House of Representatives
7 September 1971

27th Parliament · 2nd Session

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

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- Mr Speaker, I desire to raise a matter of privilege. I refer to an article which appeared in the Sydney Daily Telegraph’ of Friday, 27th August 1971. This newspaper is published by Australian Consolidated Press Ltd. An extract from the article reads:

A group of ALP Parliamentarians walked out of the Chamber when the quorum was called, well knowing that their action could cause the collapse of the House of Representatives.

This is a deliberate untruth and it is a reflection on the Chair which, at the time in question, was occupied by Mr Lucock, as Deputy Speaker. I travelled to Sydney on the morning of Friday, 27th August, and Mr Lucock was on the same plane. During the wait for our luggage I showed him the article in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ and he stated that the extract that I have read could not be true because he always keeps a close eye on the members of the House to see that no member leaves the chamber when a quorum is called.

As you know, Mr Speaker, this procedure is covered by standing order 47 and is strictly carried out at all times by yourself, the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman. I realise that freedom of the Press is a fundamental principle of democracy and in addition, I know that journalists have to earn a living and that sometimes their reports are exaggerated or misleading in their endeavours to get a story across, but I believe that this House could never condone a deliberate untruth in a matter of this nature. Therefore I move:

Minister for National Development · Darling Downs · LP

Mr Speaker, as this is a matter of some importance to individual members, the Government has no objection to it being referred to the Committee of Privileges.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Means Test


– I present the following petition:

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

That due to higher living costs, including increasing charges for health services, most aged persons living on fixed incomes are suffering acute distress.

That Australia is the only English-speaking country in the world to retain a means test for aged pensioners and that a number of European countries also have no means test.

That today’s aged persons have paid at least 7i% of their taxable income towards social services since the absorption of Special Social Services Taxation in Income Tax and continue to make such payments. (71% of all taxable incomes for 1966-67 amounted to $783,082,130 and this year will produce more than $800,000,000, more than sufficient to abolish the means test immediately.)

That the middle income group, the most heavily-taxed sector of the community, subsidises the tax commitment of the upper income bracket through the amount of social services con:ributions collected by the government and not spent on the purposes for which they were imposed.

That the abolition of the means test will give a boost to the economy by -

additional tax revenue from pensions,

swelling of the work force, and

increased spending by pensioners.

That it is considered just and right to allow people who have been frugal, have lived their lives with dignity and have been anything but an encumbrance on the nation, to maintain that dignity to the end of their lives free from . fear of penury.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to abolish the means test for all people who have reached retiring age or who otherwise qualify for social service benefits or pensioners.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.

Petition received and read.


-Order! Before I call for any further petitions I would suggest to the House that there is far too much audible undertone within the chamber. It is very difficult even from where I sit to hear the Clerk read a petition. Those honourable members who are interested in the proceedings of the House should be able to hear petitions being read. I ask for the cooperation of honourable members in this regard.



– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. Die humble petition of citizens of the Commonwealth respectfully sheweth - Whereas -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Increase in the maintenance allowance for students.

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

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

Petition received.

Chemical Agents of Warfare


– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of 11 electors of the Commonwealth of Australia respectfully showeth -

that the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2603 XXIV A (December 1969) declares that the Geneva Protocol of 192S, which Australia has ratified, prohibits the use in international armed conflict of any chemical agents of warfare - chemical substances whether gaseous, liquid or solid - employed for their direct toxic effects on man, animals or plants;

that the World Health Organisation Report (January 1970) confirms the above definition of chemical agents of warfare;

that the Australian Government does not accept this definition, but holds that the Geneva Protocol does not prevent the use in war of certain toxic chemical substances in the form of herbicides, defoliants and ‘riotcontrol’ agents.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray -

that the Parliament take note of the consensus of international political, scientific and humanitarian opinion; and

that honourable members urge upon the Government the desirability of revising its interpretation of the Geneva Protocol, and declaring that it regards all chemical substances employed for their toxic effect on man, animals or plants as being included in the prohibitions laid down by that Protocol.

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

Petition received.



-I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia respectfully showeth -

That the Sales Tax on all forms of Contraceptive Devices is 27i per cent (Sales Tax Exemptions and Classifications Act 1935-1967). Also that there is Customs Duty of up to 47i per cent on some Contraceptive Devices.

And that this is an unfair imposition on the human rights of all people who wish to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And furthermore that this imposition discriminates particularly against people on low incomes.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Sales Tax on all forms of Contraceptive Devices be removed, so as to bring these’ items into line with other necessities such as food, upon which there is no Sales Tax. Also that Customs Duties be removed, and that all Contraceptive Devices be placed on the National Health Scheme Pharmaceutical Benefits List.

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

Petition received and read.

Broadcasting and Television


– 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 showeth:

That the Australian people both in Metropolitan and Rural areas should have the best of television programmes available to them and that television as a powerful means of communication should not be in the control of too few hands.

The increased quota for Australian dramatic productions should not be imposed by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board at the expense of Australian professional variety or Australian documentary or educational programmes, but directed more towards cutting down expenditure on the purchase of imported productions, thus effecting a considerable saving in Australia’s overseas balance of payments.

The Australian Parliament has a responsibility to encourage the development of our National identity, character and heritage and the promulgation, for the sake of our children, of an adequate picture of Australia, her standards, mores and way of life, particularly through the media of Radio and Television, which is in the immediate control of the Australian Government.

Until constructive and positive action is taken by the Australian Government to promote Australian culture and protect the employment and professional standards of Australian writers, artists and producers in Australia itself there is little likelihood of stopping the flow of Australian talent from Australia to other countries.

The Australian Broadcasting Control Board must insist that its new quota standards of Australian dramatic content on television are rigidly imposed and enforced on all commercial television stations.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives, in Parliament assembled, should -

Cause the Australian Government to recognize the right of Australian professional ‘people engaged in the. creative and performing arts to further develop their skills and talents in Australia, and to be protected from overseas programmes in a way that will encourage an Australian Television and Radio industry that can reflect and contribute to our identity and growth as a Nation.

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

Petition received and read.

Social Services


-I present the following petition:

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

The serious decline in social services has intensified the hardships faced by pensioners and familieson lower incomes.

Therefore as a matter of urgency the Commonwealth Government should immediately allocate extra finance to social services.

The petition of the undersigned urges your Government to increase immediately

Pensions - by $5.00 per week.

Child Endowment - to $3.60 per week per child.

Maternity Allowance - to at least $117 for each child born.

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

Petition received and read.

Australian Capital Territory Pharmacy Ordinance


– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assem bled. The humble petition of citizens of the Division of the Australian Capital Territory respectfully showeth

That the Australian Capital Territory Pharmacy Ordinances 1931-1959 Section 46, Sub-section (1) states that ‘A person shall not publish any statement, whether by way of advertisement or otherwise, to promote the sale of any article as a medicine, instrument or appliance . . . for preventing conception’.

And that this infringes upon each individual’s right as a human being to all available information about contraceptive devices in order to help prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the words ‘or for preventing conception’ be deleted from Sub-section (1) of Section 46 of the Australian Capital Territory Pharmacy Ordinances.

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

Petition received.

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– I ask the Prime Minister a question. The right honourable gentleman will remember telling the House on 25 th August that he had not paid a visit to Papua New Guinea for some time. I ask him: Was his only visit to the Territory made on 15th January 1952 when, as Minister for the Navy, he stayed at Tarangau base, Manus Island, for a period of less than 24 hours? I also ask him when I may expect an answer from him to 2 questions about Papua New Guinea, one which he inherited from my putting it on the notice paper on 16th February and the other which I put on the notice paper on 17th of last month. They concern the dates and terms on which the Administrator was authorised to use the military forces of the Commonwealth and the dates on which the Prime Minister discussed the matter with his predecessor, who had become Minister for Defence, and on which the order was revoked.

Prime Minister · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– If the honourable gentleman had been cautious enough to obtain information from the Department of Air as well as from the Department of the Navy he would have found that I visited Papua New Guinea on several occasions and not one. But I will try to obtain the details for him if I can. He might like to know though that on every occasion that I went, I went there for a constructive purpose and not to do harm. For example, I went there on one occasion to re-establish HMAS Tarangau’ and to try to rescue it from the swamps and the growth of the jungle.

Mr Uren:

– How long ago was that?


– It was about 1952, but nonetheless it was done. I went to Papua New Guinea on several occasions as Minister for Air, flying in a VIP aircraft, which in those days was most unusual. I do not know whether I can get the actual dates, but I will try. I will even try to get evidence from the former Secretaries of the Department and those people who flew me.

Mr Charles Jones:

– As Minister for Air?


– As Minister for Air. Mr Charles Jones - What year?


– About 1951-52. All I am doing is correcting the misunderstanding in the mind of the Leader of the Opposition because obviously he is trying to create some political mischief.

The second part of the honourable gentleman’s question relates to the 2 questions that have been on the notice paper for some time. Within the course of the last 24 hours I have asked my Department to clear up any questions on the notice paper related to me or my Department. One I specifically referred to was the question that the honourable gentleman has mentioned I think he must know that he has so many questions on the notice paper that most departments will now require additional employees to cater to his specific needs, I think he has well over 450 questions on the notice paper. I have not added them up myself, but if he is very good at figures he can perhaps do so and let me know the answer.

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– I address a question to the Prime Minister concerning the decision of the High Court of Australia in the concrete pipes case. Having regard to the consequences of the decision, can the right honourable gentleman indicate what action the Government proposes to take?


– The decision in the concrete pipes case was a momentous decision in that it extended what was previously thought to be a limitation on the Commonwealth’s power under the Commonwealth Constitution Act. 1 have said, and so has my colleague, the Attorney-General, that we welcome the decision and that we are putting it under immediate study. Yesterday I had a long discussion with the AttorneyGeneral after he had discussed the problem with the Crown Law officer’s. Today the Cabinet met on a submission presented by him and discussed not only the immediate problem but the long term problem as well.

As to the immediate problem, that is the one of the viability of the law, as it then existed, relating to restrictive trade practices, we will shortly be presenting to the House a Bill relating to trade practices to ensure that the provisions as they existed remain viable. I am informed by the Crown Law authorities that over 99 per cent of the cases referred to the Commissioner of Trade Practices relate to corporations, and consequently the new Bill will be able to cover those cases completely. But we have a much more basic and, I think, important objective. That is to strengthen quickly the provisions of the restrictive trade practices legislation in order to strengthen competitive influences within Australia. I was informed today that the essential documentation is very nearly completed and, as soon as it is, it will be submitted to the relevant official for discussion. In time it will be embodied in a Cabinet submission and finally presented to the House.

I want to warn the House of this: I am informed that it is a most complex and lengthy problem that has to be handled. I cannot promise the House that it will be a matter of days or even weeks before the substantive reformed legislation is introduced. However, I have given instructions not only to the Crown Law Office and to the Attorney but also to the Parliamentary Legislation and Programming Committee that this matter is to be given priority and that I want the Bill presented to the House just as soon as it can be done. My colleague, the AttorneyGeneral, will shortly be making a statement about this matter in the Senate. When he does so I am hopeful that his representative in this chamber will make a statement simultaneously.

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– I ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether he has seen a statement in the week-end Press attributed to his former leader, Sir John McEwen, and reading as follows:

By a combination of good judgment, good luck and the character of my farm, I decided 8 years ago to get right out of sheep and right into beef cattle. This is obviously a very happy decision to have made.

I ask: Was Sir John McEwen initiating a Country Party sponsored scheme of rural reconstruction by getting out of wool and into beef cattle? Did the Country Party 3 years ago actively encourage farmers to switch from wool to more profitable rural commodities in this way? Are most Australian wool growers now grateful for the example given by the Country Party leadership?

Deputy Prime Minister · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– I have not seen the week-end Press article, but I could well imagine my former leader making such a statement. He had moved out of dairying and wool growing into cattle raising in which he had a very great interest. But he also had pretty sound judgments as to what was the soundest form of farming that he should undertake on his property. That was a personal judgment. He was not pronouncing any County Party policy on diversification away from wool growing. Indeed, anybody who could have foreseen 8 years ago what has happened to the wool industry in the last 12 months or 18 months would be a miracle man. It is all right for the Deputy Leader of the Opposition with hindsight to say that the Government should be doing this or that. But nobody could foresee the disastrous and serious circumstances that the wool industry is in today. I really do not think that the honourable member’s question has a great deal of substance to it. My predecessor had every right to make decisions which were in his own personal interests.

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– My question is addressed to the Treasurer and it relates to sewers. The honourable gentleman will be aware that he, like his predecessors in office, has extended his benevolence by way of income tax concessions to those householders whose premises are sewered by pipes provided by local authorities but not to those who have the misfortune of having to pay contractors employed by local authorities for what are termed tanker services. Is the Treasurer aware that this provision imposes a very substantial financial burden upon tens of thousands of young people in outer suburban areas, particularly in parts of Sydney where rocky soil is not amenable to the construction of septic tanks? Would the honourable gentleman give a philosophical disquisition on trie, nice distinction between those meritorious citizens whose premises are sewered by pipes and those unworthy citizens whose homes are serviced by tankers?

Treasurer · BRUCE, VICTORIA · LP

– Question time is not a time for philosophical dissertations. I have listened to the honourable gentleman’s question and I will examine it. However, I would not want him to believe that, because I am willing to examine his question, any decision made will necessarily be the one he wants. I will communicate with him when I have examined the question.

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– I ask the Treasurer a question. Has there been an upward revaluation of the Australian dollar since the current international currency crisis began? If so, what is the extent of the revaluation and its effects on our principal trading partners? Will the Treasurer give an assurance that primary and secondary industries struggling to achieve overseas sales will not be permanently burdened with a revaluation in either direction which will disadvantage our export industries? Finally, will the Treasurer make arrangements to prepare a White Paper which will set out for all Australians the pros and cons of a revaluation in either direction?


– The honourable gentleman has asked me to provide him with information which would take a considerable time to give. Therefore, I do not propose to answer the question at any great length. The essential points are these: The President of the United States of America made a statement, the result of which has caused some uncertainty in the world exchange market and as to parities between countries. The second point is that when an individual country finds that other countries through their exchange movements move away from it, it is not possible for that country to remain static relatively. This is because other countries have moved away from it and therefore that country cannot be static.

We were aware of the situation that looked as though it would be some considerable time before the parities of the world currencies settled down. Therefore, we were determined that we would take no long term action which would commit us into the future until we knew all the circumstances which we needed to know before we took a decision.

However, having regard to the fact that no country can remain static it was necessary for us to take a short term, interim decision. After close examination we came to the conclusion that what we ought to do is to retain our parity with sterling. Sterling, by a decision of the United Kingdom Government, had been allowed to what is called ‘float’ on the market. We stayed with that currency. The result has been that sterling relative to the dollar has appreciated somewhere between 2 per cent and 3 per cent. It follows, therefore, that the Australian currency has appreciated with sterling to the same extent. Also, there has been a corresponding movement of the Australian currency with those currencies which have not moved. At this stage the position is not greatly changed. This has been described as a crisis and one tends to think of a crisis as drawing to a point and then having something happen but this should more properly be described as a plateau.

I do not diminish the seriousness of it but just illustrate the time frame. The time frame is continuing. For our part we hope we will be able to maintain our interim decision so that when the time comes we will take a long term decision and as information comes to us and as the situation clarifies we shall be able to take that decision. The final point I wish to make is that the relationship of one country to another in an exchange sense is vital to its economic and trading interests and when we do take our decision we will, as the Prime Minister said in his statement, take a decision that is in the best interests of the country’s economy and the welfare of its people.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Has he read reports that the Western Australian State Shipping Service is considering taking its ships off the Darwin run later this year? I also draw his attention to the threatened tie-up of all Australian National Line ships except a few serving Tasmania which do not include the ‘Darwin Trader’. Can the Minister advise the House- what effect these actions will have on the cost of living in the Northern Territory and will he make all possible efforts to keep these costs down?

Minister for Shipping and Transport · GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · CP

– Dealing first with that part of the honourable member’s question regarding the Western Australian State Shipping Service, the Commonwealth Government did consider a submission made to it by the Western Australian Government to subsidise the service from Perth to Darwin by something like $400,000 a year and also gave consideration to assisting the Western Australian ‘ Government in purchasing a fourth ship for the Darwin run at a cost of about $2.5m. The Prime Minister wrote to the Premier informing him that the Commonwealth was unable to agree to these 2 propositions mainly because the Commonwealth felt that the State had been well served at the time of the last Premiers Conference in terms of loans, grants and the reimbursement programme, and that the State Government, having in mind the S7m worth of trade from the manufacturing industries of Western Australia going out of Perth to Darwin, ought well to be able to finance and see reason for financing the service from Perth. That is the situation at present.

Insofar as costs are concerned I imagine, although no studies have been done on this, that Darwin may. well be able to obtain comparable goods at equal or even lesser cost either from the eastern coast or perhaps from overseas. So far as the ‘Darwin Trader’ is concerned, I regret to say that along with 26 or 27 other Australian National Line ships she will be tied up following the action of the Professional Radio Employees Institute. The House will recall that the week before last I informed honourable members that the President of the

Australian Council of Trade Unions, myself and the maritime unions involved met the Professional Radio Employees Institute on this question, and the ACTU and the maritime unions accepted that there was no safety issue involved in the sailing of the ‘Echuca’, which was the basis of the dispute. The ACTU carried a resolution instructing the other maritime unions that they were free to sail all ANL ships as well as the ‘Echuca’. Unfortunately the Professional Radio Employees Institute has not accepted the resolution passed by the ACTU and has called its operators out on strike. I feel somewhat disappointed at Mr Hawke’s inability to bring his affiliated union under control in the circumstances.

When the House comes to order I will continue. It has to be remembered, of course, that on that occasion he did, as I put it to the Leader of the Opposition, come charging in on his galloper like the great white knight to settle the dispute and he failed so to do. I did try to get in touch with Mr Hawke last night when I learned that the ban was going to be reimposed by the PREI. But I found that unfortunately he was not available. He was somewhere in New Guinea and there was no point of contact that I could make with him. In the meantime, however, my Department along with the Department of Labour and National Service had discussions with the Australian National Line this morning. The Australian National Line is going back to Mr Justice Franki, where this matter all began, to seek a compulsory conference of the parties to the dispute.

Insofar as costs are concerned, I believe that Darwin will suffer if the ‘Darwin Trader’ is tied up; so also will many industries around the coast of Australia as well as our trade to Japan. Whilst the PREI has exempted the ‘Alunga’ and, T think, the ship on the container run to the United Kingdom, it has not exempted the ship running to Japan. So not only will the coastal industries and bulk trade be affected but also our exports to Japan. 1 think that the action of the PREI is to be deplored. I am disappointed that Mr Hawke was unable to settle the dispute. He is the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. One would think that the small affiliated unions of this nature could be brought under control.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service and it refers to compulsion, a subject that has been raised consistently in this House. Is it not a fact that in all of the Government’s rural legislation that provides for levies to support research, promotion and marketing, such levies become compulsory for all producers in the applicable industry regardless of the conscience and that severe penalties are provided for those who do not pay? If it is true that such is the case, can the Minister explain to the House where in substance this policy differs from the trade union policy of compulsory unionism or preference to unionists?

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

– In the first place the matter to which the honourable gentleman directs attention would be more properly directed to my colleague the Minister for Primary Industry. In relation to that part of the question I will consult with my colleague and provide the honourable gentleman with an answer in writing. Tn terms of the parallel which the honourable gentleman draws, it is news to me that it is the official policy of the Australian Labor Party to support compulsory unionism, if that is what the honourable gentleman is referring to. I am sure that the House would be very interested indeed to hear what the policy of the Opposition is on the subject of compulsory unionism, an issue which is of increasing concern to the Australian people.

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– Has the Minister for Education and Science seen reports of a statement by Mr Hudson, the South Australian Minister of Education, relating to an increase in educational allowances as against taxable income? Does he regard the statement as being complete, or is it an attempt to cover up the parsimonious payments to private schools by the South Australian Government, which so rightly concern one or two honourable members opposite?

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

-The South Australian Minister of Education sent me a copy of a long Press statement which he made, the only purpose of which was to attack the education allowances provided by the Commonwealth in the recent Budget. The statement is not complete. The South Australian Minister tried to make out the case that the allowances affected only one section of the community and were biased in favour of wealthier sections of the community. There is one point that should be noted and which should not be ignored: Those on the higher incomes are paying taxation at a much higher rate than those on lower incomes. This fact is relevant to any rational discussion of the matter. The other point, and a much more important one perhaps, of which the South Australian Minister took no note that I can recall, is that those allowances are of specific advantage to people in remote country areas whose only prospect of giving their children the kind of education they would like to give them is to send them to boarding schools. If people in country areas, especially those in the wool growing areas at the moment, are regarded by the Opposition as being amongst the most affluent people in the Australian community, that certainly would not be the view on the Government side of the House.

The honourable member for Angas referred to the support given by the South Australian Government to independent schools. I am glad to see that since last week the South Australian Government has provided an additional amount - $150,000 only, but at least it was an addition - to support for independent education in the primary area. South Australia comes about average amongst the States in support of education in the primary area. But when we look at the secondary area of education, which of course is a very expensive one, the South Australian Government provides much less than any other State or Territory.

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– I ask the Minister for Imigration: Did the Government refuse visas to East German contestants for political reasons and so deprive Australia of the right to see the 1966 world pentathlon championships? Did a similar decision deprive Australia of the world table tennis championships in 1967 for political reas ons? Will a similar policy be applied to refuse entry to international cricket teams which are selected racially because of political decrees and not according to merit?

Minister for Immigration · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– The earlier decisions to which the honourable gentleman referred were not made in the period of my administration. I will examine the facts and advise him as to precisely what happened. But it is the general policy of the Government and my Department to provide visas for sporting teams to come to this country. If any exception is to be made to this policy the case is looked at by the Government on its merits and a decision is made.

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– Has the Minister for Customs and Excise seen reports that commercial television stations have refused 2 advertisements on the dangers of smoking prepared by the Victorian Anti-Cancer Council? Will the Minister consider arranging additional screenings of these educational films on Australian Broadcasting Commission television stations as part of the programme on the dangers of drugs of addiction?

Minister for Customs and Excise · HOTHAM, VICTORIA · LP

– The honourable member’s question contains material which relates really to the portfolios of 2 of my colleagues - the Minister for Health and the Postmaster-General. That part of the question which affects me affects that aspect of drug education which the Minister for Health and myself administer jointly on behalf of the Government and for which the Government has hypothecated $500,000 this year for a national education campaign. I have seen the reports to which the honourable gentleman refers and formed my own very strong personal opinions about them. I think that anyone would now express little doubt that cigarette smoking is a dangerous health hazard. If we are discussing dangerous drugs of addiction I think one must concede that one of the present drugs of addiction which are causing damage in Western society certainly would be tobacco as used in cigarette smoking.

As I understand it, from memory, the figures released by the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria showed that 3,167 Australians died last year of lung cancer, 96 per cent of whom were heavy cigarette smokers. Expenditure of the $500,000 which has been given for education relates mainly to those drugs which are denned by the Single Convention of the United Nations as narcotics and other dangerous drugs and is, as I said before, administered by my colleague the Minister for Health and myself. I will confer with him to see whether attention or consideration could be given to including cigarette smoking in this campaign.

Might I say, in conclusion, that while we are hopeful that the expenditure of $500,000 will result in young people being dissuaded from taking dangerous drugs and parents being awakened to the dangers of drug abuse, the real answer does not lie. in a national education programme; it lies in the consciousness of parents of the need to educate their children on the dangers of smoking and of taking other dangerous drugs.

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– I ask the Minister for Social Services a question. Did the honourable gentleman raise the matter of national superannuation at the Federal Council of the Liberal Party on 31st May, and did the Prime Minister describe his remarks to the Council, in his presence, as a ‘most blatant’ breach of Cabinet secrecy?

Mr McMahon - No. (Opposition members interjecting).


– Well, the Minister knows how to answer that one.


-Order! 1 suggest that the Leader of the Opposition does not want any assistance at this stage, and I suggest that the question should be asked.


– I ask the Minister: Did he subsequently, on 2nd July, tell the Queensland Council on the Ageing that a national superannuation scheme was ready for adoption, and on 24th August advocate in this House presentation of a national superannuation green paper? Will he continue to defy the Prime Minister, and has that right honourable gentleman ventured to rebuke him afresh?

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

– I can understand the honourable gentleman’s curiosity in these matters. It as inordinate in this as in other matters. However, I can assure him that what happened at the Federal Council of the Liberal Party is none of his concern. I can assure him that he has quoted not accurately, but not terribly inaccurately, what I said in Queensland, which is a matter of public record. If he wants to know what I said in this House he might well refresh his memory by having a look at Hansard which in this as in other matters is almost invariably accurate.

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– I ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry: Have Australian meat interests considerable quantities of beef on the water to the United States of America? Is there a threatened longshoremen’s strike in that country? Will this seriously affect our sales to the United States, and will the meat at present on board ship be unloaded at its destination?


– A considerable quantity of Australian meat is on the water, although 1 believe that actual exports during the past week have tended to taper off mainly because of the uncertainty of a strike in the United States ports on the Gulf of Mexico and in the United States ports bordering the Atlantic Ocean. For the past two or three months the Australian Meat Board has been encouraging exporters to export as much meat as possible so that we can fill our quota. The threat of a strike on both the West Coast and the East Coast of the United States could prevent us from doing that. A strike of longshoremen on the West Coast has been in progress since about the beginning of July, and it was only recently that negotiations commenced to try to settle it. We are hopeful that the strike might end shortly. But at the present time our meat is going to the ports on the East Coast of the United States. The present contract expires on 30th September, and unless a settlement is reached the strike could spread which then would prevent any further meat shipments to the United States. If there is meat on the water it could be diverted into Canadian ports, such as Halifax or St Johns, in the same way as we have diverted to Vancouver some shipments to the West Coast of the United States. But I think that the situation is well under control. We will try to see that we fill our quota and not have any meat which does not get on to the market.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry and it concerns the $60m which is required to build up the price of wool to 36c per lb, and the very serious economic circumstances of country towns and the large number of unemployed in those areas. Will the Minister inform the House whether the Government intends to take steps to ensure that when the subsidy is paid to the wool brokers, it is not held by them to reduce the wool growers’ debts to the brokers as this would leave little or no money for the growers to pay shire rates and country business houses, thereby relieving unemployment in country areas?

Minister for Primary Industry · NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– The objective of the 36c per lb price support scheme for the wool industry is to ensure that wool growers’ incomes over the next 12 months will be lifted to a point which will enable them reasonably to work out their future in relation to wool trends and opportunities which might be available for diversification or perhaps to move out of the industry should that be their desire. As to the allocation of the funds the intention is that the money should be paid to the wool grower’s account. It is true that the funds will be administered both through the wool brokers and through private wool buyers. The Government does not intrude on the private operations of business between wool brokers, the buyers and their clients but it is intended that the funds should be paid to the actual wool grower’s account. In some instances the funds may well be used by wool brokers to satisfy outstanding indebtedness with the wool brokers but in those circumstances it will be no different from the proceeds of the sale of wool. In the past the pattern of financing operations in the wool industry has been to a large degree a borrowing of funds for stock purchases from wool brokers on the understanding, and subject to a wool lien, that the loans would be repaid when the wool proceeds were received by the wool brokers. I would expect that in some instances this has meant that growers have had to borrow again from wool brokers. Where there is any retention of the funds by wool brokers or by others one would expect that the brokers will maintain at least the same level of credit for wool growers in the future as they have in the past.

page 810




– I ask the Minister for the Army a question. Will the Minister consider making a statement in the near future on the present strength, recruitment and organisation of the Citizen Military Forces so that the House may debate this subject?

Minister for the Army · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– A decision as to whether a statement ought to be made in this House does not rest unilaterally with me. This is a mater - particularly in regard to the Citizen Military Forces - for discussion by the Minister for Defence, the Leader of the House and me. I know that the honourable member is both interested in and concerned with the decline which has been apparent in the overall strength of the CMF over the last 3 years. The honourable member’s interest and concern are shared by me. I have visited various commands to try to confirm the reasons given by those at Army headquarters who are associated with the CMF. Generally speaking there are twin problems of recruitment and retention. I will not go into them in detail because the honourable member’s question is primarily related to whether a statement could be made in this House. I conclude by saying that when one talks about the CMF and one bears in mind what this Government has done for the CMF it must be remembered that it is the Citizen Military Forces and as such it requires assistance from those within the community, particularly employers. I have nothing further to say on this matter at this stage.

page 810




– My question is directed to the Minister for Education and Science. Is there any reason why the nongovernment schools component of the nation wide survey of educational needs has not been made public? Can the Minister now indicate what that survey indicated would be the additional needs of nongovernment schools over the 5-year period? Have the Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria replied to the request from the former Prime Minister for additional details regarding their priorities in respect of educational needs referred to in the nation wide survey?

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– These matters were largely taken into account on 2 occasions during the development of the new formula between the Commonwealth and the States on financial arrangements in 1970 and again in 1971 when the States were given access to a growth tax upon which at least one State - probably more - has already acted. The information available from the survey was taken into account on both of these occasions.

Mr Reynolds:

– Will you make it public? You did so about government schools, but what about the non-government ones?

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– I will be tabling fairly shortly the information concerning government schools in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. Most of the individual States have already tabled the information concerning government schools in their areas. The other matter which I am still examining concerns the position of the independent schools.

Mr Whitlam:

– Only 2 States have tabled the information.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– They have all expressed an intention to do so.


-Order! The honourable gentleman was asked one question; he now has a series of 3 questions.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

Mr Speaker, perhaps I can clarify the point. As I understand it, all States have expressed the intention of tabling matter in relation to government schools. However, that is the prerogative of the States and not of the Commonwealth. I will be tabling on behalf of the Government the information concerning government schools in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. I still have under consideration the situation with respect to independent schools.

page 811



- Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


-Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented.


– Yes. During the week’s recess 1 was misrepresented by the honourable member for Hume (Mr Pettitt) who issued a Press statement to at least a score of newspapers in New South Wales that I have been able to identify. In this statement as published - I have one specimen here - the honourable member for Hume misrepresented completely the proceedings of this House as they occurred on 17th August and my own statements on that occasion. As one example of the misrepresentation I refer to the ‘Advocate’ which was published in West Wyalong on 24th August. In that newspaper - this is the basis of the misrepresentation - the following appeared:

The member for Hume, Mr Pettitt, said in Canberra on Thursday that the member for Riverina, Mr A. Grassby, apparently had completely reversed his opinion about trade union activity In politics.

Mr Pettitt said that on August 6 the member for Riverina was reported as having told a student audience in Sydney-

Here he quotes from I. am not sure where -

The great reforms sprang from reforming governments, not striking unions’.

Then the honourable member for Hume said:

The Minister for Labour and National Service, Mr Lynch, reminded Mr Grassby of this at question time in the House on August 17.

Mr Lynch said: ‘Of course, the honourable member would not want to be- reminded of the statement he made’.

Mr Pettitt said the Minister’s forecast proved correct.

Then he said:

His two statements are incompatible - he cannot have it both ways.

Mr Speaker, the honourable member for Hume has extrapolated a series of statements in which he has indicated that I said one thing in Sydney at the University of Macquarie and another in the House of Representatives. I think the record speaks for itself. However, I should draw attention to it. The Minister for Labour and National

Service (Mr Lynch) on 17th August in replying to the honourable member for Wentworth (Mr Bury) said:

  1. . one of the extreme examples of excess of union power in Australia.

I interjected:

That is an attack on Broken Hill.

The Minister said:

I might say to the honourable member for Riverina, who himself has recently also drawn attention to those excesses by public statement-

And he continued. I did correct this.

Government supporters - Oh, come on.


-Order! The honourable member for Riverina is quite in order.


– I corrected the inference as can be seen from Page IS of Hansard of 17th August. I will not weary the House by repeating what I said. I also corrected a statement that was implied by the honourable member for Ballaarat (Mr Erwin). At this stage I point out in relation to my original statement that 1 said exactly the same thing on both occasions. I think it was a dishonest exercise to assume that I had said something differently. In about 4 lines I would like to place on record exactly what I said.


-Order! The honourable member will explain where he has been misrepresented.


– I have been misrepresented.


– I think you have done a fairly good job of explaining it, too.


– In that case, accepting your indulgence, Mr Speaker, may I summate in this way: This is the second occasion on which I have been misrepresented by the honourable member for Hume. On the previous occasion he suggested that I was not a friend of the farmer organisations. . . .


-Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. Hansard will disregard the remarks he has made since I asked him to resume his seat.

page 812


Treasurer · Bruce · LP

– I present the following paper:

Taxation Statistics 1969-70, dated 1st September 1971, supplement to the Forty-ninth Report ot the Commissioner of Taxation.

Ordered that the paper be printed.


-Order! Earlier today a number of honourable members hinted to me that they could not hear what was being said in the chamber. I want to say that it is their own fault if they cannot hear. On previous occasions I have asked honourable members to assist the Chair and other honourable members by speaking if they have to speak, as quietly as possible. At the moment the conversation is far too audible for the best interests of the House.

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Minister for Primary Industry · New England · CP

– For the information of honourable members, I present an interim statement on the activities of the Australian Egg Board for the year ended 30th June 1971. When the final report is available it will be presented in accordance with statutory requirements.

page 812


Minister for Primary Industry · New England · CP

– For the information of honourable members, I present the interim report of the Australian Wool Commission for the period 4th November 1970 to 30th June 1971. When the final report is available, I shall table it in accordance with statutory requirements.

page 812


Minister for Primary Industry · New England · CP

– Pursuant to section 28 of the Dried Fruits Export Control Act 1924-1966, I present the forty-seventh annual report of the Australian Dried Fruits Control Board for the year ended 30th June 1971.

page 812


Minister for Primary Industry · New England · CP

– For the information of honourable members, I present the interim annual report of the Australian Honey Board for the year ended 30th June 1971. When the final report is available I shall present it in accordance with statutory requirements.

page 812


Mr Malcolm Fraser:
Minister for Education · WANNON, VICTORIA · LP

– Pursuant to section 30 of the Canberra College of

Advanced Education Act 1967-1970, I present the report of the Council of the Canberra College of Advanced Education for the year ended 31st December 1970.

page 813


Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– Pursuant to section 33 of the Australian National University Act 1946-1971, I present the report of the Council of the Australian National University for the year ended 31st December 1970.

page 813


Mr BARNES (McPherson - Minister for

External Territories) - For the information of honourable members, I present the following papers:

Accelerated Localisation and Training’, issued under the Authority of the Papua New Guinea Public Service Board on 30th August 1971.

The Future Security of Permanent Overseas Officers of the Public Service’, issued under my authority on 30th August 1971.

Mr Speaker, these papers have already been presented to the Papua New Guinea House of Assembly on 30th August 1971.

page 813


Minister for the Interior · Gwydir · CP

– For the information of honourable members. I present the annual report of the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology for the year ended 30th June 1971.

page 813



Reports on Items

Minister for Trade and Industry · Richmond · CP

Mr Speaker, I present the reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects:

Knitted Shirts and Outergarments;

Woven Shirts, etc.

Ordered that the reports be printed.


Mr Speaker, I ask leave of the House to make a statement in connection with these reports.


– There being no objection, leave is granted.


– These reports are in response to references to the Tariff Board following the adoption by the Government in 1967, 1968 and 1969 of recommendations by the Special Advisory Authority for temporary protection of some of these goods. The temporary protection took the form of quantitative restrictions on imports of certain knitted shirts and outergarments, and temporary duties on certain woven shirts. In the present reports the Tariff Board has recommended the removal of that temporary protection, and generally lower levels of duty on both knitwear and woven shirts than existed before the temporary protection was imposed. In order to give the industries time to adjust to the recommended rates of duty, interim protection has been recommended by the Board. In the case of knitted goods the recommended long term duties of 45 per cent (general) were to be supported by alternative assistance of $1.30 per lb (general) until December 1973. On woven shirts the Board recommended that in addition to a general rate of 40 per cent, there should be short term duties of $1.50 per dozen shirts until December 1973. The Board also recommended that for a 3year period local weavers, who supply up to 20 per cent of demand for man-made fibre shirting, should be assisted by a bounty of 20c per square yard, with limitation on total payment of $300,000 per annum. Concurrently with this bounty, the Board recommended that provision should be made for a by-law concession which would allow man-made fibre shirting to be admitted duty free.

The Tariff Board’s view is that there is both scope and need for rationalisation and reorganisation of these two industries. It indicated that for both these industries the duties recommended were not intended to support the present level of production. The Government has accepted the Tariff Board’s conclusion on the need for reorganisation and rationalisation in these two industries and, having regard to negotiations which will be referred to later, also as to the level of protection recommended in the longer term. Furthermore, since these are substantial industries involving significant employment and activity in many areas throughout the country, the Government also endorses as the Board has done the concept of interim arrangements to ensure an orderly and successful transition to the new basis. It has been noted that the problem of an established textile industry being unable to compete against low cost countries is not unique to Australia. A high proportion of western countries has found it necessary to impose quota restrictions or to negotiate voluntary restraints with Asian countries to manage a sharing of their internal markets between imports and domestic production. It is not within the terms of reference or the responsibility of the Tariff Board to take up the possibility of such arrangements between countries and the report does not therefore bring them under reference. But having regard to the particular circumstances of this case and to the approaches which have been followed in other countries, the Government has felt that this alternative also should be explored as one of the possible means of moving to the longer term position which the Board has recommended.

In taking up and tabling the Board’s report, the Government therefore decided on the following courses of action:

  1. For knitted shirts and outergarments quantitative restrictions should be applied for a period of up to 18 months at the licensing levels originally recommended by the Special Advisory Authority. These are 60 per cent of the import level for the year ended March 1969 for knitted shirts and 100 per cent of the import level for the year ended 30th June 1967 for knitted outer garments. The current rates of duty will continue to apply during this period to all knitwear covered by the report of the Tariff Board.
  2. For those woven shirts on which the Special Advisory Authority had previously recommended additional duties these duties will be reapplied for a period of up to 18 months. The current rates of duty on other woven shirts covered by the Tariff Board’s report will also continue to operate for this period.

Meanwhile the Government proposes to initiate negotiations with those lowcost countries which are the major suppliers of the products covered by these reports.

These negotiations will be aimed at arriving at mutually acceptable arrangements which will allow these countries both reasonable access and growth prospects for their exports but also enable the more efficient sectors of the Australian woven shirts and knitted outer garments industries to continue to operate on a viable basis. These negotiations are to be conducted in the general oversight of Ministers and will of course be considered by the Government before any final decision is taken.

In summary, the Government has decided that in order to achieve an orderly transition to the basis which the Tariff Board recommends, the levels of protection which have applied in recent years should be maintained for a further period of up to 18 months, during which period it will initiate negotiations for voluntary restraint arrangements with the principal lowcost supplying countries. This is on the basis that the industries concerned will be expected within this period to take steps to adjust to the increased import competition which will follow the transitional period and the Government’s intention to reach a situation where the longer term levels of protection recommended by the Tariff Board can be phased in without disruption to the more efficient sectors of the industries concerned. My colleague, the Minister for Customs and Excise, will formally introduce the Customs Tariff Proposal to formulate the necessary legislation. I represent the following paper:

Reports by the Tariff Board on knitted shirts and outergarments and woven shirts, etc - Ministerial Statement, 7th September 1971.

Motion (by Mr Swartz) proposed:

That the House take note of the paper.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.

page 814


Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP

– I move:

The customs tariff proposals which 1 have just tabled relate to a proposed amendment to the Customs Tariff 1966-1971. My colleague the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) earlier this afternoon gave honourable members details of the Government’s decision in relation to the Tariff Board’s reports on knitted outer garments and shirts. I shall not traverse the same ground except to say that this proposal will restore the effective level of import duties to that applying at 18th August 1971, that is, the date before the temporary duties on certain woven shirts lapsed. In addition, import restrictions on knitted coats, jumpers, cardigans, sweaters and the like and men’s and boys’ knitted shirts will be reintroduced from tomorrow 8th September on the same bases as those applying previously. These measures constitute holding action for a period up to 18 months. As indicated by my colleague, the Government expects other tariff changes could well be introduced before the expiry of the 18 months. I commend the proposals.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.

page 815


Ministerial Statement

Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP

– by leave - I wish to inform the Parliament of certain decisions that have been taken by the Government concerning its policy regarding the use of crude oil found in Australia. The Government’s policy was stated by the then Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton), in this House on 10th October 1968. In brief, this policy sought to ensure that indigenous crude oil would be refined and used in Australia. For this reason, it was determined that for a period of 10 years from September 1970 an obligation was placed on refiners to use Australian crude oil to the maximum possible extent to provide the requirements of the Australian market for refined petroleum products. The policy also provided a guaranteed price to the producers for the first 5 years of this period - a price equivalent to the weighted average import parity price on the 10th October 1968 with an allowance, among other things, for the special quality of this oil.

To assist honourable member in understanding the terminology in this statement, may I briefly - in general terms - define the parties involved. ‘Producers’ are those companies which own and extract the raw material from the oil fields. ‘Refiners’ are those companies which refine Australian and imported crude oil into petroleum products and market these products. ‘Mar keters’ are those companies who do not engage in refining crude oil themselves, but which purchase petroleum products from refiners in Australia and/or overseas and market the refined products in Australia.

There is no restriction on the importation of refined petroleum products by either refiners or marketers. However, consistent with its policy, the Government determined that marketers of imported petrol should accept the same obligation as refiners and take a proportion of indigenous crude. To that end Australian crude oil is allocated amongst both refiners and marketers according to a formula based on the relative sales of certain refined products. As the import parity price was a weighted average, it necessarily followed that it was a higher price, to some companies, than the price of the crude ‘ they had been importing. At the present time, of course, because of significant increases in crude oil prices overseas, the determined price for indigenous crude is less than if similar oil were purchased overseas.

Since October 1968, the production of indigenous crude has increased to the point where it now supplies approximately 65 per cent of Australia’s crude oil requirements. This represents an immediate saving to Australia in the current year of approximately $230m in foreign exchange payments. However, because of difficulties being encountered by some refiners in using crude oil for which their refineries were not originally designed, the Government at the request of the industry, agreed that some exports of crude oil may be permitted to meet short term problems of individual refiners provided: (a) Refiners have in existence capacity to process crude oil up to their normal marketing requirements, or firm plans to install such capacity; (b) refiners ensure a reasonable balance between exports of indigenous crude and imports of crude oil, with no reduction in the company’s refinery activities in Australia; and (c) they are willing to disclose the terms upon which such exports will be made.

The industry has been informed that, exports in general would be restricted to 20 per cent of the allocation of crude oil required to be taken up by either refiners or marketers. Provision was also made that, in exceptional circumstances, the

Government would be prepared to consider an approach by any company to have this limit varied. Consistent with this policy 5 companies have been permitted to export a proportion of their allocation. The exports to date amount to approximately 2 per cent of total indigenous production. In each of these cases, the Government had accepted that the companies concerned were having difficulties because of the different type of oil normally used pending a realignment of their refining facilities. Refiners are investing significant amounts of money to readjust their refineries to cope with Australian oil.

Recently .2 marketers of petrol, who do not have refinery facilities in Australia, sought permission of the Government to export the whole of their allocation of indigenous crude oil. They were again informed of the Government’s policy, as outlined above, and were asked to negotiate with local refiners to have their allocation of indigenous crude oil refined in Australia. However, they, were also informed that, if either existing or proposed refining arrangements were not mutually acceptable, the Government would again reconsider the applications. To this end, the Government indicated that it was prepared to call upon an independent arbiter to determine whether the arrangements proposed by the refining companies were equitable. In the event, agreement has not been reached and, at the request of the Government, Sir Leslie Melville, K.B.E., has undertaken to advise the Government as an arbiter. Sir Leslie will be assisted by Mr T. A. Webb, a consulting engineer, who has had long and varied experience in the oil refining industry.

On the receipt of the Arbiter’s advice, the Government will reconsider these applications. I turn now to the subject of dumping. Recently, several oil companies approached the Government alleging that petroleum products from some countries were being dumped in Australia in contravention of the Customs Tariff (Dumping and Subsidies) Act. It is a fact that in some countries refiners produce petroleum products in excess of those countries’ requirements. Consequently to dispose of this surplus there is compulsion to seek export markets and if necessary to supply them at low prices. I point out that the Government’s policy is that no Australian industry should suffer because of unfair trading practices by overseas exporters. In accordance with normal procedures, these allegations have been examined and, on the best information available to the Department of Customs and Excise, it would appear that dumping has taken place to an extent which may be causing not insubstantial injury - and I use here the precise term of the Act - to the refiners of petroleum products in Australia. Consequently, the industry has now been informed that, if petrol is exported 6n or after 31st August 1971, from certain countries, at a price lower than the normal values that have been assessed, dumping cash securities will be collected. However, companies have been invited to submit any evidence they may have if they consider the normal values assessed are not accurate with a view to a re-examination of this aspect.

In accordance with the normal procedure, if petroleum products are imported at lower than the normal value, the question will be examined by the Tariff Board in accordance with the terms of the Dumping and Subsidies Act. The Government is conscious of the complex nature of this industry with its many component parts and conflicting interests. The indigenous oil policy has been of great advantage to Australia. It has resulted in massive quantities of crude oil and natural gas being found in Australia. It has encouraged further research and exploration into finding new fields. It has insured that Australia will not simply be a ‘quarry’ from which the raw material is mined and taken out of Australia for processing. On the contrary it has stimulated significant investment and created much employment for Australians. It has insulated motorists against dramatic increases in oil prices which have taken place overseas. At the same time it has allowed free competition to function, in that persons other than established oil companies can import petroleum products and sell them on the Australian market.

The Government is conscious that its policy in this area not only affects the oil companies per se, but thousands of smaller business men and employees engaged in marketing and distribution. It would be unthinkable if the Government did not act in accordance with the law and its declared policies when alleged unfair practices are brought to its notice. The Government has done this in invoking the Customs Tariff (Dumping and Subsidies) Act. However, as I have said every opportunity will be given to importers if they wish the matter to be further reviewed. In the last resort the final decision can only be made after a report by the Tariff Board.

I present the following paper:

Indigenous Oil Policy - Ministerial Statement, 7 September 1971.

Motion (by Mr Swartz) proposed:

That (he House take note of the paper.


– The statement which has just been made by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) is completely unacceptable to the Opposition and should be completely unacceptable to this Parliament. It marks a material change in the Government’s policy in the oil industry. The policy of the exPrime Minister, given on 10th October 1968 without consultation with his Cabinet and without consultation with his confreres in the Government was, in the words cf the Minister, a policy which sought that indigenous crude oil would be refined and used in Australia.

The decisions that have just been announced by the Minister leave grave doubts in my mind and in the minds of members of the Opposition as to the manner and reasons for the decisions having been taken. We are not satisfied at ail that the Minister has given us all the information at his disposal. I know for certain that oil companies have been pressing this Government from as long ago as 18 months for a similar decision to the one that has just been announced. Those companies were having difficulties then in using the Australian indigenous crude oil and they told the Government so. No action was taken by the Government.

As short a time ago as 28th June this year the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon), who was then the Acting Minister for Trade and Industry, made a statement which read:

He announced that he had decided not to refer the question of emergency tariff protection on petroleum products to the Special Advisory Authority.

It continued:

In addition to the detailed data presented by Ampol Ltd’ said Mr Nixon, ‘confidential information was also obtained from importers and members of the petroleum industry. It was concluded that in the present circumstances a reference to the Special Advisory Authority would not be justified.’

Yet, on 2nd September, a matter of 4 days ago, the Minister who has just spoken released a Press statement headed ‘Dumping Information’. The statement reads:

A section of the Australian petroleum refining industry recently made application for antidumping action against imports of petrol.

Following inquiries, prima facie evidence of dumping has been established and dumping cash securities will be taken in respect of petrol exported to Australia on and after 31 August 1971 where export prices f.o.b. are less than tentative normal values.

Today we are told again by the Minister in his statement that as well as anti-dumping action the Government has granted permission for up to 20 per cent of the allocation of indigenous crude oil to the various companies to be exported and a greater percentage will be allowed under exceptional circumstances. Five companies have indigenous crude oil. However, those companies have not been named and they remain anonymous.

Two marketers have also sought permission to export the whole of their allocation of indigenous crude but. they have been refused. The marketers have been having great difficulty in getting their quota refined. The Minister for Customs and Excise, who is at the table, shook his head when I made the statement that marketers have bee a refused to export crude.

Mr Chipp:

– Twice it has gone to an arbiter.


– No it has not. It is going to the arbiter. The Minister said in his statement:

Recently two marketers of petrol, who do not have refinery facilities in Australia, sought permission of the Government to export the whole of their allocation of indigenous crude oil. They were again informed of the Government’s policy, as outlined above, and were asked to negotiate with local refineries to have their allocation of indigenous crude oil refined in Australia.

That is a refusal, Mr Minister. The Minister is giving them no protection at all. He is referring them to an arbiter. I will come to this later. The marketers are having great difficulty in getting their quota refined. This is the reason why the Minister has referred this matter to an independent arbiter.

We have seen another Gorton policy in tatters. I want you, Mr Speaker, to note carefully the timing of the decisions. In March this year the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) was deposed as Leader of the Liberal Party and consequently deposed as Prime Minister of Australia. In June a request by Ampol for emergency tariff protection on petroleum imports was rejected by the Acting Minister for Trade and Industry. On 2nd September the Minister at the table announced that anti-dumping action would be taken. On 7th September we have an announcement in the House which almostcompletely changes the previous policy. The Opposition wants to know what pressures have been applied to the Government by the oil industry to cause this change so shortly after the deposing of the right honourable member for Higgins, the founder of the crude oil policy in Australia. What promises have been made to the Government of electoral support by the oil companies to obtain this change? There is a smell about the whole matter. This Parliament has not been given the facts.

A number of questions remain to be answered and some of those questions are: Which are the 5 companies allowed to export crude oil? Who are the marketers - who cannot obtain refining facilities? What information was placed before the Government between June and September to obtain anti-dumping action? And a very important question: What is the cost of production of petrol by refineries in Australia? What is the cost of the petrol imported by marketers? Will the evidence placed before the independent arbitrator, Sir Leslie Melville, be made public? How long has the Government given him to tender his advice on this matter? What protection is to be given to the marketers while the inquiry is taking place? How is it that refiners can now claim to be experiencing - I use the words of the Minister and he said they came directly from the Act - not unsubstantial injury when those same oil companies and refiners can afford to indulge in a price war on petrol throughout Australia against a very few marketers? How is it that oil companies and refineries can spend millions of dollars a year in advertising?

I have another very important question: How many oil companies are Australian owned or substantially Australian owned? The Minister made mention of an Australian industry. The Opposition and I am certain the public would like to know just how much equity Australia has in the major oil companies throughout Australia. The annua] profits of oil companies and refineries are fairly well hidden, but each year most of them announce a substantial profit. Why did not the Minister put some of those facts before the Parliament when he made the announcement of the changing of the Government’s oil policy? All the questions I have posed, and many more, should be answered and I am suggesting that the only way - the only proper way - for these questions to be answered is for the Government to set up a royal commission into the oil industry in Australia. T am reinforced in that suggestion by these words of the Minister this afternoon:

The Government is conscious of the complex nature of this industry with its many component parts and conflicting interests.

Earlier in his speech he announced the setting up of the independent arbitrator to decide a battle between the marketers, the people who are bringing in low priced petrol and giving it to motorists at 4c or Se a gallon lower than the major oil companies have been giving it to them - an independent arbitrator to see whether they can get a little bit of equity and justice from the major refining interests in Australia. These things should be answered and I am surprised that a Minister for whom I have a great deal of respect should come into the Parliament with a statement like this - a major statement - and give so little information to the Parliament on the reasons for this major alteration in Government policy.

The Government has laid down a couple of stipulations on what the refiners will have to do before they are given permission to export some of their crude oil allocation. He did not publish, and I do not think they have published information on the firm plans to install extra refinery capacity to take up the Australian crude quota. If they are willing to disclose the terms-r-and this is one of the conditions the Government lays down - upon which such exports of crude will be made, surely the Parliament is entitled to know how much petroleum in Australia costs at the moment. I am completely dissatisfied wi the statement and I am completely dissatisfied with the policy of the Government on Australian crude and the oil industry generally.

I will admit that there are major problems in this industry but such important decisions as this one should not be made behind closed doors. The Parliament is entitled to know more about it than it has been given and even if the matter goes to the Tariff Board and a final decision is made very little information will appear in the report of the Tariff Board and the Parliament again, and I would think the Cabinet again, will be making a decision in the dark. This industry, in the Minister’s own words, by using Australian crude in the current year has saved approximately $230m in foreign exchange payments. It is too important an industry for the ex-Prime Minister to be sitting down negotiating crude oil pricing policies or for this Minister or for any other Minister to sit down behind closed doors with representatives of the major oil companies before them pushing them hither and thither, using every pressure they can so they can get a decision which will put more profits into the oil companies at the expense of the 3 million or 4 million motorists in Australia. I come back to the point: I make a request that this Government should set up a royal commission into the oil industry in Australia.

Debate (on motion by Mr Giles) adjourned.

page 819


Assent reported.

page 819


Report of Public Works Committee


– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, 1 present the report relating to the following proposed work:

Replacement of Accommodation ‘ (1971 Reference) at HMAS ‘Albatross’, Nowra, New South Wales.

Ordered that the report be printed.


Discussion of Matter of Public Importance


-I have received a letter from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) proposing that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely:

The need to pass laws relating to trade practices, consumer protection, consumer credit, securities markets and overseas control under the Commonwealth’s corporations power.

I call upon those members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in their places. (More than the number of members required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places)

Leader of the Opposition · Werriwa

– Under the Constitution the Australian Parliament has power to make laws with respect to foreign corporations and trading or financial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth. In 1909, in a case under the Australian Industries Preservation Act 1906, the High Court ruled in effect that this Parliament could not pass laws dealing with intra-State operations of such corporations. Last Friday in a case under the Trade Practices Act 1965 the High Court overruled that 62 year old decision. It said that the Australian Industries Preservation Act was valid. It would have been valid. The Chief Justice made the crushing comment on his successor’s Bill that the Trade Practices Act 1965, in his opinion, was wholly invalid. This is an historic decision. The Australian people and Parliament should acknowledge the drive and skill of the honourable, learned and gallant member for Berowra (Mr Hughes) who, on their behalf, secured this decision after litigation in the Commonwealth Industrial Court and the High Court.

As a consequence the Australian Parliament now can pass laws such as the parliament of every other industrial or developed country has Jong been able to pass - the Canadian Parliament since 1889; the United States Congress since the Sherman Act of 1890; the parliament of West Germany - another federal system; the parliaments of all the other countries of Western Europe and of Japan, for the last 20 years and more. The High Court judgment, it seems to me, does not permit the Australian Parliament to pass laws for the incorporation or nationalisation of companies. It does, it seems to me, permit the Australian Parliament to enact national codes on the operation of companies.

I recall that for as long as any of us have been in this Parliament the Australian Labor Party has sought to have laws passed by this Parliament which would ensure an efficient and just economy and society. Some of us were members of the Constitution Review Committee which recommended that there should be trade practices laws and company laws on a national scale. In this Parliament in 1965 and 1966 the ALP did its best to preserve the Australian Industries Preservation Act. In this Parliament in 1965 the ALP did its best to implement the whole of the Barwick proposals regarding trade practices. In the State parliaments the ALP has done its best to complement the Snedden Act. It succeeded in Tasmania. In South Australia it has been twice thwarted by the Legislative Council. In Western Australia the new State Government was committed to pass the complementary legislation. Liberal State governments and Attorneys-General, by refusing to pass complementary laws, have produced a situation in which the Commonwealth can pass laws without their assistance.

As my notice indicates, the Labor Party does not believe that we in this Parliament will have done our duty merely by reenacting in an acceptable form the 1965 Act in such a way as to cover corporations and thus 99 per cent of the practices. There are many other matters which for years have taken the attention of members of the Parliament and of the public. First, however, on the matter of trade practices we should re-enact the Australian Industries Preservation Act. It was repealed just after the High Court had shown in several decisions that the Act had much more force than was usually thought. Apart from creating offences and nullifying practices, the Act gave individuals affected by illegal practices the right to sue for and recover treble damages for the injury. In February 1965 the High Court unanimously held that this section was a valid exercise of this Parliament’s powers. I said at the time that the Act should not have been repealed until it had been established that the Trade Practices Bill would be equally effective. Even so, the Australian Industries Preservation Act gave individuals and companies rights which the Trade Practices Bill did not give them. I pointed out that individuals would lose their rights under the Australian Industries Preservation Act. Let me quote an opinion from ‘Business Lawyer’ of July 1968:

The utility, and even necessity, of this aspect of private policing is best exemplified in the area of antitrust regulation. The Antitrust Division staff- in the United States - would have to be quadrupled to provide enforcement solely through public agency action.

Secondly, when the Snedden Act is replaced we should restore all the Barwick proposals which the people endorsed at the 1961 and 1963 elections. The Snedden Act abandoned the Barwick proposal to make inexcusably unlawful the practice of persistent price cutting to drive out a competitor and the Barwick proposal to make monopolies inexcusably unlawful. Both these matters were taken from the inexcusably unlawful list and placed on the examinable list. Two other proposals of Sir Garfield Barwick were taken out altogether - resale price ‘ maintenance and mergers. Sir Garfield Barwick’s proposals were that mergers should be investigated and that they should be held up for a certain period if more than half a million dollars is involved. What he had to say outside the House and inside the House during the early 1960s is still valid. So when there is - as we are promised there will be - a recasting of the Trade Practices Act, at least let us adopt the Barwick proposals in full.

Early this year it seems that the last Gorton Government was going to use the trade practices legislation in the fight against inflation, that it would complement the incomes policy operated through the Arbitration Commission with a prices policy operated through other institutions within Commonwealth power. The former Prime Minister himself said on 29th January:

If the High Court does uphold the validity, the Act can be strengthened and iead to more internal competition.

The Act was not valid, but the relevant paragraph of the Australian Constitution was shown to have the force that the last

Gorton Government wished it to have. The first McMahon Government - the McMahon Government - was galvanised into activity in this matter.

Mr N H Bowen:

– The honourable member was right the first time.


– It is even more difficult to keep count of Attorneys-General. The honourable gentleman himself was restored and once again relegated during the months I am describing. At any rate, the new Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) told the Government Whip on 31st Mareh, after the Australian Council of Trade Unions had acted on resale price maintenance, that there already was an interdepartmental committee looking into this very complicated matter. I tried to find out what departments were represented on this committee, and on 5th May the Prime Minister told me:

It is not the policy of this Government to disclose the type of information for which the honourable member asks.

The day after the presentation of the Budget the honourable member for Berowra was told by the then Attorney-General - the restored Attorney-General, the last Attorney-General, the immediate past Attorney-General - that in fact this committee was considering the matter once again. The day before I had asked the Prime Minister again on notice whether this committee had been set up by Mr Gorton or by himself and whether it had continued to function after the passage of the resale price maintenance bill. He told me today that it is not the policy of this Government to give information on these matters which concern advice to Ministers and arrangements between Ministers and their advisers. Thus we are told to give an impression of activity on various matters that there are committees dealing with them, and when we try to find out the progress of the committees we are told that their proceedings are confidential.

Other matters which should be dealt with under new trade practices legislation have been recommended to us by the Commissioner of Trade Practices, Mr Bannerman, who is one of the most able and dedicated servants of this country. In his report for 1968-69, signed by him on 30th July 1969, he pointed out that we should ban collusive tendering on a nation wide basis. Furthermore, in his report for 1970-71, signed on 15th July - the quickest report this Parliament ever gets - he went through the whole of the procedure which he was advocating, not for the first time, to have effective laws, pointing out that the Trade Practices Act 1965 took far too long, that it would be years before there would be any effect on trade practices as the Act stood and that if we adopted the approach, the definitions and the procedures of the 1971 resale price maintenance legislation we could at last have an effective trade practices law in this country.

I can very briefly touch on other subjects on which the Parliament can now pass laws in the light of the High Court decision. They include consumer protection and consumer credit. These are matters upon which the United States of America, Canada, West Germany and other comparable countries have long had national codes. I would recall to honourable gentlemen that Sir Robert Menzies in March 1956 pointed out that Commonwealth laws on hire purchase would be of doubtful constitutional validity. It was for this reason, amongst others, that the Constitutional Review Committee was set up a couple of months later. It unanimously recommended that this Parliament should have such laws. In the White Papers that accompany the Budget we learned that, as a component of inflation, whereas the total income of trading companies had gone up by 50 per cent in the last 5 years the total income of finance companies had doubled in those 5 years.

Again under the High Court decision the Parliament can now pass national laws dealing with the securities markets, with securities and exchange - the stock exchanges. It was on 19th March 1970 that a motion by my colleague, Senator Murphy, was carried setting up a select committee of the Senate to inquire into and report upon the desirability and feasibility of establishing a securities and exchange commission by the Commonwealth either alone or in co-operation with the States. We must all applaud what a committee has done by sheer investigation. How much more we could do in having a proper allocation of Australian financial resources and in safeguarding Australia’s international reputation if Australia at last were to have a securities and exchange commission such as the United States has had for the last 4 decades. The present Prime Minister, when he was Treasurer, expressed the view that it was high time that the various State governments considered the desirability of establishing such a commission in each State. He thought that there were constitutional difficulties about the setting up of a national commission. His doubts can now be allayed. In the same field we have had reports by Mr Justice Eggleston’s committee - the Company Law Advisory Committee to the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General. In its first report on 17th October 1968 - it was not tabled by the Attorney-General of the day but it was tabled, as were the 4 subsequent reports, by the honourable member for Berowra when he became Attorney-General for the first time - there was a strong recommendation for a companies commission. In the last report this recommendation has been reiterated and additional reasons have been given for it.

Finally, under the High Court decision the Parliament can now pass laws on overseas control of our companies. The proportion of our company income payable overseas has risen now to over 30 per cent. The Australian Capital Territory Life Insurance Holding Companies Ordinance of 1968, the Australian Capital Territory Companies (Uranium Mining Companies) Ordiance of 1970 and the proposals made by the former Prime Minister to the President of the Australian Associated Stock Exchanges on Sth December 1968 - all matters designed to safeguard Australian companies from overseas takeovers - have not been followed up. (Extension of time granted.) These 3 methods, under the auspices of the former Prime Minister, were designed to prevent the takeover of Australian companies. Two of them were effective because the companies concerned were within the Commonwealth’s power, as then understood, over the Territories. The other one was voluntary and has not been followed voluntarily by any companies in the Australian Capital Territory. The fact now is that, if we approve of the method, we can ensure that the same methods applying to the uranium company and the MLC can be applied to any companies in Australia. The former Prime Minister has shed light on his conflict with the Treasury over the MLC. I would acknowledge the part played by the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen), who will follow me, in collaborating with the former Prime Minister in safeguarding the MLC.

In . the matters which I have mentioned we can now in this Parliament, thanks to last Friday’s historic decision by the High Court, at last achieve national codes in matters which concern the welfare of all Australians. These are matters in relation to which other federal systems - above all the great federal systems of Canada and the United States - have such codes. If we are to have a just and efficient economy, and society in Australia we should now legislate in these fields where for years we have had advice from statutory reports to the Parliament from specialist advisers, to. the Attorneys-General and from committees of both Houses of the Parliament.

Mr N H Bowen:
Minister for Foreign Affairs · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I agree that the decision of the High Court last Friday was a most important one. This was the decision given in the case of Strickland v. Rocla Concrete Pipes Limited and others, which is commonly referred to as the concrete pipes case. The High Court by majority held important provivisions of the Trade Practices Act to be invalid. At the same time the decision threw new light on the power that section 51 (xx) of the Constitution has conferred on the Commonwealth Parliament to make laws with respect to foreign corporations and trading or financial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth. My colleague in another place, the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood), is currently making a statement on the effect of that decision and what is proposed to be done by the Government in relation to the Trade Practices -Act. I feel I should take some of the time which is available to me in the debate on this matter of public importance to mention some of the matters that he is putting before the other place.

The concrerte pipes case arose out of a prosecution in the Industrial Court of 3 manufacturers of concrete pipes for failing, contrary to section 43 of the Trade Practices Act, to register particulars of an agreement containing restrictive provisions. The agreement related to the supply of concrete pipes in Queensland by the 3 companies, and it regulated prices and other terms on which concrete pipes were to be supplied. Honourable members will doubtless have read in the Press that the High Court held, by a majority of 5 to 2, that the Trade Practices Act did not validly require the registration of the agreement. There are 2 points about this. Firstly, the agreement in question had a purely intrastate - not interstate - operation. Secondly, the corporations involved were manufacturers as well as sellers of their products. The Commonwealth’s case relied for its support entirely on the corporation’s power. For the Commonwealth to succeed it was necessary for the High Court to overrule an earlier decision of the Court in the case of Huddart Parker v. Moorehead which was decided in 1909. In that case the High Court had held that the Australian Industries Preservation Act, which was the forerunner of the present Trade Practices Act, did not validly apply to corporations in respect of their intrastate trading activities. This decision has now been overruled by the High Court, which has made it clear that the corporations power in the Constitution can be used to support legislation dealing with restrictive trade practices of foreign and trading and financial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth, that is, whether they are trading interstate or intrastate.

The Trade Practices Act, as drafted by my predecessor, who is now the Treasurer (Mr Snedden), had provided in section 7 that one of the heads of power relied on was paragraph (xx), and that this was included on the footing that it was doubtful whether the case of Huddart Parker and Moorehead was correctly decided. If it was correctly decided there would have been no point in including section 7 (2.). That sub-section was included upon the basis that there would be reliance placed upon the corporations power. It was inevitable that there would be a challenge. It came, and the Commonwealth, which was represented in the case, as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) has said, by the honourable and learned member for Berowra (Mr Hughes), was successful in having the decision in Huddart Parker and Moorehead overruled. The immediate consequence of the decision is that substantial parts of the Trade Practices Act - though probably not all parts of it - are invalid. The learned Chief Justice referred to the Act being wholly invalid, but he was directing his attention specifically to section 35. I do not think that he was particularly directing his attention, for example, to the provisions relating to resale price maintenance or to shipping.

Mr Whitlam:

– No, but the decision was under the 1965-69 Act, not the 1965-71 Act.

Mr N H Bowen:

– Yes. He was not directing his attention to those provisions, and indeed they have a different severability provision. The consequence on which the majority of judges fastened to hold the Act invalid was the consequence of the operation of section 7, the severability provision, which was held not to operate to sever the good from the bad in the Act. The whole Act was held to fall, and the position now is that there is a substantial gap. In the public interest it is desirable that that gap should be filled quickly, and the Government proposes to introduce, as a matter of urgency, legislation to overcome the constitutional defects which have been found to exist in the Trade Practices Act. This new legislation, for reasons of urgency, will be similar in scope to the present Trade Practices Act, except for amendments needed to bring it into constitutional operation. Tn the light of the guidance that has been provided in the judgment as to the scope of the corporations power, the Government has decided that the immediate and remedial legislation will be founded on the corporations power. As the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) said in answer to a question today, this will cover approximately 99 per cent of the cases which are registered.

This is not to say that the Commonwealth will not be pressing on with its review, which is well advanced, of the Trade Practices Act generally. For example, one of the major areas which we are considering very carefully is the position of horizontal restrictive price agreements and whether we should not make these unenforcible immediately unless the person entering into them can discharge the onus of showing affirmatively that they are in the public interest, as we have done with vertical resale price maintenance. But this would involve a much longer drafting job. It is thought that the gap should not be allowed to continue while this is undertaken. But as the Prime Minister has said, he has given extreme urgency to this general review and the legislation which is to follow upon its being completed. This will be brought before the House later.

A number of matters are raised in the matter of public importance which we are debating although the Trade Practices Act is the principal one. Perhaps I should mention one other matter because I heard the Leader of the Opposition say that we should now re-enact the Australian Industries Preservation Act which had been held to be invalid in the case of Huddart Parker and Moorehead. May I just remind the Leader of the Opposition that the basis of that Act was to make it a statutory offences to engage in restrictive practices. One of the weaknesses in the operation of the Act was that it involved the prosecution proving its case beyond reasonable doubt, and proving it in circumstances where all the information was in the possession of the accused. This was the basic reason why the Australian Industries Preservation Act really did not become effective, and I think it would be a very retrogressive step to return to that concept. Certainly the procedure which is now followed, where the parties to the agreement have to disclose the facts by registration and then allow a tribunal look at it, is one way of dealing with the matter. The procedure which we have used in dealing with resale price maintenance requires again not the establishment of a criminal offence but just the outlawing of the agreement, with the capacity for anyone affected by such an outlawed agreement to get an injunction restraining its operation. This is another matter which has to be considered in the general review. I do not at all accept the proposition put by the Leader of the Opposition that we should immediately return to the Australian Industries Preservation Act.

This discussion of a matter of public importance is not restricted to trade prac tices; it is rather a vague and general discussion which refers to the general need to pass laws relating to trade practices, consumer protection, consumer credit, securities markets and overseas control under the Commonwealth’s corporations power. It is really a whiff of centralist grapeshot fired into the air without any defined target. However, in the few minutes remaining to me perhaps I should look at some of the other topics which have been raised in the matter of public importance. The first is consumer protection. Of course, this is an enormous area which the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General has been considering over a long period of time with resulting State legislation being introduced from time to time. The question covers unfair practices, door to door selling and the problem concerning inertia selling which the Committee is currently considering. The States have established consumer protection authorities, as a result of the consideration which the AttorneysGeneral together have given to the matter. It is not only corporations which are involved in ths matter. This is an area in which many single proprietors of businesses and partnerships are involved. To say that the High Court’s ruling on paragraph (xx) should lead the Commonwealth immediately and perhaps without consultation with the States to attempt to take over this area is something which has really been said without being thought through.

The second matter which is referred to in the matter of public importance is the question of consumer credit. Again, this is a matter on which the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General has received much material, in particular, the massive Roggerson report which was compiled by the University of Adelaide and which has been laid on the table of this House. The Roggerson report stated that we should entirely review the whole basis of credit and that we should abolish the hire purchase agreement as it is known under the law and have only certain other types of agreement which were laid down in this report. A tremendous change in the concept of the law was involved in the Roggerson report. At the last law convention held in Melbourne recently a massive paper was presented, foreshadowing a report of a Victorian law reform committee, which dealt with this topic. Anyone who has studied those papers will know that the whole question of consumer credit is an enormous one. It again involves not just simply the corporations covered by paragraph (xx), but an immense range of individuals, partnerships and sole proprietors of businesses. If we were going to enter this field in this post-haste manner that is suggested in the matter of public importance, we would need to have the closest co-operation with the States. It is a very complex area and one which is currently the subject of legal amendment which is being considered. Simply to float the question in a matter of public importance and to say that the Commonwealth now needs to pass laws relating to consumer credit really does not add to knowledge on the subject at all.

The securities market is another target. The Leader of the Opposition said that the Eggleston Committee recommended something like this. It did nothing of the sort. It recommended a companies commission. It specified that the companies commission should be totally different to the’ American Securities and Exchange Commission. It recommended a companies commission with a dispensing power. It laid down in its report conditions so strict for companies that it thought there ought to be a Federal companies commission having a dispensing power to apply to companies which showed they could not comply with such conditions. The Leader of the Opposition is mistaken in suggesting that it was anything to do with a securities and exchange commission.

Of course this a matter which the Senate Select Committee on Securities and Exchange is now considering and I would hope that we will get some valuable comments when that Committee presents its report. This is a matter that will then be considered. We should not think that this corporation power simply opens the door for a securities and exchange commission. It might be argued that capital raisings by foreign corporations or trading and financial corporations, whether by share capital or by debentures or other forms of lending, might be subject to control. But it does not suggest that dealings between people and individuals on share markets or dealings by brokers come under this control. This matter of public importance has not been thought out in the slightest degree nor does it contribute to the accomplishment of this Parliament.

The last matter referred to is overseas control. This debate is probably delaying consideration of one of the substantive acts which this Government is endeavouring to take on overseas control. Where it has been necessary and desirable in the public interest to take steps in relation to overseas control this Government has taken action. I refer to the Banks (Shareholdings) Bill 1971 which is on the notice paper. This type of active legislation is being held up by the Opposition introducing these vague debates and through a habit on the part of honourable members on the other side of the House of moving for the suspension of the Standing Orders and then the mover and seconder speaking while the whole business of the House is delayed. This is the sort of thing that is delaying the Government in getting on with the business of controlling this kind of thing where it needs to be controlled. Let us get on with the Banks (Shareholdings) Bill and overseas shareholding acquisitions in our banks and stop talking about vague generalities such as we have in this debate.

Australian Capital Territory

– We have heard the classic traditional exposition of the conservative point of view in politics from the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen). The Minister spoke for about two-thirds of his time in a manner which suggested he was going to give a law book type treatise on constitutional law. It was only towards the end of his address that he dealt with the subject of the discussion, which is the need to pass laws relating to trade practices, consumer protection, consumer credit, securities markets and overseas control. He said that we must not hurry but that we will press on relentlessly in some way and that what we will do in the meantime is fill the gap that has now been shown to exist in our trade practices legislation.

If the Government presses on at its past rate we will have to wait approximately another 61 years because that is the time which this Government has taken to use the various methods available to it to test or to have the Huddart Parker decision repealed. That decision was taken in 1909 and it placed a limitation upon corporation power. The decision has been the subject of a lot of judicial comment as I am sure the honourable member for Berowra (Mr Hughes) and other honourable members realise. It is to his credit that this year the Government has initiated litigation which has produced this very fine result but it has taken 61 years to do it. Are we to wait for a similar step or for legislation before any action is taken? This is really what it comes down to.

The parts of this discussion which interest me and which I think are important are these. I understand that 5 of the 6 honourable members who are to speak in this debate are lawyers. I have not read all of the judgment in the case but it struck me from what I did read this morning that it is an indictment in many ways of the system under which we govern ourselves. By this I mean that it reflects the extremely rigid legalistic Constitution that not only divides power between the various governments and imposes limitations and restrictions on the exercise of that power, but also requires that the system chosen for us is a system that was chosen by gentlemen who lived and worked about 80 years ago. They created it not for us but as a sort of compromise solution to the problems which they experienced at that time and they devised the powers contained in our Constitution to suit their ends. They could not contemplate the purposes, needs and problems that we would have to face.

Those of us who have been trained in the law and who have had experience of the law tend to forget or overlook or not realise how silly our system sometimes looks to people who are hot lawyers. We should reflect, for example, on the fact that in 1909 our High Court declared in the Huddart-Parker v. Moorehead case that 2 sections of the Australian Industries Preservation Act 1906 were invalid. Those sections reflected the will of the Parliament at that time. They were important and good sections designed to meet a social purpose at that time. However, for practical purposes they were repealed and declared invalid by the High Court 62 years ago. We have now been told by the High Court that that decision was wrong and that those sections were validly enacted. Does not this look silly? The same High Court has now told us that we do have the power that it said in 1909 we did not have. It is against the traditions of the High Court to tell us from a drafting point of view how we should go about trying again and it is theoretically possible, as I am sure lawyers will appreciate, that we could try again and we could again run into some unforeseen trouble.

For many years government has been conducted in this country on the basis that this Parliament has very little power to enact certain types of laws. The traditional excuse offered by our conservative governments when defending themselves against criticism that they are not doing anything about the problems of the country - the sort of problems that are touched upon in this debate - has been to say that they cannot do anything because the Constitution does not give them the power to do it. This very restrictive trade practices legislation which the High Court has now held to be invalid, but for reasons not associated with lack of power but for reasons more the result of attempts to overcome a fear that there was a lack of power, has been the vehicle whereby the High Court has told us that we have had the power all the time. One wonders, of course, how many other opportunities exist somewhere in the Australian Commonwealth through the imaginative use of legislative power, properly tested through the High Court and perhaps used, explored or revealed by the use of referendums.

One wonders what other excuses this Government will come up with when members of the Opposition and other commentators outside this House say: ‘Why do you not make a law on this? There is a crying problem in the country and a real one that needs attention. Why do you not do something about it? Are you going to say that you do not have the real power or that the corporation power is too limited?’ This Government will have to find more and more excuses. It is becoming more and more difficult as times goes by because the High Court itself seems to be changing. It seems to me that our experience proves one thing beyond doubt and that is that given the Constitution that we have and given our High Court made up of people who live within our society, any Parliament worth its salt must make more extensive use of the High Court to obtain judgment on legislation that is of doubtful validity so that we will quickly build up a body of law that is in keeping with our modern conditions. We cannot seek advisory opinions but it can be done in other ways particularly now that we are moving into an era of imaginative and wide ranging systems of legal aid. Sixty-two years is too long for a Parliament to wait to be told that all along it could have done something that it had been told it could not do.

This Parliament will also have to make much more use of referendums and take a chance that they will not always succeed. I know it means mors expense but so be it. It will be a small price to pay to have a working Constitution that is more in keeping with modern requirements. The Australian economy today no longer consists of 6 separate State economies plus one superimposed area of Federal economic interest. The Constitutional Review Committee pointed out in 1959 that there is now one Australian integrated economy and that its various components are interdependent and the condition of any one affects all the others. The Australian economy is diverse and sophisticated. Sometimes it is so sophisticated that it tends to resemble a Petty cartoon. The influences and the forces that operate within the economy are examples of private power. They have never been adequately investigated and they are not responsible to any democratically elected bodies. If they are allowed to continue as they have been allowed to continue in the past we will not command our future. We will just drift along as we have done in the past. The laissez-faire view was never appropriate even in the eighteenth century. It is bizarre in its unreality today. Intervention and stimulus by public power - not private power - are necessary in a democratic Australia. That public power can be exercised only through this Parliament.

The subjects listed in this proposal to discuss a matter of public importance are important. They are the sort of things which have arisen in the economy, particularly since the end of the Second World War. In recent years, banking has been transformed. Credit facilities have been transformed by mercantile banks and hire purchase companies. There has been a concentration of manufacturing and com mercial interests that leaves consumers bewildered and vulnerable as they instinctively feel that they are being exploited by forces over which they have no control. We have seen Australia invaded by foreign capital, the magnitude of which should have been foreseen. That foreign capital brings with it foreign ownership which is foreign private power. That power also must be made responsible and accountable to the Australian people. If it is to be done and done properly, the Commonwealth Parliament must have more power. The recent decision of the High Court has indicated that there is one major source of that power which is now ready and available for use.

In the time remaining to me I might just shorten my remarks by saying that as recently as 2 years ago one of the most learned writers on Australian constitutional law described Australia as ‘constitutionally the frozen continent’. I think there would be very little argument about that, but some of the recent decisions of the High Court have thrown doubt upon it and changed it. A thaw is in the air and it can be felt, particularly with this most important decision. What remains to be done, of course, is for the Government to pick up the ball and do something about it, because if the opportunity is botched, either deliberately or otherwise, then an opportunity will have been lost.


– I have no need to emphasise the importance of the decision that was given by the High Court of Australia on Friday. That has been done very eloquently by my honourable and learned friend, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), by the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) and by the honourable member; for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby).. It is a decision with momentous-consequences for our future as a country and as a nation. It is a decision which has been met to some extent with mixed reactions. I heard on the radio this morning that one newspaper - I think it was in Western Australia - described it as a blow to federalism. Federalism is one .of those -Alice in Wonderland-Humpty Dumpty ,. kind of words. One remembers that Humpty Dumpty said to Alice that , words mean exactly what one wants them to -mean. To me, federalism involves as a basic fact living under a federal constitution and if one is to live under a federal constitution it is one of the primary duties of the federal government, the national government, to explore the limits of constitutional power given to it under that constitution and then, having explored them with a view to ascertaining them by judicial decision, act within them in what one conceives to be the national interest. I think that if that is one of the true aspects of federalism, as I believe it to be, this decision will unlock the doors to a great deal of very important ideological disputation in this country in the future.

Standing here this afternoon I can foresee that in the years to come - I hope I shall be in this Parliament in the years to come although that is perhaps a matter of doubt - we shall be having debates here which, in terms of the competing ideologies relating to the way the economic life of this country should be run, will be of perhaps greater momentousness than hitherto because we will be debating in a situation where we know that the Commonwealth Parliament has greater powers than hitherto it was thought to have. I think that this will lead to a different direction in the debates and the formulation of policies in this place. I hope that as these new doors are opening we can keep our ideological debates on a high level. I think we shall need to do so if this country is to be set on the course on which we on both sides of the House want it to go, and that is the course towards greater advancement; although on each side of the House we have very different views as to how that advancement is to be best secured.

I thank the Leader of the Opposition and the other honourable gentlemen who have spoken in this debate for saying the nice things that they did about my part in the events that led to this decision. If I may say so to the Leader of the Opposition, 1 shall perhaps quote his words, but possibly without attribution, in another place. I am sure he will not mind. Great questions of policy open up for the Government’s consideration and I was delighted to hear, as we heard this afternoon, the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) saying that this is to be treated as a matter of great urgency. I welcome the decision, which is the only possible decision to take in the circumstances, that legislation be introduced as a matter of extreme urgency to render the Act in its present structure viable on a temporary basis. I think it is implicit in what the Prime Minister said this afternoon that the Government already recognises that this will not be enough in itself. We on this side of the House owe a duty to the country and also, by the way, a duty with a view to our own electoral survival, not to misuse this great opportunity that has been placed before us.

We must not, and I am sure we shall not, incur the criticism that was incurred by the Liberals who were led by Mr Asquith in the early part of this century in England criticised for advancing upon measures of social reform with noisy mouths and mouse-like feet. I am sure that we shall not do this and I am sure that the Government recognises - it is plainly implicit in what the Prime Minister said this afternoon - that here we have opening up before us a very great opportunity to introduce in this country on a national level effective trade practices legislation that will recognise, firstly, that private enterprise must be free enterprise and not merely private enterprise and that that enterprise must be subject to reasonable restraints in the public interest, those restraints being restraints that are designed to sure the virtues and advantages of true freedom of competition, not altogether cutthroat freedom and not the 19th century laissez-faire Liberal type of freedom that went too far, but the true virtues of freedom of competition. I think this is where some of the great ideological debates will open up.

I can imagine that honourable gentlemen opposite, if they gain the treasury benches, will wish to use the corporation power in very different ways from the ways in which I would want to use them. If they ever get there - I hope they will not - I will be fighting them tooth and nail to put the other view. It seems to me that what the Government ought to consider and carry into execution is the original scheme propounded by Sir Garfield Barwick. I am disposed readily to agree with the remarks made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs this afternoon when he expressed grave doubts about the efficacy of the rather blunt weapon provided by the Australian Industries Preservation Act. I think that weapon, that statutory scheme, left too much to the individual. It cast too much of a burden in costs on the individual. I think there should be room in any scheme of trade practices legislation for the individual litigant to seek an injunction for damages in appropriate cases. Of course, that principle is recognised and very well carried into execution in the legislative scheme relating to resale price maintenance.

Mr Whitlam:

– Treble damages?


– The principle of treble damages is all very well, but suing for treble damages involves bringing actions of great complexity and great potential cost to litigants. That is the reservation 1 wish to enter. It is not a point upon which I wish to express any concluded view at the moment. All I say is that, looking at things in the present, I am disposed to think that there is considerable force in what the Minister for Foreign Affairs said in his criticism of the basic scheme of the Australian Industries Preservation Act. I think we must return to what is after all a very good basic common law principle and that is that he who undertakes restraint of trade must have cast fairly and squarely upon him the onus of establishing that the restraint serves the public interest. I have heard it said - I do not think rightly said - that it is somehow unjust to cast upon parties to anti-competitive agreements the onus of justifying those agreements as being in the public interest. The common law was quite clear upon this, and I think we should return to the sound common sense of the common law. The onus should be upon the person who wishes to restrain competition to show that that restraint serves the public interest.

There is a fair presumption, if we are to believe in the virtues of a free enterprise economy, that restraint of competition is inimical, generally speaking, to the public interest. If we have a statutory scheme involving the keeping of a register of anticompetitive agreements that register should be open for all to read if they want to read it. After all, one of the great arguments between both, sides of politics is as to whether price fixing by legislation is a good thing or a bad thing. For what I think to be sound economic reasons, I believe it is on the whole a bad thing except in exceptional circumstances such as war. (Extension of time granted.) I am indebted to the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) for his kindness and to the House for taking heed of his kindness, in granting me an extension of time. I was saying that price fixing by legislation is a matter upon which there is room for debate. I believe that it is economically unsound, but at least price fixing by legislation is price fixing in a context in which the public can see what is happening. It can see what is written in the statute or the regulation. I think therefore that if one is to tolerate the possibility of price fixing in the form of anti-competitive arrangements by private compact, the compact should not remain private after it is written; the compact should be registered and available for full scrutiny by. interested members of the public and by appropriate government officials.

One cannot in a debate of this length do more than mention a few of the points that need to be discussed in great depth and in great detail. However, I am glad to have taken part in the debate this afternoon. This Government has an opportunity as a result of last Friday’s decision of the High Court of Australia, to make a great impact for the public good upon the commercial life of this country. It can enact legislation. I am greatly encouraged, by what the Prime Minister has said this afternoon, to believe that it will enact legislation that will preserve the best features of the system of free enterprise,’ eradicating some of the bad features that none of us wants to see perpetuated.

Melbourne Ports

– I must break the long line of lawyers who have taken part in this debate, but I draw to the attention of the House the fact that most of the matters raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) deal with economics. I point out to the honourable member for Berowra (Mr Hughes) that in the first report of the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review which was tabled in this House on 1st October 1958 and which had the support of both sides of the House, the Committee in paragraph 149 stated that the powers collectively of the

Commonwealth do not permit the development of an integrated economic policy. The Committee in paragraph 150 went on:

The question is not one of transferring to the Commonwealth specific powers consciously left with the States under the Constitution, but of allocating between the Commonwealth and the States the power necessary to fulfil a responsibility of government which did not exist when the Constitution was originally framed but which, in the Committee’s view, is now generally accepted in the light of developments since Federation . . .

The Committee went on specifically to suggest that the Commonwealth should have concurrent legislative powers over capital issues, consumer credit and rates of interest charged in connection with the borrowing of money on the security of land. Most of the topics that are subsumed in the matter raised by the Leader of the Opposition today relate to economic powers. We are gratified to find that apparently what was thought to be a restrictive clause in the Constitution is now regarded as having much wider ambit.

I want to mention 2 matters in particular which seem to me to point to the need, even today - this is for the benefit of the honourable member for Berowra - for this Government to take to itself, to clothe itself with greater economic powers, because unless these powers are taken the policies which a government claims to be pursuing in one direction are made abortive or are nullified by the lack of powers in another direction. Nowhere was this more clear than in 2 documents that came down with this Budget - the White Paper on national income and the report of the Reserve Bank for 1971. The White Paper on national income showed very clearly that whilst the Government had tried to impose a restrictive monetary policy in Australia nevertheless there was a vast increase in the return going to finance companies. The Commonwealth had powers which it could exercise through the banks but it had no ability to apply those powers to consumer credit and other levels of credit.

What was contained in the report of the Reserve Bank seems to me to be rauch more significant in the long run because it suggests that the Government can at least do something about consumer credit if it wants to. Reading between the lines, the decision of the High Court seems to point to that also. What was said by the Reserve Bank to some extent is amplified in a 2- page article that appears in today’s ‘Australian Financial Review’ on pages 2 and 3. Referring to the comments of Professor Harry Johnson in the United Kingdom the article in essence seems to me to state that just as it was thought many years ago that a country could export its unemployment in pre-Keynesian days, now what can be exported is inflation. Unless measures are taken by any country to look after its inflow of capital - capital markets these days are much more integrated than they were previously - the policy which it tries to. pursue internally can be set at nought by the economic power of countries and also by the highly integrated nature of capital markets, particularly the flow of capital into that country. The Reserve Bank at least went on record as saying that whilst we had been endeavouring to apply a restrictive monetary policy internally to some extent the effect of that attempt had been reduced by the large flow into this country of funds from overseas. This is one of the matters that my colleague, the Leader of the Opposition, has suggested needs attention. He never intended that this should apply to restrictive practices only.

The decision of the High Court seemed to point to the fact that we have powers at our disposal which we have not used. I do not suggest that even with the light that has been thrown now on those sections by the judgment of the High Court this Government has very much intention to act on this matter. But if it does not do so, its inaction will have serious consequences indeed for the future development both internally and externally of the Australian economy. The same kind of difficulty that the article by Professor Johnson referred to is pointed out also in the most recent report of the Bank of International Settlements. lt is that, if a preponderance of economic power exists in one part of the world or another a country is able to impact upon the economies of other parts of the world by reason of its ability to use overseas capital markets. In Australia we have always been very sensitive since the depression to our economic destiny being controlled from outside the country. In the period subsequent to the 1930s we thought that we had learnt to overcome that.

One point that was clear throughout the report of the Constitutional Review Committee was that economic circumstances tend to change all the time, the pattern of trade changes, the people from whom we buy and to whom we sell change, the nature of the internal economy changes and the nature of international integration changes. These are all matters that require a government to arm itself internally with greater powers of economic integration than certainly is currently the case in Australia. That is what the Opposition has sought to point to in the matter of public importance that it has proposed for discussion this afternoon. It is not just that the judgment on one section of an act has set at nought the restrictive trade practices tribunal, but that during the course of the observations made in that judgment reference is made to powers which it was previously thought could not be exercised but which apparently can be exercised. I am suggesting that probably we have to move even further in the quite forseeable future than was suggested in the observations of the learned judges. After all, they are lawyers but many of the matters that are contained in the judgment and which are being debated this afternoon deal with the question of the proper use of economic powers both internally and externally in order to secure the best integration of our internal economy. That, at least, is something that my Party supports and that is why we have taken the opportunity this afternoon to draw attention to some other heads of power to which this Government should give its attention.


– Order! The discussion of the matter of public importance has now concluded.

Mr Brown:

Mr Deputy Speaker!


-Order! I call the honourable member for Diamond Valley.

Diamond Valley

– For all intents and purposes the discussion may well have been concluded. I can understand, with due respect and without being at all facetious, your feeling that perhaps the debate had concluded. Indeed, I wondered at some stages whether the debate had started. This is a debate on a matter of public importance and I have been wondering myself why <t has been raised at this stage, f can sympathise with the view expressed by the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) that the Opposition felt obliged to raise this matter to draw attention to the extent of Commonwealth power in these matters and the general desirability of the Commonwealth embarking on activities in some of those fields that have been mentioned this afternoon and, indeed, some of the fields that are set out in the matter that we are debating this afternoon. But what I cannot understand is the attitude of the Opposition in coming into this place today - Tuesday - to castigate and to criticise the Government for its lack of activity when it was only, after all, last Friday that the High Court handed down its judgment. It was a momentous judgment indeed but it was only last Friday that the judgment was delivered.

I think that honourable members of the Opposition who spoke in this debate will agree that until that judgment was delivered this was an area of great complexity and great uncertainty in the law. Honourable members can go back through the law books, through the texts and through the cases and see differing opinions and conflicting judgments which have been given. The whole area has been one of uncertainty which fortunately has now been largely clarified.

If honourable members look, for instance, at the collection of ‘Cases on the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia’ edited by Professor Geoffrey Sawer, they will see that he included in this collection of cases as a momentous decision the decision in the case of Huddart Parker v. Moorehead in which the Court’s decision was recently overruled. In the note to that case, Professor Geoffrey Sawer said this:

The case establishes that pi. («)-

That is Section 51 (xx.) of the Constitution relating to the corporations power: . . does not authorise laws for the incorporation of companies, and it is clear that this was the intention of the Founders;

He then cites Quick and Garran’s book on the Constitution for that proposition.

Honourable members can see in some of the speeches made by the former AttorneyGeneral, Sir Garfield Barwick, that time and time again he referred to the various sources of power that can be drawn on by the Commonwealth to justify as a basis for restrictive trade practices legislation and emphasised again and again the uncertainty of many of these areas of power and their extent. So it is a complicated and involved area, lt is one that has been the subject of many judicial decisions. It is one that must still be and will continue to be the subject of the closest and most detailed examination to see precisely what is the extent of Commonwealth power and the way in which that Commonwealth power should be used. It is not simply a matter of the High Court handing down last Friday a momentous decision, which indicates a wide extent of Commonwealth power and the Opposition then coming to the Parliament on the following Tuesday to castigate the Government for not immediately having on the statute books legislation which might in the long run be worth while but which is not there now.

Enough has probably been said about the trade practices aspect of this subject. The other matters that are mentioned in the proposition that the House is debating at the moment scarcely were discussed. They were referred to by the Leader of the Opposition in his speech, I think. These are consumer protection, consumer credit, security markets and overseas controls. These matters scarcely received a mention in the speeches delivered by the members of the Opposition who took part in this debate. Those matters are all important. They all deserve to be the subject of good and strong legislation. As one speaker from the Opposition side said, it is important for an ordered, civilised and fair society that these matters should be regulated. But the mistake that the Opposition has made in this field as in so many fields is to say automatically: ‘The Commonwealth should act.’ They assume automatically that the Commonwealth should legislate. They forget that in many instances as is the case with some of the items that are mentioned in this matter there is also State legislation and that that State legislation is already implemented. It is not perfect legislation. When one reads the reports, for instance, of the Victorian Consumer Protection Council one will see specific criticisms that are made of the extent of the legislation existing in that State. But the legislation is there. It does work. It can be improved.

What I say to the members of the Opposition who raise this argument is not that I believe that there should be no Commonwealth intervention in these important matters, but that if Commonwealth activity in these matters is wanted, a case must be made out for it. If Opposition members raise for discussion a matter of public importance such as this one, they must point to specific State legislation which is on the State statute books. They must show the way in which that has not worked; they must show the way in which that has failed. Also, they must show the way in which the Commonwealth can improve upon it. It is not simply a matter of saying that the Commonwealth can introduce legislation and all of these problems will be swept under the table. As the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) said, the general area of consumer credit has been the subject of a detailed investigation and a detailed inquiry by the Roggerson committee in South Australia. That committee investigated many aspects of consumer credit and consumer protection and published a detailed and lengthy report. The committee covered aspects such as security over goods, misleading advertising, minimum deposits, disclosure of interest rates and all the other pernicious aspects of consumer credit that so deserve legislation.

However, Mr Deputy Speaker, you will read that report - you will read it closely - but you will read in vain for any indication that the system of State legislation or the administration of this system under the States is such that a case has been made out for overall Commonwealth control. You will see that one of the principal recommendations is that officers should be appointed in the States to have a general supervision of consumer affairs. The report recommends that commissioners of consumer affairs should be appointed. But what the committee does not recommend is that the Commonwealth itself should seek or derive power from some source or other to take over this matter of government activity. What the committee says is that it is important that commissioners of consumer affairs should be appointed, but it is important that they should be appointed in each State by the States themselves, and so far as the Commonwealth is concerned, in the Commonwealth Territories.

As I have said, this very detailed matter has been investigated by a South Australian committee. Also, it has been the subject of discussion by standing committees of State and Commonwealth AttorneysGeneral. It is being investigated at great length. These are important matters which should be covered by strong legislation to protect the public in these very important areas. I repeat that the only point that can fairly be made against the matter of public importance raised by the Opposition is that it is just too simple a solution to say: ‘The Commonwealth should intervene immediately’.


– Order! This discussion is now concluded.

page 833


Bill presented by Sir Alan Hulme, and read a first time.

Second Reading

PostmasterGeneral and Vice-President of the Executive Council (5.23 · Petrie · LP

– I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this Bill is to give effect to the Government’s intention to increase the fees payable for broadcast listeners’ and television viewers’ licences. There will not be any change in the licence fees currently applicable to pensioners and the licences for blind persons and schools will continue to be free. The Bill proposes that broadcast listeners’ licence fees, including hirers’ and lodging house licences, be increased from $6.50 to $8 in respect of Zone 1 and from $3.30 to $4.25 in respect of Zone 2. In the case of television viewers’ licences, including those of hirers and lodging houses, the fees are to be increased from $14 to $19. The fee for a combined receiving licence will be increased from $20 to $26.50. These proposals operate from the 1st October 1971, and are expected to provide $11. lm in 1971-72 and $15.5m in a full year.

Listeners’ and viewers’ licences fees were last increased in October 1968. The overall financial position has deteriorated dramatically since that time. Total expenditure has risen from $60m to $82m while gross licence receipts have risen from $46m to $51m. The excess of expenditure over receipts has more than doubled, rising from $14m in 1968 to an estimated almost $31m in 1971-72. The increased licence fees proposed will thus do no more than restore the relativity of expenditure and receipts to that existing in 1968-69. It can be seen that the growth in gross licence receipts is not matching the trend in expenditure. A serious downturn was evident in 1970-71. The deterioration has been due to: Firstly, mounting wage costs flowing from arbitration awards - technician salaries have risen by 29 per cent since June 1968; secondly, development of the Darwin booster station for Radio Australia; and thirdly, extension of television and television translator services to lesser populated country areas.

Cost increases can be expected to continue with rising wages and further expansion of the National Television Service. The Radio Australia installation at Darwin will be fully operational in 1971-72. The seventh stage of television development, extending service to a further 38 remote areas, has commenced. The estimated capital cost of these stations spread over a number of years is almost $5m, or was that amount at the time when I first made the announcement to the House. In view of the increasing costs and the continued need for substantial amounts of capital as well as the increase in total operating expenditure inherent with the opening of each new station, it is considered necessary to adjust fees for licences in order to reduce the gap between expenditure and receipts to a reasonable level. Provision has been made to introduce a combined lodging house licence. This has been done in the knowledge that television as well as broadcasting receivers are now common in hotels and other premises where lodging or sleeping accommodation is provided. I therefore commend the Bill to honourable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.

page 834


Resumption of Lapsed Business

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

That the proceedings on the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1971-72, which lapsed on Thursday, 26th August 1971, be resumed forthwith at the point where they were interrupted.


– Since there is no order of the day on the Notice Paper relating to the business to be resumed I shall state the question. The original question before the House was, That the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1971-72 be now read a second time. To this the Leader of the Opposition moved, as an amendment:

That all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: ‘the House condemns the Budget because (a) it breaks the Prime Minister’s pledge to Parliament on taking office to bring into effect for 1971-72 a fundamental review of social services and of methods for adjusting them, (b) it contains no proposals to balance the finances and functions of the Commonwealth, the States and local government and (c) it produces no programmes for high national objectives of social welfare, economic strength and national security.’

The question now is, ‘That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question’.

Second Reading (Budget Debate)

Debate resumed from 26 August (vide page 792).


– I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). He has set out the deficiencies, the inequalities and the sectional aspects of this Budget. As the spokesman for the Australian Labor Party on housing, urban affairs and environment I was appalled that the McMahon Government continues to accord housing a low priority in Government policy. In regard to the cities it seems that the McMahon Government does not consider them to be its responsibility and continues to imagine that all will be well. It is my view that there is an even greater crisis in our cities than exists in the rural areas, even though their position is catastrophic. I want to deal in detail with matters relating to housing at a later stage. I will deal with economic and social welfare matters during the debate on the Estimates. During this debate I want to deal with matters relating to the environment. There was no mention in the Budget Speech of the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) of these matters directly, and those matters which were indirectly related will only worsen the situation and aggravate our problems.

The newly appointed Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson) would be better described as the Minister for spare parts. This exemplifies the Government’s priorities on the environment. During the parliamentary recess I represented the Parliament and my Party on a parliamentary working committee on the environment at Bonn, Germany. It was a challenging experience. Because it is difficult to have a debate on such a topic in this Parliament I intend to devote my comments in this debate to the problems of the environment. We are now becoming aware, perhaps just in time, although there seems to be some doubt in regard to the McMahon Government, that we are now face to face with the greatest problem man has ever faced, that of his own survival. I am not referring to his self-destruction by the bomb’ for we have been concerned about that for some time, but 2 other Bs which have joined ‘the bomb’ to threaten the survival of man. We now have 3 Bs - bombs, babies and bulldozers.

In 8000 B.C. we had an estimated population of 5 million people on planet earth. In 1650 A.D. we had an estimated population of 500 million. In 1930 it was 2,000 million. By 1975 we will have 4,000 million. By the turn of the century we will have over 7,000 million. By the year 2035 it is estimated that the world population will be 14,000 million. It took one million years for man to reach the present population. He will double that population in 30 years. I ask all honourable members to pause and give thought to the magnitude of such a population explosion. I question whether we can afford to continue to plunder and exploit our planet in the manner in which we are doing. Can Australia allow the plundering of its natural resources that has been occurring, particularly in the last decade.

Can we afford to allow less than 10 per cent of the world’s population to use more than 50 per cent of the world’s resources annually. Most of the world’s resources are limited. If we continue at the rate we are consuming them they will be consumed within 50 years. New discoveries will only keep pace with population expansion. It does not matter if man’s value system - and I even include the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) who is at the table - is Communist, Fascist, Conservative, Liberal or Socialist, he faces a global crisis based on the fact that his population increase, his squandering of natural resources, his control of food production, his accelerated urbanisation and his release of a wide variety of toxic substances into the environment are directing him on a collision course with disaster. Scientists predicted over a century and a half ago that man would face famine because of the different ways by which man’s population increased and his food production increased. Marxists and capitalists alike ridiculed this theory because of the inability to predict technological innovation. The fact of life is that this is a challenge today to both Marxist and capitalist. The obvious ways by which man’s population could be limited were wars, lack of food and infectious disease. To that list we can add the depletion of natural resources and pollution in all its forms.

Medical research has reduced the dangers of infectious disease and this has added to the population crisis, but now pollution is beginning to take its toll. We know of many small disasters due to heavy metal poisoning, particularly mercury. A recent 6-year study of mortality rates in New York indicates that one death in 8 in that city over that period was brought on by air pollution and 51 per cent of all hypertensive heart disease deaths were caused by air pollution. A century ago one-third of the world population was malnourished or under-nourished. Even with our vast increase in food production the relative figure today is worse and because of the huge total population increase the total number of starving people is much greater.

Recently an American academic, Dr Jay Forrester, wrote a book titled ‘World Dynamics’. Here he has set up what he calls a world system in which he has a computer model which predicts how the levels of population, pollution, natural resources, capital investment and quality of life, will change over the next 130 years. The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) said on the floor of the House on 17th August:

We are, after all, searching for a quality of life which will be better than the one we have today.

Let me tell him that his interest in the quality of life has come a little late considering what his Government, of which he shared leadership for the last 22 years, has done. Surely his comments are only mouthing jargon or hypocrisy. Where is the action taken in the Budget to support such a cliche? It is indeed a little late.

Dr Forrester tells us that we have just passed through a golden age and from now on the quality of life will decline if the present patterns continue. He shows that an inevitable pollution crisis which will cause the death of 83 per cent of the world’s population will follow and that it will predominantly affect developed countries rather than developing countries. He indicates that the doomsday principle, death by pollution, will get us before the argued principle of lack of food. Forrester says that to ensure man’s survival as we know him we must immediately, on a global scale, undertake the following steps now: Firstly, a reduction of 30 per cent in the birthrate; secondly, a reduction of 50 per cent in pollution generation; thirdly, a reduction of 75 per cent in our rate of use of natural resources; fourthly, a reduction of 40 per cent in capital investment generation; and fifthly, a reduction of food production by 20 per cent.

My own personal view is that Australia should drastically cut her immigration programme. We should question whether it is in the interest of Australia to continue our assisted immigration programme in view of the pressure of immigration on the States, on education, on health and our hospitals, on local government, on spiralling land and housing costs; in fact on all aspects of government. I come now to the burden of education. The Australian Education Council estimated in a nation-wide survey of education needs that the States will be $ 1,443m short of required finance for the years 1971 to 1975.

There is also the question of the burden of State, local and semi-government finance. In the last 2 decades the cost of servicing the loan burden has increased over 400 per cent in the States; over 1,400 per cent in local government and over 2,000 per cent in semi-governmental authorities. Spiralling land costs in the Sydney area alone - the most populous of Australia’s urban areas - has increased by nearly 200 per cent in the last 10 years and is now increasing by more than 20 per cent a year. Need 1 mention the chaos in our health and hospital systems? We have to ponder not only our population increase but also our increased immigration intake. The political acceptability of these proposals may be used by some to kick the sectional can but they point clearly to the immensity of the challenge facing us.

What can we do in Australia, our part of the world? We in Australia are uniquely suited for giving the rest of the world a lead. We have a small educated population and large resources. The ratio of population to resources is important for the quality of life. Japan, contrary to the belief of some, is not an exception, for it buys resources from others and uses them at a rapid rate creating one of the largest pollution problems in the world. Let us remember that despite what most of the advertising industry tries to convince us of, our primary purpose here on this planet is surely not to maximise our consumption of resources. If all the people on earth had such an opportunity we would have had a pollution crisis much earlier than we have. Such a crisis would have occurred if the people of India had the same standards of living as we have.

So let Australia set an example. Let us plan rational new cities of human dimensions and high quality. Already our largest cities are too big and the increasing size is resulting in a decline in the quality of life for each resident of the city. The problems of rural industry give the Commonwealth the opportunity to purchase back large tracts of land for other resource uses, including national parks, wilderness areas and mining reserves. Many of the semiarid areas should never have been grazed, and there are many parts of our inland which have been ecologically ruined by man’s activity. We should consider what our optimum population should be. Let us make sure that our optimum population is based on long-term ecological goals not short-term economic ones which involve the non-rational use of resources at a very high rate.

Our food production, for example, has increased by our switching from horsedrawn equipment to power-driven equipment. That means that land which once was used to produce hay now can be used for food production for humans. But in doing so we are now driving our farm machinery with energy from oil rather than with energy trapped by plants from the sun. All our oil will be gone within SO years. That we will have alternative comparable sources of energy is by no means guaranteed. In the meantime we use up more calories in oil in cultivating, tilling and harvesting than we actually harvest as food. Thus we are supporting a higher population by cashing in on energy banks which will soon be empty.

Australia has a highly literate and educated population. Let us be the leader in moves for a good global environment policy and let us work for population control, pollution control and a rational rate of use of natural resources. Let us use our considerable research potential to work on many of the immense problems facing us in the area. In the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation we already have a large research organisation which is capable of attacking many of these problems and which, because of the present state of rural industry, is now engaged in finding a new direction for itself. These problems include such areas as resource recycling and substitution, population controls, better ecosys.tems management, better urban planning and design and problems within man himself such as the roots of disruptive human behaviour and racism. Many of our largest problems are social as well as physical, psychological and biological.

Let us concentrate on our education system so that within a generation we can create a generation of Australians with values which are compatible with concepts of a global home which is very limited in its capacity to withstand abuse, and away from concepts based on the unlimited frontier. We have to act now, and in a massive new way. Otherwise, with present economic policies and value systems, we will continue to make mistakes that many people in other countries have made in the past. Now that a Federal Department of the Environment has been established, we should define immediately the optimum human environment by a series of goals towards which the Federal and State agencies should work. Thus grants of money for research and development and the choice of how resources, minerals, water, urban and rural land, to name a few, are used, will conform to the highest national priorities.

Legislation should be passed by the Commonwealth in relation to the Australian Capital Territories and other Territories. These Acts should be comprehensive, cover the whole human, physical and psychological environment. They will serve as models for legislation which may bc passed by the States. Federal grants should be made to encourage the passage of legislation within the States. The Commonwealth has power to levy taxes. It can strive for uniformity by levying special taxes on pollution, by tax incentives and, if necessary, a tax surcharge to encourage pollution control, and by giving grants to States, local and semi-government authorities to ensure a system of policing the environment effort. We should look at our population policy at home and decide on what kind of total population increase, natural and immigrant, our environment can handle over a long period.

Once legislation has been passed by the Commonwealth and by all States, a joint Commonwealth and State authority should administer pollution and environmental control. Joint co-operation at all levels of government can conquer, control and rectify, and make our Australia beautiful. The Budget is a regressive one. It makes no progressive reform. It takes no action in regard to pollution or environmental control. It gives the Government no power to deal with the real crisis in housing. It does not deal in any shape or form with the crisis in our cities. For that reason we on this side of the House have been critical of the Budget. Surely it is necessary for the Commonwealth to give leadership in these fields. That has been long overdue.

It is not much good the Prime Minister mouthing words, saying that we should have a better quality of life, unless the Government takes positive action. If it does take such action then possibly we will be able to solve some of the problems confronting us in the survival of mankind. The challenge is not parochial or sectional. We are a part of the human race. We are all part of space ship earth. Unless we learn to live together we will in the long run perish together or there may be, as so many people have feared in the past, a war between the haves and the have nots. There will be a struggle for survival between those with a high standard of living and those who live an impoverished life. It is for this reason that I have made these few comments. I hope that they have not fallen on deaf ears. I hope that some positive action will be taken by the Government and that it has not appointed a Minister for the Environment just to detract from the criticism of the conditions existing in this country. For this reason I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition and T hope the Parliament will support it too.


– I support the Budget and oppose the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). At the same time I would like to compliment the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) on making a thoughtful and constructive contribution. I do not agree with everything he said, particularly in relation to housing. As he indicated, he intends to say more about this subject during the Estimates debate. I believe that the new Minister for Housing (Mr Kevin Cairns) has put forward to the State Ministers for Housing a very helpful and constructive formula which apparently most of them have indicated their willingness to accept. Indeed, only two of the State Ministers have indicated any reluctance. It may be that those two, when they give further consideration to the matter, will also agree. At any rate, this matter will no doubt be debated in greater detail during the course of the Estimates debate. A good deal of what the honourable member for Reid said about the environment and growing problems in relation to population growth and future trends would be matters with which we would all be in agreement. I heard a recording of a guest of honour speech given by a leading American scientist last night on this very subject. There is no doubt that the question of the preservation of our environment is a world problem. It has many angles to it and it is a vast problem. It is fortunate that major scientific brains are now endeavouring to grapple with it. It is a problem in relation to which we must all do our best to help.

On the whole I have been disappointed with the debate that has come from honourable members opposite, because in the current state of the economy one would have hoped that Her Majesty’s Opposition - the alternative government of this country - would have put forward something much more positive, constructive and acceptable to the community than it has done in relation to assisting the economy and giving it the right direction. I will have a little more to say about that matter later.

Before I speak about the economy I would like to make a brief reference to a comment made last Thursday by my colleague the right honourable member for Fisher (Sir Charles Adermann) in the course of his comments in’ this debate. I agree with him when he urges that the Government give consideration to making a decision in relation to a new and permanent Parliament House. At this stage of the economy I would not support any major outlay. I do not think any of us are of that mind. I have it on good authority that it would be 3 or 4 years after a decision is taken before the question of a major outlay of expenditure would arise. I understand that a great deal of preliminary work would be necessary. The calling for designs either on an Australia-wide basis or a world-wide basis would have to be decided. I urge the Government to make a decision at an early date in relation to this big question. If I have a chance during the Estimates debate on the Parliament I will have something further to say under this heading.

The Treasurer (Mr Snedden) had a difficult task in framing this Budget. I do not suppose any of us really envied him his task, knowing as we do the various conflicting pressures in the community and in the economy to which he was being subjected. On the one hand there is the urgent need for action to control inflation and to tighten government expenditure. On the other hand there are many demands upon the Federal government. After all, our resources are not unlimited. For example, there are pressures for extra outlay on defence. There is pressure from the rural sector of the economy. There is pressure for increased welfare benefits, social service benefits, repatriation benefits, assistance to the family man and assistance to the States. While all of these things are admirable and they are all of great importance, the Treasurer and the Cabinet in framing the Budget have to endeavour to set priorities and have to endeavour to make a decision that is the right one in the particular context of today’s economy.

As I see it, the keynote is still growth with stability. This has been the keynote of the Government’s economic policy for a long period of time, and I believe that it has paid handsome dividends to Australia. The worrying and disturbing aspect, of course, is the rate of inflation, which is much too high. In a moment I wish to say something about a positive method of combating this inflation. First of all, may I make a reference to expenditure in the public sector and the community’s desire to see an effective review of government departments aimed at increasing efficiency. I am sure that the Government is aware of this desire. Indeed indications have been made to that effect. There is also a desire to see a minimising of the rate of growth in the Commonwealth Public Service. We all have the greatest admiration for the heads of the Commonwealth Public Service. They are men of great ability and integrity. We are fortunate to have men of the calibre that we have as the heads of our various government departments. They are men with a great sense of responsibility. I believe that we can feel confident that they will play their part in this particular exercise.

I suggest that there is possibly some unnecessary overlapping which could be looked at by the heads of departments and others who are concerned with examining internal procedures. I am not convinced in my own mind that there may not be some opportunity for economising in relation to overlapping, for example, with some of the State government departments. I know that there is a system of internal controls within the Commonwealth Public Service in relation to government expenditure and departmental outlay. I know too that suggestions have been made from other sources that there might be added to these controls some expert advice. This is a matter for the Government and for the Public

Service Board and for those charged with the responsibility of economising in this field.

Retarding our economy, retarding our progress and greatly adding to the fires of inflation is the matter of industrial disputes that have resulted in an increasing number of man days lost over the last 2 or 3 years. Only last Thursday the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) made some comments about this. Quite recently the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) made a statement on this matter. It is a matter of general concern within the ranks of the Parties on this side of the House and, I believe, in the community generally. In 1968 1 million man days were lost through industrial disputes. In 1969 2 million man days were lost. In 1970 2.4 million man days were lost. In the first quarter of this present year there was a 4 per cent increase on the corresponding figures for 1970. This is not good enough.

We need to have a greater sense of responsibility in this nation. We need more cohesion between the various elements that make up our community. Above all we need a greater sense of unity of purpose, a greater sense of direction in the whole industrial field if Australia is to achieve real strength and solidarity and go steadily forward to its true destiny. After all - I think this scarcely needs any underlining - we are one people; we are one nation; we are not just groups of people at loggerheads with one another. I believe we need some changes in the attitudes of mind. We need to discard some of the outworn slogans and cliches of the past. We need to think and work and plan more together for the common good. In 1970-71 the gross national product of this country rose at a rate of approximately 5 per cent, compared with 5.5 per cent in the financial year 1969-70. Unfortunately, as we all know, this has been accompanied by costpush pressure, and wage levels have been increasing at approximately 3 times the rate of increased productivity. I believe we are capable of a much better performance than this. Indeed we must do better.

I now refer to the 1970 report brought down by the Chairman of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation Board. Sir Roland Wilson, who is well known to us all. Indeed, he is one of the most distinguished men in Australia and one of the outstanding financial and ecoomic brains that this country has produced. I would like to read one or two brief extracts from the 1970 report given by Sir Roland Wilson. He said in that report:

There are, at the start of the 1970s, some warning signals for us, and our reactions to them will have an important bearing on the future prosperity of this country. Improved productivity, must be an important determinant of growth of output in the coming years, and an important element in improved productivity will be highly skilled management and work forces. If the challenge of the future is to be met, Australia will need better training methods, both to upgrade existing skills, particularly in those areas where shortages of skilled labour persist, and to retrain people whose particular skills have been made redundant by the march of technological change.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.


– When the sitting was suspended for dinner I was quoting from the 1970 report of Sir Roland Wilson in his capacity as Chairman of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation on the subject of inflation and productivity. For the sake of clarity I shall repeat the last sentence which I read previously. Sir Roland said:

If the challenge of the future ls to be met, Australia will need better training methods, both to upgrade existing skills, particularly in those areas where shortages of skilled labour persist, and to retrain people whose particular skills have been made redundant by the march of technological change. Already useful steps have been taken.

Sir Roland continued:

Improved productivity Is also closely related to efforts to control inflationary trends and pressures on the cost structure. It is vital, at the very least, that Australian costs should not rise at a faster rate than those in the other major trading nations.

A climate of political and economic stability will always remain a fundamental basis for Australian economic growth.

I believe that great credit is due to the Productivity Council of Australia for its efforts to publicise and emphasise the fundamental importance of increasing productivity if we are to maintain a high standard of living and a real wage value. I am supported in this view by Mr A. J. White, the President of the Chamber of Manufactures of New South Wales. He told the annual meeting of the Chamber in Sydney last month:

It is in the interest of unions to assist management in educating the work force to understand that the only way wage increases can be of real benefit is by increasing productivity so that price rises can be kept to a minimum.

This is a vital long-term task. It can be done. In fact it must be done even to maintain our standard of living.

At page 36 of the 1970-71 report of the Reserve Bank of Australia there is an extremely illuminating article entitled “The Problem of Inflation’. Time will not permit me to quote from it, but I believe that it is well worth close study. The report refers to. the efforts made by many developed countries to restore price stability and seriously questions whether the traditional weapons of fiscal and monetary policy are, by themselves, adequate to combat inflation. During the past few years our trade has become more diversified and our external reserves and balance of payments position has strengthened. But we must bear in mind that our balance of payments is still heavily dependent on a high rate of capital inflow. Fortunately, Australia has a reputation for stability. Our mining boom over the past 10 years has, economically speaking, helped to offset the unhappy situation of our rural industries; a situation which is. of course, of very real concern to the Government and which this Budget endeavours to assist. No doubt some major long term readjustemnts will be necessary in relation to rural industries generally.

There are strongly held views in certain quarters regarding the effect of taxation on incentive. Some leading economists maintain that the level of taxation should not rise above 25 per cent of the gross national income, otherwise it would have an inflationary effect. I am sure that the Government is well aware of this and is watching the position carefully. Earlier this year - and indeed I think at some time during the latter part of last year also - I urged the Government to undertake a thorough review of the whole tax structure in Australia, as it is many years since the last overall review took place. T am hopeful that this task will be tackled during the present financial year and completed well before next year’s Budget.

The Brisbane Chamber of Commerce, in a recent statement on the economic situation, expressed some anxiety about the effect of the 1970 national wage increase of 6 per cent in relation to cost-push inflation, and urged that the Commonwealth and State governments, as the largest employers, should argue more energetically before the appropriate tribunals the economic impact of large increases in wages. The Chamber also raises the question as to whether an increase in the gross national product, as presently calculated, should be a basis for claiming an increase in wages. It said:

A general increase in wages builds up GNP (as presently calculated), which in turn is used as an argument for further increased wages, which in turn again builds up this calculation of GNP. There is room for belief that an increase in GNP (as presently calculated) is not a true guide as to an increase in real productivity.

There is a growing interest in Australia and in other countries in the very important matter of conservation. The honourable member for Reid who preceded me in this debate made some very thoughtful comments about our environment. Development and change are a part of progress. But in the process we must avoid any unnecessary destruction of our heritage, in the interests of succeeding generations. Earlier in my speech I referred to the mining boom in Australia. I shall quote a short paragraph from the August 1971 issue of the publication ‘Viewpoint’, which is published by the Australian Conservation Foundation. The subject of the issue is Conservation and Mining in Modern Australia’. The following appears in it:

Mining has made an inestimable contribution to the present well-being attained by Australians. It can continue to sustain the economic progress of the country and the individual’s standard of living for many years to come. As an industry it is certain to expand; all the conditions necessary to enable unfettered growth are present by virtue of our laws, attitudes, demand, borrowing power, and technical skill. We can be reasonably sure that over the next decade or so mining will generate such sweeping changes that Australia and the way of life pursued here will be altered beyond imagination. Some parts of our environment and heritage, however, must be retained in their present condition for science, recreation, or use in the more remote future.

The tasks confronting us in this country are many and varied. Both internally and externally there are major problems to be faced and wrestled with. I am confident that we can solve these problems if we lift our sights to wider horizons and work and plan together for a greater Australia.


- Mr Deputy Speaker, there are many approaches to this Budget. Firstly, may I

State that I naturally support the amendment which was moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). Some people were unkind enough to call last year’s Budget ‘Bury’s Blunder’. Equally unkind people have referred to the paper now under discussion as ‘Snedden’s Shocker’. It is, of course, the folly of the year. We have heard a lot recently about the father of the year, but no doubt this particular award will be conferred with suitable recriminations at the ballot boxes if and when this Government is finally dragged there to answer to the people of Australia. This Budget is the product of two rival rabbles - two distinct factions which are spending much more time cutting one another’s throats than attending to the peace, order and good government of Australia. We can hear the screams from the bloody Cabinet tower and see the heads in due course duly exhibited on Traitor’s Gate. Behind the present Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) is a ghost cabinet; a cabinet of more talents than are to be found at present sitting on the front bench. But I leave him to the retribution which will be his in due course.

One could scarcely expect this Budget to have the slightest reference to the world economic climate. The best that can be said of it - this appears to be the rationale for it - is simply that the current Treasurer (Mr Snedden) - I do not know the period of his incumbency - has decided that the retail price index will be the basis of the budget. That is the infra-structure. There is no reference whatever to the dollar crisis which is shaking the world. We have entered a new era. The policy enunciated with regard to the dollar crisis by President Nixon is an economic watershed for the world and the United States has the economic muscle to decide what it wants to do. I am no apologist for it but I am looking stark facts in the face.

This Government and the people of this country, our trade, our prosperity and our future welfare will be determined by the diktat issued from Washington; make no mistake about that. This Government is completely unprepared to deal with the situation. Its members of course are economic babes in the woods; simpletons in world trade. At a time when the world is divided info protective trade blocs, at a time when we should be standing on our own feet; at a time when we should be dealing in terms of trade contracts in good Australian dollars and repatriating our foreign reserves we are doing a piggy-back on the pound sterling. Of course in contradistinction to the Government’s economic ineptitude in its overseas affairs its members are past masters in the crafty art of distortion, cant, humbug and hypocrisy. They have plundered the poor and they have socked the sick. They mouth words of praise and words of sympathy but in hard fact the pensioners, the poor, the little savers, the investors and the business people of Australia have had a lousy deal from this Government and there are no prospects of improvement.

The Prime Minister has suffered from 2 catastrophes recently. Firstly, he had his plans for a snap election on a bogus issue completely disrupted by the Gorton episode but having in due course dispatched him he came back to face the House and in the process discovered such a drop in support for himself amongst the people of Australia that he was not game to face the people. We are ready to face him at any time and on any issue of his choosing. Of course neither he nor the Liberal Party of Australia would ever face the people of Australia on decent and fundamental issues. There must always be some gimmick, some myth, to mislead the mob and the one that was chosen was the issue, of law and order associated with the South African football tour recently. The one that will undoubtedly be expounded by the Prime Minister will be industrial law and order. They may change the name but the principle is just the same. The objective of course is to mislead the people of Australia and somehow to secure another term of office for this miserable Government.

In fact this Budget is a blueprint for a depression. The best way that any Liberal government can ever see to temper and discipline the trade union movement is to create a pool of unemployed, and that is precisely the objective of what is fundamentally a completely deflationary budget. The unemployed will find it very cool indeed in McMahon’s pool. As for the future, we can expect an intensification of the present economic crisis. It is time that the people of Australia were told the truth.

The truth is that we are facing a stark economic crisis. The United States will not relax and it will not relent. It is a country whose gross national product and internal trade is 31 times that of the aggregate of world trade and it depends on world trade for only about 4) per cent of its gross national product. Accordingly the US is in a position to lay down the terms on the future parity of world foreign exchanges. The US is determined at all costs and for President Nixon’s own political survival to restore stability to its economy no matter what happens to the rest of the world. That being so it is time that we in Australia stood on our own feet. It is time that we thought in terms of an independent nation because that is in fact what we are. We need to be hard hearted and hard fisted because in trade, as in foreign relations, you have interests and not friends.

This Government has never been prepared to do anything other than to follow what has been the time honoured practice in the average Australian embassy overseas and that is to find out what the United States and Britain wanted to do and then do the same. But our interests from now on will be in the main different. In some cases they will be parallel but we are the twelfth trading nation of this world. We should be in the Group of Ten. We should be there amongst the leaders of the world and enunciating our interests and our viewpoint and getting the inside information in return. We are no longer to be a lucky province; a dependent country. Australia from now on must definitely stand on its own feet.

The Prime Minister will also raise a suitable smokescreen about the impact of wage increases as a component of gross national product. I would like to quote some figures from the ‘Australian Economic Review’ for the first quarter of 1971. These figures have been brought up to date. In 1959-60 wages as a percentage of the gross national product were 63.2 per cent. At the present time they amount to 64.4 per cent. That is an increase of only 1.1 per cent. The whole structure of the Prime Minister’s argument will be based on this and he will be sounding the warning bells as to the impact of wage costs and inflation. I want to quote from the ‘Australian Economic

Review’ what a group of eminent and disinterested but patriotic economists had to say about inflation. It reads:

It is not just an economic problem which economists alone might be expected to solve. It is a social, political and, in the end, especially a moral problem, involving the whole community and its basic attitudes to the kind of society and economy it wants.

My main point is that it is no good laying the blame on wage-earners, who are merely reflecting and trying to keep up with the attitudes of the whole society they live in, and usually being beaten anyhow by those who are driving, rather than trying to hop on to the bandwagon

Honourable members should mark these words:

Accelerating inflation could destroy our society. A fair tax system, a good social security system, a reform of the tariff structure, control of restrictive practices, an appropriate exchange rate, the setting of norms as a guide for public and for private employers, informal public adjustments of rent and interest charges are directed to making our existing social system work better.

That is a complete blueprint for the control of inflation. This Government will do precisely nothing about it. Let us have a look at the position today with regard to trade practices in particular. Coals of fire were neaped on the head of the Prime Minister this afternoon by the honourable member for Berowra (Mr Hughes) in a very subtle way, and the Prime Minister deserved it all because he was one of the architects responsible for the watering down of the Barwick legislation. It is poetic justice indeed that the man who first raised the question of trade practices and rackets was there as the Chief Justice of Australia to make sure that economic justice would be done for the people. It has been said by Dr Maureen Brunt that in Australia today there is every restrictive device and practice known to the ingenuity of man and the most this Government will do in the proudly announced amendments that it will make to the restrictive Trade Practices Act will be to tinker with it in such a way that there will be the minimum of relief in the maximum of time. Government supporters have a vested interest in evasion. They are, of course, privy to the rackets; they are the puppets of the racketeers. Packer, of course, still loves them.

With regard to the wool sales fiasco, 1 know as well as every Australian knows that we need every atom of export income that we can get. For that reason, at all costs the wool grower must be kept in the ring fighting; but that means the little wool grower, it means the people who came into the wool industry during and after the Korean war wool boom, who paid inflated prices for their land and who arc now in the grip of the pastoral companies and of the major trading banks. Let this also be said, that in any event, if the squeeze is applied to them, on-one else will enter the industry so, at all costs, the small wool growers must be kept in there fighting and working. For that reason they should receive the full benefit of whatever subsidy is to be paid. It should not be paid to the 15 per cent of wool growers - the big people - who were in the game before 1950, who inherited their properties or who bought them at pre-war prices. It is the little man who is entitled to assistance. In many cases, that assistance will have to go further in the form of a modified moratorium for them but, of course, that will be another and quite distinct issue.

The alarm will be raised by the Prime Minister as to the impact of accumulated savings, but the canny savers, the canny people in Australia today, are sitting on their savings because they can see storms and breakers ahead. They are well aware that less than 14 per cent of the capital which is being used for the development of Australia comes from overseas investors, and that by investment and by their techniques of management - they are no fools in that regard - that 14 per cent of investment has control of nearly 45 per cent of our industry. As the Leader of the Opposition said this afternoon, 30 per cent of company profits today are being remitted abroad. Of course, interest rates are at an all time record high. When this Government came into office in 1949, the bank overdraft rate was 4.5 per cent. Today it is 8.25 per cent. On mortgage loans, outside of those supported by the banks or by the orthodox building societies, the average rate of interest is 10 1/4 per cent. As for consumer credit, we find that the cops have joined the robbers. The trading banks, which at one time were able to control the hire purchase companies are now their puppets and under their control. Today, less than 48 per cent of the money flow in Australia is under the control of the trading banks. In contrast to that, when this Government first came into office 72 per cent of money flow was controlled by the banks. To that can be added the invasion of the overseas merchant banks who always know where to make a quick quid. Some of them are highly reputable but they are not here for the good of their health or because they like the colour of our eyes. They are here to do business and to do it in a big way.

As for housing loans, already the Government has had a rebuff from the major State Housing Ministers. Again, we find that housing loan interest has increased from the Chifley 3 per cent to 7 per cent today. In other words, the average family man who would suffer about a $90 a year increase as a result of the impact of this Budget if he is unlucky enough to be going into a Housing Commission home today, with an average cost of the house and land of about $10,000, will be paying another $100 a year in interest or a total of $190 a year as a result of this Budget. Let us consider another matter which is typical of the political sleight of hand of this Government. I refer to the impact and the result of concessional deductions for the wife and children. The taxation allowance for a wife is $312 a year. To a man with a net taxable income of $2,000 a year this deduction is worth $63 a year. To a man with a net taxable income of $10,000 a year it is worth $159 a year. In other words, the impact and the benefit of it are precisely the opposite to what they should be. There should be a reverse taper of the benefits of concessional deductions. Of course, the minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) came out of his seat like an angry hornet today at a question which was directed to him by a South Australian member concerning the tax rebate of $400 for the education expenses of one child. Tt will not be those in the $2,000 a year taxable income bracket who will receive the benefits of this rebate; the Government’s friends will receive it. I shall not say any more on that score.

I turn now to another matter, and that is the question of the pensioners and their treatment by a gentleman to whom they referred, after his previous munificence, as Half a dollar Bill’. No more than 81 per cent of them will benefit as the result of the tapered means test and its particular application to this Budget. It was very intriguing to see the snide way in which it was announced that there would be an increase of $1.25 a week and to whom it would be given. We have the doubtful distinction of having one of the worst and lowest scales of social benefits in the world, and if one looks at the figures for naturalisation it will be found that it is the main reason for the abysmally low percentage of migrants who have applied for naturalisation. They prefer to go back to their own countries at the end of their period of service of labour in Australia.

Again, there is the little matter of the domestic surplus - the biggest racket and the biggest touch of all. $630m for what? It is just a euphemism for a means of directing surplus revenue into the Commonwealth loans. Already the Commonwealth is a highly successful investor in its own loans to the tune of $2,767m. Of that figure, $2,246m came from the Loan Consolidation Investment Reserve - a nice high sounding title which bemuses the mob, who do not follow it. It is nothing more or less than a means of meeting the shortfall of loans which will not be filled because even at the record rates of interest that are being offered the shrewd and canny investor can do better by investing in the hire purchase companies. For that reason, last year the Government siphoned $280m from its domestic surplus into Commonwealth loans. Today we find-

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

Prime Minister · Lowe · LP

– This is the twenty-second Budget since the Liberal-Country Party Government took office in 1949. Since then we in Australia have enjoyed a period of sustained economic growth combined with full employment which has not been rivalled in any previous period of our history.

Let me illustrate by reference to the progress we have made in the last decade. Ten years ago our gross national product, at constant prices was around $ 17,000m. Last year it was $28,000m - an increase of about 60 per cent or an annual rate of increase of over 5 per cent. Ten years ago our workforce was less than 4) million. It is now over 5i million - a growth of about 30 per cent. Our international reserves have more than doubled and now stand at over $2.3 billion. These facts, I suggest, speak for themselves.

We are, I agree, now facing problems because cost and price inflation has recently gathered pace. In the interests of the whole community, we have to tackle these problems and tackle them now. But they need to be handled in a way which will assist, rather than impede, our long-term growth goals. And a co-operative effort is needed by every group of Australians. We have one very important economic problem that the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) highlighted in his Budget Speech. Our over-riding economic purpose in this year’s Budget was to combat inflationary pressures. We are well aware that the inflationary process is most complex and that there are important elements which the Government’s fiscal and monetary measures do not influence directly.

Wage rates, for example, are largely a matter for the Arbitration Commission and for employer and employee relationships, although the Government can play a role by trying to ensure that the general economic climate is not conducive to the making of wage awards that exceed increases in productivity. The problem we faced in framing the Budget was therefore to try to reduce inflationary pressures in those areas where the Government can have a direct influence. As I said in the House on 18th February, we have to distinguish between cost inflation and demand inflation. I wish that this distinction could be made abundantly clear, because of all the speeches I have heard in this House and of many of the comments I have heard too, few have been able to draw this distinction effectively.

Mr Foster:

– You are never in the chamber to hear speeches.


– But I listen in on tha radio. In any event, I disappear the moment I see you.

I pointed out then that we were not faced with overall demand inflation of the classical type, except in three areas, namely, private building and construction, private investment in plant and equipment, and Government expenditure. Here there was excessive pressure on resources. In addition, more recently the strong rise in the potential for demand inflation through increased personal consumption expenditure gave us cause for concern. In circumstances where prices had already been increasing much too rapidly, we felt that it would have been irresponsible to risk the possibility of superimposing excess demand on wage inflation. To guard against the development of undue demand pressures, we therefore judged that it was necessary to restrain the growth in Commonwealth expenditures by severely pruning departmental proposals and we decided also that we had to raise additional revenues. These are in the nature of fine tuning adjustments which must be seen in proper perspective.

After allowing for the transfer of payroll tax to the States the Commonwealth’s domestic outlays are estimated to increase by $900m in 1971-72- only $90m less than in 1970-71. Similarly, receipts are estimated to increase by only about $100m more than last year. In technical terms - I have to emphasise the word ‘technical’ because it has a technical meaning - these measures imply an increase in the overall domestic surplus of $170m. Combined with a restrictive monetary policy I have little doubt that they have helped considerably in reducing the risk that excess demand inflation would develop. But these measures will not in themselves prevent the continuance of the strong overall economic growth that we have been experiencing in recent years. It is nonsense to suggest that they will result in mass unemployment. In the normal course of events registrants for employment will rise to a seasonal peak in January of next year. With the addition of school leavers, it would not be at all surprising if unemployment exceeded 100,000 at that time. That would only be slightly in excess of the numbers that were registered in January this year. I want to assure the House that we remain firmly committed to the maintenance of full employment and that the Government will be keeping a very close watch on trends in the private sector to see whether they develop along the lines forecast.

Our concern must be to try to provide an economic climate in which economic growth can proceed without excessive cost and price increases. Left unchecked, the rate of price increases would soon erode the gains we propose for pensioner and other social welfare recipients. It could also jeopardise the strong economic growth we have enjoyed in recent years. It could threaten our export industries. It could limit our ability to improve the quality of life in Australia. In the final analysis, of course, the prospects for controlling inflation will be affected, as I have already said, by community attitudes - not by any single group in the community, but by the community as a whole. Recent experience overseas suggests that once a cost-price spiral is permitted to get a foothold in an economy, the measures then required to combat it successfully are very difficult to devise and decidedly less palatable than those contained in this Budget. Our aim is to prevent such a development in this country.

Till now I have referred mainly to measures aimed at demand control. But it is wrong to suggest that the Government has ignored the problems of cost pressures. The Treasurer referred to a variety of measures which are being taken outside the immediate Budget context and which arc aimed at reducing these pressures. It should however be recognised that the full year effects of wage and other cost increases which took place during 1970-71 will continue to be reflected in the economy for some time. The levels of average weekly earnings and the consumer price index, for example, are already considerably above their average levels in 1970-71. This undoubtedly will be reflected in statistics during the remainder of 1971-72, no matter how effective the Budget and the Government’s other measures may be in containing future cost increases.

Now let us speculate about what the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues might do to solve the problem. The Leader of the Opposition says he notes many things which are not causes of inflation. He says that wage increases are not the cause of inflation. I will refer to these in a moment. He also says:

Great sectors of our secondary industry have not contributed to inflation.

The rural sector is not contributing to inflation; and clearly he believes that Government spending is not the cause, since he wants the Government to spend much more on a whole range of projects. Moreover, as company incomes increased very little in the last financial year, presumably he does not find the cause of inflation in that area. What then is the cause in his view? It is important that not only we but all members of the Australian public should know. Having excluded so much, he leaves us in the dark as to what his analysis is and what the real causes might be. The Leader of the Opposition does, it is true, give us a most significant hint as to his views when he accuses the Government of refusing to acknowledge - and here I quote his own words - ‘the inevitable connection between rising prices and demands for increased wages.’

I repeat his words “The inevitable connection between rising prices and demands for increased wages’. Does this mean that after all, he accepts wage increases as a cause of inflation? The words may be ambiguous. He is strangely silent. I accept his silence as meaning that he does accept wage increases as the cause. The fact is, of course, that wage and salary earners have increased their share of gross national product. In 1970-71, wages, salaries and supplements accounted for nearly 55 per cent of gross national product, much above the proportion in 1969-70, when it was 52.4 per cent, and in other recent years.

The Leader of the Opposition refers also to ‘half an income-price policy’ under which he suggests the Arbitration Commission has the job of keeping wages and prices down. He should know, as a once potential lawyer, that the Arbitration Commission has power to set only minimum wage rates which in neither theory nor practice amounts to setting actual wage rates. This is reflected in the fact that average weekly earnings have consistently increased much faster than award rates; for example, in the year to the June quarter 1971 by over 13 per cent as against 9 per cent in the corresponding period last year. The truth is that the Leader of the Opposition is unable to provide any analysis of the causes of inflation. Not unexpectedly he is therefore completely silent on the crucial question of what should be done to control it. We do know that he criticises the Government for not spending enough. In almost the same breath he complains that the burden of taxation is too high. He cannot have it both ways. So we are left to the conclusion that Mr Whitlam’s cure for inflation is to increase Government spending and to reduce taxation. This is just the kind of cure we must avoid if we are to make any kind of attempt to cure inflation. As I have said, it is the Government’s firm belief that the only responsible course of action was to bring down a Budget designed to prevent the development of excessive demand inflation, superimposing itself on the existing cost inflation. I make it clear that our policy continues to be a flexible one, responsive to change and able to make adjustments needed to sustain full employment and economic growth. It is, of course, entirely possible to adopt a less restrictive monetary and fiscal policy if circumstances make that necessary.

Mr Deputy Speaker, I want now to emphasise another important aspect of our policy. We have been able to take positive action to meet the various high priority needs of the community, despite the need to restrain Government expenditure to combat inflationary pressures. The Budget in fact provides for substantial increases in social welfare, defence, education and the arts, assistance to rural industries, and other areas of essential activity. The responsible Ministers will explain in detail those parts of the Budget which involve their own portfolios. But let me just mention social welfare as one example. Reference has been made to a fundamental reappraisal of social services which I said the Government would undertake. The Government looked at various possible measures in the social welfare field. We decided, as I shall outline in a moment, to take action in the areas of greatest need. If the Opposition wants to say that this policy was wrong and that it does not believe that those in the greatest need should receive the greatest assistance, it is up to the Opposition to tell the Government and up to it to make it positive to the Australian people. It is all very well for the Leader of the Opposition to say glibly that the cost of paying pensions to all Australians would be no more than $300m. The fact is that, on the basis of present eligibility for age pensions, the cost would be about $440m. Now where would that money come from? Where did he get his figures from? What taxes would the

Leader of the Opposition increase? Until these questions are answered one must regard any propositions put by the Leader of the Opposition with extreme doubt.

Unlike the Leader of the Opposition, my Government has acted responsibly by matching its welfare programme to what we have judged can reasonably be raised from taxation and other revenue sources. Frankly, Sir, I did not think that we could increase revenue at all other than in the way in which we have done so. I did not want to touch to any extent, and neither did my colleague the Treasurer, indirect taxes which could clearly write themselves into the consumer price index. I repeat: We have helped where we thought the need or poverty was greatest.

The increase of $1.25 in the standard rate of pension and of $1 for each married pensioner provides a substantial improvement in the purchasing power of recipients. Taken with increases which were made last year and in April this year, there has been an increase of about 11 per cent in both pension rates since September 1970. The consumer price index rose by about 5 per cent in the year to June 1971. Therefore, there is a pretty healthy margin of approximately 6 per cent that can improve the real standards of the pensioners themselves. So clearly, I think, we can take it that those most in need have received the benefits and they have received considerable gains.

A further most significant measure was the increases granted in the additional pensions payable where a pensioner has dependent children. In addition, we have increased child endowment by 50c a week for each child under the age of 16 in excess of 2 in a family. These increases in pensions, child endowment and other social welfare and repatriation benefits should ensure a welcome improvement in the standard of living of those dependent on them, even after allowing for the faster rate of price rises. Mr Deputy Speaker, I have pledged my Government to do all within its power to eliminate pockets of poverty. This is and will remain our humanitarian aim. Our concern for the needy is unqualified. We will continue to keep measures to increase our help constantly under review.

The Leader of the Opposition has moved to condemn the Budget on the ground that it contains no proposals to balance the finances and functions of the Commonwealth, States and local government. Obviously, the Leader of the Opposition could not have written the speech. Obviously he could not have been guided by any person with a knowledge of the contents of the Budegt itself. The fact is that this Budget recognises the undertaking I gave when I came to office that 1 would give priority to making sure that the Federal system worked effectively. My two conferences with the Premiers in Canberra have resulted in a significant improvement in the States’ financial capacity. First, my colleagues and I reached agreement with the States on a growth tax which is theirs to levy and which will give them an important addition to their revenue raising resources. Second, on top of the normal grants that they will receive under the improved financial arrangements settled last year, we have provided special assistance of $60m to help the States cope with their 1971-72 Budgets. Third, while recognising the need to restrain the growth in capital spending by governments, we agree to support a substantial increase in the funds available to the States for expenditure on capital works. Fourth, in transferring payroll tax to the States, we agreed to meet the cost of exempting local authorities from the tax where it applies to their non-business activities - a move which has been widely welcomed by local government authorities throughout Australia. I now ask the question: How many members of the Opposition know of the amount of funds that have been made available to local government authorities? If they do know, why have they not referred to it in any one of their speeches? Certainly, the Leader of the Opposition did not appear to have any knowledge of this innovation or the extent of it. The Government has taken these steps to improve the financial capacity of the States and their authorities. We did so because we recognise the important responsibilities which they have in providing basic services to the citizens of this country. The Labor Party, as we all know - this side and the other side - gives lip service to the role of the States. But we all know that what it would like to do is to take over the services provided by the States and run them from Canberra and to abolish the States if it had the constitutional capacity to do so. We believe, however, in a cooperative federalism, in which full recognition is given to the role of the States in providing the educational, housing, health and other facilities that are so important in improving the quality of life. (Extension of time granted.)

The plain fact is that nearly $3, 000m, or over one-third of this year’s Budget, has been set aside to assist the States in providing these facilities. Portion of this assistance takes the form of grants for specific purposes, but some $2,300m is available to the States for expenditure as they see fit. To suggest that this Budget excludes all mention of cities completely overlooks the fact that the major portion of this assistance would be expended by State governments in their cities. The Commonwealth recognises that State governments are being faced with demands for improvements in every field of their activity. With our help, an increasing proportion of national resources is being devoted to the provision of Government services in the State and local sectors. It is important, too, to bear in mind, however, that the resources of the community drawn upon by all the government instrumentalities that service the community are necessarily limited. Just as we have had to limit spending in fields of Commonwealth responsibility, so too are there limits to the assistance we can provide to the States to improve their services. But there is no doubt, Mr Deputy Speaker, that the increased financial capacity of the States will do much to help improve the quality of Australian life. So, too, will the action which the Commonwealth is taking directly in many fields. I have already mentioned our social welfare programme. We are also making substantial contributions to Aboriginal welfare, to education and the arts, and we have established a department whose functions include examination of environmental problems. All this is part of our effort to give national leadership and secure national unity.

Mr Deputy Speaker, this Budget is a positive one. It is a Budget which will help us achieve our great national aims of economic strength and prosperity, social welfare, and security. It will contribute to a general improvement in the quality of life.

There are some people who seem blind to our economic progress, and the real nature of our problems. They relish playing the role of prophets of gloom. Some talk of a stagnant economy. Some see unemployment rising in an uncontrolled way. The Leader of the Opposition professes to see the Budget as a divisive political exercise. People who talk in this way seem to be mesmerised by the immediate problems of the day. It is true that some of these problems - such as the current problem of inflation - have to be taken very seriously and solutions have to be found for them. But such problems should be kept in proper perspective. It is nonsense to suggest that mass unemployment is just around the corner. Our record in maintaining full employment is second to no other country in the world. We have a strong economy; an economy with enormous and exciting potentialities for future growth; providing only we act responsibly. People who suppress or distort these facts do no service to Australia. The sooner we learn to ignore them the better it will be for the development and prosperity of this country and the better we will be able to do for every single class of Australian citizen.


– I hope the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and his ministerial sparrows behind him will remain in this chamber for the next 10 or 15 minutes. I say this to those sitting behind the Prime Minister waiting for the ministerial crumbs that might be thrown behind his back for them to pick up. Let me refer to this Budget as a swaggies budget. It is a Budget that gives nothing today and little for tomorrow. This is the Budget that has been brought down by the Government. At the time the Budget was being introduced, what was our gallant little Prime Minister McMahon doing? When he spoke tonight he did not refer to the Leader of the Opposition as the Leader of the Opposition - he referred to him as Mr Whitlam. Therefore why should not I refer to the Prime Minister as Mr McMahon? What is good enough for the goose is good enough for the gander. I ask honourable members opposite to stay in their seats.

Mr McMahon as Prime Minister has proved to be irresponsible and untrustworthy. When he took office he waa regarded as being a hard worker with a competent manner. He sounded a high note of confidence and had a businesslike air. The myth of McMahon was the myth of the strong man who would be able to heal the wounds of the once great Liberal Party. There was a feeling of confidence and optimism. Today the command of this country has never been lower and this has been brought about by honourable members opposite. What then has Mr McMahon achieved? I hear some comments from the public gallery. It appears that even people in the public gallery are not going to put up with him much longer.


– Order! The House will come to order.


– If the Deputy Speaker will accord the right to the person in the gallery to speak I will move for an extension of time for her to do so.


-Order! The honourable member for Sturt will address his remarks to the Chair. The House will come to order


– The honeymoon is ended. McMahon’s 100 days represent the greatest period of non-achievement since the tory government of Chamberlain in Great Britain. There has been no action on education whatsoever. The national survey was completely and utterly ignored in the twisting and gyrations performed by the newly appointed Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) in this chamber this afternoon when he replied to a Dorothy Dix question from none other than the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles). What has happened in regard to health services? The so-called voluntary health scheme is totally inefficient, totally inadequate and totally uneconomic in its application to the people. It is no use you, Mr McMahon, getting up in this chamber any longer, as your predecessor did in 1949, and pulling the wool over the eyes of the public, ably backed, perhaps, by the Packer Press. If you v/ant to spell out in concise terms how good your economy is, line yourself up with the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) and the big company store he owns at Wollongong and who dances up and down in front of the turnstiles-


-Order! The honourable member for Sturt will come to order. He will address his remarks to the Chair.


- Mr Deputy Speaker, the Prime Minister’s colleague, the Minister for Social Services, is one of the wealthiest men in this country. Wealth sits on the front bench to represent wealth and interlocked businesses run this country. To hell with his clap trap that Bob Hawke and the unions run this country! I say to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, that the Union Club in Sydney runs this country through this Government and that the interlocked sections of industry today have the fortunes of the people in the palm of their hands.

The honourable member for Angas, who sits on the other side of the House mumbling in his beard denies this. Let me give the honourable member an example of what this Government did not do. I refer to the case of a frozen food firm that upped its profits in the last 9 months by 45 per cent. This firm entered into a contract with growers in the rural industry - the people whom the Government says it represents. This contract was to give the grower 3c per lb for peas. The firm sold the peas to the housewife through checkouts of the multi-million dollar supermarkets at between 30c and 35c per lb. The honourable member can look at this example when he talks about the cost system. This is what the Prime Minister ought to be looking at. That is what the incapable people on the other side of the House should he looking at.

Let me turn to social services. The Prime Minister said what he had done for people receiving social services. Where has the Prime Minister disappeared to; where has he gone? He cannot stand the truth. He has disappeared again. The Prime Minister stood here and, mark you, pleaded with the Opposition for an extension of time when he made his maiden speech as Prime Minister. He received an extension of time only through the good graces of the Opposition who accorded it to him. During his extension of time he said belatedly: ‘I will give the pensioners 50c*. The granting of 50c is an absolute myth.

Mr Irwin:

– Your days are numbered.


– The honourable member’s days are numbered - in the preselection ballot that is running against him at the moment.


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


– The 50c given at that time and the SI. 25 given in this Budget are payments limited to certain pensioners. From 150,000 to 200,000 pensioners receive no benefit at all. Yet, the Prime Minister has the hide to stand at this ministerial table, Mr Deputy Speaker, and say what he has done to ease the poverty and meet the needs of pensioners.

This Government has been hypocritical with one of the areas of need. I refer here to the sick aged. I defy any man on the Government side to say where in this Budget the Government has given one solitary cent to this great area of need. I can recall the honourable member for Angas receiving a letter from a constituent of mine recently pointing out to him the great need in this area. The honourable member for Angas expressed an opinion to me that he was shocked that these things did exist. Yet, a newspaper with a large circulation in his own electorate ran an editorial on this matter only 2 weeks before. I will gladly show this article to the honourable member to knock the surprised look off his face. But the fact of life is that this Government did not give lc to this area of need. The Government of South Australia earlier this year made an additional grant out of meagre State finances because the federal Government had not paid any attention to this area of need. This grant was made to approved nursing homes in the hope that this Government would do something about the matter when it brought down the Budget. But it has done nothing about it whatsoever. The State Government the other day continued, and perhaps increased, this item of expenditure.

What has been the position in regard to foreign affairs? We still do not have a policy on foreign affairs. We have heard a lot from the Prime Minister about a China dialogue. The Prime Minister said that there has been no response and that no response is a good response. Honourable members may remember that he said this on television. The Prime Minister is inter ested only in winning elections. He is a political opportunist. At the time the Budget was being drawn up, when Australia was facing - as she does today - a number of very vital problems what did the Prime Minister do? He took himself off to a conference and used the Springbok visit to make political capital and foster further unrest and brutality to create a situation favourable to him for an election. What a despicable act he performed on that occasion. He will ignore the real issues affecting Australia and endeavour to run an election on false and despicable issues ignorning the mess in foreign affairs, education, health services, social welfare, etc. He will use the games team from the greatest of all racist nations to create a false situation for his own ends.

When the state of emergency was declared in Queensland the Prime Minister stated that he had not spoken with Bielke.Petersen for a week. However, an Army spokesman told a reporter from the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ that the Prime Minister’s Department had said that the decision to give permission to use army barracks was a Cabinent decision and that Mr McMahon had rung Bjelke-Petersen to inform him of that decision. Yet the Prime Minister goes on television and says that he had nothing to do with it. He knows the state of his conscience with regard to that matter. He attacked Whitlam constantly because he was in China, saying that he was a political candidate endorsed by Chou En-lai and that the Chinese were playing him like a fish on a line. This was the time when the Labor Conference was on in Launceston. The Prime Minister repeated his speech of hate against Whitlam but when a reporter informed him of President Nixon’s proposed visit to China he was quite shocked. He later claimed to have been informed in advance of the proposed visit. How about that? He knows darn well he was not informed. Nobody was informed about it.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– You are not suggesting he is telling lies?


– That would be unparliamentary, as I would like to remind the honourable member, but it was certainly most ambiguous. This Budget was intended to appear as an election budget with the support of the Press, except perhaps the Murdoch Press, but this has not really eventuated. There is still the possibility of an election because of the visit of the South African cricketers. Then the Prime Minister hopes to cause enough hate, bitterness and even rioting to run an election on the issue. Pressure has been put on the Chairman of the Australian Cricketing Board of Control. I suggest there is a close connection between some members of that Board ar.d the Liberal Party.

The Prime Minister hopes to divide the nation and thereby win an election and to hell with all the issues. The Government expects to win on the basis of cricket grounds ringed with barbed wire over a 5-day period and hopes of disruption by minority groups to create more divisions and more bitterness. This will take the people’s minds from the rural problems, education deficiencies, costly and inadequate health schemes, etc. The yawn, go to sleep, roll over and shuffling attitude will pass unnoticed under the smoke - so the Prime Minister hopes - of the demonstrators’ bombs. His attitude is: ‘Give me that cricket team for my narrow political aims so that I, Prime Minister McMahon, can have 3 years in which to inflict a budget that will cure inflation by causing wage and salary earners to bear this burden.’ This is the way the Prime Minister reads the situation on behalf of big business and the monopoly interests. Now we come down to some of the points that the Prime Minister endeavoured to make tonight. He said in his initial remarks how good bis Government has in fact been and what it has achieved.

Mr Giles:

– Hear, hear!


– Let me quote from a document J have in front of me. It runs parallel to what the honourable member for Angas mumbled ‘Hear, hear’ to a while ago:

Australia still needs a contributory system of national insurance against sickness, widowhood, unemployment and old age. It is only under such a system that we can make full benefits a matter of right and so get completely rid of the means test During the new parliament we will further investigate this complicated’ problem with a view to presenting to you at the election of 1952 a scheme for your approval.

And on it goes. When was it made? It was made in 1949 by that great impostor and previous Prime Minister of this House. If J have to withdraw that remark, Mr Deputy Speaker, I suppose I will have to, but the truth of the matter is in this document. These are the promises, page after page. This is virtually a log of claims that that once great leader of the Liberal Party, Sir Robert Menzies, put before the people in 1949 and not a shred of it has come into being some 20 years later. Honourable members opposite can have it for what it is worth, lt now lies on the Government benches where it lay some years ago. There has been nothing whatsoever done with it and there is not likely to be anything done with it so far as this Government is concerned. Again tonight we heard the Prime Minister say as did his predecessors: ‘Where is the money coming from’. I should be asking, we should be asking, the people should be demanding to know where the money has gone. Where is the Government’s plan for national development? It has bombed the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority into a shadow of its former self. Honourable members opposite say that what I say here is not right. Let the Government set up a committee composed of members of this House which will investigate some of the allegations that are made from time to time by members of this side of the House.

Honourable members opposite spoke today of what the Government might do with regard to resale price maintenance. It goes much deeper than that. It is a sorer point than that with the community. There should be committees such as a standing committee on health and welfare set up in this place. How much of the funds of the health benefit organisations has gone into rural industry and how much can they not get back? Is this one of the reasons why health benefits contributions have been increasing over the last few years? Let us have an inquiry to see if what I suggest is correct. I would be happy if honourable members opposite could prove I was wrong but I will not be happy if they are going to stand up here and say without any real support that what I have said is not correct. I will not accept that, nor should anybody else accept it. Let us set up a committee on health, a committee on social welfare and a committee on trade practices. Let us have a look again at the

Constitution, something which the Government was going to look at way back in, I think, 1959. This is the sort of thing the Government should be doing.

Let us set up a standing committee on education and stop the claptrap of Dorothy Dix questions which are directed to this wealthy aristocrat the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser). There are more millionaires in this place than one can shake a stick at, and those not in here are over in the Senate. If they are not in the Senate they are represented in some way or another. This is the core of this country’s problems and honourable members opposite will not face it. A previous Minister for the Army, the honourable member for Bennelong (Sir John Cramer), has been speculating in millions for years because of the upsurge in land prices. We on this side of the House have a policy on land prices and we have been putting it forward for goodness knows how many years. The Prime Minister stands here again tonight and says: ‘We want to give away States.’ I will sell him the policy for 50c, the meagre amount he gave to the pensioners. Any time he wants it he can have it for 50c. That is what a copy of our policy sold for. He can read it from cover to cover and there is nobody standing here covering up for what he thinks it might be. Let us have some action in this place. A few weeks ago I jocularly said that the policy of the Labor Party ought to be changed in regard to its attitude towards the Senate, but unless this place starts to do something for people and legislate for people we ought to include in our platform a policy for the abolition of the House of Representatives. It is doing nothing, and honourable members opposite can look at it whatever way they like. The resources of this country are not being used for the benefit of the people in any way, shape or form.

Mr Giles:

– You are going too far.


– Honourable members opposite can laugh about it. The Minister for the Army (Mr Peacock) can laugh his head off. What have we to defend ourselves with for the millions his Department has had in the last few years through the Department of Defence? Absolutely nothing. We have nothing to measure in terms of the money honourable members opposite have wasted and squandered. There is not one person in this country who would be concerned about it if we had something to show for the amount we have expended but we have nothing to show. What great national schemes have we running for us in Australia today? It does not matter a darn what is brought up in this House because the appropriate Minister to whom the question is directed or who is concerned with the debate says: This is a State responsibility.’ Is the debacle in the wool industry today to be regarded as a State issue? Are honourable members opposite looking at this correctly? I am not convinced that the millions the Government will spend in the next 12 months will help the industry. Why not set up a committee?

Mr Giles:

– Not another one.


– Set up a Committee of this House, to fetch the real speculators in the industry before this House - the wool brokers, the burglars, the Bagots, shakes and lizards, the Australian and New Zealand Banking Co. Ltd and all those people. They are the blokes who ought to come before the Bar of this House, not somebody who might write a wrong line in a Press article now and again. This is my attitude towards it. The people who are bleeding the country and who are getting the wealth of the country ought to be questioned. Yet Government supporters have the hide to stand here tonight and say that this Government is doing all it can to eradicate poverty. I can march honourable members opposite through areas in my electorate - which is not exactly a blue ribbon Labor seat, you know - and show them areas of poverty there. What have you done for the superannuitants in the 10-odd years until this Budget? You have not really spelt out yet what you have given them. What have you done for local government? Have you given any assistance to local government, to the rural sector or to the cities and suburbs? Have you any plans for the suburbs? None whatsoever.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order! I ask the honourable member to address his remarks to the Chair.


– I will address the Chair, Mr Deputy Speaker. I notice that the person who preceded me in this debate and who broke the rules of this House was not pulled up. I draw your attention, Mr Deputy Speaker, to the fact that you are pulling me up on this frivolous matter concerning addressing the Chair. Well, I am addressing you, Sir.


-Order! The honourable member will withdraw that reflection upon the Chair.


– I withdraw the remark. What plan has any member of the Liberal Party got, from the Chair to the back bench, for cities and suburbs? None whatsoever. What concern has the Liberal Party when the Press comes out and says that land prices are rising? ls it by coincidence that a present Minister of this House has been able to sell a rural property recently? Honourable members know that prestige rural properties just are not selling, and the rest are not selling either. But the present Minister for Defence (Mr Fairbairn) gets almost half a million dollars for his property, and the purchaser of it happens to be a person who owns a property very close to where we are standing or sitting at the moment. The Minister gets the money because the Government has acquired his property. Is this not perhaps white collar crime? I do not know. Honourable members may buy it if they want to, but there are plenty of cockies in the country who cannot get a bid for their land and yet somebody else can sell his for half a million dollars in cash in 24 hours. It does not seem quite right to me, as a fair-minded sort of bloke.

We ought to have a bit of a look at the question of housing - of Ministers for the Interior getting what they like in Canberra. But what about the people who live in Canberra? That is another question. This is the sort of attitude the Government takes because it is completely and utterly the prisoner of the big interests it represents. Is it not true that the Government did not increase the excise on beer because it got plenty from the breweries to run its next election campaign? Why does the Government not table in this House the report on the Jetair issue on which questions have been asked here? If it has nothing to hide it should throw the report on the table and let everybody look at it-


-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired. (A disturbance occurring in the public gallery)


-Order! There must be no disturbance in the chamber. I ask the attendants to take appropriate action. (The disturbance continuing)


-Order! There must be no disturbance from the gallery. I ask the attendants to take appropriate action. (The disturbance still continuing)


-Order! I suspend the sitting until the ringing of the bells.

Sitting suspended from 9.14 to 9.22 p.m.


– I have listened with interest to the Budget Speech of the Treasurer (Mr Snedden), to the reply by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and to the speeches that have followed. I believe one has to judge the attitude to a budget of a government or an opposition on the series of statements and attitudes that they present both inside and outside Parliament over a period of time. Because of this I question both the sincerity and the practicability of Australian Labor Party opposition to this Budget. In the short time that I have been in this Parliament I have heard the Opposition put forward a whole series of antidotes to every problem that we face. They always include creating a new federal board, an extra federal commission or an extra department. Probably nobody has excelled from the members on the opposite side in this regard more than the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster). If one were to accept the Labor Party view on the Budget it would mean the takeover of both State and local government, and make a mockery of the federal system. The lavish promises of finance made by the Opposition in this debate in order to solve all problems would, I believe, if they became a reality, make the social credit policy of setting up a printing press and printing money to solve any problem rather conservative economics by comparison.

In particular I question the sincerity of the Labor Party on its attitude to rural matters. Members of the Opposition have criticised the wool deficiency payment system. They say that there should be a means test. If they are sincere why did they not say that this means test should be applied to the sugar industry, the dairy industry and the other rural industries? This criticism also shows a complete lack of contact between honourable members opposite and those who are actually engaged in wool growing. If they did have contact with the actual wool growers they would know the impossibility of bringing in such a means test. I exempt the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Allan Fraser) from this criticism because if the report of a radio broadcast of his as printed in the Melbourne ‘Sun’ of 23rd August is correct he will oppose this means test provision and vote with the Government. At least he has spoken to actual wool growers and knows that the $30m scheme of last year, which is really the same type of scheme as the Labor Party is presenting this time, was a failure because of the loopholes that could be found in the means test provisions.

The chief spokesman for the Labor Party on rural policy, the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), published a booklet earlier this year entitled Labor’s Federal Rural Policies’. In this booklet he criticised the Government for its loose patchwork and ad hoc rural policy system and lack of overall planning. It is rather a strange irony that exactly the same criticism was levelled at the proposals put forward by the Australian Labor Party Rural Committee to the recent Australian Labor Party Federal Conference at Launceston. It has been stated that the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden), a colleague of the honourable member for Dawson, used much the same terms to criticise these proposals. The honourable member for Dawson felt obliged to comment on ‘This Day Tonight’ on 22nd June in these terms:

I find it very hard to believe except perhaps that very few members of the Conference know anything about rural matters.

If the Federal Conference of the Australian Labor Party is the supreme policy making body of the Labor Party, as it tells us it is, and if the ALP Federal Conference is stated to contain very few people who know anything about rural policy, how can we accept as being sincere any thing put forward by honourable members opposite as a true proposition for rural policy.

I believe that the Treasurer has had a difficult course to steer with this year’s Budget. On the one hand there is the problem of those suffering from inflation - fixed income earners, pensioners, rural exporters. I believe that generally this group of people has received the most assistance in this Budget. I think all of them could justifiably claim that they have not received sufficient assistance. But let us look at the wool industry. With the current dollar-yen currency crisis, if the Budget had not contained the provision for a 36c deficiency payment scheme which has brought stability into the industry, I believe there would be absolute chaos and panic in the wool industry in Australia at the present moment.

I am pleased to see that the reconstruction allowance to the States has been increased this year from $25m to $40m. Also a retraining scheme for young people displaced in the rural crisis will be introduced this session. But as yet there is no suggestion of adequate rehabilitation measures in the rural reconstruction scheme. The $1,000 loan is too puny and, I believe, too absurd to be considered seriously. We should consider seriously those people displaced by the rural crisis who are too old to be retrained. I would hope that the other State governments are adopting a more genuine attitude to rural reconstruction than is the Victorian Government. One of the outlandish statements made by the Victorian Government spokesman was that it could not delay the repayment of principal, from people to whom it had loaned money because the Commonwealth required virtually immediate repayment of some of these funds. Yet it is stated very clearly in the States Grants (Rural Reconstruction) Act that there is a repayment holiday provided of up to 4 years for the States in this regard. I know that in Victoria the biggest number of people affected by rural reconstruction will be the wool growers, but I believe that on an individual basis the Victorian Government could be doing more to look at the problems of a number of pear growers in the Goulburn Valley who are suffering just as much as anybody else at the present time. Their priorities should not be lower than those of any other group in this regard.

I support all those honourable members who have referred to the failure so far to establish a rural finance insurance corporation or a rural loans insurance corporation. This is an urgent need for agriculture at the present time, and if it is not established the cost to the Australian community will be far greater because more funds will be needed for rural reconstruction. At least one bank economist, Mr J. G. Chataway of the Bank of Adelaide, writing in the latest issue of ‘Bankers Magazine’, accepts the fact that there is the problem of the farmer having to borrow on a long term basis in order to meet his needs. If the trading banks in general believe that they cannot participate in such a scheme, then they should say so and we can then go ahead and recharter the Commonwealth Development Bank to allow it to do the job properly.

In the Budget provisions for this year the dairying industry is to receive about $6m less than it received last year. This is at a time of considerable uncertainty in the dairying industry because of the failure of the British Government to honour its promises to provide a phasing out period for Australian agriculture if and when Britain enters the Common Market. I am pleased to see that there is a certain degree of agreement on both sides of the chamber concerning Britain’s failure in this regard. I can remember quite clearly a ‘This Day Tonight’ television programme in which the honourable member for Dawson and the right honourable member for Fisher (Sir Charles Adermann) both agreed that Britain had failed to honour the promises given by Mr Rippon, its chief Common Market negotiator, when he was in Australia last year. Because of the temporary shortage of dairy products on the world market at the present time, the price for these products has risen, and this would be the reason why the Government has reduced by $6m the allocation which it is to make to the dairying industry this year. But I believe that because of the uncertain times ahead, the Government has acted wisely in maintaining a reasonable level of support for this industry.

The increases in pensions for single pensioners and for totally and permanently incapacitated pensioners are the most gen-, erous that a government has made for many years, and I congratulate the Government in this regard. But there are some who will miss out on the maximum increase either because of some independent income - sometimes this is due to their own savings over the years - or because of the severity of the graduated means test. I would support any debate or study in this Parliament on specific proposals for a superannuation scheme.

The other problem which faced the Treasurer was the danger to Australia of continued inflation. Referring briefly to cost inflation, the Treasurer partially tackled this by announcing a reduction in the rate of increase in the Commonwealth civil service this year, and I hope that the Government matches this performance by making sure that the increases in salaries paid to these same people are not at the record breaking and inflationary level that they were last year. However, increased charges in the Budget for petrol, postal services and telephone calls will add to inflation. But if what is happening at State level at the present time is any guide, the danger of cost inflation because of what the Federal Government is doing in the way of increasing charges will be rather minor. The States have been given the right to impose payroll tax. They immediately increased the rate of payroll tax. If the increases imposed in the Victorian Budget are an example of what the other State Budgets will impose, these increases will add considerably to cost inflation.

But what really concerns me with these cost increases is the severity with which they fall on country industry, and I do not mean primary industry so much as country secondary industry which is the hardest hit by increased transport and postal and telephone charges. Instead of the Budget encouraging decentralisation or balanced development or helping the quality of urban life - whatever one likes to call it - by spreading population, it is retarding decentralisation.

Mr Cope:

– Tell us something good about the Budget? ir DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury) - Order! Interjections are out of order.


– I have said some things that are good about the Budget, but 1 have failed to see any good proposal which the Australian Labor Party has put up in opposition to the Budget. I hope that this is the last Budget which does not contain specific provisions designed to assist decentralisation. What was claimed in the past to be a constitutional difficulty which prevented the Government from providing taxation variations in order to encourage industry to move to provincial towns and cities I believe is no longer a problem since the States have received the right to impose payroll tax. Why cannot the Commonwealth Government co-operate with any State Government that introduces a policy which provides that if an industry moves to the country then that Slate government will exempt or partially exempt that industry from the payment of payroll tax? What is to stop the Commonwealth Government from coming in and saying: We will support you in this measure’? What has encouraged me on this question of decentralisation was the very constructive speech which I heard the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony) make at a national development conference held in Canberra recently. It was a well thought out. constructive speech on how decentralisation can be helped. I was also pleased to hear, in an answer which the Deputy Prime Minister gave to a question, that the technical sub-committee of the CommonwealthState Officials Committee on Decentralisation had met 3 times this year, that it had completed its work and that very soon it would be making a final report to the full Committee. I believe it is imperative that this Committee completes its work and makes its final report to the Government as soon as possible so that we can no longer be prevented from having a serious discussion on decentralisation because the Committee’s report is not yet available. I have criticised certain aspects of the Budget and I have criticised the Opposition’s attitude to the Budget. I believe that the Opposition’s attitude has not been sincere or constructive. I support the Budget.


- Mr Deputy Speaker, in this debate I want to support fully the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). It is an amendment which cogently and precisely highlights the paucity of thought and the pedestrian technique of a document which was delivered by the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) but which in fact was framed by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) because of his insatiable desire to remove the last vestige of influence of the former Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton). The present Prime Minister had to eliminate all of the Gortonesque image. His actions of the past few months have almost completed his ruthless decimation of former colleagues. Indeed, the present Prime Minister might well be dubbed the political Plantagenet of the 20th century.

Let us examine some facets of this document that we are current debating. Income tax has risen. This is in direct contradiction of the promise made by the former Prime Minister. Radio and television licence fees are to be increased. There are rises in postal and telephone charges. There are increases in the price of petrol. The cost of the so-called free prescriptions has been increased by 50c. Company tax is up by 5c in $1. These are the bald unpalatable facts that now face the great majority of wage and salary earners of this nation. Clearly the Government believes that the Treasurer is a better and more efficient custodian of the people’s money than are the people themselves. Surely an extraordinary exercise in Liberal logic and philosophy!

This Budget was conceived as an instrument to beat inflation but in all likelihood it will achieve the opposite effect and give birth to a Frankenstein that this Government will be unable to control. Already the effects of this Budget have been and are still being felt throughout the community. I pose the question: Does this Government, even in its saner moments, seriously suppose that the miserly increase of $1.25 to pensioners will not be eroded even before they receive it in October? Many hundreds of thousands of pensioners will not receive it at all. This was never announced or spelt out in the Budget Speech by the Treasurer. It was revealed only after sharp questioning by honourable members on this side. This is a piece of political deception unworthy even of this Government.

To return to the problem of costs, our prices certainly will not wait until October. The spiral has already commenced. What extraordinary naivety this Government displays when it comes to the control of costs! It is never so reluctant when it comes to the control of wages. The plain simple fact is that pensioners and people on fixed incomes, such as superannuated persons, have become the whipping posts of this Government’s policy year after year. It merely highlights the increasing need for a national superannuation scheme. Here one must have some sympathy for the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) - a man who has displayed some humanitarian instincts in this area but whose efforts have been thwarted by the Liberal juggernaut. He realises, however late, and concurs with the Opposition that pensioners and superannuated persons must at least be considered as first class citizens who are deserving of consideration and who should have their plight recognised with regard to the movements in the spiralling cost factor.

Let me now turn to the very contentious area of education. This is one of the areas in which the Government is particularly vulnerable. It is vulnerable because it refuses to put its priorities in order - indeed if it has any priorities. What ramifications does this Budget have for the education scene in Tasmania? According to Press reports the Tasmanian authorities ‘have been left hanging in the air’ - a singularly undignified position. Let us look at the situation that exists in some of the poorer parish schools. This is an area of desperation. There is a small parish school in my electorate of Franklin. I would like to reveal its present situation - one which has certainly not been brought about by the great majority of parents who are in the main hard working people. They work hard for their school. I know how hard they work because I have been with them on many occasions in their fund-raising activities. The Sisters and lay preachers are utterly devoted to educating the children in this school.

The financial plight of this school is staggering. It owes more than $100,000 in loan and interest repayments. This is an impossible situation - a monstrous situation in a so-called affluent society with which the Prime Minister is so smugly satisfied. This school will simply not survive. Only tonight I was informed that a number of Catholic schools in Tasmania will close because of the lack of finance. The real reason for this lack of finance is the inability or the refusal of this Government to put its priorities in order. One might well ask what has happened to the nationwide survey on education. It is to be hoped that this mysterious and reluctant document will be resurrected and presented to this Parliament with the same degree of alacrity with which the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) was restored to the family of Cabinet.

Every Australian - I emphasise the words ‘every Australian’ - has a right to be fully and comprehensively educated without discrimination. For goodness sake let us have an end to Liberal humbug and evasiveness in the priority sphere of education. This nation now more than ever before needs the rich resources of human talent. Let us have the imagination and the energy to marshal that talent. The Leader of the Opposition has on many occasions spelt out the Opposition’s policy on education. I will not repeat it but it is a pity that the Government cannot do the same. But I suppose it is reasonable to ask whether the Government has a policy at all on education.

I now turn to the White Paper outlining the increased charges in the PostmasterGeneral’s Department, lt is here that the impost has been most savage. There is hardly an area within the ambit of the activities of this Department which will not affect every man. woman and child in this country. If the Government is really serious in its oft stated policy of decentralisation - I am recalling the comments of the honourable member for Murray (Mr Lloyd) - what will be the result of this Budget in the countryside? Efficient, streamlined and reasonable postal and telephone charges are absolutely essential in rural areas. These services are not a luxury. They are certainly not a luxury to my own constituents in rural areas. They are a necessity and these people should not be forced to forego them. With the current crisis in the rural areas of the electorate of Franklin these charges will merely exacerbate the situation.

I want to deal with the Post Office costs with regard to the use of the coaxial cable service to Tasmania. I am following the points I was making during question time a week or so ago. The scale of charges operates on a system of so much per radial mile. The rate between the hours of 6 p.m. and 12 midnight from Monday to Sunday for relaying a one hour programme from Melbourne to Hobart would cost the commercial station in Hobart $1,600. This is a revenue-producing facility and it is absurd that it should be too expensive to use. The cost in the United States works out at 55c a mile per hour. The cost of tails, that is links, between the Post Office and the transmitting stations are extra. In the case of TVT in Hobart it costs $4,100 per annum for rental alone. I draw the Postmaster-General’s attention to page 7 of the report of the Australian Broadcasting Commission for this year and I. ask him to charged for the use of coaxial and satellite study the comment on excessive prices television telecasts.

In the time remaining to me in this debate 1 want to deal with the provision announced in this Budget for the arts. In the Treasurer’s Budget Speech it rated 4 lines on page 14. I commend the brevity of the statement for the consideration of honourable members. I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not criticising the newly appointed Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts; quite the contrary. I wish him well. However, I repeat the criticism I made in this House when this multi-purpose Ministry was announced by the Prime Minister. It is an absurdity to include the important portfolio of the Arts - here I speak in the broadest terms - with that of Aboriginal Affairs, the Environment, Tourism and the multiplicity of activities for which this Minister is responsible. It is more than absurd; it is totally ludicrous. The former Prime Minister at least broke new ground. He attached great significance to the arts. The very office of Prime Minister added a prestigious dimension to the arts. The present structure merely adds to the diminution of artistic activity which is essential to our way of life and the quality of that life. 1 refer very briefly to the absence in this Budget of any announcement appropos of the national film and tele vision school. That seems to have evaporated into thin air. Of course, this was another concept of the former Prime Minister. The Australian Film Development Corporation legislation, introduced by the right honourable member for Higgins is a case in point. I should like to quote what the New South Wales State Government has up its political sleeve and I commend this to the Minister. The quote is from the ‘Nation’ of 21st August and is headed: ‘Australian film - the three-pronged attack’ and reads as follows:

The Commonwealth’s efforts to get an Australian film industry off the ground are on the point of being undermined by the New South Wales’ State Government. In the past year, the Commonwealth has spent several hundred thousand dollars sponsoring experimental films, and its Australian Film Development Corporation, initially capitalised at one million dollars, started operations. … Of this three-pronged attack on local film making-

These are the proposals of the New South Wales Government - the proposal to amend the ‘Australian quota’ legislation in New South Wales, which constitutes about a third of the country’s film market, has alarmed local makers the most. These amendments threaten to come on top of a continued nonenforcement of the existing provisions.

Ironically, the announcement of the activities of the New South Wales Government was released not in this country but in London. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard extracts from this article.

page 858



The Commonwealth’s efforts to get an Australian film industry off the ground are on the point of being undermined by the New South Wales State Government. In the past year, the Commonwealth has spent several hundred thousand dollars sponsoring experimental films, and its Australian Film Development Corporation, initially capitalised at one million dollars, started operations.

In the coming weeks, the N.S.W. Government, which has provided for a tiny 2.5 per cent quota of Australian films to be shown in its licensed cinemas for the past twenty-six years, will amend this legislation.

Of this three-pronged attack on local film making, the proposal to amend the ‘Australian quota’ legislation in New South Wales, which constitutes about one third of the country’s film market, has alarmed local makers the most. These amendments threaten to come on top of a continued non-enforcement of the existing provisions.

The news of the amending proposals was first released, curiously ami some argued perhaps significantly, in London in an interview given to Mr Derek Todd of the ‘Kjnematograph Weekly’, and printed in the issue of July 4 1971.

Mr Hayward told Mr Todd that he had recommended two amendments to the N.S.W. quota provisions. One, that three documentaries of at least twenty minutes each should be counted as one feature film. Two, he had recommended that coproduction films should be taken into the quota.

Local film makers and other members of the industry had already become alarmed. In ils July newsletter, the Australian Film Council, which is presided over by Mr John McCallum, stated that it had heard a rumour ‘that there may be an attempt by the Theatres and Films Commission to recommend that the quota requirements be amended in such a way as to reduce the requirements of the quota, and furthermore, that three thirty-minute documentaries should count as one feature film … If there is any substance in these rumours, the Film Council will oppose them with all means at its disposal and will notify the Minister that it has no confidence in the Theatres Commission as presently constituted.

This move by the New South Wales Government is nothing short of disgraceful and must be resisted. This is a nation which in the creative and performing arts needs all the encouragement and assistance of which this Government is capable. It would seem that the arts are anathema to this reconstructed Government.

This Budget may well be summed up in the following phrase: ‘Nowadays we are all of us so hard up that the only pleasant things to pay are compliments.’ We have in the Prime Minister the last of the dynasty, for it is a political fact that what begins in fear usually ends in folly and we have witnessed an excess of that folly in the past few months. The bewildering internal struggles - indeed the convulsions - within the Liberal Party and the sacking of Prime Ministers and Ministers indicates the power ambitions of the present Prime Minister to hold office at any cost. His misguided and emotional attacks on the Leader of the Opposition on his initiatives in so many fields give a clear indication of the mediocrity of the Prime Minister’s intellect and his-


Order! There must be no personal reflection on any member of the House.

Mr Barnard:

– That is not a personal reflection; it is a matter of opinion.


-Order! There must be no reflection on the intellect of a member of the House.


– In deference to your wishes, Mr Deputy Speaker. I withdraw the remark. But it certainly is a clear indication of the absence of temperament that makes the right honourable gentleman unlit to lead this nation. His disastrous sortie into piscatorial prose to describe the Leader of the Opposition being played like a trout by Mr Chou En-lai was answered superbly by the Deputy Leader of the Oppos tion (Mr Barnard) when he described the Prime Minister as a ‘stunned mullet’. He has been like a fish out of water ever since. The Government that he so tenuously leads is in disorder and disarray. It is discredited on all fronts. He is a monumental disaster for his Party and, worst of all, for this nation. The Prime Minister is adept in the art of concealing that which is not worth finding. He has thrust himself into power in a most devious and ruthless fashion. He has neither the capability nor the capacity to lead this nation as it goes forward to an exciting, stimulating and rewarding future. Australia has no place at this time for a leader of his undoubted and proven mediocrity. His own Party cannot afford him. The Parliament cannot afford him. The electorate must reject him. The people of Australia have not deserved such incompetence. This nation simply cannot afford to be wedded to a calamity.

North Sydney

– I rise to support the motion moved by the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) on the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1971-72 and to oppose the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) who on Tuesday, 24th August, moved his amendment and sought the support of the House of Representatives for his amendment in a long speech attacking the Budget in extravagant terms designed to undermine the confidence of the people of Australia in their future development and national prosperity. In his opening remarks the Leader of the Opposition has accused the President of the United States of America of precipitating a great international currency crisis. Such extravagant language is grossly unfair and misleading, particularly when the Leader of the Opposition is well aware of the widely circulated reasons for the actions of President Nixon. He knows that the strength and the health of the United States economy is of vital importance to the welfare of the free world and he knows that the future of Australia is to a very significant degree dependent upon the proper discharge of those responsibilities which have been accepted by the United States Government during the last 30 years.

The Leader of the Opposition knows that the President is deeply concerned about the health of the United States economy, in particular with the inflation and the degree of unemployment that is evident today in the United States of America. However, seeking always to gratify those elements within the Australian Labor Party which are notorious for their anti-Americanism, which are known to the Australian people as the left wing of the Australian Labor Party, he is ready to brand the President as a sinister influence engaged by inference in some monstrous capitalistic plot to create a great international currency crisis’. I felt, in view of the significance of these remarks and in case they were treated by international Press representatives as being important and truly reflective of the judgment of an alternative government in this country, that I should make some reference to the speech that the President of the United States made. I have 3 quotations which I believe are reasonable in setting out the position that President Nixon appreciated for bis country. Briefly put he said this:

We must create more and better jobs. We must stop the rise in the cost of living. We must protect the dollar from the attacks of international money speculators.

I feel that the Leader of the Opposition in this House ought to be at least sympathetic to the last of those references by the President. Furthermore the President of the United States on 15th August said this:

To our friends abroad, including the many responsible members of international banking community who are dedicated to stability in the flow of trade, I give this assurance: The United States has always been, and will continue to be, a forward-looking and trustworthy trading partner. In full co-operation with the Monetary Fund 6nd those who trade with us, we will press for the Necessary reforms to set up an urgently needed new International Monetary System. Stability and equal treatment ls in everybody’s best Interest, f am determined that the American dollar must never again be a hostage In the hands of the International speculators.

One other quote from that speech is important because I believe that it represents a fair and proper description of what the United States has done in the interests of the free countries of the world over the last 30 years. The President said this:

At the end of World War II, the economies of the major industrial nations of Europe and Asia were shattered. To help them get on their feet and to protect their freedom, the United States has provided 143 billion dollars In foreign aid. That was the right thing for us to do. Today, largely with our help, they have regained their vitality and have become strong competitors. Now that other nations are economically strong the time has come for them to bear their fair share of the burden of defending freedom around the world. The time has come for exchange rates to be set straight and for the major nations to compete as equals. There is no longer any need for the United States to compete with one hand tied behind her back.

The proper duty of all members of this House is to encourage Australian people to know the facts and to understand that confidence is vital in commerce and industry if national development is to be sustained and this country is to cope with the economic problems emerging in Australia. It is a long time since the Opposition members were able to use the term ‘unemployment’ as a political truncheon to belabour the Government, but 2 weeks ago the Leader of the Opposition was attacking the confidence of Australians by threatening the community with 100,000 unemployed. This figure represents about 2 per cent of a labour force of 5 million people. His shameful failure to put such figures into a proper context serves to demonstrate the measure of his failure to compare economic conditions in Australia with those in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the continent of Europe. A close examination of this extravagant and exaggerated speech fails to reveal policies to be analysed and assessed by the Australian people who may be seeking to know what the Leader of the Opposition really would be doing if he were the Prime Minister of Australia,

I turn now to a significant matter that has been stressed in this debate on all sides. I make reference to the rural economy within this country. The Leader of the Opposition has said:

We find in our economy a generally depressed rural community.

But a policy to cope with such a position as he defined it was not forthcoming. Every word of his speech was designed to attack the confidence of the community and nothing constructive was said to encourage the Australian people in any responsible way. The Treasurer in his Budget Speech on 17th August told us that the Government was aware that farm income in 1970- 71 was estimated at about S810m and that this figure was about S265m less than in 1969-70. The constructive policies designed to help the rural community are clear in the Budget. These are, firstly, finance for schemes of debt reconstruction and farm build up. An amount of $4m was paid to New South Wales last year for this purpose and a further S40m is to be provided this year for payments to the States. Secondly, provision is also made for payment to the States of $ 11.5m under the marginal dairy farms reconstruction scheme. Payments last year were S3.1m. Thirdly, advances for capital purposes include $1Om for the Commonwealth Development Bank to help finance an extension of the Bank’s operations to include loans to farmers to build up the size and operational efficiency of their farms.

Fourthly, for those farmers not in a position to achieve economic viability a retraining scheme is to be introduced, and the rural reconstruction scheme also provides for rehabilitation assistance necessary to alleviate personal hardship for those farmers obliged to leave rural industry. Fifthly, the wool industry is supported by the operation of the Australian Wool Commission. Last year the Commonwealth made available to the Commission $12m for working capital to finance purchases of wool, and an arrangement was negotiated with the trading banks to provide up to $34m to the Commission for the same purpose. This latter amount is not yet fully drawn. As the Treasurer has told us, advances for capital purposes include a further SI Om to be advanced to the Commission as working capital should this be needed. This year the wool producers will be further supported by a scheme of deficiency payments so as to ensure that on average growers receive for shorn wool, other than specified inferior types accounting for about 10 per cent of shorn wool, a return corresponding to a price for the whole clip of 36c per lb greasy. In this Budget provision is made for expenditure of $60m under the deficiency payments scheme

This year S38m is the expected expenditure on the phosphate fertilisers bounty, and the bounty is to bc extended to 31st December 1974. Butter and cheese bounties this year will amount to almost $40m. A 5-year stabilisation plan for the apple and pear industry, which should be of interest to the honourable member for Murray (Mr Lloyd), who spoke earlier, will be introduced at an estimated cost in 1971-72 of 33m. Thus payments to rural industries are expected to total $275m, an increase of S65m on last year. These policies arc a clear answer to the extravagant criticism of the Leader of the Opposition.

The honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor), the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) - the House, I am sure, will remember his speech for a considerable period although he was not assisted by an unfortunate incident in the gallery - and the honourable member for Franklin (Mr Sherry) were all involved in attacks on personalities within the Government rather than concentrating upon those policies which would characterise a government if it were ever formed by the Australian Labor Party. 1 point out that my experience in this House has Icd me to a suspicion that in Opposition the Australian Labor Party has a no hold barred political outlook. No misrepresentation can be too big for it, no standard of political attack is unacceptable if, in its view, votes can be won. This is characterised, in my belief, by the fact, as I mentioned before, that no details of policy are forthcoming from the Australian Labor Party. Until such time as the people of Australia, facing serious economic circumstances, are able to compare policies put forward by the Leader of the Opposition with the policies introduced by the Prime Minister and the Treasurer it will not be possible for people to make any rational comparison. 1 wished to refer to a number of other matters in relation to this Budget Speech but, as time is very short, I will content myself with a reference to those defence matters which I feel have been defined by the Prime Minister in this Budget as ‘sustaining our conviction that the security of

Australia will be well-cared for in the future’. 1 wondered whether the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in particular, as he is the shadow Minister for Defence, would have been prepared to make criticisms about the distribution of funds for the defence services. I feel that over the next decade Australia will face circumstances that may worsen rather more rapidly than we would have previously thought when considering the appreciations that have been put by the Government to the House over the last few years. I have come to the view that it is impossible to look ahead by means of a crystal ball and to be sure that the estimate over a period of 10 years is a reliable one. I therefore hold the view that the Government and the Parliament ought to be prepared to make at the earliest opportunity arrangements for a marked increase in the defence capacity of Australia. It is my view that the international situation may deteriorate rapidly - I have said so before in this House - and I believe that we ought perhaps to be better prepared in financial terms to meet such a rapid deterioration. 1 conclude my remarks by suggesting to the House that there are reasons why the ping pong diplomacy which has characterised the policies of the Peking Government in recent months and the softening approach of the Peking Government towards the Western powers should have taken place at all. I draw to the attention of the House those complexes which are in China at a place called Lop Nor. They are nuclear complexes in which the Government of Peking is preparing a nuclear capacity. I would imagine that if I were in government in Peking and If I came to the conclusion that there was likely to be any nuclear threat to my country one of the first moves I would make would be to seek a detente and some form of relaxation with those people who had been my enemies during recent years. This is a suggestion which I think ought to be of interest to people in our defence Services and in the Department of Defence. I would be interested to know whether there was any information which would encourage people to believe that this was the real reasoning behind ping pong diplomacy and behind what has been happening in recent times.

Wide Bay

– I join with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) who has condemned the Government on its Budget in these words:

The House condemns the Budget because (a) lt breaks the Prime Minister’s pledge to Parliament on taking office to bring into effect for 1971-72 a fundamental review of social services and of methods for adjusting them, (b) it contains no proposals to balance the finances and functions of the Commonwealth, the States and local government and (c) it produces no programmes for high national objectives of social welfare, economic strength and national security’.

This Government has held office by the use at election time of a number of issues which have divided the people. When governments are elected on emotional issues one finds that those governments do not always govern in the best interests of the people. Emotional issues on which governments achieve electoral success may mean something 1 week but in 6 months time may mean nothing at all. When this is the case, I can say only that the electors certainly are getting the Government that they do not deserve. It is often said that electors get the government that they deserve.

If the Australian people are to be divided, this Budget has sought to divide them even more. Personal income tax has been increased by $164m. In 1969, Prime Minister Gorton promised taxation reform and in the 1970-71 Budget he did grant an across the board reduction in personal taxation. There was no review of taxation, but he might have been working on it too for all we on this side of the House know. Certainly, there has not been any review of personal income tax as it relates to the middle and lower income groups. I believe this is what was understood to be the electoral promise made in 1969 by the then Leader of the Liberal Party, Prime Minister Gorton. This review is long overdue.

The Treasurer (Mr Snedden) on the presentation of the 1971-72 Budget condemned wage increases - he has done this before - and his Budget Speech contained a veiled threat to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The Commonwealth Treasury always receives its pound of flesh from any wage increases that are granted. It is expected that this year there will be an average increase of 13 per cent in incomes - so much for the anti-inflationary measures which are spoken of by Government members as being contained in this Budget. The increase of 13 per cent compares with an increase of 11.2 per cent last year.

The former Prime Minister was regarded by members on both sides of the House as a true Australian. The man who now wears the shoes of Prime Minister and who in March of this year was speaking of the rights of Parliament, before a month had passed was causing Bills to be rushed through this House and the Parliament to sit at all hours and into the morning so that he might close down the Parliament as soon as possible. He neglected the rights of Parliament further a fortnight ago when he was hell bent on disregarding the views of Parliament on the subject of the appointment of Assistant Ministers. However, the Prime Minister was forced because of dissension within the ranks of his Party to refer this matter to the Parliament.

For the second successive time a Budget has introduced increases in the customs and excise duty on petroleum. Time is limited to speakers in the Budget debate, but I wish to make some passing reference to Commonwealth employees Who are directly victims of the Budget. I refer to mail contractors who every 3 years tender to provide mail services which in some cases extend from 60 miles to 110 miles a day for 6 days of the week. They tender for these contracts at about 12c a mile. In some cases they can satisfactorily tender at this rate because the mail service is an ancillary service to either a cream run or a carrying service which covers the same route. But with the phasing out of the dairying industry in parts of Queensland we have seen a decline in the number of cream carriers. So mail deliveries which were previously made on 5 days or 6 days of the week have now been reduced to 3 days or 4 days a week. These people contract on the basis of a 3-year term. Last year’s Budget increased the sales tax on tyres and spare parts. Also, excise and customs duty rose last year. The price of petrol is increased by 2c in this financial year.

The owners of school buses operating on similar routes for the Department of Education have rise and fall clauses in their contracts. This means that if the running costs become excessive the proprietors can ask for a review of their contracts. Depending on the case that they are able to present, consideration is given to granting an increase without them having to face open tender. However, the only redress the mail contractors have is to give 3 months notice of the cancellation of their contracts and then to engage in public tender. This process of cancellation is not always practicable because of the outlay on their vehicles and the arrangements they have made on the understanding that they would be carrying out a service for 3 years. The increased costs have been placed upon them by the very people for whom they have contracted to work. I have not been successful in persuading the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) to revise the form of the contracts and include in them a rise and fall clause.

I believe that these people are truly victims of the Budget. Also, I believe that I would be failing the people I represent if I did not mention what I consider to be the most depressed area of the economy. I refer to the rural sector. People in this sector are bedevilled by bad weather, low prices and poor government. For 20 years they have followed Micawber-like the policies of the Country Party and the Liberals. There are many who agree wholeheartedly with the policies of the Country Party but who are so deluded that they are now circulating Country Party branches and Country Party members asking that their parliamentary representatives adhere to party policy and party doctrines and not administer on a day to day basis, as at present, with policies which are greatly influenced by the Liberal metropolitan policies rather than with any understanding of rural problems.

One sees the drift of population from country towns and the closing down of family stores that for many decades had been the sheet anchor of the rural community. Those stores gave credit to customers at a time when no bank would do so - at a time when the banks’ doors were closed to them. However, such of these stores that remain are no longer able to extend credit. Indeed, they are no longer able to carry on in competition with cash and carry stores. Therefore they are folding up, and their employees and other people in the rural community are fading away and drifting to the cities. How could the Prime Minister talk tonight of an affluent society when for the first time in decades wives have to work alongside their husbands on farms in order to keep the property together because the husbands cannot afford to employ labour or producers have had to leave farms because the income from the properties will not support them. They have to seek other jobs.

For many of these people the rural reconstruction scheme has come too late. The processing of applications has taken too long. The guaranteed price of 36c per lb for wool will be of great assistance to some but of little assistance to the many. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) clearly stated that IS per cent of Australia’s 92,000 wool growers produce 55 per cent . of the annual clip. Of this number 12,000 major growers will share $33m of the $60m while 88,000 small growers will get $27m. So the big grower will get, on an average, $2,750, and the small grower will receive $337.

Much has been said about the freezing of wages and prices. I suggest very sincerely that there should be a freeze of 6 months duration or longer on rural debt repayments to enable people in rural areas to be given some breathing time in order to re-establish themselves and to know that they can do this during this period. If they have no income during this period I suggest that they would very rightly be eligible for unemployment relief or special social services benefits.

The Treasurer (Mr Snedden) and the past Treasurer have defended interest rate increases as anti-inflationary measures. But Canada and West Germany and last week Britain decided that a reduced interest rate would help to curb inflation. Which economists are right? One group says that we should reduce interest rates to curb inflation. However, in Australia economists say that if we want to stop spending we should raise the interest rate. All I know is that if we want to have development it will not be brought about by people with invested money which brings them in regular dividends as they sit on their verandahs waiting for the cheques to come in. We will not obtain development in this way. Development will be brought about by people who are prepared to back their own capabilities and abilities with their own capital or money borrowed at reasonable rates of interest. I suggest very sincerely that these high interest rates are one of the causes of the inflation that is rampant in the community. Perhaps another cause - and this was referred to by the Leader of the Opposition and the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) - is outside banking interests which have had a charmed existence during the lifetime of this Government. They have gone from one success to another and have had no curbs whatsoever placed upon them. They are outside the rules applying to regular banking institutions. They charge exorbitant rates of interest. Perhaps the money they supply is not available from regular banking sources. Nevertheless it is made available at a very high rate of interest and this again contributes towards inflation.

In a period of 6 months this year we have had changes in the Government. I am indebted to a correspondent who wrote in the ‘Canberra Times’ on 16th August and who pointed out that with an undeclared war in Vietnam we have had in the last 6 months 3 Defence Ministers. Also, he points out that with major realignments in foreign affairs we have had no fewer than 3 Foreign Ministers. Also, although we have what the Government claims to be the world’s best health scheme which for some reason or other needs major running repairs, we have had no fewer than 3 Ministers for Health at the helm within 6 months. With an unparalleled school crisis - and many members of this side oi’ the House and even on the Government side have referred to the crisis in education that exists right across the nation - we have seen 3 Ministers for Education and Science in half a school year. With law and order becoming one of the issues of the day - indeed at one stage it was thought that it might be an election winner for this Government - and even though this matter is on the lips of supporters of the Government, we find that there have been no fewer than 3 Attorneys-General in the first half of 1971. The only thing that the people of Australia have to hope for is that Parliament might, in the very near future, choose another - the third - Prime Minister this year who will have some thought for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth of Australia.

In the short time left to me I would like to refer again to how this Government has existed by dividing the people. A means test is applied to the tapered means . test which was introduced by the Prime Minister when he was the Treasurer. Under the present scheme, which includes some of the largest pension increases for some time, we find that 148,000 age pensioners will not benefit from the pension rises; that 17,000 invalid pensioners will not benefit’, and that 16.000 widow pensioners will not benefit. A total of 181,000 or 17 per cent of the total number of pensioners will not receive any increase in pension. About 27,000 will receive only partial benefit. Truly, it has been a further division amongst the ranks of the pensioners who have been divided into single pensioner and married pensioner, through the merged means test and the tapered means test and now further again into those who would qualify for the increases that are proposed and those who do not qualify or qualify only in part.

I am pleased to note that mention has been made of the plight of local government. It has never been the policy of the Australian Labor Party to usurp the functions of local government, but what we and what most representatives of local government say is that there is an urgent need for a review of the ways of financing local government. At present the Commonwealth makes money available to the States. A few years ago a new Commonwealth Aid Roads 1 Agreement was introduced and large grants were mentioned as being made over a 5-year period to the States for road works. 1 feel that the States are not making sufficient of this money available to local government for road work but nevertheless the whole system of financing local government is in need of review. The method of rating on valuations from time to time does not hold good. It is not sufficient and pays no regard to the position, financially or otherwise, of the people concerned, the rate payers of the community, who are called upon more today than they were 10, 20 or 40 years ago to provide further amenities within the community.

In the short time left to me I would like to comment upon the appointment of the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines

18918/71 - R-

and the Arts and Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities (Mr Howson). When the Australian Tourist Commission was formed it was, under the provisions of the Act, required to present a report to the Minister for Trade and Industry each year. I know that it is possible that some members of the Tourist Commission employed overseas may have some connection with the Department of Trade and Industry, but since then we have had appointed first in the Senate and now in this House a MinisterinCharge of Tourist Activities, but the report of the Tourist Commission is still made available only to the Minister for Trade and Industry and is not made available to the Parliament. I found in the report made by the Public Accounts Committee after investigating the Tourist Commission far greater detail of the operations of the Commission than I found in the report which I obtained from the Parliamentary Library. I would like to see the Tourist Commission present its report to the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities, not to the Minister for Trade and Industry, and also to the Parliament so that the Parliament may act upon the report.


– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.


– In this the second, reading debate on the Appropriation Bills honourable members may devote themselves to whatever matters they think to be important and in the Committee stage of the Bill, when each department is taken in turn, they may then have the opportunity of dealing with matters relevant particularly to the policies of those departments. What I plan to do is to take a very quick look at the principal issues confronting Australia today in a totally novel situation, particularly in the field of our foreign relations and defence arrangements and in regard to some of our more pressing domestic problems. I shall then deal, I hope, with the basic political problem that we have at this time in arriving at policies and promulgating them to the people, and giving the leadership thai they now need. Finally, I shall deal with particular matters relating to the various departments in the Committee stage of the Bill in a week or so.

So far as the situation in regard to our foreign affairs and defence is concerned I would point out that this is a novel situation in 1971 that we have never faced before, where our great and powerful friends are in the process of departing from our area. The British have turned their backs upon empire and their faces towards Europe. The Americans are recalling their legions from the mainland of Asia. There is also an enormous change in the balance of world power. China has recovered from the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. The Chinese have achieved national unity and industrial strength and their diplomatic initiatives have spread throughout Asia, Europe and Africa. So far as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is concerned, she has made her presence felt in the Mediterranean and in the Mediterranean littoral, in the Middle East and now in India, and she has moved into the Indian Ocean and into South East Asia. As to Japan, the future of her alliance with America is now to some extent in doubt. Her relations with China, the USSR and the countries of South East Asia are in the melting pot. We do not know what they may be. She may or may not become a military power to match her enormous economic strength that now rivals that of the other super powers. We have a particular special relationship with her in regard to her procurement of raw materials. It is perfectly plain, therefore, that we face a novel situation in our part of the world.

What should we do? First of all, I should like to distinguish between foreign policy and defence policy. Foreign policy is optimistic. It seeks to avoid hostilities and to arrive at accommodations with other countries. It is an optimistic policy but a defence policy is a pessimistic policy. It begins on the assumption that you have not been able, by diplomatic and other means, to avoid hostilities and you are now faced with the worst situation. So far as our foreign relations are concerned, we should obviously cling to our old friends, the United States and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom may indeed be strengthened by her association with Europe and this combination may be another force in the world in the course of time. But we must be well aware of the fact that neither the United States nor the

United Kingdom and the nebulous addition of Europe can be regarded as the towers of strength that they may have been in the past.

We must, of course, establish diplomatic relations with the nations of our area, including the People’s Republic of China, if this is possible. We must diversify our, trade as far as possible so that we may not be subject to blackmail by trading partners as was evidenced so clearly in the visit of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) to Peking recently. If this lesson has not been learned then indeed we are blind. We must seek stability in South East Asia by means of appropriate aid to the countries of that area so far as we can and we must not rule out the possibility of military action in that part of the world in appropriate circumstances.

So far as defence is concerned - the pessimistic policy - we have to consider, first of all, the likely threats and then we must build or acquire equipment and train personnel to meet those threats. We must begin the longer term projects now so that we are in a position to defend ourselves later if the need should arise. For example, if it takes, say, 7 years to build the kind of ships that we need for the sorts of threats that we may anticipate then we must begin to do it now and not in 7 years time. We should not rule out having the capability at least of developing nuclear weapons if we should need to do so. We must not be chicken hearted about these things. Nobody knows what the situation of this world will be in a few years time. If we are to defend ourselves we need to have the spirit to do it. Arms are not enough. Trained personnel are by themselves no use. Nothing is any use unless a country has the spirit of independence and the morale to defend itself. Here we can learn something from Sweden and Switzerland, from Israel and Singapore. I would hope that Australia has the same spirit.

Now I turn very quickly to those domestic problems which are most important. Inflation is the one which faces us most, immediately, with all its impact upon our exporting industries, with the distortion of. the internal economy. We should always remember that galloping inflation - and this can happen almost overnight - brought to power Hitler and the social upheaval that produced World War II. This is something that ought not to be forgotten, and cannot be forgotten by my generation at least. I hope that the younger generation does not have to learn the lesson the hard way. Then there is the impact of inflation on individuals, for which compensation, must be made by those who profit from inflation to those who suffer from it; that is to say, to pensioners, repatriation cases and retired Commonwealth Public Servants for whom this Parliament has a special responsibility. Here I would like to con: gratulate the Government - on having done justice to them. But also there are those who are just above. the pension means test level who also suffer from continuing inflation. I believe that in the longer run this means that we shall have to have a national superannuation scheme so that they may not be penalised unduly.

What can we do about inflation? I must congratulate the Government on taking certain steps. First of all, with regard to corporations the High Court has now made an historic decision. Indeed, when I read it I thought of the words of Charles James Fox when he said, referring to the French Revolution:

How much the greatest event that has happened in the world!

Here 1 would say ‘in the history of the High Court’. He went on to say:

And how much the best!

This High Court decision will confer powers on the Government in Canberra that must be used, that ought to be used and that can be used in the general interest. It will enable the Government also to deal with the activities in this country of foreign investors. I hope, to some extent at least, that it will be possible to deal with the securities industry also which has been a disgrace to this country for some time. 1 hope the Government will proceed through the Tariff Board with the review that it has promised and that this will nol be in any way impeded by the activities of the Department of Trade and Industry. Finally, if we are going to have industrial peace in this country - after all, everybody agrees that the inflation is due largely to cost-push inflation - -then there has to be some kind of accommodation between government, employers and employees. If not. we will wallow in a situation pf anarchy which can do no good to the people of

Australia from the point of view either of our defence or prosperity, materially, spiritually or otherwise. This has to be done unless, as I say. we are to go down and down into chaos.

I do not have time to deal now with the other domestic problems. I mentioned overseas capital, questions relating to national development, education, the crisis in the primary industries, the need for a real policy of decentralisation of population, the need to deal with urban problems, the need to deal with immigration and the need to achieve a national identity which involves the quality of life and films which we make ourselves. I do not have time to deal with these things now. I hope to deal with them at the Committee stage of the Bill.

I mentioned at the beginning of my speech that we have a great political difficulty in dealing with all our problems whether they are foreign or domestic. I referred to the need for policies today and not personalities. We have had a surfeit, of personalities, and what this country now needs is policies designed to meet the situation in which we are now placed and policies that can be promulgated to the people so that they can understand and accept leadership.

So I deal with the question of Parliament and the media. The forum of debate on public issues in recent times has moved from Parliament to the media. On television we have programmes like ‘This Day Tonight’, ‘Four Corners’. ‘Monday Conference’ and ‘Meet the Press’. In the Press we get the pundits like Alan Reid. Alan Barnes, Alan Ramsey, David Solomon, Stubbs, Fitchett and the rest giving us our politics. These have become the forum for debate on public questions; not Parliament but television and the Press. What has to be done is to explain Government policies and intensions. How is this being done? It is being done by background briefings to Pressmen, by Press conferences, by leaks, by way of kites, by way of ministerial and departmental infighting and by way pf currying favour by Ministers with particular Pressmen. At best we get policy in dribs and drabs coming out in this fashion. It is simply not good enough. It is not the way in which any adult nation should have its politics and public issues discussed and debated.

Is this movement from Parliament to the media a good or a bad thing, that is, that media personalities or those who employ them should replace members of Parliament as the tribunes of the people? As far as members of Parliament are concerned, admittedly we are a dull bunch compared with the clever and well remunerated young men on the television screen, or the pundits of the Press. We are also a tongue tied mob of people thanks to Party discipline and solidarity, reading so-called speeches and plugging the Party line at all times. But at least we are elected and from time to time sacked individually and collectively by the people themselves, and this is the great distinction from the others of whom I have spoken. We are on the whole a pretty sober, responsible and dedicated lot of people who know problems at the grass roots and accept the public interest, as we see it, as our guide.

As to the media personalities, they are younger on the whole, more personable, quicker witted and smarter than members of Parliament but lacking in general in the more substantial abilities of leading members of the Parliament whose experience is rooted in various professional, business and trade union spheres of activity. The differences in their criteria are more important still. What they must have always is a story. Whether it is truth or not is quite coincidental, but a story they must have. If possible, it should be a sensation. Scoops are wonderful things to have, and a row is always good cop. Slickness, like the introduction of Christ into the Melbourne Club a little while ago, would be a good example. Then there are the personalities, court gossip. Who is in favour and who is not, who is plotting against whom and how and why, who will be promoted and to what portfolio, who will be dismissed and why, who has the support of colleagues and who has not, which lobbyist is achieving what for his customers, what vested interests have the ear of the Government and why, and what scandal is afoot? So they sniff their way along the political gutters looking for some putrescent morsel to produce on the television screen or place on the breakfast tables of the people.

This is not a transitory feature of our public life. It is in the very bones of this new system, that is, government by the media on the television screen and by the gossip writers, and not by Parliament. Sensations and personalities are in the bones of the system because it thrives not on the public interest but on shallow entertainment. It is time that parliamentary democracy, if it is to endure, had more substantial fare. My generation at least will remember that violence, showmanship and radio brought Hitler to power.

The answer is twofold. First of all I turn to policy statements. These should be made in all cases in Parliament whether by way of green papers, white papers, by the tabling of reports of expert advisers, through ministerial statements or other speeches by Ministers, through information given by the Government to parliamentary committees through informative replies to questions or through informed debate with due notice. There can be no informed debate unless this kind of information’ is given, and there can be no good debate unless there is due notice of the business of the House.

I believe that there should be limited televising of Parliament to reduce, if not to eliminate, distortion, suppression and selection on undesirable principles by the media. I say ‘limited’ because this should be done by some programme such as an hour, say, at the end of the day which may be entitled ‘This Day in Parliament’ when the principal things that happened may be screened. The problems of empty benches, absent members, clowning, matinee idols, film studio apparatus and so forth could be overcome. Any members who are interested in Parliament and the survival of a democratic system; any members who think that the handing over of the function df Parliament to the media is not in the interests of the people of this country - I believe these matters to be not unimportant - will find the whole thing in a report of a select committee of the House of Commons in 1966 and the ensuing debate. The proposal was for a 3 months trial on closed circuit television. Unfortunately this proposal was defeated by one in a free vote. The House of Commons has certain problems because it has so many absentees at all times. Let there be no doubt that the televising of Parliament can be carried out. The matter has been investigated in full. Anybody who is interested in the survival of Parliament can have a look at the report in the Hansard. If honourable members are not interested, they should not worry; let the media take over!

What is the alternative - that Parliament moves to the media? They will select the subjects on which you and I will speak. They will choose the participants. We will operate according to their timing as to when a debate shall take place. They will have complete control over the proceedings. They will ask all the questions, keep the debate on the rails of their choosing, etc. The handicaps that Ministers have are quite obvious. Foreign Affairs is a very sensitive area. In the case of other matters in relation to which policies have not yet been decided a Minister is obviously very greatly handicapped and he will look like a bumbling fool compared with these bright young men. Back bench members, by definition the lesser lights anyhow and who are usually uninformed, will get no notice when they are to appear.

Of course, certain objections have been made and will continue to be made, but I put it to honourable members that we face a novel situation in this country. We cannot afford to fiddle while this country burns. In leading this country - in arriving at policies adapted to the needs of a novel situation - we cannot depend upon the media instead of the Parliament for the promulgation of policies that are decided, I hope, in consultation with the experts. We can go along the road that we have followed in the past, but I really believe that that road leads to disaster if we continue to follow it. I hope that at least some honourable members will give their attention to the problem itself and to the means of solving it.

Debate (on motion by Mr Kennedy) adjourned.

House adjourned at 10.54 p.m.

page 870


The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:

Arbitration: Australian Capital Territory (Question No. 2645)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

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

When was the backlog of claims in the Australian Capital Territory awaiting determination by a Conciliation Commissioner overtaken.

Mr Lynch:

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

As at 7th April 1971 the position with regard to unfnalised matters in the Australian Capital Territory was as follows:

Arbitration: National Wage Case Decisions (Question No. 2651)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

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

What percentage of the total work force has its wages adjusted directly to national wage decisions.

Mr Lynch:

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

In general employees whose wages would be affected directly by national wage case decisions would be those whose wages, salaries and conditions of work are normally varied in accordance with awards, determinations or registered collective agreements of Commonwealth Industrial Tribunals. In recent years it has also been usual for employees whose wages, etc., are normally varied in accordance with variations in awards, etc., of all State tribunals other than Western Australian tribunals, to have their wages varied in accordance with national wage case decisions.

The results of the Commonwealth Statistician’s May 1968 Survey of the Incidence of Industrial

Awards, Determinations and collective Agreements show that 40.1 per cent of employees normally had their wages, salaries and conditions of work varied in accordance with variations in Commonwealth awards, determinations and registered collective agreements, 42.3 per cent in accordance with variations in awards, determinations and agreements of the tribunals in 5 of the States, 5 per cent in accordance with variations in Western Australian State awards, etc., and there were 12.7 per cent of employees whose wages, etc., were varied either by unregistered collective agreements or were not normally varied in accordance with any variation in an award, determination or collective agreement. Thus, at least 82.4 per cent of employees would directly and indirectly have their wages varied in accordance with national wage case decisions. It is possible that some of the estimated 12.7 per cent of employees whose wages, etc., are varied in accordance with unregistered agreements or are not varied in accordance with any award, etc., may also have their wages varied in accordance with national wage case decisions.’

The Statistician’s survey from which the above figures were taken did not cover all employees. Employees in the Australian Capital Territory, in the Northern Territory, in rural industry, private employees in hotels, cafes, personal service, etc., and employees of employers not subject lo payroll tax were excluded from the survey.

Land Clearing (Question No. 2915)

Mr Uren:

asked the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:

  1. Is sufficient land already cleared to enable ‘ Australia to provide for her own people and all potential exports.
  2. Are current taxation policies encouraging the clearing of virgin land at a time when rural industries are in a state of decline.
  3. Is it a fact that because of these policies virgin land, which would have a great future as national parks or hardwood forests, is being cleared to provide financial gain for a few individuals.
  4. If so, will he immediately consider taking, steps to alter the tax provisions and, in their place, institute such policies as will encourage the planting by private individuals of both softwood and hardwood forests on some of our cleared land.
  5. Will he also consider the immediate cessation of further clearing of Commonwealth-owned crown land for any purpose including the planting of softwood timber species until a comprehensive overview of all such land is taken and the various alternatives for its use have been examined.
Mr Howson:
Minister for Environment, Aborigines and the Arts · CASEY, VICTORIA · LP

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

  1. Considering the market prospects for agricultural products on both the domestic and world markets in the foreseeable future, very careful consideration would- need to be given to any stimulation of regional development projects involving the large scale clearing of virgin land. In many cases, however, the economic viability of a property may increasingly depend upon the improvement of production efficiency which may involve the clearing of land. ‘
  2. Current taxation provisions in relation to land clearing are designed to enlarge the scale of individual farm operations and improve’ efficiency and net farm income. The provisions, of course, apply to both virgin land and to developed .properties and even so-called developed property may be found to stand in need of further development to bring about greater productivity and a lowering of farm costs. Under existing marketing conditions for many commodities, primary producers’ plans to clear land are likely to be based much more on estimated net returns from the outlay than on the existence of taxation concessions. Insofar as land is cleared for forestry operations the cost of clearing the land is in allowable deduction when arriving at assessable income for taxation purposes.
  3. The preservation of virgin areas for national parks or for development of hardwood forests can be achieved more effectively by legislative action on land use rather than by removal of concessions which improve production efficiency on properties in the rural sector.
  4. Decisions by landholders to use their land for timber production depends on the relative economics of whatever alternative forms of production are available. Existing taxation concessions apply to development, for timber as well as to other forms of primary production.
  5. The Minister for the Interior has advised as follows:

Land use planning in the Australian Capital Territory has advanced to the point where most proposed plantations can be accommodated with benefit on previously cleared land. Various alternatives for all . A.C.T. lands have been examined and no .forested lands suitable for parks or hardwood forests are included in the plantation land programme. “In the Northern Territory Commonwealth clearing of Crown land is carried out on experimental farms for research into pasture improvement and agronomic practices and on forest reserves for the establishment of more productive forest stands. As a review of the best use of land is generally made at the time of its allocation for a Commonwealth purpose, it is not considered necessary to cease further clearing of Commonwealth-owned Crown Land.’

Riverwood Golf Course (Question No. 3162)

Mr Les Johnson:

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

  1. ls the Department of Civil Aviation’ considering the acquisition of the 93-acre Riverwood golf course.
  2. If so, for what purpose is the area to be utilised.
  3. What is the estimated cost of acquisition.
  4. What is the present planning classification for the area, and can he say whether the intended use of the site by the Department violates the Planning Scheme of the Bankstown Council - or that of the State Planning Authority.
  5. Can he also say whether the Bankstown Council hopes to acquire the area for public recreation.
  6. Was the golf course offered to the Department by Riverwood Golf Course Pty Ltd; if not, on whose initiative was the acquisition first contemplated.
  7. Will the Department soon have the use of a large area at Bankstown Airport which is at present utilised for barrack-type accommodation by the Air Force.
  8. If so, what approximate area will become available and when.
Mr Swartz:

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

  1. Yes. -
  2. The area is required for the future extension of the building area at Bankstown Airport.
  3. Negotiations for the purchase of the land have been adjourned, at the request of the owner, and I am unable to advise the estimated cost of acquisition at this time.
  4. The land is at present zoned ‘open space’. The owner of the land has applied to the. State Planning authorities to have the land rezoned industrial’. The Commonwealth has requested that the land be rezoned ‘special uses (for aviation purposes)’.
  5. The Department of Civil Aviation is not aware of any proposal by the Bankstown Council to acquire the golf course for public recreation.
  6. Negotiations for the acquisition of the golf course land by the Commonwealth commenced in 1968 when the owner offered to sell the land to the Department of Civil Aviation. The owner subsequently adjourned his negotiations when he applied to have the land rezoned ‘industrial’.
  7. It is planned that the R.A.A.F. will vacate this area when accommodation is provided by the R.A.A.F. at another location.
  8. The area is approximately IS acres. It is not known when the area will be vacated by the R.A.A.F.

Home Help Service (Question No. 3199)

Mr Kennedy:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

  1. What was the (a) date, (b) nature and (c) outcome of all negotiations between- his Department, the Department of the Army and the Victorian Government concerning the refusal of that Government to permit the extension of the Home Help Service of the Shire of Seymour to the families of Army personnel living at Puckapunyal.
  2. On what grounds did the Victorian Government refuse to co-operate in this matter. -
  3. If the Victorian Government continues to refuse to co-operate, will he consider recommending ex gratia payments to the States on a pro rata basis to enable them to provide Home Help Service to Commonwealth employees, including Service personnel and their dependants in Commonwealth establishments.
Mr Fairbairn:
Minister for Defence · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

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

  1. and (2) The result of negotiations with Victorian authorities is that personnel living in married quarters, at Puckapunyal are not entitled to subsidised assistance from the Home Help Service because local rates are not paid in respect of these quarters.
  2. The question of assistance from alternative sources is being examined.

Office of Secondary Industry (Question No. 3234)

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister foi Trade and Industry, upon notice:

  1. Is it a fact that he is planning to take up his precedessor’s campaign to increase the size and prestige of the Office of Secondary Industry.
  2. If so, will this involve the recruitment of extra staff.
  3. If extra staff will be required, does this accord with the Government’s present economy drive.
  4. Is it a fact that the Tariff Board, which is itself faced with an extensive review of the whole tariff structure, is trying to recruit additional skilled staff.
  5. Will he give an assurance that any expansion of the Office of Secondary Industry will not be at the expense of the activities of the Tariff board.
Mr Anthony:

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

  1. and (2) A proposal for re-organisation of the Office of Secondary Industry is currently under consideration. The proposal envisages the recruitment of additional staff.
  2. The proposed re-organisation ‘will be subjected to the same scrutiny as . other proposals affecting departmental establishments, to ensure that it is consistent with the Government’s policy of staffing restraint in the Public Service.
  3. Yes. Additional positions were recently created on the Tariff Board’s establishment, and the Board is recruiting staff for the positions.
  4. The Tariff Board and the Office of Secondary Industry perform different functions, though some of the functions are complementary. The staff needs- of each organisation will be dealt with on their individual merits.

Training of Medical Practitioners (Question No. 3345)

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:

  1. What is the estimated, cost to’ each of the medical schools in Australia of the full training and graduation of a medical practitioner.
  2. What would have been the total cost of fees to such a graduate covering the period over which these estimates are made.
  3. What financial assistance would have been available to such a graduate at (a) maximum and (b) minimum benefit levels through a Commonwealth open scholarship for the full period of his study.
  4. What proportion of students have held Commonwealth scholarships until graduation.
  5. What financial benefits from State sources would have been available in each of the States to students (a) not holding Commonwealth scholarships and (b) additional to Commonwealth scholarships benefits, and what proportion of students graduating have benefited in these ways.
  6. What other forms of financial assistance from Commonwealth sources would have been available for medical students over the period of their training and graduation and what proportion of students graduating benefited from these provisions.
  7. . What recurrent expenditures would be provided from (a) Commonwealth and (b) State sources for (i) medical schools (ii) teaching hospitals and (iii) other facilities and institutions where the allocations are specifically for, or partly related to, the training of medical undergraduates, for each of the States over each of the years involved in the full training and graduation of a medical practitioner.
Mr Malcolm Fraser:

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

  1. It it is not possible at this stage to provide figures for the estimated cost to each medical school in Australia of the full training and graduation of a medical practitioner. The calculations are complicated because of the need to take into account the costs of training performed in teaching hospitals, which involves distinguishing costs from those in respect of patient care, and because certain elements of the total cost are merged with university expenditure covering other than medical studens. I have arranged for a detailed examination to be made in order to determine whether it is possible to make realistic estimaes
  2. The total course fees for the 6-year medical course at the rates of fees applicable in 1971 are:

These figures include fees paid for residence at teaching hospitals and fees for matriculation, graduation, general services, library, etc., but exclude fees payable to student unions, student representative councils and sporting associations.

  1. Commonwealth university scholarship benefits comprise principally the payment of all compulsory tuition and other statutory fees and, subject to a means test, the payment of a living allowance. The maximum level of assistance available to students undertaking the medical degree course is the sum of these fees and the maximum rate of living allowance payable each year. The minimum level of assistance would be the paymem of fees only. Maximum living allowance in recent years has been at the following rates:

Married scholarship holders also qualify to receive a wife allowance of up to $7 a week ($3.90 a week 1965-1969) and an allowance of $2.50 a week for each dependent child ($1 a week 1965-67, $1.50 a week 1968 and 1969). In certain circumstances a contribution is also payable towards the cost of travel at the beginning and end of term between a student’s home and the centre in which the university is located.

  1. The proportion of students who have held Commonwealth scholarships until graduation is not known. In 1970, the latest year for which
  1. It is not clear what ‘other facilities and institutions’ for the training of medical undergraduates the honourable member has in mind.

Aviation (Question No. 3409)

Mr Charles Jones:

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

Has there been any increase in passenger flight traffic between Australia and the United States of America since American Airlines were licensed to operate on this route; if so, what is the increase.

Mr Swartz:

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

Yes. The Australia-U.S.A. passenger market on the South Pacific air route increased by about information is currently available, 4,973 or 74 per cent of the 6,726 students enrolled in medical degree courses (including medical science) were receiving Commonwealth University Scholarships benefits.

and (6) My Department is at present engaged in the preparation of the Bulletin to be entitled ‘Scholarships and Cadetships in Australia for Australian Students’. This publication will contain details of scholarships and cadetships offered by Commonwealth and State governments and agencies, tertiary institutions, the armed services, private industry and other institutions. Benefits available to medical students will be included in this Bulletin and I have arranged for the honourable member to receive a copy as soon as it is printed. (7)(i) The Commonwealth contributes towards the total recurrent expenditure of universities $1 for each $1.85 provided by State contributions and fees. However, recurrent grants are not normally earmarked for particular areas of university activity and it is the responsibility of each university to determine the allocation of its resources. It is therefore not possible to advise as to the amounts of recurrent grants that are provided by Commonwealth and State for medical schools..

Specific recurrent grants are provided by the Commonwealth and the States as a contribution towards the teaching costs incurred in medical teaching hospitals and the following table sets out the total grants (Commonwealth plus State) approved by governments for this purpose in the 1967-69 and 1970-72 triennia 31,000 passengers in the year ended June 1971. The rate of increase in 1970-71, however, was lower than in 1969-70.

Education (Question No. 3451)

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:

Can he state for (a) each State and Territory and (b) the Commonwealth in the latest year for which figures are available -

what proportion of children of pre-school age and what aggregate number of children were enrolled at a recognised pre-school or kindergarten centre,

what were the relevant figures for the year 10 years earlier,

what was the cost of providing these services,

  1. what would be the cost of extending these services so that they are available for all children of the appropriate age, .
  2. what would be the cost of (A) the services’ mentioned in paragraph (iii) and (B) .the services mentioned in paragraph (iv) if the hours of these facilities were extended to suit the convenience and needs of working mothers,
  3. what would be the cost of pre-school of kindergarten education if the hours were extended as suggested in paragraph (v) (B)’ and they provided for (A) working mothers with children requiring these services including those currently using ‘them, (B) mothers who have indicated to the Department of Labour and National Service, surveys that they desire them (I) for personal reasons and (11) because they wish to work.
  4. is he able to give the costs requested’ in paragraphs (v) and (vi) as ‘ related to the age groups of (A) 5 years and younger, (B) 4 years and younger, (C) 3 years- and younger, (D) 2 years and younger and (E) 1 year and younger.
  5. what would be the additional cost of the services referred to in paragraphs (iv) to (vii) inclusive if provision were made for (A) a minimum nutritious mid-day meal for each child and (B) a suitable .morning and afternoon snack and drink of milk .or fruit juice.
Mr Malcolm Fraser:

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

  1. and (b) (i) In 1969 there were 68,644 children in Australia enrolled at Government preschool centres and at centres run by organisations affiliated to the Australian; Pre-school Association. This represents ‘13.5 per cent of the ‘ population aged . 3 and 4 years and the estimated number of 5 year olds in the. population who we’re not enrolled at primary school at that time.

Because of differences in the basis and coverage of the . available statistics for pre-schools these figures should be considered as approximate. The honourable member is referred to my predecessor’s answer to a previous question on - this subject (Hansard 21 August 1970, page 421) for more details of the basis of these statistics.

  1. The earliest figures available for .previous years relate to 1963 when an estimated 47,350 children were enrolled at pre-school centres, representing 9.7 per cent of the eligible population as defined in (i) above.
  2. Information on costs of these services, other than those provided for in the A.C.T. and N.T. is not available to me.

The Bulletin ‘Australian Capital. Territory and Northern Territory: Education Statistics 1970’ published in August 1971 shows the costs in the Commonwealth Territories to be as follows:

Australian Capital Territory Recurrent Expenditure for pre- - schools

  1. to (viii) There is no information available to -me which would enable me to answer these parts of the honourable member’s question.

Social Services (Question No. 3492)

Mr Jacobi:

asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

Will he bring up to date the answer he gave me to question No. 219 on 16th April 1970 (Hansard, page 1317) following the recent publication of the book ‘People in Poverty’. .

Mr Wentworth:

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

The previous answer to question No. 219 of 16th April 1970 is revised as follows:

No change.

See item (2) in answer to question 3476. The poverty survey was conducted in June 1966. Since then the situation of - pensioners has been considerably improved - prices have- -risen by 19 per cent but the maximum standard- rate of age pension has been increased- by 33 -per cent and the married rate by 30 per cent. The increases proposed in the Social Services Bill at present before the House, will raise these percentages to 44 and 39 respectively.

Under the Social Services Bill before the House, it is proposed to increase the maximum standard rate of pension by $1.25 per week and the maximum married rate by $1 per week for each of a pensioner couple.

It is estimated that to increase the standard rate and the married rate of age, invalid and widows’ pensions by weekly amounts of $2 and $1 respectively would cost in the vicinity of $90m per annum.

No change.

Since the date of the survey the rates of unemployment and sickness benefits have been increased as follows:

In addition, the rate of sickness benefit for persons who have been in receipt of payment for 6 consecutive weeks has been increased to the standard rate of invalid pension in the case of adults and married minors and to $10.50 per week for persons aged 16 to 20 years.

The Social Services Bill before the House includes provisions for increases of $1 per week in the allowance for the dependent spouse of an unemployment or sickness beneficiary, $2 per week for the first child of such beneficiary and SI per week for each subsequent child. Rates of long-term sickness benefit will also be increased in line with the proposed increase in the standard rate of pension.

  1. It is estimated that, based on the average weekly number of beneficiaries during 1970-71, to increase unemployment benefit and sickness benefit to the standard rate of age and invalid pensions as proposed in the Social Services Bill, would cost in the vicinity of S9m per annum.
  2. No change. ‘
  3. Provision to increase child endowment for third and subsequent children in families and for children in institutions by 50c per week is contained in the Social Services Bill before the House.
  4. No change.
  5. This involves a matter of Government policy. I would point out that the Government has not permitted rising prices to erode the living standards of pensioners since it has ensured that pensions have risen considerably faster than have prices. In the period between the September quarter 1949 and the June quarter 1971 prices rose by some 154 per cent. During the same period the maximum married rate of age and invalid pensions rose by 235 per cent, and the maximum standard rate by 276 per cent, or 324 per .cent if supplementary assistance is included. In addition,- a number, of fringe benefits such as the Pensioner Medical . Service have been introduced in that period, thus further enhancing the real value of the pension.
  6. Because the future level of average weekly earnings cannot be predicted, it is not possible to estimate the cost of this proposal. However, the cost of increasing age, invalid and widows’ pensions by $1 per week would currently be about $55m a year.
  7. The estimated ‘cost of the above proposals as a percentage of estimated expenditure for 1971-72 from (a) the National Welfare Fund and (b) by the Commonwealth Government from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, is as follows:
  1. No change.

Aviation (Question No. 3515)

Dr Gun:

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

  1. Is it the intention of the Department of Civil Aviation to allow aircraft larger than those already in use to use West Beach Airport.
  2. If so, which type of aircraft will use the airport, and when is it expected that they will commence using it.
Mr Swartz:

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

  1. There is a general trend towards larger and usually quieter and more economical aircraft which may wish to use our capital city airports. This does not necessarily mean that longer runways will be required.
  2. There are several types of aircraft under consideration by. the domestic airlines but it is understood that their final selection and the proposed timing of their introduction has not yet been determined.

Aviation (Question No. 3516)

Dr Gun:

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

What is the estimated capital cost of establishing a new airport terminal north of Adelaide to replace the existing facility at West Beach.

Mr Swartz:

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

No estimate has been made but it would certainly cost tens of millions of dollars for the airport and its terminal facilities. In addition there would be a very heavy commitment by the State or Local Governments to provide high speed road access.

Aviation (Question No. 3518)

Dr Gun:

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

  1. Is it the intention of the Department of Civil Aviation to carry out extensions to the north-east/south-west runway at West Beach Airport
  2. If so, (a) when will the extensions be carried out, and (b) what is the estimated capital cost.
Mr Swartz:

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

  1. and (2) The Department is only investigating the consequences of certain’’ airline aircraft equipment proposals in their effects on ground facility requirements. This is done in order that the airlines and the Government may better judge the consequences of any new aircraft types which are being considered by the airlines in recreation to public demand. The investigations cover the 22 major airports in Australia ‘ and Papua New Guinea, of which Adelaide is one.

Aviation (Question No. 9521)

Dr Gun:

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

  1. Did the Department of Civil Aviation advise the West Torrens City Council to re-zone certain areas adjacent to the West ‘ Beach Airport as industrial and commercial areas. -
  2. If so, why.
Mr Swartz:

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

  1. and (2) Land use zoning outside the boundaries of an airport. is a State and Local Government matter. It is for this reason that the Department of Civil Aviation works very closely with State Planning Authorities in terms of height restrictions at the approaches to the airport and Noise Exposure Forecasts. The Department provides the State Planning Authority .and, as required, the Local Government Authorites with the best available Noise Exposure Forecasts to assist in their land use planning near airports. This applies to the establishment and protection the new airports and to the re-development of areas adjacent some of the older airports.

In providing these Noise Exposure Forecasts the Department also provides an American assessment of land use compatibility in the vicinity of airports. The adoption and manner of applying this assessment is very much a State and Local Government matter.

Aviation (Question No. 3522)

Dr Gun:

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

Has the Department of Civil Aviation made any estimate of the capital gain which would accrue from the sale of the land at present occupied by. the West Beach Airport; if so, what is that figure.

Mr Swartz:

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

The land on which Adelaide Airport is situated cost $896,443. . The Commonwealth Taxation Valuers now value the land at approximately $16ra. However, this capital gain in land values does not take account of the very substantial investment in, and replacement value of, specialist aviation facilities - runways, taxiways - and aircraft parking aprons as well as hangars and terminal facilities- which would be lost should the land be converted to some other use.

Aviation (Question No. 3523)

Dr Gun:

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

  1. Is he able to say whether metropolitan Adelaide has a shortage of open space for recreational purposes in comparison with other State capital cities.
  2. Is it a fact that an extension of the northeast/southwest runway at West Beach Airport in a south-west direction will cause a serious incursion into the West Beach Recreational Reserve, with loss of accommodation for several sporting clubs.
  3. Would an extension (a) involve a partial closure of Tapley’s Hill Road (b) involve either filling in the Patawalonga or piping it under the runway, (c) require modification of the Patawalonga Drainage Scheme, (d) require the rebuilding of Military Road into a six- or eight-lane highway (e) result in more aircraft noise for the residents of North Glenelg and West Torrens and (f) require the acquisition of houses in North Glenelg to carry the new road across the Patawalonga
  4. If houses in North Glenelg would need to be acquired, how many houses would be affected and in which streets.
  5. What objective criteria does the Department of Civil Aviation use when weighing the loss of open space, property values and human comfort from aircraft noise against the needs of airlines and air travellers.
Mr Swartz:

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

  1. I would not have thought that Adelaide, in comparison with other Australian cities, has a shortage of recreation space and, in fact, the impression is rather to the contrary. However, you will appreciate that this is only a personal impression.
  2. The conclusion built into the question is not necessarily correct A major extension of the runway towards the south-west would cut into the existing sporting arenas but it is also probable that this loss of land can be offset by comparable amounts of land being made available and prepared for sport from within the existing airport boundaries. It is for this reason that the Department’s airport planners work very closely with the State Planning Authorities. (3a) It would require a re-alignment of Tapley’s Hill Road, at least part of which, along with changes to Military Road, is under consideration by the local highways authority. In fact, it was seeking an answer to an approach from the highways authority, when the authority was considering upgrading Tapley’s Hill and Military Roads, which caused the review of possible airport needs at this time. (3b) It is understood that improvements to the lower section of the Patawalonga proposed by the highway authority will not be affected. However, that section of the Patawalonga passing through the golf course would need to be diverted. The runway would not extend this far but one element of the instrument landing system is installed 1,000 feet beyond the end of the extended runway and that land within the 1,000 feet must be level to ensure the integrity of the landing aid. (3c) It is believed that any modification would be limited to. the Patawalonga diversion from within the golf course as earlier mentioned. These modifications do not appear to have any direct bearing on the drainage scheme as a whole. (3d) It is understood’ that the capacity of Military Road would need to be increased. However, it is suggested that the question should be addressed to the highway authority. (3e) Noise nuisance patterns will depend upon aircraft types which are selected. However, in general terms, the coming years should see a reduction in noise in proportion to aircraft size. The B747 jumbo jet, for example, though three times the capacity of the B707, is marginally quieter. (3f) and (4) It is understood that any airport need would not lead to home acquisitions for road purposes. However, a rather more general realignment of roads is believed to be under consideration and the question should be addressed to the highway authority.
  3. It is very doubtful whether it is possible to devise objective criteria along the lines suggested. Rather, the Department, in working closely with the State Planning authorities, does everything possible to make alternative arrangements for recreational areas. The Department, wherever possible, is willing to lease land, which is within the airport boundaries, for long term use as recreational areas. Similarly, the Department works very closely with State and Local Government planning interests to ensure the maximum compatibility between airport operations and nearby land use. It is not necessarily correct to say that an airport reduces nearby land values. There is considerable evidence to the contrary. In fact, finding answers to drainage problems and initiating or extending engineering services in creating Adelaide Airport, made it possible to develop some of its nearby areas.

French Nuclear Tests (Question No. 3673)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

  1. With which countries has Australia discussed protests against the French nuclear tests at Muraroa atoll this year.
  2. Which countries are known to have made protests.
  3. What were the terms of Australia’s and their protests.
Mr N H Bowen:

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

  1. New Zealand

Cook Islands




Western Samoa


  1. Australia

New Zealand

Cook Islands




Western Samoa




The Philippines

  1. The terms of Australia’s protest note were as follows:

    1. The Government of Australia has in the past expressed its strong opposition to the conduct of atmospheric nuclear testing, particularly in the Pacific area.
    2. Australia is a parly to the partial test ban . treaty of 1963 and would like to see it universally and comprehensively applied.
    3. The resumption of nuclear testing in the atmosphere in the Pacific area without regard to the deep concern that this arouses among the people of the area is a matter of considerable regret to the Government of Australia.
    4. The Government of Australia hopes that the Government of France will weigh these matters carefully in considering whether to proceed with further nuclear testing in the Pacific region.

The Communique of the forum of South

Pacific leaders, attended by the representatives of Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Nauru, Fiji, Tonga, and Western Samoa, expressed concern at the potential hazards to health and to marine life which is a vital element in islands subsistence and economy, and appealed to France to make the current series of tests the last in the Pacific area.

The other countries mentioned have made protests in similar terms. On 17th August 1971 Peru threatened to break off diplomatic relations with France if another nuclear weapons test is held by France at its testing site in the Pacific.

Transport Advisory Council (Question No. 3712)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for

Shipping and Transport, upon notice:

  1. Where and when has the Transport Advisory Council held its 34th and subsequent meetings.
  2. What were the names and portfolios of the Ministers who attended the meetings.
  3. What requests or suggestions were made at each meeting for legislative or administrative action by (a) the Commonwealth, (b) the Territories and (c) the States.
Mr Nixon:

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

  1. The 34th Meeting of the Australian Transport Advisory Council was held in Melbourne on 14th May 1971 and the 35th Meeting was held in Perth on 8th July 1971.
  2. Ministers who attended the 34thMeeting were:

The Hon. P. J. Nixon, M.P., Commonwealth Minister for Shipping and Transport (Chairman)

The Hon. M. A. Morris, M.L.A., New South Wales Minister for Transport

The Hon. V. F. Wilcox, M.P., Victorian Minister of Transport.

The Hon. W. E. Knox, M.L.A., Queensland Minister for Transport

The Hon. A. F. Kneebone, M.L.C., South Australian Acting Minister of Roads and Transport

TheHon. R. E. Bertram, M.L.A.. Western Australian Minister for Railways

The Hon. L. H. Bessell. M.H.A., Tasmanian Minister for Transport. Racing and Gaming and Mines

Ministers who attended the 35th Meeting were:

The Hon. P. J. Nixon, M.P., Commonwealth Minister for Shipping and Transport.. (Chairman)

The Hon. R. J. D.. Hum, M.P., Commonwealth Minister for the Interior

The Hon. M. A. Morris, M.L.A., New South Wales Minister for Transport

The Hon. V. F. Wilcox. M.P., Victorian Minister of Transport

The Hon. F. A. Campbell, M.L.A., Queensland Minister for Industrial Development

The Hon. A. F. Kneebone, M.L.C., South Australian Acting Minister of Roads and Transport

The Hon. J. Dolan, M.L.C., Western Australian Minister for Police and Transport

The Hon. L. H. Bessel, M.H.A., Tasmanian Minister for Transport

The Hon. R. E. Bertram, M.L.A., Western Australian Minister for Railways (Observer Minister).

  1. The Australian Transport Advisory Council is a forum at which Commonwealth and State Ministers concerned with transport discuss matters of common interest. Consideration is given to many detailed recommendations of specialist committees of the Council which, if endorsed, may result in legislative or administrative action.

Proceedings of Council are of a confidential nature. However as a general rule, public information statements are made by the Council during sessions concerning the progress of its work.

The items which may involve legislative and/or administrative action, and on which public statements were made under the 34th Meeting, are as follows:

Urban Railway Services

Non-urban passenger and freight problems

Railways equipment, facilities and administration

Refund for unused portions of railway journeys

Public statements were also issued during the 35th Meeting on the following items which may involve legislative and/or administrative action:

Australian Design Rules for Motor Vehicle Safety

Proposed Safely Design Rule for Motor Car Tyres

Reduction of Glare in Driver’s Field of View

Urban Public Transport

Uniform Liability for Road Carriers

Third Party Property Insurance

National Approach to Road Safety.

Housing: Aged Persons Homes (Question No. 3716)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for

Social Services, upon notice:

  1. What organisations have been approved under the Aged Persons Homes Act 1969 as organisations providing adequate accommodation and approved personal care services for aged persons.
  2. For how many persons does each organisation provide such accommodation and services.
Mr Wentworth:

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

  1. and (2) The following list contains the names of aged persons homes and the number of beds in each home for which approval of personal care services has been given under Part III of the Aged Persons Homes Act.

These are summarised as follows:

Aviation (Question No. 3742)

Mr Collard:

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

  1. What was the total subsidy paid to airline companies in Western Australia during each of the past 3 years.
  2. Which companies received the subsidy and what was the amount in each case.
  3. Which airline companies in Western Australia currently qualify for subsidy.
Mr Swartz:

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

  1. and (2) The following table shows tha amounts paid to the operators in Western Australia in respect of the provision of regular developmental air services during the last 3 years:
  1. The above operators are the only ones currently qualifying for subsidy in Western Australia. It should be noted that the only subsidised services of MacRobertson Miller Airline Services are those operated with the Twin Otter aircraft in the Kimberleys.

Language Teaching: Indonesia (Question No. 3783)

Dr Everingham:

asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

  1. Has his attention been drawn to a report in the Indonesian Newsletter for 21st June 1971 that France has donated to the Faculty of Letters and Arts, IKIP, Rawamangun, a set of audiovisual appliances for teaching languages.
  2. If so, what steps has Australia taken to see that. English teaching is as readily available as French teaching in Indonesia.
Mr N H Bowen:

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

  1. I have noted the report of the French donation of audiovisual appliances and technical instruments for language teaching purposes.
  2. Steps taken by Australia to assist in the teaching of English in Indonesia include:

    1. the provision since 1959 of well over 1 million sets of booklets (8 to a set) entitled English for You’ for use in conjunction with broadcasts from Radio Australia. This is a 2year course of English instruction, 2 programmes at first year and second year level are broadcast each week;
    2. the supply, during 1970-71 of 1,000 copies each of 13 books (paperbacks) by Australian authors as reading material in English courses at a number of Indonesian educational institutions;
    3. the provision of more than 500 copies of each quarterly issue of the ‘Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies’. These are given to universities and associations of economists primarily devoted to local research;
    4. training in Australia. Over the past 3 years, 106 Indonesian students have been enrolled in English courses in Australian institutions. This includes 56 trainees for courses at the English Training Centre, North Sydney, 7 post graduate students admitted to the University of Sydney for a course of Teaching of English as a Foreign Language and 43 students enrolled in other special English language courses.

During the same period, about 250 sponsored students have been given preliminary English tuition before embarking on other studies.

More than 30 Indonesians have so far been nominated for English training under the Colombo Plan this financial year and approximately 150 others are expected to seek refresher or pre-course English training:

  1. help under the AustralianAsian University Aid and Co-operation Scheme. With funds provided by our Aid Programme an examination is being made of the need for assistance in English teaching at Indonesian Universities associated with the scheme. After discussions with the Indonesian authorities, Dr J. R. Angel of Sydney University commenced a 1month’s assignment on 3rd August to investigate and advise on forms of assistance which might be given in this field;
  2. my department has recently been examining the possibility of providing a language laboratory, chiefly for language instruction sponsored Indonesian students who will be undertaking training courses in Australia. It is hopedthat this would lead to a reduction in the number of students who come to Australia specifically for English language training, and also meet the language needs of students who would otherwise undergo lengthy language courses after arrival here as a preliminary to other studies.

Social Services (Question No. 3877)

Mr Daly:

asked the Minister for Social

Services, upon notice:

  1. How many (a) invalid and (b) age pensioners have (i) one and (ii) two or more dependent children.
  2. What is the total number of children involved and the cost of providing the increased rates as outlined in the 1971 Budget.
Mr Wentworth:

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

  1. At 30th June 1971, the numbers were as follows:

    1. (i) 6,315
    2. 7,764
    3. (1) 3,529
    4. 1,411
  2. It is estimated that approximately 41,000 children of age and invalid pensioners will benefit from the increased rates announced in the Budget. The cost for a full year is estimated to be $3.2m.

Social Services (Question No. 3879)

Mr Daly:

asked the Minister for Social

Services, upon notice:

  1. How many (a) invalid and (b) age pensioners have non-pensioner wives.
  2. How many of these wives have dependent children.
  3. What is the cost in a full year of the increased rates proposed in the 1971 Budget for non-pensioner wives and dependent children.
Mr Wentworth:

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

  1. Detailed statistics for the total number of non-pensioner wives of invalid and age pensioners are not maintained. However, the following estimates are provided:

    1. At 30th June 1971 there were an estimated 18,000 invalid pensioners with nonpensioner wives. A wife’s allowance was paid to a total of 15,754 of these Invalid pensioner’s wive.
    2. At 30th June 1971 there were an estimated 1 1,800 age pensioners with non-pensioner wives. A wife’s allowance was paid to. a total of 7,244 of these age pensioners’ wives.
  2. Detailed statistics for the total number oi non-pensioner wives of invalid and age pensioners with dependent children are not maintained. However, it is estimated .that at 30th June 1971 approximately 8,000 invalid pensioners* wives and 2,000 age pensioners’ wives and 2,000 age. pensioners’ wives who were receiving wives’ allowances had dependent children. The number of non-pensioner wives of invalid and age pensioners who have dependent children and are not paid a wife’s allowance would be negligible.
  3. The estimated full year cost of the increased rate for wife’s allowance proposed in the Budget is St. 3m. Of this amount (0.9m is in respect of invalid pensioners’ wives and $0.4m in respect of age pensioners’ wives. The estimated full year cost of the increased rate for dependent children proposed in the Budget is $3. 2m. Of this amount $2.5m is in respect of dependent children, of invalid pensioners and $0.7m in respect of dependent children of age pensioners.

Social Services (Question No. 3915)

Mr Scholes:

asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

  1. Is it a fact that de facto wives are covered by the provisions of the States Grants (Deserted Wives) Act.
  2. Are the same de facto wives excluded from the provisions of the Social Services Act; if so, why.
Mr Wentworth:

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

  1. 1 refer the honourable member to my- Second Reading Speech on the States Grants (Deserted Wives) Bill 1968 when I said (Hansard, Volume 58 at page 1060)-

The purpose of this Bill is to give effect to the Government’s announced proposal to assist the States in helping mothers of children who are not eligible for benefit under the Social Services Act Broadly, they are deserted wives during the first six months of desertion, wives during the first six months of the husband’s imprisonment, deserted de .facto wives and de facto wives of prisoners and other unmarried mothers.’

  1. The Social Services Act defines a widow as including a dependent female and a ‘dependent female’ means a woman who, for not less than 3 years immediately prior to the death of a man, (in this part referred to .as the man in respect of whom she was a dependent female), was wholly or mainly maintained, .by him and, although not legally married te him, lived with him as his wife on a permanent and bona fide domestic basis.

Papua New Guinea

Mr Mcmahon:

-During question time on Tuesday 24th August the honourable member for - . Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel

Bowen) asked me a series of questions without notice on possible self-government for certain areas of Papua New Guinea, and I promised to obtain an early answer for him.

I am informed by the Department of External Territories that the Report of the Papua New Guinea House of Assembly Select Committee on Constitutional Development did indicate that there was support for self-government in the Bougainville and East New Britain Districts.

The Report also recommended that ‘the system of government for Papua New Guinea be a single central government as at present’ and that ‘internal selfgovernment should come about no sooner than during the life of the 1976-1980 House of Assembly’.

There has been no suggestion as to the precise form that the ‘self-government’ in the 2 areas referred to should take apart from the mention in the report that. Mr Tammur. the Patron of the Mataungan Association, was understood by the Select Committee to be requesting an independent government for the Gazelle Peninsula.

It has been announced that Area Authorities would be established in Papua New Guinea and the necessary legislation has been passed by the House of Assembly. The House of Assembly has not been requested to establish self-governing areas with delegated powers.

Commonwealth-State Boards and Committees (Question No. 3603)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

To what extent’ will information on joint CommonwealthState boards and committees (Hansard 5th May 1971, page 2633, question No. 2993) be included in the statement which the Government proposes to table showing the salaries, fees and allowances of all the holders of statutory offices (Hansard, 6th May 1971, page 2871, question. No. 2909).

Mr McMahon:

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

The statement to which the honourable member refers will include details for holders of Commonwealth statutory offices. It will not however include details . for statutory office holders whose remuneration’ is determined jointly by the Commonwealth and other Governments.

Pollution (Question No. 3800)

Mr Grassby:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. Have Shire Councils along the banks of the Murrumbidgee River asked him to take steps to end the flow of polluted waste into the river from Canberra.
  2. Has one shire- served legal notice on him to have this pollution stopped.
  3. Will he, as a matter of urgency, call together the Departmental Committee charged with the investigation of pollution in the Murrumbidgee River with a view to meeting the objections of local authorities.
Mr Hunt:

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

  1. and (2) The Goodradigbee Shire Council has expressed concern about alleged pollution of the Murrumbidgee River downstream from the Australian Capital Territory. Arising from its expression of concern, some other local government authorities who draw water supplies from this river have expressed concern about alleged pollution from Canberra as well as from other sources along the length of the stream. Representations have been made on behalf of the Hay, Narraburra and Mitchell Shire Councils.

A notice purporting to be given under the Public Health Act 1902 of New South Wales by the Shire Clerk of the Goodradigbee Shire Council has been received and is receiving consideration.

  1. The inter-departmental committee which was formed for the purpose of ensuring and maintaining close and effective liasion between the departments and authorities concerned with the quality of waterways in the A.C.T. has recently met and had discussions with the medical officers of the New South Wales Department of Public Health from the Riverina and Southern New South Wales Districts. As a consequence arrangements have been made for a continuing series of coordinated tests at various points in the Murrumbidgee River between the A.C.T. boundary and Burrinjuck, to complement the tests which have already been made and which will continue to be made within the Territory. The results of these tests are expected to assist the identification of the nature and extent of any river pollution. 1 have invited the Presidents and Mayors of a number of Shires and municipalities downstream from the A.C.T. to visit Canberra on 16 September for the purpose of inspecting the Canberra sewerage treatment works and to have discussions with senior officers of the Commonwealth departments and authorities concerned.

Prime Minister’s Lodge (Question No. 3802)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

  1. Arc (a) renovations and (b) extensions being carried out or about to be carried out to the Prime Minister’s Lodge.
  2. If so, what are the reasons for and what is the estimated cost of the (a) renovations and (b) extensions.
Mr McMahon:

– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are:

  1. and (2) No extensions are being carried out or about to be carried out. However, renovations are about to commence to a downstairs cloak room and toilet provided for visitors to the Lodge, and certain locks and other fittings are to be replaced or modernised to provide adequate security. The total estimated cost is $1,220.

Sport: Commonwealth Subsidies (Question No. 2314)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:

What subsidies has the Commonwealth given for sporting events and activities in each of the last’ 3 years.

Mr Howson:

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

Information provided by the Departments and authorities concerned is set out below:

pollution . (Question No. 3478)

Mr Grassby:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice;

What was the (a) peak percentage of effluent In waters associated with the Australian Capital Territory and (b) degree of impurity in the effluent discharge into the Murrumbidgee. River from the Australian Capital Territory in each of (he last 10 years (Hansard, 5th May 1971, pages 1632-3, question No. 3177).

Mr Hunt:

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

  1. The peak percentage of effluent in the Mumimbidgee River varies from year to year. In the worst period of the ,1967-68 drought the treated effluent from the Canberra sewerage treatment works accounted for almost 100 per cent of the flow of the Murrumbidgee River downstream from the Molonglo River, whereas the mean annual percentage of treated effluent is less than 10 per cent.

Cb) The effluent discharge from Canberra’s sewerage treatment works at Weston Creek has generally complied with the standards of 20 ppm B.O.D. and 30 ppm suspended solids.

Commonwealth Expenditures (Question No. 3488)

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

  1. Will he prepare a table indicating the (a) Budget outlay, (b) social service expenditure and (c) defence expenditure for each financial year from 1960-61 to 1970-71 inclusive, using an index of 100 for the first year.
  2. What was the rate of increase in expenditure in each of the 3 fields for each year as revealed by the updated index.
Mr Wentworth:

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

Social Services (Question No. 3490)

Mr Hayden:

asked the’ Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

What percentage of the Budget was social services expenditure in each financial year from 1960-61.

Mr Wentworth:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: - The percentage of the Commonwealth’s total budget expenditure represented by its expenditure on social services, . as defined in the answer to

Question 3488, in respect of each financial year from 1960-61, is set out in the following table:

Senate Committee’s Recommendations: Care of Handicapped (Question No. 3590) Mr Whitlam asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

Has he noted that his predecessor told me on 12th June 1970 (Hansard, page 3674) that the remaining recommendations in the report of tha Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs would receive consideration after the full report had been tabled.

Was the full report of the committee tabled on 2nd June 1970.

‘What action (a) did the Gorton Government take and (b) has his own Government , taken on the committee’s recommendation, that Commonwealth and State Governments should conduct a thorough joint enquiry into the problems associated with the special care and treatment of the physically and mentally handicapped of all ages for the purpose of establishing the most satisfactory practical forms of assistance.

What action (a) did the Gorton Government take and (b) has his own Government taken on the other recommendations in the committee’s report.

Mr McMahon:

– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes.
  3. and (4) A number of the recommendations of the Senate Select Committee on. Medical and Hospital Costs are similar in substance to recommendations of the Commonwealth Committee of Enquiry into Health Insurance (Nimmo Committee) which have progressively been implemented by the Government. In regard to the recommendation concerning an inquiry into the problems associated with the special care and treatment of the physically and mentally handicapped of all ages, this recommendation is closely related to the series of recommendations made by the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare in its Report on Mentally and Physically Handicapped Persons in Australia which was tabled on 5th May 1971. These recommendations are currently the subject of consideration by the Government.

Burdekin River Project (Question No. 3594)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

What has been the (a) date, (b) nature and (c) outcome of any communications between the Commonwealth and Queensland concerning the Burdekin River project since his predecessor’s answer to me on 14th October 1970 (Hansard, page 2179).

Mr McMahon:

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

Apart from the fact that many communications remain confidential unless otherwise agreed, I do not intend to adopt the practice and considerable administrative burden of continuing to list as a matter of course the details of the many matters on which there is communication between the Commonwealth and the States.

Ministerial Conferences (Question No. 3596)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

What conferences of or with State Ministers have his Ministers attended since he himself became Prime Minister.

Mr McMahon:

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

As the honourable member is aware from information provided in an answer to a previous similar question (Hansard 12.6.70 pages 3619-3627)

Ministers attend conferences as part of the continuing process of cooperation between the Commonwealth and the States. I refer him also to the answer to an earlier question of this nature (Hansard 10.3.71, page 820).

If the honourable member wishes to know what action may have been taken by way of conferences in a particular field, I will examine the matter to see what information can be provided.

Interdepartmental Committees (Question No. 3597)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

What interdepartmental committees have been established since he became Prime Minister other than the committee to examine the situation of the wine industry (Hansard, 6 May 1971, page 2483).

Mr McMahon:

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

I refer the honourable member to the answer given by my predecessor to a similar question (Hansard, 10 March 1971, page 810-811).

Restrictive Trade Practices (Question No. 3598)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

  1. Was it he or his predecessor who established the interdepartmental committee to study restrictive trade practices.
  2. Has the committee continued to function since the Parliament passed the Trade Practices Act 1971.
  3. What has been the (a) date, (b) nature and (c) outcome of any communications between the Commonwealth and any of the States concerning trade practices legislation since he became Prime Minister.
Mr McMahon:

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

  1. and (2) I refer the honourable member to my reply to Question No. 3599.
  2. Apart from the fact that many communications remain confidential unless otherwise agreed, 1 do not intend to adopt the practice and considerable administrative burden of listing, as a matter of course, the details of the many matters on which there is communication between the Commonwealth and the States.

Restrictive Trade Practices (Question No. 3599)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

  1. Has he told me that it is not the policy of his Government to disclose such information as the date of the first meeting of the interdepartmental committee on restrictive trade practices (Hansard, 5 May 1971, page 2633) or the date of the establishment of the interdepartmental committee on metric conversion (6 May 1971, page 2910).
  2. Has he noted that his Ministers have disclosed the date of the first meeting of the interdepartmental committee- on policies towards Japan (Hansard, 28 April 1971, page 2213) and the date of the establishment of the interdepartmental committees on employees’ compensation schemes (6 May 1971, page 2840), wine excise duty (page 2843) and kindergartens (page 2867).
  3. Will he now disclose the date of the (a) establishment and (b) first meeting of the committees on (i) restrictive trade practices and (ii) metric conversion.
Mr McMahon:

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

  1. (2) and (3) lt is not the policy of this Government to give information on these matters which concern advice to Ministers and arrangements between Ministers and their advisers.

Interdepartmental Committees (Question No. 3600)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

  1. Has he told me that it -is not the policy of his Government to disclose the terms of reference of interdepartmental committees such as those on restrictive trade practices (Hansard, 5’ May 1971, page 2633) and metric conversion (6 May 1971, page 2910).
  2. Has he noted that his Ministers have disclosed the terms of reference of the interdepartmental committees on policies towards Japan (Hansard, 28 April 1971, page 2213), employees’ compensation schemes (6 May 1971, page 2840), wine excise duty (page 2843) and kindergartens (page 2867).
  3. Will he now disclose the terms of refernce of the committees on restrictive trade practices and metric conversion.
Mr McMahon:

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

  1. (2) and (3) It is not the policy of this Government to give information on these matters which concern advice to Ministers and arrangements between Ministers and their advisers.

Interdepartmental Committees (Question No. 3601)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, i upon notice:

  1. Has he told me that it is not the policy of his Government to disclose which departments are represented on interdepartmental committees such its those on restrictive trade practices (Hansard, 5

May 1971, page 2633) and metric conversion (6 May 1971, page 2910).

  1. Has he noted that his Ministers have disclosed which departments are represented on the interdepartmental committees on resettlement in civilian life of members of the Permanent Forces (Hansard, 30 March 1971, page 1U92), commercial dry docking facilities (6 April 1971, page 1S43), policies towards Japan (28 April 1971, page 2213), employees’ compensation schemes (6 May 1971, page 2840) wine excise duty (page 2843) and kindergartens (page 2867).
  2. Will he now disclose which departments are represented on the committees on restrictive trade practices and metric conversion.
Mr McMahon:

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

  1. (2) and (3) It is not the policy of this Government to give information on these matters which concern advice to Ministers and arrangements between Ministers and their advisers.

Commonwealth-State Boards and Committees (Question No. 3602)

Mr Whitlam:

: asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

  1. What joint Commonwealth-State boards or committees have been established since he became Prime Minister.
Mr McMahon:

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

  1. I am reluctant to authorise the time and expense which would be involved in obtaining and collating the information (be honourable member has requested. However if he wishes to know what action may have been taken in this way in a particular field I will examine the matter to see what information can be provided.

Canberra: Sewage Treatment Works (Question No. 3806)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. What is the chemical composition of the substance, Solvex, which is being added to the sewage at the Weston Creek treatment works.
  2. What amount is added per day and what concentration does this give rise to in the Molonglo River.
  3. What is the purpose of adding Solvex to the sewage.
  4. What is its lifetime in water.
  5. Is it harmful to plant life or the life of animals including fish, insects and humans.
  6. For what period of time (a) has it been used and (b) will it continue to be used.
  7. If the answers to parts (4) and (5) are not known, why was this compound used without an investigation of its effects.
Mr Hunt:

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

  1. The active agent in ‘Solvex’ is Orthodichlorobenzene
  2. Two to three gallons per day are added during the treatment process at Weston Creek, giving a concentration in the treatment works of approximately 0.5 parts per million. No concentration of ‘Solvex’ has been found in the Molonglo River.
  3. ‘Solvex’ is used primarily for odour control.
  4. ‘Solvex’ hydrolysis in water. No trace of Solvex’ has been detected downstream from the treatment plant.
  5. ‘Solvex’ in the concentration used is not considered to be harmful to humans, fish or other aquatic life. ‘
  6. ‘Solvex’ has been used at Weston Creek since April 1970 and it is expected that it will continue to be used.
  7. See answers to questions (4) and (5) above.

Taxation Branch Accommodation, Perth (Question No. 3818)

Mr Berinson:

asked the Minister for the

Interior, upon notice:

  1. What is the floor space and estimated value of the former Taxation Department offices at the corner of Murray and Barrack Streets, Perth.
  2. Has this building been unoccupied for some time; if so, why and for what period has it been unoccupied.
  3. What use is planned for the building, and when will these plans be implemented.
Mr Hunt:

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

  1. The estimated valuation of the site and building of approximately 5.400 sq. ft of floor space is $45,000.
  2. Yes. The building, originally a warehouse was vacated by the Taxation Branch in July 1970 after being occupied by it for some thirty years. It cannot be converted economically for further long-term use by the Commonwealth.
  3. The site is centrally located and because of its potential for future re-development by the Commonwealth is to be retained. In the meantime, consideration is being given to alternative use of the building.

Parliamentary Library: Police Publications (Question No. 3871)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. What are the reasons for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library being refused copies of the (a) A.C.T. Police General Orders and Instruction Manual, (b) A.C.T. Police Law Reference Manual and (c) A.C.T. Police Practice for Constables.
  2. Is it a fact that members of the Police Force are often engaged in work that produces public comment and on which Members of Parliament are required to commit themselves; if so, will he direct that copies of these documents be made available to the Library.
Mr Hunt:

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

  1. & (2) The A.C.T. Police General Orders and Instruction Manual and the A.C.T. Police Practice for Constables are internal working documents which, in accordance with interstate police practice, are issued only to serving members of a police force. However, the Commissioner of Police is prepared to provide any Member of Parliament with full information concerning an order or instruction where that is sought by the Member in relation to an incident arising out of the execution of his duty by a member of the A.C.T. Police Force.

The A.C.T. Police Law Reference Manual is being revised and a copy of the amended edition will be made available to the Parliamentary Library.

Electoral (Question No. 3875)

Mr Daly:

asked the Minister for Interior, upon notice:

How many persons were eligible to vote in

each State and Territory and

Australia in (i) 1902 and (ii) 1971.

Mr Hunt:

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

  1. and (b) The number of persons eligible to vote is indicated by the number of persons enrolled. The persons enrolled, for the General Elections held on 29 and 30 March 1901 and as at 30 July 1971 are shown below -

Voting Age (Question No. 3876)

Mr Daly:

asked the Minister for the

Interior, upon notice:

Is he able to say which overseas countries and which Australian States provide voting rights for 18 year olds in the election of Governments.

Mr Hunt:

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

The following countries provide for a voting age of 18 years.

Albania; Andorra - all male heads of families; Argentina; Bolivia - married citizens; Brazil; Bulgaria; Burma; Canada; Ceylon; China; Republic of Czechoslovakia; Dominican Republic; Ecuador - all literate citizens; El Salvador; German Democratic Republic (East Germany); Guatemala; Honduras; Hungary; Indonesia; Israel; Jordan - male Transjordanians but not Bedouins; Korea (North); Liechtenstein; Mexico - married citizens; Mongolia; Netherlands; Nicaragua - literate or married persons; Poland; Rumania; United Kingdom; Uruguay; U.S.S.R.; Venezuela; Vietnam (North); Vietnam (South) and Yugoslavia.

Legislation has been passed in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia lowering the voting age to 18 years for State elections but the new legislation is not yet operative in New South Wales or South Australia.

Pensions (Question No. 3878)

Mr Daly:

asked the Minister for Social

Services, upon notice:

What would be the cost in a full year of increasing the wife’s allowance to the same rate as that payable to a married pensioner.

Mr Wentworth:

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

In the Social Services Bill before the House provision is made for an increase in wife’s allowance by $]. a week to 18 a week, at a cost of approximately $1.3m a year in respect of the wives of age and invalid pensioners. To increase the rate of wife’s allowance by an additional $7.25 a week to raise it to the married rate of pension’ of $15.25 proposed in the Social Services Bill, would entail a further gross cost of over $9m a year.

International Planned Parenthood Federation (Question No. 3900)

Dr Everingham:

asked the Minister for

Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

  1. Has his attention been drawn to reports of grants this year by Finland of $100,000 to the International Planned Parenthood Federation to help their work in developing countries and $150,000 to the United Nations Fund for Popula tion Activities.
  2. If so, is it proposed that Australia will join the other Scandinavian countries, Britain, Canada, Japan and the United States of America in making similar donations to the Federation to help its work in reducing the growing number of deaths by starvation.
Mr N H Bowen:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. Requests have been received, both from the Federation itself and from other interested bodies, for an Australian contribution to the Federation. These requests and similar requests for a contribution to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities are at present under consideration.

Australian Capital Territory: Springboks’ Tour (Question No. 3909)

Mr Charles Jones:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. What was the cost of providing police pro- tection during the South African Rugby Union team’s stay in the Australian Capital Territory.
  2. What was the cost of the barbed wire fence and other precautionary measures at Manuka Oval.
Mr Hunt:

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

  1. and (2). The cost of providing police protection during the South African Rugby Union team’s stay in the Australian Capital Territory was approximately $43,700. Of this amount $1,399 was spent on various works at Manuka Oval including the erection of a barbed wire fence.

Pensions (Question No. 3914)

Mr Scholes:

asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

  1. How many age and invalid pensioners will not receive anincrease under the pension proposals announced in the 1971 Budget.
  2. What percentage of all age and invalid pensioners does this represent.
Mr Wentworth:

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

  1. An estimated 165,000.
  2. Approximately 17 per cent.-

Social Services (Question No. 3916)

Mr Scholes:

asked the Minister for Social Service, upon notice:

  1. Are Australian women who have entered into a bigamous association with a migrant who was married in another country entitled to a widow’s pension, provided they meet other requirements.
  2. Are children of bigamous marriages regarded as qualifying children for widows’ pensions.
Mr Wentworth:

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

  1. No. These women are provided for under the States Grants (Deserted Wives) Act.
  2. Only if the child concerned was in the custody, care and control of a widow when she became a widow for the purposes of the Social Services Act 1947-1971.

Funeral Benefit (Question No. 3918)

Mr Scholes:

asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

  1. What would be the cost in a full year of increasing the pensioner funeral benefit to (a) $150 and (b) $100.
  2. What would be the cost of providing this benefit to pensioners qualifying under (a) the new means test used for the two most recent rises in basic pensions and (b) the means test applied for pensioner medical benefits.
Mr Wentworth:

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

  1. Based on funeral benefit statistics for the year 1970-71, the estimated cost of increasing funeral benefits to the amounts specified would be:
  1. The means test provisions governing eligibility for fringe benefits, including funeral benefit and the pensioner medical service, are the same for all such benefits and have not varied since the introduction of the tapered means test in September 1969. The effect of an increase in the rate of pension is to increase the upper limit of means as assessed at which eligibility for fringe benefits ceases. Any increase in the cost of funeral benefit resulting from the last two increases in pension rates would have been negligible. The estimated additional cost of paying a funeral benefit of $150 or $100 in the circumstances mentioned would accordingly be approximately the same as indicated in (1) above.

British Solomon Islands (Question No. 3727)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

Have consultations taken place between Britain and Australia concerning the view of the United Nations Visiting Mission, 1971, that at some later date the people of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate might opt for unification with an independent Papua New Guinea.

Mr N H Bowen:

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

The full text of paragraph 465 of the Visiting Mission’s report which was presented to the U.N. Trusteeship Council, was: ‘The Mission shares the view expressed by the Select Committee that the vast majority of the people of Papua New Guinea desire a strong central government and a united country. It accordingly believes that in the interest of the country as a whole separatism must be discouraged. In the Mission’s opinion, however, the surest answer to separatist tendencies probably lies in steady progress towards full self-government and independence for the whole country. In Bougainville, the present sense of separateness might be further diminished if at some later date the people of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate were to opt for unification with an independent Papua New Guinea.’

No special consultations have taken place with the British authorities regarding the speculation by the Visiting Mission.

However, as indicated in reply to the honourable member’s Question No. 154 of 20 May 1970 (Hansard ‘ page 2484) exchanges of views take place from time to time with the British authorities on the South Pacific and we keep each other informed on developments in each other’s dependent territories. I am not aware of any significant trends in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate towards unification with Papua New Guinea.

Fixed Calendar (Question No. 3782)

Dr Everingham:

asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

  1. Has his attention been drawn to a League of Nations Draft Convention submitted to member Nations in 1937 concerning adoption of a fixed calendar with identical quarters which was proposed by Chile, favoured by 14 nations and opposed by 6 nations.
  2. If so, what information has he regarding the present attitudes of nations in this matter.
Mr N H Bowen:

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

  1. and (2) On examination of the proceedings of the League of Nations relating to this matter, it appears that the Chilean proposal was approved by 10 States, opposed by 5 and considered premature by 4.

A similar proposal was raised in the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in 1954 and the views of Member States were sought. Of the 30 States which replied, only 1 expressed agreement in principle for the reform of the present calendar. At its 21st session in 1956, the Council decided to adjourn indefinitely further calendar reform. The matter has not since been raised in the United Nations.

Aboriginals: Pre-school Education (Question No. 2234)

Mr Cross:

asked the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:

  1. How .many Aboriginal and Island children in the (a) States, (b) Northern Territory, and (c) Australian Capital Territory received a pre-school education during the year 1969.
  2. How many scholarships were provided for the training of pre-school teachers to serve in Aboriginal communities.
Mr Howson:

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

  1. Some Aboriginal children attend ordinary pre-schools and generally figures of Aboriginal enrolments are not available. No figures are available for enrolments in New South Wales and Victoria. The Department of Aboriginal and Island Affairs states that in Queensland approximately 500 Aboriginal and Islander children attended community pre-school centres in 1969. Complete figures were not available for South Australia, but the Department of Social Welfare and Aboriginal Affairs reports that 94 Aboriginal children are known to have attended pre-schools in 1969. As at 30th June 1969, 342’ children were known to the Commissioner of Native Welfare to be attending pre-schools in Western Australia.

In 1969, 540 Aboriginal children were attending Administration (Welfare Branch) pre-schools in the Northern Territory; 150 were attending mission pre-schools and 79 were attending community pre-schools operated by the Department of Education and Science - a total of 769 children. There were 13 Aboriginal children enrolled at the Wreck Bay pre-school in the Australian Capital Territory.

  1. In Queensland a total of 5 scholarships were granted during 1969 for the training of preschool teachers for service in Aboriginal and Island communities.

In Western Australia during 1969, 3 Aboriginal students were receiving training as pre-school teachers but they may, however, not be restricted to Aboriginal communities in their appointments.

Approximately 20 scholarships are awarded each year by the Department of Education and Science for the training of pre-school teachers for the Northern Territory, but none of these is offered specifically for service in Aboriginal communities. From the group who completed their training at the end of 1969, 2 elected to serve Administration pre-schools in Aboriginal communities. In 1969 new arrangements were introduced for the training of teachers for Administration pre-schools in Aboriginal communities and 10 traineeships were provided in 1970.

Aboriginals: Health Problems (Question No. 2889)

Mr Collard:

asked the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:

  1. When will the Department of Health and the Office of Aboriginal Affairs commence the

Australia-wide study into the health problems of Aborigines.

  1. How many persons will be engaged in the study and what qualifications will be required in each case.
  2. Will’ the study be carried out on a full-time basis.
  3. Has an estimate been made of the length of time required for completion of the study; if so, when will it be completed.
  4. When may positive results be expected to flow from the study.
Mr Howson:

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

At the present time no specific survey into the health problems of Aborigines either on an Australiawide basis or in Aboriginal communities and fringe settlements is under consideration by the Department of Health and Office of Aboriginal Affairs.

Much of the current thought on future planning stems from the many recommendations made at a Workshop on Health and Nutrition in Aboriginal Children held in Sydney in December 1969 and which was .attended by representatives of Universities, Public Health Departments and workers from welfare and social organisations.

Commonwealth interest in this matter involves the funding of a number of research studies approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council and conducted by medically trained research workers. It is expected that these and similar future projects will substantially increase existing knowledge of problems associated with Aboriginal health and will also be of early and direct benefit to the Aborigines themselves.

The more localised health problems of Aborigines are of course matters for the individual States and Territories. The Commonwealth provides funds each year to assist States to further their programmes for Aboriginal health through the Grants to the States for Aboriginal advancement. Although there is at present no proposal for a wide-ranging survey, the Commonwealth Department of Health advises the Office of Aboriginal Affairs on matters relating to Aboriginal health and wherever possible implementation is advocated of the recommendations of the 1969 Workshop.

Computers (Question No. 2972)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

  1. For what departments, authorities and universities, of what type and at what cost have there been installations of digital computers used for data processing purposes since his predecessor’s answer of 29th May 1969 (Hansard, page 255).
  2. Which departments are represented on the interdepartmental committee’ established to coordinate automatic data processing activities of Commonwealth Government administration.
  3. What was the date of the establishment of the committee.
  4. To what extent have the departments, authorities and universities complied with the decision of the Full Bench of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in Federated Clerks Union of Australia v. Golden Fleece Petroleum Limited and others on 26th March 1968 that when employers are contemplating the introduction of computers and other automatic devices which may have serious effects on employees such as termination of employment or transfer interstate it is essential that both the employees and the union concerned should be informed of and involved in the planning as soon as possible.
Mr McMahon:

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

  1. Information provided by departments, authorities and universities on digital computers used for data processing purposes installed since 29th May 1969 is set out below:
  1. Lease terminated in March 1971. (b) Property of Hospital and Charities Commission (some capacity will be available to the University for up to 2 years from time of installation).
Note: Generally the purchase or lease of computers by State universities is financed with Commonwealth funds matched by funds provided by the States under agreed formulae, although some part of the cost of computers can be met outside this arrangement. The Commonwealth finances in full the cost of computers at the Australian National University. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. and (3) It is not the policy of this Government to disclose the type of information for which the honourable member asks. 1. The principle of consultation enunciated by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in the decision referred to has been followed by the Commonwealth as indicated by its association with the principles recommended by the National Labour Advisory Council in its pamphlet, 'Adjusting to Technological Change' of February 1969. In the appropriate cases, Commonwealth authorities have adhered to this principle. For its part, the Public Service Board has followed a policy of keeping staff organisations fully informed of automatic data processing development within the Commonwealth Public Service. The Board has arranged that appropriate advice be conveyed to all staff organisations concerned whenever a firm decision in principle is taken to acquire new computer facilities for a Department, or when it ls decided to extend significantly the application of automatic data processing to new work areas. Also when a particular project or application of significant size has passed fully to automatic data processing, details of the placement of the staff formerly performing the functions are provided to the staff organisations. A more detailed explanation of the Board's approach to the staffing aspects of technological change in the Service is given on pages 62-65 of the Board's 1969 Annual Report. I am informed that there have not been any cases at Australian universities where the introduction of computers and associated equipment has resulted in employees being retrenched or transferred .interstate. At one university some staff have been transferred to other work but. in other universities, the introduction of digital computer equipment has created new avenues of employment. Advice received from universities is to the effect that, should any serious effects' on employees arise in the future, resulting from further installation of digital computers and associated equipment, the relevant unions and staff associations will be consulted. {:#subdebate-35-46} #### Housing (Question No. 3045) {: #subdebate-35-46-s0 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr Uren: asked the Minister for Housing, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that 47 per cent or $355m of the money allocated for works, and housing ia 1969-70 came from Commonwealth revenue. 1. If so, what portion of it was allocated to housing. 2. What was the interest rate payable by the States to construct low cost housing. {: #subdebate-35-46-s1 .speaker-JTS} ##### Mr Kevin Cairns:
LILLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. In formal terms, $60,155,000. 2. These funds were advanced to the States under the terms of the CommonwealthState Housing Agreement 1956-1966 which provided for advances up to 30th June 1971. According to the Agreement, the rate of interest charged by the Commonwealth on these advances was 1 per cent below the long term bond rate applying at the date the advances were made. The Agreement stipulated that dwellings financed from the advances were to be primarily for. families of low or moderate means. In . 1969-70 the interest rates applicable to advances made under the Agreement were: 1st July 1969 to 10th July 1969-4.4 per cent 11th July 1969 to 7th May 1970-5.0 per cent 8th May 1970 to 30th June 1970-6.0 per cent. {:#subdebate-35-47} #### Colour Television (Question No. 3583) {: #subdebate-35-47-s0 .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr Stewart: asked the PostmasterGen eral, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. When will the decision on the date of the introduction of colour television into Australia be announced. 1. Is he able to say in what countries viewers enjoy the undoubted advantages of colour television. {: #subdebate-35-47-s1 .speaker-KIF} ##### Sir Alan Hulme:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. As I announced on 14th December 1970, the outcome of the Government's examination of the matter was that it was decided not to declare any date for the introduction of colour television at that stage. 1 also said that when the Government subsequently agreed to the introduction of colour television, 3 years notice would be given in order to allow industry to prepare adequately. In the circumstances, I cannot say when colour television will be introduced to Australia, but the question will be kept under review. 1. From the information available to me, which may not necessarily be complete, the following countries operate television services in colour: Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States of America and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Education: Television (Question No. 3707) {: #subdebate-35-47-s2 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Postmaster General, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Did he convene a meeting in Melbourne on 17th November 1969 to discuss educational television (Hansard, 19th May 1970, page 2377). 1. If so, (a) was the meeting attended by the Federal and State Ministers for Education, the State DirectorsGeneral of Education and representatives of the various government authorities concerned with educational television and (b) which were the various authorities so represented. 2. Did the meeting recommend that a special committee comprising Commonwealth and State representatives should be established to study recent technical development in the field of educational television and report to another meeting of Federal and State Ministers. 3. When was the committee established. 4. Which departments and authorities are represented on it. 5. On what date and to what ministerial meeting has it reported. {: #subdebate-35-47-s3 .speaker-KIF} ##### Sir Alan Hulme:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. (a) Yes. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. The Department of Education and Science, the PostmasterGeneral's Department, the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. 2. Yes. 3. The first meeting of the committee was held on 15th July 1970. 4. The Departments of Education of New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria, the Department of Education and Science, the Postmaster General's Department, the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. 5. The review of the special Committee involves a number of complex matters including investigation of technological developments and the economics of their application to Australian needs. The final report is in the course of preparation. The report by the Committee will be considered at a resumed Conference by the Federal and State Ministers concerned. {:#subdebate-35-48} #### Tourism: Ministerial Conferences (Question No. 3720) {: #subdebate-35-48-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the MinisterinCharge of Tourist Activities, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Where and when have there been meetings of State Tourist Ministers and the Commonwealth Minister since July 1970. 1. What were the names and portfolios of the Ministers who attended the meetings. 2. What requests or suggestions were made at each meeting for legislative or administrative action by (a) the Commonwealth, (b) the Territories and (c) the States. {: #subdebate-35-48-s1 .speaker-0095J} ##### Mr Howson:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The 13th Annual Conference of the Tourist Ministers Council was held on 5th and 6th July 1971 in Port Moresby. (2) New South Wales- The Hon. E. A. Willis, M.L.A., Chief Secretary and Minister for Tourism and Sport Victoria- The Hon. V.O. Dickie, M.L.C., Minister of State Development and Minister for Tourism Queensland- The Hon. J. D. Herbert, M.L.A., Minister for Labour and Tourism South Australia - The Hon. D. A. Dunstan, Q.C., L.L.B., M.H.A., Premier, Treasurer, and Minister for Development and Mines Western Australia - The Hon. T. D. Evans, M.L.A., Treasurer and Minister for Forests and Tourism Tasmania - The Hon. K. O. Lyons, M.H.A., Deputy Premier and Chief Secretary Papua New Guinea - The Hon. A. Bilas, Ministerial Member for Trade and Industry Commonwealth - The Hon. P. Howson, Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts and Minister assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry, in Tourist Activities. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Proceedings of the Tourist Ministers Council are confidential. Press statements were issued covering the major items discussed and copies will be forwarded to the honourable member. Television (Question No. 3812) {: #subdebate-35-48-s2 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP asked the Postmaster General, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Are television channels increasing their quota of repeats of the productions of Division 4 and Homicide with a view to stockpiling first release episodes for release in September next. 1. If so, does this action violate established attitudes designed to encourage Australian television productions. {: #subdebate-35-48-s3 .speaker-KIF} ##### Sir Alan Hulme:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. and (2) I answered a similar question from the honourable member for Riverina on 18th August 1971. 1 direct the honourable member's attention to the reply which appears on pages 284-5 in Hansard of that date. Papua New Guinea: Police Chaplaincy Advisory Council (Question No. 3827) {: #subdebate-35-48-s4 .speaker-SH4} ##### Dr Klugman: asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that the Regular Constabulary Branch of the Royal Papua and New Guinea Constabulary is engaged wholly on police duties (Hansard, 17th August 1971, page 179). 1. If so, what is the function of the Chaplain in the Regular Constabulary. **Mr Barnes:** The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. The function of the Chaplain is, in liaison with the Police Chaplaincy Advisory Council consisting of representatives of Papua New Guinea churches, to give assistance to members of the Regular Constabulary in matters of religion, morality and welfare, in particular by arranging for services, pastoral care and other facilities for the free exercise of the religion of members. {:#subdebate-35-49} #### War Service Homes (Question No. 3857) {: #subdebate-35-49-s0 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr Uren: asked the Minister for Housing, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What percentage of successful applicants for War Service Homes finance had to seek a second mortgage during 1970-71. 1. What was the average interest rate paid on these second mortgages. {: #subdebate-35-49-s1 .speaker-JTS} ##### Mr Kevin Cairns:
LILLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. During the financial year 1970-71 a total of 7,812 applicants received War Service Homes loans. The raising of secondary finance was approved in 1529 (i.e. 19.57 per cent) of these cases. 1. Particulars of the interest rate charged on second mortgages are not recorded on a basis which would enable details of the average rate of interest to be readily ascertained. {:#subdebate-35-50} #### War Service Homes (Question No. 3858) {: #subdebate-35-50-s0 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr Uren: asked the Minister for Housing, upon notice: >What was the average cost of a dwelling financed through the New South Wales Division of War Service Homes in 1970-71. {: #subdebate-35-50-s1 .speaker-JTS} ##### Mr Kevin Cairns:
LILLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The average cost of all homes (including the land on which the homes were erected) built or financed under the War Service Homes Act during 1970-71 in New South Wales *was$16,281.* {:#subdebate-35-51} #### Radio and Television Advertising (Question No. 3862) {: #subdebate-35-51-s0 .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr Everingham: asked the Postmaster General, upon notice: >Will the Government take steps to (a) prevent, control or restrict radio and television advertising of liquor and tobacco beyond the existing restrictions and (b) require equal facilities to be made available at the advertisers' expense for education concerning the effects of liquor and tobacco, as has been done overseas. {: #subdebate-35-51-s1 .speaker-KIF} ##### Sir Alan Hulme:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The provisions in the programme standards of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board regarding references to liquor in broadcasting and television programmes are considered to be adequate; the Board does not have any proposal to extend the provisions. My colleague, the Minister for Health, has indicated on a number of occasions that it is the Government's policy to educate the public in the health dangers of cigarette advertising rather than to completely ban cigarette advertising. In regard to part B of the Honourable Minister's question the advertising services of broadcasting and television stations are available under the normal conditions to interests who may wish to use them for the purpose the Honourable Member mentions. The Government has no other proposals in this field. Anti-cigarette advertisements were in fact recently transmitted over Melbourne commercial television stations. {:#subdebate-35-52} #### Mr V. Petrov (Question No. 3869) {: #subdebate-35-52-s0 .speaker-KID} ##### Mr Luchetti:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: >What sums of money have been paid to Vladimir Petrov and is he at present receiving payment from the Commonwealth. {: #subdebate-35-52-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- I am informed that the answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >Vladimir Petrov received £5,000 when be defected in 1954. As to further payments made to him up to 19th April 1963, reference may be made to the answer provided on that date by the then Prime Minister to a similar question, reported in Hansard on page 806. Since that date **Mr & Mrs Petrov** have continued to be available for consultation and payments in respect of calls made on them for that purpose have amounted to $715. **Mr and Mrs Petrov** are not in receipt of any, other payments from the Commonwealth. Pensions (Question No. 3886) {: #subdebate-35-52-s2 .speaker-AV4} ##### Mr Hurford:
ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that in the case of a partner in, say, a farming partnership the partner, when applying the means test for the purposes of assessing eligibility for an age pension, has included in bis assessment not only his share of the value of the partnership but also his annual income from the partnership, even in those cases where he is a sleeping partner being too old for work in the partnership and living away from the farm. 1. If so, is this the only case where there is included in the means test assessment not only property but also income from that same property. 2. Is it a fact that in the case of a bank account or other investments only the value of the bank account or other investments is included in the means test assessment and not also the interest or dividends from that type of property. 3. Is it a fact that a clear line of distinction can be made between (a) those who are working partners living on or near the property, contributing to the profits of the partnership by their efforts and usually receiving a partner's salary before the profits of the partnership are divided and (b) those who are sleeping partners who have merely an investment in the partnership. 4. If so, will he take action to correct this apparent anomaly. {: #subdebate-35-52-s3 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr Wentworth:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. It is necessary where a person is involved in a business undertaking, when assessing his entitlement to pension, to have regard to the nature of his share of the business as well as the income derived therefrom. However, if a person takes no part in a business but has capital invested in it, the income he derives from his investment would be treated as income from property. 1. and (3) The value of property other than the value of the home, furniture and personal effects is taken into account in the assessment of pension entitlement. Income from property is not taken into account. 2. See answers to (1), (2) and (3). Social Services (Question No. 3917) {: #subdebate-35-52-s4 .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the average cost of investigating claims for deserted wife's pension. 1. What percentage of claims are rejected. 2. What percentage of accepted claims are subsequently cancelled, for reasons other than increased income, age of children or re-marriage. 3. Does the cost of investigating claims which are rejected exceed the cost of continued payments. {: #subdebate-35-52-s5 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr Wentworth:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The Social Services Act provides that in addition to a woman whose husband has died, a widow's pension may be granted to: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. a dependent female on the death of the breadwinner; 1. a wife deserted without just cause; 2. a woman whose marriage has been dissolved and who has not remarried; 3. a woman whose husband is a mental hospital patient; and 4. a woman whose husband is imprisoned and has been imprisoned for a period of not less than 6 months. The information sought is not readily available for applicants under (b) above. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Almost 42 per cent of applications for widow's pension from women who claim tobe deserted wives are not approved. 1. Statistics of cancellation of widow's pension payable to deserted wives according to reason for cancellation are not maintained. 2. In genera] the cost of departmental administration is of the order of 2 per cent of benefits paid. Papua: Visit by Select Committee (Question No. 3932) {: #subdebate-35-52-s6 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice: >Why has he not directed the attention of the Government to the motion passed by the House of Assembly for the Territory of Papua New Guinea on 4th June 1971 requesting an early visit to Papua by a select committee of the Australian Parliament (Hansard, 25lh August 1971, page 670). {: #subdebate-35-52-s7 .speaker-JOA} ##### Mr Barnes:
Minister for External Territories · MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · CP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The attention of the Government has been drawn to the terms of the resolution of the Papua New Guinea House of Assembly to which the honourable member has referred. The Government has concluded that it would not be appropriate to seek the appointment of an all-party Committee for the purpose stated in the resolution. The Government facilitates the visits of members of Parliament to Papua New Guinea to keep themselves informed of the situation there, lt will of course continue to do so. > >The Administrator has been authorised to inform the Speaker of the House of Assembly of the Government's decision in this matter. This was done on 7th September. > >I should like to add that my letter informing the Prime Minister of the resolution was dated 19th August. The letter had not however been placed before the Prime Minister when he was asked the question on this matter by the Member for Lang on 25th August. {:#subdebate-35-53} #### Post Offices (Question No. 3941) {: #subdebate-35-53-s0 .speaker-SH4} ##### Dr Klugman: asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice: >How many (a) official post offices and (b) nonofficial agencies existed on 30th June (i) I960, (ii) 1965 and (iii) 1971. {: #subdebate-35-53-s1 .speaker-KIF} ##### Sir Alan Hulme:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {:#subdebate-35-54} #### Commonwealth Scholarships (Question No. 3344) {: #subdebate-35-54-s0 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice: {: type="a" start="l"} 0. Can he supply, a table showing the number of (a) applicants for and (b) recipients of, each form of Commonwealth scholarships in each of the States in each of the last 10 years. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. What were these figures as related to (a) government, (b) private Catholic and (c) private non-Catholic educational institutions. 1. Can these figures be further divided as between urban and rural educational institutions, where appropriate. 2. What percentage of the total enrolments were Commonwealth scholarship holders in each class or year of study. 3. Can he also supply tables in relation to each form of Commonwealth scholarship showing how these benefits would now stand if they had been increased according to (a) the consumer price index and (b) average weekly income movements each year since (i) they were first established and (ii) each occasion when adjustments were made to these payments. {: #subdebate-35-54-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The information which has been collated for the honourable member is too lengthy and complex to be published in Hansard. Copies are available at the Table Office of the House of Representatives. {:#subdebate-35-55} #### Union Elections (Question No. 2236) {: #subdebate-35-55-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In what unions and branches of unions in each of the past 15 years has the Registrar received a request under section 170 of the Conciliation and Arbitration- Act that a union election De conducted by the Registrar with a view to preventing irregularities. 1. Which of these requests were refused by the Registrar and what was the reason for refusal in each case. 2. In which of those requests grunted by the Registrar was the election actually conducted by (a) the Commonwealth Electoral Officer and (b) the Registrar. 3. How many ballot papers were posted to union members in each of the elections conducted by the Registar. 4. How many of these ballot papers were (a) not returned and (b) returned unclaimed. 5. Does the Registrar keep a record of the number of man-hours spent in completing each of the elections conducted by him; if so, how many man-hours were spent in conducting each election. 6. What was the total man-hours spent by members of the Registrar's staff in conducting union elections in each of the past 15 years and what was the estimated cost of this labour. {: #subdebate-35-55-s1 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The information which has been collated for the honourable member is too lengthy and complex to be published in Hansard. Copies are available at the Table Office of the House of Representatives.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 7 September 1971, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.