27th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took [he chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of residents of Victoria respectfully sheweth:
The red kangaroo, largest marsupial in the world has through shooting for commerce become extinct or rare in many areas of Australia where it was once prolific.
All scientific evidence points to this decimation of numbers, which is clear evidence that State Governments are unable to control commercial shooting within their boundaries.
We, the people of Australia, feel strong repugnance to the fact that industries should be allowed to operate, which in the past have decimated the koala to extinction over vast areas of thisland, and which have now similarly exploited the kangaroo. We feel that the taxpayer should not have the heavy burden of having to pay for the control of an industry which benefits but a few people in this country, and that live kangaroos through their value as tourist attractions are economically far more profitable to our economy and to us aesthetically.
We your petitioners, therefore humbly pray that you will:
Immediately ban the export of products made from kangaroos.
Strongly insist that State Governments prohibit the commercial shooting of kangaroos.
Enact legislation to give the Commonwealth Government control of all native wildlife throughout Australia.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
– I present the following petition:
To The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled.
The petition of the undersigned wives of serving R.A.A.F. members most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to alleviate the inadequate rates of pay, allowances and conditions existing in the Armed Forces at present.
And your petitioners, as in duty 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 Petition of the undersigned wives ofserving R.A.A.F. members most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to alleviate the inadequate rales of pay, allowances and conditions existing in the Armed Forces at present.
And your petitioners, as in duty 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 petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:
That the Australian Education Council Report on the needs of State education services has established the most urgent needs in education.
That these needs can be summarised as alack of classroom accommodation, desperate teacher shortage, oversized classes and inadequate teaching aids.
That the additional sum of1,000,000,000 (one thousand million) dollars is required over the next five (5) 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, be amended to include all the country’s physically and mentally handicapped children.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assetnbled will take immediate steps to ensure that emergency finance from the Commonwealth be given to the States for their public education services which provide schooling for 78 per cent of Australian children.
– I ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport: How many Australian shipping companies have indicated that they will install Omega navigation receivers in their ships? Which of the major shipping conferences servicing the Australian trade intend to install the receiver? Will Omega receivers be installed in Australian National Line vessels? What personnel from the Department of Shipping and Transport will be needed to man an Omega transmitting station?
– I am unable accurately to answer the last part of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition’s question. However, 1 will obtain this information and forward it to him. I think that there has been right from the start a misunderstanding in the mind of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition on the Omega project. He has attributed some defence significance to an item that is purely and simply a navigational system that is in use in quite a number of parts of the world today. He asked what merchant ships are known to be fitted with Omega receivers for day to day use. I can tell him that the ‘Queen Elizabeth II’ is fitted with it, as arc the Norwegian cruise ship, the “Oslo Fiord’, the British Post Office cable laying ship, the ‘Alert’, and the British cargo ship ‘Prominence’. There is no doubt in my mind at all that the Omega navigational aid unit can play a very major part in the safely of ships at sea and that the Australian shipping companies will make their decision about fitting it in their own duc time.
– I preface ray question to the Postmaster-General by referring to the policy which requires Australian television stations to include 45 per cent of Australian produced programmes between- the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on 7 nights a week as from September this year. I ask the Minister whether he has seen a recent statement in the ‘Australian’ which quotes the managing director of a television corporation as saying that the final nail was driven into the ‘Tonight’ show by the new standards laid down by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board which become effective in September this year. Does this statement indicate an attempt to break down the Board’s stated policy before it conies into operation or does it imply a lack of executive capacity to meet these new requirements? Finally, does the Minister see the statement as an endeavour to influence other television corporations to make a joint effort to persuade the Government to change a policy which has been designed to foster Australian produced television programmes?
– In the first place 1 should make the House aware of what was decided as the new policy by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. At present the requirement is for 18 hours between 7 p.m. and 9.30 p.m. each 28 days with at least 2 hours each week between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. for Australian productions. The period has been extended to the 4 hours between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. as from September next, and 45 per cent of the programme material in this period must be Australian. This is to increase to 50 per cent as from July 1972. This was done principally because all the stations, commercial as well as those of the ABC, include within that period after 6 p.m. a half hour news broadcast which, of course, is regarded as Australian production, but which would have an effect on Australian content if the percentage had not been increased to cover other types of programmes such as drama and so on. The Board thought it fair to give fairly long notice of the increase to 50 per cent next year, but this is not necessarily the final limit to which the Board may go.
Honourable members will appreciate that the Broadcasting and Television Act throws a responsibility on to the various television stations in relation to Australian content, but the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, which is charged with the responsibility of making certain determinations under the Act, came to the conclusion a long time ago that unless it sets down specific criteria in relation to Australian content it might be that some stations would provide it and. some would not. So for over a long period this provision has applied. As to the particular programme to which the honourable member has referred, my understanding is that when it commenced - it is a programme which has been in existence for some considerable time - it did have a rating of approximately 40 per cent but that very recently its rating has dropped to between 14 per cent and 16 per cent. So I think it can be a question of judgment for any person within the community, knowing that situation, as to whether it has been discontinued because of its lower rating or because of the new requirement of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board in relation to Australian content. It is left to every television management to determine how it will meet the Board’s requirements. I think it. is fair to say that there is a legal requirement on the Board to set standards.- The Board has to set those standards having regard to what I feel sure is Government policy in terms of Australian production and what is accepted within the community generally, because it is essentia! to give an opportunity to actors, script writers, directors and others in the industry to express themselves in this area of culture.
– 1 ask the Prime Minister a question on his statement 24 hours ago about the communication he had received through the British Government from a source within China concerning the sale of Australian wheat to China. Did a Government spokesman later say that the right honourable gentleman had given the document a very high security classification and that no further details could be divulged? What security classification has the Prime Minister given to the communication? Has he given the classification to it because he wishes to keep its contents from the Chinese people or from the Australian people?
– In answer to the second part of the honourable gentleman’s question, I always regret having to point out how wrong he is. I have given no security classification whatsoever to this communication. The first part of the honourable members question happens to be equally wrongly based. The source of information did not come from within China, but it came to an official of the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong* from allegedly Chinese sources. The third point I want to make is that in this matter we are relying not on direct evidence from the Chinese Government itself but on third hand and fourth hand evidence. The information contained in the communication is so complex and conflicting that it is extremely difficult to make up our minds as to what the facts are. I can say no more other than that the 2 parts of the honourable gentleman’s question are both based upon wrong assumptions.
See page 1537.
– I direct a question to the Minister for the Army. I refer the Minister to his Press statement last year in which he announced the establishment of an Army committee to examine the reorganisation of the Army. In that statement the Minister will recall that he indicated that he expected the committee to make its report to him in approximately March or April of this year. I ask: Has he received the report? If so, what progress has been made in his deliberations?
– As the honourable member has indicated I did announce last year the establishment of the Army Review Committee, chaired by Major-General Hassett, to examine the organisation and command structure of the Army. I not only gave details of the composition of that Committee but also referred broadly to its detailed terms of reference. Since then the Committee has been engaged wholly on the organisation of the Army. This is the first time since federation that such an indepth detailed examination has been made by the Army of its own organisation. The Committee has travelled widely, lt has interviewed dozens of witnesses and it has received many submissions during the course of its deliberations. lt has reported on 2 separate occasions with interim reports to the Military Board and to me. In the early part of this year the Committee’s final report was received by the Board and me. The Committee has carried out its task, which was an enormous one, expeditiously and well. The final report has been considered by the Board and me but it is now the subject of interdepartmental consideration by the Department of Defence and my Department. I would be unable to provide any further information other, than that which r have given to the House with the exception of adding that I should commend the Chairman and the Committee on the excellent work which has been clone over such a detailed area.
– My question is directed to the Minister for the Interior, .lt arises out of the statement made by the Minister in this House last week concerning the flooding that occurred at the Melrose DriveYarra Glen causeway in the Woden Valley part of Canberra City. My question also arises out of my continued demand that a proper public inquiry is needed into the administrative and engineering failures that contributed to the disaster. Has the attention of the Minister been directed to the allegations in yesterday’s ‘Canberra News’ that an engineering reference book entitled Australian Road Practice’ by H. M. Sherrard who is a former New South Wales Commissioner of Main Roads and a lecturer in regional planning at the University of Sydney, recommends standards in at least 7 areas of road practice which clearly were not met in the engineering design of the causeway where the tragedy occurred? Does the Minister accept these allegations? Can he tell us what he will do about this matter?
– It is important to point out that the suggestion made by the ‘Canberra News’ in an article last night that reports from my Department and the National Capital Development Commission deal exclusively with hydrology is completely untrue. The report from the NCDC in particular deals deliberately with roadwork practice and describes in some detail the steps taken in design and in the acceptance of these works forming the conjunction of Yarra Glen with Melrose Drive and Yamba Drive. The principles adopted in the design are summarised in the report. These principles are consistent with engineering practice for the design of low level junctions in a flood plain. The Press references that have been made to the work of Mr Sherrard published in Australian Road Practice’ are quoted in part and are out of context. Nevertheless the principles quoted do confirm the acceptability of the design. It should be noted particularly that these quotations in Mr Sherrard’s book refer to causeways built into country roads and do not refer to situations where normally there is available on hand traffic control and direction. I am sure that Mr Sherrard, who incidentally is a member of a consultant firm to the NCDC and to the Department of the Interior in regard to traffic matters would be horrified to know how his comments on highway construction were being quoted in a completely urban context.
In reply to the other part of the honourable member’s question, 1 have examined all aspects of this matter - the coronial inquiry, the reports of the Department of the Interior, the NCDC and the Department of Works and the various statements and criticisms made since my report to Parliament. I am convinced that no worthwhile good could come out of a further public inquiry. Work has been put in hand and all of the other measures that are reported in my statement are envisaged to try to prevent any recurrence of a tragedy of the kind that occurred on January 26th. The inquiry sought would have the effect in my belief of delaying still further the necessary measures and 1 am not prepared to allow this to happen. Of course, there can never be a guarantee that natural disasters will not claim the lives of citizens in any community. However, I am convinced that no good purpose would be served by my ordering a further inquiry.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the United States Department of Agriculture agreed to the inspection of Australian abattoirs for mutton export licences by Department of Primary Industry inspectors? Have many of our works been relicensed for the purpose of exporting mutton to the United States? What is the percentage of works whose licences have been cancelled and have yet to be re-inspected? Can the Minister inform the House of the present position in this matter?
– The position is as the honourable gentleman has suggested. As from a date in March, Department of Primary Industry inspectors have been accepted by the United States Department of Agriculture for the purposes of inspecting and re-licensing Australian works for the export of mutton to the United States market. The position is that as from May 1970 the United States Department decided that a complete ban should be placed on mutton killing floors in Australia as the standard of hygiene and services available, it said, did not comply with those laid down by the United States Department of Agriculture. As far back as August 1970 the first of these works was re-licensed. Since that time about 33 works have been restored to the acceptable export standard. Still outstanding are about 43 works. The inspection and upgrading of them is moving as fast as circumstances will permit.
In many instances abattoir authorities are faced with a very substantial cost in upgrading their works to the standard required but, to my knowledge, all the works are trying their best to meet the standards because, obviously, this would have a tremendous impact generally on prices that can be paid for mutton. The position isthat there is still a ban imposed on mutton killing floors for the purpose of export to Canada. The chief veterinarian from the Canadian Department of Agriculture was here some months ago. It is hoped that we will shortly hear from Canada and that the authorities there will accept the standard of killing works for the purpose of slaughter for the Canadian market. It is alsotrue that, as far as the United States is concerned we are hoping that these other 43 works can shortly be licensed and that as a result the market can be re-opened.
– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. Is it a fact that Mr Antony Reeves, the Australian Broadcasting Commission reporter who wrote the story stating that some life assurance companies loaded premiums to Aboriginals, quoting Mr Frank Ross. senior executive of the Australian Mutual Provident Society, has been dismissed because of (his story? If this is a fact will he make moves to have Mr Reeves reinstated? If it is not so will he investigate allegations made in the ‘Sunday Australian’ claiming thatthis is so?
– I am sorry, but I cannot give a detailed answer to the honourable member. 1 will treat this as a question on notice and will send him a written reply.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Has the Minister noted reports from the British Aircraft Corporation that 16 airlines have taken up options on a total of 74 Concorde supersonic passenger aircraft? Has Qantas taken up options on this aircraft?
– It is a coincidence that I was talkingto the Minister for Civil Aviation on this matter this morning. It is a fact that Qantas has some options on 4 Concorde aircraft which have not yet been taken up. The situation at present is that Qantas is still continuing with its evaluation of the aircraft from the point of view of economics, operational capacity and other matters which must be taken into account. The company is not in a position at the moment to make a recommendation to the Minister for Civil Aviation but it is expected in the near future that it could be in a position to make a submission as to whether or not it would recommendthe taking up of the options.
– Isthe Prime Minister aware that on Friday the Minister for Primary Industry ridiculed the Opposition’s suggestion that Army officer cadets should know to refuse an order to fire on civilians if ordered to do so? Does he agree with the Minister for Primary Industry that Australian soldiers should shoot women and children if ordered to do so and obey such orders without question?
– I am not aware of the alleged statement made by the Minister.
-I rise to order. There is no allegation. It is in Hansard.
– Order! The honourable member has asked his question and will resume his seat.
– I repeat that I am not aware of the statement. I will have a look at it. I will discuss it with my colleague and then I will give an answer to the honourable member’s question in this House.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Is it a fact that shipments of goods underthe Colombo Plan to countries in south Asia and South East Asia are labelled only in English? If this is the case, will the Minister consider having these shipments labelled also in the language of the recipient country to facilitate handling and delivery?
– All goods shipped under Australian overseas aid programmes are contained in packages which are labelled only in English. In accordance with normal shipping practice, this label usually shows the initials of the government department concerned and the port of destination. So far no evidence is available to me that this has led to any delays or confusion in delivery. However, as the honourable member has raised this point, I will make inquiries to ensure that this is in fact the case.
– I ask the Minister for the Interior a question based on the disappearance of Miss Keren Rowland some weeks ago in Canberra when apparently she Left her car and locked it because it had run out of petrol and then was never seen again. I ask the honourable gentleman: Do the Canberra police suspect murder in this case? Have they adequate homicide forces to continue a determined investigation of this case, and do they receive outside assistance? Finally, is the case still being investigated by them?
– Police inquiries into the disappearance of Miss Keren Rowland on the night of 26th February are still continuing. There has been nationwide Press and police co-operation with the Australian Capital Territory police. Some 25 A.C.T. police officers have been involved in inquiries, about 300 people have been interviewed and nearly 200 separate items have been documented for investigation. The A.C.T. police have sought the assistance of both the New South Wales and Victorian police forces and have obtained advice from them. I know that A.C.T. police officers have gone to Sydney on 3 occasions and that the Commissioner himself has gone to Melbourne on one occasion in connection with the case.
I believe that the A.C.T. Police Force has sufficient resources at its disposal to cope with the case, but nevertheless it is seeking the aid of some of the States. Extensive searches have been made on foot, the lake has been dragged and scientific tests have been carried out on clothing and other articles. Two vital aspects remain. One is the identity of the driver of the vehicle which pulled up near the missing girl on Parkes Way that evening and the other is the identity of the people in a stationary car on the TaragoBraidwood Road that night. In reply to the other question about whether the A.C.T. police suspect murder, I intimate that the officer in charge has certain theories which, in respect to the relatives and those con cerned, I do not think it would be fair for me to state publicly here. Two A.C.T. police officers are continuing a full time inquiry into this case, and others will be directed to assist as developments might warrant. I have with me a copy of the Commissioner’s latest report, which he said I could hand to any honourable member who might be interested in the case. I should be pleased to give it to the honourable member for Fremantle.
– My question also is addressed to the Minister for the Interior. In view of the long delay in the announcement of the cuts in Government spending in the Northern Territory, which has caused much speculation in the Press, amongst contractors and the public, can the Minister state when details of the Government’s cut back will be available?
– I am well aware of the interest of the honourable member for the Northern Territory in this matter and the numerous times that he has made representations to me on it. The Government’s objective of reduced expenditure has been achieved by a short term deferral of contracts for a number of projects on the Northern Territory works programme. Contracts for some of these projects have now been let, for example the Nakara subdivision development, housing in Darwin and Katherine and sewerage at Maningrida. The rest of the programme will go ahead, including the augmentation of the water supply and subdivisional works at Alice Springs and the construction of the Frances Bay access road. There is now expected to be a reduction of expenditure of about $2m out of a total of S3 1.5m estimated in the 1970-71 Budget. No works have been dropped from the programme^ - I am sure the honourable member will be pleased to hear this - to achieve the economies, but for technical purposes not associated with economy measures 2 items cannot be committed by June 1971. These are the Darwin central zone sewerage and the augmentation of the Darwin city area electricity transmission. These 2 items will be included in the 1971-72 programme at an estimated cost of $6m. The Government is now considering the 1971- 72 works programme for the Territory and details will be announced at Budget time.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. What progress is being made by his Department with training and work opportunities for handicapped persons? Of what order, in general terms, is the back lag of persons awaiting assistance? Have any steps been taken to change the adverse attitude to epileptics taken inthe past by Government departments and private employers?
– The honourable member asks me a series of detailed questions which relate to the operation of the Commonwealth Employment Service. I can say in the first place that this Service provides on a national basis most effective employment facilities for employers seeking staff and employees seeking work opportunities. When I waslast briefed on the nature of this operation I was informed thatlast year the Commonwealth Employment Service handled well in excess of a million inquirers, of whom 45 per cent were placed in employment. The honourable member is quite properly concerned with that section of the Service which relates to the employment of persons subject to some form of mental or physical retardation, and I want to assure the honourable member and the House that this section of the Service is in fact regarded by my Department as paramount.
During the course of the last year approximately15,000 handicapped persons were placed in employment of whom a very high number, I think of the order of about 500, were persons suffering from epilepsy. Of course, it is part of the function of the Service to explain to employers the particular disability which is suffered by epileptics and to ensure that employers themselves explainto persons involved with epileptics at their work place the nature of this disability so they can work together in an effective and co-operative manner. I can assure the honourable member that this area of the Service is regarded as particularly important and my Department will continue to do what it can - and, indeed, it has done a great deal - to ensure that persons suffering from epilepsy or any form of mental or physical retardation receive adequate opportunities to obtain from their work that sense of self-fulfilment which is important to the personality of every person in this country.
-I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation a question which is supplementary to the question asked by the honourable member for Corangamite. Can the Minister advise and comfort the House as to whether the Department of Civil Aviation will conduct noise tests on the BAC Concorde before it is permitted to use Australian airports? Can he also inform the House of the general powers of the Department in this field?
– There is a certain amount of doubt in relation to powers at the moment. There could be complementary powers so far as the Commonwealth. the States and perhaps local authorities are concerned, but that is a matter which would be subject to further study. Of course, the noise problem is under close study and is attracting a considerable amount of attention not only in the United States of America, as the honourable member is well aware, but also in Europe. The only comment I could make is that obviously the Department of Civil Aviation, which has conducted some studies already will be watching this matter very closely indeed.
I should like to add that if a supersonic aircraft travelled on a route across water, when it approached an airport - for example, Sydney, which is the airport about which the honourable member is most concerned - it would approach it at subsonic speed. So there would be quite a variation in the noise level relative to the speed at which it was travelling. However, I will see that the question which the honourable member has raised is referredto my colleague in another place, and if any further information can be provided at this stage I will see that it is obtained for him.
– I ask the Minister for Housing a question. Has the rate of interest payable by State housing authorities under the housing agreement which expires next June risen over the last13 months from 4½ per cent to 6 per cent, reaching twice the rate charged under the original agreement in 1945? Does this mean that the economic rental for a housing commission 3-bedroom flat has risen by at least $5 to more than $22 per week? Does he agree with the analysis sent to all Housing Ministers, Commonwealth and State, 3 weeks ago by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Fitzroy Ecumenical Centre that $88 is the minimum weekly income required by a family to pay rent at this level without sacrificing other essentials? Will he confirm that this amount not only exceeds current average weekly earnings but is more than the income received by most tenants of housing authorities?
– It is correct that the rate of interest chargeable on advances under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement has increased within the last 2 to 3 years. As the Leader of the Opposition knows, the rate of interest chargeable is at present 1 per cent below the long term bond rate.
– Even if the money comes from taxation?
– The source of loan funds is very complicated. The sources of funds which State housing authorities spend on their own housing activities are very complicated; they vary between the States. These questions are related to their own loan programmes. As I said, the present rate of interest chargeable on advances under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement is about 6 per cent, which is 1 per cent below the long term bond rate.
I have seen the booklet put out by the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne. 1 have looked hurriedly at the data in that booklet and the proposals. It may reflect the situation in Victoria or its own analysis, but it does not apply to all the States of the Commonwealth. The economic rental chargeable on housing commission homes varies according to the calculations made by the various States. Some of the States do their calculations according to their own traditions. I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that the Commonwealth is very well aware of the rise in economic rentals which has resulted from an increase in the long term bond rate. I can also assure the Leader of the Opposition that everything will continue to be done by the Commonwealth to ensure that the costs of homes are kept within reasonable limits, having regard to the social content of housing and the fact that housing is also part of the economic process of this country. To that end I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that the commitments by the Commonwealth to reduce the costs of housing, which not only result from a lowering of interest rates but which also come about through subsidies given by the Commonwealth, which also flow from the other interests of the Commonwealth in housing, such as the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation, and which also result from the war service homes advances scheme, will be retained and these attempts to reduce costs will be seen to apply in an economic situation which involves anti-inflationary measures and antiinflationary processes. These matters will be, of course, part of the consideration at a subsequent meeting which has to be pursued between the Commonwealth and State Ministers for Housing before the renegotiation of another agreement.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service, ls the Minister aware of the world wide reputation enjoyed by Sydney’s ocean beaches? Is he aware that it is this reputation which attracts visitors from within Australia and overseas to these beaches? ls the Minister aware that the economic well-being of many thousands of people who conduct businesses in Sydney’s beachside areas is dependent upon the continued patronage of these visitors? Is he also aware of the considerable and lasting damage which has been done to this reputation and to individual well-being, both in relation to health and in the economic sense, by the strike of certain employees of the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board in Sydney? Has the Minister made any assessment of the economic damage - not forgetting the public health hazard - caused by the actions of the strikers?
– Honourable members on the Opposition side of the House may well treat this question lightly, but no honourable member on this side of the House would in fact treat lightly a matter which, as the honourable member for Warringah has mentioned, seriously affects what is one of Australia’s major national tourist attractions and a great natural asset of this country. I want to make it perfectly clear that the strike to which the honourable member has referred is in fact one which concerns some 9,500 members of the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board in Sydney. These strikers have taken direct strike action against the refusal of the Board to grant, as I recall, a $10 a week interim wage increase and other wage claims, lt is entirely regrettable that these strikers have not seen fit to place their submissions before the appropriate industrial tribunal, which is. in fact, the New South Wales Industrial Commission. Indeed, it is not only regrettable but it is also (o be deplored that strike action of this type should put in jeopardy the national asset to which the honourable member referred as well as the health of many Sydneysiders who live in areas adjacent to these beaches. The House would be well aware of the pollution problems which have been caused in Sydney as a result of this strike, even though the Opposition is apparently not prepared to treat this matter as a serious one. I understand that the dispute is now before the New South Wales Industrial Commission, lt is to be hoped that the issue will be settled there in the responsible and appropriate way in which it would have been settled if the matter had been placed before this tribunal at an earlier date.
– My question, which is directed to (he Minister for the Army, relates to the Pacific Islands Regiment. In view of the high incidence of Army coups among newly independent nations, I ask: To what extent is the Australian Army increasing the number of indigenous commissioned officers in the Pacific Islands Regiment and what steps, if any, are being taken to ensure that the Regiment does not develop into an elite organisation which is capable of staging a coup when Papua and New Guinea gain independence.
– The first part of the honourable member’s question touches upon a subject that the Army calls localisation of the Pacific Islands Regiment. The honourable member mentioned the question of increasing the number of Pacific Islanders as commissioned officers in the PIR. There are, of course, 2 groups to be considered here; there are the other ranks as well as the commissioned officers. I will deal with both. In the first instance, in 1964. apart from one battalion of the PIR, very few Pacific Islanders were taken into the technical and trade units of the PIR. Since that time the numbers have increased to approximately 70 per cent of the strength of the technical and trade units and, overall, of a strength of approximately 3,000 in the PIR, approximately 2,600, or 86 per cent, are Pacific Islanders.
In regard to the specific question of commissioned officers, there are now 2 methods whereby Pacific Islanders may become commissioned officers in the PIR. The first method is by attending the Military Cadet School at Lae for a course of approximately 18 months and upon graduation going to the Officer Cadet School at Portsea. Twentyfour commissioned officers of the PIR have graduated in this way, have become second lieutenants and have commenced their careers in the regiment. The second method was commenced in August last year and involves an in-service commissioning system which applies to those who have achieved the rank of sergeant or warrant officer and served a minimum period of 5 years in the regiment. Slowly but steadily Pacific Islanders are taking over a greater role in the Pacific Islands Regiment. The other part of the honourable member’s question deals with a delicate and difficult matter. The Army broadly adopts an attitude which is basically two-fold. It seeks to provide an efficient army capable of playing an effective role - indeed, a vital role - in the defence of the Territory and to provide for the future a reliable, well balanced, disciplined and stable force loyal to the duly constituted authority of the day.
(Mr Giles proceeding to address a question to the Minister for Primary Industry)-
– What is the number of the question?
– I rise to order. 1 endorse the point raised by the Leader of the Opposition.
– All I want is the number of the question.
– It is question No. 3118 on the notice paper at page 6568. lt is substantially the same question as that now asked several days later by the honourable member for Angas.
-I uphold the point of order. The question is out of order. I call the honourable member for Prospect.
– Mr Speaker-
-Order! I have called the honourable member for Prospect. The honourable member for Angas will resume his seat.
– 1 direct a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. The Minister will recall attacks on the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, especially for the 6 per cent wage increase, by prominent members of the recently departed Gorton Government. These attacks have now stopped. Is this because the Minister is even closer to the wave length of this era or is it that the new Prime Minister learnt some diplomacy during his sojourn as Minister for Foreign Affairs? Or is it that the Gov.vernment has received assurances from its appointees to the Commission that it was all a big mistake and it will not happen again?
– The honourable gentleman referred to the Government’s appointees to the Commission. Presumably by implication he was in fact really insulting the integrity of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. If that is the case the honourable member, in my view, stands condemned for insulting the integrity of the men who sit on the Commission. As to those sections of the honourable member’s question relating to submissions made by this Government in relation to matters before the Commission, let me simply say this: The Government has in past years made representations before the Commission which it believed it appropriately ought to make in relation to the general operation of the economy and matters which it considers to be in the public interest. The honourable gentleman can be assured that this Government will continue to place before the Commission whatever submissions it considers to be appropriate. It will be a matter for the Commission to make its own judgment concerning those matters which this Government places before it just as it is a matter for the Commission to make its own judgment on matters which other bodies place before it.
– Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.
-Does the honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. In answering a question this afternoon the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) cast doubt on the accuracy of my reference to his answer yesterday. I would like to point out that I used precisely the words that he himself used yesterday, to wit: ‘We did receive a communication from the British Government from a source within China’.
– Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. I claim to have been misrepresented by the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) in a question put to the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in this House this afternoon. The honourable member for Wills arrived at what I believe in logic is a false conclusion.
-Order! The Minister will not debate the matter. He has claimed to have been misrepresented.
– The honourable member for Wills has put words into my mouth in the general which I certainly did not use and if I may I would like to repeat the words that I did use and to which I think he was referring. I said:
The Opposition pursues policies at the electorate and in front of the people which more than any other single factor are destructive of the morale of the individuals in the armed forces. The honourable gentleman a moment ago rather lampooned the thought that a member of the Army should think it his responsibility to carry out orders. He suggested that orders were something that an individual in the Army, Navy or Air Force ought io interpret. What sort of an armed Service would we have if an individual in the Services could lake unto himself the responsibility to decide whether or not he would accept his superior’s command. The idea that in those circumstances we would have anything of morale in the Services is quite laughable.
As I said. T was referring to the general, and not io the particular. It was in that context that I made that statement.
- Mr Speaker, 1 wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. The Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) did not read the extract from my own speech to which I referred.
Nothing shook me Australian community more than the ‘Four Corners’ television programme in which four or five cadets from Duntroon were asked what they would do if they were told to fire on civilians. I think only one gave a direct negative to the question but the others said they would carry out orders.
I mentioned the incident in the United States and said:
What we mean by Parliamentary and civil control of the Services is a sense of direction in which every serviceman knows that if he does not carry out the general principles upon which society operates he will be in trouble indeed.
That is the question that the Minister ridicules.
– May I make a correction in order to salve the soul and conscience of the Leader of the Opposition?
-Order! Does the Prime Minister claim to have been misrepresented?
– No, I do not claim to have been misrepresented. I would like to put the record-
Leave not granted.
– by leave - I wish to make a short statement to correct a detail of an answer which 1 gave to the honourable member for Fremantle relative to the disappearance of Miss Keren Rowlands. In reply to the question I said that the Commissioner for the Australian Capital Territory Police had gone to Melbourne, lt was not the Commissioner: it was the Inspector in charge of the investigation.
Mr HUNT (Gwydir - Minister for the Interior - For the information of honourable members I present the Annual Report of the Australian Capital Territory Police for the year ended 30th June 1970.
Motion (by Mr Sinclair) agreed to:
That leave of absence for 1 month be given to the honourable member for Vlaranoa on the ground of parliamentary business overseas.
Motion (by Mr Whitlam) agreed to:
That leave of absence for I month be given to the honourable member for Franklin on the ground of parliamentary business overseas.
– by leave - I wish to make explicit the sequence of events relating to a question asked by the Leader of the Opposition. The first cable I received relating to the political intentions of the People’s Republic of China was from Hong Kong and it was that which I was referring to in answer to the question yesterday and in answer to the question today. Since then I have received the Record of a Conversation between British officials and Australian officials which took place in Australia, which states that the actual conversation in which the Chinese views were stated took place in Peking.
– by leave - I wish to make a short statement on the paper which was presented by the Minister for the Interior. I do so because doubt has been cast recently on the utility of questions on notice. I would like to point out that the procedure which the new Minister for the Interior has properly initiated today in tabling the Annual Report of the Australian Capital Territory Police Commissioner flows directly from a question on notice. On 4th September last year I placed on notice for answer by the previous Minister for the Interior this question:
Will he table the annual reports of the Commissioners of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory Police?
On 27th October the previous Minister answered my question and said:
The Australian Capital Territory Police Report will be tabled.
I have a question on the Notice Paper asking when the report will in fact be tabled. It has now been tabled. I have another question on notice concerning the Australian Capital Territory Police in which I ask for details of the establishment and the strength of this police force. This question is relevant to the general situation which has been much agitated in Australian Parliaments in the last couple of years and particularly in recent months, namely, law and order. If the annual reports of the Australian Capital Territory Police Commissioner had been regularly tabled in the House I would not have needed to ask my question. This is a very clear example where the Parliament, and through it the people, are now being given information which had been held from them too long. It is a matter which does concern their general welfare. I thank the Minister for having tabled this report.
– by leave- I wish to make a statement on the same topic. I think it is well known that members of the Opposition, on occasions when they cannot perhaps obtain opportunities to feed question* to Ministers in order to obtain information, will sometimes put questions on notice. 1 do not think anyone in this place would regret or detract from their capacity to do this. But it seems to me and many other honourable members on the back bench of this side of the House that there is nevertheless a deliberate attempt by the Opposition to stifle any gaining of information by honourable members whose electorates are concerned with certain specific topics.
-Order! The honourable member asked leave to make a statement on the same subject. I am finding it a little difficult to see the relevance of his remarks.
– I shall try to keep more to the point. As I see it, my remarks relate to a statement which was made about questions on, notice. I wanted to bring the attention of the House-
-Order! This matter refers to the tabling of a report of the Australian Capital Territory Police Commissioner. It does not cover generally the handling of questions on notice.
– I sought leave to make a statement.
– You sought leave to make a statement on the same subject.
– On questions on notice.
-Order! The honourable member is out of order. He will resume his seat.
– I claim to have been misrepresented by the honourable member for Angas during the course of his remarks.
-Order! When does the honourable member allege that he was misrepresented?
– 1 said that 1 was misrepresented by the honourable member’s references to the-
– Just now.
-Order! The honourable member for Angas did not name the honourable member for Riverina. Therefore the honourable member could not have been misrepresented. The honourable member will resume his seat.
Motion (by Mr Swartz) - by leave - agreed to:
That Mr Everingham be discharged from attendance on the Standing Orders Committee and that in his place, Mr Whitlam, the Leader of the Opposition, be appointed as a member of the Committee.
– I have received advice from the Prime Minister that he has appointed Mr Mackellar to be a member of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs in the place of Mr Fairbairn, the Minister for Education and Science.
– I have received advice from the Prime Minister that he has appointed Mr Buchanan to be a member of the Select Committee on Pharmaceutical Benefits in the place of Dr Mackay, the Minister for the Navy. The Prime Minister has appointed Mr Buchanan to be Chairman of the Committee.
Motion (by Mr Swartz) - by leave - agreed to:
That in accordance with the provisions of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Act 1964-1966 this House appoints Mr Fox and Mr Beazley to be members of the Council of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies and to continue as members until the dissolution of the Twenty-seventh Parliament.
Motion (by Mr Swartz) agreed to:
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until Tuesday, 20th April, at 2.30 p.m.
– f present the one hundred and twenty-seventh report of the Public Accounts Committee. I seek leave to make a statement.
– There, being no objection, leave is granted.
– The one hundred and twenty-seventh report relates to the report of the Auditor-General for the financial year 1969-70. Your Committee would congratulate the Auditor-General and his staff for their sustained effort over many years to present the report to Parliament during August. The tabling of the report at that time each year has assisted your Committee greatly in this very important area of its work. The matters examined publicly in this inquiry related to fires that occurred in 1969 at the Lyneham Primary School in Canberra and at the wool stores at Botany, New South Wales: a fraud perpetrated in the Lithgow office of the Department of Social Services and the construction of towers and ancillary works for the
Department of the Navy at Port Wakefield, South Australia.
The evidence relating to the fire at the Lyneham Primary School shows a strong need for the problem of classification of all schools in the Australian Capital Territory as special purpose buildings to be resolved, without delay, by the Department of the Interior in consultation with the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Education and Science. We also believe that, in accordance with the requirements of Treasury direction 32/53, the Department of the interior has been in error in failing to maintain appropriate details relating to these schools on its assets register. While it is clear that thermal fire alarm systems are currently being installed in primary schools in the Territory, we believe that this action could well have been taken sooner. We also believe that, as a matter of urgency, the Department of Education and Science must continue to pursue its investigations into burglar alarm systems for all Government owned schools in the Territory.
The evidence taken in relation to the fire at the wool stores at Botany shows that the stores, which were built early in World War II to meet war time needs, constitute a high fire danger. Your Committee believes that appropriate action to provide adequate fire protection and to redevelop the stores in line with current needs should have been taken by the responsible authorities as soon as it became apparent that the stores would be required to meet long term post-war needs. Your Committee also believes that in view of the fire risks involved at the stores the Australian Wool Board’s lease and tenancy agreements should have been examined critically and amended several years ago and that the Board’s third party insurance cover, which has been amended recently, should be kept under regular and frequent surveillance.
Regarding the fraud that occurred at the Lithgow office of the Department of Social Services, the evidence shows that a number of weaknesses existed in the administration of that Office during the period in which the fraud was perpetrated. In particular we were disturbed to learn that the programme of the regional office inspector for New South Wales was not designed at that time to detect fraud.
In relation to the ammunition testing facility for the Department of the Navy at Port Wakefield, it appears from the evidence that the structure required was unusual in nature but was similar to facilities previously constructed in Britain and the United States of America. Your Committee believes that the Department of Works should have investigated these overseas structures fully during the planning and design stages of the Australian facility. Such an investigation may well have obviated many of the problems that arose later during the construction of the project. Much of the evidence tendered suggests that the Department of Works was ill equipped at that time to meet the problems that were encountered. Your Committee would commend that Department for the introduction of new policies and procedures designed to overcome problems of the type manifested in the Port Wakefield project, but believes that these developments should have been introduced sooner. Your Committee has noted the growth that has occurred in the volume, variety and complexity of the audit function over the past10 years and the continuing action taken by the AuditorGeneral in relation to his organisation and staffing to meet these developments effectively. Due to the introduction of refined auditing techniques and the use by the Auditor-General of his discretionary authority to dispense with detailed audits under the provisions of the Audit Act the growth pattern in the audit function has reflected an increase of only 58 positions on the staff establishment of the AuditorGenerals office over this decade. In recording its appreciation of this achievement your Committee also notes that, nothwithstanding assistance provided by the Public Service Board and organisational changes made to the staff structure of the Auditor-General’s office, the last decade has been characterised by a significant loss of trained and experienced audit staff. This has caused difficulties in relation to the maintenance of auditing objectives and procedures and the effective prosecution of the audit programme.
We believe that the importance of the audit function in the interests of the Parliament, the administration of the Government and the effective operation of your Committee under the Public Accounts
Committee Act cannot be overemphasised. Having regard to the experiences of the Auditor-General over the past 10 years and the fact that further expansion in the scope and complexity of the audit function is in prospect, your Committee believes that the resources available to the AuditorGeneral must be maintained at a level and quality which will enable that function to be discharged adequately and confidently. Your Committee has been disturbed for some time by the fact that the status of the Auditor-General is currently below that of a number of First Division officers of the Commonwealth Public Service. Your Committee believes that, in view of the importance of the audit function and its continuing growth and complexity, this situation places the Auditor-General at an organisational disadvantage in the exercise of his onerous responsibilities. Accordingly, we believe that, as a matter of principle, the status of the Auditor-General should be reviewed.
Honourable members will recall that in October last year I attended the 58th Annual conference of the InterParliamentary Union held in the Hague. In this regard I would thank the Vice-Chairman of Your Committee, the honourable member for Adelaide (Mr Hurford) who, in my absence overseas, acted as Chairman and in that capacity carried the responsibility of the public inquiry connected with certain matters included in this report. I commend the report to honourable members.
Ordered that the report be printed.
-I have received a letter from the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) proposing that a definite matterof public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely:
The altitude of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Australian Country Party towards Mainland China which has resulted in the loss of Australia’s most important wheat market.
I call upon those members who approve or. the proposed discussion to rise in their places. (More than the number of members required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places.)
– Noone in this Parliament, no-one in Australia and certainly no wheat grower will be satisfied with the attempt of the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) to downgrade the importance of the present crisis in the Australian-Chinese wheat trade and, generally, in trade relations between Australia and China. Firm action must be taken.
– I rise to order. I want to know whether the Opposition is within its rights in proceeding with a despicable motion of this nature in the absence of the Deputy Prime Minister.
– There is no substance in the point of order. The Chair has no control over the absence or otherwise of honourable members.
– I inform the Minister that if the Deputy Prime Minister had been here the matter could have been a motion of want of confidence. Firm action must be taken by the Government to muzzle politically immature statements by senior Government Ministers made expressly for the Australian political audience which condemn and insult the general policies of . foreign countries while these Ministers express quite different attitudes when overseas towards these same countries, particularly when trade and financial matters are involved. This double standard, hypocritical approach to China has now culminated in the loss of Australia’s most important wheat market and our fourth biggest trading customer in the world. The refusal of the Chinese Government to purchase Australian wheat is the biggest single blow to the Australian wheat industry since the great depression 40 years ago.
The responsibility for the loss of Australia’s most important wheat market must be borne by the Australian Government. The person who must accept full blame for this important international reprisal against Australia is the new Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry. For years the Government, the Country Party in particular, has been conducting a two-faced approach towards China in an endeavour to hoodwink farmers and the Australian public. As is well known on this side of the House, before elections a bitter campaign of hate is always launched against China in an endeavour to side with the Democratic
Labor Party and to win votes by blatant political dishonesty. As soon as the election has passed the same ministerial gentlemen, acting on behalf of the Australian Government, spend their time wooing China in an endeavour to retain that nations goodwill.
This is hypocrisy at its worst. Who will ever forget the fanatical hate campaign which was launched against Labor in the 1966 Federal election campaign and which revolved round a map depicting China, South-East Asia and Australia with red arrows emanating from China and engulfing Australia, indicating that China was ready to invade Australia? The frightening propaganda thought up by the Country Party in its campaign of hate was printed in every relevant major rural newspaper in Australia. The hypocrisy of this is that no Country Party Minister believed, even remotely, that there was any substance or truth in such a contention, but Ministers persisted in this line in a shameful attempt to influence the Australian elector against the Labor Party. Apparently the Australian Government, particularly Country Party Ministers, believes that this hypocrisy will not be taken seriously by China. Spearheading this attack against China is always the new Deputy Prime Minister, who seems to delight in such political dishonesty. By contrast, however, the former Deputy Prime Minister, Sir John McEwen, kept himself aloof from such public campaigns of hate. Never was there a word of insult, or abuse from him against the Chinese. He was too cunning. He realised fully the consequences, but his heir apparent apparently forgot that the utterances of a Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry of Australia are of substance and that they are treated seriously by interested nations.
The continuation of these insults to China has now resulted in a death blow to the Australian wheat industry. China, of course, has bided its time. As soon as Canada gave full diplomatic recognition to China, the writing became evident on the wail for Australia. The Government was warned by industry leaders and in this Parliament to tread very carefully and not to insult China. Despite urgent requests from responsible sections of the Australian community, including the wheat industry, to take a commonsense viewpoint towards China, the Australian Government continues lo cling to the coat tails of the United States and to deliver public insults to China. The new Minister for Trade and Industry, it will be recalled, arrogantly stated that political considerations would never influence China in her trade relations with Australia. He believed nothing was wrong with insulting China in one minute and patting her on the back in the next. How wrong he was, as events have now shown.
The incredible statement made yesterday by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in an endeavour to dismiss the importance of the loss of this huge Chinese market is a direct smack in the face for every wheat grower in Australia. It clearly illustrates that the new Prime Minister has little sympathy for the wheat farmer either now or in the future, ls not the loss of $10Om per annum in foreign exchange important to this Government? ls not the loss of Australia’s fourth largest customer in the world important? Do honourable members realise that in the last 8 years China has bought from Australia just on $ 1,000m worth of produce? ls not the loss of this potential trade important? In fact, more pertinent is the fact that China could have been one of Australia’s most important customers in the future in the expansion of rural exports to South East Asia. The loss of thousands of millions of tons in wheat sales in the future, if the Government’s present policy continues, simply because of absurd double dealing and shameful blunderings under the guise of cheap political advantage is a staggering blow to Australia. The Prime Minister yesterday completely dismissed the fact that because of shrinking export markets Australia was forced to live with rigid wheat production quotas, and the injustices of those basic quotas io small traditional farmers had caused severe financial distress. Indeed, the Government’s hate of China has resulted in a blow that should never have happened if the Government had acted in a responsible and mature way.
The Labor Party’s policy on this matter is well known. A Labor Government will recognise China and it will trade with China. This policy is identical with the policies of the United Kingdom, France, Canada and other major nations. In con trast, the United States refuses to recognise China and will not trade wilh her. Although we may not agree wilh the policy of the United Stales of America towards China we nevertheless must respect its consistency. But who could respect the double standards of Australia bitterly attacking China and branding her as a potential enemy while at the same time grovelling to China to save our wheat industry? This latest trade debacle is the culmination of continuous blundering by the Government. Its policies on foreign trade have been disastrous and the effects on the economy of the rural sector could be profound. Australia is in no financial position to throw away SI 00m in foreign exchange a year. What this means is that wc could now become more dependent on the inflow of foreign capital to achieve respectability in our balance of payments or, alternatively, there may need to be a revision of the nature and the quantity of imports or further restriction on wheat production in Australia.
Is it too late lo resurrect our trading partnerships with China? The answer is clear. Firstly, the Australian Government should apologise to the Chinese Government for the continuous insults which the Deputy Prime Minister and other Ministers, backed by the Australian Government, have been and still are directing against the Chinese people. Secondly, the Australian Government should immediately adopt a mature policy towards China by preparing a constructive case for the recognition of China and divorcing itself from the coat tails of the United States in this matter. I remind the House that China has a population of 750 million. The annual increase in population is 15 million, more than the total population of Australia. If Australia does not take an independent diplomatic initiative towards China we could well be the last nation of any consequence to recognise this giant country which is of such importance to us now and which will certainly be of even greater importance in the future.
One must ask: What game is the Prime Minister playing? The communication from the British Government apparently informing Australia of the position of China has been not classified but made top secret. It has not been divulged to this Parliament. From what one can understand, the only people who have any knowledge of its contents are Cabinet Ministers. Here again is evidence of the double game which the Government is so contemptuously playing. It is obvious that this decision is not secret as far as the Chinese Government is concerned. The only conclusion that can be reached is that the Government is hiding the documents from the Australian wheat farmers and Australian public in general. If the Deputy Prime Minister has committed a political blunder which has in effect cost this nation $10Om then this Parliament is entitled to know what blunder and it is up to the Prime Minister to table in this Parliament the relevant documents. That is the thing to do to prove or disprove the allegations. By deliberately hiding the facts from the Australian people the Government is guilty of blatant dishonesty. It should be condemned by every wheat grower in Australia.
The Australian electorate is. of course, awakening fast to this type of unsavoury tactic, particularly by the Country Party which attempts to ride the red bogey forever and to brand every decent citizen, particularly if he belongs to the Labor Party or has any sympathy with the Labor Party and who does not believe in Country Party gerrymandering of the political arena, as a Communist or Communist sympathiser. This has worked to some degree in the past but it will not work in the future. If the Country Party and its Ministers do not radically change their attitudes about slandering innocent people and great nations it will face political oblivion. We have the position at the present time of Australia belittling and refusing to recognise China and insulting China, but wooing China at every opportunity when this becomes necessary if we are to sell China our wheat. We see the Chinese diverting wheat to the North Vietnamese people. We see Australian soldiers being killed by the North Vietnamese, by the Vietcong. Is this not hypocrisy of the worst type? As far as the Labor Party is concerned, as I said before, a Labor Government will recognise China. A Labor Government will trade with China, and there may be no fear of any Australian soldiers being killed by the North Vietnamese who are fed with Chinese wheat because a Labor Government will have no troops at all in Vietnam.
– Mr Speaker, the despicable tactics of the Opposition in proposing this matter for discussion as a matter of urgent public importance are indicative of the shortness of talent and ideas demonstrated by members of the Labor Party on every occasion that they rise to speak in this House. As far as I can understand it, the allegation is that the Minister for Trade and Industry and Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony) has made a statement. I have listened throughout the course of the speech made by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) and I have not heard of the statement or what it contained. I have checked with the Minister for Trade and Industry as a matter of interest to see what statements he has made and I think it is necessary that they at least be referred to in this House so that we know basically what is presumably behind the allegation.
In a television interview given immediately after his election to the leadership of the Australian Country Party, the text of which was released on Sunday, 7th February 1971, in answer to a question Mr Anthony said:
I wouldn’t recognise Red China just to sell wheat. 1 wouldn’t sell my foreign policies or my philosophies just to try to do a trade deal.
– Finish it.
– I will be glad to do so. The interview continued:
That is the only statement that my leader has made and it is presumably the only one upon which the proposal for the discussion of this matter as a matter of public importance is based. It has been suggested that the reply given yesterday by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) indicated that there was some other statement or, by innuendo, there was a response by the People’s Republic of China - or mainland China, as you will - to this statement which was the main reason for China not negotiating further sales of wheat. But the Prime Minister, both yesterday and today, made the position quite clear. Having spoken about the statement in general he said: lt could not be regarded as speaking on behalf of the People’s Republic of China.
In other words, there was a statement made as a result of - I think this is how the Prime Minister referred to it - third or fourth party, certainly hearsay, evidence. There was a discussion among a number of interested people, this time involving a number of members of the British colonial service, which was reported back to the Austraiian Government. There are obviously, in dealings between governments, statements and discussions which indicate trends either on commercial or political terms. In this instance the statement was related specifically to a commercial transaction and there is no substance in the allegation that anything has been said by the Deputy Prime Minister which in any way has caused the People’s Republic of China to come out and say that no sale will be concluded.
The position is that China has, of course, been a very significant purchaser of Australian wheat. There is no doubt that over the years when she suffered a series of crop failures and when there were very critical supply shortages and a low level of world wheat stocks - honourable members will recall it was not only China which had stock failures but also the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and that at the same time there were increasing needs in developing countries - there was developed in the People’s Republic of China a very good and substantial market. Indeed, the honourable member for Moore (Mr Maisey) was one of those who. as a member of the Australian Wheat Board at the time, was partly instrumental in securing the first commercial sales of wheat to China. So here we have a present member of the Country Party who at that time, in his industry role, played a very significant part /in securing that first contract, and now we have an allegation based on innuendo, not substance, that the Leader of the Country Party has caused the cessation of those sales. On the contrary, the position quite obviously is that in mainland China for quite normal commercial reasons there have been a number of circumstances which have certainly reduced that country’s need to buy wheat this year, lt is true that the green revolution is not confined to India, Pakistan or the other countries of South East Asia. The green revolution has meant that through the use of fertilisers and the use of rapidly growing and high yielding Mexican wheats there is a very substantial increase in production in a great part of Asia, and China has not, of course, been outside that. We are told, in the same way as we get so many of these reports, that this year China has enjoyed fairly good seasons in its agricultural belt and, of course, that factor has to be taken into account.
There is no doubt that in the past sales to China have varied according to seasonal circumstances. Sales to China have been determined not only on domestic demand circumstances but also on external commercial circumstances, so that they have been prepared to go out into the market place and argue as one would expect a country to argue to get the best price, the best terms and the product which was best suited for integration into their own domestic needs. China has always operated on that basis and there is no suggestion that the People’s Republic of China has suddenly this year found that she has been excluded from all these commercial factors which, in the past, have been so significant.
There is no doubt that the general position around the world is that there has been a very marked change in the circumstances of wheat exports. If we like to look over the last few years and see something of the variation in the world trade in wheat we will recognise something of the problem in determining just who is going to buy what from year to year. In the early 1960s world trade in wheat was about 45 million tons. In 1965-66 it had increased to 62 million tons. In 1968-69, which was only 2 years later, it had fallen back to 45 million tons. In 1970-71 it had risen again to 55 million tons. So it is quite obvious that there are both marked fluctuations in world trade in wheat from year to year and many factors that go into the mixture to determine just who is going to buy and to wheat extent.
There are a few other significant factors about the People’s Republic of China. I think it needs to be recognised that today the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is an exporter instead of a large scale importer. We need to recognise that around the world there has been a necessary introduction of control in the production of wheat which, of course, is part and parcel of the outcomings of the International Wheat Agreement wherein the producer countries recognised that there were limits on the amount of wheat which could be produced and sold in the world, that the size of the world market was not limitless, and that if producers were to receive a reasonable return for the crop they grew there needed to be some general constraints. Indeed, the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation recognised this, and it was with this in mind that the Federation recommended the introduction of quotas, and quotas have now been a fact for some years.
This is the background against which within Australia the Australian Country Party has tried to ensure or to guarantee to producers returns which we believe are justified and has tried to maintain, and develop wherever possible, export outlets. There is no doubt that export outlets are very important in order to ensure that wheat growers receive the sort of return which they have received. In fact, it is to the wheat stabilisation plan, the general operation of the trade promotion policies which the Government has followed and the assistance given to the Australian Wheat Board which the Country Party, as a member of the coalition Government, can justly turn. These are the sorts of policies with which the Minister for Trade and Industry, who was formerly the Minister for Primary Industry, has been associated during the course of his ministerial career and previously when he was a backbench member of Parliament performing several other roles. It is quite ridiculous to suggest that this man, who has been working so actively and consistently in the interests of both the Australian people and the Australian wheat growers, should try to do something which would deny access to what has become a very significant market.
Of course, it is far more likely that there is a complex of reasons, a complex to which the Minister for Trade and Industry himself referred in the television interview to which I referred a moment ago. There is this complex of reasons which surround market demand and the possibility of the People’s Republic of China coming in and buying wheat this year or next year. It is remarkable that the Australian Wheat Board, bolstered by the Government and the Government’s policies, has been able to secure a very high level of export sales. Honourable members will recall that the last marketing year ended on 30th November 1970 and exports exceeded all expectations. Exports reached some 301 million bushels, including wheat equivalent of flour. Domestic sales were also very high and, in spite of the fact that there was some over the border trading, reached approximately 58 million bushels. So the total movement of wheat in the last selling season was 359 million bushels, which was the second highest level on record. Honourable members must remember that this was at a time when the present Minister for Trade and Industry, who is the subject of this matter of public importance which has been raised today, was Minister for Primary Industry. So he has had ministerial responsibility during a period in which the wheat trade has reached the second highest level of total movement on record.
There is no doubt that a very good record in the export trade of wheat has been achieved by the Australian Wheat Board over the last 12 months. Some 11 million bushels out of 46 million bushels of wheat have been sold to the United Arab Republic - a market which fortunately has reopened. In addition, there were some very good sales of wheat to the United Kingdom. These sales are part of the reason why this year the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation, in looking at expected crop yields and expected domestic demand, was able to say: ‘We believe there is justification for making some slight increase in quotas.’ It was on the Federation’s recommendation that the Government decided that there should be the payment of the normal $1.10 per bushel as a first payment on the delivery of the higher quota of 339 million bushels of wheat. That, I think, is a significant and complete answer to the suggestion that Australian wheat producers are not being properly looked after by the Government or by members of the Parly to which I am proud to belong. lt is interesting to try to conjecture what will happen in the market overseas in the future. The thing that concerns me about this urgency proposal is that I am quite sure lying behind it is a feeling by members of the Opposition that probably they can do something politically not just against the Government but against wheat growers. They have never had any real sympathy for primary producers. They have never had any real demonstrable understanding of the problems of rural industries. Wilh the exception of about two honourable members opposite, they do not know anything about rural industries, and as to one of those two honourable members [ sometimes wonder whether he knows a great deal about rural industries.
On the other hand, it is interesting to see what the industry’s feeling is about the prospects of sale of wheat to the People’s Republic of China. Mr L. V. Price, who is the President of the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation, is quoted in today’s Melbourne ‘Herald’ as saying he believes that because of the increased demand to which 1 have referred the quota increases were justified, and he says he believes that there is a prospect of a Chinese contact this year. Of course, he is still hopeful in a field in which only rumour has it that there will be no sales of wheat to China this year. Other men are quoted in this same newspaper as saying that they are quite hopeful that once you establish favourable customer supply relations you are then in a position to expect to do future business. There is no doubt that the Australian Wheat Board has established close relations with the People’s Republic of China. There is no doubt that the marketing authority, the Australian Wheat Board, is in a far better position :han anybody else - far better than honourable members opposite - to determine just where we arc going in the future as regards sales of wheat to the People’.; Republic of China. The Board has continued to maintain these close domestic relations which 1 am quite sure will ensure that in the future we will again be able to re-establish the market in mainland China. I regard the Opposition’s raising of this matter as being quite hypocritical. I believe that behind it lie implications which are directly to the disadvantage of the Australian primary producer and the Australian wheat growers, and 1 do nol believe there is any substance whatsoever in. the allegations which are contained in it.
– It seems very difficult to understand how the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) can allege that the terms of a matter of public importance, which is concerned with increasing wheat sales to China, with selling more wheat to China and with trying to encourage the Australian Government and the responsible Ministers to be wise and diplomatic in relation to China, can possibly be against the interests of Australian primary producers. I am quite sure that very few Australian primary producers would be able to understand for one moment any reasoning which might have happened by accident to have entered into the Minister’s speech in the last quarter of an hour.
The Minister told the House that he does not consider that the decline and final end to wheat sales by Australia lo China has anything to do with Australian attitudes. He said it had nothing to do with it at ali and that it is despicable even to suggest that. He said that the decline and final termination of sales of wheat to China are caused by objective conditions, such as the green revolution - increased production in China - and so on. But does the Minister know that in the last 12 months China has bought more wheat from Canada than ever before? Does he know that in the last 12 months China has bought more wheat from other countries that her total imports of wheat are some 20 per cent or 30 per cent greater than they were in any year before? Why is it that when China is buying more wheat from Canada and more wheat from other countries she has suddenly stopped buying wheat from Australia? This is a question of which the Minister seemed to be quite unaware in his attempt to sidestep the terms of this matter of public importance today.
Nobody would agree that the sale of wheat by Australia to China is not of very great value to Australia. Since 1962 we have sold about S800m worth of wheat to China. Each year since 1962 the annual sales have been well over S100m with the exception of 1 year. In each of those years they have ranged from between nearly one-half to about one-third of the total Australian wheat sales. The market in China is of great value to our wheat farmers. 1 think that everybody will agree that it is of great value to Australia to sell its wheat to China and that the Government should do whatever is wise, reasonable and principled to sell Australian wheat to China. But I wonder whether anyone who supports the Government will consider it is wise for one of its Ministers - in this case it was the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) - ro come out on television at the very point at which negotiations for the sale of Austraiian wheat to China might be crucial, namely, the last week or so of negotiations, with a statement that he would not self his soul just because of trade.
The Chinese are sensitive people. Perhaps they should not be. Perhaps they should be as tough and as insensitive as the Minister for Trade and Industry. What did the Minister for Trade and Industry say in the very week in which the negotiations were at a crucial stage? He said: ‘I would not do business with China at the expense of my soul’. Could anything have been said which would have been of more fundamental criticism? Could anything have been said which would have been a more bitter attack upon the people with whom we are trying to do business? I am sure that no farmer who is trying to sell his wheat, cattle or sheep to somebody else would at the crucial stage of negotiations say: ‘I will not go ahead with this business because it is at the expense of my soul’. Would it be in the interests of him doing a good bargain with the potential buyer with whom he is dealing to say that? Of course it would not.
The question here is not whether Australia should recognise China - if that is otherwise wrong - in order to sell our wheat to China. If it .were wrong or if it were against Australia’s interest to recognise Chinn there would be no tenable reason why we should recognise China merely to sell wheat. But that is not the question which is involved. The Minister for Trade and Industry and other Ministers have made an issue of their souls being involved in business with China at the very time when business with China in the form of the sale of wheat is crucial. Despite the fact that for 9 years China has never raised the question of recognition it is at a crucial point in business with China made an issue by us. The new Prime Minister (Mr McMahon), shooting from the hip like the former one, was asked a question in the House about Italy’s recognition of China. What did he have to say? He said that it was unfortunate that Italy had recognised China. The Minister for Trade and Industry, as I have said, also seemed to make a special point of saying in that particular week: ‘I would not sell my soul just because of trade’.
– I think he suggested that the Italians have.
– The Italians must have sold their souls. Do supporters of the Government think that it was the action of a wise man to talk and behave like th. Prime Minister or the Minister for Trade and Industry? Common sense is involved. It is a matter of not being abrasive and insulting and of defaming at a time when one is engaged in negotiations of this kind. The Government and its Ministers have never used common sense about China. They have wanted it both ways. They have wanted to defame and insult China for local political reasons and, al the same time, they have wanted to do business wilh China. This view is not just shared by honourable members on this side of the House, lt came out very clearly in th: book written by Mr W. R. Crocker entitled Australian Ambassador’. At page 20 he wrote:
No Minister for Foreign Affairs nowaday* and few, if any, governments have complete freedom about foreign policy - the space for manoeuvre is strictly circumscribed by internal politics on the one hand - for example, in Australia the emotional anti-Communist forces and their inn ,en.. in the Liberal-Country Parties or pre-occupation with the DLP vole. . . .
What. Mr Crocker is saying is that the sale of $800m or S900m worth of wheat to China, as well as every other relationship, has been endangered by the narrow political concept which unproportionately influences the Australian Government. This contradictory and irresponsible policy has now lost Australia sales of wheat to the extent of over $100m a year. Wheat has been sold to China for 9 years without Australian recognition of China and it may have been sold for years yet without this recognition if Ministers had spoken sensibly and had controlled their tendency to shout insults and condemn. This is no way to behave in foreign affairs, even though it is the way in which they behave on the political hustings or on soap boxes around Australia. This off the cuff allegations and shooting from the hip manner of conducting national affairs is not to the credit of the McMahon Government or any of its predecessors. One would expect any statement which is made about the attitude of the Australian Government to the recognition of Communist China to come from the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Bury), the Prime Minister and, in his speech here this afternoon, the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) have in the last week for the first time been referring to China as the People’s Republic of China. Prior to that they referred to it as Mainland China or Red China. It can be seen that the Government, which has up to now taken a highly moralistic position - I think it was essentially a political position - not torecognise China merely to sell its wheat to China is rapidly coming round to the recognition of China. Its Ministers are now talking about the People’s Republic of China. No longer is it Mainland China or Red China. The Minister for Foreign Affairs in his speech last night, said:
Over the last 12 months there have been relevant developments and our own policies must be sensitive to change.
How sensitive have they suddenly become? Why have they become sensitive? Because their pockets are involved. Because they see for the first time that the sale of wheat is endangered. All their precautions about their moral attitude to China and all their political posturing around the country about the selling of their souls if they deal with China have to end because they are going to have to recognise China in order to sell wheat to China. They are going to have to do the very thing that they have condemned. The Government is primarily responsible for this situation.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– Earlier in the debate I raised a point of order about whether this despicable debate could be stopped. I believe it to be the most despicable debate I have heard since 1 have been a member of this Parliament. The Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) is in New Zealand having discussions about the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement. The moment he left the country the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) rose in his place and moved this motion about him. 1 am getting used to this sort of thing being done by the honourable member for Dawson. I remember that one day last year when the Minister for Trade and Industry - he was then the Minister for Primary Industry - was absent the honourable member for Dawson bravely rose in his place and condemned the Minister about the condition of abattoirs.
– It is a fact. If the honourable member doubts me he should look at the Hansard record. It is typical of the honourable member for Dawson to wait until the Minister for Trade and Industry is out of the chamber before he is game enough to tackle him because the honourable member for Dawson does not have the intestinal fortitude to wait until the Minister returns.
– I rise on a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. The Minister for Shipping and Transport ought to have enough common sense - I make my point of order on this score - to know that the reason for this debate at the moment is the announcement which was made by the Prime Minister of the country. This debate has nothing to do with the-
– There is no substance iti the point of order. The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat.
– The point of order is as empty as the honourable member. I should have expected that the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby), from whom we are used to getting half truths and misrepresentations, would have taken part in a debate of this nature. I should have expected that the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns)-
– I rise on a point of order.
-Order! The Minister for Shipping and Transport, the honourable member for Sturt and the honourable member for Sydney will resume their seats. The Minister for Shipping and Transport should withdraw the remark which he made about the honourable member for Riverina.
– I withdraw the remark I made in respect of the honourable member for Riverina if that is your wish, Mr Deputy Speaker. Insofar as the honourable member for Lalor is concerned, we are used to seeing him hiding behind the skirts of university girl.s in some of his activities so we can expect him to take part in this debate. But I must express some surprise that the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) would lower himself by subscribing his name to a debate of this nature. For raising this matter when the Minister is not in the Parliament, he should bc thoroughly ashamed of himself.
– The Minister should be in the House now.
– The Minister is not in the House simply because he is doing the nation’s business in New Zealand. The Opposition could have waited a few days until he returned. The debate does not do credit to the Opposition but it does a lot of damage to the activities of the Wheat Board, lt may do a lot of damage to the wheat growers themselves. Do not think the wheat growers will not be a wake-lIp to the Opposition. They are aware of the political opportunism of the Opposition in these matters. They have a long memory of the history of the Labor Party insofar as the wheat industry is concerned. They can go back as far as the time when the Labor Party was last in government, when it sold wheat at 5s 9d a bushel to the then Labor Government in New Zealand when the international price was 14/-. Wheat growers only have to look back to last year when there was a re-negotiation of the wheat stabilisation plan and the Labor Party tried to rubbish the recommendations of the Wheatgrowers Federation, the representative voice of the wheat growers. They can go back to the speech of the honourable member for Dawson in which he hinted that the Labor Party would not support the allocation of more money from the reserve credits section of the Reserve Bank to pay the $1.10 to the wheat grower. So the wheat grower is fully aware of the Labor Party’s approach to the wheat industry. He is fully conscious of it and knows full well that the speech of the honourable member for Dawson today was full of political opportunism and nothing else.
What is the matter of public importance? It is:
The attitude of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Austraiian Country Party towards Mainland China which has resulted iti the loss of Australia’s mo.-.t important wriedt market.
The honourable member for Dawson did not produce one scintilla of evidence about what the Minister for Trade and Industry has said. So I will quote to him the only 2 statements the Minister has made since he became the Leader of the Australian Country Party. The Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party quoted them earlier but I will repeat them so that the Opposition might understand them. When the Minister was asked a .question about the recognition of China, he said that there were difficulties. He continued:
It’s a complex question. I would hope we cm clear some of these problems in order that Mainland China might be recognised in time. Hut f would not sell my soul just to benefit trade, and ( don’t believe it’s a significant factor in selling wheat to Mainland China.
He went on further to say:
I am not taking an absolute point of view. I am saying that if some of these questions c:tn he resolved, and I hope they will bc. then we can recognise Mainland China. ls that what the Minister for Trade and Industry has said which has brought this matter of public importance into the House? What brought this matter into the House was some gossiping in a cocktail bar in Hong Kong which was repeated in this House by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) when he asked the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) a question. It was said that a British diplomat had conveyed information in Hong Kong that the Minister for Trade and Industry had been named as somebody who had upset Mainland China. Evidence has now come to hand that the British diplomat has’ never heard of Mr Anthony. The fact that a British diplomat has never heard of Mr Anthony might be a reason for members of the Opposition to laugh but it makes its proposal to discuss a mutter of public importance look as silly as they are.
– I rise to order. Is the Minister going to debate the matter before this House-
– Order! The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat. If he continues to raise points of order which are without foundation I will deal with him.
– Despite earlier advice the Chinese concern was with a statement attributed to Mr Anthony. From inquiries made by the Department of Foreign Affairs it now transpires that the British diplomat who conveyed the message had never heard of Mr Anthony. It seems the local High Commission merely assumed Mr Anthony’s television interview might have been a source of irritation, and it is now admitted that nobody really knows what ministerial statement was made, if any, which could have been responsible for the Chinese concern. I think the honourable member for Dawson and other Opposition members ought to stand up in their places and apologise for their whole approach to this matter. They ought to apologise to the Parliament and, when Mr Anthony returns next week, they ought to apologise to Mr Anthony. The next time they have an attack to make on the Minister for Trade and Industry they should at least have the personal courage to wait until he is in the Parliament to defend himself. What is the Opposition’s objection to Mr Anthony’s statement anyway? What are you worried about in Mr Anthony’s statement? Are you taking exception to the fact that he said twice that he hoped Australia might be able to recognise Mainland China? Are you taking exception to that?
– Table the papers.
– There are no papers. I have quoted all there is to know about it. That is how silly it is. Are you concerned that Mr Anthony said we should not base our foreign policy on trade deals?
– Order! I suggest to the Minister that he addresses the Chair. I suggest that the cross-debate between the Minister and the honourable member for Dawson cease.
– I have been somewhat provoked. Does the Labor Party object to the fact that Mr Anthony said we should not base our foreign policy on trade deals? Is it so expedient? Does it sell its country’s foreign policy as short as that? Might it not be nearer the truth to say that the real damage was done a few months ago when we were at a very delicate stage of negotiations and waiting to hear from the Chinese and the honourable member for Dawson and the honourable member for Riverina were going around the countryside making mischievous statements which severely embarrassed the Wheat Board and may well have done irreparable damage? That is far more to the point. I hope that the honourable member for Dawson has the courage to stand up in his place when I resume my seat and apologise to the Minister for Trade and Industry.
– I wish to make only one comment about the incredible performance of the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) and that is that he who throws mud loses ground. He has lost ground. I want to say also about the incredible attack on the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) that the honourable member for Dawson, as a complete gentleman in these matters, has resisted doing what I would have been inclined to do, and that is to move a motion of censure of the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony) for his entire performance in the Trade Ministry. At least the honourable member said to me, and I put this on record: ‘No, he is not present. This is an important matter for a million Australians, for 50,000 wheat growers; it is not a matter for somebody’s petty politicking, such as the Minister for Shipping and Transport has engaged in.’ He said: ‘We will move on it; of course we will. But I would not like to censure the Minister in his absence’. But 1 will tell you, Mr Deputy Speaker, that we will be delighted to do it next week when the Minister returns. We are available. The Government has the challenge so let it put up or be quiet.
– You know the House will not be sitting next week.
– I am happy to make myself available. If you are not available that is just too bad. Australia has become an international humbug in its attitude to China. It has maintained on the home front for purely domestic political consumption a policy of unrelieved hostility.
Each election time the threat becomes worse and the invasion imminent but between elections the Government has reaped the benefit of what is largely a oneway trade. The. sum total of Australian trade with Mainland China in the 1969-71 period amounted to $157,897,000. Of that $126m comprised Australian exports. We bought only a little more than S32m so we have had a developing trade with 750 million people, lt is true that although this represented a major effort in wheat selling and mainly as a result of industry initiative - and f stress that - the rest of the world, recognising the improvement in the stability of China and noticing a perceptible improvement in marketing prospects, has been rushing to trade. Britain led the way in recognition originally and is now so much better established in China than we are (hat it is the British . Government through its overseas representatives that is keeping Australia informed about matters vital to our trade, lt is incredible that we are in a position of having to rely on trade competitors to pass on to us notes from one of our best customers. But that is the ludicrous position in which Australia is now placed. The French recognise and trade with China. Italy recognises China and is seeking to expand her trade with China. Canada has done exactly the same and has stolen a march on Australia in wheat exports. Where has Australia been in all this? The Government on the one hand has panicked about wheat. According to this Government Australia was massively overproduced in wheat and having said this the Government proceeded to force a rationing or a quota system-
– 1 rise to order. I understand there is something in the Standing Orders about repetitive comments. The honourable member has made his point that he is proPeking. Must he continue in this vein?
– Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– I again make the point that the Government forced a depression on the countryside by its policy and one of its major contributions to the depression was its policy on wheat. At the same time it failed to take any trade initiatives. It has failed to do this in India. It not only failed to take any initiatives in China but it effec tively sabotaged the efforts of the Australian Wheat Board, and the instrument of that sabotage was the Minister for Trade and Industry. He was elected Leader of the Australian Country Party became heir apparent as Deputy Prime Minister, and demanded and got the portfolio of Trade and Industry. In the flush of : his new power, on 7th February he went out of his way in arrogant condensation to tell Australia and the world that he would not be pushed into recognising China for the purpose of selling wheat. He had his conscience to consider. He said he would not sell his soul to compromise 750 million Chinese.
– Would you?
– I make the point that if he feels this way about China he should get out of the Trade and Industry portfolio. If his soul is in peril - God forbid that this should happen during Easter week - he should do the right thing and resign. He cannot have it both ways. His position is one of monumental humbug. If he continues to hold the portfolio of Trade and Industry let him keep his conscience clear and his soul intact and let the nation get on with the job. This is not the only matter in which the Minister has been at fault. He has been the Minister for Trade and Industry since 15th February and he has not yet made a statement on trade to this Parliament. Indeed, the only clue as to his views on trade have been late night television interviews and odd Press interviews, but this Parliament has had no statement on Trade since 15th February.
The Minister for Trade and Industry is in New Zealand discussing the operations of the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement. We should have had an opportunity to review in this Parliament the operation of that Agreement and particularly to explore the charges that this Agreement has helped to destroy the stability of the Australian fat lamb market. The Minister has no business in New Zealand without telling this Parliament what his policy is. The tragedy of the China situation is that despite questioning in this Parliament, despite fears by the industry, and despite a revolt against the Minister in circles of his own Party he has persisted in an attitude of arrogance quite unreal and unacceptable in a man who is supposed to be Australia’s first salesman. His only contribution to trade with the biggest single market in our region and one of the biggest potential markets in the world has been to blunder and then to tell the Parliament in response to every question that he is still waiting on an elusive letter which apparently will not now arrive. I believe the Government has made a decision in principle to recognise China. I believe this has been the attitude of Mr Anthony in association with the third partner of the ramshackle coalition - the Australian Democratic Labor Party - which has prevented the implementation of that decision.
The former Prime Minister brought Mr Anthony quickly to heel after his initial blunder. The former Prime Minister’s telephone call to the Minister has been described as in the best traditions of President Eisenhower’s call to Prime Minister Eden on the Suez adventure: Stop it. Surely it is time for the present Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) to enter the picture. If Mr Anthony has a struggle with his conscience let him-
– Order! I point out to the honourable member for Riverina that on 3 occasions he has referred to the Minister by name.
– I apologise.
– On a point of order: The Minister for Shipping and Transport did the same thing twice but you, Mr Deputy Speaker, did not. pull him up.
-The honourable member for Sydney is correct. I congratulate him on his ability to count. I said to the honourable member for Riverina that he had been guilty 3 times, which is an additional infringement.
– It was an oversight. I accept your stricture. It is correct that the Minister should be referred to as the Deputy Prime Minister. I want to refer to the fact that there is widespread revolt in the countryside and indeed in the Country Party against the Deputy Prime Minister’s policy. A member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, Mr Falkiner, on return from a visit to Russia said:
He went on to say:
Russia and China need Australian wool. The first thing we can do is to recognise China. i cannot see why we cannot recognise a third of the world’s peoples. 1 am sure it will lead to increased sales.
There is the tip of the revolting iceberg, but against the background of all this is not only the matter of wheat sales to Red China; it is a matter of the whole of Australia’s balance of trade. I mentioned the other night in this House that our combined deficit in trade with the United Kingdom and the United States of America over 20 years amounts to the monumental figure of $10,000m. This is a drift in trade. It is a situation which we are remedying only by selling our country and our heritage to overseas interests. The Minister himself is indicted on four counts. Firstly, there is the failure of his policy towards China, with disastrous results. Secondly, there is the revolt against his own policy. Thirdly, there is his failure to bring to the House a proper policy in relation to trade during the time he has been Minister for Trade and Industry. Fourthly, there is his incredible lack of awareness of trade issues and the facts of life, combined with an ignorance of matters within his own jurisdiction such as when he was questioned in this place on the matter of truck components and he did not know anything about them. He confessed and said: ‘I know nothing about this’. Yet this was a decision which will load millions of dollars in costs onto a struggling countryside.
In this conclusion I want to say with some emotion: One million people and a very great industry are involved. The Minister should take some new initiative in trade along the lines of the Japanese initiatives. He should establish a treaty and a trade office and emulate the Japanese. If he cannot manage to marry his conscience with trade let the Deputy Prime Minister step out of his portfolio and let somebody else take over. I respect his conscience. Let him go in the interests of this nation, this industry and Australia’s future in this region of the world.
– I rise on a point of order relating to procedure. In order that justice might not only be done but also be seen to be done, and realising the strains that a debate like this must impose upon you, Mr Deputy Speaker, as a member of the Party under attack, may I suggest that in the interests of the Parliament you withdraw from the Chair and allow Mr Speaker to take the Chair.
– There is no substance in the point of order.
– lt has been a long time since 1 have defended the Minister for Trade and Industry in this place. I am getting more than usual pleasure out of the process. J would like to say at the outset that 1 have great pleasure in defending the former Minister for Primary Industry who is now Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony). He was an exceptionally good Minister for Primary Industry. I hope that his successor will be as good as he was. The former Minister for Primary Industry set a very high standard. He has been attacked today as Minister for Trade and Industry. Now the honourable member for Wakefield’ with real pleasure picks up his lance and defends him. I know I will be doing it again and again in debates on tariff. The poor old Australian Labor Party will have to decide on which side of the fence it will sit. The Opposition’s shadow Minister for Trade and industry will have to organise his mind and read his books and decide which side of the fence he will sit on.
I have a rough idea at this stage that I will have the very great responsibility and pleasure of again defending the Minister for Trade and Industry. I do it today with the feeling that this debate is a ridiculous waste of the time of this Parliament. The case seems to rest on the attitude of the Minister. The honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) said nothing about the attitude of the Minister but the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) did .say something. The attitude of the Minister seems to coalesce around these words: ‘1 would not recognise Red China just to sell wheat. I would not sell my foreign policy or my philosophies just to do a deal on trade.’ Later on in the debate something was said about selling one’s soul. The question was posed: ‘Would you sell your soul just for trade advantages?’ The Minister would not: neither would I. I would like to see anybody who thinks he would do so stand up in this place and admit it. Principles are funny things. Principles are no good unless a person sticks to them. Anybody who is pre pared to sell his soul for an immediate commercial advantage should stand up and say so.
– Order! I suggest to honourable members that private debates should be conducted outside the chamber and not inside it while the honourable member for Wakefield is speaking.
– Let us consider this selling of the soul business. The honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) hud something to say about it. I would regard him as an authority because I remember distinctly when we started our tariff dialogue some years ago how he with great courage came out and took almost the same attitude as I did. Then he heard footsteps. He heard the then honourable member for Scullin, now the member for Sydney (Mr Cope) and other honourable members opposite who indulge in the old, tired thinking of the Labor Party and who exert all the pressures that resulted in the member for Lalor selling his soul. When it comes to taking lectures from the honourable member for Lalor about selling one’s soul, I regard him as an authority on the subject.
– Mr Deputy Speaker I rise to order. What the honourable member for Wakefield has said is a very gross misrepresentation. First of all it is based on a false statement. 1 have never agreed with the honourable member for Wakefield at any time, lt is very insulting to talk about selling souls as he has clone. I ask him to withdraw.
– Why? You seemed to devote much of your speech to it.
– Order! I did not understand that the honourable member for Wakefield was making a personal reference to the honourable member for Lalor when he was speaking about selling souls. If he was referring to the honourable member for Lalor in a personal capacity 1 would ask him to withdraw.
Mt KELLY - I certainly was referring to the honourable member for Lalor and I certainly withdraw. But I still complain that it seems rather queer that the honourable member for Lalor can condemn the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) and accuse him of selling his soul or suggesting this, because much of the honourable member’s speech centred around this and all I did, in passing, was to mention the attitude of the honourable member for Lalor. However, let us go back to the complaint that it is wrong to sell one’s principles down the drain for immediate political advantage. I do not think it is a bad thing to have principles. It is not much good having principles unless one sticksto them. I think there will be a change in the Government’s policy on the recognition of Red China.
– Are you selling your principles?
-I am saying whatI think. I do not speak for the Government.I simply say that there seems to be a change in world opinion and that in my view, as a backbench member, there will be a change in Australia’s stand on the recognition of the Republic of China. What kind of a man would the Minister for Trade and Industry be if when he was first interviewed he said: ‘I am a member of the Government andI stand with the Government policy on Red China,’ but at his next interview he said: ‘Well, it does not apply to wheat. I am now for a change.’? The Minister is a member of the Government. Loyalty is essential. The only way a government can work is for the Minister for Trade and Industry, the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Nixon) and all the Ministers to stand together behind a common policy on such an important matter. What kind of a Minister would the Minister for Trade and Industry be if he claimed that the policy of the Government was not going to be his policy in future and said on a television interview: ‘It is going to be different because it may influence our sales to China.’? Who said that it would influence our sales of wheat to China?
– I will bite.
– I guess the honourable member would never know. He would never know what side to go around on a header, clockwise or anti-clockwise. There has been no evidence that the Ministers statement - if this is the statement that was made - has had or will have any influence on the quantity of wheat we sell to China. Who said it would? As the Minister for Shipping and Transport said, are we to listen to every bar room rumour that we hear coming out of Peking or Hong Kong? What is the evidence that the statement of the Minister for Trade and Industry - which seems to me to be a perfectly sensible and principled statement - has had any influence on our possible sales to Red China?
It is not good enough for the Labor Party to pretend that this is a matter of urgency. I congratulate the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) if, indeed, he did prevent this from becoming a censure motion because a censure motion on a subject such as this would have made the Labor Party look ridiculous. The Labor Party has been made to look sufficiently ridiculous by contending that this statement, which seems to all members on this side of the House to have been perfectly sensible and responsible, will affect our sales of wheat toRed China. This seems to be carrying democracy far too far. It is making an ass of the Parliament and is certainly making an ass of the Labor Party.
- Mr Deputy Speaker, as some members opposite have said, this debate is concerned with sales of wheat to Red China.
Motion (by Mr Giles) agreed to:
That the business of the day be called on.
Debate resumed from 16 March (vide page 931), on motion by Mr Hughes:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
- Mr Deputy Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. I just want to clarify one point. The Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) accused me of attacking the former Minister for Primary
Industry (Mr Anthony) during a debate concerning abattoirs.
-Order! The honourable member for Dawson has placed the Chair in a rather difficult position. The honourable member saw me and explained that he wanted to make a personal explanation. I felt that in the circumstances there was some justification for his doing so but, according to the Standing Orders, his opportunity has gone. The previous debate having concluded, he is unable to make his personal explanation.
- Mr Deputy Speaker, I understood that I could make a personal explanation at any time.
– Not in relation to misrepresentation that the honourable member claims occurred during a debate which has concluded. It is not the place of the Chair to make suggesions-
– Can the honourable member for Dawson make a personal explanation by leave?
-I was about to say that if the honourable member for Dawson sought leave to make a statement and limited it to his personal explanation, it would be for the House to decide whether to grant that leave.
– If the statement is in respect of a personal explanation I am prepared to agree to leave being granted.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– During the previous debate the Minister for Shipping and Transport said that I had waited until the former Minister for Primary Industry was absent when I attacked him last year on a matter concerned with abattoirs 1 can assure the Minister for Shipping and Transport that I communicated with the Minister beforehand. In fact, the records will show that the Minister apologised for being late. I did not attack him in his absence.
-I point out to the Leader of the Opposition that the Public Order (Protection of Persons and Property) Bill has been called on.
– The Public Order (Protection of Persons and Property) Bill was conceived by a Prime Minister who has been discredited; it was delivered by an Attorney-General who has been discarded. It is a Bill which none of us needs to strive officiously to keep alive. It was foreshadowed by the previous Prime Minister without any Cabinet decision. It was not put to the people at the House of Representatives election at the end of 1969 or the Senate election at the end of last year. Despite the forecasts there is still no complementary legislation in any of the States. The Bill does not achieve any uniformity in the matters which it covers. In fact, it introduces an additional code and further complexity.
Firstly, f shall give the history of this legislation. Honourable gentlemen will remember that on 5th July 1968 the Prime Minister stated that the Attorney-General (Mr N. H. Bowen) - that is the AttorneyGeneral who has been restored in the last couple of weeks-
– Are you referring to the cricketer?
– No, I am referring to the cricketers predecessor and successor. The Prime Minister said that the AttorneyGeneral was examining all courses open to the Commonwealth to impose severe penalties on persons convicted of mob lawlessness, violence and destruction and that when this had been done he, the Prime Minister, would announce the results to the Parliament and the Australian people. On 19th March 1969, having heard nothing more about it, I recalled his announcement to the then Prime Minister and I went on to ask:
While I myself would have thought that State statutes were quite adequate, I ask the Prime Minister whether the Attorney-General has completed his examination of the Commonwealth aspects and his consultations with the Stales. When will the right honourable gentleman announce the results to the Parliament and the people?
The then Prime Minister replied:
The Leader of the Opposition is referring to the question of penalties adequate to the offences being ableto be imposed on people convicted of riot. ThatI am sure is what he had in mind. The Attorney-General has been discussing this matter with the Attorneys-General of the various States, which has necessarily taken considerable time as discussions with 6 Attorneys-General always do. He has also, in the course of seeking to get some uniformity into this whole affair, closely examined and-I am not sure but I believe - has outlined the principles of a Bill which one would hope could be uniform but which if it were not uniform could be applicable to Australian territories. Atwhatstagethishas reached I am not at the moment sure of but the Attorney-General is still handling the matter.
The next we heard of the matter was when the next Attorney-General that is the last Attorney-General, on 14th April last year delivered a ministerial statement on the Vietnam moratorium campaign and among otherthings staled that the United States Consulate General in (Melbourne had been the target of extremist violence and in those riots 88 people had been arrested.I inquired, in a question on notice how many of those people had been tried and convicted. In an answer four or five weeks later the then Attorney-General said:
The offences for which these persons were arrested were offences against State law. I do not know how many of those arrested have been tried or convicted.
That does not seem to show very much concern about the matter. The then Attorney-General went on:
Discussions on the control of public demonstrations have taken place on 2 occasions at the Standing Committee of Commonwealth and Stale Attorney-General, once formally and once informally. It would be inconsistent with the confidential character of discussions in the Standing Committee to identify matters discussed at particular meetings where these have been mentioned in Press statements issued after meetings.
I believe that is the last we have heard from either Attorney-General about the matter.
Between July 1968 and March 1969 every Attorney-General except the Tasmanian Attorney-General was a Liberal. Thereafter every Attorney-General except the South Australian Attorney-General has been a Liberal. So much for Liberal urgency and Liberal sincerity. One formal and one informal discussion have taken place on a matter which is allegedly undermining the corner stone of our society.
The former Prime Minister returned to the matter in August last year. In answer to a question asked by the honourable member for Wakefield (Mr Kelly), the former Prime Minister stated: . . we would have the backing of the vast majority of Australians who, again, are disturbed by the practice which has developed of invading public places and private property in order either to interfere with the rights of citizens or to threaten and intimidate other citizens. I believe we would get that full backing and we propose to ask the Parliament to take such action.
That is the last statement that that Prime Minister made on the subject. At that time it was still proposed that there should be special legislation to protect members of Parliament - not just Ministers, not just Commonwealth officers, not just Commonwealth properly, but members of Parliament. Even so staunch a supporter of publiclaw and order as the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ asked why it was necessary to bring in legislation for such a purpose. At least this legislation does not go that far. In fact, I think it must be said in favour of the Attorney-General who introduced this Bill that he has very much toned down the inflammatory proposals of the Prime Minister who appointed him. His second reading speech was in fact a very skilful piece of work,It allayed many of the fears about what form this legislation would take.
We can be quite blase now about law and order matters in this Parliament. In 1960 the Parliament had before it substantial amendments to the Crimes Act which were introduced by Sir Garfield Barwick when he was the Attorney-General. In October the former Attorney-General answered this question asked by me:
On how many occasions since the Crimes Act 1960 came into operation has the AttorneyGeneral or a person authorised or directed by him consented to the institution of a prosecution for (a) ireason. (b)trechery. (b) sabotage, (d) espionage, or (e) breach of official secrets?
The then Attorney-General answered:
On no occasion.
In 1967 the restored Attorney-General introduced the Defence Forces Protection Bill. I asked the last Attorney-General in a question on notice:
On how many occasions has the AttorneyGeneral or a person authorised by him consented to proceedings being instituted under the Defence Force Protection Act 19677
On 27th October the Attorney-General answered my question by stating:
On no occasion.
There can be very little doubt that when this Bill is passed there will be no prosecutions under it. This has been a regular ploy and ambit by successive Liberal Attorneys-General. They bring in new criminal Bills, the time of the Parliament is taken up with great consideration of them, and then the Acts remain dead letters. Accordingly, I for one will not get very excited about this Bill.
To shore up his case and to make it appear that this was a landmark in civil liberties and was establishing the right of dissent, the last Attorney-General cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He was not, however, able to cite another document to which Australia has not given any practical support. The 1967 General Assembly designated 1971 as Human Rights Year. Australia and other members of the United Nations were urged to ratify the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 as part of their contribution to Human Rights Year. Australia has still not ratified that Convention. But strangely enough, last December a Victorian Minister who introduced the Summary Offences (Trespassers) Bill quoted with approval that 1966 Convention. He read Article 21 of its terms as follows:
The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognised. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
If the last Attorney-General was wanting to make out a case for legislation establishing the right of dissent and freedom of expression for this country his case would have been immeasurably strengthened if he had been able to quote not merely the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 but this more recent Convention of 1966 which Australia has still not ratified.
There is one aspect where it may be said that there is need for legislation on one of the subject matters in this Bill, namely, the protection of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel. There can be no doubt that one of the alarming trends in the world today is for citizens to insult, to harass, to molest, to kidnap and to kill diplomats or consuls. It is a trend which every civilised nation must condemn. If there is to be any hope of good relations in the world and peace between nations then the official representatives of nations are entitled to respect. There can be no doubt that that is the view of the Australian Labor Party and its fraternal parties in all other countries.
But what is the record of this Government? The last Attorney-General, for instance, mentioned that Australia had obligations under the Vienna Convention of 1961 on Diplomatic Relations. That is true. Article 22 of that Convention states:
Honourable members can read the text of the Convention in the Schedule to the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act 1967. They will see related provisions in Articles 29 and 30. The Bill went through both Houses without any opposition whatever. Strange to say, no Government supporter suggested that any legislation was necessary to protect missions. It is nol that there had not been assaults on missions. Indeed, there had. The violence in this community against missions has come from the right wing. It has come from the Ustashi, from migrants to this country who supported Hitler and Mussolini in the breakup of Yugoslavia and maybe also from similar migrants to this country who supported Hitler in the break-up of Czechoslovakia a couple of years earlier.
There have been numerous attacks on diplomatic missions and consular posts in. Australia. Today I received an answer to a question that has been on notice since 28th October. Honourable members will see from it the number of attacks on missions that have taken place in Australia. They are a disgrace to this country. As appears from another part of the answer, we can be fortunate indeed that there have been so few attacks on Australian missions. The significant thing is that this legislation is not necessary to punish any of those attacks which are listed in that answer. This legislation is not necessary to prevent a repetition of any of those attacks which have taken place on diplomatic missions and consular posts. The law of Australia, as it stands, is adequate to deal with those matters, lt is enforcement that is at fault. Why is it that governments have not prevented these attacks? Why is it that they have not brought men to book for such attacks? In Canberra a few weeks ago there was a bomb outrage against the Soviet Embassy. The law of the land is sufficient to bring the men to book. They were arrested. They are before the court now. I can say no more about that case.
But what about all these other cases? ls there any deficiency in the laws or is it just investigation and detection which are at fault. I repeat that nothing was said in the 1967 debate on the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Bill when we were taking the necessary steps to ratify the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. lt might be salutary for honourable members to see how diligent Liberal governments have been in recognising and asserting the rights of missions in this regard. The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations was drawn up on 18th April 1961. lt was signed for Australia on 30th March 1062. the last day but one on which it was open for signature. The Bill went through in 1967. The Convention was ratified by Australia on 22nd January 1968, almost 7 years after it had been drawn up. The last Attorney-General’s argument would bc much stronger if he had been able to quote that Australia had also ratified the Convention on Consular Relations. That was drawn up in Vienna on 24th April 1963. It was signed for Australia on 31st March 1964. the last day on which it was open for signature, lt came into force on 19th March 1967. Australia has not yet ratified it. No Bill has been introduced.
– Is this important?
– This is one of the excuses for introducing this legislation. The only Convention we have ratified was quoted by the former Attorney-General as one of the reasons for bringing in the legislation. I thought it was reasonable, therefore, to quote the other Convention which, through no fault of his, Australia has not yet ratified. Honourable members will see in Articles 31, 40 and 59 of that Convention that our duties towards consular posts in our country are quite explicit. There can be no question that all honourable members on this side of the House would support those principles. When a Bill comes in, if it comes in under this Government, we shall support it. If this Government does not bring it in then we shall ourselves bring it in without any further delay and ratify the convention.
The former Attorney-General quoted from a committee in another part of his second reading speech. He said that the view that the existing law is archaic and diverse was not his alone. He went on:
A committee of English lawyers, amongst whom were the Right Honourable Sir Derek WalkerSmith, Q.C., M.P., and Mr Charles Doughty, Q.C., has quite recently expressed the same opinion concerning the law in force in the United Kingdom.
In fact the committee to which he referred was a committee of the Society of Conservative Lawyers. It had as members not only 2 QCs but 2 men from the outer Bar and a solicitor. Since our attention has been drawn to the report by the former AttorneyGeneral, perhaps I might quote relevant passages from it on attacks on embassies. It states:
We should add one comment in the context of embassies. The law draws no distinction between attacks upon British buildings and individuals and attacks on foreign or Commonwealth buildings or individuals. Tn a case when an embassy is actually attacked there is no lack of available charges under the ordinary criminal law. . . . lt goes on:
If offences involving embassies and the like can be effectively dealt with under the general law, it is better so and we would regard the enactment of special offences in this context as unnecessary.
Then after giving arguments for both sides, the committee concludes:
We are inclined to the view - while in no way minimising the importance of guaranteeing security to the representatives of foreign powers - that the matter would probably best be dealt with by making it clear (by statutory provision if necessary) that the reasonable apprehension of danger to embassies is a factor to be taken into consideration in the exercise of powers of temporary prohibition and the prescription of routes under the Public Order Act.
There can be no question that diplomatic missions and consular posts in Australia should be protected. There can be no question that they should get better protection than they have had till now. But no argument was advanced before the second reading speech of the previous AttorneyGeneral, and there is no reason which can be justified in his second reading speech for introducing the laws in this Bill. The laws of Australia are adequate for the protection of missions in this country if those laws are effectively policed.
The other sections of the Bill deal with Commonwealth premises and the 2 mainland Territories. What is it that the present law leaves uncovered? One can get some idea of what might be regarded as dangerous assemblies, riots, in the Australian Capital Territory from those incidents of which the Australian Capital Territory police took films. They have taken films of only 2 gatherings in the Australian Capital Territory. One was of the visit of the Vice-President of the United States on 13th and 14th January last and the other was of the procession and demonstration conducted as part of the Moratorium week activities on 18th September last. Does anybody seriously suggest that anything happened in Canberra during the visit by VicePresident Agnew or during the students’ Vietnam procession last year which justifies new laws? Were the Territory laws not already adequate? People should keep their heads in this sort of situation, and the police in Canberra did.
Has there been any assembly in the Northern Territory that anybody can recall - 1 cannot recall one for 50 years - which amounted in any way to a breach of the law? Does anyone suggest that there have been any unlawful incidents on Commonwealth properties in the States to which last year under the Commonwealth Places (Application of Laws) Act we applied State laws that the existing laws do not adequately cover? It used to be the case that trespass was not an offence. It was a civil matter alone. There can be a case for making trespass on diplomatic premises an offence since diplomats cannot sue under civil law, and even when there is a criminal law they cannot lay an information. But in New South Wales and Victoria at the end of last year trespass was made an offence, and in fact trespass is an offence already in the Australian Capital Territory. Section 24b of the Australian Capital Territory Police Offences Ordinance states:
Any person who is found without lawful excuse (proof of which excuse shall be upon that person) in any building, structure or erection, upon any lands or in any enclosed yard, garden or area, shall be guilty of an offence.
Penalty: Ten pounds or imprisonment for three months.
Does anybody suggest that anything that has happened in the Australian Capital Territory would not have been covered adequately by that Ordinance?
– Does the Leader oi the Opposition not think that that is rather disproportionate - £10 or 3 months?
– For that reason, therefore, you are increasing the penalty, I think, to S250 or I year.
– Have another look.
– -Very well. 1 extend some latitude to the honourable gentleman because he will not be able to speak again on the second reading of the Bill. He has made his last second reading speech in this House. The penalty for trespass under one sub-clause is to be $100 or 1 month, or both; or, under another sub-clause, $250 or 3 months, or both. Nobody has said that the existing penalties are not adequate. Today the report of the Australian Capital Territory Police Commissioner was presented to the Parliament. If honourable gentlemen look at that report I believe they will see that there have been quite a number of trials, in most of which convictions have followed, for offensive behaviour, indecent language, resisting arrest, obstruction - all those provisions which hitherto the police have used to break up sit-ins and demonstrations.
There can be no doubt that there have been some contemptible and cowardly invasions of Commonwealth premises in Sydney and Melbourne. Nobody would condone those. They should be condemned. The people who participated in those invasions, those threats, those demonstrations, those sit-ins should have been brought to trial. Why were they not brought to trial? There is ample provision under the Commonwealth Crimes Act - there has been for nearly 60 years - for prosecution of persons causing damage to Commonwealth property or persons obstructing or resisting Commonwealth officers going about their business.
The offences are already covered by the law. The Jaws are quite firm. The penalties arc quite heavy. They have not been called in aid. Those who say that offences have occured, that crimes have been committed, should explain why people have not been put on trial for those offences and those crimes. The Crimes Act already covers them.
The former Attorney-General stated that in some respects there would be a substantial mitigation of existing statutory penalties. He was presumably referring in particular to the Riot Act. The latest Riot Act was enacted in the first year of the reign of George I, quite likely to deal with circumstance* following on the Hanoverian usurpation from the House of Stuart. The penalty was death. Obviously there had to be a jury trial. Does anybody remember when the Riot Act was last read? The former Attorney-General said that in 1967 the British Government had repealed the Riot Act. lt did. and it did not replace it.
-Order! The honourable gentleman’s time has expired.
Motion (by Mr Martin) proposed:
That the Leader of the Opposition be granted an extention of time. (The bells being rung)
-Order! The AttorneyGeneral has requested that the division be called off and the extension of time granted to the Leader of the Opposition.
– I thank the Minister and honourable members. The reason for re-enacting in this Bill provisions for reading the Riot Act is so that convictions can be more readily obtained. There can be no excuse, we suggest, for repealing an Act of 1714 which provided for jury trial and then re-enacting with a provision for summary trial.
The clear purpose of this Bill is to deter demonstrations of dissent. This Bill can only cover Commonwealth premises and the 2 mainland Territories. The only possible demonstration in these 2 circumstances are on matters where the Federal Government’s policy has stirred people up. There are 2 particular matters in this regard, apartheid and Vietnam. One cannot expect men and women of 18, 19 and 20 years of age to respect laws which they abominate. They are entitled to express their views about them, and 1 believe that future generations of Australians will be grateful that the members of today’s younger generation have shown that they abominate apartheid and the Vietnam war.
– Apartheid is not one of our laws.
– No. but the conduct of the Australian Government in the United Nations on resolutions concerning apartheid is a matter of shame to this country.
– We have always condemned it in the United Nations and you know that very well.
– I know to the contrary. lt is true that in the 1960s after Sir Robert Menzies became Minister for External Affairs we did change our attitude. Wc ceased to assert that apartheid was a matter of domestic jurisdiction. We came to vote in favour of United Nations resolutions condemning apartheid. But when the present Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) became Minister for External Affairs at the end of 1969, the very week he became Minister our attitude changed and then and a year later in the United Nations Australia reverted to the attitude of abstaining from voting on these matters. Under the former Minister for Foreign Affairs - the new Prime Minister - Australia ceased to oppose apartheid and to condemn it in the United Nations. We can give chapter and verse more properly in the resumed debate on the statement made last night by the new Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Bury) on the ambivalent attitude to apartheid that has been shown recently on sporting teams. We are the only country in the world which will receive South African teams.
– You heard the Prime Minister during question time yesterday, and von know it. What you are saying is not accurate.
– What I said is accurate and he knows it, much as he may want to bluster to the contrary. The fact is that the Australian Government allows Australia to be used for South Africa’s external purposes.
– Order! I would agree wilh the Leader of the Opposition in saying that this would more properly be debated on the statement that was made last night by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
– I was merely pointing out that there were matters of Federal policy-
– You should put him out.
-I will be the judge of that.
– I was pointing out that there are 2 matters of Federal policy about which a great number of people in Australia are justifiably incensed, particularly people who do not yet have the right to vote, and this Bill is designed to deter them from expressing their dissent. We need to keep a sense of proportion in these matters of law and order. The trouble in Australia now is not that there have been demonstrations of dissent. I believe Australia’s reputation internationally has been enhanced because of those demonstrations of dissent. But where we should be concerned about law and order is in the fact that the rate of incidence of crime has been increasing in Australia and the rate of detection has been declining. I gave the figures relating to that during the debate on the estimates for the Attorney-General’s Department last year. I gave them more recently in the debate on the Criminology Research Bill and I need not repeat them. But the need in Australia in the field of law and order is not to enact new laws but to enforce existing laws. We do not need enactments of new Federal political laws but enforcement of existing State criminal laws.
The key to crime prevention is the speed and sureness of detection. An ounce of detection is worth a pound of laws. The States do not need Federal laws to supplement their own, they need Federal assistance to enable their own police forces to enforce their own laws. Like the Army, the police force is an essential occupation. Like the Army, it will be unable to attract and retain men of sufficient quality and in sufficient numbers unless it is treated by governments as an essential occupation with wages, conditions and opportunities provided accordingly. The Commonwealth can help the States provide proper career opportunities for the men and women in their law enforcement services. It can help the States provide the highly expensive communications and computer techniques and equipment needed by modern law enforcement services, as the United States does and as Canada does.
This Bill is not necessary. We know that it will be no more used than the Crimes Act of 1960 and the Defence Forces Protection Act of 1967. The Parliament is in fact being asked to debate laws which will never be used. What we should be worried about, however, is that the Cornmonwealth does not give the assistance which other Federal administrations, such as the United States and Canada, give for proper criminal detection and criminal law enforcement. The laws which Australia already has, the Commonwealth Crimes Act in respect to Commonwealth personnel and Commonwealth premises, the ordinances in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, and the State laws, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria, are already fully adequate to cover every offence which this Bill purports to cover. All that is wanting is that those whose duty it is to administer the laws have not been given the encouragement and the means to do so.
– Before 1 call the honourable member for Chisholm I remind all honourable members that this is his maiden speech and would request that the usual courtesies be extended to him. I call the honourable, member for Chisholm.
- Mr Speaker, I am greatly honoured to be called by you for this first time as the member for Chisholm. I am sorry that I did not know my predecessor, Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes, personally because everyone, whatever bis politics, held him in high admiration and affection. He is an inspiration to me to walk straight in politics according to my own lights, as he walked straight according to his.
I welcome this public order legislation. This is not a piece of legislation made in a fit of pique or a rush of anger, out of any narrowness of mind or meanness of spirit. It does not seek to stifle or to silence the freedom to dissent, protest or demonstrate. It in fact safeguards dissent, protest and demonstration. It does this by drawing a clear line against violence. For political violence, whatever its precise motive, can lead only to a crack down on freedom. The
Bill, with ils realistic penalties, creates order out of the confusion of archaic, irrelevant and sometimes even harsh common law and statutory provisions. In its use of terms like reasonable apprehension of violence’, unreasonable obstruction’ and ‘reasonable excuse’ the Bill properly and sensibly leaves the judgment of the circumstances in any particular case ultimately lo the courts and the juries, and not with the police. So 1 stress that the Bill does not in any way attempt to prevent protests or demonstrations on the ground that they might at some future lime become violent; it only prevents the actual or threatened violence if and when it develops.
Much of the youth revolutionary talk of our times is the old Marxist hat, much tattered and worn at a new angle. Today’s new factor is the emphasis on direct physical confrontation with the authorities and especially with the universities where urban geurilla warfare is used in the struggle to bring on the so-called revolution. People get involved in protests and demonstrations for many reasons, but it is undeniable that there is a very small group of people who use protests and demonstrations not to protest about conscription or Vietnam or education but to build up the revolutionary movement. They protest under the banners of freedom and justice, but they simply do not believe in the freedoms and justice which we cherish in our democracy.
Universities have taken some time to realise that they were ultimately dealing with a very, very small group which regards its demands as non-negotiable and which seeks to destroy the universities themselves. They have increasingly realised that these people simply have to take the consequences of acting to destroy or prevent the successful functioning of institutions which are supported by the overwhelming majority. This Bill spells the same message. In the university context nothing has been more unsettling than uncertainty itself. When students have known the clear consequences of acting in certain ways they have had to think twice, and the great majority of students have been able to retain their confidence in the university. 1 remember a radical student at the University of Melbourne telling me that he had decided to have a heart to heart talk with the Vice-Chancellor so that they would both know where they stood. He said: ‘I asked the Vice-Chancellor what he would do it I and, say, 6 of my mates went into his office and sat down*. He said the ViceChancellor replied: ‘1 would discipline you’. The student then said: -Well, Sir, what if 60 of us moved in and occupied your office?’ The Vice-Chancellor replied: ‘1 would discipline the lot of you’. The student then said: ‘Well, what if 600 of us took over your office?’ He said the ViCe.Chancellor replied: If 600 took over the office 1 would discipline the lot of you’. The surprised radical student said: ‘I think he meant it’. The very fact that the student knew where he stood with authority within the university, I think, has been a great saving grace through difficult times. As I say, this Bill spells the same message: Those who wish to overrun government offices, toss Molotov cocktails at the police and put the boot in at demonstrations know the consequences. They know that their actions are seriously regarded.
Our nation has a proud history of freedom from political violence and a proud history of political freedom. But freedom and democracy are not just anywhere to be taken for the asking. Their finest expression relies on a much more fragile balance of forces than is often realised. It is as important for the future of our democracy to safeguard the rights of minorities to dissent as it is to safeguard the majority against the excesses of the dissenters. The virtue of the present Bill is that it understands the importance of finely balancing these majority and minority interests. If the few anti-democratic violent minorities get away with it, then the rights of all legitimate dissenting minorities are endangered. On campus after campus in the United States of America the few have made the many suffer a serious and lasting curtailment or even a cessation of their basic freedoms, lt is not even a question of the right to dissent in some places there. Two or three people have not been allowed to gather together for any purpose whatsoever outside the classroom, let alone dissent.
There is nothing strange or worrying about the notion that democracy should defend itself. We have cared enough for it to go to war for it. In time of peace wishful thinking and dreaming will not keep institutions alive and well. They must be defended as any human institution must be defended when it is under attack. But they must not only be defended; they must also be reviewed. While our degree of civilisation demands that we reject violence, it also requires that we should review the workings of the institutions against which violence is threatened or perpetrated. For it would be surprising if the necessary democratic emphases of today turned out to be the same as those of yesterday.
While modern communications might have shrunk the world into a global village, mass complex public and private organisations have necessarily tended to remove from men much of their own government.
In terms of history it seems only the other day that people’s work, family and government were all inextricably bound up, when a man in a real sense ‘did his own thing’. He produced his own product or at least he saw some result of his own labours. His son followed him. He knew personally most of those who made governing decisions which mattered to him. It may be that a reason why today many people are so embarrassingly pleased when a member of parliament does something for them is because they see government as so distant from them. When I was in the Highlands of New Guinea the other day it struck me that the Highlanders treated politics not as a spectator sport but as something innate and important to them. They knew the issues, they knew the ‘governors’ and they actually participated. Government was near to them and involved them. Mass complex bureaucracies and mass communication designed to service vast and overwhelming suburban societies are, of course, essential, but the great successes and advances which we have in knowledge and material provision matter little if our people are not the better and happier for them.
The curious thing is that the very feature of technological society which can alienate man from his government can, if given the right twist and emphasis, serve to unite men to one another and to their governments. For instance, the mass media, by playing up the big and the dramatic and the distant, can force politics to be more and more a distant and threatening spectacle, but by bringing the people and local councillors as well as local members of Parliament together on talk-back and current affairs programmes to talk about the things which matter most to people they can communicate creatively-. Government itself has to use general rules to cover cases, but the more the decisions can be made where the people are the better for government and the people.
This week’s Premier’s Conference dramatised the advantages of co-operation between the Commonwealth and State governments. I would like to see the development of communications between these bodies and local government organisations, for the local council is not an island and the people who live within the boundary of local government must know that governments, including large ones, exist not for themselves but solely to serve the people. Local councillors know that their problems cannot be solved by them alone. Of course, the last thing a liberal would want is a federal takeover of their problems. A cohesive and co-operative approach by all interested parties is the answer, with the Federal Government’s particular responsibility being to research into the changing national and area needs.
In all of this, those of us in government must understand the ideas, purposes and ideals - or lack of them - of those who work in the great bureaucracies, of the dropout, of the local councillor, of the businessman and of the student. We must understand the joys and the strains of living in suburbia. We must understand that there are all sorts of ways of growing up and we must recognise this fact in our education policies. It seems that it must be repeated again and again that education and qualifications are made for man and not man for education and qualifications. Our governments have achieved a great deal in the field of education but there is a danger of education becoming a duty almost like the draft. Surely when men are being interviewed for jobs the first question should be whether they could do the job well and not whether they have received a certain paper qualification from somewhere or other. In everything we do in government today we need to balance the rational solution, which the knowledge of experts seems to dictate, against the dictates of the hearts and minds of individuals. It is never self evident that the plan of the expert is the most proper solution to a problem.
The Bill which is before the House leaves people free to express themselves, individually or in groups, in all ways short of violence. It thus safeguards our democratic institutions and enables them to continue to evolve creatively to the ultimate benefit of individuals, for to the liberal a person’s life is his most important possession and it is of the utmost significance how that life is lived.
– At the outset I wish to congratulate the honourable member for Chisholm (Mr Staley) on his maiden speech. It was indeed a very fine speech. I. found myself looking in his speech for what I disagreed with in order that I could comment on it to the House. I think my principal disagreement is this: The honourable member for Chisholm called it the Liberal case for a balancing of interests, but if one looks at the Bill which is now before the House one will find that one cannot draw from it that balance because it is not there. It is ail very well - everyone must applaud the sentiments that he uttered - to say that the task of the law maker is to strike a balance between the preservation of important fundamental rights and the abuse of them, but the exercising of these rights does sometimes produce conflict. An examination of this legislation will reveal that there is no provision for achieving such a balance.
I put it to the House that it is one thing to say that it shall be an offence to assault a person, obstruct a person, insult a person or do something of that sort and create such offences in legislation but the offences must be considered in the context of real life. In relation to demonstrations it may mean taking into account the traffic situations, the question of people walking along a pedestrian way or people trying to go into a theatre when other people are trying to come out of it. It is necessary to fry to balance the competing interests. The traditional approach in the common law world has been to try to regulate our system in a certain legal way. In my opinion the present system is proving, as time goes on, to be increasingly inadequate. For example, we have not in the past used any method of saying what the people can do. We tell them what they cannot do and then in some way rely upon the residue - what is left - as being good enough for them. When it comes to a resolution of this conflict in the courts, the courts do not work in this way.
Anyone who has had experience of the courts, particularly the courts of petty sessions, will know that what I am saying is correct. They will know that when it comes to a conflict between what you cannot do and what you can do or, shall we say, the version of a policeman of facts and the version of an individual of facts the magistrate, whether he is a good magistrate or a bad magistrate, will not draw a balance. Perhaps he cannot in our present system. Time and again people go away from a summary jurisdiction court in which they have expected this conflict to be resolved convinced that it has not been resolved. Why? Because events are coloured by experienced witnesses. Policemen, and this is a real hard fact of life, are experienced witnesses. Although I was sincere in complimenting the honourable member for Chisholm on his speech, I would suggest that his experience of what happens in the real world - his knowledge of the idealistic demonstrator - is quite removed and remote from, bears no relationship to and cannot be solved by the legal solution he tendered when he put forward his support of this Bill.
I come back to this question of drawing a balance. There is nowhere in this legislation an assertion of what an individual can do. It might be said that it is against our tradition and that it is a bit difficult to say what one can do, but the right to dissent and the right to influence people is a fundamental one. It is also a fundamental right to gather in assembly and it is a fundamental right to try and influence people in a political way. None of these things has been spelt out in the Bill. There are plenty of precedents for doing so in the other systems of law which drew their original inspiration from the common law system. I am thinking particularly of countries which have a Bill of Rights, such as the United States of America. It is written into the Bill of Rights in the United States of America that one can do this, that and the other and that he has rights. Indeed, Australia has gone as far as that in a statute which is probably very illiberal in many ways. I am thinking about the Commonwealth Crimes Act. I am taking section 24a as an example, but many other examples can be given of an attempt having been made to spell out what one can do. Sub-section (2.) of section 24a of the Commonwealth Crimes Act is the particular example I have in mind. It is the one which deals with seditious intent. Subsection (1.) states what one cannot do, but sub-section (2.) makes an attempt to state what one can do. It is not dressed up in terms of what is reasonable and what is not reasonable. I come back to sub-section (2.) which says: lt shall be lawful for any person -
That is the sort of thing that is singularly lacking in this Bill. There are strange clauses in the Bill. I do not want to go into the parts of the Act in detail but I wish to draw the attention of the House to clause 14 of part 1H which deals with the provisions relating to diplomatic and consulate premises and personnel and international organisations. Clause 14 spells out the intention of this House if this Bill is enacted in relation to the clauses that follow. Clause 14 in part says:
The provisions of this Part are intended lo assist in giving effect. . . .
There is a recital about Australia’s obligations as far as. diplomatic embassies and so on are concerned. That in itself is a strange departure from our normal legislative style and it shows that even this Government is prepared to make such a departure. I suspect it was done to influence magistrates who will have to consider what meaning is to bc given to certain words to be found in provisions like clause 18 where their meaning is very wide. It is intended to influence the magistrates. It is intended to give the words a particularly wide meaning so that the net will be wide. One asks: Why else would this wording in clause 14 be used? If it can be used for the bad reason that it might influence a magistrate to put a particular interpretation on provisions which are capable of being given a bad interpretation then it can also be used for other better reasons. Before I leave this I want to refer to a pamphlet titled ‘The Right of Peaceful Assembly’. The author of this pamphlet, who would be well known to many honourable members in this House, is no less a responsible person than Mr Justice Hope of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. It was written when he was active on the Council for Civil Liberties in New South Wales. In this pamphlet he discusses rights and the law as they stand at present. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) has described the law as it is and I agree with him. He said it is ample and sufficient and that we do not need this additional Bill. Mr Justice Hope describes that law and describes how traffic offences are used, and the question of rights in respect of the distribution of leaflets. Under the heading ‘Distribution of Leaflets’ he says:
Undoubtedly many people will be inconvenienced by lnc exercise of the right; most drivers in Sydney will at some lime have complained bitterly about a procession which has held them up. Nevertheless a proper balance of a community’s needs must involve a recognition of the right of groups of people to demonstrate, and the community’s rules should be moulded accordingly.
This is what I have in mind when I submit that one has to be able to tell people what they can do under legislation of this sort, otherwise one does not get this certainty that the honourable member for Chisholm spoke about when he told the story of the university students in Melbourne. One does not get any feeling of certainty from this Bill at all. How would a lawyer advise a client who wanted to demonstrate what he could or could not do? How could one possibly advise him? One could not. There is no certainty in this Bill at all. Mr Justice Hope went on to say:
To achieve a proper balance in Australian law in relation to public assemblies, two kinds of reform are necessary. The first is a constitutional guarantee along the lines of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or the American
Bill of Rights. I will not pursue this course now, for it is clear that if there are ever any substantial constitutional guarantees in Australia, it will not be for quite some years, and the problem requires a much more urgent attention. The second kind of reform is a restatement of State and Territorial laws on the subject. I would suggest that this restatement should be of two kinds, the rights involved should be stated pos/lively. and not simply left as something to be inferred from a lack of restriction. The rights being so stated, the restrictions, if any, with which those rights are to be qualified, and the enforcement of those restrictions, should be carefully considered and the right should not be whittled down further than is absolutely necessary.
This is what the Parliamentary Draftsman attempted to do in the section of the Commonwealth Crimes Act which I cited. It is not done in this Bill.
Sitting suspended from 6 p.m., to 8 p.m. [Quorum formed]
- Mr Deputy SpeakerBefore the suspension of the sitting I was pointing out how that very responsible writer on matters of this sort, Mr Justice Hope of the New South Wales Supreme Court, had stressed the great need to put a balancing element into legislation of this sort. I say again that is what this Bill lacks. There is nothing of that sort in it. If one analyses the things that have been said about the possible need for legislation of this sort one finds a number of different competing elements and it is probably of some value to take some remarks which F have extracted from the very excellent speech of the honourable member for Chisholm in this debate. He said that this Bill safeguards dissent. It does not. It does not safeguard dissent for the reasons I have given. This Bill simply creates some unnecessary and further criminal offences in areas where we already have them. The honourable member also used the expression an urban guerilla warfare’. Who on this earth thinks that there is anything which remotely resembles urban guerilla warfare in Australia? The honourable member also said: ‘They do it to build up a revolutionary spirit’. I presume he meant demonstrators. Later on in his speech he used the word Marxist’. All 1 can suggest to the honourable member is that he has had very little experience with demonstrators and certainly the kind of demonstrators I have had experience with in the Australian Capital Territory who are by and large groups of very young idealistic people trying to use the concept of demonstration to influence people but without any violence.
The honourable member also used the expression that ‘these people have to take the consequences’. Surely that is an authoritarian approach. He said that this Bill will introduce certainty. 1 have suggested that it will not introduce certainty because of the use of vague expressions in this Bill such as ‘reasonableness’. ‘ We must not forget. The Bill is a criminal bill. ‘Unreasonable obstruction opens up all sorts of possibilities’. It is almost like having an indeterminate series of references when you come to consider them. There is no certainty. You even get the idea of vicinity written into some of these offences; that they are not to take place in a particular place but in the vicinity of a particular place. How far down George Street in Sydney does a person have to go before he runs out of Commonwealth law? How far do you have to go before you find some type of human behaviour governed by Commonwealth law? Where do you run into New South Wales law? The honourable member for Chisholm said that there is great need for authority. This surely is not, as I understand the Liberal ideal, an element in it - that there is great need for authority; that there is an emphasis on authority. Rather is the reverse the situation.
The Leader of the Opposition referred to a report of a Conservative group of lawyers in the United Kingdom. One would have thought that this was a somewhat important relevant fact that was omitted from the second reading speech of the former Attorney-General, who referred to that group as some sort of committee or commission that might have been set up by the British Government or it may have been a joint parliamentary committee of some sort. The former Attorney-General did not tell the House that it was a Conservative committee report. That committee directed its attention to these old laws which it called obsolete. What is obsolete? The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary’ states that obsolete means something that is no longer practised or used;. something that has fallen into disuse; something that is out of date. Similarly if one reads the second reading speech on the United Kingdom Criminal Law Bill of 1967, which emanated in the
House of Lords, and which repealed these old obsolete laws and did not re-enact them, one will also read the use of the expression obsolete’. 1 can put it this way by adopting the language of the learned Lord Stonham the Joint Parliamentary Under Secretary of the State, Home Office, because he said in his second reading speech:
In part 2 of the Bil), which abolishes certain obsolete offences which today’s ‘Guardian’ in an excellent leading article describes as a huge pile of legislative deadwood for a parliamentary bonfire, included amongst them will be laws written in language which is poetic . . .
One of the items in the first programme of the Law Commission-
That is the British Criminal Law Revision Committee - was a review of certain ancient crimes and the whole point was to get rid of this legal deadwood.
It seems to me it is singularly apt that this Government, which calls itself a Liberal government but which is essentially the most conservative of governments, comes along and dresses up under the guise of law reform something which is not law reform; it does not repeal this deadwood. Rather it re-enacts it. Under clause 25 of the Bill it does repeal deadwood and that clause is the only tolerable provision in the Bill, but the Government then re-enacts it and dresses it up in modern garb, and gives it teeth and provides it with savage penalties by today’s standards. Those penalties may not be savage by the standards of the old days - we do not execute or quarter people today - but they are savage by today’s standards. The former Attorney-General is looking at me and I point out to him that I am thinking of the trespass provisions. Section 24b of the Australian Capital Territory Police Offences Act provides for a penalty of £10 or 3 months gaol for illegal trespass. Surely that is sufficient when in New South Wales they did not even have such a provision. Surely it is sufficient when the burden of proof is placed on the accused person. But the Government has increased the penalty making it $100 or 3 months gaol or both. Surely that penalty is savage for the offence of trespass which traditionally has been dealt with by civil action at the hands of the person offended.
Part 3 of the Bill now before the House relates to protection to embassies. In the Australian Capital Territory and I am sure in the Northern Territory and in most
States there is provision for offences of indecent language, offensive behaviour and all those other terribly vague offences including malicious damage to property. You have the provision for trespass. The policeman has everything he has ever wanted to strengthen his arm when he comes to arrest people who may be guilty of a breach of law but now the policeman is to be given more power to read the riot act or the modern equivalent of it. The Bill will not require the police sergeant to particularise his reasons for reading the riot act. The alleged offenders will have only 15 minutes in which to disperse. This Government is giving the power to disperse to anyone, be he a Nazi, idiot or lunatic. Anyone can enforce this provision of the law. It is not restricted to policemen. The word contained in this Bill is person’. Anyone can do it.
That person is given the power to disperse in those situations where something that a group of persons might be doing is regarded as insulting. I live opposite the Yugoslav Embassy or one of its buildings. Once a year a group of well behaved people turn up there carrying a coffin with Yugoslav Democracy’ on it. They are well dressed and they walk up there with women and children. They solemnly put the coffin in the drive of the embassy. This could well be regarded as insulting; it probably is insulting. This Bill will make that a criminal offence. The people go away and someone comes and removes the wooden coffin.
If someone wants to be critical of the Soviet Union and say that what the Soviet is doing is not allowing the Jews to emigrate, or someone wants to criticise South Africa for the way it treats its black people and liken those in authority to Hitler by carrying banners to this effect, surely this is insulting. If persons are compared to Mussolini, Stalin or some other dictator it is surely an insult. Is the Government seeking to prevent these activities because it thinks that the citizens of Australia should not be permitted to express their opinions? Where breaches of the peace do occur or are likely to occur that situation is already covered. The law exists already. If there is any likelihood of a disturbance at an embassy a policeman can be stationed outside its gate, as happens now at the South African, Russian and Yugoslav embassies, and that is the end of it. If someone wants to throw a bomb he can be arrested and charged with throwing a bomb. All these extra charges or offences are not needed. The only purpose behind this Bill is an in terrorem purpose: Let us not only tell the people what they cannot do; let us also tell them what they can do. Let us tell them what they cannot do and see whether we can influence them in that way.
Debate (on motion by Mr Drury) adjourned.
Bill - by leave presented by Mr Fairbairn, and read a first time.
– 1 move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The Bill proposes an amendment to the principal Act - States Grants (Pre-school Teachers Colleges) Act 1968. This Act empowers the Government to make grants up to a total of $2.5m to the States for transmission to pre-school organisations in the States for approved capital projects including construction of buildings, purchase of equipment and land acquisition. The effect of the amendment will be to extend the prescribed period during which grants may be made. Under the Act the prescribed period is from December 1968 to 30th June 1971. The Bill seeks to extend this period to 31st December 1972. The reason for the extension is that 2 pre-school organisations listed in the Schedule to the Act could not begin before 30th June 1971 the proposed projects for which Commonwealth money was allocated. Two other projects are still in progress and will not be completed before that date. The completed projects under the Act are in Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.
The organisations responsible for the preschool teachers colleges in the States are private bodies. As such, several have encountered difficulties in acquiring the land needed to expand the teachers colleges and in meeting the planning and . land use requirements of local authorities. These difficulties are the major cause of the delays in certain States in carrying out the projects for which the funds were allocated in 1968. The extension proposed in this Bill will allow more time for the pre-school organisations to complete the negotiations and carry out their projects. In so doing the purpose of this programme will be achieved, that is, an approximate doubling of the capacity in Australia for the training of pre-school teachers. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Dr J. F. Cairns-) adjourned.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr Fairbairn, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of the Bill is to enable the Government to extend the scheme of capital grants to the States for the construction and equipping, of technical training facilities. The grants, assist the States to provide buildings and equipment for the training of persons pursuing trade and certificate courses in technical colleges and trade schools and those undertaking similar courses at agricultural or rural training colleges. The funds are. allocated to the States in proportion to total State population. The grants have been made since July 1964 at a rate of $30m for a 3-year period or $ 1Om per annum. Over the period 1st July 1964 to= 30.th June 1971 a total of $70m will have been made available to the States with the result that there has been substantial improvement in technical training facilities iri the States.
For the 3-year period commencing 1st July 1971 and ending 30th June 1974 the amount of money available will be increased from S30m to $36m and the annual amount available . will be increased from $10m to $12m. In determining this level of assistance the Government has taken into account likely increased pressures on technical training facilities arising from demands of such schemes as retraining of married women and retraining of farmers displaced under the rural reconstruction scheme and from the public service and industry for higher technician courses, which could have an effect on the programme of the States. I have already received general proposals from the State Ministers for Education for the use of S3 6m which the Bill proposes should be available over the next 3 financial years.
In considering the proposals submitted by the State Ministers for inclusion in this extension of the scheme 1 have advised them that the Commonwealth regards its grants over the next 3 financial years as supplementary to the States’ own efforts in providing adequate technical training facilities to meet the ever increasing demands for this field of training.
The proposals for the new triennium put forward by the States are tentative at this stage. The States will be putting firm programmes for my approval before the new legislation becomes effective. My remarks following are aimed at giving honourable members an idea of the range of projects. In putting forward their programmes several States have indicated that these are part of co-ordinated programmes which embrace not only technical education facilities but also other educational institutions like Colleges of advanced education. New South Wales proposes to apply Commonwealth funds to the provision of facilities at Strathfield, Granville, Brookvale, North Sydney, Liverpool in the metropolitan area, and at Wollongong and Coifs Harbour. The building to be constructed at North Sydney is the direct result of demands from the Public Service and industry for specialised training in electronics. Construction and equipment programmes wilt also be continued under the scheme at various agricultural colleges.
Major projects proposed in Victoria reflect thinking on the reorganisation of technical training in that State and include the first stage of a new Melbourne Technical College to be developed over a period of 10 years, extensions to Geelong East Technical School and the Melbourne College of Textiles and new trade blocks at a number of metropolitan and country technical colleges. In Queensland, colleges proposed for assistance over the next 3 years include Rockhampton Technical College, Cairns Technical College and South Brisbane Technical College. Work will begin on the second stage at the sugar school at Mackay. Queensland has also put forward a proposal to establish a tropical rural school.
South Australia plans to use Commonwealth financial assistance in the next triennium to build extensions at a number of technical colleges and to improve the equipment available to technical training. Major additions are proposed for Elizabeth Technical College, O’Halloran Hill Technical College, Croydon Park Technical College and Panorama Technical College. In Tasmania, expenditure is proposed for the completion stages of new technical colleges at Devonport and Burnie which have already started with Commonwealth funds.
Honourable members will note the specific reference to residential accommodation in the Bill. The suggestion to include the specific reference arose during preliminary discussions with the States, lt will interest honourable members to know that one State has included a sum of more than §500,000 for the provision of residential accommodation primarily to meet the needs of apprentices living and working in country areas, and who by virtue of their location are at a disadvantage vis-a-vis apprentices in metropolitan areas when it comes to accessibility to technical training institutions. Apart from the needs of country apprentices f can see an advantage in the inclusion of residential accommodation at selected sites to meet other developments in apprenticeship training. I refer more particularly to the growth of block release as a method of training apprentices which requires full-time attendance at the training institution. As honourable members know a lack of suitable accommodation can cause many problems.
The amounts available to the various States are set out in the schedule to the Bill. In proposing an extension for a further 3 years of technical training grants to the States, the Government has not overlooked the possible impact on expenditure during the triennium should the States put forward firm proposals as a result of consideration of the conclusions of the Australian tripartite mission to study methods of training of skilled workers in Europe. The report of the mission was released last year by my colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service, and raised a wide range of issues related to industrial training. Discussions are currently taking place between the Commonwealth, the States, employers and trade unions on possible action to improve the training of skilled workers who form such an important part of the Australian workforce. Both the Minister for Labour and National Service and I are aware that proposals might flow from these discussions which would have implications for technical institutions under the control of the States. The proposed increased level of Commonwealth assistance for technical training reflects the Government’s continuing interest in an area not covered by the recent Australia-wide survey of needs in the fields of primary, secondary and teacher education. 1 commend the Bill, which will have such an important effect on the training of skilled personnel in our country, to the House.
Debate (on motion by Dr J. F. Cairns) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Chipp, and read a first time.
– Mr Speaker, I move:
The Customs Tariff Bill now before the House provides for amendments to the Customs Tariff .1.966-1970 and relates to changes introduced into Parliament since the 22nd May last year. The first four schedules to this Bill incorporate changes introduced into the House before it rose at the conclusion of the Budget session in 1970. They implement the Government’s adoption of recommendations in the following reports by the Tariff Board:
Calcium carbide; Sorbitol and mannitol; Alginic acid and its derivatives; Factice
Vulcanised rubber sheet;
Footwear wilh non-leather uppers;
Alloy steel, high carbon steel and electrical steels; Screws for wood; Centrifuges,
Weighing machinery and weights;
Breathing appliances and artificial respiration apparatus;
Pencils, crayons and chalks; Vinyl acetate: cellulose acetate flake; Gauze, cloth and grill of copper or copper alloy wire;
Nitrogenous fertilisers; and the Special Advisory Authority report on artificial Christmas trees. The remaining schedules to the Bill relate to changes by tariff proposals introduced during this session of the Parliament. They arise from Tariff Board reports on:
Agricultural and horticultural machinery; and Cherries; and reports by the Special Advisory Authority on:
Acetone derivatives: and Industrial radiographic equipment.
The Bill also makes changes agreed lo by the Australian and New Zealand Governments to extend the list of commodities to which the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement applies. Some additional concessions with respect to goods from less developed countries and several tariff changes of a purely administrative nature are also included.
At the time each of the various Tariff Proposals was introduced relating to the alterations now incorporated in this Bill the nature of the changes was explained at some length. To avoid encroaching on the indulgence of the House I would prefer not to traverse the same ground on this occasion. However, it may facilitate the preparation of speeches by honourable members for the ensuing debate if the speeches made at the time the Tariff Proposals were introduced and the Press statements made by the Minister for Trade and Industry at the time changes were made by ‘Gazette’ notices v/ere incorporated in Hansard. I ask leave of the House to incorporate in Hansard this material. I know that it will involve the Government Printer in the setting of quite a few pages but if it can be done I think it will be of tremendous assistance to honourable members.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Leave is granted to incorporate the material subject to the reservation regarding printing difficulties.
– The documents read:
CUSTOMS TARIFF PROPOSALS
No. 11 (1970)
22 MAY 1970
– In the unavoidable absence of the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) I move:
– 1 move:
Customs Tariff Proposals No. 12 (1970).
The Customs Tariff Proposals which i have just tabled relate to proposed amendments to the Customs Tariff 1966-1969. The amendments, which will operate from tomorrow, incorporate changes arising from the Government’s adoption of recommendations by the Tariff Board in its interim report under the inquiry on plastic products, etc. in relation to alginic acid and its derivatives, and also recommendations by the Special Advisory Authority in his report on artificial Christmas trees.
On alginates the Tariff Board has recommended duties of 30 per cent, ad valorem, under the Preferential Tariff, with the General Tariff to be set in accordance wilh international commitments. On artificial Christinas trees the Special Advisory Authority found that urgent action is warranted to protect the Australian industry manufacturing these products in relation to the importation of artificial Christmas trees, branches, foliage and the like. He recommended a temporary additional duty on these goods of 37i per cent, ad valorem, under the General Tariff and a temporary additional duty tinder the Preferential Tariff io be set in accordance with international commitments. This means that the temporary duty under the Preferential Tariff will be 35 per cent, ad valorem. The temporary duty is in addition to existing duties of 7i per cent. ad valorem, General Tariff and Free Preferential Tariff on these goods. Tariff proposals No. 12 also include some changes of an administrative nature only. 1 commend the Proposals to honourable members.
CUSTOMS TARIFF PROPOSALS No. 14 (1970)
PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED WITH GAZETTE NOTICE RELEASED 4 P.M. 1 JULY 1970
New Zetland-Australia Free Trade Agreement
The Acting Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Sinclair, said today that the Australian and New Zealand Governments had reached agreement on a further list of commodities to be added lo Schedule A of the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement as from 1st July 1970.
Mr Sinclair said that in the main these commodities were those which had been included in the fourth of the regular reviews provided for in the Agreement for the purpose of broadening its trade coverage. During the course of this fourth review, both Governments had considered a common list of products which ‘were notified in November last year.
The Minister also announced the release of a report by the Tariff Board on the question of the inclusion of ceramic tableware in Schedule A. It has been decided to accept the Board’s findings and therefore these goods were being included also in the Schedule from 1st July.
In addition lo ceramic tableware, other goods now added to Schedule A include chlorine; compounded rubber; felts; industrial vacuum cleaners; aerials and antennae; railway rolling stock; honeycomb uncapping * machines; scrub cutting machines: manicure and chiropody sets and tennis balls.
CUSTOMS TARIFF PROPOSALS No. 15 (1970)
PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED WITH GAZETTE NOTICE RELEASED 4 P.M 2 JULY 1970
Report of the Tariff Board on Sorbitol and Mannitol
The Acting Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Sinclair today released a report on the Tariff Board on sorbitol and mannitol
The Minister said the Government had accepted the Board’s recommendation that both products be made dutiable at rates of 40 per cent ad valorem (General) and 30 per cent (Preferential). The Board’s recommendation that sorbitol in aqueous solution be subject to duty based on a support value of $350 per ton had also bees accepted. The duties will come into operation on 3rd July 1970.
The Minister explained that the new duties will maintain the protection on sorbitol now accorded by combined ordinary and temporary duties which have applied following recommendations from the Special Advisory Authority. On mannitol, which is jointly produced with sorbitol, the proposed rates represent an increase in duty.
The Minister said the Board had found the local industry to be efficient and worthy of protection. The Board found that sorbitol imports from Europe at subsidised prices had caused injury to the Australian industry and concluded that duties based on a support value should be introduced lo protect the industry.
CUSTOMS TARIFF PROPOSALS No. 16 (1970)
PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED WITH GAZETTE NOTICE RELEASED 4 P.M. 6 JULY 1970
Report of the Tariff Board on Alloy Steel, High Carlton Steel and Electrical Steels
The Acting Minister for Trade and Industry, the Hon. Ian Sinclair, today released a report of the Tariff Board on alloy steel, high carbon steel and electrical steels. Mr Sinclair announced that the .Government had adopted the recommendations in the Board’s report.
The Minister said that part of the Board’s recommendation* relating lo certain stainless steel plate, sheet, hoop and strip had been implemented as from 30lh April 1969. These were products which al the time were subject to temporary duties. The balance of the Board’s findings were not implemented al that stage because international negotiations were necessary before new rates could be put into effect.
Implementation of the Board’s recommendations will result in duties of 35 per cent General and 25 per cent Preferential applying to a range of alloy steels of specified composition, including such products as stainless steel; low alloy and high carbon steels would be dutiable at rates of 1.5 per cent General and 74 per cent Preferential. Electrical steels would also be dutiable at rates of 15 per cent General and 7i per cent Preferential. For certain specific items there were variations :n these rates - for fiat products containing 12.5 per cent or more of chromium the current alternative fixed rmc duties would continue to apply but in future there would be no qualification in relation to value for duty; on some steel shapes it had been necessary to vary the Preferential rates to accord with international obligations.
The duty changes would apply as from 7th July 1970.
The Minister said that the Board had found the local alloy steel industry to be significant in terms of investment, employment and for most sections, use of local resources. It forms an important section of the iron and steel industry and provides users with an extensive range of special steels used in a wide variety of industries.
In its report the Tariff Board recommended that the question of protection for certain stainless steel flat products be referred to it for further inquiry within about 5 years; the Government had accepted this recommendation.
The Minister said that the Government endorsed the Tariff Board’s conclusions that the local production of electrical steels was a logical extension of the steel industry and that the manufacture of these steels warranted protection.
CUSTOMS TARIFF PROPOSALS No. 17 (1970)
PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED WITH GAZETTE NOTICE RELEASED 4 p.m. 3 AUGUST 1970
Reports of (he Tariff Board
The Acting Minister for Trade and Industry, the Hon. Ian Sinclair, today released reports of the Tariff Board on calcium carbide, vulcanised rubber sheets, relays, cinematograph projectors, and breathing appliances and artificial respiration apparatus.
Mr Sinclair said that the Government had adopted the recommendations in each of the reports. The resulting duty changes would apply from tomorrow morning, the fourth of August.
The Minister explained that the duties on calcium carbide WOUld be increased by 10 per cent to 40 per cent plus $23.33 per ton General and 40 per cent Preferential, The duty on imports from New Zealand would remain at 30 per cent. The Government had adopted the Tariff Board’s suggestion that the duties should be reviewed in 2 years. The Board had said that the industry might achieve cost savings within that period of time. The existing arrangements for the shortfall in local production to be admitted under, by-law would continue.
In the case of vulcanised rubber sheets, mainly used for rubber soling for footwear, the existing duties of 30 per cent General and 221 per cent Preferential on material for X-ray protection and 40 per cent plus 5 per cent primage General and 121 per cent Preferential on the remainder of the goods would be replaced with duties of 40 per cent General and 25 per cent Preferential, with a rate of 12J per cent on imports from New Zealand.
The Minister said that duties of 30 per cent General and 20 per cent Preferential would apply to relays under reference, instead of the present duties of 7i per cent General and’ Free Preferential for power station and induction type relays, 474 per cent plus 5 per cent primage General and 221 per cent Preferential for telephone and telegraph relays, and 45 per cent General and 221 per cent Preferential for other relays. Imports from New Zealand of power station and induction type relays would remain free of duty and other relays from New Zealand would be dutiable at 20 per cent
Mr Sinclair went on to say that duties on 8 mm silent cinematograph projectors would be $10 each General and $10 each less 10 per cent Pref erential. The duties on parts for such projectors would be 40 per cent General and 30 per cent Preferential. The present duties on these projectors and parts are 10 per cent General and Free Preferential. The duties on other cinematograph projectors, which now vary according to the width of the film for which they are designed, would be replaced by duties of 7 per cent General and Free Preferential.
As production of 8 mm silent projectors only commenced recently and price comparisons were difficult, the Government has endorsed the Board’s suggestion that the protective needs of the industry be reviewed in 4 years.
Adoption of the Tariff Board’s recommendations in its report on breathing appliances and artificial respiration apparatus, the Minister said, would result in generally reduced duties of 30 per cent General and 20 per cent Preferential over a wide range of appliances and apparatus other than underwater breathing appliances which were not covered by the recommendations. The present duties are mainly of the order of 55 per cent General and 271 per cent Preferential, although some are lower. The Government had also decided to reduce the General rate of duty on vibratory massagers from 321 per cent lo 30 per cent, in the interests of tariff simplification.
Mr Sinclair said that imports from New Zealand of cinematograph projectors and breathing appliances and artificial respiration apparatus would be free of duty. In some cases, therefore, the duties on New Zealand goods would be removed earlier than the date -presently provided for under the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
CUSTOMS TARIFF PROPOSALS No. 18 (1970)
PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED WITH GAZETTE NOTICE RELEASED 4 P.M. 4TH AUGUST’ 1970
Report of the Tariff Board on Footwear wilh Non-Leather Uppers, lite.
The Acting Minister for Trade and Industry, the Hon. Ian Sinclair, announced today that the Government had accepted, the report of the Tariff Board on footwear with non-leather uppers.
At present, industry rates- of 45 per cent General, and 25 per cent or 30- per -cent Preferential apply to nearly all the goods under reference. Where they are higher, -alternative rales of 121 per cent and $0.55 General and $0.55 Preferential apply to adult sizes and 121 per cent and $0.35 General and $0.35 Preferential to children’s sizes. In the case of thongs alternative rates are $0.25 per pair General and $0.20 per pair Preferential.
The Tariff Board recommended the retention of the ad valorem rates, and a progressive phase out from July 1971, and thereafter in 1973 and 1975 of the alternative duties mentioned above.
In recommending this the Tariff Board considered that the local producers should be given time to re-adjust to changing circumstances of the industry and its market. ‘.
Mr Sinclair said that the temporary duties on sand boots and shoes will lapse with the adoption of this report.
CUSTOMS TARIFF PROPOSALS No. 19 (J970)
16 SEPTEMBER 1970
– I move:
– I move:
CUSTOMS TARIFF PROPOSALS No. 6 (1971) 22 FEBRUARY 1971
– -1. move:
Customs Tariff Proposal No. 6 (1971). 1 table Customs Tariff Proposals No. 6 (1971) which operates from tomorrow. This proposes amendments to the Customs Tariff 1966-1970
Mr McEwen said that the question of the long term protective needs of the industry had been referred lo the Tariff Board for inquiry and report. The temporary protection now applied was holding action pending the Government’s decision on receipt of the Board’s report.
CUSTOMS TARIFF PROPOSALS No. 4 (1971)
PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED WITH GAZETTE NOTICE RELEASED 4 P.M. 30 DECEMBER 1970
New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement
The Minister for Trade and Industry. Mr McEwen said today th at the Australian and New Zealand Governments had reached agreement on further commodities to be added to Schedule A of the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement as from 1st January 1971.
Mr McEwen said that these items had been considered by both Governments in previousrevious of the Agreement, but their inclusion in the Schedule had been delayed pending detailed investigations wilh the industries concerned in the two commies.
The goods now to be added to Schedule A are ground ginger, certain canned vegetables, unassembled burial and cremation caskets and two steel items.
which are necessary to bring into effect the Government’s acceptance of a Tariff Board report on cherries. The Tariff Board recommended no change in duties for fresh cherries and removal of duties on drained, glace, crystallised and brined cherries. The Board concluded that production of drained, glace or crystallised cherries was not economic and that continued protection could not be justified. On cherries in brine, the Board con-
sidered that local fruit could be brined and sold at prices competitive with imports. Accordingly proposal No. 6 proposes the removal of the present duties of 424c per gallon General Tariff and 22ic per gallon Preferential Tariff on brined cherries and 474 per cent General Tariff and 224 per cent Preferential Tariff on drained cherries. Tt is also proposed to remove the present temporary duty on drained cherries.
The Government has accepted the Tariff Board’s report in the light of the Board’s view that there are alternative new markets for local brined cherries and that there seems to be a reasonable possibility that the brining of cherries in Australia can continue to be a successful operation. A close watch will be maintained on the marketing situation during 1971 and the question of the protection of the cherry industry would be reconsidered, as a matter of urgency, if alternative markets for brined cherries cannot be found. I commend the Proposals.
Customs Tariff Proposals No. 5 (1971) inserted two by-law provisions for alloy steel rod and bar and are related to the Tariff Board report on alloy steels previously introduced into the House on 25th August 1970. Comprehensive documentation setting out the changes in rates of duty is now being distributed for the use of honourable members during the debate. A glossary of unusual terms in the Bill is also being circulated. 1 commend the Bill.
Debate (on motion by Dr J. F. Cairns) adjourned.
Debate resumed (vide page 1588).
– Firstly I should like to join with the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) in expressing congratulations to the honourable member for Chisholm (Mr Staley) on his very thoughtful and constructive maiden speech which we heard prior to the suspension of the sitting for dinner. At the same time may I take the opportunity of wishing him many fruitful years of service as a member of this Parliament. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) endeavoured during his speech to play down the importance of this legislation. His remarks concerning its introduction by a different AttorneyGeneral under a different Prime Minister do not alter the fact that it is a Government measure, introduced certainly by the previous Government, but supported equally strongly by the present Government. He spoke at some length concerning the protection of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel. His argument, in essence, was that the existing laws are adequate for this purpose. With all due respect to the honourable member, I must say that I prefer to accept the legal views of the Attorney-General (Mr N. H. Bowen) and the former Attorney-General (Mr Hughes) who introduced this Bill.
I believe that, contrary to the prediction of the Leader of the Opposition, the provisions of this legislation will probably be applied if occasion demands. It will be better still, of course, if no such occasion does arise. The honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory, speaking as a lawyer practising in this city, criticised certain aspects of the Bill and expressed the view that there was too much uncertainty of interpretation. He gave some examples. All I can say is that if the Opposition feels strongly enough that the Bill should be clarified or strengthened in any way then no doubt it will indicate this in due course in more specific terms. I would like to congratulate the Government on this major effort to bring the aw up to date and to improve and clarify the law relating to assemblies of persons in places where the Commonwealth has legal responsibility.
As we all know, there is today in the world much discord. There is much dissent. There is much rebelliousness, especially among the younger generation. No doubt this stems in some cases from idealism, as the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory maintained. In some cases, unfortunately, they are incited by other people, some of whom should know better. In some cases this incitement leads to violence. This is to be deplored. In a democracy there is a rather fine balance always to be drawn between public order on the one hand and the personal rights of citizens on the other. I suppose there will always be conflicting interests of one kind or another. T hope there will always think we all agree that this right is essential be the right of dissent by- the minority. I and of fundamental importance in a democratic country. But I submit that it is also of fundamental importance that this right of dissent be expressed or exercised in such a way as not to interfere with the legal rights of other citizens. Here we come pretty much lo the kernel of the Bill. 1 believe that the vast majority of Australians are peaceful, law abiding people who have regard for the rights of others. To strike a balance between the various divergent interests in the community is no easy task for anyone. From time to time we hear the term ‘civil liberties’. I think that it is sometimes used a little too loosely by some people without proper thought as to just what is involved. I submit that the use of the term ‘civil liberties’ also connotes civil rights on the part of other persons. As I said before, those people, particularly among the younger generation, who use the term sometimes for incitement and who demonstrate for what they call ‘civil liberties’ are overlooking the fact that due consideration must always be given to civil duties and obligations as well as to civil rights. Standards, values and outlook change not only from generation to generation but from decade to decade and even from year to year in any country. Change is part of progress.
Let us hope that in Australia the concept of the rule of law will always remain basic to our way of life, because the alternative is the law of the jungle. Reference was made by the previous Attorney-General in his very fine second reading speech to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I hope that as some little time has elapsed since he made that speech he will not mind if I quote the particular passage, because it seems lo me to express extremely well in essence what this Bill is trying to do. He said: . . in the exercise of his rights everyone shall bc subject to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing recognition nf the rights of others and of meeting the requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
The Bill very properly makes it a summary offence to injure any person or to damage property while taking part in an assembly, or to behave in such a way as to give rise to a reasonable apprehension of injury or damage. I believe that the proposed penalty of up to 5 years goal for injury to any person during an assembly and a penalty of up to 3 years gaol for more than S200 worth of damage to property are completely just and reasonable. Likewise, a proposed fine of up to S500, or 6 months gaol or both for failing to disperse an assembly within 15 minutes of an order from a senior police officer are completely just and reasonable. In recent times there have been instances of demonstrations involving unreasonable obstruction and therefore an interference with the rights of other people, if this Bill is passed, as I believe it will be, such obstruction infringing the lawful rights of others will be treated as a summary offence, punishable by’ a fine of $250, 3 months gaol, or both. Trespassing on Commonwealth property or on private property and refusing to leave a building after being requested to do so will become criminal offences with penalties of up to $250, 3 months gaol, or both.
Much has been said by Opposition speakers in this debate in relation to Part HI of the Bill. Australia’s good name must be safeguarded in our international relations. We must protect the. official representatives of other countries. We must also protect their property, just as we. expect Australian diplomatic personnel and Australian property overseas to be protected against any damage or violence. ..Part .III of the Bill deals with this and makes suitable provision along these lines. The . Bill should be an effective counter to the increased threat to law and order and the safety of persons and property. We in this country need to have not only observance of the law but also respect for the law. I hope that this can be inculcated to a greater extent specially among some of the younger people of today. There is little doubt that in Australia, as in other democratic . countries, some of these threats to law and order and safety are the work of subversive elements who are adept at using democratic processes for their own ends.
There is no recognition of the right of dissent in totalitarian countries. Although the right of dissent is one of the features that distinguishes democratic countries such as Australia from oppressive dictatorships, there are some people in the community who abuse this democratic right. There are some who defy lawfully constituted authority and who appear to be bent on substituting for it an authority established by violence. This is deplorable. I was very impressed by a thoughtful leading article that appeared in the Brisbane ‘Courier-Mail’ an 2Sth August 1970. I would like to quote 2 or 3 paragraphs, lt states:
There is always a danger that safeguards imposed to curb excesses can go loo far, and interfere with the reasonable rights of citizens. But this is no reason why the community should sit by and accept the violent contempt of the law which is increasingly threatening public and private properly and citizens’ rights.
Unfortunately it is not only the violent lawbreakers who are to blame. There are too many people - often prominent people in a position to influence others - who incite, or at least condone civil violence and disobedience.
There is no excuse for this in a community in which changes of the law can be brought about by peaceful processes through the channels of democratic government. Even if the processes are slow, or imperfect, they exist as part of the necessary order of a democracy.
I believe there is on every one of us in a public position in particular a responsibility to set an example. I deplore certain incidents amounting to an incitement to defy the law. 1 do not wish to particularise because 1 do not wish to be controversial. This Bill is a very important one, and I believe it should be dealt with impersonally and objectively. But I say again that I believe it is most reprehensible for any member of Parliament or anyone in a position of authority to influence younger people in particular to break the law when there are, as the article 1 just quoted states, democratic processes for obtaining this objective. I am certain that the vast majority of Australian citizens support the preservation of law and order and that this Bill will be generally welcomed throughout the country.
– This Bill is at once of very little significance in that it applies to only a very small part of the Commonwealth of Australia, and in another way it is significant because it is part of the conditioning process in which today’s authorities set out to quieten people and turn them into social and political morons. There is much talk about violence. We have just heard it mentioned. But in the past 5 or 10 years in Australia, in relation to protests and demonstrations there has been almost no violence, and what violence there has been has been almost completely against protestors and demonstrators. It is true that the common law and much statute law based on it is harsh, arbitrary and all-embracing. The truth is that Australia, being a common law country, has no right of free speech or assembly.
Recently a magistrate in Sydney put the position accurately, I believe. He said:
There is no guaranteed right, of either free assembly or free speech in common law countries. This very often surprises people who believe their school history books. Nonetheless that is the legal situation.
I would expect lawyers like the AttorneyGeneral (Mr N. H. Bowen), the former Attorney-General and other lawyers in this House to be telling this and to be telling us that they deprecate the fact that there is no right of free speech and free assembly in Australia instead of introducing additional legislation to cut it down further and curtail it. There is a lot of legal humbug talked about this sort of thing. Australian people should realise that in Australia there is no right of free speech or assembly. Any government can make this country into a police state without changing the law. The Bill before us takes away a little of what rights existed before. A point will be reached, in taking away a little at a time, when too much has been taken, and I would have no pride, if I were associated with this Bill, in taking away a little more.
The Bill makes it into an offence on Commonwealth premises and in Commonwealth territories for an assembly of 3 or more persons which may cause a magistrate to think some offence .to persons or to property will take place. It does not make an offence out of an overt act which can be judged objectively. It makes it an offence for a person to cause a magistrate to think something - to think that he may commit an offence. In practice it makes the actions of any and every protestor or demonstrator on Commonwealth premises or in Commonwealth territories illegal. Nowhere does the Bill attempt to define or protect anything which may be a right of speech or assembly, as even the Crimes Act does, as the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) pointed out this afternoon. It was a pretence of the former Attorney-General that one of the purposes of the Bill was to define rights a little more clearly. It contains not a word of definition. It cuts down and curtails. In no way does it enlarge or protect any rights. To claim otherwise is pure humbug.
This Bill for the preservation of order which is now proposed by the McMahon Government may or may not preserve order. We shall see. I think that it will cause disorder. But of one thing we can be certain: It will not increase liberty. Almost everybody knows, I suggest, at least 2 things: Firstly, that almost everything we have that is of value has been won as a result of the people winning greater liberty, secondly, that the little that we have of value has been won as a result of bringing about more order, for this is just another word for more restriction, more control, more conformity, more timidity, less enterprise. Recently the Duke of Edinburgh made a point specially to tell us in Australia that ‘people are under infinitely greater control now in almost everything they do than they have ever been before in history’. I am sure that there are some few people who would not readily accept that statement if I made it but who will find it a little more difficult to reject the statement when it comes from the Duke of Edinburgh. This Bill is calculated to increase that degree of control over the Australian people which the Duke of Edinburgh considers is already greater than ever before in history.
– Do you prefer the old law of life imprisonment?
– The old law is still there. If you were genuine about this you would propose to amend the old law, but you are leaving the old law a big stick in the hands of the authorities and you are bringing in a sort of political electric charge that the sheriffs down in the south of America use. If you had any sincerity about this you would be out to amend the existing law. But you do not amend the existing law, because the Crimes Act is not touched in this Bill. You cannot amend the State law if you want to. The greater amount of the law that impacts upon the citizen is either the Commonwealth Crimes Act, which you do not touch at all, or the State law, which you cannot touch. What a lot of humbug it is.
For the greater part of our history when control over the people may have been less, according to people like the Duke of Edinburgh, most of the Australian people wanted to be free. Today one has the feeling that they do not care whether they are free or not. One has the feeling that most of the Australian people do not really know when they are free, nor do they know where power lies in Australia. The public opinion polls seem to show that most of the Australian people think that power lies with trade union leaders, university students and street demonstrators. The truth is that trade union leaders, university students and street demonstrators can do little more than plead aud cry outside the walls where power exists. Power in Australia is held by those few hundred men of wealth who own or manage the great business corporations. Power is held by the few nien of great wealth who own or manage the mass media of Press, television and radio, and who can dispose of a Prime Minister as soon as they make up their minds to do so, as they showed only a couple of weeks ago. Members of Parliament, leaders of churches, professors of universities and heads of public services are little more than vassals of these men of power in industry, finance and the mass media.
That is where power lies in Australia today. Power lies not with member of Parliament, bishops and professors little more than it lies with trade union leaders, university students or street demonstrators. But this . McMahon Government, this collection who are really puppets of the holders of power, does not propose to create better order at the stock exchange, . which is corrupt throughout - :the recent Senate committee inquiry has showed the. extent of this corruption-or . in the resale price maintenance; it proposes . to create better order amongst those people who so lack power that they .can do no more than protest in the street against an exercise of power. The McMahon Government now wants to outlaw protests and demonstrations but it makes no attempt to understand what these protests. are about.
It makes no attempt to understand the utter immorality - of the war in Vietnam which causes most of these protests and demonstrations. The McMahon Government does not appear to’ know that Vietnam has been occupied by a foreign power since 1847. It does not appear to know that millions of Vietnamese have struggled for a century and a quarter to get rid of foreign rule, racial arrogance” and international exploitation. It does not appear to know that millions of Vietnamese have died in this struggle, always against overwhelming odds, engineered against them first by the French and then by. the Americans. It does not appear to know that, as a measure of these overwhelming odds, while about 2 million tons of bombs were dropped in the whole of the Second World War over areas more than twice the size of Australia, in this criminal attack on a small peasant country in Asia 5,600,000 tons of bombs have been dropped on Vietnam and Laos, an area about the size of the State of Victoria, by convicted and unconvicted American war criminals alone.
The McMahon Government does not appear to understand that some young Australians may consider that all this is immoral and that they may want to assemble in a group of three persons in such a manner as would allow an antagonistic and authoritarian magistrate to have a reasonable apprehension of violence to persons or to property. This Bill does not so much turn acts into offences as make offences out of what the authorities think might be going to happen. What amazes me is (hat violence is not done every day in respect of this matter. What amazes me is not that there should sometimes be a reasonable apprehension of violence but that it so rarely occurs. The McMahon Government makes no attempt to understand the genuineness of the objection to this totally immoral and unjustifiable war. It makes no attempt to understand why a young man is willing to go to gaol for 2 years rather than have anything to do with it. How can the Government legislate when it is so out of touch with what it is legislating about? But violence is inevitable although so little of it has happened so far in Australia. This law will not create better order in Australia. If it does not merely remain a dead letter, as has so much of the earlier repressive legislation of governments like the McMahon Government, it will cause disorder, lt will cause disorder because there are sufficient people, although they are not many in Australia, who feel strongly enough about injustice not to be intimidated or silenced by law of this kind.
But violence is inevitable because the Government of . the United States is committed to a planned course of violence such as this Bill is calculated to protect. Violence is inevitable because of what we are doing in international affairs. We are geared into the American nuclear system as is no other ‘ country in the world. We are geared into the American nuclear sys- tern in such a way that Australia would be one of the first targets in the world hit by an enemy of the United States. Violence is inevitable because we are geared to America in every other way and America heads the wealthy, scientifically powerful forces of the world against the economically poor and suppressed coloured masses of the world. The result is racial bigotry, military power and international exploitation - and that is the side we are on. The economically poor and suppressed people, the wretched of the earth - of whom the Vietnamese are amongst the most wretched - will not any longer submit to this modern, scientific, religious affluent power, and because they will not submit to it violence is inevitable.
Violence will not be prevented or even reduced by repressive legislation like this Bill any more than it will be prevented or reduced by American policy and aggression. lt will be prevented and reduced only by a change of this American policy and aggression. If the Government wants to stop violence in Australia it should get Australians out of Vietnam and not pass legislation of this kind. This kind of legislation guarantees disorder and war because it is part of disorder and war. Australia may not now be able to withdraw from this violent alliance. Perhaps all we can work and ‘ hope for is that America will change so that we can be saved from the violent legacy prepared for us by a series of Australian governments which have accepted it. Whilst the details of this Bill are of importance they pale into insignificance in contrast to the circumstances that have given birth to this petty piece of reactionary draftsmanship. At first the former Attorney-General spoke about a balance of interests and he took up 4 pages of his speech to do it. What does the former Attorney-General want to balance? Apparently he wants to balance the use of public places, Commonwealth premises, Commonwealth Territories and diplomatic premises on the one hand, and the public interest on the other. The whole argument is in the context that the public interest is something different from the use of these places and that the use of them will conflict with the public interest if they are for any political purpose. _
There is a clearly implied conflict in the reasoning of the former Attorney-General and of most of those who think like him that the public interest is on the one hand and that political protest and demonstration are upon the other. There is no concept or suggestion that political demonstration or protest could be part of the public interest and could be in the public interest. No, all one has to show is that somebody who wants to do something for some political purpose, a protest or a demonstration, interferes with someone who wants to make money or with someone who wants to use a public office for conscription or to work for the war in Vietnam, or with some diplomat working for apartheid or for the Soviet Union. Then all one has to say is that those persons want to use their premises for those purposes and the use of the premises for political protest or demonstration has to be swept aside, lt is never in the public interest to make any facilities available for public protest and demonstration. Why? Because it is not in the Government’s interest to do that; because as a thoroughly conservative organisation it does not want any protest or demonstration. That is why it is assumed that what suits the Liberal and Country Parties and their supporters is also coincidental with the public interest.
What is the use of talking about balancing things when in fact that interpretation is a fair interpretation of every line of the 4 pages that the former Attorney-General devoted to the subject. The public interest is making money or amusing or entertaining oneself. The public interest is never to use the streets for the purpose of a political demonstration or for any other political purpose, although every liberty we have and almost every penny that anyone has these days has come from a background of struggle in which political protest and demonstration has won those things for us. Demonstrating one’s viewpoint about important natonal questions is never in the public interest. It is always assumed by governments like the McMahon Government to be disorder or subversion although all the rights, privileges, living standards and money that most Government supporters enjoy have been won in the past by other people, by earlier generations, with precisely this kind of action.
In some countries, unlike the common law countries of which we pride ourselves to be one, the rights of free speech and assembly are protected. In some they are thought to be inalienable. In the Constitution of the United States the first amendment reads:
Congress shall make nu law abridging the freedom of speech or of the Press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble. . . .
There is no right of free speech or assembly in Australia. There is no bar to law which curtails free speech or assembly. Free speech or assembly is not inalienable in Australia. It is being alienated right here tonight. That is why a. Bill of this kind can bc enacted by this Parliament and tolerated, if not accepted, by the Australian people. There is no inalienable right of free speech or assembly in this country. It has to be restricted, whenever the right of some official in a Commonwealth Territory, or some official in a Commonwealth department or some diplomat or some businessman or somebody else looking for his pleasure is in some way obstructed or slightly interfered with, by someone who might be concerned with a political purpose, or when some unsympathetic magistrate has some apprehension which is reasonable to him, and to. him only, that violence may take place or properly may be damaged. That is the. value of inalienable free speech and assembly:,n Australia. lt will be an offence if 3 or more persons at a particular place or moving - it used to be an obstruction but now it will be an offence even to move - who. after the event and on the evidence of members of the police force who in matters of this kind are not notorious for telling the truth, cause some magistrate- and magistrates are not notorious for any sympathy or understanding of the .people with whom they are dealing - to hold an apprehension, alone to him, that these, people will do something. That is the slender thread upon which the inalienable rights to free speech and assembly hang in Australia.
I do not want to give ,the impression that this Bill is a great addition to the police state in Australia. It is a petty addition -to the police state in Australia. It is a petty piece of restriction that is neither necessary nor will serve any useful or public purpose, and I cannot really seriously work out for myself why a serious government should be concerned to introduce a petty, silly piece of legislation like this. It will not even help much to condition the atmosphere. I think it shows how unreal the Government is. because everything for which it is legislating in this Bill was covered thoroughly by a complex and intricate piece of restrictive legislation in the past which allows the Government to do everything that can be done under this Bill. This Bill does not help anyone who might be affected adversely by that legislation.
– Firstly, I should like to congratulate the honourable member for Chisholm (Mr Staley) on his maiden speech earlier this evening. I think it was an excellent speech. 1 wish him every luck in this House in future years. We have just listened to a speech by the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns). It was a remarkable speech. He suggested that there was no right to free speech in Australia. I do not think that I am misquoting him. He also referred to some powers in the American Congress and to certain things which the Congress is not permitted to do in relation to peaceful assembly. This is exactly what we are talking about. There is room for, and there is certainly a right to, free speech in Australia and that is precisely what we want to maintain in Australia - the right to peaceful assembly and to free speech. This is something which is very dear to any democratic country. In fact, in my opinion it is the basis of the democratic system and the process of law as we know it in Australia today, and we certainly want to maintain the position which has existed over the years.
But as a system changes, as a country grows, as population increases and as problems become a little more complex, obviously it is the duty of this Parliament and of other parliaments within the nation to update their legislation in order to deal with the changing circumstances. The whole process of law is something which we must at all times continue to observe, if we want freedom and a democratic system in this country. Certain responsibilities exist in various areas. It is the responsibility of the Government, or of an individual member for that matter, to bring before this Parliament certain Bills relating to the law of this country. This is the assembly in which to debate a particular Bill which eventually becomes an Act. From that time onwards it is the responsi bility of the courts of the land to protect the interest of the people, and it is important to understand that fact. People are protected not only by the Parliament but also by the law itself. We must not forget that fact when we are referring to the process of law in Australia. The Parliament itself does not carry out the law; that is the job of the courts. So the Parliament has a job to do, and the courts and the various other law institutions have a job to do.
This process of law maintains for the Australian people the right to free assembly and free speech in certain circumstances. But if that right interferes with the processes of the law or with other people in ways which are set out in this Bill, then the law must be there to take charge of the situation. As I see this Bill, there is a degree of responsibility on all sections of the community. There is a degree of responsibility within this Parliament, within the courts and with the people. Regardless of whether people are university students or come from other sectors of the Australian community, they have a responsibility to uphold the law. If we do not accept this responsibility we will have a great deal of trouble in Australia. I believe that the former Attorney-General, the honourable member for Berowra (Mr Hughes) had this in mind when he introduced this legislation. He wanted to bring the legislation up to date so that it could deal with the present situation.
In more recent times we in Australia have seen certain assemblies which in my opinion have not been in the interests of Australians. We have seen the destruction of property in Australia. Surely the right to free speech and assembly does not include the right to destroy somebody else’s property. Surely if we are to live under a democratic system we should have a law which will protect people’s property. Is it reasonable to suggest that we should not have a process of law which will deal with a situation in which there is definite destruction of property? If I heard him correctly - and I think I did - the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), when he was speaking earlier today, said that we cannot expect young people to respect any particular law with which they do not agree. Under a democratic system we will
In recent years we have seen demonstrations not only in Australia but in many other countries. Demonstrations are taking place not only in Japan, America and Australia but all around the world. They are taking place in universities and in various other institutions. I agree that there should be demonstrations of a certain type, but where there are demonstrations which destroy property and affect the lives of people, even to the extent where people are seriously injured, surely we must protect the people and their property. Would the Opposition suggest that the Parliament should not introduce legislation which is designed to protect people and property in the circumstances existing in Australia today? This is precisely what the Bill seeks to do. Physical violence to another person is also covered in this Bill. Surely a person is entitled to protection against this sort of thing happening to him in a street, in his own home or office or in any other place in Australia. The Government will certainly do everything to maintain the rights of individuals to go about their business unmolested.
I would like to say a few words about the complicated laws which exist in Australia at present and the difficulties encountered by individuals in endeavouring to understand them and exercise ‘ their own rights. People have so far been able to understand the law to a degree, but it is today getting somewhat more complicated. As I have already pointed out, our legal system has been designed to protect the people. I appreciate that there are people with legal training who can go into the courts and protect the interests of their clients in a legal action, but the system is getting out of hand somewhat inasmuch as the expense of undertaking legal action is getting beyond the means of certain indi- and Property) Bill
I believe that a section of the community which has a big responsibility for law and order as well as many other events which occur in Australia today is the Press. There are many cases of young people getting mixed up in various acts of destruction. I do not know why they get involved, but I believe that they like to receive Press publicity. I believe that the members ‘ of the Press have a big responsibility in relation to these ‘matters. If they continue to highlight the activities of certain people at certain times they only encourage these people to do it again. I believe that the mass media in Australia and, for that matter, the’ rest of the world have some responsibility for what happens in this regard.
I believe that the Bill which is before the House this evening is an important piece of legislation. We .value our democratic system in Australia! I believe that it is the Government’s .responsibility to ensure that our democratic, system is maintained. This legislation will assist in that regard. I appreciate that differences of opinion are often expressed in this House between the Government and the Opposition as to the best method of maintaining our democratic system.’, However, is that not democracy? This, happens in every Parliament in the world. It is the majority view which determines the system of democracy which will prevail ; and it is the
majority view which we abide by. Providing we comply with these principles and beliefs our democratic system will be maintained. I have much pleasure in supporting the Bill before the House.
– In rising to take part in this debate I wish, firstly, to congratulate the honourable member for Chisholm (Mr Staley) on his maiden speech today. I offer my best wishes to him for the future. His speech was excellent in the sense that, as it did not necessarily deal with the details of the Bill which is before the House, there was not much in his remarks with which I would disagree.
My colleagues in the Opposition have eloquently and adequately exposed a number of deficiencies in the Bill. One of the things 1 wish to emphasise is that I do not think the House should adopt the same attitude as was adopted by the honourable member for Canning (Mr Hallett) who believes that there are inadequacies in the law and a lack of taw and order. I submit that there is ample law. Perhaps there are inadequacies in the enforcing of the law; nevertheless, the law which we have for enforcement is ample. Nobody has made a speech about the law not being enforced. Not one Government spokesman has indicated a situation that has arisen which has prevented the law being enforced. The Opposition submits that this Bill is sham legislation, lt is designed to bolster up the political theory that there is something to bc frightened of.
Who really makes the law? The answer is public opinion. If a law is a bad one it may well be not because public opinion is wrong but because the legislators are so old that they are not up to date with present day needs. There would be no better authority for that than A. V. Dicey who, talking about law and public opinion in England - admittedly it was back in about 1 905 - had this to say:
Law making in England is the work of mcn well advanced in life; the politicians who guide the House of Commons, to say nothing of the peers who lead the House of Lords, are few of them below 30. ami most of them are above 40 years of age. They have formed or picked up their conviction-:, and, what is of more consequence, their prepossessions, in early manhood, which is the one period of life when men are easily impressed wilh new ideas. Hence English legislators retain the prejudices or modes of thinking which they acquired in their youth; and when, late in life, they take a share in actual legislation, they legislate in accordance with the doctrines which were current either generally or in the society to which the law givers belonged, in the days of their early manhood.
The same situation could virtually apply here. It is an outmoded theory that one can, by suggesting the imposition of a monetary penalty or imprisonment, condition the minds of men. Reference has been made in this debate to the holding of demonstrations. They are being held on many more subjects than they were in the days when only the problems of England were being discussed. We are now living in a modern world, a one-day world, a world of mass communications in which we are entitled democratically to look at and discuss prejudices throughout the world. The fact that a demonstration can be held in Australia against policies in South Africa highlights the fact that in the modern world there could be an antidemocratic institution in South Africa. Demonstrations are being held in the United Stales of America - perhaps it is right that they should be - because of what might be termed the unlawful segregation of the white and black races.
Why should people be not permitted to demonstrate about these things? These demonstrations, are modern; they are new; but the Government is merely applying to them the old Riot Act or some other legislation which was devised in a time of fear. An examination of English legislation will disclose that much of it was based on a fear that the working class would rise up and take over. In the early days the working class had no right to participate in elections and therefore had no spokesman in the Houses of Parliament. The Combination Acts of 1800 were deliberately aimed at the trade unions or workmen who combined together in an effort to better their conditions. In those days it was a crime to seek to better conditions. It was not until later, on in that century, due perhaps to the influence of Bentham and others, that they got more enlightened legislation. We are now living in the 20th century but the Government is talking about introducing laws of a kind that were in operation a century or more ago.
Let us have a look at what is happening in the world today. Why are demonstrations being held and who is demonstrating? In 1967 in the United States of
America in the case Walker versus Birmingham the name of Martin Luther King was given as a demonstrator. He was convicted of the crime of saying he was going to organise a mass street parade against racial segregation. He was convicted under a State law. It was said by no less a person than Chief Justice Warren that this State law was merely a weapon let loose with devastatingly destructive power for the infringement of freedom. Our own former Attorney-General when introducing this Bill said that we must not interfere with freedom; but it was interfered with, as I have just shown, as recently as 1967. Now that the man involved has unfortunately been assassinated everyone applauds what he was trying to do. He was convicted of a crime under an archaic State law, a law of fear. That case did not solve anything because the more thinking people in the judiciary of the United States said it was a bad law.
Again in America in 1966, in the case of Bond versus Floyd, a coloured man was convicted of a crime of protesting against the Vietnam war. He was convicted of that crime at State level. Then it was decided to pass a law to prevent him from taking part in that State’s legislature if he was elected to it. He was elected to the State legislature of Georgia and his opponents then said that because he had agitated in the past - and the past was only 1966 - he was no longer eligible to become a legislator. Again Chief Justice Warren said: ‘This is ridiculous. We must look at the rights of democracy in America. We must look at the fact that debate on public issues should not be inhibited, it should be wide open. There should be the widest latitude to express views on all issues of policy.’ No honourable member opposite would disagree with him, but under this legislation some unfortunate student could be penalised for taking part in a demonstration which he was firmly convinced related to the Vietnam War.
This Government has never had enough courage to suggest there should be a referendum on this issue at which these young men would have a chance to exercise their rights, particularly if the voting age was reduced to 18. At least we should give them the democratic right to express their views. But no, honourable members opposite are the old men of the situation. They are prepared to send other fellows overseas to fight for them while they remain here. On that basis they say that this is democracy. It is not. These young men are entitled to demonstrate. Are these not the matters they demonstrate about? Are honourable members opposite going to convict any one of them, as has been done in the past, under existing law for offensive behaviour or some such offence which could well get them expelled from a university. The Government is applying that kind of penalty now. It should remember that the young men are the young men of the present and the legislators of the future. It does not follow that they are always wrong.
The Government should not be passing laws simply because there is an assembly of people which gets itself into this predicament. It is well to remember some of the recent discussions in the New South Wales State Parliament. The former AttorneyGeneral, the present member for Burrinjuck, said that in 1932 he was a student at Sydney University and was taking part in what he considered to be a lawful meeting. The meeting was upset by another group of students at that university. The meeting was in disarray. He points out that two of the people who acted so badly on that occasion have since gone on to higher things in life. One of them is now a justice of the High Court of Australia. He does not name him so I need not either, but the person concerned is well known. He was one of the young men agitating against people having a meeting in the Sydney University. He could well have been convicted, and if he had been he could not have reached the high office he now has. The other person is a high school teacher.
We should look at young men as young men and look at their rights. The Government should not pretend that now for the first time it has discovered some defect in the law and that it will now be able to teach the lesson, wield the baton and prevent this happening again. It will happen again as long as there are causes. We on this side of the House look at the matter from the point of view of the trade union movement. We have the penal clauses legislation about which there are arguments. Honourable members cannot deny the fact that a man should be entitled to say what he thinks he should get for a fair day’s work. Admittedly we have a. system of arbitration; it has now been virtually destroyed by our own Prime Minister’s attack on the Commission, but nevertheless we have the system. We would not want to suggest that the Commissioners could come here and demonstrate and be convicted because they could well be convicted under this Bill in the light of what the Prime Minister said about them or their lack of integrity.
The Government says that arbitration is available for the working class provided, of course, the working class accepts the decisions. If it is not going to accept the decisions and there is an assembly it is suggested that those present are guilty of a riot if there are 12 or more of them. Let us have a look at the penalties imposed here as against those provided by the old law on riot. I have had a quick look at one of the English laws on riot. It draws a distinction between a riot and what is termed an affray. I do not see us drawing any such distinction. The law states that if persons meet on a lawful occasion but suddenly quarrel and fight, this is not a riot, but is an affray. That is a distinction which particularly affects penalties, but which does not apply here. When English law does talk about riot it describes it in much more dramatic terms than those used in this Bill. If people assemble here and there is some reasonable apprehension that there will be unlawful physical violence or damage, that assembly can virtually be considered a riot under this Bill, and the Government justifies this by saying it is imposing a much softer penalty than that which applied under the English law.
The English law says that a riot is a tumultuous disturbance of the peace by 3 or more persons who assemble together, without lawful authority, with an intent mutually to assist one another, by force if necessary, against anyone who shall oppose them in the execution of a common purpose. That is not really the position here. If an officer has a reasonable apprehension that something could happen he can then read the riot act, as we will term it, and those gathered have to disperse within 15 minutes. Unless they do they are guilty of an offence. We then get to the problem of determining what is a reasonable apprehension because it could well be a misapprehension. Who is going to determine this?
The honourable member for Canning (Mr Hallett) talks about the cost of law. He should remember that if one is accused one has to defend oneself and that is where the cost comes in. That has been pointed out here quite eloquently by those who have spoken before me. The accused could be faced with the task of denying that things would have happened. He cannot prove or disprove anything other than by his own word, and the person against him is the person who has laid the information. So it often becomes a matter of word against word, a most difficult confrontation and a most expensive matter if the accused has to get witnesses to help him. No assistance is given to him to defend his case. Honourable members opposite should remember the penalties they are imposing on people under this type of legislation.
Unlawful assembly is described here by the former Attorney-General as an assembly of not less than 3 persons who are assembled for a common purpose. It is a little wider under common law where an unlawful assembly is an assembly of 3 or more persons with intent to commit a crime by open force or to carry out any other common purpose, lawful or unlawful, in such manner as to give firm and courageous persons in the neighbourhood reasonable grounds to assume there is going to be a breach of the peace. The test of that is not left to a magistrate; it is not left to what might be termed a police officer. English law states that an. assembly which was originally lawful may become unlawful if a proposal is made at the meeting to do an act of violence, lt says, and I emphasise this that in considering whether an assembly is unlawful or not there are certain points to be considered by the jury. We have no jury here, none at all. We do not give those accused the chance to have a jury; there could be a summary conviction. There is no opportunity for a jury. Under English law a case of unlawful assembly went to a jury which had to assess the situation on the basis of the way in which the meeting was held, the hour of the day, the language used by the persons assembled and those who addressed them, and the intention of those people. The jury - that is, the lay people - after the heat of battle had died down, had an opportunity to assess whether it was such an unlawful assembly. This is the lesson we are given here. There have been great efforts made by all State legislatures to close up any loopholes that may have existed. There was the famous case of a sit-in at the former Attorney-General’s home. That kind of conduct has been brought under the summary offences legislation and that cannot happen again without somebody being guilty of an offence. That is now covered and no-one can suggest that there is no law to control it. Noone wants to suggest that the illegal invasion of a person’s home should be encouraged. We all deplore this sort of conduct, so a penalty should be imposed.
This Bill deals particularly with the assembly of people; with the fact that perhaps it is lawful for an assembly to go clown a street on one occasion but it is unlawful, on another occasion. The test is the mind of the police officer or other person who apprehends violence. We should remember that demonstrations are in the main against bad legislation or a fearful government which, having got a proper mandate from the people, will not bring down legislation. Most of the trouble today is with young people at universities. University authorities have plenty of power to deal with students if they want to use it. The authorities have threatened to take action at the Sydney University. There is no need for. this type of legislation to be enacted. lt is the submission of the Opposition that existing laws are adequate. This legislation is merely an excited attempt on the part of the Government to suggest that this legislation will prevent demonstrations taking place. It will not prevent demonstrations. lt will encourage further demonstrations. Looking at it from a practical point of view there can be demonstrations about any number of things. From the point of view of the Opposition we are particularly concerned about people demonstrating for their democratic rights in respect of legislation for which there is no mandate, particularly from the trade union movement when demonstrating against injustice. Surely the trade union movement is entitled to do this in this modern day and agc where fortunes are being made by a few but the workers are not getting any of the benefits. This Government is going back to the early penal laws of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
The Government is trying to frighten the people into submission. We have said on other occasions that it cannot do this in this modern day and age. The people are prepared to challenge laws. Any politician worth his salt would not refuse to meet his constituents if they were to arrive en masse about 20 or 30 strong, but under this legislation it can turn virtually into a riot if he does not want to meet them. Every day members of State Parliaments meet people such as school teachers and workers who go down Macquarie Street en masse. The streets are often blocked but this is not a crime. This is good for democracy. How many times in the New South Wales State Parliament have there been improvements to working conditions as a result of trainee teachers demonstrating and blocking Macquarie Street but doing so in an orderly fashion? They have asked to see their local member en masse, lt does nol happen here because Canberra is so remote; it has this ivory tower complex about it.
Coming back to the rights of people, they agitate en masse and ask questions as a group of perhaps 20 or 50. Under this Bill this would create a situation of an assembly or a riot but none of my colleagues in the New South Wales State Parliament would ever suggest that they would not meet these people or that these people should not assemble in Macquarie Street. This Government is a weak government, lt is afraid of the rights of the people. The worst kind of people never bother to demonstrate. They have no real interests in their rights. They are probably drop-outs from society. The people who are actively interested in society and in living in a better world will demonstrate for improved conditions and at universities students are encouraged to think for themselves and to exercise a freedom of choice. It is a natural campus for agitation and it has been for years. There is nothing new about this. Why should this Government discourage them from having processions, from using parks, streets or playgrounds to indicate to the people that they feel there is something wrong? It is only when this becomes a complete occupation of the whole field for a long time that anyone can say this is unreasonable, and this is where discretion can be used. Discretion is used under the provisions of this Bill not from the point of view of the Commonwealth but from the legislation in every State whether it be under the Police Offences Act, the Crimes Act or the Summary Offences Act. There is ample legislation in the States to deal with these matters, but the Government has dragged in this legislation through the back door for the first time on the basis that we will deal with these riotous people who cause a nuisance and annoyance to others. Who are the others? I suggest they are the Government.
I make the point that there is no necessity for this legislation. Nobody has gone scot free in the past. This legislation will only encourage further demonstrations, particularly from the trade union point of view. I want to emphasise to this Government the need for caution. If it encourages the view that workers are not entitled to assemble there will be a lot of industrial trouble. For the reasons I have given this Bill should be opposed in toto.
– 1 concur with the remarks of the honourable member for Canning (Mr Hallett) in regard to the maiden speech of the honourable member for Chisholm (Mr Staley) in this House tonight. I agree that it was an excellent speech and I trust that the honourable member for Chisholm will be here to make many more similar speeches. I think his speech has demonstrated a capacity on his part to follow in the steps of his predecessor who I think all honourable members remember with a great dea of affection and respect. I refer to Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes, who died last year. I want particularly to refer to a couple of matters mentioned by the honourable member for Lalor (Dr F. J. Cairns) which I think should be noted by honourable members. Firstly, in regard to something which is of interest to all honourable members and to the people of this country - I am quite sure that he will not deny this - he said that police are not notorious for telling the truth.
– Hear, hear!
– When the honourable member for Lalor was speaking the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory said ‘Hear, hear’ and now the honourable member for Prospect confirms that comment. I deplore the fact that a lawyer in this place should adopt such an attitude because. Heaven forbid, one of these days he may even be on the Bench.
– You are wrong, it was not him at all.
– It was him. The .honourable member for Lalor gave us the tired old speech about the unwinnable war in Vietnam. I make the point that the war in Vietnam has been won. This is the reason for the pull-out of our troops.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order! The war in Vietnam is not the matter under discussion in this debate.
– What the honourable member for Lalor said which I thought was relevant was that there is no right of free speech or assembly in Australia.
– That is right.
– The honourable member says that is right. I say it is wrong. Who could have had a better go at abusing the law in this country than the honourable member for Lalor? I want to quote an article which appeared in the Adelaide Advertiser’ on 14th April 1970. Under the heading ‘Dr Cairns Gives Views’ on Law” it reads:
The Victorian chairman of the -Vietnam Moratorium Campaign (Dr Cairns, MHR) told more than 1,000 Melbourne University ‘ students yesterday that they need not consider ‘that the campaign had to be kept within the law.
I believe that a citizen has the right, to break an objectionable law’, Dr Cairns said.
I suppose that means we have :a right to break this law or any law.
– An objectionable law.
– Who considers the law to be objectionable? Will it -be the .honourable member for Lalor, the, honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) - –rr-
-Order! Ali interjections are out of order. ‘
– I find some of the interjections objectionable. However, we have to put up with them. The honourable member for Lalor in an article of 1 1 th May 1970 in the Sydney Morning Herald’ said:
He said that again tonight. .. That report continued:
I believe the forces led by the NLF and tha Government of Hanoi are on the side of right
Does anyone agree with him? That means he supports the enemy. I congratulate the former Attorney-General on the way in which this Bill was prepared. I think it is a healthy thing for honourable members who are not legal practitioners to take part in this debate. 1 may say that 1 found this Bill easy to understand. I am pleased to know that there are other honourable members in this place who are not legal practitioners who have the same understanding. It is rather unfortunate that the honourable member for Sturt does not. I have had personal experience and suffered as a result of the forms of demonstration referred to in the Minister’s second reading speech and this causes me to be very interested in seeing the Bill passed and become law. On one occasion my parliamentary office was invaded by demonstrators. I do not imagine that I am the only honourable member to whom this has happened. On at least one occasion the demonstrators were not prepared to leave. When I contacted the South Australian Police 1 was told that the police did not have power to remove these people from my office because it was Commonwealth property.
– Were they your constituents?
– Does it matter whose constituents they were?
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order! This crossfire has proceeded too long. The honourable members for Sturt and Angas will cease their crossfire.
– The position is that on that occasion the police were unable to remove these people from my office because it was Commonwealth property. As I understand this Bill, that particular disability will be removed. Who, in this Chamber, would say that that is not proper. I wonder whether anybody else has had his motor car decorated in the same way as my car was decorated with human faeces spread over it.
– Why did-
– If the honourable member for Lalor wants to interject, let him return to his own seat. This sort of thing happens on occasions. Would members opposite like to have human faeces spread over their cars and red and yellow paint splashed inside and outside? Would they like to have their petrol tanks filled with sugar and their tyres let down? No-one can tell me that we should support that sort of behaviour in our society or that those who do these things are good chaps. However, there are certain persons who think that people should be permitted to do this. Members of the Opposition say: ‘Let them do it if a law is objectionable. Let them attack the people who make the laws’. I say that many members on the other side are law breakers and not law makers. I remember, as I am sure other honourable members remember, some of the attacks on the offices and officers of the Department of Labour and National Service in Melbourne a year or so ago. There was a series of sit-ins in the central office.
In Adelaide last year there was a demonstration when the building of the Department of Labour and National Service was actually occupied. The honourable member for Lalor thinks that that is all right - that if people want to demonstrate in this way, it is proper thai they should do so. He incites them to do this sort of thing. They come into departmental offices, sit down, spread records around, spread bullocks blood, which apparently symbolises the blood of the Vietnamese, and generally interfere with records and place officers in jeopardy. Surely the honourable members do not think that that sort of demonstration should be allowed to continue. If honourable members opposite think it should, I do not.
I remember a demonstration outside the Consulate of the United States of America in Melbourne. We have had similar demonstrations in Adelaide but last year there was a big demonstration outside the American Consulate in Melbourne. Every window was broken. People were arrested and a,t least one was convicted of slashing a policeman with a razor blade. Do honourable members think that we should permit that sort of demonstration? Are members opposite trying to give respectability to this sort of thing? I certainly am not. During the last moratorium in Adelaide 2 members of the Opposition spoke about peaceful assemblies. We all remember the peaceful assemblies in Adelaide last year. On one occasion I brought an article into this Chamber which the honourable member for Prospect thought was the flag of some other country. It was simply a weapon with which to attack the police.
– You made that yourself and you broke the stake too.
– The honourable member for Sturt suggests that I made it myself.
– So you did.
– 1 can assure the honourable member that 200 of these stakes are still in the Adelaide City Watchouse along with various other materials which were used against the police force. These stakes were used as articles with which to attack the police and, in fact, they put police into hospital. During that demonstration I think 17 policemen were admitted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital as a result of injuries received in this peaceful demonstration. One of the persons convicted for an offence committed during the demonstration kicked a constable in the face. He described the constable as a ‘Fascist pig’. Let me quote from the actual transcript of the case. The constable said:
As lie cried this out, he kicked out with his feet and struck me twice in the chest and once in the face.
This is the sort of peaceful person whom members opposite think should be permitted to demonstrate. This particular person happens to be on the Vietnam Moratorium Committee, along with a lot of other peaceful and peace loving gentlemen.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order! Interjections are out of order. The honourable member for Sturt who has just interjected is a constant offender.
– We had the example - and 1 hesitate to mention this because it is so old hat - of a 45-year old Communist, a Mr Alexander, who was also convicted. He happens to be a member of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee. We had the wellknown and, I suppose, I could almost say notorious academic who has just been released from jail as a result of offences. He describes himself as a ‘revolutionary Socialist’. What is a revolutionary Socialist? Members opposite are Socialists but this man wants to achieve power by revolutionary means. He rejects the views of the court and describes it as a bourgeois court. It is interesting to note that he was represented by a Communist Queen’s Counsel, but that would be purely coincidental. It is interesting also to note the remarks of the magistrate who convicted this academic. The magistrate, describing this man, said:
Despite his reputation for probity and integrity - as to which the Chief Justice testified and I have no doubt that be has this general reputation - I am quite sure that a lot of his evidence before me was a pack of lies.
And so am I. There is one aspect of this Bill that I trust the Attorney-General (Mr N. H. Bowen) will examine. Unfortunately he is not in the Chamber at present but perhaps he will comment on this in due course. 1 refer to the obligation that the States have in respect of Commonwealth prisoners. As we all know, the Commonwealth does not have Commonwealth gaols and when someone is convicted of a Federal crime the States arrange for the gaol term to be served. I am concerned about what is happening in South Australia at this very moment.
– You had better ring up.
– Having expressed concern I will now tell the honourable member what is happening and refer to an incident which occurred only last weekend. I shall quote from the Adelaide ‘Advertiser’.
– You must spend a lot of money on newspapers.
– I wish that members opposite would make intelligent interjections. Their interjections are juvenile and puerile.
Order! I have pointed out several times that interjections are out of order and I ask honourable members to comply with my request not to interject.
– I rise to order, Mr Deputy Speaker. The honourable member for Boothby seems to be encouraging lawlessness by asking for intelligent interjections.
-Order! The honourable member for Boothby should be addressing his remarks to the Chair.
– You are quite right, Mr Deputy Speaker. It is disconcerting to hear these juvenile interjections and I will not allow myself to be distracted. Last weekend there occurred what was known as a freedom ride when 200 people travelled from Adelaide to the Cadell Prison Farm to listen to an address by a prisoner who had been convicted under the National
Service Act. I think it is worth recording something of what happened. The ‘Freedom Ride’ was organised by the Association Against the National Service Act as part of its campaign for this young man’s release. Four policemen at the Centre gate at the prison farm directed traffic and a warder showed banner-carrying demonstrators to the lawns just inside. At that point this young man was released from whatever he should have been doing and was permitted to address this gathering. It is interesting to note that there were other speakers at the gathering, including Senator Cavanagh, that very well known right winger from South Australia and the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant). I do not question the right of the honourable member for Wills to take part in this sort of demonstration. But I do question the right of the authorities to allow this man out of what amounts to prison lo address a demonstration. I just wonder what would happen if someone convicted under the Crimes Act or some other Federal law wished to address a demonstration out at Yatala Prison, for example. Would the South Australian Government, under its present Premier-:-
– I rise to order. The institution 10 which the honourable member has referred is not a prison. It is known as a State training centre.
-Order! There is no foundation to the point of order and interjections are out of order. I warn the honourable member for Sturt that he has been a constant offender and he had better restrain himself.
– It is of some concern that a prison authority should allow a demonstration inside a prison. There have been suggestions within only the last 6 or 8 months that perhaps the South Australian Government may repudiate this legislation.
– I rise to order. Is it in order for the honourable member for Boothby to cast aspersions and try to undermine the authority of the South Australian police force?
-Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– The honourable member for Kingston referred to the authority of the South Australian police force. I say that the only one trying to undermine its authority is the South Australian Government - certainly not 1. In the few moments that old blabbermouth has left to me-
– I take exception to that.
– I withdraw my remark.
– On a point of order, if the honourable member implies that the South Australian Government is doing what he says it is, how can it have imprisoned this man in one of its prisons?
-Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– Finally I would like to refer to another clause in this Bill which gives protection to persons in embassies, particularly in the Australian Capital Territory. 1 think it is unfortunate that this protection does not extend into their private homes. I know of the harassment to which some members of the staff of the South African Embassy have been subjected in the last couple of weeks. I want to draw attention to and deplor a demonstration, which I thought was quite juvenile, by at least 4 members of this House last week who drove up and down in front of the South African Embassy tooting their horns. They were called hornblowers. The unfortunate sign and. symbol which was used by the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen), whom I recognised in a photograph, was a V. That is rather a different symbol from the Churchillian V for Victory. I deplore the use of this sign. According to a Press report the honourable members who took part were the honourable members for Robertson, Maribyrnong (Dr Cass), Prospect (Dr Klugman) and the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby). They went up and down one of the highways in Canberra tooting their horns to harass the staff of the South African Embassy and to demonstrate their abhorrence of apartheid. That in itself was breaking the law. I trust that the authorities will see that this will be prevented. Do honourable members opposite think it is a great thing for the people who work in that embassy to be constantly harassed not only by university students and by the odd anti-apartheid demonstrator but by members of this House?
– The honourable member for Kingston says: ‘Yes’. I think it is a disgrace. I have no love for the Soviets but I do not think that even I would go up and down in front of the Soviet Embassy tooting my horn or writing slogans on its walls. I think that honourable members who engage in this sort of demonstration are far, far too selective in the way they demonstrate. I did not see any demonstration in front of the Iraqi Embassy as a result of the public hanging of Jews in Baghdad.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– One wonders on occasions such as this how a person such as the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) happened to be elected to an Australian Parliament. But here he is and so we have to take it. Having in mind the degradation that has been visited upon this country, particularly through the National Service Act, by this Government, there was one thing from the exercise last Sunday that cheered me up. Some 200 people rendezvoused in Adelaide and drove to Cadell training centre. We were admitted to the centre. We sat under trees. We erected amplifiers and Charles Martin, who is the victim of the final and most vicious act of aggression that could possibly be inflicted by people like the honourable member for Boothby, came and spoke to us. It was a moving operation in anyone’s language. No person with any sympathy, sensitivity or understanding could do anything else but approve of it and be sorry that we have inflicted this upon this young man. That is why I went to Cadell prison centre and I will go every time. I pay all tribute to the officials of the prison service of South Australia and the Government of South Australia.
I believe that no writ has been commissioned by anyone which authorises the honourable member for Boothby, his Party and his Government to deprive a man of his freedom or his life as is happening under the National Service Act. All I ask the honourable member for Boothby to do is to come to some public meetings when we are debating this matter in public. Perhaps he could step into the court and show that this has something to do with ;ne naval and military defence of Australia. Next time one of my constituents is in court on this issue perhaps the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) would be prepared to come there and stand up and be questioned. Perhaps he could explain how taking these young men to court is in fact an exercise of the power of the Commonwealth over the naval and military defence of Australia. Of course, he will not; of course he cannot. The South Australian Government in my view would be wholly entitled to release this young man from prison altogether and say to the Commonwealth: ‘Come and show cause that in fact this is a just and proper exercise of Commonwealth power’. The honourable member for Boothby and his Party have degraded this country in the way in which they have taken on young men such as young Martin and all the others.
This afternoon various issues have been raised in this debate. I can see that the concepts in which we face questions of law and administration of justice are completely different from those of the people opposite. My friend, the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns)- and rightly so - said that in the legislation of this country there is no freedom of speech, there is no right of assembly and that there is no right to anything in fact. It is part of the strength of the community that in fact most of us are not inflicted with injustices all the time. . But there are increasing areas, and this Bill is, an example, in which governments step into the field to try to reduce the areas of free assembly, of free speech and of free association. Therefore we believe that this Bill ought to be withdrawn, taken away and started again. What are all these demonstrations about? The honourable member for Boothby said that people invaded his office. What else are they to do? He will not go out amongst the public and discuss these matters. He is fortunate that he gets 20 or 30 people in his office.. If he called a public meeting to hear the sort of speech he has made tonight he would not get enough to fill a telephone box. This is one of the issues which we face. When will the honourable member go out in public and answer publicly for what he has said and what he does?
The honourable member for Boothby asked: Why do people invade offices of the Department of Labour and National Service? I agree with the honourable member; 1 do not like the violence of it. But does not the honourable member understand what the Government is doing to the young people of Australia or what is happening to every young man born between 1946 and 1951? Does he not realise that the Government is exercising the ultimate in violence upon all of them? What else can they do but answer in this way? What always puzzles me is what happens to their parents. They are as silent as the grave. What is wrong with the parents of Australia that they let it continue? So what are people who have no vote to do? What can the people dp if they cannot get the honourable member for Boothby or the young man from Chisholm, who ought to be in Vietnam if he were dinkum to come out and answer for it in public. The Government will not let them vote and it will not let them have a say. When they are brought into court the magistrate will not let them speak. What are they to do but demonstrate? I have been in this Parliament for 15 years. I have heard the continual cry of riot, revolution, danger and sedition which has been going on for those 15 years and for 6 or 7 years before that, since the election of a Liberal-Country Party Government. It started about 1947 or 1948. What sort of a picture is the Government trying to give of this country? It says continuously that the country is lawless, disloyal, violent and fear ridden. It is none of those things. If there is one country in the world that is basically law abiding it is this one. If there is one country that is unfortunately too conformist I think it is this one. If there is one country that is easy to handle it is this one.
I have bad experience in the teaching services and in the armed services, as a public figure and as a person who has marched down streets at the head of demonstrations, who has taken part in some that could have become violent, who has had long and close associations with the police force, in Victoria in particular, and in this community. I am pretty certain from all my experience in life that there is no real difficulty in keeping the Australian people on the tracks, law abiding and non violent, if they are treated as human beings as they are entitled to be treated. The former Attorney-General, fortunately or unfortunately, has been removed from his high estate. One might ask: Why is this legislation brought in now? The Federation has been in existence for about 70 years. Some of the legislation has been on the books since 1372, or somewhere back in the fourteenth century. Is this Bill the product of hysteria, politics, a dangerous situation such as the Canadian Government saw in Quebec, genuine concern for the freedom of the subject, or is it law reform? The Minister in his speech seemed to imply that it was all of these things. He did not say that he was hysterical but we know that he can get hysterical when he is faced in public with some of the products of his own mismanagement of the law of Australia.
I believe that the Bill is principally the product of politics. I do not think enough thought has gone into it or that any of the other principles upon which law ought to be based are in fact present in it. I do not believe that it shows genuine concern for the principles upon which this country has been designed and ought to go forward. I believe that, except for clause 25, there is not any indication of the reform of the law. So it is an attempt to foster hysteria in the community. Honourable members know perfectly well from the statements made and the fear that the Government attempts to engender in the public that the legislation is based upon the idea that the community is hysterical. The Government is using that to its political advantage. The honourable member for Lalor says that we are on the thin edge of the police state. I think that is true enough. It is true that the law always seems to be weighted towards severity and ease of proof so that in the end the customer who is on the receiving end is put in a very disadvantageous position.
It is one of the tributes to our system of justice that over the centuries there has been a consistent effort by people administering the law - judges in the courts, even attorneys-general and people conservative and non conservative - to attempt to make sure that the law shall presume that a person is innocent until proved guilty. Under this legislation there is the presumption that a person is guilty from the start. The
Minister said that he would clarify and simplify the law and mitigate the sentences. He defined an unlawful assembly, a rout and a riot. I am glad of this, because these are subjects on which one can always be better informed. The Minister said that some elements in the law need changing. There are 6 or 8 of them in Australia. But I do not think that this legislation does that.
I ask honourable members opposite: Who are the people of violence in the community? Who are the people who are visiting violence upon us continuously? Who are the people who are prepared to use all the power of the law to suppress just union claims? Who are the people who are silent about the mine managers at Broken Hill yet are as noisy as they can be about the water supply workers in Sydney? Who are the people who call out the police on every occasion? Who are the people who keep hanging on the statute books? Of course the ultimate human values will always be safe while Sir Henry Bolte reigns south of the Murray. He said the other day that he would not abolish Hogging. What are the ultimates of violence if those violences visited upon the community by governments such as this one are not the ultimates in violence? That is why people react. They react to violence with violence. It is one of the fundamental characteristics of a human being, that the act of violence induces one to react violently.
We should be trying to produce a situation in which the police are not associated with violence. Do not tell me that the police are not unduly rough on many occasions. I believe that the police are unduly delicate about some things. We saw on television during the Moratorium Campaign in Sydney that one young man gave a Nazi salute to the police. He was immediately pounced upon as though he were ready to throw a bomb on somebody. Why can one not give a Nazi salute to the police force? There are some very good expolicemen in this House. Why can one not call them ‘mug coppers’ without being lumbered? It is not my kind of language, but why can one say: ‘You are a mug Prime Minister,’ and get away with it if one cannot say such a thing to a policeman? Because of the touch of delicacy inherent in all police forces one would be arrested for offensive behaviour. I believe that in a lot of these matters we are just too touchy. The elements of peace and good order are associated very closely with how the police carry out their duties. All these things which place policemen in impossible positions - deciding whether it is a lawful occasion, whether it is likely to cause apprehension and dismay in the ranks of the community or not - are not the kind of rights we ought to give policemen. They are not the kind of duties we ought to impose on them.
Some years ago I saw a film about France under the Nazi regime. I think it was called ‘Paris Is Burning’. In the course of it the Nazis walked along a railway station and herded people into trains with Alsatians. Everybody groaned with horror at the thought. It was a most formidable sight. Several years ago the Bolte Government in Victoria hanged Ronald Ryan, for a dreadful crime admittedly. But thousands of us thought and still think that hanging should not take place. On the evening before the hanging the Victorian police went around the prison, where hundreds of people had gathered, with Alsatians on leashes. I believe that we are all in duty bound to see that this kind of violence, this threat of violence or what might be called ‘police roughness’ does not prevail. The honourable member for Ryan (Mr Drury) spoke about democratic processes. What democratic processes? Is he going to tell me that Queensland is democratic, with Premier Bjelke-Petersen running it the way he does and representing nobody as he does, or that Victoria is democratic with Sir Henry Bolte who cannot even get an absolute majority in his own electorate running that State? He has 37 per cent of the vote and exercises absolute power.
What we are seeing here is the product of reaction to the degradations of Government policy which have produced undue reaction in the community because there is no other way of answering them. South Africa is an example of this sort of thing. We see the continual degradation - that is the only word I can use to describe it - resulting from the policy in South Africa. The honourable member for Boothby is full of sympathy for the people at the South African Embassy. I am a friendly, tolerant soul, a Socialist who does not visit violence on anybody. I do not like to see people harassed. But every time I think like that I must stop and ask: What do they do to the millions of Africans? I do not like vandalism and paint on fences. But somehow we have to visit the sins of people upon them in some way so that they will go and try to change the system.
The same applies to national service. On Monday of last week in the City Court in Melbourne John Varley of my electorate was charged with failing to register under the National Service Act and with not turning up for his medical examination. John Varley is the ultimate conscientious objector, but he is not a pacifist. Therefore he cannot prove, and he would not try to prove, conscientious objection under the present Act. In the court there was nothing he could do. There we all were. He tried to state his case as to why he resisted the National Service Act. The magistrate would not listen. Eventually he was quiet. The magistrate sat up there like Buddha or the Lord himself in his high, exalted position and wrote for 3 or 4 minutes. Then he said to this young man: ‘On the first charge you are fined £100. On the second you are sentenced to 7 days imprisonment.’ The honourable member for Boothby might go into court some day when this happens. The magistrate himself exercised no sympathy in the way he issued the sentence. Immediately the sentence was pronounced, instead of one policeman walking over and saying: ‘Come this way, lad’, 4 of them bore down upon him as if he were the culprit in some violent crime. The next thing he was being dragged from the court with one policeman holding each arm and one holding each leg. His mother and sister were in tears and the whole court was in dismay.
I say to honourable members opposite: What manner of men are you? What is wrong with the lot of you? I say: You have no conscience, no understanding and no sensitivity. That is why we have this Bill here and why we reject it. Let us take some of the points in the Bill that have been amply debated here today - for example, the decisions about what the definitions are. It would be worth while reading some of the definitions. Honourable members opposite can do that later. Then there is the definition of what is an assembly and the definition of what is apprehension in the community. We can look also at the authority that is to be conferred upon such an exalted person as a police officer who holds the rank of sergeant The right is to be given to a person to take reasonable action, by violence if necessary, to prevent something else happening. What kind of laws are these for this Parliament to pass? Then, of course, we are discussing the question of trespass. My friend the former Attorney-General says that moderate criminal sanctions are necessary. I ask the House to consider carefully this question of penalties and the way the courts are to implement these penalties.
Peter Gavin is a close friend of mine who lives in Pascoe Vale. Last September he and a number of students from the La Trobe University marched out of the university down a very wide street. Before very long they were assailed by the police. The evidence of what took place is ample. People later saw photographs of a similar operation. It is obvious that the police were the aggressors. Peter Gavin, who is a very quiet, peaceful young man was hailed into court. He did not just have his name taken. So we challenge the question of arrest. For heaven’s sake, the police should stop arresting these people. Ninetynine out of 100 of them are not going to run away. It would be sufficient to take their name and address. My office is close enough to Pentridge Gaol to see what mischief these arrests cause. Peter Gavin was fined $100 and sentenced to 14 days gaol for allegedly throwing a stone at the police. Two others were charged that day and 19 on a subsequent occasion.
The honourable member for Boothby said that the honourable member for Lalor was of doubtful veracity when he challenged the veracity of the police. In this instance the police obviously gave false evidence. The evidence was such that when the case went to the higher court the judge not only remitted the fine but quashed the sentence. Peter Gavin was acquitted of the charge because the evidence was in conflict. The police officers could not even agree on the colour of the lad’s clothes. Let us consider what other hardship was caused by the arrest of this person. It cost his family a total of at least $354 in trying to defend him.
I believe that we ought not to pass in this House any legislation which confers upon a single man, whether it be a judge, a magistrate or a justice of the peace, the right to gaol another. Therefore I hope that we will go through the Bill with a fine tooth comb and remove all those clauses which provide that on summary conviction a person can go to gaol. I put this forward as a piece of social philosophy and not particularly as a political partisan statement. I presume that in these instances none of us is desirous of inflicting hardship upon people unnecessarily. My office is close to Pentridge Gaol and I see many instances of people who have been taken into court and who have obviously received a very poor trial indeed or people who have been picked up by the police, arrested and gaoled by a magistrate in a most unjust manner. Therefore I believe we ought to reject the totality of this law because it does not answer any of the questions that honourable members opposite have placed before us. I remind honourable members opposite that although there are all these elements in the community, as the honourable member for Lalor said we are on the thin edge of a police state. There are still many things which should demand our attention. The exercise at the Cadell training prison last week is one such matter.
Again I suggest to my friends opposite that they should read very carefully the facts of the case in which the honourable member for Reid was involved when he charged a police officer with assault. I ask them to read the facts very carefully and see what chance the ordinary mortal has in the lower court. I reject the Bill, except for perhaps those parts which repeal archaic legislation. I particularly will reject for myself and in any way I can those provisions of it which place upon the lower courts powers of imprisonment, which I do not think they ought to have, and which place in the hands of officials, whether it be the Attorney-General, a police sergeant or someone else, the right to decide whether a case will proceed or not and the right to decide on some of our fundamental and absolutely inalienable democratic rights.
– The honourable member for Chisholm (Mr Staley) in a commendable maiden speech summarised this Bill by saying that it safeguards dissent; it allows the right to demonstrate; and it draws the line at violence. I believe that that was a proper summary of the intent of this Bill. The former Attorney-General, whose baby this Bill is, said this amongst other things:
Calls in support of the right to dissent must be heeded, but they must not be allowed to deteriorate into attacks upon the proper rights and liberties of other people.
I do not believe that any honourable member opposite could reasonably disagree with that summary. I would like for a few minutes at least to talk about what I believe to be, as those gentlemen opposite do, the underpinnings of this Bill, that is to say, the right to dissent and, of course, the implication of how that right shall be channelled and, where necessary, controlled.
I doubt whether there is any member of this House who would not agree that one of the fundamental democratic rights is that of dissent. In the public arena dissent follows disagreement with the decisions of those in authority - or at least it should. Those in authority are normally elected to office by a majority of the people or are selected or appointed by those who are elected. Providing elections are free and the interval between them is not unreasonably fong, there is little justification for attempts to wrest authority from the ballot box. This is an issue on which we have heard very little from honourable members opposite. There is an assumption that somehow the Australian public is deprived of the right to express itself. I think the people who hold that view very much denigrate their own status in the matter.
There are of course many forms of dissent. The genuine and intelligent dissenter, in my view, offers reasoned argument in favour of his dissenting view. He gives his opponents a hearing in the belief that truth is arrived at by discussion. The agitator, the malcontent, the anti-democrat, shouts his opponents down with slogans. The genuine democrat submits to a constituted authority even though he dislikes most of its representatives and believes that most of their decisions are mistaken. He recognises that law and order are not a threat to civilised values but are their foundation. He knows that physical disruption and violence are not the means of influencing the decisions of governments but the short road through anarchy to despotism.
Federally, as will be well known here, legislative authority is vested in this House. We hear little from honourable members opposite about the fact that a check on the authority and judgment of this House is the authority and judgment of the Senate. We hear even less of the fact that honourable members opposite would abolish the Senate if they could. In other words - or in my words, if you like - those who sit opposite translate the word ‘authority’ as ‘authoritarian’. This is a strange thing, as for those in the Australian Labor Party organisation dictation and external influence are common experiences. On the other hand, if the Liberal Party - I cannot speak so well for our colleagues in the Country Party - has a fault of this kind it is that almost everybody has a say, irrespective of credentials. In fact, you do not need to join the permissive society if you are in the Liberal “Party; you are in it already. I would like to point out that while great internal freedom can bring certain inefficiencies, it is a source of great strength.
I wonder sometimes whether it has ever crossed the minds of honourable members opposite that one of the reasons for the long-standing governmental position of the Liberal Party in Australia in the federal sense is the great internal flexibility which permits of a great variety of viewpoints. “Liberal philosophy and practice accent the individual, his rights or her differences. It is somewhat ironic that the Australian “Labor Party, which emphasises the State and its controls, should accuse the LiberalCountry Party Government of disinterest in individual liberty. I cannot say more :strongly on any point than that the suggestion by the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) and others that Australian society represses dissenting views is in general nonsense. Many politicians, including myself, from time to time envy the free television and Press exposure that some dissenters obtain irrespective of their credentials, irrespective of their training and irrespective of those who support them, if any. The depth of their thinking rarely repays the compliment of their exposure to the public at large.
It is easy to dissent out of ignorance and emotionalism. It is -much -more demanding to work constructively for change within the system. Authority is not power; authority carries responsibility. With those people whom those opposite often appear to be backing - and in this debate certainly are - much power is exercised anonymously with the individual powermonger hiding within a group. Sometimes I sympathise with their problem because they do not always know who their genuine friends are within that group. On the other hand, democratic authority is identifiable and often identified and responsible to an electorate. Dissident power has no such elective base and no public check to its aims except that of constituted authorities, in other words the Parliament and the law. I do not believe that the general view - although it varies from member to member, of course - as expressed by those opposite is more aptly or succintly expressed than by the poet W. H. Auden. He put it this way:
In semi-literate countries demogogues pay court to teenagers.
Another viewpoint on the same thing was expressed in a letter to a journal within the last year or so. It stated:
I went to college to change myself and not the world. In doing so T achieved freedom from ignorance and a modicum of knowledge.
I wish the same could be said for some of those contributing to this debate.
– Do not apologise for yourself.
– I will exclude you from that. Again I would like to mention one or two of the words of the former AttorneyGeneral, the man whose baby this Bill is. I believe that he believes what he said and his actions hitherto indicate that that is so. In the opening part crf his speech he said:
In a democracy, every citizen should be free, -within limits imposed by laws designed to strike a reasonable balance between conflicting interests, to give expression to his views or to his sentiments by the process of peaceful assembly. It must be recognised that the right to dissent carries with it, as one of its aspects, a right to use that process.
I will quote no more from the speech of the former Attorney-General but he had other things of a similar kind to say. I wonder what the sponsorship of those opposite - and I think it fair to say by Australian Labor Party members at large - of demonstrations in fact demonstrates. To me it underlines their own inefficacy. Surely if we have arraigned against us here parliamentarians of a determined and demonstrable quality exerting influence in their electorates and in this Parliament by their arguments, they will not find it necessary, as the honourable member for Lalor in particular does, to advocate that power should exist in the streets. I do not object to people demonstrating if that is the way they want to draw attention to issues. But I certainly object the moment they transgress the rights of individuals who want to move about and go about their normal business. The suggestion that this sort of thing is the only way in which public attention can be drawn to certain issues is an absolute fabrication.
As 1 mentioned earlier in passing, we have not heard discussed the fact that we have one of the shortest inter-electoral terms in the world - 3 years between elections. I understand very well the frustrations of those honourable members opposite who have failed twice in recent history to become the Government on the issue of Vietnam. I worked long and hard to unseat a government that had been in power for 35 years. I know some of the satisfactions experienced when a government is exchanged for your own crew. Nevertheless, I believe that there is a responsibility on those honourable members opposite to assess their own standing, their own status, the status of this Parliament and to limit their encouragement of demonstrations. In other words, I do not believe it should be necessary for the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) to argue that he is in quite a fix as a lawyer - any lawyer would be - because he does not know how to advise intending demonstrators where to stop. It would seem to me that in the case of anybody whose intentions are merely to draw attention to an issue on which he believes he has a difference with the Government, it should only be necessary for him and his supporters to form a group that can be seen and to wave banners if they think it is necessary. It should not be necessary to attack anybody who is a duly constituted authority and thereby bring upon themselves the sometimes misplaced judgment of the police.
I am fully aware that sometimes the police exceed their authority. They are only human, and some of them might even be somewhat less than that. That is not their fault individually. They are as they are made. I do not think that anybody would hold the view that police mentality or training is generally designed towards a sort of soft or pansy response to people who are in fact attacking them in a physical sense. I am also aware that some of the apparent over-reactions of the police are caused by the unseen spike applied to the hindquarters of the policeman’s horse, and things of that nature. Therefore it becomes very difficult to assess when the police are reacting and when they are over-reacting.
I have mentioned on another occasion the recent publication by Mr Buckley of the book ‘Offensive and Obscene’ which draws attention to a number of civil liberties cases which have been conducted in Australia. On the whole he makes out several cases which are quite telling in respect of the fact that the police sometimes treat members of the public in a manner which they do not deserve. Those who feel it is. necessary to use violence are equally culpable. I refer not merely to people gathering in groups to wave banners but to those who throw things, whether they are lethal or something less than that. I do not believe that during the course of this debate honourable members opposite have raised on many occasions the question of just where they believe a demonstration should start or stop. The honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory said words to the effect that the law does not lay down how far one can go before one is pulled up in the legal sense. I cannot see that it is necessary for the law to provide a handbook on how far one can demonstrate before running foul of the law. Surely the individual training, sense of responsibility, if they have any, and attitude of those involved in mass demonstrations should be the control which exerts itself. Of course, I have to expect from those remarks that if there was a blatant misuse of authority by the police or someone of that nature, quite clearly people will react to that, just as the police may react to such a situation. But the simple answer is that if demonstrations are totally non-violent and the participants move on and do not camp and «fo’ not interrupt the normal processes of other people, the amount of conflict will be minimal.
Perhaps we might examine further the reasons for the introduction at all of a Bill such as this. We are faced with a fundamental difficulty in our democratic way of life. Democracy in its best sense is in fact a permissive society. It allows the individual to talk and to act within a wide range of possibilities - short of doing physical harm and sometimes verbal harm in a very hurtful way to his neighbours. But one of the weaknesses of this permissiveness and of the liberalism of our democratic way of life- certainly as expressed in this country - is that it does not crack down on those who are not playing the game. Not just the ones who want to exercise certain liberty, but those who really want to flout the system are not very readily cracked down on as they would be in monolithic and totalitarian societies.
There is a present frame of mind - very widespread in the world at large and certainly in this country, and probably most notably publicised in America, if not best expressed there - of anti-authoritarianism. We or our fathers or some generation or other which is held to be culpable have allowed the situation to develop in which there is not a great deal of discipline. Discipline’ is a bad word. Children get all sorts of material things, including motor cars, by the age of 17 years or so and there is not very much left for them to get when they start their working lives, their really earning lives. I could go on at length, but I hope I will be understood insofar as I have taken this matter. This whole thing leads to a freedom of young people which is very nice in itself, but it is not essentially a disciplinary way of life. By that I do not mean authoritarian; I mean a selfdisciplining way of life. So now we have this general ethos that authoritarianism in its best sense - not in its dictatorial sense or its nasty sense or anything like that - is a bad thing. We have the difficulty that anti-authoritarianism exploits true democracy. Both the strength and the weakness of democracy - and, as I suggested earlier, both the strength and the weakness of the Liberal Party structure - are that the system allows freedom of a very considerable kind by world standards.
But the system can also be exploited by those who wish to take advantage of that freedom.
I should like to make one other point certain. Having been brought up on something akin to the work ethic which is recognised in American society rather than in this one, and believing that there is no substitute for hard work in learning about what you are doing, about society, about other people and about achieving things, I believe that not all but a great number of our demonstrating friends are taking the easy way out. I have talked at some length with some of them. Some of them have been students of mine. While I have been impressed by their sincerity, I have been equally impressed by the fact - they have said so - that they do not want to sit around for 2, 3 or 10 years working for the Australian Labor Party or the Liberal Party or forming their own party by the constituted methods that we follow. They want to take a short cut. They want to walk out into the street, make a lot of fuss and expect the country to change overnight. This is absolutely ridiculous as a concept, and these people only show their immaturity by thinking that by this means they will convert people who have put in long hard hours in trying to change a system little by little and in trying to get the best out of a system which is still the best system in the world by any demonstrable standard. I hope that we get improvement, but the plain fact of the matter is that with a great number of those people who seek physical expression of their usually immature views, but not entirely so, demonstrating is a very easy short cut as compared with hard work and application.
I have only one or two other comments to make. The honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) asked us who are the people of violence in this community. I think I have suggested before that the only people of violence in this community are those who seek to wield their influence by physical means instead of by reason and work. The honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen) in a typically well reasoned speech - it was much better reasoned than many of the speeches of his colleagues - drew our attention to the fact that a great deal of legislation in England over the years has been conducted by men of ageing character - certainly by older men. He said that the problem may be the same here. It is obvious that the problem, if it is one, will be the same here. It is obvious that people who have gained experience, knowledge and a modicum of wisdom are likely to be the people in control. They do not need capitalism to keep them there, even though I would have to agree with a previous speaker who said that that might help. But the fact of the matter is that as one gains in maturity and experience one is likely to hold the wheel of power.
Finally, I can only say that the sentiments of the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) distressed me. He absolutely contradicted himself at one stage in his speech. In his opening remarks he said that this Bill will stimulate disorder, and towards the end of his speech he said that it will not even do much to condition the atmosphere. I hope, when he considers the matter further, he makes up his mind as to whether this legislation is as bad as he first thought it was. I would disagree totally with him that more order and more restriction, as he sees it, in a general context of increasing liberty will stimulate violence. Order is increasingly needed in a society which grows more complex and more populous.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hallett)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I think it is appropriate to start my speech by congratulating the honourable member for Chisholm (Mr Staley) on his maiden speech. He expressed fairly reasonable sentiments. He did show that he had at least assimilated, from some of his colleagues at the university to which he was attached before he became a member of this House, an understanding of the problems involved. As I listened to his speech, it became obvious why other members of the university, generally speaking, did not support the political party which he represents, because he came to the wrong conclusions. Nonetheless, he did make the reasonable point that minority rights must be defended in a democracy. I think he must have impressed honourable members on the Government side. There were certainly more of them present at the finish of his address than there were the other night, when the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) made his speech on Vietnam, although it had been advertised for some time beforehand. I do not blame honourable members opposite for preferring the views of the honourable member for Chisholm to those of their new Prime Minister.
Generally when honourable members speak about law and order, about the kind of problems that are involved and about the type of legislation that is involved, I wonder how many of them are really aware of what happens at a demonstration, of what happens to the students or demonstrators who are involved in demonstrations, of what kind of evidence is given by the police and how much the wording of the law affects what happens. I think the only honourable member who would know would be ex-policemen and possibly lawyers such as the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby), the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen) and the previous Minister for the Navy, the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen). These lawyers could have represented persons who had been in close contact with the police.
I was involved in a demonstration 20-odd years ago. I will tell honourable members what happened. I think it is probably a fairly typical story of the kind of procedure that police go through when dealing with people of whom they disapprove. The demonstration in which I was involved took place near the Dutch consulate. This is relevant because, under the proposed legislation, such a place would be a protected place. The demonstration took place at Wynyard Park in Sydney. There were 40 or 50 students there. It was not terribly impressive. Somebody made a speech. It dealt with the conflict between Indonesia and the Dutch soon after the end of the Second World War. The demonstration was against an attempt by the Dutch to reoccupy Indonesia. As I said, the demonstration was attended by a maximum of 50 students.
The police had expected that waterside workers would participate in the demonstration, but the waterside workers did not take part in the demonstration. This point is relevant because many policemen were dressed in what they considered to be the working clothes of waterside workers. The policemen mingled with the demonstrators and caused the scenes which took place. They attacked students. They used excessive force. To my mind, any force would be quite excessive, but they were quite brutal. They arrested students for no good reason and put them in a previously prepared room. Altogether some 15 people were arrested. I was one of those who were arrested. At the time 1 was a part-time reporter with the ‘Sunday Telegraph’ in Sydney and I had some notepaper and a pencil in my pocket. I was writing down the number of a policeman who had made an unwarranted assault on a student when I was grabbed by 2 policemen and taken to the previously prepared room. I was lucky. I will tell the House in a moment why I was lucky. I was later charged with having done certain things. A full page photograph - I think it was on the front page - in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ of the following day showed me still with a pencil in one hand and notepaper in the other after having already been arrested by the police.
We were taken to a police station and, after we had spent some one err two hours in a cell, were individually taken out of it by 2 policemen we had never seen before and insulted and physically attacked by those policemen. Although we were fingerprinted we were not informed of any charge being laid against us. We were bailed out later. Our legal representatives were informed of the charges that were laid against us. We had to appear repeatedly in court before the charges against us were heard. It is relevant to note that the policemen who took us from the cell appeared in court, claimed to be the arresting officers and gave evidence. I believe that the first time they would have seen us would have been the time they took us from the cell, even though later on they gave evidence of what we were alleged to have done before being arrested. These policemen were not involved. They told lies; that is all there is to it. They certainly did tell lies at that time.
I have excellent reason to believe, having discussed this question with people who have been arrested since then and because of my capacity as a member of the executive of the Council for Civil Liberties in New South Wales since its inception, that this procedure is still fol lowed. The arresting officer is hardly ever the person who gives evidence in court of the arrest. The evidence is largely perjury. Even in cases where reasonable evidence would be available to convict the person the police officers concerned perjure themselves. The general evidence in the case in which I was concerned was to this effect: ‘I am a constable in the New South Wales Police Force. I was proceeding north along’ - some street or other is given - ‘on the day in question and I saw the defendant on the footpath gesticulating. I approached him’. The policeman who gives evidence usually says that he was in plain clothes. He then says: ‘I said to this man: “I am a constable in the New South Wales Police Force. Desist”.’ Anybody who knows the gentlemen concerned would be very surprised to learn that this is the format of their normal approach to people during a demonstration. The policeman would go on to give evidence on oath - I emphasise the fact that the evidence is given on oath - in these terms: ‘The defendant said to me: “You are nothing but a f - c - copper”. I said to him: “You are under arrest”. He struggled against his arrest and Constable X’ - who would be the second person who took the defendant out of the cell - ‘helped me arrest him.’ Constable X gets into the witness box later on and confirms most of the statements made by the previous constable.
T will not go into the details of what, happened to me after my arrest. Suffice it to say that I was prominent in the antiCommunist forces in the Australian Labor Party before my arrest and the policemen concerned, not being great political geniuses, decided that I could not be charged with saying: ‘You are a so and so copper’, so they decided that I should be charged with assaulting a detective who. dressed In plain cloths, looking like a wharfie, was knocking people on the ground, and of saying to him: ‘You are nothing but a f - c - commo’. This was the only variation in the 13 charges laid. The others were accused of saying: ‘You so and so coppers.’ I was accused of saying to him: You so and so Commo.’ At that trial senior police officers gave evidence of telling the assembled people to disperse. This was completely untrue. During my case a detective sergeant whom I had known as a fellow member of the surf club to which I belonged but not as a detective sergeant went in the witness box. I was surprised. I thought he was going to give character evidence for me. The next thing he did was to say: “I approached Klugman. I said to him: “I am sergeant so and so. You no doubt know this. Go home.”’ I allegedly said to him: ‘I am not going home. I am going to see the Dutch Consul.’ I had no more intention of seeing the Dutch Consul than had the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay). In fact I was completely unaware that the person concerned was a senior police officer. I had not seen that person at the demonstration. Until he appeared in court I had not seen him since I last saw him at the surf club. He gave completely false evidence. I was acquitted after a trial lasting days and days. I had a Queen’s Counsel appearing for me.
A few days later I was on the wharf waiting to go to Manly when this same police officer came up to me smiling. He tried to shake me by the hand and say: Congratulations, I am pleased you got off.’ This is the sort of mentality that you are dealing with in these cases. It is depressing to think that we put this sort of power into the hands of people who, after a few years in the police force, develop this attitude to giving evidence. It becomes part of the job. They do not care whether they are telling the truth. They consider it all a game. I think it is even more depressing in many ways that we appoint magistrates who are supposed to make judgments in disputes between the police force and private individuals. In almost every case the magistrate takes the word of the policeman against the word of the civilian concerned. In general I oppose in toto this legislation, but I think that the most important debate will take place on the individual clauses, showing that the individual clauses are objectionable. The most objectionable clause I can see is one which is not particularly concerned with the prevention of the occupation of buildings. Although I am not absolutely convinced one way or the other I can certainly see some arguments in favour of special powers being given to prevent the occupation of public buildings. 1 shall deal wim an item which appears in 2 clauses. I refer to clause 18 which states: A person who -
Honourable members will be aware that a protected person is, broadly speaking, a person associated with the diplomatic service, the consular service or an international organisation. Here we are dealing with a person behaving in an offensive or insulting manner towards a protected person. What exactly does ‘offensive’ or ‘insulting’ mean? I would certainly like to see some definition of these words. I would like the definition to make it quite clear that any political opposition to the views held by that protected person is excluded from the category of ‘offensive’ or ‘insulting’. It would be possible, under this legislation, for a diplomat from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to be offended if he were present or in the vicinity when the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) or the Leaders of the Democratic Labor Party next make an address at celebrations of ‘Captive Nations Week’. Similarly there are many groups in the community whose views would offend protected persons representing the United States of America, Spain, South Africa, Israel and the United Arab Republic. It would be difficult to find a country whose activities at some time would not cause offence to some groups in this community.
It is essential to include in the legislation some definition or some kind of explanation making the position quite clear. For example, it should be made clear that the exhibition of slogans or the expression of opposition to apartheid or, in the case of the USSR, genocide, will not be considered offensive by representatives of the countries concerned. I am sure they do consider these things offensive. I am sure that references to the White Australia policy in overseas countries would be considered offensive by some of our diplomats in those countries. If a demonstration was held in front of an Australian legation or consulate overseas and it was claimed that we were racist or that we followed policies similar to South Africa, not only would we consider such statements wrong, we would also consider them offensive. At least I hope that the diplomatic staffs that we send overseas would be sensitive enough to consider those sorts of things offensive and insulting. Therefore I ask the Government to include some kind of definition, some safeguard, in this Bill.
As I said, I do not want to go into any more details. The law and order background to this Bill which was worked up so much last year has not been so apparent in the last 2 months or so mainly because the newspapers have been occupied with the disorder within the Government ranks and which led to a change in the occupant of the position of Attorney-General between the time the Bill was introduced and this second reading debate. But I must say that many of the slogans used previously by Government supporters in favour of this sort of legislation are similar to those used by the authoritarian and totalitarian nations such as those of the Soviet Union. References were made to professional agitators, traitors, subversive elements and the sabotage of the economy. These are the sorts of phrases used continually by such great democratic newspapers as ‘Pravda’ and ‘Izvetsia’. Surely we are not trying to imitate the sort of State that exists in the Soviet Union. Mr Askin, a fellow philosopher of both the present Attorney-General (Mr N. H. Bowen) and the previous Attorney-General, at least in respect of this legislation, said that the law in his State will be used only against professional demonstrators. Will the accused in particular proceedings have to give evidence regarding the proportion of his income derived from demonstrating and agitating in order to determine whether he is a professional demonstrator? Will the fines imposed on persons convicted of offences under this legislation become tax deductions because they have been paid in the course of earning an income, since they are declared to be professional demonstrators? That sort of proposition is ridiculous.
There is one proposition I want to put before concluding. It is important that we have demonstrations if by the word ‘demonstration’ we mean something by which people can show that they feel strongly about certain issues and are prepared to do more than merely vote once every 3 years. I would certainly argue that dissent, whether by the young or not so young, is necessary for any healthy democracy. Demonstrators perform a service to society by pointing out evil and injustice without necessarily offering alternatives. I think much of what the demonstrators say needs to be said and surely evokes some echo in anyone who has ever been angry over the stupidity of war, over a piece of blatant official hypocrisy, over slums, over the treatment of our Aboriginals, or in anyone who has ever felt that he is completely alone or even alone to any degree in his views. I appeal to the Government to make it relatively easy for people to express their opinions and to do so forcefully.
Debate (on motion by Mr Giles) adjourned.
Bill returned from the Senate with an amendment.
Discharge of motions Motion (by Mr Swartz) - by leave - agreed to:
That the following orders of the day, Government Business, be discharged:
No. 25 Pay-roll tax - Statement by Premier of Victoria - Ministerial Statement- Motion to take note of paper: Resumption of debate on the motion, That the House take note of the paper.
No. 26 Press statement by the Leader of the Opposition, 23 September 1970 - Paper - Motion to take note of paper: Resumption of debate on the motion, That the House take note of the paper.
No. 30 Wool industry assistance - Ministerial statement - Motion to take note of paper Resumption of debate on the motion, That the House take note of the paper.
No. 31 Defence - Ministerial statement - Motion to take note of paper: Resumption of debate on the motion, That the House take note of the paper.
No. 32 Vietnam Moratorium Campaign - Ministerial statement - Motion to take note _ of paper: Resumption of debate on the motion. That the House take note of the paper.
Motion (by Mr Swartz) proposed:
That the House do now adjourn.
– I direct attention to the unsatisfactory way in which the emergency financial assistance for wool growers is operating. I speak now of the Monaro where applications for assistance by many growers, who demonstrably are suffering most severely by the fall in prices and the increase in costs, have nevertheless been rejected. I speak of the Monaro but I know that this situation applies in other wool growing areas. My friend and colleague, the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Duthie) has had this experience. He and I have worked closely together to make the basis of assistance well known in our respective electorates and to help and encourage growers to submit those applications in full detail and in proper form. Yet application after application is turned down with a clear indication that no consistent judgment is applied in making the decision. There is inconsistency in the way in which the judgments are made. Both the honourable member for Wilmot and I have at this moment a number of cases before the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) showing this inconsistency and seeking reconsideration of judgments. The situation being created by these adverse and inconsistent decisions is increasing the despair among growers who are literally struggling from day to day against having to give up their holdings.
I shall cite to the House tonight exampies of inconsistent decisions, and I shall give to the House the names and the addresses of the growers involved in the examples I shall present. I am taking this action with the consent of these men in the nope of obtaining a beneficial reexamination of the allocating of assistance, and the men whose names I shall give deserve commendation for allowing their cases to be presented publicly in the interests of -wool growers as a whole. I have had the opportunity also of consulting Messrs F. J. Dunstan and H. B. Bradley of Blaxland, Mawson and Rose, solicitors, of Cooma, who have gone to considerable trouble - in fact a great deal of trouble - to supply fully information sought from growers by the Department of Primary Industry, but who have nevertheless seen many of the applications still rejected. The ground for rejection commonly given is that as the wool receipts for the year ended 30th June 1970 exceed the receipts for the year ended 30th June 1969 no assistance can be granted. This is in accordance with the original announcement by the Department that to qualify there had to be a decline of at least 8 per cent in the 1970 wool income as compared with that of 1969.
– Those conditions have never been put in this House.
– That is quite true. But an assurance was given last December by the Department - I obtained it and published it widely in the Monaro district - that where 1969 was a drought year growers would be able to submit their wool receipts for more normal years. If the ruling to which I have just referred is to be upheld, despite that assurance, it is the opinion of many people who understand fully the position on the Monaro - and it is also the opinion of Blaxland, Mawson and Rose who handled so many of these cases - that growers of the Monaro on the whole will miss out on any assistance under the scheme, simply because their incomes were so low in previous years due to drought. In other words, the lower the income and the greater the suffering, the less chance there is of obtaining assistance if that ruling is to be upheld. Surely this is not what was intended.
The drought severely affected the Monaro during the period 1966 to 1969 inclusive. Combined with falling prices those drought years brought Monaro growers practically to the point of ruin. I am grateful to the Minister for Primary Industry who has come into the chamber to hear the case I want to put on behalf of these people. I am indeed grateful to him. In the year ended 30th June 1970 prices for wool were right down. They were down even on the previous years, but seasonally 1970 was a recovery year on the Monaro. Most growers on the Monaro were able to obtain more in total for their wool than they had been able to obtain in the previous 2 or 3 years. What they obtained in 1970 was ruinously small, but they are shut out of assistance because what they obtained in the previous drought years was even smaller.
The impression officially conveyed by the Department in December 1970 was that the drought situation would be taken into account and that by comparison with wool incomes in more normal years than drought years wool growers on the Monaro who suffered severely from the droughts over that 4-year period would still be able to qualify for assistance. I shall quote from official documents to show that that assurance was given. In other words, wool growers were not to be denied assistance simply because of the severity of their drought losses. Of course, that result was never intended. I shall quote now from a letter dated 12th March 1971 from the Department of Primary Industry to Mr Stanley R. Deegan of ‘Willow Tree’, Cooma, signed by Mr Walter Ives. It states:
EMERGENCY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR WOOLGROWERS
I refer to your application of 24th November, 1970 concerning your eligibility for a grant under the above scheme.
The basis of assistance is a decline of more than 8 per cent in income from wool between the years 1968-69 and 1969-70.
I regret to inform you that where there has been an increase in wool income, whether from the acquiring of more land, the carrying of more sheep or the obtaining of a greater production per head, assistance is not available.
That is a flat statement of rejection, making no allowance for the assurance which was given by the Department. I now proceed to read that assurance. It is contained in a letter dated 15th December 1970 also from the Department, also signed by Mr Ives and also sent to Mr Deegan. Inter alia it says:
Provision is made in the scheme to give special consideration to cases where drought in 1968-69 has caused lowered production of wool and thus rendered the applicant ineligible for assistance or reduced the amount of assistance to which he would be entitled.
For your case to be considered under the above provision would you please supply a statement giving details of wool production (number of sheep shorn and lb of wool and bales produced) and wool sales for each of the years ended 30th June 1966, 1967 and 1968 and for earlier years if you think it appropriate.
This information will show the effect of the drought on your 1968-69 wool production and wool income and enable an assessment to be made of your eligibility and the amount of assistance to which you may be entitled.
The complete contradiction between those 2 statements from the same source to the same grower is typical of what is happening. Now I quote the case of growers whose wool income was higher in 1970 than in 1969 and yet to whom assistance has been granted. Again I have permission from these growers to quote their names and addresses, and I am grateful to them. In 1968-69 Mr Neil Woodhouse of Rocky Plains had 22 bales with proceeds totalling $4,518. In 1969-70 he had 33 bales with proceeds totalling $4,572. Assistance has been granted to him. Next I refer to the case of Mr Ralph Woodhouse, also of Rocky Plains. In 1968-69 he had 41 bales with proceeds totalling $7,770. In 1969-70 he had 57 bales with proceeds totalling $7,948. Assistance totalling $1,482 has been approved. This contrasts with the refusal of assistance in other cases where the growers had incomes which would enable them to qualify under the drought provisions. I implore the Minister to see that the intention expressed officially in December 1970 is put into effect in all cases and that where adverse decisions have been given they be re-examined in terms of the assurance of 15th December which I have read to the House. Assistance of $1,500 is small indeed in relation to the tremendous losses that have been suffered, but in the situation which the growers now face it is of great importance to them.
– Since I have been Minister for Primary Industry every country member on this side of the House has raised with me problems that have arisen in respect of the payment of emergency relief.
– What about members from this side?
– Members opposite also have raised this subject with me. Within the application of the emergency relief 3 main areas of difficulty arise. These are categories which, because of the arbitrary nature of the criteria, mean that people who certainly have suffered financially are not necessarily included within the scheme. The scheme itself was established with criteria designed to facilitate the distribution of funds, as quickly as possible to as many of those who were suffering a marked decline in wool incomes that were generated in the financial year to which the scheme applied so that they could be in a slightly more solvent position than otherwise would have been the case. It was a scheme devised specifically in recognition of the effect of the accelerated rate of decline in wool prices.
The arbitrary criteria involve 2 particular specifics. One is that a person should be receiving not less than 33i per cent of his income from wool and the other is that there should be at least an 8 per cent decline in wool income. It is true that in general, without my knowing the specific cases to which the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Allan Fraser) referred, in instances where the wool income was affected because of past years of drought so that the wool income in the years specifically covered by the decline was greater than otherwise would be the case, there was introduced into the scheme a system whereby some assessment could be made of what was seen to be the average wool income. If in the instances given by the honourable member or by any other member in this House there are circumstances in which wool growers have in the years prior to the period of the scheme received a wool income substantially greater than that which was received in 1969-70. obviously they should make sure that my Department or 1 am advised of the circumstances. This can be taken into account in determining whether or not there is a decline in wool income.
Specifically, one area in which people unfortunately have been excluded arbitrarily from the scheme - such areas give me a great deal of personal concern - is where farmers have, because of their own efforts increased their wool income. This might welt be because a farmer has bought feed and consequently his stock have yielded a bit more than would otherwise have been the case, lt might be that within his general economic investment decisions a decision was taken to increase the number of sheep being run and consequently he has got himself into debt. But because he has acquired more stock his wool income has been increased. In some circumstances the increase has resulted because farmers have acquired more land. That broadly is the general category in which farmers have endeavoured to help themselves but who because of the arbitrary nature of the criterion have been excluded. The second broad category embraces the farmer who has tried to help himself by securing an outside job and whose percentage of wool income has fallen below the 33i per cent arbitrary criterion. That group includes people who perhaps have gone out to work in wool sheds, as shearers or wool classers, or who have gone into a town to secure a job. As a result of their personal endeavour to correct a financial situation which has con cerned them, their wool income has declined and has fallen below the 33.1 per cent criterion. The third group is one which specifically covers areas where shearing was conducted early in the season. In the period referred to there was a far greater decline in wool prices after the first 3 months of the wool selling season than there was in the first 3 selling months. There are quite a number of people who, having shorn perhaps in late June or early July, August or September, suffered very little decline in the year covered by the scheme. However, in the subsequent year they suffered a very great decline. In Western Australia, where drought conditions have affected farmers far more substantially than in the eastern States, the difficulties were compounded. Not only did farmers have a decline in wool prices in that subsequent year but they had a very considerable lessening in the amount of wool they shore because of the adverse effects of drought.
Unfortunately in any sort of scheme of an arbitrary nature it is obvious that one will find it very hard to embrace all the circumstances which one would desire to assist. I have explained broadly that where drought has affected the production of a property the past figures of production are taken into account in determining eligibility. The 3 broad categories to which I have referred all appear to be excluded from the scheme at the moment, lt is because of the difficulties of ensuring that justice is done to all people that 1 am not sure at this stage whether those people would not be better covered by the general financial assistance which is now under consideration through either the Rural Loans Insurance Corporation, the rural reconstruction scheme or some other system. However, certainly it is true that since the period covered by the emergency wool relief grant there has been a far greater decline in wool prices and there is generally now throughout the pastoral zone and throughout all the general wool growing areas of Australia a far greater economic recession apparent. Obviously those circumstances need to be taken into account by the Government in considering any variations of the past scheme. I assure all honourable members that if there are circumstances in which people have been excluded and honourable members believe that they come within the arbitrary criteria I certainly will be happy to look at those cases again. In particular I give the honourable member for Eden-Monaro an assurance that I will look at the specific cases he has raised in the House tonight.
– Tonight I would like to raise very briefly the very severe economic position that is threatening apple and pear growers in the town of Harcourt in my electorate. I am very concerned about the position of this town because the growers are in difficult straits and because the townspeople and businesses that depend on them are also endangered. I understand that there are approximately 130 apple and pear growers in the area of Harcourt, which is one of Victoria’s best known apple and pear districts. They have been hit hard by a series of natural and climatic disasters that have decreased their production and the quality of their produce. They have also been forced further and further into debt, to the position where it is virtually impossible for many of them to obtain money for further development. Many of them simply cannot carry on as farmers and a number of properties have been sold already at very low prices. In addition, the businesses in the area are very dependent upon the prosperity of the growers, and some of these businesses have incurred debts also in the process of becoming creditors of farmers. In addition to the natural and climatic conditions, there has been the threat of rising costs and decreasing returns, and in particular the hazards of uncertain overseas markets which cause little confidence in the future.
I will describe, firstly, the climatic and natural conditions that have afflicted growers in this area. I think the situation reflects adversely on the failure of the Government to produce long term schemes that will cater for natural disasters. The growers have suffered large scale losses in production already this year, due to natural conditions. It has been suggested to me and to the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes), who went to Harcourt last month to speak to the growers, that this year about 40 per cent of the pears and about 30 per cent of the applies have been lost. Since 1966 there has been a dismal succession of drought, bushfire, hail, wind and frost, which have hit the crops and the properties. They have also caused a serious loss in the quality of the produce, which has to be marketed in very competitive circumstances both at home and overseas. Just one example will suffice. In November last year many growers suffered a non-stop frost. This was followed by wind which, in turn, was followed by hail. Honourable members can appreciate quite readily just what effect that would have upon both the quantity of production and the quality of the produce.
I would like to give the House some idea of what this sequence of disasters has meant by pointing to the financial position of one co-operative fruit growers society in Harcourt. When the management of this co-operative changed hands early last year it had been owed debts of about $145,000 in largely unsecured bad debts. Those debts, of course, were the result of the series of difficult economic times, and in particular, of natural disasters. An effort was made to collect some of these debts, but at the present moment the co-operative is still owed about $98,000. At the time the honourable member for Corio and I visited the town of Harcourt it was possible that at any moment the co-operative could go into receivership. This was the situation at the time when the co-operative could not be sure of receiving financial relief from private banking sources.
The possibilities of bankruptcy for this co-operative society are very worrying because if that happened probably about 20 farmers would be sold up. That itself would not realise all the debts owing to the co-operative because some of the properties have multiple mortgages which total more than the value of the properties, and in any case the value of properties is exceedingly low because of the general recession affecting primary industry as a whole. But what concerns me most of all is the possibility of some 20 growers and their families being forced off their properties and the effect that this would have on such a small town whose community depends so much upon these growers. Obviously it would not be only 20 individuals; it would be them and the families associated with them, the businesses and the community as a whole. Other people also would be affected. For example, the men working at the timber mill owned by the co-operative and those in the shop and other related businesses would be affected. The effects of such a bankruptcy of the co-operative would be widespread and severe.
Short term policies are urgently required to deal with the problems of Harcourt. What is required most of all, I should say, is the provision of long term, low interest loans to the growers so that their financial viability can be restored. This is a matter that demands prior attention. Unless long term, low interest loans are provided and unless the Commonwealth is concerned with providing for debt readjustment - that is very important - many growers may go out of business and those local businesses that depend on them will also be affected. In this context the Commonwealth’s rauch vaunted rural reconstruction programme causes little confidence. Its effects will be limited to only a small number of farmers. I am concerned with many of the people who are involved with the economic problems of Harcourt who will not be able to benefit by it. lt is absolutely essential that long term low interest loans should be provided for farmers who are in trouble, partly because of the excessively high interest rates that have been charged by banking institutions and private financial institutions in the past. If growers have to depend on these same sources of high interest rate loans their troubles will not be relieved. Long term policies are also required. Planning at this stage should be at an advanced level. I know that it is not, and I know that the rural industries are going to be left as victims of the blind operation of the free enterprise or private enterprise economic forces which have brought industries in the countryside to their knees.
The whole field of insurance for primary producers against natural and climatic disasters needs immediate and urgent attention. For example, it is virtually impossible to get insurance against hail. Where it is available through private insurance institutions its charges and the initial costs that have to be paid by the farmer make it quite prohibitive. Australia needs a national crop and livestock insurance scheme against natural disasters. The Labor Party would move quickly to establish such a scheme. There are many other suggestions that could be made. In the short time available to me I am concerned primarily with pointing out the position in Harcourt. However, I would like to make some other points briefly.
The Government should be taking new initiatives to put fruit growers in a more competitive position. For example, it could consider relieving fruit growers of the costs of their inputs such as pest, disease and weed sprays. I understand that the New Zealand Government subsidises the cost of spray chemicals by SO per cent to enable New Zealand fruit growers to compete more effectively on overseas markets. In addition, spray chemicals are admitted duty free to New Zealand. One can readily see what sort of advantage this gives the New Zealand fruit grower, who is one of our competitors, in comparison with our own fruit growers. One of the most serious problems affecting fruit growers in competing for overseas markets is freight rates. There again we can look at the situation in New Zealand and examine what initiatives the Government is taking there to save the apple and pear growers.
– They are using ships outside conference lines.
– Yes. The New Zealand Government has been prepared to break the monopoly and, by challenging the monopoly of the conference lines, has been prepared to let contracts to Israeli and Scandinavian shippers. It has been able to save the apple and pear grower’ $800,000 a year. That is a very considerable saving to fruit growers in New Zealand who must compete in the United Kingdom and Europe on the basis of price. One of the main factors in the price is the cost of freight. When we look at the apple and pear stabilisation scheme the thing we note is that there has been a dismal delay in implementing the scheme. That scheme was first announced by the Federal Government at the time of the Federal election in 1969 but there has been a very great delay in implementing it. There has still been no action on the implementation of the apple and pear stabilisation scheme.
I would like to comment on the situation regarding freight rates. I was talking about New Zealand before. The honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Duthie) asked a question on 25th February 1971 in which he sought Government action to break out of the monopoly of the conference lines. He suggested that as the conference lines required an extra $1 a case for the 500,000 extra cases which had to be exported this year, bringing the freight for each additional case to $3.24, ships other than those used of the conference lines should be employed. The then Minister for Primary Industry answered that the conference lines had agreed to charter additional ships in consideration of $1 extra a case. The Apple and Pear Board had rejected this offer and was making inquiries to find out what other shipping could be made available. It was not satisfied with the additional price that was being requested by the conference lines. The Minister made no personal undertaking. He said that it was the Apple and Pear Board that was not satisfied. Action of this kind, as was recommended by the honourable member for Wilmot, is important if we are to tackle these soaring freight costs because these are a major factor stopping the apple and pear industry in Australia from being a truly competitive export industry.
– Mr Speaker, I wish to raise in the House tonight a matter which is not often referred to in either this chamber or the Senate. I refer to the value of tourism to Australia. It is a subject in which a number of members on this side of the House, through the Government Members Tourism Committee, have shown a great deal of interest over the years and a matter to which I have given serious consideration. In fact, I am in the middle of a survey of various aspects of the value of Australia’s tourist promotional methods throughout the world.
Last weekend the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s programme ‘Four Corners’ dealt with the charter travel by airlines. I would not want it to be thought for a moment that my speech tonight is a case of a member hopping on the bandwagon in respect of this topic because the matter of charter flights is one which has posed a problem to the Government Members Tourism Committee for quite a long time. Honourable members have taken an interest in it.
I wish to refer to some recent statements made by the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist
Activities, the Minister for Works (Senator Wright), at the opening of the Australian National Travel Association convention in Melbourne on 30th March. I do not intend to quote the Minister’s speech extensively but I wish to underline a couple of the more important topics in his speech. Speaking of American tourism, he said:
To illustrate what I mean, I intend focusing in on several of the major trends in 2 of our most important markets, the United States and Japan.
Later, he said:
We know from studies the ATC have carried out, that about 85 per cent of United States travellers to Australia earn JUS 10,000 a year or more. In other words, if we are’ looking at incomes, that is where the market is.
In 1967 there were nearly 17 million US families earning $US 10,000 or more a year. By 1975 there is. expected to be 35 million . . .
I believe that somewhere in the Government there is a powerful line of thought blocking the development of charter flights. The policy that we are presently following is costing Australia millions of .dollars a year.
During a private tour of the.United States just over 12 months ago, I made a study of tourism in the tiny island of Jamaica in the Caribbean. This little island earns in excess of $80m a year from tourism. Australia earns just over $100m from the same source. Mexico earns in excess of $1 billion a year from tourism while the State of Florida earns in excess of $6 billion from it. I know that honourable members will correctly submit that these areas have access to the market. What I am suggesting is that our policies are cutting off Australia’s access to these markets. In his speech to the convention in Melbourne the Minister stressed the importance of where our markets lie. Yet, unfortunately, he did not suggest in realistic terms the way to get to these markets.
Tourism is an earner of capital. From memory, I think tourism is rated as Australia’s ninth biggest dollar earner. This in itself is a falsified presentation because in reality Australians, particularly young Australians who are travel conscious, spend some $47m per annum more in their own travels than this nation earns from tourism. Going back to this wonderful market that awaits us, it is interesting to note that of every 1,000 United States overseas travellers only 14, or in other words 0.14 per cent, visit either Australia,
New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia or French Polynesia. This in itself should be enough to make those in the high positions sit up and take notice.
Furthermore, American tourists constitute a minor proportion of the total number of foreign tourists who visit Australia. In 1969, of some 275,800 tourist arrivals in Australia only 50,100 were in fact Americans. Yet the Minister is telling various travel groups in Melbourne and no doubt in other places, that this is where our greatest potential lies; yet we are hardly even tapping the source. I regard tourism as being in an even worse state than an underdeveloped export industry, lt is a neglected industry and we in Australia are the losers in terms of income. I have no brief for World Airways, whose representatives at this very moment are in Australia trying to negotiate permission lo bring 15 charter flights to Australia next year. With the concurrence of honourable members, I incorporate in Hansard a letter from International Travel Advisers Incorporated:
March 26. 1971 Mr E. J. Daly
President Chairman of the Hoard
World Airway*, lnc.
Oakland International Airport
Oakland. California 94614
Ke: 1972 INTRAV/WORLD AIRWAYS
South Pacific Adventure Charter Program Dear Ed:
The purpose of this letter is to define in general terms the South Pacific Adventure Charter Program which we propose to operate with World Airways in 1972, and to authorize you to speak on our behalf with the various Government Officials involved in order to secure the necessary operating authority.
We plan to inaugurate a fifteen flight charter program for groups constituted from medical, dental and bar associations in the United States. The tour will spend four days in each of the following three locations: Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti. The flights will originate from a variety of United Stales cities, such as the following:
I want to make it clear that the success in marketing this program will absolutely depend on receiving the necessary government approvals no later than May IS, 1971. I also want to make it perfectly clear that if the necessary authorizations are not received by that date this program will not be transferred in any manner to any of the scheduled carriers operating into that area. Rather, it would be our plan to redirect these groups, for whom we serve as travel advisors, to other foreign destinations. Japan and certain European or African countries would represent attractive alternatives.
In operating similar programs with World we have conducted extensive surveys which permit us lo draw the’ following conclusions:
Om customers are affluent and will spend on an average of $400 at each stop over and above the hotel and meal expenses which are included in the tour.
Despite the affluence of the group, however, they will not travel individually to the same destinations because they prefer the company of their friends in the group program which we have arranged - that desire is greater than the choice of destination.
This means that if landing and uplift rights are not available these persons will simply travel on charter flights to different destinations.
I have complete confidence that you will present our complete point of view along wilh World’s and authorize you to make the above representations as you may see fit to promote our common interests.
BARNEY A. EBSWORTH
If honourable members read this letter they will learn some interesting facts, but unfortunately time limitation precludes my talking for too long on this subject. But I believe the Government’s attitude to charter flights revolves around the question of the protection of Qantas. Those who watched the television programme last weekend will remember the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) sitting before the camera and in Churchillian style saying something like: ‘I do not intend to preside over the disappearance of Qantas.’ Full marks to him. He has a duty to look after what belongs to Australia, and I am right behind him in this respect. But it becomes a question of commonsense and of how long we should protect something that is perhaps losing us many millions of dollars.
On all occasions when we try to expatiate on the subject of air travel and international travel we have thrown at us, or waved like a sheet of paper, the International Air Transport Association Agreement. I might mention that when I had a certain problem with our international airline last year I tried to get a copy of the IATA Agreement. I do not believe that one exists in Canberra. If there is a copy here it is well locked away and not available to members. But this is not the main point. My concern is just how many millions of dollars we are losing as a result of our problem. As a nation we are a tourist flop and yet those honourable members who have seen the world will no doubt come back convinced, as I am, as one who has seen only half the world, that Australia is one of the most magnificent and wonderful countries in the world and that we have a lot to offer tourists. But our policy in relation to charter flights is one which is not to this nation’s benefit. Charter companies will not take the passengers who are already intending to come to Australia. They will tap new markets and bring to Australia people who would otherwise go to other countries in the world.
My only regret tonight is that the time allocated to me has almost run out. I should like to point out to those who claim that charter flights destroy the scheduled airlines that in the last three or four years both the number of passengers carried by the regular airlines and also the charter traffic have increased. My very sincere plea to the House is for Australia not to get on to the bandwagon of charter flights but to take advantage of the money that is available for the asking.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– Some 3 weeks ago I spoke in the Grievance Day debate about events leading up to and following the dismissal of 11 inspectors at the Chrysler Australia Ltd plant at Lonsdale in my electorate. At that time I raised two matters. One related to the aggressive attitude of Australian car manufacturing companies towards the unions, and the other to the question of safety following the precipitate dismissal of the inspectors. I should like to discuss some of the events which have taken place since that time.
It had come to my attention that some cracks were detected in a batch of steering knuckles at the plant one day during that week when I addressed the House on this matter. To me this raised two important questions: Firstly, was it possible that the parts could have reached the roads? Secondly, have safety standards and quality control been compromised in these or other vehicle components? The following day I was invited to visit the plant, which I did on Saturday, 20th March. I was given a detailed account of quality control measures and I inspected the plant and laboratories. I found the supervision of the operations with regard to safety impressive. As for the parts in question, that is, the steering knuckles, these parts are inspected by a magna-flux operation which effectively detects cracks. It must be pointed out that this is not a random testing; it is performed on all of these components. Furthermore, there are other quality control measures later in the process.
Subsequently I discussed this with two professional engineers, whom I shall mention again shortly. They were able to confirm the impressions I had gained from my own visit to the Chrysler plant. I am very happy to say that there does not appear to be any way in which these or any cracked steering knuckles could have reached the road without detection. To confirm my own findings on this and to obtain an expert opinion on the general safety measures, the representatives of Chrysler Australia Ltd and I agreed to consult Professor Davis of the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Adelaide. Professor Davis was asked:
That was the day in question. The terms of reference continued:
Professor Davis agreed to do this and, in company with Mr W. D. Dobie, also of the Mechanical Engineering Department of the University of Adelaide, inspected the plant and laboratories. AH work sheets were laid open for scrutiny. I should like publicly to express my appreciation to Professor Davis and Mr Dobie who have made a report. I should like to read some of the salient points from the report. I have consulted the Minister for the Navy (Dr Mackay) who is now at the table who has agreed to the incorporation in Hansard of 5 paragraphs of the report. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate those paragraphs in Hansard.
The overall Safety Assurance for ‘safety* components is covered at Chrysler Park by
Any defects showing up in road or fatigue tests results in quarantining of parts or assembled vehicles until the defect is corrected or an improved design is fully proved by examination and performance tests.
In conclusion we wish to state that we have received complete co-operation from Chrysler engineering and technical staff in conducting this investigation.
Professor Davis and Mr Dobie stated in the course of their report:
This organisation, Chrysler Australia Ltd, employs qualified engineers who have developed and instituted a system of quality control and safety assurance for automotive ‘safety’ components which meets all technical requirements.
The report continues:
The Quality Control of manufacture of components to specifications in dimensions. - surface finish, freedom from cracks, and metallurgical condition, is thus considered to be fully acceptable. In addition, NATA approval of test certificate signatories in laboratories component and test sections is an assurance of competence of the personnel supervising the meteorological, metallurgical and component testing activities of the organisation.
In conclusion we wish lo state that we have received complete co-operation from Chrysler engineering and technical staff in conducting this investigation.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering
Finally, I had personal discussions with Professor Davis and Mr Dobie and ( was satisfied that the quality control is of a high order. I would add that Mr Dobie was asked whether in the circumstances he would be prepared to buy a Valiant - that is, considerations of price and other things aside - and he said yes. With this I agree. I think it is a matter of regret that the Government does not have an independent inspection system such as exists for the licensing of inspectors in the field of civil aviation. However, in this case I hasten to add that I do not regard the Chrysler standards as being in question.
With regard to the industrial dispute, I regret that the situation has not been resolved satisfactorily. I am informed that some inspectors have been re-instated under a reclassification with reduced pay. These men have been- involved- in. an industrial dispute and 1 man had given an affidavit on a previous occasion supporting a claim that the company was guilty of a lock-out during February of this year. The fact that some of these men are on reduced pay does not strike me as being purely coincidental.
In conclusion I point out that the Vehicle Builders Union still has not had its claim for severance pay heard by Commissioner Taylor. I believe this delay is intolerable although I do not cast any aspersions on the Commissioner himself. I believe the Government should heed the suggestion of the Vehicle Builders Union that a commissioner be assigned specifically and wholly to the vehicle building industry.
– The honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Kennedy) expressed alarm tonight about the apple industry in his electorate. I knew the manager at Harcourt but the honourable member informs me that the position has changed. I am sorry to hear that that is so. My only comment on his remarks are that the stabilisation scheme - so people in the industry who know the scheme have told me - applies purely to the risk section of export apples. This, of course, is in principle geared to removing that section of the surplus production, particularly from Tasmania, so that people situated close to consumer high density areas such as Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Wollongong and elsewhere can get an open competitive access to those markets. This is the aim of the scheme. I am well aware of the difficulties around Harcourt with the road stalls and the attitude of people in the area which has always been against stabilisation. It must be very difficult for the honourable member for Bendigo in that area because there is a very great spirit of independence in the apple industry there and people do not easily come to the party as regards any scheme of stabilisation or organisation.
I well remember being in the Harcourt area a week or two before the honourable member was elected. The honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Duthie) made a Press statement on the great new thinking of the Labor Party in relation to stabilisation schemes. All he succeeded in doing around there was to arouse the ire of very independently thinking apple growers. I appreciate the difficulties of the honourable member for Bendigo. I hope that in future the honourable member, together with some of his friends if he can gather them around him, will stop slinging off at primary industries and trying to make an issue of what, according to the Labor. Party, are cheap and easy funds for some of these industries. They should be trying to help these areas instead of. poking fun at them, as some honourable members have been doing recently.
I rose tonight to talk not about apples but about the problem of the number of questions on the notice paper, which you, Mr Speaker, will have perceived. I do not suppose it will be great news to the Opposition to learn that there are now 3,178 questions in this fair sized volume.
– That is not right. There are only 681.
– Is the honourable member referring to unanswered questions?
– That is true enough. I think in past times we on this side of the House have appreciated some of the difficulties of members of the Opposition. They do not enjoy the same conditions that we have in terms of talking matters over with Ministers, or perhaps it is just that they do not read annual reports so readily. I am not quite sure which is the case, but one can understand that they have this problem. However, the number of questions put on the notice paper this year and which remain on the notice paper to date, thereby precluding other honourable members from representing the people in their electorate, makes this matter no longer a joke. I do not know why we cannot put to the Standing Orders
Committee the proposition that the whole matter be reviewed. I believe that a leader of the Opposition must be allowed a reasonable opportunity to obtain information in detail, along the lines followed at the moment, with one question bearing on the other and going on for perhaps 200 words in length - hardly a question, but excusable. I think we have to arrive at a situation where the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is allowed so many questions and back benchers are allowed a lot fewer per year.
Opposition members - Nonsense.
– I know your abhorrence of your own tall poppies. Do not let me interfere with your right to feel that way about them. We are reaching the situation now where I am not allowed to ask a question which concerns matters of great importance both to my electorate and my electors.
– Be quicker.
– The honourable member for Sturt can say if he wishes that 1 should be quicker or I should be slower or something else. I am not. prepared to argue with Mr Speaker for the sake of the honourable member for Sturt, but he will be well aware that today I was not allowed to inquire into a matter of very grave concern to my electorate.
– And mine.
– It is of concern to the district of the honourable member for Riverina, but by no stretch of the imagination could it be said to be of very great concern, because 69 per cent of Australia’s wine production comes from South Australia, and 90 per cent of that would come from my electorate. So I take issue on the point that the honourable member for Sturt has raised. That particular matter is very much more important to me.
But let us have a deeper look at this matter to see what is its cause and what is happening. A person whom I regard as having some sense in relation to rural matters, the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), does not adopt this elaborate method of trying to block up channels of probing. However, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam)) and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) do adopt this method. The honourable member for the Australian
Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) has on the notice paper 2 questions which cover more than one whole page. They must consist of about 1,000 words each. To me they do not appear to be very vital questions, but I am not prepared to debate that now. However, I am prepared to debate the necessity for some of the questions put on the notice paper by the honourable member for Riverina. I refer in particular to question 3171. If the honourable member cannot obtain the full details in 30 seconds from the annual report of the Australian Dairy Board, I will go he. As a matter of fact, 1 could almost give him the answer now out of my head; it is such a silly question. But if it is such a silly question, why is it on the notice paper? The only way in which I can add this up is to say that someone does not want inquiries made into this matter. That is the only possible interpretation. Otherwise, the honourable member could look up the answer or the research people could do it for him in a few seconds. I suggest that it is a false sort of grandeur. He wants to feel that people are paying attention to him because he is putting questions on the notice paper. What a lot of rot. What an act. How low does one have to get in order to try to prevent debate on matters which may affect his electorate and certainly the electorates of other honourable members?
I think I have said quite enough to cover the purpose for which 1 rose to speak tonight. It was to complain very sincerely from my point of view about the huge areas which are affected now by honourable members placing questions on the notice paper and about the fact that we cannot possibly probe these areas at question time. I do not believe that it is smart to try to close up these areas. For instance, dairy farmers in a number of honourable members’ electorates should feel that their members can probe these issues. The question that has really hurt me is one relating to the wine industry which the honourable member has placed on the notice paper. On my count - give or take a word or two - that question contains 109 words, three-quarters of which would have been covered in the Press release printed today in the provincial Press in my area. That indicates how useful the question is.
– I just want to say in passing to the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) that with the pressure of questions in the House a member asks one question every 3 weeks - this matter has been debated in the House recently - and questions on notice are an integral part of the rights of this Parliament. I am sorry that the honourable member for Angas was 4 days late in waking up to an important issue which was drawn to his attention today. He has my deepest sympathy. Obviously this is too late an hour to be dwelling on these things.
I rise principally this evening to draw attention to the fact that 30,000 Asian students have trained in Australia since 1950 and. according to answers given to me recently by the Minister for Immigration since 1966 2,500 of them have been granted permission to remain in Australia. I was not given information as to how many applications had been refused. Many applications are made by Asian students who come here as private students, who graduate and then wish to stay here.
In January 2 doctors were virtually deported from Australia. They had graduated and had spent a year as resident doctors at the St Vincents Hospital in Sydney. The 2 points I wish to make about those expulsions, as I will call them, are these: They were based on an entirely wrong premise, according to the medical authorities themselves; and secondly, it is action such as this which is giving Australia a particularly ugly visage in Asia, because we are determining for these private students where they should live and where they should work. We do this not because of our needs but because of the needs of their country, as we see them. In relation to the doctor from Hong Kong on whose behalf I spoke, the Hong Kong authorities were quite amused to think that Australia was making about the future of one of their citizens a determination which they would not be game and in fact did not desire to make themselves.
The term ‘White Australia* still bas ugly connotations in Asia, and it is continuing to be ugly because of unreasonable decisions taken in this matter. The Department made a decision in relation to 2 doctors. There were 3 doctors concerned originally. They were Dr Young. Dr Yong and Dr Chang. Two have returned to Hong Kong already. Dr Yong has been permitted to stay to do further post graduate work. The point I make is that the Department made the decision that the doctors had adequate medical training, but it is not qualified to make such a decision, according to the people involved in this issue at St Vincent’s Hospital. It has also made a wrong decision, it is submitted, because it implies that Asian doctors are adequately qualified after 12 months residency. They came here and did their studies. They did 12 months residency. The Department said: ‘You are adequately trained; back you go’. Their colleagues have submitted that this is in complete conflict with medical educators. The New South Wales Hospitals Commission has strongly recommended a 2-year hospital residency. In fact, this 2-year residency will soon be compulsory under the new University of New South Wales resident training programme.
The other point that was brought in issue by the colleagues of these doctors - the colleagues arranged to present to the Minister a petition signed by 450 people - was that they wanted to see the doctors remain. 1 wanted to see them remain for the very simple and very good reason that some towns in the Riverina have not had medical services for an entire year. The doctors would have been sought after there. I came into the matter because some people whom I represent had been treated by the doctors at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. When these people heard that the doctors were to be expelled they were horrified. They raised the matter very strongly. The Professor of Pathology at the University of New South Wales has commented about a doctor who was required to return to Malaysia. He said:
The requirement that he now return to Malaysia after but 1 year’s experience as a resident medical officer may well mean that he will be denied the opportunity to perform post graduate work in experimental pathology. Such an outcome would be a tragedy, since he has shown a particular talent for this field of work.
The doctor was permitted to stay. The other 2 involved had been expelled already. There is an incredible paternalism operating in relation to Asians; there are no such inhibitions or desires when it comes to European students. The Minister for Immigration pointed out to me in a reply to a question that occasionally European parents working in Asian and Pacific countries wished to send their children to school in Australia while they are still too young for entry as migrants. Such children are admitted as students. If, while they are studying here, they reach adulthood and wish to settle in Australia, they would normally be eligible to do so. If a European comes here under the private students scheme he can stay. If an Asian comes here and graduates and if we want him, he is required to go back because our Government makes a determination as to the needs of his country. If we applied this line of thinking to our immigration programme, it would mean that anyone who got off an aeroplane from England, Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland or wherever he may come from would be asked, when he reached the bottom of the gangplank: Does your country need you?’ Depending on the determination of our authorities, we would send them back to their respective countries. That is unreasonable.
– We would send them back only if they were Asians.
– We would send them back only if they were Asians, as my good friend pointed out. This applies only to Asians. We need these people. We need their skills. I am informed that the 2 doctors, whose names I have given, have left this country. My investigations in Asia disclose that they will return to Hong Kong and that they will go to the United States of America, with all the skills that they have acquired here. The United States and Canada are seeking those skills. They are getting them; we are losing them. I ask the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz), who is at the table, to convey these sentiments to the Minister for Immigration and to ask that in future he not differentiate between Asians and Europeans in this vital sphere. I ask the Minister for Immigration to confer with the authorities in New- South Wales to ensure that 2-year residencies are recognised as important and integral parts of their training in future.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.59 p.m. until Tuesday, 20 April at 2.30 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Minister for Education and Science upon notice:
On what dates has each State Minister for Education written to his predecessor or him since his predecessor’s answer ofl 29 October 1970 (Hansard, page 3090) to indicate the relative urgency of the capital works mentioned in the Nationwide survey of Education Needs issued on 1st September 1970.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The last of the State Ministers for Education replied lo ray predecessor’s letter of 1 1th September 1970 on 17th March 1971. information from non-Government schools is still being collected and will he analysed wilh that information from Government schools.
Education: Assistance to Private Schools in Bendigo Electorate (Question No. 2913)
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
What sunn, have been granted to each private school in the electoral division of Bendigo as per capita grant? in (a) 1970 and (b) 1971.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Stales Grants (Independent Schools) Act 1969 places on me an obligation to report annually and. in respect of each school involved, amounts paid out under this Act. 1 shall table this report, which will contain the information sought by ,he honourable member, as soon as practicable.
asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
I have on several occasions referred to well publicised claims by the so-called ‘pot-lobby’ that marihuana is no more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, lt is generally conceded that alcohol and tobacco can be dangerous and are the cause of serious health and social problems. My contention is that, even if marihuana is no more dangerous than alcohol and tobacco, why add a third problem to those already affecting the community.
Drugs (Question .No. 2292)
asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:
Can he supply information on the consumption of addictive drugs per 10,(100 of the population in Australia and for any other countries for which this information is available.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The International Narcotics Control Board in its report for 1970, has compiled from data furnished by governments of 125 countries annual statistics of consumption of the principal narcotic drugs, morphine, codeine, ethylmorphine, cocaine, pethidine, methadone and dextromoramide. The statistics are expressed in terms of consumption per million of population and cover the years 1965 to 1969 inclusive. These are voluminous statistics which I do not feel should be incorporated in Hansard. I propose to forward a copy to him.
Conciliation and Arbitration Commission (Question No. 1907) Mr Clyde Cameron asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: ls it a fact that every Presidential member of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission appointed since the defeat of the Chifley Government in 1949 was at the time of appointment (a) a legal practitioner practising in industrial law and (b) predominantly engaged in representing employer interests.
– I am advised that the answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Not all the Presidential members of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission appointed since 1949 were practising in industrial law at the time of their appointment. Three of them already held judicial posts. Of the others, information is not available as to the names of their clients as this is a professional and confidential matter.
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
What was the reason for the delay and final abandonment of Trans-Australia Airlines Flight 425 on Sunday 17th January 1971, from Canberra to Melbourne.
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the answer to the honourable member’s question, as follows:
The aircraft involved in the delay was assigned to operate Flight 425 between Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. When airborne on the Sydney to Canberra sector, after penetration of turbulence, high frequency vibration was recorded on the No. 2 engine and consequently the engine was shut down and the propeller feathered.
A subsequent ground inspection by technical personnel revealed that the time required for rectification of the fault would be indefinite.
Accordingly Flight 425 to Melbourne was cancelled.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
Can he now supply (Hansard, 9 April 1970, page 1023) later information from the Statistician on sewerage services in each State capital.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows
The information sought by the honourable member has been supplied by the Acting Commonwealth Statistician, and is set out in the tables below.
These tables differ in a number of respects from those given on 25 February 1969 (Hansard, page 1.39) in reply to an earlier question by the honourable member, on account of revisions to the figures themselves and a number of changes which have been made in the basis of compilation. Some of the differences are as follows:
Some of the 1961 figures included in the tables relate to areas defined for census purposes in 1961, while the corresponding 1966 figures relate to areas defined for census proposes in 1966. These two census definitions do not necessarily yield the same areas when applied at the same date, and hence the 1961 figures and the 1966 figures in these tables are not strictly comparable. As mentioned in the previous answer given on 25 February 1969, because of changes over time in the boundaries of areas, this qualification also applies to all the figures previously supplied. All population figures subsequent to 1966 are inter-censal estimates only and are therefore subject to revision.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Since the answer to question No. 507 was prepared, the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD has introduced a new concept to promote greater understanding, and permit more meaningful comparisons, of aid flows from different donor countries. Thus, the Committee now distinguishes between official transactions which are intended to assist the economic and social development of poorer countries, and those which either earn a commercial rate of return or else are primarily designed to promote the exports of the donor country, etc.
The former are classified as “official development assistance’, which is defined to include all flows to developing countries and multilateral institutions provided by official agencies, which meet the following two criteria:
The table below sets out figures for official development assistance provided by those countries (except the USSR, for which similar information is not available) specified in the honourable member’s question. Unfortunately, figures on this new basis are only available for the 4 years indicated:
With the exception of the United States, the data shown in the above table has been calculated by converting the relevant national currency figures for the countries concerned, shown in UN Statistical Yearbooks, on the basis of the respective par values established with the International Monetary Fund. The resultant international comparisons are subject to a number of reservations on statistical and other grounds and should therefore be treated with some caution.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Acting Commonwealth Statistician has supplied the following information in reply to the honourable member’s question.
total balances outstanding lo finance companies during the period July 1964 to June 1970. Similar information i» not available for earlier years.
These figures represent balances outstanding on financing of various types including wholesale finance, factoring, mortgage loans, leasing transactions, and other commercial loans as well as hire purchase and other instalment credit for retail sales. Information on transactions in bills of exchange was included for the first lime in the figure for the year ended 30th June 1967 and accounts for J4.3m of the increase for that year.
Figures for the ‘hire purchase and other instalment credit for retail sales’ component of the above increases are:
Details are available from September quarter 1958 of total balances outstanding for all hire purchase and other instalment credit foi’ retail sales by all businesses (including retail businesses and non-retail unincorporated finance businesses as well as finance companies). These balances have increased as follows:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable members question is as follows:
Details of the number of accidents which occurred each day are not available but the following table gives the days of the week on which the accidents occurred.
Explanatory Notes -
Details of road traffic accidents involving casualties relate to accidents which were reported lo the police and which satisfy the following conditions:
that the accident resulted in -
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Full particulars are not available of the manner in which credit unions are treated in other countries for income tax purposes. It is understood that the position in the following countries is:
asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question has been delayed because of the necessity to undertake considerable research to assemble the information in the form posed by the question. This research has been undertaken because of the importance which I am sure all honourable members attach to this subject. My reply includes a number of tables as follows:
Difference between convictions and charges mainly due to cases carried forward to next year and cases for which a result is not known.
Prior to 1969 reporting of cases involving psychotropic substances was not done, except by Victoria in 1966. 1969 and 1970 police reports mainly involved imported psychotropic substances. Generally, cases involving locally manufactured drugs have not been reported to this Department.
asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
What committees and panels exist to advise the Australian Transport Advisory Council.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Function: To advise Ministers of the Australian Transport Advisory Council.
Function: To advise on safety standards in respect of the design of motor vehicles.
Function: To advise on the on-road standards and equipment of motor vehicles and* their loads.
Function: To review and advise on the ways of achieving improvement in road user performance and to advise on the uniform National Road Traffic Code.
Function: To advise on the Model Code relating to the transport of dangerous goods.
Function: To advise on publicity and education in road safety, (vii) Study Team on Transport Costs
Function: To investigate the costs of transporting goods in Australia.
STAND1NO COMMITTEE OF ADVISERS
(Members of the Committee are nominated by Ministers of the Australian Transport Advisory
Chairman, Mr M. M. Summers, Secretary. Department.
Department of Shipping and Transport. Mr K. J. Troll, Under Secretary, Ministry of Transport (N.S.W.). Mr G. Meech, Director of Transport (Vic). Mr K. Nevin. Assistant Under-Secretary, Chief Secretary’s Department (Vic). Mr K. M. Seeney, Commissioner of Transport (Qld). Mr T. P. Andersen.
Deputy Commissioner of Transport (Qld). Mr W. Hansen,
Deputy Commissioner of Main Roads (Qld).
Mr M. C. Johnson,
Minister of Roads and Transport (S.A.).
Mr A. K. Johinke Commissioner of Highways (S.A.). Mr W. H. Howard, Commissioner of Transport (W.A.). Mr J. E. Knox,
Director-General of Transport (W.A.). Mr A. Pybus
Administrator of Road Transport (Tas.).
Mr C. Douglas,
First Assistant Secretary,
Department of the Interior.
Mr L. Crowe,
Director of Traffic (A.C.T.).
Mr D. P. Lampe, Assistant Director,
Local Government and Community Services (N.T.).
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON SAFETY IN VEHICLE DESIGN
Chairman: Mr C. W. Freeland, Assistant Secretary Land Transport Branch, Department of Shipping and Transport
Members Nominated by
Ergonomics Expert, Road Research Board.
Mr R. W. Cumming.
Medical Practitioner, National Health and Dr J. C. Lane. Medical Research
Research Engineer, Institution of Engineers
Mr p. N. Joubert. of Australasia.
Traffic Expert, Conference of State
Mr J. D. Crinion. Traffic Control
Mechanical Design Chamber of Auto-
Engineer. motive Industries.
Mr C. A. Paterson.
Body Design Engineer, Chamber of AutoMr R. L. Youds. motive Industries. Production Engineer, Chamber ut AutoMr I. J. Higgins. motive Industries. Officer, Vehicle Structure Mr A. L. Fisher. Safety Branch.
Department of Shipping and Transport.
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON VEHICLE PERFORMANCE (WEIGHTS, DIMENSIONS AND OPERATING STANDARDS)
Chairman: Mr R. J. Barling, Controller, Land Transport Branch, Department of Shipping and Transport
Members Nominated by
Freight Operator, Australian Road TransMr N. J. Owen. port Federation (Goods Division). Passenger Operator, Australian Road TransMr R. J. Pollard. port Federation (Passenger Division). Motor Vehicle Design Chamber of AutoEngineer, motive Industries. Mr C. A. Paterson.
Private Road User, Australian AutoMr W. S. Gaffney. mobile Association. Official, Society of Automotive Mr R. L. Youds. Engineers. Official, Transport Workers’ Mr E. J. Harris. Union.
Chairman: Mr J. W. Spencer, Executive Officer, Land Transport Branch, Department of Shipping and Transport
Members Nominated by
Transport Operator, Australian Road TransMr F. J. Spellacy, O.B.E. port Federation. Private Road User,
Mr E. Huxtable. Lawyer,
Mr K. F. O’Leary. Medical Practitioner, Dr J. H. Birrell.
Vehicle Manufacturer, Mr W. W. D. Daunt. Official,
Mr E. J. Harris. State Officer (N.S.W.)
Mr E. B. Blackball. (Vic.)
Mr J. G. Westland (Qld)
Inspector J. K. McMahon (S.A.)
Mr R. Pash. (W.A.)
W. M. Duggan. (Tas.)
Mr C. B. Allanby. Officer (A.C.T.) Mr J. Duncan.
Officer (N.T.) Sergeant A. Woodruffe.
Australian Automobile Association. Law Council.
National Health and Medical Research Council.
Chamber of Automotive Industries.
Transport Workers’ Union.
Minister for Transport, each State.
Commonwealth Minister for the Interior.
Chairman: Mr L. N. Ethelton, Assistant Secretary, Operations, Safety and Services Branch, Department of Shipping and Transport
Officer-in-charge, Explosives N.S.W., Mr R. Gain. Chief Inspector Explosives. Victoria,
Mr R. F. Buckley. Queensland,
Mr I. L. B. Henderson. W.A.
Mr G. A. Greaves. S.A.
Mr A. D. R. Marlow.
Director of Mines,
Mr J. G. Symons.
Mr P. J. Barrett.
Captain J. R. Ross.
Lt Col. E. P. Haddad.
Representative, Captain A. W. Finch.
Representatives Mr B. Scoles Mr W. Grey-Reitz Mr G. Murphy Mr L. Crowe
Dr G. C. Smith Mr W. I. Stewart Mr L. E. Marks
Mr H. F. Hamilton.
Australian Port Authorities Association.
Commonwealth Explosives Transport Committee.
Operations Safety and Services Branch, Department of Shipping and Transport.
Department of Civil
Aviation. Department of Supply. Customs Department. Department of the Interior.
Department of Health.
Australian Road Transport Federation.
Australian Chemical Industries Council.
Chairman: Mr R. R. Schrader, Director, Publicity and Public Relations, Department of Shipping and Transport
Mr W. W. D. Harrison, Secretary,
Road Safety Council of N.S.W.
Mr F. Harris, Manager, Road Safety
Department, Victorian Division,
National Safety Council of Australia. Mr N. F. Kent, Mr B. J. Plew,
Secretary, Secretary, Queensland Road Safety Road Safety Council of Council. S.A.
Mr J. B. Boulton, Executive Officer, National Safety Council of W.A. Inc.
Mr J. Carberry, Secretary,
Mr T. O. Kelly. Director of Road
Safety, Department of Health
Services, Tasmania. Mr K. Murphy. Secretary.
Road Safety Council of Northern Territory
Road Safety Council.
Mr H. E. Clark. Executive Officer, Public Relations Section, Department of Shipping and Transport.
STUDY TEAM ON TRANSPORT COSTS
Chairman: Mr R. M. Taylor, Assistant Secretary, Special Projects and Research, Department of Shipping and Transport
Mr K. Webb. Outdoor Assistant, Railways Department, ;
Mr T. P. Andersen. Deputy Commissioner of
Mr A. Williams.
Assistant to DirectorGeneral of Transport, W.A.
Mr G. W. Godwin.
Special Projects Branch, Northern Territory Administration.
Mr B. Kay, Secretary,
Transport Regulation Board, Victoria.
Mr M. W. Maxwell.
Administration and Finance,
Highway Department (S.A.).
Mr B. .1. Lynch,
The Transport Commission (Tas.).
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
What amounts does the United Nations ‘a) receive from Australia and (b) spend in Australia and her territories.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
On what occasions have Australia and New Zealand exchanged views concerning the continental shelf or shelves in the Tasman Sea.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The two Governments have not as yet had occasion to exchange views on this subject.
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
What steps have been taken to draw up (a) new extradition treaties with countries to which the Extradition (Foreign States) Act applies (Hansard, 15lh September 1970, page 1154) and (b) extradition treaties wilh other countries.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
(i) A nev. draft treaty has been negotiated with Italy.
Draft treaties howe been negotiated with Israel, Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany.
Negotiations between officials are expected to take place shortly with Ireland, Sweden and Turkey.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
Has consideration been given to the employment of Australian Forces construction units on road building in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Services have provided worthwhile assistance lo the Territory of Papua and New Guinea Administration in road construction in the Territory. During the period 1961-1965 Army construction units sewed at Wewak with the primacy task of constructing a new road from Wewak to Maprik. Since 1965 a small Army engineer unit has been based at Popondetta and employed on public works in the Northern District in conjunction with the Administration’s Public Works Department. During this year the unit will be moved to Mendi where its work will, in the main, be the design and supervision of contract work on road-building and associated construction mcn as bridges in the Southern Highlands. The Navy has also on occasions provided assistance in restoring road links on Manus Island.
Consideration has been given to the practicability of increasing Service assistance to the Administration in this field but having regard to other high priority Service commitments, it is not practicable for Service construction units to do more than they are already doing in the Territory.
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice: ti) Is he able to say whether (a) estimates of the number of destitute orphans in Vietnam now exceed 150,000, and (b) there are several thousand abandoned children in institutions.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
What is the date and validity of Slovak independence which the Association of Australian Slovaks celebrates in March.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Association of Australian Slovaks celebrates 14lh March 1939 as the date of the Slovak independence. On 14th March 1939, the Slovak Diet unanimously adopted a declaration of independence by which Slovakia denied its allegiance to the Central Government of the Czechoslovak Republic in Prague and declared itself a sovereign state. On 15th March 1939, German troops occupied Bohemia and Moravia and German spokesmen declared that Czechoslovakia had ceased to exist. On 15th March 1939, Dr Tiso, the Slovak Premier, placed Slovakia under the protection of Hitler. On 16th March 1939, Hitler took over the protection of Slovakia. On 23 rd March 1939, a Treaty was signed between Germany and Slovakia which placed Slovakia under direct German military protection.
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
As those who are unwilling to acknowledge obligations under the National Service Act, which may involve them in military action overseas, consider such action to be illegal because (a) the war is undeclared and Australia has registered with the United Nations no public treaty with successive Saigon regimes, (b) the only authority competent to determine breaches of international law in Indo-China and to authorise force in remedial action by outside powers, signatories of the Geneva Accords, is the International Control
Commission, (c) Australia has not first sought, as required by the United Nations Charter, all possible peaceful means of settlement which include asking all powers involved to sign the Accords and to petition and submit all matters in dispute to the determinations of the International Control Commission, the International Court of Justice and United Nations instrumentalities and (d) there are reasonable grounds for presumptions that the Thieu Government came to power in Saigon due to massive foreign aid and maintains power by corrupt procedures and the Lon Nol faction threatened certain key members of the Cambodian Parliament to obtain a near unanimous vote ousting Sihanouk to offset his increasing international support, will he publish refutations in answer to these claims.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Even if the propositions formulated by the honourable member were factually correct, which for the most part I strongly contest, they are all irrelevant to the legality of carrying out military obligations overseas under the National Service Act.
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Has Australia decided to (a) accept the Statute of the Hague Conference on Private International Law and (b) acceded to the Statute of the (Rome) International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (Hansard, 7th April 1970, page 782).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Government has not yet made a decision on either of these matters.
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
(a) 1st January 1967 - Bombing of Consu late-General in Sydney.
Records prior to 1966 do not reveal evidence of incidents, but further detailed research will be necessary to confirm this.
Austria - 23.11.66-22.5.70. Coat of Arms removed twice from Consulate-General in Melbourne. Apology made. Brazil- 10.2.70: Coat of Arms stolen from Embassy.
Apology made. 11.2.70: Property valued at $364 stolen from
Embassy but later recovered. Apology made. 12.2.70 and 15.2.70: Breaking and entering at Embassy. Nothing stolen. Apology made. Canada - 19.8.67: Breaking and entering at High wmmission. Apology made.
Chile- 15.2.70: Flag stolen and rope cut. Apology made. 9.4.70: Damage to Embassy from attempt to enter premises. Apology made.
Broken windows at Embassy, Apology made. Germany - 10.4.70: Threat to kidnap German Ambassador. Personal guard provided for . Ambassador. Guard withdrawn 20.4.70.
Indonesia - 14.2.70: Property valued at $220 stolen from Embassy, but later recovered. Apology made.
Italy- 26.7.68: Broken windows at Embassy. Apology made. 17.10.69: Safe containing passports, seals and other documents stolen from Consulate in Brisbane. Apology made. 7.4.70: Breaking and entering at Consulate in Brisbane. Apology made.
Ja pun - 8.2.70: Imperial- crest and name plate stolen from Embassy. Apology made.
Mexico- 15.2.70: Flag stolen and rope cut at Embassy. Apology made. Peru - 6.1.67: Peruvian Legation building defaced. Apology made.
Poland- 2I.S.68: Demonstrations at Consulate-General, Sydney. Ten people arrested and charged wilh trespassing. Apology made.
S.2.70: Flag stolen from High Commission. Apology made. South Africa - 12.3.70. Flag stolen from Embassy. Apology made.
Spain- 15.2.69: Demonstration outside Consulate in Sydney. Flag burnt. Apology made. 8.2.70: Flay stolen at Embassy. Apology made. Thailand- 8.2.70: Flag halyard was cut. Apology made. United States of America - 18.8.68: Attempted arson at ConsulateGeneral in Melbourne. Apology made. 4.7.68 and 5.7.69: Broken glass panels at Consulate-General in Melbourne. Apology made. 2.3.70: Petrol bombs thrown at ConsulateGeneral in Melbourne. Apology made. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - 3.3.69: Hedge burnt at Embassy. Restoration of hedge by Government, and apology made. 17.4.69: Attempt to burn hedge: Apology made. 6.10.69: Damage done to driveway, lawns and shrubs. Restoration of damage made by Government and apology made. 16.10.69: Bomb exploded at Embassy. Restoration of damage made by Government and apology made. 17.1.71: Bomb exploded at Embassy. Apology made. Compensation will be considered should the Soviet Government ask for it. The Soviet Government has announced that it intends to do so. Vietnam - 4.7.69: A number of students found without lawful excuse in the Embassy building. Apology made. September 1970: Incident at Queensland University involving First Secretary (Information). Apology made. (3) (i) Over the last 10 years there have been burglaries or attempted burglaries of staff residences or chancery premises in many overseas missions and assaults or attempted assaults on some officers.
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
What progress has been made in training Papuans and New Guineans in the work of a foreign service.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Two indigenous officers of the Papua and New Guinea Administration attended the 1970 Foreign Service Training Course in Canberra. One of these officers went on to spend 3 months in New York as a member of the Australian Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. The question of further training is being examined.
International Labour Organisation Non-metropolitan Territories (Question No. 2352)
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 was the (A) type and (B) value of the assistance given in each of the last 5 years by (1) Australia, (2) Britain, (3) New Zealand and (4) The United States of America to each of their own and each other’s present or former possessions, protectorates and trust territories in the South Pacific.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The following tables set out aid flows (or in the case of Britain, all official flows) to the following states and territories of the region:
Papua - New Guinea
Fiji - independent (formerly a British Colony)
Tonga - Independent (formerly a’ British Protected State)
British Solomon Islands and Gilbert and Ellice Islands - British Territories
New Hebrides - A condominium administered by France and Britain
Niue and Tokelaus - New Zealand Territories
Cook Island - Self governing (New Zealand continues to be responsible for external affairs and defence)
Western Samoa - Independent (formerly a New Zealand Trust Territory)
American Samoa and Guam - American Territories
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands - administered by the United States of America under a Trusteeship agreement with the United Nations.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 7 April 1971, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1971/19710407_reps_27_hor72/>.