27th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers. .’, :
– 1 present the following petition:
To the Honourable ihe Speaker and Members of the House of. Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble, petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:
That the Australian Education Council’s report on the needs of Stale education services has established serious deficiencies in education.
That these can be summarised as lack of classroom accommodation, desperate teacher shortage,, oversized classes and inadequate teaching aids.
That an additional sum of one thousand million dollars is required over the next five years by the States for these needs.
That without massive additional Federal finance the State school system will disintegrate.
That the provisions of the Handicapped Children’s Assistance Act 1970 should bc amended to include all the country’s physically and mentally handicapped children.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to -
Ensure that emergency finance from the Commonwealth will be given to the Slates for their public education services which provide schooling for seventy-eight per cent of Australia’s children.
And your petitioners, as in duly bound will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:
That the Australian Education Council’s report on the needs of State education services has established serious deficiencies in education.
Thai these can be summarised as lack of classroom accommodation, desperate teacher shortage, oversized classes and inadequate teaching aids.
That an additional sum of one thousand million dollars is required over the next five years by the States for these needs.
That without massive additional Federal finance the Stale school system will disintegrate.
That the provisions of the Handicapped Children’s Assistance Act 1970 should be amended lo include all the country’s physically and menially handicapped children.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to -
Ensure that emergency finance from the Commonwealth will be given to the Slates for their public education services which provide schooling for seventy-eight per cent of Australia’s children.
And your petitioners, as in duly bound will ever pray.
– I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The Humble Petition of the undersigned residents of the Stale of Western Australia respectfully showeth:
THAT the present site of the Penh Airport is unsuitable because of -
the morning fogs
its proximity to the Darling Ranges
ils lack of planning, prior to construction
the loss to the local authority in rates and loss to the community in acreage of development area and assets (el the restriction placed on the development of surrounding shires due to existing flight paths and proposed flight paths; and
Ihe adjacent areas lo the airport are suffering loss of value due lo their unsuitability for high density development.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that action be taken to remove Penh airport from ils present site 10 the site planned by Professor Stephenson’s overall plan for the city of Perth, that is at Lake Gnanggarra
And your Petitioners, as in duly bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– Last year the Minister for Immigration announced that the Commonwealth Government would move towards more air travel for migrants instead of sea travel. Can the Minister indicate to the House whether this policy has been found to be successful, whether any actual difficulties have been encountered, what percentage of migrants are presently travelling by air and what is the position concerning the baggage of migrants who come by air?
– It is true, as the honourable gentleman indicated, that early last year I announced that a greater percentage of migrants would be brought to Australia by air. At present as 1 recall - although the figure would need to be checked - the total percentage of assisted migrant inflow travelling by air is approximately 67 per cent and it is expected that, consistent with the policy which I outlined in the House, that figure could rise to a ceiling of about 75 per cent. That programme has been successful. It has enabled substantial economies to the Commonwealth Government. It has provided also entry of the migrants to the Australian work force at an earlier time and has saved those migrants travelling by air unavoidable personal expenses which accompany sea travel. Regarding the baggage allowance for all migrants travelling by air, there is an allowance of 88 lb per aircraft seat. There is also a special allowance for tools of trade’.
– I address a question to the Minister for Education and Science. Is it correct that 120 honorary physicians and surgeons at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne have threatened to refuse to instruct medical students from next Tuesday unless they receive payment for their services? I ask the Minister: How many teaching hospitals are there in Australia? In. view of the present curbs on Government expenditure, what would be the cost to the taxpayer of a special grant to the Australian Universities Commission to meet these salaries?
– I have read that the physicians and surgeons at the teaching hospitals at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital which are attached to the University of Melbourne have refused to teach students from the beginning of March unless they receive payment. I cannot give the honourable member the precise number of teaching hospitals in Australia, but they would exceed 50. 1 do not think it would be possible to make a close estimate of the cost of paying honorary physicians and surgeons at ‘this stage because it would depend on what, if anything, was to be paid.
As far as I am aware, the doctors who are striking have not indicated clearly what payment they are demanding. I should perhaps add 2 things. Firstly, it is essentially a matter for the State Government and the University concerned. It is well known that in the case of contributions to recurring expenses of universities the’ Commonwealth Government contributes simply on a matching basis. Therefore, I repeat, it is primarily a matter for the State Government and the University.
Secondly, the honourable member will be aware that the Nimmo Committee made a recommendation relating to honorary services and concessional allowances of the medical . profession in hospitals. Of course, this would cover patient care as well as clinical teaching. The . Committee recommended that there be a gradual elimination of these honorary services. However, it stressed that this should be gradual, because it pointed out in its report that the doctors had already taken into account in fixing their current fees the fact that they were performing these honorary services, and therefore it would be necessary to look at the two together. It was announced that the Commonwealth Government, -in consultation with the State Governments^ had appointed a committee, one of the primary objectives of which will be to’ consider recommenation No. 17 of’ the Nimmo report. Sir Henry Basten, Chairman of the Australian Universities Commission, has been appointed as an observer to the committee. The committee has been operating but has not yet made a report,- so neither the State nor the Commonwealth governments have received that advice at this stage.
– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a. question. It concerns his announcement’ on 25th August last that 2,416 persons were under investigation for suspected breaches of the National Service Act. Yesterday, in answer to a question which I put on notice 5 months ago, he told me that an examination on 12th October last showed that 315 of these 2,416 cases had been finalised, 272 having been found not to be in breach of the Act and 43 having been prosecuted and convicted. I now ask him whether any examination has been conducted since 1 2th October last into the other 2,101 suspected breaches and how long it would take him to give the results. What steps has he taken to avoid the situation he also revealed yesterday, in answer to another question I had put on notice on 11th June last, that there is now no means available of identifying the 2,038 individuals who his predecessor had announced were under investigation at 30th June 1967?
– The Leader of the Opposition will, 1 am sure, be advantaged in understanding this situation when he realises that there is a running audit. He can take any date he likes and as at that date I can give an answer but it would not be desirable to maintain constantly total records which deal with matters that are already resolved. The particular matter to which the honourable member has referred is, as 1 understand it, failure to register.
-I was using your ‘suspected breaches’.
– Yes, suspected breaches. The 3 points of breach are: failure lo register; failure to undergo a medical examination, and failure to obey a call-up notice. The. latter two are in very small dimensions because they are identifiable persons upon whom the Department serves a requisitionto report for medical examination or for call-up. But those who fail to register are in a different category. There are a great number of people who write to the Department or something of that kind and say that some person has failed to register. The allegation may be quite fallacious in that there is no such person or it may be that the person is a member of the permanent forces or something of that kind. There is a running audit held and at any time I can tell the honourable member how many people have been prosecuted. This figure has already been given. I can tell him at any date how many people are under investigation at that point of time. However, [ would not require my Department, particularly a section which is very busily engaged in important affairs of State, to maintain records which would only serve the purpose of answering questions such as those asked by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition as to what unknown persons, unreal persons or persons with no obligation have been investigated. That is my attitude. I think it is a proper altitude and it is one to which I propose to adhere.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the Minister seen the article in yesterday’s Australian Financial Review’ in which Professor Jarrett advocated making wheat quotas transferable? Is the Minister aware that failure to do so would tend to ossify the industry in its present form? Will the Minister assure me that this important question is receiving his capable attention?
– I have seen the newspaper comment on Professor Jarrett’s paper but J have not seen the paper itself. 1 think that occification within the primary industries is the last thing that is happening at the moment. Unfortunately, as the honourable member is only too well aware, the whole rural community is very much going through a process of fundamental change. As far as wheat quotas are concerned, they too are not static. Indeed, each year the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation, which has been responsible for the establishment of wheat quotas, has I believe taken a very responsible attitude both in accepting the necessity for quotas and then in recommending a level of quotas which is related to seasonal conditions, to the traditional position of those who have always been wheat growers and alsoto market opportunities for the sale of wheat. The transferability of wheat quotas and the many details concerned with operating the quotas predominantly are left for the State Governmentsto determine on the advice of the wheat grower organisations. I would think that the comment made by the professor nonetheless is one that should be taken into account in determining future processes of the application of quotas. But I believe that the significant aspect of wheat quotas is that they have now been accepted by the industry as being a necessity, given overseas market opportunities. One hopes that with the flexibility that has been introduced into them in the past, it will be possible to facilitate anything but ossification but rather enable the re-establishment of some form of general economic viability in the rural community.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for the Interior. 1 remind the Minister of the remarks made by the Prime Minister in this House on Tuesday, 16th February, when he called for the curtailing of expenditure by governments as one of the first lines of attack on rising costs and prices. Having in mind that statement I now ask the Minister: Will he follow the lead given by the South Australian Labor Government and stop for the time being the proposed additions to this Parliament House? If the Minister refuses to take the action called for by the Prime Minister, will he inform the House of the estimated cost of the current Parliament House extensions?
– This is a matter for the Prime Minister, and for the Government. The estimated cost of the additions to Parliament House will be approximately $2m. They are additions that surely must be regarded by all honourable members as quite necessary to help in the proper facilitation of their duties as members of this House. If anyone has any doubt about the Deed for additional space, I invite him to my office where my staff of four are working in an area 10 feet by 19 feet.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I refer to the recent Press reports to the effect that Western Australian State Shipping Service is considering terminating its northern services at Wyndham because of losses involved in the turn-round of ships at Darwin. Can the Minister advise what is being done to prevent this occurring, as the 600-mile road journey from Wyndham to Darwin will cause a sharp rise in freights on goods coming into the Territory?
– -1 am very conscious of the importance to Darwin of the Western Australian State - Shipping Service. Indeed, I believe that Darwin is the second major trading port in the operations of the Shipping Service.1 But the facts are that the costs of retaining the service to Darwin are becoming very heavy. Indeed, as I understand, it, these costs are recognised by the Western Australian Treasury as being insurmountable and too great. If the honourable member can assist the Western
Australian State Shipping Service by using his good offices and talking to the Darwin waterside workers, which 1 understand he does occasionally, he might be able to bear down on them to act with a sense of responsibility in assisting a quicker turnround of ships. I am sure that, if this could be brought about, it would encourage the Western Australian Shipping Service to stay in the Darwin trade. The only other factor involved is this: We must recognise that the last national wage rise of 6 per cent has meant additional costs of Si. 2m to the Western Australian Shipping Services. These additional costs have added considerably to its losses. The position at the moment is that the Government of Western Australia has been giving consideration to this question, lt is still under consideration.
– Has the attention of the Postmaster-General been directed to an article in the ‘Australian!’ of Thursday, 28th January last regarding a documentary film entitled ‘The Quiet Mutiny’ produced by Australian John Pilger? If so, was this documentary, which has been shown in all major countries except the United States of America and Australia, offered to the Australian Broadcasting Commission? Did the ABC reject it? If so, who made this decision and for what reasons? Is the author of the article correct in saying that it seems that ‘Australian television channels are determined to withdraw from Vietnam ir» advance of the troops’?
– Once again I remind members of the House that the Australian Broadcasting Commission has almost complete autonomy in relation to its programmes.
– Well, I mean almost because if honourable members rend the Broadcasting and Television. Act - and I would have thought that most honourable members have read the Act - they would understand the exceptions. I have explained them to the House previously. I will refer to the ABC the matter of -the film raised by the honourable member to see whether it is prepared to give me the information which the honourable member seeks.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Defence. Is it true as stated in the editorial column of the Australian’ today–
-Order! It was only yesterday that I said that I would crack down, on questions in which Ministers were asked whether or not a statement was true. 1 suggest to the honourable member that he might rephrase his question.
– Has the Minister seen the editorial in the ‘Australian’ of today’s date in which it was stated that the function of the 2 Australian battalions remaining in Vietnam is simply to set up a jungle warfare training centre? I ask: What are Australian troops doing in Vietnam at the present time, and what are they going to do in the future?
-The statement referred to by the honourable member is certainly not correct. I was surprised to see it printed. The function of the Australian troops and the task force in Vietnam over the last several years should be well known. Indeed, this particular sentence referred to by the honourable member was just one in a long editorial which could only give a thoroughly misleading and thoroughly false impression of what has happened in Vietnam, what is happening in Vietnam, and what is the Government’s purpose in Vietnam. This is demonstrated in part by the fact that the jungle warfare training centre has been established by a special cadre sent to Vietnam for this purpose while the 2 battalions continue with their security tasks.
A good deal of progress has been achieved over the last 12 months. Progress has been made with the training of regional and popular forces through the special military assistance teams. The sending of these teams was announced by the Prime Minister, and they arrived in Vietnam last year. As a result, it has been progressively possible over the last 2 to 3 months to hand over additional areas where the prime responsibility - not the sole responsibility - for security rests with regional forces. This indicates success. This is the purpose of Vietnamisation - that is, to establish the circumstances in which combat responsibility can be accepted increasingly by the Vietnamese themselves. This has happened. As it was announced in Saigon, in a number of areas to the north, to the south, to the east and to the west of the task force base this has happened. The newspaper editorial as written reads as if this success is a defeat. This is very difficult to understand. I cannot offer any guarantees, and nor can anybody else offer any guarantees, as to what will be the ultimate future of this conflict. But, the denigration of the Australian purpose, effort and success in this area is thoroughly unnecessary.
– My question is directed to the Minister for the Army. Were delays of up to 18 months in the meeting of pay claims responsible for a 3-day go-slow action by lithographic personnel of the survey regiment at Bendigo in December last year? What action has been taken to remedy the causes of this spontaneous demonstration of dissatisfaction by soldiers of the Australian Army? Have the causes of dissatisfaction been removed? If not. will the Minister take urgent action to remedy such long-standing injustices which threaten the working and morale of this highly skilled and important unit of the Australian Army?
– I agree that there has been a degree of tension and dissatifaction in this area. I do not agree with the conclusions that have been drawn and which are implied in practically every statement made by the honourable member. As to the specific complaint in the first part of his question, I will examine it and give him an answer as soon as possible.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Health. Yesterday the Minister indicated that one reason for the 20 per cent increase in the average cost of medical benefit claims was that some doctors were previously charging less than the common fee as at 1st July last year. Can he inform the House what proportion of the increase of 20 per cent is accounted for by this circumstance? Can he also give the House a breakdown of the 30 per cent increase in total costs in the December quarter compared with the previous quarter? How much of this is due to an increase in medical procedures charged for on. hospital accounts? What has been the extent of the increased number of patients seeking specialist treatment, as was forecast, by. some members of this House? How much of the increase is due to the increase in population and the fact that some 600 or 700 doctors are launched into practice each, year?
– If I may take the last part of the honourable members question first, the published figures of proportional increases in doctors’ incomes took into account the increase in the number of doctors and also the increase in the number of medical services, so that these figures would not be relevant. At present my Department does not have the detailed information which the honourable member has requested. An attempt is being made to break down, these gross figures to some extent. I feel it will be impossible to break them down to the extent the honourable member has asked for. but I will look at the point he has made and if it is possible to provide him with the information I will do so.
– Has the Minister for the Army received complaints about cuts in deliveries of mail to servicemen in Vietnam? Have mail deliveries to Vietnam been reduced from 7 days’ a week to 4 days a week? If cuts have been made, can the Minister tell the House why they were necessary?
– My recollection is that I have received only two or three letters regarding this matter. In regard to the specific periods involved, I would have to examine the question and supply the honourable member with the answer. I regret that T cannot give it to him immediately. But my recollection is that this matter has been raised in only two or or three letters.
– My question is addressed to the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs. Has the Minister’s attention been . drawn to a statement in the Queensland Press in which the honourable member for Capricornia is reported to have advocated the compulsory sterilisation of certain Aboriginals? Would this not be contrary to the spirit of the referendum in which the Australian people gave the Federal Government power to legislate for the good of all the Aboriginal people? Would it not be morally and ethically wrong-
– I rise to order. Is it not correct that an honourable member must verify a newspaper report if he quotes from such a report?
– As far as I am aware the honourable member did not quote from a newspaper. The situation is quite clear. If an honourable member quotes from a newspaper report and says that he is doing so he may be required to do as the honourable member for Corio has asked.
– The honourable member is quoting from a newspaper article which has already been refuted in the House by the honourable member for Capricornia.
-Is the honourable member for Kennedy quoting from a newspaper?
– Not at all.
– The Chair must accept the word of an honourable member.
– Speaking to the point of order, may I say that last week during question time you, Mr Speaker, quite correctly and fairly, ruled that 2 questions, one from each side of the House, were out of order because they related to a subject for which Ihe Minister to whom they had been addressed was not responsible ministerially. I submit, with respect, that in consistency as well as in fairness you should adhere to the ruling which you applied to honourable members on each side of the House last week.
– Speaking to the point of order, might I point out that the MinisterinCharge of Aboriginal Affairs has paramount responsibility for the welfare of Aboriginals as a result of a referendum passed in this country and therefore this must be a matter on ‘which he should express an opinion.
– Is it in order for the honourable member for Kennedy in asking a question to quote a statement which has already been refuted by me in a personal explanation made in this House?
-The Chair is not aware of what the honourable member for Capricornia may have done, nor am 1 aware of the statement, to which reference has been made. Therefore the Chair is not in a position to know whether the honourable member for Capricornia has refuted the statement.
– I think the question should be cut out altogether.
-Order! The honourable member for Kennedy will not be in order if he quotes from a newspaper report.
– 1 am quite definitely not quoting from a newspaper report. I think that some of the comments from members of the Opposition-
– I suggest that the honourable member ask his question.
– I ask: Would this not be contrary to the spirit of the referendum in which the Australian people gave the Federal Government power to legislate for the good of all the Aboriginal people? Would it not be morally and ethically wrong and totally inhuman compulsorily to mutilate our fellow Australians?
– May I say by way of preface that I accept entirely the seriousness and sincerity of the honourable member for Capricornia in this matter, however much I may disagree with what he may or may not have said. My attention has been drawn to certain proceedings before, I understand, the Duaringa Shire Council. If I remember correctly the honourable member was reported to have advocated not just the sterilisation of Aboriginals, but the compulsory sterilisation of certain classes of pensioner. I imagine that the honourable member was not referring to age pensioners. I understand that he was advocating the sterilisation of certain classes of pensioner but that the Duaringa Shire Council did not accept his views on the matter. I believe also that he said something with regard to Aboriginals specifically. I am not certain what he implied - whether all Aboriginals should be sterilised or only certain classes of Aboriginals. Tn view of the paucity of my information on the subject perhaps the honourable member would care to tell us what he did say.
– 1 address my question to the Treasurer. He will recall my question on 26th August last year ia which I directed his attention to the doubtful insurance stability of some 5 companies. He will also recall that he told the House that the Prime Minister would be making a statement on the necessity for Commonwealth control of non-life insurance. He then stated:
This whole field is under, very thorough consideration and at the appropriate time - I imagine in a very short time hence - the Prime Minister will be making an announcement on behalf of the Government on this subject. ‘
Is the Treasurer aware that since that time 8 companies, with a total estimated liability of between $3. 5m and S4m, have been placed in the hand of liquidators? I again repeat that because of this Government’s failure to act, thousands of innocent people are being fleeced. When can the House expect from the Prime Minister a statement which was promised some 6 months ago?
– Since the honourable member for Hawker asked his question it is true that a number of insurance companies have failed, but this is in no way due to action or inaction on the part, of the Commonwealth Government. In fact, if we pursued zestfully every company which was not thought to be very strong. in this field it would push a good many to the wall and policy holders would suffer severely. But what has happened since the honourable member asked his question is that we in the Treasury have had a series of conferences with State officials who have co-operated with us very generously and have given their services in a very co-operative spirit in order to evolve a new: Commonwealth Insurance Act. There - have been several meetings including considerable interchange of views.
Also we have received’ representations from insurance associations. ‘brokers and all sides of the business, and I. now have an outline of a scheme which I am placing before the Government. But even after this stage it will be necessary to consult the parties in the insurance field, on all fronts, and this process in itself will take a considerable time. Our aim is to press on with this work as rapidly as possible and keep the momentum going, but it is a complex task and I cannot predict what the timetable will be. We hope at the end of it to be able to present the House with a Bill which will compare favourably with the general insurance legislation of any other country. We cannot act immediately on these other matters because we have not yet entered this field and in the interim we have no power to influence good management in these companies. But if the honourable member asks me a question again in 6 months lime-
– He will get the sams answer.
– Only people who are dismally ignorant of this field would suggest that one could do it in a shorter time than that. I am sure by that time we shall have got a great deal further.
– I ask a question of the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs. Has the honourable gentleman’s attention been drawn to the accusation by the Country Party Premier of Queensland, 5 days ago, that the Minister and Prime Minister were completely removed from the problem of Aboriginals in Queensland and also to the Premier’s invitation or challenge that the Minister or the Prime Minister should take a Press party through the Commonwealth Aboriginal settlements in the Northern Territory so that they could be compared with the settlements in Queensland around which the Premier took a Press party last week? Is the honourable gentleman prepared to accept the Premier’s challenge or answer the accusation?
– My attention has indeed been drawn to the remarks of the Queensland Premier which received some publicity in the local Press. I do not know whether the Leader of the Opposition is endeavouring to support the proposition that nothing should be done to change the law in Queensland which prevents the free movement of Aboriginals and which to some extent gives control over the properly of assisted Aboriginals. I do not know whether that is what is behind his question or not.
– The very contrary.
– I am glad to accept the honourable gentleman’s assurance in that matter. I am very glad indeed. So far from my being reluctant to take pressmen around the Northern Territory, the Leader of the Opposition might know that not very long ago the Minister for Defence and 1 did take a group of pressmen around the Northern Territory. So that challenge of the Queensland Premier is perhaps a little out of date. I also noticed in this Press report that he implied that I was unfamiliar with the settlements in Queensland to which he had taken the Press. The Premier should remember it. because he does know it, and I am surprised that it has slipped his memory, but I can assure him that I have been to these settlements, and although I may not know the Queensland situation with the same intimacy as he should know it, I do have a certain advantage in this matter in that I am familiar with the situation in other parts of Australia. I would therefore perhaps have at my command certain standards of comparison which might be lacking to him.
– Has the Minister for National Development yet received a letter from the Premier of South Australia informing him of another of the Premier’s habitual somersaults, this time on the subject of his past objection lo the construction of the Dartmouth Dam? Has the Minister seen reports that the previous agreement is to be introduced into the South Australian Parliament with clauses 10a and 13 excluded? What is the Minister’s attitude, as instigator of the parent legislation, to alterations apparent in this bastard Bill?
– Just a few minutes before coming into the House I received a teleprinter message setting out the details of a statement attributed to the Premier of South Australia in this morning’s Adelaide Advertiser’. I assume it is a little too lengthy to read out to the House. As I have not yet had the chance to study it very carefully I am not aware of the exact details. The surprising thing is that, from what 1 have seen, the Premier has stated that he has written letters to the Prime Minister and to the Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria regarding the Dartmouth Dam and some action which he proposes in relation to it but before the letters have been received he has made this public statement. Of course, it is not possible to comment on what is contained in those letters. No doubt the Prime Minister, after he has received the letter and studied it, will discuss the matter with me.
According to the statement so far attributed to the Premier of South Australia, his proposal is to introduce into the Parliament of South Australia some legislation which, if the statement is correct, is broadly based on the situation that existed before the last discussions between the Ministers concerned in Sydney. In other words, the deletion of 2 paragraphs from the agreement would bring the situation back to exactly what it was before the last discussions were held. However, until the letter has been received and there has been an opportunity to study the proposals in detail, it will not be possible to make any further comment.
– -Is the Prime Minister aware of long delays between salary increases for Third Division clerical officers in the Commonwealth Public Service and when these increases are applied to the Fourth Division? Is the Prime Minister aware that this situation of long delay has again developed? Will he ensure that current economic restraints do not prevent a prompt adjustment to Fourth Division salaries? ls the Public Service Board seised of the urgency of this situation?
– I would regard this as a matter for the Public Service Board. I will endeavour to find out from the Board what the position is, but I would not seek to interfere in its arrangements for the running of the Public Service.
– Has the Minister for Primary Industry seen the reports in today’s Press that Mr Aled Davies, Senior Vice-President of the American Meat Institute, has stated that certain non-tariff barriers to Australian meat exports to the United States of America are to be implemented by amendments to that country’s meat legislation? Can the Minister confirm that such legislation is proposed? If so, can anything be done by the Australian Government to assist in the continuation of meat exports to the United States?
– 1 have seen the statement attributed to Mr Davies, I noted also a reference that the American meat importers whom, he represents are opposed to the passage of such legislation I suspect that the United States Congress is a little like this place and that it is not always possible to predict just What the form of legislation might be by the time it has gone through the Parliament, and consequently I am not in a position to answer that part of the honourable member’s question which suggests that such legislation might bc passed. Nonetheless, it is true that in the United States over the last 6 to 12 months tendencies have demonstrated that there have been general reservations as to the extent to which meat particularly, as well as other products, may be exported to that country! But, as the honourable member will know, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Austraiian Meat Board and those who represent Australian meat exporting interests in the United States are doing, all they can to ensure that the point of view of Australian meat exporters is presented.- and considered by those who legislate- .in the United Stales before any action is taken,: and 1 trust that they meet with success.
– Has the attention of the Minister for National Development been drawn to a recent statement by the Premier of Victoria, Sir Henry Soke, that even if South Australia agreed to the Dartmouth Dam proposal tomorrow, the 3 States concerned and the Commonwealth would have to have another look at the question. In view of the Premiers statement, to which the Minister referred recently, is the Minister in a position at this point of time to inform the House whether the Commonwealth would have to make a reassessment of its position?
– I could not indicate exactly what the Premier of Victoria was supposed to have stated in relation to this matter but his statement. I am sure, would had been born out of frustration at the delay that has been caused to this very difficult and important situation, principally by the Premier of South Australia. As I have indicated twice in the last week in this House, the previous estimates will have to be reviewed when ultimately the
Parliament of South Australia does ratify the agreement. 1 indicated a couple of days ago that in view of the fact that the Commonwealth has’ by agreement undertaken to provide by way of loan half of the amount to be paid by the States as their shares of the costs, if there is an escalation in the final estimates beyond 10 per cent the situation will have to be reviewed. So the first action to be taken after ratification by the Parliament of South Australia is to provide an up-to-date estimate to all the governments concerned. If it came within the 10 per cent escalation there would not be a problem as far as the loans are concerned, and it would then be a question of each government proceeding with its financial appropriations.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) stated during question time that he understands, but without documentary evidence, that some correspondence with the Duaringa Shire Council in the electorate of Kennedy advocating compulsory sterilisation of some kinds of Aboriginals and for pensioners emanated from me. 1 have had no correspondence with the Council except on certain matters concerning Aboriginals in Duaringa and have on all occasions sent copies of such correspondence to the Minister. Therefore, . I request that he refresh his memory from that correspondence, and correct the false impression that he has given to this House at the earliest opportunity. I’ ask also that he refer to page 329 of Hansard of 4th March 1969 where I answered allegations that he had made that I advocated compulsion. I assured the House then I had never advocated compulsion and that I had made public statements denying that I had ever advocated compulsion. In the same year I made such statements on television in the Ministers home city in the presence of Mrs Faith Bandler, of the Aboriginal Welfare League. I deny now, as I did then, any call for compulsion in respect of any person, and in view of the assurance that the Minister gave this morning that he does not doubt my sincerity, I request him to prevail on the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter) to correct also the false impressions that he gave.
– by leave - 1 accept the assurance of the honourable member for Capricornia (Dr Everingham) in this matter. I will lay on the table of the House extracts from the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin’ of 5th February 1971. I think I should read these to the House. Undoubtedly the honourable member’s local Press has misreported him and I think this should be laid on the line. The Press report slates:
The Duaringa Shire Council has strongly rejected a suggestion by Dr Everingham. M.I-I.R., that some classifications of people on public assistance should be made sterile.
I will not read out the whole article but will lay it on the table, lt is obvious that the honourable member has been grievously misreported in the local Press, which should be taken to task for so doing.
-Order! Immediately after question time each day there is far too much flippancy in the House and I would suggest to honourable members, as I have suggested on numerous occasions, that when leaving the chamber they should do so quietly and at all times act in a way in which honourable members should act in this House. I regard this matter seriously, because it has become the practice for honourable members to have conversations with other honourable members who are entering or leaving the chamber, and this is not conducive to the good conduct and management of the House. I would ask for the co-operation of honourable members in this matter.
– For the information of honourable members. I present the agreement between the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Government of Malta on the migration and settlement of Maltese citizens in Australia. Mr Speaker. I ask leave to make a statement in connection with the agreement.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– 1 wish to inform the House of the main features of the Migration and Settlement Agreement recently concluded between the Government of Australia and the Government of Malta. The Agreement was signed in Canberra on 14th December 1970 by Dr Vincent Tabone, Minister of Labour, Employment and Welfare on behalf of the Maltese Government and by myself on behalf of the Australian Government. Australia has had assisted migration agreements with Malta since January 1949. These agreements including that which expired on 30th June 1970 were essentially agreements for assisted migration.
Rather than extend the old agreement for which there was provision under its Article 23, the Government decided to negotiate a new and more broadly based agreement which would: (a) give expression to the entitlements and obligations of all Maltese citizens who migrate to and settle in Australia; (b) make the agreement consistent with the basic provisions of recent agreements concluded with other migrant source countries - for example, Italy, Turkey and Yugoslavia; and (c) take account of substantive machinery modifications agreed upon between Australia and Malta late in 1969 in regard to financial arrangements and eligibility criteria for assisted Maltese migrants.
On 1st June 1970 in Malta Dr Vincent Tabone, Minister of Labour, Employment and Welfare on behalf of the Maltese Government and I on behalf of the Australian Government initialled agreed draft texts of the proposed new Migration and Settlement Agreement and related Arrangement dealing with assisted passage provisions. In formulating these texts, the Department of Immigration had the advice of the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Attorney-General’s, Treasury, Labour and National Service, Social Services, Health, Education and Science and Civil Aviation. The draft text of Agreement was referred to each State government for its concurrence on matters falling within the State’s competence. Each signified that it had no objection to the terms of the Agreement proposed. With its signing by both parties the Agreement retroactively enters into force from 1st July 1970 and remains in force until the one hundred and eightieth day after the day on which either Government receives from the other notice in writing of its desire lo terminate the Agreement.
The new Migration and Settlement Agreement has the following principal elements: lt describes the facilities for settlement of Maltese citizens, lt records the rights they enjoy and the obligations they undertake in common with Australian citizens and other citizens; it affirms that Maltese citizens resident in Australia will receive social service arid health benefits which Australia provides to Australian citizens, and that both Governments will make efforts towards reaching agreement on reciprocity in payment of each other’s corresponding social security benefits. My colleague, the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth), and i have already had initial discussions on social services reciprocity with Dr Tabone.
The Agreement provides for advice to Maltese migrants on the acceptance of vocational qualifications in Australia and records that the Australian Government will endeavour to advance the acceptance of Maltese qualifications within the framework of Australian laws,’ regulations and practices; the rights of Maltese settlers as residents and as workers are set out, and that Australia undertakes” to extend to Maltese workers and their families the facilities available in Australia ‘ for migrants to learn English. Article 15 of the Migration and Settlement Agreement indicates that the migration of Maltese citizens may be considered on the basis of direct applications submitted in Malta and nominations submitted to the Australian authorities in Australia. In addition it provides that the 2 Governments shall co-operate in such special assisted migration /programmes as may be mutually agreed. . Under the terms of Article 15, assisted migrants 19 years of age and over will contribute SA25.00 towards the cost of the.ir travel to Australia, those under 19 years ‘will travel free and the Australian Government will meet the balance of the fare. This accords with the conditions available to assisted migrants generally. Special, provision has been made for single women with or without close relatives in Australia to be nominated by a relative in Australia or by a friend or by an organisation approved by the 2 Governments.
As in other recent agreements an article has been included in the Migration and Settlement Agreement with Malta which deals with a Maltesecitizen’s liability for military sers’ice in Australia. Article 18 records that in accordance with the National Service Act 1951-1968 Maltese citizens who have rendered continuous full time service in the naval, military or air forces of Malta or a country other than Australia are granted recognition of such service in determining their national service liability, lt also records that a Maltese citizen who was liable to register for military service after 1st January 1967 and who is called up may exercise his option to leave Australia rather than render such service. The reference to 1st January 1967 takes account of the fact that prior to this date this concession did not apply to British subjects including persons from Malta. This concession applies, of course, to nationals from any country who may be called up.
The Agreement records that the right to determine who may be admitted to Australia for permanent settlement rests with Australia. The selection procedures provide for an assessment by Australian officers of the general suitability, health, character and the potential of the individual to settle here satisfactorily. People from Malta were among the earliest arrivals in Australia. In the late 1.850s a group of Maltese fishermen, domestic servants and labourers settled in Queensland. The first organised group of Maltese migrants arrived in Queensland in 1883 for employment on the canefields. After World War 1, the inflow of Maltese increased rapidly until by 1921 Australia was taking more Maltese settlers than any other country. The greatest inflow, however, occurred after World War II, when the migration agreement was signed with Malta. Although migration from Malta has diminished in recent years, Australia now receives more than half of the number of Maltese migrants leaving Malta each year. As at the 1966 census there were approximately 55,000 Maltese born people in Australia and in the 4 years ended 30th June 1970, more than 5,000 settlers from Malta had arrived in this country. The population of Malta is not large - some 325.600 people as at mid- 1970 - and it would be unrealistic 10 expect very large numbers of: migrants in relation to the- total Australian migration programme’, but- in terms of the Maltese population it is’- a very welcome movement.
The steady movement of Maltese migrants to this country’ has created strong links of family relationship and of friendship between the 2 countries. Migrants from Malta have played an important role in Australian development over the years. More than half of all Maltese workers in Australia are employed in manufacturing, especially heavy engineering. It is my belief that as Maltese settlers continue to bring to us those ‘ qualities of loyalty, valour and determination which have earned the respect of the World, their contribution to ‘ Australia’s future will be equally as distinguished. ‘ I commend the Agreement to honourable members.
I present the following paper:
Migration Agreement with Government of Malta-
Ministerial Statement, 23rd February 1971.
Motion (by Mr Snedden) proposed:
Thatthe House take note of the paper.
– The Australian Labor Party welcomes this Agreement. The first agreement with Malta was made 22 years ago by the first Minister lor Immigration, who was a Minister in a Labor Government, the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell). It is very proper that such agreements should be extended and reinforced. For over 4 centuries Malta has been a bulwark of ‘Western civilisation. In the days when this was a crucial element it was a bulwark of Christian civilisation. Since Nelson’s day Malta has developed institutions- executive, parliament and judiciary - during the same years and in the same form as We have developed such institutions. It’ is very proper that there should be an interchangeable citizenship between Malta: Australia, Britain, New Zealand and Ireland. It is conceivable that by the end of this century there will be as many persons of Maltese ancestry in Australia as there will be in Malta herself. I have had the pleasure and privilege of being associated, I should think, with the greatest number of Maltese settlers of any person in this Parliament. Many thousands have lived and worked in my electorate.
There arc 3 reasons why I wish to speak immediately on this matter instead of waiting until the motton is debated in general. 1 know there are many honourable members who want to speak upon this matter. 1 have been puzzled as to why it has taken so long to table this Agreement. I am informed - at this notice I have not been able to check - thai the Agreement, of which the draft was initialled many months ago, was tabled in the Maltese Parliament 5 or 6 months ago. lt may even be that–
– That is not so.
– In that case the Minister can give the precise facts because I have asked a question about this. The question was placed on the notice paper on 17th February 1971. If the information is incorrect the Minister can readily set my suspicions at rest. There are 2 other matters
– lt was signed only in December 1970, and the statement clearly makes the point.
– But it also points out that the draft was signed by the honourable gentleman on 1st June 1970. My information is that the draft was tabled in the Parliament of Malta 5 or 6 months ago.
– If the honourable member reads the text he will see that the word is initialled’.
– The Agreement was initialled then on 1st lune last. It was, I atn informed, tabled in the Parliament of Malta 5 or 6 months ago. Clearly my question 6 days ago has spurred the Minister to make a statement about this matter so many months after he initialled the Agreement. There are two other matters upon which 1 feel I should make comment at this stage. Among ihe many matters which the Agreement very properly mentions is that of workers compensation, lt has been a grievance for many years in Australia that compensation could not be paid to injured workers in Australia or to the dependents of workers who were killed if those workers or their dependents lived sometimes even in another State or in another Territory, and certainly if they lived in another country. 1 had questions on the, Notice Paper for many months on this very .matter. The Minister knows that the immigration ministers asked that urgent attention be given to the question of rights^’ of Australian workers or their dependants if they lived in another State or went to” live in another country. I have had question’s” on this matter on the Notice Paper for answer by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden) from 15th April, 16th September and 13th October df last year. I received answers to my ‘questions 6 days ago, and one learns why it took so long for them to be furnished’. :ft was only in May last that the restrictions on the payment of compensation :- for dependants residing in another country were removed by legislation in Western Australia. It was only on 3rd December that they were removed in New South : Wales, and it was only last year that they Were removed in Queensland by acts of grace pending an amending Act of Parliament. At least now a person who is injured ‘iri Australia, or the dependants of a person who is killed in Australia, in an industrial accident can obtain a measure of workers compensation wherever he or they thereafter live. It has taken a long time to achieve this arrangement.
The other matter I want to mention is that of social services. This question has been raised by Senator fitzgerald in the Senate and by several honourable members in this House, particularly in the early part of last year. The honouraable members who come to mind are. the honourable members for Bonython . (Mr Nicholls), Capricornia (Dr Everingham), EdenMonaro (Mr Allan Fraser), Hughes (Mr Les Johnson), Chifley (Mr Armitage) and myself. The fact is that we are taking an unconscionable time to achieve reciprocal social service benefits with Malta such as we have long had with Britain and New Zealand. Our citizenships are interchangeable; our social services are npt. Therefore, I take the opportunity to. state the attitude of my Party on this matter. If a person pays his taxes in Australia, he has the right to certain financial concessions for his wife and his dependant children.. But if his wife and children live overseas then he is not allowed such concessions. The Australian Labor Party believes that a taxpayer working in Australia should have the right to the normal deductions from his taxable income based on the number of his dependants, irrespective of where they live. It is time to end this discrimination. In particular there can be no excuse for this discrimination against migrants, such as those from Malta, who so frequently come to this country in advance of their dependants.
If a migrant decides to enjoy the last years of his life in his native land, or if an invalid wishes to see his relatives in Europe again, the pension he receives in Australia should be transferable. The pension is a right acquired through long years of work in Australia and a person entitled to a pension is entitled to live where he wishes without losing his pension. If one is an Australian citizen, has lived in Australia and has paid taxes in Australia, the Australian Government should not care where and how he decides to live. Accordingly, those people - particularly those such as Maltese migrants who are entitled immediately to Australian citizenship - should be given this right without any further delay at all.
Debate (on motion by Mr Giles) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Snedden, and read a first time.
– I move:
The provisions of this Bill are the same as those contained in the House of Representatives (Quorum of Members) Bill 1970, as I presented it to the House on 1st September last. The Standing Orders Committee by a report presented to the House by Mr Speaker on 18th August 1970, recommended a number of changes to the Standing Orders and in addition recommended a reduction in the quorum from one-third to one-fifth of the number of members. A series of votes in principle were taken on the various matters with the intention that subsequent substantive appropriate action would be taken to give effect to the whole of the members of the House expressed in a free vote. This was done. The appropriate action in respect of the quorum of the House was legislation, as section 39 of the Constitution requires any changes to be made by the Parliament, that is by both Houses.
On 4th September 1970, debate on the Bill occurred. The honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) proposed an amendment in these terms:
Provided that if it appears on the report by the tellers of a division of the House that one-third of the whole number of members is not present, no decision of the- House shall be considered lo have been arrived at by such division.
After considerable discussion and suggestions around the chamber, the form of the amendment became:
Provided that for a division to be declared carried, one-third of the whole number of members must be present, otherwise no decision of the House shall be considered to have been arrived at by such division.
This amendment was carried by 38 votes to 34 votes. Since the Bill, as amended, was passed by this House, it has been the subject of examination by the Standing Orders Committee and a report which Mr Speaker presented to the House on 17th February 1971. The report; has the support, of the majority of the Committee, consisting of Mr Speaker, the. Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), the Chairman of Committees (Mr Lucock), the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard), the Leader of the House - that is myself-Sir John McEwen, whom I have nominated by name - at the time the report was made he was a member of the House but, he has since retired - and the honourable members for Ryan (Mr Drury), Wilmot (Mr Duthie) and Corio (Mr Scholes). , The minority, consisting of the honourable members for Wills and Capricornia (Dr Everingham), dissents. The Committee’s majority point to 3 defects in that Bill. as amended. The first defect stems from the fact that it is unclear that the Constitution would permit two quorums, that is : one, quorum for one purpose and a different quorum for another purpose. I remind, the House of the provisions of section. ,39. of the Constitution, which, states: ,
Until the Parliament otherwise provides, the presence of at least one;third of the whole number of the members of the House of Representatives shall be necessary to constitute a meeting of the House for the exercise of its powers.
This wording implies that a single quorum is contemplated over the totality of the meeting of the House in which it exercises its powers. If, however, there is power to have different quorums for different purposes, then the second defect arises. It is to be found in the- fact that the proviso relating to numbers required in a division in the Bill now before the Senate purports to deal with a matter which, under section 50 (ii) of the Constitution, should be dealt with by this House alone and not by the Parliament as a whole. Section 50 (ii) of the Constitution reads as follows:
Each Mouse of the Parliament may make rules and orders with respect 10 -
The order and conduct of ils business and proceedings either separately or jointly with the other Hon.-e.
Since the Constitution provides that each House of this Parliament may make its own rules and orders on the order and conduct of its own business and proceedings, the principles expressed in the proviso to the Bill should be contained in the Standing Orders of this House and not in an Act of the Parliament, which of course involves the Senate. Section 39 of the Constitution does, of course, leave it to ‘the Parliament’ to deal with the quorum in the House of Representatives and the Bill now before the House does not go beyond that to matters more appropriately and correctly deal with in the Standing Orders. Thirdly, Mr Speaker, a further defect in the Bill now before the Senate arises from an apparent deficiency in the wording of the proviso, which does not deal with the negativing of a question by means of a division. The proviso states that, ‘for a division to bc declared carried’ one-third of the members of the House must have taken part in the vote. No provision is made for the negativing of a question, which leaves the position that one-fifth voting can negative a question but one-third are needed to pass a question, lt is unclear what would be required in Committee of the Whole. The Standing Orders Committee’s majority recommendation is that the Bill which was introduced on 1st September be not further proceeded with in its amended form, but-, that instead a new Bill, similar to that introduced on 1st September, be introduced. The Bill I have just now presented to the House is done in pursuance of that recommendation.
Assuming the Bill is now passed by the House in this form (as recommended by the report) it leaves for decision the question of whether the Standing Orders should be amended to give effect to the intention embraced by the proviso added to the earlier Bill. There are now 2 contradictory votes. One, of 20th August 1970, for simply a one-fifth quorum: another of 4th September 1970 requiring that, notwithstanding a one-fifth quorum, on a vote, not less than a one-third vote is needed for the division to be effective. A firm and definitive decision now needs to be taken and if the Bill is passed by the House in its introduced form, I will move the motion of which I have given notice to amend the Standing Orders to provide a vehicle for that decision. The amendments are drafted in the form recommended by the Standing Orders Committee as the best form of words if the House does wish to have a minimum requirement of one-third in division. Honourable members will note that the motion provides for the amendments to come into force on the same day as the Bill now before the House comes into force. I should like to make it clear to the House that, although I shall be moving these amendments to the Standing Orders, I will do so only in order that the amendments may bc put before honourable members for their consideration and decision. I do that as Leader of the House to fulfil an official duty. I shall not vote for them myself. This attitude will be consistent with my vote against the amendment proposed to the House of Representatives (Quorum of Members) Bill on 4th September 1970. Mr Speaker, I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Barnard) adjourned.
– Mr Speaker, 1 move:
That Notice No. 2. Government Business, ba postponed until the next sitting.
May I have the indulgence of the House for a moment? The notice that I am postponing is the notice to amend the Standing Orders which I referred to in my second reading speech on the House of Representatives (Quorum of Members) Bill 1971.
Debate resumed from 22 February (vide page 469), on the following paper presented by Mr Chipp:
Censorship- Ministerial Statement, 11th June 1970 - and on the motion by Mr Killen:
That the House take note of the paper.
– We are continuing the debate that was adjourned last night on the statement by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) regarding censorship. I take this opportunity of congratulating the Minister on the immense amount of work that he has done in compiling the statement. It is most comprehensive. Like many of the other documents that he has prepared, it required a great deal of courage - perhaps more than any of us possess - to introduce it. Firstly, I would like to refer to the Minister’s very limited powers in this matter. 1 remind the House that the Commonwealth is responsible only for the laws governing the importation of pornographic and other materials and that the responsibility for laws governing the production of such material rests with the States. 1 would disagree with 2 points in the Minister’s statement. Possibly, he has different ideas since he presented the statement last year. The statement is some 8 or 9 months old now. One of the points I disagree with is his assertion that censorship is evil.I do not believe this. In fact, I believe that we all practise censorship in some for or another. We all practise selfcensorship. We all read the advertisement for a motion picture before we go to see it, and we all read the advertisement for a television film before we watch it. Provided we can make an honest view of the film in that advertisement, we make a judgment as to whether or not we will watch it. So, I submit that unconsciously we do apply self-censorship to ourselves. In the Parliament we practise censorship. We do not allow unparliamentary language. We limit ourselves in the time permitted for debate. We do not allow interjections. So, in the Parliament we do approve of censorship. We have had no time to pursue the question of military censorship. I put the view that military censorship has been lax to a degree in respect of news reports emanating from Vietnam. Very often, this laxness has tended to endanger - our. forces serving there. -i . , °.
I disagree also with the Minister in his assertion that censorship’ is’ not the business of the people. I take- the view that we as the elected members of- this Parliament are, in fact, a cross-section of the people and that we should reflect in this place the views of the community ‘and therefore the attitudes of the community. I think that the community trusts us’ as members of Parliament in this matter. 1 believe that the members of the community feel that, someone has to control’pornographic material and other obscenities.I ‘do not believe that the Press, the advertisers, the exhibitors or the police, because the. police have not the powers that they need, ,.can do this. I believe it is up to members of Parliament to do this.In the . final , analysis, we are answerable at the ballot box. 1 wish to raise another matter about which I am sure the . Minister also feels strongly. The South Australian Government has demonstrated an . interest in censorship. It has, unfortunately I believe, acted unilaterally particularly in regard to the novel ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’ which I have read. For once in. nrjy life at least, I agree entirely with the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron). I consider that it was . a collection of pure rubbish. If the 4-letter words were eliminated, it would still be garbage. The South Australian Goverrimeut is not taking censorship very seriously/ Recently we had the example of a’ pornographic university publication which was distributed on a university campus. I wrote to the AttorneyGeneral in South Australia and asked him whether he would investigate it and consider prosecuting those responsible. That was in early December,,, and no action has been taken.
Concern is felt at least by some members of the South Australian Parliament - for example, by Mr Corcoran^on the matter of abortion and the alarming figures that have been revealed by State reports. Still, no action has been taken by the Government in South Australia.^ On this issue I refer to a section of the policy speech delivered by the Premier. of South Australia in which he stated that his Government would ‘set a standard of social advancement that the whole of Australia will envy’. Social reform, or whatever it is called, can create many problems. Some people would call it ‘civilised society’. Other people would Call it ‘liberated society’.
I draw the attention of the House to the sorry mess in Britain at the moment. That country is surveying the results of permissiveness which always progresses a little at a lime. Easy divorce, the relaxation of censorship, easily obtained abortions and the relaxation in the laws governing homosexuality all contribute to this state of affairs. My point of view is that permissiveness, regardless of the name by which it is known, eventually sows in such countries the seeds of destruction.
I will re d briefly, because my time is limited, a few remarks from the report of Sir George Godber, the Chief Medical Officer of the British Government. He stated, in a report presented to a Socialist government:
The medical profession is so alarmed that its leaders have warned that hospitals soon won’t be able to cope with these by-products of the liberated society
Illegitimate births to girls under 16 have trebled in 10 years; the VD figures are up 50,000 on the worst of the post-war years; one-fifth of all abortions are now performed on schoolgirls. And the spread of diseases showed that ‘sexual licence’ in Britain was increasing alarmingly in the 12- J 5 age group.
In 1969 only 483 girls under 16 became pregnant. In the past year J,496 cases have been reported. And the trite figure could be considerably higher, masked by the high abortion rate. 1 would like to go on reading right through this sorry report, lt continues:
There were 50,037 cases of gonorrhoea alone in England this year and again the toll was heaviest on the young. >n a record year, teenagers accounted for I case in 4.
Even more alarming is that the disease is spreading twice as quickly among teenagers as among adults.
I commend that report to members of the House who have the time to read it. We were asked last night by honourable members opposite: Should adults be able to read aud look at that which they wish to read and look at whatever they wish to look at and I suppose a short answer is yes, I agree with that, but ] make the point that not all adults have adult mental processes. Literate people expect everybody else to be equally literate and understanding and some corrupt deliberately, as happened in the case that I referred to of the university publication which was sent to me by a parent who picked it up from his secondary school child. 1 would make the point that it is not the university students, in the majority, who prepare and peddle pornography.
I would be equally strong in my criticism of what I would describe as pictorial pornography and the need for total prohibition. 1 have seen some of the books which have been denied entry into this country - not only books but also films, including television films. Some of these books depict just about every form of sexual deviation one could possibly imagine, including group copulation, copulation between animals and humans, in my view indescribably filthy, always in close-up and, it seems, always in technicolour. I would ask the House and the Australian public to consider who are pushing for the abolition of censorship in this country. Let us exclude the sincere, concerned tiny minority of people who are genuine in their attempts. I put to the House that there are 2 categories. There are those who wish to make a profit out of peddling pornography, and I regard them as on no higher level than those who make a living from the earnings of prostitutes. As I said, there is a minority with sincerely held views, but the second group would include some of those. I would include some editors of newspapers, some feature writers - all of them without any responsibility - and as time permits I would like to give a couple of examples to the House of the sort of people who are making a profit out of pornography and the sort of people who 1 think should be exposed and, preferably, prosecuted. in the first instance, I would refer to those film exhibitors who promote pornography and who rely on false advertising to persuade people to go and have a look at films. I understand that in many instances they are opposed to the introduction of an R certificate. They want to present wholesome family entertainment. I am looking now at an advertisement for the Star Theatrette. I do not know whether it is in Melbourne or Sydney.
– It is in Melbourne.
– I am informed that it is in Melbourne. This advertisement features a film titled ‘Dossier Prostitution’: The advertisement states:
SEE - How they live - Where they come from - Where they work. It brings to life the secret world which surrounds us every day.
– Was it a good film?
– The position regarding that film, which I have not seen but I would say would be pure rubbish, was that there were 3 minutes of explicit prostitution scenes deleted. Would the honourable member say they should be left in?
– I did not see the film.
– Would the other honourable members who support total abolition, such as the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant), the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman) and the honourable member for Maribyrnong (Dr Cass), say that these segments should be left in? There is also an advertisement for the film ‘Cover Me Babe’, showing at the Albany Theatre, also in Melbourne. The blurb states:
He turns the girls on, then turns on his camera. There are some things you just don’t talk about . . . these people make films about them . . . and leave the wounded behind!
Three minutes of the film were censored. The deleted passages included group scenes involving 3 couples during sexual intercourse and one of a naked girl masterbating. Would honourable members leave that segment in that film? I am sure I would not. Do not tell me that that has artistic or literary merit, the holy cow of the abolitionists. The other category of persons I would like to refer to are those of the Press all around Australia who are - in some cases, not generally of course - so anxious to abolish censorship. We have had a report by the Minister which referred to the film Like Night and Day’. In his report to the House, and to the public, he said, referring to a scene, that this film: . . contains a scene which depicts a young woman performing cunnilingus on her sister while at the same time a man has intercourse with the young woman by entering her from behind.
No newspaper in Australia published that paragraph. Every newspaper in Australia censored this statement by the Minister, including the ones which push the virtues of the abolition of censorship. One newspaper stated that overseas critics have praised this film. Overseas critics - faceless, unnamed authorities. I say: To heck with overseas critics. I suppose the one who has arrived in Australia today or yesterday-
– From Rhodesia?
– He is the joint managing director of ‘News of the World’ in Britain. Would honourable members class him as an overseas critic of authority. He referred to the Minister’s attitude as still an awful joke. There is no news of the world in the ‘News of the World’; it is a pure scandal sheet. I do not regard him as an authority in this matter. So I ask honourable members opposite: Would they leave this sort of material in films if they were in government? If they were’ in government and this was their attitude I would say: God help Australia. The Minister sets out what he believes so I would like to say quickly what 1 believe. We are mostly in total agreement. I believe censorship is necessary, not necessarily’ evil. It should be open to public scrutiny. There should be as little as possible within the limits of community standards, but not those limits defined by a vociferous and powerful minority without responsibility.’-
Any relaxation, whether in the long term policies or on specific, examples, should be based strictly on genuine artistic qualities. No action should ever seek to be justified on the grounds of artistic ‘ integrity when none exists, and there is’ ‘only the urge to make a quick dollar. Parents in the community do have a responsibility to impose their own censorship but T believe it is also the Government’s job to ‘ assist in the protection of the community. T believe that pornography and violence;’ and the advertising of them, should ‘ be prohibited. I believe also that references’, to the advantages of drug taking should be prohibited and offences for convicted : pedlars made more uniform and realistically severe. I congratulate the Minister’ oh’ bringing this matter under public scrutiny and the only thing I regret is that we have censored ourselves to 15 minutes each in Which to talk about it.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired. ,.’ .
– I would like to join a lot of other honourable members on both sides of this House in congratulating the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp). I congratulate him on 2 counts: Firstly, for his decision to provide the opportunity for a debate on censorship, which -I consider is a.. topic of great importance to all people, in the community, whether , they are aware of it or not - I believe many are not aware of the true implications of it - and, secondly, for the substance of his statement. I believe that the debate is important because it has provided an opportunity for members to put forward ideas, and suggestions which presumably reflect their own and. to a certain extent at least, their elector’s viewpoints with respect to attitudes towards censorship. I except horn that statement the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman) and the honourable member for Maribymong (Dr Cass). I wonder whether they in fact reflected the viewpoints of their electors. Obviously’ no consent can be reached by al) sectors of the community or all representatives in this House on what is the ultimate in policies at this stage. But to my mind this is not at all important. What is important is that discussion has taken place on a question where subjective judgments only can be made, and this in a very real sense is a worth while example of democratic government.
What has been sought is an opportunity to articulate and have expressed different points of view. This debate has provided an example for those in the community who would doubt the wisdom, purpose and existence of democracy in this country. It has provided an example of the proposition that democratic equality is not an equality of sameness but of difference. This is based on the assumption that people can agree on a common action which nevertheless leaves each to lead his own life. If we are to seek this common action on issues of subjective judgment we must seek to encourage discussion in which extreme views can be eliminated and the principles of tolerance and recognition of differences be combined with an insistence that individual views be submitted to the criticism of open discussion. To my mind this must not be a once and for all discussion in which positions once taken are maintained despite changing public ‘attitudes. Censorship involves actions which prohibit or prevent open access- of the public to material deemed to be of a positively unwelcome nature- - unwelcome for .various reasons. Public attitudes to what is welcome or unwelcome vary vertically and horizontally on any time scale. My broad attitude is that if public censorship of any type is to be imposed - 1 think at this point in human social development there must be some forms of public censorship - it must be under virtually constant review and of a flexible nature. 1 have taken the view that at this stage there should be public censorship and I have done so largely because I believe that the community and individuals within the community are not ready for or desirous of complete lack of censorship. Lack of censorship assumes that each individual is capable of making his own decisions about what he will see, read or hear or how he will act. Naturally enough I have a lot of sympathy for this point of view but I would point out, as other honourable members have pointed out, that children cannot logically be considered to have this capacity. If we accept this proposition it may be argued that it is the responsibility of the parent to direct or guide what his child shall see, hear or read or how the child will act. Again I am in agreement with this point of view. But 1 have 2 reservations about its implementation. Firstly, for a goodly proportion of his waking hours after he has reached school age, the child is largely outside the direct control of the parents. He is thus at the mercy of or exposed to the rest of society. If a section of that society has standards of a nature considered grossly undesirable by the rest of society, without some form of censorship the child can unwittingly be exposed to unwelcome material. The only way for the parent to overcome this problem would be to move from that society where no censorship . of any kind for anybody prevailed. I believe that very few parents would want such a situation to develop. Most parents impose standards for their children - standards of action and standards relating to the material which they can see, read or hear - and I believe most parents would like their elected represen-tatives to help them to maintain these community standards.
My second reservation is brought about due to the fact that without censorship of some kind nobody has any prior - knowledge of what to expect when buying a book or seeing a film. A censorship imposed on oneself is possible only when one has some knowledge of the possible content of what one is likely to see, hear or buy. A person can choose what he considers to be suitable material for his children to see or to hear only if he has some method by which he can judge the relevant material without actually hearing it, seeing it or reading it himself. This second reservation applies not only to parents but to everybody in the community. A selfimposed censorship is possible only where one has the opportunity physically to remove oneself from an undesirable situation or where some rating of material has been undertaken and a broad pre-choice is thus available to the individual. Honourable members may think that the first possibility is almost universal but in fact if there were no censorship of things like advertisements on billboards or buses, or if people were allowed to shout what they liked in public places, it would be very difficult to - escape from such situations. The second proposition is, 1 believe, obvious.
These are not the only points in favour of some degree of public censorship but they are points which I believe have not been stressed in this debate. I have argued for a degree of censorship and in doing so 1 would like to make the following points, which agree broadly but not completely with current Government policy. The first point is . that I believe that the best censorship and that to be most encouraged is censorship imposed by oneself on oneself. The second point is that where censorship is to be imposed to maintain the public good, that censorship should be imposed only after critical discussion where an informed and varied public opinion is canvassed and expressed. To my mind this is best done by some form of board or tribunal, the members of which represent as widely as possible differing community attitudes as well as expert opinion. 1 believe this representation to be of immense importance. There should be access for interested persons to the deliberations of such a body. In other words, I am arguing for critical discussion. My third point is that there should be a method of appeal against censorship decisions. The fourth point is that there should be a constant revision of past censorship decisions, testing them in the light of current practice and current opinion. My fifth point is that there should be some effective method of ranking the material considered by the censors so that members of the public may have some realistic yardstick for prejudging the probable content of released material.
There is only one surety about censorship and that is that community attitudes to what is or is not considered offensive will change. We have had numerous examples of this during the debate. To a certain extent, however, community attitudes will be shaped by censorship, and herein lies the danger. The essential thing is to have the machinery of censorship so structured as to prevent the censoring body from ossifying in its attitudes and thereby creating an ever widening gap between the creative members of the community and the community in general. Should this fixation of attitudes occur the creative talents of the community may be actively discouraged and at the same time the cultural horizons of the community at large restricted. The end point is cultural socialism - a mediocrity brought about by the reduction of cultural influences available to the public to the lowest common denominator of community acceptance.
– I desire to refer in this debate to another aspect of censorship which we see imposed upon this country from time to time. I refer to censorship by the Press; to censorship by Ministers in this House; to censorship by government departments; to a type of censorship that is in fact almost imposed in this House. Some honourable members opposite may regard such censorship as being in the interests of the nation generally. I do not hold that view. In recent times this Government has granted a foreign power the right to construct in this country installations which will la the future, I regret to say, endanger the lives of Australians and the very existence of Australia as we know it. It is to that type of censorship that I propose to direct my remarks.
– We are debating a statement by the Minister for Customs and Excise.
– I understand that the honourable member for Boothby is taking umbrage at the fact that I do not want to belabour in this House the questions of censorship which have been raised since yesterday afternoon. I believe that it has been an extremely good debate. Now I am endeavouring. , to put forward a point of view on censorship which does not necessarily relate to films, the communications media, books, pornography and so on. 1 regard censorship in another field as a very serious matter, and I point out to the honourable member for Boothby that it is to this field to which I intend lo direct the attention of the House.
As 1 have mentioned, in the last few years this Government has seen fit to withhold information which is of viral importance to and should be in the knowledge of every citizen in Australia. I hold this very strong view because of the fact that 1 believe this Government’s action in the areas to which I have referred is such that it places everybody in this country in danger. Installations are spread throughout the length and breadth of this nation. The circumstances surrounding these installations are held in .deep secret and are kept under a deep censorship shroud. I refer to the installations at Pine Gap, North West Cape, Woomera and others. This Government has seen fit to place a blanket of secrecy and censorship over this complete area of activity by foreign powers. J know of no other country which would in fact permit to occur’ what has occurred in Australia. With some limited exceptions it is not within the rights of this Government to carry out What in fact it is carrying out under a cloak of censorship, thus denying to the people of Australia “the right to express proper’ and adequately informed opinions on these’ installations.
Recently questions were asked of the appropriate Ministers of the Government - from the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) down - as a result of some publicity which was given to the Pine Gap and other global communication systems. It was said that ,they were necessary for the defence of this country because they would permit the transmitting of warnings to the United States of America which, of course, is the country responsible for the construction of these installations, with the good graces of the Commonwealth Government. I stated then - and I repeat if now- that the Australian people ought to be properly and adequately informed about these installations, which are being kept under such secrecy, so that the people can make an assessment about them, as they may be able to do in the future in deciding whether they will see a particular film or whether they will go lo South Australia to see ‘Oh Calcutta!’
– Order! I point out to the honourable member lhat the debate in the House is on ihe matter of censorship. While it may be allowable for the honour.able member to comment on censorship generally, he should not, as he is doing at Ihe moment, enter into a detailed discussion of Ihe subject matter which he is saying should not be censored by the Government. Therefore I think that the honourable member is debating a subject that is not before the House at this stage.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, with due respect to the ruling which you have just given, [ think it would be fair if you were perhaps swiftly to cast your mind back over the debate that has ensued so far. With all due respect, no doubt you would come to the conclusion that it has been a very wide ranging debate. I could have understood your ruling if you had not allowed me to proceed at all on the subject matter which I am raising on the basis of censorship, but I have been speaking for some 6 minutes and now you point out to me that I should not be pursuing this line. 1 see this matter in the form of censorship. Therefore 1 believe that I should have the right to continue to make some criticism of the Government regarding censorship generally. If you are going to insist that I should follow the line that has been followed since yesterday afternoon and speak only on the censorship matters which have already been raised - that is censorship of films, the communications media and so on - 1 submit that you deny to me the right to debate a matter of censorship which I rightfully believe I have in this place.
-Order! I point out to the honourable member that what he was doing was debating a subject matter which was completely outside of and irrelevant to the debate in the House at the moment. To this point the honourable member has been commenting on matters which, in my ruling and to my way of thinking, are questions of foreign affairs and international agreements. The honourable member might comment that there should not be censorship in this field, but he should not in this debate cover the subject matter of international agreements and defence arrangements, as 1 believe he was doing. I have ruled that he should not do so in this debate.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, to that I must say that I am not in a position to debate the subject matter of such agreements because it is so censored that it would be impossible for me to do so. How can I possible debate, for instance, the subject matter of Pine Gap? All 1 am endeavouring to do here is to show that in this country there is an insidious form of censorship W’hich denies to the people of Australia - lo the citizens of this Commonwealth - their just right to be properly informed about what is happening in a sphere other than the spheres which have been mentioned in the debate so far.
I am not going into any details of what might be at Pine Gap or at North West Cape or, for that matter, at Innisfail which is concerned with biological warfare, because I do hot know. There are available to honourable members in this House all sorts of publications from other countries which perhaps would give details of what is happening at these installations, from the construction of a nuclear plant at Pine Gap to God knows what.
I want to refer to another type of censorship that was introduced recently in the United States. It is quite stupid. For instance, I understand that from time to time rockets are being sent aloft at great cost. People in a county close to Cape Kennedy thought that it would be nice to have a photograph of their county, and with that in mind they wrote to the National Aeronautics’ and Space Administration. They were told, in fact, that it was a restricted area and that they could not obtain this information; that it was not available. I understand that they wrote to President Nixon who gave a similar reply - that the information was not available and so on. Finally they obtained the information, through the Russian Embassy, from Moscow.
-Order! 1 again point out to the honourable member that he is completely wide of the subject matter before the House at this moment and if he continues to debate this subject I am afraid that I shall have to ask him to resume his seat.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, I must confess that you are making it very difficult. Apparently I would be in order if I started to refer to some films showing tragedy or violence to animals and so on and traversed the world in that respect. However, I respect the restriction which you have imposed in this regard. Mr Deputy Speaker, let me perhaps test you in regard to the question of the ministerial censorship that we have in this Parliament. Only today during question time a question was asked about a matter which was going back over some months. This has resulted in a form of ministerial censorship. One could say it is the withholding of information - and that is what censorship is.
-Order! I suggest to the honourable member that he might read the ministerial statement which we are debating at this moment. Again 1 point out that the statement has nothing to do with comments from the Ministry at question time or with any other matter related to the procedings of this House. I suggest that the honourable member remain within the confines of the subject matter of censorship as contained in the statement made by the Minister in this House some short time ago.
– To that I must make the observation that whilst the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp), who deals with censorship matters generally in the House, is seated at the table. 1 see also seated at the table none other than the Minister for the Navy (Mr Killen).
– What have you got against him?
– I have nothing against the Minister for the Navy. He has not much to administer, anyway. The fact is that he is at the table. Surely a form of censorship is exercised in this House, masked perhaps by Standing Orders and procedures. While the. Minister is. at the table he is representing (he Government at the time of the particular debate. A debate of this nature should not be so restricted, as it has been from time to time, as to preclude me from making any criticism on the form of ministerial censorship that operates in this country. However, if that is your ruling. Mr Deputy Speaker, I will conclude my remarks. The very fact that 1 have stood on my feet in this regard and taken the line 1 have also confirms my belief.
– As the honourable member for Deakin (Mr Jarman) pointed out, it is 32 years since there has been a debate on censorship in this House. The debate has been enlivened by the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) who seems to have a definition of censorship which is ail his own. Censorship, properly defined, is a subject which is the responsibility of this House and which, as the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) claimed, is philosophically evil. Moreover, not only has this subject not been debated in this House but there has been little serious investigation of the subject elsewhere in the community. Many investigations have been carried out overseas but most of those mentioned by honourable members opposite are of dubious relevance to Australia’s social and legal situations.
There is, however, one investigation which I would like to draw to the attention of the House, lt was conducted in England, the country from which we have taken most of our legal values and many of our social values. Even more importantly, it was conducted by a respected statutory body, the Arts Council. It came to its conclusions most reluctantly, aware that they would not be palatable to the government. Before I give the conclusions and the reasons leading to them I must point out that the censorship powers which in Britain rest with the Westminster Parliament are in Australia divided between the Federal Parliament and the 6 State Parliaments. Although this affects mainly the process of law making and law enforcement, the individual Australian citizen is affected by the sum of the efforts of the legislative bodies. Therefore I believe that censorship must be looked at as a whole, ignoring for the moment the division of powers between the Commonwealth and the States.
The British investigating committee came to the conclusion - I repeat that it reached its conclusion very reluctantly - that the laws against obscenity, while constituting a danger to the innocent private individual, provide no serious benefit to the public and that the relevant Acts should be repealed and should not be replaced. The main reasons which led this conservative committee to such radical conclusions - I emphasise that these are the reasons of the British committee and not my own reasons - are as follows:
I must emphasise again that .what I am giving are the conclusions of the British committee and not my own. ,
– Do you agree with them?
– Wait for . it: The committee concluded that: .< .
I draw the attention of the House to this British report because I think it should not be ignored by the House. It is a report by a serious conservative committee in a country with similar legal and social values to ours. Nevertheless, the question we must answer is whether it is applicable to Australia. I think the answer is clearly no. Although some of the committee’s reasons have been challenged, I think that that British committee may well be right in its conclusions. But nothing is so forlorn as an idea whose time has not come. I do not think the Australian public is prepared to accept such a policy, with its incalculable social effects.
The overwhelming majority of Australians wish us to retain some form of censorship, not solely of matter dealing with sexual acts but, perhaps more importantly, of matter dealing with excessive violence and sadism. As Disraeli once said, ironically:
In a democracy it is occasionally necessary for a government to bow to the will of the people.
On this matter of censorship I believe that the will of the great majority of Australians is clear, and it is the same as that of the Government. If then we are to retain censorship, as I am sure we should, I think the only sensible policy is that of the Minister in his attempt to move with the shifting of public opinion - which, incidentally, may not move indefinitely in the direction of increased permissiveness. I do not envy the Minister his task of attempting to assess community standards, particularly as the most vocal individuals are not necessarily the most representative. I think he should make more use of this House as a sounding board and that this debate should be only the first of regular debates in the future.
On only one minor matter do 1 part issue with the Minister, and that is the distance he is prepared to go to achieve uniform censorship standards ail over Australia. The danger of this is that Commonwealth standards, as administered by the Department of Customs and Excise, will be held to the level of the most reluctant State or reduced to the level of the most permissive State. I think the Minister should act on his own judgment and that of the distinguished bodies which advise him, and if a minority of States like to impose their own censorship then let them. It will be futile in any case, particularly with books. That is the only issue on which 1 differ from the Minister. 1 think he has done a remarkable job of intelligent administration of his difficult portfolio. Perhaps his greatest contribution has been to shine a bright light into the dark corners of censorship. If, as I believe, censorship is inherently evil - a necessary evil, but still an evil - then this House and the public should be fully informed on what is being done. I think that, after what the Minister has done, it will never again be possible for a blanket of darkness to be drawn over censorship, and that is a great gain for individual liberty.
-I will not detain the House for long. May I take this opportunity, in addition to commenting on some aspects of the debate, to bring the House up to date on the methods we have taken and which I outlined in the statement I made to the House in June of last year. Firstly, I would like to say how personally gratified I am that a debate on censorship has taken place in this House and that that debate has been of such a high standard. The contributions from all honourable members who have spoken have been thoughtful and sincere, and the fascinating aspect of it has been the divergence of opinion of almost everyone who has spoken. That divergence has not been limited to political parties or to age groups. If a Minister has any right to crave for sympathy, I point out that this highlights the extraordinarily difficult and delicate task that any Minister who is a censor encounters in this issue.
The fact that the debate on censorship has been a free debate and not on party lines is only part of the story because not only is censorship involved. There are very important social issues which have been debated peripherally while the debate has continued, such as the individual freedoms of persons and the extent to which governments and parliaments should intrude into the homes and lives of people and the extent to which they should keep out. These, as 1 understand it, are the important things that government and parliament are about. Sometimes 1 wonder whether the Parliament is obsessed too much with the tremendous trifles of detailed legislation and whether an overall look philosophically at why we are here and the position of people in relation to the Parliament should be taken more often than it has. 1 should think that the debate, so far as the Parliament is concerned, has been a sorbet in a constant meal containing some heavy and unsavoury dishes.
One of the interesting things about the speeches has been the divergence of views and how each of them represents a community. There have been some criticisms of the community standards test which my Department and 1 are applying to censorship now. The criticism is valid if it means that I am saying there is only one community standard. This very debate has shown that there is in fact a plurality of community standards, that there are many standards and many communities in the one Australian community. We are trying to move towards catering for each community so as to give the people an opportunity of censoring themselves, and we are not, as the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar) said, trying to reduce the whole of censorship to the lowest common denominator.
May I recapitulate on. the measures that have been introduced since the statement I made in June and make more or less a progress report. As I promised, a periodic review of prohibited works of merit has continued, which has led to a net reduction of 41 in. the number of books on the gazetted list. It means that the gazetted list, which is published and open for public criticism and comment, now contains 72 titles of literary artistic or sociological merit. This review will be . a continuing process. Secondly, we have made concessions for the 1971 film festivals. This is an area that has been in disputation, in previous years. I personally regard the film festivals as an important part of our culture: There is an increasing number of people who see in the cinema an art form, and I believe that people who have that specific., .and. special interest should receive some- consideration. So again, for this year the censorship for film festivals will be virtually’ on an R certificate basis. I think 5 film festivals are held in Australia and each guarantees an audience of people 18 years of age and over. Under the agreement that they have with me, a person must as part of his application for membership of a film festival declare that he is 18 years of’.age or over.
The agreement between the State and Commonwealth Ministers on the introduction of an R certificate was reached at a meeting last September. I regard this as a watershed in Australian censorship history. 1 understand that 3 States and the Commonwealth, which has power to .legislate in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, are already .preparing legislation and that the other .States are preparing submissions for their Cabinets. Officers of my Department are assisting the State authorities in the preparation of ihe R certificate legislation, or they are offering to assist, if 1 could put it that way, because although we would regard uniformity ns not essential we would regard it as being desirable, and we are anxious to assist the States with forms of words if’ they are required. It is my fond hope that by the middle of this year the R certificate system will be in. operation throughout’ Australia despite the vigorous and spirited opposition that is being conducted by people in certain quarters. ,. ,,
May I emphasise the two reasons why I am personally enamoured of and so enthusiastic about the R certificate system. The first one and the important one that seems to be overlooked in many areas is that it is in. one way an increase in censorship. It will prevent by law ‘children under the age of 18 from seeing material which in my view they should not see - material which the Film Censorship Board spends great lengths of time viewing and discussing from the point of view of its possible effects on impressionable children. The Commonwealth Film Censorship Board may put a suitable for adults only’ label on a film, but the theatres, the police and the States are powerless to make that restriction operate legally at the moment. This means that after the Board has gone to all this trouble and the experts have said that this should not be seen by children of. say. 12 and 13 years of age. hundreds of thousands of young Australian children are seeing adults only films - material which has been classed by experts as being totally unsuitable for children. I am sorry to say that a few, not many, exhibitors are wilfully and overtly wooing the young child to see material that has been classified as suitable for adults only. The few who do that - I emphasise that it is a few - compound their evil by the spurious excuse that they are trying to keep children, out by charging adult prices for children to see ‘suitable for adults only’ movies.
The second aim of the R certificate system is that adults should be allowed to sec films dealing with mature themes and treating subjects in a mature manner. There are many aspects of problems on the periphery of society today which interest people in the community, and I see no reason- why people who want to see this sort of material should be prevented from seeing it. But I emphasise that it does not mean that films will necessarily be uncut. There will still bc a community standards test applied to R certificate material, as was demonstrated at last year’s film festivals, when my Board asked the managers of the festivals to cut certain scenes out of two films, ‘Like Night an-d Day’ and ‘A Married Couple’. I will continue to adopt a hard line on pornography or similarly offensive material. This will not be allowed to be exhibited under the protection of an R certificate. I give the House that assurance.
The Film Censorship Regulations have been amended to replace the single appeals censor with 5 people whose names have been published. This will permit deputy censors to deal with innocuous material such as ‘Mary Poppins’, if I can describe that as innocuous, rather than wasting the time of senior members of the Film Censorship Board on that sort of material which really needs no censoring at all, and it will leave the Film Censorship Board more time to deal with controversial films of merit. The ‘Film Censorship Bulletin’ has been, issued monthly since last June giving full details of film classifications, cuts and rejections, and the results of appeals. Therefore, that information is no longer secret. I believe quite strongly that we as a Government have a right to tell people what we cut from films; otherwise it could well be that we would be partners, in an unconscious way of course, in misrepresenting a product.
I wish to announce a new move on which I have recently decided lo bring censorship decisions before the public. It is not an important one. However, as you know, Mr Speaker, (here is a great number of trashy magazines with no literary, sociological or artistic merit which arc banned departmentally. There is a quantity - at the present time there are about 4,000 - of this trashy garbage, if I could flatter it by calling it that. The preparation of the full list of current prohibitions could take some time especially in view of the present economies in the Public Service, but initially a monthly list will be published giving details of prohibitions of the previous mon’.h. From next April we will be issuing a list each month of the prohibitions at departmental level. The April list will cover prohibitions made between now and 1st April. I do not believe this is earth shaking but it shows our bona fides in ensuring that whatever we do in censorship we will expose to public scrutiny and criticism. I will announce later when the complete list will be available because it will take some time. There will be one exception, and I think honourable members will agree with this: We will not be listing the hard core pornography which we ban. Most of it has no title; it certainly does not need a title. I can see no great purpose in listing such publications; as honourable members know, samples of that sort of material are available for their perusal.
In conclusion, 1 undertake to the House that my Department, the National Literature Board of Review and the Commonwealth Film .Censorship Board will be making a continuous review of censorship and will adapt community standards to their tests, whichever way community standards move. The administration of censorship in my view should be open. It should bc limited in accordance with community standards and should take into account all artistic, sociological and literary merit of books and films. It should take into account limited audience and readership. As we know, for some publications there will be a limited audience. I refer here to books such as the Miller books and The Other Victorians’, which would in any event have a limited audience because they are certainly not everybody’s cup of tea. Another criterion would be the limited availability of some works. Here we would exercise the special release powers which are vested in me under the Customs Act and Regulations to release material to people particularly interested in certain subjects.
That is all I have to say, except that I wish to give an example of material covered by some of my last remarks. I am being criticised rather extensively for the prohibition of ‘Playboy’. This comes under the heading of taking account of the limited availability of some works. Only 2 issues of ‘Playboy’ have been banned since the beginning of 1969 and I would regard the standards of this magazine as a bench mark beyond which we will not go in permissiveness as far as sex is concerned. ‘Playboy’ is a high quality magazine containing excellent articles on political and sociological subjects. Two issues have been banned so far and future issues will be banned if - and only if - they include articles which incite drug-taking, provided the current standard is maintained. I repeat unashamedly: Any publication which gives a one-sided view calculated to incite Australian people to take drugs will be prohibited.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Statement taken as a whole.
– This is one of the annual series of financial documents which cover, in the words of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, ‘items that were urgent and unforeseeable at the beginning of the financial year’. The Treasurer (Mr Bury) allocates a sum of $20m in the Budget - he actually allocates it twice, once for ordinary works and services and a similar sum for capital works - anticipating, as in every year, that if something unforeseen comes along there will at least be money available to meet such expenditure. I wish to comment on 2 aspects. Before these items come before honourable members for considerationthey are investigated by the Public Accounts Committee which produces a report. This report helps honourable members’ to judge the merits of the expenditures before us. On this occasion the report is the one hundred and twenty-third report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts. I commend that Committee and its members and staff for the vast amount of detailed work which they perform. I draw the attention of honourable members to what the Committee said in paragraph 190:
A further disturbing feature of the same case relates to the need for Departments that make computer services available to other Departments and to Statutory Authorities to ensure that adequate training is provided for the staffs of such Departments and Authorities in the interpretation of output data from the computers. We also believe that this problem could, with advantage, be examined by the A.D.P. Development Branch of the Public Service Board and by the client Departments and Authorities concerned.
Of course, in many respects . to -most laymen the computer still seems to be a rather mysterious instrument or assistant to have at our disposal. It is true that in many cases computers have been installed’ in departments when it would have been better to have rented them from somewhere else, while in other cases the full potentiality of the mechanism is not yet . understood. Therefore, there is this urgent need to train people in the departments. I think a committee in another place pointed,to the lack of skilled personnel in particular matters. 1 drew attention only last week to the difficulty of drawing adequate regulations because there are not enough people within the departments who are skilled enough to draw regulations. There has to be considerable passing backwards and ‘ forwards between the departments concernedand the Attorney-General’s Department in order to get the appropriate regulations drawn. Again this seems to me’ to point to the weakness in the blanket decision made the other day to reduce the entry of people into the Public Service by some 2,500. I do not think anybody should be employed anywhere if he is not needed but it is : certainly very false economy not “to employ somebody whose services are ‘needed because ail that is done in that’ situation is to reduce the effective output of the: department. This applies not only to: Government departments but also to private enterprises.
The observation to be gleaned from paragraph 190 of the Public Accounts Committee report is that perhaps we do not have adequate training mechanisms within the departments to train those people who are intended properly to utilise the services of the computer and that is why it is important that no skilled person should be prevented from entering the Public Service as, I think, may be the case with the cuts recently announced. I draw the attention of the Committee to one particular item which appears under the Department of the Treasury - a grant ot Si Om financial assistance to Victoria. My colleague, the honourable member for Adelaide (Mr Hurford), who is overseas at the moment examining the impact of Britain’s entry into the European Common Market, asked a question of the Treasurer long before he went overseas. The question was placed on notice in September or October of last year and the answer appears in yesterday’s Hansard. Mr Hurford asked:
Was the expenditure of $ 10m during 1969-70 under Division 917 … for any specific purpose?
The Treasurer replied:
The item referred lo was a loan to Victoria in exceptional circumstances to assist the Slate to meet Budgetary difficulties. 1 suppose it would be rather nasty of me to point out that the loan was granted at the height of the State election campaign, and there seemed to be a suggestion of some political gimmickry at the time of the offer. The honourable member for Adelaide asked also on what date the amount was paid to Victoria. It was paid on 30th June 1970, and the election was held not many weeks before hand. He asked also whether the payment was a grant or a loan and the Treasurer’s reply indicates that it was a loan. The honourable member for Adelaide asked about the conditions of the loan and the Treasurer replied that the amount was repayable over 5 years by annual instalments of S2m on the 30th June each year, and bearing interest at 6i per cent, which was the Commonwealth bond rate in the may 1970 cash loan. lt seems to me that rather parlous conditions exist in Commonwealth-State relationships when sovereign State like Victoria, which has about 27 per cent of the total population of Australia, has to go begging, as it were, for sums as small as SI Om. This highlights what I have indicated on other occasions in this chamber, namely, that because of this kind of financial stringency there is taking place, a type of marginal starvation in the States. The Commonwealth has the luxury .of being able to choose freely what it can and cannot do in respect of ‘ what are essential projects, looked at on a national scale, but the States find increasingly that their revenues, both ordinary and loan funds, are taken up more and more in providing essential services like education, health, upkeep of roads, public transport, social welfare and so forth. It is time we did a little more social planning or national planning so th»* instead of curtailing expenditure on calendar dates we assessed, some years in advance, the overall needs of the Stales. The time in this debate is limited but I draw the attention of the Committee to these 2 matters; firstly, the.ne’ed to see that staff is more adequately trained to use the great blessings that the computer is able to bestow and, secondly, to the deteriorating situation of Commonwealth and State financial relationships.
Mr MARTIN (Banks)’ (5.5)’- In the short time available to me in’ this debate I should like to concentrate on’ that item of the Advance to the Treasurer which deals with Commonwealth .Taxation Office salaries and payments in the nature of salary. I shall concentrate on the investigation activities of the Taxation Office, and on income tax investigations in’ particular. In this regard, I quote from the 49th report of the Commissioner of Taxation 1969-70, which is the latest report. The Commissioner of Taxation states: .
Like most revenue collecting authorities, the Taxation Office has to handle a continually growing volume of work with strictly limited resources. The volume of work grows with the population and the general development of the economy. In practice, this natural tendency is accentuated by the increasing complexity of taxation law and practice. Over the years, some taxpayers have become more prone to conduct their income-producing activities through companies, trusts, partnerships, etc. The necessary elaboration of the taxation laws designed to curb tax avoidance or to provide economic incentives inevitably produces new problems of law and practice which add to the basic task of establishing the taxpayer’s income and the other facts on which his liability depends. Over and above all this. there is the general problem’ of maintaining a level of compliance with the taxation laws which will satisfy the great majority of taxpayers that they are. not bearing an excessive share of ihe burden of luxation - a task which becomes more onerous as some taxpayers become more ready to resort lo complex arrangements to minimise their taxation burdens.
Later in bis report the Commissioner talks of the necessity for specialised investigation staff to concentrate on their primary role of uncovering omissions of income. When the Commissioner speaks of limited resources what does he mean? 1 can speak with some authority on this subject since I was employed in the investigation field of the Taxation Office for 15 years prior to my election to this House. I believe that the Commissioner of Taxation is referring to lack of staff - lack of investigation officers.
In my experience, the work of this Department and also of other departments has been stifled by action taken at political levels. I should like to quote a recent instance. The latest edict of the Prime Minister (Mt Gorton) in ordering a reduction of the intake of new staff has had, in the Taxation Office, the resultant effect of a decrease in the time spent by investigation officers on investigation duties with a consequent loss of revenue to the Commonwealth. This is pennywise and pound foolish. I quote again from the report of the Commissioner . of Taxation. He said:
A judgment has to be made between, on the one hand, the need to keep administrative costs at a reasonable minimum and, on the other hand, the need to protect the revenue - a need which is highlighted by the fact that each departmental investigation officer produces, on the average, nearly $100,000 in extra tax and penalties in the course of a year’s work.
The attitude of the Prime Minister, as I stated, is pennywise and pound foolish. The diversion of one investigation officer alone costs the Commonwealth $100,000 in lost revenue. All of this is done on the supposed score of economy.
Another and more serious interference at political level involves the instructions, either expressed or implied, which find their way from Government sources to the taxation administration. One instance of this to my knowledge was the complete curtailment of income tax investigation activities against a particular section of the business community on the instruction., either expressed or implied, of the then Treasurer. This should never happen. The Commissioner of Taxation should be completely free and unfettered to carry out his duties
10953/ 71 -JJ- JJ9J
as he alone sees fit. I trust that what has happened in the past will never happen again. I trust that the present Treasurer (Mr Bury), who is sitting at the table now. will not follow the example set for him by some of his predecessors. In this field 1 think it is important to draw these facts to the attention not only of the Treasurer and the members of Parliament but to the people in general so that when we do consider items of public expenditure and items of revenue the people themselves will know how their money is spent, whether they are getting value for their money and whether the taxation laws of this country are administered or allowed to be administered in a completely impartial and unfettered manner.
– We are speaking today on expenditure from Advance to the Treasurer for the financial year 1969-70. While it is somewhat unusual for the House to have the opportunity of commenting on this expenditure at this time of the year, as Chairman of the PublicAccounts Committee which, as you realise, has a vital and continuing interest in this expenditure, I welcome this opportunity to speak on the statement. No doubt, honourable members will have studied the one hundred and twenty-third report of the Committee which was tabled in the House on 28th October last and will be aware of the salient points raised by the Committee on the items of expenditure included in the Statement now before the House and examined by your Committee early in the last session of the Parliament. Mr Chairman, you will be aware that since the inception of the Public Accounts Committee in 1952, the Committee has taken a keen interest in the expenditure results achieved by departments. Indeed the first report of the Committee in 1953 related to the Supplementary Estimates, as they then were designated. In point of fact it would be fair to say that since then the Public Accounts Committee has occupied an important role in the development of present practices relating to the tabling of the Treasurer’s Advance.
Of particular importance from the viewpoint of principle, the thirty-first report of the Committee concluded:
The Treasurer should submit, with a resolution seeking the approval of the Parliament, and in lieu of supplementary Estimates, a statement indicating the expenditure authorised by him from the Treasurer’s Advance, as allocated to various heads of expenditure under Section 36a of the Audit Act.
The Treasurer’s Statement of Section 36a allocations should be tabled for the consideration of the Parliament as soon as possible within the financial year following the year to which they relate.
The Joint Parliamentary Committee of Public Accounts should endeavour to prepare for the Parliament a Report on each Statement as early as possible in the ensuing financial year and, if practicable, by the date on which the Treasurer tables it.
It is a matter of considerable satisfaction to past and present Committee members that these principles, enunciated by the Committee in that report in May 1957, now find their place in the normal financial administration of the Government and of the Parliament. It is of interest to note that the Committee which made these recommendations included among its members Senator Dame Ivy Wedgwood, the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme), the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) and the honourable member for Sydney (Mr Cope). Indeed’! would suggest to the House that the Public Accounts Committee through its annual inquiries into expenditures from the Advance to the Treasurer has greatly assisted members of Parliament in their participation in the financial administration of the Commonwealth. I would add, however, that there is a pressing need for greater and more effective parliamentary interest in the spending of the public purse and in assessing the proficiency of the Public Service in carrying out this duty on our behalf. We must realise that the right of the House to exercise an effective control over the public purse is as precious as any of the rights we so often defend. The Executive and the Public Service have an ever increasing control and, if we continue to leave this situation unchallenged, the very democracy we proclaim so proudly will slowly wither away.
As I have already mentioned, the work of the Joint Parliamentary Committee of Public Accounts performs a very valuable service in this regard. But this is not sufficient. Individual members themselves must be in a position to play an effective part in the important field of parliamentary control over the public finance of the Commonwealth. Certain members on both sides of the House have the specific talents and background and they have made notable contributions. But if ever there was a case for honourable members to have personal assistants, as in the United States of America, it is in the area of financial review and examination. Sooner or later members of the Parliament will need personal staff to make it feasible for them to perform their basic task of governing the country. But we do not have such staff and I would not venture to guess as to when we may have them. But it must come about if we are to perform our duties with some degree of honesty and efficiency, particularly when we have the present opportunity of discussing the Advance to the Treasurer.
In a leading article in the ‘Canberra Times’ today the suggestion was made for the establishment of a new joint parliamentary committee to investigate the growth of the Public Service in recent years. I would suggest that rather than establish yet another committee, there would be greater merit in strengthening the advisory resources of the Public Accounts Committee, which Committee has shown* through its general inquiries into the financial administration of departments, as well as its annual inquiry into the performances of departments relative to expenditure from the Advance to the Treasurer, no inhibitions in conducting inquiries in the important field of staff management and controls. Honourable members, if they have not already done so and I suspect some have not, may care to examine for themselves chapter 5 of the Committee’s one hundred and twelfth report on the Commonwealth Advertising Department of the Treasury. I put it to you, Mr Chairman, that consideration should be given to strengthening the advisory resources of the Public Accounts Committee both in the public interest and in the interests of this Parliament.
It is not my intention to repeat speeches made when reports of the Public Accounts Committee on the Advance to the Treasurer have been presented to the House in recent years. These are available in Hansard and though their message is certainly worth repeating I do not intend to do so now. Let me say, however, that the debate that is taking place today and which includes the Committee’s report as well as the Statement of Expenditure from the Advance to the Treasurer would indicate that the timing of the presentation of the statement to the House could with advantage become a regular feature in the parliamentary calendar so that we may, following the example of the House of Commons, debate what the parliamentary committees are doing on behalf of the Parliament itself and therefore allow a more meaningful and more effective contribution, participation and I venture to say a more meaningful control of the public purse than has been the case up to date.
I commend the fact that we have made this a joint discussion today. 1 was pleased to note that the 2 previous speakers from the Opposition side took the opportunity of mentioning matters that were raised in the last report - 1 believe it is the One Hundred and Twenty-third report - of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts. We as backbenchers and as private members have goodness knows few enough opportunities to have a say in the financial control of our country. Unless we develop a capacity to speak on matters such as the Advance to the Treasurer, our role as private members will continue to decrease. Again, I suggest there are 2 needs. One is the need to strengthen the advisory staff of the existing joint standing committees, and that includes the Public Accounts Committee, and the other is that the position of private members- in this House should bc strengthened by granting them the use of personal staff who may help them with vital and necessary research into the financial administration of Australia.
– by leave - The word ‘productivity’ is now being used widely in our public vocabulary. It is taken for granted that it has a real meaning for ordinary people. This is not so and present discussion of the wide-ranging forces that operate within our national economy might make understanding very difficult indeed. Yet it is important that there be a common understanding on a subject that has such personal bearing on us all living together in a community. Higher productivity is not an end in itself, lt is needed simply because it benefits society and each individual in society. Much of the discussion about productivity bears on how society will share in its benefits; in more money, wages and salaries, more profits, lower prices, and all those complex matters that determine the real standard of living which people in a society can enjoy. In fact 2 separate issues are involved. The first is to achieve more to share. The second is the way to share the benefit. Let us put first things first. Let us get on with the job of increasing the whole share, so that arguments about the distribution will have meaning instead of being theoretical debating points.
As in all Western industrial countries there has been an improvement in the real standard of living in Australia. This is illustrated by very ordinary things. In 1953 there were 13 motor cars for every 100 people in Australia and today there are twice as many. In 1953 there were 16 telephones for every 100 people in Australia and today there are twice as many. In 1953 there were no television sets in Australia and today there are more than 20 for every 100 people. I am not suggesting that these quantitative measures of growth and consumption are the sole indicators of progress; production of useless or harmful commodities can have the opposite effect. Of course, our standard of living has increased in other less quantifiable ways also - greater social security, improved cultural facilities, improved community services, better quality houses and so on. This level of improvement, however, has not been as good as it could have been with more effective effort, that is more productivity. Moreover, without a continuing and faster improvement in productivity, these kinds of benefits cannot be sustained or increased against cost and price pressures. Our annual 2i to 3 per cent productivity improvement taken over the long term is not a fast enough improvement to ensure that the money earned in the wage packet or in salaries will buy more in real terms or even continue to buy what it does today.
The cost of producing all goods or services is influenced by many factors and it is not necessary to detail them. But a simple truth is that waste of any kind, material or effort is the very negation of productivity. It is in the interests of us all that the difference between productivity and production be clearly understood. Production is the volume of goods and services measured without regard to the resources that are used up. Productivity is the volume of goods and services measured in relation to the resources that are used up. The more resources that are used up in production, the higher the unit cost of each article must be. An efficient, economical cook will get better and more cakes out of a mix than a wasteful cook. The better the use we make of our resources the higher the level of our productivity. This statement is true on a national basis and true of each organisation and of each person. The better he uses the time he has the more he will get out of it. The better he uses the materials with which he has to work the more he will make out of them. The better he uses the equipment at his disposal the more efficient will be his production. The end result will be that the unit cost should be lower for every article and every service he produces. To say that we need higher productivity is to say that we need to reduce the unit cost of everything we produce whether they be goods or services.
It is no wonder, therefore, that the word productivity’ has come to be used with increasing emphasis and frequency in discussions concerning industry and commerce, and the community generally. People in many countries are reminded almost every day of its importance. It is discussed at meetings of the International Labour Organisation; politicians, journalists, economists and industrialists have emphasised the need for productivity continuously and urgently. Governments have actively promoted the concept. In some countries, employers associations and trade unions have established, both separately and together, at the national as well as at the industrial level, agencies for furthering increased productivity. International productivity councils and bodies of various kinds have been founded, and practically all the professional bodies and learned societies that can be expected to have an interest in productivity show such interest actively. Out of all this discussion and consideration, one conclusion has become abundantly clear. That is, it is at the level of each single enterprise that a concern for productivity is most critical if the national total is to be improved. Society derives its strength from the performance of each individual industrial or commercial unit. It is at the level of the individual establishment that our productivity performance is determined.
The single enterprise is overridingly important because this is the level at which a nation’s people with their individual drive, performance and attitude make their vital contribution. It is the level at which our industrial and commercial effort produces goods and services efficiently and of a high quality, or inefficiently and of a minimally accepted quality. It is the level where the contribution of all our technical and financial know-how finally depends upon the attitudes of the individual manager, supervisor and factory or office worker - from the board room to the plant floor. This matter of attitude, 1 believe, is the key to higher productivity. I have said that the achievement of higher productivity depends on how effective we all are at making the best use of the resources, in terms of the equipment, materials and manpower that we have. But to make the best use of something presumes that there exists a will to do so. If this will does not exist we are seriously handicapped. The endeavour to increase productivity in Australia requires a will among its people to do so.
How does a society go about securing this will among its people? Various methods can be suggested. Massive propaganda campaigns could be mounted, and have been mounted in some countries. But both experience and a common-sense look at the obvious fallacy of progagandmethods in society today tell us that this would not only be unsuccessful, but that it would be wrong to use such methods, even for such an important end.
We need an approach that accepts that people are intelligent adults, one aimed at building an atmosphere of understanding in the community of what contributes to productivity and how it contributes.
Except for the converted minority, Australians do not have much appreciation of the role of productivity in our economy. Thus 3 questions of vital importance emerge.
There has, 1 am happy to say, been some concentrated activity in answer to these questions. I single out two for special mention because my own Department has been heavily involved in them.
The first activity is the establishment of a network, of productivity groups across Australian industry and commerce. There are 182 of these groups in which over 3,700 undertakings participate - manufacturing companies, public instrumentalities and commercial concerns. They work together in such a way as to help productivity in one another’s establishment and to spread a climate of opinion that makes productivity improvement an immediate goal. The people in productivity groups are oriented towards manufacturing and commerce. They have come lo realise in working together that higher productivity results from the more efficient working segments of their organisations. They see also that there is a chain effect from a small change in any office procedure or work method, causing it to spread into other parts of their organisations. The members of productivity groups work together on common productivity problems and exchange ideas on how their separate working methods might be improved. They search for ideas that can be transferred and adapted. This is what is being accomplished through productivity groups in all states.
While it is understood that work tasks and organisations differ, a participant can see that in almost everyone else’s establishment he will find something that can help him solve problems with which he is faced in his work. The productivity groups have shown, for example, that some of the production methods used in a carton factory were used with success in a tannery. They have shown that the training equipment used in a tobacco factory applied without modification in a chemicals factory. A safety programme in a heavy metals plant brought immediate results to a light engineering organisation. These examples multiplied a thousand times indicate how productivity ideas are transferred from one establishment to another because of the opportunities that productivity groups create for senior executives to see what other people are doing. Productivity groups are bound and sustained by the productivity attitude. They understand that by showing ideas they can reduce not only the costs of their own processes, but, by influencing efficiencies in other firms which may provide, for instance, the materials for those processes, the unit cost of their end product will be reduced.
However, while the productivity group movement is achieving its objectives where there are participants, the number of organisations which are not benefitting far outnumber the 3,700 member undertakings. In addition, while these developments have been taking place among some managers, the movement has not been able to reach out and communicate the essence, the need, and the implications of productivity. It is not surprising then that there has emerged a number of responsible people in industry, commerce and government who feel that the effort to create a climate of understanding about productivity needs to be broadened. An effort had to be made to reach more people in their capacities as managers and workers but also in their capacity as citizens. The people who saw this need proposed that this educational process required a joint contribution from industry, commerce, trade unions and government. Consequently, the Productivity Promotion Council of Australia was inaugurated as a national body in September 1969. My Department has been providing the administrative and executive services to the Council since that date. This is the second concentrated effort of which T make special mention.
The Council’s main objectives are to promote understanding in the community of the meaning and implications of productivity and to stimulate efforts towards better productivity performance. This is no mean task. Although the Council is still in its infancy, it has already gathered the financial support of over 550 members from some of the largest to some of the smallest companies in Australia. In the membership, also, are more than 70 organisations and professional bodies throughout Australia whose deliberations impinge on productivity promotion. The Councils National Committee is composed of prominent representatives from industry, commerce, government and employer organisations, and its articles of association provide for representation from the trade union movement. In fact, the Australian Council of Trade Unions is presently considering an invitation to nominate representatives. The Productivity Promotion Council has branch committees in 4 States and standing advisory panels on education, on manpower and on management.
One of the Council’s first actions was to assess what people understood about productivity and its implications. To this end, it arranged a national survey through the gallup poll. The results produced fresh evidence of what I said at the outset about the community’s understanding of productivity and its influence. The details are worth quoting. Although 72 per cent of the people interviewed had consciously heard of the word ‘productivity’, only 12 per cent knew reasonably accurately what it meant. Correct knowledge was lowest amongst semi-skilled workers. Professional people and managers did not do much better; only 22 per cent had a good comprehension of the term. A second survey carried out among members of the Council supported these findings. Half of the respondent members considered that the main factor inhibiting productivity was the lack of awareness of the advantages of productivity improvement on the part of managers and supervisors. Others blamed many other factors including employee attitudes, resistance to change and militant union activity. The Council has already embarked on an extensive programme of education. It has distributed to industry and the general community a number of pamphlets and publications directed at informing people of the potential benefits of higher productivity and its relationship to an increased standard of living. It has organised and conducted conferences, seminars, and exhibitions on techniques for productivity improvement. This Council deserves a lot of support. It has a big job ahead but it is a job that has to be done.
The productivity group movement and the Productivity Promotion Council of
Australia are, of course, not the only bodies that are making contributions to community understanding. Many others could be mentioned such as the Australian Institute of Management, the Institution of Engineers, and the numerous professional and technical societies concerned with accounting, marketing, personnel management and the like. The technical educationalists could be mentioned together with the universities and the Colleges of Advanced Education. With so many bodies at work, one would expect the general awareness of the part that the level of productivity plays in our daily lives to be sharper than it obviously is.
The problems of communication are obviously great and we have not solved them. How do we explain to the community that absence from work amounts to the reduction of the nation’s work force by 200,000 persons. Not all of this absence is; of course, avoidable; some is caused by sickness, some by injury, some by domestic emergencies. But we all know that some, perhaps much, absence is avoidable. How do we explain to the community that rapid job-changing costs about $50m a year? Again, not all of this job-changing is avoidable, but, to the extent that some is, community costs could be saved. How do we get managers to understand that strong efforts are needed to provide the kind of work satisfaction for people that attracts rather than repels them from some work situations? How do we explain to the community that injury and accident rates in industry alone cause roughly the equivalent of withdrawing some 17,000 persons from the work force? This has no regard to injuries that occur away from the work place.
I would not wish to be misunderstood when I say that the key to productivity improvement lies in attitudes. There are many other factors that affect productivity performance - the design of articles, the size of markets, the allocation of resources within the individual concern so as to produce an optimum result, the quality of management, industrial relations and the training of the work force. To some of these I am presently giving active attention. There will be a national conference on training this year so that appropriate persons can consider ways and means of improving the quality of work training.
Later in the year there will be a national conference on industrial safety at which there will be an opportunity to re-assess the action being taken to improve our very inadequate safety performance. Nevertheless, although all these things affect productivity performance in one way or another, the common factor that runs through them all is people, their understanding, and their attitudes.
Throughout this statement, I have emphasised the importance of understanding and of attitudes in any endeavour to achieve higher productivity. I have avoided any suggestion of pinpointing culprits or villains. There is no thought in my mind that people do not want higher productivity or do not wish to behave in a way that will get it. There is no suggestion that there is blame to be laid specifically at the door of workers or of managers or of citizens.
There can be no attitude about a thing until it is understood. I believe that the reason higher productivity and its implications are not understood is because not enough effort has been made to explain it, and explain it in a way that ordinary intelligent people can grasp. I believe that given the facts, people will determine their attitudes for themselves in the light of what they consider the best interests of all.
I propose to encourage in every way possible the efforts of all bodies that seek to produce objective and simple explanations for public dissemination and discussion.
We are low achievers in regard to productivity growth. Productivity is a key element in our capacity for economic and social advancement. The commitment of all of us to the understanding and securing of productivity improvement is a matter of very great national importance. I present the following paper:
Productivity and (he Community - Ministerial Statement, 23rd February 1971.
Motion (by Mr Killen) proposed:
That the House take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Mr Clyde Cameron) adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 5.42 to 8 p.m.
- Mr Chairman, I direct my comments to that portion of the subject report relating to the Attorney-General’s Department. The Attorney-General has the administrative responsibility for the companies law. Today there is public consternation over the Minsec scandal - I think that is a pretty fair summation of it - and the moves that have been made in the nature of a so-called rescue operation and all that they entail. The Minsec collapse is the largest in the history of the Australian share market and conceivably could have international repercussions. I do not attempt in any way to cast aspersions on the activities of those who have been responsible for organising the rescue operation but I do say that this Government has only itself to blame for what has happened because it has ignored the repeated warnings of the Opposition on the need for a securities exchange commission. The Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) took such a serious view of the matter than on the invitation of Sir Val Duncan and Sir Cecil Looker he was responsible for convening a conference of parlies interested in or affected by the repercussions of the Minsec crash. It would appear that Minsec has secured debts amounting to $46m and unsecured debts about $l5m, according to Press figures.
The control of Minsec has been in the hands of a group of young men of considerable brilliance. You could almost say that they have been the whiz kids of the mining boom in Australia. But they overplayed their hand, and with drastic consequences. I want to stress the fact that on 25th January of this year they gave a report to Minsec shareholders on business for the half year in which they stated that Minsec had made a consolidated profit in the 6 months in excess of $3.5m. Less than a fortnight later they lamely reported that Minsec had suffered a loss instead of a profit. The amount of the loss - $3. 28m - almost equalled the earlier reported profit. It was disclosed in the course of subsequent investigations that in the second half of 1970 the Minsec group had sold through brokers 6.15 million shares in the Robe River mining project - quite legitimately - but also through one of its subsidiaries the group had bought 6.37 million shares. I think those facts speak for themselves. Obviously the group was propping up the market.
The rescue operation has been confronted with serious difficulties. It would appear that the shrewd boys in the share broking world and the investing world decided to get in quickly out of the wet. Behind it all is the looseness of the transactions on the inter-company loan market. The point that seriously concerns the liquidator and those who were responsible for the rescue operation - it certainly concerns the ordinary shareholders - is that preferential security has been given and was demanded by some of the major creditors of the company. The comment that was published this morning in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ is most illuminating. The newspaper contains a reported conversation between Mr Van Toll, a member of the Ord-BT group, and a Mr Todner in these terms:
Van Toll: ‘1 saw your Managing Director at the meeting of creditors that was held at Ord-BT. I was sorry to see you are involved.’
Todner: ‘We are now secured.’
Van Toll: ‘When did you get your security?’
Todner: ‘Last Tuesday’ (February 2).
Van Toll: ‘I think that might be the sort of security you could paper your walls with.’
Todner: ‘I don’t know what right they had to give it to us but we have it and we are sticking to it.’
How far are the Prime Minister of Australia and certain major statutory bodies to involve themselves in an imbroglio of this nature? I think that question merits an answer from the Treasurer and from the Government. It is true that if these shares were unloaded on the market at the present time the market would collapse, but surely that is a matter for the liquidator. I will not use the word ‘fraudulent’ but I do say that unfair and voidable preferences have been given and that as this firm progressively floundered deeper into debt by over-extending itself in the nature of its share transactions it was asked for and it gave undue preference to certain of its creditors. This is something that the rescue operation cannot sort out. There has been a variation in the quality and market calibre of some shares held. Those sitting on good security naturally will want to keep it but at the best it would appear that no more than an equitable charge has been created in respect of the majority of shares held.
The remedy is a simple one. In respect of every mining company carrying on operations -
– Order! The honourable member is now referring to something that does not relate strictly to the subject before the Committee. The appropriation referred to in the statement before the Committee has already been agreed to. The discussion of share dealings and other matters touches on policy and is quite outside the scope of this debate
– With due respect, my remarks are directed to Division No. 130 - Administrative. I refer to appropriations for travelling and subsistence and incidental and other expenditure. It is a function of the Attorney-General’s Department to supervise the behaviour of companies and the operation of companies legislation throughout Australia. I submit that in respect of any company operating in Canberra or in any other Commonwealth territory, the Commonwealth has a responsibility
– Order! 1 stress again that the statement before the Committee relates only to moneys already paid and is for the information of honourable members. The appropriation has already been passed. There cannot be a general debate on policy matters connected with the Statement.
– I refer again to Division No. 130 and to the appropriation for payment of legal aid in special circumstances. Is this not of all cases one in which special legal aid could be given and needs to be given, particularly to the unfortunate ordinary shareholders? I know that this is a matter of great discomfiture to the Government but it has only itself to blame for participating in what is at best a sordid and unreasonable chain of events. There was no need for the Government to come into the picture. The Prime Minister took it upon himself to do so. I do not impugn his motives in any way but the Government is now committed and it will have to answer to the people of Australia. There can be only one outcome - a public outcry. There has been a scandulous manipulation of share values on the stock markets of Australia in relation to the mining boom. Now we face the wash up. The day of reckoning is at hand. The least the Commonwealth can do is act as the Prime
Minister acted in the case of MLC Ltd when there was a threat of a takeover bid. He took advantage of the fact that the parent company of Mutual Life and Citizens Assurance Co. Ltd was registered in Canberra and was able to bring pressure to bear. In just the same way these people really over-extended themselves in seeking to get a controlling interest of the Nabarlek uranium deposits which are in the Northern Territory and strictly within the jurisdiction of this Government.
-1 want to direct the Committee’s attention to a factor which should have the priority attention of the Treasurer (Mr Bury) in determining the approval of the advances which he is seeking tonight. We are being asked to authorise moneys totalling $5.7m to 19 different departments. Presently these departments, for which the Treasurer is seeking finance, are affected, I should imagine, but I am also asking the question, by the austerity programme which the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has announced. So the first question we must pose to the Treasurer in Committee is whether these advances have been affected by the Prime Minister’s austerity programme. If so, in what way have they been adjusted? If they have not been adjusted, how then can we deal with the matter in the light of what the Prime Minister said, because he said that there is to be a general cut. Is this reflected in these advances? I think that the Treasurer should make plain what is to happen to these advances in relation to what the Prime Minister said.
There is another perhaps more important matter, and it is that before the Committee makes a decision as to whether this Government expenditure is to be authorised, the question should surely be posed in the Committee as to whether these advances can be varied by the application of Treasury action on certain matters. Here I would draw attention to certain matters. I refer to the basic one which I pose as a question in relation to the statement I have just made, and it is that there is a waterfall of money from Australia to overseas interests - companies and countries - in our monetary and trading relations which now amounts to S2,600m a year. This is more than 2i times the national revenue in the time of Prime
Minister Chifley. Two and a half times the national revenue in those days is going to outside companies and countries at the present time.
I think this is the time in Committee to ask the question as to whether the Treasury has applied itself to this great outpuring of wealth abroad in relation to the revenue for which we are being asked this evening to support 19 departments of State. Let me just spell out my queries specifically. The outpouring of wealth abroad from Australia-
The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock)Order! I point out to the honourable member that the Committee is not being asked to appropriate money; it is not being asked to pay money out. The money has already been advanced. It has been appropriated in a Bill which came before the Parliament previously. This is, one might say, a statement of the actual expenditure and a division of that expenditure into the departments which are set out in the statement. This will not be affected by and has nothing to do with the Prime Minister’s statement recently regarding reduction in Government expenditure. If the honourable member will read the wording on the front of the document entitled ‘Advance to the Treasurer’ he will see that it refers to a statement of heads of expenditure and the amounts charged thereto, and the amounts appropriated for 1969-70 are set out on page 3 of the document.
– Thank you, Mr Chairman. I was not confused what we were voting on the appropriation; but what I was concerned about was the application of the funds. I understand - and perhaps we can get further guidance on this - that the Committee of this House is being given, in effect, a progress report as to what the advances are required for and what presumably we will do with them. This touches on 19 departments of State. Surely if there is any significance in the Committee having this document at all it is to ask the Treasurer whether in fact he may vary the emphasis of this money or the. utilisation of it.
– Order! I point out to the honourable member again that the statement does not refer to the future; it refers to the year which has passed. Therefore, this is a report on something, one might say, that has already happened and is not continuing into the future.
- Mr Chairman, I appreciate very much the explanations. I think they have helped the Committee considerably, and I say that very sincerely. But if I may, 1 should like to phrase my queries in relation to what might have been done with the money for which the Treasurer is seeking approval. In virtual fact, that is what we are doing. I am sure that the Treasurer would like the Committee to approve of what he has spent on 19 departments of State. Therefore, we might pose a series of questions in relation to the emphasis which might have been applied to the utilisation of these funds. Again I come back to the fact that we have within the 19 departments of State for which advances were required a series of key agencies of State which I submit should have been turning their attention, under the direction of the Government, to this waterfall of payments, which I have just mentioned, amounting to $2,600m a year to overseas corporations and interests for services rendered in one form or another. What I am saying is: Should we not in relation to the operation of these key departments of State be asking them in fact to minimise the expenditure which I have just indicated is running at $2,600m a year?
To make my point I will have to explain what the figure is made up of, what it is, Otherwise the Treasurer will wonder just what it means. So if I might be permitted to explain just what this is made up of, I think he will be able to see the relativity to the departments of State that we have before us this evening in relation to the advances needed to keep them going. Let me cite the major sum here, which is §1, 227m for the so-called invisibles in the balance of payments covering dividends on investments, insurance and other payments such as shipping charges. The figures on these items represent the outpouring for 1969-70 which, I might say, is very relevant to the expenditure from the Advance to the Treasurer, because this also is for 1969-70. So for 1969-70 we have this figure of $l,227m for invisibles. The interesting thing here is that it represents an increase of $200m on the previous year. This is money which is found by the nation. Irrespective of whose pocket it comes out of, it comes out of ihe collective pockets of the nation in effect and goes away. Perhaps again I should explain that that figure of $l,227m, which includes an increase of S200m over the previous year, is in fact a deficit. We do have some income ourselves from the invisibles, but the total outpouring is approximately $3,680m.
Here we have a very key area of consideration because some of these departments are involved in an interlocking way. We have this great increase of $200m over the previous year in the outpouring of money for services provided by overseas corporations and bodies - services which I submit we could well provide ourselves. So this is the largest part of the waterfall, ft includes $505m payable to overseas bond holders, which represents 30 per cent of all the company income of Australia. It takes 16 per cent of our export income to meet the Bill. The next figure is around $200m, represented by the differences in benefits we receive from the old imperial preferences and the benefits we give. The final factors in making up the figures I have given are trading with the United States, which is running at $408m in deficit, and trading with the United Kingdom which is running at $454m in deficit, and it should be remembered that the greater the amount of overseas investment-
– Order! I am afraid I must say to the honourable member that I cannot see where he is relating his remarks to the particular expenditure which has been presented to the Committee literally as a report on expenditure and appropriation. I repeat what I said earlier, that this is a statement of payments made in the financial year 1969-70 from money which has previously been appropriated by this Parliament. It has no relation to future expenditure. The Committee is not asked to appropriate any money at all; the money concerned has already been appropriated.
– In the final moment I just want to say that what I was trying to point out to the Committee was that the funds in this advance could very well have been applied in the various administrative agencies involved to limit what 1 regard as an excessive waterfall to outside interests.
Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– 1 would like to deal first with those items in the statement under the heading ‘Commonwealth Scholarships Schemes of the Department of Education and Science’. I wish to refer specifically to how they have been utilised in the past. A lot of parents and teachers in the western and far western suburbs of Sydney have been carefully considering the statistics which are available. I have written to the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) asking for specific details of the number of Commonwealth secondary school scholarships granted to students in the western areas of the metropolitan district of Sydney, as well as the number of Commonwealth university scholarships issued. One finds that those children who are fortunate enough to live in the privileged areas, such as the northern suburbs, some of the southern suburbs and the Illawarra area, are receiving a far greater proportion of these Commonwealth secondary school scholarships as well as those for tertiary training than children who live in the western areas of Sydney.
One cannot compare the income brackets of the people living in the Hornsby area, or the north shore area generally, and those who live in the western suburbs. The children in the western suburbs come from families whose income level is very much lower than that of those in the other areas, yet they are receiving far fewer of these Commonwealth secondary andteritary scholarships than do children in the northern suburbs. For this reason one cannot help but feel that the question of need ought to be looked at in the allocation of these scholarships. The Commonwealth uses its own method of determining who will receive scholarships. It does not award them on the basis of the examinations under the State school system. The Commonwealth has its own system of allocation. One cannot help but wonder whether this should not be looked at as well.
I can quote 1 school in the Blacktown area whose pupils received a larger number of 6A passes in the fourth year examinations than those in any of the other schools in the area; yet they did not receive one secondary school scholarship. The answer given is that the 6 advanced level passes were under the State system of examination. The Commonwealth scholarships issued were under the Federal system of examination, and they are two quite different things. For that reason I feel that we need to have a look at this matter to find out whether there is equity between the two systems of examination, because obviously something is wrong if more children in 1 school can attain 6 advanced levels than in any other school in the area, yet that school receives fewer Commonwealth scholarships than any other school in the area, or even none. Surely the system has to be looked at.
This is a very vital issue. Perhaps we need to look at whether or not some form of means test should be applied. Admittedly, it would have to be a very liberal means test. But surely the children who need financial assistance most are those who should receive it. The teachers tell us of cases where children have been told by their parents: ‘If you receive a Commonwealth scholarship I will give it to you as pocket money.’ That is not the purpose of these scholarships. Their purpose is to see that children who have natural capacities and abilities are given the opportunity to utilise and fully develop those natural capacities and abilities. For this reason I say once again that the allocation of funds needs to be looked at carefully, first as to the differences between the examination for Commonwealth secondary and tertiary scholarships and the method of examination adopted by the State schools, to see whether there is equity between the two. It will be very interesting to see the statistics that finally come to me from the Minister for Education and Science. I have asked for the actual number of scholarships issued to a number of schools right throughout the metropolitan area of Sydney. When that information is obtained-
– Order! I point out to the honourable member that he is going beyond the scope of the subject matter before us. He is going into a discourse on the policy in regard to scholarships, and that is going outside the scope of the subject matter.
– With respect, I am referring to 2 amounts under the heading
Department of Education and Science Commonwealth Scholarships Schemes’. These are funds which, as you have pointed out, Mr Chairman, have been expended already. They have been expended on Commonwealth scholarships for both secondary and tertiary education. 1 am referring to the manner and the conditions under which those funds have been expended. 1 think that this is surely my right, otherwise why do we bother to bring this statement before the House if the debate is to be so restricted that we cannot even discuss whether these funds have been expended or on what basis they have been expended. Otherwise this Parliament may not discuss this matter-
– Order! I explained to the honourable member for Chifley that what he was doing was discussing policy matters that are not within the scope of the matter before the Committee at this moment. I have already explained that, as I explained it to the honourable member for Riverina. The honourable member for Chifley mentioned the number of Commonwealth scholarships granted and the amount prescribed. He then went on to discuss policy matters regarding the award of those scholarships. I then pointed out to the honourable member for Chifley that it is not within the scope of the statement before the Committee to discuss the policy matter of the allocation of Commonwealth scholarships and matters related to it.
– Thank you, Sir. With respect, evidently I was correct, I gather, in the first instance. I will once again summarise the matter purely on the basis that I believe there must be a reassessment of this expenditure and the methods of examination as between the Commonwealth and the States and as to whether or not these scholarships are being used for the best possible purposes. What is the intent behind the scholarships? They are intended to assist those who need financial assistance and not those who do not need it. Therefore some form of means test should be placed on secondary scholarships.
– Order! I point out to the honourable member again that this is not within the scope of the subject matter before the Committee.
– Very well. I am pleased to note that the Commonwealth is not dealing with the expenditure in the same manner as the New South Wales Education Department did, when it apparently allocated funds for the recent State election campaign for political broadcasts on television. That was a most extraordinary happening and one which ought not to have been allowed to take place. I hope that many members of the State Parliament in New South Wales will take up this misuse of State government funds, when those funds were used deliberately and intentionally-
– Order! I have already told the honourable member for Chifley that he is going beyond the scope of this debate. If the honourable member continues to go outside the scope of the item I shall have to ask him to resume his seat.
– Finally, I note also on page 25 the salaries for the Department of Trade and Industry. I have no doubt that the figures given there include expenditure on salaries for the Tariff Board. I believe this is of importance because of the policy which exists today and which goes back before the days of the major parties and before this Parliament was formed, to the days of free trade versus protection. 1 believe it is important that we keep in mind at all times that Australian industry and Australian conditions of employment were built originally on protection. It is important always to keep in mind that even though a revision may have to occur from time to time those conditions must be maintained.
The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock) Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I have already spoken once durng the Committee stage but I would like to make one point on the matters that have been raised by previous speakers. Having said in my earlier speech that I was in favour of the reports of the Public Accounts Committee and this statement being debated at the same time, I wonder whether I might suggest to the previous speakers that if they speak again they may be interested in arguing why the amounts in the statements of the Advance to the Treasurer were in fact included rather than why there were expended. I think this would perhaps keep them within the scope of this debate. The honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean), himself a former distinguished member of the Public Accounts Committee and perhaps one of the most informed men in this chamber on matters of public finance generally, kept himself within those bounds. I suggest to the previous speakers that that should be the area in which they should keep the debate.
The point of the Advance to the Treasurer is that the money was expended between April and June in 1970. It was a policy decision, and the amount was to be spent over 12 months ago. I thought the interesting point for all of us on both sides of the chamber was not the policy underlying the figures but rather why on earth departments had to resort to the Treasurer’s Advance as their forms of finance. I repeat that I think it may be well worth their while, as the honourable member for Sydney (Mr Cope), who is sitting here, would no doubt agree, to read back and see what the Joint Committee has said on the Advance to the Treasurer during the last several years, and it may come as a surprise to realise how critical some of those reports have been on some of the very subjects that have been raised.
– I accept the point that was made so courteously and well by the honourable member for Cook (Mr Dobie) and I shall reapply myself to the Public Accounts Committee documents. However I take the opportunity to pose a question to the Treasurer (Mr Bury) in relation to the vote and the money which, as has clearly been explained, has already been expended in the administration of the Department of the Treasury. The query is a simple one. Is the Treasurer satisfied, in relation to the Treasurer’s Advance and the other moneys appropriated by the Parliament, that he has a team adequate to guide the economic life of the nation at this time? It would seem that the economy is geared to rootless speculation, and there is certainly a need for more Treasury action than has been undertaken so far, particularly in relation to some of the matters which have come before the Parliament this evening. Some of these were mentioned by the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor). I ask the Treasurer whether, in relation to the money that has been expended by him and the advances and appropriations that have been made, he is satisfied that the Treasury is fulfilling the role of guiding the Australian economy for the sake of Australia and its people and is not acting as an umbrella for unbridled speculation and uncontrolled exploitation by home grown and foreign monopolies. I draw his attention again to the figure that I gave him for the waterfall outside Australia, that is, $2, 600m, which seems to me to be a matter of some concern.
I take this opportunity as a second occasion to raise it. In two or three days I will raise it again because I feel it is a matter to which the Committee and the Parliament should be giving priority. It is a matter that we should be spending most time on. I make no apology for raising it again. I raise it in the context of this measure to ask whether the Treasurer is satisfied that he has the necessary advances. If he does not have adequate advances, appropriations and staff and the necessary means, let him tell us, because in fact the Treasury has not been the guiding hand in the Australian economy which we have needed. So I am putting thi* in the context of what has been reported to us.
We have a sum of money for the administration of the Taxation Office, the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Board and the Bureau of Census and Statistics. Are these adequate to reach the determinations that we must reach in relation to such matters as inflation, for example? I feel that the Treasurer has an opportunity in the Committee and within the context of the matters that have been raised to say whether the money that has been appropriated already - I got the point that was so clearly and well made by the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee - has been expended wisely. I am asking the Treasurer whether, within that context, he is satisfied that he has the physical means at his disposal to give the guidance to the economy which it obviously so desperately needs, and also the means to tackle the waterfall of $2,600m. I have stated that figure At least six times tonight because it seems to me to have an overwhelming significance for the Parliament and [he nation.
Has the Treasurer got the means? Have the advances been adequate? Is the structure adequate? I think we are entitled to ask that. After all, the Parliament has been told what money is being sought and what advances have been made. Surely to goodness, if this exercise is to have any meaning - 1 take the point well from the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, and perhaps we should be more concerned about the work of this Committee - we are entitled to ask whether there is a need for this advance finance. I am sure that the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) will apply himself to that point. But 1 feel that within the context of the debate and the concern of the Committee this evening, it is still incumbent upon the Treasurer to reply to the questions which have been posed in a serious way by me tonight.
– I address my remarks to the item in division 130 which relates to legal aid - payments in special circumstances. In accordance with your ruling, Mr Chairman, I may speak to this item because it relates to expenditure that has occurred as a result of the operations of the last financial year. I make the point very strongly that the cost of litigation today can be prohibitive, and in many cases public spirited citizens with appropriate assistance from the Commonwealth of Australia would be prepared to test matters of grave constitutional importance. Today we are unfortunately labouring under the defects of an imperfect Constitution under which sovereign powers still remain with the States although a limited cession of certain of these powers was made grudgingly by the States to the Commonwealth.
The arbiter between the States and the Commonwealth and between the citizen and the Commonwealth is in all cases the High Court of Australia. Anyone who approaches the courts of our land, particularly the courts of senior jurisdiction, does so at his financial peril. I do not want to probe the reasons at any length. The point I want to make is that provision should be made in the future for cases of this nature. May I remind the House that early in the last financial year the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill 1970, which is at present in a sort of procedural limbo, was introduced and-
– I point out to the honourable member for Cunningham that none of the matters he has mentioned so far has any relationship to the item now before the Committee. I ask the honourable member not to transgress the ruling I have given now on 5 or 6 occasions.
– In the middle of a sentence and before I had completed the thought I wanted to present, you chose to interrupt me.
– Order! The honourable member for Cunningham should have been interrupted earlier. He mentioned Commonwealth-State relations, he mentioned the matter of assistance and many other matters which I said had no relevance to the item before the Committee. I suggest that the honourable member direct his remarks to that item.
– I was just coming to precisely that point when you chose to interrupt me. The point I want to make is that within my city there is a grave matter of constitutional importance. I wanted to cite the parallel of the offer which had been made by no less a person than the Prime Minister of Australia (Mr Gorton) to any of the States which are prepared, to challenge the constitutional validity of the legislation to which I have referred. I make and stand by the point that any public spirited citizen, particularly someone who also has a personal stake, is entitled to ask in special circumstances for special assistance. That is the phrasing used in the item to which I direct my remarks, ‘Payments in Special Circumstances’. The special circumstance relates specifically to a test case which is looming and on which an approach will be made to the Commonwealth for assistance in respect of certain legislation of the State of New South Wales which transgresses upon the Commonwealth’s constitutional rights and sovereignty over the continental shelf.
I will take the matter no further. I am just giving warning that the approach will be made and it will be on a matter that concerns Clutha Development Pty Ltd and legislation which has been enacted by the New South Wales Parliament and the validity or otherwise of a contract already entered into which gives certain rights to Clutha Development Pty Ltd.
– Order! I ask the honourable member for Cunningham to resume his seat. The honourable member can raise this matter before the House al the appropriate moment. This is not the appropriate moment in view of the item which we are discussing.
– I have been a member of the Public Accounts Committee for well nigh 15 years and both the Treasurer (Mr Bury) and the shadow Treasurer are ex-members of that Committee. There has been quite a lot of controversy each year in regard to the Advances to the Treasurer. I am a firm advocate of the use of this term at the very utmost for certain purposes particularly where we hear the Auditor-General criticising various departments because of under-expenditure year after year. If I may illustrate the point, there may be some item on which a department estimated an expenditure of Sim for each of the last 3 years but on which it has spent only 60 per cent of that money, in other words. $600,000, in each of those 3 years. I believe that unless there are special circumstances departments should estimate for a particular year according to the amount spent in the preceding year. We would then be able to estimate taxation at Budget time more accurately than we do now. I think it would be wise on all occasions for departments - unless a special occasion arises or there is a Cabinet direction in regard to what expenditure will be for the next financial year - to gauge their estimates according to what was spent in the previous year. If by some chance extra money should be needed by a department for a particular item it should come under the Advance to the Treasurer. I believe we would acquit ourselves much better in forming our estimates. I am sure if there was an estimates committee functioning within the House of Representatives as there is in the British Parliament we would have much better estimates presented at Budget time than we have now and departments would be brought into line in respect of more accurate estimating on each occasion.
– I want briefly to refer to an item contained in division 360 of this statement which refers to salaries and payments to the staff of the Australian News and Information Bureau. In view of the size of this Bureau, the amount of money required by it, in comparison with the amount required under a number of other items, is rather large and
I want to draw attention to the fact that last year this organisation was used for purposes for which it was not set up. T ask the Treasurer (Mr Bury) whether he can clearly indicate that these moneys were not spent on the taking of photographs, for security purposes, of persons within Australia which activity should come under another heading. That is the matter I particularly want to raise because the amount seems rather large and I feel the House is entitled to know whether these additional expenditures arise from a direction from the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) to this Bureau to take photographs and in other ways engage in activities which are not properly the activities of the Bureau. If the money was used for these purposes I believe this amount should be credited against the Attorney-General’s Department, which is the Department in charge of security, and the House should be clearly informed on exactly how the money is spent. Departments which do not have a security responsibility should not be used for that purpose.
– I would like to refer to page 9 relating to the Department of Education and Science and to the allocation of an amount of Si 4,339 for pre-school education and training. I ask the Treasurer (Mr Bury) exactly how this money has been used. I must compliment the Government upon the standards of pre-school education which obtain in the Australian Capital Territory. I assume that a great deal of this sum would be related to that system. I ask the Treasurer whether it also involves any necessary research or inquiry into extending the system of pre-school education which obtains in the Australian Capital Territory to the rest of Australia. This is of very great importance. When all is said and done, Australia has a great area and I do not think that this facility should be available only in the Australian Capital Territory. I think it is common sense that if it is good enough for the Australian Capital Territory it should be good enough for the rest of Australia and the system should be extended further.
– I rise to order. As the Chairman of the Public Works Committee pointed out a while ago, the normal expenditure of departments, which has become the subject under discussion, is subject to appropriation. The matter we are discussing does not deal with appropriations but with an Advance to the Treasurer for the period from now till July. I submit that the discussion of departments in general terms is out of order and is not relevant to this debate.
– Order! I have already ruled against a detailed debate on the subject mentioned in the statement. In this particular instance the honourable member for Chifley has been within the scope of the statement but 1 would not like him to enlarge his remarks into a general debate on education and variations in education, lt is no pleasure for me to constantly call honourable members to order and direct them to keep within the limits of the statement. If this debate developed into what would be virtually a small Budget-type debate then almost every item mentioned in this statement could be debated at length and honourable members could bring forward many arguments and contentions. The Advance to the Treasurer has always been debated in Committee within a limited and rigid framework, and this is why I have constantly reminded honourable members that they must confine their remarks to the subject matter of the statement.
– Thank you, Mr Chairman. lt would have been better had the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) waited a little, while because I had almost finished my remarks and it would have saved you. Mr Chairman, the difficulty of having to explain the situation. I should like to ask this question of the Treasurer: Are these funds being used solely for the pre-school education system in the Australian Capital Territory or do they include some provision for research, inquiry and organisation whereby this magnificent system can be expanded throughout Australia so that other people, such as those who reside in my electorate, can also enjoy it? I think this is a simple question because what is good enough for the Australian Capital Territory should be good enough for the rest of Australia.
– Mr Chairman-
– Order! The honourable member for Riverina has already spoken twice during this debate.
– 1 should like to bring this wideranging discussion back to the true subject of the statement. The honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) did not stray from the proper purposes of this debate, but he raised a number of points, one of which referred to the Government’s recent edict about limiting, for the time being, fresh accretions to the Commonwealth Public Service. It so happens that the Commonwealth Public Service has, for some time, been expanding at a faster percentage rate than the total Australian work force. Its cost has been expanded not only by additional numbers but also by the huge wage increases awarded in the last 12 months, and it has become increasingly costly for the taxpayers of Australia. lt is pertinent that the Public Service should study productivity because productivity is important to the whole economy and it is certainly essential that Commonwealth agencies should, wherever possible and relevant to their functions, take the lead in this matter. This Certainly does not mean that recruitment of most efficient, highly skilled people is being inhibited; it means that Commonwealth departments must examine very carefully whether they have a real requirement for the additional staff. Of course, they will not forget the future, which the honourable member for Melbourne Ports rather hinted might be overlooked in this process. The departments take long term views and know that over a period of years they must have a certain intake of the most important and skilled people.
The honourable member for Melbourne Ports referred also to - a question asked of me by the honourable member for Adelaide (Mi Hurford) which was put on the notice paper, lt is true that I did take longer than I anticipated to answer it, but it so happens that in the last couple of months 1 have had one or two other things to do, not that 1 do not regard answering honourable members’ questions as highly important and I give them high priority. However. I am afraid this was one unintentionally delayed case - perhaps there are others too that the honourable member for Melbourne Ports could unearth. But in this instance the damage, if any, has been repaired by now. At least I was anxious to answer the question before the House met. The question concerned a $10m loan to Victoria. The honourable member for
Melbourne Pons suggested that this loan may have been granted for political rather than strictly financial reasons. The honourable member has been in the Parliament long enough to know that these 2 things blend closely together, but, in fact, the following was the position. Though it may be deplorable that we have drifted into a position, as pointed out by him, where a State comes along at the last moment to flush out $ 10m because it has acute financial difficulties, the States do have these difficulties from time to time because they have a limited total money supply and therefore they have to ration it and have to look at things in rather a different way from the Commonwalth. The arrangement was made, the rate of interest was equivalent to the bond rate then operating and this transaction has now become part of history. At the time it was essential for Victoria, from which State the honourable member comes, and I feel sure that basically he must have welcomed what was done.
He referred also to the fact that it is too bad that we do not have sufficient social planning in relation to the States but, as he knows, the last financial agreement which was made last June provided a very large increase in funds to the States and also inbuilt a formula which means that the revenue grants to the States will automatically increase considerably faster than the gross national product. Formulae have been established and provision has been made for dealing with wage increases. A pattern has been set out and the States can plan accordingly.
The honourable member for Banks (Mr Martin), who is a former officer of the Taxation Office, drew on his previous knowledge to inform the Committee of one or two problems which he saw in the Taxation Office, particularly in regard to the investigators of that Department. These people, of whom he was once one, are a very important pari of the Taxation Office, but there is an arrangement whereby every year when taxation returns are coming in very heavily and the Department has difficulty in issuing the refunds for which taxpayers are clamouring, the Department, if hard-pressed, transfers investigation officers from their normal duties to checking returns. He spoke about productivity and how much money they collected through their investigations, but at that time of the year they can collect more money by attending to returns than by investigating particularly difficult cases. There is something in what he said, lt is- very difficult to get enough skilled people who are qualified, who have the natural intelligence’ and aptitude together with the basic qualifications to become good taxation investigation officers. The Commissioner of Taxation would like to have more of those men. It is very easy to say that if we pay people more money we will get more people. This is a story which has severe limitations. The fact is that taxation laws are becoming more complex, new laws and new practices are being introduced and the Taxation Office has to keep abreast of them. In fact it is doing this and it has done it in the past. Anyone who tries to avoid taxation or tries to cheat the tax gatherer is for the most par? caught up with in the end. 1 agree very much with what the honourable me« ber for Cook (Mr Dobie) said. Basically he made a plea for members of Parliament I to take a great deal more interest in the details of public finance. 1 wish this would happen. The only way in which we can ultimately guarantee that democracy will work is to have a sufficient number of people in this House who will give up their time to delve into these things and who will watch carefully what goes on. The Press is the normal mode of control of public funds, government and most other things. This Parliament should indeed be grateful (o those members of the Public Accounts Committee who devote so much time to this work. The honourable member for Cook pointed out that the honourable member for Melbourne Ports was a former and very distinguished member of a Public Accounts Committee. The honourable member for Sydney (Mr Cope) played a very considerable part over many years. Tonight it has been shown that the members of the Public Accounts Committee can come in and correct the wide-ranging remarks of other honourable members who are clearly in need of tuition. T hope that the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) does start to read the reports of the Public Accounts Committee because obviously he has a great distance to go.
The honourable member for Cook also made a plea for extra experts to be made available to advise members of the Parlia ment. My reaction to such a request is rather like that to the one that is constantly made for ombudsmen. It is that when this House needs ombudsmen to look after its affairs the private member can pack up. If there is a job to be done the private member is the best man to do it and if he works hard - and I know most do as does any Minister who is on the receiving end of their representations and questions - he will do a thorough job. But if we start appointing ombudsmen private members may as well retire from their appointments.
– I did not ask for ombudsmen.
– No, you did not. You reminded me of this when you asked for assistance to be given to members of the Parliament. The basic thing about a back bencher member is that he becomes an expert, he does his own work and then plays his part in influencing things. But lo have a committee of members with a number of experts working for them to hold their hands and to write their reports would defeat the purpose of having a committee. I am sure that the honourable member for Cook has every talent aptitude and energy to do this job himself. What he should do is take in hand one or two people like the honourable member for Riverina whose economic theory is almost as colourful as his clothing and is about as relevant too.
I return to a serious minded honourable member who usually makes a very apt contribution to parliamentary debates and that is the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor). He again got right away from what is being discussed. However, he raised one or two questions and since he raised them I will endeavour to answer them. First of all, he made the point that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) had in fact taken some interest in the Minsec affair. He inferred from that that the Prime Minister and this Government are taking responsibility for and have become mixed up in the whole stock exchange activity. The reason why the Prime Minister did take part in this, as he made clear in the House in the last few days, is that this collapse was likely to affect Australia’s credit overseas and that is very much the business of the Commonwealth Government. The Prime Minister played a part but not an active part. He informed himself of what was going on. Naturally this matter must worry every Commonwealth member of Parliament because this is something with which we are concerned.
As to the suggestion of setting up a securities and exchange commission for Australia I point out that we already have a Senate Committee investigating these matters. This is certainly the organ which alone is concerned with them. A great deal of what a securities and exchange commission could do falls within the ambit of State company law. This is clearly a matter for future thought and study. However it should not be assumed that, because something is taking place which we do not think is being particularly well done, automatically it follows that the Commonwealth is equipped with the powers to walk in and that it would be particularly effective if it did. That brings me to some questions specifically asked by the honourable member for Riverina. He asked whether the Treasury staff was well equipped. The Treasury staff and the Government generally is not equipped to run every facet of the economic life of this country, nor would it aim to do so. But I would say that the Treasury staff compares extremely well with the comparable staff of any other advanced country and that within the limits of its functions the Treasury is extremely well equipped.
– It is not the staff but it is the Treasurer and his colleagues.
– That is a wonderful contribution from the honourable member tor Sturt. I forget for the moment the name applied to him but I am sure that the honourable member for Sydney will pass it across to him. The honourable member for Sturt is as much off the beam when he is interrupting as he is when he is normally speaking. The honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) and the honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage) both asked me specific questions which are well outside the compass of the matter before us. Clearly they were matters about which they wanted to know and I suggest to them that, these matters not being part of this debate, and I do not intend to stray from it, they should put their questions on the notice paper and obtain full answers from the appropriate Ministers. I thank the honourable members who have taken part in this debate particularly those like the honourable member for Melbourne Ports who referred to relevant matters. I move:
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported; report adopted.
Debate resumed from 16 February (vide page 21), on motion by Mr Bury:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The Opposition does not intend to oppose this motion. I might observe that on 2nd May 1962, when the legislation which we are now partly repealing was introduced, 1 described it at one stage as a specialised subsidy that will be paid under the subterfuge that it is an income tax deduction. Unless that be thought to be regarded as a wild partisan observation 1 would like to quote from one of the more recent editions of Gunn’s ‘Income Tax Law and Practice’. I wish to quote from volume 2 of the 8th edition, which is now the 9th edition. However, the following comment has not been altered. The comment reads:
The following example demonstrates that in the case of a non-private manufacturing company, the investment allowance is equal to a direct subsidy of up to 8i per cent of the cost of the plant.
Perhaps 1 might briefly indicate what the investment allowance is as it applies to manufacturing plant. Let me take as an example, as did the learned writer of the Income Tax Law and Practice’, a piece of plant that cost $100,000 when it is installed. We go through the polite fiction of saying in essence that this plant cost $ 120,000. Let us say that $20,000 is claimed immediately in the first year of assessment as the cost of installing the plant. Normal depreciation of $100,000 could then be claimed over the lifetime of the plant.
The investment allowance was introduced and first had impact in the financial year 1962- 63. In that year $120,000 was claimed as an investment allowance by individuals and $40.6m was claimed by companies. In 1963- 64 the amount claimed by individuals was$23. 861.000 and the amount for companies was $57. 8m. In 1964-65 the amount for individuals was $23,411,000 and for companies it was $73. 2m; in 1965-66 it was $18,452,000 for individuals and $73. 2m for companies; in 1966-67 it was $25,205,000 for individuals and $8 1.7m for companies; and for 1967-68 it was $17,367,000 for individuals and $85m for companies. The financial year 1967-68 is the last year for which statistics are available - to me, at any rate. As a rough estimate for that period, aggregating the amount which had been claimed, and the rate of taxes that have applied to this subsidy, to call it such, I would think that the amount for the installation of plant would be somewhere between $l50m and $200m.
The deduction applies not only to manufacturing plant, lt applies to plant used for primary production. It is not intended to vary the deduction as far as primary producers are concerned. However, it is intended to suspend the investment allowance on manufacturing plant and equipment as part of the inflationary precautions - and I want to say more about that in a moment. Here we have an example showing where taxation powers can be used, not so much for the purposes of revenue but in order to allocate resources in particular directions in the economy. There is nothing wrong with that as a principle except that it becomes a bit difficult when one tries to apply it in aggregate through the mechanisms of income tax. As I have said, this deduction is to be taken off manufacturing plant but it is to be left on plant used for primary production.
In Melbourne there are Collins Street farmers and in Sydney there are Pitt Street farmers. I should have thought that there might have been some attempt to limit the primary production deductions to people’ who are genuinely employed on the land rather than to include those who farm it for other reasons. Part of the argument that 1 want to develop is that one of the reasons for our inflationary situation is the demand in the community for available resources that in aggregate are in short supply. Suitable land for farming purposes is one of those resources.If we want to match resources with available capital the question of the rate of interest comes into the picture. One of the inflationary factors that the Government has done very little about - and I want to say more about this also - is the exorbitant interest rates that now apply in our community. I know it is easy to say that the rate here is much less than it is in Malaysia or in Indonesia or in some other countries that we usually do not like to compare ourselves with. Nevertheless, in my view, interest rates by and large are excessive in the Australian economy today. It is becoming very difficult for certain sections of the community to purchase the capital resources that they feel they require when we consider that the Government loan rate is in the region of 7 per cent, that the bank overdraft rate is over that, as is the mortgage rate, and so on.
With the consent of the House - and 1 have discussed this with the Treasurer (Mr
Bury) - I would like to . incorpoprate in Hansard 2 tables taken directly from the Forty-ninth Report of The Commissioner of Taxation. Part of the incorporation is taken from the ordinary report and part from the statistical section of the report. The tables show the history of the investment allowance over the last 3 years. Earlier in my speech I gave figures from the time the investment allowance was introduced. However, 1 want to concentrate my argument this evening on the field of companies. The tables set out the amount of investment allowance and certain other statistics concerning depreciable assets of individuals, partnerships, trusts and companies. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate the tables in Hansard.
During my speech 1 would like to expand on the contents of the tables. As I have said, I want to look at the field of companies in particular. The Commissioner of Taxation, in the non-statistical section on page 59 of his forty-ninth report, gives some brief statistics of the aggregate impact on taxation. The interesting thing is that the investment allowance is but one of the many concessions that are allowed to companies in computing their taxable income. 1 want te draw attention to some of the other items because it seems to me that the Government is trying to take great credit to itself for the possible effectiveness of this measure. Historically the investment allowance legislation was brought in at a time of slump to endeavour to activate the business community. There is no guarantee that if something which was brought in to activate the economy is reversed, such a move necessarily will have a decelerating effect. Also, when we look at the aggregate figures of investment over the years that the investment allowance has been in force we see that the investment allowance has been a very small part of what might be called investment in gross fixed capital expenditure. I would now like to refer to the item All Other’, under the heading ‘Gross fixed capital expenditure’: that is, buildings which are not eligible for depreciation. 1 simply point to the set figure for the year 1967-68, for which statistics are available, in that year, depreciable assets purchased - that is, assets on which deduction claims were entitled lo be made for income tax purposes on a depreciation basis - amounted ‘.o SI. 3 18,033,000. In that same year the amount allowed as investment allowance totalled $84,972,000. That figure represents a very small part of $l,318m. ft represents between 6 per cent and 7 per cent of that amount. Yet. we are told by the Government that the field in which the impact of inflation is greatest is not that of consumer expenditure but that of investment.
– That is one field.
– That is one field. This is the rather curious doctrine by which we try to draw a distinction between what is called cost inflation on the one hand and what is called demand inflation on the other hand. 1 suggest that a bridge exists between cost inflation and demand inflation. The bridge is a monetary factor. Money becomes available to finance the propositions in which investment is sought. This is where the question of investment becomes significant. 1 think it is rather intriguing to have heard in this House the ministerial statement before the sitting was suspended. If the word ‘productivity’ had been omitted, the statement would have taken half as long to deliver as it did. In other words, throughout its entirety the statement was studded with references to productivity. 1 think that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden), who presented the statement, concedes the fact that productivity in the long run depends upon matching machinery and manpower better in the future than has been done in the past.
Anybody who looks analytically at the history of investment in Australia for, say, the last 10 years or 12 years will note that on the surface a higher proportion of our total gross national product has been devoted to investment than is the case in most countries. Nevertheless, Australia has had a very poor performance in what is called productivity. Surely this is agreed. Looking at the history of the so called investment allowance, one should be very dubious whether it really achieved anything in the years in which it was operative. The investment allowance, while it has been operative, has cost this country in excess of S200m. The criticism which was made from the Opposition side on the last occasion when this matter was before the House - and I think that it is still relevant - is that because this allowance was applied in the manufacturing field it was applied indiscriminately to. for instance, an aircraft factory or a brewery. The allowance was applied with the same force to a factory turning out taps for a brewery as it was to a factory turning out machine tools for industry. This allowance was a blunt unselective instrument.
I suggest that in regard lo Australia’s development at the moment we are using blunt unselective instruments to solve the problems that beset us. I was intrigued to hear the remarks last Thursday of the Government speaker who followed the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) during the debate on the economy in which the Opposition sought to record a vote of no confidence in the Government. That speaker said: ‘The changes are upon us’. I submit that the changes have been upon us for a long time. We have allowed our economy simply to drift along. The investment allowance device has been one such feature of this drift. No objection is raised to subsidies provided they are revealed as subsidies and are not masquerading as tax deductions - a subterfuge - as has been the case here, applied indiscriminately to anything that the Government chooses to call manufacturing’ industry. If one considers the sums of money which have been spent in that direction, again one wonders whether the $200m that this allowance has cost might have been better applied directly to specific industries rather than to the isolated examples that we see.
The other matter to which I wish to draw attention concerns the identity of those who have gained the greatest advantage from this investment allowance. Let me illustrate the total picture that is obtained by reading carefully the statistics that are contained in the forty-ninth report of the Commissioner of Taxation for 1969-70. During the year 1967-68, the total expenditure on new plant purchased was $1,318,033,000. Let us now separate from the statistics those companies which had incomes in excess of $2m. They are fairly substantial entities. One finds that in this field of investment allowance - and this represents the ‘impact backwards’ with respect to what was spent on new plant - fewer than 200 Austraiian companies which had taxable incomes in excess of $2m obtained approximately one half of all payments under the heading of ‘investment allowance’.
Surely one of the problems in Australian industry today is monopolisation. A gentleman from the Press asked me this evening, prior to the suspension of the sitting, what I thought about the noble stand being taken by Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd in refusing to push up the price of steel. Well, I think that the company has not done a bad job in the past particularly if we look at what its profits were for the previous year. 1 said: ‘At least it is able to take the high and noble stand because it can adjust its prices as it sees fit. But if a worker in the same industry seeks a wage adjustment he must go through a very elaborate process to achieve that end’. 1 ask honourable members opposite seriously whether they think that companies which have obtained the maximum advantage from this investment allowance would have been less inclined to invest had the investment concession not been available. I doubt it. That is why I doubt the reverse of the process by which this incentive is being removed now. It is by this action that the Government says it will dampen down substantially the areas of the economy to which it has directed attention. This is why I wish to direct attention to 1 or 2 other items which are contained in the aggregate statistics which appear at page 59 of the report of the Commissioner of Taxation to which I have referred already.
I will mention 2 items that 1 think are quite significant and which are in my opinion more substantial than the question of the investment allowance. I point out again that for the year 1967-68 the cost of the investment allowance was $84,972,000. In the same year the amount that was allowed for deductions for interest paid on debentures was approximately $125m. The total interest allowed to the same companies was $685,154,000. All I am suggesting is that if the Government sought to abate the effects of inflation in any degree - and I suggest that the Government has gone about the exercise too bluntly for its actions to be realistic - the investment allowance was probably the most piffling provision on which the Government could have chosen to launch an attack. That seems to me to be almost contradictory, when the Treasurer is doing something that he says will dampen down activity in new fixed capital investment other than building. I think that at times in some of these economic debates we almost get to the point of absurdity. Surely nobody argues that it is better for the economy in total that it should produce less rather than more, yet we go fairly close to that kind of proposition with some of the shallow and shabby sorts of analyses that have been made in economic statements by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and others in the last few weeks.
Surely the Australian economy is no different from most others; after all, we are short of total resources and this goes all the way from skilled manpower to capital resources. Therefore what we should be doing is trying to channel what we have into the most socially and economically useful areas. The two things that we are short of in this country are skilled manpower and capital resources. I believe that the kind of policies that have been pursued here have sealed skilled manpower off in industries from which it could have been released and has left it in- short supply in places where it is needed. Surely nobody wants to expand the activities of a brewery, for example, and yet this is the kind of thing that happened when the Government’s across-the-board investment allowance gave the same sort of assistance to the Carlton and United Brewery Limited in installing new plant as it did to the Goverment Aircraft Factories when that organisation put in new plant. Surely the Government could have realised the relative priorities instead of using the income tax structure in the crude sort of way that it did - which meant that it had lo be applied to everybody. I submit that that is a very crude way indeed to handle this kind’ of exercise.
I think most people would agree that we have in Australia a higher concentration of monopolistic or oligopolistic companies than any other country; yet this sort of policy perpetuates such a system. We hear tentative suggestions that we ought lo do something about tariffs or that we ought to look at this industry rather than that one. Perhaps we should, but I submit equally that if we are to give concessions of this kind - and I repeat that there is nothing wrong with subsidies provided they are open and revealed rather than closed and concealed - it must be conceded that the socalled investment allowance has been a concealed subsidy indiscriminately applied, for example, to the brewery as to the aircraft factory, with no selectivity whatever in its operation. I repeat the question: If the Government intends to continue providing subsidies in the field of primary production- why extend them to the Collins Street farmer and the Pitt Street farmer who are helping to push up the value of land and also, of course, to push up the rate of interest at the same time.
I have some further points that I wish to make. Why not have a holiday in long term debenture interest, especially when we see Mr Ansett, for example, advertising tor money for Ansett Airlines of Australia at 9i per cent. Where will that finish? It will finish in higher air fares, which will flow through to Trans Australia Airlines because of the so-called two airline system. These surely are the kind of things that should be examined by this Government. I have heard it bandied about that the cancellation of the investment allowance will save $25m during the remainder of the financial year. One must look at this in perspective. What is $25m in an economy that is running at the rale of S32,000m annually? I do not think my friend the Treasurer would maintain that he is accurate enough to operate within a margin of $25m in an economy as large as ours. I think this is part of the public confusion. I said the other night that most people are out of their depth once they get into figures of this magnitude and they are as impressed if the Government is saving S25m as they would be if it were saving $2, 500m. 1 suggest that this move will have no effect whatever on the rate of investment in Australia, and if it does have any effect in my view it will have an effect at the level of the small company rather than the large company, and this is surely another reason why there should be a reappraisal of the situation.
I have come to the conclusion recently, after one or two attempts to get assistance for people from the Australian Development Bank, that we do not have enough expertise in these places to understand some of the demands that are being made upon them, and to understand that there are plenty of agile business people in Australia today at a stage of relatively small capitalisation who can make a success of their businesses. But as one of them said to me: ‘It is easier to get a loan of Sim than it is to get a loan of $100,000.’ I believe that this is often the case. If one goes along to a bank and pretends that one has a large business one has a better chance of success than if one is small. Yet it is in some of these smaller fields, rather than in the big company field, that the future of Australian industry lies. Certainly we must have some big companies but we have to decide whether there is room for three or four or whether there may be room for only one or two. But there is still plenty of room for the small business capitalised at perhaps less than $100,000 or $250,000.
As I say, we do not oppose this measure although we did not support it when it was introduced and we do not support it now. I repeat that I cannot see any difference, if the Government intends to allow depreciation as a taxable item, in allowing 100 per cent of the item the day the plant is installed and allowing it as some rate over the life of the plant, lt ought to be a matter between the person who buys the plant and the Commissioner of Taxation. I object to this practice of allowing more than the capital cost of an item and this is basically what the investment allowance does, lt is the equivalent of a direct subsidy to the people who install the plant, if that is regarded as a logical way of doing things, it is not my idea of logic. I think it is unfair and inequitable and is adding to the concentraton of industry in Australia in relatively few areas rather than it being more broadly based-
– Would you take this subsidy away?
– We have plenty of subsidies in Australia and some of them are, perhaps, wrong. To my mind this one was wrong because it went with the greatest force to those who needed it least. Its cost was not revealed at all. It was hidden within the confused intricacies of the Income Tax Assessment Act.
– Would you apply that criticism to all the primary producers?
– 1 am not arguing about primary production: that is not the question. I would not apply that decision to people who are genuine farmers. This is one of the matters which Government supporters have to examine seriously. I conclude by saying that it is better that we do not have this investment allowance in the field of manufacturing. I have grave doubts whether it will reach the real problem besetting the Australian economy at the moment, that is the distortion in the pattern of our investment not in the factories but in what goes into the factories. That is the area that has been lagging and it has been lagging because it has been too easy for some areas to get money and too hard for others.
– The legislation now before the House flows directly from the talk by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) to the nation on the subject of the economy and the likely effect of the 6 per cent increase in the national wage granted by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Cabinet is said to have examined the danger spots in the economy, such as where demand is growing most strongly. The Prime Minister told us that one area of strong demand is the public sector - expenditure by governments. We have been told that this expenditure will be reduced by $75m to offset slightly the hundreds of millions of dollars of expenditure entered into since the Budget. The Prime Minister also told us that the net increase in expenditure by government departments if they were able to obtain approval for all projects which they want to implement would amount to $242m. The final result will be interesting.
An appeal has been made to everybody to refrain from rocking the boat by demanding higher wages. This appeal has been disregarded completely by some Communist union officials.
– What rubbish.
– Has the honourable member not heard of Carmichael’s demand for a $25 a week wage rise? The Prime Minister’s call has been patriotically heeded by Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd, which has not increased its prices, although it would have been fully justified in doing so, just as medical practitioners and members of this Parliament are justified in seeking higher salaries. Among others to heed the Prime Minister’s call is Australian Paper and Pulp Manufacturing Co.
Apart from the reduction in government spending the only action that has been taken has been to suspend the taxation investment allowance provided under section 62aa of the Income Tax Assessment Act on manufacturing plant and equipment. The investment allowance provides a special income tax deduction of 20 per cent of capital expenditure on new plant and equipment used in manufacturing. This allowance will be suspended as from 3rd February last. In announcing the proposal to provide the allowance the GovernorGeneral, when opening Parliament in February 1962, said:
This will help manufacturers to meet import competition at home and to enter export markets . . lt will give . . . particular assistance in the pursuit of higher efficiency and lower costs.
I am not sure that the suspension of this allowance in the form that has been adopted by the Government is wise. The allowance is an incentive to productivity growth. In a time of great pressure on the supply of labour, continuing wage demands are an important cause of cost-push inflation. I would have thought that any action by manufacturing industry towards greater mechanisation and towards keeping abreast of the latest technology would be in the interests of Australia and should be encouraged, not discouraged. There must be serious doubts about the wisdom of selecting manufacturing industry as an area for restraint. The Treasurer has said that private investment in non-farm plant and equipment is rising at an annual rate in excess of 20 per cent. I take it that he was making a comparison of the quarter ended 30th September 1970 with the quarter ended 30th September 1969, which would show a seasonally adjusted increase of 20.3 per cent for all industries other than rural. But if we look beyond that figure we find that the increase in manufacturing was 12.8 per cent, in mining 51.7 per cent and in other industries 16.3 per cent. So we have the strange situation that of all these industries the one with the lowest investment growth rate has been selected for curbing action. Manufacturing happens also to be the one that must maintain and increase the supply of goods if we are to avoid moving into a situation of demand inflation.
The Prime Minister in his statement and the Treasurer (Mr Bury) in his second reading speech referred to suspension of the allowance. The Bill makes a similar reference. I hope that I interpret the word suspension’ correctly as meaning that the allowance will be restored as soon as the situation warrants. I ask the Treasurer to give an assurance on that point when he replies in this debate. Industry today is disturbed because the Treasurer’s remarks about transitional arrangements are not clear. I ask the Treasurer to provide additional information on that point. The Bill extends the allowance to investment in plant and equipment made after 3rd February 1971 provided the expenditure was covered by a contract entered into on or before that date. This provision places at a great disadvantage those companies engaged on a project of which only part has been installed or contracted for before that date. The project would have been undertaken in the expectation that the investment allowance would apply.
But many projects would be of a nature that require that they be carried through to completion because completion of part only would be useless and would mean a waste of investment. I do not say this will happen but this could be the position if we compare the present situation with that which existed previously. Where these are the circumstances the company is committed to the completion of the project as at 3rd February 1971 every bit as much in respect of that part not yet covered by a contract as it is in respect of the portion contracted for and even installed. In fact, if a company was able to let a contract completely on a turn-key installation basis the entire allowance would be available but if it is to be a par* only installation the allowance is not a> ‘‘e. In his second reading speech theeasurer said: . . the Government is now receiving submissions from industry that the transitional provisions to continue the allowance for plant acquisitions straddling the suspension date should apply in a wider range of situations than those in which contracts have actually been entered into by 3rd February 1971.
I trust that the Government will also consider other submissions that may be made to it. The Treasurer should make a firm statement now that the existing provisions will apply not only to the actual contract consisting of a signed document but to the complete costs applicable to the investment. The Treasurer implied in his second reading speech that this could be done by means of amending legislation. Did he mean that a special amendment would have to be introduced in each case? Perhaps it would be better to cover the situation now with a statement of the Government’s intentions. Even a provision giving the Commissioner of Taxation a discretionary power would be something, but I suggest that the proper course to adopt is to clarify the position now by stating that expenditure incurred in pursuance of a contract made includes the complete installation costs. I remind the House that the Prime Minister in his statement on 3rd February said that the legislation would include provisions for this transitional period, but in fact it does not.
Every industry is caught in this same dilemma and is troubled by the confusion that surrounds the interpretation of the Bill. Throughout the textile trade people are installing new machines in order to increase production and cut costs. One does not do this in a year or in one operation. It is not possible to install plant for a new knitting process or for a new spinning process under one contract so that you can comply with the provisions of the Bill. Feasibility studies indicate that the installation of some part, perhaps to be followed by a secondary stage in the next 6 to 12 months, may be necessary, lt is quite unfair to remove at this stage this carrot which has been there to encourage modernisation..
In my own electorate Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd presently is installing a No. 3 paper mill at Maryvale. This is a very large extension which will provide a lot more employment opportunities in the Latrobe Valley. It is a very important project to everybody concerned with the welfare of that area. It has taken the company the best part of 3 years to organise this installation and now, like everyone else, it is faced with unnecessary confusion as to what its commitment really is. The company has budgeted for a certain amount, but what really will it have to pay? It has gone ahead in good faith and let a contract for the machine. But that is the least part of the outlay. The machine, for which a contract has been let. is not the major part of the outlay. The big cost is involved in the installation for which no contract can be let because the work is to be done by the company and its own employees.
John Lysaght (Aust.) Ltd is installing a $93m cold rolling strip mill, and it is half finished. The company just cannot have half a cold strip mill. The proposal must go on. The honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) said that the suspension of this investment allowance will not stop the progress which Australia will make, and that it will not stop people from continuing with new projects. But it is not fair to stop in the middle of an expansion programme and change the rules by which one has been working. The whole of the investment at Lysaght’s is committed. After some years of feasibility studies a contract has been entered into in good faith, based on what the conditions were at the time when the project was commenced.
– What year was that?
– It has taken over 3 years to reach the present stage of development. Evidently the Treasury has not under stood that one does not necessarily have contracts for the work to be performed for the taxpayer. He may do his own work or even provide his own materials. For example, I understand that Lysaght’s, in erecting the building to house the mill, will make the sheeting for the building, and you cannot very well let a contract to yourself - or one that would satisfy the Treasury, anyhow. If everything was as simple as the Treasury implies, Lysaght’s would have let a contract on a turnkey basis and the full allowance would apply even though the cost would have been much greater. Lysaght’s will do a tremendous job in providing a new development in Australia which will give employment to hundreds of thousands of people in other industries, and that will be so valuable that 1 do not think we can afford to put anything in the way of this development. The suspension of this investment allowance will put a damper on what Lysaght’s is doing, although I do not think for one moment that it will stop it.
I should like to make one or two other observations. I come back to the point which the honourable member for Melbourne Ports made about calling this allowance a subsidy. The subsidy, if one likes to call it such, costs the Government very little, but it is of immense benefit to our whole economic system. New plant which reduces manufacturing costs allows an escalating reduction in retail prices, and this is the important consideration of the 20 per cent investment allowance, lt does not itself have much effect on costs per unit. If one tries to balance out the saving that flows from the investment allowance scheme against the increase in throughput, one sees that it is very little. But on a machine which doubles production the cost saving depends on throughput. If it was sufficient the actual effect on costs would be so small that it would be almost negligible.
The lax concession is a factor which helps the manufacturer to finance the installation of more efficient machinery, and by doing that he makes the savings that we want to see occur. Another point that strikes me is that the measure will not have any budgetary impact this financial year. I think the point has been overlooked that the manufacturer pay tax this year on the basis of his income tax assessment for last year. So the introduction of this measure at this time will not have any impact on the present budgetary situation. It will have an effect on half of next year’s income and it will become a full year’s budgetary gain for the Government in the year after next. But it always seems to give the Treasury a pain to allow anyone a concession, and it looks as though the Treasury grabbed the opportunity to revoke this allowance in the climate of the present panic about inflationary pressures. 1 should like to comment on another point which the honourable member for Melbourne Ports made, and that is the fact that a similar concession was given on primary industry plant in 1963. In this instance, against the rules of the game, primary industry has followed the manufacturing industry. Primary industry received this concession in 1963, and it is to continue. This has prompted the Taxpayers Association to point out that it is curious that what is said to be inflationary in one area is argued not to be inflationary in another area. I am very much in agreement with the survey by the ANZ banking group which suggests that the problem of inflation facing Australia at present has been greatly overstated in recent weeks. I think that sums up the reasons why I think it was unnecessary to introduce this piece of legislation at this time or for that matter, at any time. 1 am indebted to Sir Laurence Hartnett and I am sure he will not mind my quoting him as having criticised the suspension of this investment allowance. He said that we are discouraging manufacturers from purchasing the latest plant and machinery to achieve greater productivity - and I thought we were looking for greater productivity - and to reduce costs. He said that the process of reducing costs and achieving greater productivity is the chief weapon in reducing prices. Sir Laurence said that instead of doing this we are bringing in, by mass immigration, more pick and shovel workers, for pick and shovel methods. I do not think that we can afford pick and shovel methods in Australia today. We will be in real trouble unless every honourable member - not only on this side of the House but also on the other side; - is prepared to go ahead and do everything he possibly can to reduce costs and to prevent price increases from getting to the stage where people panic and we get demand inflation.
I am sorry to say that I do not really approve of the mea.sure. I am afraid that it has got to be carried out because it has been announced as one of the measures that we are taking. But I do ask that the Treasurer in his summing up will make a point of telling us that it is only a suspension
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Debate (on motion by Mr Martin) adjourned.
Motion (fly Mr Bury) proposed:
That the H rose do now adjourn.
Mr Fitz PATRICK (Darling) (10.1) - During last week the matter of improved radio services for the Sunraysia district was raised in this House. I want to point out that the people on the New South Wales side of the river, in the BurongaWentworth area and areas further north, are also very concerned about their radio service. For this reason I want to support some of the case already put by the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull) and the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) and at the same time make it clear that 1 do not agree with everything that has been said by those honourable members. The citrus and dried fruit growers in the Buronga-Wentworth area and the sheep and cattle graziers further north have informed me that they would be helped considerably if a radio programme were devoted entirely to that area.
Because of this I attended a very large and well represented meeting called by the Sunraysia District Council of the Australian Dried Fruits Association held at Mildura as far back as 27th June last year. The radio service was fully discussed by representatives from all these places. We were informed that the Department of Agriculture in Mildura had a rural television programme and made weekly releases through the ‘Sunraysia Daily’, but unfortunately had no local radio programme. This is very unfair and denies the fruit growers and graziers in this area much valuable information that would assist them to operate economically, lt must be remembered that many surveys carried out in different parts of the world have proved that a regular rural programme presented at reasonable hours - that is, at the dinner or lunch hour - is very popular and has a real advantage over television programmes. This is mainly because it is cheaper and easier to prepare, which is a big consideration because it allows for a much wider coverage. This in turn is very necessary because of the great variety of matters that need to be discussed and put before the listeners in this area.
The production problems of the dried fruit growers rank high in these needs. Added lo this we also have the problem of a very large percentage of new Australians in the dried fruit industry. The Australian Broadcasting Commission could help in getting the message to these people, who have language difficulties. It is not enough to say that these areas receive some help from station 3WV and also from Renmark, because the programmes do not cater for the specific problems of these areas and, because of the distance and the strength of the signal, the reception is often disappointing and could result in the growers, through missing some vital information, making very costly mistakes. What is really required is a rural officer stationed somewhere in the district, not necessarily in Mildura. He could keep the rural community informed on all facets of agriculture, particularly as it applies to this area. He could also give taped programmes from other areas which would give a broader understanding of the local problems. What is more important, he would be more easily contacted by those who were not sure of some of the information given in the broadcast. This would avoid some costly mistakes being made.
I ask: Why should this area be denied this service when the Upper Murray District of South Australia, with a rural officer at Renmark, already has had it and has a distinct advantage over the Sunraysia area?
If the Government is not convinced about the importance of getting the message to the people in the dried fruits area it should recollect the confusion and resentment that was caused by the abandonment of the dried fruit stabilisation scheme. This piece of mischief has already cost the dried fruits growers many thousands of dollars. At this particular time, when a new stabilisation scheme is long overdue, the people in this area have had an opportunity to carry out discussions on its advantages and disadvantages and thereby be well informed and able to advise their members of Parliament intelligently of their desires in this important matter. Certainly I support the honourable member for Mallee and the honourable member for Angas in saying that it would be of great advantage to have a radio programme devoted to this area, but I would not go so far as to say that the transmitting station, if one was necessary, should be located in Muldura. Neither do I want to put a case that it should be located in my electorate or, for that matter, in the electorate of the energetic and capable member for Riverina. But I do say that the Australian Broadcasting Commission, which has the technical knowledge and machinery to investigate and decide the most suitable site, should carry out its own investigation and locate the station where it is most suitable for economic and reception reasons, and put aside all other political considerations. I feel that this is in line with the request of the Australian Dried Fruits Association, which claims only that the station should be located near Mildura and not necessarily in Mildura.
It has been put to me that localities in my electorate are more suitable for a station, but I do not want to press the case in this direction. The decision of the Commission should be enough for any one of us. I hope it soon makes its decision and that the people will have this much needed and justified service either in the form of a resident officer and a relay station or improved power from Renmark, because the people in this area have every right to compete with people in those other parts of Australia that already have this service.
– The $64 question around the world today is whether Britain will join the European Economic Community. For 5 or 6 years this has been one of the most assiduously debated subjects amongst the six in Europe and in this country as well, particularly as Australia and New Zealand would be the most severely affected should Britain decide to enter the Common Market. I am making a prediction tonight that Britain will not enter the Common Market, and 1 make that prediction quite deliberately. I was in England last July to attend a parliamentary conference and I spoke to ordinary English people and parliamentarians at Westminster. I saw the House of Commons open with the new Prime Minister, Mr Heath, and the new Leader of the Opposition, Mr Wilson. Within a fortnight of the House reopening under new management 30 Conservatives formed themselves into an anti-Market committee.
I came back from that trip and made a statement to the Tasmanian Press on 8th or 9th August in which I said that I did not believe that Britain would enter the Common Market because of what I saw and heard while I was in England. I made the prediction at that time, which was 7 or 8 months ago, that the Labour Party, which under Mr Wilson had done so much in negotiations for Britain’s entry, would, when the crunch came and the final decision had to be made, become completely opposed to Britain’s entering the Common Market. Millions of words have been written for and against Britain’s entry, and many negotiators have taken part in European conferences on the matter, but the ultimate decision on whether Britain will enter the Common Market will not be made in Europe. It will not be made in Berlin, Brussels, Rome, Paris or in any of the 6 capitals of Common Market countries. It will be made in the House of Commons. Interestingly enough, in the last 7 or 8 days there have been 2 Press statements which have added evidence to my contention that Britain will not enter the Common Market. On 16th of this month we saw in the ‘Australian* this heading:
Market critics predict Wilson switch.
The article stated:
Labour MPs who oppose British Common Market entry are claiming that a weekend speech by the Opposition leader. Mr Wilson, indicates that …. ultimately he will join them.
At present Labour’s anti-marketeers can count on at least 4 supporters in the Cabinet,
The article went on to state:
Mr Wilson is in an obvious predicament over the Market negotiations.
There has been a strong swing against Europe in the Parliamentary Labour Party in which antimarketeers now claim a majority. He must already be pessimistic of securing a party, or even a parliamentary, vote in favour of entry on tha terms now conceivable.
One possible escape route for Mr Wilson would be to allow his party a free vote.
In this case, the pro-Europeans and the Labour side would outnumber the convinced Conservative anti-marketeers who would be prepared to vote against their government’s recommendation. The result would be a government victory, hut the majority could be as low as 30. The Government would then have to decide whether it could take a historic decision on such divided views in the Commons and against public opinion.
On 19th February, 3 days later, in one of our Australian papers this heading appeared:
Labour warns Heath on EEC.
The article from T. S. Monks stated:
London, Feb. 18 - A blunt warning was given yesterday that the Conservative Government must not rely on Labour help to take Britain into the Common Market.
This warning, by one of Labour’s most senior leaders, Mr James Callaghan, marks another stage of uncertainty as to what will happen in Parliament, when it comes to the crucial vote.
That will be in a year or two. The article continued: lt adds to growing concern in European capitals on whether the Conservative Government is trying to get Britain into Europe without sufficient domestic support.
Last weekend Mr Wilson, the Labour Parly leader, lift open the option of opposing British entry into the Common Market if the terms are judged to be onerous.
Now, Mr Callaghan says that Mr Heath, the Prime Minister, will ‘have lo find his own majority’ on the issue from his own party.
Whatever views the Labour Party may have are quite a separate matter’ he said yesterday.
This is taken by most political observers as one more sign that the Labour Party might turn right against Britain’s going into Europe.
Labour doubts are growing, partly because of the probable high cost of Britain’s joining and partly because a majority of Britain’s public opinion is against integrating with Europe.
The Conservative majority in the Commons is 30 but there are 30 Conservative hardline antimarketeers.
They are very significant words indeed. It is good for us out here where the effect would be so great if Britain did join, to know that the tide is running against Britain’s entering the Common Market. if Britain’s Opposition, as an opposition, decides to go against entry when the vote is taken and 30 Conservatives join with the Labour Party, it will be a neck and neck struggle as to who will win that vote, lt could go either way by 5 or 10 votes. The British people as a whole are utterly opposed to Britain’s entry. How could a government make a decision that would be so rigidly and diametrically opposed to public opinion in an issue of these immense proportions? It would take Britain into Europe for the next century, because once she goes in she cannot get out.
So I am again making a prediction on the evidence that has come to me that Britain will not eventually enter the Common Market because a move in this direction will be outvoted in the House of Commons. That is where the issue will be decided. It will not be decided anywhere else. If this happens Australia can breathe freely again, and probably so can New Zealand, because if Britain did go into the Common Market there would be a revolutionary change in many of our marketing schemes and much of our sales of foodstuffs in Europe and England would be cut off. To get our goods into the Common Market countries we will have to cross a wall, it can be called a tariff wall. In Europe they call it a levy wall, but it means exactly the same thing. If Britain enters the Common Market we will be in really serious trouble with the sale of products which are already not selling well. So I sincerely hope that my prediction at this stage will come true and that the British Opposition will come out in complete opposition to Britain’s entry and that there will be enough anti-marketeers amongst the Conservatives to defeat the issue in the House of Commons.
– To night 1 want to deal with the National Service Act and refer to a similar matter that was raised in this chamber last Friday by my colleague, the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly). [ recall having said something in this House relative to this matter during the course of an adjournment debate in the Budget session. I want to raise a matter concerning the National Service Act, in the absence of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden) who has just scurried through one door of this chamber and out another. Earlier I asked whether or not there was any provision within the Act and whether there was any discretionary power vested in the Minister by the Act to exempt people from being called up on compassionate grounds. I placed the matter before the Minister by asking that where there was a widow-
– There is none.
– I know there is no provision. The Minister need not inform me by way of interjection, ft is a failing of the Government that it has not had the courage, the decency or the foresight to provide such a provision, and that is my answer to the Treasurer (Mr Bury) who just interjected, t would like to mention the case of a widow with 8 children, 6 of whom are going to school. She has a junior girl at work who cut short her education, because of the tragic death of her father. This woman’s son was notified of his call-up in the lottery of death which is supported by honourable members opposite. The Minister did not have the decency or the courage to place the matter before his Cabinet colleagues on compassionate grounds so that Cabinet could look at this particular case on its merits and see the effect the call-up would have on this widow and her family. The Minister wrote a letter to me which I did not even trouble to bring from Adelaide because it consisted of the greatest lot of rot that has ever been directed to one from a so-called responsible Minister.
– How would you know?
– I know because I received a letter, a copy of which you can have, and I will be prepared to debate the matter with you in any part of Adelaide you so desire, and even with some of your friends and the way-out rightists you see fit to support.
-Order! The honourable member for Angas will cease interjecting. I remind him that repeatedly during adjournment debates I have had to rebuke him when the honourable member for Sturt has been speaking. I suggest he refrain from interjecting.
– I wish to raise another matter on the basis of compassionate grounds and I also accuse the Government of being inhuman not only in its involvement in Vietnam but also in its involvement with people in our community who are physically required to bear the results of the stupidity of the Government’s continued policies on Vietnam. I want to draw the attention of the House to yet another case involving a migrant family. The migrant lad was called up. His parents came here under the sponsorship of an elder brother who is now no longer able to accept responsibility as a sponsor for his aged parents. His aged parents have been in the country less than 10 years and are not eligible, therefore, according to the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) who is also not in the chamber tonight, to any form of pension. The father obtained employment after his arrival in this country with a South Australian Government department and, being employed by South Australian Government department, he is required to retire at 65 years of age. He is almost unemployable and his lad, whom he expects to support him, has been called up. Will the Army pay a dependant’s allowance if he is inducted into the Army? Certainly not. How does this migrant family exist? The Government has no compassion in these matters and it should be condemned for its stupidity.
I refer to another matter similar to the one raised by the honourable member for Grayndler in this House last week. It involves a woman who is a newcomer to this country and who has 3 sons, one of whom has served in Vietnam whilst another is still in one of the Services in Australia. This woman approached me after she had had her doctor speak to me about her predicament because of the likelihood of her third son being called up and the agony she would have had to endure as a result of this. Her minister of religion spoke to me. I made this case known to the Minister, who is not in the chamber now, and still received the same answer.
I would appreciate it if the Minister would have yet another look at the hardship which the Government in its stupidity is inflicting not only upon individual members of this community who are called up but also on those families who are in circumstances similar to those I have described.
One of the people of whom I have spoken has to appear before the court in regard to the matter in which he is involved and it will not be the last this House hears of this matter if the magistrate, or whoever it is who hears his case, does not accede to the widow’s wish that he be not called up. I. might add that this person was about to sit for his matriculation examination but because of the death of his father he gave it away. He received employment in a department store in Adelaide which does not pay a great salary and he is not expected as a citizen to ask his employer for any additional money in the next few months because the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has said that he should not make demands on his employer for additional wages. But the fact is that he cut his education short because of what had occurred. However, because of representations that have been made and because of employment that has been made available to him he will have the opportunity to take up his studies where he left off. He was not able to make this known to the Department at the time he filled out the appropriate form requesting that he be not inducted into the Services., and I would say it would not be a very good way out for the Department to direct this person to accept the alternative of the Citizen Military Forces.
The other matter 1 wish to deal with concerns a letter which I directed to the Minister for Social Services pointing out that the Act made no provision, as to sickness and unemployment benefits, for a fellow who was unfortunate enough to suffer an accident in his home - a private accident if I may use that term - and who had a child over 16 receiving education. I received a letter from the Minister which began:
You will appreciate . . .
No, I do not appreciate that the Department has this particular view. What I want to do in the remainder of the time allotted to me is to condemn the Government for being so lacking in proper understanding and for not recognising that there is no provision for children over 16 receiving education. In a case in which a person is rendered unfit for work for a considerable time, embracing the greater part of a school year, the education of the child goes to the wall. Does this not then convince the Minister? Was he not prepared to look at my letter in the light of the effect this would have on such a child’s life when his parents, through no fault of his, were unable to continue with his education? It is on these matters that I will continue to rise in the adjournment debate to kick the Government and to tell it it is lacking in its duty to the community generally.
– I want to refer tonight to a matter which concerns me and, I am certain, a lot of people in Australia. It is the subject of drugs about which we have heard so much in this Parliament in recent days and almost every day in the national Press, including the country newspapers. In recent days we have had almost a fanatical approach by the Government to marihuana and other drugs of limited significance in Australia. What I am concerned about is the Government’s great concern about marihuana, LSD and cannabis, drugs which have had, up to the present, limited significance in Australia, but which, because of this tremendous publicity which they are receiving in the Australian Press and this
Parliament and through statements of people in all walks of life, are becoming so prominent that people are asking ‘What are these things?’
The youth and children of Australia, with their naturally curious minds, are starting to question what drugs are all about. It is like a banned book. If there is one way to make a book a best seller it is by talking about it and banning it. This promotes its sales. I am worried about the constant discussion of these drugs, it is by good-meaning people, including Ministers and others, because what they are really doing is promoting them in the minds of children. I am concerned not so much with the Government’s approach to marihuana and similar drugs but its apathy towards two of the worst drugs in Australia - tobacco and alcohol. The Government would be far better advised to tone down its continuous promotion of marihuana in the minds of children and to concentrate its attention on methods nf reducing the alarming incidence of alcohol and tobacco consumption among young people in Australia. I believe that this Liberal dominated Government will rank as one of the most hypocritical governments in this field since Federation. It poses as a government which is most concerned with the health of the nation, yet it consistently refuses to take any notice of and ignores scientific evidence which classifies cigarette smoking on the one hand as a monstrous killer and alcohol on the other hand as a major contributor to road deaths, social tragedies and other problems.
The Government is actually endorsing the cigarette and alcohol mania by refusing to take any positive action to control the tremendous amount of money which is being spent on the promotion of cigarettes by advertising. Why does not the Government take some action? Why is it concerned so much with drugs of presently limited significance? Why does it not take some action on alcohol and tobacco on which it has some organic evidence? The cold facts are that in the last 5 years the Federal Government has reaped the colossal amount of $2,500m in excise duties from tobacco and alcohol and it follows that the more the Government can promote the consumption of alcohol and tobacco in Australia, the more money it will get and the fatter will be its purse.
– What do the advertisers get?
– The bill for advertising cigarettes and alcohol on television and radio is colossal. These are the two reasons why this Government, dominated by big business, refuses to take action. Its whole concern in the Parliament seems to be with these limited drugs which it appears to be promoting. If the Government is fair dink uni about the health of Australians it will do something about tobacco and alcohol, lt has leads from America and Britain, and the latest medical reports from Britain show a staggering picture. A shock report from the Royal College of Physicians, which i assume is a responsible body, calls for a complete ban on advertising that promotes cigarettes, cigars and anything allied with those products. This report states that premature deaths and disabling illnesses caused by smoking have now reached epidemic proportions in Britain. More than 20,000 men aged between 35 and 64 years are dying each year from smoking. lt is estimated by the College of Physicians that the three smoking-induced diseases - chronic bronchitis, coronary thrombosis and lung cancer - account for nearly 100,000 premature deaths in Britain every year. These are deaths: not people going for trips somewhere.
The Australian Government should follow the decision of the Government of the United States of America to ban all cigarette advertising on television and radio. At the same time the American Government is compelling al) tobacco companies to print health warnings on cigarette packs. The Australian Government should be disturbed at the incredible growth of smoking in our primary and secondary schools. The British report indicates that medical men are deeply concerned that at the age of 15, there are just as many girl smokers as boy smokers and that the intake of alcohol has also shown a tremendous increase at this age. According to medical research, babies can be harmed if the addiction is carried on into pregnancy. I find it incredible that the Government can spend day after day attacking marihuana, LSD, cannabis and other drugs and yet say not a word about the most important problems in Australia today in the fields of alcohol and tobacco.
– Do you disagree with that? State your position.
– I will state “ my position. If the Minister has the-, courage to introduce a Bill to ban the advertising of cigarettes and alcohol the Australian Labor Party will support it because it is our policy.
– You are evading -.the question. What are your views on marihuana and cannabis?
– I agree with the Minister and he knows it. All I am saying is that these are two big issues which should be promoted more and more- in the Parliament. I do not disagree with what the Minister says about marihuana. Do not get me wrong on this; what I am really saying is that we must get things in perspective. What concerns me is the colossal sum that is involved. When one examines the Budget papers and sees that $600m will be earned this year from excise duty on alcohol and tobacco, and realises also that colossal sums are being , reaped by monopolistic television agencies, and radio stations throughout Australia from advertising, one appreciates why the- Government will not take action. All I am saying to the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) is that we should get .these issues into perspective. 1 am sure that the Minister, whom 1 do not criticise, makes his statements in good faith, but I am concerned about the continuous harping in the national Press about marihuana, LSD and cannabis because this only excites susceptible young children into having a go a’ them. Children are freer today than they were years ago. I suggest that if we kept quiet about these drugs and concentrated more on the real problems in Australia today we might do more for the health of the nation.
– I wish to draw to the attention of the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) a serious problem within the meat industry. This problem relates to the importation into Australia from New Zealand of inedible offal which is used in the manufacture of pet food, lt is true that for many years Australian meat producers have relied heavily on profits gained from the use of inedible offal in the manufacture of pet food. Inedible offal is commonly known as the by-product of the meat industry. This offal has been sold at an agreed, established price to the pet food manufacturers. Indeed, it is claimed that if it were not for this arm of the industry, it would be difficult to retain a continuity of maximum killing in Australia throughout the whole year.
The story is this: A big American company is probably Australia’s biggest manufacturer of pet food. The company trades under the name of ‘Uncle Ben’. It would probably be more fitting if it traded under the name of ‘Uncle Sam’. Purchases by this company of inedible offal from New Zealand have pushed the import of this material from 300,000 lb in the year ending July 1969-70 to H million lb from July 1970 to December 1970 in Victoria alone. Naturally the reason for this tremendous increase is due to the fact that this offal is being purchased at a price far below the ruling rate in Australia and at a rate that the meat producers in Australia cannot match. Taking advantage of this situation, this big American monopoly is bargaining the New Zealand price against the Australian market. This is creating a price war between the 2 countries which will be detrimental to both countries. The only participating beneficiary will be the big American pet food monopoly. One can be certain it will not help the purchasing public and it will not lower the price of pet food.
So serious has this become that unless this Government takes immediate action Australian producers will be forced to restrict their buying at stock sales. Action of this kind will place severe restrictions on the present killing quota and will result in the retrenchment of many employees in the meat industry. Indeed, it could be so disastrous to what is called the follow-on industries in the meat trade that the jobs Of 5,000 persons could be very adversely affected. It might be of interest to honourable members to know that there are more people employed in the follow-on industries than there are in the killing section. So serious do the employers and the meat industry employees union view this matter that they have asked me to raise this problem in the Parliament and to urge the Government to investigate this matter very closely and to take immediate action to curtail the importation of this pet food offal into this country. It is only by immediate action that the interests of the Australian meat industry and its employees can be protected. In fact it is only by such action that a takeover of yet another Australian industry by big American monopolistic interests can be prevented.
I hope that the Minister, can realise just how vital this matter is to this little known branch of one of Australia’s biggest industries which is already beset . in its export trade by rigid American regulations that have caused the close down of meat sheds from Darwin to Devonport. I am informed that the American Company ‘Uncle Ben’ trades under a different name in each State in Australia. I have already had to bring to the notice of the Department of Trade and Industry under the provisions of the Trade Practices . Act the unfair advertising methods the company uses to sell its products. The advertising on television, in the news media, over the radio and in the form of give aways of all sorts costs thousands upon thousands’ of dollars and indeed amounts to such a colossal figure that it is beyond the capacity of any Australian company to meet and thus the Australian companies must “fait by the wayside. The Department of Trade and Industry has informed me that it cannot- take any action in this matter. This decision practically sounded the death knell of Australian pet food manufacturers and (his further incursion into the price structure of inedible meat offal supply is ‘ a ‘ new threat to the Australian companies arid to the many people employed by those companies. 1 might add that the management within the meat industry and the Australian meat industry employees union ‘ are very close on this matter which I have raised. They realise, of course, the very serious threat it presents to the industry. Indeed the management and the union have asked me to seek a deputation to the Minister for Primary Industry, which I- hope ‘he will grant. However, since the problem1 which I have raised has its relationship with the meat industry which is already beset by many problems, I desire to point -out that this is a matter in which the :Government can take the initiative without interference from the export meat trade lobbyists of the United States of America, i ‘know that this is a matter that could involve departments other than the Minister’s but for the sake of the meat industry 1 hope that the Minister and the Government will have the wisdom to take action to prevent the breakdown that the meat producers fear.
– May I say 2 things about the speech that has just been presented by the honourable member for Gellibrand (Mr Mclvor) who is worried about the import of edible offal into Australia. I think that all honourable members will appreciate the concern which the honourable member for Gellibrand has for employment within the meat industry. They know also of the significance that industry has not only in his electorate but throughout Australia. The meat industry maintains a valuable outlet for a rural industry which- is generally going through fairly difficult economic times. I am indebted to the honourable member for giving me some warning that he would raise this matter. The statistics on these imports that ! have been able to obtain are those compiled by the Commonwealth Statistician. They show that for the year ended 30th June last imports into the whole of Australia from New Zealand, under the heading ‘materials of animal origin not elsewhere specified’, which is the category predominantly consisting of inedible ment offal, were some 800,000 lb valued at about $99,000. For the first 6 months of 1970-71 the imports were some 1,600,000 lb valued at about Si 61, 000. Those figures apply to the whole of Australia and while they show a considerable increase they are not perhaps as alarming as the figures which the honourable member quoted.
The honourable member did say that there may be a number of departments concerned in this matter. I will refer to them those parts of his queries which are specifically their concern. They are the questions of dumping or subsidising of the imports. My Department has advised that it is not aware of any practices being adopted by New Zealand exporters of inedible meat offal which could have the effect of directly or indirectly subsidising the export of this product to Australia. There are no import duties either way on the trade in inedible offals between Australia and New Zealand. Quarantine requirements to protect animal and human health exist in both countries and are administered by our respective Departments of Health in a manner designed to avoid health hazards only and not to act as economic barriers.
Generally the position is thai the Uncle Ben’s company to which the honourable member has referred has been forced to import inedible meat offal because it claimed that it had considerable difficulties in securing adequate supplies from Australian meat works. The honourable member having raised this matter in the House, I will certainly contact my ministerial colleagues who have an overlapping responsibility in this field. I have no doubt that the company which certainly markets its products competitively on the Australian market, will take note of the concern that he registered about any effect their imports from overseas might have on the Australian industry. I have no doubt that it is in their long term interests as well as of those who work in the Australian meat industry that as far as possible they obtain their raw materials for pet foods from sources within Australia.
– I want to raise a matter this evening in a general sense. I am concerned about the fact that this House is almost going to sleep. Since we have been here for the last 8 days we have discussed some of the most incredible trivia and we seem to have bypassed some of the most tremendously important issues that are facing this nation today. When I look at the notice paper and see some of the widely exciting topics which we will be debating in the future my concern grows with every hour. We have discussed the important state of our economy but now that has been put to one side. Despite the fact that the Press throughout Australia and the news media continue to report the state of our economy from day to day. we debated it for one day. We dealt with the Sugar Agreement Bill which is obviously of some importance. We had before us the Broadcasting and Television Bill, the Australian National University Bill and the Bills of Exchange Bill. We have some wild ones coming up. One is ihe Australian War Memorial Bill. That one should set the world aflame. Another is the Overseas Telecommunications Bill. The Cellulose Acetate Flake Bounty Bill ought to be an earth shattering one.
One can go on and still find that the programme for this House is such that we will all be put to sleep. What concerns me is that so many vital issues have not and will not be debated.
I understand already that because there is not enough business before the House we are to rise at 4 o’clock on Thursday and that we are to go back to our electorates. I have even heard talk in the lobbies that the House may not run its full time, that the House will rise for the winter adjournment earlier than expected because we have not enough business. We have been away from this place for 3i to 4 months. Now we come back, with none of the important issues being discussed. It is my belief that because we have not had debates such as an address-in-reply debate or a Budget debate, which allow honourable members to range over a wide number of topics. Ministers should have made statements on important issues that face the nation. In the time that I have been in this Parliament there have been no debates of any consequence on the question of urban development. There has been no real discussion on the question of pollution. There has been no real discussion in any depth - perhaps there has been very brief mention - of the question of conservation. As far as I oan see there will be no discussion this session on education or on the subject of road safety, which is very dear to my heart. I have tried to raise the subject of road safety on which I have had a speech written, on 3 occasions. On a previous occasion when I hopped up to talk on this subject I was gagged. On the last occasion I wished to speak I was told that I would be ruled out of order so I did not waste my time in getting up.
No mention has been made in this place of transport. There is one of the most vital questions facing this nation. We should know the shape our transport will take and what are our transport needs. Such matters as rapid transport and interstate highways and so on should be discussed in this place. But there has been no mention of it at all. No debate has been listed on the question of social services. We have had a brief debate on this matter when it was raised by the Opposition by way of an urgency motion. But it appears that we will not have a deep inquiry into this subject. I know that many honourable mem bers on this side of the House want to raise the question of social services. I will admit that there has’ ‘ been ari urgency motion but a debate of this nature is not enough to cover the. whole range that social services- embraces.
What about the rural .community? We would have expected the honourable members over here in Gunn’s. Gully to raise the subject of rural problems. But practically nothing has been said. The whole of the rural countryside is in’ a crisis. We can see the way that the voters of Australia are swinging away from their traditional members and going in large numbers to the Australian Labor Party. Yet, no real debate will take place on rural problems. The question of tariffs has been on the lips of everyone in all media. We have the Cellulose Acetate Flake, but I do not think that we will be able to ‘get’ right through the whole of the problems of tariffs in that Bill. Such a subject cannot ‘be covered in such a short Bill. : ‘<
Immigration is a subject which 1 have raised in the House. .This is a subject which has been discussed, and debated in the community in the ,last ‘6,. months. Immigration was a subject which was discussed in a seminar conducted by the Institute of Political Science in January. Yet there has been no real discussion . of the question of immigration. Even the question of drugs has not been discussed. Honourable members are able to raise these matters only in the grievance or adjournment debates. We have even seen the ridiculous situation of honourable members on this side of the House trying to get around the Standing Orders or the rules of the Parliament by trying to discuss these matters during the debate on the Advance fo the Treasurer. For hours I tried to wangle a way to bring up a matter on this debate tonight. This is where the Parliament has, got to. It has become a farce. As Bills are not being presented Ministers ought to be making statements on all sorts of matters so that we can debate them. It. is a damn disgrace that after 4 months of recess the Whips and the Deputy Whips have to run around and say: ‘You get up and speak; can you get up and fill in the time?’ Honourable members are asked to fill in the time when all of these important matters ought to be discussed. This is disgraceful. I hope that someone else will get tip and support me in this matter so that we can get on to discuss some of these very important issues that need to be discussed. Many of these issues were avoided last year. I accept the fact that the Government had important legislation and other things had to be pushed aside. However, if (here is no important legislation before the House now let the Ministers make statements on these matters and let these matters be debated.
– I will not detain the House for more than a minute or two. I want to comment on the speech made by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson).
– And a very good speech, too.
-Yes, it was. I thank the honourable member for the courtesy he paid me of informing me that he was going to raise this matter. I would like to say in this House that there was not one thing which the honourable member said about the dangers of alcohol and cigarettes with which I disagreed. I commend him for saying it. Alcohol, as I have said - and I feel 1 am a lone voice around the nation lately - is the third largest killer today in the United Kingdom. This fact is obtained from their official statistics. The World Health Organisation rates alcohol as the fourth largest medical problem in the world. Therefore, the honourable gentleman will get no quarrel from me about the dangers of the abuse of alcohol. I also agree with his statistics concerning cigarettes. I share the honourable member’s view about the danger of cigarette smoking as far as young people are concerned. I am sure that every member on this side of the House shares this view. I would not want the excellent remarks of the honourable member to go by default tonight as far as the Government is concerned.
– Weil, when can you announce some action on it.
– The honourable member for Lalor asked when could we announce some action on it? I would have thought that instead of making rather inane interjections such as that the honourable member might get up sometime and put a concrete proposal as to what can be done about this problem.
– What about a tax on the advertising of cigarettes?
– We have heard about taxes. The honourable gentleman with his knowledge and study of economics should know very well that no matter how much we add taxes or excise to this kind of product, where people have a physiological and psychological compulsion price does not matter a damn.
– I am talking about advertising.
-Order! There are too many interjections.
– From memory a bottle of beer at the moment costs about 42c and 28c of that goes in excise duty. 1 suppose we could double the amount of excise but 1 am not naive enough to believe that it would have much effect on the consumption of alcohol.
– What about advertising?
-Order! The honourable member for Lalor will cease interjecting. I understand that he wishes to speak in this debate and he will have a chance to then reply to the Minister.
– Does the honourable gentleman believe that people who have that compulsion - and I presume that he is talking about those who are abusing those 2 drugs - will not buy the drugs because of an increase in excise? I do not believe it will, because it does not deter a compulsion.
The other matter I want to discuss is a prohibition on advertising. I have an open mind on this. However, I was impressed the other day by the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) who said that prohibition on advertising had been implemented in certain places in the United States of America and that this did not make one iota of difference to the consumption of cigarettes. I think we have to look at the facts. It is all very well to stand up in this place and make nice-looking and nice-sounding speeches about why we do not do something or why we do not ban advertising. But it is being Don Quixote to do something when it is a completely useless act. I am sure that the honourable member for Dawson would agree with that. I know that all honourable members on this side of the House and the Government would welcome a bi-partisan approach on the 2 evils of cigarette smoking and alcohol from the Opposition at any time.
I would now like to refer to the prohibition of drugs themselves. I know that the honourable member for Dawson did not advocate the prohibition of alcohol or cigarettes. But once a drug has become part of the social fabric of a society - and alcohol undoubtedly is now in our society whether the honourable member likes it or not or whether I like it or not - we cannot overcome that evil by prohibition. The Americans tried prohibition, as the honourable gentleman knows, in the 1920s. That has been described as the greatest tragic social experiment of our time. All that prohibition brought, as I understand it, was an increase in gangsterism, prostitution, vice and corruption and the consumption of alcohol did not go down one bit. Surely prohibition is not the answer. There is one other aspect of advertising, and this would appeal to the political philosophy of the honourable gentleman. I would like to take one example. I want to make it perfectly clear that the reason T will give now is not a conclusive or persuasive reason itself. It is one of several reasons. In Melbourne, we are fortunate to have competition now in the brewery business. Relatively recently, another brewery was established to compete with the monopoly, Carlton and United Breweries Ltd. The name of the new brewery is Courage Breweries Ltd. If all advertising of alcohol was forbidden, Courage Breweries would be sent to the wall tomorrow. Any free competition would be eradicated completely and the original monopoly situation would be preserved. That is an economic reason. I do not put it as a conclusive reason, but it is one reason of which we must speak. If the honourable member is true to his political philosophy - and I am sure that he is - that consequence would not worry him at all because he would agree readily to the nationalisation or socialisation not only of the liquor industry but also in fact of all industry. So, that consequence would not worry him. But it does worry those of us who do encourage free competition by private enterprise.
Let me return to another point on which the honourable member was critical of us. He asked why we did not direct our atten tion to those 2 evils, cigarettes and alcohol, and not worry about drugs which, at this time, are not a big problem in Australia.
– Not so much.
– Not so much. The honourable gentleman was fair enough, kind enough and courageous enough to say in answer to an interjection from me that he did agree that these things were evil. It is very hard to measure drug abuse. In Victoria we have about 58,000 alcoholics, and the staggering figure of 250,000 alcoholics in Australia, which is a figure that should startle anyone. It is harder to measure drug abuse. A very interesting measuring stick in. regard to the consumption of marihuana came to light almost by’ accident in the United States of America, The measuring stick was found in the increasing sale of cigarette papers. Presuming that the number of cigarette smokers who roll their own cigarettes remains,-, relatively constant - in fact it does not;- .it goes down - < one could assume that the. sale of cigarette papers would remain on the :same level. In 1969 in the United States 61 million packets .of cigarette papers: were sold. One year later, 214 million packets of cigarette papers were sold. This . represents an increase in consumption in .1 year of 400 per cent. The mind of any business man would boggle if he saw that sort of figure on his sales graph.
I am terrified that marihuana is becoming as much a part of, the fabric of the society in the United. States, as. alcohol is there and is here and as much a part of the fabric of the society as, cigarette smoking is there and is here. J would imagine that at the stage when, it becomes part of the fabric of the society, we must lie down, enjoy it, and perhaps,., legalise it. But happily we are not in that:. stale in Australia yet. As far as I atn. concerned, as far as the Government is concerned, and 1 am sure as far as the honourable.. member for Dawson is concerned, we do not., want that to happen in Australia.. We,, do not want marihuana smoking to become part of the fabric of the society here. We do not want 90 per cent of our school children smoking it and opting for the hallucinogenic and distorted world to which I referred yesterday.
Therefore, as a government, we believe that no social problem is ever solved by sweeping it under the carpet. An abundance of evidence is available to indicate that demand is growing and that the supply lines are increasing. As a customs enforcement agency, my Department cannot stop it all. We can stop 10 per cent to 15 per cent if we are lucky. This is because of the ingenuity of the smuggler, the length of our coastline and so on. So it remains that something else has to be done. Surely a national education campaign against the evils of taking marihuana and other narcotic drugs must be the logical conclusion.
I thoroughly agree with the honourable gentleman when he says that certain types of sensational publicity and certain wrong types of television films can be counter productive and can induce people to do this sort of thing. As a result of my concern about that, I, in company with my colleague the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes), have appointed a very distinguished Australian Sir William Kilpatrick toact as chairman of the national education sub-committee on drugs. Sir William is drawing to him top businessmen and health experts from the States to make sure that the $500,000 that the Government has hypothecated towards this cause will be spent not only well but also wisely and will be used not in a counter productive way as the honourable gentleman fears.
– I have in my hand a document headed ‘Department of Labour, and National Service, National Service Statistics, Defaulters Summary of Offences as at 31.12.70’. It gives details of the number of people who have failed to register for national service and so on. I do not know whether this document is secret., I do not think I have ever seen a secret document. It is hard to judge whether it is secret; but it seems to me to be a document which raises some very significant questions about failure to register for national service which I would like the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden) to answer in due course.
In answer to a question last week the Minister for Labour and National Service said that 1,113 cases of men who failed to register for national service had been taken to court since 1964. Presumably there have been other cases of failure to attend for medical examination and failure to obey a call-up notice. These latter two offences may add up to much less than the 1,113 cases of people who failed to register or they may add a considerable number to the 1,113 cases; I do not know. In any case, the number of men who have been prosecuted for the three offences - failure to register, failure to attend for medical examination and failure to answer callup - would amount to a very significant total that has seriously embarrassed the Government. But what is more significant than the number of men who have been prosecuted for these three offences is the number of men who have not been prosecuted for these three offences.
As I said, I have a photostat copy of a document which the Minister may verify in due course as being genuine or not. I repeat that it is headed ‘Department of Labour and National Service, National Service Statistics, Defaulters Summary of Offences as at 31.12.70’. The first page has a sub-heading: ‘Failure to Register: Cumulative Figure’. The total of those who have failed to register is shown on this document as being 43,960. The table goes on to show the following facts: That inquiries revealed there was no default in 23,435 cases; explanations accepted by Registrar, 8,374; cases not proceeded with, 698; cases not proceeded with on advice of the Deputy Crown Solicitor, 114; prosecuted and convicted, 1,007; prosecutions dismissed, 52; prosecutions withdrawn, 54; prosecutions pending, 62; investigations proceeding less than 3 months, 2,888; investigations proceeding more than 3 months, 7276; and unable to trace name on defaulters list, 1,659. 1 have also tables showing the number of men who failed to register, those who failed to attend for medical examination, and those who failed to obey the call-up notice, as at 31st December 1970. The important thing about this table, I think, is that of the 43,960 men who have failed to register since the National Service Act began to operate, 23,435 were shown by inquiries to reveal no default. On the face of it I cannot understand why a failure to register does not in itself constitute a default. How can it be that inquiries have revealed that 23,435 of the 43,960 men who have failed to register have revealed no default? I ask the Minister why it was that such a large number of those who failed to register, 23.435 have been held by his Department to constitute no default. What characteristic was there in these men who failed to register that constituted no default?
I have had the impression from everybody that they are very worried if they fail to register. The impression is given that failure to register is an immediate offence. Most of the young men and their parents to whom 1 talk are most concerned that this is an automatic offence. Yet the statistics show that of the 43,960 men who failed to register 23,435 were found after inquiry to represent no default. Statistically, if one does not register one has a 60 per cent chance of not being found to have committed any offence. The next category that I think requires examination is that of explanations accepted by the Registrar, and of the 43,960 men who failed to register 8:374 gave explanations that were accepted by the Registrar. One could understand, I suppose, that there were those who did not know they had to register, or things of that kind, but it seems to me to be an extraordinarily large proportion.
There were 1,113 prosecutions. But the next important point arising from the tables I have here is that of the 43,960 men who failed to register 2,888 have been under investigation for less than 3 months. I suppose that is reasonable. It might take 3 months to investigate and to discover whether there is an offence or not, but 7,276 have been under investigation for longer than 3 months. How much longer than 3 months have they been under investigation? Is it 6 months, 12 months, 2 years or 5 years? If so many, 7.276 out of 43,960 - one-sixth or 15 per cent. - have to be under investigation for longer than 3 months it seems like a very serious problem of investigation. I wonder how many investigators are involved in this. If there are 7,276 cases under investigation for longer than 3 months how many investiga tors would be involved? The honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) would have an idea of the size of a job like that. It seems to be an extraordinary figure.
– That is more than there are in Vietnam.
– As the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) has mentioned there are as many persons who have been under investigation for more than 3 months for failing to register as we have troops in Vietnam. It seems to me, when we consider that 11,000 men out of 43,000 have been under investigation or are under investigation for failing to register - 7,200 of them for more than 3 months - to suggest that there are quite a number of these cases that the Government does not want to proceed with. The mere 1,113 who have been prosecuted seems to me to be a very unlucky small number selected perhaps for the purpose of intimidating others to register whereas the Government really does not want to* indicate to the public that as many have failed to register as this document shows. As I said, this is probably not a secret document. It is headed ‘Department of Labour and National Service - National Service Statistics’. Perhaps the Government does not want the public to know about these figures.
– Where does it come from?
– I suppose it comes from the Department of Labour and National Service., It is headed like that. This Government does not want, I am sure, the public to know that 43,960 persons have failed to register-
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Motion (by Mr Holten) agreed to:
That the question be now put.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.15p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
Migration: Quota System (Question No. 2199)
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Permanent settlers from Continental countries of Western Europe are all interviewed by Australian Selection Officers and approved by Australian medical officers before acceptance.
The total annual migration target, including assisted and unassisted settlers is determined in the light of:
The level of unassisted migration is not closely controlled but nevertheless tends to be reasonably stable. Fluctuations from year to year have generally not exceeded 5,000 and are usually less. In 1.969-70 the number of unassisted settlers arriving in Australia was53,231 and the average for the last five financial years was53,625.
Because assisted migrants are selected to fill actual or foreseen development needs in the community they are required to meet more rigorous selection criteria, particularly in relation to health and occupation, than are unassisted migrants. The numbers sought under individual occupational categories may be varied from time to time in accordance with the employment demand in Australia.
The level of the assisted migration programme is decided each year and funds are provided by Parliament in the Budget. If changing circumstances in the course of a financial year indicate the desirability of changes in the programme, the necessary funds are sought under ‘“Additional Estimates’.
Within the overall assisted migration programme, targets for specific migration schemes are established on the basis of Australia’s needs and the availability in source countries of the categories of migrants sought. A number of factors combine to determine what results may be realistically expected in any year. Social and economic conditions in the source countries themselves, the attitudes of the government of those countries, and conditions in Australia all have their effects upon our ability to attract migrants.
In the administration of both assisted and unassisted migration family reunion and other humanitarian factors are taken into consideration.
International Court of Justice (Question No. 2331)
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The review of the terms of Australia’s acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice has not yet been concluded. When it is, and if a decision is made to alter the existing terms, such decision will be communicated to the House.
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Two resolutions were moved in both 1969 and 1970 in the General Assembly of the United Nations concerning the representation of China. The texts, which were the same in both years except for the necessary changes in the ‘important question’ resolution in its reference to the dates of the earlier resolutions, were as follows:
The General Assembly
Recalling the recommendation contained in its resolution 396 (V) of 14 December 1950 that, whenever more than one authority claims to be the Government entitled to represent a Member State in the United Nations and this question becomes the subject of controversy in the United Nations, the question should be considered in the light of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the circumstances of each case.
Recalling further its decision in resolution 1668 (XVI.) of 15th December 1961, in accordance with Article 18 of the Charter thai any proposal to change the representation of China is an important question, which, in General Assembly resolutions 2025 (XX) of 17th November 1965 and 2159 (XXI) of 29th November 1966, 2271 (XXII) of 28th November 1967. 2389 (XXIII) of 19th November 1968 and 2500 (XXIV) of 11th November 1969, was affirmed as remaining valid.
Affirms again that this decision remains valid.
The Genera) Assembly
Recalling the principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
Considering that the restoration ofthe lawful rights of the Peoples Republic of China is essential both for the protection ofthe Charter of the United Nations and for the cause that, the United Nations must serve under the Charter,
Recognising that the representatives of the Government of the People’s Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations,
Decides to restore all its rights to the People’s Republic of China and to recognise the representatives of its Government asthe only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations, andto expel forthwith ihe representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the United Nations and in all the organisations relatedto it.
Cultural Agreement with Indonesia (Question No. 2337)
asked the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
What has been (a) the allocation and (b) the expenditure of funds under the Cultural Agreement with Indonesia in 1968-69 and 1969-70.
– The answer to the honable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice: .
– The . answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
What countries have ratified or acceded to the 1958 Convention on the Continental Shelf, and when did each do so.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Foreign’ Affairs, upon notice:
What progress has been made and result achieved in the exchange of views between Indonesian and Australian officials concerning the continental shelf or shelves in the Timor Sea
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The talks . which commenced in March, 1970, between Indonesia and Australia on the sea-bed and continental shelf resumed in Canberra on Monday. 15th February, 1971, and are still in progress.
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer lo the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1)(a)On 14th December, 1970, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 2700 (XXV):
The General Assembly,
Recalling the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14th December 1960 containing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples,
Recalling its previous resolutions concerning Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea, in particular resolution 2590 (XXIV) of 16th December 1 969,
Having Considered the report of the Trusteeship Council covering the period from 20th June 1969 to 19th June 1970 and the relevant chapter of the report of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard lo the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples,
Having heard the statement of the representative of the administering Power,
Having heard the statements of the petitioners.
Taking into account the observations of the Special Committee and the Trusteeship Council regarding developments in Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea,
Mindful of the responsibility of the United Nations to render all helpto the people of Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea in their efforts freely to decide their own future,
Reaffirms the inalienable right of the people of Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea to self-determination and independence in accordance with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) and the Trusteeship Agreement of 13th December 1946;
Reaffirms its previous resolutions regarding Papua and the Trust Territoy of New Guinea:
Takes note of the arrangements made by the Trusteeship Council, in accordance with paragraph 5 of resolution 2590 (XXIV) and in consultation with the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, concerning the composition of its forthcoming periodic visiting mission to the Trust Territory of New Guinea in 1971;
Invites the administering Power to cooperate fully with the visiting mission and to provide it with all the necessary facilities and assistance in the performance of its tasks;
Calls upon the administering Power to prescribe, in consultation with freely elected representatives of the people, a specific time-table for the free exercise by the people of Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea oftheir right to self- determination and independence, and to report to the Trusteeship Council and to the Special Committee on the action taken in that regard;
Requests the administering Power to intensify and accelerate the education and technical and administrative training of the indigenous peoples of the Territories and the localisation of the public service;
Requests the Trusteeship Council and the Special Committeeto continue to examine this question and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its twenty-sixth session.’
On 19th June 1970, the Trusteeship Council adopted Resolution 2154 (XXXVII):
The Trusteeship Council,
Having decided to dispatch a periodic visiting mission to the Trust Territory of New Guinea in 1971.
Recalling the request made to the Trusteeship Council by the General Assembly, in paragraph 5 of its resolution 2590 (XXIV) of 16th December 1969, to include non-members of the Trusteeship Council, in its periodic visiting missions to the Trust Territory of New Guinea, in consultation with the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and with the Administering Authority; in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,
Noting that the consultations requested by the General Assembly have been carried out,
Having decided that the visiting Mission should be composed of…… (France),…… (Iraq), …… (Sierra Leone) and…… (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland),
Having decided that the Visiting Mission should visit the Trust Territory early in 1971,
Directs the Visiting Mission to investigate and report as fully as possible on the steps taken in the Trust Territory of New Guinea towards the realization of the objectives set forth in Article 76 b of the Charter of the United Nations, and to pay special attention to the question of the future of the Territory, in the light of the relevant Articles of the Charter and the Trusteeship Agreement, bearing in mind the provisions of relevant Trusteeship Council and General Assembly resolutions, including Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14th December 1960 and 1541 (XV) of 15th December 1960;
Directs the Visiting Mission to give attention, as may be appropriate in the light of discussions in the Trusteeship Council and of resolutions adopted by it,to issues raised in connection with the annual reports on the administration of the Trust Territory, in the petitions received by the Council concerning reports of the previous periodic visiting missions to the Territory and in the observations of the Administering Authority on those reports;
Directs the Visiting Missionto receive petitions, without prejudice to its acting in accordance with the rules of procedure of the Council, and to investigate on the spot such of the petitions received as, in its opinion, warrant special investigation;
Requests the Visiting ‘Mission to submit to the Council as soon as practicable a report on its visit to the Trust Territory of New Guinea containing its findings, with such observations, conclusions anil recommendations as it may wish to make.
On. 16th July 1970, the Economic and Social Council adopted Resolution 1523 (XLIX):
The Economic and Social Council,
Taking note of the recommendation contained in the annual report of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East with regard to ihe request of the Government of Australia for the inclusion of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea within the geographical scope of the Commission and the admission of the Territory as an associate member,
Approves the recommendation of the Commission that the Territory of Papua and New Guinea be included in the geographical scope of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East and admitted as an associate member of the Commission;
Decides to amend paragraphs 2 and 4 of the terms of reference of the Commission accordingly.
Voting on these resolutions was:
General Assembly 2700 (XXV)
Recorded Vote:In favour: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burma, Burundi, Byelorussia, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Ceylon, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Cuba, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Finland, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana., Greece, Guatemala, Guinea,. Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq,Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, *Malawai, . Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, . Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Southern Yemen, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden,
Syria, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia. Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, USSR, United Arab Republic, United Republic of Tanzania, Upper Volta, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Zambia.
Abstaining: Australia, France, Portugal, United Kingdom, United Slates.
Absent: Afghanistan, Albania, Bolivia, Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Costa Rica. **Dahomey, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Fiji, Iceland, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Maldives, Malta, Niger, Pakistan, **People’s Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, **Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Yemen.
Trusteeship Council 2154 (XXXV II) In favour: Australia. China, UK, USA.
Economic and Social Council 1523 (XL1X):
In favour: Voting was unanimous.
- Later indicated it had intendedto abstain.
**Later indicated lt had intended to, vote in favour.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
Will the Government,in orderto prevent the exploitation of Australia’s mineral resources by some companies searching and mining for minerals with a view to export, make it mandatory that before each company concerned secures an export licence for its mineral product, the company must first register in the Australian Capital Territory in order that the Federal Parliament may exercise control over our mineral development on a national basis.
– The answer to the honourable members question is as follows:
Adoption of the honourable member’s suggestion is not considered to be practicable.
The Commonwealth can and in appropriate cases has used its jurisdiction over exports to achieve national ends.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
What is the value of the assistance given by the Commonweatlh and each State to the National Trust.
– The answer to the honourable member s question is as follows:
The Commonweatlh, makes an annual grant of $5,000 io the Australian Council of National Trusts. The Commonwealth has also granted income tax and estate duty concessions on gifts and bequests to the Trusts and income tax concessions on donations to appeals by the Trusts which result in the Commonwealth forgoing revenue it would otherwise collect equal to approximately one-third of the sum contributed to an appeal. It would be impracticable however to attempt to calculate the value of this indirect assistance to the Trusts through taxation concessions.
Details of assistance provided to the Trusts by each State should be obtained from the respective State Governments.
Municipal Rates: Relief to Pensioners (Question No. 2165)
asked the Minister for
Social Services, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
(a) Apartfrom the payment of pensions, the Social Service Act does not authorise any assistance for pensioners as aid towards payment of municipal rates,
Social Workers (Question No. 2166)
asked the Minister for
Social Services, upon notice:
How many of the social workers employed by the Department of Social Services in each State are engaged in (a) full-time and (b) part-time work in country areas.
MrWentworth - The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Four full-time social workers are located in country areas and a further 9 country districts are serviced on a regular weekly basis. Visits at longer intervals are arranged for country districts in Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. A further 2 full-time and 3 part-time social workers are engaged in work at provincial cities or outer suburban areas. By comparison the total number of social workers, excluding those on long-term leave, is 59.
asked the Attorney-General, upon notice:
At which meetings of the Standing Committee of Commonwealth and State Attorneys-General has discussion taken place on legal aid in (a) divorce cases (Hansard, 11 September 1969, page 1144) and (b) other matters.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Since the reply by my predecessor on 24th September 1969 the following action has proceeded on the lands identified in that reply -
A- COMMONWEALTH OWNED PROPERTY
Formal approvals have been given for the transfer of the following lands to the Slate of New South Wales and these are being processed for completion.
The release of other lands at Newington, Bumborah Point and Moore Park are being discussed with the State.
B- LAND OCCUPIED FOR COMMONWEALTH DEFENCE PURPOSES
Maroubra (HeffronPark) - 2 acres vacated and returned to Stale. The State has agreed to occupation of 40 acres continuing until 3 1 st October 1971. Action is being taken to vacate this area.
Holsworthy - Acquisition of land required for Army purposes under negotiation with the State.
Scheyville - 1,083 acres on lease and 493 acres on permissive occupancy extended to 30th June 1975 by State.
Defence: Cadet Training (Question No. 2449)
asked the Minister for
Defence, upon notice:
What is the estimated cost of training a cadet at-
the Royal Military College, Duntroon,
the Royal Australian Naval College, Jervis Bay, and
the Royal Australian Air Force Academy, Point Cook.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Of the 3-year degree courses ( (b) above). Arts students spend the whole period at the University of New South Wales. Science students study for 1 year at theRAN College followed by 2 years at the University of New South Wales. Four-year Engineering degree students ( (c) above) spend the first year at the University of New South Wales.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 February 1971, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1971/19710223_reps_27_hor71/>.