House of Representatives
30 September 1971

27th Parliament · 2nd Session

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

page 1719




– 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 27½. (Sales Tax Exemptions and Classifications Act 1935-1967). Also that there is Customs Duty of up to 47½ 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.



– 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 respecfully sheweth:

Whereas -

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

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

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

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

Petition received.

Aboriginal Welfare


– I present the following petition:

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

That there is a crisis in Aboriginal Welfare in the South West Land Division of Western Australia resulting from a population explosion, poor housing and hygiene and unemployment and unemployability.

That there is a need to phase out Native Reserves in the South West Land Division of Western Australia over the next three years.

That town housing must be provided for all Aboriginal families where the bread winner has permanent employment or an age or invalid pension entitlement.

That such housing must be supported by the appointment of permanent ‘Home-maker’ assistance in the ratio of one home-maker to every 8 houses or part thereof.

That incentives of housing, ‘home-maker’ services and training facilities must be created in centres of potential employment for those who are currently unemployed or unemployable.

That insufficient State or Federal assistance has been made available to meet these requirements.

That adequate finance to meet these requirements can only be provided by the Commonwealth government.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will give earnest consideration to this most vital matter.

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

Petition received.

Australian Capital Territory Education Authority


– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of residents of the Division of the Australian Capital Territory respectfully showeth:

That there is a likelihood that education in the Australian Capital Territory will in the foreseeable future be made independent of the New South Wales education system.

That the decentralisation of education systems throughout Australia is educationally and administratively desirable, and is now being studied by several State Government Departments.

That the Australian Capital Territory is a homogeneous and coherent unit especially favourable for such studies.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that a Committee of Enquiry, on which are represented the Department of Education and Science, institutions of tertiary education, practising educators, and the Canberra community, be instituted to enquire into the form that an Australian Capital Territory education Authority should take, the educational principles and philosophy that should underlie it, and its mode of operation and administration.

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

Petition received.

Australian Capital Territory Pharmacy Ordinance


– 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 Division of the A.C.T. respectfully showeth:

That the A.C.T. Pharmacy Ordinance 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 A.C.T. Pharmacy Ordinance.

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

Petition received.

Crime Prevention


– 1 present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament Assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:

That they are gravely concerned at the apparent appalling increase in crime in Australia, particularly in densely populated areas; That they fear the police forces of the various States and Territories are undermanned and underequipped to handle the increase in crime;

That their concern is aggravated by the apparent number of unsolved crimes particularly those involving violence to the individual - including -murder.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Honourable Members of the House of Representatives will seek to ensure that the Commonwealth Government will seek the co-operation of the States and supply extra finance to the States to enable;

proper town planning and development to halt the increase in densely populated areas which leads to increased crime,

the proper staffing and equipping of police forces to enable adequate crime prevention and detection measures to reduce the frightening increase of both solved and unsolved crime,

the proper detention of and rehabilitation of criminals, and

compensation to victims of crimes of violence.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.

Petition received and read.

Social Services


-I present the following petition:

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

That a migrant who has been a member of the Australian workforce for many years, has paid taxes and acquired Australian citizenship, and seeks to live the last years of his life in his native land or, if an invalid, wishes to see his relatives, is denied pension transferability. Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray -

That the House of Representatives, in Parliament assembled, seek to have Australia adopt the principle followed by Britain, Italy, Greece, Malta, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Turkey, Canada and the United States of America, who already transfer the social entitlement of their citizens wherever they may choose to live. And you Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received and read.

Aged Persons Homes


– 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 request:

That the Commonwealth Government give urgent consideration when making Grants to Aged Persons Homes that conditions of tenancy be imposed to protect the tenant who makes a donation to gain admittance to these homes which is very often their life savings.

That Conditions of tenancy ensure ‘ that evictions do not take place without the intervention of an independent tribunal, such as appointed by the Ministers Department

That the Commonwealth ensure that these properties are not resold after a person is evicted but is let.

That all steps are taken to ensure that everyone is assured that no profit has arisen from an eviction.

That representatives of the residents are appointed to the Board of the Home.

That Annual Elections are held tor Representatives of the residents on the Board of Management.

That a Annual Audited statement of accounts is submitted to the Social Services Department and is made available to the residents of the premises to ensure that all charges made and costs are to the satisfaction of the residents. - That Government give consideration to a total review of the conditions of Grants to ensure that protection is given to the residents of these Aged Persons Establishments and to the Management.

Your Petitioners humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled would take immediate steps to ensure that these requests are met so that people who have reached retiring age can enter these premises with dignity and peace’ of mind, and without fear of insecurity of the future in having to establish themselves in other premises. The Petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.

Petition received and read.

Social Services


– I present the following petition:

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

That a migrant who has been a member of the Australian workforce for many years, ha.s paid taxes and acquired Australian citizenship, and seeks to live the last years of his life in his native land or, if an invalid, wishes to see his relatives, is denied pension transferability. Your petitioners therefore humbly pray -

That the House of Representatives, in Parliament assembled, seek to have Australia adopt the principle followed by Britain, Italy, Greece, Malta, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Turkey, Canada and the United States of America, who already transfer the social entitlement of their citizens wherever they may choose to live. And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. 1

Petition received.

page 1721


Prime Minister · Lowe · LP

– I wish to inform the House that the Minister for Immigration, Dr Forbes, is leaving Australia tonight for official discussions on immigration in Europe and North America. Dr Forbes is expected to return on 12th November. During his absence the

Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator Cotton, is acting as Minister for Immigration. The Minister for Health will be represented in this House by the Minister for National Development, Mr Swartz. The Acting Minister for Immigration will be represented in this House by the Minister for Labour and National Service, Mr Lynch.

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– I ask the Minister for Trade and Industry: Does the action of the Tariff Board in enlisting academics from Monash University to work on Tariff Board inquiries amount to a deplorable abandonment of the long-standing tradition that confidential evidence given to the Board is not divulged to other persons, even to the Minister and the Government? Will he provide the names of the persons outside of the Tariff Board and its permanent staff who have had access to industry’s confidential information? Is the revelation of this practice likely to shatter the trust which Australian industry, until now, has placed in the integrity of the Tariff Board? Will he issue urgent instructions that the practice must cease? What additional action can he take to restore that trust and to ensure that Australian industry will continue to give to the Tariff Board complete details of confidential financial, planning and operational information, as it has done in the past?

Deputy Prime Minister · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– Yesterday I tabled the annual report of the Tariff Board. It contained a dissenting opinion on the practices and procedures concerning some of the activities of the Tariff Board. Those matters would relate very much to the question that has been asked of me. This matter has been referred to the AttorneyGeneral’s Department for legal opinion, and until I have that legal opinion I would reserve any comment.

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– Does, the Minister for Defence propose to make a defence statement before the debate on the defence estimates or at all - a. statement as informative as the excellent and illuminating one made by his predecessor, the present Minister for Education and. Science, in March of last year? Does he regard the dramatic events leading to the further disengagement of our great and powerful friends from the eastern and South East Asian area and the strengthening of potentially hostile powers in the Indian Ocean area since the last statement was made as justifying complacency? Finally, can he say whether several series of articles on defence matters recently appearing in the Press were inspired by the Service departments themselves, by interested purveyors of equipment or by journalistic fancy? In any event, does he regard them as a sufficient substitute for a meaningful statement on Government, policy in this Parliament?

Minister for Defence · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– The timetable on which 1 am working at the present time and which I hope I will be able to maintain is that during the next few weeks I will be bringing to the Cabinet a paper which Cabinet will have an opportunity of looking at and discussing, and subject to the views expressed I would hope shortly after then to be able to produce in the House a paper on defence. I can assure the honourable gentleman that I will do everything possible to see that the House is kept informed. We are expecting very shortly the defence report which has been in the hands of the printer for some time. I expect that it will be available to honourable members in the next few days. Of course, the defence estimates will also be coming up shortly for debate, and I will be making statements then, as I have spoken twice this week on matters pertaining to defence. But it will certainly be my intention and that of the Government to keep the House as closely informed on matters of defence as we possibly can.

page 1722




– Has the attention of the Minister for Defence been drawn to a newspaper article attributing to the Minis;ter for the Army the statement that he had directed that only national servicemen who wished to go are to be sent to Vietnam from now on? He went on to say:

It would be less than sensible to send someone to Vietnam who does not want to go.

I ask the Minister: Does this represent Government policy? If so, has his attention been drawn to a statement which his predecessor once removed, the present Minister for Education and Science, made on 7th July 1970 in which he rejected the concept that only volunteers for overseas service should be sent to Vietnam, saying that it was not practical and that it would establish a 2-Army concept?


-Order! The question would be out of order if I were to apply the rules strictly. I suggest to the honourable member that he now ask his question.


– Does this reflect a change in Government policy? If so, why was the policy not changed before so many conscripts were pressed into service in Vietnam, some of whom were not to return?


– There has been no change whatsoever in Government policy on this matter. The situation referred to applied merely to one final movement of 84 men who were being sent to Vietnam for an extremely, short period. It was felt by the Minister for the Army to be wise to vary the policy on that occasion. He discussed the matter with me. It does not mean that there has been any change in Government policy generally.

page 1722




– 1 address a question to the Minister for National Development. It relates to the alleged Japanese report on Australia’s natural resources policy. Has the Minister any new or further information to give to the House in relation to this report?


-Order! If the question will take too long to answer I suggest that the Minister might seek leave to make a statement later.

Minister for National Development · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I have never transgressed in this field. I know that the Leader of the Opposition has a vital interest in this matter as he asked a question on it and I feel that I should provide the latest information for his supporters. The position is that the Japanese Foreign Ministry has indicated publicly and officially that the statement which was referred to by one Australian journalist in Japan was not from an official document. The Ministry has made this quite clear. It was a study undertaken by an organisation known as the Overseas Economic Study Group. The report was prepared by 4 university professors. The study was undertaken on behalf of not only the Foreign Ministry in Japan but also a number of other departments and organisations on the subject of Japan’s policy on natural resources overseas. It did refer in one chapter to the development of Australia’s natural resources and their relationship with Japan. This was the chapter that was referred to and taken, I am sorry to say, completely out of context by the journalist involved and I am afraid substantially misreported as it was referred to as an official report of the Japanese Foreign Ministry. I think that should be corrected.

I am indebted to the honourable member for Angas and the Leader of the Opposition for raising the matter and giving me an opportunity to put it in its right perspective. The study undertaken was a private one. As is the custom of most governments when they ask for studies of this nature to be undertaken, the ensuing reports are normally confidential to the governments concerned and are not meant to be classified as official documents. The report which appeared in the Press was quite incorrect in its context.

page 1723




– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. On 9th July last and again on 24th September the Cairns District Tourist Development Association wrote to him asking for a representative temperature of the north Queensland area to be included in the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s radio weather bulletins. Has this request been acceded to and, if so, when will this service commence?

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– A number of honourable members have taken up with me the question of weather reports over the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s channels. The Commission has pointed out that only a limited amount of up to the hour information becomes available to it from the Weather Bureau - it depends on that organisation for the information - and it is not possible in general terms to cover larger areas than are being covered at the present time’. As to the particular instance which the honourable member has mentioned, I will have to make inquiries. But what I have said generally covers the situation. Many people throughout the com munity are interested in their own local area and require weather reports. It is not possible for the ABC to provide them.

page 1723




– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister in his capacity of Acting Treasurer. In recent times there has been some publicity concerning the problems facing pear growers in the Goulburn Valley of Victoria. Would the Acting Treasurer agree that the action of the Reserve Bank of Australia in refusing permission for the Goulburn Valley canneries to pay growers money owing to them at the end of August has aggravated the problems in the Goulburn Valley? Will he take steps to see whether the Reserve Bank can take a more lenient view of the problems being faced by the Goulburn Valley growers?


– I am sure that the’ honourable gentleman will remember that the Commonwealth Government agreed to make available $4,200,000 to the Victorian Government to be paid to the fruit interests in the Goulburn Valley. We are now in the course of arranging for a final payment of $200,000 to be paid to the Victorian Government so that it can be made to growers. The honourable gentleman will remember that during the course of his election campaign I visited his electorate and I was then well informed of the problem relating to pears and the canning problems associated with them. Consequently I have watched carefully what has been happening to see whether it would be practicable for the Commonwealth Government to take action. So far as the actions of the Reserve Bank are concerned and so far as rural credit is concerned I must point out to the honourable gentleman that this is completely within the jurisdiction of the Reserve Bank. The Government has ho right to dictate to the Reserve Bank how it should act. I think it would be impudent for the Government ‘to attempt to do so. Nonetheless, what I will do, because I think this is desirable, is to ask the Treasury officials in co-operation with the Department of Primary Industry to have a look at the question raised by 1 the honourable member and, if necessary, to take it up with the banking authorities. When I can give him a reply I will be only “ too happy to do so.

page 1724




– I put a question to the Minister for National Development in order to give him an opportunity to put another matter into the right perspective. In a very thoughtful and scholarly speech in April’ last year the Minister forecast Commonwealth legislation providing detailed rules under which off-shore mining titles might be issued and enabling the States to honour titles granted by them before September 1969 or, if there had been consultation with and concurrence by the Commonwealth in the meantime, granted after that date. I ask him: Have applications for off-shore mining leases been received or granted in the intervening 18 months? If so, in what way has the Commonwealth been involved or consulted in granting such leases? Do all the States follow the same procedure in granting such leases or in conferring with the Commonwealth about them?


– Again I appreciate this opportunity given to me by the Leader of the Opposition and I appreciate also his comments regarding the speech which, I may say, I made on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs at that time because it was in relation to a matter which concerned the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr McMahon:

– Could you thank him on my behalf too?


– Yes.

Mr Whitlam:

– I think that ought to be recorded.


– 1 will see that il is recorded. The Prime Minister also extends his thanks to the Leader of the Opposition. The point is that the exploration for minerals off-shore, of course, is in its infancy, as 1 think the Leader of the Opposition knows. New techniques are being developed, for example, the use of laser beams and so forth, which allow pinpointing with a degree of accuracy which was not possible before. At this time there is a minor and slow development in the exploration for minerals off-shore. The major exploration in this field is for petroleum. An agreement between all States and the Commonwealth and legislation of a mirror type cover off-shore petroleum exploration. That is the field . in which the major work is being done.

When applications are submitted in the normal way through the State Departments of Mines for permits for off-shore exploration under arrangement through the Australian Minerals Council the matter is discussed by the State Departments of Mines with my Department. We have received in the last 18 months to which the honourable member has referred a number of indications - not many - of applications being submitted, all of which have been approved. We have approved a number principally for the east coast of Australia, and those are mainly for the coast of New South Wales and the east coast of Queensland. That system, of course, will continue, and to the best of my knowledge it is working satisfactorily at the present time.

Mr Whitlam:

– Do all the States follow that system?


– To the best of my knowledge all the States agreed to do this. Certain States have not submitted applications to the Commonwealth for consideration. This, of course, could be because no applications have been received. As 1 indicated, at the present time only a limited number of applications are being made for off-shore mineral exploration leases because the techniques are new and this type of exploration is in its infancy. I do not doubt that in the future some further developments will be made in this field. I can assure that Leader of the Opposition that this matter will be watched very carefully by the Australian Minerals Council.

page 1724




– Has the Minister for Primary Industry seen the Press reports telling of the success of the first sale of wool by Economic Wool Producers Ltd yesterday? Is the Minister aware that this self-help organisation is pioneering the development of many improved methods of selling wool, leading not only to significant cost savings but also to prices above those currently ruling? Will the Minister assure me that the projected wool deficiency payment legislation will not in any way discourage the operation of this organisation which is at last doing some of the things that everyone has been talking about for so long?

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

– I have read in this morning’s Press of the satisfactory clearance by Economic Wool Producers Ltd of the first lot of wool which it has offered for sale by public tender. I understand from the Press report that the clearance in total was satisfactory and that the prices ruling also were satisfactory. I agree with the honourable gentleman’s assessment, that this is a very worthwhile advancement in the forms of handling wool. Indeed, I understand it largely follows a pattern that was developed in an analysis of present wool, selling methods produced by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. In terms of the future operations of the EWP I can assure the honourable member that the price support scheme will in no way militate against wool growers who care to send their wool to EWP for sale. Economic Wool Products Ltd is a private enterprise organisation that is operating in the market place and one would hope that it might provide for wool growers a very worthwhile alternative in terms of selling wool in difficult marketing circumstances. To my mind, one of the most advantageous features of EWP is the fact that so many handling charges in the processing and presentation of wool will be contained - as I understand the operations of EWP - and essentially that is an area within which all wool growers have a great deal to gain.

page 1725




– My question is directed to the Minister for Defence and is, in a sense, supplementary to that asked by the honourable member for Bradfield. I ask: Has further consideration been given to the establishment of a tri-service academy in Canberra to train officers for the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Regular Army and the Royal Australian Air Force? The Minister will recall that this matter was originally suggested by his predecessor twice removed. Has this matter been further considered? Is it one of the recommendations that the Minister will be placing before Cabinet and, if so, when can the House expect to be informed in relation to this matter?


– At the time that this matter was previously reviewed by the

Government it was decided that a considerable amount of additional information was necessary to substantiate some of the figures. Of course, a report was received by the Government on this matter. The figures are now being updated. I am hot able to say how soon it will be possible for the Government to make a decision, but it is certainly a matter which’ is under consideration and on which a decision will have to be made in the not too distant future so as to enable the Services to know exactly what action they should take with their present academies.

page 1725




– I address a question to the Prime Minister. Because of the regular and high increases in wages granted by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and those granted unilaterally by individual firms, how can the Government maintain its constantly avowed policy of full employment?


– The economic objectives of the Government remain as they have been for many years. That is, we believe in a high rate of economic growth and progress and full employment. And we want, as far as it is practicable, to maintain stability in our foreign exchanges and prices. Naturally enough in circumstances such as exist at present when wages are rising at a rate of about 10 per cent per annum and productivity at the average rate of 2i per cent per annum we must expect a very substantial increase in inflationary forces and consequently some inconsistency between the objectives we are trying to achieve. Nonetheless, I believe that the decision in the recent carpenters’ case was one that must have caused a great deal of difficulty to the members of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission because they had to consider the precedent of the decision of Mr Commissioner Hood in the metal trades case. It would have been very difficult not to concede the same amount of increase to the carpenters as was granted in the metal trades award. So I understand the reason for the decision.

Nonetheless, I think it wise that I should point out that the members of the Commission specifically drew attention to the fact that it was a difficult decision, but that if and when a national wage case came on they would have to take into consideration the increases that had already been granted. They also mentioned that they hoped there would be no flow on because that could not be justified by the decision dr the rationale for the decision that they had given. But I point out to honourable gentleman - because I had expected questions on this subject in the House this week especially from the Opposition, but have not received them - that all the recent statistics that we have received indicate that the Government’s strategy at the time of its Budget is turning out to be successful. 1 can illustrate by figures which indicate that this is the position. The figures for housing have risen by something of the order of 13 per cent as compared with last year. There has been a very substantial increase in production, particularly in household goods or consumer durables and about 47,000 motor vehicles have been registered. All these figures are satisfactory and fit in with what the Government expected and hoped might in fact occur. I also point out that the potential for demand - this is the really, crucial question that faces us in an inflationary situation - still continues to increase, because personal savings were at a very high level and subscriptions to Commonwealth loans were exceptionally good. Consequently, if the psychology can improve - this is all that is necessary - we can get rapid increase in the one area where it is not quite as high as the Government could wish, namely, in consumption expenditure. Nonetheless, having said this, I point out that what we on the Government side have been saying at least since March of this year is turning out to be true and that those who cry wolf and try to create an impression that something unfortunate is occurring have turned out to be wrong. I hope that the figures that emerge in the future will be a further justification of the Government’s policy.

page 1726




– My question is directed to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Has it been a long-standing practice for oil. companies to be charged with customs and. excise duty on petrol when their tankers take delivery from bonded storage, as at Kurnell for instance, prior to its going into home consumption? Was this practice broken just prior to the Budget so that oil companies paid excise . on; petrol in bonded storage at the pre-Budget rate of 15.3c a gallon? If so, will the Minister explain why? .

Minister for Customs and Excise · HOTHAM, VICTORIA · LP

– The procedure upon which duty or excise is paid on petrol or other commodities related to- my jurisdiction is at the point at which the goods are entered for home consumption. That would apply both to tariff duties on imports and excise duties on locally produced goods. To my’ knowledge, there has : been no change in the procedure relating to petrol or anything else. However,” I will look into the matter as the honourable gentleman has requested.

page 1726




– Is the- Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts aware that most, if not all, of the larger advertising agencies in Australia are now overseas owned or controlled? Does the nature of the Commonwealth Advertising Division’s business, for which applications from agencies were recently called, permit Australian owned companies to tender on a normal competitive basis?

Minister for Environment, Aborigines and the Arts · CASEY, VICTORIA · LP

– If the honourable member has had his attention drawn to this matter by some people in his electorate, I presume that they have ..seen the application form that is now available. The honourable member will see from that form that one of the main’ conditions is that applicants must be able to provide the required facilities in all State capital cities. That is the major requirement. However; an application by a consortium of separate advertising agencies will : be acceptable in accordance with the conditions laid down. As I informed the Leader of the Opposition a few days ago, if people who have not yet tendered wish to make late applications, I will consider those applications. However, I have been informed that,1 according to the -last figures available, which are for the year ended 30th June 1970, approximately 80 per cent of the dis- .bursements from the pool in commissions distributed by the Commonwealth advertising agencies went to Australian owned agencies and there is no different policy today from that in the past. All that the Government wants to ensure is that it gets the very best service that is available for the Commonwealth.

page 1727




– 1 ask the Minister for the Army a question on a subject on which I would not think he would be expecting a question. I am prompted by the fact that last week was Plant a Tree Week in Queensland to ask him what thought has been given to supplying trees and shrubs to the occupants of Army married quarters so as to embellish the neighbourhood and to mitigate the climate in such rather stark areas as the Townsville suburbs of Vincent and Heatley near Lavarack? In particular, since the Commonwealth Government provides 50 trees and shrubs for every family it brings to Canberra, why is similar provision not made for families which it transfers to Army bases?

Minister for the Army · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– Consideration has previously been given to matters of this nature. I cannot inform the Leader of the Opposition as to what policy is adopted throughout Australia, particularly in the more remote areas such as Townsville.

Dr Patterson:

– It is a city.


– I am well aware that it is a city, and it is primarily the thriving city that it is because of the injection of capital particularly from those associated with the Army who are stationed there. Townsville owes a great deal to the Army. Over the years, the area has become greener and greener and more pleasant to live in. It is a very pleasant environment now. The Army is interested to ensure that all its depots, bases and facilities are as attractive as possible, not only to the servicemen, but also to those who live in surrounding areas. The honourable member for Reid will be aware that I am endeavouring to get him some lemon-scented gums for his electorate, and that it appears this will be possible. I may add, just to complete the answer, that I am giving him these lemon-scented gums at his specific request for his electorate. I cannot give any more detailed and updated information on this matter. As the Leader of the Opposition said, it is not the sort of thing that occupies my mind daily, but I will look into it to see what can be done.

page 1727




– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Air in this House.’ I have been informed that the Royal Australian Air Force is seeking an alternative site to Point Cook as a training centre in Victoria, and that such a training centre would need to be located where climatic conditions assure an absolute minimum of lost flying time due to weather conditions. I ask: If a change is to be made, will Mildura be given due consideration? The Minister will know that it was a . war time Air Force centre, that many of the amenities, necessary to aviation are already established and that the climatic conditions are ideal for the purpose.

Minister for Repatriation · INDI, VICTORIA · CP

– As many honourable members in the House are. well aware, the station at Point Cook has had a long and historic existence as a base for the Royal Australian Air Force. Many members who served there during the war would be inclined to agree with some of the comments by the honourable member for Mallee about climatic conditions at certain times of the year, and would certainly agree that Mildura would have a distinct climatic advantage over Point Cook at those times of the year. Honourable members also would be aware - some personally - that an operational training unit was stationed at Mildura during the Second World War and as such that city made a very valuable contribution to Australia’s war effort. I have no detailed information on the matter raised by the honourable member for Mallee as to whether there is to be any move from Point Cook, but I will make .sure his interest and his proposal are made known to my colleague in another place.

page 1727




– I address my question to the Minister for the Navy. I refer him to the DDL light destroyer development for the Royal Australian Navy and the projected cost escalation from the original $18m per vessel to a figure approaching $40m to $50m per copy. In view of the escalation of the assessed cost of the construction I ask: Has the Government made provision for the allocation of funds in the rolling Naval defence budget for the construction of the vessels in 1973-74? Secondly, will the Minister assure the House that the vessels will definitely be designed and constructed in Australia as planned?

Minister for the Navy · EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I cannot vouch for the figure originally posed as the cost of this vessel. The vessel was conceived earlier as a much lighter ship - hence the title DDL, the ‘L’ standing for light - than it is intended it now should be. However, a scrutiny of the changing conditions - and they are changing rapidly in terms of Naval hardware and sophistication in major navies in the world- has led defence experts in Australia to revise the original plans and they have been updated. I have only just come from a briefing and presentation of the design by the designers. This revision has led to a ship which I believe will be foremost in the world in her class in dealing with modern threats. This change, of course, has not been carried out without an increase in costs. The ship has now increased to a size which is almost identical to that of the DDGs, the guided missile destroyers that we purchased from the United States of America at a cost then of slightly over $40m. We have to face the fact that these and greater costs are inescapable if we are to have ships of this size and sophistication.

At present we have completed the preliminary design and this has been presented. Provisions have been made in the Budget for the first stage of calling tenders and having a look at the costof detailed working drawings. This will be another large expenditure and only after this stage is reached will the Government be able to make a decision on the important matters that have been raised in the part of the honourable member’s question regarding manufacture and eventual budgeting, the number and all of those other vitally important questions. But that is the current stage which this project has reached.

page 1728




– I direct my question to the Prime Minister. I ask whether he is aware of a Press statement made by the

Leader of the Opposition in which he claimed that the Prime Minister had refused to give him information regarding the Burdekin Dam project in Queensland. I ask the Prime Minister: Did he actually refuse to give the Leader of the Opposition the information he required? Secondly, what is the current situation regarding the feasibility study of the Burdekin Dam project?


– I did read the article and it is another classic illustration of misrepresentation by the Leader of the Opposition. Some time ago my predecessor was asked a question on notice by the Leader of the Opposition. He then stated that arrangements had been made for joint studies between the Commonwealth and State officials in order to have a reappraisal made of the Burdekin River scheme. The honourable gentleman later asked me a very wide ranging question and one that was extremely difficult to answer, seeking the date, nature and outcome of any communications between the Commonwealth Government and the Queensland Government concerning the Burdekin scheme. That policy still continues. These communications were very far reaching and it is not the Government’s practice to give complete details of what is happening in any communications between the 2 governments. Nonetheless the viability studies and the reappraisal mentioned by my predecessor were continuing at that time and should have been known to the honourable gentleman. I am now able to advise that in the middle of August this year I did come to an arrangement with Queensland Premier, Mr Bjelke-Petersen, to establish a working group in order to carry out a wide ranging and detailed investigation of the future of the Burdekin scheme. Those proposals are being put into practice. We will not proceed until we know exactly where we are going. It can be stated emphatically that there has been no reduction in effort and we will do our best to see that a proper appraisal of the viability and prosperity of this area is continued.

page 1728




– I ask the Prime Minis ter whether he agrees with the implied suggestion by the Minister for the Navy that

Australians working in naval shipyards are spies and saboteurs. Have any Australian workers in defence establishments been prosecuted for breaches of security in recent years? Does the Prime Minister consider that Australian defence secrets would be better kept in British, Japanese or United States shipyards than in Australian shipyards? Has he any evidence of any lack of security in respect of sh p, built in recent years in Australian shipyards?


– 1 have complete confidence in my colleague, the Minister for the Navy. I cannot answer in detail the question asked by the honourable gentleman because it is a question that should have been put on notice. But from my recollection of the dockyard in Sydney when I was Minister for Labour and National Service I can say that the greatest degree of obstruction came from such unions as the Ship Painters and Dockers Union under the control of Mr Terry Gordon and honourable members know where his political affiliations lie.

Mr Birrell:

– He is a Liberal.


– That remark puts the honourable member in a class of his own because Mr Gordon happens to a member of the Communist Party. I listened with great attention to what was said by my colleague, the Minister for the Navy. I have every confidence that what he said is correct. If the honourable member for Corio believes that there are any details which are inaccurate let him have the courage and the degree of responsibility that are essential: When he gives me the details I will be only too happy to examine them.

page 1729


Minister for the Navy · Evans · LP

– 1 wish to make a personal explanation.


– Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes. In yesterday’s edition of the ‘Australian’ words were ascribed to me which were not used by . me in my reply to a question in this House on Tuesday in relation to dockyards. These words have now been expanded in today’s Australian’ in the way of a straw man to suggest things in my answer that were not actually there. The statement that was reported in the ‘Australian’ was that I had said there was growing irresponsibility on the part of some unions. These words were never used. I assume they were the result of a mistake in shorthand. The words as recorded in Hansard and obtained by all other newspapers were that there was great resistance on the part of some unions to the use of security identification passes. I maintain that my statement was absolutely accurate. Indeed, when this matter was first indicated to the unions in one yard they mentioned passes; they went back to their men; the men passed a resolution protesting about passes and other matters, and went on strike for the rest of the day. There has been great resistance.

Leader of the Opposition · Werriwa

Mr Speaker, I regret to say that I have been misrepresented grievously by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in question time. This is a classic case of misrepresentation. The honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett) asked the Prime Minister about a statement I had made on the Burdekin River project. It is true that I was in Townsville last weekend and did make such a statement. I drew a contrast between the present Prime Minister and his predecessor in their attitude to Parliament and to the States. I pointed out that the previous Prime Minister had been prepared to tell the Parliament of negotiations with the States in which this Parliament was concerned. I will not read them through because they were quite lengthy, informative replies that the previous Prime Minister gave me about the. Burdekin project, but so that honourable members, the Press and the public can see the contrast in the attitudes of the two right honourable gentlemen to members, I will give the references.

Mr Nixon:

– Where is the misrepresentation?


-Order! I ask the House to remember that it is the custom to accord some liberty to the Leader of the Opposition and also to Ministers when personal explanations are being made.


Sir, on 12th August 1969 the previous Prime Minister gave me an answer to a question on the Burdekin River project, the second part of which contained the words ‘On what dates, by what means and with what results have the Commonwealth and Queensland discussed the- agreement authorised’ by a 1949 Queensland Act. Honourable members will notice the wording of the question. The answer was informative and frank. On 19th September 1969 the previous Prime Minister gave me a further long answer to a follow-up question which I asked him on this subject. On 14th October last year the previous Prime Minister brought up to date the information in his earlier answers, when I had asked him oh notice: ‘What has been the (a) date, (b) nature and (c) outcome of any communications between the Commonwealth and Queensland’ concerning this project?

By contrast when the House sat on 17th August this year I put on notice for the present Prime Minister this question:

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 . . .

The right honourable gentleman gave this curt and uninformative reply on 7th September - it would have been possible to give this reply on 18th August:

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.

This is a formula that the present Prime Minister has used on all matters of Commonwealth and State consultation, including development projects, and I believe that in regard to an area which has been promised this project in the State and Federal Parliaments by leaders on both sides for over 20 years, I was entitled to ask the question again,, and I expected that the present Prime Minister would have been as forthcoming in his replies as his predecessor was.

page 1730



Minister for National Development · Darling Downs · LP

– I ask for leave to provide some information to the

Leader for the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) referring to a matter in relation to airline subsides which he raised yesterday in a question answered by the , Prime Minister (Mr McMahon).


– There being no objection leave is granted.


– The position is that the Prime Minister correctly answered a question yesterday asked by the Leader of the Opposition.. The Prime Minister said that no subsidy was paid on services by MacRobertson Miller Airlines Limited between Perth and Darwin. This information was queried by the Leader of the Opposition after the Prime Minister had left, the chamber. I indicated that the state- “ ment was accurate and I said that I would get the information for the honourable gentlemen. 1 have subsequently checked and the position is as stated, that since 1st July 1968 when the agreement between the ‘ Commonwealth and MacRobertson Miller Airlines Limited was reviewed no subsidy had been paid on the major trunk route service between Perth and Darwin and no . subsidy is being paid at the present time. It is a fact that a subsidy’ is being paid on internal services in Western Australia in the Kimberley region for development purposes and also as the Leader of the Opposition suggested, subsidies are paid to Connair Pty Ltd for developmental services bv the Northern Territory. Those subsidies in Western Australia also are declining because the annual report qf the Department of Civil Aviation, which will shortly. : be tabled, will show that a sum of $94,000 was paid to MacRobertson Miller last year compared with $124,900 for the previous year. That is the information which I indicated to the. Leader of the Opposition I. would provide for him.

Leader of the Opposition · Werriwa

– by leave - I have had the opportunity to pursue investigations into ‘ this matter. Honourable members willrecall that it was raised in the last question yesterday morning and at that time I was only able to get a copy of the report of the Department of Civil Aviation before’ making an explanation. I have since been’ able to obtain a submission by Ansett Transport Industries Ltd made in July of this year on this subject. I shall quote from it because 1 believe it sets out the situation in a way that the Parliament has not yet been cold. I remember discussing with the honourable gentleman when he was Minister for Civil Aviation 3 or 4 years ago the agreement between ATI and the Commonwealth under which the Commonwealth guaranteed in effect that TransAustralia Airlines would not be allowed to participate in the Western Australia-Darwin services. Since the honourable gentleman gave me a copy of that agreement - I have not been able to lay my hands on it but I remember that it was for my own information alone - there has been no alteration in the agreement. It is not a public document, lt has never been tabled but I would accept that the . position is accurately set out in Sir Reginald Ansett’s submission in July, which reads:

MacRobertson Miller Airline Services (MMA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ansett Transport Industries Limited (ATI), is the sole operator of airline services within Western Australia and between Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

These services, provided by MMA, are operated in pursuance of a subsidy agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia dated 30th September 1959. This agreement expires on 30th September 1971.

I point out that this agreement expires today. I will not quote the following paragraph. There was a review of the agreement in 1968. The submission continues:

The net result of this review was that MMA ceased to be paid any subsidy except for. the Kimberley area and was authorised, at its own financial risk and without the guarantee of a reasonable return on capital provided for under the subsidy agreement, to re-equip with pure jet aircraft.

In the House of Representatives on 10th October 1968, the then Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Swartz, answered a question on this matter (Hansard, p. 1814) in the following terms:

Ansett-MMA has announced some changes in services on certain routes in Western Australia. This is a matter of close study between officials of the company and officers of my Department. The honourable member will be aware that the total operations of the airline in the west are subsidised substantially by the Commonwealth. This is done under an agreement which will remain in force until about 1971, when it will be reviewed. Most of the routes covered by the airline are classified as developmental routes and in total they attract some form of subsidy. Over recent years, with the advent of more sophisticated types of aircraft, it has become obvious that airline operations in the areas under discussion presented very difficult economic problems. . Also, the provi sion of an adequate subsidy was becoming a greater burden to the Government. Ansett-MMA has sought to readjust certain routes within the currency of the agreement with the GovernmentThis is being done in consultation with officers of my Department in Perth. The intention is that the third level service of what is called the commuter type operation will take over in areas where tha current service is withdrawn.’

When I spoke yesterday I had no knowledge, nor I believe would any member of the Parliament have had knowledge, that the 12-year agreement which was made in 1959, a copy of which the Minister provided for me about 3 years ago, had in fact, some time after October 1968, been varied in this regard. The agreement which he gave me made it plain - Sir Reginald Ansett’s submission recites all this but I have not quoted it - that the Commonwealth subsidy to MMA was for its total services which are a monopoly service, between Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Mr Swartz:

– Changed after 1968.


– Some time after your : answer on 10th October 1968. The agreement expires today.

page 1731



– I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hallett)Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes. I claim to have been misrepresented by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in answering a question I asked him relating to imputations by the Minister for the Navy (Dr Mackay) that employees of Australian naval dockyards were spies and saboteurs. The Prime Minister in reply named a person who I do not know and who I understand is not an employee of Commonwealth naval dockyards and suggested that this person was a Communist, thereby imputing that all persons who work in naval dockyards were spies and saboteurs. I suggest it was a totally improper answer to the question.


-Order! The honourable member has claimed to have been misrepresented.


– I have been totally misrepresented. The question I asked was: Did the Prime Minister consider that these persons were spies or saboteurs, and if so, would he indicate to the House on what occasions persons had been prosecuted. I reject the suggestion that because a member of a union who does not work for the Commonwealth is a member of the Communist Party of Australia I was suggesting support or otherwise for the actions of these people. What I raised during question time was an extremely serious matter; namely the blanket condemnation made of all persons employed in Commonwealth naval dockyards by the Minister in a totally irresponsible fashion and I believe that the Prime Minister has the right and responsibility to repudiate that statement.

page 1732




– On behalf of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory I present the Committee’s report on proposals for variations of the plan for the layout of the City of Canberra as gazetted in 1925, the 48th series of variations. I ask leave of the House to make a short statement in connection therewith.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hallett)There being no objection leave is granted.


– The report I have tabled is the second of its kind anddeals with proposals of the National Capital Development Commission and the Department of the Interior for varying some roads within the City of Canberra. Honourable members will be aware of the requirement for approval of Parliament to be given before the gazetted plan of 1925 may be varied and the responsibility for scrutinising such proposals rests with the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory. This Report is an historic one and I draw the attention of honourablemembers to the fact that of the 23 proposals submitted in this, the 48th series, oneof the proposals remains under consideration by the Committee and, consequently, no recommendation is made in respectof this particular proposal. The remaining 22 proposals are recommended for implementation.

We were not satisfied with the explanations given in connection- with a proposal to relocate the road known as Pialligo

Avenue, which provides access to Canberra airport and for traffic between Canberra and Queanbeyan and beyond. The relocation of the road was said to be necessary to enable a runway extension on the southern end of the main north-south runway. As this matter is still before the Committee I will not enlarge on the considerations before us beyond saying that this is an example of the need for close scrutiny of development proposals. The people of Canberra are fortunate in having such dispassionate overview of planning proposals and honourable Members and citizens can be assured of the close attention given these matters when they come before this very effective parliamentary committee.

Ordered that the report be printed.

page 1732


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

Second Reading

Minister for Primary Industry · New England · CP

– I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

There are two main purposes of this Bill, which relates to the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. One is to make provision with respect to the tenure of office of the Judges of the Court. The other is to provide for theappointment of another Judge. The present position is that the Supreme Court of the Territory consists of two Judges appointed under subsection (1.) of section 7and such’additional Judges’ as have been appointed under sub-section (2.) of that section. To be eligible for appointment as an ‘additional Judge’ a person must already be a Judge of another Commonwealth Court. There are at present 6 such additional Judges and they are all Judges of the Commonwealth Industrial Court.

The number of Judges that may be appointed under sub-section (1.) of section 7 was increased earlier this year from one to 2 by the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Act 1971. This was to provide for the appointment of a Judge who would become the first Chairman of the Law Reform Commission of the Territory.

Mr Justice Blackburn has since been appointed to this judicial office and also to the position of Chairman of the Law Reform Commission. The Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory was established on the basis that it was a federal Court for the purposes of the Commonwealth Constitution and that the tenure of office of the Judges of the Court was accordingly governed by provisions in Chapter III of the Constitution. That is to say, the Act was enacted on the basis that a Judge of the Court would hold office for life, subject to resignation or removal from office on an address of both Houses of Parliament for proved misbehaviour or incapacity.

In April of this year the High Court of Australia decided, in the case of Capital T.V. and Appliances Ltd v. Falconer, that the Supreme Court of the Territory was not a federal court, but a court of the Territory. A consequence of that decision is that the provisions in the Constitution with respect to the tenure of office of federal Judges are not applicable to the Judges of the Supreme Court of the Territory. The High Court’s decision has accordingly disclosed a need for the tenure of the Judges of the Territory Court to be provided for by statute and the present Bill makes such provision. The Bill amends section 7 to provide that a Judge appointed under subsection (1.) is to hold office until he attains the age of seventy years. There is an undoubted trend these days against life appointments and, in relation to Judges, this has resulted in retiring ages being fixed in all of the States. In each of the States except Victoria the retirement age is seventy. In Victoria the retirement age fixed is seventy-two. The requirement of the Bill that Judges retire at seventy is subject to an exception in the case of a Judge who held office in the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory on the date of the High Court’s decision in the Capital T.V. case. Appointments made prior to that decision were made and accepted on the basis that they carried life tenure and that basis should not be varied at this stage.

The tenure to be provided for the additional Judges must take account of the fact that the primary judicial appointments of such Judges will generally be to federal

Courts and accordingly governed by the Constitution. The Bill provides, therefore, that an additional Judge is to hold office as such while he continues as a Judge of another Court created by the Parliament. It has been necessary also to make provision as to the removal of Judges from office. In this regard the Bill introduces a provision which, in its effect, is the same as the provisions that apply to Judges of federal Courts.

The second of the major amendments effected by the Bill is to be found in clause 5. Experience over the last year has made it clear that another Judge without conflicting commitments to a Court outside the Territory is needed to enable the Supreme Court of the Territory to deal with the cases coming before it. There is at present a waiting period of approximately 8 to 10 months from the time a civil case is set down for trial to the time when it can be heard. Honourable members will agree, I am sure, that this is quite unsatisfactory. Recently Mr Justice Blackburn has been giving a great deal of his time in assisting with the judicial work of the. Court, but it is desirable that he should be able to devote most of his time to his duties as Chairman of the Law Reform Commission. This will be facilitated by the appointment of the further Judge provided for in this Bill.

I come now to the amendments concerning matters of procedure. Clause 7 of the Bill amends section 8 to enable the jurisdiction of the Court to be exercised in appropriate cases by the Registrar. The classes of matters that the Registrar may deal with will be specified in the Rules of Court, and there will be an appeal to a Judge. This amendment will bring the Supreme Court of the Territory into line with the Supreme Courts of the States by making available a procedure long accepted as necessary to the proper working of a superior Court. The first amendment effected by clause 8 relates to the exercise by the Court of disciplinary powers over legal practitioners. Under section 8AA of the Act, a matter arising under an ordinance and relating to the professional behaviour of a legal practitioner is to be dealt with by a Court constituted by 3 Judges. However, such matters may arise otherwise than under an ordinance, and these are at present left to be dealt with by a single Judge. The Bill removes this inconsistency by making all matters relating to the conduct of legal practitioners cognizable by a Court of 3 Judges.

As the Act stands, the only matters that may be dealt with by 3 Judges sitting together are those which relate to. the admission and professional behaviour of legal practitioners. However, there may be other matters in which it is desirable that more than one Judge be present. For example, a matter may raise a question of law that has been the subject of differing opinions expressed by the Judges and for the resolution of which it is desirable that a Court of 3 Judges be constituted. Clause 9 therefore introduces a new provision to enable the jurisdiction of the Court to be exercised by not less than 3 Judges whenever it can be shown to the satisfaction of a Judge that such a procedure is desirable. Section 28 of the Act at present vests the power to make Rules of Court in the Judge of the Supreme Court. Consistently with the increase in the number of Judges provided for by this Bill, clause 11 (a) provides for the rule-making power to be vested in the Judges appointed under subsection (1.) of section 7 or any two of them.

Clause 11 (d) includes amongst the matters on which Rules of Court may be made the qualifications for admission of legal practitioners in the Territory. This matter is at present governed by an ordinance, but it is usual for the Judges of a Court to regulate certain aspects of the requirements for admission to their Court. The amendment will accordingly bring the Territory into line with the position in the States. The Act at present authorizes Rules of Court providing for the service .and execution of the process of the Court. It goes on, however, to mention specifically service of process outside the jurisdiction as a matter on which Rules may be made but makes no mention of execution of process outside the jurisdiction. This approach has given rise to certain doubts in the minds of practitioners as to the means by which process of the Court may be executed outside the Territory. To enable these doubts to be overcome clause 1 1 (e) of the Bill provides for the extension of section 28 to authorize Rules dealing with execution - as well as service - of process outside the Territory.

The disallowance of a Rule of Court does not, at present, revive a Rule revoked by the disallowed Rule. Clause 1 1 (f) of the Bill reverses this situation, thereby bringing the position regarding Rules into line with that obtaining in respect of Ordinances. The only remaining amendment of substance is effected by clause 13. Under sections 38 and 39 of the Act, evidence at the hearing of a cause must, as a general rule, be given orally unless the parties agree to the contrary. Evidence of particular facts may, however, be given by affidavit where good reason can be shown. It seems desirable that greater flexibility in the use of affidavit evidence be allowed, and the Bill accordingly provides that a Judge may order that all or part of the evidence be produced on affidavit. The remaining amendments effected by the Bill are of a minor nature and merely consequential on those I have outlined. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Whitlam) adjourned.

page 1734


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

Second Reading

Minister for Primary Industry · New England · CP

– I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The primary purpose of this Bill is to amend the Northern Territory Supreme Court Act to make provision with respect to the tenure of office of judges of the Northern Territory Supreme Court. The Bill also includes several amendments relating to the procedure of the Court. The need for amendment of the Act in relation to the tenure of office of judges was disclosed by the decision of the High Court of Australia in the case of Capital TV and Appliances Ltd v. Falconer. The effect of that decision was outlined in my second reading speech to the House on the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Bill (No. 2) 1971, and I will not detain the House by repeating what I then said. It will be sufficient, I think, for me to point out that the same need for legislative provision exists in the Northern Territory as in the Australian Capital Territory, and the amendment effected by this Bill is identical with that of the earlier Bill. The judge appointed under sub-section (1.) of section 7 of the Act (there is provision for only one such judge in the Northern Territory) will hold office until he attains the age of 70 years. An additional judge will hold office whilst he continues to be a member of another court created by the Parliament, and the provisions governing removal from office will be the same as those applying to judges of Federal courts. Of the remaining amendments effected by this Bill the following have their counterparts in the Bill already introduced to amend the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Act: (1) clause 4, relating to the exercise of jurisdiction by the Master of the Supreme Court: (2) clause 6, regarding the use of affidavits; and (3) clause 7 (b) relating to the execution of the process of the Court outside the jurisdiction.

The one amendment that is peculiar to this Bill is to be found in clause 7 (c). The purpose of the amendment is to bring the Northern Territory provisions regarding disallowance of rules of court into line with those in the Australian Capital Territory as amended by the recently introduced Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Bill. The remaining amendments effected by the Bill are all merely drafting changes made necessary by the other amendments I have discussed.

Debate (on motion by Mr Whitlam) adjourned.

page 1735


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

Second Reading

Minister for the Army and Minister assisting , the Treasurer · Kooyong · LP

– I move:

On 14th September 1971 three Bills were introduced to give effect to the decision to transfer payroll tax to the States. The purpose of this Bill is to enable Commonwealth authorities that have in the past been subject to Commonwealth payroll tax to be made liable for State payroll tax. It is considered that these authorities should not be relieved of their liability to payroll tax by virtue of the fact that this tax is being transferred from the Commonwealth to the States. The Bill does not itself make the authorities to which it applies liable to pay State payroll tax. It merely removes the barrier to payment of State payroll tax that exists in the constituting legislation of a number of Commonwealh authorities. Some 16 Commonwealth authorities will be affected by the Bill. There is, however, a number of other Commonwealth authorities which will also be liable to State payroll tax, but in respect of which no Commonwealth legislation is necessary because their constituting legislation contains no barrier to the imposition of the tax by the States. A list of Commonwealth authorities in both these categories is attached to copies of the speech I am making now, and with the concurrence of honourable members will be incorporated in Hansard.


  1. Authorities to Which the Pay-roll Tax (State Taxation of Commonwealth Authorities) Bill Applies:

Australian Canned Fruits Board

Australian Coastal Shipping Commission

Australian Dried Fruits Control Board

Australian Honey Board

Australian Meat Board

Australian Tobacco Board

Australian Wool Board

Australian Wool Commission

Commonwealth Banking Corporation

Commonwealth Serum Laboratories Commission

Exports Payments Insurance Corporation

Housing Loans Insurance Corporation

Reserve Bank of Australia

Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority ‘

Incorporating the three member banks:

Commonwealth Development Bank of Australia;

Commonwealth Savings Bank of Australia; and

Commonwealth Trading Bank of Australia

  1. Authorities to Which the Pay-roll Tax (State Taxation of Commonwealth Authorities) Bill 1971 does not apply:

Australian Apple and Pear Board

Australian Capital Territory Electricity Authority

Australian Capital Territory Totalisator Agency Board

Australian Dairy Produce Board

Australian Egg Board

Australian Industry Development Corporation

Australian National Airlines Commission

Australian National University

Australian Servicves Canteens Organisation

Australian Wheat Board

Australian Wine Board

Canberra College of Advanced Education

Canberra Theatre Trust

Overseas Telecommunications Commission

Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation

Trustees of the Services Canteens Trust Fund (Note: Some of the above authorities operate in the Australian Capital Territory only, and would not in fact pay State payroll tax unless they were also registered as employers under State payroll tax legislation).

It is proposed that the Bill come into operation on the date of commencement of the Pay-Roll Tax (Termination of Commonwealth Tax) Act 1971. As the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) explained when introducing the latter Bill, subject to the Commonwealth and necessary State legislation being enacted in time, the effective commencing date will be 1st September 1971.I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.

page 1736


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

Second Reading

Minister for the Army and Minister assisting the Treasurer · Kooyong · LP

-I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The main purposes of this Bill are to authorise the payment of interest-free capital grants totalling $209.8m to the States to meet part of their 1971-72 works programmes, and to authorise the borrowing of funds up to that amount to assist in the financing of these grants. The Bill also authorises the payment, at the same annual rate as for 1971-72, of similar grants in the first 6 months of 1972-73 pending the passage of comparable legislation in that year. At the June 1970 Premiers Conference the Commonwealth agreed to provide greatly increased funds to the States under new revenue assistance arrangements to apply over the 5 years 1970-71 to 1974-75.

This increased assistance took 3 forms - additional financial assistance grants, new grants to meet debt charges on a portion of existing State debt, and the replacement of part of the loan funds received by the States from their annual Loan Council borrowing programmes for works and housing by interest-free capital grants. This Bill is concerned with the third of these forms of assistance. At the June 1970 Premiers Conference it was agreed that the amount of the interest-free capital grant to be provided by the Commonwealth would begin at $200m in 1970-71 and would increase in future years in proportion to the total of the States’ works and housing programmes approved by the Loan Council in those years (excluding any special allocations to individual States in particular years that do not form a part of the basic programmes).

At its meeting in June 1971 the Loan Council decided on a total programme for State works and housing of $860m. In accordance with the arrangements agreed in June 1970. $209. 8m of this is to be paid in the form of interest-free grants and the remaining $650.2m will constitute that part of the programme for the States to be met from borrowings. The capital grant is to be distributed between the States in the same proportion as the total works and housing programmes. I should like here to outline to the House, in general terms, the attitude taken by the Commonwealth in relation to the States’ Loan Council programmes for 1971-72. We took the view that, in the light of economic conditions then prevailing, the Commonwealth should support borrowing programmes for the States and their authorities such that, when these programmes were added to the estimated level of specific purpose capital payments being made by the Commonwealth in 1971-72, the total funds from these sources in 1971-72 would represent an increase over those in 1970-71 not greatly in excess of 6 per cent. The programmes decided on by the Loan Council were broadly consistent with this objective. With the concurrence of the House, I shall have incorporated in Hansard a table which compares the capital funds estimated to be available to the States and their authorities from these sources in 1971-72 with those in 1970-71.

Honourable members will note that specific purpose capital payments to the States, excluding natural disaster relief payments, are estimated to increase by 12.7 per cent in 1971-72, compared with an increase of 7.8 per cent in 1970-71. This large increase is in spite of the fact that, as indicated in the Treasurer’s Budget Speech, the Government has, with relatively minor exceptions, avoided entering into any significant new commitments this year involving additional specific purpose capital payments to the States in 1971-72. The decision to limit these payments was in line with the general budgetary aim to restrict Commonwealth expenditures as far as possible. But, more particularly, it was recognised that any increased capital funds made available to the States for specific purposes would have reduced the Commonwealth’s ability to support the States’ works and housing programmes, including the interest-free capital grant. The funds which the States obtain from these programmes, unlike those deriving from the specific purpose payments, can of course be spent by the States as they themselves determine.

We believe that the estimated increase in total capital funds from these sources in 197 1-72 of 6.6 per cent, while lower than the States would have wished, is reasonable, particularly when regard is had to the strong probability that, partly as a result of the additional revenue assistance being provided by the Commonwealth and addi tional State revenues made possible by the transfer to the States of payroll tax, the States’ revenue budgets will rquire considerably less support from their loan funds in 1971-72 than they did in 1970-71. In other words, it can reasonably be expected that the scope for State capital expenditures to increase will be appreciably greater than the increse in funds available from these sources might suggest. It must also be borne in mind that about one-third of the capital outlays of the States and their local and semi-government authorities are financed from sources other than Loan Council borrowing programmes and payments from the Commonwealth.

I turn now to the specific provisions of the Bill. Honourable members will note that, besides authorising the payment of grants totalling $209. 8m in 1971-72, the Bill authorises the Treasurer to make advances in the first 6 months of 1972-73 up to a maximum of half the grants payable to each State in the current financial year. The purpose of this -provision is to enable advances to be made to the States in 1972-73 pending the passage of comparable legislation in that year. The Commonwealth’s undertaking to pay portion of the States’ works and housing programmes to them as grants has continuing effect and it seems reasonable to ensure that advances can be made to the States on a regular basis from the beginning of 1972-73. A similar provision wasincluded in the equivalent legislation last year. Clauses 4 and 5 of the Bill authorise the Treasurer, within 1971-72, to borrow funds, up to the total amount of the grants in 1971-72, for the purpose of financing these grants. It is the Government’s intention to apply the proceeds of any public borrowings made overseas in 1971-72 (other than those raised to finance purchases of civil aircraft) to this purpose.

The level of overseas borrowings which might be made during the period up till 31st December 1972 obviously cannot be predicted. However, it seems wellnigh certain that it will fall short, and probably far short, of the total grants payable to the States under this Act. To the extent that the grants cannot be met from the proceeds of such loan raisings, therefore, they will be met from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and clause 6 of the Bill provides accordingly. The purpose and effect of these grants is not, of course, to add to the capita] funds available to the States. Rather, by substituting grants for what would otherwise be loan funds the effect is to relieve the States of interest and sinking fund charges which they would otherwise have had to meet from their revenue budgets and thus to free funds for expenditure in other directions. For example, the effect of the $200m capital grant paid to the States in 1970-71 was to reduce the amount of the special loan which the Commonwealth had to raise from its own resources on 30th June 1971 to meet the shortfall between the States approved Loan Council borrowing programmes in 1970-71 and net loan raisings from the public in that year.

Since interest and sinking fund charges on the (thereby reduced) special loan did not become payable until 1971-72, there were no savings in debt charges to the States in 1970-71. The savings in 1971-72 as a result of the capital grants paid in 1970-71 will total nearly $ 12.8m. The approximate amounts by which each State will benefit are as follows:

Similar savings will, of course, accrue to the States in 1972-73 as a result of the grants proposed under this Bill to be paid to the States in 1971-72. Whether there will be any further savings in 1971-72 as a result of the capital grants being paid this year and, if so, how large they might be, depends on the amount and timing of public loan raisings during the year and cannot be predicted in advance. As for subsequent years, the savings to the States will depend on a number of further factors at present unknown, including the level of the borrowing programmes to be approved by the loan Council (which will in turn determine the future level of the interest-free capital grants) and the level of interest rates prevailing in those years which would otherwise have been payable by the States on the amounts in question. However, on the arbitrary assumption that interest rates were to continue at their present levels, and that the borrowing programmes were to increase at much the same rate as in recent years, it is estimated that the savings to the States will have totalled about $135m by the end of 1974-75. However uncertain such calculations must necessarily be at this stage, I am sure that honourable members will agree that that will constitute a very significant contribution indeed to the States’ revenue budgets within that period. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.

page 1738


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

Second Reading

Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts · Casey · LP

– I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

In presenting this legislation I think I should at the same time give honourable members a further brief account of Commonwealth policy in the field of Aboriginal advancement during the past year, in continuation of the accounts given by my predecessor in his second reading speeches in previous years, First, however, I will outline the provisions of the present Bill. The legislation provides for a 31 per cent increase in the grants to the States, amounting to $9.2m for 1971-72 compared with $7m for 1970-71, $5.41m in 1969-70 and $3.65m in 1968-69. As in the past, the Government proposes to allocate the $9.2m as between the States taking account of their percentage of the total Aboriginal population as revealed by the 1966 census and of their relative needs. A table has been prepared - which, with the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard - setting out the allocation proposed as between the States for 1971-72 by comparison with the grants for each of the previous 3 years.

The legislation provides also that of the amount of $9. 2m, the greater proportion be devoted to housing.. Work commenced in other fields will, of course, also continue. I envisage the following allocation as between the various purposes for which the grants are made to the States:

Experience over the past 3 years has shown that as the financial year proceeds individual States are sometimes obliged to seek variations in the allocations between these headings though within the overall grant to the State; but any such variation will be relatively minor and designed to enable States to adapt their programmes to meet unexpected contingencies which might arise during the year. It is the Government’s intention that the amounts available for each of these six purposes be divided between the States as shown in a further table which, with the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard.

What do all these figures mean in practical terms? A precise statement of the use made by the States of the 1970-71 grant will help honourable members to obtain some impression of the impressive contribution made by the Commonwealth grants in a variety of fields during . that year. Again, with the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard, a statement of the actual expenditure by the States of the grants made in 1970-71.

Taken along with similar statements provided by my predecessor in his second reading speeches in 1970 and 1969, this provides a running account of the Commonwealth’s endeavour, together with the States, over the 3 years of its activity since the referendum. 1 am sure honourable members will consider it, as I do, a good example of constructive Federalism, in which my Council and Office have collaborated very productively with State departments.

In addition to the amounts which it is intended to apply to housing, health, education, employment and vocational training and similar purposes through the States grants, it is proposed to apply $3,850,000 to the continuation by the Department of Education and Science of the study and secondary grants schemes and $173,000 to smaller projects, particularly in health and education, through Commonwealth departments. Thus of the total budgetary provision in the Aboriginal Advancement Trust Account for 1971-72 of $14.35m, no less than $13,223,000 will be devoted primarily to efforts in the fields of housing, health, education, and employment and vocational training. Expenditure of this order in these fields represents a useful stimulus to Aboriginal advancement where it is most needed.

Funds provided for housing through the Aboriginal Advancement Trust Account over the past 3 years have resulted in the construction or purchase of about 1,000 additional houses, and the funds which I propose for 1971-72 will result in the acquisition of some 500 further homes. In addition some $ 1.76m has been expended over the past 3 years from the Trust Account by way of the States grants or by direct grants on the acquisition, extension, improvement and in some cases operation of hostel accommodation, particularly for employment and educational purposes; and I envisage a further expenditure of at least $856,000 in 1971-72. In order to relieve some of the demand for housing I have asked my officers to investigate whether more can usefully be done in the short term by way of the provision of hostel accommodation.

Funds for health work provided through the Trust Account are making possible an improvement of rural health services in areas of Aboriginal population. The development of programmes of health education and preventive medicine by professional and sub-professional people should reduce progressively the pressure on the curative services provided in hospitals in the major centres. In addition much necessary expenditure on capital construction and equipment is made possible by the funds from the Trust Account. In the Northern Territory the Department of Health will, on the basis of funds provided from the Trust Account, establish mobile health facilities for the substantial Aboriginal communities in the Borroloola and Timber Creek areas; and, by agreement with the Western Australian authorities, will provide health and medical services for the Aboriginal community at the small mining camp at Wingellina in Central Australia. I also believe that simplified application procedures being arranged by my colleague, the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) will make the benefits of the subsidised medical scheme more readily available to

Aborigines, particularly in Western Australia. Notwithstanding past and present efforts the health status of Aborigines remains a cause for concern particularly in respect of infant mortality and malnutrition. The problems will not easily be overcome, for they require the improvement of living conditions and the extension of medical and health knowledge and understanding amongst Aboriginal parents including increased voluntary use of family planning techniques. However, it can be said that we now comprehend the problems better perhaps than at any earlier time and that our programmes will have increasing effect over a period.

Funds provided for education through the Trust Account are ensuring to Aboriginal Australians more and better educational facilities by way of buildings, equipment, libraries and so on, and are helping the States to ensure that children at school below the statutory school leaving age will receive necessary assistance with clothing, textbooks, travel, tutorial assistance and homework supervision. Beyond the statutory school leaving age, we are very encouraged by the response to the secondary and study grants schemes, which, as honourable members will bc aware, help make it possible for young Aborigines to pursue their studies as far as they are capable of proceeding with substantial benefit to themselves. In the first year, 1970, 2,379 were assisted under the secondary grants scheme, and in 1971, 3,800, while in 1972 it is estimated that the scheme will provide for some 5,700. I am satisfied that very many more young Aborigines are now staying on in secondary school and that there has been generally a marked improvement in the attitudes and application of the children and in their level of attainment.

In regard to study grants, which provide for study in the upper secondary and tertiary level, 114 were assisted in the first year, 1969, 305 in 1970 and some 500 in 1971 and it is estimated that some 600 will receive assistance in 1972. Of even more significance is the growing programme of assistance through the Trust Account at the other end of schooling - through preschooling. In the first 3 years oha Commonwealth has expended mon than $500,000 from the Trust Account » addi tional pre-schooling for Aboriginal children. This is only a beginning and we hope to expend the scheme in the years to come.

I mention these matters as indicators of progress. There are many others to which I could refer - for instance, to the encouraging results achieved by the regional projects we are developing with some States on the basis of funds provided through the Trust Account. These projects involve effort by the whole local community as well as by Commonwealth, State and local government authorities. An example is the purchase, removal and re-erection of Snowy Mountains Authority houses by the Shoalhaven Shire with financial assistance from the Trust Account.

I have mentioned the manner in which about $13.2m of the $14.35m sought for the Aboriginal Advancement Trust Account this financial year is being applied. Honourable members will also be interested to know something of the application of the remaining $1.127m. This will be used for grants to non-governmental organisations for a wide range of purposes - for welfare work, adult education, the provision and running of hostels, support of the arts, crafts and cultural activities, support of youth and sporting activities, Aboriginal housing societies and for pre-schooling provided by private organisations. 1 have had prepared a summary statement of grants for these purposes made over the past 3 years, and with the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate it in Hansard.

It is important to realise that the$ 14.35m which I have been discussing is in no sense the total provision for direct expenditure on Aboriginal advancement. In addition the Commonwealth is seeking in the Budget$16.33m for direct expenditure, mainly by the Department of the Interior, on Aboriginal advancement in the Northern Territory. It has also provided amounts in the votes of other Commonwealth departments, such as the $154,000 in the votes of the Department of Labour and National Service for the continuation of the employment training scheme conducted by that Department - which is, I believe, already having an important effect in increasing permanent employment of young Aborigines. Apart from this the States themselves will, I expect, provide of the order of $13m from their own resources for direct expenditure on Aboriginal advancement during 1971-72, pursuant to the undertaking they entered into with my predecessor to maintain and increase expenditure from their own resources. Total direct national expenditure on Aboriginal advancement for 1971-72 will therefore be of the order of $44m for an estimated Aboriginal population of 140,000.

It is important to realise that the amount expended is increasing substantially each year. This year’s likely expenditure of some $44m compares, for instance, with an expenditure in 1967-68 which is the year before the Commonwealth assumed its new post-referendum responsibility, of some $20m. I have had my officers prepare an approximate table of major direct expenditure over this period, which points up the overall increases. With the concurrence of honourable members, I incorporate the table in Hansard. At this stage the details, particularly of expenditure by the States, are, as I say, approximate only; but the Commonwealth Statistician is preparing more precise tables which should be available later in the year.

Another point worthy of mention is that, because of the nature of the programmes to which these finances are devoted, most of the funds are applied to the advancement of the younger generation of Aboriginal Australians. I believe that it is here that the greatest opportunities exist though I also wish to alleviate the very difficult circumstances in which numbers of older Aboriginal Australians live.

While expenditure on Aboriginal advancement has been rising, and I am sure will rise further, such expenditure is not intended to be a permanent aspect of Australian society. By investing sufficient money in the right areas over the years immediately ahead we will be making it possible for increasing numbers of Aborigines to become independent of the special assistance now being provided through the Aboriginal Advancement Trust Account and in other ways, and, where they need assistance, to be progressively cared for by the general provisions made for the community as a whole. In urban communities Aboriginal Australians seem likely to find effective and respected places in our society living and working among their white fellow citizens, although we hope and believe that they will continue to take pride in their Aboriginal identity and culture. In more isolated areas where many communities will be largely or predominantly Aboriginal developments are likely for some time to have a more corporate or group character and to retain many significant elements of Aboriginal tradition. It is our firm conviction that the choice open to Aboriginal Australians in this way is the surest means of developing the diversity in our one Australian society. This will ensure an honoured place for Aboriginal citizens who will be making a significant contribution to our development and culture.

A recent survey shows that the Aboriginal population may reach 400.000 or more by the end of the century, of which some three-quarters may be persons of mixed descent. Our plan; should be based on this expectation. Notwithstanding the rapid rate of increase, we can hope that special assistance directed towards Aboriginal Australians as such will be necessary for a smaller and declining proportion of them. The Council for Aboriginal Affairs has indicated that for this goal to be achieved increasing emphasis must be given to measures to promote the greater economic independence of Aboriginal Australians as individuals and as groups - especially in the north and centre as communities - and to strengthen their capacity to manage their own affairs. The effectiveness of these policies will be measured by the rate at which progress over the coming years justifies the elimination of measures of social welfare assistance directed at Aboriginal Australians as such, by the increasing contribution to the national product by Aboriginal Australians, and also by the increasing contribution to the varied pattern of Australian social life made by their traditions and culture. I commend the Bill to honourable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr Beazley) adjourned.

page 1749


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 19th August (vide page 364), on motion by Mr Sinclair:

That the Bill he now read a second time.


– The objective of the Live-stock Slaughter Levy Bill 1971 is to provide for the extension for a further period of 3 years, from 1st January 1972 to 31st December 1974, of the special levy on livestock slaughtering in order to provide finance for the operations of the meat industry service and the investigation section of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. It is noticeable that the rates of levy are to remain unaltered. As honourable members will know, the work carried out by the CSIRO in the various laboratories with respect to meat services has been of very valuable assistance to the cattle industry and the meat exporting industry as well as to the domestic meat industry over the years. The Opposition supports this measure. In terms of research work on quality control, sanitation, hygiene and various aspects of meat inspection, this service is of interest and of benefit to the meat industry in Australia.

It would seem that the beef cattle industry is the industry which has the best prospects of all major primary industries in Australia, if one can judge from its history, particularly in the post-war years, and from trends in production and consumption in the major consuming countries of the world. In fact, it would seem that world beef prices, which are the main determining factor for the level of prices in Australia, will continue to increase despite the fact that there is a very large swing in Australia towards beef production, particularly in the southern States. But, of course, as everybody knows, beef cannot be produced overnight. With a cash crop such as wheat, production can be increased relatively quickly. But it takes 9 months to breed a calf and possibly another 2i to 3 years before that calf is turned off in killable condition.

Mr Giles:

– Only in Queensland, surely.


– Well, in general 2i years to produce a beast is a pretty short period on the average in Australia. Not many States can produce a carcase of 5i to 6 cwt dressed weight in that period, except in parts of Southern Australia where producers do not experience the periods of seasonal distress that are experienced in the major areas of beef production in Australia.

Dealing with science and technology in this field, the matter which I am concerned about and which should concern most honourable members in this House, is the possibility of the introduction of synthetics. It would seem1 that the combination of science and technology in the field of synthetics could become the greatest threat to the future of important established primary industries in Australia. I am referring now particularly to the beef industry. Science, having mastered the production of synthetic fibres as substitutes for wool, cotton and silk, is now concentrating its attention on the efficient production of synthetic foods, particularly meat. At present, the No. 1 challenge for science in the highly industrialised countries is to find a method of producing an effective substitute for the high priced commodity of beef. The remarkable achievements of science which have provided tremendous benefits to various primary industries, including the beef industry, throughout the world could in the end be responsible for the death of some of these major industries. Honourable members may say that this statement is an exaggeration, but we can recall, and see from the evidence now available to us, what happened to the wool industry when synthetic fibres were produced. The paradox of benefits and costs of synthetic achievement is in fact seen with telling force in the way in which synthetic fibres have contributed to the eroding or even the smashing of the economic viability of wool.

Tremendous research has been carried out in post-war years in industrialised countries into polyesters in particular, nylons and acrylics. I believe that these advances are a living example of the threat posed by future synthetic production, particularly as it affects livestock products such as the dairy industry and the beef industry.

We know, the history in respect of synthetics as a substitute for butter. Already scientists in Japan, the United States and Western Europe quickly are mastering the production of synthetic meats through the texturising of the high protein soya bean through processes of thermo plastic extrusion and fibre spinning. Experimental evidence already shows that the simulated meat products, including substitutes for the higher priced cuts from, say, the hind quarters, have nutritive values at least equal to that of beef. We know that the protein value of the soya bean, whichever way one measures it, is higher than that of natural meat. When these products are mass produced it is obvious that the prices will be significantly lower than those for natural beef. In fact, the prices for artificial meats arc already lower than the prices of cuts of the lower priced meats.

In addition to the extraction of edible protein from, say, the soya bean I think we have to worry a great deal about the scientific breakthrough in the production of synthetic protein by bio-chemical means. The major raw material for synthetic protein produced by this method comes from the fuel industry, from the by-products of oil in particular, lt would seem that the breakthroughs in regard to fungal yeast for example, with respect to by-products of oils, are such that this product could supplement the edible proteins in this manufacturing process to produce a commodity which could be the basic raw material in the future for a substitute for natural meats.

Why is this happening? Many primary producers in Australia are asking this question. The greatest encouragement for the production of synthetic fibres and food is given by the periodic occurrence of high prices for primary products. We know that the extraordinarily high prices of wool in the early 1950s resulted in the major wool importing countries and wool using countries spending tremendous amounts of money in orientating programmes of research designed to produce a substitute for wool. Of course, this process was already taking place. However, the high price of wool in the early 1950s gave this tremendous impetus to scientists to produce an effective substitute. When we study the output and price of acrylics and polyesters we see the downward slope of the average cost curve with respect to these commodities.

As I have said before, I believe that beef prices will increase on world production and consumption trends. There are some people who might argue that beef prices now are too high. From a national point of view it is good to have beef prices at a high level. This stimulates employment and earns export income. On the other hand, this situation will lead to exactly what happened in the case of wool. It will add greatly to the encouragement of scientific research in places like Japan, the United States and Western Europe. In particular, this research will occur in places such as Japan which are faced with an almost perennial import bill represented by high prices for meat, particularly beef. High prices for meat will encourage their scientists to introduce a substitute for this high priced commodity.

Already there is ample evidence that large amounts of money have been directed towards synthetic meat processes in those highly industrialised countries. Therefore, although on the one hand we have the advantage of having high beef prices - and this promises an excellent future for beef - there is the danger that this position will promote among our customers, which are the higher industrialised countries, the impetus for accelerated research into the utilisation of edible synthetic protein in the manufacture of meats.

Up to the present most of the production of synthetic meats has been in what we would call the lower priced cuts - the forward quarters in particular. These meats are used in the manufacturing process of sausages, meat loaves, stews and so on. Evidence to date indicates that from a palatability point of view one cannot distinguish between synthetic or natural meats of this type. I have mentioned before that from a nutritional point of view synthetic meat is equal to or if not better than natural meat because the manufacturers can inject and regulate the various proteins they want. It does seem, however, that scientists have not yet mastered palatability in the higher priced cuts of beef that we are used to eating such as the rumps, T-bone steaks or the eye of fillets.

Palatability, of course, is one of the most important aspects of consumer choice. However, all evidence suggests that if scientists have been able to master marbling, selvage, colour and presentation of meat they will be able in the end to master palatability. Some housewives, for example, like a pink cut of meat while others like a blood red cut of meat; some like cream fat while some like white fat. Scientists have already mastered the art of producing these differences. However, as far as we know they have not yet mastered palatability of the higher priced cuts. They have mastered tenderness and some laboratories have been experimenting with artificial bone by using plastic and putting this product into the higher priced cuts. In other words, we can see a pattern developing in the highly industrialised countries for the manufacture of a substitute of which I believe we have to be extremely careful in Australia.

It is no good ridiculing the production of meat by synthetic means. I could give plenty of quotes as to what was said 20 years ago with respect to the wool industry. People said at that time that what we are seeing today would never happen. The thing is that science and technology is increasing at a phenomenal rate, particularly in the fields of plastics and biochemical research of by-products. As I mentioned before, research is being undertaken into the use of the by-products from the production of oils and fuels. I believe that a very serious problem will confront us in the future. I do not want to be accused of being a pessimist or a prophet of doom. I am not attempting to be that. I have always been one who has been the greatest optimist in regard to beef. I can show honourable members plenty of papers that 1 have written in the last 20 years on this matter. I have always believed that the beef industry would have the best future because really there is no effective substitute for this product in natural meat, except other types of meat such as lamb, mutton or fish. As standards of living increase people like to eat more beef.

I would now like to talk about the price of synthetic beef. It is obvious that when meat is mass produced by the very large industrial factories around the world the price will be significantly lower than the present price of natural beef. Will the history of synthetic fibres relative to natural fibres be repeated? The Australian cattle industry is caught in a dilemma. On the surface the prospects for beef are excellent but the threat of synthetics must be faced; it must be challenged. I am not one of those who believe that we should outlaw synthetics. This is a defeatist attitude. We have to challenge and defeat synthetics, if necessary, in other ways. But by outlawing them here we will not outlaw them on world export markets. AH we might do is preserve some of our home markets but we will get into the same problem we had with margarine and butter. We have to face this problem early and, if necessary, defeat it.

Some might ask: Why defeat it? It depends upon which way we look at this, I suppose. My colleagues on both sides of the House can argue logically and validly that we should be supporting the food that will provide the same nutritional value at the cheapest price, whether it is synthetic or not.

Mr Barnes:

– What about labour?


– What 1 was about to say is that already we have an established industry throughout Australia. Already the cattle industry occupies the greatest proportion of land used in Australia. Towns and work forces have been developed throughout Australia. We have meat works and so on. There is a tremendous infrastructure and this cannot be ignored. What does the cattle industry do? On the one hand it has this dilemma resulting from increased costs and it is no good asking the industry voluntarily to reduce its prices. After all, it is a world problem. There is a world demand and costs are going up at an alarming rate which means that the industry has to increase its prices to cover these increased costs.

The other point I want to make with respect to meat concerns the Northern Territory. I feel there is a serious injustice to the Northern Territory in the uniform policy relating to third quota or third grade manufacturing meat having to earn market or diversification ratios. The amount of beef which can be exported to the United States is dependent on an exporter’s ability to exploit other markets. In my opinion all third grade beef produced in the Northern Territory and the Kimberleys for export should be completely free to move to any world market in which it can be profitably sold. If the most profitable market for third grade beef is the United States the present inhibiting policy of earning ratios for markets other than America should not apply to these remote northern areas because of the special production and marketing problems involved. The Federal Government’s reluctance to use its constitutional power to allow third grade meat from the Northern Territory to move freely on world markets is an example of bureaucratic indifference to the important problems that are to a degree exclusive to this part of Australia.

One can understand the attitude of the Australian Meat Board because it is obviously dominated by members from eastern and southern States. Their job is to look after the interests they represent. One can understand, for example, beef producers in central Queensland and southern Australia saying there should be no concessions to the diversification scheme in favour of the Northern Territory. On the other hand the Commonwealth, which has complete jurisdiction over the Northern Territory, should step in here because the production problems in the Northern Territory are markedly different from those in the more favoured beef producing areas in the eastern and southern States. Involved here are factors such as climatic conditions, the harsh periods of seasonal or nutritional distress over September, October and November until the early storms break. This is a period when the nutritional level of pastures is greatly reduced and when cattle simply lose weight unless they have some supplementary feeding. In the main they lose weight and it is not until the grasses start to grow that their weight gain commences again. Other factors are the relatively high rate of mortality due to the large areas and the type of country involved, and the remoteness of the area as regards fattening properties. All these factors mean there must be a considerable quantity of third grade manufacturing beef produced in the Northern Territory and, consequently, the diversification policy applying to third grade meat from the Northern Territory should be abandoned. It should be abandoned on other grounds also because Australia cannot even produce enough third grade beef to meet the American quota. American cattlemen are not resentful of the importation of third grade meat into the United States.

I want to deal now with a third matter and it will take no more than 3 minutes. I am concerned with the importation of foreign meat into this country. I would like the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes), who is at the table, to convey my concern to the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) because cattle producers in the north are on my hammer almost every day regarding the stocking of foreign canned meats in northern grocery shops. I have brought into the House 2 such cans of beef, one from Argentina and the other from Paraguay. Here in Australia we. are trying to promote as much as possible an increase in the per capita consumption of beef in Australia due to a tremendous potential for beef production here and yet we are importing beef. I would concede that if we did not have sufficient quantities of beef perhaps we should import it. But I find it very strange that a country like Australia, one of the biggest beef exporting countries, cannot manage its own affairs sufficiently well to avoid having to import from Latin America beef in cans. The Minister for External Territories would appreciate the concern of cattle producers when this type of thing happens.

Because this matter has not been brought to my attention very much except over the last few months I assume that there is not a great quantity of imported beef involved but it is the future with which we must be concerned. If there is to be a continuation of the importation of foreign canned beef into Australia it is time the Parliament was informed a little more about it. I cannot see the logie in trying to promote the consumption of Australian beef in Australia, particularly in view of the problems we have, when at the same time we allow the importation of beef into Australia in canned form. That is all I have to say on that matter. I hope that the Minister will convey my remarks to the Minister for Primary Industry because I would like to know the answer to some of the queries I have raised. This matter is of concern to cattle producers who cannot understand this paradox. I cannot give them an explanation except the economic one that perhaps we do not have enough beef.

Sitting suspended from 12,49 to 2.15 p.m.


- Mr Speaker, today we are discussing the Livestock Slaughter Levy Bill. It is a machinery Bill which provides for the collection of the levy over the next 3 years, from 1st January 1972 to 31st December 1974. It is a unique Bill in many ways. The levy for which the Bill provides has been requested by those people who will pay the levy, that is, the Australian Meat Exporters Federal Council, the Meat and Allied Trades Federation and the Australian Meatworks Federal Council. It is most unusual that those who have to pay the levy should ask the Government to impose it. Of course, the Government makes a matching contribution. The funds are used by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation which has done a tremendous job in many fields of primary industry. Quality control is one of the main areas into which the CSIRO has delved. Of course, sanitation and hygiene are other areas.

We heard a speech from the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson). It is remarkable how in a short space of time we can get contradictory evidence supplied by the scientists. Last week Professor Ehrlich prophesied doom and the end of the world. Today we heard the honourable member for Dawson state what scientists can do with food. Of course, beef production is the most successful of the potentially viable primary industries at the present time. But as the honourable member for Dawson has stated, scientists might enter this field and prepare soya beans so that they imitate, in appearance at any rate, meat. Of course, great difficulty is being experienced in getting a taste which will attract the palate of those who have to consume the imitation meat. But I think that beef will hold its own for some time. There is a disposition towards believing that protein in meat is much more beneficial than protein in vegetables! I do not know whether that is correct. There is an opportunity to stall-feed beef cattle. I have done it myself, although. I know that on occasions the Department of Agriculture has appeared to be sceptical about store-feeding beef cattle for market. When we bought a cow for the dairy I thought that we would stall-feed it. She had been in poor condition after calving. But within 2 months after we began to stall-feed her she was quite fat and ready for marketing as a beef cow. I applied this knowledge to yearlings. I bought yearlings which weighed about 3 cwt, because they had been on poor country, for £3 per cwt. They cost me approximately £9 each. I found that after stall-feeding them for 2 months their weight increased to 5 cwt, and because of the improvement in the carcass they generally were sold for between £7 10s and £8 per cwt.

There are other avenues open. Perhaps more beef could be carried per acre by introducing supplementary feeding and not depending entirely on grazing. This is a good idea if one owns a property away from the market. One can bring cattle to a place near the market, leave them there and stall-feed them for a month. When they are sold they have not been knocked about in transit. I think that the industry would prosper if it adopted this practice. This is a very good Bill as far as it goes. Of course, last year we came up against difficulties associated with the export of cattle carcasses to Canada and America. They refused to take our beef. The CSIRO is doing an excellent job in this respect. This is a satisfactory Bill, and I commend it to the House.


– I rise to support this Bill. As has been already pointed out by previous speakers, the purpose of the Bill is to extend the livestock slaughter levy for a further 3 years. The levy was first introduced in January 1969. It is interesting to note that the levy rate will remain unaltered at lc per head on cattle and one-tenth of lc per head on sheep and lambs. The other point worth noting is that the levy will be imposed on the owner of the stock at the time of slaughter; it will not be a charge against the producer. I think it is quite important to note this fact. The proposal for this levy has been supported by the Australian Meat Exporters Federal Council, the Meat and Allied Trades Federation and the Australian Meatworks Federal Council. So it has found support from the meat trade. The service and investigation section of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has used the funds obtained from the levy, together with a matching Commonwealth contribution, to assist meatworks in many fields, including quality control, sanitation and hygiene.

As previous speakers have already pointed out, the meat industry, particularly the beef industry at the present time, is a very profitable industry. Despite what the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) said, the experts in the industry believe that it will be a long while before artificial meats are likely to take the place of the real thing. Meat is still the cheapest and best form of protein for human consumption, and many people in the world urgently need protein. But there is a very urgent need for constant and deep research. Australia produces some of the best meat in the world, but she produces a lot of meat which does not reach that standard. It is important that we should maintain and increase our standards as we produce more meat. There has been a marked increase in our exports of meat, particularly to the United States of America. That country demands that a particularly high standard of hygiene and sanitation should be maintained in our killing works and abattoirs throughout Australia. Of course, there is a growing demand to have quality beef airfreighted to many parts of the world.

This levy has made it possible for the service and investigation section of the CSIRO to assist in carrying out research in many fields. There has been research into the tenderness of beef, which is very important. The question of killing and the treatment of stock prior to killing has a great bearing of the quality of meat. The appearance of meat is tremendously important. Some housewives like meat to look one colour and others like it to look another colour. But meat must look attractive. This section of the CSIRO has carried out research in order to improve the appearance of meat. The taste of meat is extremely important, particularly to those people in the new markets we are developing in South East Asia and in other parts of the world. Much can be done to improve the taste of our meat so that it will suit the palates of Asian people. The CSIRO has assisted tremendously in such fields as research into the problem of infestation of mutton with dog tape worms. This is tremendously important. Infection of our mutton with tape worms has been a major reason for the rejection of our exports to the US. Money has been provided for research into tropical pastures and farm lands.

Research has been carried out in many areas into problems associated with cattle tick and breeds of cattle that are partially resistant to the tick and to heat. Internal parasites as well as external parasites represent another big problem in some areas. Brucellosis is a very real threat to the beef industry and again a lot of work has been done in research in this field. Fertility is becoming increasingly a problem particularly wilh the introduction of exotic breeds but fertility even in some of our old established breeds varies from strain to strain.

The economics of the meat industry make it extremely important for us to maintain fertility and to increase it. Perhaps one of the most important features in the southern part of Australia where the very best quality beef is produced is the incidence of bloat in cattle. Again a lot of work has been done on this. Some breeds of cattle are considered to be more resistant or not as susceptible to bloat as other breeds. I have had practical experience of this in rearing vealers. I have found that some dairy breeds seem to be much more resistant to bloat than some beef breeds. Eye cancer is another problem affecting one breed in particular which is very popular in Australia. I want to mention drought feeding. Economic drought feeding is something that is extremely important not only in the arid areas but also in the better rainfall areas because where an area is subject to recurring droughts, particularly if rainfalls are not very frequent, there is the problem of feeding a lot of cattle in a period when the carrying capacity is being raised to improve the pasture but there is insufficient pasture to feed the cattle.

Supplementary feeding for better production is another field in which finance for research has been provided. A lot of work has been done on lot feeding but as yet the market for lot fed cattle has not justified the cost involved except in some rare cases. We are not receiving the money that we should be receiving for our quality meat. There is tremendous opportunity for supplementary feeding, for running stock on pastures and feeding them with supplementary feed such as grain and hay (o finish them off. In this way stock which would otherwise have to be carried for another year would be ready for the butcher. The CSIRO is doing a tremendous job. Not only must we produce more beef if we are to keep many of our rural areas viable, but we must produce quality beef and disease free beef. It is essential for us to study the methods of transportation and packaging of beef and the overall economics of reducing production costs in getting the produce to the market.

The CSIRO has carried out a great deal of work in more recent years on sheep diseases, the promotion of sheep meat and the sale of this meat to countries with a need for protein foods but which cannot afford to buy beef as it is generally a high priced product. Many Asian people do not have a taste for mutton as they do for beef, pork or other meat. Much work remains to be done in this field to produce sheep meat which will suit the palates of these people. Sheep meat is generally cheaper than beef. We have to face up to the fact that the greater proportion of the world’s population eats either beef, pork or poultry. There is a limited number of nations whose people eat sheep meat. A lot of research needs to be done in this field. We should be lifting our lambing percentages. There may also be a need for research into the production of woolless sheep. There has been a suggestion that some of our western areas might be suitable for the production of woolless sheep. One grazier said to me: ‘Well, I have a large western lands lease and if I had woolless sheep I could look after about 50,000 on my own. I would not have to shear, crutch, mules or jet them. I would only want a hand to round them up to mark the lambs and to draft the fats off.’ This suggestion is not quite as silly as it may sound when we remember that there is a shortage of protein throughout the world. Perhaps there is a place for the production of woolless sheep in some of the more arid areas of Australia.

I believe meat has a really promising future in this country and it is probably one of the most promising industries in rural production. If we are to sell our meat and compete with synthetic products and extend our markets in competition with other nations we have to maintain a high standard of meat production and endeavour to increase this high standard in the quality of our meat. We have to get our meat, to the markets in good condition. The time is not far off when much of our meat will be air freighted to overseas markets. This is no pipe dream, lt has already been done from my own town of Cootamundra. Until quite recently Conkey’s meatworks was air freighting prime lamb to Canada. The lambs were killed in Cootamundra, the meat boned, packaged and transported to Mascot and placed on Qantas jets. Within 48 hours of being slaughtered this meat was on sale in Canadian shops in the winter time. The same abbatoir is still air freighting beef and mutton to the Middle East. There is a growing market in these areas.

The time is not too distant when large aeroplanes will be air freighting quality meat - not the cheap cuts - to many parts of the world. We hear a great deal about the problem of aircraft noise in our cities and the curfew on flying times. Our aeroplanes are becoming larger and they will become noisier. This is something about which honourable members on the other side have been complaining so bitterly. 1 want them to realise that the time is not far off - indeed some preliminary work has been done on this - when our aeroplanes will be equipped to carry passengers to Melbourne or Sydney and then to fly over the ranges into one of the more fertile areas such as the electorate of Hume, which produces almost everything including beef, fruit and vegetables, anc pick up goods which will be delivered overnight to Asia and other parts of the world. The time is not too far distant when we will be able to fly perishable foods of all kinds, including our choice quality meat, to many parts of the world. This will be fresh food, not frozen food. We are already flying food to places like New Caledonia. I think the flying time for perishable goods to Noumea in New Caledonia is 2 hours 40 minutes.

There is a bright future for our rural industry in terms of the production of meat provided we do our homework to develop markets and improve quality. We hear about people who go out into the urban areas and tell the people that everything is desperate, telling the farmers how badly off they are, but nobody has come up with any real worthwhile solution to the problems facing these people. There are plenty of these people about and we have them in this House. They are calamity howlers and prophets of doom who can tell us all the sad things but nothing about the future prospects. As Dr Callaghan said in Cootamundra quite recently, you can do what you like about birth control and you can do what you like about family planning but there will be many more millions of people in the world in the next 20 years and at our present rate of food production we will not be able to supply them with food. There is a very bright future for meat because of the lack of protein in the world. I support the Bill and I strongly commend the research section of the CSIRO on its very worthwhile work.


– I rise to support the extension of the levy for very good reasons associated with the support that the levy funds have given, particularly to the research carried out by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. I want to refer to some of the difficulties which are being experienced at the present time in relation to the continuation of vital research for many of our primary industries. Just before I refer to that I think it would be fair to place on record the fact that the beef industry and the meat industry generally at the present time has a hope for expansion which is unparallelled, and far from ever suggesting that there is any reason why the countryside should shut up shop and go out of business there is every reason to give it all the help to become as efficient as possible to enable it to bear the still major burden of earning the export income of this nation. This is the vital thing that must be kept in mind. We trade to live; we live to trade. When one looks at the figures for last year one finds that 51 per cent of our earnings originated from primary exports. There is no prospect of changing materially the emphasis there.

It has been said that Australia can rely on minerals. But the Government has indicated that there is no possibility of doing that for 14 years. That is in the Government’s assessment. The Opposition does not always agree with the Government, But from the Government’s assessment it would be 14 years before the mineral industry could take up the export position now occupied by primary industry. At the moment we face 14 years of poverty unless primary industry thrives. This should be kept well in mind. It is a factor that should dominate our thinking and our attitude to primary industries at the moment, not for themselves alone but for the contribution they make to the overall economy of the nation, because they are earning the money to buy the materials which keep the factories going and which keep the economy moving along.

It is of concern not only to the people living in the countryside but also to the people who live in other parts of the nation that these industries should continue to earn essential and vital export income. Let me say that very bluntly today, in applying myself to the Live-stock Slaughter Levy Bill. I was delighted to hear the Minister for Primary Industry (Mi Sinclair) say in his second reading speech:

The service and investigation section of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has used the funds obtained from the levy, together wilh a matching Commonwealth contribution, to assist meat works in many fields including quality control, sanitation and hygiene - all of which are assuming increasing importance in the meat trade.

This is true. We should be seizing in a better way the opportunities, particularly in our own region of the world, lor expanding the meat trade. I suppose that a considerable amount of our trade is conducted with Singapore. At the moment another nation in our own region has taken half of the market we could procure for ourselves there as a result of its better approach to trading. At present there is every reason in the world why we should maintain the intensity and level of research to ensure that the efficiency of these export industries is improved, while recognising the fact that they have already reached a level of efficiency which has enabled us to hold our markets.

On the farm there is, I suppose, a level of efficiency on a per man basis and a per acre basis second to none. That is a pretty good achievement. But once the stock or the crop leaves the farm gate it runs into some of the most archaic and inefficient marketing systems in the world. The efficiency of the individual producer has had to carry the great load of marketing and handling inefficiency. So there is an urgent need for reform at all levels. That does not mean that we can leave the level of farm efficiency where it is, high as it is. This is why there is support for measures such as this one.

Let me come back to my earlier comment in relation to the CSIRO and its research. At present there is widespread concern in the CSIRO about the future of much of its work, because much of the work in terms of the service to primary industry is based on levies such as this. Because the industries are under attack at the present time for various reasons - mostly reasons associated with lack of government action or government initiative - there is to be a cutback in the flow of funds.

So we have the paradox of an increasing need for efficiency, an increasing need to ensure the competitiveness of our individual farmers and producers and at the same time a reduction in the flow of money to the research essential to enable that efficiency to be maintained. We should recognise that research cannot be turned on and off like a tap. Very often it is not possible even in a single year to get the results one wants or to secure the basic information one needs on any one of the major problems that confront primary industry. Research is essentially a time consuming and, I am sorry to say, a money consuming activity. This has to be recognised. I am glad that the Government has decided to continue the levy for this research, but what I am concerned about in the overall picture of the CSIRO and the activities designed to service primary industry is that if the flow of funds from the primary sector is not adequate, will the Government permit the research to be interrupted, terminated or reduced significantly?

At present there is no doubt at all that in total terms the amount of time and effort put in by the CSIRO to tackling the problems of the primary sector will be less for the ensuing year. This is a matter which must concern us. I make a plea today that the level of research by the CSIRO, particularly to service the primary industries, be maintained and not reduced, even if that means finding some special funds for this purpose to bridge the gap. However, the proposal which is before us will provide from the levy - according to the Minister - finance to allow continuity of operations over a period in excess of 3 years. 1 welcome this. I would specifically ask the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes), who is at the table, either to ask the Minister for Primary Industry or to answer on his own behalf whether the service and investigation section of the CSIRO will not, in that triennium, find its activities reduced. lt is all right to say: ‘Yes, we will continue. We will do all the things that we have said in the past should be carried out’. That is a very nice, easy statement to make. I think honourable members should be reassured that there will be no reduction either in personnel or volume of work at this time. I repeat that a very great case has been made out, which is before the Government at the moment, to maintain and indeed increase the research activities to ensure the competitiveness of the industries that are earning more than half of all the export income of the nation. I would agree with the point of view that has been expressed, that we are faced with a period of protein boom particularly in our own region of the world in South-East Asia. Today more people than ever before in the history of the world are eating meat. In our own region more people are getting very much more protein than ever before. People are having meat once a week where previously they had it once a year. It may not be that the total population is sharing equally in this boom, but there are significant numbers of people, in each and every case amounting to several times the population of Australia, who have seen significant and measurable increases in their living standards in the last few years, particularly in the last 3 or 4 years.

So one can see the opportunities that exist for us in Australia to service these needs in our own region of the world. The measure before the House will help us to do that for our benefit and for the benefit of the people of our region. In our own region there has to be mutual reciprocity. I hope that the levy will help to maintain the level of research activity. Let me put forward again these 2 points: Firstly, will the measure ensure absolutely that there will be no reduction in the investigation, services and personnel provided by the CSIRO? Secondly, will the opportunity be taken to look at the whole range of primary research to ensure that it will not be reduced and that the current trend of its reduction will be ended? 1 submit that the current concern among the officers in the divisions of the CSIRO should be obviated. I support the measure and I hope that it will do what the Minister claimed for it in his second reading speech.


– I find that it is appreciated by people who read Hansard and also those who listen to the broadcast of proceedings in this Parliament if an honourable member who thinks the subject has not been explained sufficiently, reads at the beginning of his speech small portions of the Minister’s second reading speech so that the people generally will know what the debate is all about. There are many people living in cities who do not have much idea of what goes on in the beef industry in the country. This is to be understood. I want to read from the second reading speech of the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) these few words:

The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Livestock Slaughter Levy Act 1964-1968 to provide for the extension, for a further period of 3 years, from 1st January 1972 to 31st December 1974, of the special levy on livestock slaughterings imposed initially in January 1969 to provide finance for the operations of the meat industry service and investigation section of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

The next section of his speech is important. He states:

The rates of the levy are to remain unaltered at lc per head on cattle (over 200 lb dressed weight) and one-tenth of a cent per head on sheep and lambs.

This point is very important:

The levy is payable by the owner of the livestock at the time of slaughter and in contrast to the levy used to finance the operations of the Australian Meat Board and the Australian Meat Research Committee may not be passed back to producers.

This levy which is now being extended for a further period was first introduced for a period of 3 years in January 1969. At that time there was debate about who would pay the levy. Of course, it is the owner of the stock at the time of slaughter who pays the levy. If a beef exporter goes to the saleyards at, say, Newmarket, Cannon Hill or Homebush in Sydney and buys fat stock, the amounts charged by the auctioneering firms usually are deducted from the amount paid to the man who has sold the stock and sometimes this levy is included.

In the application of this levy some things have had to be straightened out. For those who are not used to stock yards I point out that there are different sections for fat sheep, fat lambs, store sheep and store cattle. It is possible that someone seeing fat sheep in a pen may realise that they are a very good breed, and although the sheep are fat and fit for slaughter the person may buy them to take back to his farm for breeding purposes. On a lot of occasions I have seen fat stock bought which have never gone to the abattoirs but which have gone back onto a farm for breeding purposes. Therefore we have to be very careful that the amount of levy is not deducted from this man’s account sales for the simple reason that the stock never get to the abattoirs.

I refer to one matter so that others may realise the facts fully. As stated in the Minister’s second reading speech, the levy is to be imposed in respect of cattle of over 200 lb dressed weight. That is the point I want to emphasise. This means really that only calves are not included. Cattle under 200 lb weight are not very large; as a matter of fact, they are not as big as some sheep. It is on record that at Casterton in Victoria, a well known stock centre, a suffolk cross wether that was slaughtered by a Mr Murrell, a butcher who was in business there some few years ago, had a dressed weight of 208 lb. Therefore cattle which are not subject to this levy - they mast be over 200 lb to attract the levy - are not very big. This sheep that was butchered by Mr Murrell was really a pet. It used to lead the other sheep to slaughter, and it would walk out through a certain gate. But one day the gate was dropped before the suffolk cross wether went through and it was slaughtered. It weighed 208 lb. . I have photographs of it which I can bring here to show honourable members to substantiate what 1 say. Furthermore, the authenticity of the weight is vouched for by 6 or 7 people in Casterton, a Western District town, who saw the carcass weighed.

This Bill applies both to sheep and cattle, not just to beef cattle. Honourable members who have spoken so far have been talking about beef cattle only. As a rule the Victorian Railways cattle trucks hold 8 bullocks weighing from 750 lb to 800 lb. When talking about cattle some people express their weight as, say, 8 cwt but it should be 800 lb. If the cattle weigh, say, from 600 lb to 700 lb or a little less, 10 can be put in a truck. The point I am making is that at the present time in the markets of Victoria and other parts of Australia one bullock will bring more money than a whole truck load would have brought just before the Second World War. So cattle producers have kept well up with price rises and the cattle industry is in a particularly good state just now.

One of the great demands is for baby beef. Baby beef cattle may be 400 lb or 500 lb, depending on bow quickly they are fattened and put on the market. But generally speaking they are about 300 lb dressed weight. The cattle producer has to decide when to put his stock on the market. He must put them on the market when they are flush with condition. If he keeps them a little too long they go into the older cattle variety and he does not get the high price. If he puts them on the market too soon he does not get the advantage of the weight they would have gained if he had held them. All these are problems that face the cattle man who sells his stock in the markets of Australia. There are many more cattle about at the present time and certainly the beef industry is expanding. It is expanding for one reason, and that is that wool is not selling well and sheep and lambs are bringing prices that are hardly reasonable. Therefore cattle are the best stock to market if one can run them. As has been said on so many occasions, a person cannot breed cattle and fatten them overnight. If you are changing over from sheep or some other stock to cattle it takes a long time to get the cattle on the market after breeding them. Of course, pigs come under separate but similar legislation. They are in demand now and are increasing very much in numbers throughout Victoria in the places with which I am acquainted.

The honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) produced 2 tins of meat. He said that one was from Paraguay. He asked why we should import this tinned meat into a beef producing country. This is a fair question. He said also that American cattle men do not object to third grade beef being imported into the United States of America. But they have been against imports of Australian best beef and have been lobbying in the Parliament to stop the importation of Australian beef. But according to what the honourable member for Dawson said they do not mind third class meat coming into the country. The tin of meat from Paraguay which he showed us reveals that third class meat is certainly coming into this, country. What we want to get into America is first class meat, because having sampled first class meat from Australia the American people will want more of it. I think if one sampled some of this Paraguayan tinned meat one would not want to buy it a second time, so I do not think they are gaining anything by sending it here. We have to remember that we are trying to get most of our beef into the American market all the time. Can we close our doors completely? We can put the tariffs up as high as possible and I am in favour of this, but can we completely exclude imports? No nation can ever hope always to sell and never to buy. I believe the tariffs should be made very high on any imported beef, high enough to make it impossible for it to compete against our beef. I believe that this must be done and is being done. I have seen some of these tins of Paraguayan meat before - someone drew my attention to it - and I believe it is being brought in as an experiment. But we are trying all the time to get our meat into the United States. I know that the right honourable Sir John McEwen, when he was a Minister here, negotiated a free mar ket between Australia and New Zealand. Someone asked whether we should stop the importation of New Zealand lamb and he said: ‘What sort of a case would I have when I go to America and want to sell Australian beef to the United States if I stopped our sister Australasian nation, New Zealand, sending lamb to Australia?’ He proved fairly conclusively that the lamb coming in was of such a minute quantity that it did not make much difference to the market. The market for fat lambs has been extremely irregular. It is not very nice for someone to go along and sell his sucker lamb-

Mr Cope:

– Do not look at me when you say that.


– I did not refer to you. When a producer sells his sucker lamb at perhaps $4.50 and then shortly afterwards sees the market price go up to $3 for sucker lamb of the same quality and condition he is greatly disappointed. So what we have to strive for is a more even market for fat lambs in this country because I believe fat lamb production has not kept up with rising costs nearly as well as beef production has. That is why more and more producers are turning to beef. Of course, we can produce some of the best fat lamb in the world but the export market is not good. Once upon a time buyers for exporters such as Sims Cooper, John Cook and Company or Borthwicks would go round and buy thousands and thousands of lambs for export. But the export market has not been good lately and therefore lamb producers have been in and out of success in the market. They have had some good sales and some devastating sales which have sapped their enthusiasm for the breeding and fattening of lambs. I have already asked the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) whether he realises that the difference between the price being paid in the market for fat lambs and the price being charged by butchers can possibly be explained when the price being charged by the butcher is so much more than what the producers are getting for it on the hoof. This has been illustrated in the town where I live. The butcher there has a good business and is a good man in the trade. He used to open on Saturday mornings but he stopped this practice simply because, as be put it: *I would not take as much money on Saturday morning as I would have to pay my staff: and certainly I would not make profit because of the new pay and conditions gained by the unions for the assistant butchers in my shop.’ Honourable members must recall that most of the rise in price of lamb between the time it leaves the primary producer and the time it is sold over the counter to the customer can be attributed to the high wages paid to slaughtermen and those employed in butchers’ shops and other rising costs.

Mr Foster:

– The cockies are happy to do it. They are not complaining.


– There is the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) speaking about the cockies. Even a man from the city ought to know better than that. The honourable member comes from Sturt. lt is a metropolitan seat in Adelaide. Whenever one speaks of what the primary producer is up against the honourable member generally tries to ridicule the arguments one puts up and calls the primary producers cockies. I object to this and wish he would keep quiet and go back to the pavements where he belongs. We have just heard a speech from the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby). He made one or two very good points. He supported this Bill. I am glad he did and 1 think he and other honourable members would congratulate the Government for bringing in this Act some years ago. It is now being extended. Apparently this Act was not thought of previously as being necessary. The honourable member asked a question that I can answer by referring to the second reading speech of the Minister. The honourable member asked: ‘Will there be enough money to keep this research going for the period set out?’ The Minister said:

Funds from the levy should, on current estimates, provide finance to allow a continuity of operations over a period in excess of 3 years.

From all the investigations we have made the answer is that there will be sufficient money. The honourable member said that efficiency is increasingly necessary. I think some people may get the wrong idea from the way he put it. The point is that efficiency is always necessary. If there is no efficiency in an industry that industry must therefore be inefficient. For the benefit of the honourable member and his constituents, what he was saying was that we must not condone inefficiency. I would not stand for inefficiency. Quite candidly, a man who is inefficient in the breeding and fattening of stock should not be in the game at all. We must not allow inefficiency in any way in an industry and we should always strive to make industries efficient. Efficiency is the main factor in any industry. Let that word stand out.

I took a few notes while other honourable members were speaking and I just want to go through them. I believe that the research done so far has been excellent. Of course, certain research was being conducted long before this Act was first introduced. Most people regard a fluke as something unusual. People say: ‘So and so fluked something.’ In terms of sheep raising the fluke is a parasitic worm that has killed millions of sheep and has perhaps kept many more than that number from being fattened because the fluke attacks the liver. The point I want to make is one I have made in the past in referring to the preservation of ibis rookeries. The ibis is a bird that travels all over the countryside, it knows no boundaries, and flies back to the rookery at night. It consumes a tremendous amount of these fluke worms and other parasites.

It has been said that people arc eating more meat than ever before. The honourable member for Riverina said this. I think what he meant to say was - of course, he did say this and I am not trying to make a point of it - that more beef is being consumed now than ever before. But, as he also said, this only applies to certain parts of the world, because beef is so dear that only people in a pretty good financial position can buy it. After all, we hear talk about starvation in Pakistan but I have not heard anybody say that we should send over 2 or 3 shipments of prime beef. So far as we are concerned beef today is for the ones who can pay for it. After all, it is a scarce commodity in certain parts of the world.

Finally, 1 want to refer to a recent newspaper report that people want more tender meat. If a person goes into a cafe or restaurant and orders a steak he frequently finds it so tough that he cannot eat it, although he has to pay for it. He will not be very happy and will hesitate to order it again. Possibly some process may be introduced to make meat tender, which will make it more acceptable to the consumer. In this way, more meat will be sold and the cattle men and the nation will benefit.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Third Reading

Leave granted for the third reading to be moved forthwith.

Bill (on motion by Mr Barnes) read a third time.

page 1762


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 24th August (vide page 590), on motion by Mr Anthony:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Melbourne Ports

– The Opposition supports this Bill which will enable that admirable institution, the Export Payments Insurance Corporation, to extend the nature of its activities. As the Minister said, a new export financing facility, to be known as buyers credit, is to be introduced. The Bill also authorises the Corporation to enter into reinsurance arrangements with its counterpart organisations in other countries where this would be useful for Australian exports. Australia increasingly is selling its capital goods overseas rather than relying, as in the past, on primary products and, more latterly, on minerals in various stages of process.

However, one of the difficulties confronting us is that the countries to which we wish to sell our capital goods are mainly developing countries and often the client is not in a position to pay quickly. He needs to have recourse to a credit transaction and, in the past, EPIC has helped in some of these transactions. However, certain difficulties exist which this Bill proposes to remedy. The Minister explained that, at present, Australian exports of capital goods sold on credit are financed under the suppliers credit system. It is proposed to change the transaction into what is called a buyers credit system. It has been explained that, in essence, this means that the seller of the product in

Australia is able to be paid in advance.. The credit side of the transaction is then assumed by an Australian finance organisation - principally, the trading banks - and the client at the other end pays by instalments, and EPIC guarantees the bank or the finance institution against any default in payment. This is a healthy kind of improvement on the previous arrangement.

A brochure has been produced by a similar organisation overseas, known as the Exports Credits Guarantee Department of the United Kingdom. This brochure explains that a system such as the one which is now proposed in this Bill has been in force in the United Kingdom since 1961 and has been most successful in its operation. I draw attention to some statistics that appear in this British publication. They show that about one-third of the United Kingdom’s export trade is actually carried on under guarantees of one kind or another which are given by ECGD. Whilst our undertaking in Australia - the Exports Payments Insurance Corporation - has certainly expanded substantially in recent years, it is still a long way from reaching the stage where it assists something like one-third of our export trade. Australia’s export trade is in the region of $4,000m; one-third of which is about$1,300m. According to the latest annual report of EPIC the face value of policies current at 30th June 1971 was $511m, which is still far short of one-third of our export trade.

I suppose one could observe that there certainly are differences between the export trade of a country such as Australia and that of the United Kingdom. The various export insurance authorities that operate under what is known as the Berne Convention have set their faces - I think, sensibly enough - against financing these sorts of insurance transactions unless payment is likely to extend over a longer period of time than is normal. Unless there is some special reason why this should be done, it certainly is silly to finance sales of consumer goods over the long term. The goods are consumed and, if the payment is to be made over several years, it is not a very satisfactory way of transacting business. By comparison with the United Kingdom, a far higher proportion of Australia’s exports is still of the consumer goods type, namely, goods that are likely to be used in the same year or within a short period of purchase.

Nevertheless, these changes are taking place in Australia’s trading patterns and at least EPIC has been useful in helping to bridge some of the difficulties which are caused when an overseas client is not in a position to pay for the transaction immediately. I believe that increasingly in the future this is the sort of trade that we must undertake. The various manufacturing industries have pointed out that, over the last several years, there has been an increase in the volume of manufactured goods exported. I think it is still true that a preponderance of these exports go to New Zealand in particular and, to some extent, to the Territory of Papua New Guinea, but Australia is still finding it difficult to secure sales on a scale which is relative to the potential that exists in places such as Indonesia and South East Asia. At least the facility which is proposed in this Bill will enable sales of capital goods, in particular, to those areas.

The Minister, in the course of explaining in detail the kind of transaction that would be eligible for this assistance, suggested, firstly, that the loan will be made only if the ultimate transaction is of a magnitude of $200,000. There will be certain exceptions. If it can be shown, when the sum is less than that amount, that there is some good reason why the person wanting to buy a product cannot pay, sufficient flexibility exists to allow insurance to be effected and that kind of transaction to be financed. Broadly, however, the transaction must be of a magnitude of $200,000. It is expected that in every case there should be a down payment of at least $20,000. This is a precautionary measure. If credit is too easily available, people sometimes become a little reckless in chasing it and may as a result default in repayment. It is interesting to note that the most recent report of EPIC, the fifteenth annual report and financial statements for the year ended 30th June 1971, tabled only a few days ago, indicated that there was quite a high figure this year for claims that had to be paid. It was a sum of $939,084, although fortunately most of it was subsequently recovered. The 2 places where the transactions took place involving that amount were South Korea and Turkey. The report explains clearly enough that in the case of the transaction in Turkey the claim arose largely as a result of a currency devaluation which took place. 1 do not know what the mechanisms for recovery in these circumstances. I do not know whether we use the facilities of the Australian Department of Trade and Industry in these areas or whether the seller of the goods has to do the chasing of the money himself. Fortunately, most of the money that was at risk subsequently was recovered. Nevertheless, this points to the need for caution in these sorts of transactions. The report also points to the fact that there have been quite a number of changes in the type of business handled by EPIC. I refer particularly to page 4 of the report where it states:

The success achieved by Australian capital and semi-capital goods manufacturers in gaining overseas contacts was notable, especially in view of disappointing results in earlier years. The Corporation supported 179 tenders for $129m.

On the average, that would represent approximately $700,000 in each case. The report continues:

Successful contracts resulted in the issue of 85 policies worth some $44m, spread over 25 countries. The extension of the Corporation’s charter to insure business with the Australian External Territories gave our exporters the opportunity to tender for a wide range of equipment to the Bougainville project and secure contracts worth more than $26m. To win these orders against overseas suppliers, matching credit terms of up to 10 years were supported.

The inference is clear enough: The magnitude of the contracts is quite large and is increasing because the types of clients with whom we deal are seeking longer terms of payment, up to about 10 years. In the past, EPIC had been reluctant to extend its terms of credit for much more than 5 years. It is obvious that account has been taken of longer terms, and there is a new depth, as it were, to the kinds of transactions that can be encompassed. The Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) in his second reading speech referred to projects on quite a substantial scale that might be undertaken. He describes what is referred to as a turnkey project. The Minister said:

Capital goods transactions encompass, of course, a wide range of possible arrangements between an Australian exporter and an overseas buyer. At one end of the spectrum there is the contract involving merely the supply, of a single piece of capital equipment. At the other end, there is the contract for a turnkey project, that is, the supply, erection and commissioning of a complete production plant. In view of this a definition of capital goods has not been specified in the Bill.

It might include a whole vast procedure of carrying out work in another country of the magnitude of the Snowy Mountains scheme in this country, or the building of a domestic water project where labour and earth moving equipment, as well as capital goods, might be involved. We need to take a kind of venturesome approach if we in Australia are to diversify our trade and at the same time help in development of other parts of the world. If the people of those countries are to attain higher standards of living it is necessary for them to develop new infrastructure and new industries. Australia is in a special position to help them.

If we look forward, as we should, from, the period of the 1970s to a period between 1980 to 1985, it is likely enough that substantial changes will have occurred in our internal economy and our external trade, which is based upon our internal economy. I think one of the disappointments in Australia in recent years has been the failure to see far enough ahead to grasp the significance of technical and other changes and to realise the possibility that we have to assist the development of the under-developed parts of the world. In the course of his speech, the Minister referred to the need to increase trade in such places as the Pacific islands as well as South East Asia. Some of these Pacific islands will have difficulty in finding employment for their surplus populations. Many of these islands are more like separate nations than merely neighbouring islands. I instance such places as Fiji, the New Hebrides and Tonga, all of which regard themselves as separate nations and therefore experience considerable difficulty if their population increases in relation to the resources which are available. Already, some islands such as Tonga are facing the prospect of serious over-population if their, economies continue in the same kind of subsistence form in which they have developed over recent years. At least Australia is in a position to allow them to develop some basic industries and to provide the equipment. With the economies of such nations being so small they are not in a position to pay for the foods except over a long period of time. Many of the works undertaken do not become productive for quite a number of years. Therefore, one cannot expect the Australian entrepreneur to have to wait 10 or 12 years to receive payment. That limits his ability to carry out other works with his own resources. This seems to me to be the great virtue of this scheme that is before us. It allows the Australian provider of these facilities to be paid off in order to enable him to provide the same sort of services in other countries or to diversify his activity, to manufacture something else he has both the materials and the manpower to encompass. Whether the foreign country finally makes the payment, becomes a risk accepted by a local financial institution backed by the resources of EPIC.

Again, I would like to pay tribute to EPIC for the successful nature of its undertakings. It has been in operation now for approximately 15 years. It was established in about 1956. 1 have always applauded its establishment because it is a socialist undertaking, a State owned enterprise stepping in to assume those sorts of risks that private enterprise is sometimes very reluctant to take. Its operations have been highly successful. EPIC aims over a period of years to cover its costs. It is not a profit-making undertaking, except in the sense that it aims to cover all costs associated with its transactions. But it does not aim to pay dividends to shareholders or tax to the Australian Government. It is there to promote Australia’s export trade. It has been most successful in doing so, as the annual reports indicate.

I notice that even last year the Corporation was quite successful as far as wool sales were concerned. One need not speculate upon the difficulties facing that industry at the moment but at least EPIC was able last year to finance transactions of about $50m. The total value of wool policies remained fairly static throughout the year despite the depressed conditions of the industry. There was, however, a shift in the composition of policies with greasy wools share of the total falling by $ 16.7m to $63.4m while the value of processed wool policies rose by $13. 3m to $49. lm. In other words, this facility is enabling Australia to do what many people suggest it should have been doing for a good number of years not just relying on exports of greasy wool but selling more processed wool.

Mr Grassby:

– But not under this Bill. Buyers credit will not apply in that case.


– All I am saying is that EPIC has been successful in the past. How the new function of the Corporation outlined in the Bill develops has yet to be seen. But at least the effect of EPIC has been to allow processing to be done in Australia. It has also been able, by arranging terms of something like 180 days, to sell this product in a market that formerly was not within our reach. I know that my colleague the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) wants to say something about this buyers’ facility. All I suggest is that we will watch with interest how this function works out. I refer to the fact that it has been highly successful in respect of the United Kingdom. I draw attention to the fact that in that country it has been extended not only to cover what might be described as the physical side of things but also to encourage financial transactions between developed countries, such as the United Kingdom, and underdeveloped areas in South East Asia or wherever they may be. I commend that policy to the Government. I suggest that the Government should have a look at it.

I refer again to the fact that the business of buyers’ policy has been operative in the United Kingdom since 1961. We are adopting it in 1971. Perhaps it is a bit belated; nevertheless we have begun this function. I hope that the Corporation will look a little further and see whether the finance type of transaction of a longer term might also be considered. I commend the Bill to the House and I hope that in another 12 months time we will be able to observe from the annual report of EPIC that this new function has been responsible for encouraging even more Australian export trade in the capital goods industries which are so significant to our future economic development.


– Encouragement of manufactured exports is vital to our future. We must find new initiatives to encourage a further rapid growth of manufactured exports. We are sometimes inclined to console ourselves with the thought that although rural export income now has little growth potential, by great good fortune our mining exports have high growth potential. We often seem to forget that if our export income is to reach something like $6,000m by the mid 1970’s, a figure put forward by the Export Development Council as necessary for the continuance of our rate of economic and population growth if we are to reach that figure, we will require a great increase in manufactured exports. In fact, if we make an assessment of our prospects of reaching that export figure, we will find that manufactured exports, which are now earning around 20 per cent of all export income, must by the mid 1970’s be earning onethird of our export income. Such an increase is not going to happen by chance. It will happen only if firm and consistent policies are pursued by both Government and industry.

The Export Payment Insurance Corporation has done much to assist our manufactured exports. Last year the Corporation underwrote a higher volume of business for capital goods than the total of such business over the previous 2 years. The Corporation also covers claims and buyer and political losses. All this is valuable, but it is not enough. As the Exports Payments Insurance Corporation puts it in its annual report:

In no other area of international trade is the competition keener than for capital goods contracts. Here, the advanced nations vie for business with a whole range of sophisticated techniques and inducements. Buyers are courted with long term loans at favourable rates of interest and sometimes a grace period of several years before repayments commence.

It is well known that some countries have for many years directly underwritten export contracts for credit sales of capital equipment and other sales of a major nature. It is a commonplace for Governments to arrange for funds to be available on terms which will enable credit conditions to be more attractive than those available from competing countries.

Examples of incentives used in other countries can be seen in, for example, the Government’s Export-Import Bank in Japan, providing short term export credits at 2 to 3 per cent below normal rates, and long term credits of up to 10 years also below normal rates. In the United States of America there is the Export-Income Bank, a government instrumentality, which

The Bill also broadens the existing insurance and guarantees provisions of the Act by giving the Corporation the authority to enter into re-insurance arrangements with its counterpart organisations in other countries, where this would facilitate Australian exports. This is good, but it may not be enough. We must not only make improvements in our export schemes, but we must maintain - and if possible improve - our relative position with our competitors. It is unfortunate that at this time there is some uncertainty about the future of export incentives because of the transfer of payroll tax to the States. True, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) has announced that the payroll tax export incentive will continue to be operated by the Commonwealth in a way that will enable exporters to continue to obtain its benefits in the same way as in the past, with the Commonwealth making direct payments, until 30th June 1973. The Government has also promised to carry out a review of the arrangements by 1973, and presumably after that date some new incentive arrangement will apply.

This does introduce uncertainty, and it is an uncertainty that will grow as the months go by and no announcement is made about the post 1973 arrangements. Meering our need for a dramatic increase in manufactured exports is not helped by this situation. We must expedite our review, and it must be open-minded, seeking the best incentives that will meet our need. Should we not be considering the lead taken by some other countries? Admittedly our scope for doing some of the things some of them do is limited because we do not have import licensing, which lends itself to export bonus licensing, and we do not have scope for currency retention schemes or multiple exchange incentives. Our scope for new incentives seems to be largely in the area

For example, Western European countries which have adopted a value added tax as a principal means of raising revenue have great scope for export incentive by exempting exports from that tax, not only so far as the finished products are concerned, but also for plant and equipment, materials and services used in their production. I do not necessarily advocate the adoption of a value added tax. I simply point out that Australia with direct income and company tax as chief revenue sources, has much more difficulty than those countries in putting exporters in the best competitive position, so much so that our payroll tax incentive scheme seems a relatively niggardly effort. Even New Zealand has an export incentive scheme which eases the income tax on exporters.

I can understand our Treasury having the horrors at the thought of an export growth concession eating into income and company tax, and for that reason it has fought strongly and successfully over the years to limit the incentive to payroll tax rebates, which have many anomalies and a limited ceiling. Export trade is highly competitive, and if our manufactured exports are to grow as they must, we will have to be constantly vigilant to see that they are not operating at a disadvantage compared with their competitors. This I am sure the Minister for Trade and Industry will do. But export incentives and assistance are not enough. As an exporting country, we must produce the right products at competitive prices. The current wage inflation is a serious threat to the success of our exports. Fortunately, perhaps, our competitors are also suffering from inflation, but this may not last. The measures taken by the Government to restrain inflation are vital to our export trade.

But wage costs are not the only aspect that we must keep under constant scrutiny. Investment in plant and equipment is a vital component of a successful export drive. I have spoken to this House before about the importance of restoring the 20 per cent tax allowance for investment in plant and equipment. Such investment is financed principally from profits, and profits of companies as a proportion of net national product have fallen sharply in recent years from 12.2 per cent in 1969-70 to 10.8 per cent in 1970-71. This is a disturbing fall, and its significance is reinforced by a survey of a sample of Australian companies taken by P.A. Management Consultants, which showed that the median return on shareholders’ funds fell from 9.3 per cent in 1966 to S.9 per cent in 1969 and 8.3 per cent in 1970. At the time the investment allowance was removed as an anti-inflation step, all the economic indicators were pointing upwards, except for investment in plant and equipment which was pointing downwards, and has continued to point downwards, to the detriment of our long term industrial future. lt is worth noting what other countries do about comparable allowances. In Britain, for instance, 80 per cent of investment in plant and equipment is tax deductible in the first year, and this rises to 100 per cent in special development areas. Ireland runs one of the most lavish investment incentive schemes in the world. Capital grants defray well over two-fifths of the total capital costs on new plants in special areas, and a third of total capital costs in the country as a whole, and there is a 15- year tax holiday on profits made from exports. As a result in 10 years Ireland has, not surprisingly, multiplied its industrial exports 5 times. These two examples show how 2 export-oriented countries tackle this problem. I believe we must become similarly export oriented. And if we do re-introduce an investment allowance, as I believe we should, I hope it will bc given a continuity of at least 4 years, for this is the sort of time scale for major investment in plant and equipment.

Another problem we must be concerned with is technological innovation. As a proportion of gross national product Japan spends 6 times as much on research and development as we do, Britain 10 times as much and America 15 times as much. Because of our inadequate research and development, licence and royalty fees are growing every year. If we rely on skill and knowledge acquired by licences and royalties we will inevitably lag behind our competitors in design and manufacturing techniques. Moreover, with licence and royalty agreements there are frequently franchise restrictions which deny us the right to sell overseas in competition with the company which made the original design.

For these reasons I regret the cutback from 50 per cent to 35 per cent in the general grants provided by the Industrial Research and Development Grants Act. I understand that in absolute terms the cutback was from $17m per annum to $13m per annum. Since this Act was intended as a stimulus, a cutback is unwise. Businessmen will go along with a statement that because of budget difficulties the Government could not allow the sum to grow, but they are likely to be discouraged by a cutback. The general grants are directed at medium sized to smaller companies and they are hit by the cutback from 50 per cent to 35 per cent. This is a great pity because the figures quoted in the third annual report of the Grants Board show how strongly such companies responded to the stimulus, particularly those which had not done this work before.

The grant is not a handout: it is a stimulus to companies to spend more of their gross profit in this important work and it is an axiom that an incentive does not yield adequate results unless it is good enough. Since the grant is taxable, the 35 per cent represents only about 18 per cent contribution to the cost of increased work and most observers agree that this is not much of an incentive for increased expenditure. Basically the Industrial Research and Development Grants Act is a good, practical one, suitable for Australian conditions, and I am sure we should be gratified by its success, as demonstrated by the growth outlined in the Board’s annual reports.

There was to be a review of the present Act in 1970-71 to determine the form of a new Act which would replace it in June 1972. I hope the new Act will avoid some of the anomalies in the present Act. The most important of these are, firstly, in calculating work expenditure in the base year the cost of part-time employees must be included but the cost of such employees is excluded in the grant year. Both years should be constant in calculating work expenditure. Secondly, when a company contracts out industrial research and development it is charged with all the normal expenses which a contractor would seek to recover, namely, the cost of wages, salaries, materials consumed and all other overheads, plus a profit, and this is allowable for grant purposes. Yet when the work is done within the company considerable limitations are placed on the expenses that can be taken into account. It would be equitable to allow the same kind of expenses in both instances, particularly since in-company industrial research and development is more likely to lift the total technical tone of the company. Thirdly, as the Act now stands a grant is not made for plant expenditure which exceeds work expenditure. In an age which is committed to finding ways of minimising the use of labour this is a curious provision, particularly where expensive labour is involved.

The Industrial Research and Development Grants Act is very technical legislation, and I urge the Minister to publish the proposed new Act as a White Paper for informed public discussion, before having introduced into the House. I am strongly in favour of what is being done in the present Bill. I have drawn the attention to the House to some complementary action which I believe should be seriously considered, not only to encourage exports, but also to restore flagging business confidence.


– 1 entirely endorse the principles in the Bill now before the House but I am at a loss to understand the fragmented and restricted nature of the legislation. 1 was interested to hear the remarks of the honourable member for Isaacs (Mr Hamer). I do not think he meant to do it but to my way of thinking he pinpointed the essential weaknesses in the legislation: He said it was legislation designed to help the export of manufactured goods. He indicated that at the present time manufactured goods account for some 20 per cent of our exports. The point that occurs to me immediately is that the primary sector accounts for SI per cent of exports, but they are not in fact covered by these provisions for buyer credit.

The honourable member for Isaacs said that in the mid-1970s $6,000m should be the level of our exports if we are to maintain our living standards and momentum in the economy, and he said that we would have to achieve this by relying on manufactured exports. I wish him luck on that, but 1 very much doubt it. We know very well that the mineral situation, which is certainly 100 per cent foreign controlled, is not the answer to export problems in the immediate future and in this century. We know that there are great difficulties facing manufactured goods in competitiveness with the rest of the world. It is my assessment that we will be relying on primary industries from now to the end of the century for the bulk of our export income. As I say, let us by all means make the effort in both the primary and secondary spheres, but this is precisely the point at issue at the moment, as far as 1 am concerned. Here we have a piece of legislation which deals with only 20 per cent of our exports and ignores 5 1 per cent of our exports.

The honourable member for Isaacs also make some other very interesting comments. In fact, he made a stricture on the Australian economy when he said that incentives to develop in the United States of America, Japan and even Ireland are much better than the incentives given to our industry. I hope I have not misquoted him. He is quite right. In fact, the effort and incentives that are provided and the facilities that are made available in the tiny Irish nation have in fact resulted in a performance twice that of ours in economic terms in recent years. Surely this is a challenge to all of us in Australia, when we find that we have been left behind in recent years to that degree. 1 hope that the stricture will go home to those who deserve it.

Credit is the essential of world trade at the moment. Credit means time to pay; the terms of payment. It will determine who will buy and in fact who will sell. The United States has recognised this because it established the Commodity Credit Corporation under Public Law 480. In fact, this has been done basically to promote United States primary exports. But under this American law the United States has moved into our own region of the world, - our own neighbourhood, and it has made sales on the basis of 20-year terms, a 5 per cent interest rate and local currency transactions. This has all been done under this United States Public Law 480. The United States trading agencies, and the people who produce, have received a tremendous amount of help from the operation of that law. Here we have the most powerful nation in the world moving into our own region and trading most vigorously and on the basis of credit. The result is that these people in the United States have taken from us - I am not saying unfairly; they have done it with their vigour and with government assistance - markets that we should have had for wheat. They have taken from us markets which we could have serviced with rice. I mention just 2 commodities as examples. They have done that because of their utilisation of credit facilities.

Here we are with a piece of legislation which is designed to do a very laudable thing, as my distinguished colleague the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) has pointed out. Under this legislation we are to provide facilities for buyer credit. That is excellent. But surely, when we examine the legislation and the second reading speech of the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) we find that what it does is to put the Export Payments Insurance Corporation and the Commissioner in a straitjacket. The Government says: ‘If you want to get out of that straitjacket you may go to the Minister for Trade and Industry and/ or the Treasurer and/or another Minister who may be involved, and perhaps ultimately to the Prime Minister’. I will return to that in a moment.

It is pretty obvious at the present time that the Export Payments Insurance Corporation, although it has proved useful, has, in the term of its operation, not really been given its head and has not really been of such value to our export industries as it should be. I can well remember the Government virtually declaring black all of the transactions which the Corporation desired to conduct with Indonesia for a particular period of time. The Government said: ‘No, you cannot underwrite transactions in Indonesia because the country is too unstable.’ So, for a significant period, we did not in fact attempt trade penetration there. It might be said that there was instability and there were risks. Of course there was instability, and of course there were risks, but other people took them and they arc reaping the benefits today. Certainly they may have had some losses, but when w« look at Indonesia, which is our closest neighbour, we find that we are fifteenth on A* list of trading and participating countries there.

Yet here we are talking about our own region of the world; the region in which the Government makes some assistance available; the region into which Australian people as citizens and individuals, through organisations such as Community Aid Abroad, put funds to help raise living standards. We are involved in the region because it is our region; it is our future. We are a part of this region, whether we like it or not. Yet when we look at our trading patterns we find that they have been inadequate and that the role played by (he Export Payments Insurance Corporation has not been adequate because of the restrictions which have been placed on it. So the questions that must be asked are: Why the timidity? Why the restrictions?

Let me look quite specifically at what those restrictions are. The Bill and the Minister’s second reading speech indicate that the credit term sought must be in excess of 5 years or necessary to match foreign competition. The next restriction is that the Australian content of a loan must be 65 per cent but that in some cases it could be 50 per cent. If it could be 50 per cent, why specify 65 per cent? There must be a guarantee for more than 80 per cent of the loan. But when one looks at the Minister’s second reading speech one finds that in certain circumstances the guarantee can be less. Why specify 80 per cent? Then it is provided that it has to be a minimum loan, after the down payment, of $200,000. Again a restriction has been imposed. But then it is stated that the minimum loan could be less.

Then we have the fact that trading banks have agreed to participate in the scheme. That is jolly decent of them. They have agreed to participate and the Government hopes that they will continue to participate. Whether they participate or not, it is the Government’s duty to ensure, if it has a scheme which it wants to implement, that it will use its instrumentalities, if others fail to participate. There is no need to apologise for that, yet there is an apology there. Finally, having pointed out all these restrictions contained in the Bill and expounded by the Minister in his second reading speech, we find that he has an escape clause. He has created this elaborate straitjacket, then in bis second reading speech he says:

The Bil) provides (hat the Commissioner of SP 1C may refer to the Minister for Trade and Industry, for his consideration, particular cases which do not meet all the eligibility criteria. The responsibility for referring such cases to the Government will therefore rest with EPIC.

Let me pause there for a moment. The Government has imposed all these restrictions, but what it is saying is that the Commissioner, if he has a case that does not seem to meet the criteria, may then take it up with the Government. The Government has told the Commissioner that this is his book of rules, but it is saying that if it does not seem adequate he can come back to the Government and discuss a particular case with it. Let me quote again what the Minister said will happen if the Commissioner decides to do this. He said:

Every case so referred will be considered on its merits by the Minister for Trade and Industry and the Treasurer, in consultation with other Ministers if necessary.

Surely this is a clumsy procedure. Surely this is a bit of timidity which is quite unnecessary and which in fact will shackle the Commissioner and the Corporation. I cannot see any advantages but I can see many disadvantages in the way this Bill has been put together. I am sure that the Commissioner will hesitate to go through all that tortuous routine and if he decides to put up a case he may do so as a matter of form and say: ‘I will write to the Minister and to the Treasurer and they can write back and say no. I will have done my duty and that is all there is to it.’ I can understand him taking this course because he has been told *You are hobbled to this extent so do not get out and gallop’. I feel that an explanation is warranted as to why we should have this clumsy piece of legislation and the timidity contained in it.

What a tragedy it is that this Bill is restricted to capital goods. What a tragedy it is when we have the great wool industry in trouble. The wool industry is our greatest single earner of foreign exchange. It has been and it still is. Yet here we have in the national Parliament a piece of legislation designed to help all the other industries in the manufacturing section only but there is no assistance for the biggest single export earner. I ask honourable members: Does this appear to be reasonable at a time when New Zealand has an offer on wool of 115 days credit. This is a very significant improvement on the 15 days under our incredible ‘auction’ system. Under our system that is the normal time given but the New Zealanders have said We have got the wool to sell so we will extend credit facilities’. Good luck to them but I am concerned about our own industry.

The honourable member for Melbourne Ports referred to the value of the Corporation in promoting exports of greasy and processed wool. This is so important at this time because we have a product that is not selling under the ramshackle system which we still continue to operate. Therefore it should be of major concern to the Government and the Corporation that there are buyer credit facilities for wool. We are in the situation where the Japanese and the Indonesians are showing initiatives in cotton processing and cotton utilisation. This is an industry which suits their economy and they are right next door to us engaged in this industry on that basis. Again, good luck to them from their point of view but where are the initiatives that we are taking in this matter? There are no initiatives. At the present time in South-East Asia there are I think, 5 new flour milling projects of considerable capacity. There are 3 in Indonesia. We are concerned with none of them. We are just not there. Once again we are at the end of the international trade queue or at any rate at that level behind other countries. The Corporation could be used as an instrument to facilitate the sales of his major export commodity. The Corporation could ensure that there is initiative in processing and utilisation in neighbouring countries. Again I ask: Why not? Why has this not been included in this Bill? Why is there this restriction? What is the reason for this timidity? I think the answers should be forthcoming. I am sorry that the Minister for Trade and Industry who introduced this measure is not here to give the answers. He is missing and so are the explanations.


– The honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) should undergo a course in positive thinking. He sees in any legislation pitfalls and omissions that nobody else appears to notice. He has been belching about the wool industry. When the Export Payments Insurance Corporation Bill was introduced in 1956 to stimulate the sales of export capital goods the wool industry was not under any challenge or going through the depressing period which it is now experiencing. The honourable member forgets that our traditional buyers of wool did not want any assistance in financing the purchase of wool because their vast ramifications made this unnecessary. The Commissioner of Exports Payments Insurance Corporation and the Government have given consideration to ensuring assistance in the selling of wool if need be. There may be an opening for markets in the cheap labour centres of the world for the processing of wool and if need be the Government can give consideration in this regard.

As I said the Act establishing the Export Payments Insurance Corporation came into being in 1956 to assist in the overseas purchase of our manufactured goods. The old system of finance was through letters of credit with the banking system and in other ways but we find that in South East Asia finance over 10 or 12 years is available from non-Western countries. Czechoslovakia is offering India very extended terms of repayment for manufactured goods up to 10 and 12 years. Of course this has been outside our thinking but it would appear that we will have to meet this competition in the future and it is by the sophistication of such Bills as this that it may be possible for us to match the competition of these other countries.

In my electorate of Mitchell the Transavia Corporation Pty Ltd has produced a small aircraft with great capabilities. EPIC could have sold 2 of these aircraft at $25,000 to $30,000 to India but payment would have been made in rupees. Despite representations I made on this matter I could not get the Reserve Bank, the Treasury or the Department of Trade and Industry to assist. But little New Zealand can make a sale. New Zealand has sold, with the assistance of its Government, the Fletcher aircraft made under licence in New Zealand. The New Zealand Government is assisting in the manufacture of this aircraft and in the sale of the aircraft in South East Asia and in India. We have to get out and take risks in overseas trade. It is the lifeblood of the community. We should be brave and tackle the proposition with vigour and determination. This Bill is breaking new ground and in regard to buyers credit it opens up new fields and ventures, but as I said before we have to be brave in our ideas. Our traditional concept of finance has to be completely overhauled and updated if we are to become competitors in the sale of our manufactured capital goods in South East Asia and other emerging countries.

I congratulate the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) on the Bill. I know that the Government will receive cooperation from the financial institutions. They are there to transact business. But when one starts to coerce and suggest that they have to co-operate I think that is wrong. If they think it is not a good business undertaking the institutions should not be forced into it. The first guiding principle of a bank manager when lending money is to ask whether he is being a person’s best friend. There is a difference between real banking and fringe banking. The fringe bankers do not care as long as they have sufficient security to cover the indebtedness. But an ethical banker wants to do the right thing by his customer. From his accumulated experience in handling different types of trade, if in his judgment what the customer proposes to do with the money is wrong when it would be unethical to lend him the money.

The Bill is a good one. It will open up avenues and ideas. 1 think it will have to be amended fairly frequently from time to time to keep up with the pace of our overseas competitors. One would think that by now the balance of payments situation would have ceased to be a handicap or a hazard that countries have to put up with. I had hoped by now that the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank would have contrived and brought in a scheme to break down the traditionally high regard for and value of gold in international trade. I think we are heading that way. I hope that within a very few years balance of payments will not be creating the great difficulties that it creates today between trading nations. I commend the Bill.

Minister for Repatriation and Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry · Indi · CP

– I want to make a few brief comments on the Bill in my capacity as Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony). The honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin) who has just resumed his seat stressed 2 very important points. He said first of all that the Bill was breaking new ground, that there was a need for Australia to be brave and that this was an indication that we were. This is good. The second point he made, which is very important, related to the necessity to cooperate with financial institutions rather than to coerce or force them into taking any financial action.

The comments made by the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) showed a sensible approach to the legislation. One or two of the points that he raised may give the wrong impression as far as the comparison between Australian and British exports are concerned. The honourable member referred to the high proportion of United Kingdom trade covered by the Exports Credits Guarantee Department in Britain. He said that it covered a third of Britain’s total exports and that a lower proportion of Australian exports were covered by the similar body here. But, of course, Britain is a more substantial exporter of manufactured products than is Australia.

Mr Crean:

– I said that.


– I am sorry. I did not pick it up. I just wanted to place the situation on record. The honourable member for Melbourne Ports said that the measure was a venturesome approach to increasing our exports which we need to take for the good of Australia. The honourable member for Isaacs (Mr Hamer) made one particular point on which I should comment. He called for an early statement on the future of export incentives after 30th June 1973. I want to assure the honourable member for Isaacs that the Government is fully aware of the need for an early statement on the future of export incentives and that the matter is at present being studied closely by the relevant departments. The subject is under review by the Export Development Council.

The honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) made a few points on which 1 should comment. He concluded by saying, quite correctly, that the Minister for Trade and Industry was not present in the chamber. I am representing the Minister as his Assistant Minister. It is impossible for the Minister to be here because he has to attend to other Ministerial duties at the present time. Anyway, he has already done his job, fundamentally, by promoting and introducing this very important and very progressive piece of legislation. The honourable member for Riverina said that primary exports were not covered by the legislation. I will comment on that later. He went on to say that in Australia 71 per cent of mining companies are foreign controlled. Whenever I hear the honourable member for Riverina mention this matter of foreign control of Australia’s assets am always reminded of the fact that quite some years ago a New South Wales Labor Government set up an office in New York for the express purpose of attracting overseas capital to Australia.

I do not know whether the honourable member when he was in the State House fought for the closure of that office to prevent it from attracting overseas capital to Australia. It is also well to remember that the Western Australian Labor Government was the first to open up the Esperance project in Western Australia and it received a lot of United States capital to develop that area. The honourable member said that the Commissioner was being hobbled. It is not correct to say that the criteria laid down for action by the Commissioner is of a strait-jacket nature. It is impossible for the Government to legislate to meet all possible commercial situations. The Minister has a discretionary authority on request from the Export Payments Insurance Corporation. Neither the Commissioner nor the Corporation is hobbled at all under the terms laid down in the legislation. In fact the whole nature of the scheme was discussed in detail with the Commissioner of EPIC. The eligibility criteria and operational procedures were decided upon in the light of the Export Payments Insurance Corporation’s recommendations based on its experience and the experience of overseas credit insurance organisations. Therefore it is not correct that the Commissioner or the Corporation is hobbled by either these provisions or other provisions of the legislation.

The honourable member for Riverina mentioned also New Zealand credit facilities, implying that buyers credit was available for the sale of wool in New Zealand whereas it was not available here. This once again is not correct. The New Zealand wool industry, the New Zealand Government or any other New Zealand organisation has no buyers credit scheme. Suppliers terms in New Zealand are not as good as those available in Australia. Regarding general assistance to primary producers, which is one of the main themes of the honourable member’s arguments, considerable assistance is given to primary producers through the EPIC organisation. Buyers credit as against suppliers credit is to be limited to capital goods under this legislation and is not to be available in respect of primary products. The situation is that there is virtually no demand for buyers credit in respect of primary products. Since this legislation has been on the table of the House and known to the public, to my knowledge no requests from primary producer organisations, groups of primary producers or other people connected with primary products have been made to receive buyers credit under this legislation. That is the fact as I understand it. One of the reasons why buyers credit is probably not in demand is that primary products normally are sold for cash or on short term credit usually of about 180 days, the main exception being credit for wheat sales, which is up to 3 years.

I think it is worth placing on record very briefly the performance last year of EPIC in relation to suppliers credit, which is deemed to be more suitable and which is available. In 1970-71 EPIC insured $95m worth of wheat sales through both the Australian Wheat Board and private traders,$63m worth of wool sales through wool exporters, and$49m worthof processed food stuff sales through food exporters. So the assistance to the wool industry in terms of suppliers credit totalled, in round figures, $112m;$41m was made available to food exporters for processed foodstuffs; $28m was made available for dairy products through the Australian Dairy Produce Board in the main, and $14m was made available to meat exporters. So the problem that is intended to be removed by buyers credit under this legislation is not encountered to any extent by the exporters of primary products. It is in the capital goods field where we have a combination ef high value investment and long term credit that buyers credit is needed. Of course, the amount of credit varies. Under this legislation it may be $200,000 or more. As the honourable member for Melbourne Ports pointed out, some discretion could be needed to decide special cases if the transaction is a little less.

To summarise this situation, it should be made quite clear that suppliers credit is not in demand by exporters of primary products. This legislation is aimed at high value capital goods sold on long term credit which can involve a great deal of money and a great deal of risk for the people who are exporting them. If the provisions of this legislation were not available Australia would miss out on very valuable export income. As was pointed out in the case of Bougainville, Australia earned something like $26m in export income because of the insurance facilities that were available. The provisions of this Bill relate to capital goods which have the combination of high value and long term credit up to 10 years. The Bill is designed to meet world competition by overseas exporters which our primary producers do not face as do the manufacturers in particular. This is the case, especially in less-developed countries. The Government, even though it has introduced this legislation and thinks it is very satisfactory, is not content to rest on its laurels. As I have already said in answer to the query from the honourable member for Isaacs, the export incentive scheme is under review and it is hopeful that some action in this area may be taken in the future.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Third Reading

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

Bill (on motion by Mr Holten) read a third time.

page 1773


Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP

– I move:

The Customs Tariff Proposals which I have just tabled relate to proposed amendments to the Customs Tariff 1966-1971 and will operate from tomorrow. On malleable cast iron pipe fittings the Tariff Board was of the opinion that the industry as presently constituted cannot be considered economic and efficient. The Board considered that in the long term a general rate of 40 per cent is the highest that could be regarded as consistent with economic and efficient production in the industy. The Board therefore recommended this rate as the long term level of assistance but that this level be arrived at over 5 years. Duties from tomorrow will be 60 per cent reducing to 50 per cent from 1st January 1973 and to 40 per cent from 1st January 1976. The Government has accepted the Board’s recommendations.

The Tariff Board report on steam engines, boilers and power units has been received but is not being released at this stage pending international negotiations. Certain flue-heated economisers included in the Board’s recommendations are presently subject to temporary duties, which will lapse tomorrow. Rates of 25 per cent general and 15 per cent preferential recommended by the Board for these econo.misers will apply from tomorrow. The rates of duty on industrial paper caps and hats which were changed by the Tariff Simplification Proposals are being restored by these Proposals to levels more closely related to those previously applying. I commend the Proposals.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.

page 1774


Tariff Board Report

Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP

– I present the report of the Tariff Board on the following item:

Malleable cast iron pipe fittings.

Ordered that the report be printed.

page 1774


Second Reading

Rebate resumed from 26 August (vide page 763), on motion by Mr Sinclair:

That the Bill be now read a second time.


– This Bill is concerned with the continuation of the payment of bounty on phosphate fertilisers until December 1974. The Phosphate Fertilisers Bounty Act came into operation in 1963 and has continued up to the present time. At the present time it provides for a payment of $12 a ton on standard superphosphate and $60 a ton on phosphorous pentoxide content or other superphosphate and ammonium phosphate produced and sold for use as fertiliser in Australia. From time to time amendments to this legislation have been debated in the Parliament and it is interesting to note that since 1963 the total amount of bounty paid to manufacturers to offset costs and, in the end, indirectly affecting the price of superphosphate to primary producers has been $234,852,323.

Mr Chipp:

– It was $224m.


– That is the figure I was given by the Department of Customs and Excise. The difference could be the estimate made for last year. But the fact of the matter is that a very large amount of money has been injected into the economy as a counter to increased costs of phosphates. There is a perennial argument - 1 know the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull) and I always have a friendly argument on this - as to whether the primary producer is getting the full benefit of the bounty. On the one hand it can be argued that the prices of superphosphate or the price of the phosphate content of fertilisers has not increased, and this is true if one looks at the index of prices paid, produced by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. We find that the actual price of superphosphates to primary producers has shown practically no increase since 1963, due to the fact that the bounty has been progressively increased to counter the increase in manufacturing costs.

The argument, of course, is whether this is in fact really offsetting some degree of inefficiency in the manufacturing of phosphatic fertilisers, and, when one looks at the profits, whether the primary producer should be getting fertiliser today at a lower price than he is actually paying. I can only assume, I think rightly, that the Department of Customs and Excise periodically checks the cost figures of fertiliser companies and would be concerned if in fact what I allege is true. It would be concerned to ensure, in other words, that the bounty is being paid correctly to counter legitimate increases in costs. But the allegation is always made, not only by producers but also others who are not directly concerned with the manufacture of fertiliser in Australia but are more concerned with the import of fertilisers, that this bounty is not all serving the purpose for which it was established. But this is a moot point. As I say, I must accept the explanations given by the Government that it is acting as a watchdog over the costs of fertiliser companies.

The fertiliser industry is going through a fascinating stage at present. It is a very worrying time, I would think, for the major producers of most phosphatic, nitrogen and potash fertilisers in Australia because almost every day one sees reports of large losses, mergers or consolidations of important fertiliser companies in Australia, some selling out to other bigger companies, and this process has been accentuated in the last 2 or 3 years. There is always the worry, of course, that monopolistic practices will eventuate from amalgamations, but here again one has to rely on the watchdog activities of the. Government to see that there is a relationship between the import parity prices of nitrogenous fertilisers and the actual prices being paid.

It is interesting to have a look at the way fertiliser companies are being consolidated. Consolidated Fertilisers, a consortium which is now being formed, has as its major shareholders: Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand Ltd with 38 per cent; Dow Chemicals (Australia) Ltd with 20 per cent; Swift Chemicals Pty Ltd with 13 per cent; the Sulphide Corporation Pty Ltd with 9 per cent; Mitsui & Co. (Australia) Ltd with 2 per cent; and King Ranch with 4 per cent, leaving 14 per cent of the total shareholdings held by Australian institutions. So this giant company, the Consolidated Fertilisers consortium, has as its shareholders a wide range of powerful companies. There are 4 subsidiaries of the Consolidated Fertilisers consortium. They are: ACF and Shirleys Fertilisers Ltd; Eastern Nitrogen Ltd; Austral Pacific Fertilisers Ltd; and the Ammonia Co. of Australia Ltd.

There has been a lot of concern expressed, particularly by primary pro- ducers, regarding the effect on fertiliser prices of these amalgamations into this giant consortium. It has, of course, been argued and, in fact alleged, that because we now have a consortium of this size, a monopoly of this size, that particularly in the field of nitrogen there will be the temptation to use monopolistic practices to place prices at a higher level and that this will not be subject to challenge. Of course, we know that under the Act if there is evidence that a company is charging a higher price than the import parity price then action can be taken to stop the subsidy. I deal with nitrogen as distinct from phosphate, but the principles are nevertheless relevant because it is of concern to producers in Australia that if we have fewer manufacturing companies then the chance of higher prices being charged for phosphate becomes greater due to lack of competition.

The figures I quoted before show in total that the upward trend in superphosphate usage slackened off several years ago. One would suspect that there is some reduction in the use of superphosphate anyhow throughout Australia because of the problems of the wool and wheat industries. One of the fields of research which must be accelerated in the immediate future is the residual effects of phosphate in the soil, because it is now quite clear that many producers, particularly in the wheat and sheep areas, are questioning the principle of the annual application of many fertilisers. In fact, in many areas which I have visited in the last 18 months this has been one of the most topical questions discussed. People have reduced the application of superphosphates and yet have seen no diminution in the response of their pastures. Over time, of course, there certainly would be a marked decrease in this response.

It has been shown by scientific research that when superphosphate is applied to the soil, only about 40 per cent of that phosphate is actually utilised by the plant itself. The balance stays in the ground. Some may be wasted by leaching but most of it stays in the ground and has a residual effect. The problem of science is to determine optimum rates of application, because Australian soils, with some exceptions, are deficient in phosphorous. They are deficient also in nitrogen and other elements but the principal deficiency is phosphate, which we are now discussing. In Queensland, where recent work has been done some soils are notorious for this deficiency. The newly developed wallum soils are perhaps the most notorious in Australia in terms of commercial development because already there has been a profitable response to applications of up to 25 cwt of superphosphate an acre. This is a pretty solid application of any fertiliser. For many other soils 8 cwt of superphosphate is recommended.

It would seem, therefore, that with large amounts of superphosphate or phosphatic fertilisers being applied to the soil, some thought must be given to undertaking more intensive research into the residual effects of phosphates. One of the interesting aspects of experiments in recent years is that in the case of continuous cropping, as distinct from, say, perennial pastures, there is little residual effect because the phosphorous is used by the plant. With perennial pasture, it has been estimated, from experimental work, that up to 25 per cent of residual phosphorous remains in the soil. In pastures in the southern tablelands of New South Wales, experiments have shown that up to 50 per cent of residual phosphate remains in the soil and in New England up to 70 per cent of the phosphate is not used by the plant. Strangely enough, in time, through systems of reversion, this residua] phosphate reverts to a fertiliser something like the rock phosphate in its original form. So, this is an area where much research could be done on residual effects on little known soil types.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the State departments of agriculture and other Commonwealth departments have been doing some research on this matter. However, with costs increasing and commodity prices decreasing, more work needs to be done in avenues which can reduce costs of production. Many phosphates are returned to the soil as organic fertilisers through humus or through animal excreta and, consequently, there is the continuous problem of measuring the residual effects of phosphates. Perhaps the most lucrative area for development of phosphates in Australia is the northern part of Australia. The field has been well explored in the southern part of Australia in relation to wheat and pastures, mainly subterranean clover, but it has been only in the past 5 years that the scope for the development of tropical pastures in association with phosphatic fertilisers in the north has been appreciated. We all know of the tremendous importance of the association of phosphates with, say, Townsville lucerne and what this can mean to the cattle industry. It can revolutionise the cattle industry not only in terms of carrying capacity and turnoff but also in relation to reducing mortality rates.

In northern Australia there are about 180 million acres, mainly in the spear grass area, which are suitable for the application of phosphatic fertiliser in conjunction with other fertilisers and for the establishment of known perennial pastures such as the stylosanthes and desmodium. Coupled with this pasture revolution through the use of superphosphates, there is tremendous potential for increased development of the cattle industry. One of the Government’s most progressive moves in northern development was the establishment of the CSIRO Townsville laboratories under the then control of Dr Griffiths Davies. This was an extraordinarily good move in that it set up a team of scientists in the environment in which they were to work and to apply their results rather than in Canberra, Brisbane or some other capital city. Already the research work of the Townsville laboratories has made a profound impact on the cattle industry in the north, particularly in the spear grass country.

Earlier I mentioned that about 180 million acres of tropical land is suitable for more intensive development. When it is realised some areas are carrying only one beast to 100 acres and that the carrying capacity can be increased to, say, one beast per 7 acres with the turnoff being increased even more than that, because mortality would be reduced, one can see the tremendous potential for increased production in the northern part of Australia. Of course, the whole objective of a phosphatic fertiliser is for it to be used in association with a legume which itself will, by the various rhizobium processes, produce nitrogen in the soil. So, by the utilisation of phosphate with a legume, nitrogen is promoted. This is what is most needed in our north because soils are highly deficient in phosphates and nitrogen. Even the sceptics can now see for themselves the outstanding results that can be achieved when superphosphate is used with Townsville lucerne and the other stylos. The other legumes - desmodium, glycine, indigofera, phaseolus and so forth - are all making their mark in the northern areas when used in association with phosphates.

It seems clear that this is the new area in Australia in which great interest will be shown in relation to the application of phosphate fertilisers because, as I mentioned in an earlier speech today, of all the major exporting primary industries the beef industry is the one that appears to have the greatest future, provided that synthetics can be kept under control. It is in this area of northern Australia, almost untouched in terms of potential, that this development of pastures and phosphate in association is going on.

Mr Chipp:

– What sort of synthetics are there for beef?


– -The Minister for Customs and Excise, who is at the table asks me what sort of synthetics there are for beef. I spoke for about 20 minutes on this subject today. I referred to the use of soya bean protein which is being utilised for the manufacture of synthetic beef, particularly in Japan.

Those are the main points I wished to make about the role of phosphate fertilisers. I mentioned earlier the problem of controlling the price. My worry is about the fertiliser consortium because it is becoming more powerful through lack of competition. Through amalgamations it will perhaps be able to exert greater influence than before on the price of fertilisers. Let me give one example of this. It does not relate to phosphate, but it is relevant. It follows the same principle. I refer to nitram. It was always thought that after the phosphate fertilisers bounty legislation was passed the price of nitram and urea and other nitrogenous fertilisers could not be increased very significantly because of the import parity provisions. But in recent weeks the price of nitram has increased by $5 a ton in Brisbane, $8 a ton in Mackay and $9 a ton in Townsville. People are asking: ‘Well, did we not tell you this? Did not we tell you that the consortium would do this? As soon as this monopoly was formed, up went the price of fertiliser’. I am being criticised in the north because I was defending the fertiliser companies. Of course the only way they could reduce costs was to amalgamate.

We saw the tremendous excess capacity of Austral Pacific Fertilisers Ltd. Now we have the concrete proof with nitram rising by this pretty significant figure. When one looks at the explanation of it, one finds that the undumped price of nitram is still significantly higher than the price that is being charged in Australia. The undumped price of nitram is $73 a ton. The lower price charged previously was apparently caused by competition between nitram and urea.

I have directed a question in relation to this to either the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) or the Minister for Customs and Excise because I am not particularly satisfied with the explanations being given by the fertiliser companies. As I keep emphasising today, what we have to guard against is that as more and more fertiliser companies of necessity are having to amalgamate for economies - whether they be economies of scale or something else - we have to watch that they do not have an undue influence on the price of fertiliser in Australia. The Government has to exercise this watchdog approach all the time. As far as the Bill is concerned, provided that the farmer is receiving the full benefit of this bounty - T say this for my friend the honourable member for Mallee - the Opposition supports the Bill.


– The type of support for rural industry the Phosphate Fertilisers Bounty Act provides is most valuable because it encourages good farm management practices. Phosphate fertiliser is one of the foundations of improved crop and pasture practice over much of Australia. In addition, increased legume pasture production resulting from superphosphate application injects annually more nitrogen into the soil than the total production of chemical nitrogen in Australia. I was glad to hear the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) refer to this point and the possibility that this leguminous pasture and phosphatic fertiliser mixture or combination provides for increased productivity in the north.

The form of nitrogen produced by leguminous pastures guarantees increased soil fertility and a stable agricultural system without the dangers attendant upon heavy and continued chemical nitrogen application to pasture. This is now becoming apparent in the United States of America and Europe. I think it should be remembered that when environmentalists, ecologists or pollution experts - call them what you will - talk about this subject in relation to agriculture, they usually use figures of American or European origin. They make some very dangerous comparisons. The comparisons are dangerous because they are not true in the case of Australia because of our far more successful combination of superphosphate and legumes to obtain nitrogen than the application of continued and heavy doses of chemical nitrogen which is applied to pastures in some of these other countries.

In my opinion, Australian agronomists who developed and are still world leaders in legume pasture research have not received due acknowledgment for their work. Several overseas fertiliser companies would possibly now agree with this last statement after they wasted millions of dollars building nitrogen plants in Australia, some of which have never been used. They did this because they were confident in their belief in the superiority of American agricultural technique, and that what worked in the United States just had to work in Australia. They were proved rather disastrously wrong.

The honourable member for Dawson made comments concerning efficient manufacturing, overseas control, consortia and so on. When he talked about these matters he was really referring to nitrogenous fertilisers rather than phosphatic fertilisers. I think it should be remembered that in this debate we are talking basically about phosphatic fertilisers. The largest producer of phosphatic fertiliser in Australia, the Phosphate Co-op Co. of Aust., has just taken over the phosphate interests of 2 other producers in Victoria. I believe this is a very good thing. It is very good for the primary producers in Victoria and southern New South Wales who use this superphosphate. I believe that the farmers will welcome this aggregation into this giant co-operative because it will guarantee cheap cost superphosphate and efficient manufacturing. At a time when other manufacturing interests were losing money, the Phosphate Co-op Co. of Aust, has always been able to make a profit and sell superphosphate cheaper than anybody else in Australia.

I support this Bill which continues the superphosphate bounty for a further 3 years at the present level of $12 a ton for ordinary strength superphosphate. Since the bounty was introduced in 1963 at the rate of $6 a ton this Government’s support has enabled fertiliser prices to remain reasonably stable and at a price to farmers possibly as cheap as anywhere else in the world. When the bounty was introduced it represented about 29 per cent of the Australian weighted average ex-works price for bulk superphosphate. In the first year of operation, bounty payments cost the Government $18.1m. In 1968 the bounty was increased to $8 a ton and to the present level in the 1969 Budget. This lifted the weighted average of the bounty to over 45 per cent of the price of superphosphate. Government support during 1969-70 amounted to almost $46m, over H times the level of assistance in the first year. Since then, the usage of superphosphate has declined due to wheat quotas and the fall in wool price, with the result that the Government bounty payment in 1970-71 was down by $5m. The estimate for this year is that it will be about $3m less again. I have taken these figures from statement 9 attached to the Budget Speech of the Treasurer (Mr Snedden). So the overall reduction in costs to the Government since the peak year of 1969-70 will be at least $8m. I do not know the present ex-works weighted average price for Australia but using the present ex-works price of the Phosphate Co-operative, the largest producer, I find that the bounty will provide a level of support of approximately 36 per cent to 38 per cent this year, or about 7 per cent less than when the bounty was increased to the present rate of $12 a ton.

As I said earlier, this Bill continues the bounty at the same level for another 3 years. However, because of the considerable reduction in costs to the Government - that is, about $8m - and because of the rural depression, I thought that the Government may have increased the bounty to keep the support at the 45 per cent level. However, I acknowledge that at 36 per cent this is still well above the original 29 per cent degree of support.

The cost of .production of phosphate fertiliser will almost certainly increase in the 3 years to 1974. In addition to internal manufacturing costs, the cost of rock phosphate from Nauru could easily rise in response to world demand. The ex-Nauru price has risen slightly since the last bounty adjustment in 1969 and Nauru provides, I believe, about half of our requirements. I ask the Government to keep the level of bounty under review and be ready to increase it before 1974. I support the Bill.


– I welcome the decision to continue to pay a bounty on phosphate fertilisers until 31st December 1974. I do so because of the importance to the Australian farmer of maintaining and indeed increasing his efficiency and his output per man and per acre. Associated with this is the judicious use of fertilisers. We have been able to cope with the most expensive and archaic handling of marketing systems in the world only because of the efficiency within the farm gate. Therefore, we must continue to maintain and improve that efficiency.

At the same time I have reservations about whether the farmer is receiving the full value of the bounty. It has been estimated that he receives less than half of the $12 per ton. It may well be that a major effect of the bounty - I do not say the major effect - has been to help the manufacturer, the British Phosphate Commission and the Republic of Nauru. There may be excellent reasons why they should benefit from the support which the Government is giving. However, this is not the proclaimed intention of the legislation.

The Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) claimed that the bounty had been the major factor in keeping selling prices stable and it was desirable to maintain this in view of the cost situation and the marketing difficulties facing primary producers. This is the proclaimed intention of the legislation. It is all the more reason then to ensure that the farmer is getting the benefit because this is the intention of the legislation before the House.

The Government has claimed that the bounty was instrumental in spreading the use of superphosphate for pastures and grain production. I think it is interesting to recall that when the bounty was first introduced the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser), who was at that time the honourable member for Wannon, said that he looked forward to the building up of our sheep numbers from 160 million to 250 million by using more superphosphate. It has also been claimed by Ministers and Government supporters, not in this debate but during previous debates associated with similar measures, that the 41 million acres of improved pasture in 1962-63 had been increased as a result of the bounty to 54 million in 1967- 68, the fatal eve of the rural recession. It has also been claimed that we have increased cattle numbers by 3 million as a result of the bounty.

These are claims and I will not attempt to examine them. But the one fact that we can hold to is that the amount of superphosphate used as a result of the bounty increased to a peak of 4.3 million tons in 1967. Why did that happen? It has been suggested that the expanded use of superphosphate was brought about by the bounty itself. I submit that the expansion was due in part because of the very active encouragement given by the Federal Government right up to the eve of the rural depression in 1969. Encouragement was given by the Government to farmers to expand all phases of primary production.

As I said, this encouragement continued right up to the latter part of 1969 when it will be remembered the Government forced the introduction of wheat rationing in the middle of a season. In the early part of that year farmers still were being encouraged by Ministers and by supporters of the Government to expand. I believe the expansion carried upwards the use of superphosphate. We find that the use of superphosphate is dropping. I do not think that this is associated directly, exclusively or even in a major way with the drop in cattle or even sheep numbers. However, as the honourable member for Murray (Mr Lloyd) has observed, possibly with the introduction of wheat quotas this drop has had the major effect.

There are questions which I would like to pose’ to the Minister. I do not anticipate that he will be able to answer them in his reply to this debate because he may not have taken them into account. But I hope that he will examine and take into account what I intend to ask. I hope that on another occasion he will give the House the benefit of his investigations. I would like the Minister to examine the ramifications of the bounty and its application to ensure that the farmer has received the full value. This means an examination of the effect of the bounty during the time that it has been paid. According to some interpretations the value to the farmer has been less than 50 per cent. Can we improve that benefit to the farmer now and in the future?

Mr Chipp:

– Can the honourable gentleman tell me who said that the farmer gets only 50 per cent? I would like to track that down.


– If we take the benefit of the bounty-

Mr Chipp:

– Are you saying that?


– I am putting it to the Minister, yes. I think that my colleague the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) has done considerable research into this and I believe he would be able to give the Minister from the voluminous references that he always has on hand, chapter and verse of the breakdown of the $12 as it relates to the farmer, the manufacturer, the British Phosphate Commission and the Republic of Nauru.

Mr Lloyd:

– They get it in Victoria.


– I say again that I think it is terribly important that these things are dealt with because this has been asked as a question. Now is the time to pose the question. There is no point in our letting this debate go by and the Minister saying later that we did not query or raise this question. If this percentage is not correct, let us have the rebuttal.

Also, it has been suggested - and I am putting this forward - that there is a major stockpileof superphosphate at present wh ich could mean that there is room for a reduction in price even within the operations of the bounty. Again, I think probably it would be interesting to know whether the Minister and the Government have examined whether there are stockpiles at present and whether there is a possibility of price adjustment because of that situation.

Finally, I would like to make the point - and I think this is a unanimous view - that we want to see stability of prices maintained. In addition we want to see whether there is room for a reduction in the price. Also, we want to see the optimum use made of phosphatic fertilisers; and, incidentally, the optimum use does not always mean the maximum use. Now is probably the time when we should review the level of application of fertilisers to many crops to ensure that we are not perhaps a little too generous. I believe that this is another factor that could be looked at. I have posed these questions to the Minister in a helpful way because they are being asked across the countryside and I think it is right that they should be raised in this debate. Like my colleague the honourable member for Dawson who has spoken for the Opposition, we are happy to see the bounty continued for the reasons I have indicated.


– Notwithstanding what the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) said, I do not think the questions to which he referred are being asked across the countryside. I travel throughout the Mallee electorate and have visited the Riverina electorate - I go over there now and again, sometimes even for a debate - and I have not heard these questions brought up at any time. The honourable member for Riverina probably has met some people who have asked these questions, hut generally speaking I think he has a vivid imagination. He also pointed out that it is the right amount of fertiliser applied to crops in certain areas that is important. I think the best judge of that is the efficient farmer. One may have 2 paddocks on one’s farm but those paddocks may want different applications of superphosphate. You cannot have an across the board application of superphosphate. It depends on the nature of the soil. Everybody should know that. The man who works theland and knows the property is the man who can best judge what is required.

The honourable member for Riverina asked whether the farmer is getting the full benefit from the bounty and indicated that the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) has full figures available on this. The honourable member for Dawson referred to me in his speech and that is why I rose to speak. He said there has been a friendly argument between the honourable member for Mallee and himself as to whether the farmer is getting the full amount of the bounty. He finished up by saying that if the farmer is getting the full amount of the bounty he will support the Bill. He intends to support the Bill now and must, therefore, think the farmer is getting the full amount of the bounty. This is logic and we must talk logically. We cannot talk in an airy fairy way. He intends to support the Bill so he must think the farmer is getting the full amount. I have not heard it said by anyone that the farmer is not getting the full amount. Superphosphate brought land in’.o greater productivity. In a kind of way that might not be noticed by some people. The honourable member for Riverina said that in 1969 or thereabouts the Government brought in the superphosphate bounty with the idea of running more sheep. Had he been in the House at that time would he have opposed the Bill? Then he said the Government applied wheat quotas. His memory is very short because at the time of World War II in 1944 the Labor Government of the day allowed the quota system to operate in Victoria. Under this system wheat farmers had to have a certificate to grow a certain amount of wheat and if they grew more than the amount shown on the certificate they could not strip it. In fact, a man named Mr P. Vaughan at Sea Lake in Victoria had a certificate for 200 acres. I have often told this story in this House. He had a crop of 50 acres which was self sown and he got in touch with the authorities and asked could he strip the 50 acres self sown. The authorities said he could provided he left 50 acres of his certified crop. Then he asked whether he could strip the 50 acres self sown and feed it to stock on his farm and the authorities said no. It is not much use the honourable member for Riverina coming into this House and saying he is against various things and that a Labor Government would do certain other things.

Mr Foster:

– Where were you in 1944?


– In 1944 I was in Malaya but I have read Hansard very carefully and know what happened during that time. I read Hansard when I came back to Australia and came into this Parliament. I support this Bill to the hilt. I think it is in the best interests of primary industry.

Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP

– I will not delay the House but as the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) and the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) asked some questions I thought they might like answers at this stage. The honourable member for Dawson raised a question relating to increased selling prices. I can give the honourable member the assurance that he sought from me, although I was not too keen about the euphemism ‘watch dog’ that he ascribed to me, that every variation in price is fully investigated by the Department of Customs and Excise to ensure that the bounty is not eroded and that the full benefit is passed on to the farmers. It is interesting to note that the price of superphosphate in Australia without bounty is one of the lowest in the world.

The honourable member quite properly said that it is all very well to be paying the bounty but might this not be a shield behind which the industry is either making higher profits or decreasing its efficiency of production. This is a fair question. The answer I give him now is not conclusive but I think it is persuasive. There is no sign that the industry is sheltering behind the bounty and becoming inefficient. For example, the average price paid in the United States in 1970 for superphosphate was $46.42 per ton as against $27.25 per ton in Australia, or $15.25 with the bounty. So the comparison would be $46.42 as against $15.25 per ton. I am not saying that that conclusively proves anything but it does give an indication of the true position in the 2 countries. I understand that only 2 other countries are known to have a lower price which indicates that the Australian producer has some level of efficiency. The honourable member for Riverina asked me 3 questions. Firstly, he asked whether the farmer is getting the full $12 and then said that some people were saying that he gets only 50 per cent of it. I asked him who were the ‘some people’. It was a genuine question and he cited no authority except himself. I do not dispute that he is an authority but I think it should be exposed that he could not call anybody other than his eminent self to support that statement.

I am able to assure the House that the Department of Customs and Excise investigates all price variations. The investigations are carried out by fully qualified accountants who examine the accountancy and costing records of the producer. So far as is possible I give the honourable member for Riverina and the House the assurance that my Department is satisfied that the full benefit does go to the farmer. I was interested to hear the honourable member for Murray (Mr Lloyd) interject to say that they certainly got the full1 bounty in his electorate. Perhaps the honourable member for Murray makes more inquiries or inquiries in greater depth than does the honourable member for Riverina on these matters, but at least he is satisfied. The honourable member for Riverina made some reference to a major stockpile and said that, therefore, there should be a reduction in price. I am unable to follow his reasoning that because there is a large stockpile of a raw material the price of the finished product must fall. I am afraid there must be a step in his logic which completely eluded me. Perhaps he might like to follow up that point later. The rock was purchased by the manufacturers from the British Phosphate Commission and the agreed price plus the cost of servicing the stockpile preclude any price reduction. Perhaps I am not understanding the honourable gentleman as well as I should.

The third question he asked me was whether the farmers were making optimum use, as distinct from maximum use, of the fertiliser. I was fascinated to hear his cot league, the honourable member for Dawson, say that in some areas some soils needed 25 cwt of superphosphate.

Dr Patterson:

– Wallum soils.


– This was a fascinating point of philosophy raised by the honour able member for Riverina when he said we should be looking at this. If he were sitting in his seat, Mr Deputy Speaker, I would ask your indulgence so that he could interject. I want to know - and I am sure that my friends in the Australian Country Party want to know - whether, if by some mischance his Party was in government, it would determine in its socialistic way how much superphosphate should be applied to certain types of paddocks. As the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull) stated, surely the farmer is the best judge of that. The honourable member for Mallee may be right or the honourable member for Riverina may be right as to who is the better judge, the farmer or a bureau. Surely the fundamental principle in this matter is whether the honourable member for Riverina is taking away the right of choice from the farmer. Should some bureaucratic body say to the farmer: ‘Under these circumstances you cannot use superphosphate’? Is that what the honourable member for Riverina is saying?

Mr Grassby:

– No, that was never intended. The rates of application for soil types and crops are determined now by extension and research people in cooperation with the farmers.


– I think Hansard will record that the honourable gentleman, when he was speaking, said something a little different from what he has just said.

Mr- Armitage - Mr Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order. The Minister has invited the honourable member for Riverina to interject, which is contrary to the Standing Orders.


– There is no point of order.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

Third Reading

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

Bill (on motion by Mr Chipp) read a third time.

page 1783


The following Bills were returned from the Senate without amendment:

Post and Telegraph Bill 1971. Post and Telegraph Rates Bill 1971. Broadcasting and Television Bill (No. 2) 1971.

page 1783


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 26th August (vide page 776), on motion by Mr Nixon:

That the Bill be now read a second time.


Mr Deputy Speaker, the Bill before the House provides for a small amendment to the Railway Agreement (Western Australia) Act. The Railway Agreement (Western Australia) Bill was introduced into this House in October 1961 by the Right Honourable Robert Gordon Menzies. It was designed to ratify an agreement between the Commonwealth and Western Australia for the completion of what now can truthfully be described as the Transcontinental Railway, connecting Sydney on the east coast with Perth on the west coast and continuing down to Kwinana. At that time the then Prime Minister outlined to the House the terms and conditions of the agreement. The Bill set a time limit and, by rights, the agreement should have been terminated by 30th June this year. However, because of complications in Western Australia the work was not completed by that date. As a result the Government, I think sensibly, has extended the time for completion of the work and has placed a limit on the amount of money which can be spent on the work. I hope that at some stage - probably when he replies - the Minister for Snipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) can indicate what will happen if for some unforeseen reason the amount of $125m, which he has stated has been set aside for the work, is exceeded. I have been assured that the amount will not be exceeded, but if it should be I hope that the Government will be sympathetic and show a reasonable degree of understanding to ensure that sufficient money is made available to complete the work.

There are several other matters concerning this agreement to which I will refer. This railway is another milestone in the development of rail standardisation which has been talked about in Australia for more years than most of us have been on this planet. I believe that in .the original agreement the then Prime Minister adopted a very niggardly attitude towards the Western Australian Government in regard to the terms of the agreement, and unfortunately this Government has not seen fit to give any relief to the Western Australian Government or to the Western Australian railways. The figures which were tabled in 1961 by the then Prime Minister indicated that the estimated cost of the railway was $82,400,000. I will use that figure rather than the figure of £41,200,000, which was used at that time. The Western Australian Government had to provide $12,400,000 out of its own Consolidated Revenue. This meant that the Commonwealth had to provide funds to the extent of only $70m.

The unfortunate thing about this matter is the formula which the then Prime Minister adopted. Basically this is a rail standardisation project. It provides for the conversion of the railway from a 3 feet 6 inches gauge to the standard gauge of 4 feet 8i inches. Yet the Government at that time - and this Government is continuing the anomaly - decided that one-half of the cost of this railway should be credited to a development project. This meant that the Western Australian Government had to pay the whole of the cost of that development, and that the standardisation formula would be applied to the remainder of the project. The Western Australian Government has to meet 100 per cent of one-half of the cost and the Commonwealth had to meet 70 per cent of one-half of the cost. In plain terms it meant that the Western Australian Government had to provide $12.4m out of its own Consolidated Revenue, and that under the formula which was adopted, out of Commonwealth funds the Western Australian railways had to provide ten-seventeenths of $70m, or $4 1.2m, making a total of $53. 6m, and the Commonwealth had to provide only $28.8m.

We must bear in mind the fact that the original agreement between the Commonwealth and’ Western Australia was entered into in 1961. Only 3 years earlier - almost to the day, but at least to the month because it happened in October 1958 - a similar rail standardisation agreement was entered into between the Commonwealth and the States of New South Wales and Victoria. That agreement provided that the Commonwealth would make available 100 per cent of the funds for the conversion of the Victorian railway to the standard gauge of 4 feet 8i inches. The Commonwealth made available the whole of the funds and New South Wales and Victoria had to provide only 15 per cent each of the total funds, by way of repayments to the Commonwealth, making a total of 30 per cent of the total funds. The standardisation formula which was applied in that instance provided that the Commonwealth would contribute 70 per cent of the funds and that the 2 States would each contribute 15 per cent of the funds, making a total of 30 per cent. The richest States in the Commonwealth received treatment which was most favourable compared with the treatment meted out to Western Australia, although Western Australia has the largest area of all the States. It is one of the smaller States in terms of population and it has considerable problems associated with distance.

One of the first major developmental projects in Western Australia was the decision of Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd to build at Kwinana an integrated steelworks - provided rail standardisation was provided - which would process some 2 million tons of ore mined at Koolyanobbing. That works was expected to produce from 2 million tons of ore some 450,000 tons of pig iron or 330,000 tons of finished steel products. However, immediately this project was announced the Menzies Government was not prepared to deal sympathetically with it and provide all the funds required. That Government would not apply the same formula to Western Australia as was applied to New South Wales and Victoria. I think this is a serious anomaly and I hope that this Government or some other government in the years to come will give sympathetic consideration towards assisting the Western Australian Government with its railways system.

There is a serious anomaly when one considers the treatment that was meted out to the Western Australian Government and particularly when one updates the figures.

The Minister for Shipping and Transport in his second reading speech said that the current estimate of the cost to complete the project is $125m and of that amount the States will have to provide from general revenue funds $18,750,000 and the remaining $106,250,000 is to be provided by the Commonwealth. The catch is still there. The Western Australian Government will still have to repay $62.5m of that amount of $106,250,000. This is based on the Menzies formula of ten-seventeenths of the funds provided by the Commonwealth. The State will also have to meet the interest payments on that $62.5m.

The failure of the Government in not applying to Western Australia the formula which was applied to New South Wales and Victoria is not the only anomaly. When money was provided in 1961 most of the Commonwealth funds made available to the States was money which the Commonwealth raised by means of income tax, company tax, sales tax and other forms of taxation available to it. In effect the Government became the money lender. The Government provided the money for rail projects and the States have had to pay from 6 per cent to 7 per cent interest on the money loaned to them. The amount of interest varies because the money made available is by way of annual grants and in recent years we have seen the long term bond rate climb from 6 per cent to the present rale of about 7 per cent. As far as the Commonwealth is concerned it may well be that by the time one portion of the loan, which is over a period of 20 years with the remainder over a period of 50 years, is paid and the interest is also paid the Commonwealth will have made a profit on the rail standardisation project from Kalgoorlie to Kwinana. Even though this line goes to Koolyanobbing it will in reality be between Kalgoorlie and Kwinana.

It is important to bear in mind the repayment figure of $62. 5m plus the interest rate of 6 per cent to 7 per cent on the money made available to the Western Australian Government. That Government will be committed to a total cost of $81,250,000. Once again we should compare this amount with what would have been the case under the rail standardisation agreement between the Commonwealth and the State governments of New South Wales and Victoria. If the formula had been applied to the Western Australian Government that State would have had to pay only $37.5m, a saving of about $43 .75m. The Western Australian Government has received no favourable treatment whatsoever from this Government whereas the 2 wealthiest States of the Commonwealth - New South Wales and Victoria - have received quite substantial and favourable treatment. The formula applied to New South Wales and Victoria should likewise be applied to this project. No-one can deny that this project is part of rail standardisation connecting the capita! cities of this country. In the last 20 years the outstanding debt of the Western Australian State Railways has increased from S59m in 1950 to $161.7 in 1970. In that same period the amount of interest has increased from §2. 186m in 1950 to $6.574m in 1970.

It is because of the substantial increase in interest rates that the State railway systems are today moving for substantial increases in freight rates and in passenger fares. New South Wales and Victoria have both substantially increased these rates at about an average of 50 per cent and some went as high as 70 per cent and 80 per cent. I believe there has been a similar increase in Western Australia. The Minister for Shipping and Transport also recently announced increased passenger fares of about 20 per cent on the Commonwealth Railways, which uses the Australian railways system. There have been substantial increases in freight charges. All these increases have an important bearing on the cost structure of this country. I would hope to see this Government or a future Commonwealth government make a serious review of the whole question of rail freights, rail passenger fares and the capital debt of our State railway systems with a view to giving financial assistance to them. The Commonwealth provides subsidies for civil airlines. Last year airlines in Australia were subsidised by the Commonwealth to the tune of $50m or $60m. This figure is difficult to work out exactly. The Commonwealth provided the money for the construction of airports and associated charges in the airline industry. We have had subsidies paid in respect of various developmental air routes. I believe that the amount paid last year was $2m. But this amount of money is not made available to State governments for their railway systems. In the Estimates for this year an amount of Si 8m has been made available for the shipbuilding industry. I do not disagree that these subsidies should be paid - and this particularly applies to the shipbuilding industry - but I am just drawing attention to the favourable treatment this Government gives to one industry and not to another. The Minister can smile. I have in my electorate a shipyard and I agree that a subsidy should be available for this industry. I think the Government should be looking at ways and means of assisting the Australian railways industry by subsidising the construction of rolling stock the price of which in many cases does not compare with the price for which it can be purchased overseas.

I want to refer to the finance made available by the Commonwealth by way of a subsidy for the construction of roads. The Government will make a considerable profit this year from the additional duty imposed on fuel. I believe that during the term of the present Commonwealth Aid Roads Agreement the Commonwealth will pay to the States $ 1,252m. I estimate that the Commonwealth Treasury will finish up with a surplus of $750m from the additional revenue received from the fuel tax. Some of this money should be used to assist the States to make their railway systems more attractive, particularly the suburban transport systems so that people will prefer to use this form of transport instead of driving their cars into the city. The suburban rail transport systems in Sydney and Melbourne in particular can carry about 30,000 to 40,000 people per hour, compared with the highways, expressways and freeways which are being built into the capital cities which carry about 2,500 people per lane. A 6-lane highway, with 3 lanes each way, will carry about 7,500 people compared with the figure of between 30,000 and 40,000 people that can be carried by rail, depending on the type of train being used.

This is where money should be expended. When I make a plea on behalf of rail transport I can quote any number of cases. I have quoted the figures for other types of competitive transport such as road, air and sea transport. I believe that about $28 lm is paid as a subsidy to primary industry and secondary industry to which I have made reference already. There are any number of grounds why the Government should have looked more favourably on the Western Australian Government and given it a better arrangement in relation to the repayment of the money lent to standardise the railway from Koolyanobbing down to Kwinana.

I was a little disappointed with the Indian-Pacific Express. One would have to go a long way to better the comfort on that train, and I have no unfavourable comments to make about that. We have a new train, a new line and Commonwealth money was provided to upgrade various sections of the New South Wales line between Parkes and Broken Hill. I think that about $10m was made available. Money has been provided to complete the Broken Hill to Port Pirie section. I think that everyone expected a train which would be comparable, in relation to time - it is comparable in relation to comfort - with other trains throughout the world. Having in mind the long stretches between stopping points, I had hoped that the journey from Sydney to Perth would have been much faster. The train leaves Sydney at 3.15 p.m. on a Monday and a Thursday, and does not arrive in Perth until 7 a.m. on the Thursday and the Sunday. That is a total actual travelling time of 65 hours 45 minutes. This represents an average speed of a little over 38 miles per hour and an actual travelling speed of 45 miles per hour..

I will not for one second try to compare it with the new Tokkaido Express between Tokyo and Osaka, but there are many trains throughout the world with which the Indian-Pacific Express could be compared. I would like some indication from the Minister as to what the position is. Have the Commonwealth, New South Wales, South Australian and Western Australian railways any plans for speeding up the journey so as to reduce as far as possible the travelling time between our east and west coasts? I think that there is a need for it. I would like some information from the Minister as to why the average speed is only a little over 38 miles per hour. I believe that it is about 38.5 miles per hour and the actual travelling speed is about 45 miles per hour. Having in mind the long distances between stopping places, it would be quite easy to> obtain; a decent speed for the whole of the journey. The Opposition supports the proposal because it is a reasonable approach to a situation which has developed and for which no-one is to blame. Unfortunately, as I have said many times in my speech this afternoon, it perpetuates an unfair and unreasonable financial arrangement between the Commonwealth and the State.


– The Bill which we are debating at the moment proposes to amend the Railway Agreement (Western Australia) Act of 1961. As the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) pointed out, the Act came about by agreement between the Commonwealth and the Western Australian State government of the day. It set out the terms and conditions by which the Commonwealth would provide a certain amount of financial assistance to Western Australia for the construction of a standard gauge line between Kalgoorlie and Kwinana. The purpose of the amendment is to remove the time limit originally imposed in relation to the expenditure incurred by Western Australia on the project and also to relate the provision of 85 per cent of the cost by the Commonwealth to the current estimates. As a result of the proposal to remove the time limit being agreed to the recent expenditure that has been incurred since 14th June 1970 and future expenditure will be accepted by the Commonwealth as a legitimate charge against the standard gauge project.

The rejection of the amendment, however, would mean that any expenditure incurred by Western Australia on the project since 14th June last year and from now on would not be accepted by the Commonwealth, because the Act in its existing form lays down very specific limits in that regard. To allow that situation to continue would be quite unfair and quite unreasonable because, as the. Minister pointed out, it has been necessary for certain design and expansion work on the project to be carried out which could not in many respects have been envisaged in the initial stages. In addition to being unable to complete the project on the date originally planned, there is also the matter of the increased cost beyond the original estimate. So it is only proper that the terms of the agreement in relation to the 85 per cent provision should be extended into the additional charges. Therefore, under all the circumstances, which were in most respects either unforeseen in the first place or unavoidable as time went on, the proposal to extend the date of acceptance of charges and the extension of the 85 per cent proviso is no more than fair and reasonable and deserves the support of this House.

In the long run the money will all be returned to the Commonwealth because of the original agreement that was made between the Commonwealth and the Liberal-Country Party government in Western Australia in 1961 which placed upon the taxpayers of Western Australia the unjustified burden of repaying every cent which the Commonwealth provides. This will come about - the honourable member for Newcastle mentioned this - because of the interest which has to be paid on the loan money. That interest will be at least equal to and most likely substantially in excess of the grant which the Commonwealth made. In effect, the Western Australian taxpayers will eventually repay the total loan plus the grant, plus the State’s original commitment and so will finish up paying for the whole project even though the project itself for a standard gauge railway will be of considerable benefit to Australia generally.

That cost upon the Western Australian taxpayer has increased very considerably since the agreement was first drawn up. The original estimate of the cost in 1961 for the entire project, including the line and associated works such as carriage sheds, passenger terminals and rolling stock, was $82,400,000. In February 1965 the estimate was revised to $110m. I note now in the Minister’s second reading speech that the current estimate is $125m, or an increase over the 10 years of something like $40,500,000. Even in 1961 the estimate then of $82m-odd was being measured critically against the estimate made in 1945 by Sir Harold Clapp of $16,500,000 for a standard gauge line between Kalgoorlie and Fremantle. In 1961 the estimate was 5 times greater than in 1945 and the current estimate is 7 times the amount in 1945. The amount then, of course, was for a distance of only 419 miles as against the 528 miles for the present project But even so, it will be found that including associated works and rolling stock the cost per mile of construction today is something like $236,700 per mile as against some $39,300 per mile in 1945 - a rather significant difference. No doubt the various associated works suggested in 1945 will be nowhere . near as extensive as they are today and the same thing would apply in relation to the rolling stock. But even so, simply looking at the construction cost of the line itself, it will be found that today’s estimate is several times that of 1945.

I have drawn the comparison of costs today with those in 1945 for 2 very good reasons: Firstly, had Labor been reelected in 1949, it would have gone ahead immediately with the standardisation as a Commonwealth responsibility, as a cost not to the State but to the Commonwealth, because of its defence value. It could have been expected to be completed by the latter part of the 1950s, and as a result would have been providing additional revenue both to the Commonwealth and to the States over the past 20 years. The difference between Labor’s attitude and that of the present Government was that it took the present Government 13 years eventually to get round to doing the job, and by that time the cost had increased very substantially - I have just referred to the figures - so the Government got around that point by ensuring that the taxpayers of just one State would carry the burden. Actually, of course, it is extremely doubtful whether the project would have been commenced yet if Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd had not applied some pressure regarding its requirements in relation to the transport of iron ore from Koolyanobbing to the coast, and .this is made evident from what Mr Menzies as Prime Minister said in 1961 when he introduced the Bill to amend the Act which we are now considering. Mr Menzies said:


That is his Government - . . subsequently embarked on a close examination of this railway project in consultation with both the Government of Western Australia and Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd. We satisfied ourselves that construction of the railway had a vital place in that company’s plans for a major expansion of the steel industry.

So it was quite clear that BHP made the decision or at least made the request and the Government quickly jumped to attention. That was the only reason which caused the Government to see that the standard gauge line was necessary. The second reason for drawing attention to the difference between costs in 1945 and costs in 1971 is to show how delays, and quite often unnecessary delays, can mean a very much greater eventual cost which in turn places a heavier than necessary burden on those who foot the bill - the taxpayers - for railway construction. In addition the delays, particularly long delays, mean that revenue from the project concerned is unavailable to the interested authority.

I would like to point out that right at this moment delays are being allowed to occur and are in fact being enforced with regard to certain other necessary railway projects in Western Australia which actually should be proceeding right now. I refer to the fact that at the present time the Government of Western Australia is seeking financial assistance from the Commonwealth to construct a standard gauge line between Kalgoorlie and Esperance via Kambalda. I want to draw the attention of the House to the similarity of that project to the standard gauge line with which the Bill now before the House is concerned. The standard gauge line between Kalgoorlie and Kwinana proceeds via Koolyanobbing for the purpose of providing for BHP a more convenient and less costly transport of iron ore to the coast. The line from Kalgoorlie to Esperance would go via Kambalda for the purpose of more convenient and less costly transport of nickel concentrates of Western Mining Corporation to the port of Esperance.

One difference between the 2 projects is that the extra miles of construction were many more with regard to the line via Koolyanobbing than would be the case with the Kalgoolie-Esperance line. As a matter of fact the extra distance to include Kambalda would be minimal so far as that line is concerned. The KalgoorlieEsperance standard gauge line is a project which should receive immediate Commonwealth financial backing, not just because of its local importance but because of its value to Australia generally. Let me point out to the House that extensions such as this were envisaged in the schedule to the 1961 agreement which is now before the House and which I now quote:

And whereas in order to assist in the defence and the development cf the Commonwealth of Australia to facilitate interstate trade and commerce and to secure maximum efficiency and economy in railway operations, it is desirable that there should be a standard gauge railway between Kalgoorlie and Perth and other places in the State of Western Australia.

It cannot be denied that a standard gauge line between Kalgoorlie and Esperance which links with such a line to Perth and the eastern States would be in keeping with that particular part of the 1961 agreement in all respects. Defence and development, interstate trade, maximum efficiency and economy would all be met. I would like also to point out that the late Sir Harold Clapp, as Director-General of Land Transport, when he made his report in 1945 on the standardisation of the Kalgoorlie-Perth line referred to the advantages which could and would be gained from linking that proposed line with ports. As everyone knows, Esperance is a port, and a very good one, with facilities capable of handling all the goods, substantial as they would be, which would be transported on the standard gauge line. Sir Harold Clapp also said:

The construction of this independent line in Western Australia is the simplest way to provide the inter-capital gauge link, pending the conversion at a later date of the entire West Australian system.

So in both cases, the 1945 report and the 1961 agreement, the linking of the KalgoorlieFremantle line with other State lines on a standard gauge basis was contemplated as a gradual overall standard system. It may be interesting to note that Sir Harold Clapp estimated that to convert the entire system in Western Australia on 1945 values would cost in today’s money a little more than $95m. If we look at the recent estimate for the line between Kalgoorlie and Kwinana we can put the cost today of converting the entire system at about $875m, using Sir Harold Clapp’. figures as a comparison. What this does, of course, is highlight the fact that the longer the delay in constructing such lines the greater will be the cost eventually, but more particularly it makes it very evident that where, by constructing standard gauge lines there will be considerable advantage immediately and in the future, those lines which it is physically and financially possible to construct should be proceeded with immediately. Because of the ever increasing costs, and as the construction of the Kalgoorlie-Esperance line is in fact in keeping with the intention of the 1961 standard gauge agreement, it is difficult to understand the Federal Government’s reluctance and, apparently at this date anyway, its refusal to agree to extend to the State Government of Western Australia the financial assistance it is seeking.

It must be realised that a standard gauge line between Kalgoorlie and Esperance would be the means whereby much larger loads of nickel concentrates than at present could be transported from Kambalda immediately upon completion of the project. In addition concentrates from other nickel mines, such as International Nickel, Anaconda and so on would also be transported in large quantities when those mines reached production stage. The line would also serve the salt company at Widgiemooltha which transports the salt to Esperance for export - another very significant industry.

In addition to its benefit in the mining field the line would be of considerable assistance to the farming industry in the area beyond Norseman in relation to the freighting of stock to or from the eastern States or Perth markets. At the present time stock and other freight either has to be transhipped at Kalgoorlie or, if going to Perth, has to be sent by road. Nickel concentrates from Kambalda or the refined article from the refineries some 9 to 10 miles south of Kalgoorlie could be transported direct to either Fremantle or Esperance as desired instead of, as would happen under today’s system, requiring the process of road haulage into Kalgoorlie. It must a’so be remembered that the 1961 standard gauge agreement, which the Bill we are now discussing proposes to amend, would have been the means of providing some of the rolling stock such as passenger coaches and ordinary goods cars and trucks which could be used on the Esperance line. So in that respect those cars and other vehicles would be serving a dual purpose.

The fact is that a standard gauge line between Kalgoorlie and Esperance would be of general benefit not only to the Western Mining Company and the State of Western Australia but also to the rest of Australia. It must be built eventually and it would be false economy to delay its construction any more. Actually the Western Australian Government is seeking only partial financial assistance towards the construction of the line and in this respect, to my mind anyway, it is being more tha: reasonable. When we remember that the standardisation between Kalgoorlie and Fremantle is, as is pointed out in the Schedule to the Agreement, desirable from both the defence aspect and the genera! development and economy of Australia we cannot cease to be amazed that a major part of the cost was not provided from the defence vote and at least the bulk of the remainder by the Department of National Development and the Treasury without any or very little charge to Western Australia. Therefore, as Western Australian taxpayers were committed by the Liberal-Country Party Government of that State in 1961 to paying in fact the whole of the cost of the Fremantle-Kalgoorlie project it would be no more than reasonable for the Commonwealth to pay the total cost of the KalgoorlieEsperance link.

I would also like to point out that in just a few years time, perhaps only 5 or 6, a standard gauge line may well be required starting at Kalgoorlie and extending into the nickel areas in the north and north-east so that concentrates, etc., from those areas can also be transported direct to either Esperance or Fremantle as required. Surely the extension of the system as I have indicated will increase the value of the existing standard gauge both from Kalgoorlie to Fremantle and also from Kalgoorlie to the Eastern States. I appreciate that we cannot pick the finance required off trees but it must be realised that it will need to be provided only over a spread of years, and here again is a further good reason why the Esperance line should be proceeded with immediately.

Unfortunately it is apparently the policy of the Federal and State Liberal and Country Party Governments that mining companies should build their own lines to transport their products to the ports or elsewhere. This in turn means, of course, that the lines belong to the companies for ever more and the State Government or the Commonwealth Government, as the case may be, receives no revenue whatsoever from their use. This is the situation with regard to the railways serving the iron ore projects in the north of Western Australia. The lines were built by the companies concerned and the engines and rail cars belong to the company. Even if the mines continue for another 100 years Western Australia will receive not one cent in freight charges.

This to me is a false method of economy: Save a few million dollars in the first instance and lose several million dollars over a period. It is quite obvious when we look at the pay load which the locomotives haul on those iron ore lines that the whole rail project will pay for itself in a reasonably short space of time. I understand that the Western Mining Company has offered to finance the building of the standard gauge line between Kalgoorlie and Esperance to which I just referred, but it wants the money paid back at about 7 per cent interest and they also want freight concessions on the ore and concentrates they send over the line. This would also, in my opinion, be a ‘false economy proposition as far as the Western Australian Government is concerned, but unfortunately it is not in a position to find the necessary finance itself and must rely on the Commonwealth to come to its assistance. I conclude by pointing out that the proposal by Western Australia is actually a cheap method for the Commonwealth and should be grasped very quickly unless, of course, the Commonwealth intends, as if. should, to foot the whole bill itself.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.


– This Bill illustrates clearly the Commonwealth Government’s attitude to State governments, for the funds to be made available to the Western Australian Government will not be by way of grant but as a loan requiring high interest payments. The Commonwealth’s attitude has led to a situation in Western Australia where most major railway developments, and possible areas of profit for railways, are in the hands of private enterprise. I instance the north-western area of Western Australia where the railway lines which carry the iron ore have been developed and are owned by private companies instead of by the Commonwealth or the State. If, instead of adopting a niggardly attitude, the Commonwealth had had vision it would have been possible for the Western Australian

Government to develop these lines. For that matter, if the Commonwealth were genuinely interested in national development and decentralisation it would have taken the initiative and ensured Australian ownership and control of these railways. It would have linked them with a coastal rail system thereby linking the Geraldton rail terminal with northern ports. This would be the logical step in providing a rail link for the northern ports with the rest of Australia.

The Government has expended enormous sums on subsidising airlines and coastal shipping services and it is incredible that a feasibility study was not made of the works proposed to be undertaken in accordance with this railway agreement. It is the Government’s lack of vision which continues to hinder the development of Australian transport systems. At present the Government is pursuing a piece by piece programme under which in most cases funds are available only to improve existing routes. No overall planning is envisaged and instead of there being effective development the Government is trying to solve existing problems. It is necessary to extend and redesign marshalling yards and freight terminals. One wonders whether the works that have been completed already will not require further expansion. I hope that when that situation arises the Commonwealth will make funds available not only for that purpose but also to enable a proper study to be made of future requirements so that, high tonnage lines will not be developed by private combines leaving only uneconomic areas for government railways.

The agreement overlooks one important issue. No provision is made for the rehabilitation of tracks and rolling stock. The Commonwealth, in effect, is saying to the State: ‘We will help you establish the standard gauge and to acquire rolling stock, but it will be up to you to maintain them’. It is too much to expect a State to bear such costs. It will be impossible for the State to meet such expenditure under the present financial structure of the Commonwealth and the States. This is a national project and should be planned on that basis. The time is overdue for the Commonwealth to take a truly national interest in the future of Australia’s transport systems. The Government should drop its ill-planned, stop-go, stopgap policy of waiting until a problem arises before it reacts slowly to deal with it - that is, if it deals with it at all. This attitude is evident in the Esperance to Kalgoorlie railway line fiasco.

Where is the Government’s interest in national development and decentralisation? Seemingly it has no interest in the national development of Australian railways. If it were interested it would be promoting the improvement and standardisation of suburban rail systems to a modern standard. It would be financing experimental passenger systems, not only on an interstate basis but also on an intrastate and suburban basis in an effort to ensure that our railway systems have an economically competitive future and do not deteriorate to the stage where they become a drain on the taxpayer. A feasibility study should be undertaken to determine whether railway systems should be a drain on the taxpayer or should be developed as a community amenity. A study should be made of suburban railways as a means of easing road congestion, reducing the road toll and combating pollution. This is the type of thinking which is needed; not the type of thinking which permits the construction of a standard gauge line on which trains, like the Indian-Pacific train, operate at an average speed of only 45 miles an hour. It is as quick to travel by motor car as it is to travel by the Indian-Pacific. In fact I could make a journey a dam sight quicker in my car. Perhaps there is some additional profit to be gained from selling sleeper accommodation. Perhaps the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) will explain the motives in placing into service something which, by world standards, is obsolete.

It is envisaged on a world basis that future trains will travel at speeds ranging from 150 miles an hour to more than 300 miles an hour. It is ridiculous that with Australia’s vast distances the Australian public should be given such poor service. The maximum speed at which the IndianPacific train travels is 75 miles an hour, and this is on our main east-west line. That maximum speed is maintained for a brief time only, hence the low average speed. Perhaps the Minister will be able to indicate whether it is proposed to speed up this service. We cannot make our railway systems pay because we are suffering from obsolete planning and obsolete equipment. We have an obsolete Federal Government whose lack of consideration was typified by the recent overnight increase in Commonwealth rail fares when pensioners and others who had planned to travel were faced with increased fares making it impossible for many of them to travel or, because of the short notice involved, if they did travel, to arrive at their destinations with no spending money. I instance this situation as an illustration of the lack of thought and consideration which seems to filter through all aspects of Government policy.

As the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) mentioned, Western Australia is not receiving favourable treatment. In fact the treatment it is receiving is inequitable. It will be faced with unreasonable interest rates and whatever expansion works it undertakes will be a direct drain on the State Treasury or on Commonwealth funds which are made available to that State. It is time action was taken to conduct a feasibility survey to ensure co-ordination of all forms of transport and to review subsidies to enable a rationalisation of the cost to the Australian taxpayer, particularly because of the lack of overall return on public money invested in our railway systems. The Australian taxpayer must meet the total cost involved in this Bill as well as the interest payments that will become necessary. Although the payment to the State may seem substantial, the situation is frightening when regard is had to the amount that must be repaid simply because the Commonwealth Government will not recognise its responsibilities and make grants to the State or remove from the State the responsibility for constructing the railway works proposed.

The east-west line is the only all-weather land link to Western Australia. The Commonwealth Government has seen fit to refuse funds for an all-weather road so it is important that the proposed standard gauge lines linking with the main railway system should be developed for defence, trade and tourist purposes. The Commonwealth Government should provide at least one fully integrated land transport system to Western Australia. It should not wait until ad hoc pressures from private development companies force a decision which may be too late. The profitable ore lines are in the hands of private companies and the cost of obtaining the use of such lines or acquiring them would be prohibitive. The present situation is similar to what would be the situation if all airports were in the hands of private companies. There is lack of planning and the situation could arise under which the decisions concerning Australia’s internal rail transport were made in overseas boardrooms and were dependent on fluctuations in overseas markets and economies. It would be appalling if this situation were allowed to develop, but there are no Government plans to provide railway extensions into our northern regions. Obviously such development will come only with private companies which will consider their own needs and not the needs of the Australian community. If they want any moneys for development from the Commonwealth, they must repay the amount almost twice over, as is the case in this instance. The Commonwealth has made an investment for which it will receive the benefit of having an integrated rail development on which to utilise more efficiently its own rolling stock, achieving more economic use and quicker turnround of its own rolling stock and all the profitable benefits which accrue. It is regrettable that it never took a larger degree of responsibility in the matter. Once again, it is leaving the State to carry a heavy financial burden.

Minister for Shipping and Transport · Gippsland · CP

– in reply - I would like to make one or two general comments before answering the specific questions raised by the various honourable members who have spoken to this Bill. Running through the speeches of the 3 honourable members of the Opposition who have spoken on this Bill has been the common trend of blaming the Commonwealth for all the ills of the railway system. As is usual, the Opposition is completely ignoring all the rights and the roles of the States. The Constitution shows that the railway systems in the States are in the control of and operated by the States. This does not mean to say that the Commonwealth does not take an interest. In fact. it has taken a very keen financial interest during the life of this Liberal-Country Party Government over the past 20 years, to the tune of investing approximately $240m in railway systems. It ought not to be forgotten, though, that if the States do not set high priorities in their own budgets, that must lead to the running down of the State railway systems. In fact, in some States that has occurred.

We have reached a stage with our railway systems today when something more must be done. The Commonwealth recognises this. The Australian Transport Advisory Council, of which I am chairman and which is composed of all the State transport Ministers, has recognised this. Indeed, we have established a special committee to examine in some depth the problems with which the railways are faced. The resources of the Bureau of Transport Economics, which is part of my Department, will be called upon for expert advice in that field. We have gone one stage further than that to try to assist the States with their problem. At the recent Australian Transportation Conference it was recommended that we ought to set up a Transport Industry Advisory Council. This body is now in operation. It consists Of road transport operators, people with interests in shipping, as well as some of the commissioners of the railway systems. It is the intention of the council to report directly to me on the various transport systems of Australia. Of course, the members of the council will be taking a keen interest in the railway situation.

Several direct questions were asked of me by the honourable members who had spoken. The honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) wanted to know whether, if the $125m mentioned specifically in the Bill was over-spent, the Commonwealth would be prepared to contribute a greater amount. Of course, the fact is that the Western Australian Government and the Commonwealth Government do not expect the amount to be exceeded. But naturally enough the Western Australian Government has a

Fight to come to the Commonwealth Government if that amount is exceeded. The Commonwealth will consider any submission that is made.

I think there is a lack of understanding of what has occurred in the Western Australian railway system by honourable members who have criticised the financial arrangements made by the Commonwealth with Western Australia. An unfair comparison has been made between the standardisation .projects in New South Wales and Victoria and in Western Autralia, The fact is that when the Western Australian standardisation agreement was signed the Western Australian Government took the opportunity to renew a great deal of its railway system. It undertook more than just a standardisation programme. In fact, it rebuilt a number of marshalling yards; this cost millions of dollars. It spent $30% on new, modern rolling stock and locomotives, while only Sim was spent on rolling stock in the New South WalesVictorian arrangement It substantially upgraded a very critical section of the narrow gauge system east of Perth, replacing the old line through the Darling Ranges which had tortuous curves and steep grades. The Western Australian State Government provided for itself about 136 miles of extra main line to handle the new and diverted traffic. So the standardisation agreements really cannot be compared. The Western Australian Government, as a result of Commonwealth ‘assistance, has been able to build for itself a modernised railway system.

The question of funds has been raised by the 3 speakers who have spoken. For the interest and information of honourable members, I shall give them the figures in this regard. I think this illustrates the point that I have just been making about the development proportion involved in this agreement. The total estimated cost of the project is $125m, of which half - $62.5m - was for development of new railway systems in the Western Australian area. The remaining $62.5m was for the standardisation proportion of the programme. So it cannot be said that the Commonwealth has not been ungenerous at all. A proportion of money that is to be paid back for the development section of the programme is to be paid back mostly over 50 years. The Western Australian Government has not said to me at any time that it is unhappy about the financial arrangements that have been made.

I think the 3 speakers raised the question of the Indian-Pacific run, claiming that it is far too slow and wanting to know what plans exist for speeding it up. Speed is not the only factor. I think this can be amply demonstrated by the demand for seats or beds on the Indian-Pacific express. In fact, bookings are 3 months ahead. So the people of Australia and the visitors who come here are not so concerned about speed as perhaps honourable members who have spoken. Nevertheless, when the Australian Transport Advisory Council met the State railway commissioners the question of increasing the speed of the service was raised. The State railway commissioners have returned and will try to overcome the problems experienced by the various States in linking up services so that the time of travel can be reduced. We are currently looking at the prospect of a third train for the service. We are hoping to be able to reduce the time taken for the journey on this particular service. But it has to be remembered that there are problems of individual State interests with the need to meet connecting services. There is the problem of arranging time tables so that a train does not arrive or leave in the middle of the night. We believe that the new tracks are good, and, as I said before, we are working out proposals so that a third Indian-Pacific train can run somewhat faster.

The honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard) raised the question of the Kalgoorlie-Esperance standardisation claiming that it was in nature similar to the Western Australian project. Correspondence has passed between the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and both the present Premier of Western Australia and the last Premier of Western Australia about the possibility of the Commonwealth assisting with the standardisation of this line. Up to this point of time, we have adhered to the attitude that the private enterprise company itself ought to be encouraged to assist in the manner that private enterprise companies in the north west of Western Australia have done where substantial railway lines have been built by the iron ore companies. So at this point of time the Commonwealth has not agreed to assist with the financing of the Kalgoorlie-Esperance line.

I think the final matter that the honourable member for Kalgoorlie raised was the fact that this line was referred to in the Clapp report. Studies that have been made in later years show that wholesale conversion of these sorts of systems is not entirely economic. Modern transfer methods, such as bogie exchange, bulk conveyors and containers have been developed which turn out to be far more economic than gauge conversion except in the case when very large volumes are transported such as for mineral traffic and main intercapital routes. I would like to thank honourable members for the interest they have taken in the Bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Third Reading

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

Bill (on motion by Mr Nixon) read a third time.

page 1794


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 19 August (vide page 369), on motion by Mr Swartz:

That the Bill be now read a second time.


– The purpose of the Bill before the House is to amend the Air Navigation Act to ratify an agreement with the International Civil Aviation Organisation whereby the council of that body is to be increased from 27 to 30 members. Also, the Bill contains a minor amendment, namely, the deletion of section 6 of the Air Navigation Act which deals with international organisations’ privileges and immunities - a matter which has already been covered in other legislation which passed through this Parliament earlier this year.

The Opposition has no objection to the amendment in regard to ICAO representation. I cannot see any great difference whether the council has 27 or 30 members. If that body feels that increased membership will be an improvement I do not object to such a change. But what does concern members of the Opposition is the way in which the articles of ICAO are being carried out. We object to the way in which this Government and the Department of Civil Aviation are conducting inquiries into air accidents involving international aircraft. We also object to the tragic, even disastrous, agreement that was entered into or accepted by the Depart ment of Civil Aviation, and in particular by the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) with the Americans. This agreement was announced by the Minister last Sunday night. For this reason and so that we may debate these issues and test the feeling of the House I move as an amendment to the motion ‘That the Bill be now read a second time’:

That all words after “That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: whilst not declining to give the Bill a second reading the House is of opinion that a joint select committee should be established to investigate and report upon accidents involving international aircraft and the serious problems of Qantas and the South Pacific route.’

In support of my amendment I wish to refer to what were in my opinion 3 very serious accidents which have occurred at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport since December 1969. The first accident involved a Pan American Airlines 707 jet the pilot of which, on 1st September 1969, had to abort its takeoff. It took the Department of Civil Aviation 9i months to conclude its inquiries and to bring down a report on this accident. Fortunately noone was seriously injured and irreparable damage was not done to the aircraft. The points that were brought out by the inquiry were centred on one matter, namely, a defective hydrometer. Because of a fault in the hydrometer the aircraft was overloaded to the extent of 6,800 lb of fuel. This was the principal point that was grasped by the inquiry to justify the fact that the pilot had to abort takeoff. It had been alleged that seagulls were sucked into the intakes - of two of the motors and the aircraft lost power at a critical point. The pilot then had to abort takeoff and as a result the aircraft travelled 200 feet beyond the end of the runway. The aircraft was fortunate enough to move into some very soft soil in which it came to a halt. As I said earlier no-one suffered serious injury.

The point I want to bring out is that there was a lot of verbiage and technical jargon in the report on this accident but there was no mention of one very important point - that the insufficient length of runway had been referred to by this Parliament’s Public Works Committee. The Committee has drawn attention a number of times to the fact that the runways should be extended to overcome a problem such as the one which developed on this occasion. The Australian Federation of Air Pilots has submitted evidence on a number of occasions to Public Works Committees drawing attention to the fact that, provided everything went well, there would not be aborted takeoffs such as this one, and the runways were quite long enough. However, the Federation pointed out that in the event of any problem developing, such as the pilot overshooting the threshhold on touchdown or a belated or aborted takeoff the runways were not long enough. All those facts were overlooked by the inquiry.

I am wondering whether it was a policy of the Government deliberately to refrain from extending the runways because at that time Pan American Airways, which was the principal operator on the South Pacific run at that time, was flying long range Boeing 707 321B series jets whereas Qantas Airways Ltd was operating Boeing 707 138B series jets which had shorter range and carried a smaller load. If the runway was shorter, as was the case at that time, Pan American Airlines was unable to use its longer range aircraft to their maximum capacity. Pan American irlines aircraft were going out light loaded whereas Qantas aircraft were going out with full loads. I ask whether this was one of the points which was conveniently overlooked by the inquiry because its report made no reference whatever to the fact that if the runway had been only 200 feet longer an accident would not have occurred and the Pan American aircraft would not have been severely damaged. If the runway had been longer the cost of repairing the aircraft would have been avoided and the passengers would not have been brought so close to a serious accident.

The second accident to which I wish to refer occurred at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport on 29lh January this year when a Trans-Australia Airlines Boeing 727 aircraft collided with a Canadian Pacific Airlines Ltd DC8 aircraft which was crossing the runway on which the TAA 727 had been cleared for takeoff. The TAA pilot must have been horrified to see the Canadian Pacific aircraft in front of him as he was travelling down the north-south runway. We in this Parliament have had no report on the accident since it occurred 8 months and one week ago - actually 8 months ago last Friday night. The Minister for Civil Aviation has not made a report to the Parliament I believe that the inquiry into this accident has not yet concluded.

I would like from the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz), who represents the Minister for Civil Aviation in this House, an explanation of some other incidents. I would like to know why the TAA voice recorder was confiscated by the Department of Civil Aviation officers without authority although there is an agreement that this tape cannot be removed unless someone is injured.

All I ask for is an answer to that question and an answer to when this Parliament can expect a report on the results of the inquiry into the near tragic accident to which I have just referred. The accident involving the TAA and Canadian Pacific Airlines aircraft could have been one of the worst in the history of Australian aviation. The aircraft were pretty well loaded and carried more than 200 people. It was only by a miracle that the TAA pilot was able to lift off in time to avert a tragedy, although the aircraft sustained a considerable amount of damage. However, as far as aviation is concerned the aircraft were not nearly write-offs.

The other accident to which 1 would like to refer involved a Pan American Airways Boeing 747 jet which overshot the east-west runway at Sydney (KingsfordSmith) Airport on Sunday 18th July. Once again if the runway had been an extra 200 feet in length an accident would not have occurred. I again give the facts that I put forward in my first example. The Public Works Committee of this Parliament and the Australian Federation of Air Pilots have drawn attention time and time again to the short runways. They were all right if everything went well but this was another example of where everything did not go well.

On Sunday 18th July the Pan American Boeing 747 overshot the Sydney east-west runway, admittedly after the pilot had touched down about 4,000 feet from the threshold. He was about 2,500 feet further up the track than he should have been. There is an argument as to whether he should have attempted to go around again. The facts are that he put down at that point and went on with it. It was only when it became obvious to him that there was insufficient runway that he was able to steer the aircraft into a controlled right hand slide off the end of the runway. If he had not been able to carry out this manoeuvre it is certain that the aircraft would have gone over the runway and crashed over the embankment into a huge cement pipe which we all know and have seen on many occasions. That was on the Sunday.

On Monday 19th July Pan American Airways made a statement that the landing aids at Sydney airport were useless for jumbo jets. On Tuesday 20th June the Director-General of Civil Aviation, Sir Donald Anderson, blasted the pilot of the Pan American 747 and is alleged to have said that the pilot made a major error in judgment and that it was astounding that the error had gone uncorrected. He went on to say that before Pan American began operating Boeing 747 jets into Sydney last October, the Department of Civil Aviation had written to the airline on 17th September and explained the landing aids. Pan American Airways has since denied this. It is also alleged that after the accident the pilot stated that he did not use the system and had no instructions whatever which would allow or cause him to use it.

The Director-General in his attack on Captain McDonald, captain of the Pan American 747, quoted as his authority Captain R. Gray, a Department of Civil Aviation heavy transport examiner who had undergone a conversion course for the Boeing 747 aircraft and is fully endorsed in respect of it. The Director-General quoted this man as his authority when saying that the runway at Kingsford-Smith airport is satisfactory and suitable for landing 747 jets. I say this without in any way trying to denigrate the ability and experience of Captain Gray as a pilot. I accept that the man is fully endorsed in relation to the 747 aircraft. What I would like to know from the Minister is whether he or the Director-General of Civil Aviation can explain where Captain Gray gained his experience in landing 747 aircraft on the T-VASI system which, I understand is installed only in Australia and New Zealand. I believe it is being installed in Nepal, Fiji and Manila but at this point of time and at the time of the accident it was installed only in Australia. The T-VAS] system is a new system introduced and perfected by the aviation industry here in Australia. I understand that Captain Gray is endorsed in relation to this aircraft but I would like to know when he learned to operate under the T-VASI system. Was it in the United States of America where there is no T-VASI system or was it in Australia where there is a T-VASI system but no 747s on which he could do his training? This is the important matter which the Minister should explain to the Parliament. Furthermore, if everyone in civil aviation in Australia is so well informed on the T-VASI system and its use by 747 pilots, can the Minister explain why the day after Sir Donald’s attack on Captain McDonald an urgent and secret film session was held in the Qantas route qualification film theatre at Mascot at 2 p.m. so that the Department of Civil Aviation could give Qantas managerial and senior training pilots their first look at a film demonstrating the different methods of using the T-VASI approach slope guidance for 747 aircraft? Whilst Qantas has now accepted the T-VASI system it did not always accept it and I would like to quote an extract from the Qantas ‘Flight Crew Instruction Manual’ and the ‘Flight Crew Training Manual’ under the heading Visual Approach Slope Indicator’. It reads:

Boeing studies of the final approach and landing geometry of the 747 indicate that existing VASI systems should not be used as landing aids.

All VASI systems are visual projections of the approach path normally aligned to intersect the runway at a point 1000 to 1S00 feet beyond the threshold. When ILS is installed, VASI visually coincides with the ILS glide slope.

Flying the VASI glide slope to touch down is the same as selecting a visual aim point on the runway adjacent to the VASI installation. The difference between the eye reference path and the gear path of the 747 results in a deceptively low approach with marginal or insufficient threshold height. Landing gear touch down may occur well short of the runway. Short of new installations, realignment of present VASI or new procedures developed for the use of T-VASI, the increased height of the eye reference point cannot be adequately compensated. Therefore, VASI should be disregarded as an aid to landing until new installations have been made or present installations or procedures modified, flight checked and approved by responsible agencies.

That was the attitude of Qantas to the T-VASI system, the suitability of which 1 am not questioning. What I am saying is that at the time of the accident and when Sir Donald Anderson made his attack on the pilot the T-VASI system had not been fully explained or accepted by the various airlines that were operating into Sydney. The Pan American pilot involved in this incident stated that he had no instructions from Pan American Airways as to what he was to do.

Mr Swartz:

– What year were the manuals from which you quoted? Did you quote Qantas?


– I am quoting from a journal and I hand it to you. What I am concerned about is that one is unable to gain some information on these matters. On 23rd July I asked a question of Mr Doubleday, Regional Director for New South Wales, who said that he could not answer it but that he would pass it on. Whilst I have not time to relate the whole of the question, I sought information in relation to the points I have made on this subject and as at this date I have not yet received a reply to my question. This gives honourable members an example of what happens so far as this Department is concerned over the supply of information. I do not know whether it is the Department or the Minister who is to blame. There should be a select committee set up to inquire into the investigation procedures for accidents involving foreign aircraft. Such accidents should be investigated by an impartial panel of experts appointed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation charged with the responsibility of revealing and not concealing, as can be the case when accidents are investigated by home town authorities. What I am afraid of is that, just as in the first incident to which I referred we had a home town authority appeal result, we might get the same in the next inquiry. The same might apply in other countries. What we want are total and impartial inquiries wherein the facts are brought out and wherein information is not concealed. I would like to see the members of this Parliament given the opportunity of examining these matters more fully than they are able to at present.

The other matter to which I would like to refer in the limited time available to me now is the agreement that has been entered into by Australia and the United States of America relating to the increase in flight frequencies between Australia and the United States. It is obvious that Australia has really taken a bashing at the conference which took place and the only thing the Government could say came in a reply to a question which I asked the Minister for National Development on 28th September. He said - this is all that we got out of him, and when I say ‘we’ I mean Qantas, because it is Australia’s airline:

It was that in, future the control of arrangements regarding capacity on the Pacific route will be in the hands of the two governments, not in the hands of the airlines or the American Civil Aeronautics Board.

What is the American Civil Aeronautics Board? It is, in effect, the American Government. Any decision made by that Board, such as the one which said that Qantas could not land Boeing 747s in America, has to be ratified first by the Administration. In actual fact, what the Minister told me on Tuesday of this week was a lot of bunkum because that arrangement already exists. When the Civil Aeronautics Board makes a decision, such as the one it made concerning the important question about Qantas 747s, it has to be ratified by the American Administration. So the position has always been that a decision by the Board has been a decision by the American Administration. The situation has always existed where this Government has been able to confer with the American Administration. What we want to do very quickly-

Mr Swartz:

– That is now changed.


– The Minister will have an opportunity to make his speech shortly. He could have made * a statement on this question any day this week. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) sat on the report concerning additional flights across the Pacific for 3 weeks. He was afraid to bring it in. He waited until the Parliament had adjourned. Parliament adjourned on the Thursday night and on the Sunday the Minister for Civil Aviation released a statement to the Press. Why did he not have the courage to come into this Parliament and make the statement where it should have been made? And the Minister for National Development knows that the Minister for Civil Aviation sat on the report concerning the siting of Sydney’s second airport for months and months - for 12 months all told. He sat on this report concerning additional flights across the Pacific for 3 weeks. He was finally forced into the position where he could not sit on it any longer; it got too hot for him.

Mr Swartz:

– Control yourself, Charles.


– I am completely under control. I am just telling you where to get off.


– Order! I ask the honourable member for Newcastle to address the chair.

Mr Swartz:

– Those statements about my colleague are quite inaccurate.


– They are true as far as the agreement was concerned. We are all aware that it was in July of this year that the American Civil Aeronautics Board advised Qantas that because Pan American’s request for additional 747 flights in place of 707 flights had not been granted and because American Airlines’ request for an additional 2 flights to Australia had not been granted, Qantas would not be permitted to land its new 747s in America. Let us look at the real position concerning flights between Australia and America. There is a shocking over-capacity at the present time, on the figures that I have in front of me. In March of this year Qantas made a statement to the effect that it had 1,540 seats available each week. Qantas had a 42 per cent loading, which meant that 640 seats were filled and 900 seats were empty. Pan American had 1,406 seats available. It had a 39 per cent loading, which meant that 547 seats were filled and 859 seats were empty. American Airlines had 420 seats available. It had a 34 per cent loading, which meant that 143 seats were filled and 277 seats were empty. So in March, at the end of the first quarter of this year, the average number of seats available weekly was 3,366, of which 1,330 were filled and 2,036 were empty. The position has continued to deteriorate.

Qantas made the statement that it would lay off a considerable number of staff. On page 3 of a Qantas publication the following paragraph appears:

The Americans argue that by providing a better service across the Pacific they will generate more business, some of which would inevitably fall into Qantas’ lap. But this they have lamentably failed to do. Indeed, the situation is now so bad that most planes on the route are flying with only 30 per cent capacity. On Qantas flights, this includes passengers going to Europe via North America.

I do not have time to go through the figures for each individual airline, but summarised the position at the end of July of this year was as follows: The number of seats available weekly with the 3 airlines, Qantas, Pan American and American Airlines was 3,366, of which 1,010 were filled and 2,356 were empty. This is the equivalent of 161 Boeing 707s leaving Australia empty every week. The new agreement gives American Airlines 2 additional 707 services a week and it gives Pan American a 747 service in lieu of a 707 service. This gives Pan American an additional seat capacity of 210 and American Airlines an additional seat capacity of 280. Qantas will cease to fly 2 freighters and will use them as passenger aircraft, giving it a total of 13 flights per week. So Qantas will be given an additional 280 seats per week’. A total of 770 additional seats will be available. With the present loading of 30 per cent, it will mean that on the average there will be 3,126 empty seats on aircraft flying between Australia and America each week while only 1,010 will be filled. The equivalent of 22i Boeing 707s will leave this country each week empty.

What is the answer to this problem? What can be done about it? At the present time British Overseas Airways Corporation has 5 Boeing 707 flights a week between Australia and the United States, UTA French Airlines has 2 flights, Air New Zealand has 4 flights and Qantas has 11 flights and 2 cargo services, but under this new agreement it will have 13 nights. Pan Am has the equivalent of 10 Boeing 707s, that is, 5 Boeing 707s and 2 Boeing 747s, which will be increased to 3 Boeing 747s a week, and American Airlines will have a total of 3 Boeing 707 flights a week. In addition, Canadian Pacific has one flight between Sydney and Vancouver each week. This means that there is the equivalent of 30 Boeing 707 and 2 Boeing 747 flights a week between Australia and America. There are 6 flights on Monday, 3 on Tuesday, 4 on Wednesday, 3 on Thursday, 5 on Friday, 6 on Saturday and 5 on Sunday. So no-one can argue that there are not sufficient flights between Australia and America or between America and Australia. What we should have said - and what we should still be saying - to the Americans when they said that Qantas could not fly 747s to America was: ‘All right, you cannot fly your Pan-Am 747s to Australia, so you had better revert back from 747s to 707s’.

I turn now to the question of the purchase of new aircraft. In the last 10 years Qantas has bought $3 65m worth of aircraft from America. Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett Airlines of Australia between them have bought $175m worth of aircraft. This does not include the famous F111 aircraft. Commuter aircraft flying in Australia today which were purchased from America are valued at $6.25m. Yet these are the people who have said to Qantas: ‘You cannot fly your 747s to America unless you grant us additional flights’. The Government has been weakkneed and spineless in this matter. It should have been prepared to stand up to this great friend and ally of Australia - America is continually referred to in this way - and to say: ‘Not only can you not fly your Pan-Am 747s to Australia, but we are not going to buy any more aircraft from you.’ Trans-Australia Airlines recently placed an order for 4 Boeing 727 200 series at $7m each, making a total of $28m. No doubt Ansett will be wanting the same aircraft because TAA and Ansett are like twins; what one gets the other wants. That means that sales of aircraft totalling $5 6m are immediately available to Boeing. The internal airlines, the domestic airlines, are considering purchasing wide bellied jets. They should be instructed by this Government not to display any interest whatsoever in the Lockheed L1 01 ls or the Douglas DC10s or any other American aircraft, but to place an order for the European Airbus A300. We should be taking this reprisal.

No-one can expect any reduction in fares under this new arrangement. The most heavily trafficked route in the world, the London to New York route - and I have not time to quote the figures - is one of the most expensive routes. The cost per passenger seat mile on that route is as high as on any other route in the world today. If this Government had any courage at all it would do the things I have suggested tonight. For the reasons I have put forward I believe there is a crying need for this Parliament to display some interest in what is happening in the Department of Civil Aviation today and in what this Govern ment is doing in the field of civil aviation. The members of this Parliament should be permitted the opportunity of investigating and examining all the books available and also the facts on the matters I have referred to tonight so that at least the Parliament will be aware of what is happening. If this Government had any decency and if it had nothing to be afraid of it would support the amendment I have moved.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hallett)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired. Is the amendment seconded?

Mr Stewart:

– I second the amendment.


– I had intended to give an intelligent and historical speech on the formation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation but my intention has been diverted and I now have to reply to the attacks made by my novocastrian brother the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) who on behalf of the Opposition moved this amendment:

That all words after’ That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: whilst not declining to give the Bill a second reading the House is of opinion that a joint select committee should be established to investigate and report upon accidents involving international aircraft and the serious problems of Qantas and the South Pacific route’.

Anyone with any knowledge of aviation would realise how abortive such a select committee would be. It would be impossible for people without any specialist knowledge to determine the technical details alone. The suggestion of the appointment of a select committee to inquire into this very major and vital segment of aviation is beyond my comprehension. The honourable member for Newcastle has attacked the Government in regard to aircraft travelling between America and Australia. For years the Government has been endeavouring to reach an agreement with the American Government on a government-to-government basis, and now this has been achieved. This is the first time that Australia has been able to get this breakthrough, and in contradiction of what the honourable member for Newcastle said the Australian Tourist Commission has expressed its view in regard to this matter and in very definite terms. The Australian Tourist Commission believes that a most significant breakthrough has occurred in the new AustraliaAmerica air agreement on specific frequencies and in the imminent prospects of an agreement on charter flights.

The Commission has advocated for some time increased frequencies on the route, particularly for direct flights into Melbourne and to tap more traffic from the eastern and mid-western regions of the United States which together represent the biggest travel market of the world. The Commission is concerned by some of the suggestions during the last week that the agreement was a surrender to the United States and against our best interests. We believe this to be a shortsighted view. We believe that the Australian delegation led by the Director-General of Civil Aviation, Sir Donald Anderson and which included the General Manager of Q antas, Captain R. J. Ritchie, faced up realistically to the rapidly changing situation in international civil aviation and the opportunities available to us as a country for a large volume of lower fare traffic.

The delegation secured an important new position for Australia. It has for the first time negotiated an agreement which can put the Pacific frequencies under review on a government-to-government basis. We see this as a considerable protection in the national interest to enable the Australian Government to intervene if necessary to ensure the viability of Qantas Airways Ltd as our international carrier. The agreement removes the uncertainty which has for so long existed with respect to orderly development. It is a reasonable assumption that the increased capacity should be quickly absorbed by the high growth rate, particularly by United States visitors to Australia, which for the year ending 30th June 1971 was up 42 per cent. We are already seeing evidence of marketing campaigns involving millions of dollars being spent by United States carriers in North America. It has increased the flow of tourist traffic to this area. Qantas also is a substantial promoter in the North American market and a large provider of the regular frequencies to this area which must gain in the long run from the additional traffic that we believe will certainly be generated.

The Commission has informed the Department of Civil Aviation of its full support in the establishment of a Qantas charter subsidiary. We also welcome the prospect of bilateral exchanges of charter rights which will enable charter operators to bring here a new type of tourist business. Unlike other long-haul destination countries in Africa and Asia, Australia has so far missed out on this very vast charter market. Its development here will act as a badly needed spur for our tourism and will further highlight the need for specialist assistance as in the case of other countries to encourage the building of more international class hotels and to bring our resorts and attractions up to world standards.

That is the view of the Australian Tourist Commission, the organisation which is vitally interested in aviation which will bring to Australia a great influx of people. This organisation congratulates the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) on what he has achieved through his Department, but we heard tonight his Department castigated for making the best of deals that could possibly have been made in the circumstances. I did want to give an intelligent resume of the history of the International Civil Aviation Organisation but I have now spent much of my time in this debate refuting the statements of the honourable member for Newcastle. At the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly held at New York on 11th and 12th March 1971 the International Civil Aviation Organisation unanimously adopted a protocol amending Article 50a of the Chicago Convention to increase the number of members of the Council from 27 to 30. The amendment requires ratification by 80 states out of the total membership of 120 before it comes into force.

The primary purpose of this Bill is to obtain parliamentary approval for Australia to ratify this protocol. The Air Navigation Act 1920-60 sets out in the Schedule the Chicago Convention which was ratified by Australia in 1947 and the two protocols amending the Convention in minor respects. This Act was amended in 1961 and 1963 to approve the ratification of other minor amendments to the Chicago Convention, including that of increasing the size of the Council from 21 to 27 members. These amendments being set out in further schedules to the principal Act, the present Bill continues the practice by inserting the new protocol in the 7th Schedule of the principal Act.

So we have in front of us tonight a Bill to ratify this agreement We have heard a discourse in regard to air accidents and to the pact made in regard to the ingoing and outgoing tourist traffic by American airlines. I think that the Department has done a very good job. My friend the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham) was to have led in this debate but he has been called away and I stood in for him at the last minute. I congratulate ‘the Minister and the Department of Civil Aviation in at last bringing about a government to government agreement. We would like more of the traffic with America. It is human nature to want more. One has to remember that America has a much greater population than Australia has and, human nature being what it is, it wants the lion’s share of the cake. I think that under the circumstances the delegation that represented Australia, led by Sir Donald Anderson, has done a great job for Australia. Members of Parliament should not belittle those representatives. After all, they are great Australians. They have a great record of military and civil service to Australia. They would not go to America and willingly give away one iota in regard to this matter.

I do not think that members of Parliament should belittle and castigate them. They have gained the absolute maximum benefit they could by their representations. I think that part of the Australian way of life at the present time is to play ourselves down - not play ourselves up and live up to the great traditions of our pioneers and the people who made Australia great. I deplore this attitude. The people who made up the delegation are great Australians. They did the best for Australia. It is about time we put our petty differences to one side, supported them and gave them the encouragement to do something for Australia. They are great Australians, and this is substantiated by the Australian Tourist Commission which has a vital interest in this matter. I strongly oppose the amendment and commend the Bill to the House.


– I agree with the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin) that this is a very vital area of aviation. He went on to quote the present general manager of Qantas Airways Limited. Let me quote the former general manager of Qantas, Sir Hudson Fysh, in a letter to the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ of 21st September 1971. The letter is headed ‘Qantas under pressure’. It reads as follows:

The reported result of the recent negotiations between Australia and the US (‘Herald’, September 20), in which Australia has been forced to give way in allowing a greatly disproportionate number of seats per week on the South Pacific services between the US and Australia to the US operators, and a great increase in seats, at the very time when aircraft of both countries are operating on an average far less than half full, can only come as a shock to all those who have at heart the interests of Australia and Qantas, and of good international relations.

In fact, a case could have been made out for a conference to reduce the number of seats being flown till traffic improved, not to increase them.

The flat refusal to allow the Qantas Jumbo jet to fly to the US though Pan American Airways were flying the type to Australia illustrates the Western-type pistol-point negotiations which took place and which stood Australia up in a corner, and can be described as a triumph of might over right.

The result of the negotiations, or the way in which they have worked out, denies the right of one of the participants to equal ownership of the inter-country air traffic on a basis calculated to produce operation without financial loss. This denies the very basis of international air transport negotiation as I have always seen it.

It is to be hoped that a new and equitable agreement can be negotiated speedily and before irreparable harm has been done to the Australian operator, which, unlike the mighty US companies, cannot afford to operate one of its important routes on the basis of half empty, unpayable seat places.

Meanwhile, Australians will rally round their own company, Qantas, and the superlative service it provides.

I think that answers anything that may have been said by the honourable member for Mitchell. It is with genuine alarm for the wellbeing not only of the air traveller but also of those people who live near our airports - in particular, our international airports - that I rise to support the amendment of the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones). We have had two near airline catastrophes of a major nature which have virtually been dismissed with a slight note of reproval to the parties concerned, in a way so casual that it raised the ugly suspicion that this is a common occurrence and that it was just unfortunate that the matter became public knowledge. No other explanation could be offered for the inactivity of responsible bodies by way of inquiry. Must we wait until a crash actually occurs, wiping out not only the passengers and crew but perhaps a school or hundreds of nearby residents?

This is of more concern to people living in areas adjacent to the Perth international airport where the runways are currently being extended to take the jumbo jets. These runways will place flight paths over populated areas so that these people have not only the invasion of privacy by aircraft noise but now the added fear that safety standards are much lower than was previously thought. Even if the authorities are satisfied in their own minds that all is well they should have taken steps by now to ensure that their convictions were backed by evidence produced at a properly constituted inquiry and that the inquiry’s findings and recommendations for steps to be taken to prevent such further incidents will be made public and put into practice immediately. The Western Australian public has had its fears aroused by the contents of an article published in the ‘West Australian’ newspaper on Thursday, 22nd July of this year.

The article referred to the refutation by the spokesman for the Australian Federation of Air Pilots of the statements of the Director-General of Civil Aviation. Terms such as ‘pre-judging the issue’ are used to refer to the Director’s allegation that a pilot of a Pan-American Boeing 747 had made a major error in judgment. So we have a public situation of two responsible bodies making statements of blame in a manner which can only alarm the public. Still there has been no Government move to bring reassurance to the situation. There has been no suspension of Boeing 747 flights until the suitability of the airport landing system is resolved. Surely this would have been a reasonable action in view of reported statements by Federation spokesmen that the airline wanted a further test conducted on the T-VASI system before allowing their 747 pilots to use it for landings, particularly when the visual approach slope indicator system, the system employing red and white guide lights, is known and accepted as being unsuitable for jumbo jets. Is it not reasonable that, if there are doubts about the so-called accepted system and there is no acceptable alternative, flights be suspended until all possible doubts are eliminated? Once these doubts have been expelled, the public must be informed fully and assured that these matters have been investigated fully and properly. A joint select committee which will properly investigate all the aspects mentioned in the amendment and which will report to the Parliament and the public is the answer.

The suspension of flights by overseas airlines into the United States of America is not such a terrible challenge to the United States, which is threatening to ban Aer Lingus, Ireland’s international airline, from New York a year from now unless American carriers are granted permission to land at Dublin. However it will allow Aer Lingus to continue less lucrative services to Boston and Chicago. The United States has been trying for 25 years to obtain permission for its international airlines to land aircraft at Dublin, but the Irish will allow them to operate only through Shannon. It would appear that if it is possible for the Irish to negotiate in this manner on landing rights, it should be possible for us to take a stand on safety. In particular, whilst our Director-General of Civil Aviation was in the United States of America to discuss the United States ban on Qantas jumbo jet flights to America, with the disadvantage of having had one Australian compromise deal rejected by the United States of America, he negotiated from a situation of weakness, with lack of government action to support Qantas and a heavy commitment to purchase the United States Boeing 747B at $21m odd. All the problems which have been facing Qantas must be investigated. With aircrew insecurity, a record unemployment level among aircrew and an international monetary crisis taking place, it will be a national disgrace to allow such major expenditure to continue. Unless all aspects of operations by Qantas are investigated by a joint select committee we will create a situation in which we could be compounding errors in management or errors in judgment.

It rests with the Parliament finally to make a decision to involve itself in the task of finding out why our major international airline cannot be put in a position similar to British Overseas Airways Corporation, which made a substantial net profit of $6,857,280. Why can Qantas not be put into a similar situation? BOAC has a triple automatic pilot system fitted to its Boeing 747 jumbo jets to allow automatic landing in bad weather. It is all this kind of information which must be placed before a joint select committee for evaluation. From evidence arising from intensive research presented to such an inquiry it may well be found that existing airports are in fact unsuitable for the Boeing 747 and its approach systems. We must bear in mind that we are currently expending large sums of public moneys, millions of dollars in fact, to extend runways and provide landing systems for flight paths over densely populated areas, without due consideration to the safety of those people under the flight paths or to the noise nuisance to which they have so strenuously objected. It may well be found that international airports need urgent resiting to cater for new aircraft not now in use but which it is envisaged will be in operation in the foreseeable future.

The existing system of deciding to purchase an aircraft, then making landing sites and systems to suit the purchase at public expense needs investigation, more so when public expenditure is demanded to allow foreign competitors to land in Australia to the disadvantage of Qantas and to the disadvantage of Australia’s foreign exchange balance. In the proposed inquiry we should look at the effects on our foreign exchange balance, of our policy of allowing our airlines to purchase aircraft fully constructed overseas when we have a failing aircraft construction industry in Australia. A proper look at all aspects of Australian aircraft assembly may well reveal that a heavy protection policy for Qantas is justified. After all, this policy was adopted for the motor industry. Why must we continue to be a slave to American industry and to American airlines, which are in turn heavily supported by their government? Let us take an independent, comprehensive look at the overall situation which is now facing the airline industry by utilising the services of a joint select committee.

We must bear in mind that supersonic aircraft and flight are with us. It is imperative that the select committee look at this

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aspect. It may well find that Qantas, which I understand has options on supersonic aircraft, is intending to use these aircraft at airports totally unsuitable because of their siting. Perhaps for safety reasons only it will be found that most major Australian international airports need to be shifted. This Parliament must be fully informed. Are the Qantas Concorde and supersonic flight aircraft be become another Fill fiasco? This can be avoided by proper investigation now. There is evidence available that must be investigated. To give a few examples of the things that should be investigated, I quote from the ‘Paddington Journal’, which has done a lot of research on this matter. It states:

The Real Cost

All aircraft cost millions of money, but that’s only metal and paper and doesn’t hurt anyone. What we also have to pay, as revealed by SST tests over 7 United States cities and by Concorde flights over England and France, is a feeling of human despair at forever surrendering peace and quiet, damage to property that may or may nol be compensated (and will take a long time), aborted young in humans and animals (one Mink farmer lost 2.000 kits) landslides and animal stampedes in the path of the sonic boom (from 40 to 60 miles wide on the ground along the whole flight path of the ‘plane), pollution from highly dangerous industrial poisons’ added to SST fuel, as well as other fallout; the gigantic noise of the SST especially at airports; the danger to buildings (a Reuter report in the Guardian (London) on 5/8/67 said the French Government paid £143.000 in 1966 in compensation for damage and that ‘ . . . a fresh wave of anxiety swept France this week when a farmhouse in the north-west collapsed, killing 3 people. Survivors said they heard a loud sonic boom just before the roof beams fell in’); the upset of the stratosphere - ‘It is known that SST operation will introduce substantial additional moisture into the stratosphere. This moisture may destroy some fraction of the ozone in the atmosphere leading to an increase in the ultra violet radiation on earth. . . . Life could not exist if the earth were not shielded by ozone from the full effects of ultraviolet radiation; it is not presently known just what adverse effects small increases in ultra violet radiation might have on leafy plants and sensitive life forms. . . .

All this evidence is available and should be looked at. Remember, these are problems in flight, and we must investigate all these aspects if we are to operate international airlines and aircraft. We must have an investigation on world standards. Let us not continue eternally to bury our heads in the sand on the question of aircraft safety and aircraft noise. These matters all are associated with Qantas not only of the future but of today. This Parliament will be asked to ratify purchases of aircraft, expansion ofairports, and underwriting to the extent of millions of dollars of public funds. The Parliament should be fully informed of the consequences of its vote. We must take action before a major tragedy initiates world sympathy and belated public protest and even belated Government investigation. We have had the good fortune of near misses. We have not had a 747 come down in one of the crowded suburbs that are adjacent to all our major airports, or a Concorde creating damage in the countryside or devastating our metropolitan suburbs. It may well be found that our fears are groundless but we should have a proper investigation to be assured and take whatever action is required in the Parliament.


– I rise to support the amendment that has been moved by the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones). Just to remind the House, I will read the amendment again. It states:

That all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: ‘whilst not declining to give the Bill a second reading the House is of opinion that a joint select committee should be established to investigate and report upon accidents involving international aircraft and the serious problems of Qantas and the South Pacific route’.

I want to say something at the outset about the Government’s abject surrender on the recent negotiations with the United States of America in the matter of air routes and aircraft flights into and out of Australia and the United States. What did the deal achieve? As a result of the deal, Qantas Airways Ltd has a right to fly 4 Boeing 747 jets a week into the United States.

Mr Armitage:

– Four only?


– That is right, in place of 8 of its Boeing 707 flights. In other words, the seat capacity of Qantas will be lifted by 200 passengers. It would now be permitted to land1,850 passengers in the United States each week. What do the United States companies get? There are 2 of them in question, Pan American World Airways and American Airlines Inc. Between them they get a boost of 500 seats, not 200 as did Qantas, bringing their total now to 2,400 as against the 1,850 of Qantas. Pan Am had to give up only one 707 flight a week to enable it to lift its 747 quota from 2 to 3 flights a week. I think most honourable members will now know that a 747 carries2½ times as many passengers as does a 707 and yet Pan Am was allowed to substitute one 747 for one 707. This is a measure of our giveaway in negotiations with the United States. American Airlines gained a boost of 2 flights to bring its total to 5 Boeing 707 flights a week. I will quote one informed observer, Warren Beeby, writing in the Australian’ of 26th September. He said:

So an already unprofitable cross-Pacific run is going to become more so, with an even greater number of seats available for the trickle of passengers.

I listened to the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin) earlier. He said we had no worries about this matter, that traffic was being generated that would take up this slack and make use of the full seating capacity. But what did the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) have to say ever so recently - as a matter of fact on 12th May 1971 - when he was expressing concern over extra United States flights? He was not in any way complacent. The Press statement that he issued said in part:

The Australian Government was deeply concerned about applications by, United States airlines to operate extra passenger flights across the South Pacific, the Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator Robert Cotton, said today.

These applications if approved- and I take it they have now all been approved - will intensify the existing over-capacity situation on the South Pacific route which is already resulting in poor passenger loads for the airlines,’ he said.

A little further on in the statement he said:

During the negotiations, the United States representatives claimed that the capacity increase, they sought would strengthen considerably traffic growth in the Australia-United States market.

That is something along the lines of what the honourable member for Mitchell said tonight. But the Minister went on to say:

Since August 1970 when all these arrangements came into operation, the growth rate bad in fact declined.

The Qantas load factor which was then 40 percent had dropped substantially until in recent months it was averaging under 30 per cent.

What we are doing is carting empty seats all around the world at great cost to those of us who have to pay the bill for this great Government airline, to help it keep Australia’s banner flying over foreign fields. I agreed wholeheartedly with the honourable member for Newcastle when he said that we should have been able to expect a more stout hearted effort by the Australian representatives and the Australian Government in these negotiations. We could have told Pan Am that if our 747s were not to be admitted to the United States without our making these further concessions we would not admit Pan Am to Australia. This is not being anti-American, or no more anti-American than Americans are anti-Australian when they prevent Australian beef from entering America except under quota or when they prevent Australian wool entering the United States market. It is simply a cold matter of economics. We could have gone on to cancel the options of Trans-Australia Airlines - as the honourable member for Newcastle suggested - on four 727 200 series stretched aircraft.

I am grateful to the honourable member for Newcastle for reminding us that in recent years Australia has spent $560m purchasing aircraft from the United States. Notably this does not include the Fill with its astronomical cost. This $560m was spent in the United States over the last 10 years. Now the Australian Government has agreed to more seat capacity at a time when aeroplanes on the average are only one-third full. As 1 look at my file I am reminded of some of the people who have had to pay for this grossly uneconomic enterprise, some of the young people whom Qantas recently recruited as trainee pilots. Some of them live in my electorate. Without mentioning his name, one of them wrote to me to give me an indication of some of the people who are paying the price for this shortsighted view taken by Qantas. This gentleman joined the Royal Australian Air Force in March 1962. He flew Canberras in Vietnam in 1968 and then converted to Fills in America. He left the service in March 1971. He was approached by Qantas and offered a job. It was suggested he would have a very good career with Qantas. He held the rank of Flight Lieutenant when he left the RAAF on a salary of $8,600, plus all the other benefits that go with belonging to the RAAF. He joined Qantas on a salary of $4,377 on the promise, of course, that he would in fairly quick time get the promotion that would more than reimburse him for what he was giving up in the RAAF. Six weeks after joining Qantas he was given notice of retrenchment. He is a married man. He has been trained to this life and his training has little application outside the career he has chosen. Therefore he may well be one of the fellows who is doing part time taxi work in the streets of Sydney. Another gentleman in my electorate who sat for the Queensland Senior Public examinations and matriculated in 1966 went on to accept a cadetship with Qantas. He wrote to me and said:

In July 1967 I gained a Qantas Cadet Pilot Scholarship and commenced training in Sydney in August of that year.

The Qantas Scholarship required the applicant to reside in Sydney and also to provide the first S500 expenses, including the cost of 30 hours basic flying. In addition f was required te enter into a $2,000 bond, which covered the training course ana the first 5 years as a pilot with Qantas

Without reading further, that shows that he was yet another one of the casualties of the recent retrenchment by Qantas. While Qantas is doing this it is going on to spend something of the order of $28m on a fifth 747. We have been talking about the 4 747s that Qantas is putting on the run to the United States, but it has taken out an option on a fifth at a total cost of S28m. It is also spending $18m on new computer equipment which is not expected to reach full capacity until 1985. So they found a way of economising by sacking the likes of the 2 gentlemen I have referred to. They sacked 138 pilots, 96 second pilots and 42 cadets. These savings will be only marginal and, as I have suggested in written correspondence to the Minister, they will be a very short term economy at that. It may have been better for Qantas to keep these people on because they would have been a good investment for the future if, as has been said tonight, there is optimism felt that a greater market will be generated. It might not be so easy to get these people in the future. A very interesting article appeared recently in the ‘Financial Review’ headed. ‘Australia Charged with High Air Fare Restrictionism The article criticised Australia’s adherence to the high air fare system as propagated by the International Air Transport Association which is virtually a monopoly organisation. The article said:

The commonest explanation is that Qantas is Australian jingoes’ expensive toy, designed not to connect that remote land to the rest of the world but to give patriots pleasure at seeing the red kangaroo on foreign fields.

If so, the pleasure is largely vicarious, since high fares are stopping Australians getting on to foreign airfields to see Qantas planes.

The article quotes 2 aviation economists from the Exeter University in the United Kingdom, M. H. Cooper and A. K. Maynard, as saying that the only certain result of the IATA cartel - which, incidentally, is keeping up air fares all around the world with the result that aircraft are flying backwards and forwards across the Pacific one-third full - is high costs, low load factors and expensive new aircraft. The article continued and asked a question which has often occurred to me: Why is it that perfectly sound planes are being written off before they are depreciated, and unwanted technological progress is being forced on consumers who are given no opportunity to show that they might prefer lower fares? The situation can be likened to that applying in the motor vehicle industry. A car becomes obsolete within 12 months so that a market can be generated for a new model. This is appeal to snobbery; appeal to status symbolism. We are forever chasing more expensive and more exotic aircraft when, in fact, the public might be content for the time being with existing aircraft which are safe, sound and comfortable. Instead of expending money in developing other and better aircraft we should concentrate on lowering fares, making it possible for more people to fly across the world. Keeping fares high encourages competition from inefficient competitors. This is happening. By keeping fares up we are encouraging competition with Qantas. At present Qantas has 17 competitors on the routes out of Australia. lt is incredible that there should be no fewer than 17 competitors in a country which has a population as small as Australia. Keeping up air fares is enticing other competitors into the field and, of course, we are bound to make reciprocal agreements with the countries from which they come.

I have been an admirer of Qantas for some time. The aircraft are excellent and the service from those people who look after passengers is marvellous. I have no quibble about Qantas but I only wish its services were available to. more people. In my modest view Qantas should show more enterprise and aggression in capturing markets around the world. Unfortunately I do no have time to canvass the question of charter flights. Australia is well behind the 8-ball in this regard. Many other countries and airlines have come into this business. They have captured many of the passengers who ordinarily would have travelled with Qantas. It is common knowledge now that if people want to go to London the best and most economical way is to travel by scheduled flight with Qantas or another airline to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur and there pick up any one of the charter flights which are run by other countries. Those charter flights carry the passengers on to London for infinitely less than what is charged by the scheduled airlines. As a result there has been a tremendous depletion in Qantas passenger traffic. No wonder this airline is in its present position. Its profit has been reduced to a modest $5m, which is substantially less than its former profits.

In a public statement on 2nd August of this year the Minister for Civil Aviation was reported to have said that last March the Department of Civil Aviation wrote to Qantas asking for its current views on the establishment of a charter subsidiary. The initiative was not taken by Qantas. It apparently had to be prodded by the Department of Civil Aviation which, in effect, said: ‘We can see what is going on. What do you think about it? Should you not look at the situation? Have you considered running a subsidiary charter line of your own to make fares much lower and to compete with all those other airlines which are operating charter flights?’ At long last, after prodding, Qantas and the Government have agreed that Qantas should set up a subsidiary airline.

Qantas should be concerned not only with charter flights but also with air cargo. Australia is isolated from the rest of the world and there should be an admirable opportunity for a go ahead enterprising airline to get into the air cargo business.

According to comments that I have heard from members of the Airline Federation, air cargo is regarded by Qantas as a second best sort of thing. But air cargo business is expanding rapidly. Australia needs to be aggressive to get its share of this market and to win freight from foreign-owned shipping lines. There is much to be won. Most of the cargo exported from Australia is carried by other nations. We have a chance to get into this field, but we have not done much about it. World wide, cargo has increased by over 18 per cent per annum since 1964, but less than .02 per cent of it is carried by air. There could be more enterprise in capturing some of this cargo. It has been suggested that the 707 aircraft which will be superseded by the 747 aircraft could be used for the carriage of air cargo. They would be admirable for that purpose. It is not suggested that cargo carriers should fly the scheduled passenger routes, which is what happens now. They could be more flexible and carry cargo to destinations that are not relevant for passenger traffic. If Qantas entered this field it would do much to reduce the invisible debits in Australia’s balance of payments as well as making Qantas that much more viable economically. Despite increased total freight in and out of Australia over the last 5 years, the air carriers have not been able to increase their percentage of the cargo, so there is need for more drive and enterprise in seeking additional business. Among other things there is the need for flexibility of routes, which I have mentioned.

It is suggested that at present the industry lacks ground handling and delivery expertise. According to comments that I have heard, Qantas has not been particularly good in this regard. Persons in the industry say that Qantas would be a lot better off if it handed over forwarding arrangements to people who specialised in this field. At the moment there is much misgiving about Qantas - when the traffic will arrive; what its condition will be on arrival; and when it will be delivered? There are people who specialise in the preparation of documents, customer billing, extension of credit, collecting of charges, accounting, distributing, manifesting, labelling, palletising or containerising. These are specialist tasks and it is suggested that Qantas, like BOAC, should establish a close relationship with a group of specialist agents throughout the world and get into the business of air cargo traffic.

Unfortunately 1 do not have time to refer to some other matters that I wanted to discuss. I am sorry that we are still waiting to determine a site for a second airport to serve the metropolitan area of Sydney. A committee was set up at the beginning of 1969 but we are almost into 1972 and the best information that we have gained is that yet another committee will be established to try to locate a site for the second airport. We have been told that having decided where it will be, it will be the best part of 10 years from when work starts before the airport becomes operational. This does not seem to worry the Minister for Civil Aviation. He prophesied that Sydney would probably need a second airport in the early 1980s. He should visit my electorate and the adjacent electorates of St George and Kingsford-Smith and ask the people whether they think it would be appropriate to have a second airport for Sydney some time in the 1980s. That airport should have been planned about 10 years ago. It should be almost ready for opening but, instead, we will make saturated use of a 1,600 acre plot at Kingsford-Smith Airport. I warmly support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Newcastle.


– Like the honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds) I support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) which reads:

That all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: ‘whilst not declining to give the Bill a second reading the House is of opinion that a joint select committee should be established to investigate and report upon accidents involving international aircraft and the serious problems of Qantas and the South Pacific route’.

I believe that this is an issue which goes far beyond the question of Party politics. It is an issue which should be taken up by the Government. I find it incomprehensible that members from the Government side should not have supported the amendment. Only one member from the Government side has spoken during this debate and he immediately attacked the amendment.

Mr Cope:

– He left immediately afterwards.


– That is quite correct. He left the House immediately afterwards. That was the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin). I believe that these 2 issues - the establishment of a committee to investigate and report upon accidents involving international aircraft, particularly here in Australia, and the serious problems of Qantas and the South Pacific route - should be non-party issues. The honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) and the honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds) have both dealt very extensively with the issue of Qantas Airways Ltd. It is hard to add very much more except to say this: We find that our great and friendly ally, the United States of America, when it comes down to commerce and profit is no longer the wonderful friend that we have had in the past, even though, as the honourable member for Newcastle has mentioned, Ansett Airlines of Australia, Trans-Australia Airlines and Qantas Airways Ltd have all purchased or ordered between them over the last 10 years $560m worth of aircraft from that country. Surely this represents a wonderful boon to the economy of the United States. Yet, when it comes to that country giving a little reciprocal assistance, helping Qantas - its own customer - to be at least an effective financial and commercial organisation, the United States, that great and friendly ally, turns around and, in spite of the recent agreement reached, tries to grind Qantas straight into the ground. I do not think that is very fair.

Mr Cope:

– Are you anti-American?


– I am not antiAmerican. I think America is a wonderful country. All I can say to the honourable member for Sydney is that I just wish that this Government would do a little more to stand up for its own commercial organisations and not bow down to the might and the will of the United States in its commercial transactions. As one of my colleagues points out, only 2 Government supporters are in the House.

I wish to refer to article 44 of the Air Navigation Act 1920-1966. I wish to deal particularly with section (c) of Article 44 and section (h). Section (c) states:

Encourage the development of airways, airports, and air navigation facilities for international civil aviation.

Section (h) states:

Promote safety of flight in international air navigation.

In dealing with these 2 items, I think we must look very carefully at the question of international safety and the development of airports. I refer particularly to the proposal that there should be a second international 24-hour a day airport for the Sydney region. In relation to this question, I draw particular attention to the issue df safety. The Government has already recommended that Richmond or Somersby should be the site of the next international 24-hour a day airport. We notice that the report of the interdepartmental committee refers to the fact that the airport should be as close as possible to Sydney. It is well known that Richmond is closer to Sydney than is Somersby. For that reason, the people right out through the far western suburbs no matter what suburb they come from, whether it be Windsor, Richmond, St Marys, Penrith going right through to Blacktown, Mt Druitt, Wentworthville, etc., and even up into Castle Hill and Baulkham Hills in the electorate of Mitchell, a key electorate, are very deeply concerned that this airport could be established in that region. If honourable members read the statement of the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) carefully and the remarks of the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) when that statement was debated in the House, they will see that the Minister for Social Services stated that he believed Richmond was the most suitable site for the airport. If we take that into account, together with the Minister’s own statement that the airport should be as near as possible to Sydney - he recommended 2 sites, Richmond or Somersby, and Richmond is the nearer - then we must realise that the Government in actual fact prefers Richmond as the site for the second international 24-hour a day airport for the Sydney region. What is the motive of the Government deciding this, after 3 years of interdepartmental committee inquiry into this matter, 3 years of full inquiry in which a recommendation for one of 4 sites was brought down, 2 of which have been rejected by the Government without any reason being given? Wattamolla is in National Park; I think we can understand the reason for rejecting that. Also, there is

Duffy’s Forest up in French’s Forest. What is the reason for that site being rejected? If honourable’ members look carefully into the position, they will find, of course, that Duffy’s Forest and French’s Forest are bounded by the electorate of Mackellar which is the electorate of the Minister for Social Services, the electorate of the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner), a long term member on the other side of the House, the electorate of the honourable member for Berowra (Mr Hughes), a former Attorney-General of this country, the honourable member for Bennelong (Sir John Cramer), a former Minister for the Army, and the electorate of the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar). They are 5 solid Liberal electorates. It is obvious that the intention of the Government is that, even though Duffy’s Forest may be recommended by the interdepartmental committee on technical and commonsense grounds, nevertheless it is going to knock that back for purely political purposes.

Mr Charles Jones:

– Forty per cent of the loading from Mascot comes from the north shore of Sydney.


– The honourable member for Newcastle makes a very good point. At least the people from the north shore who live in these electorates would be nearer to the airport if it were at Duffy’s Forest. Forty per cent of the loading on our aircraft comes from those areas. But that is beside the point. I think the issue is that the Minister for Social Services and those 4 other honourable members in that area should look carefully at playing political football in this way. They should remember that the electorate of Mitchell is also a key seat and could determine the future of this Government. I can assure you, Mr Deputy Speaker, that the people of Windsor and Richmond, the people in the suburbs of Wentworthville, Castle Hill, Baulkham Hills, as well as the areas in my electorate such as Mt Druitt, St Mary’s, Werrington, Cambridge Park, and areas in the electorates of other honourable members such as Penrith are all up in arms about this issue. They are talking now about public meetings to protest against the decision. I received a letter in my office today saying that a pensioners’ organisation - it is not in my electorate - is prepared to assist in taking up a petition to protest against this airport. I think the Government should look carefully at this issue.

However, I believe we should also look at the issue of safety. Article 44 of the Schedule to the Air Navigation Act deals with the question of safety. When it is considered that the Blue Mountains rise immediately behind Richmond, does the Government believe in all honesty that this is the safest place to build the second international 24-hour a day airport. This is quite apart from the tremendous damage to the environment and the aircraft noise issue in all those suburbs I have mentioned before with their huge mass population. Keep in mind also the fact that the planning authorities believe that this is the best area to develop housing. The area where housing development is occurring naturally today is in a segment running from Richmond south to Campbelltown and Camden. Yet, if honourable members read the report and take notice of the remarks of the Minister for Social Services, they will see that the Government is deliberately proposing that the second airport should be placed in the middle of what will become one of the most congested housing areas in the whole of the metropolitan area of Sydney. I believe it is time the Government had a look at a few other proposals. I believe that it is time that we were given the opportunity to have a look at the report of the interdepartmental committee to see what its technical recommendations were. Further, I believe it is time that the Government, instead of evading the issue, told this House and the other place the reasons why Duffy’s Forest was deliberately rejected despite the recommendations of the inter-departmental committee.

I ask the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) who represents the Minister for Civil Aviation in this place, to tell us the reasons why it was rejected. T want him to tell us the technical reasons. When I asked the Minister a question on this matter the day after the statement made by the Minister for Civil Aviation was brought into this House last Thursday week I was given an evasive reply. Senator Mulvihill in the other place asked the Minister for Civil Aviation himself why it was rejected and what the technical reasons were. He also was met with evasion. It is pretty obvious that the Minister for Social Services has had a very great impact upon this decision. I think it is time that we looked at the report of the interdepartmental committee. It is time that the secrecy surrounding the report was dispelled. We should be able to find out what the committee thinks about the proposals which are being developed in other parts of the world today. For example, seadromes are being considered in the United States of America. We should be able to find out whether ‘dromes placed out to sea are a practical proposition. I can only assume that if the inter-departmental committee conducted its inquiry in a proper way it would have inquired into that aspect.

There is a lot in what was said by the Leader of the Opposition in the New South Wales Parliament. He said that the day will come when an aircraft will crash into one of the residential areas surrounding a great airport such as Sydney (KingsfordSmith) Airport and that when that day comes the whole world will experience a feeling of revulsion and will agree that some action has to be taken. That is why the Leader of the Opposition advocates that airports should be located out in the country. An airport placed in the country could be serviced by feeder aircraft from a capital city. This is a proposal that should be looked at.

I cannot but wonder why there has been such tremendous secrecy about this issue. Despite the fact that I mentioned that there had been a preliminary land survey at Richmond on 18th March last year and that the rumours were that this survey was for a possible second airport, I cannot but wonder why it was that the Government has clouded this matter with secrecy and evasion. Why has the Minister, when I have asked questions, deliberately evaded the issue and denied it. One cannot help wondering whether the Government or the Minister in actual fact misled the House at that time. It is time for us to be honest with one another. It is important that we reach a quick decision on this issue. It is important that we make sure that an airport, irrespective of where it is, is not located near a large residential area, be it Richmond, the far western suburbs of Sydney or any other part of the area surrounding the metropolitan districts of Sydney.

I wrote to the Minister for Civil Aviation on 17th September of this year and asked him the following question:

When will the Joint Federal/State Committees be set up and start considering where the Airport should be sited; that is, whether it is to be at Richmond, Somersby or some other point?

I also asked:

When will the Committee mentioned . . . be likely to make a final decision and recommendation?

I interpose to say that this is important because it is obvious that a quick decision must be reached. I went on to ask:

Is there any proposal for the early use of Richmond aerodrome for freight and commercial flights-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Corbett)Order! I think the honourable member for Chifley’s remarks are getting very wide of the Bill. I have allowed him some latitude but I think his remarks are somewhat irrelevant to the Bill.


– I am dealing with such matters as air safety, international airports and the development of international airports in accordance with Article 44 of the First Schedule of the Act. I believe that safety and the development of international airports are issues of vital importance. I hope that no attempt will be made to stifle me.


-Order! The debate shall conform to the rules for a second reading debate. A general discussion of a matter in the principal Act, which is not referred to in the Bill, shall not be permitted unless it is relevant to the amendment which has been moved in the second reading debate. I realise that I have allowed the honourable member some latitude but I think his remarks are wide of the mark.


– I think, Sir, that my remarks relate to Article 44 (c) of the First Schedule which states:

The aims and objectives of the Organization are to develop the principles and techniques of international air navigation and to foster the planning and development of international air transport so as to:

Encourage the development of airways, airports, and air navigation facilities for international civil aviation;


– That is in the principal Act?


– Yes. My remarks also relate to paragraph (h) which states:

Promote safety of Sight in international air navigation;

These are the issues which I will try to deal with, Sir. However, my time is running out.


-I would like the honourable member to confine his remarks to the Bill which is before the House. He is not allowed to deal with other aspects of the principal Act.

Mr Charles Jones:

– I rise on a point of order. I took advice from Mr Turner, the Clerk of the House, on this matter. I have been assured that honourable members are entitled, if they so desire, to debate any clause or articles that are in the principal Act. With due respect, I submit that the honourable member for Chifley is debating the principal Act.


-The ruling that I gave was that a general discussion of a section of the principal Act, which is not referred to in the Bill, should not be permitted. The matters raised by the honourable member are not referred to in the Bill. However, I have given the honourable member wide scope in this debate.


– Well, Mr Deputy Speaker, [ would like to finalise my remarks with 2 points so that time is not taken up by your rulings. I hope that my remarks will not be stifled too much.

I believe it is important that an authority should be given to myself and other members of Parliament, State and Federal, to express their views on issues before the State and Federal committee to be set up to look into the question of a second international airport. Also, I think it is vitally important that the people themselves who live in areas which will be affected by aircraft noise and safety considerations should be given opportunities to express their views by referendum. They should be given the opportunity to say whether or not a second airport should be located in their area. The people have a right to speak on this issue. I will abide by their decision. I appeal to all members of this House to ensure that people are given the right of representation before this committee. We should ensure that they are given the right to make their decision and to express their will on this issue.


– I want to make a few well chosen remarks about the legislation before the House,, and you, Mr Deputy Speaker, may be assured that not in any way shall I contravene your wise rulings. I listened to the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) and other honourable members and I am in complete agreement with those who believe that the Department of Civil Aviation has capitulated completely to the United States Civil Aeronautics Board in regard to the agreement concerning flights of 747 aircraft on the Pacific run. If anything was a shotgun arrangement it was the capitulation by the Department of Civil Aviation to the American authorities in regard to this matter. I agree with what the honourable member for Newcastle said at the time. Until such time as our 747 aircraft were allowed to use American airports no Pan American 747 should have been allowed to come into this country. That would have been a respectable and reasonable approach to the problem because when all is said and done our great and powerful friends stood over the Department of Civil Aviation and got away with murder and Qantas is suffering accordingly.

Qantas is a remarkable airline. It has been built up in this country after being established by a Labor government. It is a credit to this great nation and ranks as one of the major airlines in the world today. Yet we have it being told where it will fly and where it will not fly by authorities in America who have as much to lose as we have. I wonder what the American authorities or the Civil Aeronautics Board would have said if we had said that no Pan American 747 fights to this country would be allowed until Australia got the rights it sought in respect of aircraft of that type. I think they would have been brought to their knees. Instead we are the victims of standover tactics which bring little credit to the Department of Civil Aviation and our negotiators because they have capitulated in the face of threats which I think they should have stood up to.

Mr Charles Jones:

– It was the Government which capitulated.


– lt was in effect the Government. I think the Government is ashamed and a bit frightened of what it has done because the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) has never reported to the Parliament on this subject. It is easy for Senator Cotton to make a statement outside . this place but never has the Government come to the Parliament to make an announcement about this agreement. I do not say it was shady but certainly it was an indication of guilt over the tactics employed by the Government leading to the signing of these arrangements when it knew full well it could have done, a lot better. It is significant that throughout the dealings the Department of Civil Aviation . and the Government - this is what the honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage) and others were speaking about - never considered the interests and welfare of the people generally. No matter who the governmental authority is which is negotiating these matters, whether it be the flights of aircraft or the routes they shall follow, the Government seems to put second the interests of this country and the people in it. The honourable member for Chifley a few moments ago dealt specifically with Article 44 of the Schedule to the Air Navigation Act. It states that it is the Government’s responsibility to encourage the development of airways, airports and air navigation facilities for international civil aviation and to meet the needs of the people of the world for safe, efficient and economical air transport as well as to prevent economic waste caused by unreasonable competition and a number of other major items closely connected with the operation of aircraft throughout the world.

But what do we find? Even in the establishment of airports the Government is found wanting. After it appointed a committee which sat for a long period and brought in a lengthy report, the Government did not reach any conclusion other than to say that it would set up another comittee to have a look at the first committee’s recommendations. The first committee limited its recommendations for a second Sydney airport to two sites, Richmond and Somersby, and then the

Government authorised the new committee to have another look at the matter. Even the ‘Daily Telegraph’, the paper you can trust, had this to say about it:

The . Federal Government’s decision to further develop Mascot Airport is sensible.

Then it went on to deal with the report and said:

But while accepting the wisdom of extending and developing Mascot, other aspects of the statement must be questioned. If it is known, and accepted, that a second airport must be built, then firm plans and time schedules should be formulated.

It seems a bit sloppy to propose a Commonwealth-State investigation to decide whether to have an airport at Richmond or Somersby, and then add that the Committees should also investigate any other areas that merited consideration.

I will tell honourable members why this is so. As was said by the honourable member for Chifley, this Government is busy protecting its own members. It cannot afford to lose a seat and the decision that was made protects the liberal members from the North Shore, the Gold Coast of Liberal politics in Australia, comprising electorates such as Bradfield, Mackellar, Bennelong, North Sydney and Warringah. Honourable members can see the interest which the honourable member for Mackellar, the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) takes in the proceedings now that aircraft will not be flying over his electorate. If he lived at Mascot or Leichhardt or Marrickville he would not be sleeping like he does at this time of the night because the jets would be zooming over that area. These Liberal members have brought pressure to bear on the Government to transfer these facilities elsewhere.

I mention this to show that in every aspect of civil aviation development the Ministers and the Government are found lacking. The interests of the Australian people are second as long as the Government can kowtow to the powerful interests behind the airline operators in the world today. I have received a heart rending letter from a member of my constituency and I will read it to the House in order to show the neglect and contempt that this Government has shown for people in Leichhardt, Marrickville and other areas in the great electorate which I represent in Sydney where, because of expansion of

Kingsford-Smith Airport and facilities there, aircraft are zooming low over their homes at all hours of the day and night. Listen to this letter Mr Minister and listen wisely. The Minister should think how guilty he and the men behind him are for the suffering they are bringing to the people of my district and surrounding districts. This letter came to me today dated 28th September 1971 and reads:

Dear Mr Daly,

Between 11.00 p.m. and 11.30 p.m. Monday 20th September 1971 and 11.00 p.m. and 11.30 p.m. last night, jet aircraft departed from Mascot and woke me up.

On both nights I ‘phoned the airport and complained.

I would appreciate you - obtaining from the appropriate Minister an explanation why my family and I had to experience the two disturbances? - asking are these nights to be established on a regular basis thus flouting the curfew arrangement? - have it established with the Minister and members of his staff right down to the folk who take my calls at Mascot that

I am not a ‘crank’ or ‘nui”

I like most people need a few hours uninterrupted sleep if I am to give of my best to the community and when abruptly awakened for no good purpose, I tend to be irritable.

May I add that the place where I work, i.e. 67 Lord’s Road, Leichhardt, is directly under a Mascot flight path and every day whilst at my job I am subjected to the most frightful noises created by monstrous jet aircraft which fly very low overhead.

You may care to explain to the Minister that for me to obtain the relief I seek I would have to change my job and relocate my home. Neither of which J desire to do.

That man is one of thousands in the electorate of Kingsford-Smith, St George, Barton and Grayndler. They total roughly about half a million and they are vitally affected by the location of aerodromes and their expansion. Yet the Minister and the Government postpone making a decision only to suggest finally that the location of a new airport be in populous areas instead of moving it well out into the country areas and providing feeder services. But what does the Minister intend to do about the thousands of people who are affected? These include elderly and sick people in Leichhardt homes who are awake at night because the airlines want to make profits. The curfew is a colossal joke. In Melbourne aircraft are flying 24 hours a day and it is practically the same at Mascot. At holi day times, such as next weekend, at all hours of the day and night one will find aircraft flying in and out of Sydney’s Mascot and other aerodromes simply because the airline operators say that the people want to fly and it is, therefore, only reasonable to allow them to do so. Let people fly within the curfew hours because they have no special rights.

The amazing thing about aircraft noise and airports generally is that a local council can put a man out of business if he creates a bit of noise in his backyard in a residential suburb. Yet jets can zoom over people’s homes and destroy the living conditions of thousands of people and the Government says that nothing can be done about it. I would like to see somebody in this country test some of these operators in a court of law. I am pretty certain something could be done about it because there must be some protection for them similar to that given to residents by local councils under local government regulations. That is why we on this side of the Parliament not only support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Newcastle but also condemn the Government’s dilatory approach to the general question of civil aviation in this country and its complete lack of planning in order to provide, under Article 44, the safety and the needs in regard to aircraft generally. The reason I rose tonight once again is to give expression to my views on the fact that the Government has no plan at all for the future. When parallel runways are constructed at Mascot into Botany Bay the areas adjacent to my electorate will be unlivable and I do not intend to sit in this Parliament and remain silent while this is happening to people of all ages who are vitally affected by this menace.

I hope that the Minister for National Development, before he resumes his seat after replying to the debate tonight, will give us the full details regarding the Government’s capitulation to the demands by Pan Am over the Pacific route. I ask him to explain why he did not bring this matter to the Parliament and why the Government has a guilty conscience about it. It is ashamed of the proposals. I ask: For how much longer on everything from wool, wheat and the routes which aeroplanes fly is this Government going to bow down and go on its knees to the great American nation simply because it is frightened of the power which the Americans have? How long will it remain the Government if it just goes along and does not put up a fight for the things that Australians want?

But above all else, in the field of aircraft noise, the establishment of aerodromes and the future planning regarding them, this Government has a responsibility to tell the people now about these matters and to plan immediately to remove this menace from people in all walks of life. Tonight I join in the condemnation of the Government’s attitude on this matter. We ask for a reasonable reply, not for a letter containing a number of pages. Every time I write to the Minister I receive a reply containing about 3 pages. I sit down for an hour or two to read it, but in the end I am no wiser than I was before because it is a put-off all the time. Therefore, I suggest to the Minister that on everything from aircraft noise to the routes which planes will follow, it is about time that the Department of Civil Aviation got up to date and with the Government’s support did something for the people whom the Government has the responsibility to govern.


– I rise at this stage because it appears to me that a great deal of the debate on this Bill denotes a very determined effort on the part of many honourable members to shake themselves clear of major capital works which will provide a second primary airport to serve Sydney and also to take international aircraft. I have the authority of leading citizens in towns such as Parkes and Orange to make very clear to the Parliament that if the second airport is not wanted in Sydney they are very willing to have it located in their areas. There are in these areas airports which were used for training purposes during the last World War. They are first class airports of the primary type right at this time.


– I rise to support the amendment moved by my colleague the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones). It reads:

That all words after ‘That’ be omitted wilh a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: whilst not declining to give the Bill a second reading the House is of opinion that a joint select committee should be established to investigate and report upon accidents involving international aircraft and the serious problems of Qantas and the South Pacific route’.

In the discussions this evening some comments have been made about the proposed site for the second Sydney airport, and perhaps it would be a good thing if someone were to remind honourable members that other airports in Australia have problems, too, and not the least of those is the Adelaide facility at West Beach. I want to say a few things about this airport because it is of particular concern to people in the area I represent. West Beach abuts on to the northern end of my electorate. The Minister must realise - or he should realises - that there is considerable public pressure for the relocation of the Adelaide airport. This was manifested very much a couple of years ago when there was a threat of the night curfew being lifted. It has again come to the fore with the possibility of extensions to the south west runway.

It appears not unlikely that with increasing numbers of movements at Adelaide airport there will be increasing pressure for removal of the terminal away from the centre of the metropolitan area. This is why I believe that the Government must carry out an exhaustive investigation of the options, that is, the option of what happens if we keep the airport where it is and the option of what happens if we move it elsewhere. But incredible as it may seem, it looks as if no long term planning has been undertaken for Adelaide airport. Therefore, I put it to the Government that something must be done now, because clearly there will be a long wait before a definitive decision is made. For example, look at the problem concerning Sydney airport. After all the debate, all the anguish to nearby residents and all the committees, there is still no decision on where Sydney’s new airport will be located. The same delay must be expected for Adelaide, I suppose, if we are going to be realistic. So let us start working out now the alternatives and their implications.

In order to find out how much work has been done in long term planning for Adelaide, I put on the notice paper a series of questions addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation on the very first day of this session. I was staggered to learn how little is known about and how unconcerned this Government is for the future of West Beach. There has been much to concern nearby residents in recent years, and the most recent has been as a result of studies made of the implications of extending the south western runway. Reports appeared that this would affect road works being undertaken by the South Australian Highways Department


– Order! I think that the honourable member for Kingston is getting wide of the mark. I have extended leniency to him in view of what has gone on before, but I believe that he should return to the Bill before the House and to the amendment which has been moved.


– Once again, Mr Deputy Speaker, I should like to draw your attention to article 44 in the Schedule. This matter was gone into at some length by members of the Opposition in determining the scope which discussion of this Bill could take. I ask you to show in your rulings on this question the same leniency which you have extended to other honourable members. I pointed out that there has been considerable discussion on the site for the second airport for Sydney, and I believe that what happens at the Adelaide airport is of no less importance to the people whom I represent than is the Sydney airport to the people in that area. Article 44 of the Schedule deals with the aims and objectives of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, and two of those aims and objectives are to:

  1. Encourage the development of airways, airports, and air navigation facilities for international civil aviation;
  2. Meet the needs of the peoples of the world for safe, regular, efficient and economical air transport.

-I realise that that matter could be discussed if you had the right to discuss the principal Act in full, but the ruling I gave was that the debate should conform to the rules for second reading debates and that a general, discussion of a matter in the principal Act which is not referred to in the Bill should not be permitted unless it is relevant to an amendment which has been moved to the second reading. That was the basis upon which I gave my ruling. I have given the honourable member for Kingston a reasonable chance to develop his argument and to bring it back to the Bill and the amendment before the House.


– This matter is of great importance if we are going to consider the possibilities of having an international air facility at the Adelaide airport. This matter is relevant to the Bill and I want to discuss its implications for Adelaide airport. I point out that similar latitude was shown to the honourable member on the Government side who preceded me in this debate.


– He spoke for only a short time. I ask you to come back to the Bill and to the amendment.


– Very well, Sir. I was saying that there are certain recreational areas near the Adelaide airport which are of great importance and that the extension of the south western runway might have required the acquisition of certain houses. Stories were circulated, and they did not come publicly from the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton). In fact, I first read of them in an article in a newspaper in my electorate. The editor of this newspaper was unwilling to disclose the source of the information, and it was perfectly proper for him to do so. That was his prerogative. But why could not the Minister have come out publicly and explained what was happening? I cannot understand why there has to be all this secrecy. The same thing could equally be said about the facility at Sydney. I do not know why we cannot have an open discussion in order to let the public and the Parliament know exactly what is happening.

One of the questions which I directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation referred to the effect on certain roadways of a proposed extension to the runway, if some of these large aircraft were to use the Adelaide airport. The Minister stated, amongst other things, that the Department of Civil Aviation was seeking an answer to an approach from the highways authority, when the authority was considering upgrading Tapley’s Hill and Military Roads, and that that caused the review of possible airport needs at this time. What this means is that if there had not been any approach to the Department of Civil Aviation there would not have been any review - at least not for the present. The present examination is a limited one because it has been limited to considerations of the West Beach Airport itself and any reference to alternative sites in all the answers I have received has been expressed in very broad generalities.

I refer now to a question I asked the Minister. I asked what was the estimated capital cost of establishing a new airport terminal north of Adelaide. The answer I received was:

No estimate has been made but it would certainly cost lens 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.

That answer suggests that not only is there no estimate for the airport - whether it is to be an international terminal or something else - but under this Government there will be no estimate. I should like to know why there is any element of secrecy. I have in mind another question I asked, lt reads:

Did the Department of Civil Aviation advise the West Torrens City Council to rezone certain areas adjacent to the West Beach Airport . . . 1 received a very long answer from the Minister and 1 will not take up the time of the House in reading it. I point out that 1 have not received a frank answer or really any answer at all to this question. I would like to know what advice was given to the West Torrens Council: what were the forecasts of noise exposure expected at the airport? This was referred to in the answer. I have had on the notice paper since the first day of this session a question requesting the noise exposure forecast but I have not yet received a reply. If these figures can be made available to local authorities why can they not be made readily available to this Parliament? After all I have been given the figures in relation to traffic movements in the past and the projected figures for these movements and 1 am pleased to have them. I hoped that the figures on noise levels can be provided because they are really more important than the traffic movement figures.

Another matter 1 want to know about is how much involvement there is by the Department of Civil Aviation in decisions on the choice of aircraft. This is a matter which has been raised by other honourable members during this debate. The Minister has told me previously when I asked him whether the Department would allow larger aircraft to use this airport that there is a general trend towards larger and usually quieter and more economical aircraft which may wish to use our capital city airports. He said that 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. What this means is that the decision making is left to the airlines themselves. How much consideration is given by the airlines to questions of noise? I hardly think that the noise levels will be a decisive factor in the decision of the airlines if quieter aircraft will cost the airlines money. I would like to be reassured that the Government involves itself in such decisions to ensure that the decision on new aircraft purchases will be made in the interests of all the public and not just the airlines and the relatively small number of people who travel on airlines.

My submission is that there must be a full inquiry into all possible contingencies. I am not necessarily advocating a select committee, although this has been brought forward by the honourable member for Newcastle. In the case of this particular facility we know that although we did have a committee inquire into it we have not yet had any decision on it. The Government would not agree to a public examination of alternative airport sites. I seem to remember a couple of Government supporters voting with the Opposition on the proposal for a public examination but it was still defeated by the Government. I would like to see a comprehensive analysis and publication of the findings in the form of a Government White Paper. This should be released to allow a full debate by the public and by the members of this Parliament before a final decision is taken by the Government. The same sort of thing has happened with the new London airport. I said that it should be a departmental inquiry because I believe we now know what we want to know. We need a cost benefit analysis of the alternative courses of action to decide whether we should on the one hand keep West Beach or on the other hand move the terminal, or have both. All these factors must be taken into consideration including the social factors as well as the economic factors. I believe that this can be done.

I would like to refer to another matter. I asked the Minister:

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?

The answer I received, amongst other things, was:

It is very doubtful whether it is possible to devise objective criteria along the lines suggested.

I do not agree with this. I believe that comparative studies can and must be made, using the techniques of programme and performance budgeting systems, either by using a fixed budget approach or a fixed utility approach. Under the fixed utility approach we can say which alternative method is likely to achieve a specific level of success in the pursuit of a given objective at lowest cost. Under the fixed budget approach we can say which of the alternative ways of spending a fixed amount of money will achieve the greatest level of success in the pursuit of a given objective? There are many aspects which we want investigated. If the present site is retained what will be the cost of extensions including acquisition of properties near the airport? To what extent will properties be devalued? This is what the Minister told me in reply to a question I asked him:

It is not necessarily correct to say that an airport reduces nearby land values. There is considerable evidence to the contrary,.

If there is considerable evidence I would like to see some of it. I would like to have an analysis of what will happen to property values. I have questions on the notice paper asking what evidence is available and I hope to get this information fairly shortly. If land values do drop we want to know what the cost will be to the public purse if nearby residents are to be bought out and will they be indemnified against the loss of their property values? What will be the cost of soundproofing homes, if this is necessary? What are the estimated noise levels? What are their effects? And so on. There should be an evaluation of moving the airport out of the metropolitan area in terms of money and in terms of social losses and gains. How much can be expected to be realised by subdivision and development of West Beach? What is the cost of establishing a new facility? What is the cost of establishing a transport corridor to give access to a new airport? Obviously some factors cannot be foretold but this does not prevent a comparison between 2 sites with other things being equal. And even on the imponderables there should be public discussion.

I am sure that many people would like to be kept -abreast of developments in reducing engine noise. We know what happened to the Rolls-Royce company. It went broke because of the large amount of research expenditure on trying to reduce engine noise in the RBI 11. We want to be kept up to date with what is happening about vertical take-offs. Perhaps if these things become more advanced they may be the critical points in the whole discussion. For that matter there may be less air travel. It is not unlikely that air pollution from aircraft could make us have second thoughts about the convenience of air travel. The same considerations apply to fuel reserves - non-renewable resources. The information that I have on the Concorde and the jumbo jet is that 4 flights a day have been projected for the future and in trans- A ti antic flights the Concorde and the jumbo would each carry 2i times its bodyweight in fuel with an annual consumption of 320 million metric tons of kerosene. How long will we be able to keep up with the consumption of that much fossil fuel? I would like to refer to an article in the magazine ‘Interavia’. It reads:

It is very possible that tomorrow’s busy executive will consider his time far too valuable to be frittered away on jammed-up approach roads or hanging about on overloaded airports - despite all the advantages offered by supersonic travel. Moreover, the rapid strides made in communications technologies suggest that in many cases the physical presence of an executive at business transactions may become superfluous. This will certainly be the case by the end of the century and possibly even earlier.

I suppose that we would all say that this would apply to the other fellow and not to us. But perhaps it may be us and it will not be very long before parliamentary sessions are held by way of communications. I can imagine myself sitting in my office and pressing a button. Mr Deputy Speaker would be sitting in the Chair and he would give me the call because my button light went on before that of the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster). It would be like Bob Dyer’s buzzer and bell. I would get in first for a change. This is another consideration. Perhaps there will be less need for air travel in the future because of advances in communications.

I would like to see a great deal more detailed analysis of the various permutations and combinations of what is likely to happen to the Adelaide airport. I would like to see a great reduction in the secrecy surrounding this matter and 1 think that there ought to be a more open attitude by the Government on this matter. In this context let me point out something that I noticed in the Adelaide ‘Advertiser’ on Monday. 14th June of this year. It related to the formation of a protest body concerning the Adelaide Airport. The newspaper article said:

Speaking from Sydney last night Senator Cotton said the timing of the Department of Civil Aviation study of Adelaide Airport had mainly been influenced by inquiries from local highway authorities.

The significant words are: ‘Speaking from Sydney last night Senator Cotton said*. My understanding, and I am pretty sure of it, is that at that date Senator Cotton was overseas. He had been overseas for some time before that and he did not get back until early in July. So someone is pulling someone’s leg. I do not know who it is. I say that, because I hope that no-one is pulling anyone’s leg too much over the future of Adelaide Airport.

I hope that some notice will be taken of what I have said. In the Estimates debate last year I spoke about the future of the Adelaide Airport. I have not any evidence at all that anybody took the slightest bit of notice of what I said. I have not received any communication from the Department or from the Minister. The Minister did not reply to what I said. I just wonder whether the Government is completely impervious to the problems and the long term thinking about the Adelaide Airport and about the convenience of the people who unfortunately have to live close to it. I support the amendment moved by my colleague the honourable member for Newcastle.

Mr Lionel Bowen:

– I did not intend to enter this debate, but because my electorate has been receiving such frequent mention it is appropriate that I say something on behalf of the people there. The accident referred to in the amendment occurred at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport. One must ask why it happened. Briefly, the area is too small and the airspace is too crowded. That evidence was given to the appropriate committee of this Parliament when it sat in Melbourne last year. The Air Traffic Controller said that there is a grave safety danger at Mascot aerodrome because the air itself is completely saturated. This is the basic problem. The 2 accidents that have been referred to in the amendment were directly related to that.

Firstly we have the fantastic result that, because we constructed a major runway, at enormous cost to the taxpayer, some 13,000 feet out into a bay - which was a bad decision in the first place, but nevertheless that has happened - we now find the 747 Jumbo jet weighing 750,000 lb coming in on the small runway. Because it did that and because, obviously, there was some error, it overshot that runway. That runway cannot be extended. It should never have a parallel. At one end of it there is a river and at the other end there is a highway. But the 13,000 feet runway is not used. The major international terminal has been located on the other side of the runway from the domestic terminals. So an accident happens when an international aircraft makes a left hand turn across the main runway. It would be the greatest traffic hazard one could have if one were in a motor car let alone in an aeroplane travelling at enormous speed.

We have been very fortunate that we have had none of these accidents actually on the aerodrome. But what about the people whom I represent, what about the 200,000 people who live on the flight paths in the Mascot and Botany areas? If a 700,000 lb aeroplane crashes it is not only the occupants of the plane who are involved, but also schools and hospitals. It is an indictment of any government that this sort of situation can develop at what is termed the major international airport for Australia. The Opposition has endeavoured to have a committee of this Parliament set up to look at alternative sites. I welcome the suggestion made by the honourable member for Calare (Mr England). Let us hope he is successful. The Opposition would encourage adoption of his suggestion, not just from the point of view of political expediency but from the point of view of what is fair and reasonable. The people in my electorate put up with enough flights now. A lot of money has been wasted in that area. It is incredible to think that no committee of this Parliament has been allowed to have a say in the planning or to investigate why there are so many hazards there now. It has always been left to the departmental heads, and the result has been bad planning. They are the ones who are still planning. They are the fellows who have made the mistakes. The people whom I represent should not have to put up with it.I would be recreant to my trust if I let this debate go on and did not say something on their behalf.

There ought to be a select committee set up to find out why the terminal was located where it was and how perhaps $100m of the taxpayers’ money has been wasted in developing an airport in this fashion. That is all the amendment is asking. It would provide for the setting up of a committee. There should be no further expansion of the Mascot airport. If there is a disaster there it must be odds on in the normal course of events, because of the number of planes involved, that there will be loss of life. This danger should not be inflicted on people living in residential areas. There are approaches over the bay, and they should be used all the time, porticularly by the heavy aircraft. I will not go into the problems of noise now. There has been no Government action to stop it. There has been Government inaction.It becomes political intrigue to set up a committee to say: ‘We are going to have another committee and it will make a decision’. We can foreshadow that it will make a decision after the next election and not before.

Let me refer now to Qantas Airways Ltd. The pilots in my area are very concerned. Many of them have lost their jobs and they feel that there is no real future for them. It is questionable whether the Board is able to handle the situation. Perhaps it would be appropriate if some of the pilots were represented on the Board. Obviously the operation of charter flights is a high-powered game. I think it is significant that one of the most profitable aircraft companies in the world does not own one aeroplane. It hires the lot of them and uses all the charter flights to make the money. Obviously if the pilots, who are the people in the business, had had their way Qantas would have been in the charter business long before this.

I have had a question on the notice paper for some months asking whether Australia is under some restriction because it bought American planes and the Americans will not allow us to fly into Communist countries. If this is so and there is a restriction on our planes being able to take international routes to Russia or somewhere else why are the Americans doing it all the time? This is a point we ought to look at from the Board level. Perhaps it would be a good idea if there were a direct representative of the Government on the Board. I do not necessarily think that would be an improvement. It would depend on who it was. It is not good enough for people to say: ‘We are running this on behalf of the Government. We are making decisions. They must be right, because we have got some experience’. Let us look at what is happening to Qantas now. Its profit is down. Its future is limited. The pilot training scheme has been abandoned. There has been so much recession in that industry that the future of it is very bleak.

As the amendment suggests, it would be appropriate for the committee to look at the composition of the Board and see what could be done to enliven it a bit and to get some effective competition on behalf of Australia and the airline pilots. This is what should be done. The present situation is that a man is on one board and he knows a fellow on another board. In the finish - this may come out in the foreshadowed debate on the Banks (Shareholdings) Bill - one will find interlocking directorships between Qantas and banks that could well lead to an American influence. This could well be the cause of some of the disasters we are suffering here. I support the amendment fully. It ought to be carried. It is doing no harm to the legislation and it would encourage this House to do some committee work which would be to the advantage of the people in my area.

Minister for National Development · Darling Downs · LP

– When I introduced the second reading of this Bill on behalf of my colleague the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) in another place I referred to the primary purpose of the Bill being to obtain parliamentary approval for Australia to ratify a protocol of the International Civil Aviation Organisation and also a number of other matters relating to the extension of the membership of the council and other matters associated with ICAO’s operations. The debate has ranged far and wide, not only covering the amendment that was moved by the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) but also principally governing the matter relating to the debate on a statement which I made also on behalf of the Minister for Civil Aviation a week or so ago concerning the development of a second airport for Sydney.

I know that this is a matter that causes great concern to honourable members whose electorates are in the area. I can understand their position. In view of the fact that there was a full-scale debate on this matter just recently and the various points were answered at the time, I will not deal with this again now. The honourable member for Newcastle referred very briefly to the main Bill and then introduced his amendment. He dealt with the amendment very substantially. He referred to a number of accidents and incidents that have occurred in various places. Some of them occurred at the Sydney (KingsfordSmith) Airport. The honourable member was critical not only of the standard of investigation but also of the time taken for inquiries into these accidents or incidents. I draw his attention to the fact, although he knows it too well, that the air safety investigation branch of the Department of Civil Aviation, under the direction of the DirectorGeneral of Civil Aviation in Australia, has a world-wide reputation. I know from previous association with the Department that the standard is regarded as about the highest in the world.

The investigators are regarded highly by other countries and the reports, when they are eventually produced, are considered to be of a standard which is not bettered by any other investigating team in the world. This is something of which we should be proud, not critical. Again we should not be critical of the time it takes to conduct these full and thorough investigations, even if it is a matter of months, as happened in the 2 cases that were referred to by the honourable member for Newcastle. I think this is essential. I would not like to inhibit the operations of the air safety investigation branch in any way at all by putting restrictions or time limits on its operations. The honourable member for Newcastle would be the first to admit that this should not be done. I think that that suitably answers the matter which the honourable member raised regarding the standard of the investigation and the time factor that was involved. He went further to refer to the landing aids that are provided at Sydney airport and inferred that these were inadequate and unsuitable for operations of modern jet aircraft, particularly the 747. The position is that runways 07 and 16 at Sydney are equipped with instrument landing systems. Runway 34 has the T-VASIS. and runway 25 has a T-VASIS in addition to a VASIS red-white system. These aids are at least equal to the landing aids provided at other international airports throughout the world.

This is the system that is provided not only in Sydney but also at the other major airports in Australia. I may say with pride that the development of this type of instrument landing system, which is regarded so highly throughout the world, has been principally an Australian development. No modification is required to the T-VASIS system to make it suitable for the operation of long bodied aircraft. A suggestion that instrument landing systems be installed wherever physically possibly and irrespective of cost cannot be supported on operational grounds. The cost would be prohibitive also. In addition, as I mentioned, the T-VASIS systems on the runways where they have been installed are up to a standard which is quite suitable and adequate for the purpose.

The honourable member for Newcastle also indicated his belief that Pan Am has not been advised regarding the use of the T-VASIS system as being suitable for Boeing 747 aircraft. In September 1970, prior to the United States operation of Boeing 747 aircraft into this country, the Department of Civil Aviation forwarded a letter to Pan Am detailing how the T-VASIS may be used by long bodied aircraft. Although Pan Am airways route manual contains a diagram of the T-VASIS system, it is understood that this aid in many cases has not been used by its pilots. But on 12th August 1971 Pan Am’s Senior

Vice-President for Operations visited Melbourne and received a detailed briefing from the Director-General of Civil Aviation in Australia on the operation of this system. So again I completely refute the idea that the instrument landing systems and the T-VASIS system, which is principally an Australian development, are not up to the standard required for long bodied aircraft. In fact they are up to that standard and are so being used.

I refer very briefly to the question of a so-called new agreement between the United States and Australia. There is no new agreement between the United States and Australia. There is an agreement which, as I stated the other day, was signed by the previous Labor Government back in 1946. It is a Bermuda-type agreement, an open-ended type of agreement, and although its operation has been relatively satisfactory from our point of view over the years, if there is any criticism regarding the open-ended arrangement whereby either country can claim additional frequencies in or out of the country concerned, it is the responsibility of the previous Labor Government.

Mr Charles Jones:

– .YOU have been the Government for 23 years.


– This is the agreement that was signed by the previous Labor Government and which is still in operation. There is no way in which that agreement can be changed unless we signify the termination of it, and of course we do not want to do that. The position is that some new arrangements have been made under this Bermuda-type agreement whereby in future there will be control by the governments - the United States Government and the Australian Government - over capacity on the Pacific route for the first time. This is a very big step forward in the control of capacity in this region. The honourable member for Newcastle suggested that the Civil Aeronautics Board would be the body that would control it. I indicated the other day that this is not so. It will in future be controlled by the Government. Once it goes through the board in the United States and the Department of Civil Aviation here, it will be referred to the Department of State in the United States and to the Minister here. If there is any dispute, both governments will exchange information on it. In other words, it will be arranged on a government to government basis and not as at present on an official basis or arranged by airlines. This is the biggest breakthrough that has taken place since this agreement was signed back in 1946. I referred also to what had been achieved in maintaining the status quo so far as capacity is concerned on the Pacific route, for a period of 18 months up to 1st December next, and after that the traffic arrangements to which 1 shall refer in a moment will apply. But during this period of 18 months when the status quo has been maintained there will be an increase in traffic of approximately 18 per cent. So again that indicates that there is not much point in the argument that has been put forward by the Opposition.

To further support the position and to indicate what the arrangement will be after 1st December, let us look very quickly at the capacity figures prior to this agreement. At the present time Qantas Boeing 747 operations are nil, its Boeing 707 flights number up to 11, and it has 2 Boeing 707 freighters. Pan Am has two 747s and five 707s. American Airlines has no 747s and three 707s. After 1st December 1971 the airlines will be able by this agreement to operate the following services: Qantas, four 747s and three 707s; Pan Am, three 747s and four 707s; American Airlines, no 747s and five 707s. That indicates that there is a rationalisation as far as capacity is concerned which is not to the disadvantage of Australia.

I would like to go a little further to indicate that the people who are directly involved in this and who perhaps have the greatest interest believe that this new arrangement is a significant breakthrough. I would like to quote 2 paragraphs of a letter from the Australian Tourist Commission dated 27th September 1971. The opening paragraph states:

The Australian Tourist Commission believes that a most significant break-through has occurred in the new Australian-American air agreement on Pacific frequencies and in the imminent prospect of a new agreement on charter flights.

Another paragraph stated:

It is a reasonable assumption that the increased capacity should be quickly absorbed by the high growth rate particularly of US visitors to Australia which for the year ending 30th June was up 42 per cent.

In view of the time factor, with the conconcurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard the remainder of this letter to save reading it out at this point of time. 27 September 1971

The Editor

Dear Sir,

The Australian Tourist Commission believes that a most significant break-through has occurred in the new Australian-American air agreement on Pacific frequencies and in the imminent prospect of a new agreement on charter flights.

The Commission has advocated for some time increased frequencies on the route, particularly for direct flights into Melbourne and to tap more traffic from the eastern and mid-western regions of the United States which together represent the biggest travel market in the world.

We are concerned by some suggestions during the last week that the air agreement was a surrender to the United States and against our best interests.

We believe this to be a short-sighted view.

We believe that the Australian delegation led by the Director-General of Civil Aviation, Sir Donald Anderson, and which included the General Manager of Qantas, Capt. R. J. Ritchie, faced up realistically to the rapidly changing situation in international civil aviation and the opportunities available to us as a country for large-volume, lower-fare traffic.

The delegation secured an important new position for Australia. It has for the first time negotiated an agreement which can put the Pacific frequencies under review on a governmenttogovernment basis.

We see this as a considerable protection in the national interest enabling the Australian Government to intervene if necessary to ensure the viability of Qantas as our international carrier.

The agreement removes the uncertainty which has so long existed and enables orderly development.

It is a reasonable assumption that the increased capacity should be quickly absorbed by the high growth rate particularly of US visitors to Australia which for the year ending 30th June was up 42 per cent.

We are already seeing evidence of marketing campaigns involving millions of dollars being spent by, US carriers in North America to increase the flow of tourist traffic to this area. Qantas, also a substantial promoter in the North American market and a large provider of the regular frequencies to this area, must gain in the long run from the additional traffic that we believe will certainly be generated.

The Commission has informed the Department of Civil Aviation of its full support in the establishment of a Qantas charter subsidiary. We also welcome the prospect of bilateral exchanges of charter rights which will enable charter operators to bring here a new type of tourist business.

Unlike other long-haul destination countries in Africa and Asia, Australia has so far missed out on this vast charter market. Its development here will act as a badly-needed spur to our tourism and will further highlight the need for special assistance - as is the case in other countries - to encourage the building of more international-class hotels and to bring our resorts and attractions up to world standard.

Basil G. Atkinson General Manager

Australian Tourist Commission Melbourne.

I thank the honourable member for Newcastle for his consideration in respect of this incorporation. I will finish on that note and indicate again that in view of what I have said we do not believe that the amendments moved by the Opposition are necessary. Therefore, they are not acceptable to the Government.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr Charles Jones’ amendment) stand part of the question.

The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)

AYES: 48

NOES: 42

Majority . . . . 6



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Amendment negatived.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Third Reading

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

Bill (on motion by My Swartz) read a third time.

page 1823


The following Bills were returned from the Senate without amendment:

Superannuation (Pension Increases) Bill 1971.

Defence Forces Retirement Benefits (Pension Increases) Bill 1971.

Parliamentary Retiring Allowances (Increases)

Bill 1971.

House adjourned at 10.58 p.m.

page 1824


The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:

International Sporting Teams: Bases of Selection (Question No. 4079)

Dr Everingham:

asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

Has the Government opposed the call of the United Nations to governments to boycott racially selected international sporting teams.

Mr N H Bowen:

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

In the General Assembly last year, Australia voted against a resolution which requested all states and organisations to ‘suspend cultural, educational, sporting, and other exchanges’, with South Africa as well as to terminate diplomatic, consular and other official relations and economic and technical co-operation with that country. Since then Australia has stressed to the United Nations Special Committee on Apartheid, the Government’s abhorrence of apartheid and its disappointment over the South African Government’s refusal to agree to the inclusion of nonwhites in its cricket team whose projected visit to Australia has now been cancelled.

Road Accident Statistics (Question No. 4203)

Mr Cohen:

asked the Minister for Ship ping and Transport, upon notice:

Has he raised with the Minister for the Interior the matter of the collection and use of road traffic accident statistics for Commonwealth Territories as promised in his answer to my question No. 2740 (Hansard, 16 March 1971, page 956).

Mr Nixon:

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

Yes, through the Australian Transport Advisory Council, of which the Minister for the Interior is a member. The examination of this matter is being undertaken by Council’s Advisory Committee on Road User Performance and Traffic Codes as part of its overall study of the system of reporting road accidents throughout Australia.

Australian National Line (Question No. 3714)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:

  1. On what date did the Australian National Line join any overseas conference or consortium.
  2. What freight rates were charged on the routes served by the Conference and Consortia at the time ANL joined them.
  3. On what dates and to what rates have freights been subsequently increased on these routes.
Mr Nixon:

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

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister for

Immigration, upon notice:

  1. Can he say whether the New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs. Mr Marshall, publicly expressed regret at Australia’s refusal to treat all New Zealand citizens equally in relation to entry into Australia?
  2. Is the discrimination practised by Australia in this respect based on skin colour: if so, what are the details?
  3. Are there any restrictions based on skin colour on the entry of Australian citizens into New Zealand?
  4. Has his attention been drawn to public statements in the press which asserted that he rejected the advice of the Department of Immigration in applying these barriers; if so, is the position as stated?
  5. Was the Cabinet decision also a rejection of the advice of the Department of Immigration?
  6. Does discrimination by other countries against Australian citizens on the basis of their colour meet with the approval of the Government; if not, why, does the Government apply discrimination against coloured citizens of New Zealand?
Mr Collard:

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

  1. How many (a) pilots, (b) hostesses, (c) engineers and (d) ground staff (other than engineers) were employed by MacRobertson Miller Airlines during each of the past four years.
  2. How many personnel in each of these groups are employed at present.
Mr Enderby:

asked the Postmaster-

General, upon notice:

  1. Can a check be made on telephone accounts where a subscriber feels that there has been an overcharge.
  2. How do errors in telephone accounts occur.
  3. Can subscribers be given an itemised account of STD calls; if not, why not.
  4. How many complaints concerning telephone accounts in the Australian Capital Territory have been investigated in the 12 months ended 31st March 1971.
  5. How many of these complaints were found to be justified.
  6. How many were found to be (a) overcharges and (b) undercharges.
  7. Can a subscriber be charged for another subscriber’s telephone calls; if so, how.
  8. Has his Department investigated systems such as those used in the United States of America by Bell Telephone Laboratories where accounts are sent monthly, containing an itemised list of all numbers, dates and charges dialled outside the local area.
Mr Charles Jones:

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

  1. Did the Minister’s Department receive an application from World Airways to fly 15 charter flights from the United States of America to Australia.
  2. If so, why did World Airways withdraw this application.
  3. What is Qantas doing to attract tourists from the United States on charter flights similar to those applied for by World Airways.

page 1824


1st March 1969 - Australia/Europe Conference 1st March 1969- Joined U.K./ Australia Outward Conference 1st March 1969 - Joined Outward Continent Australia Conference 22nd April 1969- Joined ACTA Consortium 1st September 1970 - Joined Australia to Europe Container Service.

page 1824


18th December 1968 - Joined Australia Northbound Shipping Conference 18th December 1968 - Joined Australia and New Zealand Eastern Shipping Conference.

page 1824


The Australian National Line is not a member of any of the Conferences covering this trade. ANL is, however, a member line in a shipping service that has Conference membership, and will operate its own ship within that service.

The Company, called ‘Pacific America Container Express Line’ (PACE) joined the relevant conference as follows: 14th July 1971- Australia/U.S. Atlantic Gulf Conference 1st May 1971- U.S. Atlantic and Gulf /Australia New Zealand Conference 7th July 1971 - Australia/Canada East Coast, St Lawrence and Lakes Conference 7th July 1971 - Eastern Canada/ Australia-New Zealand Conference.

page 1824


The ANL is not a member of Conferences covering this trade, but has shares in a Company, PAD Australia Pty Ltd, which is a member of the Pacific Australia Direct Line.

The Pacific Australia Direct Line joined the Conferences as follows: 14th July 1970- Pacific Coast- Australasian Tariff Bureau 14th July 1970 - Australia New Zealand and South Sea Islands Pacific Coast Conference

PAD Line withdrew from the Conference on 1st March 1971.

page 1824


Australia/Europe Conference

General Cargo -

An increase of 15¾ per cent is to be made on all commodities other than wool, metals and fresh fruit as from 1st October 1971. Dried and canned fruits will be increased from 1st January 1972.

U.K./ Australia Conference and Outward Continent Australia Conference

General Cargo - U.S. $68.64 per ton on 1st March 1969

General Cargo- U.S. $77.20 per ton on 15th September 1970

General Cargo - U.S. $86.85 per ton on 1st

April 1971

page 1825


Australia Northbound Shipping Conference

General Cargo- U.S. $30.80 per ton on 18th December 1968

General Cargo - U.S. $33.10 per ton on 1st April 1970

General Cargo - U.S.$37.25 per ton on 1st May 1971.

Wool/greasy- U.S. $3.08 per 100 lbs December 1968

Wool/ greasy - U.S. $3.23 per 100 lbs 1st June 1970

Wool/greasy- U.S. $3.31 per 100 lbs 1st October 1970

Wool/ greasy - U.S. $3.49 per 100 lbs 1st June 1971

Australiaand New Zealand Eastern Shipping Conference

General Cargo- U.S. $37.35 perton on 18th December 1968

General Cargo - U.S. $40.15 per ton on 1st February 1970

General Cargo - U.S. $44.15 per ton on 1st May 1971.

page 1825


Australia/U.S. Atlantic Gulf Conference

Boneless beef or lamb in cartons - U.S. $4.91 per100 lbs nett.

Freight rate levels had remained stationary for almost 2 years prior to 14th July 1971, when Conference announced an increase of 25 per cent on all commodities except wool where increase would be 15 per cent. These increases were intended to have been applied as from 1st September 1971. however, they are now subject to clarification on President Nixon’s 90 day price freeze.

Australia/ Canada East Coast St Lawrence and Lakes Conference

Same freight on boneless beef or lamb in cartons as Conference above except the rates are expressed in Canadian dollars.

The situation regarding freight rate increases is the same as the U.S.A. Northbound Conference except that there is no qualification as to the date of the increase.

U.S. Atlantic and Gulf/ Australia New Zealand Conference

Generalcargo - U.S. $117 per ton on 1st May 1971.

Eastern Canada/ Australia New Zealand Conference

General Cargo - Canadian $117 per ton on 7th July 1971.

page 1825


Pacific Coast-Australasian Tariff Bureau

General Cargo- U.S. $96 and Canadian $96 per ton 14th July 1970

General Cargo- U.S. $109 Canadian $109 per ton 1st June 1971.

Australia New Zealand and South Sea Island Pacific Coast Conference

General Cargo- U.S. $59.10 per ton on 14th July 1970

Canadian- $59.10 per ton on 14th July 1970.

Immigration: New Zealand Citizens (Question No. 4224)

Dr Forbes:
Minister for Immigration · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

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

  1. and (3) On 30th July 1971, Mr Marshall as New Zealand Minister for Immigration issued the following statement:

The New Zealand Government has proposed that New Zealand and Australian citizens of Asian and other non-European descent normally resident in either country should have free entry to our two countries. The matter has been carefully considered by both Governments. I have now been advised by the Australian Government that it does not favour a change in the existing requirements relating to the entry to Australia of New Zealand citizens.

We were seeking a reciprocal arrangement under which all Australian and New Zealand citizens could move freely across the Tasman without the need for passports or any form of entry permit. At present this freedom of movement is enjoyed only, by British subjects who are of European origin or who are Maoris or Aborigines. All other Australian and New Zealand citizens must meet certain conditions for entry to Australia or New Zealand as the case may be.

Although at this stage Australia does not feel able to make the change, we have decided to extend to all Australian citizens normally resident in that country, irrespective of their ethnic origin, permission to enter New Zealand either as visitors or as residents upon their satisfying the authorities at the point of arrival of their Australian citizenship.’

  1. and (6) The conditions under which residents of New Zealand may enter Australia remain as stated in the answer given to the Leader of the Opposition’s question No. 1121 (Hansard, 12th June 1970, page 3644).

These conditions in relation to non-European citizens of New Zealand (other than Maoris) are the same as those applying to non-European people from all other countries. The Australian Government after very careful consideration concluded that a change for one country could have implications in relation to others.

I have not received complaints concerning discrimination by other countries against Australians.

  1. and (5) It is a long established practice that the nature of advice given by, Departments to Ministers is not made public. I do not intend to depart from that practice in the present instance.

MacRobertson Miller Airlines: Employees (Question No. 3743)

Mr Swartz:

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


All engineering personnel employed by MacRobertson Miller Airline Services at Perth were transferred to Ansett Airlines of Australia in 1969 on the integration of the engineering facilities previously maintained by the two airlines at Perth Airport. Some ground staff other than engineers were also transferred from MacRobertson Miller Airline Services to Ansett Airlines of Australia at that time.


Telephones (Question No. 3833)

Sir Alan Hulme:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. Errors in telephone accounts are due either to human failure on the part of staff or to breakdown in the operation of the accounting or associated systems. Checking features are incorporated in all departmental operations so as to minimise the possibilities for error.
  3. Subscribers cannot be given an itemised account of STD calls. An individual meter in the telephone exchange is associated with each telephone service. It records one registration for each local call. For STD calls it registers at various time intervals. For example, for a call from Canberra to Sydney which costs 72 cents for three minutes at the day rate, the meter would register once each ten seconds. At billing time the total number of registrations, local and trunk being inseparable, is charged at the unit fee rate, currently 4c each.
  4. During the 12 months ended 31st March 1971 there were approximately 1,200 queries concerning telephone accounts in the Australian Capital Territory; this represents about 2 per cent of accounts issued.
  5. Approximately 37S of these queries were found to be justified.
  6. Overcharges were found in 125 cases; there were no undercharges in the accounts queried by subscribers. There was reasonable doubt about the accuracy of the trunk charges for another 250 of the queries involving operator-connected calls, primarily because of inability to identify the caller with the telephone number quoted when the call was booked and disputes regarding the length of time for a call.
  7. There is a remote possibility that a fault may cause wires to be short-circuited and a subscriber’s meter to be operated erroneously. The probability of this is very slight as precautions are taken in the design of equipment to reduce this possibility to a minimum.
  8. The system used in the United States of America has been investigated (as has also those of other telephone administrations throughout the world). One basic difference between our two countries, however, is that in the majority of cases in the United States there is no meter associated with each telephone subscriber’s service as there is in Australia. Because of the absence of meters it was necessary, for call charging purposes for the U.S.A. telephone companies to provide a separate Automatic Message Accounting System to record details of calls dialled by subscribers. This system was examined but in view of the fact that individual subscribers’ meters were already provided, it was rejected as being too costly and complex to apply to the Australian network. The existing multi-metering system, which is used in Great Britain and most other countries, was adopted in preference.

Charter Flights: United States of AmericaAustralia (Question No. 3839)

Mr Swartz:

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

  1. Yes. World Airways made an application to the Department of Civil Aviation on 8th April 1971, for permission to operate fifteen (15) round trip charter flights from the United States to Australia in early 1972. Subsequently, on 23rd July 1971, World Airways applied for permission to operate fifty (50) round trip charter flights from the United States to Australia.
  2. World Airways’ application made on 8th April 1971, required approval by 15th June 1971. The Company withdrew its application on 11th July 1971, following advice from the Minister for Civil Aviation on 7th June 1971, that approval by 15th June 1971, would not be feasible as discussions with United States authorities on the application would not be completed by that date. World Airways application made on 23rd July 1971, remains under consideration in the light of talks at government level that have recently taken place in Washington with the United States authorities. Progress was made and further exchanges with them on the problem of charter flights will take place later this year.
  3. Qantas has charter sales specialists based in the United States engaged in promoting and handling affinity group charter flights to Australia conforming with the requirements of the International Air Transport Association, similar to those applied for by World Airways on 8th April 1971.

Charter Flights (Question No. 3840)

Mr Charles Jones:

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

  1. Has BOAC, the British international flag carrier, set up a fully-owned charter subsidiary, British Overseas Air Charters Ltd (BOAC Ltd) to enter the charter market.
  2. If so, is this new company a member of IATA.
  3. If not, has this new non-IATA company been formed to compete with other non-IATA charter companies that operate throughout the world.
  4. Does Qantas plan to compete with nonIATA charter companies.
Mr Swartz:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. No.
  3. According to an official statement of the position by the British Government, BOAC propose to use the subsidiary company, British Overseas Air Charters Ltd, in order to enable the Corporation to compete in that part nf the charter market not open to IATA airlines.
  4. Yes. Qantas has recently been given approval to form a wholly-owned non-IATA subsidiary company which would allow it to compete in that part of the air travel market not open to IATA airlines. The required traffic rights enabling it to do so have yet to be negotiated at government to government level with the other governments concerned.

Radio and Television: Interstate Transmission (Question No. 3910)

Mr Bryant:

asked the Postmaster-

General, upon notice:

  1. What lines are leased permanently to television and radio stations for programme transmission between capital cities.
  2. What rates are payable by each lessee.
  3. Does the Australian Broadcasting Commission receive preferential rates in this system or does it hire line time from private lessees.
  4. If the Australian Broadcasting Commission hires time from private lessees what sums have been paid and to whom were they paid in each case in the last two years.
  5. What advantages accrue to the Australian Broadcasting Commission from the transmission of radio programmes from Sydney rather than by local production.
Sir Alan Hulme:

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

  1. (a)-


  1. The rates payable for the lease of these lines are matters for private negotiation between the Post Office and the parties concerned and it would not be proper for me to release publicly in the House, the information sought by the honourable member.
  2. The Australian Broadcasting Commission does not receive preferential rates. The only line time it obtains from private lessees is on the television relay links, Sydney-Melbourne and Melbourne-Sydney which are leased by the Post Office to General Television Corporation Pty Ltd.
  3. The charge is a matter of private negotiation between the Commission and General Television Corporation Pty Ltd.
  4. Because of the complex nature of the Commission’s networking operations it is often necessary to replay broadcasts from Sydney rather than from other centres. This simplifies the presentation of its programmes thereby decreasing the possibility of human and mechanical error and also provides certain economies of manpower. The practice however has no effect upon local productions; many of the programmes transmitted in this way from Sydney are in fact produced in other States and sent on tape to Sydney for national transmission.

Telephones (Question No. 3921)

Mr Wallis:

asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice.

  1. How many applications for rural telephone connections are outstanding at the present time in the subdivisions of Eyre and Flinders in the Electoral Division of Grey.
  2. When is it anticipated that these outstanding applications will be satisfied.
Sir Alan Hulme:

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

  1. Eyre, 104; Flinders, 66.
  2. Most of these applicants are located remote from existing exchanges and the provision of telephone services for them involves a substantial amount of new line construction. This work will be undertaken progressively but, as there is a limit to the resources which can be devoted to providing telephone services, present indications are that it could be several years before all of the outstanding requests can be satisfied. However, the works programme will be critically reviewed each year to see what can be done to expedite the installation of services for the applicants concerned.

Uniform Firearms Legislation (Question No. 3986)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:

What progress has been made in the preparation of uniform firearms legislation?

Mr Chipp:

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

In August 1970 I attended a meeting of State and Commonwealth Ministers responsible for firearms controls.

The meeting was concerned primarily with the desirability of introducing uniform legislation concerning the sale and licensing of firearms; this is a matter for State Governments. The Commonwealth’s roles is limited to the control of the importation of firearms, at the request of those governments, by means of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations.

However, one matter on the agenda which was of particular interest to my department and which has been the subject of continuing attention since the meeting, is the question of safety testing of imported firearms. Safety standards were first imposed in 1960 at the request of the State Police forces. They have recently been the subject of representations to me and numerous discussions between members of the firearms trade, shooting organisations, firearms experts, the police and my department. At my instigation a formal meeting will be held this week to consider a draft set of revised standards.

I understand that a sub-committee of Slate officers is at present examining State firearms legislation with a view to achieving uniformity in the other matters which were discussed at the meeting. The examination at this stage is concentrated on controls applicable to hand-guns. The submittee’s report to State Ministers has not yet been finalised.

International Labour Organisation Convention No. 5: Application in Papua New Guinea (Question No. 3272)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for

External Territories, upon notice:

Why has Australia not yet applied international Labour Organisation Convention No.5 - Minimum Age (Industry), 1919 to New Guinea and Papua whereas France applied it to French Polynesia and New Caledonia as far back as 19th March 1954 and Britain applied it to the Gilbert and Ellice Islands and the Solomon Islands on 4th June 1962 and to Fiji on 26th June 1962.

Mr Barnes:

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

Australia has not ratified this Convention and, therefore, the question of making declarations regarding its application in Australia’s nonmetropolitan territories has not arisen. The Conventions relating to Minimum Age of Workers are to be discussed at next year’s International Labour Conference. It is intended to review the position in Australia and Papua New Guinea towards this and related conventions in the light of the Conference decisions.

International Labour Organisation Convention No. 98: Application in Papua New Guinea (Question No. 3283)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:

Why has Australia not yet applied International Labour Organisation Convention No. 98 - Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining, 1949 to New Guinea and Papua whereas Britain applied it to Fiji on 24th September 1965 and to the Gilbert and Ellice Islands on 15th August 1967.

Mr Barnes:

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

Australia has not ratified this Convention and, therefore, the question of making declarations regarding its application in Australia’s nonmetropolitan territories has not arisen. The position in Papua New Guinea is currently under review. Further information concerning Australia’s position in relation to this Convention may be found in the reply given by my colleague the Minister for Labour and National Service to question No. 3702 of 8th September 1971.

International Labour Organisation Convention No. 108: Application in Papua New Guinea (Question No. 3286)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:

Why has Australia not yet applied International Labour Organisation Convention No. 108 - Seafarers Identity Documents, 1958 to New Guinea and Papua whereas Britain applied it to Fiji, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands and the Solomon Islands as far back as 3rd August 1964.

Mr Barnes:

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

Australia has not ratified this Convention and, therefore, the question of making declarations regarding its application in Australia’s nonmetropolitan territories has not arisen. Australia’s position on the Convention is as stated in the Review of Australian Law and Practice Relating to Conventions Adopted by the International Labour Conference’ (page 96).

Child Endowment (Question No. 3489)

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

What percentage of gross national expenditure was paid out in child endowmentin each financial year from 1960-61 to 1970-71 inclusive.

Mr Wentworth:
Minister for Social Services · MACKELLAR, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

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

The table set out below expresses child endowment expenditure as a percentage of Gross National Expenditure for each financial year commencing 1960-61. In calculating the percentages, expenditure on endowment for student children, which commenced in January 1964, has been taken into account.

Wool Prices (Question No. 3843)

Mr Grassby:

asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

  1. What is the Australian average market price for greasy wool covering all wool sold from 1st July 1970 to the commencement of operations of the Australian Wool Commission on 17th November 1970 and for all wool sold since that date to the end of the 1970-71 series of wool sales.
  2. Has his attention been drawn to the provisional figures released by the Joint Wool Selling Organisation and quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald of 6th July 1971 stating that the average price for the last week of the 1970-71 season was 25.44 cents.
  3. If so, what is his attitude to this figure, when it is associated with the information available in relation to part (1) above and the reported statement of Sir William Gunn, Chairman of the Australian Wool Board, on the programme’ This Day Tonight’ on Wednesday, 4th August 1971, that since commencement of operations of the Australian Wool Commission, in that 8 month period, the average market price for wool has gone up by 6 cents a pound.
Mr Sinclair:

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

  1. The average greasy price for wool sold at auction from the commencement of the 1970/71 wool selling season until the commencement of operations by the Australian Wool Commission on 16th November 1970 was 29.69 cents per lb.

The average greasy price for wool sold at auction from 16th November 1970 until the end of the 1970/71 wool selling season was 29.24 cents per lb. (2)I am aware that the average greasy price realised at wool auctions in the final week of the 1970/71 wool selling season was 25.44 cents per lb.

  1. A comparison of average greasy wool prices as suggested by the honourable member does not reflect the true picture of wool price trends during the 1970/71 wool selling season. The average price of greasy wool for any given period is greatly affected by the marked variation in the types of wool sold at different times of the season. It is also affected by the varying clean yield of greasy wool, as the prices paid by buyers for greasy wool are determined on the estimated clean fibre content. Because of this variation in yield and types, the greasy wool price averages tend to obscure actual movements in prices for various types of wool.

In the present case, the average greasy auction price of 25.44 cents per lb for the final week of the last season gives the impression of a heavy fall when compared with the other two averages mentioned in (1) above. In fact, wool prices during the week in question eased only fractionally, and the low greasy average price for that week reflects largely the normal end-of-season offering of poorer types.

To show the actual trend of wool prices, undistorted by variations in the types and yield of wool offered at individual auction sales, the Australian Wool Commission publishes each week the prices for a range of standard grades on a clean basis. Traditionally, the clean price of a grade designated as 64’s Average has been used as a reasonable guide to market trends. Prior to the establishment of the Australian Wool Commission late last year, the price of 64’s Average had declined to 58 cents per lb clean while at the close of the 1970/71 wool sales it was quoted at 64 cents per lb clean, i.e., 6 cents higher. I do not know whether this is the figure which Sir William Gunn had in mind in his reported comments on wool prices.

Museum of Aboriginal Arts and Crafts (Question No. 3938)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. Are steps being taken to construct a Commonwealth owned public museum of Aboriginal arts and crafts and artefacts in Alice Springs.
  2. If so, when will the museum be built.
  3. Will the Government attempt to recover the many Aboriginal relics and art pieces and other rare artefacts which have been acquired by private collectors and placed in private museums.
  4. Have steps been taken to preserve by magnetic tape the many other oral historical records of the many ageing Aboriginal men and women who live in the Northern Territory, which would otherwise be lost if not recorded.
Mr Hunt:
Minister for the Interior · GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

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

  1. and (2) The establishment of a public museum and art gallery complex in Alice Springs which will include Aboriginal arts, crafts and artefacts, forms part of the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery Board’s forward planning and a location for the building is under consideration. Timing for the commencement of construction is dependent on the availability of funds.

In addition Aborigines at some centres, e.g. Yuendumu, are establishing their own museums and repositories for public display or safe-keeping of ceremonial items.

  1. Objects of historical and anthropological importance cannot be removed from the Territory without a permit. Export of such items from Australia requires a customs permit.

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies has purchased several large private collections as have State museums. The Welfare Division of the Northern Territory Administration has a substantial collection which is to be made available to the Territory Museum and Art Gallery Board for display, etc. The Board has started to acquire its own collection also and it will no doubt look to private collections as a source for material which may not be otherwise available.

  1. As part of a continuing programme over many years the Welfare Division of the Northern Territory Administration, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies and linguists have recorded and catalogued a considerable amount of oral literature and history from Aborigines in the Northern Territory.

International Labour Organisation Convention No. 94: Applications to Commonwealth Contracts (Question No. 4014)

Mr Whitlam:

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

Do contracts let by Commonwealth departments and authorities yet comply with International Labour Organisation Convention No. 94 - Labour Clauses (Public Contracts), 1949 (Hansard, 18th August 1970, page 114).

Mr Lynch:
Minister for Labour and National Service · FLINDERS, VICTORIA · LP

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

My Department has been in contact with some 50 Commonwealth Departments and Instrumentalities concerning the application of this Convention. The information they have provided shows that the wages and conditions of employment of workers employed under contracts let by them are those laid down in legislation or in relevant awards of Commonwealth or State tribunals but a number of authorities do not actually include specific clauses to this effect in their contracts, considering them unnecessary. It is not clear whether compliance with the Convention can, in the particular Australian context, rest on the practical situation. This is being pursued with the I.L.O.

Canberra: Sale of Government Flats (Question No. 4102)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. Are Government flats in Canberra available for sale in accordance with the declared aims of the strata titles legislation of the Australian Capital Territory; if not, why not.
  2. If the Government flats that have already been constructed are unsuitable for conversion to strata title, what is it that makes them unsuitable.
  3. Will the Government ensure that Government flats constructed in the future are capable of being sold with strata titles.
Mr Hunt:

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

  1. There is a waiting list of applicants for Government flats for rental in the Australian Capital Territory and until the demand eases it is not proposed to make the present supply of flats available for sale to tenants.
  2. When and if it is decided to offer Hats for sale to tenants technical and legal appraisals will be carried out to determine the suitability of particular groups for sale under the Unit Titles Ordinance.
  3. It is anticipated that there will be a continuing need for a large number of Government rental Bats for persons who require or prefer this type of accommodation for short or long term periods of employment in Canberra. The desirability and feasibility of making Government flats available for purchase by tenants under the Unit Titles Ordinance will be taken into consideration in designing and constructing groups of flats in the future.

Canberra: Government Flats (Question No. 4103)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for the

Interior, upon notice:

  1. Did he state in answer to question No. 3466 (Hansard, 26th August 1971, page 793) that ninetyfour new flats will be commenced in Lyons on the Government’s 1971-72 programme.
  2. If so, will they be so designed and constructed that they can be offered for sale under the provisions of the strata titles legislation of the Australian Capital Territory.
  3. Will the Government offer these flats for sale to tenants; if so, on what terms.
Mr Hunt:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes.
  3. There is a waiting list of applicants for Government single bedroom and bed-sitting room flats for rental and the acceptance of new applications has been temporarily suspended. Until the demand for rental accommodation eases it is not proposed to offer Government flats for sale to tenants under the Unit Titles Ordinance of the Australian Capital Territory.

Canberra Repertory Society (Question No. 4104)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for the

Interior, upon notice:

  1. Does the Canberra Repertory Society occupy 4 old gable end type huts located at Riverside in the Australian Capital Territory, comprising approximately 4,800 square feet.
  2. Can he say whether the present development of the Canberra Repertory Society is being hindered by the condition of its premises and by the uncertainty, surrounding its right to continue to occupy those premises in the future.
  3. What period of occupancy of its present premises can the Society reasonably expect.
  4. Will the existing training centre at Riverside at present occupied by the Department of Immigration become vacant in the future; if so, will the Government make those premises available to the Society for use as an intimate theatre. (5)Is it the intention of the Government to encourage the Society to develop into a resident theatre by giving financial assistance and providing suitable premises.
Mr Hunt:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. There is no information before me as to the Society’s views on factors held to be impeding its current development.
  3. While no specific date has been set for the termination of occupancies of the remaining buildings at Riverside the tenants other than Commonwealth occupants can be given no assurance of security of tenure for any future period.
  4. It is not expected that the existing training centre at present occupied by the Department of Immigration will become vacant for some time.
  5. The Department gives financial assistance towards the operating expenses of the Society, but has no current proposal to provide funds by way of a capital grant or to provide the Society with premises.

Child-care Centres (Question No. 4138)

Mr Berinson:

asked the Minister for

Labour and National Service, upon notice:

  1. What is the estimated annual saving as a result of the continued deferment of Commonwealth assistance for child-care centres.
  2. Is the Government of the view that this saving represents a proper order of priorities.
  3. If so, will he consider the introduction at an early date of a modified scheme to at least provide child-care assistance in the case of children of single-parent families.
Mr Lynch:

– The answer to the honour able member’s question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) It is not possible to make the estimate sought because no definite scheme has been finalised.

The Government announced its desire to introduce a scheme to assist with child-care centres in November last year against a background of concern that the care and welfare of the children of working parents should be adequately safeguarded and that such children should have every opportunity for the fullest development, intellectually, socially and physically.

The Government continues to hold this view, and continues to regard its intended initiative on child care as a most valuable and important one. However, as the honourable member is aware, ths economic situation has altered since the initiative was announced. It was because of its appreciation of the importance of restraining the inflationary, pressures which are currently evident in the community that the Government adopted a deliberate policy of curtailing Commonwealth expenditure and it was in the light of that policy that the decision was taken to defer any proposal on child care for the time being.

Child care assistance in the case of single parent families is part of the considerations underway with respect to the whole initiative.

Canberra: Casey House

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for the

Interior, upon notice;

  1. When and why was Casey House in Canberra built.
  2. Who have been the various occupiers since it was built and (a) for what periods and (b) in what capacity did they occupy it.
  3. When did it cease to be used for its original purpose.
  4. What were the reasons for Casey House being used for purposes other than its original purpose.
Mr Hunt:

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

It is assumed that the question relates to the Commonwealth-owned building located in Rhodes Place, Yarralumla. This building has no formal name.

The building was erected in 1938 as a residence for a Minister.

The Treasurer, then the Honourable R. G. Casey, held a tenancy from 26th September 1938 to 31st December 1939; the High Commission for Canada then held a lease of the building from 9th January 1940 until 30th November 1963.

In this period it was the office of the High Commissioner. Since the High Commission for Canada vacated the premises it has been used for Commonwealth office purposes.

It currently houses the Ceremonial and Hospitality Branch, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

See answer to (2) above.

The uses to which this building has been put were considered to be the best uses having regard to the circumstances at the particular time.

Trade Unions: Number and Membership (Question No. 3561)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

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

What are the latest available figures on (a) the total number of unions in Australia and (b) the number of unions with a membership of less than (i) 1,000 members, (ii) 1,000 to 1,999, (iii) 2,000 to 4,999, (iv) 5,000 to 9,999, (v) 10,000 to 19,999, (vi) 20,000 to 29,999, (vii) 30,000 to 39,999, (viii) 40,000 to 49,999, (ix) 50,000 to 59,999, (x) 60,000 to 79,999, (xi) 80,000 to 100,000 and (xii) over 100,000.

Mr Lynch:

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

The Commonwealth Statistician has supplied the following information:

At the end of December 1970 there were 305 separate trade unions recorded in Australia.

These have been classified as set out below in accordance with the size groupings specified by the honourable member. The last two of the groupings specified have been combined to ensure compliance with the confidentiality provisions of the Census and Statistics Act.

Armed Forces: Re-engagements (Question No. 3629)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

  1. What number and percentage of servicemen have re-engaged on completion of initial engagement in each of the services in 1970-71.
  2. For what period did they re-engage.
Mr Fairbairn:

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

  1. The numbers and percentages of servicemen who re-engaged on completion of an initial engagement in 1970-71 were as follows:
  1. Individual re-engagements in the Navy were for a period of three years with the exception of 19 personnel from whom specified returns of service were required for training provided. In the Army 162 re-engaged for six years and 755 for three years. For the Air Force 229 re-engaged for six years, 52 for five years and 471 re-engaged for three years.

Armed Forces: Resigning Officers (Question No. 3630)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

How many officers (a) sought and (b) received permission to resign from each of the services in 1970-71.

Mr Fairbairn:

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

Wool Growers: Subsidy Payments (Question No. 3884)

Mr Garrick:

asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

  1. What percentage of intended recipients of the proposed wool subsidy could be expected to receive taxable incomes $500 per annum or more, lower than the average for the wool growing community.
  2. What percentage of the subsidy could these people be expected to receive.
  3. On what basis will the subsidy be distributed.
Mr Sinclair:

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

  1. and (2) Available information on taxable incomes of woolgrowers is not of such a nature that any realistic estimate can be made of their likely level in the current year. Figures of net farm income obtained by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics provide a basis for an estimate of current net farm income but the circumstances of individual woolgrowers differ, in regard to the amount of concessional deductions to which they are entitled and to losses in prior years which can be deducted from taxable income, to such an extent that there is no fixed relationship between net farm income and taxable income.
  2. The basis on which it is intended that the wool deficiency payments will be made was outlined in my statement to the House on 20th August 1971. In summary the deficiency payment due to a grower will be a percentage of the gross proceeds from the sale of his wool, with the exception of specified excluded types which altogether make up approximately 10 per cent of the whole Australian clip. The percentage will be calculated so that when applied to the average auction price of wool this will be brought to a level equivalent to an all clip average of 36c per lb or, expressed in metric terms, 79.37c per kilo. The deficiency payments percentage will be calculated on auction sales in each selling week and will apply to all sales of wool which take place in the week. It is estimated that the deficiency payment percentage for the first week of auction sales will be slightly in excess of 20 per cent.

Royal Australian Air Force: Modifications to Aircraft (Question No. 2721)

Mr Barnard:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Air, upon notice:

What modifications were made at the request of the Royal Australian Air Force in (a) Mirage and (b) Macchi aircraft.

Mr Holten:

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

Proposals to modify aircraft are originated in 3 ways, i.e. by:

  1. the original manufacturer;
  2. the local manufacturer, or
  3. the user.

These proposals may be accepted or rejected.

As at 24th February 1971, 532 modifications have been accepted for Mirage aircraft and 172 for Macchi aircraft since definition of the basic aircraft specifications. A list of these modifications has been separately provided to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. In addition there have been 19 Mirage modifications and 2 Macchi modifications which have not been listed for security reasons. Not all modifications are incorporated in all of the aircraft of one type in the inventory.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 30 September 1971, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.