaking anywhere near a Vietcong flag. Realising the weakness of his position the Prime Minister said: ‘Oh, look, let us forget about the phrase “under the flag” and let us deal with the matter in isolation from the statement.’ How can we do that? It is that very statement which the Leader of the Opposition has challenged and it is that very statement on the part of the Prime Minister against which this Parliament ought to take umbrage if it is untrue.
At a Liberal Party convention last Saturday week the Prime Minister said:
It is all very well for the Leader of the Opposition to make soothing noises as to what is going on, but yesterday-
Listen to this - we saw him speaking to a crowd - an orderly crowd - but a crowd with Vietcong flags flying above them, and above his head-
That is, above the head of the Leader of the Opposition - as he spoke to them.
Is that not saying that when the Leader of the Opposition was speaking to the crowd a Vietcong flag was flying above them - above his head? That statement was
Untrue. Since we are now dealing with the integrity and the probity of the Prime Minister, it is possible that it was a lie.
– I am in order.
-Order! 1 suggest that the honourable member for Hindmarsh is aware of the Standing Orders and also that, in a debate such as this, he should keep the debate within the Standing Orders.
– My time is running out so 1 cannot argue.
– But what is significant in recounting these incidents is that after the event took place the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) on This Day Tonight’ repeated the same statement. That was a falsehood. 1 cannot say ‘lie’. The grinning Minister for Social Services knows that it was a falsehood. But that was not the end of it. The Government Whip, the honourable member for Henty (Mr Fox), then got up in his place at question time and asked a question which is known in this place as a ‘Dorothy Dixer’, which means that he knew the answer before he asked the question. He received an answer prepared by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) which tried to lend colour to the false allegation made by the Prime Minister. If it is true, as the Prime Minister now says, that he had not seen the photograph until it was tabled, how was it possible and on what basis did the Prime Minister state to the Liberal Party conference beforehand that the Leader of the Opposition was standing under a Vietcong flag? The Prime Minister was not there himself, and yet he now tells us that he did not see the photograph until it was tabled. How can he truthfully have told the Liberal Party conference last Saturday week that the Leader of the Opposition had been standing under a Vietcong flag? Somebody is lying. I do not know whether or not it is somebody from the Parliament, but somebody is lying. 1 would like to know who held the only Vietcong flag that appears in any of the pictures. Why was it there? Was it there by arrangement with the Prime Minister’s Department? Was it there by arrangement with the Australian News and Information Bureau? Is this just another Petrov affair to try to get the Liberal Party off the hook and to try to make the pensioners forget about their 50c increase in pensions? ls that why it is being done? I would like to remind the House that the Liberal Government won an election once before by bringing forward a red herring - the Petrov red herring. It did not prosecute anybody, although immediately after the affair was first mentioned one would have thought that nearly everybody was going to be indicted for some heinous offence against Commonwealth security. But nothing was done. Now we find the Government using an agency of the Government, which is being paid for by the people of Australia, including those who voted against the Government and those who believe in the philosophy for which my Party stands, for party political purposes and for indulging in this scurvy, miserable, despicable attempt to make political capital out of a faked photograph.
Why did the Government dodge the issue a moment ago of having the chief of the Australian News and Information Bureau brought to the bar of the House? Is it because the Government fears the truth coming out? This reminds me that the Prime Minister was not so careful about disguising or concealing the truth 2 or 3 years ago when it was suggested that the permanent head of the Department of Air should be brought before the bar of the House to deal with questions relative to the use of VIP aircraft. On that occasion the action he took was to come clean. In the course of coming clean what he did was to prove that the then Prime Minister was telling untruths and that the then Minister for Air, the honourable member for Casey (Mr Howson), was also telling an untruth. He got rid of the honourable member for Casey when he eventually got the job of Prime Minister. He got this job because death intervened and everybody in the Liberal Party was so impressed with the integrity and probity of the man who showed the Government up for the lies it was telling that they said: ‘A man like this is what we need at this moment. Of course we need a man like this.’ They needed a man like the man they thought he was, not the man he turned out to be. We are told that these things are only red herrings. If it is true - and I am not saying it is because I am not allowed to say that - this man who sits at the table this minute, this man who struts the political stage as the chief Minister of the Government, is not fit to clean the toilets of Parliament House much less to hold the position of Prime Minister. I say that believing it to be a fair statement of the facts.
The Prime Minister seeks to get refuge from the fact that he did not personally fake the photograph. [ do not suppose he would know how to do it if he wanted to. I am not saying he would not want to but I do say that he would not know how. He carefully avoids saying that he had no part in arranging for somebody else to do it. He does not deny that it was faked within his own Department. He does not deny that a member of his own staff gave it to the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess). He does not deny that a member of his staff contacted the the News and Information Bureau to arrange for the photographs to be taken. He does not deny something else, that is, the statement made by the Minister for the Interior who said first of all that he knew nothing of it, that it could not be done because the Bureau could not be instructed by anybody, but who admitted in the radio interview that he did receive a telephone message from the Prime Minister’s staff asking whether the photographers were at the Moratorium and he said that he did not know.
– Has the honourable member ever been on a radio interview?
– 1 heard the statement by the Minister over the radio and was staggered by it. My wife said: Try and calm yourself down because this is probably something he has done time and time again’.
– I suggest that the honourable member for Hindmarsh should follow that advice here and now.
– He said that he did not know anything about the photograph until it was tabled. Frankly I do not believe it, because if he did not know anything about the photograph I would have to suggest he was lying to the Liberal Party when he said he saw a flag.
– 1 am not suggesting it.
-Order! I suggest, as I have suggested before to the honourable member for Hindmarsh, that in this debate he should remember that this is the Commonwealth Parliament and that he should follow strictly the Standing Orders and the implications of the Standing Orders.
– Thank you, Sir. The Prime Minister has sought to excuse the use of the police for taking photographs of innocent bystanders at an ordinary, quietly conducted public meeting, and so has the Minister for Interior, on the basis that in the event of there being a scuffle or any violence it would be necessary for the police to have some record to show that the violence was not commenced or caused by themselves. Since in this case there was no violence and the police were not involved in any scuffle, why was it necessary to take any photographs? Seventy photographs were taken. Why, on the other hand, was it necessary for people who were presumably sent there to take photographs to protect the good name of the police in the event of their being involved in a scuffle to take several photographs of the Leader of the Opposition, who was nowhere near a scuffle, who was nowhere near the demonstration at the time and who had a 50 feet road separating him from the demonstrators and who was seen talking to 3 innocent, harmless university students without the slightest attempt of being attacked by the police or the police being attacked by them? There were no police in the photographs.
In my opinion this shows beyond all doubt - in fact it is conclusive proof to me - that the photographers were sent there deliberately for party political purposes, that the Vietcong flag may have been put there by an agent of the Government and that an attempt was made to have this flag taken in the same photograph as the Leader of the Opposition in cheap, scurvy, miserable political point against the Leader of the Opposition. Members of the Government fear him. They know that he is an upstanding man of great probity and dignity. They know he would look more like a Prime Minister than their own leader does. Therefore they have to do every possible thing to drag him down and destroy him. They used to say the same thing about Mr Chifley when he was alive. On the very day that he died the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ had him described as an agent of the Kremlin, ft did not know he was going to die while the article was being printed. The next day it described him as Australia’s finest son.
So it is with our present leader. When honourable members opposite fear the Leader of the Opposition most they stoop to the lowest, shabbiest, dirtiest tricks to try to destroy him. No-one can destroy a man whose integrity is as high as that of the Leader of the Opposition. They then seek to say: ‘Why did the Leader of the Opposition appear at the rally at all?1 The Leader of the Opposition has a right, a duty and an obligation to appear at a rally when called upon to do so. He has no reason to run away from anybody. He represents a Party that has a firm policy on conscription, compulsory national service and the Vietnam war. It was his duty to stand up fearlessly and defend that policy, as he has always done. He did not make the policy. He perhaps did not necessarily agree with it, but once the policy was made it was bis bounden duty not to shirk any opportunity that might present itself to state what the policy was. I venture to say that the policy stated by the Leader of the Opposition to that demonstration would not have pleased everybody at the demonstration. It certainly did not please the Government agents who were walking around with Vietcong flags in order to be photographed and thus give a photograph bearing a resemblance of a man talking to a bunch of Vietcong agents. Of course it did not please them.
Let me remind the Prime Minister of a statement made by that outstanding commentator, Mr Frank Chamberlain, easily I would think the best commentator on radio today. My friend the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) reminded me of his remark a moment ago. He said that one of. the things that Churchill was most shaken by in dealing with the Axis powers was the way in which the Nazi Party had resorted to the use of photography to damage and destroy its proposed victims. One of the things to which Churchill referred was the photographing of innocent people in the streets. Churchill thought that this was one of the most abhorrent things he could imagine.
– So it is.
– Of course it is. He also referred to the tapping of telephones, something which this Government has authorised and given legal effect to by legislative means. I remember Sir Robert Menzies, when he was Prime Minister, coming back from an overseas conference on the Suez crisis in 1956 and giving a report to Anthony Eden on what he had discovered on his trip up the Nile with the late President Nasser. He said that Egypt had all the hallmarks of a police state, and he quoted 3 of the things that gave Egypt the hallmarks of a police state. The first thing he mentioned was the tapping of telephones. If honourable members on either side think that is not a correct statement of fact, let them read Anthony Eden’s memoirs and they will find it there stated.
I believe we are marching headlong towards a police state. The reason why we fight for our country and spend millions on defence is to prevent this country from becoming a police state. The reason why people light and die for their country is to prevent this country from becoming a police state. What will we have achieved, what will the enormous wealth we have poured into defence have meant and what will the lives of those who have died have meant to us if, after their sacrifice, we finish up with a system of government with all the evil features for which we have every right to condemn those countries which are police states.
Mr GORTON (Higgins - Prime Minister) - Mr Deputy Speaker, I wish to make a very short personal explanation. The honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) has just suggested that it would have been impossible for me to go to the Liberal Party meeting and say that I had seen those crowds and seen those flags and seen them flying above the crowds and above the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) unless I had seen the picture to which he refers. The explanation I would like to make is that this is quite wrong because I have a very good view through my window of what happens out there and it was on that that I was reporting. For the rest, Mr Deputy Speaker, he also indicated that 1 was seeking in some way to avoid anything to do with the presentation of that particular photograph to this House. This is true. But if 1 had known of it and if 1 had seen it, I would have thought that it would have been a very proper thing to table in this House in view of the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition.
– The sincerity of the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) is notorious not only in this House but also among the factions of his Party and indeed in his own union. I will say nothing more about it. It is well known that the cuttlefish when it is attacked, in order to escape, emits a cloud of ink. This obscures itself from pursuit. 1 would think that the Opposition members who have spoken today might be nominated as honorary cuttlefish. There is nothing wrong with what the Australian News and Information Bureau has done. Tt has acted within its charter. It has acted properly.
But it is rather extraordinary that the demonstrators, or those who are associated with the demonstrators should resent it. After all, what is a demonstration about7 People are demonstrating so that they can be seen. That is what they are trying to do. One would think that, if they were honest, these demonstrators and those associated with them, could be only too grateful for any publicity that they were given. They should surely have welcomed the presence of (he News and Information Bureau or any other organ of publicity. They were demonstrating in order to get publicity, so they said - or were they? Is it possible that some of the people who were associated with that demonstration were there for other purposes and would have been rather outraged if their identity had been revealed? If one is in a demonstration, one is demonstrating. Unless one is there for some unlawful purpose, one is there to be seen.
I wish to review, if 1 may, the events of this day, some of which I saw myself. I was on the balcony outside the Government Party Room together with perhaps 10 or 12 members of the Liberal Party looking over and seeing what happened. I saw the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) speaking. I heard him speaking. As I saw him from the balcony, I was looking at him about half face. He was not looking quite towards me, but he was looking generally in that direction. I saw 2 Vietcong flags. They were on the right of the Leader of the Opposition from where I was standing. So. they must have been almost entirely within his field of view. That is what I saw personally myself and what I can testify myself in regard to that day. Others saw the same thing.
The honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) has told us what happened to him on that day. It is recorded in Hansard. He has told us that he drew the attention of the Leader of the Opposition earlier on that day to the presence of Vietcong flags. The honourable member said:
On the right of him were 2 young people who, ] presume, were students with a flag of red and pale blue with a gold star in the centre - the flag of the Vietcong. As I crossed the road, the Leader of the Opposition turned about and moved into the House. In the centre of the road, I said to him: ‘What is the matter, Gough? Are you embarrassed by being beside Vietcong Hags?’ He replied lo me: ‘No. Were they there? 1 did not see them.’
Now. none perhaps are so blind as those who will not see. We can give the Leader of the Opposition the benefit of the doubt on his own statement that he did not see these flags which were adjacent to him. But we cannot give him the benefit of the doubt of not knowing that they were there and of not being on his guard when he spoke to the crowd subsequently. There is no doubt that, if he had looked, he would have seen them. I can testify that myself.
The .photographs bear it out. The story that the photographs have been doctored in any way obviously is absurd when one looks at them. All that has happened is that the significant parts of the photographs have been enlarged and made more visible. But there is no alteration whatsoever. It is cuttlefish tactics to pretend that they have been tampered with in any way. But this is not the main point. The main point is that, as the Opposition struggles like a cow in the mud it gets deeper and deeper into the mire. Apparently there is no way out-
– A point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Cannot this meeting on my left be broken up so that I can hear the Minister? The Country Party is-
– Order! No point of order arises. The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat.
– The Opposition, as 1 have said, in its efforts to extract itself-
-Order! 1 suggest that the honourable member for the Northern Territory and the honourable member for Sturt cease their private discussion.
– 1 am nol talking to the honourable member for the Northern Territory. We have broken off diplomatic relations.
-Order! I call the Minister for Social Services.
– As 1 have said, the Opposition gets deeper and deeper into the mud in its struggles to extricate itself because it has now admitted and indeed asserted that it is disgraceful to be associated with the Vietcong flag and to align oneself with the people who are carrying it. That is what the bother is all about. If honourable members opposite did not admit that it was disgraceful, why are they worrying? Of course they know that this is a disgraceful thing to do and their whole attitude in this House today is an admission and indeed an assertion that this is disgraceful.
But the trouble for the Opposition is this: For months past, prominent members of the Opposition have been involving themselves continuously just in this. They are convicted now out of their own mouths. By admitting that this is a disgraceful thing to do, they admit that prominent members of their front bench and their organisation outside this House have been involved continuously in disgraceful activities. This is what they have said and admitted. And the country had better realise that this is what they have done. I invite honourable members to look at the photographs of the May Moratorium which were tabled in the House today. Honourable members will see there that the Leader of the Opposition is speaking in close juxtaposition to a Vietcong flag. Honourable members will see this in the photographs of the May Moratorium. Honourable members will see that the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) is in the same position and 1 think that the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy) is in the same position. They are not the only ones. They were so close to a Vietcong flag when they were speaking that it is reasonable *o say that they were speaking under it and under its patronage. They have now admitted that what they did then was disgraceful, and so it was.
This is by no means the only evidence. If we look back in the newspaper files we will find that honourable members on the Opposition side have been continuously associated with this kind of activity but when it is brought to the surface it is disgraceful to say these things about them even though it can be proven as it has been proved by photographs. But the point is that for months past they have been doing just this and worse. The honourable member for Lalor is so sunk in this that he went to the point of inviting the Vietcong to come to Australia in order to participate in the Moratorium. Is this proper? Is this the attitude of a man who can get up in this House and defend the Leader of the Opposition? It is ironical that he should be called upon to defend the Leader of the Opposition. Surely there is some kind of hypocrisy inherent in this.
The honourable member for Lalor has said in this House that it is a disgraceful charge, but outside this House he himself is involved in this and worse, and continuously. The association between members of the Labor Party and members of the Communist Party in these Moratorium campaigns is notorious and prolonged and they are getting deeper in the mire all the time like the struggling cow. The Labor Party has admitted now for the first time that these operations are indeed disgraceful and are worthy of condemnation. In a sense then the Labor Party has for a long time been living a lie. lt has been a Party-
– On a point of order: There has been a lot of talk about lies and you, Sir. and your predecessors in the Chair today have been very careful about the use of the word ‘lie’. The Minister said: ‘The Labor Party is living a lie’. I suggest that, applying the same kind of attitude to the word ‘lie’ as has been applied today, the Minister would be out of order.
– Order! I will apply exactly the same rule as has been applied. The general statement of the Minister for Social Services is not a reflection on an individual member of this House.
– The Labor Party has, as I said, been living a lie.
– I rise to a point of order. By that remark does the Minister imply that individual members on this side of the House are liars, because if so then he is.
-Order! The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat. There is no substance in the point of order.
– 1 want to come back, if I may, to the Leader of the Opposition. In this House on 24th September, just a few days ago, he said:
There were no Vietcong flags anywhere in my vicinity or in my sight. There were none last May, . . .
I do not know whether we should give to the Leader of the Opposition the privilege of blindness on all occasions but the photographs tabled today in this house of the May Moratorium show that he must have been closing both eyes if he did not see the Vietcong flags in his vicinity then. Indeed it may be that there is a disease which is hereditary among leaders of the Labor Party, and that is the disease of piano playing under certain circumstances. 1 can recall the Leader of the Opposition’s predecessor in this House denying that he had ever seen a unity ticket. I can see that the honourable gentleman who now leads the Labor Party may have inherited that particular kind of blindness and that particular kind of predilection for playing the piano under certain circumstances.
I do not want to go on with this recital in detail but 1 do want to draw the attention of the House to a most serious thing that is happening and which is a corollary of it. I do not want to canvass the truthfulness or credibility of the Leader of the Opposition or the sincerity of the honourable member for Hindmarsh. These are things which I think we should put to one side. But there is one thing which is important and that is what is happening inside the Labor Party itself in regard to this movement towards the left or the right. There are people in the Labor Party who are al this present moment out to persuade the House and the people that they are cleaning up the Left infection within the Party. They are changing the people in Victoria. They are getting rid of them. Indeed it is notable that in getting rid of them the price is to adopt their policy. The individuals may go but the policy remains. After all, Mr Crawford, who 1 understand used to lead the Labor Party branch in Victoria, did say that he wanted Australian troops in Vietnam to lay down their arms. This is very much what the Leader of the Opposition said just recently. He made the qualification that he did not want them to lay down their arms in the field. But he wanted them to indulge in some sort of concerted mutiny and he wanted them to make it clear, at least to their commanding officers, that they would be very reluctant dragons and should not be sent into the field. There is not a great deal of difference between what the Leader of the Opposition said and what the despised Mr Crawford - the man rejected from the Party - said in Victoria.
The general line of movement towards the Left in policy is taking place concurrently wilh a pretended purge of the old Left personnel. 1 think that this is a most dangerous thing from the point of view of this country because it may be that the Labor Party may succeed in persuading the people of what is false; namely, that it has reformed. It has not. While they purge the persons they retain the policy. Here in this House on this Moratorium agitation, on the admitted disgraceful implications in the Moratorium agitation, in the incitement to mutiny in the Australian Army, the Opposition has taken on the mantle of the Left even though it has got rid of some of the personnel. This may be even more dangerous because in New South Wales, which is the most important State, Labour is now talking, as part of the price for getting rid of the ALP Executive in Victoria, about the institution of what it is pleased to call a balanced Executive in New South Wales. That means that the Left and the allies and tools of the Communists on the Left will be able to take their places inside the Labor machine. It is by no means a coincidence that one of the Senate candidates endorsed for New South Wales by the Australian Labor Party was in his time expelled from the Returned Services League for Communist leanings. There is no reasonable evidence that at any time since he has disavowed those Communist leanings. It is not a coincidence that this individual, Mr Gietzelt, was closely associated-
– I rise to order. I must protest at this scurrilous intervention, Mr Gietzelt, the Labor candidate for the Senate elections in New South Wales, was readmitted to the Returned Services League without a stain on his character.
-Order! In regard to the point of order taken by the Leader of the Opposition, I am not. in a position where I can verify the statements that have been made.
– Does this mean that we are without remedy against these men who stain this place and think they can do so with impunity?
-Order! The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat.
– It is no coincidence that Mr Gietzelt was-
– This moronic Minister will smear once too often.
-Order! This House is not assisted in any way by what is happening between the Minister for Social Services and the Leader of the Opposition. I have stated what is a fact. The Chair is not in a position to judge the statements made by the Minister for Social Services or the Leader of the Opposition.
- Mr Deputy Speaker-
-Order! The Minister’s time has expired.
– I would just point to the personal association of Mr Gietzelt-
-Order! The Minister for Social Services will resume his seat.
Dr J. F. CAIRNS (Lalor)- Mr Deputy Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.
-Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. The Minister for Social Services, if that is what you call him, said among other things, that on 8th May a photograph was taken of a Vietcong flag in a group of people outside the House. He mentioned the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam); he mentioned the Leader of the Opposition in the other place (Senator Murphy); he mentioned me. I have seen the 3 photographs that were produced by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton). The flag shown in these photographs is not a National Liberation Front flag or a Vietcong flag. It was a flag possessed by a young man who was dressed in a burlesque way. The flag had crosses and stars on it. It was not a National Liberation Front or a Vietcong flag. The photographs do not show a National Liberation Front flag.
– On the same matter, I have had the opportunity of looking at the latest photographs which the Prime Minister has procured. I do not know what the flag which is in the frame with me represents. All I can say is that it is obviously not the same design as the flag in that portion of the photograph taken by the Australian News and Information Bureau which the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary gave to the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess), who tabled it last Thursday. They cannot both represent Vietcong flags.
– I rise on a point of order. I think that the photographs should be allowed to speak for themselves, and indeed there is-
-Order! I suggest that this is going beyond a point of order. We could develop within the point of order a debate about the photographs or about meetings. I suggest therefore that honourable members not take points of order in this regard.
– May 1 remind you, Mr Deputy Speaker, that whereas the photographs speak for themselves, there is corroborative evidence-
-Order! The Minister for Social Services will come to order.
– ls there any provision for psychiatric examination-
-Order! The honourable member for Prospect will resume his seat.
– Before I say a few words in reply to the fanatical speech of the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) let me remind him that the subject under discussion in the Parliament is that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) no longer has the confidence of this House in that he allowed a fake document to be presented to the Parliament. I think this is the most grievious charge that can be levelled against any member of a parliamentary institution. Today as I listened to the fanatical outbursts of the old reformed rebel of days gone by my mind went back to when he chased the Reds from one end of Australia to the other. The Minister was such a fanatic in the early years of the war that he blamed the Rhode Island Reds for the shortage of eggs in the fowlyard. But the Minister did not tell us today that, as was mentioned by the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) on one occasion, he had ticket No. 116 in the Port Kembla Branch of the Communist Party and that he was an underground card carrying Communist when he presented prizes at a Wollongong Communist Party athletic meeting.
– I claim to have been misrepresented.
-Order! If the
Minister has been misrepresented he must raise the matter at the conclusion of the honourable member’s speech.
– I ask for a withdrawal. The remark is offensive to me. lt is false and I ask for a withdrawal now.
-Order! There has been no reflection on the Minister for Social Services. If the Minister claims to have been misrepresented he will have to raise the matter at the end of this speech.
– To say that there is no reflection upon the Minister surely is not correct. The honourable member for Grayndler has made an allegation. 1 will not repeat the words that he used because they are known to us all and there is no point in repetition. What he said must be a reflection upon the Minister. The Minister said that he is offended by that reflection and has asked for the words to be withdrawn. I suggest that you should rule that they should be withdrawn.
– I find myself in complete agreement with your ruling, Mr Deputy Speaker. There is nothing in the statement made by the honourable member for Grayndler that reflects in any way upon the Minister for Social Services. The honourable member said that the Minister for Social Services had ticket No. .116 in the Port Kembla Branch of the Communist Party. If the Minister claims to have been misrepresented he has the right, as you have pointed out, to claim that he had been misrepresented when the honourable member for Grayndler concludes his remarks. You have ruled in this way whenever an honourable member from this side of the House has claimed to have been misrepresented. I think in these circumstances your ruling is quite correct.
– I rise to a point of order. I have never asked for anything to be withdrawn against me in 15 years, but I, submit that if an honourable member takes the view that a remark made against him is offensive, he is entitled to seek the protection of the Chair to the extent of asking for the withdrawal of the term, the word or the description that the honourable member claims is offensive. I draw your attention to standing order 75 and in particular to standing order 78 which states:
When the attention of the Speaker is drawn to words used, he shall determine whether or not they are offensive or disorderly. “
Bui I would submit that standing order 76 should be read in conjunction with standing order 78. That is to say, all imputations or improper motives and all personal reflections on members shall be considered highly disorderly. I would submit that there are 2 tests of that: There is a subjective test of the member himself and there is also the objective test of the Chair and the House itself may enjoin.
– I refer to the point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. What I said was that the honourable member for Hindmarsh in this Parliament not long ago said that the Minister for Social Services had ticket No. 116 in the Port Kembla branch as an underground card carrying Communist when he presented prizes to the Wollongong Communist athletic meeting. At that time the Minister for Social Services did not ask for any withdrawal whatever and ( believed that I was repeating a truth. I am sorry I mentioned it in view of the time taken up, and I withdraw what I said. The Minister for Social Services naturally had to speak for the Prime Minister today as he did. When all is said and done the Prime Minister is the only one who was silly enough to ever put him in a ministry and if this motion is carried the Minister for Social Services will be back on the back bench again. But this does not hide the fact that the Minister for Social Services, despite his tirade, told untruths and falsehoods to the Parliament today because he said–
– I ask for a withdrawal of that.
– I regret that I was discussing matters with the Clerk and 1 did not hear the words used by the honourable member for Grayndler. If they were a reflection on the Minister I would ask the honourable member to withdraw them. I am not in a position to know whether they were or not.
– I withdraw them only because I desire to get on with my speech. If the Minister is so sensitive let him not pour out his filth in this Parliament from time to time. Let him remember that when you dish it out you have to expect to take it.. The Minister objects but members from his side of the Parliament have defamed and maligned decent men inside and out side the Parliament. When 1 rise to reply to them, like a dingo you run for cover and demand that what 1 say be withdrawn.
-Order! The honourable member for Grayndler will withdraw that remark.
– Very well.
– He comes from a long line of dingoes.
-Order! The Leader of the Opposition will withdraw that remark.
– J do, Sir.
– I put this to the Minister for Social Services: He is on record as saying that he saw the Leader of the Opposition speaking under a Vietcong flag outside Parliament House at a demonstration the other day. I show to the Minister the photograph of the Leader of the Opposition speaking outside Parliament House at the demonstration. This photograph was tabled in the House by the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) and there is no flag within 100 miles of the Leader of the Opposition on that occasion. That is why I say to you, Mr Minister, that you lied to the Parliament today.
-Order! The honourable member for Grayndler shall not continue with this line of personal imputations. Far too many adjectives of a personal kind have been used today by speakers from both sides of the House. Some of them have not been unparliamentary but some have been extremely undesirable and I would hope that the House would accept some sense of responsibility in relation to the debates that are ensuing in this chamber.
– Mr Speaker, I respect-
– Having reminded the House of its responsibilities, as I agree you properly should, Mr Speaker, I suggest that you ask the honourable member for Grayndler to withdraw his last remark.
– Yes, I ask the honourable member for Grayndler to withdraw it.
– I withdraw the remark, but I remind the Leader of the House also that if members are so sensitive on the Government side they should not make such filthy speeches as they have made against members on- this side of the Parliament. I repeat for him and for other members opposite that they should not hand it out if they are not prepared to take it. The Prime Minister is under challenge in the Parliament today for having produced fake photographs in the Parliament and for having arranged for them to be faked. They are charged with trying to defame the Leader of the Opposition by saying that he spoke under a Vietcong flag and of conveying that impression to the Australian public.
Mr Speaker I am asked to withdraw statements when I say that they have told lies, but this falsehood is repeated again and again in Goebbels-like fashion by everybody opposite from the Prime Minister to the Minister for Social Services. We do not ask them to withdraw these statements because we know they are untrue, but we want the public to know the type of people who are making them. When the Minister for Social Services was interviewed on ‘This Day Tonight’ on 21st September he was asked whether what people were reading about in the newspapers was in any way reminiscent of or related to police brutality. The Minister said:
No, very much the opposite. What happened was that Gough Whitlam was speaking under a Vietcong flag and photographs have been taken and Labor supporters were very annoyed that this was going an record.
That the Minister knows to be a deliberate untruth because of the photograph that 1 have in my hand. How did the Minister know that the photographs had been taken? These events took place after question time and before the first sitting day of the next Parliament. In other words the photographer was planted and instructed by the Prime Minister and those who support him to take photographs and fake a picture to try to destroy the next Prime Minister of this country. That is the fact of the matter.
Let us pin it down on this issue. The Prime Minister tries to escape the charge we have laid against him today, if he had any self-respect he would resign without this motion being pressed to a vote. I draw the attention of honourable members to what the Prime Minister said at the annual Convention of the New South Wales Branch of the Liberal Party in Sydney on 19th September. I ask honourable members to consider this in the light of the photographs that have been presented to the Parliament. He said:
It is all very well for the Leader of the Opposition to make soothing noises as to what is going on but just yesterday we saw him speaking to a crowd, an orderly crowd, but a crowd that had Vietcong flags flying above them and above his head as be spoke.
That is a deliberate falsehood, Mr Speaker, no matter who made it. It was made by the Prime Minister at a Liberal Party Convention. There is an answer to that untruth - the photograph of the Leader of the Opposition speaking. How can that be said to be true? The Minister for Social Services, who sat down and was so sensitive after making contemptible statements like he did today, crawls around and says: ‘1 want it withdrawn. I do not tell untruths. I just handle the truth very carelessly.’ In today’s Age’ we find the following report:
The situation looked bad for Mr Whitlam . . . lt has now been announced that the photograph tabled in Parliament as evidence that Mr Whitlam was standing under the offending flag (which he certainly was not) was taken on the instruction of Mr Gorton. More than that, it was taken by the Australian News and Information Bureau, a Government publicity organisation with a charter which aims mainly at publicising Australia favourably overseas and providing helpful information to Government departments.
Why was the photograph taken? lt was taken only to try to trap or frame the Leader of the Opposition, because the police were filming this at the same time for the record. They film everything. They even film old age pensioners, so why would they not be at a Moratorium demonstration? This destroys completely the Prime Minister’s argument that there had to be a record of what was going on. The fact of the matter is that it was a fake and a put-up and the Prime Minister today stands condemned in this Parliament as a presenter of faked photographs in an endeavour to destroy his opposition. Do not think that we are the only ones who distrust him. In the ‘Courier-Mail’ under the heading ‘State Liberals Gorton Vote “On the Record” ‘, the following appeared:
The executive directed its President (Mr Eric Robinson) to express ‘dissatsifaction, disapproval and distrust’ of Mr Gorton’s leadership.
Why should it not distrust him? I suppose he has faked everything in his policy and that is how he got into office. This is why today in the Parliament we are lining this up where it ought to be. In the ‘Canberra Times’ of 29th September is a photograph showing how the photograph that was produced in this Parliament was faked. A part of it was blocked out as shown and anybody who was out the front of Parliament house on that occasion knows that the Vietcong flag was 100 yards away from the Leader of the Opposition. In the paper is a picture of the faked photograph. Government officers were instructed by the Prime Minister to frame the Leader of the Opposition at all costs. The Government felt it must destroy him, at Government expense with taxpayers’ money. These photographs have been faked in an endeavour to destroy him. It is bad enough for this to be done, but when senior Ministers support that kind of conduct the whole Government ought to be thrown out, lock stock and barrel.
What has been faked under this Government? Has the Budget been faked? What else has been faked? We do not know what has been faked, but under the present Government this is the situation at the present time. Members opposite attach much significance to Vietcong flags and that kind of thing. The Liberal Party tars us with one brush and then claims that it is lily white. During the May Moratorium Campaign a pamphlet was distributed by the Nazi Party of Australia. It states:
Attention! Fellow Australians
Do you believe in a White Australia, strong, free and united?
Do you believe that communist-inspired mobs should not be permitted to roam our streets, insulting eur righting men and waving enemy flags?
Do you believe that the Vietnam war should be won by determined action, like sending anticommunist forces into North Vietnam to give the Reds a dose of their own medicine, and not be allowed to drag on year after year while our young men are being killed and wounded?
If the answer is yes, then join or support the National Socialist Party of Australia.
I say to the Minister for Social Services that that is the same policy which is followed by the Liberal Party. If it is good enough for honourable members opposite to say that because a Vietcong flag is waved within 2 miles of the Leader of the Opposition he supports that type of conduct, it is good enough for me to label all Government supporters as Nazis because of the fact that they are supporting Nazi policy from one end of Australia to the other. I raise that argument to show the stupidity and falsity of what honourable members opposite are endeavouring to do because a flag has been presented. It is all very well for the Prime Minister to say that he wants to get evidence of what is going on, but is he entitled to take records of meetings and then fake them? Is he entitled to try to frame men? Why, men are serving life sentences in gaol for framing people.
– For forgery.
– Forgery and corruption are not accepted in any standard of society. Here in the National Parliament, which is the greatest forum in the nation, the Prime Minister is under challenge as being a faker, a forger. What more grievous charge could be levelled against the Prime Minister of the country? Far from defending the charge, honourable members opposite have spoken about everything but what could be termed the issue under discussion. The indictment which has been levelled by the Opposition is one of the most damning that has been levelled against the Prime Minister of any country. The Prime Minister will not be excused by his flippant dismissal of the charge, which is substantiated in these photographs, of having endeavoured to destroy his opposition by faking, forging and presenting false documents to the Parliament. Every Minister who speaks on this matter - whether he speaks in this Parliament or outside it - repeats the allegation that the Leader of the Opposition spoke under a Vietcong flag. That, of course, is a damnable falsehood, and everyone knows it, because the photograph shows the contrary to be so. But if the allegation is made often enough, like the old Goebbels theory, somebody will believe it. The Liberal Party hopes that it will be able to use it at election time and that some people will swallow the bait, as it were. That is why today in this Parliament we have challenged the Prime Minister to stand and substantiate the allegation about the flag.
The Prime Minister says, too, that he looked from his window and saw the Leader of the Opposition speaking under a Vietcong flag. The photograph I have in my hand is the only photograph in which the Leader of the Opposition can be seen speaking. So just where does the veracity and integrity of the Prime Minister stand? The Prime Minister said that he looked from the window of his office and saw the Leader of the Opposition speaking under a Vietcong flag. This photograph shows that there is no flag within miles of the Leader of the Opposition. But in addition, the Prime Minister said that he got the Australian News and Information Bureau to film the demonstration because he wanted a record of it. Why did he do that when the police were already filming the event? There is one simple point that the Prime Minister has not answered, and it utterly disproves his statement as to his alleged reason for getting the News and Information Bureau to take photographs - that is, that the direction was given to this organisation only when the Moratorium marchers had actually assembled outside Parliament House. We see the Prime Minister of Australia perched ready to swoop, to snatch at straws, as it were, in an endeavour to destroy his opposition.
What have been presented to this Parliament are faked photographs of an event that took place outside Parliament House. The Prime Minister wants to defend this action in this Parliament, if he possibly can, but we do not think that is possible. He stands condemned in the eyes of the Australian people for having presented documents that are false and forged. He also stands condemned for having used a government instrumentality in an endeavour to get by hook or by crook, evidence which he thought could be used against his opposition. We have heard the Minister for Social Services ranting and raving about Reds and all these kinds of things. Fancy the Liberal Party telling the Labor Party to look at what is happening to it internally. The rabble that sit opposite fight so often, and this is the only occasion on which we have seen them unite on anything since this Parliament met after the last election. They have to stick together on this issue because the integrity of the man who keeps a lot of them, like the Minister for Social Services, in the Ministry, is under challenge, and whether he is right or wrong he must be defended along Party lines.
For my part I endorse the motion that has been moved from this side of the House. The Leader of the Opposition is completely vindicated. But whether this motion is carried or not, the Prime Minister is condemned in the eyes of the Australian people as being a faker, a forger and one who will stoop to any lengths to destroy his opposition in this Parliament.
– I want to make a personal explanation.
-Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. The honourable member for Grayndler implied that there was something sinister in my knowledge that photographs had been taken. The reason why I knew that photographs had been taken was that I saw them being taken.
– The honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly), during the course of his speech, said that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) had said that he had seen from his office window Vietcong flags at the demonstration. Honourable members will recall that at question time last Thursday I also said - I think I used the words - that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) was speaking under Vietcong flags. But, of course, I was referring to the May demonstration rather than to the September demonstration, and I made that point clear as the day passed. There have been 2 demonstrations, and there have been Vietcong flags at both demonstrations. The Leader of the Opposition said in the House that at the May demonstration there were no Vietcong flags ‘anywhere in my vicinity or in my sight’. The Leader of the Opposition is not a man who normally goes around with his eyes closed. He is very conscious and very aware of what is in his vicinity at all times. He is most astute at recognising dangerous political practices. I suggest to the House, in the first instance, that the whole of this activity today has arisen because the Leader of the Opposition has recognised that Friday was the most damaging day that he has suffered since he became Leader of the Opposition because the Australian people knew for once that he had given misleading advice and indeed damaging advice to the servicemen of this country.
We had combined with this the fact that just a few days earlier the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) had urged that authority had bad its day; that there were other ways of taking authority, such as in (he factories and so on. The Leader of the Opposition received such bad Press publicity about this matter over the weekend that he. the man of destiny that he is, could see that the position was going to slip from his grasp because of some stupid thing he had said. Honourable members opposite are trying to interject. What I am saying is factual. He advised young servicemen to mutiny. I suggest that the whole of today’s activities are aimed at trying to colour people’s minds about all the facts. The Vietcong flag was one matter. The question whether the Leader of the Opposition advised men to mutiny is certainly another and a more serious matter. I think that the Leader of the Opposition is very conscious of it and he very much regrets the position in which he now finds himself. But, nevertheless, he gave this advice. He advised young men to mutiny. This is the alternative Prime Minister setting the stage where, if he were Prime Minister, he would accept as a matter of course mutiny by servicemen.
The honourable member for Grayndler said that the Prime Minister had said he had seen Vietcong flags from his office. I have here photographs which were tabled in the Parliament today which show quite clearly that there were Vietcong flags within very close reach of the Leader of the Opposition. There is no doubt about that. We are arguing about facts. Were there Vietcong flags there or were there not? These photographs were taken, apparently, by the ‘Canberra Times’ at the May demonstrations. The 6rst photograph I have is a photograph of the Leader of the Opposition, and within a few feet to his left is a Vietcong flag. The Leader of the Opposition rose and took a point of order. He said that that is not the same flag as the one shown in the photograph of the September demonstration. The only difference between the two flags is that one flag on one occasion - 1 do not know which occasion - is upside down. I think that the Leader of the Opposition would be well advised next time to tell his supporters which way to carry the flag so that they carry it properly without insulting the Vietcong.
– On a point of order, the issue for debate before the House is the way in which a photograph was falsified. Imputations have been made against the Prime Minister in relation to it. The issue is not whether Vietcong flags were flown or not which, frankly, is a trivial matter in the result.
-Order! There is no valid point of order.
– It is not a trivial matter at all if the alternative Prime Minister of this country is prepared to speak on a platform when there are Vietcong flags in the crowd and he does not demand that they be removed. In bis own words, on television the other night - 1 do not want to misquote him - he said: ‘While ! was speaking to 2,500 people in the Sydney Town Hall the other night there was a Vietcong flag put on the balustrade.’ He told the people this while he was on television. But why did he not go on and say: ‘As alternative Prime Minister of this country I will not speak under the aegis of the enemy flag. Have that flag removed.1? Why at the demonstrations this month and in May did he not say that as the alternative Prime Minister he would refuse to speak while the enemy flag was there? Why did he not say: ‘I ask that that flag be taken down.’ There is no question that the flag was there, lt is a fact. It is noi only a fact because it is shown in photographs that all members of this Parliament have seen, but because there are many witnesses in this Parliament who saw that there were Vietcong flags there.
I think that as the alternative Prime Minister the Leader of the Opposition is discredited by the very fact that he is prepared to speak on a platform on which the enemy flag is predominantly placed. I say that advisedly because the photograph of the May Moratorium shows a flag to the left of where the Leader of the Opposition is standing, to the left of the microphones. Bui there is a more damaging photograph thai shows another flag in front of the microphones, not yards but mere feet away from him. This photograph shows a flag with the Leader of the Opposition looking almost directly at it and, of course, the honourable member for Lalor is in a similar position.
– If the honourable member for Lalor had been in the House earlier he might have heard what I said. The only difference between that flag and the other flag is that it is upside down. The honourable member might tell his supporters how to carry a flag properly.
– I rise to order. The Minister is referring to 1 of 3 pictures that have been introduced into the House. Evidence has already been given in the debate that the flag in question is not an NLF flag at all. The Minister is simply repeating this. It is a misrepresentation. Personally, I have no objection to anyone carrying an NLF flag - it is part of their right - but this happens not to be one and it is a misrepresentation of those involved.
-Order! There is no valid point of order.
– I accept without question that the honourable member for Lalor would well know better than I an NLF flag. But that does not absolve the Leader of the Opposition from responsibility because he said on Sunday night there was a Vietcong flag in the Town Hall. He said it not only to me when I was watching television but to thousands of Australians who I hope were watching on that night. He said that there was an NLF flag on the balustrade of the Sydney Town Hall. Why did not the Leader of the Opposition demand that the flag be removed before he spoke? The simple reason is that he was quite happy to speak under the aegis of an NLF flag.
The whole of this debate arose because the Opposition moved a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister because he asked the Australian News and Information Bureau to photograph the September Moratorium in case there was a disturbance. Again, I think we need to look at the facts. The Prime Minister has said in the debate that he had a message rung through by his officers asking for information as to whether a photographer would be present. The simple fact is that the Bureau, which is part of my own Department, has, as part of its charter, the right to take photographs of this nature. There is no question about this. I make the point that there is no doubt at all that the ANIB, which is part of my Department, has within its charter the right to take photographs of any demonstration whether it be a demonstration like the Moratorium, a public gathering like Moomba, the Melbourne Cup or the grand final. It can take photographs of anything it likes and this is shown quite clearly in the functions of the Bureau as set out after the revision in 1960.
– Would you quote them?
– With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate them in Hansard. They read:
I would like to quote paragraph (f) for the benefit of honourable members. It reads: within Australia to act as a common service agency for the supply of specialised publicity and information services to Departments and instrumentalities requiring them.
The fact is, of course, that it is not only the right of the Bureau within its charter to take photographs but it has been its practice to take photographs of many demonstrations within Australia and I secured a list of those today.
I had no knowledge of the activities of the Bureau in this field and I find that there is a whole variety of demonstrations, public gatherings or public functions - Moomba is not specifically mentioned, I must say - mentioned in this list. But nevertheless the Bureau can, if it wants to do so, take photographs of the Moomba festival. It has taken photographs of the Sydney Stock Exchange at work, a surf carnival, a Hyde Park concert and other gatherings. It has taken photographs of demonstrations when Vice President Agnew was here. It took photographs for its own purposes - I did not inspire them - of the nurses demonstration, lt took colour pictures of nurses for the use in possible future publications. There is a demand overseas for photographs of this sort of activity from Australia and the Bureau is charged with the responsibility of supplying them. There is a request before it at the moment from (he NHK. which is the Japanese equivalent of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, for photographs of demonstrations of this type. It has already sent some photographs which were taken in Sydney last year outside the Commonwealth offices. So it is quite common for the Bureau to take photographs at demonstrations.
The Bureau produced a book entitled Two Centuries’ and I was generous enough to send every honourable member of the House a copy. If honourable members look at it they will see a photograph of a demonstration. If they look again at another book which the Bureau produced entitled ‘Opposite Earth’ they will see again photographs of demonstrations - anti-war demonstrations. We do not censor. This Government makes no attempt whatsoever to censor the activities of the ANIB and lo fell the world that we will not permit photographs to be taken of such demonstrations. We are quite open about it. We encourage it. Let the Bureau take as many photographs as it likes. Let it send them overseas. We have nothing to hide. We still have a record immigration inflow compared with that of any other country.
– Was it not asked to take these photographs?
– The Prime Minister has said that his office was in touch with the
Bureau to see whether there was to be a photographer present. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) made the claim that there was an unusual number of photographs taken. 1 am surprised that he made this claim because the Leader of the Opposition even used the evidence of photographs taken by the ANIB to support his case. He said: There were 70-odd photographs taken and there is only one of me with a Vietcong flag’. I think this rather points to the fact that there was nothing malevolent in the activities of the ANIB photographer who was there. The Bureau was not interested only in the Leader of the Opposition and the Vietcong flag. Certainly he could well consider himself unlucky that it was proven again there was a Vietcong flat in his presence, because there was such a photograph. But the ANIB proved by its record that it was not out to show thai the Leader of the Opposition was speaking under a Vietcong flag, lt took 70 photographs - all types of photographs.
We come to what is probably the most important part of the charge, lt is important because the charge has been made that the photograph is faked. The honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) and all previous speakers - even I think the Leader of the Opposition in Brisbane - said that the photograph is faked. I understand from officers of my Department that a photograph that is faked is one that has either had something superimposed on it or which, by some trick in developing, produces a different result from that on the negative.
– Or deletions from the photograph.
– Or deletions from the central part of the photograph. I accept that. The only difference between the photographs is that there has been an enlargement of one for clearer presentation. There is no superimposition in the critical part of the photograph of some outside matter that makes the photograph a fake. There is no faked photograph. It is a simple enlargement which is made by the Press on thousands of occasions in their every day activities. Another photograph I supplied to the Leader of the Opposition I find was trimmed in the same fashion, but this time the Vietcong flags have been cut out. I do not know whether the Leader of the Opposition will charge me with faking the photograph. This is a wider print and for the purpose of easier working in the Bureau it has been trimmed to the one size. The Bureau kept 2 Vietcong flags out and here they are leading the march. The simple fact is, as is known by any photographer, that the photograph is not faked. It is a simple enlargement to show more clearly that it is a Vietcong flag and, without doubt, it is the Leader of the Opposition. I have been involved in this matter. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition quoted from a newspaper report - I have a copy of it here. The report quotes me as saying:
The Bureau operates under its own charter and neither I nor “anyone else in the Federal Government tells it what to do, restricts it or censors it.
I had a fleeting Press interview at the Melbourne Airport on my arrival there and I made a statement to a reporter. When he asked me whether I instructed the ANIB to cover the Moratorium, I said:
No. It is not my practice to restrict, inhibit or censor in any way the activities of the ANIB. It is quite legitimate for the ANIB to take photographs of the Melbourne Cup, or Moomba or the Moratorium. So far as the Moratorium is concerned, as I understand it, there was a call from the Prime Minister’s office to the ANIB asking if a photographer would be present at the march.
I made that statement on Monday morning on arrival in Melbourne. The very significant parts of my statement were not in the Melbourne ‘Herald’. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has tried to put me at odds for some reason. The honourable member for Lalor even suggested that I might vote with the Labor Party because of my position in this matter. There is no ambiguity about my position. What I said to the Melbourne ‘Herald’ reporter is perfectly clear. I rang through to my office on getting to Melbourne and instructed my Press Secretary to put a copy of my statement in the Press Gallery so that everybody would know what I said. The simple fact is this: On Friday the alternative Prime Minister - it hurts me to call him that but he is still the Leader of the Opposition - was discredited; totally and completely discredited for the advice he gave to our military men during the caucus meeting. He was totally and completely discredited not only in this Parliament but in the eyes of the people of Australia, and he knows it. When the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr McEwen) tore him apart on facts the only reply he had was a charge based on personalities. It is not often I have seen the Leader of the Opposition sink so low in public debate as to attack the Deputy Prime Minister about his age and other things, because he could not refute one fact in what the Deputy Prime Minister said in the debate last Friday. It stands on the record that the Leader of the Opposition wants national servicemen who are in Vietnam to mutiny. It is very clear and the people of Australia should know it. It is equally clear that there were Vietcong flags at the march. It is equally clear that under the charter the ANIB had a right to be there. It is equally clear that the Prime Minister, if he so desires, can check to see that the ANIB was there. The motion before the House falls to the ground and, indeed, stands condemned.
-Order! The Minister’s time has expired. Before I call the honourable member for Riverina I suggest to the honourable member for Bendigo that he heed my warning otherwise he will find himself outside the precincts of this House.
– There is a motion of censure needed in this Parliament - a motion of censure for what has been permitted to happen in the Parliament and to the business of the nation. We have a crisis of depression in the rural half of the nation. We have a crisis in education. We have a crisis in the quality of life. We have a million people on the poverty line. We have the nation stumbling to an uncertain future. But these are not the issues we have been led to deal with by the Government. We have had to deal with too much trivia, such as that initiated by the Government on Thursday of last week. It turned the Parliament into a palace of petty petulance, of dummy questions, of aspersions and innuendos, of vilification and slurs, of waving flags and of comparing dirty pictures, dirty in intent. These have been the tactics of diversion; the tactics of deliberate diversion. They have turned the Parliament into some sort of circus in these last few days. In the last days of Rome Nero gave the people circuses. In the last days of this Government we have a new form of circus but it is being played here to the detriment of the nation.
We had a reply a moment or two ago from the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) based on 2 major points. He referred us to the fact that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) had spoken somewhere close to some flags. What a circus of flags we have had. I might refer him to the fact that the Liberal Premier of New South Wales. Mr Askin, on one famous occasion in the town of Leeton made a speech under a sign which read: Vote Grassby (1) for Mumimbidgee’. He has not been expelled yet. Even the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr McEwen) not so long ago spoke under signs which were in red and which read: ‘Vote Grassby for Riverina and for progress’. I. have not noticed that he has been censured. I have not noticed that either of those gentlemen stopped in his stride and said: ‘My goodness, 1 must tear down all the signs before I go on with my speech’. Where is the Minister’s sense of balance and commonsense in approaching these matters? Then it was said that the News and Information Bureau was brought in quite innocently. It was all terribly innocent. If it was all terribly innocent, and this after all was the Government’s News and Information Bureau, what was it doing concentrating exclusively on the Leader of the Opposition? Why were all the speakers not photographed? Why was there not a complete coverage? I think the answer is self evident. T might say that this tactic of turning the Parliament into a circus and into a place of entertainment is to be rejected. If I want entertainment I do not come to Parliament. I come here to work on behalf of my constituency and the nation. If I want entertainment I stay at home - it is better. I suggest that we go to the root of this debate, and how it began and why.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– As 1 walked out of the Chamber at the suspension of the sitting I was asked by another member of this Parliament why I had entered this debate. He said: ‘You usually confine your submissions in this House to matters of specific national importance’. I told him bluntly, and I tell the House tonight, that I entered the debate because the people I represent who have pressing problems of survival have asked me: ‘What are you doing in Canberra? What are all these goings on?
Why do you not gel down to some serious talk?’ On behalf of the great majority of our people I resent the degeneration in these recent days of this great national forum into a circus of personal abuse and a clash of big egos. The Government has deliberately manufactured this circus. Why would it do this? The answer might be: Why would it not do this?
Why would the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) come in this afternoon and hurl pure abuse? Why indeed? Because he is deeply ashamed of being associated with a 50 cent handout to pensioners. Why would the Deputy Prime Minister spend ali weekend acting as the father confessor to the Leader of the Opposition and adjudicating on his conscience? Why would he say that the main issue before the Australian people is the private conscience of the Leader of the Opposition? Why would he not say this? How can he explain 21 years of supreme power, the power and the glory, because he and his colleagues have had privileges, titles, honours - unchallenged power and rule. What has been the result? It has been a. depression in the country-side. So why would he not want lo talk about the conscience of the Leader of the Opposition? lt is better than talking about the bankruptcy of share farmers and the hardships of wheat growers. It was the Deputy Prime Minister who said at the weekend that the first decision, the top priority, for the Australian people to reach is a decision on the conscience of the Leader of the Opposition. The second, of course, concerns the wheat grower, the wool grower and the rest. 1 respect the conscience of the Leader of the Opposition, but the survival of half of Australia, the rural half, is more important to me than the conscience of the Leader. Of course, this is my value and this is bis value. Why would this Operation Division not have been mounted? Why would we not have law and order and parliamentary democracy? lt is better than having to face up to the fact that the rank and file Australian Country Party members have told their representatives in Parliament that their handling of wheat is a disaster. It is better than facing up to the fact that good Country Party members across the countryside have been saying that we need a single firm statutory authority to market wool. The Minister for Primary Industry (Mr
Anthony) seems to be agreeing again with the international brokers. By all means let us have the conscience of the Leader of the Opposition, let us have law and order and let us have every abstract issue. But what humbug. Nothing was said about the Minister for Primary Industry, after defying one half of the Australian Parliament, the Senate, denying the other half, the House of Representatives, the right even to debate an issue of importance to the rural sector. I refer to the merino ram embargo.
– I raise a point of order. I cannot quite follow the relevance of the merino embargo to the matter before the Chair. Am I out of order in suggesting that?
-I would say that the honourable member, in my view, is getting a little wide of the subject matter at the present time.
– I can understand how it seems difficult for the subject matter I have dealt with to be linked with this motion of censure for the waste of the nation’s time. I rise in my place to support the censure motion because the nation’s time is being wasted and because the Parliament’s time is being wasted in personal abuse and a circus of photographs and flags.
-Order! There are far too many interjections from the corner of the chamber on the right hand side of me.
– I am tired of humbug and false issues. I want to ram home where the responsibility for this waste of the Parliament’s time and the nation’s time lies. This has been going on for some days. Let us go back to the beginning of this sordid interlude, and let us be quite clear. It began on Thursday, 24th September, when the Government Whip, the honourable member for Henty (Mr Fox), rose in his place and raised a matter of photographs and what, appeared on them. This was carried on almost immediately and, I am sure, quite spontaneously by the Minister for the Interior. I want to quote what he said on that famous occasion at the beginning of this circus of photographs and flags. He said:
I really suspect that the Leader of the Opposition himself, being a man of destiny he claims to be, will realise that many thousands of Australian people are genuinely concerned that the Leader of the Opposition and some of his supporters should, while making anti-Vietnam speeches, be seen to be so patriotically attached to the Vietcong flag that they should make speeches under the Vietcong flag.
– Who said that?
– That was said by the Minister for the Interior. Of all the people in this Chamber he is the last one who should make that statement, because it has not been borne out by any of the photographic evidence that we have seen produced here or even the evidence ordered by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) himself. The words ‘under the Vietcong flag’ have been used. The Leader of the Opposition is even more innocent of speaking under anything than even the Premier of New South Wales or the Deputy Prime Minister who spoke under a sign with which I was associated, as I mentioned earlier, But that was the charge and that was the diversion. Let me remind the House that the Leader of the Opposition had been probing the shipping monopoly that could cost Australia $100m a year. That was his first question and that was the opening of question time. Then we had the battle of the photographs. The Government did not want to discuss shipping or the exploitation of our people or any of these serious matters. It wanted photographs and circuses, and that is what we had. Then the Government continued the diversion. It raised again the matter of photographs. The next day at question time the Leader of the Opposition got onto the all important matter of service pay and conditions for the Royal Australian Air Force. The Leader of the Opposition raised that important matter of the very survival of the RAAF in the defence of the nation and the Minister for Defence (Mr Malcolm Fraser) having said nothing in reply, we were back to the circus again.
The honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) produced a flag. He was not interested in the service conditions of the RAAF. He was not interested in the serious issues before the Parliament. He produced a flag and waved it in the Chamber. We were back to the circus again. But we had not finished. Another Government question then accused the Leader of the Opposition of disaffection. The Prime Minister endorsed this entry into the next ring of the multi-ringed circus organised by the Government in the best traditions of Nero in his declining years. We were then taken into flights of fancy about mutiny and all these other matters which have been raised purely as matters of personal abuse. If there were any real substance in these matters and, if we had not been witnessing the very debasement of the language, we would not have seen, after this out-pouring, the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth going as comrades in arms to a Royal Australian Air Force reunion, sitting down and recalling the great days of the nation in World War II, Of course this would not have happened if these had been serious matters. If the words of mutiny, treason and lack of patriotism had meant anything, they would not have been going forward in the way they have been. But of course the words do not really mean those things at all. They were a debased use of the very words; they were meant purely as a diversion from the real problems of the nation. 1 have left behind today constituents suffering from flood, a rural squeeze and a depression unparalleled in my lifetime. I have left them behind to come to this national forum to listen to what? To listen to talk about flags and photographs and petulance-
– And clowns.
– Order! I do not know who made that interjection, but it serves to emphasise the point that the honourable member for Riverina is making. 1 suggest that whoever made it should cease interjecting.
– I know who interjected, but he shall remain nameless. In his own conscience in his own room tonight he can reflect on the things I am saying. I have left behind people who are suffering real disabilities. 1 have left people who have concern for their future and for the future of the nation. They do not regard the crisis in the countryside or the matters to which I have referred in the nation as a whole as matters of laughter and amusement. They do not regard the Parliament of the nation as a place for circuses. It is a matter of deep regret that this entire incident which began last Thursday has occurred in the way it has. I say very simply that we should have an end to this petulance and an end to this circus in the Federal Parliament at this time and we should get down to the major matters that concern us in the nation, the major matters that, when I go home at the weekend, people raise with me. They want to know what has happened in a whole range of circumstances and a whole range of issues. They are very interested, of course, in the conduct of the Prime Minister. They are very interested in the conscience of the Leader of the Opposition. But these things are not paramount in their minds and they are not paramount in my mind.
These are great men in our community. They have a great role to play. But to degenerate the Parliament by this petty pemlance and individual attacking is not good enough. It does us no service; it docs us no honour, lt is not what we are here tor. We should end this debate which was deliberately inaugurated by the Government on Thursday, 24th September, by a series of dummy questions and a series of matters that were personal. If these things are to be argued on a personal basis, I suggest that those concerned book a hall somewhere. Let them be loose and let them be free. Let them debate to their heart’s content, but let us not have this waste of the national forum and the nation’s time. I have spent days here listening Vo personalities.
– And tripe.
– The honourable member for Banks has used a term that 1 do not normally use. As a matter of fact, in the dining room I like tripe, but not in the chamber. We have very little time at our disposal to deal with the matters that are important to us and important to the nation. 1 feel that the censure which has been moved today has been moved because of the circus of the last few days. We have seen the production of photographs, the production of flags and the waving of photographs as much as to say that we really all take seriously what has been said by members of the Government. They know very well and very clearly that this is simply a tactical diversion from the real issues of the nation. As far as I am concerned, we should be finished with it.
Charges have been made about the good faith of the Government and the Prime
Minister In dealing with these matters and In initiating these tactics of diversion. This is the reason for the censure. We should be back to the nation’s business. I serve this warning on behalf of the grass roots of the nation: The coming Senate election and In fact the next election of the House of Representatives will not be fought on street photographs such as we have seen produced here. They will be fought in the kitchens of the nation where families have to eat and survive, and where the families are concerned. It is to the kitchens of the nation that we should be paying our attention. We should be paying attention to the survival of the families of the nation as a whole and not to street photographs and not to turning this great national forum into a palace of petulance.
– After the irrelevancies to which we have just listened let me recapitulate what we are doing here at this moment. We are here debating a motion of want of confidence in the Prime Minister which has been moved on the grounds that he has been responsible for falsified photographs of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) at the recent Moratorium in the presence of Vietcong flags. A want of confidence motion is a motion of high seriousness in Parliament. Governments have fallen and Ministers have been dismissed in time past because of the moving of such a motion. Is this such an occasion? If it were, the time taken in this House today would be justified. We have not had question time. No Government business has been enacted. Perhaps even the heat of the accusations of this day would be justified, but this is not such an occasion. This is a pseudo-occasion. This is one of the low points of my experience in this Parliament. Why?
Let me recapitulate the chain of events, which is brief enough, that has led up to this day. The Leader of the Opposition made 3 statements. Firstly, he advised young servicemen, having enlisted in the Services, to refuse active service. Secondly, he went on record as sneering at ex-soldier policemen as being corrupted by their military service into a species of thugs. Finally, more recently, he extended his advice to troops already serving in Vietnam. What was the reaction of the nation to these 3 statements? There was widespread and uni versal condemnation. In the Press, including those newspapers which generally do not give much comfort to the Government but which could be thought to be supporting the Opposition on many occasions, there was utter condemnation. Then came this sequence of events: A series of puerile charges forced into Parliament and the deliberate reduction of this House on many occasions to a species of bear garden or circus ring. There were the tones and trappings of seriousness, but the content of empty and hollow nonsense.
What was the gravamen of the charges levelled, the supposed grounds of a no confidence motion? They too were 3 in number: Firstly, that the Prime Minister bad falsely charged the Leader of the Opposition with speaking under the Vietcong flag at the Moratorium; secondly, that he had tabled or caused to bc tabled falsified photographs showing a Vietcong flag in the vicinity of the Leader of the Opposition at the Moratorium; and thirdly, that he had wrongly brought about the use of the services of the Australian News and Information Bureau for partisan political purposes.
– 1 raise a point of order. The honourable gentleman is reading his speech.
– I have notes but I am certainly not sticking to them verbatim. To return to the first issue about the Vietcong flags and the Moratorium, let us be sensible and forget mere semantics. Let me ask these questions of the House and the nation: Were Vietcong flags prominent at this Moratorium? Were they significant to its purpose? Did the Leader of the Opposition know of this purpose and this demonstration of enemy colours? Did he speak so as to condemn or to encourage their presence? These are the questions that this nation wants answered. The people know that the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) publicly stated his purpose - to invite Vietcong leaders to this country for this occasion. They know too that Senator Wheeldon is on record in Hansard as having said: l personally, I do not deny, do support the Vietcong … If anyone accuses me of being around when somebody was carrying a Vietcong flag, 1 will not apologise. I will not withdraw. I will not say that I was not there. I will not say that I would have left the march if 1 had seen the Vietcong flag being carried. I did see some people carrying Vietcong flags and I did not withdraw from the march.
The senator says that he supports the Vietcong and will not withdraw or apologise for being with the Vietcong flag. But what does the Leader of the Opposition do? He, as usual, tries an evasion tactic:
I did not see any Vietcong flags in my vicinity . . .
But, did he know of the pro-Vietcong purposes of the Moratorium? Did he not read the many placards bearing inscriptions of this kind: ‘Victory to the Vietcong’? Oh, no! He shrinks with horror from such a suggestion! Then, why did he advise young Australian men to desert if required to fight the Vietcong? Why did he call men who fought the Vietcong thugs’? Why did he call on servicemen in the face of the Vietcong at this moment to refuse to fight? Is he under a Vietcong flag right now, in every sense of the phrase that matters?
J served, as did both my parents and many other members on both sides of the House, under the Australian flag. I do not know that we ever looked up to see whether it was vertically above us or to recognise its colours at every specific moment, but we served, as so many did, under the Australian flag in spirit, loyalty and determination and in our abiding allegiance. In championing the Moratorium, the Leader of the Opposition knows that this Moratorium with its Vietcong flags and its Vietcong slogans has received since the grateful thanks of Hanoi, In a separate talk on the Vietnam Moratorium in Australia, Radio Hanoi said - and I quote from a report:
The current anti-war movement in Australia is providing practical support for the Vietnamese people’s . . . fight for national salvation.
Yes, the thanks of Hanoi are heard for those who took part in this demonstration. So, was the Leader of the Opposition serving under the Australian flag or under the Vietcong flag? This is the kind of issue that the nation will be asked to judge.
I turn now to the second charge that was levelled against the Prime Minister. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition charges that the Prime Minister tabled a falsified photograph in this House. Falsified! With what purpose was it falsified? Was it falsified to show that the Leader of the Opposition was nearer than in reality to a Vietcong flag? How was this achieved? Was it achieved by trimming off the surrounds, allegedly removing evidence of a roadway between the man and the flag? But that is humbug because every version of the photograph shows a vehicle on that roadway between the man and the flag. What then was the falsification? Was it because persons carrying out their professional activities of trimming prints left a little more in one print than another? That is all. That is precisely all. No more, no less. This is the basis of the charge of supposed high seriousness that we have heard today as the basis for the call for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister and the Government. What a contempt of Parliament there must surely be behind such trivia being masqueraded and paraded as one of the most important motions which can be moved in this place.
The third charge is that the Prime Minister misused the services of a Government department for purely party political purposes. This, too, would be serious if it could be substantiated. The Prime Minister has given, long weeks ago, his reasons for the use of photography in terms of evidence of reality to offset deliberate attempts to frame the police. Now, I do not fully share his attitude at this point. The use of different lenses and different camera fittings can change perspectives. We must be very careful indeed of this kind of thing. But photographs have been used for a very long time in legal evidence and there are rules and methods for avoiding their misuse. No suggestion of misuse can be made in this case, however, because there are dozens of eye witnesses who are prepared to swear to the facts that are depicted in the photographs. This is what actually happened on this occasion. I quote from a memorandum prepared by the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary setting out the chain of events. It reads: o The Prime Minister wanted a record of the Moratorium in case of disturbances. o At the Prime Minister’s direction, this office - the Press Secretary’s - requested the News and Information Bureau to take a photographic record of the Moratorium. o As there were no particular incidents, the Prime Minister did not seek prints, nor did he sec any prints. o At the end of Moratorium Day, the Press Secretary advised ANIB there was no requirement for prints, and negatives were to be put on file.
The first time that prims were called for were on the following Thursday morning (24th) when the House was debating whether or not there were Vietcong flags at the Moratorium.
The Press Secretary asked the Bureau to send over a set of prints, and the picture as tabled was amongst them.
No directions had been given on the trimming of the print.
At the request of the Press, further prints of the picture as tabled were obtained from the Bureau.
The honourable member who tabled the photograph did so as described by the Press Secretary in the chamber without consultation with the Prime Minister. This is the totality of the situation. I personally accept that entirely.
If the Bureau took many photographs for its own purposes, that is its own affair, lt has long been its practice to photograph occasions such as this for purposes not remotely connected with party political purposes. For example, I hold up to the House this magnificent publication entitled Two Centuries’ which sets out to show all facets of Australian life and of the Australian people including people engaged in protest demonstrations, lt was printed many, many months ago and no doubt it has pride of place in the private libraries of most honourable members. Honourable members will see, if they look through it, photographs taken by the Bureau of protest occasions.
So, I suggest to the House that all three charges can be seen to be hollow and trivial, as they must have been seen to be by those who concocted them. But they were desperate men indeed. They were desperate to throw a smokescreen over the dangerous and destructive self -revelation of their Leader during the past week. The real questions before this House are indeed questions of credibility and veracity. Is the question of this bour, the question of most concern to Australia, the question of the propriety of what the Prime Minister has done, or allowed to be done, in this case or is it the question of the propriety of the actions of the Leader of the Opposition on Wednesday night last and following days? ls it a question of the credibility of the Prime Minister when he asserts plainly his reasons for asking for a photographic record of the Moratorium, or is it the credibility of the Leader of the Opposition when he says: ‘1 saw no Vietcong flags . . .’? Is it a question of confidence in ihe Prime Minister to lead this nation is die face of Communist motivated actions at home and abroad, or of confidence in the honourable member for Werriwa to lead any longer what I still prefer to call Her Majesty’s Opposition? I leave the nation to decide and I am confident what that decision will be.
Perhaps the crowning provocation of this charade this afternoon was the appearance before the despatch box of the honourable member for Lalor. This is the man who took over the first Moratorium from the parsons. Honourable members will recall the events at the National Methodist Memorial Church in Canberra on 25th November last. The then Reverend John Lloyd convened a meeting which was attended by 12 senators of this Parliament. The objective was to organise a moratorium to campaign for two things: First, the withdrawal of Australian and all other foreign troops from Vietnam and, secondly, the repeal of the National Service Act. A co-ordinating committee was set up under Mr Lloyd’s leadership. On 9th December last year, it agreed to hold the Moratorium on 1 8th April. Later, the honourable member for Lalor, who took over the chairmanship of the committee, announced that the dates had been changed to 8th May and 10th May. On 9th February, much dispute took place about the change of date. But what did the honourable member for Lalor do? What could he do? The decision to make 8th May the date appears to have been taken already - and elsewhere - overseas.
The Executive Bureau of the WFTU - that is, the World Federation of Trade Unions; a Communist front with which the Australian Council of Trade Unions is not in communion - met in Khartoum from 24th to 26th February, lt published an Appeal to the Trade Unions and Workers of the World’ to make 8th May a ‘day of action for world peace’. The date would of course have been decided long before the Federation met in session. Did it choose the date because it had heard of Dr Cairns’ choice of 8th May, did the honourable member choose it, was he told to arrange it by persons in common or was it mere coincidence? Perhaps we will never know.
What is known, however, is that the honourable member told demonstrators at the Moratorium:
This is the only way to express the will of the people. There are so many people who appear not to know what democracy is. Democracy is action by the people - on the farms, in the factories and in the streets. If it does not start there we will have no democracy at all.
He added that anyone who believes that democracy starts in Parliament is subject to ‘a great delusion’.
So that is perhaps why we have been faced with this farcical situation today, why the work of Parliament has been set aside for today; why the most serious processes of Parliament have been prostituted to try to provide a smokescreen over the actions of the Leader of the Opposition who, on his own admission, has gone out to advise young men to ignore the decisions of this Parliament, to flout the provisions of Acts democratically enacted by the Parliament for the nation’s defence, to scorn the law enforcement bodies and especially those in them honourably discharged from the Queen’s service and to advise the troops in the field in the face of the very enemy, to refuse to continue to fight. There is a pattern to all of these things. It is a pattern that this nation will ignore at its dire peril.
We now have an Opposition revealed in all its facets - the trade union section some months ago calling for mutiny in the field; its left wing, represented by the honourable member for Lalor, and now its Leader and its Deputy Leader and his heir apparent all united in support of actions giving aid and comfort to our enemies. Those are the true issues of the confidence vote tonight and I leave the House and the nation to judge.
– The House is debating a censure of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) for allowing a faked photograph to be tabled in the House. The honourable and reverend member for Evans (Dr Mackay) has done his best to obscure the particular issue which we have been debating all day. Sir, I do not know why it is that in his speech he should have made the slighting reference to ‘parsons’. The fact is of course that what I have said is in accordance with the advocacy of his Church and I believe of all other churches in Australia. The fact is that all the churches in Australia - not just the Australian Labor Party - have advocated exemption from the provisions of the National Service Act on the grounds of conscientious objection to a particular war. When Labor comes to power it will abolish conscription but in Opposition the Labor Party has tried 3 times to have the law amended in accordance with the principle that there should be exemption for conscientious objection to particular wars. We have tried to put to the test the real beliefs of honourable members such as the honourable member for Evans.
On 27th February of last year the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) introduced a Bill which provided for exemption on the grounds of conscientious objection to a particular war. Members of the Government talked the Bill out. It lapsed with the prorogation of the House for the last general election. On that notorious one day sitting, the 26th November last, my Deputy again gave notice of the same Bill, lt lapsed, of course, when the Parliament was prorogued. But on 4th March of this year he gave notice of it again. Let us put it to the test. There are 2 members of the Presbyterian Church in the Government Parties in this House. Their Church is committed to this principle and in fact now to the abolition of conscription but these guilty men with all their lay and clerical colleagues have combined to smother a debate on this matter of conscience.
Let me remind honourable members of what the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman) had to say in his maiden speech on 10th March last. He quoted the United States Catholic Bishops’ pastoral letter on war approved at their national conference in November 1968 by 180 votes to 8. It states:
The present laws of this country (US), however, provide only for those whose reasons of conscience are grounded in a total rejection of the use of military force … but we consider that the time has come to urge that similar consideration be given to those whose reasons of conscience are more personal and specific. We therefore recommend a modification of the Selective Service Act making it possible, although not easy, for so-called selective conscientious objectors to refuse - without fear of imprisonment or loss of citizenship - to serve in wars which they consider unjust or in branches of service (e.g. the strategic nuclear forces) which would subject them to the performance of actions contrary to deeply held moral convictions about indiscriminate killing.
In the last few months churchmen, particularly in Sydney, have been outraged at the treatment handed out to the principal of Newington Methodist Boys College. There was a man who was sticking by the tenets of his Church, pronounced and reiterated again and again on a State and national basis. The lay majority of the council of that school, whose qualifications would not have entitled them to be appointed to the staff, have frozen him out. 1 would have thought that far from these reflections on parsons the honourable and reverend member for Evans would have at least supported his brother minister who is the principal of Newington. But it has been left, for instance, for the Reverend Father Michael Allsop, lecturer in moral theology at St Patrick’s College. Manly, to write through the columns of the ‘Sydney Morning Herald* in these terms:
Ask such questions as: ls it possible for a law to be unjust? ls it possible for the law (not all hut some or one) passed by a democratic government to be unjust? ls an individual bound to heed the dictates of his conscience or the demands of law? Which takes priority in a case of a conflict between the two?
When these and any allied difficulties have been resolved not according to our own whims, but according to standard authentic moral teaching, let those who are without sin - to recall a valuable pericope of Christ - cast the first stone.
Perhaps the honourable member for Evans will remember sufficient of the New Testament to feel a kinship with those who are in the habit of passing by on the other side.
Let me return to a matter which the honourable member for Evans did his best to obscure and suppress. We are debating - we have been the whole afternoon - the censure of the Prime Minister for allowing a faked photograph to be tabled in this House. First of all. the Prime Minister said today and through his spokesman outside yesterday that he wanted a record to be kept of the Moratorium in case of disturbances. This, of course, is the reason that the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) gave for having the Australian Capital Territory Police film the event. They filmed the pensioners on Budget day. They filmed Australian National University students on Friday week on the lawns outside this place in their Moratorium march as an antiVietnam protest. And they will, I dare say, photograph the farmers in their protest next month.
But the record was arranged weeks before to give the police a filmed answer to any photographs produced by defendants in any proceedings taken by the police and arising out of this protest which of course was known to be about to take place for weeks past and to which question time was devoted for weeks before in denigration and misrepresentation. Of course this excuse by the Prime Minister would be all very well if he had decided a week before or maybe a day before that the Australian News and Information Bureau should take these photographs but in fact the order was given on the very day itself. It was given not in preparation for the demonstration but when the demonstration started. In fact the photographs show - there are 70 of them and I had to wait a long time to get them but at last they came around after dinner time last Thursday - that the photographing commenced an hour after the demonstration began when I emerged after question time down the steps of Parliament House. There is a magnificent record of what I did then and so on. Mow one photograph has been produced - the faked photograph. But let me come to it in a moment.
The motive of the Prime Minister is having these photographs taken is irrelevant, to the motion. We have not in fact raised whether he should have done this. The abuse of the News and Information Bureau is important, but that abuse is also irrelevant to the motion. We have not raised it. What is wholly relevant to the motion and what is important to the whole of this legislature is the faking of the photograph. The whole process was well under way long before - many days before - last Thursday. We are not concerned with what happened on Thursday or Friday last; we are concerned with what happened on the Friday before. First of all on Friday week there was the order by the Prime Minister to the News and Information Bureau to take these photographs - not a photograph of Moomba or a photograph of the Melbourne Cup, these trivial arguments and precedents pleaded by the Minister for the interior, but, for the first time, a photograph of this Moratorium. Then on the Saturday, lo pursue this matter - to make the big build up, the big set up. the big frame up - the Prime Minister addressed the annual convention of the New South Wales Division of the Liberal Party of Australia. At this convention the Prime Minister said: . . just yesterday we saw him speaking to a crowd - an orderly crowd - but a crowd that had Vietcong flags flying above them, and above his head as he spoke to them.
On the Monday on the television programme ‘This Day Tonight’ in a lucid interval the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) appeared. He was under very great restraint. He was asked this question:
Were there any scenes reminiscent of what we are reading about in the newspapers now; allegations of police brutality?
That is, he was asked whether there was anything in the Moratorium demonstration by Australian National University students in front of Parliament House similar to what has happened at the hands of the police at La Trobe, in Adelaide or in Sydney. But his answer was:
No. Very much the opposite.
We can see the frustration he felt at having to admit this. The Minister used this national network. One can imagine what the septuagenarians in this place would say about the Australian Broadcasting Commission if this opinion was volunteered by any Opposition members about Government supporters. The Minister went on to say:
What happened was that Gough Whitlam was speaking under a Vietcong flag and photographs have been taken and Labor supporters were very annoyed that this was going on record.
How did he know that the photographs were being taken and were being put on record? Last Thursday the Government Whip, the honourable member lor Henty (Mr Fox) - an extraordinarily docile and submissive member if ever there was one - asked the first question from the Government side. He asked the Minister for the Interior a question. The Minister is always at a loss in answering any question of which he has hot been given notice. Sure enough the question was about photographs of the demo by the students outside Parliament House. In the next few pages of Hansard the Minister happened to refer on 3 occasions to the fact that Whitlam was speaking under the Vietcong flag or under the banner of the Vietcong. It was all a complete set up.
Then, at the end of question time the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary, who had a heap of photographs in front of him, handed one over to the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess). The honourable member, who is ever ready to see some particular skulduggery on our part, leapt to his feet and tabled a photograph. When that night at dinner time my staff was at lust able to get the photographs from the Bureau, because it took the Minister for the Interior all those intervening hours to give permission for that organisation to provide the photographs, it turned out that the photograph was lopped, cropped, truncated, faked.
– Tell them what truncated means. Some of them are not very bright.
– Perhaps I can use the word ‘cut’ instead of truncated. The Bureau was extraordinarily diligent that day. The ‘Canberra Times’ had taken 9 photographs of the students meeting outside Parliament House. Two of those photographs showed Vietcong flags, both on the steps of Parliament House. The Australian’ took 8 photographs and not one of them showed a Vietcong flag. The Melbourne ‘Herald’ took 41 photographs and not one had a picture of a Vietcong flag. The ‘Daily Telegraph’ refused to give me copies of its photographs. I am told by persons in that organisation with more decency in public affairs than loyalty to the organisation, that this newspaper took over 40 photographs and not one of them showed a Vietcong flag. But these 70-odd photographs taken by the NIB did at least show 1 flag.
If anyone looks at the ‘Canberra Times’ today he will see 2 photographs, full photographs taken by the New and Information Bureau. The newspaper has marked by a square the portion of the first photograph which the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary gave in a cut form to the honourable member for La Trobe. It will be noticed by anyone who looks at the ‘Canberra Times’ today that not only the consequence but the purpose of cutting the photograph in that way was to destroy the perspective. Anyone looking at the full photograph would see that the Administration Building and the tops of the trees are well in view. In fact, if anyone looks right around it is quite clear that I am yards and yards - in fact scores of yards - from ihe Vietcong flag; that I am not looking towards it; that 1 am not under it; that 1 am not in fact speaking but that I am listening to some people on the Parliament House side of the road. If one looks at the second photograph in the ‘Canberra Times’ one will see the same person speaking to me and the same people also on the other side of the road, fu between these groups the lines on the road are shown. It is true that in the photograph taken with a telephoto lens and produced by the Bureau the judicious cutting by or under the Prime Minister distorted the perspective and made it appear that in some way I was associated with the Vietcong flag. It is obvious that this was not at the meeting and that I was not speaking under it.
The Prime Minister, the Minister for Social Services and the Minister for the Interior have been caught out. This is not the first time, of course, that we have had ample demonstration of the slipperiness of these customers. The fact is that the Prime Minister of this country is not trusted; the Government is not trusted. The Prime Minister is not worthy of trust and the Ministers he selects, particularly for debates on these occasions, are nol to be trusted. We know, for instance, that on the Vietnam controversy the documents which the Department of External Affairs itself has published have been faked. They have been cut.
– 1 rise to order. I object to the Leader of the Opposition saying that the Prime Minister is not trusted and that he has selected Ministers who are not trusted. I raise this issue on the basis that the Ministers are Ministers of Her Majesty’s Government. I ask the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw the statement.
-Order! There is no point of order.
– Perhaps the House will pardon me the observation that when I become Prime Minister and Foreign Minister it will never be possible to say of me that I faked books or photographs. Of no government which I lead will it be possible to say that faked books or photographs are issued by or through Ministers or their
Press secretaries. I recall, as has been elicited by the honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison) by persistent questioning in this House, that the very Vietnam documents issued by the Department of External Affairs in 1966 are faked and falsified. We cannot get the full documentation in our own departmental official publications. The events of last week are just part of that process of misrepresentation and denigration to which the Prime Minister lends himself during his brief appearances in the Parliament at question time, particularly in answer to Dorothy Dix questions.
He and his ministry are playing politics with the lives of a generation. The Prime Minister continues on his rampage of dividing the nation while a whole generation is being alienated. It is not just a matter of respect for one law or one aspect of policy; this is an undermining by the Government of the whole parliamentary process. The Government makes a mockery of Parliament and then expects young people to respect it. and obey. This is a government of hate, lt depends on hate. It appeals to the most hateful elements in our nation and in our national character. This is a coalition of hate under the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr McEwen). This is the first government in Australian history which has deliberately set out to divide the nation, lt is the first in our history to try to draw up an indictment against half the nation, lt is the first deliberately to try to set generation against generation. It is a turbulent, squalid, divisive government tainted by scandal and smelling of decay, the taint, the scandal and the squalor coming from the individual who leads it.
Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar- Minister for Social Services) - Mr Speaker, 1 seek leave to make a personal explanation.
– Order! Does the Minister claim lo have been misrepresented.
– Yes. The Leader of the Opposition implied that there was something sinister in my knowledge that photographs were taken. There was nothing sinister in it. I knew it from the fact that I saw ihe photographs being taken at the time they were taken.
- Mr Speaker, 1 wish to make a personal explanation.
-Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– I have been misrepresented. The Leader of the Opposition, in his speech, stated that I had tabled a photograph which had been tampered with and he quoted the ‘Canberra Times’ which shows 2 photographs. I point out to you, Sir, that if anybody with any intelligence looks at these 2 photographs he will see that the Leader of the Opposition may be standing in similar positions but his head is facing in entirely different directions. He is talking to different people. There is no motor cycle in the top photograph. The car is different and the bottom photograph has no relationship whatsoever to the photograph which I submitted.
– Mr Speaker, I-
-Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– No. I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It relates to offensive personal reflections in that the Prime Minister has just been described as a man from whom emanate taint, squalor and smell. These words I claim to be offensive to the Leader of my Party.
-The words that were used by the Leader of the Opposition in my view were not unparliamentary but were extremely undesirable. They were referring to the conduct or perhaps the character of the Prime Minister.
– Has he any?
-Order! The Leader of the Opposition will not interrupt the Speaker when he is speaking to the House. It is my view that the words were unfortunately used in the debate.
– We listened to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) tonight with some trepidation. We thought that in would come a man on a charger with a long lance, who would drive a wound into the Government’s side. There was no charger, there was no lance and it was an awful calamity for him. He started off by saying: ‘When Labor comes to power.’ Two interesting facets about this When Labor comes to power’ appear. When it will be is anybody’s guess. We are not all possessed of a crystal ball. The second facet to which I refer is the extraordinary modesty contained in the words of the Leader of the Opposition. We have become accustomed to the honourable gentleman at every opportunity on the public media saying, pointing to himself: T,
Whitlam, when I am Prime Minister- ‘.
This is the man of destiny, so anointed, but the modesty that he suddenly adopted fell like the sham it was at a later point when he reverted to the usual form: ‘When I am Prime Minister and when I am Foreign Minister.’ So spake the Leader of the Opposition, the man of destiny anointed by the Almighty, the man who mixes with the greats and in mixing with the greats puts into his language words which you. Mr Speaker, have yourself described as words, that, although not unparliamentary, are words that should not have been used here. But the modesty which he put up at first and which fell now comes to the fore, because to pursue his aim of becoming Prime Minister above all things he is prepared to encourage young men to submit themselves to punishment and to public rejection. I do not admire this attitude in any man but I find it reprehensible out of the mouth-
– Mr Speaker, I rise to order. Might I draw to your attention that this is a debate as to whether or not the Prime Minister is a faker or a forger and the Minister for Labour and National Service is not confining himself to the debate but speaking to another matter. I would ask you to bring him back to the motion.
-Order! The honourable member for Grayndler knows that there is no substance in that point of order.
– It is reprehensible when those words come out of the mouth of the loyal Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition’. This provides the opportunity for us to examine the man who spoke last, the Leader of the Opposition, making the allegations he did against the Prime Minister. The honourable gentleman has said a lot of things which do not bear repetition, but let us come to the point of the motion. So far as I am aware today in this debate not until the Leader of the Opposition stood up was the motion examined for its words, and the Leader of the Opposition then proceeded to misquote them and to misconstrue them. The words of the motion are:
That the Prime Minister no longer possesses the confidence of the House in that he allowed a faked photograph to be tabled in the House.
The accusation has not been justified. Indeed there has been nothing put to show that this was a faked photograph other than the allegation; and the repetition of the allegation makes it no more so. The honourable gentleman used a lot of alliteration about cropped, clipped and so on but not a single thing did he put to try to make his point that it was faked. I remind honourable gentlemen that we have heard a lot about the faked photograph, so called. The closest that anybody has got to showing that there was a faked photograph was when the Leader of the Opposition said that the Prime Minister had said that the Leader of the Opposition had stood under a Vietcong flag. That is the closest anybody has got to alleging a fake. At very worst that is only a wrong interpretation by the Prime Minister, for two things remain uncontradicted: One is that the Leader of the Opposition was there and the second is that the Vietcong flags were there.
The next point to be drawn out of the words of this motion are that the Prime Minister allowed a faked photograph to be tabled. There has been no allegation that the Prime Minister faked it. The allegation is there clear for everybody to encompass. It is the allegation that the Australian News and Information Bureau faked the photograph. We have not heard a word from the Opposition as to who in the Bureau did it or for what purpose he did it. The so called censure is that the Prime Minister, finding a photograph relevant to the issues, tabled it. He is supposed to be censured for that. What madness is this? How far do you get from the realities of the issue? The accusation is then quite clearly that the News and Information Bureau faked the photograph.
If honourable gentlemen opposite do not mean that, why did they put their motion in those terms? If they put the motion in those terms, why do not they argue for it? It is because they want to avoid the reality of the issue, and the reality of the issue, without any doubt, has nothing to do with the photograph at all. That is not the purpose of the debate today. The purpose of the debate has been to introduce a diversion, but the tactic of diversion will not succeed because it must be exposed. The Leader of the Opposition wants to divert public attention from the statement he made which started this.
– Would you not?
– Of course if I were the Leader of the Opposition I would very much want that, but it will hang as an albatross around his neck for the rest of his political career. It was an outrageous thing to say, and he knew it to be so. He was embarrassed by it being pursued on Thursday and again on Friday. He had to find a tactic of diversion, and this is what has been attempted today. But there is another reason - a very real reason - for diversion. The parliamentary members of the Labor Party liked the statement no more than did we on this side of the House. The Leader of the Opposition wants to divert attention from the statement because he knows it is diversive in his own Party. He knows it is diversive in his own Party because of the derision with which it was received by many responsible members of the Labor Party outside this Parliament and those of them who are responsible inside this Parliament. The derision of the public was felt by all of us over the weekend. That derision was properly based. That is the reason for the diversive tactic which is being pursued. The Leader of the Opposition wants to divert attention away from his statement.
Let me remind the House of the words which the Leader of the Opposition used in his statement:
I told the Caucus that if I were asked by a man who objected to the Vietnam war as to the course he should take I would give this advice: He should register and at the time of doing so give written advice that if he was inducted and ordered to go to Vietnam he would not obey that order. If he was ballotted in then he should present himself for his medical examination and if found fit and should be inducted, then he should give written advice that if he was ordered to go to Vietnam he would not obey the order.
That is .what the honourable gentleman said, and that is what he wants to escape from. But relevant to what we have been saying today is another gem of a sentence which no doubt the honourable gentleman has forgotten. Let me remind him of that gem of a sentence, lt is the final sentence on the page of the printed document. It states:
Never have I said that a man should not obey orders in Vietnam.
That was last Thursday. But what did he say on Monday night?
– Tell us.
– I will tell the honourable member exactly what he said. On Monday night the Leader of the Opposition said that a young man on service in Vietnam who decided it was a bad war should notify his commanding officer that be cannot conscientiously continue. In other words, the clear statement is there: He advised young men in Vietnam to disobey orders. How does that line up with his words ‘Never have I said that a man should not obey orders in Vietnam’? Not only did he shift the geography from Australia to Vietnam on Monday night; he very seriously elevated the level of condemnation of the young man’s fighting comrades, if he should follow that advice. He seriously elevated the likelihood and severity of punishment which would flow from it. In order to pursue his aim to be the Prime Minister as he so frequently says, the Leader of the Opposition is prepared to submit young men to that sort of compunction.
A very serious dilemma confronts the Leader of the Opposition, because in order to achieve the Prime Ministership - he constantly says ‘When I, Whitlam, am Prime Minister’ - he has to capture the left represented by some of the .honourable members in this House. He has to capture the left in the parliamentary Labor Party and the left outside this Parliament. That is what he has to do. He is putting himself in hostage. At the same time as he is capturing the left, submitting himself to the hostageship of the left, he has to appeal to the responsible element in this country. It is a dilemma that is not resolvable; the two cannot at any time be reconciled. That is what the Leader of the Opposition has been trying to do. That is why he is in his present trouble. He is trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. The left, the fringe element, are not reconcilable with the responsible people of this country or of his own Party. That is the reason for the diversionary tactic which the Leader of lbc Opposition has pursued. The diversionary tactic adopted today acknowledges the gross error he made last week. But more than that, it puts the seal of condemnation upon the irresponsibility of making that statement. That is why the diversionary tactic is being pursued. But even the diversionary tactic was fooled with today. .
Honourable members opposite moved a motion which relates to bringing before the bar of the chamber the chief of the Australian News and Information Bureau. They knew that it was an improper motion to put and they knew that there has not been a single allegation in the day’s events that could possibly warrant it. Having, by taking that wrong course, forced the Government to refuse to suspend standing orders, they could have tactically then ceased, and at that time they could have accused the Government in some florid and suitable language of not facing up to the situation. But they did move the motion. The motion was badly worded. It accuses the News and Information Bureau, and on that basts accuses an unknown, unnamed and unidentified person in the Bureau of doing something which is called cropping or clipping. The word ‘faked’ is added to the end of the motion. On that basis honourable members opposite say that the Prime Minister should be censured for tabling the photograph.
Honourable members opposite adopted that tactic. They moved the motion and we have debated it. We have exposed it for what it lacks. We have brought the issue back to where it belongs - the irresponsibility of the Leader of the Opposition who is recklessly willing to encourage men to submit themselves to severe punishment, to the condemnation of their fighting comrades, and in the process to elevate himself to the post that he so dearly wants. The tactics have been wrong. Not only would he sacrifice these young men to the fate that he encourages them to seek; he would also sacrifice the public servant - unknown and in globo - whom he condemns for something which has not been quite clearly put to us. .
The other day he spoke about the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns). The honourable member for Lalor with his great organising capacity had taken over the Moratorium movement in order to make it a success. The honourable member for Lalor represents the Left - I am sure he would not deny it - to which the Leader of the Opposition has given himself as hostage, to achieve his ambition. The honourable member for Lalor invited to Australia to join in that Moratorium representatives coming from the foes of our fighting men and at that time the Leader of the Opposition rejected him in grandiloquent terms. Patronisingly he said to the honourable member for Lalor that he would not go along with it. But what a curious turn of the wheel, for today who did the Leader of the Opposition rely upon to support him? The honourable member for Lalor. And what tremendous support it was. The honourable member for Lalor does not , forget easily. He came to the table to support the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard), who moved the motion, and how did he describe it? He described it as trifling. The whole matter about which the motion was put, according to the honourable member, was merely trifling. His exact words, as I wrote them down, were: ‘It is trivia’. Instead of ‘it is trivia’ it could have been rephrased more properly as ‘it is a protective device’. But we are entitled to expose it and it is our duty to do so. The Leader of the Opposition must live with his statement and it will be judged continually into the future for its intrinsic merit or lack of it. Condemnation will flow or encouragement will flow. I make a subjective judgment that it will be condemnation by the public and that it will not be encouragement.
I finish with 2 points. Firstly, invective, abuse and insinuations will not diminish the strength of our argument, nor will they achieve the divisive influence that the honourable gentlemen on the other side want. Nor will they hide the statement, which must live. The final thing I wish to say is that honourable gentlemen on the other side are prepared, by invective, abuse and insinuation, to allege that the Prime Minister is not worthy of our support and should be censured. Let me tell the whole House, Mr Speaker, that the performance of the Prime Minister has been to the satisfaction of every man on this side of the House and, I believe, to the satisfaction of the majority of the people of Australia. When the time comes it will be tested and both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition as people, both of whom I know and have seen over many years, will go before the people and there is no doubt where, in my judgment, the people’s vote will go. But what is more important, there is no doubt about where, on the objective judgment of their performance, it ought to go. I support my Party and my Prime Minister andI reject the censure motion. But I wonder how many of those honourable members who are laughing can say that in the privacy of their own mind they support a Leader of the Opposition who makes those divisive and derisive statements.
- Mr Speaker-
Motion (by Mr Giles) put:
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)
Majority .. ..5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
That the motion (Mr Barnard’s) be agreed to.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)
Majority . . . . 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
– Are there any questions?
– I ask that all questions be put on the notice paper.
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Social Services Bill (No. 2) 1970.
Repatriation Bill (No. 2) 1970.
Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Bill 1970.
– It is time honourable members showed a little more respect for some of the traditions of this House. I suggest that the honourable member for Hughes was doing the House an injustice by interrupting the proceedings a little while ago.
– MayI ask a question? What happened to question time?
– The honourable member for Stirling will resume his seat. If he had been paying attention he would have known what happened.
Consideration resumed from 24 September (vide page 1683).
Department of Health
Proposed expenditure $36,328,000.
– I rise to continue my speech on the estimates for the Department of Health from last Thursday evening. I noticed in the report of the Department of Health for 1969-70 under the heading of ‘Mental Health’ that there has been a steady overall increase in the number of mental health patients in the Northern Territory, both European and Aboriginal. On Thursday last I referred to the Government’s consideration in this matter by having budgeted for a psychiatric clinic in Darwin. I would urge the Government to make more facilities available for all members of the community in the north. We who live in the Territory know that the building up of commercial enterprises, the influence of sophistication and the effect of alcohol on the Aboriginals is placing more strain on families than previously. While commending the Government for budgeting for a psychiatric clinic in Darwin and for building new hospitals at Nhulunbuy and Alice Springs, I urge it to make more facilities available for mental treatment.
A Justice of the Peace who has been sitting on the bench for many years finds that his hands are tied and he can do nothing but commit a man to gaol for something that is obviously a psychiatric matter, whether it is alcoholism or the effect of the pressures of modern day life on the Aboriginals or, in very many cases, on the itinerants who come to the north. They have become somewhat unbalanced. There is nothing one can do except commit them to gaol or have them certified so that they can be sent south. ‘South’ means going 900 miles to Adelaide. At least, now, from Alice Springs it will mean going 800 miles north or, from places in between, varying distances less than that. I hope that the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) will hear my call for increased psychiatric services in the Territory which are becoming more necessary.
I refer to the report on urban public health. The main centres in the Northern Territory are growing apace. The populations of Darwin and Alice Springs increase at the rate off 11 per cent per annum. Darwin has sewerage. The Public Works Committee that went up there voted some millions of dollars for this necessity. Alice Springs is in the same position. Centres such as Katherine and Tennant Creek are growing fast. A lot of the soil in those areas is unsuitable for operating the normal septic tanks. It is sandy loam country and the soil will not absorb the moisture. This causes a lot of trouble in most of the Territory, from Eyres Rock to Katherine. They have trouble with sewerage. There has been a great cry recently for sewerage for Katherine. The problem is becoming a health hazard. I was there last weekend. Even in the vicinity of some of the major motels one gets an aroma of sewage. This is something that could be dangerous. They have their fresh water supply running past their back door in the Katherine River. With these soil conditions I would recommend that the Government should look at the problem of sewerage in these communities from a health point of view.
Another matter contained in the report is rural public health. In the Territory it had formerly been considered that the main centres are Darwin, Alice Springs, Katherine and Tennant Creek. But all over the Territory communities have grown up such as Yuendumu, Papunya, Warrabri, Bamyili, Groote Eylandt, Yirrkala, and Oenpelli. These are communities of Australians. They are coloured people, but they are Australians. Formerly the patients have been sent from the local hospitals at what used to be settlements but which are now communities, into the main centres at Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek or Darwin. This has caused overcrowding. The main overcrowding in the Alice Springs hospital has been caused by Aboriginal children being sent from the PapunyaYuendumu area to Alice Springs. The hospitals in these communities are far better now than the Alice Springs hospital was when I went to Alice Springs originally. I urge the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) to assist the Minister for Health to see whether it could be arranged that the community hospitals are run from the base hospitals at Darwin, Alice Springs,
Katherine or Tennant Creek. I think that that could overcome the crowding in those hospitals.
The Aboriginals from these areas do not wish to go 100 or 200 miles into town to hospitals. They have to take their families with them. The families sit outside waiting for the children to get better. This is generally against their way of life. I urge the Government and the Minister for Health to consider using the outlying hospitals. There is a good one at Groote Eylandt. It is one of the best hospitals of its type that 1 have seen. When I last saw it there were 2 patients in it. These hospitals couuld help the crowded situation caused by transferring patients to the main centres. 1 urge the Government to decentralise the hospital situation in the Northern Territory.
– The estimates for the Department of Health have been criticised ably by my colleagues. The plea by members of the Government in reply to our health proposals, as always, has been: *Where will you get the money?’ The Leader of the Opposition in another place has answered this ably in his reply to the Budget speech. I want to enlarge on his specific suggestion that our war budget should be replaced by a peace budget. Then not only would we be able to find the funds necessary for ancillary services such as optometry - I remind the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) that the Government has promised to provide for these - and not only would we find that we could make up the deficiencies that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) mentioned in our health services, namely care for the needs of those with chronic illnesses in nursing homes, but also we would be able to foster and investigate adequately the work of pioneers in health care who are being fobbed off by academics and medical journalists and, I fear, also to some extent by the National Medical and Health Research Council which has made some rather perfunctory investigations into the work of Dr A. James of Wollongong on asthma. I refer also to the work of Dr Skyrme Rees of Yeoval. I do not think they have fobbed him off but I think it is time that the Government’s attention was drawn to his work on nonhazardous minor surgery for chronic back pain. I am hoping that we will be able to present evidence of his work before the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare.
I believe that the debate on the estimates for the Department of Health is the right occasion to discuss the war budget for the following reasons: On 1 5th May last the Minister for Health offered me the services of a very able psychiatrist to advise me on the psychiatric difficulties of policy makers as contributory causes of war. As no further initiative came from him, I telephoned his parliamentary office to arrange an interview with the very able psychiatrist. The office later telephoned me saying that he was not very able to help and that I should contact a social psychologist. 1 did not pursue the matter because I feet that the Minister does not take seriously the preamble to the United Nations Economic Social and Cultural Organisation Charter, which states that as war begins in the minds of men it is there that the foundations of peace must be constructed. In fact on 15th May the Minister, in reply to my question as to whether Australia has subscribed to this principle stated:
I have over the years been most interested in the types of theories about the causes of war which have been alluded to by the honourable member. [ have myself, however, never been able, although I have studied them, to take them very seriously. 1 agree that they must be given some weight but as single causes of war I do not attach very much - importance to them.
That is what I am protesting about tonight, because I feel that this is the major health problem for every nation, particularly a nation involved in a destructive war as we’ are.
Fortunately, since that time there has been a report to Australian parliamentarians by a leading social psychologist, a man in this very field that was recommended to me by the Minister’s office. He deals with a specific example df this problem, namely, the motives for our fighting in Vietnam. The psychology lecturer, Mr Gavin Sinclair, of the School of Applied Psychology of the University of New South Wales, made this statement as a contribution to the Vietnam Moratorium in May. This month he circulated a copy of this talk to honourable members m which be makes the following points: The
Liberal and Country parties and supporting splinter groups not only support Saigon’s war, which he explains as a reaction to ideologies, but also opposes the activities of the peaceful majority of demonstrators as well as the unruly minority of demonstrators. At the same time some members of the Government go out of their way to excuse the unruly behaviour of other minorities which oppose the Moratorium less peacefully. The Government’s aim is to help secure, by -negotiation, peace with self determination for the people of South Vietnam.” They are the Prime Minister’s words.
To desire this while still prosecuting the war is to to assume that the Hanoi regime and its southern allies will be cowed or converted by force as, for instance, the Malayan rebels were. The Communist forces and their allies have offered to stop fighting if non-Vietnamese leave Vietnam and the principles of the Geneva settlement are restored with a more broadly representative Saigon regime. This offer is regarded with such suspicion that it is thought safer to go on fighting than to accept it or put it to the test. This, of course, is the tragedy of all wars. While neither side trusts the other and both sides refuse to take their case to any higher commonly respected; tribunal there can be no start in constructing peace. For the 7- years of the war the inexhaustible United States has dangerously depleted its economy and every year has declared that victory is near. They are still declaring it. Meanwhile our allies have developed the world’s most sophisticated and costly nonnuclear methods of obliterating all Vietnamese not settled or compulsorily resettled in secure areas, which form a minority of the area of their country. They have prostituted, bereaved, uprooted and demoralised many of the others who are not in the so-called secure areas. We espouse the idea of conquest of corruption, by confinement or by killing every friend and foe among the peasant majority with which the insurgents identify themselves and whom Saigon’s client Government patronises or, worse still, exploits and oppresses.
The reasons put forward for such physical conquests are these: Firstly, there is an externally Communist inspired aggression which it is always proper to resist because it is Communist, irrespective of the moral status of the opponents or the immorality of the means used to resist. It does not matter how tyrannical the other side is; if they are not Communist it is all right to support them and their tyranny. It does not matter how kind or human a Communist regime may be or whatever good points can be found in it, because it is Communist it must be treated as all evil.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett) - I remind the honourable member that we are debating the estimates for the Department of Health. I ask him to relate his remarks to the estimates before the Chair.
– I will do that briefly, as I did at the beginning, by saying that the biggest deficiency in the estimates for the Department of Health is the lack of money to do what is essential to this nation to restore health and to promote health. The biggest public health problem is the act of war in the minds of men, particularly in the minds of honourable members who make the policies of this Government. This is the most unhealthy thing that has happened and this is the main deficiency in our health budget.
The second reason that is given for such physical conquests is that we must be involved with America in Asia to encourage American involvement here if we need it in the future. That is, we can shame some future United States government into giving us effective military protection by giving some token moral or immoral support to the present United States Government. This policy is similar to that of encouraging foreign investment in relation to which the Prime Minister described Australia as a puppy on its back.
The third reason given for this insane involvement is that if South Vietnam turns Communist, this will make it progressively easier for adjoining countries, including Australia, to turn Communist. That is, it is better to fight them - whoever ‘them’ are - over there than here. These three reasons are the only reasons given by our war supporters for the war. But what would a man from Mars think looking on at this war and seeing what is happening in Vietnam about our motives-
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett) - Order! I ask the honourable member to confine his remarks to the estimates for the Department of Health which are before the Chair.
- Mr Deputy Chairman, I am attempting a psychiatric examination of the insanity that promotes our health policy in the biggest public health question of our time, which is the killing of humans in body and in mind, destroying their health- their physical and mental health - and their future. If that is not relevant to the estimates for the Department of Health, 1 would say that all the other health matters are trivial compared with it. 1 trust that the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) will see that this is relevant to the estimates of the Department of Health.
If we see someone eating ravenously, we may infer that he is hungry. If we see a couple kissing passionately, we may infer that they are sexually aroused. It we see a boxer struggling to get up, we may infer that he has been attacked, If we see a country and its people blasted with bombs into craters, its children and its civilians killed by chemical bombs, its crops and its countryside ruined and its houses burnt and destroyed by these methods - that is, by mass produced destruction - we may infer that some ariborne force has attacked it.
The conscious motives may be as pure as the gold in the Mace at the foot of the table. But this is not the point. The purity of motives does not save us from the villainy of the effect. The argument that the superior force is there to save the country is clearly a rationalisation as it was for the Nazis who tried so fruitlessly to rescue the Poles, the Czechs and the Ukrainians and others with the help of bombs and gas chambers. The deeper motivations involved in war are based on fear. What we do know of Vietnamese Communists and their allies is we know very little as far as their motives go. We do know that, like the Saigon Vietnamese, they persecute, kill and destroy their political opponents. We also know that they have a different ideology of political economy from that of affluent capitalist countries.
Australian war supporters do not know any more than that about them. Australian war supporters believe worse than this of the Communist soldiers. They see them as worse than this. They see them as monsters of evil whose only aim is, according to the uncompromising words of the Prime Minister: ‘Conquest and nothing but conquest’ - that is, much the same aims as a visitor from Mars would see in our activities in Vietnam and as each contestant in a war sees in the other side. This fear is based on a lack of familiarity.
The war supporters, never having dared or managed to speak on a basis of human equality with Communists, see them as massively more powerful than the rest of us. These wily 10 foot tall aliens are impervious, they feel, to reason, compassion or compromise. This inhuman stereotype is very like the popular nation of a Capitalist for the simple Russian who has never seen one. The Russian thinks of the Capitalist in exactly these inhuman and monstrous terms of which the members of the Government think of Communists. If the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) has done no other thing for the world’s socieity, we should, above all, record with gratidude, his courageous efforts on behalf of world sanity to get Communist leaders to this country so that we can see whether they are 10 foot tall or to see whether they are human beings who can be reached by reason, by compassion and by compromise. The war supporters have had the young of this country for 10 years to 20 years of their lives, imbibing their text books, their editorials, their commercials, their documentaries and their censor-scanned fiction founded on a clear cut judgment of our establishment as justice and other systems as being malevolent.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– All honourable members of this Committee realise fully that the honourable member for Capricornia (Dr Everingham) at all times is sincere and is imbued with a sense of idealism. I must say that I compliment you, Sir, for your tolerance in allowing him to speak on such a wide range of topics in view of the fact that the Committee is discussing the estimates for the Department of Health. In view of this latitude, might I take this opportunity to say to the honourable member for Capricornia: Remember that it is not only the Communists who have never seen a Capitalist or the Capitalist who has never seen a Communist; remember very clearly the lessons of Hungary and Yugoslavia where the Communists turned on their own. So much for the contribution made to this debate on the estimates of the Department of Health by the honourable member for Capricornia.
Looking at the estimates for the Department of Health we see that the estimated expenditure for 1970-71 has increased by $83,779,914 over the expenditure for 1969-70. Examining the details presented, we see that nearly half of this sum - $40m - is for the purpose of the increased allocations necessary to finance the new medical benefits scheme. I take this opportunity to congratulate once again the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) for the role that he has played in the implementation of this scheme. It was a most difficult proposition from the word ‘go’. 1 believe that he has the admiration of members on both sides of the Committee, regardless of their political philosophy and regardless of whether or not they agree totally with the scheme, for the manner in which he has brought it about.
The most important ingredient of all in the new medical health scheme is the need for the co-operation of doctors. All honourable members know that the scheme is based on the concept of a common fee. By this method the people of this country who have chosen to be members of the health scheme will never carry a burden of more than $5 in respect of each medical service. Already I am aware that a number of doctors, particularly doctors in Sydney, have failed to stick to this concept of a common fee. They themselves suggest that the proposals put by the Australian Labor Party on this matter represent a doctrine of socialism. 1 might suggest to them that, in their own way from a political point of view, if they refuse to assist this scheme to work they will bring about themselves a system of socialism. 1 am not going to suggest that the Liberal Party-Country Party coalition will suddenly introduce socialised medicine as we have seen it in Great Britain. But I do suggest that the patience of the Government can be tried only so far and that, if we do not have the co-operation - and the full co-operation - of the medical profession, this indeed will make it difficult for this Government to continue to operate this scheme which, in the long term, and compared with the proposals of the Labor Party, is by far more beneficial to the people than the scheme as suggested by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), prior to the last election.
It is fitting to recall on this occasion, particularly as I am a member representing a Queensland electorate, that it was the Leader of the Opposition who proposed a scheme during the last House of Representatives election which, if implemented, would have meant virtually the end of free medicine to the people of Queensland. Honourable members will recall that the proposals by the Australian Labor Party meant the imposition of a levy type charge on a person’s earnings over a year ;md that if a man’s wife was working she would be required to pay the levy too.- The present scheme in Queensland operates in this way. An individual has the right to choose to belong to a medical health scheme or, alternatively, an individual has the right to stay out and to take advantage of Queensland’s free hospital scheme. What the Australian Labor Party proposed virtually would force every member of the community - and I underline the word force’ - to make a contribution out of his or her weekly pay envelope towards the upkeep of Labor’s health scheme. Honourable members who have done some research in this field and who have looked at the history of the British national health scheme and the way in which its costs rose so quickly over the years will have to admit that the figure given by the Leader of the Opposition as the cost of his scheme is only a very nebulous figure and that there can be no guarantee that the cost would be anything like the estimate df the Leader of the Opposition. The estimated expenditure from the national welfare fund for this year is $423m. The departmental vote itself has increased by about $10m.
At this point I want to spend a moment in bringing to the House the views of the private sector which is the community in general. Though the Government calls for a tightening up of expenditure in certain areas we see - I will refrain from using the word ‘inflationary’ - a continuing rise in expenditure by departments. In this instance the departmental vote has been increased from $33m to $44m. I think that every honourable member will agree that is a quite substantial increase. I did check up on the reason for this increase and I noticed that there is is a requirement under capital works of about $4.9m for the installation of a new computer at the Woden Valley offices. It is my view that at a time when the Government is seeking the cooperation of and assistance from private industry, the Government should perhaps set an example and say that this is not the year in which it will make this purchase. From time to time the Government does come in for some criticism from the private sector because it appears that the Government is not doing what it is asking the private sector to do. I notice that the estimate for the salaries for employees of the Department has risen by $1.8m. The provision for a number of other items has increased over the provision for the last financial year. I hope that the Minister will bear in mind that these increases do not create goodwill with the people.
In the last few weeks we had the announcement of an increase of 2c for each prescription dispensed by pharmacists. The Minister for Health will recall my efforts on behalf of pharmacists in my electorate seeking to have something done about the payment for prescriptions. In all fairness to the- Minister 1 must say that he has taken a full interest in this matter and he is interested in seeing that justice will be done. I assure the Minister that a great many- of the pharmacists are far from happy with the 2c increase in the prescription rate. It is almost a decade since there has been an increase and over the years their prices have risen. I have heard of arguments in which it was suggested that a freakish figure was fixed at the beginning of the last decade and it has taken all this time for it to settle down and become a more realistic figure. I am quite sure that the pharmacy guild, its members and the private pharmacists await with interest the result of the Minister’s assurance that this subject will continue to be examined with a view to ascertaining the exact amount which should be paid to a pharmacist for dispensing a prescription.
I want once again to make reference to the inception of the new health scheme and the system of setting up in the States specialist recognition committees to examine the qualifications, habits or practice of various doctors to determine whether they will be regarded as general practitioners, consultant physicians or specialists. The only comment I have to make on this aspect is that specialist recognition committees have an obligation to society using the principle of fairness, to ensure that they will use the same yardstick throughout the profession. It is of no use being lenient with one doctor and allowing him to be recognised under a particular heading while at the same time refusing recognition to another who is in a similar position. Those of us who have examined the Act will have seen that it lays down the type of practice, qualifications, habits, etc., of the doctors as necessary prerequisites. If these specialist recognition committees are to rule strictly on one particular aspect I think they have an obligation to be consistent in their rulings and to ensure that their decisions are fairly based. The creation of unhappy doctors within the profession is not conducive to a happy medical scheme and would only breed resentment.
In conclusion I take the opportunity to congratulate the Minister again for the manner in which he has handled the inception of the health scheme during this year. [ am sure that with the co-operation of the medical profession those people in Australia for whom the new health scheme was designed will receive the full benefits to which they are entitled under the scheme. I look forward in the not too distant future to the Minister having a close look at the system of hospital charging so as to ensure that the present Liberal Government will go on record as having introduced a scheme to meet this situation which will be as successful as the Minister’s new health scheme will be.
– I take the opportunity of this debate on the estimates for the Department of Health to raise a mater which is, admittedly, of minor importance when considered against the health scheme as a whole but which at the same time is of great significance to those directly affected, as well as in other areas, which 1 might be able to indicate in passing. I refer to the question of dispensing fees under the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, a matter which has to some extent already been referred to by the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron).
On 18th August the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) issued a Press statement indicating that the Government had granted an increase of 2c per prescription in dispensing fees, at an annual cost to the Commonwealth of $1.4m. This figure must be seen in its proper context, lt has been put to me that $1.4m is a lot of money - and so it is. On the other hand it represents the dispensing of 70 million prescriptions in a year, and that is a lot of prescriptions; involving many millions of man-hours of professional service to fill. I think that this point needs to be made at the outset because it is too easy to be carried away with the sheer scale of costs in this field and to ignore the obvious fact that the cost of any decision bears no necessary relationship to its fairness or appropriateness.
The last increase in dispensing fees was from 50c to 55c for extemporaneously prepared prescriptions and from 27.5c to 30c for ready prepared prescriptions. That was in March 1961, and there was no further increase for 9i years despite the clear pattern of increasing costs in the meantime. In particular, and of special significance considering that dispensing is such a highly labour intensive activity, pharmacists’ salaries increased very substantially over the relevant period. In June of this year the Minister- informed me of the pattern of pharmacists’ salaries in the Commonwealth Public Service in recent years. I believe it is reasonable- (0 assume that this pattern would have been mirrored by salaried movements ‘in the private sector. The Minister’s figures show that from 1961 to 1970 pharmacists’ salaries roughly doubled. Thus the minimum salary for grade 1 pharmacists increased from $2,140 to $4,355 per annum. In grade 2 the salaries increased from $2,580 to $5,247 per annum and in grade 3 from $2,800 to $5,498 per annum.
Given this evidence of 100 per cent increase in costs over the period I believe that the Parliament” and the profession were entitled to a more comprehensive explanation from the Minister as to why no increase at all had been warranted over the previous 9 year period and how an increase now of something under 7 per cent had been arrived at. I should make it clear at this point that 1 am not in a position to argue that the recent 2c increase is too little although my inclination is to believe that that is in fact the case. However, for all I am aware it may be too much. Frankly, 1 simply do not know because no detailed information is available on which to base a judgment. My essential complaint, indeed, is that this should be so. The absence of such material is all the more unfortunate considering the lengthy negotiations between the Department and the Pharmacy Guild which have proceeded over more than 7 years and which involved among other things a very, comprehensive survey of dispensing practice in 1964-65.
If I understand the position correctly, no agreement has been reached between the Government and the Guild on this matter, so that, after all this time and negotiation the Government has simply determined the issue by unilateral declaration. I suspect that the significance of this approach will not be lost on the other and more powerful bodies in the health scheme, so that the manner in which the Government has disposed of the present problem may well encourage far more difficult and intransigent problems in the future. One of the apparent reasons for the delay in the dispensing fees decision has been the problem struck by the negotiators in agreeing on the significance of the figures produced by their joint survey. In this respect it is only fair to the Minister for Health and his Department to say that whatever responsibility there is for the delay must be shared by the Pharmacy Guild itself. On the basis of the transcript of the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs it appears to me that both parties attempted to make such a detailed examination of dispensing costs that the result was bound to be failure or absurdity.
If we see a man counting out 100 capsules or mixing up 4 oz of ointment there is not much point in trying to find out how much of the end cost of the product should be ascribed to rent, the window cleaner, telephone, wrapping paper and so on. Apart from any other consideration these measurable factors do nol give any indication of the value of most important though intangible factors such as professional skill, professional training and professional responsibility. It seems to me that some sort of businesslike rule of thumb has to be applied and one happens to bc readily available within the scheme already, due to the method adopted from the outset for Commonwealth prescription pricing. In addition to the dispensing fee, the price of a prescription includes an ingredient cost arrived at by adding 33b per cent to the wholesale charge. It seems to me that all of what may be regarded as the ‘trading’ component in dispensing, that is the cost of acquiring, ordering and holding stock, wastage, deliveries, wages of non-professional staff, rent, telephone, light, licences and so on can properly be regarded as required to be met out of the mark-up on the ingredients supplied. This is what I would refer to as the trading component of the dispensing transaction.
This leaves only 2 items to be balanced, namely the cost of dispensing staff on the one hand and the dispensing fee on the other. The question is: How do they compare? The answer, unfortunately, is that your guess is as good as mine in the present state of public information, but my guess would be based on the following approach. The working week is 40 hours and a reasonable salary for a manager pharmacist, taking such factors as holiday pay into account, would be of the order of $120 a week. That makes an hourly salary of $3. The number of prescriptions which can be dispensed in an hour will obviously depend on many factors. Before the Senate Select Committee, Guild representatives debated as to whether the number would be 4 or 6. However, given the present proportion of ready prepared preparations in the scheme and providing for full time work on dispensing alone I would personally be prepared to suggest that 10 prescriptions an hour would not be impractical. Even so, the cost to the pharmacy for dispensing salary alone is 30c per prescription or virtually the same as the Commonwealth actually pays. On that basis the pharmacy can make no profit on its dispensing activity and it will almost certainly lose, even when its dispensers are working at full capacity. I deliberately leave out of account the position of pharmacies working at less than full capacity as the over supply of pharmacies proportionate to poulation can hardly be subsidised by the Commonwealth.
I make only 2 other comments at this stage. Firstly, in view of the previous difficulty as to the manning of the pharmacy survey figures, it is somewhat surprising to see the confidence with which the
Minister puts forward his own interpretation of them. He is not only able to make a rough stab at the position but is actually able to say within 100th of lc what the situation is. Thus he informed us on 18th August that for the year 1969-70 there was a surplus of 0.53c per prescription after allowing for all costs. He also indicated that the position from the pharmacists’ point of view could be expected to deteriorate by 2c per prescription in the coming year. Now, there is nothing which will happen next year by way of inflation that has not happened to one extent or another in every year since 1961. Accordingly an increase of 2c in the coming year could be said to indicate that an increase of between lc and 2c has occurred in each of the past 9 years. If that is so only 2 possibilities emerge. The first is that the dispensing fee today is too low, or alternatively that the dispensing fee in 1961 was far too high, by something of the order of 100 per cent. The Minister should tell us which is in fact his understanding of the position or, if these alternatives do not exhaust the possibilities, what other alternatives exist. The second comment T offer is this: We are in an area where figures can be made to mean almost anything. Accordingly great care is called for to ensure that we use them fairly. By way of example, let me quote a comment which the Minister for Health supplied as background to his statement on 18th August. The Minister said:
More relevant for consideration however is the fact that due to a considerable increase in the number of National Health prescriptions, the amount-
The word ‘amount’ is underlined - of remuneration paid to chemists by the Commonwealth per annum has increased steadily from $29.2 millions in 1961-62 to $50.4 millions in 1969-70, an increase of 72 per cent over the period. Even after allowing for the increased number of pharmacies this still represents an average increase in remuneration of 45 per cent per chemist.
Firstly I point out that when the Minister talks of an increase in remuneration of 45 per cent per chemist he really means per pharmacy. Because of the increase over the period in the number of pharmacies employing more than 1 chemist the actual increase per chemist, literally taken, could be significantly less. More important is the fact that the number of prescriptions dispensed under the scheme increased from 31.217,000 in 1961-62 to 65,575,000 in 1969-70. In other words, even if the Minister was right in saying that remuneration increased by 72 per cent over the period, this has to be measured against an increase in the work load of over 1 1 0 per cent in the same time.
A dispensing fee is a fee for service. Because it arises in such a vital area of community welfare a number of competing interests come into play. On the one hand there is the desirability of keeping public health service economical. As opposed to that there is the need to ensure that services being rendered to the Commonwealth should be remunerated by a fair fee and not one which varies in proportion lo the bargaining strength of those providing the service.
Finally, I welcome the Government’s decision to appoint a select committee on pharmaceutical benefits, though it is not clear to me that ils charter includes the exhaustive review of pharmacy which would be required to resolve the specific question I have raised. The growth of the scheme has been phenomenal. I see from the report of the Auditor-General that the total expenditure on pharmaceutical benefits since the scheme was first introduced in 1948. amounted, to June 1970, to $1,161,783,000. Fortunately the average cost per prescription has been held fairly static, increasing only 7c from $2.01 to $2.08 per prescription since 1962. otherwise one could only fear that the scheme as a whole would have collapsed. However there are more than enough questions to warrant the attention of this select committee and I think we shall all look forward with interest to its recommendations.
– A short time ago the honourable member for Capricornia (Dr Everingham) referred lo the asthma treatment with which Dr James of Wollongong is associated. I should like to add to his remarks and the indications of concern he expressed about the progress of this particular matter. For some time a large part of the community has been waiting patiently to hear the completed report of the National Health and Medical Research Council on the request from Dr James for a proved and successful form of asthma treatment. More than 2,000 sufferers are at present seeking treatment from this elderly doctor who is 88 years of age and whose physical capacities and resources prevent his extending his compassion and skill to those who need them. Australia is said to have some 750,000 asthma sufferers and the number is increasing rapidly. One in every 16 people in Australia is an asthma sufferer, lt is said that we have the second highest incidence per capita of asthma sufferers in the world and the number has doubled over 6 years. There has been a 40 per cent rise in the number of sufferers from 1964 to 1966 and a 40 per cent increase of asthma deaths occurred in 1964, 1965 and 1966.
As honourable members know, millions of dollars are being expended on drugs - on cortisone, intal and sal butamol, the newest drug - but it is contended that treatment of asthmatics by palliative drugs is neither safe nor effective and it is wrong to perpetuate this treatment without questioning whether it fails to achieve the main purpose of the therapy which, after all, is to cure the condition. I do not think anybody is making claim to curing asthma effectively with the expensive and extensive drug treatment which is being used widely throughout Australia. Meanwhile sufferers who could be cured remain unattended.
Sister Kenny had to leave Australia with her miracle cure. Tt is doubtful whether Dr Alexander James is going to emulate her because of his advanced age. There is a race against time as to whether or not he will be able to impart the very considerable skill that he has acquired before he becomes too old to carry on. His system of natural physical methods, involving breathing exercises and mechanical vibratory stimulation, is based on the discovery of asthma cause and in this sense it is unique. It has been interesting to note that the National Health and Medical Research Council has already, at the request of State Ministers for Health, given some consideration to this matter and, in fact, has acknowledged it as ‘notably successful’. But that is not good enough. Dr Alexander James and the Asthma Action society which supports him are not just anxious to get recognition for the methods from the National. Health and Medical Research Council. They want practical support for the widespread introduction of these methods.
I have mentioned that 2,000 people are queued up waiting for this assistance.
Already the doctor’s skill has been imparted to other members of the medical profession but now Asthma Action has called for Commonwealth support for an initial clinic to combine the training of medical personnel in the scientific principle and practice of the James system of asthma management. Then it wants to obtain support so that it can go on to the subsequent establishment of district clinics bringing the James treatment within the reach of all asthma sufferers. As one who lives in an area that is in close proximity to Wollongong where Dr James practices, I am able to give to the Parliament an account of the earnest support that many asthma sufferers give to this treatment. 1 recall that it was not long ago that the honourable member for Leichhardt (Mr Fulton) stood up in this House and, as a member from the far north of Queensland, took the earliest opportunity to commend the treatment which had brought very great relief to a member of his own family who had been an asthma sufferer for many years.
I am always surprised that the Government is so inept in matters of this kind. Here again we have the attitude, which has been expressed in a letter from the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) about this particular matter, that there is some kind of constitutional barrier which prevents the Commonwealth from assisting in a matter of this kind. Yet we have seen much greater problems involving health matters assailed by the Commonwealth. We have seen constitutional problems swept aside. I suppose more notable than anything else in this regard was the action taken by the Commonwealth in the late 1940s to institute a campaign against tuberculosis. Although it is true that the States had initial responsibility for this matter, the Commonwealth virtually set out to underwrite the cost of any action taken by State governments in an effort to confront this particular problem. Asthma is not a question that simply concerns the State Minister for Health in New South Wales, or any Minister in any other State. I have mentioned the statistics, which are quite alarmingthat 1 in 16 persons in Australia suffers from asthma and that we are spending a colossal amount of money in a fruitless and unsuccessful attempt to bring relief to the problems from which these people suffer.
I am asking whether the Minister will again look at this question, not just from the point of view of giving an imprimatur or some kind of approval from the authority that he administers but rather to contrive the means by which the doctor can be assisted to disseminate an understanding of his techniques. After all, he is 88 years of age. He has not very long to go, regardless of the comparatively good health that he enjoys at present. Many people who have written to me have been very anxious to say that the Government would do a wonderful thing for people who suffer from this distressing condition if it set about providing the means by which Dr James could equip other medical personnel throughout Australia with a knowledge of his techniques. I understand that the honourable member for Capricornia, who is a member of the medical profession, has taken the trouble to go to Wollongong. I know that many other doctors who have talked personally to Dr James warmly applaud the success of his treatment which is acknowledged by the Government. As a result of this T believe that it is very important that consideration be given to providing the initial clinic and the subsequent clinics which are so necessary.
There are a number of other matters to which I wish to refer, but I understand that there is some kind of time limitation on speeches. Therefore, I shall refer to only one. It concerns Dr Kalokerinos of Collarenebri who, as most honourable members are aware, has devoted himself for some time to the study of the high mortality rate among young Aboriginal children. Dr Kalokerinos has established that Aboriginal children suffer from a deficiency of vitamin C, which he treats by prescribing ascorbic acid. There is no necessity for me to go over the statistics which highlight the fact that young Aboriginal children in many parts of Australia have a mortality rate which is some 22 times in excess of that of European children who live in the same environment. So this problem represents a blot on the Australian landscape.
Our infant mortality rate is not impressive by world standards. It is interesting to note that whereas Sweden has an infant mortality rate of 12.9 per 1,000 live births, Australia has a mortality rate of 18.3 per 1,000 live births. After Sweden come the
Netherlands, Finland. Norway, Japan. Denmark, Switzerland and Australia. So there seems to be a relatively bad situation for all Australians, but it is many times worse for Aboriginal children, particularly those in the Northern Territory and Queensland. I believe that the research being undertaken by Dr Kalokerinos is of such a nature that, having regard to the fact that the problem extends over State borders, the Commonwealth’s support is justified.
I ask the Minister to accelerate the processes which I know are under way in some form or other. 1 think some investigation is being undertaken on the initiative of the Minister for Social Services and MinisterinCharge of Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Wentworth). This investigation is being undertaken in conjunction with the work which is being carried out by the Department of Health, which is well known to all honourable members. But insufficient research is being done. The problem is not being treated with sufficient urgency. In view of the very sorry record of Australia in the treatment of Aboriginal children and in the consideration of health matters affecting Aboriginal people generally, in particular the high mortality rate of young Aboriginal children, I ask that the work which has been carried om by Dr Kalokerinos - be has already obtained proven results - be extended so that other people in the medical profession may obtain the knowledge and the techniques which possibly can save the lives of many Aboriginal children.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Historic Homes- Destruction of Natural Environment - Australian Wheat Industry - Transport of Crude Oil on Australian Coast
Motion (by Dr Forbes) proposed:
That the House do now adjourn.
- Mr Speaker, I had intended to raise this matter when we were dealing with the estimates for the Department of the Interior, but because of the limited time which was allowed for that debate 1 was unable to do so. Therefore, I am using the debate on the motion for the adjournment to discuss this matter.
For a number of years 1 have been lt’) ing to get the Commonwealth Interested in our historic homes, in particular Elizabeth Farm Cottage at Rosehill near Parramatta. lt is the oldest existing cottage in Australia. The National Trust of New South Wales wanted to purchase and restore it, but it was unable to do so as the former owner wanted an amount which was far beyond the Trust’s means.
A private trust was set up and I understand that the cottage was purchased for an amount of $50,000. At least another $50,000 will be needed to restore it. The money has not yet been raised. As far as I know, the Commonwealth has not made any financial contribution whatsoever. If it has, it has not paid me the courtesy of providing details in reply to my frequent representations. I am mystified as to why the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), who says he is Australian to the boot heels, has not used his power to involve the Commonwealth in purchasing, in co-operation with the Stale and local authorities, our historic homes not only in the Parramatta area but throughout New South Wales and Australia.
We should set up a national fund from the Commonwealth Treasury not only topurchase but to restore our historic homes. 1 believe that a Commonwealth fund should be set up whereby State governments, local authorities and organisations such as the National Trust could make applications for money with which to purchase and restore our historic homes which should be retained in the national interest. The fund should be administered by the Department of the Interior, with representatives on the fund from the Pi une Minister’s Department, the National Trust and conservation groups and other such bodies. This fund should be utilised not only to purchase and restore our historic, homes but also to purchase, retain and restore some of our nation’s native wonderlands.
In one of the most urbanised nations in the world we need to be guardians against further destruction of our environment. In’ this discussion I do not want to deal with the pollution of our environment: I intend to deal with that aspect when we are debating the estimates for the Department of National Development. But I want to deal with the destruction of our environment by machines made by man, such as the bulldozer. I want to deal with the Sydney area which I know best and where we have the greatest urbanised population in Australia. For a number of years I have had a block of land in the mountains at a place called Mount Wilson. It is a place of great beauty. It is over 3,000 feet above sea level, where trees and shrubs from the Northern Hemisphere thrive with those indigenous to own own country. It is a place where one can be creative in a constructive way. At the same time it is a safety valve, a retreat. It is a serene, gentle and beautiful area. It makes the most difficult of men bearable. Mount Wilson is a place which we may have to retain for posterity, and the fund that I recommend could be used for this purpose.
I want to give an example of how recently one of Sydney’s wonderlands was practically destroyed. Had I not travelled to Mount Wilson whenever I could get a spare moment I would not have known of its destruction. It is a place called Bellbird Hill, near Kurrajong Heights. It ranges from north Richmond up through Kurrajong to Kurrajong Heights. It is a twisting, turning steep hill which runs through a gentle, serene area with thick underbrush. The area was covered by Australian eucalypts. It was an area where the majestic angopheras thrived. About 2 weeks ago the bulldozer took over to convert this nature’s wonderland into a farmland. Most of the eucalypts were knocked down and only a few angopheras were left. The underbrush and trees were bulldozed down into the ravines where the bellbirds hide. When the trees dry off I have no doubt that they will be burned, thus destroying the natural habitat of the bellbird.
Such a disaster - such destruction - created by so-called progressive man should never have been permitted in the 1970s. Creating farmlands from Kurrajong to Bilpin and beyond, the bulldozer is still at work. It is creating farmlands which economically should not be permitted. Most of them are created or at least purchased by Pitt Street farmers - business and professional men - using the cost of creating these farms as a deduction from their taxable income. The Commonwealth is subsidising the destruction of our environment. Instead it should be creating a national fund to purchase and retain it in its natural state. In many countries, particularly the United States and some of the European Economic Community countries, farm acreages are being restricted. In many cases the governments are purchasing farms and allowing them to revert to their natural environment.
Another example is an area close to Sydney. This is a magnificent spotted gum forest between Camptelltown and Appin. It is admired by most motorists travelling from Sydney to Wollongong via Appin. As far as I know it is still owned privately. An area such as this should be retained in its natural state. It should be protected. If it is purchased with money from a fund such as I have suggested it will be protected. But if it is not one day we will see the bulldozer come along and destroy such a forest. Such a fund could commence the Neilson plan to develop areas around Sydney Harbour in the 1970s. Neilson envisaged a greenbelt around Sydney Harbour. There is no reason why, with intelligent use of such a fund, local authorities and the State Government could not purchase many harbourside properties. I hope honourable members know that the City of Sydney has purchased some but we need to assist the State Government and local authorities to purchase such properties. Harbourside properties should have covenants placed on them so that the residents, if they desire to sell, will have to sell to a public authority. The areas could progressively be restored so that the people could enjoy one of nature’s wonderlands. At present only a limited number of people can enjoy the views of Sydney Harbour. The Commonwealth should progressively transfer to the State Government and to local authorities property it already holds on the foreshores of Sydney Harbour.
I have dealt with Sydney and nearby areas, but every Australian capital city, provincial city and hamlet should have something unique to make our country beautiful. I have no doubt that there are other parts of Australia that need the same attention. This is 1970. If we are to conserve, develop and retain Australia we have to act now. It is not much good the Prime Minister speaking during tourist week and saying that we want to make Australia beautiful. The only way to make Australia beautiful is to act and for this
Commonwealth Government to use its financial powers in co-operation with the State Government and local authorities to retain the beauty that we have and to try to develop that beauty so that we will keep Australia beautiful. We have to keep it beautiful for our own people and to develop it in the interests of future generations. The people should share in the beauty and prosperity and I hope that the stupidity of man, as was illustrated with the destruction of Bellbird Hill, will not be evident again. I have no doubt that Bellbird Hill will be purchased by some Pitt Street farmer who will be subsidised by the Commonwealth. It is time that the Commonwealth, in co-operation with the State Government and with local authorities, set out to purchase the properties now, to protect Australia and to keep Australia beautiful.
– I want to raise tonight the very serious problem which is facing the Australian meat industry. It is becoming very apparent that the Australian Government will have to take a very close look at the meat industry and its future. At the present time there seems little doubt that we are running a very grave risk arising from overdependence on our United States market. Just under SO per cent of America’s imports of meat come from Australia. Australian meat sales to the United States represent 66 per cent of our total meat sales, and the United States market has provided 80 per cent of Australia’s beef export income. The problem would arise, of course, if Australia suddenly suffered a cut back on the American market. We know that there would be serious chaos in northern Australia because in that part of Australia beef production is almost exclusively a monoculture. -In the southern areas it would be very serious but at least there are possibilities for diversification.
The important thing, however, is to find out where we are going with our meat exports. What is the United States policy towards Australian meat? There seems to be great difficulty in getting from the Americans some type of a standard which can be applied to Australian abattoirs and meatworks and which can be interpreted by our meat inspectors and veterinarians in the same way as the Americans do. We are faced with the political problem in
America and it is no good underestimating it. There is a powerful meat lobby in the United States. I know when I lived there that lobby was powerful even in the Chicago area. Every Congressman who represented a cattle area was conscious of the fact that he had to do everything possible to get the greatest share of the markets for producers in his area. The southern and central United States producers are, oi course, putting pressure on. The pollution problem is being used today as an excuse to ban meat. What is the true policy of the United States on this particular problem?
I want to refer to the position at Wyndham at the present time. This meatworks, one of the most important in northern Australia, has been de-listed and. as everybody who is concerned with the north knows, this is a very serious problem. This meatworks is the principal buyer of meat from a large area of country in the east Kimberleys as well as the western properties of the Northern Territory - that is the West Victoria River district. Irrespective of the reasons why this meatworks has been closed down, it is of tremendous importance to the economy of. the area and there seems to be confusion not only in Wyndham but in other meatworks throughout Australia as to just what the Americans want. Apart from the relatively small number of cattle exported on the hoof from the regions in the north, all of the cattle have to go through the meatworks either at Derby, Broome, Wyndham, Katherine or Vesteys.
As regards the diversification scheme, we know the problem in the north. The diversification scheme is unfair as regards the north. In the first instance, the type of country, the standard of improvements and the climate as such produces a type of beef suitable only for manufacturing purposes and the number of markets other than the United States is limited. The second point is the seriousness of having to close down any of the meatworks in the north because there is no alternative to beef production. Prior to 1958 practically all of the beef exported from Australia came from the northern part of Australia. Because of the American market, it has only been since 1958 that the southern parts of Australia have come into operation, particularly in regard to mutton, cold beef or cracker cows. It will be many years yet before we get better quality beef to take advantage of the outlets made possible by diversification. Vesteys in Darwin is in a privileged position. It is amongst a chain of meat works and because of its ramifications it does not have the same problems with diversified markets as other meat works.
As 1 see it, the most important aspect of this problem is that there has to be some agreement with the United States as to reasonable standards of hygiene and we must ensure that all licensed exporters adhere to those standards. Secondly, I think it is essential that some consideration be given to exempting the Wyndham, Derby, Broome and Katherine meat works from the Australian Meat Board’s diversification requirements for a reasonable period, say, to 1975. Thirdly, there should be on the Australian Meat Board a beef producer representing the Northern Territory and the Kimberleys. The other point is that because of the diversification problem meat works in the north are often forced to purchase unused entitlements of southern Australian meat works at something like 5c per lb. Of course, this must have the effect of reducing the price of cattle offered in the north. I will conclude now because I would like to hear the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) say a few words, particularly about the Wyndham meat works. He knows full well the seriousness of this matter. It is in relation to these producers, exporters and cattlemen in the north that the problem is the greatest. The problem is not only what is happening now but also what will happen in the future. It is a most important matter and the Opposition will raise it later when there is more time to debate it.
– I have listened to the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) expressing concern about northern meat works. I share with him the concern for producers who supply those works, the people who manage them and the staff employed. They depend more heavily on the United States market than do other meat works in Australia. Therefore, anything that tends to react against their being able to get access to this market naturally disturbs them. Possibly of all the many difficulties I have none frustrates me and produces tensions within me more than do the current problems I have with the meat industry in relation to the quotas to various countries, particularly the United States; access to markets such as the Canadian market; inspection standards required and inspection staff: and hygiene standards required within the abattoirs. There is a never ending stream of problems. But we face up to them and do what is humanly possibly to ensure that these works can continue to operate.
I know that many people would like to explode completely and tell the Americans what they think of them. But the Americans happen to be the buyers. This is an enormous market for the Australian meat industry - a very valuable one. This year something like $280m worth of meat is being exported to that market. No other market in the world compares with it either in the quantity of meat than can be sold or the value we get from it. I would caution against being over-critical of the Americans. No vindictive campaign is being directed at Australia. At present there is a national issue in the United States of America regarding food standards and the way food is prepared. It is related to the whole question of the quality and standard of life and such associated problems as pollution and what have you.
As a result of the debate in the United States on food standards the Federal Government has in that country been required to introduce legislation - the Meat Industry Inspection Act - to give it authority to register those State abattoirs which wish to trade across State borders. Unless a meat works has federal registration it is unable to trade across State borders. The federal authorities in the United States are enforcing this policy, and this has brought about considerable reaction from and antagonism with the State authorities. This matter is being debated in Congress and in the Senate. As a result, pressure is being put on the United States Administration to ensure that no meat is imported which has been prepared to a lesser standard than that which is required of meat works in the United States. I am, of course, prepared to believe that implementation of this policy was encouraged by the United Cattlemen’s Association. However, I do not accept that this is the principal reason for the high standards which the Americans are demanding of us. The unfortunate thing is that the high standards which are being set in the United States are tending to influence world standards. We are finding that there is a reaction in Canada and in the United Kingdom whenever we are unable to produce meat of the standard required by the United States. Other countries are also starting to question whether they should accept meat of a lesser standard than that which the United States accepts.
– Does their meat conform to the standards of our own?
– The honourable member should have been listening because I have just referred to this aspect. Any meat crossing interstate borders in the United States has to comply with federal registration standards. This is the reason why pressure is being applied on foreign countries which export meat because meat standards are a major issue within the United States. Some countries have been completely banned from exporting meat to the United States market because their works cannot come up to the standards required nor do they have an inspection service which meets the requirements of the United States. I would say that Australia has probably a better record than any other country of being able to upgrade its works and maintain a supply of meat to the United States market.
I give an assurance to the producers in Australia that the Department of Primary Industry will do everything possible to ensure that meat works in Australia comply with the requirements which are being demanded of us by the Americans. Unless we do this the Americans will take their own action and de-list our works. Once they de-list our works we cannot get them back onto the list without the approval of their inspectors. In other words, the standards required to be met in relation to the administration and inspection of these works would be taken out of our hands. Whilst on the one hand the Government is being severely criticised by some meat works for demanding that their standards be improved to a certain level, it is on the other hand being criticised by those meat works which have been struck off the list for not having policed the inspection standards severely enough. Immediately the meat works at Wyndham, to which the honourable member for Daw son referred, was struck off I had discussions with the Americans. It was agreed that a senior veterinary officer, Dr Eckert would fly out immediately from America and, with one of my own senior officers from Canberra, would go to Wyndham to inspect the works. This inspection is taking place today. I hope to have a report on it by the end of the week. I appreciate the importance of this meat works being kept in existence. But I must say that if it cannot come up to the required standards then something has to be done to improve those standards so that the producers in that area will have access to a works to dispose of their cattle. If they have not that access then a very serious problem is posed for them.
It is unfortunate that the works were struck off towards the end of the killing season. I suppose it is fortunate that it did get through most of the killing season. Between now and next year the company and the Western Australian Government have an obligation to see what they can do to ensure that this works can be brought up to the standard required by the Americans if it has not passed the examination that has been undertaken in the last 2 days.
– I wish to refer to a matter which I consider to be of major importance to the transport of crude oil on the Australian coast and to stability in the Australian shipbuilding industry. The matter to which I refer is the manner in which this Government, in my opinion, has deliberately stalled so as to stop a completely Australian owned company from establishing an Australian tanker fleet whereby the Australian oil industry could be completely free and independent of foreign ownership. The company to which I refer is R. W. Miller & Co. Pty Ltd which, in April 1969, placed an order for the 62,000 dead weight ton tanker, the ‘Amanda Miller’, with the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd at Whyalla. Unfortunately, earlier this year that ship was almost completely destroyed by fire. On 23rd April this year the same company, R. W. Miller & Co. Pty Ltd, inquired of the Australian Shipbuilding Board about the possibility of building an identical sister ship to the ‘Amanda Miller’. Within 7 days of making their original inquiry of the Australian Shipbuilding Board, on 30th April, they placed a firm order for an identical sister ship to the ‘Amanda Miller’. The object obviously was that, by having 2 ships built in the one mould, the company would save a lot of money in the development of the laying out of the ship and that by providing the men on the job with knowledge of the mistakes they might make on the first ship they would be enabled to avoid these mistakes on the second order. The result when building 2 ships is that invariably the second ship is considerably cheaper than the first one. It is obvious that for this reason the company placed an order for the second ship on 30th April.
Some 4 days later, on 4th May, the company approved of calling tenders for the second tanker. It was not until 7th July that the Australian Shipbuilding Board approved of calling tenders for an additional tanker. About 10 days later R. W. Miller & Co. Pty Ltd found out that Evans Deakin & Co. Pty Ltd were not submitting a tender for the second tanker, the sister ship to the ‘Amanda Miller’, for one obvious reason, that Evans Deakin realised that this being its first ship it could not possibly compete with BHP which had all the layout of the ‘Amanda Miller’ and the job experience. After all, BHP are actually building 2 ‘Amanda Millers’, because the first one was almost completely destroyed. I can understand Evans Deakin’s position. The company said that it could not possibly compete and would not submit a tender.
Millers, having been advised that Evans Deakin was not prepared to tender for the second ship, obviously realised that it would get greater advantage if Evans Deakin tendered and that it would not get a competitive tender by calling tenders for one ship. Millers instructed the Australian Shipbuilding Board to call tenders for 2 ships. This would give Evans Deakin some advantage - not complete advantage - over BHP at Whyalla inasmuch as Evans Deakin would have the advantage of building 2 ships. One development and one layout would fit the 2 ships. Evans Deakin would be job wise, as BHP should be, having built 2 ‘Amanda Millers’ and having an opportunity to build a third. Unfortunately the Australian Shipbuilding Board, the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair) or the Government delayed. The Minister, who is at the table, can best answer this question when he has the opportunity to replying after the 10 minutes allotted to me have expired. I would be pleased to hear from the Minister why the Government dilly-dallied so long in calling tenders, in placing an order and in allowing this company to place an order for 2 tankers.
In the meantime the Caltex-Sleigh people, on 22nd August of this year, asked the Australian Shipbuilding Board to call tenders for a tanker almost identical to the Amanda Miller’ - the same design but a little longer. If a little longer ship is built, so long as all the other features of the original ship are retained, the builders can get the advantage of the same layout, the same moulds and the experience gained on building the first ship. It is obvious that Caltex-Sleigh. an overseas owned shipping company also tied up with oil, is trying to get the advantages of the ‘Amanda Miller’.
– I do not think Sleigh would like that inference about it being overseas owned.
– Caltex has quite a substantial interest in it. There is a considerable amount of foreign money in Sleigh’s ownership. In any case, Caltex is not an Australian company, as R. W. Miller’s is.
– I am not saying that about Caltex; I am saying it about Sleigh.
– The Minister will have his opportunity to reply, r have not enough time as it is. Not only has Caltex-Sleigh asked the Australian Shipping Board to call tenders for the ship but there is also a move afoot for Howard Smith to be given permission to build a tanker. The same could be said about the time when the Shell Company was given permission to bring the ‘T.T. Sollon’ on to the coastal trade. It was a 70,000-odd ton tanker. The company put up no bond. It did not have to pay any duty. At the end of 3 years it could make up its mind whether it wanted a replacement ship or whether the ship would go off the coastal trade . It is obvious to me that there is a very strong move by the Government to take notice of the oil companies once again. They want to create an over tonnage in ships on the coastal trade. When Shell, Caltex-Sleigh or someone else with ships operating on the coast says that there is an over tonnage and they cannot get cargoes for their ships all they do is take them off the coastal trade for a while and put them into their overseas pools. They are out of trouble. The Australian Government is not giving a fair go to the Australian owned company R. W. Miller.
The position is the same as that in 1966 when over tonnage was created on the coastal trade. The Government believed every lying word that was told to it by the oil companies in Australia. Millers broke the stranglehold on the carriage of petroleum on the Australian coast. When R. W. Miller broke the stranglehold that the foreign owned shipping combines and the oil companies had, it brought tankers on to the coastal trade. It forced the Government to accept the company and forced the Government to make the oil companies give orders. As a result of over tonnage the company was forced to sell the ‘Miller Canopus’ at almost scrap price. What we have to guard against is that the Government is not taken in again by the oil companies. I draw the Minister’s attention to the fact that in late December last year or in early January this year the oil companies told Miller that they had no work for that company; there was no cargo to carry. What has been the position? Already this year over 1 million tons of oil has been carried on the coastal trade in foreign owned bottoms. That excludes the tonnage that has been carried by R. W. Miller. Yet in December 1969 and January 1970 the oil companies said that they had no work for Miller’s tankers. It could well have meant that Miller had to get rid of his 2 tankers and sack the Australian crews, and that today we could have had oil being carried around the Australian coast exclusively by foreign owned bottoms.
That is what has to be avoided. The Government should not take notice of what foreign oil companies say is the tonnage required to carry crude oil around the coast. The Minister is aware of the facts and knows the kinds of ships that will be required. The Government should approve the building in Australian shipyards of approximately a quarter of a million tons of tankers to be operated around the Australian coast. I ask, and press, the Government to give a preference to Australian owned and Australian built ships and to have nothing whatever to do with foreign owned ships. It is all right to talk about foreign currency, but preference should be given to Australian built, Australian manned and Australian owned ships and no encouragement should be given to foreign owned companies to bring their ships onto the Australian coast. It is up to the Government to look after Australian workers and Australian industries. This is what we are asking the Government to do. I will be pleased to hear from the Minister some explanation why Miller has been forced into the position this year of having to wait to have ships built. He had firm orders in the hands of the Australian Shipbuilding Board but the Government, I believe by reason of manoeuvring, has allowed foreign owned companies to come into the field and to place orders so as to outmanoeuvre Miller so that they will get their ships on the Australian coast and will carry Australian cargoes in foreign owned bottoms.
– I am disappointed that the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) should see fit to talk such arrant nonsense about the relationship between the vessels which carry crude oil around the Australian coast and the orders of one shipowner. Several things need to be said. First of all, in the sequence of events it was on 20th June 1968 that Howard Smith first approached us concerning the building of an OBO that is, an oil bulk carrier vessel. Miller’s initial order for the ‘Amanda Miller’ was placed on 25th June 1968, H. C. Sleigh put its initial order in on 9th May 1969, and the Shell company on 25th May 1969. So the companies to which the honourable member referred have in fact successively approached the Government and discussed the trends that would be necessary for Australian built ships to transport oil not only from Bass Strait but also from Barrow Island to the respective refineries.
Secondly, this Government has a responsibility to try to ensure that for consumers there should be no greater freight obligation than is absolutely necessary. There have been successive negotiations between the oil producers, shipping companies and my Department in an effort to establish a reasonable level of freight rates within which it would be possible to assess tonnage requirements. All these have been conducted in such a way that each one of the parties has been aware of them. They have been fully aware of the assessed character of the tonnage requirement and the vessels that were likely to be involved. In these circumstances orders have been placed, but certainly not firm orders, by some companies when importation permits were granted. The reason why firm orders were not being placed was not that there was any doubt that these companies would build but that they very correctly said they wanted to build a certain class of vessel which I required to be built in Australia, and there was some doubt whether the yards would be able to build that kind of vessel - certainly not at the time the initial order was placed.
It is essential that in the carriage of crude oil about the Australian coast we have the maximum possible efficiency in relation to the freight obligation that ultimately falls back upon the Australian motoring public, the Australian consumer, for whom this Government must have ultimate responsibility. Faced with successive orders, which mean that instead of the assessed 5 tankers available for the carriage of crude oil in late 1972 approximately 7 tankers will be available, the Government must decide whether it would be justified in providing a subsidy for 7 tankers when the subsidy in respect of each vessel will involve the Government in the payment of $4m to $5m. This matter is now being reviewed by the Government and I hope to be in a position before very long to announce to each of the parties concerned the extent to which the Government is prepared to pay subsidy.
Within each company there is obviously a need to determine to what extent crude oil will be available. Its building programme can then be related to that assessed demand. If there should be carriage at a freight rate which results from excess tonnaging, this could well be to the detriment of the Australian consumer and the shipowner. It is an overtonnaging of this character that one needs to be aware of in considering the orders placed by the R. W. Miller company. I would be one of those who would acknowledge the contribution made by the Miller organisation in its early days in enabling the introduction into the Australian trade of Australian owned, Australian manned and Australian flag product tankers. But I think one needs to be realistic and to ensure that priority is given in relation to the order in which inquiries were made and also that consideration is given to the freight that would be levied if there should be an overtonnage situation.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.17 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the MinisterinCharge of Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
No up to date records are at present kept in
New South Wales for Aboriginal reserves as distinct from other Crown Land.
There are no mining leases on Aboriginal Reserves.
A lease has been granted to Cape Flattery Silica
Mines Pty Ltd for portion of Hope Vale Aboriginal Reserve. There is an agreement that the company will give employment preferences to Aboriginal inhabitants of the reserve.
No mining leases have been granted to private organisations on Aboriginal reserves since the promulgation of the Aboriginal Affairs Act in 1963 and no rights remain regarding earlier exploration leases granted before that date. The present policy regarding mining on reserves by private organisations is at present under review by State Cabinet.
Up to date information on native reserves- and associated mining leases is not available. When a company makes an application for mining tenements on native reserves it is usual for the applicant to be referred to the Department of Native Welfare and to impose conditions requested to protect sacred sites and such like. There is also an arrangement that a portion of the royalties received from minerals won from tenements on native reserves will be allocated to native welfare by the Treasury as required.
The only mining leases granted within an Aboriginal Reserve in the Northern Territory are:
Special Mineral Lease No. 11 to Swiss Aluminium Australia Pty Ltd and Gove Alumina Ltd (Gove Peninsula).
Special Mineral Leases Nos 5, 6 and 9 to Groote Eylandt Mining Company Pty Ltd (Groote Eylandt). Mineral Leases 9 and 10 to Western Nuclear (Australia) Pty Ltd.
These leases are all within the Arnhem Land Reserve. At this time, only the leases at Groote Eylandt are in production.
The Northern Territory Mining Ordinance provides that royalty on mining operations within Aboriginal Reserves be at double the rate which applies outside of Aboriginal Reserves. The entire royalty is payable to the benefit of the Aborigines Benefits Trust Fund.
Special provisions apply to the Gove development. The amount of royalty is determined in accordance with the arrangements set out in Clause 3 of the First Schedule to the Schedule to the Mining (Gove Peninsula Nabalco Agreement) Ordinance 1968. Royalties are payable to the Aborigines Benefits Trust Fund.
In addition special provisions that are designed to advantage the Aboriginal people have been provided in connection with the developments at Gove and Groote Eylandt. Details are set out below:
Gove l.The Letter of Understanding dated 23rd Feb ruary 1968 between the Commonwealth and the Companies includes the following provisions: ‘Welfare of Aborigines and the Department Overseas Missions of the Methodist Church of Australasia.
The above reference to the Chairman of the Department of Overseas Missions of the Methodist Church of Australasia shall, when the circumstances so require, be read as references to the appropriate Functionary and Department of such other Church as may in the future incorporate the activities of that Department/Church, in the Northern Territory in pursuance of a decision of the General Conference of the Methodist Church of Australasia.
Clause 1. l.The lessee for itself and for its successors and permitted assigns covenants with the Commonwealth -
Clause 4 (6)
Groote Eylandt l.The Letter of Understanding dated 18th May 1965 between the Commonwealth and the Company includes the following provisions:
Welfare of Aborigines and the Church Missionary Society -
The lessee, wherever possible, will make use of normal on-the-job training and apprenticeship schemes as a means of training and employing Aborigines to the extent practicable.
If the lessee employs Aborigines, it will provide transport to and from the place of employment daily. It will accept in principle, the preservation as far as practicable, of the family unit so that employees will either live on the mission while working for the lessee, or be provided by the lessee with suitable housing units of a standard applicable to similar classes of employees. In the latter case, the mission authorities will continue to have full access to the Aborigines and their families for spiritual, physical and social welfare purposes.
As noted above, royalty on manganese mined, is payable at double the normal rate of H per cent in accordance with section JOB of the Mining Ordinance 1939-1969 to the Aborigines Benefits Trust Fund. In addition, by a private arrangement, the Company pays further royalty of lj per cent to the Church Missionary Society. These additional royalties are transferred to a trust fund administered by a commitee comprising seven Aboriginal and four European members, and are used for the benefit of the Aboriginal residents on Groote Eylandt.
Mineral leases 9 and 10, which originally were granted in 1955, and transferred to Western Nuclear (Australia) Pty Ltd iti January 1970, contain no special conditions designed to advantage the Aboriginal people. There will be an opportunity to review the position when the leases come up for renewal in 1976.
asked the following question of the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Dr Kalokerinos has discussed his theory that Vitamin C deficiency is a major cause of ill health and mortality in Aboriginal children with me and has suggested ways in which research might be conducted to test this theory.
At present, the Commonwealth is carrying out a research programme in co-operation with the States into various aspects of Aboriginal infant health and nutrition. In this programme, the Department of Health is co-operating with my Department. Dr Kalokerinos’ findings are being considered as one aspect of the research programme which will examine Aboriginal children and endeavour to formulate a programme to combat infant mortality and child morbidity.
asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Bounties were payable from the Sultana Stabilisation Fund and the Raisin Stabilisation Fund for the 1968 season, the last season of the Dried Vine Fruits Stabilisation Plan. The aggregate amounts involved in these payments were $294,666.70 for sultanas, and $9,451.61 for raisins. These were paid to the Dried Fruits Stabilisation Committee Ltd on 15th July 1970.
Folowing these payments the three funds (Currants, Sultanas and Raisins) were wound up and the moneys remaining returned to the industry. The amounts involved were -
These moneys were paid to the Dried Fruits Stabilisation Committee Ltd, on 2nd September 1970.
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
Can he yet say what countries have (a) accepted and (b) disputed the Mexican decree of 1 September 1968 declaring the northern third of the Gulf of California to be part of Mexico’s territorial sea.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
No formal act of acceptance by other states is required in respect of a decree such as that to which the honourable member’s question relates, and I understand that no such act has taken place. It is however customary to place any protest formally on record. In his State of the Union message in September last the President of Mexico announced that only the United States had objected to Mexico’s decision and reserved legal rights in this regard.
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Following agreement in principle with the States on the question of accession to the Convention, and consultations at the official level on the question of implementing legislation, the Attorney-General advised his colleagues on the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, in June 1969, that draft Australian Capital Territory implementing legislation was being prepared and would be made available to assist in the preparation of State implementing legislation. The legislation to implement the Convention in the Australian Capital Territory will be a part of a new Ordinance dealing generally with commercial arbitration in the Territory, which is still in the course of preparation.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (Question No. 1633)
asked the Minister for
External Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Department of Social Services: Regional Offices (Question No. 1653)
asked the Minister for
Social Services, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
At 31st August 1970 my Department operated 49 Regional Offices throughout the Commonwealth. The location, staffing and function of each office is shown in the following table.
Note 2: All offices provide advisory services about all Commonwealth social service benefits.
Age Pensions (Question No. 1671)
asked the Minister for
Social Services, upon notice:
What is the estimated additional annual cost of paying age pensions at the new rates proposed by the Treasurer in his Budget Speech to all persons who are qualified by residence and who are, respectively (a) 80 years and over, (b) 79 years, (c) 78 years, (d) 77 years, (e) 76 years, (f) 75 years, (g) 74 years, (h) 73 years, (i) 72 years,(j) 71 years, (k) 70 years, (l) 69 years, (m) 68 years, (n) 67 years, (o) 66 years and (p) 65 years.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The estimates shown above are based on the assumption that all persons eligible by residence would claim a pension if the means test were abolished.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
Will he give figures of net private capital flows to developing countries corresponding to the last table in Statement No. 8 attached to his Budget speech and subsequent to his predecessor’s answer to me on 9 September 1969 (Hansard, page 1017).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The information requested by the honourable member is set out in the following table:
The figures quoted above for official flows differ from those contained in Statement No. 8 attached to the Budget Speech for 1970-71 because the latter relate to official development assistance only and do not include official loans or export credits extended on non-concessional terms or subscriptions to bonds issued by international institutions like the World Bank which bear market rates of interest
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
What arrangements have been made for the co-ordination of Administration and Australian Broadcasting Commission radio facilities and policies in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
A Co-ordinating Committee on Broadcasting in Papua and New Guinea was established in March 1966. The Committee comprises representatives of the following authorities:
Department of External Territories.
Australian Broadcasting Commission.
Australian Broadcasting Control Board.
Papua and New Guinea Administration.
The function of the Committee is to advise the responsible Ministers (Minister for External Territories and Postmaster-General) from time to time regarding the planning, co-ordination and development of broadcasting services in the Territory including rationalisation of technical and programme facilities.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
How many commissioned officers in each rank of the Armed Services resigned before reaching the retiring age in (a) each of the last 5 years and (b) the current year to date.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The number of commissioned officers (including officers of the Womens Services) who have resigned before reaching retiring age in the last 5 years and for July and August 1970 are:
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
What information can he now provide on the number of pupils who (a) board and (b) pay boarding fees at secondary schools in each subdistrict of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. (Hansard, 12th June 1970, page 3641).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The number of pupils who board and the number who pay boarding fees at 52 of the 56 secondary boarding schools is provided below. The details are listed on a district basis because a secondary school is usually attended by pupils from several sub-districts. The same information in respect of the remaining four boarding schools is not readily available but will be sought if required.
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The National Health and Medical Research Council approved the inclusion of strips containing 20 per cent or less Dichlorvos in Schedule 5 of the Uniform Poisons Schedules at its Sixtyeighth Session in May 1969. This Schedule requires the following warning to be displayed on the strips:
Residues of Dichlorvos can be found in food if these strips are used in kitchens, particularly where ventilation is poor. The Poisons Schedule Sub-committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council, after examining extensive toxicological evidence on the strips, concluded that no hazards to users existed under normal conditions.
The National Health and Medical Research Council, in its Recommended Tolerances for Residues of Agricultural Chemicals in Foods, has recommended a tolerance of 2 parts per million for Dichlorvos in fruits, grains and vegetables. This figure was not exceeded in any of the tests on a variety of foods under normal conditions, performed by the manufacturers in relation to the strips.
Pesticides, including Dichlorvos, are kept under continual review by the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Commonwealth normally accepts the advice of the Council in these matters. Legislation for the control of pesticides is the responsibility of the individual States, the Commonwealth having responsibility only for the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
(a) The services are expected to commence 12 months after issue of permit and approval has been given for a terminal site in Sydney Harbour.
Mascot, Wollongong and Newcastle services are expected to be on a trial basis only. I am not aware of the frequencies at which these services may be operated.
I have no information on the possible level of fares for the other services.
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
Will he provide details of the agreement which has been reached between the Commonwealth and the Government of New South Wales covering the proposed nuclear power station at Jervis Bay.
-The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The basis of agreement between Governments of the Commonwealth and New South Wales for the construction and operation of a nuclear power station at Jervis Bay are as follows:
Construction of the Station
The Commonwealth will own the station and finance its construction.
There will be joint participation by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission and the Electricity Commission of New South Wales in matters relating to the design and construction of the station.
Control and Operation of the Station
There will be a Co-ordinating Board appointed by the Minister for National Development, consisting of a chairman nominated by the Commonwealth after consultation with the State, two representatives of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, and two representatives of the Electricity Commission of New South Wales nominated by the Minister for Local Government and Highways in New South Wales.
The Co-ordinating Board will be responsible to the Minister for National Development for general administrative oversight in matters of a policy nature and will ensure:
that the management of the station complies with the standards and procedures approved by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission in relation to nuclear health and safety, the release of radioactivity into the environment, and such other matters as related to the safe operation of nuclear facilities at the station;
that there is compliance with such controls as may be necessary to give effect to Commonwealth obligations including those arising from international safeguards and Australia’s adherence to any international conventions or agreements on nuclear energy and
that fuel management programmes, formulated jointly by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission and the Electricity Commission of New South Wales in the interests of the operational requirements of the New South Wales system and of fuel economy, conform with the standards, procedures and controls referred to in (a) and (b) above.
There will be a Chief Executive Officer who will be an officer of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission with executive duties in respect of all matters which are the responsibility of the Board.
The Electricity Commission of New South Wales will be responsible for operation and maintenance of the station as an integral part of the New South Wales power system, subject however to the standards, procedures and controls laid down by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission and the
Co-ordinating Board in respect of matters for which they are responsible. The Station Superintendent and staff will be provided by the Electricity Commission but all appointments of personnel normally subject to nuclear licensing requirements will be subject to the approval of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission in respect of their qualifications and competence.
Output of Station and Payments
Ownership of Nuclear Fuel
Guarantee of Supply to A.C.T.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The Public Service Board has informed me that the answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
Why did the Public Service Board in December 1969 limit salary increases for professional engineers to rates representing an increase of only 31 per cent on 1961 salaries when in the same month the Commonwealth offered no opposition to salary increases to certain engineering and other grades in the Commonwealth Railways which represented increases ranging from 62.6 per cent to as high as 90 per cent on their 1961 salaries.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Public Service Board has informed me that there was no announcement by the Board in December 1969 of salary increases for professional engineers and that the honourable member presumably has in mind the Board’s announcement in September 1969 of new pay rates which it considered to be appropriate for engineers. The necessary amendment of the Public Service Regulations was approved by the Governor-General on 17th October 1969, from which date the new salaries became effective. In December 1969, a Full Bench of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, after a searching inquiry, confirmed the rates introduced by the Board as appropriate based on present day work values.
As regards the Commonwealth Railways,I refer the honourable member to my answer to the preceding Question (No. 1530).
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 September 1970, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1970/19700929_reps_27_hor70/>.