House of Representatives
16 August 1972

27th Parliament · 2nd Session

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

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The Clerk:

– Petitions have been lodged for presentation as follows and copies will be referred to the appropriate Ministers:

Overseas Aid

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled the petition of the undersigned citizens of the Commonwealth humbly showeth

That the undersigned believe:

That hunger, illiteracy, abject poverty and injustice are intolerable anywhere in the world.

That the knowledge, skills and resources to change these unjust conditions now exist.

That to obtain justice among peoples, world financial and trading systems can and must be changed

That Australia has the capacity to play a more significant part in enabling the developing countries to achieve improved social conditions for all their people.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that

Australia’s Official Development Assistance in 1972-73 be increased to at least $240m.

Australia’s aid policies be reviewed so that aid given provides maximum benefit to the peoples of developing countries.

Australia’s trade policies be reviewed to provide more favourable conditions for developing countries. by Mr Lynch, Dr Jenkins, Mr Morrison, Dr Patterson and Mr Reid.

Petitions severally received.

Social Services

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled the petition of the undersigned electors of the Commonwealth of Australia respectfully showeth:

That on 10th December 1948 Australia signed the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, Article 25 reads: ‘Everyone has the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age and other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control’.

Yet, 23 years later, in our country of great national wealth and abundance it is to the nation’s shame that many thousands of our people live in a state of being inconsistent with the dignity and worth of the human person - languishing in poverty and want, neglect and the lack of proper care necessary for their health and well-being.

We, the undersigned, respectfully draw to your attention that the conscience of the nation is not at ease while the records of our country show that social services are not comparable with that of other advanced countries administering such services, therefore, we call upon the Commonwealth Government to immediately legislate for:

Base pension rate - 30 per cent of the average weekly male earnings, all states, plus supplementary assistance and allowances based on a percentage of such earnings. Unemployed benefits equal to the foregoing.

Completely free health services to cover all needs of social service pensioners - hospitalisation, chronic and long-term illness, fractures, anaesthetics, specialist, pharmaceutical, hearing aids, dental, optical, physiotherapy, chiropody, surgical aids and any other appliances.

Commonwealth Government to promote a comprehensive national scheme in cooperation with the States and make finance available to provide for the building of public hospitals, nursing and hostel-type homes necessary to effectively meet the special requirements of aged people, in conjunction with a comprehensive domiciliary care programme to enable aged people to stay in their homes.

Mental illness placed in the same position as physical illness.

Substantial Commonwealth increase in the $5 subsidy a day per public bed pensioner patient in general hospitals. 10 per cent of Commonwealth revenue to local government for general activities which now include social welfare, health, conservation and other community needs. Commonwealth subsidy for the waiving of rates for pensioners.

Commonwealth Government to increase the non-repayable grant to the States for low rental home units for pensioners.

Royal Commission or other form of public enquiry into Australia’s social welfare structure that Australia may be brought into line with accepted world standards of the most advanced countries.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Lynch, Mr Calwell, Mr Gorton, Mr Foster, Dr Gun, Mr Jacobi, Mr McIvor and Mr Wallis.

Petitions severally received.

Nuclear Tests

To the Honourable Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament Assembled.

The humble petition of we the undersigned being interested parties but not necessarily electors in the electorate of Barker sheweth that we view with grave concern the Proposed Nuclear Tests by France in the Pacific Region.

We humbly urge that the House should take the strongest possible measures, up to the severing of diplomatic relations and a complete trade embargo, to force the French Government to halt the said tests.

We further urge that the House should take action to ban the supply of uranium by Australia to France.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Dr Forbes.

Petition received.

Postmaster-General’s Department

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

That the Postmaster-General’s Department, Central Office, policy of centralising Post Office affairs and activities under the various titles of Area Management, Area Mail Centres, Area Parcel Centres and similar titles is resulting in both loss of service and lowering of the standards of service to the Public, directly resulting in the closing of Post Offices which is detrimental to the Public interest.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to:

  1. Call a halt to all closing of Post Offices and reorganising within the Post Office, until full details of the proposed savings and all details of alteration to the standards of service to the Public are made available to Parliament, and
  2. Initiate a joint Parliamentary inquiry into the Postmaster-General’s Department, to assess the degree on which it should be run as a normal business undertaking and to what extent its unprofitable activities should be subsidised as a public service charged more correctly to National Development.

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

Petition received.

Aid to Church Schools

To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizen’s of Australia respectfully sheweth:

  1. that, to allow true religious freedom, Governments will make no law respecting religion, neither to prohibit the free exercise thereof nor to compel the individual citizen to support the religion of others.
  2. that nearly all non-State schools are church schools which to a greater or lesser degree promote a specific creed.
  3. that, about 80 per cent of church schools are Roman Catholic schools, which Roman Catholic spokesmen explicity state to be extensions of their church.
  4. that, the use of Commonwealth funds to aid church schools compels every taxpayer to finance the religion of others, whether he wishes to or not.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will restore to the Australian people true religious freedom, which can exist only when Church and State are legally separated both in form and substance.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Sherry and Dr Solomon.

Petitions severally received.

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– I give notice that on the next day of sitting 1 shall move:

That the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972, No. 20 of 1972, made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910-72 be disallowed.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for the Navy. Has the Public Service Board any control over or responsibility for officers of the inspection staff employed by the Department of the Navy under the Naval Defence Act? If the Public Service Board is vested with control and responsibility over these officers will the Minister inform me of the extent of this control and responsibility? Does the Department of the Navy accept direction from the Public Service Board in the compliance with agreements made by the Public Service Board in relation to the employment of inspectors in the Department of the Navy? Finally, has the Department of the Navy authority to issue instructions to staff overruling Public Service Board decisions and has any other Department the same authority?

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

– The Naval Board has the authority to determine wages, salaries and conditions of employees under the Naval Defence Act, but these determinations must be consonant with the directions of the Public Service Board with regard to the alignment of salaries and the corresponding qualifications for particular positions. 1 think that what the honourable gentleman is referring to with regard to inspectors is that there are several classifications of inspectors proper. For instance, class 1 inspectors are a grade or two above examiners and it is at the examiner level that an inquiry was undertaken recently by the Public Service Board to ascertain whether the Navy has been applying the rules of the Board too rigidly. At the present time an inquiry is taking place - as another inquiry did about 7 years ago - to determine whether there should be some scrutiny of the rules as they apply to the promotion of examiners to the inspector grades. If the honourable gentleman will give me the details of the basis of his inquiry I will ensure that further information is adduced for him.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Defence. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to an address given in Brisbane by the honourable member for St George at a public meeting sponsored by the Queensland Branch of the Australian Institute of International Affairs in which the honourable member is alleged to have said:

The Government’s top Service advisers consider that an all-volunteer Army strength of about 30,000 would meet the current defence requirements.

They regard a five or six battalion permanent force as more efficient than a nine battalion force diluted with national servicemen.

I ask the Minister whether the Government has ever had such advice from its Service advisers. If so, does the Government intend to act on that advice?

Minister for Defence · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– My attention was drawn to the statement made by the honourable member for St George. As I could not recall having received information of this sort, I got in touch with my Department and asked my officers to make a thorough check on whether any advice had ever been given along those lines. My Department advised me that no Service adviser has ever made a recommendation that the Australian Army should number less than 40,000. In fact, senior Army officers have stated only in the last week or two that they believe that in order to carry out all the commitments and roles of a balanced military force, an army slightly above the current 40,000 would be required. So it is obvious that the honourable member for St George was incorrect and that he is just maintaining his reputation in this place for inaccurate statements.

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– I ask a question of the Minister for Trade and Industry. 1 am prompted by the crash of yet another travel agency today, and the stranding of well over another 100 Australians overseas, to ask why the Commonwealth is delaying so long in licensing travel agents as it is clearly entitled to do under its constitutional powers over trade and commerce with other countries and among the States.

Deputy Prime Minister · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– There have been discussions with the States on the question of licensing travel agents.

Mr Whitlam:

– We could do it by ourselves.


– May I answer the question? We have expressed the opinion that we would be prepared to licence them in the Australian Capital Territory and in the Northern Territory where we have jurisdiction.

Mr Whitlam:

– But we have it everywhere.


– We have been trying to get the States to co-operate. We believe that we need the co-operation of the States. We believe that the States do have jurisdiction in the area of the licensing of travel agents. No doubt the Leader of the Opposition is correct when he refers to Commonwealth powers as far as overseas travel is concerned but travel agencies are fairly diverse sorts of organisations which deal with domestic travel as well as overseas travel. We believe this ought to be done in a spirit of co-operation with the State governments but up until this point of time we have not had that co-operation. Our aim is to get a system of licensing of agents throughout Australia.

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– I ask the Prime Minister: What plans does his Government have to restore the shipping service to King Island - such as, for example, instructing the Australian National Line to charter the vessel ‘Straitsman’? If he has no plans, will he give further consideration to accepting the Tariff Board recommendation on shipbuilding to pay compensation to companies like R. H. Houfe and Co. so that the Straitsman’ can put to sea again and prevent further irreparable damage being done to the economy of King Island which now has been over 2 months without a regular shipping service? I add to that question by pointing out to the Prime Minister that over 3,000 people are there. They are dinky-die Australians who pay taxes like everybody else and they are entitled to this service.

Minister for Shipping and Transport · GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · CP

– The Government understands the situation and is entirely sympathetic towards the people of King Island who have this shipping problem. I have met deputations and have done my level best to make sure that King Island has a viable shipping service. Captain Houfe came to see me personally to explain his problems to me. 1 explained to Captain Houfe that when the Commonwealth advanced money to the State- or granted money to the State - for the development of the port of Grassy, the State Government at that time accepted the conditions that it would guarantee the viability and the operation of a shipping service to King Island and that therefore he had to take up with the State Government the problem that he faced with his shipping service.

The Premier of Tasmania saw the Prime Minister, and saw me also, at the time of the Premiers’ Conference and we said tha! we would look at the possibility of granting extra money to the State for the purpose of the shipping service. In the event the Tasmanian Government was served very well by the Premiers’ Conference. It received an additional amount of money out of the Conference. In fact I think all the Premiers went away very happy, one Premier making the comment that he was going to laugh all the way to the bank. The Premiers were very happy with the deal that they had made. Therefore it was obvious that it was quite possible for the State Government to assist Captain Houfe with his problem, and in the event it did so. The State Government passed an Act of Parliament guaranteeing a loan of $300,000 for Captain Houfe so that he could put his service back on the run. I think that is where the position now stands.

In respect of the last part of the honourable member’s question about whether the Government can now pay a subsidy in accordance with the Tariff Board report to Captain Houfe for the building of his ship in the hope that Captain Houfe will be assisted because less capital will be needed, I must say this: Captain Houfe had the opportunity to have his ship built under subsidy but he went to a private shipbuilder and made his own arrangements. That was long before the Tariff Board report came out. He made his own arrangements and obviously was satisfied with the price that was asked for the construction of the ship. I think it would set a big precedent for all other shipping companies if the Government were to bring the matter back again and have another look at that aspect. I believe the Commonwealth Government has done its level best to assist Captain Houfe and the people of King Island.

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– ls the Prime Minister aware of the recent claim that the Commonwealth Public Service is leading the salary spiral? If this is so, has this matter been looked into and could he advise whether the claim is valid? Is the Prime Minister able to give the House any information on this subject?

Prime Minister · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– It has been more or less a constant problem, since 1 have been Prime Minister, to answer questions relating to whether or not the Public Service Board has been the leader in salary fixation throughout the Commonwealth. From all the inquiries I have been able to make and the answers I have received, I have come to the conclusion that the Commonwealth does not lead but is well in the centre of salary fixation throughout the Commonwealth. During the course of the last one or two days I have noticed an article in the ‘Australian Financial Review’ stating that the Commonwealth is the leader in the salary fixation race. The article is based upon a false assumption and the argument is fallacious. Only today I received a report from the Chairman of the Public Service Board pointing out where the errors lie, and I will either approach the Public Service Board or, if that is not appropriate, see that my Press officer provides the necessary information to the editor of the Australian Financial Review’. I will also make a copy of the information available to the honourable gentleman.

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– Having asked a question of the Deputy Prime Minister on a constitutional matter, may 1 do so of the Prime Minister himself? The right honourable gentleman recently, and I believe rightly, suggested that the Commonwealth needed constitutional powers over terms and conditions of employment in Australia. He would probably agree with me that the Australian people would now be much more in favour of the Commonwealth having such powers than at the time of the 1946 referendum, for which a majority was secured over the whole of Australia but in only 3 of the States. I ask him whether the Government has considered holding a referendum in conjunction with this year’s election for the House of Representatives, since the Bill for such a referendum would be forthwith supported by the Australian Labor Party and the referendum could be put to the people 2 months after it was passed, that is, comfortably before the end of October.


– Again, as I believe the Leader of the Opposition did yesterday, he has misrepresented what I said on a radio interview. I did not refer to the words terms and conditions of employment’. In fact 1 said ‘industrial disputes’. So he has based his question on a completely wrong premise. I am still making inquiries, and as yet I cannot find a reference in the question that he asked yesterday relating to a different matter. The second point that I wish to make is that if he looks carefully at what I said he will find that I said that this was a problem that had to be solved on a Commonwealth-State relationship basis, because I believed that there were some powers that could be exercised by the States more effectively than they could be exercised by the Commonwealth but that the States had to be given the effective power in order to do so. So I believe that first of all this matter should be examined, and I hope it will be examined. Certainly we will make all the efforts we can to see that it is examined at the constitutional convention to be held early next year. The next point I would like to make is that I do not believe that it is a common sense or sensible proposition that at a time when you are having an election and when the whole attention of the community should be directed to election issues you should attempt to confuse those issues by introducing such a matter as constitutional reform.

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– I address my question to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I refer to a report that 4 union leaders have gone to Hanoi to find out the exact position regarding the fight for the liberation of the Vietnamese people. Can the Minister advise of any useful way this bridgebuilding team can assist the cause of peace in Indo-China and the security of an area in which Australia is and must be vitally interested?

Mr N H Bowen:

-I did see that Mr George Crawford, the Chairman of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party, and 3 other unionists were visiting Hanoi. I think this is entirely consistent with the sympathy for the North Vietnamese cause which has been consistently shown by the left wing of the Labor Party. We have had other examples of sympathy being shown. When the North Vietnamese started their massive aggression with 130 millimetre guns and Russian tanks in April of this year and they went into Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam, killing the people of those 3 countries, the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party, by 1 1 1 votes to 96, supported the North Vietnamese in their aggressive activity. At a time when the North Vietnamese were fighting our own allies and our own troops were involved the Labor Party was supporting these aggressors. I think that that is entirely consistent with the Labor Party’s attitude. Indeed it is not so long ago that the honourable member for Lalor invited representatives of North Vietnam to a moratorium march in this country. I think every Australian will be able to judge for himself the propriety of this procedure. There are still 140 Australians assisting our South Vietnamese friends and allies. Quite apart from that, civil help is being given in hospitals and in other places in South Vietnam. This has been the effort of the Australian people against these aggressors to help the South Vietnamese determine their own way of life. The South Vietnamese have defended themselves very gallantly. In fact they are winning at the present time. Despite this we have the Australian Labor Party sending its representatives to North Vietnam.

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– I wish to ask a question of the Minister for the Army. Are several of the Army’s 9 battalions substantially under strength? With recruiting running at a high level and conscription continuing at a rate of 12,000 men a year, why can the Government not get the battalions up to strength? Would it not be advisable for the Government to scrap conscription, as recommended by Sir Roden Cutler and supported by the Minister outside the Parliament? Finally, if this were done would it be possible to reorganise the Army in a realistic way with fewer battalions but all at full strength?

Minister for the Army · KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND · CP

– It is refreshing to hear the Deputy Leader of the Opposition ask a question in such a concise manner. Quite honestly I am breathless trying to keep up wilh his varying opinions as to what the strength of the Army would be under a Labor regime - God forbid! The position is this: Admittedly the strength of some of our battalions is down to as low as 60 per cent. That is entirely relevant. The important matter is that in a time of emergency we must have the structure of at least 9 battalions in order to meet our commitments. If the Deputy Leader of the Opposition were to probe this matter in any depth certain obvious realities would be forthcoming, such as the fact that it is necessary to have an administrative and organisational base on which to build one’s forces. The training of the other ranks and the ordinary privates is not difficult, but time is required to train non-commissioned officers and officers, particularly the supporting elements to a battalion, and these are necessary if we are to have an efficient Army. Apparently the Opposition is not terribly interested in that. I was very impressed by the Prime Minister’s comment yesterday that if the Opposition were to put its policy into operation not only would we not have enough troops to represent ourselves overseas but also we certainly would not have enough troops to defend this country in any way in time of emergency.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition mentioned Sir Roden Cutler’s comments. I have had a lot to say about this matter and I have no hesitation in repeating in this House what I have said. The message does not seem to be getting through - I suppose there are none so blind as those who do not want to see - that we have at the moment a call-up system which has been decided, wisely or unwisely, by those who are closest to the operations of the Army and the operations of our defence forces. Honourable members opposite can laugh their heads off if they like; that has little effect. The point I am making is that the Governor is a busy man. He does an impeccable job as Governor but I would rather question his capacity to understand the pressures under which we now operate. The pressures are such that it has been decided by those who are interested and dedicated to the defence of this country that the present system is the best system. However, the message that does not seem to get through is that we have an ideal setup. I do hope that I am not intruding into the domain of my very distinguished colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service. As the tempo of our volunteer force builds up, so the tempo of our national service scheme begins to get a little slower. I know that the defence of this country is highly amusing to honourable members opposite; this is perfectly obvious. There is no honourable member on this side of the House, every single one of whom is dedicated to the security of this country, who would not like to see and be guaranteed-

Mr Cope:

Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. Will you ask the Minister to repeat his answer because there is so much noise?


-Order! I will not ask the Minister to repeat his answer.


– 1 will have the greatest pleasure in sending a copy of my answer to the honourable member. As I said, there is no man on this side of the House-

Mr Bryant:

– That is right.


– Well, I suppose there is a lot of truth in the saying that we should keep our answers short if we want to keep out of trouble. There is no-one on this side of the House who would’ not like to see a situation whereby we could depend on an all-volunteer army. But who is going to predict with any certainty that the present tempo will be maintained? Honourable members opposite would play Russian roulette with the security of this country but we will not do so; we will not take a punt. I am terribly interested-

Mr Barnard:

– 1 am sorry I asked the question.


– I know you are. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will be a lot sorrier when I have finished pursuing him on his safari around the country.


– Order! I would suggest that the House come to order. By their continual interjections, honourable members are cutting into the time allowed for questions. A number of members who have risen on both sides of the House desire to ask for and obtain information. The Minister’s answer is getting a little long and 1 would suggest that he cut it short.


Mr Speaker, may I just reiterate one point. I think this is the most important point that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition raised, namely, the necessity for 9 battalions. The vital element in all of this is the structure of a battalion. It would not matter very much if our battalions were not at full strength but it is of critical importance to this nation that in time of emergency we have sufficient expertise available on which we can build up a force to defend this country.

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– Could the PostmasterGeneral give some definition of the phrase the independence of the Australian Broadcasting Commission’? Does it mean that the Commission should operate without interference from the government of the day on the premise that its powers are exercised fairly and impartially in the interests of the whole community, since it is the community as a whole that nourishes and sustains it? Or does it mean that individual employees of the Commission are at liberty to purvey their own personal views, commanding a more extensive audience and capable of greater influence than that available to any of the people’s representatives? Would the Minister please invite the Commission to supply a copy of the delegations given by it under the powers conferred upon it by the Broadcasting and Television Act to any member or members of the Commission and of any guidelines given by it or by them or by its senior management to the controllers of current affairs programmes? Would he please lay on the table a copy of such delegations and guidelines if obtainable from the ABC? At the same time, would he inquire whether such guidelines as issued by the British Broadcasting Corporation in England have in fact been published.

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– The Australian Broadcasting Commission is constituted under the Broadcasting and Television Act. It is comprised of 9 people and has the full responsibility of controlling and administering the affairs of the organisation. The Commission is required to provide adequate programmes having regard to the community which receives those programmes, whether broadcasting or television. I have recently come to the conclusion that the autonomy which is given to the Commission under the Act in the areas of both programming and administration is being accepted by employees of the Commission as autonomy in their hands. If this is so - and I believe that there is justification for that view - the Commission is falling down on its responsibility and is not exercising proper control over its employees. In my view those employees are in a situation similar to that of the employees of any department or organisation within the community.

As to the second part of the honourable member’s question, of course authority is given under the Act for the Commission to delegate its responsibilities to a commissioner or to the general manager. I am not aware of the degree to which this delegation has taken place. I will ask the Chairman of the Commission to make this information available so that I may pass it on to honourable members. At the same time I will also ask for information on the guidelines given by the Commission to employees particularly in relation to current affairs programmes so that this information can also be placed in the hands of honourable members. I will also seek advice on the instructions given by the British Broadcasting Commission so that honourable members may compare the situation in Great Britain with that which applies in Australia.

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– Is the Minister for foreign Affairs aware that recently the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd negotiated a small but very important sale of sugar to the People’s Republic of China? There is every indication that this sale will be the beginning of a major trade with China. Will the Minister ensure that the Government and his Department do nothing to jeopardise the trade in sugar between Australia and China just as the Government and his Department jeopardised the trade in wheat between Australia and China? In other words, will he ensure that the Government and his Department keep their noses out of negotiations between the experts of Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd and representatives of the People’s Republic of China?

Mr N H Bowen:

-I am aware of the sale of sugar to the People’s Republic of China which followed, I might point out, my statement on 9th May in this House of our policy on China. I may say that not only was I in touch with the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd but my Department was also aware of this matter. I therefore do not quite know what the honourable gentleman means by asking us to keep our noses out, seeing that there was a successful conclusion to the exercise. However, the reason for the successful sale in this case was largely the inability of Cuba to supply the sugar. When the People’s Republic of China needs something and is unable to purchase it from the usual source it makes a purchase where it can do so successfully.

However, let me return to the other part of the honourable gentleman’s question about political matters having entered into the sale of wheat. For the 10 years up to 30th June 1970 we had in total outsold Canada in wheat sales to China. For the year ended 30th June 1970 we had a substantial trade with China. Our sales were worth SI 26m and China’s sales to us were worth $32m. It was only when the Labor Party raised as a political issue in this House, only when the Labor Party moved a motion in this House which turned wheat into a political issue - and the honourable gentleman who asked the question was in this - that for the first time the Chinese decided to assign a political reason for the non-purchase of wheat from Australia. This was continued.

The honourable gentleman organised a trip to solve the wheat question. I know that it was taken over by the Leader of the Opposition and turned into a different kind of exercise altogether. But leaving that on one side, the honourable gentleman went up there, as he informed this House, with a view to showing that the Labor Party could organise the sale of wheat. This is what has made wheat a political issue, and as long as the honourable gentleman continues in this House to make it a political issue the Chinese will treat it as such. When he stops doing it, remains silent and allows the country to trade and to carry on in a proper and dignified way, as it has done successfully in the past, then we will sell wheat again to China.

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– My question, which I direct to the Postmaster-General, relates to the black ban which has been placed by the Professional Radio Employees Institute on the broadcasting and telecasting of the Olympic Games which are to begin in Munich on 26th August 1972 and to finish on 1 0th September 1972. The Minister was reported earlier this week as stating that he had no reliable information on the situation but that he would make immediate inquiries. I ask the Minister: Has he completed his inquiries and, if he has, will he inform the House why the ban has been placed on the broadcasting and televising of the Games? Will he also say why it has been placed at this particular time when the real sufferers will be the public who are the real victims of most industrial strife? Finally, will the Minister say what his Department can do to see that people who pay broadcasting and television licence fees are not denied the right to hear direct broadcasts and to view direct telecasts of the Munich Games?


– I believe that the televising and broadcasting of the Olympic Games, or some parts of them, by the Australian Broadcasting Commission are matters of great interest to many people in Australia who in any way follow sport, particularly in the international sphere. I made inquiries after discovering at the weekend that this ban was likely to be applied by the Professional Radio Employees Institute. I understand that this results from a demand by the employees for a 7i per cent increase in wages as against the 4.2 per cent increase which in fact has been granted to them. I further understand that the matter is now before the Public Service Arbitrator and therefore it is not my desire to enter into discussion in relation to the merits or otherwise of the case. 1 hope that influences will be brought to bear on the members of this Institute so that they will withdraw any suggestion of blackmail in relation to the telecasting and broadcasting of the Olympic Games. I think I had better leave it at that at this time. I hope that the Australian people will not be disappointed.

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Mr Lionel Bowen:

-I direct my question to the Prime Minister and refer to the speech made last week by His Excellency Sir Roden Cutler V.C. who described the Government’s national service scheme as having undesirable lottery effects and logical objections. This distinguished soldier was doubtful about its needs and efficacy. Will the Prime Minister admit that very many Australians, and probably the majority of them, share the same view as this distinguished Australian? Are there not very many young men now being treated as criminals and hounded as such because they oppose the Government’s system? In order to test the Government’s support for this system of compulsion, will he agree to conduct a referendum of the Australian people in conjunction with the forthcoming election, asking whether they approve or disapprove of conscription?


– I have no intention whatsoever of making any comment about the Governor of New South Wales other than to say that he is a very distinguished Australian with a very distinguished war record and a man who is highly respected by me. As to the substance of the honourable gentleman’s question, I remind him that a statement was made only yesterday by the former Chief of the General Staff of the Australian Army who then pointed out that if national service were abolished, half the Army would go and that about 20,000 Citizen Military Forces personnel would also have to be taken out of the Army. He went on to point out that 4,000 officers and non-commissioned officers would be found to be redundant and would, therefore, have to be discharged, with all the difficulties that that would create not only for them but also for their families. This is not the Government’s policy. This is the Opposition’s policy and it would mean, as I said yesterday, the destruction of the effective fighting capability of the Australian armed forces. I believe that national service is essential in the interests of maintaining the Army at a strength of 40,000, or even a little greater than 40,000, so that we can not only fulfil any potential international obligations but also play our part in the defence of this country if, unfortunately, we are ever called upon to do so. I contrast that statement with the statement made recently by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. Labor’s policy is diametrically opposed to ours, because obviously the Australian Labor Party’s policy would destroy the Army and its effective fighting capability.

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– My question which is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs is supplementary to that asked by the honourable member for Dawson. In view of the answer given by the Minister to the honourable member for Dawson, can the Government take any further action which would help to prevent the sale of sugar to the People’s Republic of China being made a political issue by the Australian Labor Party and thus jeopardising the continuing trade in this commodity as happened in the case of wheat?

Mr N H Bowen:

– The Government does not initiate activity in relation to sugar. This is done by private enterprise or, in the case of wheat, by the Australian Wheat Board dealing with its opposite number in China. It does not become a political exercise until the honourable member for Dawson or someone from the Labor Opposition raises it in this House to get a headline and to make it a political matter. As long as it is not a political matter there could be possibilities of further trade if the requirements are there. If the requirement for trade is not there, there will not be trade. If the requirement for trade is there, there will be trade, provided the honourable member for Dawson does not sabotage it by his kind of comment.

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– I ask the Minister for External Territories: Are the reports that West Irianese have been deported from Papua New Guinea to West Irian correct? If these reports are correct, is this an action of the new Government of Papua New Guinea or is it an action by the Australian authorities, as it is reported to be? If it is an action by the Australian authorities, why is it that jurisdiction in this matter has not been transferred to the Government of Papua New Guinea?

Minister for External Territories · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– I have not yet received a record of the statement attributed to an Indonesian general in the ‘Australian’ newspaper today. But the statement that was attributed to him, I can say, does not reflect the policy of either the Government of Australia or the Papua New Guinea Ministry. To say it does not reflect it is probably the most honest and certainly the most charitable thing one can say about the statement as reported. We have no intention of deporting to Indonesia people who have been granted permission to reside in Papua New Guinea on grounds that they fear persecution in Indonesia. The honourable member is correct in questioning whether there has been a transfer of power in this area. In fact, 8 persons have applied for permissive residence and this has been refused. But it has been refused by the national coalition Government of Papua New Guinea. The power, as it is exercised and has been for some years, is that application is made to the Papua New Guinea Government by persons who may come from another country. The Papua New Guinea Government considers each application and if it believes that there is a prima facie case for acceptance of an application it is referred to Australia. If an application is rejected, it is rejected by that Government and not by the Australian Government and, after all, this is a decision that should reside within the power of the Papua New Guinea Government. On this occasion the applications were considered by the Government of Papua New Guinea and were rejected for reasons based on the normal line of the policy it adopts. The applications were considered in accordance with the normal guidelines and principles of the United Nations Convention on Refugees. The decision was one for the Papua New Guinea Government and that Government alone. It was supported, I understand, by a statement by the Chief Minister of Papua New Guinea this afternoon.

Whether the actual words attributed to the general are correct or not certainly the inference, indeed the headline, that it was a decision by the Australian Government is incorrect. It was a decision by the Government of Papua New Guinea taken after full consultation with the Administrator’s Executive Council and it is in keeping with the powers vested in the Government of Papua New Guinea. After all, Papua New Guinea is that Government’s country and that Government is entitled to determine who resides therein and whether people have entered illegally or not. If a person is seeking political asylum that is a different matter. If he is basing an application on the grounds that he fears persecution from the Government of West Irian that is another matter. But the decision taken in this instance is a decision that we can support. It is a decision taken by the Government of Papua New Guinea as it ought to be.

Another point I might add in conclusion is that, as I understand it, the Australian Government is not aware of any proposal, as referred to in the statement contained in the newspaper this morning, for a joint patrolling of the Papua New Guinea-West Irian border. There are, of course, some patrols by the Administration and by the Pacific Islands Regiment along the border. Also, of course, there are patrols on the other side of the border by the Indonesian Army and the authorities of West Irian. The proposition, as stated in the newspaper, of a joint patrol of the Papua New Guinea-West Irian border has not been considered. Such a proposal would, of course, involve a departure from our present policy and would require consideration by both the Australian Government and the Papua New Guinea Ministers.

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– In view of the deep national concern about the problem of poverty in Australia can the Prime Minister inform the House whether yesterday’s Budget places pensioners above the poverty line drawn by Professor Henderson of Melbourne University?


– When drawing up the Budget, particular attention was paid, certainly by me, to the report by Professor Henderson and others relating to poverty in Victoria generally and in Melbourne in particular. I carefully examined very nearly every part of that report in order to ensure that when we were looking at the Budget we did not leave any of the matters out of consideration. My colleague the Minister for Social Services has drawn up a table showing the poverty line, brought up to date, as suggested by the Henderson Committee, and also the way in which that can be compared with the action taken by the Government during the course of the last 16 or 17 months and the action taken in the Budget announced last night. I think the House will be delighted when it hears the report that is to be made by my colleague the Minister for Social Services. To give just one example, if we lake the case of a widow with 3 children we will see that for them the Henderson poverty line - I emphasise that it is the Henderson line and not one which I am stating would be mine - is $44. The House will see that in this Budget we have taken action to ensure that the amount that will be granted to a widow with 3 children will certainly be above that line, to the extent of probably $2 or $3.

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Leader of the Opposition · Werriwa

Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a personal explanation. The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon), in answer to a question asked by me, said that he could not find the references to which I had referred in my question to him yesterday. May I give them, Sir?

Mr McMahon:

– If they are accurate, yes.


– If they turn out to be inaccurate I will apologise to the House.


– Order! Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.


– On 25th September 1969 and 6th May 1971 the Liberal Government voted against my Party’s proposi tion that a committee should be appointed to inquire into and report upon Australian proposals and overseas practices in respect of national superannuation. On 17th September 1970, 1st April 1971 and 9th September 1971 the Government voted against my Party’s proposition that a national superannuation scheme should be established. On 2nd December 1971 I addressed to the right honourable gentleman himself a question without notice on this matter, apropos the Green Paper proposed by the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth). After stating in opening his answer that he hoped that I had seen the results of the latest gallup poll relating to popularity which were published in that morning’s Melbourne ‘Sun’, the right honourable gentleman went on to make a long statement about national superannuation and inquiries being made. I have, without difficulty, from the books in front of me, been able to find this reference at page 3980 of the Hansard of 2nd December 1971.

Prime Minister · Lowe · LP

Mr Speaker, may I reply to that explanation?


– Order! Is leave granted. There being no objection, leave is granted.


– The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) has not said that I agreed to a public inquiry on this matter. I have made as many searches as 1 can, and my Department is still searching, to find out whether I said that there would be a public inquiry and as yet we have not been able to find such a statement. But I did say yesterday in answer to a question - perhaps J did not say it. I believe that my colleague the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) did. Yes, he did. He said that there would be a public inquiry associated with the means test and that national superannuation would be encompassed within that inquiry. I stand by what I said, which I believe up until this moment is accurate.

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Statement of Expenditure

Treasurer · Bruce · LP

– I present the following paper:

Statement for the year 1971-72 of Heads of Expenditure and the amounts charged thereto pursuant to section 36a of the Audit Act 1901- 1969 (Advance to the Treasurer).

Ordered that the statement be taken into consideration in Committee of the whole House at the next sitting.

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PostmasterGeneral · Petrie · LP

– Pursuant to section 96M of the Post and Telegraph Act 1901-71, I present a statement on Post Office Prospects and Capital Programme 1972-73.

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

– Pursuant to section 30 of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Act 1964- 66, I present the report of the Council of the Institute for the year ended 30th June 1972, together with the Institute’s financial statements and the report of the AuditorGeneral on those statements.

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Ministerial Statement

Minister for Defence · Farrer · LP

– by leave - I wish to outline for honourable members the Government’s decisions for the first year of the 5-Year Defence Programme 1972-73 to 1976-77. I shall also describe the general form of the Government’s plan for the remaining 4 years of the programme. Before doing so, however, I shall re-state the Government’s conception of the essential nature of Australia’s strategic problem and its objectives for Australian defence. This will help to put the programme in its setting.

We recognise that relations between the major powers will be the predominant influence on Australia’s future strategic environment. We recognise also that those relationships could, in a variety of possible ways, give rise to situations in which Australian interests and even in the longer term Australia itself could come under threat. Precisely because of the obligations we have assumed under the ANZUS Treaty, it is to be assumed Australia must accept the primary responsibility for the defence of its own interests and must be able, if need be, to act alone. By being prepared to act in this manner we ensure support in emergencies going beyond our capabilities.

The Government is progressively defining a long term programme of balanced force development which will ensure that in the changing circumstances of the future Australia will be able to act with the necessary measure of independence - both in peacetime and in war. In so acting Australia must be able to protect its interests beyond, as well as within, its continental boundaries; to support its friends and its allies in the protection of mutual interests in the region; and, having these capabilities, to be able to continue to contribute responsibly to the development of a climate of confidence and security in the region and to the deterrence of threats generally.

All this implies an Australian concept of defence, which, though based on continental strength, will not be limited to the employment of capabilities matched to the specialised requirements of continental defence alone. We are developing forces specifically capable of acting in the broad maritime and archipelago surrounds of the continent, if this should be needed, no less than in defence of our beaches and our hinterland. We reject all policies which would, whether by doctrine or by the de facto denial of external facilities or suitable equipment, confine our Services to no more than a continental role.

My statement in this House of 28th March 1972 on Defence and the Australian Defence Review (Parliamentary Paper No. 25 of 1972 presented to Parliament on 28th March 1972) described the strategic outlook for the next 2 decades and the specific factors influencing the development of Australia’s forces. Our defence effort must provide for present needs. But sophisticated equipments take a long time to acquire and bring into service and then they usually have a long life. Therefore we have also to take into account Australia’s likely defence needs in the 1980s in deciding what equipments to order now.

The planning introduced by the Government will allow our future defence needs to be foreseen better and to be taken into account in financial programming. It will help ensure that acquisitions of new equipment are made at the best time. Programming reconciles, as far as possible, all the pertinent criteria such as the rate of obsolescence of existing equipments, the time needed to bring new equipment into service, the development of new technology, the strategic outlook, our industrial situation, the financial situation at the time, and the extent of the long term financial commitments that would be entered into and handed on to future governments and parliaments.

Our defence industries, our research and development capacity and our military and civil infrastructure also contribute significantly to our defence preparedness. Their development needs to be harmonised with the development of our forces.

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I shall now turn to the S-year defence programme for the years 1972-73 to 1976-77. We are, of course, all aware that resources are always limited. There are obviously many pressing claims on Australia’s resources - for example, for national development, for the welfare of our fellow citizens and for education. It is not possible to satisfy all of the bids for defence expenditure. Choices have to be made. To make them, proposals for defence expenditure must be properly analysed and examined critically. The 5-year defence programme was set up to help do this. It has been developed by the Department of Defence, in close collaboration with the Services and the Department of Supply, in order to provide the necessary amalgam of judgment, experience and analysis. It ensures that a defence, rather than an individual, Service view is taken. Senior military and civil advisers of the Defence group have participated fully in its development.

The Overall Programme

The defence vote for 1972-73 is $l,323m. Actual defence expenditure in 1972-73 will probably constitute some 3.4 per cent of the gross national product as now estimated. The defence planners have projected defence expenditure forward and they propose that it be some $ 1,530m in 1976-77, in terms of constant - that is August 1972 - prices and wages. Using 1971-72 defence expenditure of $1,2 17m as a base, this represents a total increase of 26 per cent over the 5 years and an average annual increase of some 4.7 per cent. To these figures future increases in prices and wages would have to be added to give the actual charges on future budgets assumed by our planners. Under the programme, defence expenditure is likely to constitute a slightly increasing proportion of the gross national product over the 5 years. I must emphasise that this projection of defence expenditure is for planning purposes only. Funds have been allocated to defence for the year 1972-73 only. It is obvious that the Government cannot commit future parliaments to levels of defence expenditure. It is not envisaged, however, that expenditure on all types of defence activities will increase by similar amounts. To illustrate how defence expenditure is distributed in the programme among different defence activities, as distinct from the individual departments as shown in the Estimates, I have had the following statistics prepared:

It must not be forgotten that present assumptions about the future level of defence expenditure may have to be changed in the light of developments. The Government keeps Australia’s strategic outlook under review. Again, expenditure on defence in any particular year must be consistent with the Government’s fiscal and economic policy. For these reasons, as the years go by, it may be necessary to increase or to decrease the expenditure for defence projected in the programme which I have described.

Expenditure on Capital Items

When the programme for 1972-73 to 1976-77 was being developed, the Government was conscious that in recent years more and more of the defence vote was being taken up for pay and other running costs and a smaller proportion of expenditure was available for investment in capital items. These capital items include the new equipments necessary to develop the forces and to update existing capabilities, and the strategic bases and accommodation necessary to support the forces. The proportion of the defence vote spent on these capital items has fallen from 37 per cent in 1967- 68 to less than 17 per cent in 1971-72. The programme reverses this trend. It is planned that, in 1976-77, about 28 per cent of the defence vote will be spent on capital items. In restructuring the pattern towards spending more on capital items, some restraint will be placed on the growth of the costs of running the Services. This restraint will not affect in any significant way the present level of Service operational activities or training.

Capital Equipments

With this restructuring of defence expenditure, we shall be in a much better position to obtain the new equipments necessary for the development of our forces. By far the largest increase in expenditure planned for the 5 years of the programme is for capital equipments; predominantly ships, aircraft and other weapon systems for the Services. The provision for these in the 1972-73 defence vote is $184m; this is some $56m more than was spent in 1971- 72. The programme foresees expenditure on capital equipment increasing each year - to $325m in 1976-77 in terms of 1972 prices. I shall indicate later the new equipment decisions for 1972-73 that the Government has made. I shall also outline the types of new weapon systems that we plan to acquire in the following 4 years. In doing so 1 shall outline how these will enhance our military capabilities in the 1970s and 1980s.

The maritime components of our forces, both the Royal Australian Navy and units of the Royal Australian Air Force, are required to offset threats to our territory and to our maritime rights and interests.

Australia’s long lines of international communications and their importance to our trade, our long coastline, our limited transcontinental surface transport, and our interests in the continental shelf and its resources all demand a strong maritime capability. Naval and air surveillance of the seas surrounding us will have a high priority. Surveillance is essential in the protection of our interests. We must be able to deploy and project our maritime power beyond the confines of the Australian coastal waters and territorial seas if we are to contribute properly to ANZUS and if we are to make a positive contribution to the stability of our environment.

We need to retain effective destroyer capabilities to enable us to operate on the high seas and far from our bases so that we may cope with the wide range of maritime tasks that could be required. We must be able to deploy destroyers which, if need be, can act in a hostile surface and air environment, without the support of our allies. I shall refer later to the characteristics of the new destroyers the Government has decided to add to the fleet in the early 1980s. Submarines can now operate at very long distances from their base, at high speed and for long periods and they are harder to detect. Not only must we retain our anti-submarine capabilities, but also we must make use of all available advances in technology to improve our capabilities for submarine detection and attack.

We also need to maintain forces that could assist, if required, in the external defence of Papua New Guinea. This could involve the deployment of maritime forces, sometimes at a considerable distance from our shores. The stability of our region will depend to a large extent on the social and economic progress of countries in it and on their growing self confidence and their ability to maintain their own security forces. To this end many of them will require external support - support which Australia can help to provide. To provide it, however, we need to be able to deploy and operate maritime forces should this be necessary in a region where distances are great.

Turning now to the concept of air warfare let me say first that this is not confined to the defence of the Australian continent. Our strategic strike force with its long range capability serves to deter a potential enemy from attack on Australia and its territories. If deterrence fails, air defence will involve all 3 Services. The development of their individual air defence capabilities will be co-ordinated to meet the overall need. Australia does not now need the full air warfare capabilities necessary for a major combat burden. We aim to sustain sufficient capability to deter, to maintain necessary military skills and expertise, and to provide a basis for expansion. We have, however, to consider the need to acquire certain capabilities for which we have looked to our allies in the past. These include strategic reconnaissance in support of our strike forces, aerial refuelling in support of air operations, and the means of detecting low level air attack.

Defence Facilities

The years immediately ahead provide an excellent opportunity for Australia to consolidate its defence infrastructure and to improve existing Service establishments. Work will continue at Cockburn Sound and at Learmonth, important bases on our Indian Ocean coastline. Firm decisions on the future capital works programme will be taken at the appropriate time in the future. However, the programme envisages improvements to Naval base facilities, including substantial work at the Williamstown Dockyard, where the new destroyers will be built, and at Cockatoo Island Dockyard. There are plans for improvements to Army bases, including those at Townsville and Canungra in Queensland, Holsworthy in New South Wales and Puckapunyal in Victoria. Substantial improvements are envisaged for several important air bases, including those at Townsville and at Amberley, where the Fill will be based. Service storage facilities, including the Naval Stores at Randwick, will be improved. The total capital works programme contemplated in 1972-73 is of the order of Si 37m, by comparison with a programme of $107m in 1971-72. However, expenditure against the increase in the programme will fall mainly in 1973- 74 and subsequent years.

The opportunity will be taken to improve the Services’ living and working accommodation. A start has been made with this of recent years, but there is still much to complete before the Government can be fully satisfied with the standard of Service accommodation. The programme foresees expenditure on bases, accommodation - including servicemen’s housing and other defence facilities increasing from the $69m provided in the 1972-73 defence vote to more than $90m in 1976-77 in terms of 1972 prices.

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The strength of the permanent armed forces has increased from 48,000 to about 80,000 during the last decade. Unless the strategic situation changes in a manner at present unpredictable, the Government considers that forces at this level will, apart from minor variations, be adequate during the next 5 years. The Navy and Air Force will need some additional manpower to operate new equipments; but, on the other hand, manpower will become available for transfer to them as existing equipments are phased out because of obsolescence or for other reasons. The manpower requirements for these 2 Services are being kept under close review. In the 5-year defence programme, the strength of the Army permanent forces is projected at about 40,000. The actual Army strength at any time will, however, fluctuate around this figure because of variations in recruiting and re-engagement rates that occur from time to time.

As the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) stated in this House on 18th August last, this Government’s aim is to ensure that the proportion of volunteers in the Australian Army will be as large as practicable. This is still our aim. But we will not in so doing allow the effective strength of the Army to fall below what the Government, after taking into account professional military advice, has decided as the appropriate level under present circumstances. That level is, as has been stated many times in the past 12 months, around 40,000 men. National service now provides 12,000 men. The Government considers that at this stage an Army of the required strength could not be achieved and maintained without National Service. The Government will continue to keep force levels under review and also the level of national service required in the light of trends in voluntary enlistment and re-engagements.

The Australian Army is unusually well experienced in combat among the allied armies. It has learned many lessons from its tours of duty in Vietnam. It is now acquiring experience in Singapore. It is well equipped and mobile. But we will need to develop greater self reliance in some combat arms, particularly artillery and close air support. We also need to develop greater self reliance and independence in our logistic capabilities and in the specialised manpower, equipment and infrastructure needed for the support of combat operations.

We aim for ground forces - based on a regular component - which are versatile, well-equipped, and highly trained. Any limitation in manpower numbers must be compensated for by technologically advanced equipment. There will be a continuing need for the Army to have an adequate base of well experienced manpower. There must be adequate reserves for rapid expansion in a time of need.

Civilian manpower employed by the Defence group of departments is made up of scientists, engineers, technicians, tradesmen and other occupations in support of the Services, as well as administrative staff. The civilian manpower level is not expected to grow as quickly as in the last few years. There will, however, be some increases in the numbers employed in managementtype activities, in project planning and control, and in other activities in support of the armed forces. The defence vote provides $605m for Service and civilian pay and allowances in 1972-73 and the programme projects this at some $625m in 1976-77, in terms of August 1972 prices. This small increase over the 5 years reflects the restraint on manpower growth. There will, however, be increased expenditure because of wage increases in the future, which are not allowed for in the figures.

Other Running Costs

Because of the restraints on manpower growth the increase in other running costs will be relatively small. These costs cover stores, equipment repair, maintenance of buildings and works, as well as administrative expenses and miscellaneous items. The 1972-73 defence vote provides $420m for these items. The programme projects some $440m for them in 1976-77, at 1972 prices, lt will be necessary for the Department of Defence and the Services and Supply to exercise careful control to live within this limit. Nevertheless, the programme includes plans for new measures to ameliorate the disabilities of Services life, to reward the profession of arms in its modern skills, and to maintain the inducements to a predominantly volunteer force.

Industrial capacity and Defence Research

The programme foresees an average of more than $40m a year, in 1972 prices, being applied to the maintenance and development of defence production capacity both in government factories and in industry. Investigations are being conducted into the aircraft industry to determine the type of capacity that should be maintained to meet future needs and how a greater degree of rationalisation might be achieved. Similar investigations are being undertaken in the munitions industry. A strong defence industry contributes to our self-reliance, and brings new technology to our industry generally. Besides developing our defence industry for wartime, we must use them, where economically practicable, to provide the peacetime equipment needs of the Services. One of the techniques of the 5-year defence programme is to advise industry of impending equipment decisions. Briefings will be arranged for the different sectors of defence industry.

Our defence industry must be able to repair very sophisticated equipments, to modify equipments to incorporate improvements made overseas, to adapt equipments manufactured overseas to meet Australian service conditions, and to manufacture equipments for unique Australian requirements. The Government is fully aware that the stability, and even survival, of some defence industries depends on the pattern of defence ordering. The programme allows some adjustment to the timing of defence orders so that workloads and employment in certain industries can be made more stable.

A strong defence research and development capability is an important part of the basis for our defence preparedness. It fosters the development of weapons and technology to meet Australia’s strategic, climatic and other specific requirements. Our research in recent years has led to overseas sales of equipment, some of them substantial. Expenditure on research and development will continue as needed to keep abreast of advances in military technology and for the Australian development of some weapons systems peculiar to our needs. Total expenditure on research and development, including pay, running costs and other items, is planned to continue at about S60m a year in terms of 1972 prices.

Defence Aid

Expenditure on defence aid is expected to increase in accordance with our intention to assist our friendly neighbours to improve their own defence capability. Over the 5 years 1972-73 to 1976-77, defence aid to foreign countries averaging about SI 5m a year is envisaged. Australia’s contributions to the countries in our region, through equipment aid and the training of military personnel, assist our less powerful allies to defend themselves and enable them to make a better contribution to regional stability. We are bound to give assistance of this kind to our neighbours, particularly those to the near north, as a reflection of our own outwardlooking defence policies.

Operation of the Programme

I have already said that our defence planners foresee a defence expenditure of some $l,530m in 1976-77. That is an increase of 26 per cent on defence expenditure in 1971-72. I repeat that the programme is based on present priorities. If it is necessary to change these, because of strategic developments or for budgetary or other reasons, the planned expenditure in the programme will, of course, be changed accordingly. It is axiomatic that the 5-year defence programme system must be sufficiently flexible to cope with the uncertainties of the future. It is a rolling process. Each year the programme will be reviewed in the light of changing circumstances and an additional year will be added.

I reiterate that the only actual decisions taken by the Government on items in the programme apply to those in its first year- that is, 1972-73. These 1972-73 decisions are, of course, set against the context of the 5 years of the programme, and are consistent with decisions projected for later years. I would also mention that the system has helped us to look ahead to check that the programme would not result in too-heavy demands on the financial resources likely to be available for defence in the second half of the 1970s.

The New Equipment Decisions

The new major equipment items that the Government has decided to authorise in 1972-73 for construction or acquisition are: The 3 new destroyers for the Navy already referred to in the Budget Speech; modernisation and update of the Charles F Adams class guided missile destroyers; the extended refit of River class destroyers; anti-submarine helicopters for the Navy; the basic flying training aircraft for the Air Force; and, the observation aeroplane - Nomad - for the Army.

The New Destroyer

The Government has decided to construct 3 Australian-designed destroyers at Williamstown Naval Dockyard. This decision is based on a thorough and comprehensive study of the strategic, military, technological, financial and other factors involved. The new destroyers will have an area air defence system, a medium range gun, ship-launched anti-submarine torpedoes, appropriate sensors, an automated command and control system to ensure the effective integration of these weapons and sensors, and they will be able to carry 2 helicopters fitted with armament and surveillance equipment. This weapon fit, the requirement for good endurance and prudent allowance for later development, dictate a ship size of about 4,000 tons.

It is essential that Australia’s fighting ships have good range, endurance, habitability and maintainability since, in our area of interest, they may be required to operate for long periods at a great distance from established bases. For example, in escorting a military convoy, a destroyer can be expected to steam at least 30 per cent further than the ships it is escorting, and the convoy itself is unlikely to proceed by the most direct route. The distance on one possible convoy leg, from Fiji to Honolulu direct, is about 2,400 miles.

The Navy estimate of the total ship construction costs is $220m, in 1972 prices, for 3 ships. To this must be added the cost of such things as design, dockyard improvements, support and training equipment, the establishment of manufacture and repair facilities in Australia, spares, ammunition and ships’ helicopters. The estimated comprehensive project investment cost, including these additional items, is S355m, in 1972 prices, for 3 ships. Both these costs include full overheads at the Williamstown Dockyard and they include an allowance for contingencies.

We are keeping an adequate destroyer capability in the 1970s. The new destroyers will enter service progressively between 1980 and 1984. Two Daring class destroyers - HMA Ships ‘Vampire* and Vendetta’ - are expected to be paid off about 1980 to 1981; the ‘Duchess’ will also be paid off by then. On present planning our other existing destroyers will go out of service progressively in the late 1980s and 1990s. The preliminary design of the new destroyers has been completed. The next step is to call tenders for detailed design and preparation of working drawings. Design will commence in 1973. lt has been suggested that smaller and cheaper ships would meet our needs. The size of the new destroyer is influenced mainly by the decision to fit an area defence missile system and to carry helicopters in the ships. Other factors such as endurance, sea-keeping qualities, versatility and habitability also have an effect. I can assure honourable members that all these matters were put to the most searching study before deciding that Australia needs a ship having a good general purpose capability. Arguments based on lower capital costs for the selections of small ships are shallow and misleading, lt can be shown that such ships would not be cost effective.

The costs of manning and maintaining a ship over its 25-year life usually outweigh the costs of acquiring it. The design of the new destroyer will make significant savings in operating costs. The full complement of the new ships will be two-thirds that of the Daring class they are replacing. A substantial shore tail is required to support men at sea and the reduction in the complement for the new destroyers will produce a further saving. This results in a reduction to operating costs of about $25m per ship over the expected life of 25 years for each of the ships.

I have already referred to important strategic factors which must, if we are to have proper regard for the defence of Australia in the longer term, exercise a powerful influence on our planning. Our naval forces need to provide qualitative rather than simply quantitative support in assisting countries in our region. To project our influence significantly beyond our shores, our naval forces must be able to operate at substantial range from Australia and with a full mix of offensive and defensive weapons systems. The new destroyers must have the ability to work efficiently in a hostile air and surface environment. It would not be prudent to design these ships on the assumption that they would always have support in action from powerful ships of an allied navy.

The selection of the new destroyers’ air defence systems is critical. Short range missiles or guns contribute well to a ship’s self defence against air and missile attacks, provided area air defence cover is available from another ship. But when there is no such area air defence cover, ships with only short range air defence systems are vulnerable to attack by even relatively unsophisticated aircraft. The 3 Charles F. Adams class DDGs are the only ships in the Royal Australian Navy that are equipped with an area air defence system, the Tartar missile. Tt is clear from the studies that the new destroyers also need an area air defence capability to increase the independence of our maritime forces. Modern area air defence missiles can also provide some long range offensive capability against surface vessels.

None of the Royal Australian Navy’s existing destroyers carries helicopters. The new destroyers will carry armed helicopters for reconnaissance and surveillance, and for offensive operations against surface vessels out of the range of the ship. This need is particularly important in coastal and island areas where the effectiveness of a ship’s sensors may be limited by geographical features and the possibilities of engagement by surface-to-surface missiles are greater. The present fleet is, apart from the Daring destroyers, strongly oriented to anti-submarine operations, HMAS Melbourne operates anti-submarine rotary and fixed wing aircraft. The 3 Charles F. Adams class DDG’s and the 6 River class destroyer escorts are equipped with the Australian developed Ikara anti-submarine weapon. The long-range maritime patrol aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force, 10 Orions and 12 Neptunes, also contribute substantially to anti-submarine operations. The emphasis for the new destroyers has, therefore, been placed on general purpose capability, including particularly area air defence, reconnaissance and surveillance.

Missile armed patrol boats and the smaller classes of destroyer escorts were discarded in the selection of these new destroyers, because they cannot provide for their own defence and because of their limited flexibility, endurance and habitability. This does not rule them out as a useful capability if later circumstances justify their addition to the fleet. We would give them a much lower priority than the new destroyer. The new destroyers will be designed to enable later fitting of new weapons systems. These could include surface to surface missiles, and better defences against air attack and sea skimming missiles. That is, these destroyers will have a good growth potential. In the studies, the Government critically examined costs - capital and operating - of other ships. All types of costs were taken into account.

There are overseas developments in warship design which are somewhat similar in concept to the new Australian destroyer. Careful consideration was given to the possibility of adapting or modifying these designs for constructing the hull and fitting the weapons system in Australia. None of the present or foreseeable overseas designs would provide a ship that is both fully satisfactory and cheaper. I have said that the new destroyer will be built at Williamstown Dockyard. It is important to foster, in peacetime, industries capable of supporting our defence in a period of tension or conflict. For an island nation some selfsufficiency in meeting naval ship requirements is essential. Local design and construction will help to sustain the skills, knowledge and facilities for the repair of battle damage, for refit and for future modernisation. These would have to be provided at extra cost if we built the new destroyers overseas. Local design and construction also increase the participation of Australian industry generally in providing the vast range of material and equipment that goes into a modern warship. The construction and fitting out of these ships at one dockyard - Williamstown - will keep down the costs of dockyard preparation and will ease the problems of managing this complex and necessarily costly project.

Modernisation and Update of the Charles F. Adams Class Guided Missile Destroyers

The Government has also decided to modernise and update the weapons and command and control systems of the 3 guided missile destroyers - DDGs - HMA Ships Hobart, Perth and Brisbane, at an estimated cost of$33m in 1972 prices. These ships have an extremely good general purpose capability and are the most modern and powerful destroyers in the RAN’s escort fleet. It was announced in 1970 that the DDG’s5-inch guns would be overhauled and modernised. It is now intended to update their Tartar area air defence missile system, to enable it to use also the advanced Standard missile, and to introduce an automated command and control system. This work will be done progressively in the mid 1970s.


– I believe that these vessels will have to go to the United States to have that work undertaken, but I will have to check that.

The Extended Refit of River Class Destroyers

The River class destroyers, HMA Ships Parramatta, Yarra, Stuart, Derwent, Swan and Torrens provide a specialised antisubmarine warfare capability. The Government has decided that the 4 oldest ships, Parramatta, Yarra, Stuart and Derwent will be extensively refitted and modernised, in Australian dockyards, during the mid to late 1970s. This will cost $50m, in 1972 prices, but the precise nature of the refits is still under examination. It is likely that their weapons, sensors, and fire control systems will be updated and modernised; the life of their hulls will be extended; and improvements will be made to the ships’ stability and habitability. They are good ships, but they can be, and should be, improved.

Anti-Submarine Helicopters

The RAN’s Wessex helicopters will finish their useful lives as anti-submarine warfare aircraft in the middle of the 1970s. This will be well before their carrier, HMAS Melbourne, is paid off in about 1980. The Government has therefore decided to acquire 10 Westland ‘Sea King’ anti-submarine helicopters to avoid a break in the RAN’s maintenance of the ‘state of the art’ of operating anti-submarine helicopters. The total project investment cost is estimated at $43m at 1972 prices. The suppliers of the aircraft, Westlands of the United Kingdom, will place offset orders on the Australian aircraft industry valued at about 30 per cent of the flyaway cost of the helicopters.

Basic Trainer Aircraft

The Government has approved the purchase of 37 New Zealand CT4 air trainers, at an estimated total project cost of $3.248m in 1972 prices. This basic trainer will replace the present Winjeel. It will be used for initial training of RAAF pilots before graduation to jet training in Macchi and Dual Mirage aircraft.

The New Zealand manufacturer will be subcontracting work, mainly airframe parts, to the Australian aircraft industry. This is not only for the present RAAF order but also for all subsequent orders for both civil and military versions of the aircraft.

Nomad Aircraft

The Government has approved the production of an initial 20 Nomad aircraft - previously known as Project N. The estimated total project cost is $ 13.01m in 1972 prices. Eleven of these aircraft will be provided to enable Army Aviation to carry out its approved roles. The remaining 9 aircraft will be for sale to other users.

The Nomad aircraft is a fully Australian designed light utility, twin engined, turbo prop aircraft with short take-off and landing. lt is designed in a civil and a military version. An objective is to enlarge the market for the aircraft and provide more work for the aircraft industry. The project parallels the light observation helicopter programme in which 116 of the 191 aircraft being produced are for commercial sale.

The 2 projects and the offset programme are evidence of the Government’s recognition of the aircraft industry’s need for a more stable workload than can be provided by defence requirements alone.

page 208


There are important reasons why the Government should not announce specific intentions to acquire new equipments beyond the first year of the 5-year defence programme. To decide on these equipments now would make it difficult to adjust to change in our strategic environment. Moreover, premature publication of intentions could deprive us of the opportunity to negotiate for more competitive financial conditions in contracts with suppliers. Most importantly, it would be difficult to take full advantage of improvements in weapons systems technology that will come as the years go by.

I will indicate, however, the kind of equipments that our professional defence advisers have recommended for inclusion in the later years of the 5-year defence programme 1972-73 to 1976-77. There will be public interest in this and it may facilitate public debate.

There are 3 important areas in which decisions will need to be made in the period covered by the programme involving considerations of considerable magnitude. These are: Naval air power; the replacement and modernisation of our long range maritime patrol aircraft; and maintenance in the inventory of an air defence aircraft.

The results of a comprehensive study of al! aspects of naval air power, now being undertaken, will have an important bearing on decisions to be taken on naval air power capability. We shall not have to commit ourselves, however, to any particular form of naval air power for several years. This is because the aircraft carrier, HMAS ‘Melbourne’, is expected to remain in service until 1980, or possibly beyond then in a limited anti-submarine role, ‘Melbourne’s’ aircraft and the land-based maritime aircraft will provide the capability during the 1970s.

The programme foresees improvements to our surveillance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities. The replacement of the Neptune long range maritime patrol aircraft, which will reach their end of life in the mid-1970s, is included in the programme. The programme also foresees the updating and modernisation of the anti-submarine and surveillance capabilities of our aircraft and ships by the introduction of technologically advanced sensor systems, some of which could involve Australian development as well as production.

Improvements are foreseen in our offensive maritime capabilities. These include new air-to-surface weapons and the 2 additional Oberon submarines approved in 1970, which are expected to be in operation in 1975. The development of the naval support facility at Cockburn Sound and the introduction to service of the already-approved fast combat support ship will add to our capability to support and sustain maritime operations. The already approved oceanographic and hydrographic ships will add further support.

The Government will maintain our air defence capability at a level that will provide a basis for expansion and will maintain military skills and familiarity with current technology. An air defence study organised by the Department of Defence will examine the aircraft likely to be available and possibly air defence systems that could provide the capabilities thought to be needed by this country in the circumstances of the later 1970s and 1980s.

Commitment to a new air defence aircraft will not be required for some years, because Australia has a large number of frontline fighters with high capability - the Mirage - now in service. However, the future of the Phantoms on lease from the USAF is under consideration.

The precise timing of this air defence decision will depend on the results of continuing studies of the fatigue and operational life of the Mirage. Other aspects of any replacement aircraft project are the potentialities of production in Australia and decisions on the type of missile system, the command and control and other systems associated with air defence.

The Government will add to Army’s air defence capability. Because of the relevance of this capability to the longer term and because of other demands of higher priority, this decision is projected for the later years of the programme. The programme includes improved weapons and a strategic reconnaissance capability for the F111C.

Investigations and evaluations are being made of basic items of Army’s equipment, including armoured fighting vehicles and artillery. The programme includes these items in later years. They will introduce the latest technology to the Army and increase our self reliance. The medium lift helicopters and the 8 heavy landing craft, that have already been approved, will add to our independent tactical mobility when they come into service. The light observation helicopters will also add to Army’s capabilities. Close air support for the Army is also included in the later years of this programme.

Explosions in the Pacific, June-August

HMAS ‘Sydney’ and the C130A- Hercules - transport aircraft will be paid off in the later 1970s. The programme allows for additions to our strategic mobility. In addition, a logistic cargo ship was approved in 1970. Continuing studies of long-term strategic requirements, operational concepts, and changes to technology will have an important bearing on the type of ship selected to fill the long-range, heavy-lift role.

page 209


In conclusion I should like to point out that this is the first time the general substance of the 5-year defence programme has been presented. It will be obvious that the Government is producing results - not theory and dogma. We are looking ahead with prudence and care. Our defence policy is aligned with our foreign policy and takes cognisance of our friends and allies. We are shaping a defence force that will enable this country to make a distinctively Australian contribution to the security of the region of which we are permanently a part.

I present the following paper:

Defence Programme - Ministerial Statement, 16 August 1972.

Motion (by Mr Chipp) proposed:

That the House take note of the paper.

Debate (on motion by Mr Barnard) adjourned.

page 209


Ministerial Statement

Mr HOWSON (Casey- Minister for the

Environment, Aborigines and the Arts) - I present the Report of the National Radiation Advisory Committee on the Biological Aspects of the Fallout in Australia from French Nuclear Weapons Explosions in the Pacific, June to August 1971. I seek leave of the House to make a statement in connection with the report.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.


– The report of the National Radiation Advisory Committee on the Biological Aspects of the Fallout in Australia from French Nuclear Weapons 1971, which was distributed in printed form recently, falls into 2 parts. The main part of the report is the assessment made by the NRAC of the biological significance of fallout from the 1971 nuclear tests in the Pacific. Appended to this assessment is Report AWTSC No. 3 of the Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee on the levels of fallout over Australia from nuclear weapons tested by France in Polynesia from June to August 1971. This latter report was tabled by my colleague, the Minister for Supply (Mr Garland), in April 1972.

The Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee is responsible to the Minister for Supply for safety aspects of the use of testing of nuclear explosive devices in Australia, for evaluation of proposals by other countries to explode nuclear devices outside Australia which might give rise to increased levels of radioactivity in Australia, and for monitoring of levels of radioactivity in the Australian environment arising from activities with nuclear explosive devices either in this country or elsewhere. Its members are all physicists in the fields of nuclear, radiation and meteorological physics. The Committee has particular operational responsibilities to monitor fallout in Australia and reports the results of its monitoring on a continuing basis to the Minister for Supply. All its measurements are published as soon as possible and are made available to interested parties. In contrast to the operation role of the Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee, the National Radiation Advisory Committee has a purely advisory function. The latter Committee was established by the Government in 1957 to provide scientific information in matters associated with the effects of ionising radiation on the Australian community arising from any source. Since its responsibility is to consider the effects of ionising radiation, including those which might arise from fallout from nuclear explosions, the membership of the Committee is biased towards the biological sciences - genetics, public health, experimental pathology, radiobiology - but also includes several physical scientists with particular expertise in the nuclear sciences. The NRAC is, therefore, a body of scientists with wide experience in appropriate scientific disciplines, charged with making its own independent judgment on the effects of the various sources of ionising radiation on the Australian community.

The National Radiation Advisory Committee has reported in the past on the possible biological consequences of a wide range of sources of ionising radiation including the medical use of X-rays, the tuberculosis case-finding programmes and radiation control programmes as well as fallout from each French nuclear test series in the Pacific. In addition the Committee has from time to time reviewed, in language comprehensible to the lay reader, the current status of knowledge with respect to biological effects of ionising radiation. The most recent report of the Committee of this nature is that dated October 1965. I am informed by the Committee that it is now undertaking another such review in the light of additional knowledge acquired since that time. The future role of the Committee will also, I am sure, include assessments of safety factors in the development of a uranium industry in Australia. (Quorum formed) In its present report the National Radiation Advisory Committee has stated that fallout from the 1971 French nuclear weapons tests presents no hazard to the Australian population. In making this assessment the Committee has, in 2 instances, compared the levels of radiation dose due to fallout with the dose received from natural background to which populations have been exposed since the beginning of life on this earth. In the other instance, the Committee has compared the radiation doses with a radiation protection guide it established in 1965 which is consistent with a similar guide established at about the same time and for the same purpose by the British Medical Research Council.

I have been advised that a wide range of biological effects can be produced in experimental animals or in human being by exposure to large doses of ionising radiation delivered in a short period of time - that is, at high dose rates. The effects may include radiation sickness, cancers of various kinds including leukaemia, opacity of the lens of the eye, some shortening of the life span and hereditary effects. There are, I understand, many technical difficulties which prevent direct evaluation of any effects of radiation doses on experimental animals at low levels approaching that of natural background radiation and even more so at the still lower levels resulting from fallout in Australia. The effects, if any, are so small that their recognition would be extremely difficult even in large and strictly controlled experiments, if these could be undertaken. The difficulties are even greater in the case of man.

On the basis of experimental animal data, and the limited human data, obtained at high doses, international and national bodies have recommended standards for protecting persons against the effects which might arise from sources of ionising radiation. They have considered it prudent to make the working assumption that even down to the lowest radiation dose the risk of producing particular biological effects - for example, cancer or hereditary effects - in humans is directly proportional to dose, without a minimum or threshold dose at which no effect occurs. However, the International Commission on Radiological Protection, a non-governmental international body, has referred to such assumptions as being both ‘cautious’ and conservative’ and stated ‘that some effects may require a minimum or threshold dose’. In part of its evaluation of the hazards to health of the 1971 French tests the National Radiation Advisory Committee followed a practice adopted by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, namely, that of comparing the radiation doses from nuclear weapons tests with the doses inevitably received by the community from natural background radiation.

The average natural background radiation dose to a person in the Australian communities is about 100 millirad a year. However the natural background varies from place to place due to such factors as altitude and the amount of naturally occurring radioactive material in the soil. In a given location the annual dose due to natural sources also varies from person to person due to such factors as the materials used in the construction of buildings in which they live and work, and the amount of time they spend indoors and out of doors. Taking all these factors into account, the actual radiation dose due to natural background radiation received by persons would vary, one from the other, from the annual average by up to about 10 millirad a year. Some of the population living at altitude or in areas of high natural radioactivity would receive annual radiation doses greater than the average by SO per cent or more.

The Appendix to the report of the NRAC shows, for example, that the total external radiation dose from fallout deposited on the ground from the 1971 French nuclear tests was, when reduction factors due to shielding are applied, in all cases less than 0.7 millirad. If the conservative assumption of direct proportionality between dose and biological effects, without a minimum or threshold dose, is applied it follows that this dose would have given rise as a total to less than 1 per cent of the same biological effects in each and every year which are due to the average natural background radiation dose. Any biological effects would have been less than those which would result from the variations which occur in natural background radiation from place to place and for individual to individual. I wish to emphasise that I am not in any way supporting the French tests. The Government has made known its opposition to atmospheric nuclear weapons testing by any nation. However, I believe that it is important to reassure the Australian population that, on the basis of the best independent advice available and contrary to some alarmist views, fallout from the French tests to dale does not constitute a hazard to the health of the Australian population.

I present the following paper:

French Nuclear Weapons Explosions m the Pacific - Ministerial Statement, 16th August 1972.

Motion (by Mr Chipp) proposed:

That the House take note of the paper.


– I do not want to over emotionalise the aspect of the fallout from the French nuclear tests but I want to draw to the attention of the House some facts which have been stated by the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson) in his statement. He said that there are 2 bodies which will deal with aspects of nuclear fallout. The first is the Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee. He said that at present this is made up of physicists only.

There should be members other than physicists as physicists are not really qualified to decide the effects of the level of radiation and work out various ways of dealing with them. There should be also biologists and physiologists on this committee. I think that unless this aspect is dealt with it will not be much good having only physicists on this committee. It would be better if the Government considered this suggestion. The Minister, in his statement, also said:

In contrast to the operation role of the Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee, the National Radiation Advisory Committee has a purely advisory function. The latter Committee was established by the Government. . . .

The statement goes on to say that this Committee, which is made up of biologists, is a biassed committee. There is emphasis on the one hand that these biologists are biassed but there is no suggestion of any bias in the case of the other committee. It seems to me that it would be better, to get balanced representation on these committees. It may be that on the second committee, namely, the National Radiation Advisory Committee, there is some balance but the Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee is made up only of physicists. It is my suggestion that there should be not only physicists but also biologists and physiologists on that committee.

The most recent report available was presented in by the National Radiation Advisory Committee and in referring to that Committee the Minister said:

In addition, the Committee has, from time to time, received in language comprehensible to the lay-reader, the current status of knowledge with respect to biological effects of ionising radiation. The most recent report of the Committee of this nature is that dated October 1965. I am informed by the Committee that it is now undertaking another such review in the light of additional knowledge acquired since that time.

All I can say is that to allow 7 years to pass before acting showed little concern by the Government and the authorities concerned. I believe that the reports of these committees should be made more regularly than they have been made. I quote again from what the Minister said:

On the basis of experimental animal data, and the limited human data, obtained at high doses, international and national bodies have recommended standards for protecting persons against the effects which might arise from sources of ionising radiation. They have considered it prudent to make the working assumption that even down to the lowest radiation dose, the risk of producing particular biological effects (e.g. cancer or hereditary effects) in humans is directly proportional to dose, without a minimum or threshhold dose at which no effect occurs.

The fact is that the French do not accept this proposition. My colleague, the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns), during the parliamentary recess, was in France where he had discussions for over 2 hours with the French authorities on this one aspect. He tried to pursue it to get them to agree that there is a possibility of such a threat. I would like to know what action the Government proposes to take in regard to these facts which the Minister has presented in this House. In his statement the Minister referred to such assumptions as ‘cautious* and ‘conservative’. If he thinks they are cautious and conservative I would like to know what discussions have occurred between the Australian Government and the French Government to ascertain whether the French accept these findings or not. If the Government has had discussions, what are the findings? We are entitled to know the findings and also what discussions there have been between the 2 governments. Dealing with fallout I quote again from the Minister’s statement: the total external radiation dose from fallout deposited on the ground from the 1971 French nuclear tests was, when reduction factors due to shielding are applied, in all cases less than 0.7 millirad.

This referred only to the test on the ground. What was the fallout in the air? Have there been any tests in this regard and if so what are the findings? What about fallout in water falling as rain onto grass which is eaten by cows which, in due course, provide milk? The statement gives no details of the increase in radioactivity in water, grass or milk. An examination of these aspects by other scientists in South Australia in 1971 showed that radioactivity was found to be 550 or 806 picocuries a litre against an assumed safe level of 1,000 and a normal level of 50. This figure of 806 may be a safe level to assume for the consumption of only a litre of water but what happens if a person consumes more than a litre or even more than 2 litres? Again, I am not trying to be emotional about this aspect but there are eminent scientists in Australia who are greatly concerned about this aspect. In South Australia water measurements were taken in the same year as the previous French tests.

There were 6 unexplained cases of babies born with cancer, leukaemia or limb deformities.

Mr Garland:

– Such cases are never fully explained.


– The cynical Minister says that there are always babies like that. We want scientific evidence.

Mr Garland:

– You misquoted me.


– The Minister can rise and make a personal explanation if he feels that I have misquoted him. I do not want to misquote anyone but it is cynical to say that there are always babies born with these disabilities. All I want the Government to do is to take a stand on this question. First, it should take a moral and political stand against the French nuclear tests. It has not taken a moral or a political stand against the holding of the French tests. This Government has never resisted the holding of the tests. Never at any time has it given any leadership in this matter.

Mr Garland:

– It has.


– It has not given any leadership. I spoke with the Minister for the Environment on a radio programme when he was in Stockholm. We know that when the New Zealand Government placed its resolution before the Stockholm conference the Minister for the Environment, who is now sitting at the table who represented the Australian Government opposed the New Zealand Government’s proposition. It was only because there was concern among the people in Australia about the negative attitude of the Australian Government’s spokesman in Stockholm, that the Australian Government changed its mind and decided to vote. We have to examine the reason for the negative attitude of the Australian Government. It is because this Government wants to co-operate with nuclear powers and to work with them in the production of nuclear bombs; there is a bomb lobby in Australia. That is what we have to examine. There is a bomb lobby in Australia. It is political; it is industrial; it is academic. Australia has taken no action on this matter. In fact I believe that this Government is involved in a nuclear conspiracy and that it believes there is some way by which Australia could have nuclear weapons.

We need leadership in this country to ensure that in this part of the world we are one of the leading nations, if not the leading nation. It is about time that this Government gave leadership particularly by diplomatic communications linking us with those South American countries which border the Pacific and those other nations in the south west Pacific. To achieve diplomatic leadership we should take diplomatic action against France. If diplomatic action does not prevent the holding of these tests we should impose sanctions to make sure that the French Government heeds the people who live in this part of the world. We should tell that Government: ‘If you want to test your weapons, test them in the Mediterranean area which is closer to your own country.’

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

– The honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) has suggested that the Government has not been active in protesting against these tests. I think on that point I should make some remarks to the House because it is a misconception that is being put abroad. It is quite false. As far back as 1963 Sir Garfield Barwick. who was then Minister for External Affairs, on behalf of Australia condemned nuclear tests in the roundest terms in the United Nations. In that year we signed and subsequently ratified the partial nuclear test ban treaty. We have been endeavouring to get this treaty generally accepted by other nations including France and China, but, in the case of those 2 countries, so far without success. Year after year this matter has been raised in the United Nations and from time to time resolutions have been proposed and Australia has had to declare its position. I am riot going to weary the House by going through year by year the strong stand which we have taken in regard to nuclear testing. Let me give one illustration. Last year resolution No. 2828C, in favour of which we voted, commenced in this way:

The United Nations-

stresses anew the urgency of bringing to a halt all nuclear weapons testing in all environments by all States.

Australia voted in favour of that resolution and gave a strong speech on that subject. There have been 14 atmospheric tests conducted by China. I have not heard the honourable member for Reid suggest that we should break off with the People’s Republic of China the diplomatic relations which we have not yet established or to cease the trade that we now have with that country. Nor have I heard the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns), who is sitting opposite, suggest that he wants the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) to assist by giving $5,000 from his political slush fund to permit the honourable member for Lalor to travel to China and place himself in the way of that country’s nuclear tests in the atmosphere. Why not?

The Australian Government has been protesting against all atmospheric testing, not in a selective way excluding Communist countries and being soft with them. We have been protesting against both France and China. When it was suggested this year that the French would start testing in the Pacific we were the first country to lodge a protest. Subsequently at the environmental conference in Stockholm a resolution, which was much less appropriate than the one we voted in favour of and which also referred to the disarmament conference at the United Nations, was put before a committee at Stockholm. We were not satisfied with the terms of it and abstained from voting. Some people thought they could get a slight political advantage by criticising the Government for having abstained from voting on this proposal at the committee meeting. When the resolution came into plenary session at the Stockholm conference on the environment, because we could not get it framed in accordance with the procedures we thought were proper and consistent with our attitude up to that time, we voted in favour of it. But in the meantime those who were politically interested saw a chance to gain some advantage and for the first time began to take an interest in this subject.

The Government has been taking an interest - a solid interest - all along the line, yet the Press or the political people on the other side were suggesting that they had discovered the issue and were urging action on the Government. The Government was well ahead of them and had been for some years. Subsequently the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) wrote to President Pompidou protesting and various other steps were taken. A joint message from *he Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr Marshall, and our Prime Minister was presented on this subject to the disarmament conference in Geneva. We have made protests through diplomatic channels. The honourable member for Reid has suggested that we should impose some sanctions or that we should break off diplomatic relations.

Mr Uren:

– I did not say that. 1 said we should take diplomatic action. That is, take the action and if that fails then impose economic sanctions.

Mr N H Bowen:

-I accept that. I am sorry if I have suggested that you said we should break off diplomatic relations because that would be entirely counterproductive. I agree with the honourable member for Reid that we should have diplomatic communications so that we can use them effectively as we in fact have done. I have not the slightest doubt from the information I have from France that what we have done has had a considerable impact on the manner in which France conducted its tests and the amount of money which it has spent in order to ensure that the tests were, as it is termed, the cleanest of any that have ever before been held. We have not so far succeeded in stopping France from carrying out nuclear tests. Nothing short of a powerful massing of world opinion will stop France. Sanctions will not.

We know what effect sanctions have even when the whole of the United Nations engage in sanctions against a country. How effective are they? How effective are trade sanctions? If Australia alone conducted trade sanctions what would be the position? We would hurt only Australia. Let us consider the balance of trade which is so much in our favour. Let us consider it, say, as it shows the position between Australia and the Pacific Islands of France. Our exports are worth $28. 7m and their exports to us are worth less than $lm. If we break off trade we throw Australians out of work and hurt Australian business and the French would laugh at us. This is what the honourable member is suggesting: Damage Australians and do not hurt Frenchmen. That would be the effect of cutting off trade. Now, that is a ridiculous suggestion. There may be other things that you can do but that certainly is not a sensible suggestion. As Mr Marshall, the new Zealand Prime Minister, put it, ‘what we should do is take every practical and other effective step we can take’ - doi impractical things, not gimmicks but practical and effective steps - and we should endeavour to marshal world opinion. This is what the Government has been doing. That is the policy which is followed and I can assure the Opposition that it has had considerable impact. It has not yet stopped the tests in which the French have millions of dollars invested - they regard them as essential to their defence. We have not stopped them yet but we have had a considerable influence and in fact we nave acted responsibly and properly.

Dr J F Cairns:

– The importance that the Government is now forced to give this subject has been revealed by the entry of the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) into a debate on a statement which normally does not receive the attention of any other Minister but the. one that delivers it. The entry rather desperately and assertively of the Minister for Foreign Affairs into this debate shows what has happened in the last few months. The Government knows that it has to defend itself on this subject and is not missing an opportunity to do so in an exaggerated manner. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has exaggerated very considerably the opposition that he claims his Government has made to the conduct of tests by the French in the Pacific. He went back to 1958, 1959 and 1963 and said that Australia had said something about the French tests. I was waiting for him to tell us the exact words that Australia used in those years but I noticed that, significantly, the Minister did not do so. It was not until a United Nations resolution quite recently that he even quoted a word that any of his predecessors or any of the preceding Governments had said in criticism of the French tests. And then the words that he did use were noi Australia’s words; they were the words contained in a United Nations resolution which Australia did not move but presumably Australia voted for it.

The significance of that resolution is that it expressed opposition to tests in all environments by all States, not by France at all. The attitude that has been taken by people who support resolutions of that kind, including this present Government, is that they will not protest against the testing of nuclear weapons by one nation but only against all. Only if all stop can you expect one to stop is the principle that has been underlying resolutions of that kind since the very beginning, and that was the principle underlying this resolution, too. The Government could have said, and would have said, to the French authorities: ‘We do not expect you to stop until all stop’, and this resolution is perfectly consistent with that position. Indeed, when I spoke to the Diplomatic Counsellor to the President, M. Bernard, in the Elysee Palace, he told me that the Australian Government had always been sympathetic and always had shown an understanding of the French policy to develop a nuclear weapon. I repeat: The diplomatic adviser to the President of France told me that the Australian Government had always been sympathetic and always had shown understanding towards the French policy to develop a nuclear weapon. Apparently there is to be no interjection in reply to that statement.

The other point made by the Minister was: What have we got to say about the People’s Republic of China? I can speak for the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) and myself on this subject. Ever since the Chinese first showed any signs of developing a nuclear weapon both the honourable member for Reid and I have consistently opposed this.

Mr Jess:

– Where?

Dr J F Cairns:

– Everywhere. I have made dozens of speeches in which I have opposed this.

Mr Jess:

– Quote one.

Dr J F Cairns:

– I made one last Sunday.

Mr Jess:

– Did you?

Dr J F Cairns:

– Yes, I did.

Mr Jess:

– Where?

Dr J F Cairns:

– I made one last Sunday in Sydney.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order! The honourable member for La Trobe may take part in the debate at a later stage.

Dr J F Cairns:

– If the honourable member would take only a little bit more trouble to be fair to people instead of always having his mind made up at the beginning he would find these things out.

Mr Jess:

– 1 am seeking information.

Dr J F Cairns:

– You do not seek the kind of information that disproves your theories.

Mr Garland:

– Yours have not been very successful.

Dr J F Cairns:

– Well I certainly have not stopped China from doing it and neither has the Minister. I will allow other people to judge how effective they have been. I would be quite happy to go to China to tell the Chinese the same thing. I have been to France to tell the French and I am quite happy to tell the honourable member who has interjected and his Government to keep their hands off nuclear weapons too, just as I would be prepared to tell the Chinese. I have told the French and I would be happy to go to China and do it there.

There are a couple of particular points in this statement that I want to draw attention to for just a minute. The honourable member for Reid pointed out to the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson) what he calls the ‘conservative view’ stated on page 4 of this statement where these words appear:

They have considered it prudent to make the working assumption that even down to the lowest radiation dose, the risk of producing particular biological effects (e.g. cancer or hereditary effects) in humans is directly proportional to dose, without a minimum or threshold dose at which no effect occurs.

He calls that a ‘conservative principle’. I think it is a radical principle because very few conservatives accept it. Most of those people who put forward this view are taking a radical view of the subject. I am glad that this appears in the statement as the position that the Governmen accepts. Presumably it is a position that the National Radiation Advisory Committee accepts too.

Mr Howson:

– Well, it is in the report.

Dr J F Cairns:

– That is what I am saying.

Mr Howson:

– I hope the honourable member will read the report.

Dr J F Cairns:

– I have not read the report yet. The point that the honourable member for Reid made was that the French do not accept this point of view. I spent 2i hours with others in the French Foreign

Ministry discussing this and other questions and the French do not accept this point of view. The French take the view that there is a minimum level below which there is no danger. They claim that anything that has happened, both now and before, in the conduct of tests in the Pacific by the French is so minimal that it is below the threshold level. The honourable member for Reid asked the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts what he had done or what anyone on behalf of the Australian Government had done to try to persuade the French to accept the Australian Government’s view. The Minister has not said whether we have done anything about that but sooner or later-

Mr N H Bowen:

– That is not true.

Dr J F Cairns:

– Well, he has not said.

Mr N H Bowen:

– The Prime Minister’s letter or the joint letter-

Dr J F Cairns:

– The letter from the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) had nothing to do with this question. I am talking about whether we have done anything to persuade the French to accept our view that there is no threshold. Do you understand that?

Mr N H Bowen:

-I follow that.

Dr J F Cairns:

– Right. Therefore it is still open for the Minister for Foreign Affairs or the Minister for the Environment to reply. I will be putting the matter on notice to give them a more specific chance to reply before long. The only other point- 1 make is that nowhere in the Minister’s statement - I have not read the report yet - is there any reference to any damage that might have been done in other parts of the Pacific by fallout from the French tests. The Minister referred only to Australia as though that is all we have to be concerned with.

Mr Howson:

– That is what the National Radiation Advisory Committee is concerned with, because it received the data within Australia and analysed it for the Australian people.

Dr J F Cairns:

– In an Australian Broadcasting Commission television programme a few days go, or perhaps several weeks ago, Professor Titterton, who is a member of that Committee, said that ‘we’ know the results of monitoring in other parts of the Pacific. He said that ‘we’ also know the tonnage of the tests. I presume that by ‘we’ he means himself and other scientists. He may mean the Committee. If, as Professor Titterton has said, we know the results of monitoring in other parts of the Pacific and the size of the French weapons - as I say, I have not read the report - does the report indicate and is the Minister concerned with the effect of these explosions in any other part of the Pacific, or are we concerned only with Australia?

Mr Howson:

– The report is concerned with the effect on the Australian people. There are other matters that are not dealt with in the report. Let us deal with the one thing with which this statement is concerned.

Dr J F Cairns:

– Does the Minister intend at any subsequent time, by making a statement or in any other way, to indicate the effects of the tests in other parts of the Pacific and the results of the monitoring there, which are presumably known to Professor Titterton?

Mr Howson:

– We have to have the full monitoring information and that is not necessarily available to the Australian scientists.

Dr J F Cairns:

– We will look into that further. Professor Titterton said that we have the information. We can explore that question further a little later.

Mr Graham:

– I think he meant that they had been able to assess the results.

Dr J F Cairns:

– He did.

Mr Graham:

– He did not mean that they had been given the information.

Dr J F Cairns:

– He said specifically that ‘we’ had been given the information. He said that the French have been very co-operative in this.

Mr Graham:

– With respect, I heard him make that statement.

Dr J F Cairns:

– Let us look at that later on. There will be plenty of time to look at it. I want the Minister to look at this question. If we have available information about what is happening in other parts of the Pacific I see no reason why it should not be stated. The only other question I want to look at very briefly is the second of those I mentioned. What kind of action did we take? The Minister went a long way to attack the cutting off of trade.

He quoted the statement of Mr Marshall from New Zealand that we should take every practical step. What are these practical steps? Are they simply what this Government has done - to get the Australian ambassador in France to send a letter to the French President and to support a resolution of the United Nations which has nothing to do with French tests - or ate there some other practical steps? It seems to me that one of the most practical steps that could be taken is to realise that there are now governments in the Pacific, such as that in Fiji, that were once not opposed to French tests. When I first went to Fiji in 1967 to speak against the French tests I was allowed to go into Fiji only on a visa which stipulated that I could not speak in public. At that stage the Fijian Government was not opposed to French tests, but now of course the Fijian Government is very strongly opposed to French tests, as are the governments of New Zealand,the Philippines, Chile, Peru and a number of the other Andean countries.

It seems to me that the action that ought to be taken by the Australian Government is to consult these other governments to see whether a common policy of action calculated to stop French tests in the Pacific in future can be arrived at so that the highest level of action agreeable to all would be made effective. I challenge the Minister for Foreign Affairs to take this initiative and to say something about what he thinks of this initiative. In his own terms, I think it would be a practical step to try to talk to the Fijians and others and say: ‘What practical steps do you consider we can all agree on so that we can be more effective in our opposition to the French tests?’ I think that opposition can very well be effective. It is hard for me to know - presumably Professor Titterton and the Committee know more about this, and perhaps the Minister does - what the French actually proposed to do in their tests in the Pacific recently. The only information I have is from newspaper reports which state that there were to be 3 or 5 tests. The French have conducted only 2 or 3 tests at the most. They have cut their tests short. They have not carried out the full programme. It seemsto me probable that they have only fired triggers and that they have not used anuclear explosion at all. If this is so I think mere is a lot to be said for the argument that the resistance has had its effect. While I was in Paris recently, the French Minister for Defence went to Washington to try to get certain information from the American Government that the French would otherwise have to test to get. It seems to me that this is the time when realistic and practical steps might be taken by this Government in a way it has never done before, because if these steps are taken now thee may well be no further tests by the French in the Pacific. 1 think that would be well worth achieving.

Mr Chipp:

– May I have the indulgence of the House? We have listened to the honourable member for Lalor with attention. The Minister for Foreign Affairs would like to react to a suggestion by the honourable member for Lalor. His reply would take about 30 seconds if he could have the indulgence of the House.

Mr Whitlam:

– Perhaps be would like me to speak first and he could react to me too.

Mr Chipp:

– We have the call.

Mr Whitlam:

– I realise that.


– Under the Standing Orders the Minister should ask for leave.

Mr N H Bowen:

– May I have leave to reply to the honourable member for Lalor?


-Order! Is leave granted?

Mr Whitlam:

– Yes.


– Leave is granted.

Mr N. H. BOWEN (Parramatta - Minister for Foreign Affairs) - The honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) suggested that one practical step would be to have a conference of interested nations on this subject. I agree with him. 1 think this would be a useful procedure. 1 assure him that various ways of conducting a conference have been considered, and at this moment I think it is likely that such a conference will take place in New York.

La Trobe

– It is a great pleasure to welcome the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) and the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) back into the debates on matters of foreign affairs and defence. Their appearance has been noticably lacking in such debates for a period of 6 or 9 months. It seems to us who have missed their company and strong performance that their contributions to the debate today are a good sign, that at last the people of Australia are again to be given the benefit of the true views of a section of the Australian Labor Party, not the facade that is being put up at the moment. I welcome the statement made by the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson). I think it is a most important one because the people of Australia have been awaiting some substantial and authoritative remarks as to what has been the result of the French nuclear tests in the Pacific. I state quite clearly and immediately that I wish to goodness all the nations of the world would cut out the testing of atomic bombs, because I think it is getting to a stage which is dangerous to us all.

But I become rather fed up at hearing enthusiastic resistance from the Opposition only in respect of those powers who are not within a certain bloc. The honourable member for Lalor has said how many speeches he has made in opposition to Chinese nuclear tests. I can only state that I have not heard one of them. I have t-it read of one of them. He states that he made one last Sunday. Where, we do not know. It did not seem to receive any Press coverage. If we wanted to name one member of this Parliament who is guaranteed the plaudits of certain sections of the Press we could not go past the honourable member for Lalor.

We all remember the emotion that was engendered in this country when the French nuclear tests were about to take place, but have we ever experienced the equal of it when Russia was about to test or had tested nuclear weapons or when China was about to test or have tested nuclear weapons? The honourable member for Lalor said a few minutes ago that he had not been able to find out exactly what the strength of the tests were. I thought most of these things were regarded as being reasonably secret. I think a lot of people would like to find out some of the details of Soviet tests. The honourable member for Lalor seems to indulge in a number of visits to the Soviet Union. Pre.haps he would be in a position to tell us something further on this matter, but that he has not done.

It seems to me that there is value at the present time in creating emotional issues in this country. That is not to say that I do not disapprove of the French tests and of all the other tests. It is just that the French tests have been suddenly, through the actions of the Press, the honourable member for Lalor and the Left wing, supported by many good willed people who probably do not know of the background to this matter, turned into an emotional issue. We had such questions being asked as: ‘Will Jim go by rocket? Will he go by parachute? Will it be by underwater craft? The trench coat was there and the television cameras were poised. Obviously it was known that our hero would be away. Yoicks! The bugles sounded and the hounds were out. But what happened? It was found that he could not go. But his friend Bednall went. He sailed into the test area and had a good bottle of wine and a chat with the unions. He said that the unions seemed to be a bit disturbed but he was not sure what they were disturbed about. Then he returned to Australia. He seemed to get a bit of the raw prawn back here because not too many people knew what he had achieved. But where was Jim at this time?




– I apologise. Where was the honourable member for Lalor? He was in the palace of something or other, he tells us, with Miss Willesee. What the devil he and Miss Willisee were doing in that palace I would not know. Furthermore, I would not know why Miss Willesee was appointed as a delegate, which I presume she was. of the Labor Party. I am not sure whether the honourable member for Lalor paid his own fare, but members of the Labor Party in my electorate said quite frankly to me that they hoped to God that the Labor Party had not paid his fare. AH I can say is that here we had the spokesman for the Labor Party being photographed with Miss Willesee knocking at the door of the palace with liveried footmen on either side of them. Then the reports came out about the interviews he had. He has now told us about the important people that he spoke to in the French Government. We have only his word for that. We have not heard the French Government confirm what he has stated. Perhaps there could be some verification of that. He went on to show us the knowledge that he had of the subject by speaking in technical terms about atomic and hydrogen bombs and so on. He spoke about thresholds and so on. He also talked about what would have happened if only the Government had used its influence. I do not think that it would matter if he were given a hearing by any individual in the whole of the world because he would still want something more.

Is it not a fact that the British had a ship in the area? Is it not a fact that the British Government took readings? Is it not a fact that a report that the fallout was remarkably low was published in the Press in Australia? Does the honourable member for Lalor not read the Press? Then we had the great march through Melbourne of school children. We were informed that some ship or other with a pack of characters was sailing into the test area. The heroes of the resistance! All we heard about them was that one minute they were lost and the next minute they were rammed by a destroyer. Suddenly it was a dead issue and nobody cared what had happened to them. The honourable member for Lalor has not been asking any questions about whether they got back. Are they living in a commune again? Are they now living it up? I would not have a clue and nor would the people of Australia.

What was the end result of the honourable member for Lalor’s lolling around in Paris and dining or lunching with the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace? Before the honourable member for Lalor got back to Australia his supporters said: We think the bomb went off a week ago’. They did not even know whether it went off at all. They had instruments poised, yachts in the middle of the test area and chaps with beards which were getting tangled in the parachutes that they were going to use to get into the test area. Yet they had to admit that they did not know whether the bomb had gone off a week before. They still do not know. In fact the honourable member for Lalor has admitted that he does not know what the test was. He does not know whether it was a trigger, a hunger or a tom thumb.

Quite frankly, I think it is lime that this nation woke up to what is happening in certain sections of the Labor Party and a large section of the Press. I agree that all atomic testing should be cut out, but 1 am sick to death of the Labor Party making great emotive issues merely in respect of those with whom we could be friends. Let us hear the honourable member for Lalor and the honourable member for Reid make speeches in the Parliament - where they are paid to be - about the Chinese and Soviet Union atomic tests. There has been blinding silence from them on those tests. 1 asked a question yesterday as to whether we are interested only in favouring the Communist bloc. Are we interested in taking action against the Ustashi? I agree that this matter should be looked at. But there is never a word said by either of those 2 gentlemen or the Leader of the Opposition in respect to the subversion and the other things that are going on in this country that affect the children of this country and the future of this country.

I have a great deal of respect for the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Duthie), who is trying to interject. I think he is a man of principle on most occasions. Indeed I pay him the highest compliment. If he could tell me when the honourable member for Lalor, the honourable member for Reid or the Leader of the Opposition ever said anything against any of those other powers he would deserve to be placed at the top of the class. I think it is time that the people of Australia, whilst resenting the French tests and whilst agreeing that the Australian Government should continue to take strong action, were able to see for themselves that any action which is taken does not apply just to American and French tests but also in respect to the other powers to which I have referred.

The honourable member for Reid said that Australia should take diplomatic action and that it should impose sanctions. I felt that he was almost about to get to the stage of saying that we should declare war. Who has suffered from the protests about nuclear testing by France? The whole Renault plant was almost closed down and unemployment increased. If that is not something which is pleasing to the Labor Party I will eat my hat. It certainly fits in with the Labor Party’s whole programme, which is: ‘Do not worry about what affect it has on Australia; let us get in on the propaganda side’.

I have been asked about the statement by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) on defence that he would put troops or something or other into South East Asia for 3-week periods. He has not said whether they would be platoons, sections or just one man. He has not said what the support would be. If a commentator were to ask me what I thought the left wing would say I would say quite frankly that the National Liberation Front would be all for it but that at the present moment the members of the left wing of the Labor Party are all on holidays. They have been told not to play a part in debates where the people can work out the policy of the Labor Party in respect to the defence of this country.

I end where I started by saying that I welcome back to the field of debate the 2 distinguished members of the front bench of the Labor Party who have preceded me in this debate. I do so because I think that their presence will give the people of Australia more opportunity to get to the truth of the Labor Party’s policy on defence and foreign affairs than will the remarks of the gentleman who is about to follow me in this discussion.

Leader of the Opposition · Werriwa

– 1 take part in this debate in order to welcome and encourage the announcement of the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) that the Australian Government hopes to take part in an international conference concerning French nuclear tests in the atmosphere above the South Pacific. Lest, however, it be thought that I have no answer to the remarks which the preceding speaker, the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess), made about the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) and myself, 1 must refer to some of his remarks. He challenged me, I took it, to state whether I had ever protested against nuclear tests by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the People’s Republic of China. I can assure him that I have. At this notice I cannot find more than one reference in

Hansard to a protest which I made against Russian tests. I shall quote it. lt is from Hansard of 15th May 1962 at page 2227:

I do not think there is anybody in this place who would not condemn the Russian breach of the 3 years’ moratorium 6 months ago. 1 do not think there is anybody in this place who would not believe that the United States of America would not have resumed testing if Russia had not resumed testing.

I have also protested against the continuing testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere by China. I made my protect in July last year in Peking to Mr Chi Pengfei, then the Acting Foreign Minister of China and now confirmed as Foreign Minister of China.

I refer honourable members to a monograph ‘Talking with China’ by Dr Stephen FitzGerald in the Australian National University’s ‘Contemporary China’ papers where it is paper No. 4. Dr FitzGerald quoted how, in my conversation with Mr Chi Peng-fei, 1 had in particular discussed 3 matters on which there were basic disagreements between the Chinese Government and the Australian Labor Party. The first, Dr FitzGerald mentioned, was Vietnam on which the ALP, while sympathising with the Chinese position on withdrawal of foreign troops, strongly supports a negotiated settlement or a peace conference if either would bring an immediate halt to the carnage and produce a settlement acceptable to the Vietnamese people. The second was the recognition of Bangladesh and its admission to the United Nations and the third, to quote Dr FitzGerald, concerned nuclear weapons. Honourable members can obtain the full text from the Library.

To sum up for myself against the charges made by the honourable member for La Trobe; I have protested. I did protest against Russian nuclear tests when they were being performed in the atmosphere. I did so in this nation’s Parliament. I have protested against Chinese nuclear tests. I have done so in the capital of that nation. The honourable gentleman also made some references to the honourable member for Lalor. The honourable member for Lalor was available to visit Paris on this matter; I was not. I was able, from sources outside the Australian Labor Party both institutionally and financially, to secure his fare. I asked him to visit the Elysee. I cabled the Duke of Edinburgh, as President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, to ask him if he would receive the honourable member for Lalor. Mr Norman Kirk, the leader of the New Zealand Labor Party, authorised my colleague, through me, to speak for him also at the Elysee and Buckingham Palace. I want to thank the French President and the Duke of Edinburgh for the courtesies they were able to extend to my colleague, which I believe are appreciated by the Australian people.

I now go further to the history of this matter as far as successive Liberal Foreign Ministers and Ministers for External Affairs have been concerned. I have for long been dissatisfied with the Government’s motivation and efforts in this matter. Here again, honourable members will forgive me for not being able to get all the references together at this notice, but I do direct attention to the fact that in the United Nations General Assembly on 20th November 1959 on a resolution concerning the contemplated French tests in the Sahara the request was made that France should refrain from such tests. On the vote, Australia abstained.

Mr N H Bowen:

– This was in 1959?


– Yes, on 20th November. Three years later, I believe, the French ceased their tests in the Sahara and it was reported that they were proposing to transfer them to their colonies in our ocean. I notice that I asked this question on 15th August 1963 of Sir Garfield Barwick when he was Minister for External Affairs:

In view of the recent agreement between the major powers on the cessation of surface, atmospheric and underwater nuclear tests, to which Australia promptly subscribed, has the Minister taken any steps to discourage the French from proceeding with any such tests in the Pacific as France’s former colonies took to prevent her from continuing them in Africa? In particular, have discussions taken place with New Zealand which, like Australia, is an ally of France, and which, earlier this year, lodged a protest with the French Government over the impending tests?

Sir Garfield told me in reply that he would be making a statement on nuclear tests later that day. The basis of my thinking appears from my question to Sir Garfield. I can never understand why Australia has no: consulted with the other nations in the South Pacific on this matter or has not sufficiently consulted with them. I cannot understand why it has not been possible to prevent France from carrying out such tests in the South Pacific when her former colonies in Africa were able to prevent her from carrying them out in the Sahara.

There can be no doubt as to the strength of feeling on this matter of heads of government in our region. Two and 3 months ago, the Prime Minister of Fiji paid 2 visits to this country. As far as the Parliament was concerned, his visits were overlooked. The Prime Minister of New Zealand paid a visit to this country and, again, as far as the Parliament was concerned, his visit was overlooked. Each of them made it very plain that he objected to these tests, and the Prime Minister of Fiji, in forthright terms stated:

If there is no harm in these tests, why, does France not save money by carrying them out in Corsica?

I see no answer to that. If the tests were harmless, why were they not carried out in Corsica? The reason is that the Mediterranean countries would not have tolerated them. The lesson is that the South Pacific countries should not tolerate them either.

On 7th September last year I received an answer from the present Foreign Minister to a question on this subject. He told me with which countries Australia had discussed protests against the French nuclear tests at Mururoa Atoll in 1971 and which countries were known to have made protests. It appears from his answer that Chile, Peru and the Philippines were known to have made protests but we did not consult them. He went on to say that on 17th August 1971 Peru had threatened to break off diplomatic relations with France if another nuclear weapons test were held by France at its testing site in the Pacific. Whether it was merely post hoc or was, in fact, propter hoc, France did not carry out nuclear tests last year. Later it was reported that France would be carrying out tests this year. Accordingly I asked the Minister whether Australia would now discuss protests with Chile, Peru and the Philippines. His reply, on 2nd December last, was:

The detailed action which the Government would take in the hypothetical event of a resump tion of such testing would be determined in the light of all the circumstances at the time.

When it was later confirmed that the tests were going ahead I put another question on notice for the Minister in terms similar to those answered on 7th September of last year. This time he told me which nations were known to have protested but he would not tell me which nations Australia had consulted about those protests. He took refuge in this formula: Although the Government has conducted discussions with certain regional countries concerning joint protests, those exchanges were of a confidential Government to Government nature and must be respected as such.

This answer was given to me on 4th July, after the House had risen at the end of the last session. 1 cannot understand why the Government was able to admit in September last which countries it had consulted about protests but now finds that it would be a breach of confidence between governments to give such information. In those circumstances it is not to be wondered at that honourable members who have expressed concern about those matters for well over a decade should have had doubts about the present Government’s genuineness in protesting against these tests.. Peru threatened last year to sever diplomatic relations with France if the tests proceeded. The tests did not proceed. The African countries were able to prevent France from carrying out tests in the Sahara 10 years ago. Australia, not the least country in the South Pacific, has not hitherto consulted other countries in procuring a similar result in our atmosphere. Everybody knows that for meteorological reasons the Andean countries have been more affected by the tests than the countries to the west of Tahiti. I hope now that the Australian Government will wholeheartedly and promptly confer with all the countries which have protested, including those that Australia has not previously consulted. The whole of the Australian people, whatever the lethargy and half heartedness of the Government in the past, will applaud the Australian Government in now doing the right thing by this nation, this region and all mankind.

Debate (on motion by Sir Winton Turnbull) adjourned.

page 223



– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, I present the reports relating to the following proposed works.

  1. 17/35 Runway, Taxiways and Aprons at Canberra (Fairbairn) Airport.
  2. Film Studios at Lindfield, New South Wales.
  3. Communications Tower at Black Mountain, Australian Capital Territory.
  4. Tiwi and Wanguri Schools at Darwin, Northern Territory.
  5. Casuarina Hospital at Darwin, Northern Territory.
  6. Royal Australian Army Service Corps Centre at Puckapunyal, Victoria.
  7. Commonwealth Centre (Phase 1) at Melbourne, Victoria.
  8. Post Office and Administrative Building at Bathurst, New South Wales.

Ordered that the reports be printed.

page 223



Dr J F Cairns:

– I seek leave to make a very brief statement.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Dr J F Cairns:

– A little while ago my attitude to French nuclear tests was compared to that towards the Chinese and the Russians. In recent years I have written two or three letters to the Chinese Foreign Minister and two or three letters to the Russian Foreign Minister protesting against and arguing against the conduct of those nations in nuclear testing. I have spoken at least three or four times in that vein to the Soviet Ambassador in Australia and I have made many public speeches on the subject. I have seen at least two or three, and probably more, reports of those speeches in the Press in the last 10 years.

page 223


Discussion of Matter of Public Importance


-I have received a letter from the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) proposing that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely:

The complacent attitude of the Government towards the serious and deep-seated nature of unemployment

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

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– I will prove before I sit down that this Government is complacent, that it is responsible for the present very high rate of unemployment and has no plans to cure the present unemployment situation. Before I sit down I will rely upon an official admission by the Government through the voice of the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia (Mr Snedden) to show that this Government contemplates higher unemployment at this time next year than there is at this time this year. Because of the Standing Orders I do not have time to give to the House full details including facts and figures to support the assertions that I am about to make but my colleague the incoming Treasurer, the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean), will give those details to the Parliament so that honourable members will be able to judge for themselves the true situation which we are now facing.

I want to deal in broad outline with the problem. I begin by reminding the Parliament that the total workforce in Australia is more than 5 million but the total number of employees so designated is 4.5 million. Also to be taken into account iiI C 203,800 school leavers who have to be found jobs this year, 77,000 migrants who have to be found jobs - these are official figures that I am citing - plus an unknown number, estimated to be 30,000, of rna.ried women wanting to re-enter the workforce after having reared their children to an age which makes it possible for them to do so. We can see that if we are to absorb all of the people who wish to find pbs each year we have to be able to find work each year for 303,000- that is the figure I have just quoted - less obsolescent workers who retire because of old age or sickness.

Putting those at the highest possible level of 113,000 a year - the number is not so great but to err on the side of generosity towards the Government let us say that it is 113,000 a year - you are still left with the need to find 190,000 new jobs each year. If you cannot find 190,000 new jobs each year, if your work force is not expanding at a rate sufficient to do that, if the economy is not expanding at that rate, then to the extent that you fall short of that target so will the existing number of unemployed be increased by this time next year.

Let us have a look at what has happened to economic expansion to see whether or not we will reach the target. We need an expansion in the work force - which is another way, if you like, of saying that we need an expansion in the economy - of about 4 per cent a year, and until this Government’s disastrous Budget of last year upset the order of things in this country we were witnessing an expansion in the work force of percentages ranging from 3.8 per cent to a little more than 4 per cent each year.

Two years ago the rate of expansion was in the order of 3.9 per cent; 166,000 new people were put into the work force in that year representing, as I say, about 3.9 per cent of the then total work force which was not as great as it is now. In order to have an economy that is healthy enough and is expanding at a rate that is rapid enough to absorb all those school leavers, married women and migrants who want work, we ought to be able to maintain an expansion of roughly 4 per cent. If we could do this we would find that the number of people in the work force in 3 years time would need to be one million more than there were 3 years ago. That is the degree of expansion for which we must look if we are to avoid unemployment.

Every time the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) makes a monthly statement on the employment situation he begins with the stereotype introduction: T am very pleased with the figures released this month and I have great confidence that the employment position is flattening out’. He uses various other words for ‘flattening’ which he finds from his Roget’s Thesaurus when he presents his new monthly report. But they all mean the same thing - that he is pleased with the result, that he is very confident of the future and that the figures are flattening out. It depends how you use the words ‘flattening out’, because when they are used in one context he is quite right, the figures are flattening out.

Mr Lynch:

– That is your word, not mine. I have never used it.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– Maybe it is too plebeian for the Minister but one day he may come around to using it; he will run out of words meaning the same thing so he will be left with no alternative but to use it or repeat some of the other words, but they all mean the same thing. If the Minister’s advertence to the words flattening out’ means what I think he ought to have had in mind we are reaching a very serious situation because the work force has nearly flattened out to a position where it is now static and is no longer able to absorb the 190,000 extra people who will need to be absorbed if we are to cure the unemployment situation. Indeed, the work force has flattened out to such an extent in the manufacturing industry - my colleague the honourable member for Melbourne Ports will give the precise figures on this - that there are fewer men working in the manufacturing industry today than there were 2 years ago. Yet this is an economy which demands an increase in the work force of 4 per cent. The manufacturing section of the work force, which is a substantial section and is capable of providing employment for 1.3 million of our total work force, has now already dipped into decline and is employing fewer than it was last year and the decline is continuing; there has been no evidence at all of any arrest in the decline. Unless we can get a government quickly enough to have a completely new attitude towards the economic problems that face this country our unemployment situation will be easy enough to forecast, because one will simply be able to add 190,000 on to each year’s current unemployment figures.

Mr Reynolds:

– Do you think it can wait until 28th October?

Mr Clyde Cameron:

-It cannot. The reason that the Government is going to have an election this year is that it knows that it cannot cure the unemployment position. It knows, on its own admission, that there will be 100,000 more people out of work this time next year than there are at the present time. So, on its own figures, on its own admission and on its own confession, we will have 200,000 people out of work next year. I said I would prove it. I quote now from

Statement No. 1 attached to the Budget Speech of 1972-73 delivered on 15th August 1972 by none other than - to give him his full title - the Right Honourable B. M. Snedden, Q.C., M.P., J.P.:

In 1972-73 gross national product at constant prices seems likely, on present indications and unforeseen major new developments apart, to increase by about S per cent.

Now listen to this:

This estimate should be reflected in increases of the order of 2 per cent in employment.

Sir, 2 per cent in employment represents a total of 90,000 new jobs a year when we want 190.000 new jobs a year. We have a government that will be going to the country shortly with an admission, by its own Treasurer (Mr Snedden), that it now has lost control of the employment situation. The admission made by the Government’s own Treasurer - it was read to the Parliament last night and is enshrined for ever now in the official printed copy of the Budget Speech - was that we can expect unemployment to increase at the rate of 100,000 every year from now on. But unless the Treasurer’s estimates are more accurate than the estimates and the great optimism displayed each month by the Minister for Labour and National Service, the chances are that what is happening in the manufacturing industry, which is a decline in employment, rather than an increase of 90,000 a year, will be reflected in all the other industries as well. If that occurs we will not have to add 100,000 people to the pool of unemployment each year, as the Treasurer himself now forecasts will be the case; we will have to add 190,000 or perhaps 200,000 people to the unemployment pool each year.

Why is it happening? There is a simple answer to K. The present situation was brought about by the Budget of last year.

The Budget of last year failed to recognise that the great problem that we were facing was consumer resistance in the community; that the money was there but that it was in the hands of the wrong people. The people who had the money and who could have bought the things that the factories and shops were turning out were too afraid to spend, and the people who would have had to buy them because they needed them urgently could not get the money to purchase them. So we had this situation.

How on earth will we ever be able to cure the unemployment situation while the ordinary working man on the national minimum wage is being told that he has to be able to satisfy all his needs on a miserable $51.60 a week? A man with a wife and 1.8 children just cannot live on that sum. They cannot buy all the things they need, and it is because they cannot buy all the things they need that the factories cannot employ all the men they need. There is too much money going into the hands of the veryrich. There is too little going into the hands of the people whose needs are the greatest.

The Government’s attitude towards a wages policy was exemplified in a speech by the Minister for Labour and National Service when he called for wage restraint upon those people to whom I have just referred. He said that wage restraint must be exercised upon the ordinary nian who is now receiving $51.60, and in the same speech he said that we have to give the conciliation commissioners an increase of $84 a week. Talk about injustice. The honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Duthie) could quote from the Bible where it says to take from those who do not have and give to those who do have, or something to that effect. It is the same old story. It is the failure of the Government to understand the needs of the little people and that one cannot live on the miserable $20 a week old age pension.

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

Minister for Labour and National Service · Flinders · LP

– The matter before the House is ‘the complacent attitude of the Government towards the serious and deep-seated nature of unemployment’. If there is any complacency concerning the question of unemployment that complacency lies in the Opposition ranks, both in its failure to examine seriously this matter in this House and in its failure to recognise the extent to which inflation and industrial unrest have damaged confidence in the economy and have inhibited the achievement of the Government’s objective for full employment, which has been and is a cardinal aspect of our economic and social policy. It is not possible for Opposition members to sustain a case that unemployment is regarded by them as a matter of public importance, when during the whole period of this parliamentary session only 11 questions on this subject have been addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Apart from that, the only question on unemployment yesterday was a question which was prompted by my charge that this matter had not been raised by the Opposition. Question time today was notable for the fact that this matter was not the subject of one question by the Opposition. Perhaps this is a matter on which Opposition members would prefer to make prepared statements or prepared speeches, no doubt cleared by persons outside this Parliament.

I feel very sorry indeed for a Labor man who happens to hold the shadow portfolio of Labour and National Service, because he is no master in his own house. I am reminded of the headlines in every newspaper of this country not so very long ago. Let me quote the headline of the Australian’ of 14th October 1971:

Whitlam defeated on strike penalties. Patty sees it as rebuff to his adviser.

The Melbourne ‘Sun’ of 14th October 1971 said:

ALP rebuff to Whitlam in the fines crisis.

The Federal Labor caucus yesterday humiliated the Opposition Leader, Mr Whitlam, and the ALP spokesman on industrial affairs, Mr Cameron.

Labor MPs voted overwhelmingly against the proposal to fine unionists for breaking industrial agreements.

Of course, this is the pattern of the problem which is faced by Opposition members when it comes to considering any question relating to labour, unemployment, industrial sanctions or any aspect concerning the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.

What the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) set out to prove was that at the present time there has been an increase in unemployment. What he did prove was simply that, in his own view or in the view of those who impose their will upon the industrial section of the Australian Labor Party, the unions can do no wrong. I charge the Opposition on this occasion to produce and provide any criticism which has emanated from the front bench in this House of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, or trade unions generally, of strikes or of those who have been involved in strikes such as recently took place at the Riverstone Meat Company Pty Ltd. The fact that that strike has now been concluded is no matter of credit for the Opposition, because the company has decided to reemploy the workers concerned on the basis that the Trades and Labour Council of New South Wales will seek to exercise some influence over wildcat strikes. Therefore, what has been said in this debate is that the Opposition has no power of its own in this Parliament to put out to the people of this country an industrial relations policy which is worthy of an Opposition.

The Government, for its own part, is not prepared to wrench the question of unemployment out of context and present it as an issue unrelated to the continuing problems of inflation and industrial irresponsibility which the Opposition in this place continues so constantly to condone. Let me say clearly at the outset, so that the Government’s position is unmistakably set down, that we regard the current level of unemployment as unacceptably high. But the failure of unemployment to come down quickly in recent months is not due to any lack of readiness on the part of the Government to take stimulatory measures - quite the contrary, as our record during the last 9 months adequately shows. The stubborness of unemployment has been substantially due to the slow recovery in consumer and business confidence. This in turn can be at least partly attributed to the 2 running sores of the Australian economy - industrial unrest and inflation. That the acceleration in inflation in recent years has been caused by excessive wage increases is irrefutable. The cost-price escalation began in 1969-70. In that year and in the 2 subsequent years the rate of increase in wages and salaries was much greater than the rate of increase in profits, prices or total gross national product.

We have witnessed an ever-increasing flood of wage claims both inside and outside industrial tribunals. Whenever wage claims have been granted this has had the effect not of moderating the industrial unrest but of increasing it. In such an unsettling environment it is not surprising that consumers and businessmen have continued to display caution in their spending policies. The effects of industrial unrest cannot be assessed simply in terms of official statistics of man-days lost. The official figures do not reveal the time lost in establishments not directly involved in disputes. At times the repercussive effects are considerable, particularly in the case of strikes in essential industries such as power and oil. Moreover, there are all the indirect effects on business and consumer confidence and on management planning which cannot be quantified. It is these factors which are having a direct impact on the central question before the Australian economy - the question of confidence. There is no doubt that industrial unrest, as can be shown by case after case, can have a very significant impact which speakers on this side of the House will certainly bear out as the debate proceeds.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.


– ‘Let me briefly survey our economic experience over the past few months. It has not been an easy year for the economy. Apart from the domestic shocks from wage cost inflation and severe industrial unrest, we have also witnessed external shocks to the system from the international monetary crisis and the slowdown in the Japanese economy, which affected the expansion plans of our mineral industries. Also, in the first half of the year we experienced a major rural recession and now, of course, we are facing once more the threat of drought in the eastern States. Most of these factors were not only unexpected at the time of the last Budget but also were outside the control of domestic economic policy. With severe industrial unrest, rapidly rising prices, uncertainty concerning employment, and a drop in overtime, the rate of increase in consumer demand slowed down markedly in 1971-72. Partly as a consequence of this and the relatively low state of business confidence, manufacturing investment fell away. These factors, combined with the slow-down in mineral expansion and the rural recession earlier in the year, were largely responsible for the slow down in the rate of economic growth in the last financial year.

As soon as it became obvious that the growth rate was slowing down the Government took early and effective action to stimulate demand and, consequently, em ployment. It did this by acting directly on public sector spending and indirectly by stimulating private spending. Let me for a moment list some of the policy actions which the Government has taken in concert with its aim of keeping the economy under close review. For example, in October and November there was an easing in monetary conditions. In December the Government introduced the non-metropolitan unemployment relief scheme. In February 1972 additional funds were made available to the State governments and increased borrowings by some government authorities were allowed. At the recent Premiers’ Conference further sizable increases were provided. Public sector spending, which grew at an annual rate of more than 5 per cent in real terms in the second half of the financial year, will continue to play a vital role in our economic recovery.

In addition the Government took a wide range of measures during the course of last year to stimulate private sector spending, of which the most important were the lowering of the income tax levy from 5 per cent to 2b per cent and, in an effort to stimulate business confidence, which showed some signs of lagging, the reintroduction of the investment allowance on new plant and machinery. In addition, action was taken on social grounds to increase the standard pension rate and the rate of unemployment benefits. These increases would have had the valuable secondary effect of generating increased consumer spending.

These signs are certainly not the signs of a government which is complacent to a situation which it believes at the present time certainly requires correction. Despite all these measures the economy failed to respond quickly and unemployment continued to rise steadily, albeit at a decelerating rate. For this some share of the blame must be placed, as I said earlier, on the severe industrial unrest - especially the major disruptions caused by the State Electricity Commission power dispute and, of course, the recent dispute in the oil industry.

The Budget announced last night contained further measures. There are a number of aspects of the Budget which will make a significant contribution to improving the employment climate. Most importantly, the Budget is designed to provide a significant boost to consumer spending by reductions in income tax, pension increases and a widening of pension entitlement!. Further, there is no doubt that this Budget will contribute substantially to private sector confidence. The Budget also provides a measure of direct assistance to persons who are made redundant and those who have had a history of unemployment. This assistance is in the form of 2 new training schemes. Further, of course, the Government has decided that the cost of fares should not provide a barrier to persons seeking employment and we will be asking the States for their co-operation in developing a viable scheme along these lines. I will be giving further details on these proposals in the near future.

One cannot expect these measures to operate on an overnight basis. Once demand picks up the first reaction of employers is to make better use of their existing , surplus capacity, including surplus labour. Often they will increase overtime before they consider recruiting new labour. The effects of a pickup in the economy therefore show up in levels of productivity before they do in levels of employment. Once productivity growth is back to its normal trend, employment opportunities react more positively. But this is reflected initially in my Department’s job vacancy statistics rather than in the unemployment statistics. Indeed, it is pleasing to note that in the last 5 months there has been a firming in the area of job vacancies.

I conclude by making several observations concerning the past year. Firstly, distressing as they are to us, our unemployment problems are far less severe than in most other industrialised countries. Indeed the proportion of our work force unemployed is less than half the proportion unemployed in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Canada. This is so even after adjusting for differences in measurement and definition. Secondly, there is no evidence, as is implied in this matter of public importance, that the rise in unemployment is a reflection of any chronic or deep-seated changes in industry. The slow-down in manufacturing employment is due to the temporary slow-down in overall economic activity and, as I already have made clear, the Government has acted vigorously to stimulate economic activity. The Government is confident that as the rate of economic growth picks up the level of manufacturing employment, will also resume its normal trend.

The Government rejects the proposition which the Opposition has raised on this occasion. We say that if there is any sense of complacency in this House it emanates from the Opposition ranks. It is members of the Opposition who have overlooked the fundamental significance of inflation and increasing industrial unrest. If the Opposition were serious about this issue it would certainly pay attention to those factors which have had a direct effect upon economic confidence, which is the central problem facing the Australian community.


-Order! The Minister’s time has expired.

Melbourne ‘ Ports

– I should like to draw the attention of the House to the terms of this matter of public importance, namely, ‘The complacent attitude of the Government towards the serious and deep-seated nature of unemployment’. All that we have heard from the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) has been a tirade about trade unions. I suggest that this is not what the debate is about. I should like to quote 2 rather interesting passages, one of them from a news release issued by the Department of Labour and National Service on 1st March 1971 when the now Treasurer (Mr Snedden) was then the Minister for Labour and National Service. The news release stated: . . the available labour force was likely to grow by about 170,000 or 3 per cent in 1971, and be expected demand for labour to grow more or less in proportion, thus maintaining overall stability in the labour market.

I cite figures the Commonwealth Statistician issued at the time when Mr Snedden made those remarks. The total number of people in civilian employment in Australia at the end of February 1971 was 4,465,100. One year later - February 1972 - the number was 4,492,700, an increase of 27,600 people in the 12 months for which the Treasurer, who was at that time the Minister for Labour and National Service, had forecast an ‘ increase of 170,000. That at least is an indication of how wrong this Government can be. To give another example, when that honourable gentleman became Treasurer he forecast in December 1971 that there would be a real increase of 4 per cent in the gross national product to the end of June 1972. In fact the real increase was 3 per cent. The honourable gentleman was $360m out in a space of 6 months. I refer now to information which interestingly enough is appended to the last page of the most recent issue of the review of the employment situation, and will quote from the Commonwealth Statistician’s notes about seasonally adjusted statistics. The passage reads as follows:

For these reasons, therefore, it would be neither reasonable nor prudent to regard seasonally adjusted series as in any way ‘definitive’. They must be treated with caution as being no more than useful indicators of movements. They can without doubt be a useful aid to critical interpretation, but can m no way be a substitute for it.

I submit that what is lacking is a critical interpretation of the statistics. To illustrate my point - every member of this House can see these figures for himself in this monthly statement - ostensibly during the month of July there was a variation of 21 downwards, and in the same time as employment fell downwards by 21 the number of recipients of unemployment benefit rose by 1,378. Does not that at least imply that there is some difference between the aggregate figures and the constituents of the figures? Again taking the figures directly from this document, even that figure of 21 is made up of increases of 1,060 for adult males, despite the drop in aggregate figures of 21, a decrease of 127 for junior males, a decrease of 387 for adult females and a decrease of 569 for junior females. One set of figures adds to 933 and the other adds to 954, and the difference is 21. But to be complacent about the 21 is to camouflage the reality of the situation.

The difficult situation in Australia at the moment is in regard to adult males, that is, people over 21 but more particularly people over 45. I would hope that the statistics in the future will contain some figures about the age of people as well as the duration of unemployment. As I have indicated, in the 12 months which these figures cover there has been an increase of 50 per cent in the number of unemployed from 64,000 to 99,180 but there has been also almost a doubling in the number of recipients of unemployment benefit. There is a higher proportion now in terms of the total number of people out of work who are recipients of unemployment benefit. That is one feature that ought to be noted.

There is a hard core of unemployment and, as I shall try to show in the limited amount of time available to me in this debate, in the male sector it is in 2 categories, namely, semi-skilled and unskilled manual. Again, if one looks at the statistics issued by the Department of Labour and National Service one will find that in the semi-skilled category the number of unemployed from 1969 to 1972 rose, in round figures, from 30,000 to 69,000, and the number of unfilled vacancies fell from 22,500 to a little over 13,000. In the unskilled manual category there were 19,400 unemployed and 9,565 job vacancies in 1969. In 1972, according to the latest figures, the number of unskilled manual out of work has increased to 44,227 and the number of job vacancies declined to 5,530. In summary, these 2 categories have declined. Whereas in 1969 there were 2 people for every available job there are now 8 people for every job. This is the reason for this discussion - the serious structural nature of unemployment. Let us look at the situation as far as females are concerned. The 2 principal female categories in which there are large degrees of unemployment are in the clerical and administrative field and in service occupations. Over the same period, twothirds of the unemployed are adult males in the 2 male categories I have described, and in the 2 categories of females it is three-quarters of the total number who are unemployed.

We have reached in Australia a situation where we lack certain skills entirely and we are doing nothing whatever to train people to ensure that they are occupied. Meanwhile there are people who cannot find any occupation. We have reached the stage - this is a dreadful term to use in a society that believes in full employment - where they are almost unemployable and they will be unemployable until the general level of the economy rises. The Government is gratified at the fact that this year the level of employment will increase by only 2 per cent. It should increase by 31 per cent. If ever anything illustrated more starkly the decline in the economy, it was that where there ought to be a growth rate of 5i per cent it is just a shade over 3 per cent. In real money terms the performance of this economy at the moment is $900m annually less than it should be, yet honourable members on the other side say that there is nothing to worry about and that it is all the fault of the unions. Incidentally, it is mainly the skilled unions with which this Government is having difficulty. The majority of people who are unemployed are in the unskilled and rapidly becoming the unemployable group, yet honourable members opposite say that no problem exists. I am sorry that they take that attitude.


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

Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Labour and National Service · Corangamite · LP

– On many occasions in this Parliament and outside it the Australian Labor Party has demonstrated that there is little relationship between what it declares to be its aims and what it actually does or what it supports. No issue demonstrates this more clearly than the issue that we are debating tonight. We have the extraordinary spectacle of the Opposition bringing forward this matter of public importance and criticising the Government for the level of unemployment in Australia when the actions and policies of the Opposition itself are a significant contributory factor to the present undesirably high level of unemployment. Here is a classic example of what I mentioned a moment ago - the conflict between what the ALP says and the results of its policies. The Government has made it clear that it regards the present level of unemployment as too high and it has taken a series of positive measures to correct this situation. It is ridiculous for the Opposition to suggest that the Government is complacent in its attitude to unemployment. If it was it would not have done all the things that in fact it has done. There is no hint of complacency in such measures as directly increasing public sector spending, in stimulating private spending by reducing taxation and restoring the investment allowance or increasing pensions and unemployment benefits. Now, of course, we have before us last night’s Budget which was designed specifically to restore confidence in the economy - which undoubtedly it will do - and to provide new incentives for business and for private citizens to increase productivity and the performance of the national economy. These are not the actions of a complacent government.

Let us now contrast all these positive steps with what the Opposition has said and done. One of the major factors in the present economic situation is some lack of confidence in business. This was spelt out by the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) in his Budget Speech last night. But everything that Opposition members have done has added to this lack of confidence. One would have thought that a political party which claims to represent Australian workers would want to help to create an atmosphere which would result in a high level of business confidence and activity leading directly to more jobs and greater opportunities for the Australian people. In fact the Australian Labor Party has done the direct opposite. For some extraordinary reason it seems determined to do its best to undermine confidence in the economy and this debate tonight is another example of its tactics.

In considering the question of unemployment in Australia we have to take into account the present level in relation to past performance and in relation to other countries in a similar stage of development. We also must take into account the rate of wage and salary rises in relation to productivity increases, the rate of price rises, and the share of national income represented by profits and wages respectively. The issue of standard working hours is highly relevant also. These are the factors which any employer or potential employer has to consider when making a decision to expand his enterprise or to start a new one. While the present unemployment rate of 2 per cent, seasonally adjusted, is too high and we are determined to reduce it, it should be remembered that this figure is only about 0.5 per cent above our long term average. Furthermore, the figure of 2 per cent is much lower, as the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) pointed out, than most other countries have been able to achieve. Until about 18 months ago Australia also had been more successful than most other countries in containing inflation. As everyone knows, the rate of Inflation has Increased dangerously in the last 18 months.

There is one factor which has been of over-riding importance in this increase: It is that wages and salaries rose by over 12 per cent during the period when productivity rose by 2 per cent. In these circumstances it is inevitable that there will be inflation; not only that, it is inevitable that businessmen will he understandably cautious in their investment policies. What firm is likely to make major investment decisions when it faces the possibility of being unable to get a return on its capital? Despite the constantly reiterated allegations of the Australian Labor Party, price rises have not kept pace with labour costs. Consumer prices increased by 6.1 per cent in the year to the June quarter 1972, the largest increase since June 1956, but wages and salaries increased by a staggering 13.3 per cent in the year to March 1972. Over the last 3 years ending in March wages and salaries increased by 44 per cent whereas gross profits of companies increased by only 25 per cent, and total gross national product at factor cost increased by 34 per cent. Nor have profits been taking a greater share of our national income. In fact the proportion of national income represented by profits fell during the last few years, and that represented by wages and salaries rose.

The Government had demonstrated its awareness of the importance of these factors by stressing the need for restraint in wage claims and in price increases. It has argued the case of public interest before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission whenever it has had the opportunity to do so. This is yet another example of the Government’s concern for the employment situation in this country. We recognise the crucial importance of maintaining Australia’s ability to compete on world markets and of the Government’s responsibility to enable our citizens to share in rising living standards. Neither of these objectives can be achieved if business cannot operate profitably. If business cannot operate profitably the demand for labour will decrease and unemployment will increase.

The increasing incidence of industrial unrest also has significantly affected employment opportunities. Nothing illustrates this more dramatically than the case quoted by the Minister yesterday of the Riverstone meatworks which was closed following 168 industrial stoppages during the last 7 months. Nearly 700 workers lost their jobs. As a direct result of this irresponsible industrial action these men and their families face difficulties, and quite possibly hardships. It is a most unfortunate example of the ultimate effect on employment of repeated strike action. The lessons are obvious and I hope they will be learned.

Mr Speaker, the Government is conscious of the fact that we live in a time of rapidly changing technology and that Australia will have to keep up with the world because the world will not slow down for us. Our industry, and therefore our work force, must be prepared and able to keep pace. In fact in future it probably will be rather the exception than the rule for men or women to spend all their working lifetime at one job. We will need a flexible and adaptable work force able to learn new skills in order to take advantage of new job opportunities.

In recognition of these future requirements the Government last year instituted the training scheme for workers displaced by technological change. In the Budget the Treasurer announced that 2 new schemes will be introduced, one for workers made redundant and the other to enable persons with a history of unemployment to acquire job skills which are in demand. These are further evidences of the constructive and imaginative approach of this Government in the employment policy field. They have been introduced to deal specifically with the problems mentioned by the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean).

Finally I draw the attention of the House to an extract from the speech made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he introduced the last British Budget. He said:

If particular groups insist on pricing themselves out of jobs and the nation out of business, no government can secure full employment.

That comment is just as valid for us as it was for the United Kingdom and the Opposition would be well advised to recognise its implications and to use its in flue nev to ensure that the message is clearly understood by the industrial wing of the Australian Labor Party.


– I rise to support the motion for the discussion on this matter of urgency. I was rather surprised to hear the honourable member for Corangamite (Mr Street), who is the Minister assisting the Minister for Labour and Industry, say that in effect we have to relate our unemployment to the figures in other countries. I know that some other countries have higher unemployment than we have. I was at Jamaica at a conference once and I know that there the unemployment rate was IS per cent. But surely the honourable member for Corangamite does not want to relate our unemployment to that of such a country. I am quite certain that this Government would like to see a bigger pool of unemployment but it will not seek it simply because it is frightened about election prospects. This Government can make all the excuses it likes but it is clear that we are faced with the most serious unemployment situation that this country has had for a decade. We of the Opposition prefer to compare like with like and see what has happened in past years in this country. Unemployment is running at a rate well in excess of the 112,000 unemployed revealed in the July figures presented by the Department of Labour and National Service. It is to the eternal discredit of this Government that the unemployment pool was created deliberately by the McMahon Government in order, it was said, to dampen down inflation. The Treasurer (Mr Snedden) admitted this in his statement on the consumer price index on 20th January 1972. He clearly admitted that the Government had deliberately increased the pool of unemployment as a measure against inflation. He said:

Twelve months ago many of those who are now demanding major ‘stimulation’ of the economy were equally strongly demanding vigorous action by the Government to deal with the inflationary situation. It should also be kept clearly in mind that the situation they were then concerned with was itself the product, in considerable part, of that very tight labour market the easing of which is now apparent. If the present position in regard to inflation of cost and prices is grim, it would have been much worse in the absence of the action by the Government which its critics now seek to have reversed.

No Government desires to see unemployment increasing. Those who, like myself, have to play their part in the task of determining the Government’s economic policy are well aware of all the points that could be made in this respect, and also of the highly emotional language to which the subject lends itself. Yet there is another side to the matter, and it needs stating.

For the first time for some years, labour turnover is falling off in many areas; absenteeism and the rapid changing of jobs, with all the waste and costs to the economy they involve, are declining. Employers seeking labour can now more readily obtain it.

If that is not an admission that unemployment was deliberately created, I have yet to hear one. This statement was made despite former denials that unemployment was deliberately created. It was this policy that was responsible for the fall off in the purchase of motor vehicles, and this directly caused the closing down of General Motors-Holden’s plant at Mosman Park in Western Australia. The excuse was that the facilities at that plant were no longer adequate but the real reason was the credit squeeze that took place. Unfortunately Western Australia has been particularly badly hit by unemployment. It was a doublebarrelled affair. Firstly there was the economic squeeze of this Government and secondly the downturn in the international demand for metals.

There is another factor which is not generally known. The honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard) knows about this. Workers are still coming from other States to Western Australia, particularly to the north, expecting to find work. This is adding to the high unemployment in that State. The downturn in Western Australia commenced when the former LiberalCountry Party Government was in office in the State, and this was admitted by the Minister for Labour and National Service in answer to a question only yesterday when he said:

  1. . Western Australian unemployment figures have been running at a much higher level than the national average for a long period of time. The honourable gentleman concurs; I see him nodding his head. The facts are that in the labour market in that State a deterioration has taken place during the course of the past 2 to 3 years.

During the last 2 or 3 years, of course, a Liberal Government has been in office in that State, and a Labor administration has been in office only since February 1971, for about 18 months. The Minister for Labour and National Service went on and admitted that certain factors had been responsible. He said:

Firstly, there has been a turndown in the number of major developmental projects and this has reduced unemployment in, the area from 10,000 to - as I recall it- approximately 3,000. This has had an effect on associated manufacturing, supplier and engineering firms. Secondly, there has been a turndown in mineral activity because of trading conditions-

In the final paragraph of his answer he mentioned the special problems in Western Australia but said that there would be no additional financial assistance for unemployment in the metropolitan area of Perth. That is to the discredit of this Government. The figures show that there are 9,652 persons unemployed in the metropolitan area as compared with 3,194 in the non-metropolitan areas. Does that not justify some financial assistance for metropolitan unemployment as well as for unemployment in rural areas? The Government has given some assistance in rural areas but refuses to assist financially to relieve metropolitan unemployment. The July unemployment figures for Australia as a whole are the highest July figures for 10 years. They reveal that 112,290 persons or 2 per cent of the work force are unemployed. I quote those figures from information supplied by the Minister.

In the past year the number of unemployed has increased by nearly 42,000. Over the same period the number of job vacancies has declined. According to the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) there are about 8 people out of work for every vacancy. In 12 months those receiving unemployment benefit have increased from 19,453 to 42,979 to the end of July of this year. That is a tragic situation. Referring to Western Australia, I draw attention to what appeared in the West Australian’ newspaper in regard to this matter. The editorial of 22nd June this year stated:

Western Australia has a strong case for seeking additional loan-fund assistance, apart from help with its budgeting problems. Its May unemployment figure is the highest percentage of any State. External factors - particularly in the fall in the international demand for metals - are largely to blame for Western Australia’s position, which will not be remedied by Canberra’s grants for rural unemployment relief.

There are ample precedents for Federal assistance to a State in special circumstances.

Unemployment in Western Australia is referred to again in another editorial on 22nd July which states:

Other States have industrial diversification that enables them to ride the bumps better than West ern Australia, where expansion and stability depend so much on mining. Canberra’s rural help programme is the wrong medicine for this State, where more than 80 per cent of the registered unemployed are in the metropolitan area.

Yet this Government refuses to give any special assistance in this field. A bad feature of our unemployment - I am speaking now of Australia as a whole - is that almost one in every 3 people out of work is under the age of 21 years. Just over 32,000 peple fall into this category. 1 have here a copy of the ‘Graduate Careers Guide for Australia’ of March 1972. Referring to this matter, it states:

For some time the Council has been concerned that within industry, commerce, Government, the universities and colleges of advanced education there is insufficient understanding of the factors which govern the effective use of graduates. Apart from this very little co-ordinated information for Australia as a whole is available and there has been no Australia-wide investigation or even discussion of the relationship between the output and use of graduates.

It finishes up questioning the value of tertiary education and its relevance to satisfactory employment. This gives cause for concern. The Commonwealth Government is not treating the future employment needs of our young people seriously enough. The Minister for Labour and National Service has been condemned out of his own mouth. He is accused by the Australian’ of 15th August of deliberately using smoke screens to hide the situation of the jobless. So unemployment goes up year by year. Each year is worse than the year before and each month worse than the previous month. The Government will go out of office with the unenviable record of being the first government for a decade to have deliberately created unemployment.

The Government now realises that it has made a rod for its own back. The outcry from all sections of the community has caused it to have second thoughts, not because the Government does not want unemployment but because it is concerned with the effect unemployment will have on its electoral prospects. That is why the handouts were given in the Budget last night. The Government has not forgotten 1961, when it came within one seat of losing government.


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


– It realises now that it is faced with the danger of losing office, which it surely will.


– Order!


– The skies are black with the chickens coming home to roost.


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

Minister for Shipping and Transport · Gippsland · CP

– 1 think that the honourable member for Stirling (Mr Webb) has demonstrated by his parliamentary manners his real interest in the problems that have been brought to our attention in a matter of public importance by the Australian Labor Party, namely the complacent attitude of the Government towards the serious and deep-seated nature of unemployment. The first thing I say emphatically is that I believe the charge that the Government is not concerned with unemployment is quite monstrous. I think this has been demonstrated in several ways as recently as last night when the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) brought down the Budget. The real thrust of the Budget is to increase confidence and stimulate business activity thus increasing employment.

The Government has been concerned about unemployment now for a number of months. Over the past 6 to 9 months a number of measures have been brought in by the Government to try to stimulate employment, and this is quite the reverse of the charges being laid by the Labor Party. Rural unemployment grants amounting .to $2,250,000 were made to the States originally but these grants were increased in February to $4,500,000. We increased the grants to the States for their housing and works programmes. There was a restoration of the investment allowance. Many other measures were introduced, all of which were designed for one purpose - to try to create further employment and to stimulate the economy.

To charge my colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch), with any lack of concern on this question is, I believe, to act quite disreputably. He has spoken honestly and sincerely about this problem over a number of months and expressed his real concern for it. The Australian Labor Party does not have a mortgage on concern in this area. Indeed its performance has demonstrated it to be bankrupt. I heard the Minister for Labour and National Service say that only 11 questions have been asked in the whole of the Parliamentary session on this problem.

The sheer hypocrisy of the Labor Party can be demonstrated by its callous lack of concern in another area of unemployment, that is, in the loss of work by strikes. Quite incredible figures are available that show how the relative peace of the previous 20 years was savagely broken when Mr Hawke and the Communist-controlled left wing coalition gained control of the Australian Council of Trade Unions 2 years ago. The number of working days lost in 1971 through strikes was over 3 million, which was an increase of 28 per cent over the previous year. The number of working days lost in 1971 was in fact a staggering 300 per cent more than the number of working days lost in 1967, just 5 years ago. The Opposition has been monumentally silent on this aspect of unemployment.

A real demonstration of the Opposition’s lack of concern comes out of the recent oil strike. Here was a situation of real concern to the Australian people. After several attempts to settle a new award by negotiation the oil companies and the unions went before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission voluntarily to seek a decision on a union log of claims. In that Commission in July, Mr Justice Moore granted an interim wage increase to the men and made it clear that provided work continued under normal conditions the unions’ full claims would be heard and determined. What could have been fairer than that? The employers agreed to this sensible proposal, but the union leadership refused to accept the umpire’s decision. In a direct insult to the judge and the laws of the Parliament the union leaders walked out of the Arbitration Commission and pulled their members off the job. We then witnessed the quite incredible spectacle of Mr Hawke, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and Communists like Halfpenny and Carmichael launching a propaganda campaign against the traditional arbitration system. Instead of returning to the umpire, Mr Hawke and his cohorts, with the tacit support of the Leader of the Opposition, advocated that the employers should put their offer on the table before the men went back to work. That is ‘gun at the head’ tactics which, if followed generally, could only mean industrial chaos. The vital point which both Mr Hawke and Mr Whitlam somehow failed to make, and which unionists and others throughout Australia need to know about, is that when negotiation and conciliation fail the arbitration system provides an impartial umpire to help find the answer.

Throughout this period the Government consistently called on the unions to return to work and to let the Arbitration Commission umpire continue hearing their claims, but for weeks the union leadership refused to do this and Mr Hawke refused to direct it to do so. The Government’s appeals to the strikers to return to work and to go back to arbitration were branded by Mr Hawke as inflammatory and designed to prolong the strike. There was a possibility that the fuel strike would cause the biggest shutdown of industry in history. So serious was the situation that the South Australian Labor Government took full emergency powers and the New South Wales Government arranged to do the same. It was obvious that the people of the nation were facing further losses of jobs. With thousands unemployed because of the strike the nation was facing almost a complete shutdown. The Leader of the Opposition, who had been monumentally silent, was finally stung into saying something about the Labor Party’s attitude. He came out pitifully in favour of Mr Hawke and the ‘gun at the head’ tactics, instead of showing courage and fighting the Communists Halfpenny and Carmichael and asking the men to go back to work and accept the umpire’s decision.

One Sunday night the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) announced that the Parliament would be called together if the strike was not over by the end of the week, lt was following that announcement that we saw action by the moderate unions, which sensibly recognised that industrial upheaval faced the nation. They quite properly pulled the rug out from under the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Hawke and the Communist union leaders. Moderate union leaders like Mr Laurie Short of the Federated Ironworkers Association proceeded to dump Mr Hawke and the Leader of the Opposition by coming out and publicly advocating that the men go back to work. Of course, the men agreed with Mr Short and, following Mr Justice Moore’s initiatives the next day, went back to work on the same terms and conditions as those on which they went out on strike earlier in July. The attitude of the Government in appealing to the men to return to arbitration was completely vindicated. The Government had upheld the principle of the laws of the Parliament and the impartial role of the Arbitration Commission against a delinquent attack. We welcomed the decision of the membership of the unions to take their dispute back to the proper legal processes.

The oil dispute demonstrates one thing clearly, namely that the traditional conciliation and arbitration system as supported by the Government provides proper processes for the settling of disputes. It is equally obvious that the procedures indicated by the Opposition can only lead to a situation where a few unscrupulous union bosses can alone decide which men will work and which factory or business will open. The oil strike points up also the barren approach of the Labor Party to disputes of this nature. What is worse, it demonstrates the real lack of concern that the Labor Party has for job disruption and unemployment caused by strikes. I have no doubt that the cause of heightened industrial unrest lies in militant unions and political leaders inciting trouble for purely political ends. They want to manipulate disruption so as to gain power.

The Labor Party has had the unmitigated cheek to put this proposition to the Parliament. In doing so it has demonstrated its real lack of capacity to provide answers to industrial troubles. The honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) talked glibly about voluntary agreements. He and the Labor Party in Government would be nothing more than tools of the Communist bosses. Proof pf that is shown by the example of the oil dispute. I reject the proposal of the Labor Party.


– It was predictable that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) would in his address to the House, as becomes a former National President of Jaycees International, give us soothing words of assurance in spite of the fact that the labour market is collapsing into one of the worst situations of unemployment that we have had in this country for many years. I think it is fair enough to go over the Minister’s record to see how reliable his predictions are and how much we can rely on his record as a prophet. On 18th February 1972 he was quoted in the ‘Age’ as saying, under the heading ‘Fewer jobless soon: Lynch*, that Australia should see a marked improvement in the rate of growth of employment in the next 2 or 3 months. On 8th March 1972, undeterred by mounting unemployment, he went on to say that the Government was confident of a decrease in the number of unemployed during the months ahead. On 17th May, infected by supreme optimism and undaunted by the disaster in the employment field about him, the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) joined the foray and said:

The employment position we are now in is pretty good under the circumstances.

If ‘the circumstances’ are the circumstances of a Liberal Government, I guess that is a fair enough statement. The Minister for Labour and National Service is on record as saying in May of this year:

The Government has therefore recently taken several measures to stimulate employment and I am confident that the full impact of these measures will be felt over the next few months.

The full impact has been felt and we have a worsening unemployment problem. There is no need for me to detail the complete failure of the Government’s measures to stimulate job vacancies in the economy. The honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) has pointed out how this has had a negative effect. It was predictable also that the Minister for Labour and National Service and the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) would blame anyone else and anything else but the Government and its policies for the serious problem that exists today. It was more especially predictable that they would blame industrial relations in the community. If I were to deny that it would be claimed that I was merely putting a biased point of view. So let me quote several newspaper comments of. yesterday. The ‘Canberra Times’ in its editorial said:

Mr Lynch cannot be confident that without the strike the July fall in unemployment would have been comparable to those of recent years.

He and his colleagues would be better advised to accept the figures at their face value than to attempt to brush them aside.

The ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ in its editorial said:

It is significant that he- -

That is, the Minister - did not attempt to quantify the actual impact of the oil strike on the unemployment figures; it is probable that it was minor. Mr Lynch’s own statement in fact supports this belief. According to him, new job vacancy notifications ‘continued their strong trend of recent months’. Where, then, is the evidence for his assertion that employers were reluctant to engage labour until the oil strike situation was clarified? His own statistics suggest this simply was not the case.

An article in the ‘Financial Review’ stated:

This kind of special pleading-

By the Minister - on each month’s labour figures has been often enough exposed; it is surprising that Mr Lynch could continue to indulge in it.

Of course it is. The Minister must think that the Australian community are fools who are going to believe this nonsense. The whole pitch of the argument which was put by the honourable member for Melbourne Ports - it is a very important argument - has been missed by the Minister for Labour and National Service. The problem of unemployment in this country has worsened as a result of the disastrous strategy of the last Budget.

But this is not the whole pitch or the essential kernel of the argument put by the honourable member for Melbourne Ports. A fundamental structural change is taking place in the labour force in the community and in the structure of the economy, and this has far reaching implications. It is what Bill Ford of the Sydney University calls multi-dimensional change with far reaching multi-effects in the economy. It includes automation and technological influence, political and economic change and industrial change. To refer to the technological change alone, the new factory of Coca-Cola Bottlers in Sydney which will soon come into operation with 24 employees is going to produce 11,000 cans of Coca-Cola a minute. We have seen no evidence of any appreciation of this sort of problem on the part of the Minister for Labour and National Service or of any of his minions or dupes behind him.

The most distressing feature of this is that the people who are most adversely affected by unemployment are the juniors.

In the junior work force it was not just the problem of a disastrous Budget last year but rather a long term influence within the economy leading to a situation where today not only have we mounting unemployment amongst juniors at a time when we should be preparing to absorb something like 220,000 school leavers in January next year but also every third person who is unemployed is a junior. Let me give evidence of this long term undermining of the junior work force. The rate of increase in the junior work force in 1969 and the previous year was over 5 per cent. It slumped to 2.6 per cent the following year and last year it had fallen to 0.8 per cent. These are the effects that the honourable member for Melbourne Ports was trying to project to the notice of Government supporters.

A serious problem exists. It is becoming intractable. Do Government supporters have no sense or appreciation that we are now moving into an era when we will have young people coming out of high schools and even out of universities who will be well qualified but will never know what it is like to have a form of permanent employment in the course of their lives? The best that they will be able to hope for is intermittent employment. This is the sort of problem with which we are now being confronted in Australia. It has been hidden and masked because, in a response to the difficulty of obtaining employment, parents have encouraged their children to stay longer at school to obtain higher qualifications. So we are finding young people who are over qualified for the sorts of jobs that they are accepting.

There are serious spin-offs which have a social effect if this sort of thing is allowed to happen. There will be an alienation in a society, neurotic and asocial behaviour and an upsurge of industrial resentment. These are the sorts of things that will spill out and are spilling out today in the Redfern Mail Exchange because we have a system there which is dominated by technocrats and has not given enough consideration to the social impact of the mechanisation which has occurred at the Mail Exchange. These are the sorts of problems that the honourable member for Melbourne Ports was bringing to the notice of the Parliament.

It is of no use for the Minister to talk about the firming of unfilled vacancies or of vacancies in the economy, whatever that happens to be. In 1970, unfilled vacancies as a percentage of unemployment were nearly 80 per cent. They had fallen to nearly 52 per cent in 1971 and today they are down to a little over 3 1 per cent. What does this mean? It means that there are many more people available than there are jobs available to absorb them; that this problem - this gulf between jobs available and those seeking them - is a widening one; and that we are getting a hard core unemployment problem. The evidence of this can be seen in unemployment beneficiaries who are registered as unemployed. From 1970 as a proportion of the unemployed, they have risen from 25 per cent to 43 per cent and that rate is accelerating. One must be unemployed for a period of 2 weeks before one can receive any unemployment benefit. At the end of February this year, those unemployed for more than 3 months and in receipt of benefit were 20 per cent of all people in receipt of benefit; those unemployed for more than 6 weeks and in receipt of benefit were 45 per cent; and those unemployed for more than a month were 56 per cent of unemployment beneficiaries. This is clear evidence that we have a hard core problem of unemployment in the economy and that the Government’s policies to this point have been a total failure. Who has been worst hit by this - the people least able to absorb the impact of this sort of effect. I ask for leave of the House to have a table incorporated in Hansard.

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

Mx HAYDEN - This table shows that the semi-skilled and the unskilled workers are the people who have the least opportunity of obtaining employment. One could say that 7 of every 8 semi-skilled and unskilled workers will not get a job as the situation stands today. Contrast this position with the professional and semiprofessional employees. They have about a 50-50 chance of obtaining employment. The semi-skilled and the unskilled workers are the people who have to live on unemployment benefits which are well below the poverty line. For a man, a wife and 2 children, the unemployment benefit is nearly $18 a week below the poverty line. This is the sort of suffering that has been created in this community. But I repeat that these are the immediate effects - the things that we can see right now. The sort of problem that we are trying to get to is a deep seated intractable problem arising from structural changes.


-Order. The honourable member’s time has expired.

Minister for Supply · Curtin · LP

– I think it is revealing that the leadership of the Australian Labor Part)’ in order to attempt to show some economic understanding had to rely on the sources and the evidence that we have just had presented to us and quoted from to make a case. Most of those references by the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) were not facts. Many of them were misrepresentations and they would stand no quiet, calm analysis of the position which so clearly is needed to attempt to solve any community or economic problem in this country or any other. Australia has, over the years, maintained a level of employment which is the envy of other countries. It was about 99 per cent for many years until about a year ago. Unemployment at 99,000 is too high. Since the Australian economy was hit by the international monetary crisis last year the Government has acted to steer the economy back towards a proper course. The Budget introduced yesterday is the last and in a sense the culmination of a series of steps taken specifically with employment in mind.

I should like to recount these steps. They were, firstly, the easing of monetary conditions and a lowering of interest rates in’- 1971-72; secondly, the introduction of the non-metropolitan unemployment relief scheme in late 1971 and the increasing of the grant first from $2.25m to $4.5m a month at the February Premiers Conference and, then to $6m a month at the June Premiers Conference; thirdly, the boost to public sector spending generally arising out of the February and June Premiers Conferences; and fourthly, the reduction of 2i per cent in the personal income tax levy and the increase of $1 in the standard rate of pension, in April. All those measures, welcomed by the Opposition but not acknowledged in this debate, were measures aimed at creating employment. Unemployment does not respond quickly to stimulatory measures, especially when persistent industrial strife puts people out of work and discourages employers from recruiting. It is quite absurd, however, to read into recent experience a deep-seated unemployment problem. Where is the evidence? We have heard none today. To those who want to see, the economic truth is plainly a case of lagging demand, and as that picks up, employment opportunities will accelerate. The Budget is expressly designed to stimulate that demand. The Budget is stimulatory and this assessment has been accepted by informed commentators.

Mr Hayden:

– Would you name one?


– The honourable member should read this morning’s newspapers from which he quoted in a selective fashion. What is Labor’s economic argument? I know its political argument. Does the Labor Opposition think that the Budget is not stimulatory enough, or does Labor think that an increase in demand will not bring unemployment down?

The Government’s policy in the interdependent fields of employment and inflation is reflected in the broad impact of the Budget, as outlined in the speech last night of the Treasurer (Mr Snedden). New industrial training policies are also provided. I refer especially to the training assistance to be made available to persons made redundant and to enable persons with a history of unemployment to acquire job skills which are in demand. I draw attention to these measures because they are positive. They belie the second assertion in this Labor proposal - an unsupported assertion - which is the charge of complacency.

Confidence is a tender plant. The Opposition does not know the meaning of confidence. It knows the meaning only of irresponsible criticism. The Budget does give an opportunity for confidence and gives expectations a considerable boost. That is for the good of Australia, the economy generally and employment in particular. Attempts to make political capital out of this situation, if successful, strike at confidence and are to be deplored. This is even more the case when the issue of the Budget’s impact is ducked, as it has been today by the Opposition, and there is harping on last year’s Budget. This harping uses hindsight and conveniently ignores the unpredictable events occurring soon after the last Budget. Let us stick to the facts and to the present situation. If we do that, I think every fair minded person will agree that the Budget sets the economy on a strong and upward course. The Government is determined to reduce unemployment and it believes that the Budget will build on the pick-up in activity already under way and will bring back the full employment situation we have maintained for many years.

I refer now to the comparatively higher unemployment existing in the 3 Australian States which have Labor governments. They are South Australia, Tasmania, and particularly, I remind the honourable member for Stirling (Mr Webb), Western Australia. The Federal Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and the Premier of Western Australia have attempted to blame the Federal Government for the higher unemployment in Western Australia. At present it is about 3 per cent. A big factor involved is the rundown of investment in the mineral industries, which is reflected in other industries. Replacement of industry is not taking place.

The Leader of the Opposition in a statement released last night tried to blame the Federal Government. On the radio programme ‘AM’ this morning the Western Australian Premier tried to do the same thing. The Labor Premier of Western Australia is the man who, after the Premiers Conference in June, expressed himself as being satisfied and even pleased with the result that Western Australia gained from that conference. It will be recalled that among other things a special grant of

S3. 5m was made to Western Australia in addition to its sharing in the increase of SI 12m in the general revenue grants over and above the amount that would have been provided by the existing formula increase.

These are matters of record. The central issue is that the State Government is responsible for encouraging the expansion of investment and industry. For a long time the Liberal-Country Party in Western Australia achieved a tremendously high rate of growth. That has now ceased and in spite of several Labor Government announcements that some big investment is on the way, announcements which are made very frequently, very little has actually happened. Relatively few employment opportunities are being created in Western Australia by the State Labor Government.

It is usual for Labor governments to tamper with the mechanism of production, fail to understand how to encourage investment and then blame everyone else for the result. The only solution that Labor sees is to spend more of the taxpayers’ money for purposes for which it was demonstrated in the previous 12 years money could be provided from non-government sources. I am sure that until Labor governments face up to this fundamental situation they will have, as they have at present, a higher unemployment rate than the rest of Australia. It is not the first time that this has been demonstrated. Industry encouragement and increased investment must be part of a continuing process as achieved by the previous Liberal-Country Party Government. It needs encouragement and confidence of government’ support, not attacks, restriction and whingeing.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hallett)Order! The discussion is now concluded.

page 239


Bill presented by Sir Reginald Swartz, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for National Development · Darling Downs · LP

– l.move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill is concerned with a grant to be made under phase 2 of the national water resources development programme. The Government has agreed to provide to the State of Victoria a grant under the programme of up to $2m for specified works in the Millewa region. The second phase of the national water resources development programme was announced by the Prime Minister in October 1969. Under this programme, the Commonwealth has undertaken to make available to the States $100m for rural water conservation and supply works, flood mitigation and water measurement. This new programme follows the original national water programme which provided over $50m in grants to the States.

The Bill provides for a grant of financial assistance to the State of Victoria for the construction of a pipeline water reticulation scheme hi the Millewa region of north west Victoria. The scheme is situated in an area west of Mildura and covers some 455,000 acres containing 126 farms. The region is poorly watered and present supplies are pumped from the Murray River and delivered through open channels to farm storages. The system is inefficient and costly to operate, and the State is undertaking a programme involving complete renovation of the pumping stations, and replacement of open channels by pipelines. Details of the scheme are contained in the explanatory memorandum distributed with the Bill.

I turn now to the Bill itself, which generally follows the pattern of Acts granting financial assistance to the States under this programme. The works themselves, in respect of which a Commonwealth grant is payable, are described in the Schedule to the Bill, and provision is made in section 5 for the Schedule to be varied if this appears desirable in terms of the objectives of the legislation. Provision for nonrepayable grants is made in section 4 of the Bill.

Sections 6 and 7 set out requirements in connection with the implementation of the project, and cover the provision of information requested by the Minister, ministerial approval of the works, and approval by the Minister of contracts in excess of $500,000. Requirements for information in respect of expenditure are set out in section 8, and the usual provisions for the Treasurer to make advance payments, and for repayment of over-payments are made in sections 9 and 10.

The national water resources development programme represents a very important collaborative programme between the State and Commonwealth governments in the development of Australia’s water resources. The present legislation gives effect to a further decision of the Government in connection with the continuation of this important programme.

The present water reticulation system has been in operation for many years and is nearing the end of its useful life. As well as meeting its high operation costs, capital expenditure would have to be incurred in the near future for complete rehabilitation, if the proposed new scheme is not installed. There is also the added advantage that water under pressure will be available to landholders at all times to replace the current intermittent supply to excavated storages.

It is expected that this will provide the opportunity to. develop lawns and domestic gardens, amenities which will greatly improve living conditions for the people in the area served. No adverse effects on other aspects of the environment are expected to occur. Water diversions from the Murray River will be reduced from about 8,200 to 2,670 acre feet per annum, because of the reduction of losses achieved with the new scheme. I have much pleasure in commending the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hayden) adjourned.

page 240


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

Second Reading

Minister for External Territories · Kooyong · LP

– I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to remove the limitation on the number of offices of Minister of the House of Assembly for

Papua New Guinea which can be created by the Minister for External Territories.

Section 24 (1) of the Papua New Guinea Act 1949-1971 provides for such number, being not more than 17, of offices of Minister of the House of Assembly as the Minister for External Territories from time to time determines. Seventeen offices of Minister of the House of Assembly, the maximum number permitted, were created by me on 26th April 1972, following nomination for ministerial office of a list of 17 members by the House of Assembly with the concurrence of the Administrator.

A formal request has now been received from the Papua New Guinea Government asking the Australian Government to amend the Papua New Guinea Act 1949-1971 so as to permit the creation of additional offices of Minister of the House of Assembly. The Chief Minister of Papua New Guinea, Mr Michael Somare, requested the change to permit him to give effect to certain proposals for the enlargement of the Papua New Guinea Ministry. lt should be pointed out that the Bill does not alter the present arrangements whereby additional Ministers cannot be appointed without the House of Assembly taking part in the process through its Ministerial Nominations Committee.

The Australian Government has for many years adopted the attitude that no obstacle should be placed in the way of a smooth and orderly transition to self government in Papua New Guinea. The Government has consistently maintained that the initiative for constitutional development should lie with the House of Assembly to which it looks to represent the views of the majority of the people.

The purpose of the Bill is to give effect to this request by the Papua New Guinea Government to remove the limit on the number of Ministers of the House of Assembly which can be created. The Bill is a simple one, but it represents another step forward in Papua New Guinea’s movement to self government and independence, on terms determined by the people of Papua New Guinea themselves. I commend the Bill to honourable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hayden) adjourned.

page 241


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

Second Reading

Minister for External Territories · Kooyong · LP

– I move:

That the Bil] be now read a second time. This Bill repeals the New Guinea Timber Agreement Acts of 1952 and 1953. In an earlier statement to the House on 9th May 1972, I announced that the Commonwealth Government had approved the sale of the Commonwealth’s 50 per cent, shareholding in Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd to the Investment Corporation of Papua New Guinea. On 29th June 1972 these shares were transferred to the Investment Corporation.

A condition of the sale of the Commonwealth’s interest m Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd was that upon transfer of the shares to the Investment Corporation the other major shareholder in Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers, Placer Development Ltd, would arrange an amalgamation of all other wholly owned Placer assets in Papua New Guinea. with those of Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers. To this end an amalgamation agreement with Placer Development Ltd has been endorsed by the Board of Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers, with the result that the respective shareholdings in the consolidated company, which will still be known as Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd, will be held 65 per cent by Placer and 35 per cent by the Investment Corporation. I consider this arrangement a most satisfactory outcome to the sale of the Commonwealth’s assets in Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers to the Investment Corporation.

It is the Government’s policy in the ,ong term interests of Papua New Guinea that overseas companies operating in Papua New Guinea should provide opportunities for Papua New Guineans to participate in their ventures at all levels. In line with this policy it is the intention of the Investment Corporation, through equity acquisitions such as Commonwealth New Guinea

Timbers Ltd, to afford the people of Papua New Guinea an opportunity to share in the ownership and control of major enterprises largely financed from outside Papua New Guinea. For this purpose the Investment Corporation is concentrating on building up a diversified portfolio of investments in Papua New Guinea. As a result the people of Papua New Guinea will, possibly in 1973, be given an opportunity to participate directly in these investments through unit trusts or similar arrangements.

Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd can be expected to continue to make a substantial contribution to the economic growth of Papua New Guinea in the field of plywood manufacture, and now also in cattle production and mineral development. This in turn will provide further opportunities for Papua New Guineans to obtain employment and training in these important activities.

Dr J F Cairns:

– It made a substantial profit.


– Yes, but a 35 per cent interest in the Investment Corporation is being held for the people of Papua New Guinea, which is a substantial share of the dividend which would be paid over. So the benefit is not solely to the amalgamated company; it is also to the people of Papua New Guinea themselves. In this regard it is interesting to note the degree of progress which has been achieved by Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers over the past decade in the training of Papua New Guineans to accept positions within the company which demand considerable skill and ability.

Throughout the past 10 years the level of employment of Papua New Guineans in Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers has averaged approximately 500. In 1962 only 26 of these were classified as skilled whereas today this number has increased to just under 200.

Positions of skill include tradesmen and apprentices in most of the crafts, complex machine operators in the plymill, plant and equipment operators in the logging operations as well as clerical positions in the administrative functions of the company. At present there are 13 cadets undergoing training for the more advanced levels of management and the company is confident that Papua New Guineans will become more and more involved as opportunities occur.

The successful partnership between the Commonwealth and Placer Development Ltd, which originated with the New Guinea Timber Agreement Acts of 1952 and 1953, has now come to an end, and this Bill proposes the repeal of the Acts which approved the 1952 Agreement and brought this partnership about.

I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hayden) adjourned.

page 242


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

Second Reading

Minister for Supply and Minister assisting the Treasurer · Curtin · LP

– I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to amend the States Grants Act 1971-72 to give effect to revisions to the financial assistance grants arrangements agreed between the Commonwealth and the States at the Premiers Conference held in June this year. These revisions take 3 forms. Firstly, it was agreed that an amount of $112m would be added to the financial assistance grants payable to the States in 1972-73 and be built into the formula grants so that it would escalate in future years in accordance with the formula laid down in section 7 of the present Act. The amount of $112m is to be distributed between the States in proportion to the 1971-72 formula grants as escalated in 1972-73 under the formula. This method of distribution of the grants was decided on so as to exclude the effects of the adjustments to the financial assistance grants which are accompanying the transfer of payroll tax from the Commonwealth to the States. If the effect of these adjustments were not excluded, the distribution would differ significantly from the basis settled at the June 1970 Premiers Conference.

Secondly, it was agreed that the additional grants of $2 per capita which were being paid to New South Wales and Victoria each year would be increased to $3.50 per capita in 1972-73 and that these amounts would also be added to the formula grants so that they would escalate in future years. This change is estimated to increase the grants payable to New South Wales and Victoria in 1972-73 by approximately $7.1m and $5.4m respectively. Under the procedures of the Commonwealth Grants Commission the 3 States which receive special grants on its recommendation - namely Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania - will thereby proportionately benefit from these increased grants to the 2 most populous States. Thirdly, it was agreed that a special temporary addition of $3. 5m would be made to the financial assistance grants payable to Western Australia in 1972-73.

The total effect of these 3 increased payment revisions will be to add SI 28m to the financial assistance grants that would be produced in 1972-73 by the arrangements embodied in the existing legislation. The addition to the grants in subsequent years will, of course, be greater as a result of building the major part of this amount into the formula grants. I ask leave to have incorporated in Hansard a table showing the analysis State-by-State of these additional grants.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hallett)Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) - ‘


– Turning to the details of the Bill, clauses 1 and 2 are of a purely machinery nature. Clause 3 authorises the first 2 of the 3 forms of additional grants agreed to at the Premiers Conference, that is, the additional grants of $112m to be divided between all the States and the additional per capita grants to New South Wales and Victoria. The clause takes the form of an amendment to section 7 of the present Act. This section authorises the formula grants, which constitute the main body of the grants payable under the Act. lt provides that the formula grants payable to each State in each year shall be calculated by taking the grant paid under the section in the previous year and increasing it in proportion to the increases in the State’s population and in average wages in Australia as a whole, and by a betterment factor of 1.8 per cent. The payment of these additional grants under this section thus automatically ensures that they will be built in to the formula grants and escalated in future years.

Clause 4 repeals section 8 of the existing Act which authorises additional grants of $2 per capita to New South Wales and Victoria. These grants are to be replaced by the additional grants of $3.50 per capita provided for in clause 3 of the Bill. Clause 5 provides for the payment of an additional temporary grant of $3.5m to Western

Australia in 1972-73 by increasing the additional grant of S6.5m payable in that year under section 9 of the existing Act to SI Om. The additional grants authorised by this Bill represent the second major permanent revision to the general revenue assistance arrangements settled at the June 1970 Premiers Conference, the other being the transfer of payroll tax and accompanying adjustments to the financial assistance grants agreed at the June 1971 Premiers Conference. The arrangements settled in June 1970 themselves represented a very substantial improvement compared with previous arrangements.

In addition, over the 2 years 1970-71 and 1971-72 the Commonwealth provided special revenue assistance totalling $1 15.5m, the bulk of which was paid for the purpose of assisting the States overcome budgetary difficulties caused by abnormally large increases in wage and salary awards. These excessive wage and salary award increases had the effect of pushing the States’ finances out of balance. The permanent increases in the grants payable which this Bill seeks to authorise should contribute substantially towards overcoming the financial problems of the States. Taking into account all the changes in the revenue assistance arrangements that were decided at and since the June 1970 Premiers Conference, it is estimated that in 1972-73 the States will receive over $420m Commonwealth general revenue assistance more than they would have received had the arrangements which existed before 1970-71 continued unchanged. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.

page 244


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

Second Reading

Minister for Supply and Minister assisting the Treasurer · Curtin · LP

– I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The main purpose of this Bill is to authorise capital grants to the States in 1972-73, totalling $261,879,000. This comprises $248,539,000 as the grants component of the States’ works and housing programme for 1972-73, and $13,340,000 as grants for expenditure on State government primary and secondary schools. The Bill also provides in the usual way for the payment of advances against the capital grant component of the works and housing programmes in the first 6 months of 1973-74 pending the passage of similar legislation in that year. The Bill provides that the payments authorised in it may be made from revenue or from loan fund, and includes appropriate borrowing authority. Honourable members will recall that the capital grants for the works and housing programme are being provided under arrangements agreed wilh the States in June 1970, whereby the Commonwealth is providing part of that programme as a grant in lieu of borrowings.

The . grants for capital expenditure on government schools are being provided under arrangements announced by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in December 1971 for providing capital grants to the States totalling $20m for this purpose over the 18 months ending June 1973. The 1971-72 allocation of the capital grants for schools was authorised by. the States Grants (Capital Assistance) Act 1972 which was passed by Parliament earlier this year.

At its meeting in June 1972, the Loan Council approved a programme for State works and housing of $982m, comprising $248,539,000 in the form of grants from the Commonwealth and $733,461,000 in the form pf borrowings. This was an increase of $90m or 10.1 per cent on the approved programme for 1971-72. The proportion of the programme to be financed by Commonwealth grant is somewhat higher than in 1971-72, however, and the proportion to be financed by borrowings is correspondingly lower. This is because of 2 factors. First, the S6.66m capital grant for government schools in 1971-72 was amalgamated with the basic capital grants for the purpose of determining the proportion of the works and housing programme that is paid to the States as grants. This was in accordance with the undertaking given by the Prime Minister when announcing the capital grants for government schools in December 1971. Secondly, in February 1972 a permanent addition of $2m was made to the grants portion of the 1971-72 programme in recognition of the costs being met by the States in the conversion to the metric system.

The increase in the total works and housing programme for 1972-73 - which is, of course, underwritten by the Commonwealth - is larger than corresponding increases in recent years. The programme for 1971-72 was increased substantially in February. Coming on top of that, the $90m increase for 1972-73 should provide a significant boost to State capital expenditure programmes. The Loan Council also approved, with Commonwealth support, an increase of $49m or 11.2 per cent in the overall borrowing programmes for State authorities classified as ‘larger’ authorities for this purpose. In 1971-72 these were semigovernment and local government authorities whose Individual borrowings for the year exceeded 8300,000. For 1972-73 the Loan Council agreed, also with Commonwealth support, to increase this figure to $400,000. There is no overall limit on borrowings of authorities whose individual borrowings amount to $400,000 or less. These increases should enable State semigovernment and local authorities to maintain a high level of capital expenditure in the year ahead.

I turn now to the specific provisions of the Bill. Honourable members will note that besides authorising grants of $248,539,000 for works and bousing and $13,340,000 for State government schools in 1972-73 in clause 3, clause 4 of the Bill authorises the Treasurer to make advance payments in the first 6 months of 1973-74 of the capital grants for the works and housing programme only, at the same annual rate as in the current financial year. It -has been customary in the past for the Commonwealth to make monthly advances to the States pending the raising of the approved borrowings for the works and bousing programme, and the fact that a part of this programme is now made by means of capital grant should not affect this procedure. Accordingly, provision is made for such advances to the States to be made on a regular basis from the beginning of 1973-74, at the same rate as the payments authorised in this Bill. Future grants for government schools of the kind provided for in this Bill will be authorised by separate legislation, and no provision for advances in 1973-74 is required in this Bill. Clause 5 of the Bill provides that the payments may be made out of Consolidated Revenue Fund or out of Loan Fund. Clause 9 provides the necessary appropriation of these funds.

Clauses 6 and 7 of the Bill authorise the Treasurer, within the period of 18 months to the end of December 1973, to borrow funds up to the total amount of the grants payable within that period under the Bill. This borrowing authority will be reduced by the amount of any borrowing between 1st July 1972 and the date of commencement of this Act which is used to finance the advance payments for the first half of 1972-73 as authorised under the previous legislation. These capital grants, by replacing what would otherwise be loan funds, relieve the States of interest and sinking fund charges which they would otherwise have to meet from their revenue budgets, and thus free funds for expenditure in other directions. The savings in debt charges arising from the capital grants paid in 1970-71, and 1971-72 are approximately as follows - the savings begin to accrue in the year following the year of payment, because of the delay in interest and sinking fund payments falling due:

A similar increase in savings will, of course, accrue to the States in 1973-74 as a result of the grants proposed under this Bill to be paid to the States in 1972-73 and in earlier years. The increase in the proportion of the works and housing programme represented by the capital grants, as a result of amalgamating the $20m grant for government schools with the basic capital grant for this purpose, will increase savings on debt charges by a further amount of about $ 1.25m a year cumulative in respect of each year’s programme after 1973-74.

It is estimated that the savings on debt charges to the States in respect of the works and housing programmes for the 5 years ending 1974-75, as a result of the introduction of these capital grants, will be of the order of $200m. I am sure that honourable members will readily appreciate that they are affording very real relief to State revenue budgets. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.

page 246


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 24 May (vide page 3014), on motion by Mr Chipp:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Dr J F Cairns:

– This Bill was introduced by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) with a very brief comment in which he explained that its purpose was to give effect to the existing bounty on the production of agricultural tractors until the end of 1972 unless an earlier date for cessation is specified by proclamation. Prior to this Bill the bounty was to cease after the 30th July 1972. So, the purpose of this Bill merely is to extend the payment of bounty until the end of the year. Undoubtedly, whilst this bounty may be continued beyond the end of 1972 the reason for the legislation is that so far the Tariff Board report on the subject has not been received by the Government and the Minister. This in itself is somewhat surprising because the Board has had the matter in hand for some time.

Mr Chipp:

– Since 14th October 1970.

Dr J F Cairns:

– Yes. The Minister gave no indication when the Board would complete its report although it has had this reference since 14th October 1970. It is not a very difficult matter. The referral was made on 14th October 1970 and we still have not received the report and the Minister has not given us any indication when the report will be available.

Mr Chipp:

– We would not necessarily know. The honourable member knows that.

Dr J F Cairns:

– I shall be surprised if it is available before the end of this year. Perhaps the present Government will have to extend the bounty by similar legislation before the year is out if it is still in office. However, that remains to be seen. I think this provision of a bounty on the production of agricultural tractors is a very important question and one that connects in a very clear and practical way the developments of secondary industry and primary industry. I should like the Minister to tell the House, if he can before this debate is finished, when he expects the report to be available and when he can expect to be guided by the Tariff Board in our future consideration of this matter.

I think this delay illustrates a number of things. First, the obvious time the Tariff Board, in present circumstances, takes to deal with relatively simple matters like this - since October 1970. Obviously the Tariff Board is not capable of dealing expeditiously with matters of this kind. This has been the position for a number of years, so much so that the Board itself has had to report on more than one occasion that large sectors of industry have not been examined for 30 or 40 years. In those sectors of industry there may be tariffs considerably in excess of what industry requires to operate economically and efficiently. Yet still we have no reason to believe that the situation has been changed. This is completely indefeasible for any government. The inordinate delay that has already taken place in this matter is a further example of the situation.

But I hope that the delay will allow the Board to examine adequately some aspects of the production and sale of tractors which are not normally reported upon. The production of agricultural tractors in Australia normally is considered from the point of view of the economies and efficiencies of the manufacturer in Western Australia whose operations can be considered only within the limits of his plant, the size of the market and the economies that that implies. But whether a tractor produced in Australia can be sold competitively or is being sold at as low a price as it might be sold is also affected by the distribution system and the finance that is available. I hope that the Board, in the time that it will have at its disposal before it finishes its report, will give some attention to these matters, including the wholesale and retail system by means of which the tractor finds its way on to the land of the primary producer, and that it will be able to have a look at the finance, the rate of interest and the terms of repayment which are available to him. If one is to consider the economics efficiency and of the industry and the price at which Australian produced tractors under bounty are available to the Australian farmer, surely these matters are completely relevant to the investigations of the Board.

I would be prepared to wager, if I did such a thing, that up to this point in August 1972 the Board has paid no attention whatever to those matters. I imagine that as the Board has not completed its report - it is not just a matter of having it printed - the implications in the present position are that the Board is still continuing its inquiries. So, it might have room at this late stage to include in its inquiries some of the matters to which I have just referred. It might be able to make available to the House, the industry and the purchasers of the agricultural tractors concerned some relevant information on this subject. With those remarks I leave the subject because the purpose of the Opposition is not to oppose this Bill but to try to assist the Government and the Board to do a little more thoroughly a job which, I think it has been apparent for a long time, needs doing.


– I rise to support the Bill now before the House which will extend the operation of the Agricultural Tractors Bounty Act 1966- 1970 for a further term of 6 months until 31st December 1972 unless an earlier date of cessation is specified by proclamation. Under the existing Act bounty will cease to be payable after 30th June 1972. The Tariff Board has completed an inquiry into the industry, but its report is not expected to be submitted to the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) before the expiration of the bounty. The tractor industry in Australia has grown with the wheat boom, lt really received its great impetus in the boom wheat years of 1965 to 1969 when the total number of tractors in this country rose from 295,000 to 323,596, of which 299,297 were wheeltype tractors. It is interesting to note from the latest available figures that the number of tractors as at 31st March 1970 totalled 329,969.

It is an industry with tremendous fluctuations due to the varying seasons experienced across Australia. Over the past 3 years huge losses have been sustained by tractor and machinery companies operating in Australia. Whilst most tillage and seed planting machinery is manufactured in Australia, and has been for many years, the position with tractors has been very different. Imported models and makes have come into this country mainly from the United States of America, Great Britain, Canada, Italy, Czechoslovakia and other continental areas. No doubt this position was the main reason why the Government in October 1966 brought down the Agricultural Tractors Bounty Act to cover tractors manufactured in Australia. We are about to extend the bounty provisions of that Act until the end of this year.

The first company to manufacture tractors in this country was Chamberlain Industries Pty Ltd of Welshpool Road, Welshpool, Western Australia. The Commonwealth Government encouraged that company by way of subsidy payments. It is interesting to note that from 1st July 1969 to 30th June 1970 that company manufactured 1,779 tractors for which bounty of $992,478 was paid. The value of the tractors on which bounty was paid totalled $7,727,000. The ratio of Australian factory cost to total factory cost was 64 per cent to 79 per cent. The greater the horse power of the tractors produced the larger was the bounty paid by the Government. This practice will be continued under the provisions of the Bill now before the House. For instance, on a 40-horse-power tractor the bounty payable was $600; on a 50-horse-power tractor it was $640; on a 70-horse-power tractor it was $720; on a 80-horse-power tractor it was $760; and on a 90-horse-power tractor it was $800. The horse powers referred to are belt power take off horse power.

The action of the Government in paying the bounty encouraged this company to manufacture in Australia, thus saving valuable foreign exchange and creating employment for labour and industry in Australia. It helped us to be self sufficient in this very important field. The other large companies importing tractors into Australia were, of course, not entirely happy with the bounty which the Commonwealth Government paid and they certainly said so when the original legislation was introduced. However, the way was open for other companies to manufacture in Australia and the International Harvester Co. of Australia Pty Ltd, with headquarters in Melbourne, Victoria, was not long in following suit. From 1st July 1969 to 30th June 1970 it received from the Government by way of bounty an amount of $764,000 for 1,407 tractors produced at a value of $3. 4m, with the ratio of Australian factory cost to total factory cost being 57 per cent to 83 per cent. In 1971 Chamberlain Industries was paid bounty totalling $848,535 for the 1,333 tractors it manufactured and the International Harvester Co. was paid bounty totalling $537,183 for the 1,147 tractors it manufactured. So both those companies have been helped considerably by the bounty which the Government has paid on the manufacture of tractors in Australia. Chamberlain Industries Pty Ltd formed an amalgamation with the United States of America firm of John Deere and now markets its products under the name Chamber! ain-Deere but it is understood that this new organisation will manufacture tractors at Welshpool and will qualify for the continuation of the bounty under this Bill.

It is my wish, and that of my colleagues, that more companies operating in this field commence manufacturing tractors in Australia and thus make a contribution to employment in this country and provide a work force in this industry. It is felt that this will take place. I support this Bill which provides for payment of a bounty on Australian made tractors up until 31st December 1972 unless an earlier date of cessation is specified by proclamation.


– It is not the purpose of the Opposition, as the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) indicated, to oppose the extension of the agricultural tractors bounty for 6 months but I want to echo the plea of my colleague for tariff inquiries to be extended considerably. I believe that the minister for national protection - after all, that is what the Minister for Customs (Mr Chipp) is, or should be - should interest himself in the end result of government protection and in the end price of the product. The present tariff reports are truncated. They do not go far enough. They stop a long way short of getting to the end result, to the actual purchaser. Perhaps the excuse might be offered that the Tariff Board is not adequate for this purpose. If so, that lends weight to the Opposition intention to establish a national protection commission.

This Agricultural Tractors Bounty Bill is part of the fabric of protection which has been erected in our country over the years and which has been very largely extended by this Government over the past 23 years. It has been estimated that the sum total of bounties such as this - that is, subsidies of various kinds - as a cash equivalent of tariff protection, exceeds $3,000m each year. That sum of $3,000m annually covers primary, secondary and tertiary products and it has been estimated that the rural sector of the economy receives about $300m of that total. Even the most extravagant of estimates as far as the rural sector is concerned has not gone above $600m in total. That is an unsubstantiated figure but it is the highest that has ever been mentioned in that context.

Tonight we are dealing with the extension of the Agricultural Tractors Bounty Act for a further 6 months and I ask the Minister for Customs and Excise whether he will examine the figures for the cost of tractors in Australia as they apply to the people who buy them to determine whether they reflect the Government’s intentions or not. I believe that when the Government provides a bounty, or provides support or protection, it has a duty to look at what happens at the end of the line - at the actual price that is paid. The price of tractors in Australia is made artificially high because of the way in which they are bought. The price of tractors ranges from $3,200 to $6,000 or even $8,000. A tractor is a key item, a vital item, on the farms of the nation. But what does the farmer actually pay for a tractor? In nearly half of the cases he pays more than $1,000 above the price that it would appear should be paid if the Government checked to find out what the price range of tractors might be on the showroom floor. The farmer pays $1,000 more than that.

Let me show honourable members how this comes about. In the pre-war days, a farmer who wanted to buy a new tractor went to his bank, arranged an extension of his overdraft to cover the money he needed and paid the current interest rate, which could have been 5 per cent or 6 per cent. Today, between 45 per cent and 50 per cent of all tractors sold are bought under hire purchase. If we take the case of a tractor priced at $5,000 we find it is common for the purchaser to put in either a trade-in or cash to the value of $1,000, leaving him to find $4,000. The interest rates of private finance companies vary from 11.4 per cent flat to 19.3 per cent flat, and these days often it is customary to relate repayments of that regimen to the harvests. So if we take it that there will be 3 years for repayment at the minimum rate the price of the tractor is increased by $1,168.

Has the farmer an alternative? Where else can he go? The private banks, although having money available at Ti per cent, do not lend for such propositions. In fact they refer such inquiries to hire purchase companies. There is no competition in relation to the money rates available in the private banking system or the rates available under hire purchase. One might say that the Commonwealth takes an interest in this through the Commonwealth Development Bank which offers money at 9 per cent for the purchase of farm tractors. Yet so far as other farm requirements are concerned, such as bores and structures, it makes money available at 4i per cent. The difference, when we compare 9 per cent reducible to 22 per cent reducible under hire purchase agreement, is very great. It is the difference between $1,168 in one case and $740 in the other; and, if the rate of 4i per cent is applied, it is $350.

Referring to the cost of protection and the intention of protection, I plead again that it is desirable when there is a report on matters such as the one before the House that there should be an extended inquiry to cover all the other aspects of the product being made available otherwise we are making these decisions in a completely unreal atmosphere. I want the Minister for Customs and Excise, the Minister in charge of national protection, to initiate such inquiries. I would like him to confer with the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) about this matter. The Minister might well say that the Government brought in this protection measure and that it has been accepted by the Parliament. But we are not quite sure what the end result will be. Should it not be quite clear? If such an inquiry were carried out might not an instruction be given to the Commonwealth Development Bank to begin to publicise its services? The muzzles might be taken off it. In fact an initiative could be taken which is not taken at the moment. Presumably that is by decision of the Government.

It is no use our dealing with these measures in this way unless we are going to take the whole story together. I am suggesting that decisions should not be made on protection in any event unless there is a complete assessment of the benefits and the end results. I suggest that the farmers of the nation are not getting the benefit of any price level that has been determined by either the Government or the Tariff Board. The system of purchasing tractors is very germane to any consideration before the House at the present time. I conclude by suggesting that protection is not just a matter of looking at one item in this totally limited way. We must look at the full result of the Government’s decision as to what it thinks ought to be paid at the end of the line. My submission at the present time, Mr Deputy Speaker, in relation to tractors is that the farmer pays far too much and this should be a matter for review and adjustment.

Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP

– in reply - I wish to reply first to the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby). The points he made might well be valid so far as the activities of hire purchase companies are concerned but they have nothing whatever to do with the payment of bounty. Surely this point was overlooked by the honourable member: Notwithstanding what local manufacturers do or what price is paid, the buyer still has the choice of buying the imported product or the local product. Surely the imported product, which is produced more cheaply, is the reason why the bounty is needed to equate the price of the locally manufactured product with the price of the imported product I would have thought that there is an inbuilt mechanism there to keep the local people honest.

Mr Grassby:

– There is not because the buyer has no choice of finance.


– This is the philosophy of free enterprise that is espoused by those on this side of the House.

Mr Grassby:

– There is no free enterprise.

Mir DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock) - Order!’ The honourable member for Riverina has already spoken.

Mr Grassby:

– When you have no choice, what do you say?


– I did not interrupt the honourable member for Riverina when he spoke. With the deepest courtesy to him, if ever I am at the table again in charge of a Bill to which the honourable member is speaking, I plead with him to reduce the tone of the shirts he wears, because pleasing as his physiognomy is, it is quite blinding to look at him when he is wearing the tone of shirt he has on tonight.

I refer now to the question asked by the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns). I am not here to defend the Tariff Board or do the opposite. I just state the facts and answer the questions that the honourable member asks. The reference was sent to the Board, as I informed him, on 14th October 1970. It is understood that the Board has completed all public hearings and assembled all evidence and that the report could be ready by October 1972. The Board has considered not only the bounty but the question of assistance to all types of tractors, both agricultural and industrial. The report is a most complex one, requiring a considerable amount of research, evidence and investigation by the Board.

Having answered that question I supply some other information that was not asked for. It might be of interest to the 3 members who have participated in the debate. The estimated cost for the 6 months is about $1.5m. I conclude by commenting again that one must compliment the honourable member for Lalor and the honourable member for Riverina for their honesty, because they have shown quite palpable what action a Labor government would take in regard to the Tariff Board. The honourable member for Lalor, who is the shadow Minister for Trade and Industry and who, if a Labor government is elected, would presumably become the Minister for Trade and Industry, has shown unmistakably again tonight that as a member of a Labor government he will have no hesitation, when submitting matters to the Tariff Board, in instructing the Tariff Board virtually how to make a finding. Let industry beware that if a Labor government is elected the autonomy, the independence, of the Tariff Board will be gone and gone forever.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the 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 250


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 10 May (vide page 2315), on motion by Mr Garland:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Assistant Minister assisting the Prime Minister · Cook · LP

– I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak briefly on this important Bill. As the Minister Assisting the Treasurer (Mr Garland), who introduced this Bill into the House in May, mentioned, it is certainly in Australia’s best interest for this Government to continue its policy of supporting the Asian Development Bank by taking up, in full, the increase in capital subscription to which Australia is entitled under the terms mentioned in the Bill before the House. Furthermore, I believe that Australia should proceed to take up the increase to which it is entitled as soon as possible.

The tentative deadline is set for 30th September this year, and although this may be extended to 28th February next year, I believe it is important that Australia should be seen to take us its options as soon as possible. Member countries are not obligated to subscribe to this authorised increase and in fact, as the Minister mentioned, there are some member countries who are still in doubt as to whether they should take up the increases to which they are entitled. This is therefore an opportunity for Australia, by early subscription, to set an example among donor countries and to encourage other donors to the Asian region to weigh in with their contributions. It is worth recalling that the basic role of international development banks is to supplement, and add 10, the flow of aid going to developing countries from Government sources. The banks have available to them large amounts of capital from donor governments, which is not paid in but is callable and thus serves as a guarantee for their borrowing activities on the capital markets of the world. The banks then re-lend the amounts they have borrowed to the developing countries at relatively low rates of interest. The developing countries themselves either do not have access to these markets or else would have to pay far higher rates of interest. The international development banks thus add substantially to the amounts of capital available to the poorer countries of the world for development purposes.

The Asian Development Bank was established to promote investment in the Asian region of public and private capital for developmental purposes. I believe Australians should derive some satisfaction from the fact that, of the present subscribers to the capital stock of the Asian Development Bank, Australia is the third largest of the regional members coming after Japan and India, while among the non-regional members only the United States of America contributes more than Australia. This heavy capital commitment by Australia surely reflects the sincere wish of this Liberal Government to assume all its responsibilities in the South East Asian area, whether they be matters of security, education, commerce or finance. There is no question on this side of the House that we should not accept this added involvement in a venture which must be regarded as a vital part of Australia’s total overseas aid.

The technical financial details relating to our involvement have been clearly set out in the second reading speech and it is not my intention to take the time of the House in re-telling them. But I would like to recall that as at 31st December last year the Asian Development Bank had approved 87 loans in 16 developing member countries aggregating SUS639.4m. This is no mean effort for an institution which was established only 5 years earlier. In addition to its regular lending activities, the Bank also lends at very low rates of interest to the poorest of its member countries. This lending comes from the soft’ window of the Bank - its special funds. Of the loans that have already been made $US100m have come from these special funds. As the Bank’s regular lending increases following this newly authorised increase in capital it is my hope that the volume of ‘soft’ lending will also increase. This, of course, will require an expansion of its special funds, and I was pleased to see the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) indicate in another place that when the Bank has formulated a proposal for the expansion of these funds Australia will be ready to accept its responsibilities in this field of ‘soft’ lending. It will go a long way towards overcoming some of the criticisms that are being levelled at the Asian Development Bank about the countries to which its main lending seems to be heading.

It is a significant reflection of the self help nature of this Bank that of its membership of 37 countries, 23 are from the Asian region, and the Asian regional members have contributed two-thirds of the paid up capital of. the Bank, and have accepted responsibility for a similar proportion of the callable capital as well. It is woath while reminding the House that Papua New Guinea stands as a member of the Asian Development Bank in its own right, although at the time of Papua New Guinea being accepted as a member, Australia agreed to stand behind Papua New Guinea’s obligations until such time as it was able to take over these responsibilities for itself. A loan of $US4.5m was approved by the Bank on concessional terms from its special funds for the Papua New Guinea Development Bank late last year. This loan allowed the Papua New Guinea Development Bank to expand its own lending to small businesses and Other development activities with special emphasis on indigenous enterprise.

Although this type of legislation sounds as though it is concerned only with international finance and capital markets, in reality and in practical terms the increased bank lending which it will permit will, among other things, facilitate loans to personal and small scale enterprises by the indigenous population - not only in Papua New Guinea through its own Development Bank, but also in many other Asian countries.

Mr Speaker, this is no remote financial measure requiring a mere formal acceptance by the Parliament. It is an extension of an aid programme which demonstrates the Libera] Government’s concern and practical involvement in the needs of the Asian region. I commend the Bill to the House.

Melbourne Ports

Mr Deputy Speaker, I apologise for not being present when the debate commenced. The Opposition supports this measure because it is an attempt to assist in providing finance for capital and other development in undeveloped areas. I regard the Asian Development Bank, which falls somewhere within the family of various international banking arrangements, as one of the better of those organisations, at least in the sense that it provides loans on soft terms. The Assistant Minister assisting the Prime Minister (Mr Dobie) referred to the two windows’, as he called them, of ordinary operations and special operations. The special operations fall into the category of loans that are provided at nominal rates of interest. One of the great difficulties is to try to remove the disparities that exist between he ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots* in the economic sense. There are on the one hand the variations that can take place in terms of trade and on the other hand the rather high rate of interest that even the poorest countries have to pay when transactions are conducted on what are regarded as normal commercial terms. Most of the countries to which assistance is being given are either what are called monoculture countries or have economies that depend on very few commodities - mainly primary commodities - for their export earnings. As Australia knows with regard to wool in particular and some of our other primary products the price we get when we sell over seas is not very much in the hands of those who produce the article. One would not produce a motor car if one expected to sell it for less than its cost of production. Therefore why should one produce anything of a primary nature, which is really wanted, that one expects to sell at less than its cost of production. One can argue if one likes about the relative efficiencies of production and so on, but often the price is forced down because the potential buyer is better organised than the seller.

While I do not think that we are getting equity in our international trade, I think that one of the healthy signs of the discussions that are now taking place about international monetary reform - a subject that I do not want to go into too far this evening - is the suggestion that the grouping should be widened from a group of 10 to a group of 20 and that more emphasis should be put on trade as well as on monetary arrangements. I think that the more equitable the terms of trade of those countries relying upon one or two basic commodities for their export earnings the less they will ultimately have to rely on institutions of the kind we are discussing. But that is a long way off as yet.

If some countries were to devote the same enthusiasm to providing funds for international aid and trade to build up better relations with neighbouring countries as they devote to providing for defence I think that defence would not be quite as necessary in the future as it has been in the past. We listened this afternoon to a very desultory statement that took something like 45 minutes to make about Australia’s defence programme for the next 5 years. I would like to see a similar paper produced about Australia’s assistance to the undeveloped areas for the next 5 years instead of the rather scrappy information that appears at the end of the Budget Papers. At least there has been an acknowledgement of this aid in the Budget over the last several years, which it did not have previously. Nevertheless when we take into account that we have a Budget provision of over Si 0,000m this year and that the provision for multilateral bilateral aid and assistance to Papua New Guinea as a separate amount comes to only $220m we can appreciate that this amount really is not very adequate when put against the projected defence expenditure of SI, 300m and the talk of a 5-year programme for defence. I think the Government has been very wise to talk about the defence programme for the next 5 years and not the defence programme for the last 5 years, which included the Fill aircraft as its central piece and linchpin. But, be that as it may, if we were occasionally to ask ourselves what we are defending ourselves against, as we always seem to be asking ourselves what will we defend ourselves with, I think a more sympathetic attitude would be adopted to this problem of aid to undeveloped countries.

I have been very gratified in recent times to note the development in Victoria - I presume it is taking place in other States as well - among the churches collectively on an ecumenical basis of an organisation called Action for World Development. Quite a number of groups along these lines have been established in the metropolitan area of Melbourne. I think some must have been established in Queensland, too, because I have received an invitation to take part in talks of some kind at the Brisbane University in September on this subject. 1 think the people of Australia realise that whatever .their internal problems and whatever the deficiencies may be in the quality of life there are other countries whose lot is very much worse than our own. I think there is a genuine feeling now that aid and trade and international arrangements generally should be on a more systematic basis than has been the case in the past. The kind of measure that is now before us is a practical way of encompassing this because when a country has to mobilise expenditures of some millions of dollars for individual projects often charitable or ad hoc assistance is not adequate to fill the need. The Asian Development Bank came into existence out of a recognition of that kind of difficulty, that if areas like Indonesia, South East Asia and even Ceylon and India are to raise their per capita standards, they can do it only with a certain amount of technical and other assistance from the more advanced countries.

What we must protect ourselves against is the suggestion of what is occasionally called by the rather nasty name of neo colonialism. This assistance must be provided primarily for the good of the people in the countries concerned rather than for the benefit of large scale interests outside those countries. Sometimes we may be able to encompass the improvement of these individual countries only by that sort of assistance. Nevertheless it is a problem of the mobilisation of capital from countries which have a certain surplus of it and it should be devoted to ends in those countries. The ‘Economist’ of 18th March 1972 in its section called ‘Business Brief contains a table of the wealth league and sets out the gross national product per head in 1969, which was the last year that statistics for all countries were available. The figures are expressed in American dollars. Australia had a per capita standard of about $US2,500. Indonesia’s per capita standard is measured in a figure less than SUS50. Even though Indonesia has a population about 8 times that of Australia, its gross national product is still several times less than ours. One thus begins to get some indication of the disparities. It is not possible for those countries to lift themselves up entirely by their own bootstraps, although the lesson in all economic development is that most ultimate development must be generated internally. This is what makes the degree of assistance that can be given so much more significant. It is hot a question of just giving to poor countries what you do not want yourself. There still is sometimes too much of that attitude - that the rich give to the poor what the rich feel they can do without.

Mr Dobie:

– That is not true of this Bill, though.


– No. I am simply generalising that in some respects this unfortunately still is the attitude - the sort of thing typified hundreds of years ago in Charles Dickens’s novel about the generous ladies of London who wanted to make handkerchiefs for the Hottentot. It will not be possible to make the decade of the 1970s a decade of development with that kind of attitude. At least this kind of institutional arrangement is an acknowledgment of that but there still sometimes is too much of a tendency to think that, because one gives a few shillings or a few dollars away, one has discharged all one’s responsibilities to one’s less fortunate neighbours. Real improvements will not come that way and until there can be a substantial degree of improvement in resolving these disparities the likelihood is that the tension between world groups will continue. This was very well expressed many years ago by a former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr Walter Nash, when he said that poverty anywhere was a threat to prosperity everywhere. I think there is a lot in that argument. The Pearson report and other surveys have come to that kind of conclusion. The Opposition is pleased that Australia has decided to increase its subscription to the Bank. I understand that until a certain number of countries ratify this kind of arrangement the Bank cannot get the extra capital which it so urgetly needs. In one way, I am sorry that this Bill was held over and that it was not passed when it was introduced in the Autumn session.


– As the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) pointed out, this Bank is concerned with 2 different branches of activity. One deals with the special funds which, put in another way, are the soft touch to our weaker brothers. We have subscribed quite generously in the past to this sort of aid. However, this measure deals not with the charitable aspects, valuable as they are, but with the Bank’s ordinary loan operations. One of its most important roles is to act as a bank for this area to develop and encourage proper banking and investment practices and to equip and familiarise as many people from this area, official and unofficial, with the workings of banking and finance so that the processes of economic advancement may be speeded up.

We come to this measure largely because of the very success of this institution. It has been successful and we should congratulate those concerned, particularly one of its great sponsors, Mr Watanabe, the present executive head. In 1971 the Bank had a sudden big success in raising money by loans on the world’s markets. What it wants this money for and what our subscription is being paid for essentially is not so much to provide money for operations as to give it the credit and capacity to borrow funds on its own in the markets of the world. The Bank started quite assiduously to borrow money in 1969 and since the end of 1969 it has borrowed a total of $159. 8m. The rush which occurred in 1971 enabled it to borrow $121m out of that total of roughly $160m. It became obvious that the Bank was doing so much business and making so many loans that unless it could raise further funds it would gradually have to slow down and be unable to carry on in this way. This was raised to the Board of Governors in 1971, which took due notice and asked the Board of Directors to report on what measures should be taken. The Board of Directors has since presented its report to the Governors. It advised that as the Bank was operating its funds for investment would be exhausted by the end of 1973. We are one of the largest subscribers. This Bill will authorise us to subscribe a total of $127.5m. Of this sum only $25.5m is actually paid in. The purpose of the plan is to pledge Australia’s credit because we give a promissory note to pay this sum if it is requested and needed. All that is paid in cash is $25.5m, 40 per cent in gold and 60 per cent in the domestic currency of the country concerned. In this way we add our share to the essential borrowing capacity in the markets of the world.

The Bank so far has issued its bonds and has sold its securities in Austria, Belgium, Japan, Switzerland, the United States of America and 12 countries in the region. The fact that Australia does not appear in this list should also give us food for thought. Like the honourable member for Melbourne Ports, I would not regard it as appropriate to enter tonight into a discussion of our current international payments position, but various impractical suggestions have been made in relation to our credit position about borrowing exchange and various other moves rather than using our position to promote what we should be thinking about - an Australian international finance industry. This thought should be followed up and I ask the Minister for Supply (Mr Garland), who is at the table, to convey to the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) that it ought to be followed up by opening the Australian markets to the bonds of the Asian Development Bank. These bonds have already been sold on a number of markets and Australia is a natural market in which the Bank should be able to operate. We should see day by day quoted on the Australian stock exchanges the bonds of the Asian Development Bank. I would like to see this development so that with governmental help the Bank would be enabled to raise funds in

Australia on its own account in our money markets because this is the fashion in which fundamentally Australia can help to develop the region. Incidentally, Australia’s influence in the institution would be greatly increased.

Australia should be a big market in this area. It should be playing its part in development privately as well as through public institutions. This is the next step we should take. Quite obviously we are all agreed that we should subscribe. We should give the Asian Development Bank our support for its ordinary operations as well as its special operations and special funds. Our next step should be to open up our markets so that this worthwhile institution can sell its bonds here on its own business basis.


– I want to speak briefly in support of the remarks of the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean), who has expressed the attitude of the Opposition towards this Bill. Like the honourable member for Melbourne Ports I have some misgivings about the way in which part of the investment tends to be used. This criticism is not levelled specifically at the Asian Development Bank, but as honourable members probably know considerable criticism has been levelled at some of the other international monetary agencies operating in other parts of the world. Quite recently an account has appeared of the operations in Latin America of certain funds such as the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. I refer to the book ‘Aid as Imperialism’ written by Teresa Hayter. This interesting publication merits some study. It deals almost exclusively with the activities of these agencies within Latin America. It does not deal with the operations of the Asian Development Bank but I am wondering whether some parallels could be drawn.

Teresa Hayter was a member of the Overseas Development Institute. She was engaged to carry out a study of some of the programmes of the international monetary agencies in underdeveloped countries. Although she was committed philosophically to these programmes initially she finished up being rather hostile to them. She came to the conclusion that the sole purpose of the funds seemed to be to meet the ends of the donor countries, that is to say, those countries which had principally subscribed the capital to the International Monetary Fund or to whatever fund was involved. It seemed to her that in addition to helping the underdeveloped countries the purpose of the funds was to promote within recipient countries the perpetuation of p<“‘tical systems which the donor countries regarded as being in the best interests of the donor countries even though in certain cases - I do not think any honourable member would disagree - they were not always the best types of government for the people of Latin America.

We must avoid this type of situation in Asia. The honourable member for Melbourne Ports referred to a type of neocolonialism or neo-imperialism. I was a little concerned when the honourable member for Wentworth (Mr Bury) in his opening remarks said that one of the functions of the Asian Development Bank is to inculcate proper banking and investment practices in recipient countries. Once again it seems that we may be trying to say to the recipient countries that they must adopt the practices that we say are best because we want to see what we call ‘political stability’ but what might in fact be the imposition of political economic systems which are quite unfavourable to the recipient countries.

I do not wish to oppose this Bill. 1 am all in favour of our giving maximum aid to underdeveloped countries but like the honourable member for Melbourne Ports I am hopeful that we can reach the stage where the countries concerned do not have to depend on this type of aid from agencies such as the Asian Development Bank to the extent that they now depend on it. The danger is that they will become somewhat beholden to the neo-imperialist policies of donor countries. If we are really fair dinkum about trying to help the underdeveloped countries we should not be assisting in making them dependent on these agencies but should be seeking multilateral and bilateral trading arrangements. We are not going to help these countries to get off the ground unless we can foster their own exports and enable them to help themselves.

Mr Kelly:

– Which exports?


– I do not want to specify any particular industry. I suppose it is all very well to be an expert on trade matters that involve another member’s electorate, but obviously wc have to secure employment opportunities within Australia. For goodness sake, if we are to trade with other countries, why should we not give more concessions to the underdeveloped countries around this area? What happened after the Kennedy Round agreement?


– Order! I appreciate what the honourable member is saying but we are dealing with a Bill to increase the capital subscription to the Asian Development Bank. The Chair has been fairly lenient and I now ask the honourable gentleman to come back to the Bill.


– Thank you, Mr Speaker. I propose to say only a few more words on this subject. If we are to have multilateral trading arrangements let us see whether we can give a little more sympathy to the underdeveloped countries around the area. In the brief period that the present Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) was on the back bench last year, he suggested a sort of trading arrangement with Canada, Japan and New Zealand. I would like to see us oriented to the more needy countries such as Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and countries like that. Of course, above all I have in mind Papua New Guinea towards which we have a special responsibility.

I have only one other point to make. I think that the Australian Government ought to encourage greater facility in the provision of indigenous banking activities within these countries. I recently visited Papua New Guinea, and it was drawn to my attention that there is no indigenous savings bank within the Territory, although there in the Development Bank to which my colleague the honourable member for Melbourne Ports referred. Most of the savings of indigenous people in Papua New Guinea are going, I gather, towards the provision of housing loans back in Australia because, of course, most of the banks are based within Australia. One of them, of course, is based in the United Kingdom. This is another matter to which we ought to give attention. Firstly, there is the question of trade and, secondly, the provision of more indigenously owned and indigenously based banking facilities within the recipient countries.

Minister for Supply and Minister assisting the Treasurer · Curtin · LP

– in reply - I thank honourable members for their contributions to this debate. The remarks made by the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) and the honourable member for Kingston (Dr Gun), as I am sure they will readily agree, were in somewhat wider terms than the Bill before the House. They spent a good deal of their time talking about the principles of foreign aid in general. I do not propose to pursue that avenue although I think the opportunity will be taken by my colleague the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) to discuss that matter as soon as possible. I would not like to sit down without saying - and I think that the honourable member for Kingston implied or said - that the matters to which he referred do not really apply to the Asian Development Bank. I am not sure that he said it as specifically as that, but I would assert that that is certainly the case.

The honourable member for Melbourne Ports, while making points which were confirmed by the honourable member for Kingston, did make the point early in his speech that there was some connection between defence expenditure and amounts spent on foreign aid. To that extent I think one is led to the point of saying that there is a connection and an Australian interest involved. It is not altogether from a purely humanitarian motive, though this is an important pillar of our foreign aid. I do not wish to pursue the matter any more as the hour is late and there is other business to discuss. I commend the Bill to the House.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

Third Reading

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

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

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page 257


page 257


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 24 May (vide page 3012), on motion by Mr N. H. Bowen:

That the Bills be now read a second time.

Leader of the Opposition · Werriwa

– There are 8 Bills covered by this motion. Nevertheless, it can be disposed of very quickly. I do not propose to speak as fully on this occasion as I did in December 1960 and in August 1963 on the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Bills, or as my colleague the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) spoke in March 1967 on the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Bill.

The Bills modernise and codify the law of consular relations as they affect this country. The Australian Labor Party supports these Bills as it supports any legislation which facilitates international intercourse on orderly lines. There are 2 points only that I want to take up at this time. The first is the inordinate time, it seems to me, which it takes the Australian Government and Parliament to legislate in order to effectuate international conventions such as the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations which is a schedule to the first of these Bills. There was a Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. It was open for signature on 18th April 1961; it was signed for Australia on 30th March 1962; it entered into force on 13th Decem- ber 1964; this House debated it on 16th March 1967; and the instrument of ratification was deposited by Australia on 26th January 1968.

It took 6 years and 9 months to bring this Convention to finality as far as Australia was concerned. Here we are concerned with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. It was open for signature , on 24th April 1963; it was signed for Australia on 31st March 1964; it entered into force on 19th March 1967; we are debating it today. Already 9 years and 4 months have elapsed. Clearly it will take some 3 years longer for Australia to bring this Convention to finality than it took for Australia to bring the earlier one to finality. Looking at the Bill to which the Convention is annexed I cannot understand why it has taken so much longer for us to implement this Convention than the earlier convention. I cannot understand, as I said at the time, why it took us so long to implement the earlier one. Australia has, I believe, the skills, and it should have the incentives to implement international engagements more promptly than that.

The other matter I want to mention concerns the bad name Australia is getting internationally for the risks which consuls run in this country. I will now distil answers which present and former Ministers have given me in reply to questions on notice. There have been bombings of the Yugoslav Consulate-General in Sydney in January 1967, November 1968 and June 1969, and of the Yugoslav Consulate-General in Melbourne in October 1970. The cost of repairing and protecting the premises of diplomatic missions and consular posts has risen. In 1970-71 the Commonwealth had to pay $4,100 to replace damaged furniture and fittings in the Yugoslav ConsulateGeneral in Melbourne, and in 1971-72 $25,000 to repair the Yugoslav ConsulateGeneral in Melbourne.

In 1970-71 in Melbourne the Commonwealth Police expended $9,860 on protecting the Yugoslav Consul-General. The cost of guarding consular premises by the Victoria police rose from $2,610 in 1967 to $16,359 in the financial year up to 2nd May 1971. In 1970-71 it cost $3,289 for the New South Wales police to protect diplomatic and consular premises. I fear that the cost of repairing the premises and protecting the representatives has risen since then. No doubt this will appear from the answer which the Minister will give me to question No. 5517 which I put for him on the notice paper on 11th April. If we are to enjoy international respect we will have to be much more scrupulous and diligent in preserving law and order as they concern the premises and persons of diplomats and consuls in this country.

Minister for Foreign Affairs · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– in reply - I want to comment briefly on 2 of the matters raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). This has taken a good deal of time for many reasons - I will not detain the House by listing them all - but I remind the Leader of the Opposition that, with international conventions including this convention, one of the delaying factors which is endemic here is the federal system whereby one constantly has to consult with the States before putting things into operation to ensure their operation. The States were consulted on this matter. . I do not blame that for the whole of the delay. I merely remind the House that in this, as in other conventions, that is one of the factors of delay.

The protection of consulates is a problem not only in Australia but also in many countries. In modern times it seems to have become a popular technique of demonstration. Regrettably, embassies and consulates tend to be regarded as convenient targets for groups which wish to display their opposition to the policies of particular countries. We have seen it evidenced in relation to various embassies and consulates here. Very strong measures have been taken either for the prevention or, if prevention is not effective, for the apprehension of the offenders. This has not always been successful because those who are conducting these kinds of operations have the initiative. This problem is not confined to Australia. It is the position in other countries as well. We expect our consuls and ambassadors overseas to be protected. We certainly take the best steps available to us to protect such people here.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bills together read a second time.

Third Readings

Leave granted for third readings to be moved forthwith.

Bills (on motion by Mr N. H. Bowen) together read a third time.

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Second Reading

Debate resumed from 24 May (vide page 3013), on motion by Mr Nixon:

That the Bill be now read a second time.


– The Bill now before the House is a very small and very simple Bill which requires only the deletion of the reference to the Territory of Papua and the Territory of New Guinea from the Commonwealth Lighthouses Act. Whilst it is only a simple and small Bill I consider it to be an important Bill because it hands over from the Australian Administration to the Government of Papua New Guinea the responsibility for the operation of lighthouses and various types of navigational equipment. As will be seen by the second reading speech of the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon), the Government has once again displayed that it has not carried out its responsibility over the years of training the indigenous population of the Territory to accept the responsibilities which must inevitably become theirs in the not too distant future. In his second reading speech the Minister said:

The skilled crew of the New Guinea-based lighthouse tender, MV ‘Noel Buxton’, will remain until such time as the Administration can replace them. Training of lighthouse technicians will be provided as soon as the Administration can engage indigenous tradesmen. Technical servicing of equipment such as the flashing mechanisms of lights will be provided until such time as the Administration has made its own arrangements.

The Government was given 31/2 years notice that it should be handing this over. I want to quote briefly from the United Nations publication on a transport survey which was carried out some years ago in Papua New Guinea. It is the United Nations Development Programme - International Bank for Reconstruction and Development - entitled Transport Survey of the Territories of Papua and New Guinea’. Recommendation 33 of the report under the heading Maritime’ reads as follows:

The Administration, through the agency of the Division of Marine and the Harbours Board should take over responsibility for primary navigational aids from the Commonwealth Government. Both for primary navigational aids and within all ports, the Division and the Board should provide additional lights and daymarks. It would be necessary to increase light dues and make them payable by all craft.

That report is dated February 1969. This Bill was presented to the House at the end of May 1972. It took the Government 31 years to bring this legislation to the Parliament. The most important point about it is that, having brought it to the Parliament 31/2 years after the recommendations were made, the Government is still not in a position to hand over to an indigenous crew or to indigenous workmen the responsibility for carrying out this work of the lighthouses. If honourable members interested in Papua New Guinea and in transport in general in that Territory were to read through this report, they would be aware of all the things that the Government has not done in the field of transport.

There is one point to which I would like to refer also to show that this is not the only breach on the part of the Government. Under the heading ‘Maritime’ there are 42 recommendations. Recommendation No. 38 reads as follows:

The establishment of a shipping company or corporation, with substantial Administration participation, and incorporating leading coastal operators, should be considered.

There is any amount of need for the setting up of a shipping line.


– Order! I do not know what line the honourable member for Newcastle is going to take. The establishment of a shipping line is getting fairly wide of the subject matter of the Bill.


– I am not talking about a shipping line in Australia.


– Nor in Papua New Guinea. This Bill is a simple one, as the honourable member said, and it is fairly confined.


– I was trying to relate the use of a shipping line and a shipping service to the training of crews. Sufficient crews have not been trained. Ships are trading between New Guinea, Australia and overseas ports. This indicates that there is any amount of work for indigenous seamen and yet the Government has not done anything about it. The report on Papua New Guinea for 1970-71 discloses that 784 overseas ships visited the Territory of Papua New Guinea.

Mr Nixon:

– I think it might be better for you to debate that in the Committee stage.


– I would be happy to debate it on that occasion, but I am trying to point out to the Minister that so many things should have been done by the Government in the Territory on the recommendations of the United Nations group which carried out this transport survey. If all of the things which it recommended, or some of the important things, had been carried out at least the Government would not have been in the position today in which it is not able to hand over completely to the Territory the responsibility of looking after its own lighthouses, lightships and navigational aids. It does not apply only in this field but also to civil aviation. The hour is late and it is obvious that the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) would not like me to tell him of all the faults, not only of his own Department but also of the Department of Civil Aviation and his ministerial colleagues who have not carried out their responsibility of training the indigenous population of Papua New Guinea.

I indicate that the Opposition supports the measure and at the same time trusts that the Government will be prepared to examine the recommendations of this report more deeply than it has done in the past and to make sure that the people of Papua New Guinea are trained to a sufficient level so that they can accept their responsibility in the technical fields of aviation and maritime activities, because these are 2 fields which are important to the Territory.

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 259


Poverty in Australia: Health Insurance

Motion (by Mr Chipp) proposed:

That the House do now adjourn.


– I raise an issue which concerns the question of the poverty survey that the Government has decided to institute and in particular the effect that the cost of health insurance is having on poor families in Australia. I refer especially to the failure of the Commonwealth Government’s scheme to offer subsidised or free health insurance to low income families. This scheme has proven to be virtually an unqualified disaster. Yet, the Government continues to prop it up at very considerable expense and with advertising which is wasteful and serves Hale purpose. It is sheer pigheadedness and obstinacy on the part of the Federal Government that it will not basically change this scheme. All the evidence proves that this scheme has failed. It is getting through to only a very small minority of the poor families who are supposed to be eligible for it. Yet, the Government continues to inflict upon these people, a scheme which cannot work, which many of these people have never heard of and for which many, even though they are in poverty, are too wealthy to qualify.

The Federal Government is crucifying tens of thousands of low income families in Australia on an outmoded and extravagant system of health insurance. For sheer dogmatism this scheme takes some beating. 1 give just some quick indications of how this scheme of free and subsidised health insurance for low income families has failed. I am talking particularly about that section of families which is supposed to qualify for free health insurance when the family income is below $51.50 per week. There is a tapered means test up to $51.50 a week, but the latter section does not count because so few of those families are enrolled in the scheme. I am talking specifically about these low income family groups earning $51.50 a week. These people are being cruelly punished by this Government’s scheme of health insurance.

Originally the Government estimated that throughout Australia 180,000 families would be eligible for free health insurance. At this stage there are probably no more than 7,000 families, or 4 per cent, enrolled in the scheme. In Victoria only 750 families are fully covered with free health insurance, yet on the Government figures there should be 60,000. In other words, in Victoria only about 1 per cent of all the eligible families is actually covered by this health insurance scheme. It is a shocking scheme. It is a scheme that has been condemned by the medical profession, by pharmacists, by hospital administrators, by social workers and by welfare organisations. Anyone with the slightest understanding of health and social welfare knows that this scheme simply cannot operate effectively; but then, of course, it never was intended to do so. It is window dressing to give the impression that the Government is dealing with a basic defect in its national health scheme - that is, thousands of people simply cannot afford to insure themselves.

I shall quote a few cases from any own electorate to show how disastrously this scheme has failed. I am talking very largely about hospitals in areas where there are many low income families. I suppose that in my own electorate there should be at least 3,000 to 5,000 families getting subsidised health insurance but the figures reveal that the position is nothing like that. For example, the Seymour Hospital, over a 2-year period, has had about 5,000 outpatients and inpatients. Of those 5,000 outpatients and inpatients over those 2 years no more than 2 have been people who were qualified for free health insurance because of low income at the level of $51.50. Over a period of 2 years the Bendigo base hospital has had more than 40,000 inpatients and outpatients. The maximum number of families covered for free health insurance because of low income below $51.50 at the moment is 2. A similarly dismal picture can be painted for any other part of my electorate, whether it be Castlemaine, Kilmore or anywhere else. The failure to let people even know of this scheme, let alone qualify for it because of low income, is disgraceful.

I quote a statement that was made at a meeting on 27th June this year of an organisation of hospital people. It was the Combined Administrative and Nursing Advisory Committee of the North East and Goulburn Valley Region - quite a large hospital area in Victoria extending from Kyabram and Seymour up to Wodonga. On 27th June this Committee commented that the situation with respect to this health insurance scheme had not improved over the previous 3 months. It went on to say:

There has been little or no improvement in the subsidised medical scheme. Patients were mostly unaware of their entitlement at the time of entering hospital or were discharged before advantages could accrue.

This is evidence that the scheme simply is not operating, according to that Committee’s investigations. I conducted an investigation myself. I had phone calls and conversations with people operating 20 pharmacies throughout my electorate - in Bendigo, Castlemaine, Broadford, Kilmore, Seymour and so on. I asked how this scheme was operating. I calculated from the replies that only about 5 in every 1,000 people taking out prescriptions - only 1 in 200 or less than 1 per cent - were people who were receiving this free health insurance.

Steps have been taken by the Federal Government to publicise the scheme but these are not serious and sincere efforts. They have really proven that if in fact the Federal Government were sincere about trying to get people into this scheme by advertising it, such advertising would prove almost prohibitively expensive. For example,- in February the Federal Government, stung into action by criticism from the Opposition, sent representatives of the Department of Health to Wollongong for 4 weeks. The Government spent about $3,000 in that 4 week period in advertising the operation of and eligibility for the scheme. In Wollongong there are approximately 200,000 people. There are 10,000 to 20,000 ramifies, according to the Federal member for the area, Mr Connor, on low incomes. The sole achievement of the attempt to publicise the scheme in the Wollongong area was that for one month the number of applications for subsidised health insurance rose by 52. If one takes the cost of advertising alone, one can see that each extra application for free health insurance in the Wollongong district cost $50. What was the result? The Government decided that advertising such as this, if it were conducted on a national scale, would be impossibly expensive and that the Government does not intend to continue advertising.

The Government is now inflicting another publicity scheme on poor and low income families in Australia. It is now resorting to another technique. It has been sending Out with child endowment cheques posted through the mail a small notice informing the mothers receiving the cheques that they may be eligible for the subsidised health benefits plan, as it is now called. This is a most amazing thing. I was told 3 months ago by the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson), in reply to a question on notice, of plans for this scheme. It has taken 3 months since I was notified of the plan to advertise it through these notices and to send out these notices with the child endowment cheques. Not all the notices have been sent. More are still being sent. I think about 700,000 are being sent. In Victoria about 193,000 are being sent, after a delay of 3 months. The scheme has been operating for over 2 years now and only now is the Government starting to advertise on any substantial scale.

What is wrong with the scheme? Obviously the Government does not intend to advertise on any substantial scale because the scheme is too expensive. The Government does not intend to deal with one of the basic problems. I refer to the stringent means test that the Government continues to inflict upon the poor. The people who suffer the most from the means test are those on low incomes and those who have large families. I quote an example. A person with an income of less than $51.50 a week can get free insurance. Virtually nobody gets this income. In my electorate a man with an income of $65 a week, with 7 children, the eldest of whom is 10, is in debt for over $1,000 through just keeping his family surviving. He could not keep up his hospital benefits insurance. If he had it would have cost him nearly $2 a week. He is indebted to the hospital. He has a large family. He is getting $20 below the poverty line of $85 in Victoria. Under the scheme he is punished because he is trying to raise a large family on a low income. In the eyes of the Federal Government he should be able to live and try to raise a family of 7 children on $65 a week. He is too rich; he does not get the benefits of this scheme because the means test is so severe. In Victoria a man could earn an income of $112.50 and still qualify for free treatment at the outpatient clinic of a public hospital. Yet with just over half this income he is excluded from help from the Federal Government.


-Order! The honourable gentleman’s time has expired.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 11.13 p.m.

page 262


The following answers to questions upo n notice were circulated:

Excess Noise (Question No. 5943)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. Is it a fact that there is no effective legislation in the Australian Capital Territory to control the noise of motor cycles and other motor vehicles.
  2. How many complaints have been received by the Australian Capital Territory Police concerning excessive noise caused by motor vehicles in each of the last 5 years.
  3. Were these complaints investigated.
  4. Did any of these investigations result in matters being taken, by way of prosecution, before the Court of Petty Sessions.
  5. If so, how many (a) were so taken and (b) resulted in convictions being recorded.
  6. Is legislation being prepared to control the nuisance created by excessive motor vehicle noise.
  7. If so, (a) what stage has the drafting of the legislation reached and (b) when is it anticipated that the legislation will be placed before die Parliament.
Mr Hunt:
Minister for the Interior · GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

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

  1. , (4), (5), (6) and (7) Since 17th May 1971, 121 motorists have been reported for having inefficient silencers resulting in 107 summonses being issued. Nevertheless, the Department of the Interior is aware that the present provisions of the Motor Traffic Ordinance dealing with vehicles causing undue noise are not sufficiently wide to cover excessive noise arising from irresponsible use of motor vehicles. Action is being taken to strengthen the Ordinance but a draft has not yet been prepared. It should be ready for the Budget session. No statistics are kept about convictions of motorists summonsed for having inefficient silencers.
  2. and (3) No statistics are kept about the number of complaints concerning excessive noise by motor vehicles but it is estimated that they number two or three a week. Inquiries are made and appropriate action taken in relation to complaints.

Factories and Shops Act 1912 (Question No. 5944)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. Can he say how many premises exist in the Australian Capital Territory that would satisfy the definition of:

    1. shops and
    2. factories as defined in the Factories and Shops Act 1912, as amended, of New South Wales.
  2. Can he also say how many persons are estimated to be employed in these:

    1. shops and
    2. factories.
  3. If these statistics are not immediately available, will he take steps to have a survey undertaken so that the figures can be supplied.

Mr Hunt:

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

  1. Statistics about the number of shops and factories in the Australian Capital Territory, as defined by the Factories and Shops Act of New South Wales, are not available.
  2. Statistics of the number of persons employed in shops and factories have not been maintained.
  3. Staff resources are not currently available to apply to this data collection. Having regard to the scope and complexity of industry in New South Wales a survey based on the definition of shops and factories in that State’s legislation might not have relevance to the Australian Capital Territory.

Fire Stations (Question No. 5945)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. Can he say whether the Secretary of the Board of Fire Commissioners in New South Wales gave an assurance on 3rd November 1970 that there would be a minimum strength per shift for fire stations in Canberra of:

    1. a station officer and 7 firemen at Forrest,
    2. a station officer and 4 firemen at Ainslie; and
    3. a station officer and 3 firemen at Phillip, and that these minima would be maintained at all times.
  2. If so, has Inspector Munday, the Chief Officer for the Australian Capital Territory, now been instructed that he should permit his staff to fall to 6 firemen at Forrest before another man is provided by being recalled to duty.
  3. Does the instruction also state that overtime should be worked to make up the work load.
  4. Is it a fact that on the weekends of 19th and 20th February 1972 and 26th and 27th February 1972 the number of firemen on duty per shift at Forrest fell below 7.
  5. If so, can he say why the assurance given by the Secretary of the Board of Fire Commissioners has not been kept.
  6. Is it a fact that a meeting of firemen in the Australian Capital Territory, which was held on 28th February 1972, resolved that, if any station fell below the minimum described, they would not respond to calls until the assurance of the Board was complied with.
  7. In view of the danger to life and property in Canberra, will he act immediately to ensure that the Board complies with its .assurance and that the minima will obtain at the 3 stations at all times as stated by the Board.
Mr Hunt:

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

  1. Yes. However a minimum strength per shift refers to the minimum at the commencement of each shift.
  2. No. If at the commencement of a shift less than the operational minimum at Forrest reports for duty sufficient recalls are made to satisfy that minimum. Where for any reason the operational minimum falls after commencement below that which is specified for the commencement consideration is given by the Chief Officer to the measures necessary to meet the needs of the Station.
  3. No.
  4. and (5) No.
  5. Yes.
  6. The minimum operational strength has been maintained in accordance with that specified by the New South Wales Board of Fire Commissioners.

Sale of Land (Question No. 5946)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. When was (a) block 12 section 33 Cook, (b) block 13 section 33 Cook, (c) block 25 section 8 Duffy, (d) block 30 section 31 Duffy and (e) block 23 section 32 Farrer purchased.
  2. By whom was each block purchased, when did building on each block commence and when were the buildings on each block completed.
  3. If building did not commence within 6 months of purchase of each block and was not completed within 12 months of purchase, what reasons were given for this happening in each case.
  4. Has hig Department terminated leases on any block or blocks of land purchased by a building company during the last 5 years; if so, what was the (a) number of the block, (b) date of purchase, (c) name of the purchaser, (d) reason for the termination of the lease and (e) date of termination in each case.
  5. How many blocks were purchased at each group or unrestricted auction in the last 5 years by (a) Lend Lease Homes Pty Ltd, (b) A. V. Jennings Industries (Aust.) Ltd, (c) L. J. Hooker Ply Ltd, (d) Stocks and Holdings (Canberra) Pty Ltd, (e) Orlit Pry Ltd, (f) Century Homes (Canberra) Pty Ltd, (g) Valley Homes, (h) Perfection Home Sales and (i) Craftsman Homes.
  6. What was the percentage of purchases by each company to the total number of blocks purchased at such auctions during that period.
  7. Did each of these companies commence building on each of the blocks purchased by them within 6 months of that purchase; if not, what reasons were given for them not doing so.
  8. What was the number of each block of land and the name of the person who purchased the block on which building was not (a) commenced within 6 months of purchase and (b) completed within 12 months of purchase during each of the last 5 years.
  9. What was the reason given for the delay in each case.
  10. Were any of the leases to these blocks terminated; if not, why not.
  11. Are finance companies permitted to bid at group or unrestricted auctions.
  12. If so, why are finance companies by themselves or by their nominees permitted to purchase land at these auctions.
  13. What steps are taken to ascertain whether a purchaser is a finance company or a nominee of a finance company.
  14. Do any finance companies hold building permits in the Australian Capital Territory.
  15. Can he say whether finance companies purchase land at restricted auctions on behalf ot builders, and then often offer that land to other builders after the initial purchase.
  16. If there is sue* a practice, does the Government agree that it is detrimental to the public interest.
  17. What steps are being taken to ensure that any such practice does not continue.
Mr Hunt:

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

It is not the Government’s practice to disclose details of the performance of lessees under a lease. However, approved structures have been completed on four of the sites specified. In the remaining case, the lessee is not required to complete a building until November this year.

  1. No cause has been found for termination of any leases held by building companies since 1966, in which year six such leases were terminated.
  2. and (6)

The remaining companies mentioned hare not purchased any leases at group or unrestricted auctions in this period. (7), (8) and (9) This information is not readily available and having regard to the answer given to Question (1), would in any case not be disclosed. (10) Twenty-five residential leases have been determined in the past five years.

  1. and (12) Finance companies can bid at unrestricted or group auctions. The law does not discriminate against any class of persons wishing to bid at group or unrestricted auction, nor require that the purchaser of a lease shall hold a building licence.
  2. No steps are necessary.
  3. Only in special circumstances can a building permit be taken out by a person who does not hold a building licence. Instances have arisen in which a finance company has been issued with a building permit to facilitate minor structural alterations.
  4. , (16) and (17) A company is not eligible to bid at restricted auctions.

Ustasba Movement (Question No. 5951)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

  1. Do:s Government policy condone the display of the flag of the Ustasha terrorist movement and a photograph of its leader, Ante Pavelic, in a registered club in the Australian Capital Territory (Hansard, 28th April 1971, pages 2211- 2; 23rd May 1972, pages 2858-9 and 24th May 1972, page 2961).
Mr McMahon:

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

I refer the honourable member to replies to earlier questions in this House, the Hansard references to which he has already drawn attention.

Commonwealth Budget (Question No. 5956)

Dr Gun:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. Are proposals in the annual Commonwealth Budget to impose, alter or remove taxes or excise duties customarily kept secret until the presentation of the Budget in the House; if so, what are the reasons for the secrecy.
  2. Can he instance any cases where this secrecy has been breached.
  3. What precautions are taken against premature disclosure.
Mr Snedden:

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

  1. It is practice for Budget proposals relating to changes in the rates and coverage of sales taxes and excise duties to be kept secret until the presentation of the Budget Speech in the House, and to take effect on the following day.

If this were not done, and some interval were allowed between the announcement of rate changes and the date of their coming into effect, the result could be, in the case of a rate increase, a loss of part of that revenue which the increase is designed to produce. Users of the goods affected would, presumably, increase their stocks of die goods in anticipation of higher prices following the implementation of the higher rate of tax or duty.

In the case of a tax rate reduction, the allowance of an interval between announcement of such a change and its effective date of operation could lead users of the goods to delay purchasing, because of the possibility that the reduced rate of taxation would be reflected in lower prices. Any such delay could have possible adverse effects on producers and vendors of the goods.

Problems of this type do not apply to the same extent in relation to direct taxes - for example, personal income taxes. However, any proposed variations in these taxes in a Budget are not disclosed prior to the introduction of that Budget.

  1. There has not, to my knowledge, been any instance where a breach of secrecy prior to the tabling of the Budget Speech has been shown to have occurred.
  2. Public Service Regulations 34 and .35 and section 70 of the Crimes Act deal specifically with the responsibilities of officers in regard to the disclosure of official information. In addition, information about prospective taxation proposals is restricted to those officers who, in view of their responsibilities of functions, need to know of such proposals.

Pollution (Question No. 5961)

Dr Gun:

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

  1. Has the Government accepted the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development principle that the polluter pays.
  2. Does this mean that polluting industry must meet the pollution cost in the use and disposal as well as the production of its products.
  3. Does it also mean that industry must also pay a certain amount as compensation for depletion of non-renewable resources.
  4. Is it intended that the polluter pays principle will result in the ultimate cost of pollution being borne by, the consumer.
  5. If so, will this result in reduced sales of consumer goods to low-income earners and what effects on employment are anticipated.
Mr Howson:

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

  1. to (5) I refer the honourable member to the statement I made in the House on 24th May 1972 (Hansard page 2970).

Pollution (Question No. 5962)

Dr Gun:

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

  1. Are pollution of the environment and depletion of non-renewable resources functions of economic growth.
  2. If so, what did he mean in this statement on 24th May 1972 that the Commonwealth is concerned with devising a pattern of national development in which environmental objectives go hand in hand with economic goals.
Mr Howson:

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

  1. The concepts of economic growth and of conservation of the environment and rational use of resources are not mutually exclusive.
  2. In my statement of 24th May 1972, I said that-

    1. As far as the Commonwealth is concerned, the question is ons of devising a pattern of national development in which environmental objectives go hand in hand with economic, cultural and social goals;
    2. The Commonwealth’s philosophy is directed to devising and developing such a pattern in co-operation with the States, with local government, with business and industry and the community as a whole; and
    3. The environment must be considered as a major factor in the planning and management of practically all forms of development from human settlements to engineering and industrial works.

Australian Environment Council (Question No. 5963)

Dr Gun:

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

  1. How many meetings of the Australian Environment Council have taken place.
  2. On what date was each meeting held.
  3. Is there any, permanent administrative body, such as an interstate commission, made up of Commonwealth and State representatives, to formulate proposals for joint action by all Australian governments to protect the environment
  4. If not, will consideration be given to the establishment of such a body, which will make recommendations to the Australian Environment Council.
Mr Howson:

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

  1. and (2) I draw the honourable member’s attention to my answer to Question No. 5500 (see Hansard of 26th April 1972).
  2. and (4) The Council is supported by a Standing Committee comprising senior officers of the Commonwealth and State environment agencies. The Council has also established special committees to -

    1. carry out a review of the problems of nonreturnable containers and packaging generally;
    2. to investigate and report on national emission standards and guidelines to protect the environment;
    3. assemble information on monitoring currently being undertaken by State Governments and the Commonwealth and to investigate co-ordination of methods of measurement and analysis.

Airports (Question No. 5966)

Mr Charles Jones:

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

  1. Which airports in each State are maintained and operated by (a) The Department of Civil Aviation and (b) local government.
  2. How many (a) engineers (b) technical officers and (c) draftsmen are employed by the Department to look after these airports in each State and are they responsible for both Department of Civil Aviation and local government controlled airports.
  3. What was the number of created positions in 1962 and in each year since then.
Sir Reginald Swartz:

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

  1. Commonwealth Government Aerodromes Queensland












Iron Range




Mt Isa




Thursday Island

New South Wales



Broken Hill



Coffs Harbour

Hoxton Park





Norfolk Island





Bacchus Marsh







West Sale




Flinders Island


King Island



South Australia



Kangaroo Island

Leigh Creek

Mt Gambier



Port Lincoln


Northern Territory

Alice Springs

Bond Springs



Roper River Bar

Tennant Creek

Timber Creek

Western Australia




Cocos Island




Fitzroy Crossing

Military/ Civil Joint User




New South Wales








Northern Territory



Western Australia


Australian Capital Territory


Aerodromes Licensed to Local Authorities














Charters Towers
















Gregory Downs







Julia Creek








Mt Coolon

Mt Garnet






St George














New South Wales







Burren Junction















Evans Head

Glen Innes











Lake Cargelligo

Lightning Ridge










Port Macquarie











Wee Waa

West Wyalong

White Cliffs














Latrobe Valley






St Arnaud


Swan Hill







St Helens


South Australia







Port Pirie




Western Australia









Rottnest Island

Southern Cross

  1. The Department of Civil Aviation for operational purposes has divided the Commonwealth and Territories into 6 Regions and the staff in several provide the services for 2 States. It is not possible to split the staff in these Regions into specific States.

The engineers, technical officers and draftsmen do have defined responsibilities in respect of both Department of Civil Aviation and Local Government controlled aerodromes.

Inspection of Airports (Question No. 5967)

Mr Charles Jones:

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

Which officers of the Department of Civil Aviation have officially inspected airport and associated facilities at (a) Lord Howe Island and (b) Norfolk Island during the last 5 years.

Sir Reginald Swartz:

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

The archival classification given to records of this nature requires the holding for 2 years only and therefore it is possible to give accurate details only in respect of 1970-71 and 1971-72.

In the classifications given for both Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island, Airways Engineering relates to navigation and communication aids; Airport Engineering to the development and maintenance of airport and buildings; Operations to air safety surveillance and the provision of air traffic and fire services; and Executive Services to staffing, stores inspection, auditing, property matters and business concessions.

The 1970-71 figures reflect the number of inspectional visits which would be made in a normal year, except for Airways Engineering which also involves preparation for some major installations.

The increase in visits in 1971-72 is associated with proposals by Qantas to replace the existing DC4 service with jet aircraft such as the Boeing 737 or BAC 111-475. This will necessitate major developments to the airport and the studies to date have included an on-the-spot demonstration by a Boeing 737.

The 1970-71 figures reflect the number of inspectional visits which would be made in a normal year except in respect of Airport Engineering. The Airport Engineering visits in both the New South Wales Government to establish a land aerodrome on the Island. This would also require the resiting of certain Airways Engineering installations.

Contraceptives {Question No. 5969)

Dr Klugman:

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

Will the Minister give the reasons behind the reasoned estimate mentioned in the answer to question No. 5310 (Hansard, 30th May 1972) which enabled him to estimate that an additional 824,000 Australian women would use oral contraceptives if they were available free as pharmaceutical benefits.

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

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

The estimate was based on an assessment of (i) information provided in confidence by the pharmaceutical industry on the number of women using oral contraceptives, (ii) statistics on the population of females in the 18 to 45 years age group, and (iii) Departmental experience related to the listing of new items as benefits and the removal of restrictions on existing benefits.

Airport Engineering Costs (Question No. 5968)

Mr Charles Jones:

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

  1. What funds were available in each State foi airport engineering work on 1 July 1970 and 1 July 1971 and also 31 March, 30 April, 31 May and 30 June in each of the years 1971 and 1972.
Sir Reginald Swartz:

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

  1. The following table shows by States the value of airport engineering civil works already committed but not paid for at the commencement of the years, (Revotes), together with the value of new programme approved during the relevant years.

The programmes are approved for me full year and implemented progressively throughout that year. I have not therefore supplied the decreasing figure at the various dates requested.

Irrigation (Question No. 5970)

Mr Grassby:

asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

  1. Is Australia the only country in the arid and semi-arid zones without a wheat variety bred for irrigation farming.
  2. Has there been developed at the Wheat Research institute, Wagga, New South Wales, a wheat variety know as 7147 which has yielded in excess of 100 bushels per acre under irrigation in trials carried out to date.
  3. If so, has foundation seed of this variety been released to all mainland States and to several overseas countries.
  4. If seed has been released overseas, will those countries which have secured these supplies of foundation seed of this highly promising variety be in a position to successfully compete against our own producers with our own Australianbred wheat unless we ensure that we ourselves have adequate supplies of seed.
  5. Has all available seed of this variety been planted for seed increase this year pending quality testing and evaluation so that immediate advantage can be obtained if quality standards are met.
  6. If not, will he act urgently to ensure maximum seed increase this year by maximum plantings in optimum situations.
Mr Sinclair:
Minister for Primary Industry · NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

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

  1. Australia has wheat varieties bred for irrigation farming.
  2. A variety known as 7147 which was bred at the Wheat Research Institute, Wagga, has been grown in small plot trials and where these were irrigated, the yield approached 100 bushels per acre.
  3. Foundation seed of variety 7147 has been made available on request to wheat breeders in other Australian States. Small quantities have also been forwarded to wheat breeders in overseas countries.
  4. The performance of this selection under Australian conditions is not a necessary indication of the way it will show up in a foreign environment. In any case it would be some years before overseas recipients were in a position to have supplies available for bulk sowings.
  5. Extensive plantings have been made this year for field and quality evaluation. Adequate seed should be available for sowings in 1973 by registered seed wheat growers.
  6. Covered by answer to (5) above.

French Nuclear Tests (Question No. 5973)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for

Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

  1. Has he obtained the text of the remarks by Monsieur Pierre Messmer in Noumea on 27th May 1972 concerning Australia’s attitude to the French nuclear tests this year. (Hansard, 30th May 1972).
  2. Has Australia made representations concerning these remarks to the French or any other government.
  3. With which countries has Australia discussed protests against the tests and which countries are known to have made protests. (Hansard, 7th September 1971, page 877 and 2nd December 1971, page 4123).
  4. What were the terms of Australia’s and their protests.
Mr N H Bowen:

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

  1. and (2) I have seen the text of Monsieur Messmer’s remarks as reported by the news media. Steps have been taken both in Canberra and in Paris to draw the attention of the French Government to the fact that, if these reports are correct, Monsieur Messmer’s statement is a misrepresentation of the Australian Government’s position towards the conduct of French Pacific nuclear tests. The Australian Government has on numerous occasions in the past clearly stated its opposition to such tests to the French Government both through public statements and through the delivery of official protest notes. As recently as 29th March 1972 a note was presented to the French Ambassador in Canberra, and on the same day the Minister for Foreign Affairs issued a statement referring to the note and emphasising the Government’s opposition to the French Government’s intention to resume Pacific atmospheric testing this year.
  2. (a) Although the Government has conducted discussions with certain regional countries concerning joint protests, those exchanges were of a confidential Government-to-Government nature, and must be respected as such,

    1. This year, the following countries are known to have protested to the French Government over the conduct of atmospheric nuclear testing in the Pacific:


New Zealand





  1. The terms of the Australian protest note were announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on 29th March 1972. The protest:

    1. recalled the Government’s past opposition to French Pacific testing;
    2. reaffirmed our interest as a party to the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, of 1963, in seeing that Treaty universally applied and supported;
    3. reiterated our community of interest with the nations and peoples of the Pacific and emphasised the deep concern of the people of this region at the intention of the French Government to resume atmospheric tests there.

In conclusion the note repeated the Australian Government’s opposition to the conduct of these tests.

It would be inappropriate for the Australian Government to disclose the terras of protests lodged by other nations, in those cases when such terms were known to the Australian Government.

Returned Services League’s Pension Plan (Question No. 3711)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for

Repatriation, upon notice:

Why has the estimated cost of extending hospital, medical and pharmaceutical benefits to all returned ex-servicemen of the Boer War and World War I, as proposed by the Returned Services League, risen in a single year from $4m to $7.04m (Hansard, 6th May 1970, page 1764, and 28th April 1971, page 2213).

Mr Holten:
Minister for Repatriation · INDI, VICTORIA · CP

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

The estimated cost of $4m given on 6th May 1970 was based on an assumption that only about two-thirds of those who would become eligible would seek treatment through Repatriation facilities. In 1971 it was decided to assume that all those who would become eligible would avail themselves of this form of Government assistance and, consequently, the estimated cost at that time was given as $7.04m.

State Transport Systems (Question No. 4934)

Mr Charles Jones:

asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:

  1. Can he say what (a) was the outstanding debt and (b) were the interest payments for each State passenger tram, bus and ferry system for each of the financial years 1949-50, 1959-60 and 1969-70.
  2. If so, how much of the debt and interest payments was owed and paid to overseas investors.
Mr Nixon:

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

  1. See my answer to Question No. 4938.
  2. This information is not available. I understand, however, that most loan moneys are from domestic sources.

State Transport Systems (Question No. 4938)

Mr Charles Jones:

asked the Minister for

Shipping and Transport, upon notice:

Can he say what was the (a) value of assets (b) outstanding debt (c) amount of loan repayments (d) amount of interest payments and (e) profit or loss for the year trading for each State passenger tram, bus, and ferry system, as at 30th June in each year since 1950.

Mr Nixon:

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

The required information in respect of ferries is not available. With regard to the information requested on tram and bus systems the details of items (a), (b) and (c) are not available on a comparable basis. The information that is available in relation to items (d) and (e) is set out in the accompanying tables. The tables do not show trolley bus, tram and omnibus services separately from 1958-59 onwards.

Home Help Service (Question No. 4972)

Mr Kennedy:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

  1. What action has been taken to help finance the expansion of the Home Help Service at Puckapunyal since his answer to my question No. 3199 (Hansard, 7th September 1971, pages 871-72) when it was indicated that the question of assistance from a source other than the Victorian Government was being investigated.
  2. What has been the result of the action taken.
  3. How many (a) adults and (b) children reside in Puckapunyal area.
  4. Can he say how many (a) persons are employed by the Home Help Service and (b) applications for home help were (i) received and (ii) met in 1971.
  5. In what year was the service introduced.
  6. What sums have been expended in each year since the scheme was introduced and from where are these funds derived.
  7. Is a civilian in Victoria able to obtain home help during his wife’s confinement; if so, is this service also available for Army personnel residing at (a) Puckapunyal and (b) Seymour.
  8. For how long has there been a deadlock over the Home Help Service between the Commonwealth and the Victorian Government.
  9. What are the names of Army camps in each other State or Territory.
  10. In which of these is a home help service provided and are the funds used in each case provided by (a) the Service organisation itself or (b) local and State Government authorities.
  11. Has there been resistance by any other State government to helping the financing of such a service; if so, which States have resisted.
  12. Will the Government take steps to provide funds to ensure that a suitable service of this kind is provided for Service personnel and their families at all Army camps.
Mr Fairbairn:

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

  1. and (2) Investigations are still being pursued in consultation with other Departments and local authorities.
  2. Approximately 1,060 adults and 1,570 children live in Army married quarters in Puckapunyal while approximately 540 adult and 530 child members of Army families live in married quarters in the environs of the town of Seymour.
  3. (5) and (6) This information is within the province of the Seymour Shire Authorities and relates to their private dealings with individual families.
  4. The subsidised Home Help Service operated by the Shire of Seymour is available to Army families living in the Seymour area, but not to those living in Puckapunyal pending the outcome of the negotiations in (1).
  5. Representations to the Victorian authorities resulted in 1970 in extensions of the Home Help Scheme to Army families living in married quarters in the Seymour area outside of Puckapunyal, since when the situation described in answer to part 7 has continued.


  1. At Headquarters Singleton Area, Headquarters Southern Sydney Metropolitan Area and Headquarters Liverpool Area, the State-subsidised

Housekeepers Emergency Service provides housekeeping and home aid assistance in cases of illness or childbirth. Charges are determined by the financial position of the client. A Social Welfare Committee financed by the Wagga Wagga City Council and a country branch of the Housekeepers Emergency Service extend their Services to families at Kapooka. There is no Home Help Service available for Army members or the general community at Woodside, South Australia. Community Home Services are extended to Army families at all other installations listed in answer to part 9, except at Puckapunyal. It is understood that funds for all Home Help Services are provided by local and/or State authorities.

  1. So far as is known there has been no resistance by other State authorities to including families at an Army installation in home help or other similar services.
  2. The Government does not propose to organise schemes of the Home Help type. The families of Army members posted to an aTea form part of the local community and look to local authorities for the same social service facilities as are provided to the rest of their community.

Pensions (Question No. 5040)

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:

  1. How many (a) males 65 and over and (b) females 60 and over are receiving pension payments from his department in the year 1971-72.
  2. How many in each category in Part (1) are receiving (a) full rate and (b) part rate pension for each type of pension.
  3. What is the maximum rate at which each type of pension is paid.
  4. In relation to each category of pension In Part (2) what sums are allocated for payment of these pensions.
Mr Holten:

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

The age distribution of all pensioners is not known nor is there any distinction drawn between male and female pensioners in Repatriation pension statistics. To obtain the information sought by the honourable member would be a costly process involving an examination of some 600,000 records. For the information of the honourable member pages 59 to 66 of the Annual Report of the Repatriation Commission for 1970-71 contain comprehensive pension statistics which may be of assistance to him.

National Servicemen (Question No. 5087)

Mr Barnard:

asked the Minister for Repatriation upon notice:

  1. How many National Servicemen have been assisted with some form of full-time training after discharge in each year since 1967.
  2. For what types of training is assistance provided.
  3. What is the period of time for which assistance is provided for each type of training.
  4. How many former National Servicemen have undertaken each type of training in each year since 1967.

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

  1. and (3) Assistance is provided towards participation in full-time, part-time or correspondence courses provided by technical colleges, agricultural colleges, universities and other approved training institutions. Full-time training is limited, except in special circumstances such as interruption by illness to a maximum period of 12 months, and parttime or correspondence training to a period of 2 years from the date of commencement of the first available course after approval for training is given.
  2. The following table indicates the number of former national servicemen who have had training courses approved in each year in the various categories:

Natural Gas (Question No. 5149)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for

National Development, upon notice:

  1. Is it a fact that 3 Japanese companies, Marubeni Corporation, Okura Shoii and Nipon Kohan and Kaisha (Japan Steel and Tube Corporation) have been negotiating with an Australian company, Magellan Petroleum Australia Ltd, which owns natural gas concession rights in Palm Valley, south-west of Alice Springs, to develop the natural gas resources of the Northern Territory and export natural gas to Japan.
  2. Is it also a fact that the Japanese firms have announced that they will invest some $ 1,000m in this project
  3. Have the announced preliminary, surveys shown deposits of between 5 and 10 million cubic feet of natural gas to exist in the area.
  4. Does the project call for the construction of a 621 mile pipeline to carry the gas to the loading port of Carpentaria.
  5. Does the project also provide for the Japanese Companies to receive big orders for steel pipes, gas liquefying plants, liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and other relevant equipment.
  6. Can he supply details of the likely value to the Japanese companies of the orders for this equipment.
  7. Is it a fact that the profits and the proceeds of the project will be remitted to Japan and lost to Australia.
  8. What steps has the Government taken to invite Australian firms to participate in the development of these Australian assets by assisting them with finance or guarantees from either the Government or the Australian Industry Development Corporation.
  9. Will the Japanese firms who will be both suppliers and buyers be able to control the price of the gas at will; if so, to what extent.
  10. Can he state the extent to which the Japanese firms will have control over the gas fields and the extent to which those firms will be able to influence availability of the supply of liquefied natural gas to Australia and Australian export territories where that gas is now being used as a substitute for oil and petrol because of its advantages in limiting air pollution.
  11. Can he state why, when Australian steel mills are dismissing men for want of work, a foreign project which will import 621 miles of steel pipe from Japan is allowed to proceed.
  12. Can he say (a) whether the liquefying plants will be built in Australia or imported from Japan, (b) who will build the pipeline, (c) whether the liquefied gas will be carried away from Australia in Australian ships earning income for Australian companies or in foreign ships, (d) whether the project will employ Australians and be managed by Australians and (e) how many Australians are likely to be employed.
Sir Reginald Swartz:

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

Negotiations took place between certain Japanese companies and Magellan Petroleum Australia Ltd, concerning the export of natural gas from the Palm Valley deposit to Japan. I understand that no contract eventuated from these negotiations. However Magellan have now announced that they have entered into a contract with Pacific Lighting Corporation of California for the export of natural gas to the United States of America.

In January 1970, I announced that the export of natural gas from Australia would be subject to Commonwealth Government control. As 1 said at that time it was not the Commonwealth’s intention to allow any exports of natural gas but that the Government would stand ready, to review this policy if it were at any stage, to be satisfied that Australia’s own needs were reasonably provided for.

I understand that a submission will be made to the Government in regard to Palm Valley Gas. This will be considered very carefully, taking into account the reserves of natural gas in Australia and the expectations of the quantities required for Australian usage in both the short and long term. All details of the contract, including the price for the gas, the quantities involved and the route for the pipeline would receive the Government’s closest attention.

Defence (Re-establishment) Act (Question No. 5170)

Mr Collard:

asked the Minister for

Repatriation, upon notice:

  1. How many applications were received from each State for assistance under the Defence (Reestablishment) Act between 1st January 1966 and 31st December 1971.
  2. How many applications from each State were (a) successful, (b) unsuccessful and (c) under consideration at 31st December 1971.
Mr Holten:

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

  1. and (2)

Australian Service Personnel {Question No. 5449)

Mr Morrison:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

How many Australian Service personnel and dependants are presently stationed in (a) Malaysia and (b) Singapore.

Mr Fairbairn:

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

The numbers vary from day to day as personnel are replaced. The following are the approximate figures at present:

Vietnam (Question No. 5485)

Mr Morrison:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

What was the capital expenditure by the Australian Government on bases and base facilities in Vietnam for the. period 1962-1972.

Mr Fairbairn:

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

As a general principle, the Financial Working Arrangement between the Governments of the United States and Australia provided that United States Authorities would defray all base camp construction costs. However, because of the necessity to provide some facilities at short notice (mainly prefabricated buildings), capital expenditure of approximately Sl.lm was incurred between 1962 and 1972. In addition, construction materials were provided by the Australian Army for use in the theatre during the period. Some of these were used in the construction of bases and base facilities but records of the value of those materials put to that purpose are not available.

Armed Forces: Interchange of Personnel (Question No. 5486)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

  1. (a) From what countries were members of their armed forces posted on an interchange basis, on temporary attachment for training, on loan, secondment or other duty with Australian forces in 1971 (Hansard, 17th February 1971, page 241).

    1. How many came from each country,.
    2. How many were (i) officers and (ii) other ranks.
  2. (a) In what countries were members of the

Australian forces posted on an interchange basis, on temporary attachment for training, on loan, secondment or other duty to their armed forces in 1971.

  1. How many went to each country.
  2. How many were (i) officers and (ii) other ranks.
Mr Fairbairn:

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

Armed-Forces: Non-effective Status (Question No. 5485)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

Will he bring up-to-date the information on noneffectiveness in the armed forces which his precedessor gave on 25th February 1971 (Hansard page 677).

Mr Fairbairn:

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

The comparative figures and costs in 1971 for common elements of non-effectiveness in the Armed Forces, such as sickness, certain types of leave, personnel-in-transit and those under arrest are -

Ross River Dam (Question No. 5534)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for

National Development, upon notice:

What was the date, nature and outcome of the application by Queensland for assistance from the National Water Resources Development Fund for the Ross River Dam.

Sir Reginald Swartz:

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

The information the honourable member seeks would be related to communications between the Commonwealth and a State Government and, unless otherwise agreed, such communications are confidential.

Repatriation Pensions (Question No. 5647)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for

Repatriation, upon notice:

  1. What would be the estimated cost of each proposal in the Returned Services League’s 1972 pension plan, presented to the Government on 20th April 1972, above the cost of pensions at the new rates announced by the Treasurer on 11th April 1972.
  2. How many additional men who served in (a) the Boer War and (b) World War I would become eligible for benefits under the plan.
Mr Holten:

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

  1. The estimated annual costs are:

(2)The additional number of men who would become eligible for the benefits specified in (1) (d) above is estimated to be 23,288 of which it is estimated less than 100 are Boer War veterans.

Papua New Guinea: Banking (Question No. 5743)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

Will he bring up to date the information which his predecessor gave on central banking in Papua New Guinea on 17th March 1971 (Hansard, page 1065) and which he himself gave on trading and savings banks in Papua New Guinea on 6th May 1971 (questions Nos 1736, 1737 and 2359, Hansard, pages 2876-7 and 2879-80).

Mr Snedden:

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

  1. The following updates information contained in my reply of 6th May 1971 to Question No. 1736:

    1. Total deposits with each trading bank in Papua New Guinea were as follows:
  1. Total advances of each trading bank in Papua New Guinea were as follows:
  1. Banks are not required to furnish information on the number of indigenes and non-indigenes in Papua New Guinea whom they employ and house or on the salaries and allowances paid to their employees. However, in view of the special circumstances applicable in

Papua New Guinea, they have provided and have agreed to public disclosure of the following information, which relates to combined trading and savings bank functions as at 31st March 1972:

  1. Number of banking staff employed by banks in Papua New Guinea:
  1. Number of staff housed by banks in Papua New Guinea:
  2. Indigenes -

In terms of the Native Employment Ordinance all banks provide bousing for staff who are not bona fide residents of a village which is reasonably accessible to their place of employment.

  1. Non-indigenes -

The majority of non-indigene staff are on transfer from Australia and all banks make provision for their accommodation. 4. (a) (i) and (ii) Highest salaries and allowances:

Banks have not provided this information since it would reveal the salaries paid to individual officers.

  1. Lowest salaries and allowances:
  2. Indigenes -

Starting salaries for an indigene clerical employee of Form IV education:

Male $925 per annum

Female $800 per annum

  1. Non-indigenes -

Male $1,720 per annum

Female $1,525 per annum with higher rates paid according to years of service and qualifications.

  1. Average salaries and allowances:

Ranges for the four banks -

Indigenes - $907 per annum to $1,147 per annum.

Non-indigenes (excluding managers and accountants)- $2,789 per annum to $4,263.

  1. The following updates information contained in my reply of 6th May 1971 to question No. 1737:

    1. Details for individual savings banks in Papua New Guinea of the number of operative accounts and the total and average balances, held by indigenes and non-indigenes, are not published. However, information in respect of all savings banks in Papua New Guinea as at 30th June 1970 and 30th June 1971 is as follows:
  1. Information in respect of savings banks’ loans outstanding for housing in Papua New Guinea is not available.
  2. Individual banks’ holdings of Papua New Guinea Administration securities are not published. The Quarterly Statistical Bulletin issued by the Reserve Bank, Port Moresby, shows that all banks’ holding of Administration securities as at 30th June 1971 were $18,889,000.
  3. and 5. Details of the number of indigenes and non-indigenes employed and housed by savings banks in Papua New Guinea, and the salaries paid, are not available separately for savings banks. See answers to sub-items (3) and (4) in A above for information in respect of savings banks and trading banks combined.

    1. The following updates information contained in my predecessor’s reply of 17th March 197.1 to question No. 2358:

The Reserve Bank has provided the following information concerning the members of its Advisory Committee on Central Banking in Papua New Guinea:

Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia (Sir John Phillips, K.B.E.- Chairman.

Treasurer, Papua New Guinea Administration (H. P. Ritchie).

S. Ahi, Businessman, Lae.

  1. K. Dowling, Company director and Member of Papua and New Guinea Electricity Commission, Rabaul.
  2. R. Hagon, Plantation owner, Mount Hagen.
  3. Hapisiria, Businessman (trucking, copra and cocoa), Buka.
  4. Ianamu, Businessman (trade store interests) and President, local government council, Amazon Bay.
  5. Kondom, Businessman, Kundiawa.
  6. Ovu, Businessman (furniture manufacturer), Port Moresby.

Mahuru R. Rarua, Secretary, Federation of Native Associations Limited, Port Moresby.

  1. Zavattaro, Company director, Lae.
  2. The answer which I gave on 6th May 1971 to question No. 2359 on expatriate banks in Papua New Guinea remains unchanged.

Vietnam (Question No. 5764)

Mr Calwell:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

How many (a) regular and (b) national servicemen have been (i) killed and (ii) wounded in Vietnam since 1st January 1967.

Mr Fairbairn:

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

Uranium (Question No. 5801)

Mr Les Johnson:

asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice:

  1. What has been the result of discussions held with uranium mining companies with the object of facilitating the promotion by the companies of the most effective marketing of uranium produced in Australia.
  2. Have these Government/industry discussions included consideration of the publicly declared intention of one uranium mining company to secure overseas uranium markets by disposing of Australian equity in its uranium interests to overseas companies and authorities.
  3. What is the attitude of the Government to this proposal.
Sir Reginald Swartz:

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

  1. Exploratory discussions have been held with uranium mining companies. The companies have been encouraged to have discussions with a view to their developing an effective marketing scheme, and I understand that prospective producers of uranium have engaged in discussions on these matters.
  2. No.
  3. This is a policy question for consideration by the Government if and when the need arises.

Chemical and Biological Warfare (Question No. 5802)

Mr Les Johnson:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

  1. How many officers of the Australian Armed Forces have been trained in chemical and biological warfare.
  2. Is Australia capable of defending itself against chemical and biological warfare.
  3. Do the Armed Forces have direct access to chemical or biological materials which could be used offensively in war; if so, what are these materials.
  4. What are the forms of chemical and biological warfare in respect of which Australian personnel have received training in defensive techniques.
  5. Which countries are known to be capable of waging chemical and biological warfare and what materials and techniques are used in each case.
Mr Fairbairn:

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

It is the position of the Australian Government that when the terms ‘chemical and biological’ are applied to ‘warfare’, ‘materials’, etc., in a military context, they refer to those operations and materials prescribed by the Geneva Protocol of 1925, to which Australia acceded in 1930. Australia’s intention to adhere to its obligations under the Protocol has been stated in international and national forums on many occasions.

The answers to the specific questions follow:

  1. In the course of their training, most officers receive some briefing concerning chemical and biological operations and are taught some simple defensive procedures. A much more limited number are given training in greater depth.
  2. Some defensive equipments are held and further equipments and warning systems are being procured as necessary. In present circumstances, it is judged that the measures taken provide a sufficient capability for the protection of Australian forces.
  3. In accordance with the stated policy of the Government, the Armed Forces have no direct access to biological materials which could be used offensively in war: in the present circumstances the Government has not seen the need to equip the Australian Armed Forces with chemical weapons.

I am reluctant to answer 4 and 5 in detail since I consider that this would not be in the public interest. However, I can say that, in choosing the training and equipment programmes of the Australian Armed Forces, we sim to protect them against as many forms of attack as is practicable within a balanced total defence preparedness.

Artificial Eyes (Question No. 5804)

Mi Les Johnson asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:

  1. Which specialists provide artificial eyes to ex-servicemen through his Department
  2. Has consideration been given to recognising the devoted service of the late Mr Frederick Sepping, formerly of Sydney, who met the needs of the Department for artificial eyes for many years.
  3. Who is to replace the late Mr Sepping and what steps are being taken to arrange a replacement.
Mr Holten:

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

  1. The artificial eye most generally in use and prescribed at present is the acrylic eye which has advantages over the glass eye in terms of finish, weight and lasting qualities.

The Department lets contracts in most States for supply of acrylic artificial eyes. In New South Wales the contract is currently let to Taylor and Trefry, Artificial Eyemakers, Third Foor, Challis House, Martin Place, Sydney. Prior to 1st July 1972, the New South Wales contract was let to Stel Aid Pty Ltd, 390 George Street, Sydney.

However, in those cases where replacement glass eyes were required or in the very rare case of a glass eye being prescribed for a new patient, Mr Sepping, as the only active manufacturer of glass eyes in Australia, was, prior to his death, the Department’s contractor for these items.

  1. No. The late Mr Sepping’s services, whilst greatly appreciated, were provided on a normal commercial basis.
  2. No replacement is available for Mr Sepping. However it is envisaged that acrylic artificial eyes will satisfactorily fulfil the needs of Repatriation patients in future.

Consultants: Defence Department (Question No. 5814)

Dr Cass:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

What consultants outside his Department have been used by the Department in the last 3 years and what have they been paid.

Mr Fairbairn:

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

The consultants used by my Department within the last 3 years and the amounts paid to them are as follows:

P.A. Management Consultants Pty Ltd- $5,400 W. D. Scott & Coy Pty Ltd- $4,958.78 Computer Sciences of Australia Pty Ltd- $17,500

International Labour Organisation (Question No. 5835)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for

Labour and National Service, upon notice:

Will he bring up to date the information on the International Labour Organisation which his predecessor gave on 18th March 1970 (Hansard, page 608).

Mr Lynch:

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

  1. Since March 1970, 4 Sessions of the International Labour Conference have been held, at all of which Australia has been represented. At those Sessions a total of 6 Conventions and 10 Recommendations was adopted. No conventions or Recommendations were adopted at the 57th Session of the Conference held in June 1972.
  2. The Australian Government delegates supported the adoption of all the Conventions and Recommendations, viz.:

Fifty-fourth Session (Geneva, 1970)

Convention No. 131- Minimum Wage Fixing

Convention No. 132- Annual Holidays with Pay

Recommendation No. 135- Minimum Wage Fixing

Recommendation No. 136- Special Youth Schemes

Fifty-fifth (Maritime) Session (Geneva, 1970)

Convention No. 133 - Accommodation of Crews (Supplementary Provisions)

Convention No. 134 - Prevention of Accidents (Seafarers)

Recommendation No. 137 - Vocational Training (Seafarers)

Recommendation No. 138- Seafarers’ Welfare

Recommendation No. 139- Employment of Seafarers (Technical Development)

Recommendation No. 140- Crew Accommodation (Air Conditioning)

Recommendation No. 141 - Crew Accommodation (Noise Control)

Recommendation No. 142 - Prevention of Accidents (Seafarers)

Fifty-sixth Session (Geneva, 1971)

Convention No. 135 - Workers’ Representatives

Convention No. 136 - Benzene

Recommendation No. 143 - Workers’ Representatives

Recommendation No. 144 - Benzene

  1. Convention No. 47- Forty, Hour Week, 1935. Ratified on 22nd October 1970

Convention No. 112 -Minimum Age (Fishermen) 1959. Ratified on 15th June 1971

Convention No. 123 - Minimum Age (Underground Work) 1965. Ratified on 12th December 1971

Convention No. 2 - Unemployment, 1919. Ratified on 15th June 1972

Convention No. 109 - Wages, Hours of Work and Manning (Sea) (Revised) 1958.

Ratified on 15th June 1972

  1. As regards the Conventions considered at meetings of the Departments of Labour Advisory Committee since March 1970, the honourable member is referred to the following answers I have previously given him, viz.

No. 585- 7th May 1970, Hansard, page 1881

No. 1005- 3rd and 4th June 1970, Hansard, page 2933

No. 3366- 18th August 1971, Hansard, page 274

No. 5645- 31st May 1972, Hansard, page 3379.

Typhoid Fever (Question No. 5874)

Mr Daly:

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

  1. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to a statement by Dr W. Lopez of the New South Wales Health Department that two-thirds of the cases of typhoid fever occurring in Australia was among migrants and that until recently the disease was almost unknown among Australians.
  2. Will the Minister state how many cases of typhoid occurred in Australia in each of the last 5 years and how many of those affected were (a) migrants and (b) residents of Australia.
  3. Will the Minister also state what precautions are taken to prevent the introduction of this disease into Australia by visitors and migrants.
Dr Forbes:

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

  1. I have seen this statement. However, it should be noted that cases of typhoid occur each year in the Australian community and have occurred for many years.
  2. 1967-29 cases; 1968-79 cases; 1969-34 cases; 1970 - 19 cases; 1971 - 34 cases. A dissection of cases which occurred in migrants and non-migrants, respectively, is not available.
  3. Any person entering Australia who is ill on arrival or suspected of suffering from an infectious disease is seen by a quarantine medical officer, who takes appropriate measures designed to ensure that any infectious disease discovered is not spread in the community.

Immigration (Question No. 5876)

Mr Daly:

asked the Minister for Immigra tion, upon notice:

  1. What are the conditions under which:

    1. persons of non-European origin and
    2. persons of mixed descent resident in Australia, may nominate relatives or dependants for permanent residence in Australia,
  2. (a) How many in each of these categories have been admitted in each of the last five years and (b) How many relatives were admitted in this period?
  3. What was the country of origin of those admitted in each category?
Dr Forbes:

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

  1. Residents of Australia may nominate the following categories of relatives and dependants who are:

    1. Non-Europeans

Spouses, fiances, fiancees, minor unmarried children and aged parents (fathers over 60 years of age and mothers over SO years of age where there are no dependent children normally resident outside Australia);

  1. Persons of Mixed Descent

Spouses, fiances, fiancees, sons, daughters, parents, brothers and sisters and their dependants.

  1. (a) The following table shows the total numbers of non-Europeans and persons of mixed descent admitted to Australia for residence or granted resident status following entry for temporary residence during the last five years:
  1. (b) Statistics of non-Europeans admitted on the basis of family relationship (included in totals in 2(a)) during the last five years are:

Statistics of the number of persons of mixed descent admitted as relatives are not available for the whole period, but figures maintained during 1971 show that in excess of 80 per cent of arrivals of such persons during that year resulted from nominations lodged by relatives resident in Australia.

  1. It is not possible to provide details of the countries of former residents of persons of nonEuropean descent admitted for residence during the period 1 January 1967 to 30 June 1970 as statistics of country of former residence were not maintained.

Statistics showing the nationalities of all persons of non-European descent admitted during the calendar years 1967 to 1971 (excluding those granted resident status following temporary entry) are:

Statistics of country of former residence of all persons of non-European descent admitted for residence during the period 1 July 1970 to 31 December 1971 (excluding those granted resident status following temporary entry) are:

The following table indicates country of former residence of all persons of mixed descent admitted for residence during the period 1 January 1967 to 31 December 1971:

Immigration (Question No. 5877)

Mr Daly:

asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:

  1. How many applications have been made by:

    1. persons of non-European descent; and
    2. persons of mixed descent, resident in Australia for the admission of relatives or dependants in each of the last 5 years?
  2. How many of these applications have been:

    1. approved; and
    2. rejected?
  3. What was the country of origin of those seeking admission in each category,?

Dr Forbes:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) Detailed statistics have not been maintained.

Immigration (Question No. 5878)

Mr Daly:

asked the Minister. for Immigration, upon notice:

  1. How many persons of:

    1. non-European; and
    2. mixed descent, have been admitted to Australia for permanent residence under the present terms and conditions of entry and how many relatives or dependants were accepted in each case in each year since 1966?
  2. What were the countries of origin in each case?

Dr Forbes:

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

  1. and (2) See answer to Question No. 5876.

Immigration (Question No. 5879)

Mr Daly:

asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:

  1. Are limitations at present imposed on the nomination of relatives and dependants for residence in Australia by persons of:

    1. non-European descent; and
    2. mixed descent?
  2. Will he provide an estimate of how many persons of:

    1. non-European descent; and
    2. mixed descent would be eligible for admittance to Australia in the entry of relatives and dependants in each category were widened to include all brothers and any one year if the present conditions covering sisters, parents, cousins, aunts and uncles and other relatives of persons of similar origins at present residents in Australia?
  3. What would be:

    1. the total estimated intake under these con ditions; and
    2. the estimated intake from each country from which it is anticipated these persons would come?
Dr Forbes:

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

  1. Yes. See answer to Question No. 5876.
  2. No. Any estimate would be speculative only.
  3. No estimate is possible.

Immigration (Question No. 5889)

Mr Calwell:

asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:

What are the titles and dates of all agreements made with other countries on all matters affecting immigration since 1945.

Dr Forbes:

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

The following agreements affecting immigration have been made with other countries since 1945:

In addition to the above Agreements on visas and visa fees, Australia has informal visa agreements with France (29 March 1958), Liechtenstein (24 July 1952) and Switzerland (I January 1951). {:#subdebate-42-32} #### Public Servants: Salaries (Question No. 5894) {: #subdebate-42-32-s0 .speaker-NH4} ##### Mr Keating:
BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: >How many public servants received a salary equal to or in excess of the $9,500 paid to Members of Parliament as at (a) 20th November 1968 (last date of adjustment), (b) 8th December 1971 (date of introduction of the Parliamentary Allowances Bill 1971) and (c) 23rd May 1972. {: #subdebate-42-32-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The Public Service Board has advised me that the numbers employed under the authority of the Public Service Act (excluding those in the Departments of the Parliament) in receipt of a salary equal to or in excess of $9,500 or on a salary range with a maximum equal to or in excess of that figure are as follows: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. at 20th November 1968: 862 1. at 8th December 1971: 7,267 2. A precise figure at 23rd May 1972 is not readily available. However, as the number of staff categories receiving a salary equal to or in excess of $9,500 has not been affected appreciably by salary increases granted since 8th December 1971, the figure would not have changed significantly since that date. {:#subdebate-42-33} #### Geehi Aqueduct (Question No. 5916) {: #subdebate-42-33-s0 .speaker-8V4} ##### Mr Grassby: asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has damage estimated at more than $13 million been caused by an explosion in one of the pipelines of the Snowy Mountains Scheme. 1. If so, has it been claimed that the explosion is a result of a failure in the prestressed concrete of the pipes of the Geehi Aqueduct. 2. If this is not the reason for the failure, what is the reason. 3. Is it a fact, as reported, that there have been three other failures of the Geehi pipeline. 4. Has the explosion caused disturbance which the Snowy Mountains Authority is bound by agreement with the National Park Authority to restore; if so, can restoration work be carried out. {: #subdebate-42-33-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
Minister for National Development · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. There has been no explosion and no damage to the extent of $13 million. However, one of a number of aqueduct lines in the Geehi River area of the Snowy Mountains is out of service through failure of several prestressed concrete pipes. 1. See answer to (1). 2. The reason for the failure of the pipe is not known. Independent investigations have not been able to identify the basic cause. 3. Yes. There have been five failures in the prestressed concrete pipeline of the aqueduct in question. These were reported in the Annual Reports of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority for the years ended 30th June, 1969, 1970 and 1971. Up until the most recent failure in September 1971, repairs had been effected to the damaged sections and the aqueduct placed back into service immediately. However, it now appears that the nature and cause of the failures are such as to make it likely that further failures will occur unless remedial measures are taken. A number of alternative corrective measures are currently under consideration and preliminary work has already been put in hand. The total cost of remedial measures cannot be estimated at this stage. However, this cost will be very considerably less than the figure of $13 million quoted. {: type="1" start="5"} 0. Whatever disturbance has been caused will be restored in accordance with any obligation or understanding with the National Park and Wildlife Service. Foreign Investment {: #subdebate-42-33-s2 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- On 21st March last the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren)** asked me, without notice, a question concerning foreign investment and investment by insurance companies in office buildings in central business districts. 1 undertook to obtain further information for the honourable member. I am informed that there is no published data on the activities of insurance companies and overseas investors in the field of office construction. The information that is available, however, does not indicate that there is an excess of activity in the overall field of nonresidential building. Consequently, the Government sees no need to take action to reduce the amount of non-residential building. {:#subdebate-42-34} #### Social Workers (Question No. 5909) {: #subdebate-42-34-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: >Can he give information on social workers later than his predecessor gave me on 7th September 1969 (Hansard, page 1549). {: #subdebate-42-34-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The Public Service Board has provided the following answer: (1), (2) and (3) The schedule at Attachment 'A' updates the information provided in the answer to question No. 1642. {: type="1" start="4"} 0. and (5) As advised previously, information on those parts of the questions related to State public services and local government bodies is not available. The number of qualified social workers employed by Commonwealth departments at 31st May 1972 is shown in the following table: Information obtained from departments suggests that the estimated total number of social worker positions in the Commonwealth Service will increase to approximately 300 over the next three years. There are 28 current vacancies. Against these needs the Commonwealth Service has 33 Cadet Social Workers. Advertising Agencies (Question No. 3798) {: #subdebate-42-34-s2 .speaker-0095J} ##### Mr Howson:
LP -- On 22nd February last, in answer to Question on Notice No. 3798 by the honourable member for Riverina **(Mr Grassby),** I said I was having inquiries made about United States and Canadian policies in regard to government advertising. The United States Department of State has advised that contracts for government advertising are governed by the Federal Procurement Regulations (41 CFR - 1). Section 1-1.301 of those Regulations provides that: >All purchases and contracts, whether by formal advertising or by negotiation, shall be made on a competitive basis to the maximum practicable extent. The Regulations do not prescribe absolute preference for American advertising agencies. The Canadian Department of External Affairs has advised that, after considerable inquiries, it is unable to provide any information on this subject which would be useful. {:#subdebate-42-35} #### Minerals and Metals: Ownership (Question No. 4368) {: #subdebate-42-35-s0 .speaker-8H7} ##### Mr Enderby: asked the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Which international or multi-national cor porations are known to engage in the practice of selling and exporting Australian minerals and metals, which they either own' or control in Australia, and of purchasing these same minerals and metals in other countries in their capacity there as purchasers. 1. What minerals and metals are the subject of this practice. 2. What income is known to have been received in Australia from the sale of these minerals and metals during each of the last five years. 3. What controls does the Government possess oyer (a) this practice and (b) these corporations. 4. What advantages would exist for Australia in having a Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) such as exists in Japan. 5. Are there any likely conflicts between Australian national interests and the interests of such international or multi-national corporations when these corporations engage in this practice. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The minerals and metals involved would include alumina, aluminium, iron ore, lead, zinc and mineral sands. 1. The following table shows for the minerals and metals mentioned in the reply to Question 2, the total value of exports from Australia in each of the last five years. For reasons of confidentiality details of exports attributed to individual corporations are not published separately. 2. I refer the honourable member to the answer provided by the Treasurer to Question No. 1882 (Hansard 30 October 1970, page 3194). All companies exporting from Australia are required to conform with the provisions of the Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations in regard to the remittance to Australia of the foreign exchange proceeds of export sales. {: type="1" start="7"} 0. If so, what are these conflicts of interests. 1. What steps has the Government taken to exercise control over these corporations in their marketing and exporting of these Australian raw materials. 2. What steps has the Government taken to protect Australia's national interests from overdependence on the Japanese market and from the implementation of the Japanese Government's policies on industrial protection and raw materials procurement such as occurred when the Japanese Government directed the Japanese company Kobe Steel to procure 500,000 tons of aluminium ingots from Japanese aluminium smelters rather than by purchase from Australia over ten years as repotted in the Australian Financial Review . of 9th June 1971. {: #subdebate-42-35-s1 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. There are a number of international or multinational corporations which either own or have a controlling interest in mineral operations in Australia and which export minerals from these operations to their associate or parent corporations in other countries. This kind of activity is, of course, a common feature of world trade in minerals in Western countries and is not unique to Australia alone. It is not possible, however, to provide an exhaustive list of these corporations but the following companies are known to operate, at least in part, in this way: {: type="1" start="5"} 0. As a matter of general policy the Government keeps a continuing watch on overseas institutional arrangements in the field of overseas trade to assess their possible relevance to the Australian environment. It must be recognised, however, that the functions of an organisation such as the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry have been tailored to meet the particular circumstances of Japan. Many of the basic functions undertaken by MITI are already carried out in Australia by Commonwealth Departments, such as the Department of Trade and Industry. 1. and (7) It is possible that some conflict of interest could arise, for example, if the raw materials involved were exported to the overseas affiliate at unduly low prices. On the other hand it should be recognised that overseas investment of this kind can be beneficial by providing secure export outlets. The Government keeps these Jitters under close examination and a detailed analysis of the issues involved is contained in the recent Treasury economic paper on overseas investment in Australia. {: type="1" start="8"} 0. The Commonwealth Government's general policy objective is that Australia should receive a fair and remunerative price for its exports of raw materials. The Government has demonstrated on a number of occasions that, if warranted, it is prepared to use its export powers to achieve this. For example, in the case of iron ore and zircon, Government approval of exports is subject to the price being satisfactory. 1. The Government is aware of the degree of dependence on Japan for sales of our industrial raw materials. However, it must be recognised that this is largely due to the fact that Japan is the largest export market for many of the minerals and metals exported by Australia. It has always been the Government's policy to encourage diversification of markets and, where practicable, assistance is given companies in the promotion of new markets. Some success has been achieved in this direction. For example, exports of coal to markets other than Japan increased from 367,000 tons in 1968-69 to 2.7 million tons in 1970-71. The recent slackening in the rate of growth of the Japanese market has underlined the need to intensify efforts to achieve a more balanced export pattern for our minerals trade. Nevertheless, the signing of contracts with Japanese companies has been a useful prerequisite for many large projects in Australia and it is these basic contracts which have made the projects viable and hence enabled the companies to build up sales elsewhere. I am unable to comment on the action of the Japanese Government as reported in the newspaper article referred to by the honourable member. {:#subdebate-42-36} #### Post Office Finances (Question No. 4991) {: #subdebate-42-36-s0 .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr Reynolds: asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What was the (a) total income, (b) amount of working expenses, (c) operating result and (d) interest payable by the Post Office for each of the years 1946 to 1971 inclusive. 1. What would be the estimated changes in revenue of the Post Office for a full year if the following adjustments to telephone charges were implemented: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. increasing the local unit charge to 5 cents; 1. incorporating the trunk calls for up to 30 miles in the local call area with the charge per local unit being (i) 4$ cents, (ii) 5 cents, (iii) 51 cents, (iv) 6 cents, (v) 6i cents, (vi) 7 cents; 2. charging a uniform amount for any call in Australia of (i) 9 cents (ii) 10 cents, (iii) 11 cents and (iv) 12 cents; 3. charging the same rate for 301-400 miles trunk calls as for 201-300 miles and charging calls over 400 miles at the present rate for 301-400 miles with the local call unit being (i) 4) cents, (ii) 5 cents, (iii) *Si* cents, (iv) 6 cents, (v) 6i cents, (vi) 7 cents, (vii) 8 cents and (viii) 10 cents; {: #subdebate-42-36-s1 .speaker-KIF} ##### Sir Alan Hulme:
LP -- The answer to the hono urable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="2"} 0. If it could be assumed, with the propositions contained in the honourable member's question, that in all relations the same numbers of each type of telephone call would continue to be made as are made now, it would be practicable to give him precise answers to the 30 sub-questions he asks. But I suggest it would be foolish to suppose that the traffic pattern would be unaltered. To answer each of the 30 sub-questions meaningfully would require assumptions to be made about the effects that a variety of changes in telephone tariffs would have on demand for service and, in turn, about the effects such changed demand would have on the size and capacity of the telephone network. {:#subdebate-42-37} #### Nowra Paper Mills (Question No. 5351) {: #subdebate-42-37-s0 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP asked the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In view of the recent one week's closure of the Nowra Paper Mills by Wiggins Teape Shoalhaven Pty Ltd and the serious adverse effects that this development has had on the economy in the Shoalhaven region will urgent consideration be given to the provision of assistance or protection to this industry. 1. Has any consideration been given by the Government to the request that the Australian paper industry should be assisted by Government Departments being required to use only Australian made paper. {: #subdebate-42-37-s1 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Consideration is at present being given to this industry's request for additional protection against imports of fine papers and special wrapping papers. 1. Yes. However, it is the Government's policy to assist and encourage Australian producers through its protection policy, in the main through tariff protection, and to fully preserve this protection in Government purchasing decisions, rather than through additional preferential arrangements in Government purchasing contracts of the kind suggested. {:#subdebate-42-38} #### Television Station: Esperance (Question No. 5368) {: #subdebate-42-38-s0 .speaker-JZX} ##### Mr Collard: asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the estimated cost of establishing the proposed low-powered television station at Esperance, Western Australia. 1. What is the estimated cost of providing a television service, by way of translators or other means, to centres in the Dundas and Esperance Shire areas which will be outside the radii served by the Norseman station and the proposed Esperance station. 2. What is the estimated cost of establishing a station which would be capable of providing a service within a radius of 70 miles of the Esperance Post Office. 3. What population is resident within (a) the area which the proposed low powered station for Esperance will serve and (b) a radius of 70 miles of the Esperance Post Office. 4. Would (a) one high-powered station, (b) several low-powered stations or (c) one lowpowered station plus necessary translators or other means be the most economical method in the long term to provide a service to the whole of the area referred to. {: #subdebate-42-38-s1 .speaker-KIF} ##### Sir Alan Hulme:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Although the engineering studies in relation to the establishment of the Esperance station are well advanced, the Australian Broadcasting Control Board has not reached the stage where the operating conditions for the Esperance station can be finalised and firm cost estimates obtained. However, the present budgetary cost for use in planning the station is $100,000. 1. lt is not practicable to provide an estimate of the cost of providing television service to the population of the Dundas and Esperance Shires which will not be served by the Norseman and Esperance stations. Costs would, of course, be dependent on the extent to which services were to be provided in these Shires which, in aggregate, extend in an east-west direction for some 550 miles and in a north-south direction for some ISO miles and are generally sparsely populated. Obviously, the costs of providing additional services would have to be related to the additional number of people who would be provided with service. In this connection, low-powered stations designed to provide a high-grade service within a radius of some 8 to 10 miles and a 'fringe' or rural service some few miles beyond, could cost in the vicinity of $50,000. 2. The cost of a high-powered station providing a coverage within a radius of some 60 miles from the transmitter would be of the order of $600,000. 3. The proposed station for Esperance is expected to encompass some 6,000 persons within its service area. It is estimated that an additional 1,000 persons reside within a radius of 70 miles of Esperance. 4. Because of the extensive nature of the Dundas and Esperance Shires and the scattered nature of the population, it is not practicable at this stage to indicate either the prospects of, or the manner of, the provision of additional television service to the areas concerned. {:#subdebate-42-39} #### Television Companies: Beneficial Ownership of Shares (Question No. 5535) {: #subdebate-42-39-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice: >What changes in (a) the beneficial ownership of the shares in television companies and (b) the memoranda or articles of association of television companies (i) was he asked to approve and (ii) did he approve during 1971. {: #subdebate-42-39-s1 .speaker-KIF} ##### Sir Alan Hulme:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The following statements contain details of the applications made to me during 1971, for approval of changes in the beneficial ownership of shares in companies holding licences for commercial television stations and changes in the memoranda and articles of association of such licensee companies. In addition to the abovementioned transaction the Minister also approved the mergers of the following commercial television stations which involved re-arrangements of the shareholdings in 'be stations involved. {:#subdebate-42-40} #### Radio Service: Wyndham-Kununurra (Question No. 5560) {: #subdebate-42-40-s0 .speaker-JZX} ##### Mr Collard: asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the current situation regarding the establishment of a radio station to serve the districts of Wyndham-Kununurra. 1. Has the Australian Broadcasting Control Board submitted a report on the matter; if so, what recommendations has it made. {: #subdebate-42-40-s1 .speaker-KIF} ##### Sir Alan Hulme:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. and (2) The Australian Broadcasting Control Board has carried out some investigations of the possibilities of establishing a national broadcasting station to serve the Wyndham-Kununurra area, including some field studies. However, further studies are required before the Board will be in a position to submit a report and recommendations to me on this matter. The Board is, however, pursuing the matteras expeditiously as practicable. Apart from any other considerations, there are considerable difficulties with regard to the provision of programme relay facilities to the area. {:#subdebate-42-41} #### Television Station: Southern Cross (Question No. 5634) {: #subdebate-42-41-s0 .speaker-JZX} ##### Mr Collard: asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice: (0 What will be the power of the proposed television station to serve Southern Cross, Western Australia. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. What will be the approximate radius of satisfactory reception. 1. To what extent would the power of the station need to be increased to extend the service to Koolyanobbing. 2. What would be the approximate cost of increasingthe power to that extent. 3. What would be the approximate cost of providing a translator service to Koolyanobbing. 4. Would there be any significant delay in the establishment of the station at Southern Cross if it was decided to increase the power. {: #subdebate-42-41-s1 .speaker-KIF} ##### Sir Alan Hulme:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The effective radiated power of the proposed station in the direction of Southern Cross will be lkW (1,000 watts). 1. About15 miles. However, sufficient power will be radiated towards Koolyanobbing (22 miles distant) to permit the operation of a translator or community aerial system from the hill above this town. 2. At least 10 times and possibly 20 times the proposed power. 3. $200,000 to $250,000. 4. $30,000. 5. A delay of from one to two years would result depending upon how soon the decision to change was made. {:#subdebate-42-42} #### Butter Fat and Vegetable Oil Spread (Question No. 5636) {: #subdebate-42-42-s0 .speaker-8V4} ##### Mr Grassby: asked the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice: >What is the present position in regard to (a) experimentation with combined butter fat and vegetable oil spread, (b) examinations of Japanese market potential for the product, and (c) the attitude of the States to experimental manufacture and consumer reaction tests referred to in Answers to Questions Nos 4638 and 4584 (Hansard, 25th November 1971, page 3779, and 9th December 1971, page 4556). {: #subdebate-42-42-s1 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. I understand that the exploratory tests being conducted in South Australia on the spreadability of mixtures of butter fat and vegetable oils compared with ordinary butter are continuing. 1. I understand that several estimates of this market's demand for shortening products which would ordinarily be used in the food processing industry have been made by commercial enterprises. However, the Japanese authorities have indicated their concern at the possible inflow of large quantities of such products and it would therefore appear that the actual size of the market might be determined by other than purely commercial considerations. 2. I am not aware of any view that has been expressed by the States on the research on mixtures of butter fat and vegetable oils which is being carried out under the dairy research programme administered by the Australian Dairy Produce Board. {:#subdebate-42-43} #### Education: Science Laboratories for Private Schools (Question No. 5785) {: #subdebate-42-43-s0 .speaker-KEC} ##### Mr Kennedy: asked the Minister for Edu cation and Science, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Are Commonwealth funds for science laboratories granted to private schools on the basis that a school is entitled to one science laboratory with extra associated storage and preparation area for each 28 science periods taught per week. 1. If so, what is the minimum number of pupils required for each science subject at each form level to qualify for a grant on this basis. {: #subdebate-42-43-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. The Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Standards for Science Facilities in Independent Secondary Schools, which advise me on these matters, believes that a science room could not reasonably be expected to be occupied by classes for more than three quarters of any week's teaching time. As the average weekly number of periods ranges from 35 to 40, the number of periods of occupation per week should be between 26 and 30. On this basis, 28 periods is the number used as the basis for assessing a school's requirements for science teaching rooms. The Committee's views on this matter are set out at page 4 of its publication. The Design of Science Rooms' which was distributed to honourable members in August 1971. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. While the assessment of a non-government schools' entitlement of science facilities is based on the number of science teaching periods in its programme, very small classes are discounted in assessing entitlement to assistance. Such classes exist mainly in senior forms. They would generally be accommodated in an area ancillary to a laboratory or in laboratories justified on the basis referred to in my answer to part (1) of the honourable member's question. {:#subdebate-42-44} #### Education Council (Question No. 5897) {: #subdebate-42-44-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Where and when have there been meetings of (a) the Education Council since 28th May 1971 and (b) the Directors-General of Education since 8th October 1970. 1. What requests or suggestions were made at each meeting for legislative or administrative action by (a) the Commonwealth, (b) the Territories and (c) the States. {: #subdebate-42-44-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. (a) The Australian Education Council met for 2 days in Sydney on 25th and 26th May 1972. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. The Directors-General of Education have met in their capacity as the Standing Committee to the Australian Education Council on 26th May 1971 at Brisbane and on 23rd and 24th May 1972 at Sydney. They also met at Hobart from 7th to 13th October 1971 and at Melbourne on 23rd February 1972. 1. In my answer to a previous question from the honourable member (Hansard, 7th October 1971, page 2124) I indicated that proceedings of the Australian Education Council are confidential but that on occasions the Ministers have agreed to make a public statement on particular matters. Following the May 1972 meeting the Chairman of the Council issued a statement which contained references to the Nation-wide Survey of Educational Needs, the Commonwealth action taken to assist the States to increase capital and recurrent expenditure in those areas of education covered by the Survey, and a recognition that the Commonwealth's recent grants for school buildings represent a breakthrough in achieving direct support for education in government schools. Recommendations decided upon at meetings of the Directors-General in their' capacity as Standing Committee of the Australian Education Council are reported to the Council and considered by it. It is then the prerogative of the Council to make public any decisions it has taken as a result of such recommendations. Other meetings of the Directors-General are usually devoted to questions of general administration and are not normally the subject of public announcement. {:#subdebate-42-45} #### European Economic Community (Question No. 5928) {: #subdebate-42-45-s0 .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr Everingham:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND asked the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Can he say whether one-party regimes, which suppress trade union activity and criticism of their government, notably South Africa, Spain and Portugal, have sought favoured nation status with the European Economic Community in the event of the United Kingdom, which gives them tariff concessions, entering the Community. 1. Can he also say whether the European Parliament in document 1962/122 paragraph 25 specifies that member countries should have a democratic policy or a form of government based on political freedom. 2. Has he taken steps to obtain for Australia close ties with the EEC not inferior to those sought for South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and East Germany which lack the qualifications Australia has for EEC membership. 3. Has Australia accepted a phasing out of trade preferences in the United Kingdom at a faster rate than has been accepted by one or more of the one-party nations referred to. {: #subdebate-42-45-s1 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- The following answer is provided to the honourable member's question: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Spain already has a trade agreement with the EEC, under which that country receives tariff concessions on a wide range of her exports entering the Community. Portugal is currently negotiating a trade agreement which could provide for duty free entry into the enlarged EEC on most industrial items and preferences on certain agricultural items. I have no information which suggests that South Africa is seeking, or has sought, favoured nation status with the EEC. Of these countries only South Africa and Portugal currently receive tariff concessions in the United Kingdom. 1. Yes. 2. The Australian Government is seeking to develop the closest possible trading relationship with the enlarged EEC with the objective of ensuring that we are in a position to take full advantage of the trade opportunities which enlargement can offer to us. We are not seeking EEC membership nor an association agreement with the EEC. 3. The timetable for the phasing out of trade preferences in the United Kingdom is contained in the Treaty concerning the accession of the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland and Norway to the EEC. It is the same for all third countries which have preferences in the United Kingdom, including South Africa, Portugal and Spain. National Service Vocational Training Scheme (Question No. 5840) {: #subdebate-42-45-s2 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the number of scholars in training under the National Service Vocational Training Scheme in each State and Territory in 1972. 1. What is the cost of the scheme in 1972. {: #subdebate-42-45-s3 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. My Department is only one of the training authorities administering post-discharge study assistance under the National Service Vocational Training Scheme, the others being the Department of Labour and National Service and the Department of Primary Industry. My Department is responsible for the administration of assistance to scholars undertaking training in universities, teachers' colleges and a small number of other institutions. The number of students receiving N.S.V.T.S. benefits for training in these institutions at 30th June 1972 was as follows: {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Estimated expenditure on benefits to these students during 1972 is $770,000. {:#subdebate-42-46} #### Commonwealth Secondary Facilities Scheme (Question No. 5882) {: #subdebate-42-46-s0 .speaker-KEC} ##### Mr Kennedy: asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it anticipated that by the time the Commonwealth Secondary Facilities Scheme is scheduled to terminate in 1975 every (a) Government, (b) Catholic and (c) non-Catholic private secondary school in Australia will have secondary science laboratories and associated accommodation and equipment at the standards which the Commonwealth accepts for private schools. 1. If not, what (a) number and (b) percentage of these schools is expected to have facilities of standards accepted by the Commonwealth. 2. How many new science laboratory rooms have been erected in (a) Government, (b) Catholic and (c) other private schools under the Commonwealth Secondary Science Facilities Scheme up to the latest date for which figures are readily available. {: #subdebate-42-46-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. and (2) The sum of $43,295m appropriated under the States Grants (Science Laboratories) Act 1971, was determined in the light of the best information available at the time, and on the assumption that the States would continue to devote the same proportion of their funds to the provision of science facilities in their own schools as they had in recent years. It was our best estimate of what was needed to meet science teaching requirements of government and nongovernment secondary schools as they existed at 30th June 1971. Developments which have since occurred necessarily mean that not all government and non-government secondary schools in Australia will have, by mid-1975, science teaching facilities sufficient to meet their needs at that (fate at the standards which the Commonwealth accepts as desirable. It is in acknowledgement of this fact that the annual rate of the capital grants announced by the Prime Minister on 11th May will increase substantially in the three final years of the five year period beginning on 1st July 1973. 1. The number of science laboratories which have been built in the period 1st July 1964 to 30th June 1971 with funds provided under the Commonwealth Science Facilities Programme is shown below. The figures given for non-government schools include some laboratory rooms which have been converted from other school usage to laboratories and also some laboratories which were constructed before the commencement of the Programme and have since been converted to bring them to recommended standards. Commonwealth Science Facilities Programme Laboratories Constructed from Commonwealth Funds- 1.7.64 to 30.6.71: The honourable member may be interested to know that a total of 758 science teaching rooms were constructed in government secondary schools by the States in the same period, from the States' own resources. {:#subdebate-42-47} #### Education: Commonwealth Grant (Question No. 5888) {: #subdebate-42-47-s0 .speaker-KEC} ##### Mr Kennedy: asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Was the promise he made on11th May 1972 of a grant of $167m to State governments for 1973-77 intended as a net increase in total education funds to State governments or as a net increase in capital funds only. 1. Does he expect State governments to increase per capita payments to private schools over the same period to the equivalent of 20 per cent of the cost of educating a government school pupil; if so, does he intend to provide special extra grants to States to meet these new costs. 2. How much of the additional $167 million offered to the States will be left to the States if they increase per capita grants as set out in the scheme outlined by him and he does not provide special extra grants to meet these new costs. 3. If he requires the States to spend the additional $l67m on buildings. and the States also increase per capita payments to the equivalent of 20 per cent of the cost of educating a government pupil, does he expect that the States will have more funds to erect class rooms and buildings without a parallel increase in funds for teachers to staff them. {: #subdebate-42-47-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The amount of $167m is being provided as unmatched capital grants for government primary and secondary schools. 1. The Commonwealth will provide to independent schools per capita grants for recurrent expenses equal to 20 per cent of the assessed Australia wide cost of educating a child in government primary and secondary schools; it has invited each State to match this assistance from the resources available to it. 2. The full amount. See (1) above. 3. No. The revenues of State governments, including the general revenue assistance provided by the Commonwealth have increased substantially in recent years and are expected to continue to increase in the future. Monetary and Credit Control {: #subdebate-42-47-s2 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- On 31st May the hon ourable member for Cunningham **(Mr Connor)** asked me a question without notice in several parts about monetary and credit control. I answered some parts of the question, but said I would treat that part of the question which asked what action the Government proposed in respect of the inflow of overseas funds and Australian exchange reserve levels as being on the notice paper. Australia's holdings of international reserves are at a very high level by past standards. While the Government does not believe that the level can properly be described as 'dangerously high', we are not complacent about the situation. The rapid build-up in reserves over the past few years has been importantly due to the high rate of capital inflow, although more recently the substantial reduction in the deficit on current account has been the predominant factor. The Government has been concerned for some time at certain aspects of the high rates of capital inflow over the past 18 months and the degree of overseas participation in the economy, and the Treasury recently undertook a comprehensive study of the economic effects of overseas investment in Australia. As the honourable member will know, the results of this study were published in the form of a Treasury Economic Paper which was tabled in Parliament by the Treasurer on 16th May 1972. The policy issues raised by the high level of capital inflow are under examination. Lucas Heights Atomic Research Establishment (Question No. 5067) {: #subdebate-42-47-s3 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is the Australian Atomic Energy Commission continuing its efforts to secure a buffer zone around the Lucas Heights Atomic Research Establishment. 1. If so, (a) what are the precise details of submissions made by the Commission to present and previous Planning Authorities of New South Wales, (b) why is a buffer zone required, (c) what is the area of the proposed buffer zone, (d) what arrangements are being made to compensate property owners affected by the proposed buffer zone, (e) in what possible circumstances could the wellbeing of people, property, flora and fauna and the environment within the area of the proposed buffer zone be at risk as a consequence of activities conducted by the Commission at the Lucas Heights Atomic Research Establishment, and (f) were assurances given by Professor Baxter and the late General Stevens to the Sutherland Shire Council during 1954 that there could be no deleterious effects from the Lucas Heights Atomic Research Establishment, approval for which was being sought at that time. {: #subdebate-42-47-s4 .speaker-KVR} ##### Sir Reginald Swartz:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. (a) In I960, the Commission informedthe Department of Local Government of New South Wales that safety criteria for the Research Establishment at Lucas Heights provided that an area of a radius of one mile around the reactor HIFAR should not be available for commercial, industrial or urban development of any kind. All of the land involved was owned by the Commonwealth or by the Government of New South Wales. In addition, the Commission felt that it would be advisable to recommend minor restrictions on settlement in the lower levels of the Woronora Valley, and also on population density in nearby adjoining areas. In the event, the requirements of the Department of Local Government of New South Wales, based on urban planning principles, were more than sufficient to meet the Commission's criteria and no special action was necessary to give effect to the Commission's recommendsations. In these circumstances, the criteria established by the Atomic Energy Commission did not determine the planning proposals of the Department of Local Government. Since that date, the Commission's safety criteria have been relaxed in a minor way, and these modifications fall within the ambit of the principles established by the State Planning Authority independent of the Commission's requirements. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. As with most industrial enterprises, the operation of a nuclear reactor involves the possibility of an accident. In such an event a release of radioactivity to the atmosphere could result. The probability of such an accident is extremely small. Nevertheless, it is considered prudent to ensure that in the immediate environs of the reactor there is an area of limited access, so that in the unlikely event of an accident it would be possible to take such action as is necessary to ensure that no member of the public would be at risk. 1. The buffer zone is approximately 3 square miles, determined on the basis of an exclusion area of one mile radius from the reactor HIFAR. 2. None. There are no private property owners affected. All of the land involved belongs to the Government of the Commonwealth or the State of New South Wales. 3. See (b) above. In addition, the health and safety standards and provisions adopted by the Commission in the operation of its reactors and the use of radiation, radioactive substances and toxic materials are subject to periodic review by an independent Safety Review Committee. This Committee is under the Chairmanship of Professor **Sir Sydney** Sunderland of the Faculty of Medicine, Melbourne University, **Dr C.** J. Cummins, Director-General of Public Health New South Wales and **Mr D.** J. Stevens, O.B.E., Director of Commonwealth X-Ray and Radium Laboratories. 4. Yes. Such assurances were given, subject to the establishment of a buffer zone around the reactor to protect the community. Papua New Guinea House of Assembly Elections (Question No. 5356) {: #subdebate-42-47-s5 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice: >How many (a) men and (b) women voted in each regional and open electorate at the elections for the Papua New Guinea House of Assembly. {: #subdebate-42-47-s6 .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr Peacock:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The Chief Electoral Officer of Papua New Guinea has supplied the following statistics: Amalgamated Metal Trades Union (Question No. 5704) {: #subdebate-42-47-s7 .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes:
CORIO, VICTORIA asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that the Amalgamated Metal Trades Union could be involved in legal costs of up to $100,000 as a result of challenges, which are being financed by the Commonwealth, to the amalgamation of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, the Sheet Metal Workers Union and the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society. 1. If so, will he give consideration to guaranteeing the unions against these costs which are a direct result of Commonwealth Government action. {: #subdebate-42-47-s8 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. and (2) I assume the honourable member is referring to the proceedings in the Commonwealth Industrial Court involving Drinkwater and Amos and Others and Forbes and Willis and Others, the respondents being officials of the Sheet Metal Working, Agricultural Implement and Stovemaking Industrial Union and the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society, respectively. In these matters, the Court gave judgment for the respondents and ordered that their costs be paid by the claimants. {:#subdebate-42-48} #### Papua New Guinea Public Service (Question No. 5728) {: #subdebate-42-48-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: >What progress has been made since his answer on 23rd April 1971 (Hansard, page 2018) in (a) the appointment of the 4,700 local employees of Commonwealth Departments in Papua New Guinea to the Papua New Guinea Public Service so that they can have tenure, career opportunities and retirement benefits applicable to local officers of that service and (b) the training and career development of local staff so that they can assume increased responsibility for work now being done by officers of Commonwealth Departments. {: #subdebate-42-48-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >My predecessor's reply to Question No. 542 (Hansard, pages 3086-3087) indicated that there were approximately 4,700 local employees in Commonwealth Departments in Papua New Guinea. > >My reply to Question No. 2375 (Hansard, pages 2018-2019) made it clear that not all of the some 4,700 local employees were eligible for permanent appointment to the Papua New Guinea Public Service. When I answered Question No. 2375 it was estimated that approximately 1,600 of the 4,700 local staff were employed in Commonwealth Departments on conditions generally similar to those of the Papua New Guinea Public Service staff employed under the Public Service (Papua New Guinea) Ordinance, and that less than half those 1,600 persons would meet the requirements for permanent appointment to the Papua New Guinea Public Service. > >In response to the honourable member's further question, I have been advised by the Minister for External Territories and by the Commonwealth Public Service Board that - > >(i) Since 1st July 1971 a total of 896 local staff employed by Commonwealth Departments in Papua New Guinea have been appointed as permanent officers of the Papua New Guinea Public Service. Under arrangements made between the Papua New Guinea Public Service Board and the Commonwealth Public Service Board the services of these officers have continued to be made available to the Commonwealth Departments concerned. > >An additional 50 local staff employed by Commonwealth Departments are currently completing pre-appointment formalities and are expected to be appointed shortly as permanent officers of the Papua New Guinea Public Service. > >As permanent local officers of the Papua New Guinea Public Service they have the normal tenure, career opportunities and retirement benefits applic able in that Service and these rights continue while their services are made available to the Commonwealth Service. > >In relation to career opportunities, it is mentioned that 54 of the 896 local staff who were permanently appointed have subsequently, moved from Commonwealth Departments to Departments of the Papua New Guinea Public Service. > >Local employees of Commonwealth Departments who are not eligible for permanent appointment have continued to be employed by the Commonwealth under the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Service Board's determination of 31st January 1968. Many of these employees are employed in day labour categories and it is proposed that a Day Labour Determination, which is intended to cover all such Administration local employees, will be extended to Commonwealth employees in the same categories. The Papua New Guinea Public Service Board is working towards the issue of such a Determination. > >A co-ordinated programme of training for local staff which is directed at accelerating the pace of localisation and involves close consultation between the Papua New Guinea Public Service Board and Commonwealth Departments has been established. Under the programme places are made available for local staff of Commonwealth Departments on in-service training courses arranged by the Papua New Guinea Public Service Board. Commonwealth Departments also sponsor local officers for cadetships offered by the Papua New Guinea Public Service Board and these are now arranged under an integrated procedure which has as its primary objective the allocation of cadets to employment areas to meet priority needs. Commonwealth Departments are continuing to arrange in-service training courses and on the job training to meet their particular needs. > >Details of local staff of Commonwealth Departments who are currently undergoing training and those who have completed training courses since June 1971 are shown in the following table: In addition to the co-ordinated procedures referred to above, which apply mainly to training in Papua New Guinea, local staff of Commonwealth Departments arc being trained in Australia under the Commonwealth Practical Training Scheme (CPTS) and at the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) in Sydney. ASOPA is being developed as an important centre for the training of Papua New Guineans in accordance with the decision announced by the Minister for External Territories in the House on 3rd November 1971. Since June 1971 a total of 7 local staff of Commonwealth Departments have undertaken practical training attachments in Australia under the CPTS, and 5 local staff are currently attending training courses at ASOPA {:#subdebate-42-49} #### Papua New Guinea: Housing (Question No. 5752) {: #subdebate-42-49-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many applications for housing were (a) lodged with the Papua New Guinea Housing Commission in 1970-71 and (b) outstanding at 30th June 1971. 1. How many houses were built for the Commission in 1970-71. 2. In what urban areas and for what minimum rents were the houses built. 3. What percentage of indigenous residents in those areas can afford those rents (Hansard, 21st April, page 1859.) {: #subdebate-42-49-s1 .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr Peacock:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The matter referred to is one which falls within the authority of the Minister for the Interior in the House of Assembly for Papua New Guinea. The Minister for the Interior has provided the following information: {: type="1" start="4"} 0. It is believed that over 70 per cent of the indigenous population, in centres where the Commission is operating, cannot afford the rentals listed above. At the end of the financial year 30 experimental houses costing about $970.00 each had been completed in Port Moresby. These would rent at less than $3.00 per week, but since the average income of factory workers engaged in secondary industry is very close to $10.00 per week, it is evident that the average factory worker cannot afford even a house at a rental of $3.00 per week. It seems apparent that 50 per cent to 70 per cent of all town residents will be forced to build their own houses when and how they can to a Standard which they can afford, and are being encouraged to do so under self-help resettlement schemes in Port Moresby and Lae. {:#subdebate-42-50} #### Papua and New Guinea: Education (Question No. S7S0) {: #subdebate-42-50-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What number and percentage of (a) indigenous boys, (b) expatriate boys (c) indigenous girls and (d) expatriate girls of school age attend {: type="a" start="i"} 0. primary, (ii) secondary and (iii) technical schools in each district of Papua New Guinea (Hansard, 23rd April 1971, page 2007). 1. What was the revenue in 1971 and what is expected to be the revenue in 1972 from (a) the school equipment charges introduced in 1967 and (b) the boarding school fees introduced in 1970. {: type="i" start="3"} 0. What number of (a) indigenous boys, (b) expatriate boys, (c) indigenous girls and (d) expatriate girls are assisted to attend (i) primary and 1. secondary schools in Australia. 2. Is the (a) nature and (b) cost of the assistance for education in Australia in 1972 the same as in 1971 (Hansard, 23rd April 1971, page 2007). {: #subdebate-42-50-s1 .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr Peacock:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The matters referred to fall within the authority of the Minister for Education in the House of Assembly for Papua New Guinea. > >The Minister for Education has provided the following information: 1 (a) (i) I (c) (i) {: type="a" start="a"} 0. There is no statutory school age in Papua New Guinea. The 7-12 age group is selected because it is the normal school age, though a sizeable proportion of students are outside this age group. 1. Resources available make it unlikely that there will be any massive build up of primary school enrolments. Current policies however recognise existing inequalities in educational provision and look to holding current percentages by minimal increases only in enrolment in districts where these are currently over 50 per cent of the school age population, with emphasis upon increasing enrolments as rapidly as possible in districts where this figure has not as yet been achieved. Pursuant to such policy those districts with the lowest percentage enrolments have been allocated the majority of additional teachers becoming available. 2. The lower enrolment of indigenous female students in some areas is caused by a continuing reluctance on the part of parents to send girls to school, thereby depriving the family of the services of the girl in assisting the mother. Every encouragement is given to increase the enrolment of girls but not until a change in parental attitudes and values occurs will the problem be resolved. 1 (b) 0>- 1 (d) (i)- {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Atthe primary level places are provided for all expatriate children who request admission and are in the appropriate age groups. It may be assumed that enrolment of expatriate children is therefore close to 100 per cent in all districts. . 1. Provision is made for the level of enrolment in order that the Territory will continue to attract the necessary expatriate skills. 2. Where non-indigenous children are prevented from attendance at a school (by reason of distance, physical infirmity, etc.) the Administration provides, without costto the parents, enrolment in an Australian correspondence school 1 (a) (ii) (iii)- 1 (c) (ii) (iii)- {: type="a" start="a"} 0. The figures given represent an indication of the percentage of secondary, technical and vocational places notionally available to 13-16 year old children (13-16 being the theoretical secondary/technical age cohorts). At present a significant number of students aged 13 and who are now at the upper end of the primary system will proceed to some form of post primary education; concomitantly a significant proportion of secondary/technical students are at present aged 17+. The best estimate of opportunity for post primary education is therefore to relate the number of available places to the number of the 13-16 year old population. 1. The technical colleges at Goroka, Lae, Madang, Port Moresby and Rabaul are national institutions drawing students from many districts; a number of W.N.B.D. students also attend E.N.B.D. high schools. The figures take account of this and reflect student number by district of origin. I (b) (ii) & liii)- 1 (d) (ii) & (iii)- 2. (a) Revenue from school equipment charges for the school year 1971 amounted to $223,339 and for financial year 1970-71, $173,794. The expected revenue for the 1971-72 financial year is $272,885. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. Revenue from secondary and technical boarding school fees for 1971 was (approximately) $517,000. The expected revenue for 1972 is $569,056. (These figures exclude charges paid by apprentice and certificate students attending block courses at technical colleges.) 3. (i) Twelve expatriate handicapped children are assisted to attend primary schools in Australia. {: type="i" start="ii"} 0. Attendance at secondary schools in Australia: Papua and New Guinea: Magistrates (Question No. 5761) {: #subdebate-42-50-s2 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Which resident magistrates in Papua New Guinea are still without legal qualifications (Hansard, 9th March 1971, page 754). 1. Where are they stationed. {: #subdebate-42-50-s3 .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr Peacock:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The law of Papua New Guinea does not require that Resident Magistrates should have legal professional qualifications, although Stipendiary Magistrates must be so qualified. One Resident Magistrate, **Mr T.** Mitchell, has a law degree and the other Resident Magistrates have had legal training at the Australian School of Pacific Administration or have passed in some units of a law degree course, or both. All Resident Magistrates have had extensive practical experience as Magistrates. (2)- Boroko (Port Moresby)- **(Mr K. Walters)** Port Moresby- (Messrs P. F. Sebire and R. N. Desailly) Rabaul- **(Mr T. Mitchell)** Kundiawa- **(Mr G. R. G. Wearne)** Mt Hagen- **Mr B.** M. O'Neill) Kieta - **(Mr A. Besaparis)** **Mr R.** M. Claridge is on sick leave. MrI. B. Tuohy is on pre retirement leave. {:#subdebate-42-51} #### Container Ports (Question No. 5767) {: #subdebate-42-51-s0 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Which Australian ports are equipped to handle containers. 1. What was the cost of providing the necessary facilities in each case. 2. What is the container handling capacity of each. 3. How many containers were handled by each port during 1971. {: #subdebate-42-51-s1 .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr Nixon:
CP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >As most Australian ports are capable of handling containers in one way or another, my reply has been restricted to those terminals established solely to handle cellular container ships at the 4 major ports. > >Much of the information required to answer the question has had to be obtained from sources outside my Department. Some information could not be obtained because it is commercially confidential or would have required extensive research on the part of the Authority or Company concerned. In these circumstances, the replies to parts of Questions 2, 3 and 4 are incomplete. {: type="1" start="1"} 0. -- >Fremantle - No. 12 North Quay > >Melbourne - Swanson Dock > >Sydney- White Bay > >Brisbane - No. 2 Hamilton Wharf > >Expenditure by - > >Fremantle Port Authority - $5.4m. > >Melbourne Harbour Trust - $14.5m. > >Maritime Service Board of New South Wales - $29m (includes expenditure to date on new Glebe Island terminal) > >Brisbane Wharves and Wool Dumping Pty Ltd - $6m (approximately). > >Expenditure by other private companies is not available as it is commercially confidential. > >The following average rates of container handling are indicative of the handling capacity of each terminal. Fremantle- average gross rate 20 to 25 containers per hour. Melbourne - average gross rate of 20 containers per hour Sydney - average gross rate of 16 containers per hour Brisbane - average gross rate of 23 containers per hour. (4)- Fremantle - 88,000 containers. This is equivalent to 48,000, 20 foot units Melbourne - not available Sydney - 120,000, 20 foot containers (estimate) Brisbane- 30,000, 20 foot containers. {:#subdebate-42-52} #### Consultants to Department of Works (Question No. 5815) {: #subdebate-42-52-s0 .speaker-JM9} ##### Mr Armitage:
CHIFLEY, NEW SOUTH WALES asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What private firms of (a) architects, (b) engineers and (c) quantity surveyors were engaged as consultants to the Department of Works during (i) 1969-70, (ii) 1970-71 and (iii) the 6 monthly period ended 3 1st December 1971. 1. What were the (a) projects on which they were engaged and (b) fees paid on each project. {: #subdebate-42-52-s1 .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp:
LP -- The Minister for Works has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: The above does not include projects where the amounts paid to consultants were less than $5,000. The inclusion of such projects would involve considerable time-consuming administrative effort additional to that already undertaken in providing the above information. {:#subdebate-42-53} #### Taxation: Migrants (Question No. 5890) {: #subdebate-42-53-s0 .speaker-8V4} ##### Mr Grassby: asked the Treasurer, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. ls he able to say whether migrants settled in the United States of America, Canada and the Federal Republic of Germany are entitled to income tax concessions every year, if they support one or more members of their family in the country of origin. 1. If there is a concession in those countries, does a similar concession apply to migrants settled in Australia; if not, why not. {: #subdebate-42-53-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN:
BRUCE, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Advice received from the Commissioner of Taxation indicates that it is not practicable to make a precise comparison of the manner in which taxation concessions in relation to the maintenance of dependants apply in other countries because of fundamental differences in the various taxing systems. It is the Commissioner's understanding that deductions for the maintenance of dependants under the laws of the three countries named in your question are allowed as follows: United States of America A deduction is allowable only if the dependant is a United States citizen or resided in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama or the Canal Zone at some time during the year of income. Canada A taxpayer's spouse need not be a resident of Canada to enable the taxpayer to qualify for the married status deduction. Similarly, residence in Canada is not a pre-requisite for the allowance of a deduction in respect of a child, grandchild, brother, sister, or parent or grandparent dependent on the taxpayer by reason of mental oi physical infirmity. However, in respect of a niece, nephew, or an aunt or uncle dependent on the taxpayer by reason of menial or physical infirmity, it is necessary for that person to be resident in Canada. Federal Republic of Germany Personal allowances are granted in respect of a taxpayer and his spouse. The allowances are not conditional on the spouse being a resident. Similarly, the allowance in respect of a child is not conditional on the child being a resident. It is not known whether the German system makes provision for concessions in respect of dependants other than a spouse and children. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Under the Australian law, a taxpayer who is a resident may be entitled to a concessional deduction if he contributes to the maintenance of any, of the following dependants who are residents of Australia, namely, the spouse of the taxpayer, a daughter-housekeeper, a child less than 16 years of age, a student child, an invalid relative and a parent of the taxpayer or of his spouse. No deduction is allowable in respect of a dependant who does not qualify as a resident of Australia. In the case of migrant taxpayer with a dependent wife and children overseas, it is the administrative practice of the Commissioner of Taxation to treat the wife and children also as residents of Australia if the taxpayer intends to bring them to this country. Concessional deductions are allowed for a period of up to 5 years *on* the basis that this period provides sufficient time to enable the taxpayer to make the necessary transport and accommodation arrangements. If the dependants have not taken up physical residence in Australia after 5 years, the concessional deductions are discontinued on the ground that there are no indications that the dependants intend migrating to Australia. Canberra: Pre-school or Child-minding Centres (Question No. 5721) {: #subdebate-42-53-s2 .speaker-8H7} ##### Mr Enderby: asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the ratio between the number of pre-school or child minding centres in Canberra and the population of Canberra. 1. Who determines the ratio and how is it determined. 2. How many (a) Government operated and (b) privately operated child-minding and preschool centres are there in Canberra. {: #subdebate-42-53-s3 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The ratio of pre-schools and child minding centres in Canberra to the population of Canberra is1 to 2,381. This answer is calculated on the following figures: Estimated population of Canberra as at May 1972-150,000 Number of pre-schools in Canberra as at May 1972-54 Number of licensed child-minding centres in Canberra as at May 1972 - 9 Total of pre-schools and child-minding centres in Canberra as at May 1972-63 The Department of the Interior has provided the information relating to child minding centres in Canberra. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The Department of Education and Science does not provide pre-schools on a population ratio basis. Using projected population estimates, the Department endeavours to provide a pre-school place for all four-year-old children in the year prior to attending infants school, and whose parents wish them to have pre-school experience. It is not always possible to provide a place for each child in his/her neighbourhood, particularly in developing areas of Canberra, but places are normally available providing parents are prepared to transport their children to established preschools. Any vacancies remaining after fouryearolds are accommodated are then made available to three-year-old children. The Government is not involved in the provision of child minding centres in the A.C.T. other than requiring them, under the conditions of the Child Welfare Ordinance, to be licensed with the Department of the Interior. 1. (a) There are 54 Government operated preschools in the Australian Capital Territory. Two Occasional Care Centres for pre-school age children are operated in Canberra by the Canberra Mothercraft Society which is subsidised by the Department of Health. The Department of the Interior provides and maintains the two centres and meets the teachers' salaries. Parents make a small contribution to the Mothecraft Society for the service provided, {: type="a" start="b"} 0. Nine privately run licensed childminding centres operate in the A.C.T. Two are run on a non-profit basis, one at the Australian National University, and the second at St Phillips Church, O'Connor. Commonwealth Technical Scholarships (Question No. 5838) {: #subdebate-42-53-s4 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many Commonwealth technical scholarships were available in 1972 in each State and Territory. 1. How many students competed for these scholarships in 1971 in each State and Territory and what (a) number and (b) percentage of them were awarded scholarships. 2. What were the (a) numbers and (b) percentages of scholarships awarded in 1972 to students who at the time they competed were attending (i) Government schools, (ii) Catholic schools, (iii) other non-government schools and (iv) other institutions or no institution in each State and Territory. 3. What were the (a) numbers and (b) percentages of scholarships awarded in 1972 to students who at the time they competed were attending schools or institutions in (i) metropolitan and (ii) other areas in each State and Territory. 4. What were the (a) numbers and (b) percentages of scholars who, in accepting the scholarships in 1972, elected to use them for (i) fulltime and (ii) part-time studies in each State and Territory. 5. What were the (a) numbers and (b) percentages of scholarships awarded to (i) men and (ii) women in 1972 in each State and Territory. 6. What amounts have been prescribed for the various payments to (a) full-time and (b) part-time students. 7. What is the cost of the Technical Scholarship Scheme in 1972. 8. As the then Minister told me on 22nd September 1970 (Hansard, page 1494) that scholarship statistics are compiled as at 30th June each year and are normally available in the middle of August, will he himself answer this question earlier than he answered the similar question in 1971 (Hansard, 28th September 1971, page 1600). {: #subdebate-42-53-s5 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The following numbers of Commonwealth Technical scholarships were available in 1972: {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The number of students who competed for 1972 Commonwealth Technical scholarships and, of these, the number and percentage who accepted awards are as follows: {: type="1" start="3"} 0. The numbers and percentages of scholarships accepted in 1972 by students who at the time they competed were attending the types of schools or institutions named are as follows: {: type="1" start="4"} 0. The numbers and percentages of scholarships accepted in 1972 by students who at the time they competed were attending schools or colleges in metropolitan and other areas are as follows: {: type="1" start="5"} 0. The numbers and percentages of students who, in accepting scholarships in 1972. elected to use them for full-time and part-time study are as follows: {: type="1" start="6"} 0. The numbers and percentages of scholarships accepted by men and women in 1972 are as follows: {: type="1" start="7"} 0. The benefits payable each year to holders of Commonwealth Technical scholarships are as follows: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Full-time students 1. a living allowance of $200, {: type="i" start="ii"} 0. a textbook and equipment allowance of $50, and 1. a fees allowance of up to $150 as reimbursement for expenditure on compulsory tuition fees (excluding fees for board and lodging), compulsory service fees (e.g., sport and library fees) and compulsory examination fees. 2. Part-time students 3. an allowance of $100, and {: type="i" start="ii"} 0. a reimbursement of expenditure on compulsory fees up to $100. 1. Estimated expenditure on the Commonwealth Technical scholarship scheme in 1972 is $1,075,000. {:#subdebate-42-54} #### Aboriginal Study Grants and Secondary Grants Schemes (Question No. 5841) {: #subdebate-42-54-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the number of students in training under the (a) Aboriginal Study Grants Scheme and (b) Aboriginal Secondary Grants Scheme in each State and Territory in 1972. 1. What is the cost of the schemes in 1972. {: #subdebate-42-54-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The numbers of students in training under the Aboriginal Study Grants and Aboriginal Secondary Grant Scheme in 1972 are as follows: {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Students in training at 30th June 1972. 1. Estimated expenditure on benefits under the schemes in the calendar year 1972 is as follows: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Study Grants Scheme- $545,000 1. Secondary Granats Scheme- $2,710,000 {:#subdebate-42-55} #### Teachers and Pre-school Teachers Colleges (Question No. 5845) {: #subdebate-42-55-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice: {: type="a" start="t"} 0. What is (be location and enrolment of teachers colleges and pre-school teachers colleges conducted by the States and other authorities. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. What changes in the duration of courses have taken place since his answer on 26th September 1969 (Hansard, page 2106). 1. How many students at each college hold Commonwealth advanced education scholarships (Hansard, 28 March 1972, page 1297). {: #subdebate-42-55-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. TEACHERS COLLEGES The location and enrolment of teachers colleges conducted by the States is shown below for 1970. The location of the independent teachers colleges in 1970 is also included. My Department is in contact with Independent authorities to obtain details of independent teachers colleges for both 1970 and 1971. State authorities have also been contacted to obtain enrolment figures for government colleges in 1971. The additional information will be made available as soon as it has been received and collated by my Department. In the following table, enrolments of private students where known have been shown in parentheses and included in the total enrolment figures. {: .page-start } page 322 {:#debate-43} ### NON-GOVERNMENT TEACHERS COLLEGES New South Wales Catholic College of Education (comprises Champagnat College of Teacher Education, Dundas and De La Salle Training College, Castle Hill) - primary and secondary; Good Samaritan Teachers College, Glebe Point- primary; Catholic Teachers College, North Sydney - primary; Mount St Mary College, Strathfield- primary and secondary. Guild Teachers College, Sydney - primary and secondary. Victoria Mercy Teachers College, Ascot Vale - primary. Sacred Heart Teachers College, Ballarat - primary and secondary. Christian Bros Teachers College, Box Hill - secondary. Auxilium College, Lysterfield - primary. Mercer House, Malvern - primary and secondary. Queensland Catherine McAuley Training College - primary. Australian Capital Territory Dominican Training College, Watson - primary. Enrolment details for 1971 have been published for a number of government and non-government teachers colleges in the 1971 Official Hansard Report (Reference: Teacher Education) of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts. Government college enrolments are shown on pages 169 and 185 and Catholic enrolments on page 328. The statistics on page 169 were provided by the Australian Student Teachers Association, while those on page 185 were prepared by the New South Wales Teachers Federation. The Catholic enrolments on page 328 were submitted on behalf of the Catholic College of Education, Sydney. Pre-school Teachers Colleges I have already sent to the honourable member an advance copy of the Annual Report for 1971- 72 as required under the States Grants (Preschool Teacher's Colleges) Act 1968-1971. This report includes information on enrolments in preschool teachers colleges. In private teachers colleges, of the 878 students enrolling for the first time 261 students were in 2 year courses and 259 of these were preparing for primary teaching. A further source of change in the duration of teacher education courses has been the incorporation of teacher education courses within Colleges of Advanced Education recognised by the Commonwealth under States Grants (Advanced Education) legislation. In 1972, the Commonwealth is supporting teacher education courses in 6 colleges. These are Canberra, Mitchell (Bathurst), Riverina (Wagga), Capricornia (Rockhampton), Darling Downs (Toowoomba) and Tasmania (Hobart). {:#subdebate-43-0} #### Education: Science Laboratories (Question No. 5883) {: #subdebate-43-0-s0 .speaker-KEC} ##### Mr Kennedy: asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many new science laboratories have been erected in (a) Government, (b) Catholic cand (c) other private schools in (i) each State and Territory and (ii) the Commonwealth under the Commonwealth Secondary Science Facilities Scheme up to 31st December 1971 or the latest date for which figures are readily available. 1. How many (a) Government, (b) Catholic and (c) other private secondary schools are there in (i) each State and Territory and (ii) the Commonwealth. 2. What number and percentage of these have had 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or more new science laboratories constructed under the Commonwealth scheme. {: #subdebate-43-0-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The number of science laboratories which have been built in each State in the period 1st July 1964 to 30th June 1971 with funds provided under the Commonwealth Science Facilities Programme is shown below. The Programme does not extend to the Territories. The figures given for non-government schools include some laboratory rooms which have been converted from other school usage to laboratories, and also some laboratories which were constructed before the commencement of the Programme and have since been converted to bring them to recommended standards. The following table gives details of science teaching rooms provided from State funds in the same period. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The following table shows the numbers of government, Catholic and other non-government secondary schools in each State and Territory and in the Commonwealth. A secondary school is here. defined as any school which has pupils enrolled in secondary grades. . {: type="1" start="3"} 0. My Department does not maintain in a readily accessible form the information sought by the Honourable Member. {:#subdebate-43-1} #### The Environment (Question No. 5964) {: #subdebate-43-1-s0 .speaker-KFU} ##### Dr Gun: asked the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Who is to prepare and submit the impact statements, designed to protect the environment, which will accompany submissions to Cabinet on any proposal that has some relevance to the environment, as he foreshadowed on 24th May 1972. 1. Will the statements be made in public or will they be merely written for impact on Cabinet Ministers. 2. Will the Government make available impact statements on the effects on the environment of: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. construction of H.M.A.S. Stirling facility on Cockburn Sound, Western Australia, 1. the Softwood Forestry Agreements Bill 1972, 2. the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill 1970, 3. the failure to enact the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill 1970, 4. construction of the Ord River Dam, (0 taxation concessions for capital gain for land clearing for farming and 5. the Dairying Industry Act. {: #subdebate-43-1-s1 .speaker-0095J} ##### Mr Howson:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. It is the responsibility of the individual Minister to have an environmental impact statement prepared and submitted when preparing a Cabinet submission on a proposal that has some relevance to the environment. 1. The impact statements like the Cabinet submissions will not be public documents. 2. The impact statement policy would not apply to past decisions. Dwellings for Age Pensioners (Question No. 5981) {: #subdebate-43-1-s2 .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr Reynolds: asked the Minister for Housing, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What sum has been (a) available and (b) granted under the States Grants (Dwellings for Aged Pensioners) Act 1969 to each of the States in each year of operation of the Act. 1. What was the (a) number and (b) average cost of dwellings constructed in each State in each of those years. {: #subdebate-43-1-s3 .speaker-JTS} ##### Mr Kevin Cairns:
LILLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. (a) The Act provides for an amount of $25m to be made available during the period of five years from 1969-70 to 1973-74, distributed amongst the States in the following amounts: A total of $5m is available to the States each year and any amount not paid during a year is available for payment in succeeding years within the five year period. Within these limits, grants are paid according to the amount each State estimates it will require to meet expenditure during a financial year on approved building schemes. (b) {: type="1" start="2"} 0. (a) and (b) Number of dwelling-units completed and estimated final average cost

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 16 August 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.