27th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Petitions have been lodged for presentation as follows and copies will be referred to the appropriate Ministers:
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 $240 million. 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 Howson, Mr Calwell, Mr Brown, Mr Garrick, Mr Jarman and Dr Klugman.
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:
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Dr Everingham and Mr Fulton.
To the Honourable the Speaker and the Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled, we, the citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia, residents in the State of Western Australia do humbly petition and pray that all levels of Government responsible in Australia will take note of the wishes of we, the citizens, in so far as we request:
That the Commonwealth Government give urgent consideration to the return of the land compulsorily acquired from the Shire of Belmont for defence purposes, namely, lots 313, 314, 324 and 32S bounded by Alexander Road, Belgravia Street, Esther Street and Daly Street.
That the land be returned to the Belmont Shire for the purposes envisaged of constructing an Aged Peoples Village and a Community Development.
We further believe that this site is one of the choicest sites for residential development remaining in the Belmont Shire and we feel that the Shire has lost a large proportion of its rateable land to the Commonwealth Government and that this will be in some way compensate for the resumptions which have taken place and the lack of opportunity for community development which exists because of those resumptions.
Therefore, we urge that the matter be given urgent consideration so that proper planning and development of the Shire can continue. Your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Bennett.
To the Honourable the Speaker and the Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled, we, the citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia, residents in the State of Western Australia do humbly petition and pray that all levels of Government responsible in Australia will take note of the wishes of we, the citizens, in so far as we request:
That the Commonwealth Government give urgent consideration to granting taxation concessions to those mothers who are forced to pay fees to have their children retained in Day Care and Family Care Centres.
That these mothers and children are being disadvantaged by the economic circumstances where no concession is made for the charges which must be paid to have their children so looked after. In fact it means that a single parent is working for a subsistence wage and receiving a lower income than many who are living on Social Service at a cost to the community.
That these mothers’ efforts to maintain themselves and their families should be rewarded by taxation concessions for fees paid in recognition to their initiative and diligence by not placing their burden upon the community and so allow them to retain their dignity and standing in the community.
That single and married mothers are contributing to the community by the establishment of their home, the cost of which has become affected by inflation and so must continue to work to make the future for the children who are so cared for.
Therefore we ask that all these aspects be taken into urgent consideration and that taxation concessions for all child minding fees be granted to ease the burden.
We, the petitioners, humbly pray that the House of Representatives in the Parliament Assembled would take immediate steps to ensure provision of this taxation concession and your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Bennett.
The Honourable The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The bumble petition of citizens of the Commonwealth respectfully showeth:
That the Commonwealth Parliament has acted to remove some inadequacies in the Australian Education system.
That there is a major inadequacy at present in the Australian education opportunity for all.
That more than 300,000 children suffer from serious lack of equal opportunity.
That Australia cannot afford to waste the talents of one sixth of its school children.
That only the Commonwealth has the financial resources for special programmes to remove inadequacies.
That nations such as the United Kingdom and the United States have shown that the chief impetus for change and the finance for improvements come from the National Government.
Your petitioners request that your honourable House make legal provision for:
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Bennett
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament Assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectively sheweth:
A: That State education in Victorian Primary, Secondary and Technical schools is seriously impoverished by lack of funds.
B: That shortages of teachers in the Secondary and Technical divisions are causing serious hardship to children, many of whom are receiving little or no teaching in mathematics or science and whose hours of class teaching in many subjects have been severely curtailed.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to ensure that State education be given a higher priority in the allocation of Federal funds and that emergency action be taken to solve the present acute shortage of teachers in the secondary teaching service.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Brown.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned employees in Parliament House Canberra respectfully sheweth:
That the inadequacy of the present parliamentary building is resulting in unpleasant, inefficient and inconvenient working conditions in the House itself.
That the fragmentation of staff at West Block and other offices in the City due to the inadequacies of space in the present building causes inefficiency in staff control and working relationships.
That although the present patchwork extension system results in better accommodation for some sections of the working population in the House it lias worsened the accommodation in other areas by shutting out light and ventilation.
That the older sections of the House, besides being cramped, are affected by extremes of heat and cold and quite out of keeping with modern office working conditions.
That the House lacks proper records storage facilities, and other facilities, especially related to staff comfort, a requirement highly desirable in view of Parliament’s extended working hours.
That the present extensions, as with past extensions, have been costly to the taxpayer and economically shortsighted and will merely relieve the most pressing needs for a very limited period of time due to the inevitable growth of the business of this Parliament.
Your petitioners therefore most humbly pray that an early decision will be taken by the Government to build the new and permanent Parliament House which will, in the long run, be a more economical way to house the Parliament and which will, at the same time, be an impressive and proud symbol of Australia’s progress and national unity.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Enderby.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia respectfully showeth:
That the Sales Tax on all forms of contraceptive devices is 274 per cent. (Sales Tax Exemptions and Classifications Act 1935-1967). Also that there is Customs Duty of up to 474 per cent on some contraceptive devices.
And that this is an unfair imposition on the human rights of all people who wish to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And furthermore that this imposition discriminates particularly against people on low incomes.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Sales Tax on all forms of contraceptive devices be removed, so as to bring these items into line with other necessities such as food, upon which there is no Sales Tax. Also that Customs Duties be removed, and that all contraceptive devices be placed on the National Health Scheme Pharmaceutical Benefits List.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Garrick.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble Petition from certain residents of the western suburbs in the Sydney Metropolitan area and surrounding districts respectfully showeth:
That due to an expanding passenger air travel business together with larger and more powerful jet aircraft, aircraft noise has already become a serious problem for people living in the vicinity of airports.
That jet aircraft operations have a detrimental effect by way of air and noise pollution on the environment and airports should be situated so as to preserve the environment of populated areas.
That protest should be made against the proposal to establish an international airport at Richmond owing to the detrimental effect it would have for the environment there and in surrounding districts.
Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray that this House take appropriate steps to ensure that the Government does not proceed with the proposal to site the second, twenty four hour international airport for Sydney at Richmond or anywhere else in the far western suburbs of the metropolitan area. And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Dr Klugman.
To the Honourable Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:
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 Dr Solomon.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representative in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia respectfully showeth:
That Lake Pedder, situated in the Lake Pedder National Park in South-West Tasmania, is threatened with inundation as part of the Gordon River hydro-electric power scheme.
That an alternative scheme exists, which, if implemented would avoid inundation of this lake.
That Lake Pedder and the surrounding wilderness area is of such beauty and scientific interest as to be of a value beyond monetary consideration.
And that some unique species of flora and fauna will be in danger of extinction if this area is inundated.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Federal Government take immediate steps to act on behalf of all Australian people to preserve Lake Pedder in its natural state. All present and particularly future Australians will benefit by being able to escape from their usual environment to rebuild their physical and mental strength in this unspoilt wilderness area.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Uren.
To the Honourable the Speaker and the Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The bumble petition of the undersigned electors in the State of New South Wales respectfully sheweth:
Your petitioners therefore respectfully pray that your Honourable House will (i) make immediately a substantial Federal emergency grant to all Slate Governments for education services and (ii) carry out a public national survey to determine needs of the States after 1975.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Uren.
– I address a question to you, Mr Speaker. It concerns delegated legislation which was notified in the Commonwealth Gazette bearing yesterday’s date. The Gazette, and therefore the notification, were not available to any honourable members before the House rose at 1 1 .40 last night. The Gazette was not available in the Bills and Papers Office before it closed at 11.45. Moreover, the address at which it is claimed copies of the delegated legislation were available was not open until this morning. Therefore, I ask your advice, Sir: Do you know whether this Gazette notifying delegated legislation was available on the date it bore and if not, do you know the hour when it first became available to honourable members?
-The simple answer to the question is that I am not aware of the legislation. I have not seen the legislation, nor do I know when it became available, if it is available, to honourable members. This applies to most legislation that comes into the House. I am not aware of it and I never see legislation until such time as it is introduced into the House.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer. 1 refer to the tobacco tax introduced in the Tasmanian Budget by the State Treasurer last week. Can the Treasurer inform the Parliament as to the legality or. rather, the constitutionality of such a tax? Would a test of its validity be prejudicial to other sources of Government income, such as a liquor licensing tax? Is this tax. in any event, in accordance with the spirit of Commonwealth-State financial relations?
– I have not had the opportunity to see the proposed legislation. I am, therefore, in no position to express a view as to its legality or its constitutionality. I should make this point clear: The Commonwealth Government’s attitude is that States should be able to have so much freedom of action as they can exercise which is consistent with their taking action to raise revenues for the purposes of expenditures. On that basis the Commonwealth has made its point clear. The Commonwealth has also made it clear that we cannot, as a Commonwealth, with all the responsibilities we have to provide funds for the States - last year we provided a total of nearly $3.5 billion when everything was added up - have a situation whereby Commonwealth revenue raising is eroded without compensating reductions in its obligations to the States. This question raises matters of very great complexity and therefore one should wait and see how it turns out. I think Tasmania had a real will on its part to see what it could do. I think there was also some understanding on its part, as there must have been, that the Commonwealth provides more funds per capita for the Tasmanian population than it does for any other State. Not only is that a fact but, also, the Tasmanian Government has access to the Grants Commission and for this year Tasmania will receive a payment, if my recollection is correct, of about SI Om from the Commission. The Commonwealth has stood ready at any time to consider any representation made by the State for specific Commonwealth aid. lt will continue to do so. But I am bound to say that we will not do what has apparently been suggested, that is, enter into some sort of deal. The Commonwealth is not in the business of doing deals in an in terrorem situation.
– ls the Treasurer aware that his colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, has indicated that environmental impact statements will be prepared on the effects of any Government measures but only if the responsible Ministers request them? Has the Treasurer had an environmental impact statement prepared on air pollution and other sequelae of the imposition of tax on liquefied gas? If not, will he have such a statement prepared and have its contents made public? If he will not do so, why not?
– The decision to impose excise on liquid petroleum gas was a matter which was given the greatest consideration by the Government before it was taken. As I said in the Budget Speech, on the advice that was available to me from Government sources, the emission control standards which were being developed would mean that there would be no greater pollution content in the atmosphere in 4 years, if my recollection is correct. That statement was made in the Budget Speech. There was this examination before. I am not quite sure of the circumstances in which my colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, uses the term ‘impact statement’. I prefer to talk to him about it and to find out what the definition really means. What I can say to the honourable gentleman is that the impact of pollution on the environment by this measure was most carefully weighed against the other side of the equation; that was the potential for the erosion in very great dimensions of the capacity of the Commonwealth, by means of tax revenue, to discharge the very many expenditure requirements upon the Commonwealth.
– My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Is it a fact that hitherto it has been the policy of the Australian Government to discourage the investment of Australian funds overseas - for example, in neighbouring countries - for the cogent reason that we have been, in the nature of things, a capital importing country and have been chronically short of foreign reserves? Since these conditions are no longer as stringent as they were, has any review been undertaken by the Treasury to ascertain whether it might be advantageous to the Australian economy and future Australian trade to relax current restrictions, as may be appropriate, and perhaps even to hold out some incentives to Australian companies - I repeat, Australian companies - to invest at this time some capital in branch enterprises among our neighbours?
– A clear difference should be drawn between direct investment and portfolio investment. I know that the honourable gentleman follows that distinction completely. The policy that Australia has been pursuing since the 1920s is that Australia does not permit investment by Australians overseas except direct investment - and there have been no limitations on that - or investment which is likely to increase export earnings and income. That policy has continued over the years. But now a very real question has arisen, that is, whether or not there ought to be a relaxation of the prohibition on Australians investing in the portfolio method in overseas countries.
There are 2 sides to the question. One is that if Australians are able to invest their funds in portfolios overseas it follows that less equity capital will be available for investment in Australia at a time when we are trying to increase Australian equity, ownership and control of Australian assets and industry. The other side of the question is that it is quite a good proposition so far as our political philosophy is concerned that there should be no artificial barriers to the free movement of money as a result of the individual decision and will of an Australian citizen. We must bring these 2 matters into balance, and reach a policy decision as to where true national interests lie. I assure the honourable gentlemen that this matter has occupied my close attention over recent months, reaching a point of very close attention over the last 2 or 3 weeks.
– The Postmaster-General is no doubt aware that Torres Strait Islanders based on Thursday Island belong to Australia and wish to stay Australians. Is a relay station being erected at Weipa to enable that area to receive Australian Broadcasting Commission radio broadcasts? I believe it is technically possible to construct a similar station at Tamwoy Town on Thursday Island. Will the PostmasterGeneral have his technicians investigate this possibility as I believe that it would not be expensive to erect such a station there?
– The Australian Broadcasting Control Board offers technical advice to the Government in relation to the establishment of television and radio stations. I will refer the honourable member’s question to the Chairman of the Board and ask him to let me have a report on the matter.
– The Minister for Primary Industry will no doubt be aware of the warm welcome given by rural producers, financial institutions and even the city Press to the announcement by the Treasurer in the Budget of the provision of $20m for long term rural loans. Will the Minister inform the House whether a decision has been reached on how this amount is to be made available to farmers and also when enabling legislation might be introduced into the Parliament?
– As the honourable gentleman mentioned, the Treasurer in his Budget Speech referred to the fact that the Government intended to allocate within this financial year $20m for the provision of a long term lending facility for rural industries. The Treasurer and I have now met the banks on 2 occasions to discuss ways in which these funds can best be used for that purpose. To date, no conclusion has been reached. As soon as I am in a position to provide the details which the honourable gentleman seeks, I shall be happy to do so. I might add that I concur completely with him that this is an area where in the past a good deal of support has been given to the need for some longer term lending facility. The survey undertaken by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics has identified the degree to which such a facility will be of assistance in the changing nature of agriculture and the increasing capital intensiveness of the industry. It is for that reason that the Government is pursuing its inquiries as expeditiously as possible.
– I ask the Minister for the Interior a question. At what hour was yesterday’s Gazette published? Are any proceedings pending under the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance which the Full Court of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court yesterday held inoperative but which the Gazette notified afresh? What is the earliest date on which these proceedings are, under present arrangements, due to be heard?
– I understand that the Gazette was published and circulated soon after midnight, or thereabouts. It was soon after a statement in this House that the notification was made. A copy was taken across to the people who were associated with the tent and also a copy was handed to the Press. I made a statement in the House last night saying that notification of the ordinance was to be gazetted last night and, as soon as it was published, it would be explained to any campers on the lawns outside Parliament House that the ordinance was effectively in operation and that they would be expected to comply with its provisions. With respect to the question asking whether any proceedings are before the courts, I cannot give exact details on this, but I shall supply them to the honourable member at the earliest opportunity.
– My question is addressed to the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs. Was the raid by security officers on the homes of a number of Croatian-born Australians, made under the provisions of section 38 of the Crimes Act, seeking evidence of whether Australia is being used as a base for subversive actions against a foreign power? When is it intended to take the same action to determine whether certain Australians - I mention George Crawford as one - who recently visited North Vietnam were using Australia as a base for subversive action in support of a foreign power in its campaign to overthrow the Government of South Vietnam?
– It is my understanding that the action taken by the security officers in the instance of the Croatians referred to in the first part of the honourable gentleman’s question was taken on the premise that he suggested. As to any action to be taken by security officers in respect of Mr George Crawford and others, I have no understanding or knowledge of the position, nor would I expect to have any. However, I must say that I agree completely with the inference in the honourable gentleman’s question and the doubts that he casts on the reasons for Mr Crawford and his colleagues visiting North Vietnam. The fundamental policy that Australia has pursued in its contact with countries in this region since 1945 has been to endeavour to encourage them to develop economically and socially, and towards political stability and maturity. To achieve that, we have participated on a successive number of occasions in military actions. We are still participating in conjunction with our powerful and great friends, particularly the United States in South Vietnam. The visit by Mr Crawford to North Vietnam was, as the honourable gentleman’s question has suggested, in order to destroy fundamentally the objective that Australia has had of trying to secure for the people of South Vietnam the same measure of stability as we ourselves enjoy in Australia. I believe that the visit was entirely reprehensible and I can see every reason why Mr Crawford and his colleagues should be condemned. Indeed, I think that the noise members of the Opposition make in this place and elsewhere in obvious support of Mr Crawford and the intentions which he pursued both in that visit and elsewhere reflects little credit on those members.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister or such Minister as he deputes to answer it; it involves 3 or 4 different Ministers. Was the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare in respect of mentally and physically handicapped persons in Australia tabled in Parliament 15 months ago - in May of last year? Was it subsequently referred by the Government to an interdepartmental committee for consideration just 12 months ago - in September of last year? Did this report recommend a variety of educational, health and welfare measures for the benefit of the handicapped and their families? Has the Government pigeonholed this 15-months-old report, or might action be expected in the immediate future to give relief to these long-suffering citizens?
– I shall treat this question as being on the notice paper and get a reply for the honourable gentleman.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Social Services. Will the poverty inquiry being conducted by Professor Henderson be confined to monetary poverty or can non-monetary factors be raised and taken into account? Is there any substance in the criticism made in this respect by the Leader of the Opposition?
– As I have already said in this House, Professor Henderson will have complete freedom, in the conduct of the inquiry, to take whatever avenues may seem good to him. The Government will be providing him with all necessary facilities - I have already spoken to him in this regard - but it will not be giving him any directions as to what he shall inquire into. That will be up to him. I think I mentioned in the House earlier that he would have complete freedom to inquire into non-monetary factors if it seemed good to him to do so. In point of fact, in speaking in the House I did remark that, looking at his published material, I thought it entirely likely that he would take these other factors into consideration. I was therefore rather surprised to see in the Press reports of remarks made by my friend, the Leader of the Opposition.
– Your friend?
– Well, parliamentary decencies must be preserved. I was rather surprised to see reports of remarks, allegedly made by my friend at a meeting of Methodists over the weekend, in which he grandiloquently said he would see, if he had the authority, that the inquiry was widened. He went on to imply that the professor would not be competent, under the terms of the Government’s proposal, to make such inquiries. I had made it quite clear in the House that he would be competent to do so. I would not like to think that my honourable friend was deliberately misleading the Methodists and endeavouring to imply something which was not true. If indeed the report is correct, I can therefore only assume that he spoke in complete ignorance of the facts.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Is he aware of the repeated statements that are being made by the Minister for Primary Industry and the Minister for Trade and Industry that the Government is establishing a national rural bank and that figures of $300m to $400m have been mentioned? I ask whether the Prime Minister still remembers that on television he debunked this idea, using the following words:
No, I do not think it is on; not in the immediate future; certainly not.
Has this matter in fact been considered by Cabinet? If it has, when will the Government make a decision? If it has not, what authority have the Minister for Primary Industry and the Minister for Trade and Industry to make public statements purporting to be from the Cabinet, that a national rural bank is in fact being established?
Mi McMAHON- The honourable gentleman should know, if he reads the newspapers, that there have been discussions within the whole ministerial system about the viability of establishing a rural bank. It has also been made clear, as a matter of policy, that if such a bank is a viable proposition the Liberal Party will support it. There have been many detailed discussions between the Minister for Primary Industry and the Treasurer, who are my colleagues associated with this problem. Also there have been discussions about this problem with me and I have been very interested in it. At the moment we are not in a position where we can state clearly and unequivocally that we feel that a rural bank is a viable proposition. In fact, in a case like this where the Commonwealth Trading Bank and the other trading banks are so intimately involved, as are the pastoral houses and the insurance companies, a great deal more precision is required before we can decide for ourselves whether a rural bank -vin be established.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Trade and Industry. In the interests of decentralisation of industry, will the Commonwealth consider taking similar action to that taken by the Victorian Government which proposes to offer payroll tax rebates to industry going to country areas?
– I have heard many comments from different sections of the community suggesting that the Commonwealth should have taxation laws to assist industry to go to country areas; in other words, in the cause of decentralisation. However, as I am sure the honourable member would know, under the Commonwealth Constitution we cannot discriminate in the application of taxation laws between States or pans thereof. I did read in the Press today, with a great deal of interest, that the Victorian Government has decided to introduce a scheme of giving payroll tax rebates for industries that move to country areas. I think it is a most commendable idea and I congratulate that Government for being the first to introduce it. Only in the last year have State governments been able to move in this area, the Commonwealth having handed this taxing power back to the States which can use it however they wish. We in the Commonwealth have used payroll tax as a means of increasing exports. We have used it as an incentive device to help develop overseas markets and to encourage the development of export industry. This scheme has been operating for a number of years and I think it has achieved remarkable results in encouraging manufacturing and primary processing industries to get into the business. If the same result can be achieved at the State level, then I think it is a really encouraging step in helping effective decentralisation.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Social Services. Has the Minister yet studied the contents of the survey by the Police Bureau of Crime Statistics which, according to the New South Wales Minister for Justice, reveals that there are areas of real poverty in and around the electorate of Shortland and elsewhere? Does the honourable gentleman remember that constantly I have been bringing to his notice cases involving people who are chronically ill with diseases such as varicocele, arthritis and hypertensionsion about which medical practitioners are unable to certify their patients as being 83 per cent incapacitated? In view of the fact that most employers will not employ persons incapable of a maximum work effort, will the Minister consider reducing the 85 per cent incapacity that is required under section 23 of the Social Services Act to something like 50 per cent or 60 per cent to enable these folk to receive an invalid pension? Will the Minister also eliminate the anomalies that prevent single mothers under 16 years of age and deserted wives with young children receiving pensions immediately after their desertion, thus removing the possibility of many people becoming known to the police?
– The honourable member has asked a number of questions and I will try to answer them as briefly as possible. Firstly in regard to deserted wives, the position is not that they do not get a pension for the first 6 months of their desertion. Rather the position is that the pension is administered by the State during that time and not by the Commonwealth, so during that time the responsibility lies with the State and not with the Commonwealth. Therefore it would be preferable for the honourable member to see that these representations were directed to the State authorities. Secondly, I think I would be right in saying that the honourable member’s mind is directed to the Windale area. Is that correct?
– And around there.
– This is a matter of great concern. What is in question there is not entirely the level of monetary poverty. These are newly settled areas where there is a great lack of community facilities and community spirit. I would not issue any directions on this matter but I would think it not improbable that this kind of problem would be included in the survey to be conducted by Professor Henderson. The honourable gentleman has made a real and substantial point but I think that the problem is more a nonmonetary one than a monetary one. Lastly he referred to invalid pensions. Again tha point he raised is substantial and it causes me no small amount of anxiety. The present criterion of 85 per cent has been in the Act for a very long time. Its precise meaning is not always clear. It seems to me that the time is ripe for some complete reassessment of this position. I do not think one would consider giving the whole of the invalid pension to those people who were less seriously incapacitated. I simply say without making any commitment at the moment that it may well be that, just as we have partial war pensions, we will be giving some consideration to the question of partial invalid pensions. This would meet the kind of thing that the honourable gentleman has in mind. He has raised a real problem and one that cannot be solved simply by reducing the present qualification for the invalid pension.
– Has the Prime Minister seen reports that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation is now using laser beams to listen to telephone conversations from up to 2 miles distance? In view of the fact that the previous method of telephone tapping by ASIO required the Attorney-General’s permission, will the Prime Minister consider that this principle should apply also to the use of laser beams? Finally, will the Prime Minister consider placing a total import ban on the procurement of such equipment by anyone, including State police forces but excluding only an organisation properly authorised to protect this nation’s security?
– The answer to the 2 questions asked by the honourable gentlemen is yes.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Supply. Has the Minister any further information on the question that I have raised with him concerning the removal of opal miners from the opal bearing areas south of Coober Pedy in South Australia by officers of the Woomera rocket range earlier this year?
– I have received a number of representations on this matter from the honourable member and from Senator Young and Senator Jessop amongst others. My Department, in conjunction with other departments, has carried out a very full inquiry as to what areas in South Australia ought to be retained as prohibited areas. So I am able to announce that quite recently I approved on behalf of the Government - it will be gazetted tomorrow - a reduction in the prohibited areas in South Australia, including approximately 90 per cent of what is known as the Maralinga prohibited area and just less than half of the Woomera area. This is a reduction of the prohibited areas by about 50,000 square miles. The 2 townships of Coober Pedy and Andamooka, which contain the greatest number of the miners to whom the honourable member referred, have been excluded from the prohibited area. The particular area from which officers of the Department, in particular of the Weapons Research Establishment, had to exclude miners recently - the area known as Mount Penryn - will have to remain within the prohibited area because of the defence needs and for safety reasons. In fact this area lies in one of the impact zones. With the establishment of a smaller area, a more stringent permits procedure is to be introduced, for defence reasons, for security and for safety, to provide for the proper use of the reduced area. Details of that will be made known in the next few days.
I should add that the Maralinga village, which will be outside the new reduced area, is still on lease. That village is the subject of negotiations between the Prime Minister and the Premier of South Australia. But 2 of the so-called cemeteries or hot areas - the areas in which nuclear explosions took place many years ago, which were very well covered up and buried in concrete by the British Government and in which radio activity has very much decreased year by year - will be still within the 10 per cent remaining of the Maralinga prohibited area. Another small section is near the Maralinga village. So it will be easy for the South Australian authorities to supervise it when administration of the village is determined.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer. Will he assure me that he will do all that he possibly can to pursue the objective outlined in the Budget to make long term finance available to rural producers?
– I can give the undertaking that not only I but also my officers will be doing this. Last week my colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry, and I went to Sydney to see the general managers of all the private banks. The Commonwealth Bank was also represented. We had a long discussion on this matter. The purpose of the discussion was to identify a policy which the Government could adopt in relation to the providing of long term finance in such a way that it would not mean a retreat from that field by the traditional lenders but, on the contrary, would leave it to the traditional lenders to fulfil their traditional duties and obligations whilst the Commonwealth made a contribution which would assist in coalescing and, hopefully, broadening the amount of funds available for long term finance. The essence of the proposition was to allow funds to be made available over a longer term. In the course of our discussions we discussed different possibilities. A meeting is to be held today between representatives of the Department of Primary Industry, the private trading banks and the Treasury. Indeed, one of the First Assistant Secretaries of my Department, Mr Cameron, will be chairing that meeting, which I think is going on at the present time. They will be trying to identify the best method which is agreeable to all parties. We will then reach policy decisions. I have no idea at this moment just what form they will take. All we can do is identify the purposes. Having identified the purposes we will then pull the proposition together into a form which meets those purposes and objectives. What the scheme will be called is quite unimportant. The name or description is unimportant. What is important is the achievement of the objectives.
– 1 direct my question to the Postmaster-General. Does the Australian Broadcasting Commission intend to scrap the children’s programme ‘Adventure Island’? If so, why? Is this programme not the finest children’s television programme available in Australia? ls it not also in all senses wholesome and educationally stimulating to children? Will the Minister consult with the Commission to reverse the decision? Will he endeavour to expand the whole range of educational television programmes offered by Australians for Australian children?
– As I have said on many occasions, the Australian Broadcasting Commission is responsible for its own programming arrangements. I will treat the honourable member’s question as being on notice and I will obtain an answer for him.
– 1 ask the Minister for Primary Industry: Has the price of wool at recent sales shown an upward trend? Is it the opinion of wool industry leaders that further increases could occur? Has the Australian Wool Commission had occasion to purchase at recent sales? Will the Minister inform the House of the up-to-date position particularly in respect of stocks of wool held by the Commission and the clearances being effected?
– The wool market has shown a marked firming trend since it reopened about a month ago. It is true that since that time the Australian Wool Commission has not been a significant purchaser of wool. However, in pursuing its customary function of trying to maintain stability in the day to day sales the Commission has made some purchases. For example, yesterday I think it bought about 5 to 10 lots. The Commission is still buying on occasions and is bidding on a good many occasions when, for reasons related to the time of the day or the type of wool on offer, there is some slackness in the immediate demand.
The function of the Australian Wool Commission since the market has recovered has been substantially to pursue a stabilising influence in the market place. This is of course of real benefit to both growers and buyers. I for one am sorry that the market seems to be running away to the degree that it is. Although from the wool growers’ point of view we are all delighted that prices are again reaching a realistic level, I think one needs to express concern that to the degree to which the price of wool rises beyond a point competitive with the prices of other fibres there could be a tendency to revert to the use of those fibres. Growers are quite conscious of that danger. In order to obviate growers’ fear of that danger the Commission has been releasing its stocks according to the demand and the availability within the catalogues of sales.
The amount of stocks held by the Commission at this stage is not high. I cannot give an exact figure. Of course, it represents in part price averaging plan wool and part non price averaging plan wool. As far as 1 can recall, the figure has not been published by the Commission but I can assure the honourable gentleman that at this stage it is significantly less than 200,000 bales. The stock held constantly reflects the inflow of wool that is coming through the price averaging plan system. I believe that the whole strengthening of the market tone, nonetheless, is overall a credit to the publicity efforts of the International Wool Secretariat and to the Australian Wool Commission for the sound backing it has given to the auction system.
– Does the Minister for Supply recall telling the Parliament on 1 1 th May 1972 that he conceived it as his duty to keep the House informed on the rationalisation of the Australian aircraft industry? If so, why did he dishonour this promise, by making outside the House, at a time when Parliament was in session, an important statement on the aircraft industry? Was this done to duck a debate in this
House on this crucial issue? Will the Minister rectify his abuse of the Parliamentary process by now making a statement on the aircraft industry which can be properly debated in this House?
– I do not agree that what was announced by me was, to use the honourable members phrase, a most important matter. In fact, what has been happening in recent months - I think that this has been made rather clear - is that a series of steps, I believe logical and consistent steps, have been taken by the Government in order to review the present situation and to encourage the aircraft industry to proceed in a certain way. Part of this is to determine what the industry’s future work load should be. Interdependent with that is the decision on the form and scope of the rationalisation that should take place among the 3 elements of the industry. What 1 announced recently was that I had been given on behalf of the Government some additional authority to carry on the negotiations. The Government has before it some proposals on work load, which it is examining. Until that has been determined it will not be possible for it to enter into any detailed discussions, although I know that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition will be aware of several rationalisation examinations that have taken place. These provide a number of elements in the total and complicated question of what should be done with the industry. But I emphasise that the main effort by the Government in this whole area has been made clear.
As to the question of a debate, I can assure the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that I have no desire whatever to avoid discussion of the matter. I believe that the Government has taken a number of positive steps. They are steps that 1 think will be to the benefit of the industry. They will be of real benefit and not merely loose talk about what may be idealistically desirable. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition would know, the Parliament has a tremendous amount of business before it to carry out before the election. Every minute and every hour in this place is needed for that programme. I am sure that every fair minded honourable member will be aware of that. However, I will have a discussion with the Leader of the House to see whether there is anything meaning ful that could be announced by me and whether he can provide some time for a debate. But I think that I would have to see firstly whether anything could be usefully added to what has been said as at now to inform the Parliament, on which a debate could be based. I might say that many things are going on in relation to this whole question. It may well be that in the not too distant future there will be something substantive to say.
– I desire to make a personal explanation.
-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes, I have been misrepresented. Yesterday after question time the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) claimed that a statement that I had made was completely and absurdly incorrect. What I had said was that Labor’s spokesman, Mr Grassby, had said that the Australian Labor Party had drawn on experience of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and other countries to prepare a programme for socialist agriculture for this nation based on national planning. I took this quotation from the ‘Fabian Newsletter’ of November-December 1970. The article in this newsletter is titled ‘Al Grassby’s Fight Against Outdated Concepts’ by Al Grassby. A sentence in that article reads:
The Labor Party has drawn on experience of the USSR and other countries to prepare a programme of socialist agriculture for this nation based on national planning . . .
In last Thursdays Naracoorte ‘Herald’ the honourable member for Riverina challenged the Country Party State candidate for Victoria, Mr Carrick, to prove that he, Mr Grassby, had used the words that I have just quoted. He promised to give $1,000 towards Mr Carrick’s campaign if he could prove it. I suggest that Mr Carrick read the ‘Fabian Newsletter*. Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table these 2 documents.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes, I do. In the Australian Broadcasting Commission news broadcast this morning dealing with the incidents outside Parliament House this morning at about 1 o’clock I was reported as having said to the police that they were acting in a manner reminiscent of a police state. That is not true. I did not say that, although it can be easily understood how the journalist might have made the error. What I said was that from the way this Government was acting no-one could be blamed for thinking that the Government believed it was managing a police state. I went on to talk to the police about the importance of this Parliament and the need for better processes for the making of laws. I said to them that the rule of law, they themselves having such an important part to play -
-Order! I think the honourable member has explained where he was misrepresented by the ABC. Does he claim that he was misrepresented by the police? If not, he will be out of order proceeding along this line.
– No, I am endeavouring to say what I said, in contrast with what the ABC said I said. Surely I am entitled to say that.
– Yes, you are entitled to do that, but you are not entitled to debate the matter and give further information.
– No, I am not, Mr Speaker. I said to the police that there could be few more important things in the world than the rule of law. I said to the police that there could be few more important things than the proper functioning of this Parliament. I said to the police that there could be few more despicable things than what this Government was doing to this Parliament in abusing the Parliament by making laws in the way in which it had made and gazetted the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance.
-Order! Is the honourable gentleman now speaking about the report on the ABC this morning?
– The misrepresentation was that what I am relating now was left out.
– Was this subject matter misrepresented on the ABC this morning?
– Yes. I went on to stress that when a Labor government came to power it would see that the police were given better and more socially valuable duties to perform. I hope to repeat those messages to them tonight when I address a police association meeting.
– For the information of honourable members, I present the Defence Report 1972.
– Pursuant to section 33 of the Australian National University Act, I present the report of the Council of the Australian National University for the year ended 31st December 1971.
– For the information of honourable members, I present the interim annual report of the Director of War Service Homes for the year ended 30th June 1972. When the final report is available, I shall present it in accordance with statutory requirements.
Motion (by Mr Chipp) agreed to: That leave of absence for one month be given to the honourable member for Balaclava (Mr Whittorn), on the ground of public business overseas.
Motion (by Mr Whitlam) agreed to:
That leave of absence for one month be given to the honourable members for Port Adelaide (Mr Birrell) and Darling (Mr Fitzpatrick), on the ground of parliamentary business overseas and to the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Allan Fraser), on the ground of public business overseas.
– On behalf of the Joint Committee on the Australian
Capital Territory I bring up the Committee’s report relating to employment opportunities in the Australian Capital Territory, which matter was referred to the Committee by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) on 7th May 1970. I ask for leave of the House to make a short statement in connection with the report.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The report of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory on employment opportunities in the Australian Capital Territory which I have just tabled is, in keeping with a number of other reports of this Committee, a most significant, important and far reaching one. Its major recommendations will have far reaching consequences for the national capital if implemented. The recommendations to which I refer are:
That population growth in the Australian Capital Territory should be limited to 500,000 persons.
That no positive policy aimed at attracting new forms of commercial and industrial activity to the Australian Capital Territory be implemented.
That an immediate serious attempt be made to restrict the transfer and growth of Commonwealth Public Service positions in the Australian Capital Territory to those essential to the seat of government function and to ensure that the recommended population limit of 500,000 persons for the Australian Capita] Territory is not exceeded.
That the Public Service Board extends the principle of open entry into the Commonwealth Pubtic Service so that positions vacant in the Third Division of the Public Service from and including the Class 8 level in the Australian Capital Territory are widely advertised and made open to application from any, person.
That section 25 of the National Capital Development Commission Act 1957-1960 be amended so as to add a sub-clause (f) providing for the appointment to the National Capital Planning Committee of 2 persons qualified and experienced in the field of urban economics.
That vocational training be related to the needs of employers. In this respect the Committee commends to those responsible for the design of vocational training courses the assessment of present and projected needs of employers by the Australian Capital Territory Apprenticeship Board.
That the Bureau of Transport Economics investigate the incidence of transport costs in the price of goods and services supplied in CanberraQueanbeyan.
That a joint Commonwealth-New South Wales regional planning authority be established immediately on a statutory basis with responsibility for the development of mutually acceptable extent and nature of land use planning now and for the future for the Canberra city region and its New South Wales environs.
That the necessary steps be taken immediately to ensure that the neglect of the ways and means of training and employing handicapped persons seeking employment, particularly by the Public Service Board, is not further prolonged.
There are a number of recommendations designed to assist married women to pursue employment of their choosing in this community.
That the urgent investigation of the provision of an adequate public transport system in the Australian Capital Territory be undertaken. The resultant system should obviate the obligation on members of the work force in the Australian Capital Territory, to provide private transport and should contribute to the active use of land in business centres currently rendered inoperative because of its reservation for vehicle parking.
A number of recommendations from the Committee if implemented will revitalise the planning of visitor attractions and other features affecting the tourist industry in the Australian Capital Territory.
This report appears to have canvassed a number of matters and made recommendations about them which, at first sight, the terms of reference would not have warranted. The Committee has made recommendations about the ultimate population size of Canberra and the need for a joint approach from the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments regarding planning in the Australian Capital Territory environs. Population growth in Canberra is dependent on the number of jobs created here along with a proportionately smaller reliance on natural population increase. Consequently, when looking at employment opportunities the Committee was forced to the conclusion that it should take account of the effect on the size of the city of any recommendations it may make about generating more jobs in Canberra.
The inquiry demonstrated that there is no lack of job opportunities in this city, nor is there a case for an incentive scheme to provide for diversity of employment opportunities. There was abundant evidence before us of a quite wide range of employment available to young persons in Canberra-Queanbeyan - wider by far than in the case in other Australian cities of anything like comparable size and the prospect for the future is that this diversity will be enhanced. On the other hand, a policy which set out to create employment diversity would generate the following difficulties: It would in the first place be quite expensive in a city where already large sums of Commonwealth money are being invested annually and we could not guarantee success from the very large outlay which would be required to have any effect on diversity of employment here. Secondly, such a policy if successful, could generate embarrassing problems for the planners who would have to cope with the consequent growth impetus which would be generated. Thirdly, there is in prospect the exhaustion of land for urban purposes within the A.C.T. and an accelerated growth policy is not necessarily in the best interests of this city and the surrounding lands close by in New South Wales.
Finally, we were not satisfied of the desirability of giving support to the possible growth of another large city in Australia. In the world at large and in Australia in particular, there appears to be merit in avoiding big cities if possible. It will be appreciated that this particular city is the seat of Federal Government and we may, as a result of encouraging unfettered growth here, have in some way jeopardised the national capital concept and function. We have accordingly recommended restraint. It will be seen that there is a clear chain of course and consequence between the creation of job opportunities and the ultimate size of Canberra. For this reason I believe the Committee was entirely justified in looking beyond the mere facts of the Canberra situation in respect of the quantity and quality of jobs available here. Such an approach to this inquiry would have been rather a waste of time, whereas we were presented with the opportunity of considering related issues of far greater consequence and making what we believe to be recommendations for the longer term benefit of Canberra as the national capital. I commend the report to the House.
Ordered that the report be printed.
– I ask for leave to make a short statement to the House on the same subject.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Firstly, I thank the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) very much indeed for tabling the report and also for the speech which he has made. I take this opportunity to thank the members of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory for the tremendous work which they have done since 1 have been the Minister for the Interior, and for the advice which they have tendered to the Government over the period. I understand that the Committee was first appointed on 8th November 1936. It has been reappointed by succeeding governments. I know that every member of the Committee takes his responsibilities very seriously. An extensive amount of investigation has certainly gone into the preparation of this report and recommendations. The Government will certainly take into consideration the recommendations which the Committee has made. On behalf of the Government I thank every member of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory very much for his good work.
– Leader of the Opposition) - 1 also seek leave to make a statement on the same subject.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I join with the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) in congratulating the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) and his colleagues from both sides of both chambers who serve on the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory on the quality and range of this report. A fortnight ago and again today the Parliament has had the benefit of such comprehensive, basic, far-sighted reports from this Committee. It has approached the range of urban problems and opportunities with the same insight as the Public Works Committee, a statutory committee also comprising members from both sides of both chambers. I would hope that advisers to governments would take courage from these parliamentary reports. It is certainly high time that the Australian people were given the benefit of Government decisions based on such reports as those of the Public Works Committee and the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory.
I wish to speak particularly in the context of the size of Canberra and the creation of similar cities. I know that it is an embarrassing matter for many honourable members to suggest any particular centre as right for creation or recreation or expansion. Nevertheless I, myself, have been committed for years to the proposition that governments should as a matter of deliberate policy set out to create another city the size of Canberra between Canberra and Melbourne. AlburyWodonga is the natural site for such a city. It is situated on the busiest railway line in Australia, the busiest highway in Australia and the biggest river in Australia. It is a centre with a range of natural resources and above all it is equidistant between Melbourne and Canberra. It is the same distance from them as Canberra is from Sydney. If this country is ever to have another large inland city then Albury-Wodonga is the natural site for it. If, moreover, there is to be any respite for residents of Sydney and Melbourne in the burdensome proliferation of those cities then some new cities must be created, and if they are to be inland cities AlburyWodonga is clearly the area which is most suitable. It has the advantage moreover of being a centre where not only 2 State Governments would have constitutional responsibility but the Commonwealth itself would have constitutional responsibility since it is on a State border. The Commonwealth has always had power to legislate with respect to trade and commerce among States. 1 want to illustrate what can be done to complement the recommendations of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory on the size of Canberra by building up a centre between Canberra and Melbourne such as I suggest at AlburyWodonga. We. have just been given the report of the Public Service Board. It shows at page 70 the number of central office staff still located in Melbourne at the end of June. To take the numbers in order: The Postmaster-General’s Department still has 3,152 central office staff located in Melbourne; the Department of Civil Aviation has 1,716; the Department of the Army has 1,156; the Bureau of Meteorology has 805; the Department of Defence has 734; the Department of the Navy has 601; the Department of Works has 591; the Department of Labour and National Service has 542; and the Department of Shipping and Transport has 303. In addition to those I have mentioned, there are other departments with smaller numbers. The relevance of these figures is that they are all listed in the portion of the Board’s report entitled “The Transfer Programme’, lt is still proposed that at some stage all these people will be transferred to Canberra. If they are transferred to Canberra it will run completely counter to the considered views of our parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory. A great number of these transfers should be made to Albury-Wodonga. Honourable members will recall that I have asked questions on this matter for quite some time. On 29th September last year I asked the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) this question:
The Public Service Board’s annual report which he tabled in the last week we sat pointed out that nearly 10,000 central office staff were still located in Melbourne awaiting transfer to Canberra.
I interpolate that the 1971-72 report from which I have just quoted shows that 10,500 people are awaiting transfer. My question continued:
Has the Board ever examined or is it authorised to examine the cost and convenience of transferring some of the remaining departments, such as the Department of Works, the PostmasterGeneral’s Department and the Bureau of Meteorology, to a mid point such as AlburyWodonga, just as the British Department of Social Services has its headquarters not in London but in Newcastle-on-Tyne? Is the Public Service Board represented on the CommonwealthState Officials Committee on Decentralisation established 7 years ago?
The Prime Minister replied in the following terms:
The answer to the last part of the honourable gentleman’s question is no, but I believe that we will soon be receiving a report from the authorities concerned in regard to decentralisation and 1 will then ensure that it is quickly considered by the Government. I have not received it yet. As to the first part of the honourable gentlemen’s question, the answer is no, but I will make inquiries from the Chairman of the Public Service Board to find out whether he thinks it is desirable to have the kind of analysis made.
I asked a follow-up question of the Prime Minister on 30th November. On 3rd December the Prime Minister sent me the following reply:
I have received a report from the Chairman of the Public Service Board or the possible transfer of central offices of Commonwealth departments still located in Melbourne to a mid-point such as Albury-Wodonga instead of Canberra. In his advice the Chairman of the Board said:
It is apparent that there would be significant costs in terms of departmental operating efficiency if the central offices of some departments were transferred to a country centre outside of Canberra. One major difficulty would be the recruitment and retention of a sufficient number of staff, particularly specialised and senior staff, in such a location. There would also be direct costs, such as additional transport and communication expenses, over those arising if the units were located in Canberra or Melbourne. From the viewpoint of CPS administration, therefore, the Board would have no reason to recommend the transfer of central offices of Commonwealth departments to Albury-Wodonga’.
Since then a working party of the Departments of Trade and Industry, Interior and Shipping and Transport has made a report on decentralisation and regional development. The report was made in March and an attachment to the report quotes the Prime Minister’s letter in reply to me which I have just read. The working party then states:
Although this statement of the Board’s attitude has been made in relation to location of Melbourne based central offices in Albury-Wodonga, it is apparent that a policy decision would have to be taken by the Government in order to have the Board - as well as departments and authoritiesconsciously seek to locate segments of the Commonwealth machinery in selected growth centres.
While there are good reasons not to shift policy departments, there are 3 broad categories of Commonwealth activity involving both departments and instrumentalities which may be considered as potentially suitable for location or relocation within the framework of an overall decentralisation policy.
The working party then sets out 3 such categories: Manufacturing activities, research and testing activities and large scale processing. To save time 1 seek leave to incorporate in Hansard page 2 and the few lines on page 3 of the working party’s report entitled ‘Decentralisation and Regional Development’ which details these 3 activities.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -
CSIRO laboratories dealing with rural industries are located in capital cities. For such laboratories, relocation in appropriate growth centres could be expected to have little impact on their work.
To sum up, there are many areas of Commonwealth activity which appear suitable for consideration for relocation as part of an overall decentralisation policy. First steps along these lines would demonstrate the Commonwealth involvement in a rational approach to decentralisation and regional development. Secondly, relocation of research and testing facilities could have considerable impact on relocation decisions of private firms - as was seen with Government telecommunication research and testing facilities in France (see Part 3 of this report).
The reports of the Joint Committee on the A.C.T., the Public Service Board and the working party all show that it is time that the advice of parliamentary bodies and public servants should be properly coordinated. We lose too much time in carrying out these matters. Canberra will get too large unless we act. Sydney and Melbourne are becoming too large because we do not act. Other suitable centres are available for Commonwealth promotion and they are not progressing as they could because we do not act. I conclude by complimenting the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory on yet another basic and far sighted report on what Australians expect governments to achieve in making proper urban centres for them to live in.
– by leave - I will not take up much time because much of what I wanted to say has already been said by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly). The report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory is surely a significant one. I do not know of any report that has taken such an almost radical stand on the limits of growth. The fact that there is unanimity among the members of the Committee, irrespective of Party, on this subject is surely a strong reflection of the feeling in the community on the dangers of unlimited growth. The suggestion that Canberra be geared so that growth will level off at a population of about 500,000 in order to benefit the people of Canberra is a major step in political thinking. There are other excellent features in this report and I am sure that when people have time to read it they will detect and study them.
But there is one point in particular on which 1 would like to comment and that is the chapter on married women. If that chapter is studied it will be seen to constitute a contribution to a subject that is very difficult, that is, the need to provide diversity in employment opportunities for married women. Again there was complete unanimity among the members of the Committee on this subject. The Committee unanimously adopted certain findings of the Canadian Royal Commission on the Status of Women and made 5 recommendations. These related to the need for child care facilities at a cost to parents which would not impose hardship; vacation centres for the care of children of working mothers; the provision of a much extended system of occupational training for women whose employment has been interrupted by the raising of a family; the provision of incentives to private employers able and willing to employ women on a part time and/ or tandem basis. Though the Commonwealth Public Service should take the initiative in this regard, I suggest that these are all matters of some significance. Finally the Committee referred to the need for an immediate and detailed study by the Department of Labour and National Service to ensure that the foregoing provisions are sufficient to enable women in Canberra to exercise effective choice of employment opportunities. If it can be done here it can be, done in other parts of Australia.
– by leave - I rise to comment on the report of the very progressive Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Australian Capital Territory. I think there are in this report very important principles which will have a fundamental bearing on the development of cities throughout Australia and on the development of new cities throughout this nation. I deal firstly with the question of the future expansion of the Australian Capital Territory, or of Canberra as we know it. We all recognise and agree - and of course this is the plan of the National Capital Development Commission - that the maximum population of the Australian Capital Territory should be about 500,000 people. We have to determine how that population of 500,000 people will be achieved.
I am aware that the National Capital Development Commission holds the view that employment opportunities in this area should be diversified and that we should not try to provide employment opportunities only in the Public Service. I point out, as the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) did in his comments, that there is no positive policy aimed at attracting commercial and industrial activities to the Australian Capital Territory. The population of Canberra now has reached 150,000 people. It seems to me that now is the time when we should cease increasing the number of public servants in Canberra and try to attract to Canberra industry which is nonpolluting. I am thinking of industries such as the electronics industries, the computerised industries and other industries which need a well educated work force. Probably, on a population basis, people in no other part of Australia are as well educated as are the people in Canberra. I think honourable members will find that a Labor Government will be directing its attention towards this type of development for Canberra. We will restrict the development of the Public Service in Canberra. I believe that under our decentralisation plan new cities will be developed by transferring public servants to those new cities.
Paragraph 191 of the Committee’s report states:
There is ample evidence in Australia and elsewhere that large cities are uneconomical and if they are avoidable this should be done.
But that is c completely contrary to the policy of the present Government. What is the policy of the present Government? The policy is to develop in the central business district of Melbourne a Commonwealth centre to house 20,000 employees, and to develop in the centre of Sydney at Woolloomooloo a Commonwealth centre to house 15,000 employees. We argue that this development should not proceed in the centre of these big cities; it should take place in other areas as part of an overall decentralisation policy.
The Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory, to its great credit, points up the basic principle which is so very vital and important to this Parliament. The Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt), who spoke earlier is responsible for the siting of buildings at Woolloomooloo in Sydney and in the centre of Melbourne. So it is a kind of hotchpotch business. The Government does not seem to know how to plan to govern. Yet, intelligent committees, such as the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory can find the way and give a lead to the Government, and can show the utter stupidity, if I may use the term, of Government planning.
Another aspect I wish to deal with is the question of fringe development. This matter has been raised in, but I will not quote the section of, the Committee’s report. At paragraph 192 it deals with the whole question of the over-development on the fringe of the Australian Capital Territory. Yet, as far back as early 1970 I asked questions on this matter of the then Minister for the Interior, who is now the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) - another Country Party Minister. He is in this new group which is determined to find an eleventh hour decision to pull out of the box on the matter of decentralisation. This group is the troika, comprising the Minister for Trade and Industry, the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony), the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt), who has just spoken, and the former Minister for the Interior, now Minister for Shipping and Transport, which will try to pull out of their Pandora’s box a new formula for decentralisation. In early 1970 I asked the then Minister for the Interior:
Has there been any discussion between the Government . . .
I am taking about the Federal Government . . and the State Government of New South Wales for the future growth of Canberra?
Of course the reply was one word: ‘No’. The next question I asked was:
If so, what proposals have been made by the Commonwealth Government to prevent ribbon development on the highway leading to Canberra?
My third question was:
Is it a fact that, unless there is agreement to prevent the ribbon development the future growth of Canberra will be prejudiced?
The reply was dated 1 2th June. The answer to the first question was ‘no’ and the answers to the other questions were also no’ - not so abruptly, but in a negative form. The Australian Capital Territory Committee has drawn the attention of the House to the fact that some action must be taken about fringe development around Canberra.
I wish to deal also with the question of the motor car transport system as against public transport systems. We heard, during question time, a question asked of the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) by the honourable member for Kingston (Dr Gun) dealing with liquid petroleum gas. He asked: What aspects of environmental impact had the government studied before making its decision? The honourable member just did not know. He could not really co-relate what the Minister for the Environment Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson) meant by an ‘impact statement’. He did not understand, yet a decision had been made. The truth of it all is that basically, even the Treasurer should know economically, Australia is petroleum poor and very wealthy in LPG. Honourable members on this side argue that at least public transport in this area should be using liquid petroleum gas and not petroleum. The Commonwealth should be setting an example. Again, it is significant that the Committee, in paragraph 220 of its report, stated:
The Committee has observed the high ratio of journeys to work by the private motor car . . .
In fact, it says 85 per cent- . . as against those made by public transport. If this situation continues as the workforce grows the peak demands for road space will generate congestion.
This is the position. Wherever one goes throughout the world this is the evidence which is being produced. The only way to overcome this problem is by an alternative public transport system. Whether we are dealing with this question in Canberra, Sydney or Melbourne, the motor car has become a monster to the cities of Australia and the cities of the world. The only way in which motor cars can be kept out of the cities is to provide, as an alternative, an adequate public transport system. This Government has taken no action at all to introduce a more adequate transport system.
What does the Government intend to do in Canberra? It will extend the road surface. Paragraph 220 of the Committee’s report - I will not quote it in full - points out that at least one-fifth of the developed urban area of Canberra is now taken up by vehicle carriage ways. Many of the people who work at Parliament House are parking their cars illegally in areas adjacent to Parliament House. In many cases they are using open parkland space in which to park their cars because adequate parking facilities are not available here. Why do these people use their motor vehicles? The truth is that the public transport system in Canberra is frightful. Yet this Government continues to make available facilities which encourage the use of the motor car in Canberra City. The development of car parking facilities in Civic Centre is proposed. The cost of these facilities will be very high. What I advocate is that in Canberra the Government should purchase more buses and it should utilise those additional buses even if it is necessary to introduce low fares to keep them fully in use. The Government also should change from petroleum to liquid petroleum gas for use in those buses so that a build up of pollution will not be created in this area.
– You said you would make a short statement.
-I beg the Minister’s pardon?
– Leave was given on the basis that the honourable member said his statement would be short.
– All right. 1 appreciate that the time factor is important. The fact is that the Opposition must take opportunities available to it to expose the blindness of this Government. This report does not represent the Government’s policy. It is the report of an impartial committee which has examined Government policy. In its examination, the Committee has exposed the inadequate policies of the Government. I hope that the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory deals with future facilities for motor cars. I hope that the proposal to develop additional car parking facilities in Civic Centre at an enormous cost will be refused. It is time that the Government commenced to take some action against the provision of further parking facilities for private motor cars. Instead of assisting to make these facilities more readily available, the Government should make it more difficult for them to be provided. The Government should upgrade the public transport system. Fares should be reduced. It has even been suggested by some people that it might be in the interests of Canberra to make a bus transport service available free of charge at certain hours to enable people to travel to and from work utilising public facilities, until such time as a rapid public transport system, which is lacking in Canberra, is implemented. I believe that these criticisms are constructive and that they should be looked at by the Government and the National Capita) Development Commission.
– by leave- I will be brief in this matter. The remarks of the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) have stimulated me to take up some of the related questions devolving from this report by the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory or which seem to him to stem from it. What the honourable member for Reid said was, in the main, quite persuasive in a superficial sense but it is highly important in this area - I do not mean just the area of Canberra but the field of urban development into which the honourable member for Reid branched widely - that we sort the wheat from the chaff. It is a simple matter to make persuasive comments such as: ‘Do not let the motor car overrun us. Let us take appropriate action to provide alternative forms of public transport’. Anybody can see the sense of that sort of proposition.
However, there are certain inconsistencies in these sorts of proposals. For at least 2 years we have heard the honourable member for Reid vaunting Canberra as a model to be reproduced in whatever numbers possible throughout this country. He holds Canberra up as an ideal form of urban development and possibly even as an ideal form of settlement of any kind, and has suggested on many occasions both publicly and in this House that we should reproduce Canberra as quickly as possible and as often as necessary. But that is not what he said to us today. It is true that the honourable member for Reid was referring to a report which dealt with transport, route extensions, parking facilities and things of that kind. Nevertheless, I think the honourable member will need to make up his mind as to whether he really is in love with Canberra as it is or whether he wants something else. When he does that he can tell us which of those 2 things he favours for development by this Government or a Labor government, should it come to power.
The honourable member should also bear in mind that it is not sufficient in the field of city transport merely to say that we have the monstrous problem of the car and lots of congestion. Usually the honourable member opposite talks in crisis terms. I do not think anybody in Canberra would talk much about a transport crisis, even if they are prepared to do so in Sydney, Melbourne or New York. The honourable member for Reid said that we must implement alternatives in the form of public transport. Surveys have been made, particularly in the United States, to show that, regrettably, not only would people not use alternative forms of transport to the private car, if provided, but also they would have to be paid something like, if I remember rightly, 30c a head per trip to use those forms of public transport. Such is the attraction of the flexibility provided by the private motor car.
That of course leaves us with the problem or some of the problem about which the honourable member for Reid is happy to talk but it does not leave us with a solution. It is quite clear, as the honourable member touched on, that if we are to do the sorts of things he wants us to do in those more congested urban areas, it will be quite insufficient to provide alternative forms of transport in the form of public transport. It will be necessary to exert considerable restrictions on the private use of the motor car. Of course, that is not the entire issue about which the honourable member for Reid was talking in relation to (he report brought down by the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory.
The honourable member for Reid did east fairly widely about in relation to the bigger cities of Sydney and Melbourne and he even complained that the Commonwealth Government was guilty of poor judgment in the siting of Commonwealth properties there. It is true that the Commonwealth does own areas of land outside its immediate jurisdiction of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. But in those areas the Commonwealth is subject to similar regulations in terms of selection of sites, development of buildings and so on as are private developers and I think it is casting far too general a criticism to suggest that problems to be found in Sydney and Melbourne are in any substantial way the business of this Government.
One of the biggest problems we face in developing urban policy, which this Government has done and will be seen to do, is that we must work not only with the States but also with their dominant capita! cities. In one sense it is a national problem. Nobody would be more aware of that than Government supporters and Ministers of the Government. However, it is not just a simple matter - certainly in terms of the philosophy of this Government - of turning to Sydney and Melbourne and saying: Right, chaps, we do not quite like the way you are going there. We are stepping in and we are taking over’. Even if the Australian Labor Party is prepared to centralise its functions to that extent - I think it is - that is not the philosophy of this Government. This still leaves us with certain developing areas, notably Sydney and Melbourne, where measures have to be taken.
Measures, some of them indirect, have already been taken but, in terms of making any significant interruption to the general rate of increase of urban development in those cities, it is clear that more will have to be done. In saying this I pay passing tribute to the honourable member for Reid and his leader (Mr Whitlam) for having drawn attention from time to time to some of these problems. But they are not the only ones who happen to be au fait with the situation. I think that if they would make their judgment a little more balanced they would drop a few of the emotive terms like ‘crises’ and just look at the problem and ways of solving it. It is not an easy problem to solve. It involves at the absolutely basic level the interrelationships between the Commonwealth and the States and, to some extent, local government, and it requires a great deal more in terms of solution of the problem of a restriction of public movement and private movement than has yet been proposed in any thoroughgoing form by the honourable member for Reid and others. It is one thing to identify a problem; it is another thing to turn it into a crisis verbally; it is another thing to get a balance; and it is a further thing to solve the problem. I do not want to speak at length and intrude on the good graces of the House, but I do believe that somebody needs to draw attention to the fact that the situation is a complex one and is not quite so easy of solution, except by the most highly centralised methods, as the honourable member for Reid particularly would on occasion have us believe.
– I move:
I take this step because of a judgment handed down yesterday in the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory in Supreme Court case No. 701 of 1972. Already, in accordance with the undertakings given by the Leader of the House (Mr Chipp), there have been distributed to honourable members photostat copies of the judgment. However, some pages of the photostat copy were somewhat illegible so I have arranged for further copies to be distributed. These have been roneoed and are more legible.
In the context of that judgment it is appropriate for me to say that it is because of the possible repercussions that will flow from the decision taken by the Supreme Court that it is felt necessary that the Standing Orders be suspended in order that all 3 stages of the Bill can be concluded and the Bill become law as soon as possible. The decision by the Court related to one Commonwealth ordinance only, the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972, and the judgment related to a particular aspect of that ordinance. If I may quote from the judgment of His Honour Mr Justice Fox to explain the reason for this proposed suspension of the Standing Orders, at page 117 he said:
There is, however, a further matter. Section 12(2a) also requires that it be a notice ‘of the place where copies . . . can be purchased’. In this respect the notice is in my opinion deficient.
Later on the same page he continued:
I am therefore of the opinion that the Ordinance was not notified in accordance with the provision of the Act. lt was therefore not operative at the time the police purported to act under it, or at the time of the hearing. I am satisfied that the plaintiffs have locus standi for a declaration that the Ordinance has not taken effect . . .
Obviously there could well lie cause for an appeal from this judgment, but many Commonwealth regulations and ordinances have been passed on much the same basis and published in a similar way. The advice of the Attorney-General’s Department is that if this judgment were to be upheld similar defects of notice might well be held with respect to all those other regulations and ordinances. There would be, of course, across the whole field of Commonwealth legislation, very profound repercussions were all those that have been gazetted over the years to be declared, not invalid, but inoperative. The purpose of the suspension of Standing Orders is so that’ this House may pass through all stages as expeditiously as possible this Bill which relates to all Commonwealth Government regulations and ordinances in the whole field and not in relation to any one particular instance.
It is important that there be no uncertainty as to the state of the law. It is important that the people of Australia know that those ordinances and regulations which have been gazetted have been validly notified. The decision handed down yesterday must cast doubt on the degree to which those ordinances and regulations that have been gazetted over the years are effectively notified. This point is one which most junior counsel would take great delight in raising in any case before a court. It is one which obviously is not at the substance of the legislation. But it is equally as substantial as if it were at the substance of the legislation because it means that if the legislation was not in fact notified it is, of course, not operative; and, if it is not operative, irrespective of the fact that persons may have been operating in accordance with the belief that it has been effectively notified and is operative, they have been inaccurate in their belief. The suspension of Standing Orders, therefore, is moved so that this House can today deal as expeditiously as possible with this Bill in order to ensure that no doubt is cast on the operativeness of all those regulations and ordinances that have been passed over the years.
I might add that, in accordance with the undertaking given by the Leader of the House in the Parliament last night in relation to a debate on another matter, the Government has agreed that the debate on this Bill will not proceed immediately but will be suspended after the second reading speech had been made so that an adequate opportunity can be given to honourable members not only to consider the judgment which, as I have said, was distributed in photostat form earlier today and is now available in roneoed form, but also to consider the Bill and the implications of it. It is strictly a matter of detail that it is necessary for laws, ordinances and regulations to comply with certain prerequisites before they can become operative. It is essential that there be no doubt that laws that have been passed or regulations and ordinances that have been gazetted are operative. In order to ensure that there is no doubt in this matter I have moved that Standing Orders be suspended so as to enable this Bill to pass through all stages this day.
– I oppose the motion, lt is true that yesterday morning the Full Court of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory delivered judgments which would make inoperative a very great number of Territory ordinances, other statutory regulations and various instruments. The Full Court exposed a piece of sloppy drafting which governments have practised for many decades. There can be no question that all of these ordinances, regulations and instruments should be operative. This will require a piece of legislation to be passed by the Parliament. That legislation should go through the Parliament in the normal course. 1 do not recollect a case in which a minister, after the first reading of a Bill, has not been allowed by my colleagues and me to proceed to the second reading stage of the Bill forthwith. Under the Standing Orders the debate on the motion for the second reading is adjourned until the following day. It remains with the Government to revive the debate on the second reading. The Government does not need to suspend Standing Orders to follow the usual course of having the first reading and the second reading of the validating Bill today and then to bring on the debate on the second reading tomorrow. There is no dispute that all these instruments and pieces of legislation should operate. But the Opposition opposes the suspension of Standing Orders to enable the whole process to go through ‘without delay’, as the formula is - which means today. We oppose it because of the particular circumstances which give rise to this unseemly haste. The Government is not acting out of concern for the operation of any ordinance, regulation or instrument other than one, the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972 of the Australian Capital Territory.
To put this matter in perspective I shall quote 2 statements made by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) earlier this year. In answer to the former Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton), the Minister said:
I am, of course, well aware that a number of tents have been pitched outside the national Parliament in Parliament Place. The people concerned are Aborigines who are demonstrating in a peaceful way for a cause in which they believe. 1 must say that they have been quiet and they have behaved and co-operated with the police extremely well. There is no Utter and there is no health problem. So neither I nor the Government have seen any great cause for concern about the Aborigines themselves. But I think that in the future we will have to look at an ordinance to ensure that Parliament Place is reserved for its purpose - a place for orderly and peaceful demonstration, but not a place upon which people can camp indefinitely thereby perhaps preventing other people from using it from day to day. I can assure the right honourable member that I have been well aware of the situation and I have watched the activities of these people. The Australian Capital Territory police have been in constant contact with them. They have observed every request that the police have made of them, and up to date they have not disobeyed any request. But the question of reserving Parliament Place for its proper intention and proper requirement is under consideration.
That very proper impeccable answer was given by the Minister for the Interior on 23rd February this year. On 11th May he made a ministerial statement, by leave, saying that there would be a new Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance to cover the situation. His concluding sentence was:
Adequate public notice will be given of the coming into effect of the ordinance.
The ministerial statement, I repeat, was made on 11th May. What has been the sequence since then? The Ordinance was made on 30th June. Nobody knew anything about it until the Commonwealth Gazette’ of 20th July. At 9.45 a.m. on that day the Aboriginal ‘embassy’ was removed. The occupants of the ‘embassy’ had no opportunity to get a copy of the Gazette’. The ‘Gazette’ said that a copy of the ordinance could be obtained by post from various places of which the addresses were not stated. Honourable members were not able to get a copy of that Ordinance notified in the ‘Gazette’ before the police acted pursuant to the ‘Gazette’ notice and the Ordinance there faultily notified.
– That has nothing to do with the suspension of Standing Orders though.
– I am well aware of that but I want to emphasise that proper procedures should be applied and your colleague did not comply with the undertaking he had given to. the House.
– He did.
– He did not. Do you forget that he said that the House would be given adequate notice of the coming into effect of the Ordinance? The House was in recess on 20th July. The ordinance was made on 30th June, and honourable members could not obtain a copy of the ordinance before it was put into effect.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order! I suggest that the Minister for Primary Industry cease interjecting. I appreciate the fact that the Leader of the Opposition is presenting his case for opposing the motion for the suspension of Standing Orders but, if he continues for too long along the line he is taking, the debate on the motion for the suspension of Standing Orders could become a wide debate by honourable members on the general circumstances.
– I am speaking about why the Standing Orders should not be suspended or, in other words, why the normal processes of legislation should not again be disregarded in this matter. A Gazette was published after midnight, bearing yesterday’s date; the House rose at 20 minutes to midnight; the Bills and Papers Office was closed at 15 minutes to midnight; and after midnight a Gazette bearing yesterday’s date was published. Nobody could obtain a copy of that Gazette and nobody could obtain a copy of the 102 ordinances notified in that Gazette until 9 o’clock this morning at the address notified in the Gazette. Honourable members could not obtain copies of it until the Bills and Papers Office opened here. Mr Speaker himself did not know anything about it, as appeared at question time this morning. Why should we again depart from procedures in this matter? It is not because of general ordinances, regulations or instruments; it is because of the Aboriginal embassy.
The decision of the Full Court yesterday aroused great hopes among the Aboriginal community that their expectations could be fulfilled and their aims achieved through the operation of the normal processes of the law, through what an increasing number of Aborigines are coming to describe as ‘white man’s law’. The inept procedures of last night - the Tcheka and Gestapo activities by which the Aboriginal embassy was removed well after the Parliament rose - have dealt a disastrous blow to those hopes. Everybody knows that if it were not the young and the black involved in this matter the Government would not have dared to proceed in this fashion. We all know that an Australian Government would not dare to proceed under cover of darkness in this way against any Australian citizens unless they were young ones or black ones.
– Have you read the judgment?
– Yes, I have. I was able to read it after midnight when you sent around a copy, for which I had to ask. If it had not been for the request I made on the adjournment last night, nobody in this House would have received a copy except a handful of Ministers and myself. For a few hours yesterday on the lawns outside this House a few pieces of canvass flew as an assertion of the rights and dignity of the Australian Aborigines. Outside, a handful of Australians were, until nearly 1 o’clock this morning, celebrating the triumph of the processes of the law against a wrong and illegal act by a government which sought to by-pass the Parliament. In the dead of night they were removed. Inside this Parliament House that Government, caught flat-footed in its own breach of proper procedures, attempts now to overcome its own errors and to overtake its own breaches of the law. What a spectacle we are now presenting to the world. What a sense of law and order we are demonstrating to the First Australian Parliamentary Seminar being conducted in this place now for all the Commonwealth legislatures in this region. The neatness of the operation was excelled only by its surreptitiousness. There will be 102 gazettals of regulations going back to 1927 to justify the removal of a single tent.
Yesterday the Minister for the Interior opposed my motion to suspend Standing Orders so that we could debate the vote for 18-year-olds - a right given to men and women in most comparable countries. He did so on the ground that this would interfere with other pressing business. Later that day the House gave a whole afternoon to a futile debate on the question of a 35- hour working week although historically that is as inevitable as the vote for 18- year-olds. Today this Bill has been brought in to delay another historically inevitable event - the assertion by the Australian Aborigines of their rights as human beings.
This is the action of a Government gone mad. a Government whose desperation has deprived it of all sense of perspective, all sense of proportion and, above all, all sense of patriotism. The Government, in the most exposed, the most public and the most publicised way, wants to use this Parliament to degrade Australia in the eyes of the world. What would it matter if that tent had remained in the front of Parliament House for days, weeks or months, any more than it mattered that it remained there for 7 months up to 20th July? Did that harm the dignity of Parliament? Did that harm the dignity of the Law? Yet this Government now proposes-
– Order! I do not want to interrupt the Leader of the Opposition, but I think he is now getting into the sphere of debate which should be presented when the legislation is introduced at a later stage. I appreciate that there is a very thin line between the 2 matters, but I would appreciate it if the Leader of the Opposition would not debate the subject matter of the legislation.
- Mr Deputy Speaker, I am giving reasons why now the Parliament should be scrupulous about ensuring that it follows proper procedures in relation to this legislation and on this matter. The Government now proposes a course that will ring round the world to the shame, discredit and scandal of our country. Tents were violently taken down against the law and one tent was re-erected within the law. This Parliament is now asked to indemnify the Government for its disregard of the law and to make Australia a name of disgrace and contempt around the world in the presence of senior members of Parliament throughout this region. Incompetence is one thing; malevolence is another. The Government has shown itself to be both incompetent and malevolent. I do not worry about its incompetence; I have had to live with it for too long. But its malevolence is unforgiveable because it is destroying Australia’s reputation. The Government is prepared to destroy Australia’s reputation just to excuse its own incompetence. So we have the situation where the weakest part of our population has been attacked by a Government acting on the weakest possible grounds.
– Order! The Leader of the Opposition’s time has expired.
– I wish to speak briefly, and only to the motion, Mr Deputy Speaker. I will not crave your indulgence or lean upon it, as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) did. In this particular circumstance we do not deny the Leader of the Opposition the opportunity to make capital for the Australian Labor Party out of the dilemma which the Government faces. That is fair politics. That is notwithstanding the fact that, as he knows, today the Leader of the Opposition and other members of the Labor Party will get at least 2 other opportunities to speak specifically to this question. But we do not blame him for what he has done. This is an election year and the proceedings of the
Parliament are now being broadcast but will not be broadcast this afternoon. We do not blame him for playing politics.
– I rise on a point of order. The Minister for Customs and Excise said that he was going to speak to the motion for the suspension of Standing Orders.
– That is what he is doing.
– He is not doing anything of the sort. He is weeping and wringing his hands.
– There is no substance in the point of order.
– I believe that one of the most unspeakable things I have heard - unworthy of the Leader of the. Opposition and surprising that it should come from a man such as he - is his statement that the only reason this Government moved the campers from opposite Parliament House was because they were black. I completely deny that and I resent it. It is a contemptible thing to say. The Leader of the Opposition has joined with other men of goodwill in this country in trying to spread tolerance and understanding and to remove racial prejudice but that kind of remark will inflame prejudice in this country.
– I rise to a point of order. I would like to know whether we are debating a motion for the suspension of Standing Orders because the Minister has not advanced one argument in favour of the suspension of Standing Orders.
-Order! I point out to the honourable member that at present the Leader of the House is replying to certain statements that the Leader of the Opposition made when speaking to the same motion. The House is discussing a highly emotional issue and the debate is not being helped by interjections that are coming from both sides of the chamber or by certain comments which are being made.
Mr Cope - I believe - and this is the first time I have ever said it - that if a member of the Opposition had been interjecting as much as the Minister for Primary Industry you, Sir, would have taken action. He was not once warned.
-Order! I inform the honourable member for Sydney that the Minister for Primary Industry was called to order as many times as were warranted.
– I rise to a point of order. When the Minister for Customs and Excise admits out of his own mouth that he is concerned with radio time and that we will not have our proceedings broadcast this afternoon, and when he manifestly continues to talk irrelevancies, is it not in order to stop him so that the rest of us on this side of the chamber may sheet home the blame and have it heard on radio by the rest of the country?
-Order! There is no point of order.
– I do find this strange and an example of the sense of fair play of members of the Opposition. You, Sir, were very generous with the Leader of the Opposition, as I think he would concede, in allowing him to speak specifically about Aborigines to a motion to suspend the Standing Orders. I would have thought that fair play would have demanded that similar indulgence be given to me by the Opposition so that I might reply. I will not detain the House for more than another minute or two. I meant it when I said that I resented deeply and personally the accusation made by the Leader of the Opposition. Knowing him as I do I would think that had he been given time to consider the implications of his remark he would not have made it. I would hope that on due reflection he would make some gesture to the House to withdraw it in some way because I cannot believe, first, that he means it and, second, that he believes the best interests of racial integration in this country are served by that kind of remark.
The history of the Bill about which the motion is drafted is that I approached the Leader of the Opposition last evening and gave him notice that this sort of action would be taken today. The reason why we want this Bill today and the reason for the motion is that without the Bill certain ordinances other than the ordinance which was gazetted last night are of very doubtful validity. Today - Wednesday - throughout not only the Australian Capital Territory but also the other Territories, courts just cannot function. The ordinances that are of doubtful validity because of this ruling of the Supreme Court include the Companies Ordinance, the Police Offences Ordinance, the Real Property Ordinance, the Wills, Probate and Administration Ordinance and the Legal Practitioners Ordinance. I would have thought that this is a time when Parliament could be nonpartisan and see the seriousness of the situation in the Australian Capital Territory and other Territories in the extraordinary circumstances which were not necessarily of this Government’s making. As the Minister for the Interior has mentioned, some of those ordinances date back to 1903. They have lived through several Labor governments. I would have thought that the Australian Labor Party could make capital out of this if it wanted; that is fair game. But I would believe that a responsible government would move this motion to suspend the Standing Orders so that this matter could be rectified today and so that the courts need not go another day without being able to function and to carry out their proper responsibilities.
– In speaking to the motion for the suspension of Standing Orders, I ignore most of the remarks of the Leader of the House (Mr Chipp) except that reference to the content of the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). The Leader of the Opposition said:
It would net be done if it were not being done to people who were black or were young.
It just happens that this matter has no racial content. It just happens to be the minorities who get booted around if the opportunity offers. One has only to look to see the position. Why ought we not suspend standing orders? The Standing Orders of this House have been developed over a generation. They are part of the protective device of Australian legislative democracy. Therefore, they should be suspended only for special reasons and reasons which come under the closest possible scrutiny. On this occasion, 1 view the matter with even more suspicion when I read in the terms of the motion: ‘through all its stages without delay’. During the 15 or 16 years in which I have been in this place that always means that there will be no adequate debates that things will be forced through, that the majority will prevail and that there will be no adequate discussion. Of course, the very essence of the contract here this afternoon is the need for adequate discussion.
The Leader of the House places a persuasive point before us. It is that the courts of the Territories cannot operate under traditional patterns of legislation and regulations unless we do this. But I am not certain that the machinery by which the Government is attempting to ameliorate this matter is the correct way in which it ought to do it. Perhaps I would be prepared to accept some resolution by some sort of constitutional process in which the ordinances were validated for a fixed time. But I have not seen what they will offer because every one of these ordinances - the 102 that are listed so far and all the others - ought to be brought under the closest possible scrutiny. Why should this be done? It should be done because we have seen this Government in action. Any person who has seen what has taken place in the last 24 hours cannot be but dismayed with the Government of this country. What we are being asked to do here is to confirm government by decree. In the middle of last night after the Parliament had adjourned the printing press worked - in a sort of fashion. One can obtain copies of the ordinances only by proxy, by putting them through a photostat machine oneself. Then along comes what purports to be legislation.
One of the weaknesses of the Seat of Government (Administration) Act is that once an ordinance is printed and published it has the force of law. No parliament ought ever to have allowed that kind of provision to be in the Act in the first instance. We ought now to sit down and examine very carefully the whole regulationmaking process of this Parliament. This cannot be allowed to continue, because we have perpetuated all sorts of things. Goodness knows what has been done in the name of this Parliament as a result of this legislation and the misuse of regulations. One has only to take the very first ordinance on the top of the list in this morning’s ‘Gazette’. It is the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1932. Let us take one of its provisions:
Any such member of the police force or any such overseer or person may arrest without warrant any person reasonably suspected of having acted in contravention of this section, may keep him in custody-
– I raise a point of order. I believe that the honourable gentleman is going outside the terms of the motion. The motion relates to a Bill; it in no way relates to the course of action to which he is referring in mentioning the Commonwealth Government Gazette. The Bill relates to all ordinances and regulations of the past. The action taken in respect of the Government Gazette, to which the honourable gentleman is now referring, is quite apart from the substance of the Bill.
- (Mr Locock) - Order! Quite frankly, it is impossible for me to know what is within this Gazette and what is being validated. The only thing I can do is repeat what I suggested when the Leader of the Opposition was speaking. I could see a danger that what has happened would happen. I admit to the House that there is a very thin line between what is a reason for opposing the suspension of Standing Orders and what is a debate on the events that will follow the suspension of Standing Orders. I said this when the Leader of the Opposition was speaking. The danger is that in presenting a case for opposing the suspension of Standing Orders, the arguments could develop into a general debate on the subject matter of the. Bill that is to be presented to the House. This is the danger I could see. This is the confusion I could see. I confess quite frankly that it is extremely difficult for me to give a ruling on a point of order taken on the ground that an honourable member is not speaking to the suspension of Standing Orders, particularly when we are concerned with validating ordinances and regulations that have been in existence for a long period of time. The only thing I can suggest is that honourable members keep their remarks as brief as possible and keep as strictly to the point as possible.
– I have a short point of order. Is the Minister trying to gag this House effectively by taking up the remaining 10 minutes of broadcasting time so that the rest of the country cannot hear the wickedness of this Government described?
-Order! The question raised by the honourable member does not constitute a point of order. I am afraid that he is also contributing to the wasting of time.
– I am not surprised at the failure of the Minister for Primary Industry to comprehend what it is all about. First of all, we are being asked to suspend Standing Orders to consider the notification of ordinances, regulations and other instruments being introduced and passed through ali stages without delay. We have no idea what we are being asked to pass without delay. The best I can make is a guestimate and take some of the things that were nominated in the instrument published last night, or was it this morning? I shall quote one subject to which we ought to turn the closest possible attention as a reason why we ought not to do anything at this stage without delay.
I am prepared to admit, as I said earlier, that it is possibly desirable to protect all those people who through the ineptitude, incompetence, lack of perception of or just sheer bad luck encountered under the present system of Government, will be deprived today of the advantages of the law. That is if the law has something to do with lands, rights, people and so on. But if it is simply to confirm the positive malevolent actions of governments and police forces, as the Leader of the Opposition has said is the case with this Bill, I will have none of it. Of course that is what produced today’s discussion. Last night’s action was incredible. Are we being asked to pass and confirm without delay the continuance of that procedure so that we can use the printing press to legislate for Australia, so that the police can come in the middle of the night and remove people, using the Seat of Government (Administration) Act with ail the force of law with nobody knowing? We cannot tolerate that. As my colleague, the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) says, this is an act of monumental wickedness.
Therefore I ask the Government to consider some different form of procedure. If the piece of legislation that is to be produced specifies some terminal point and provides that in a week, 10 days or a fortnight all these things will come up for proper consideration and due process of examination, there may be a case for it. But I have been here long enough to know that when we agree at 1255 or 1300 hours or whatever time it is to some point of procedure and the Government’s writ starts to run there is no possibility of this side of the House reversing it, having it brought into reasonable scrutiny or protecting the people who have been victimised. The House, by its failure to exercise authority, by allowing legislation of the kind contained in the Act to be passed and by allowing the regulation-making power to descend upon the Ministry without proper scrutiny, permitted the operations that took place here 6 or 7 weeks ago. People were beaten up. People were assaulted by the police. They were assaulted illegally.
The Government has made a great play of law and order, lt has made a great play of protecting the devices of democracy. In each action that it has taken it has tried to bypass democracy and use the Executive writ as a guarantee of anything. Therefore I ask the House to reject the motion for the suspension of standing orders. I give notice to the Government at this point of time that it will have to find a separate and different formula. I for one regard it as incredible that the operations of the last 24 hours have happened in what ought to be one of the cornerstones of democratic government. I look down the long history of it all - whether it be the times of Charles I or Eureka, whether it be the Nuremberg decree itself - the right of government by decree to issue an ultimatum in the dead of night and to enforce it in that clandestine way has been one of the hallmarks of absolutism and the total destruction of common sense, democratic government.
– -The motion calls for the suspension of standing orders to facilitate the House taking a certain course. I confine my remarks to that motion, although I make a glancing observation to the effect that I have considerable misgivings about the background against which the legislation has been brought into being. It would seem to me to be more appropriate to state those misgivings when the Bill is being considered. The immediate question is simply this: Should an attempt be made by the Parliament to introduce an omnibus Bill to validate all the regulations and ordinances which, by dint of the judgment given yesterday, are thrown into doubt? I may share with the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) the sense of anguish and resentment as to the way that the Ordinance has been enforced. I leave that matter until later, when we are dealing with the Bill.
We are dealing now with this simple proposition: Should an attempt be made by the Parliament to have this facilitation - an attempt to give a general cloak, a cover, to all the regulations and ordinances which have been passed by delegation of the Parliament in the past? That is the sole issue, as I see it. It goes back over 50 or 60 years. It is not that the body, the content, of the regulation or ordinance is in doubt or is exposed to invalidity because of what the regulation or ordinance contains. The blemish which comes into the ordinancemaking procedure, as I understand the judgment, comes by way of the form of notification. That is the sole issue. If the process of notification is wrong, to that extent the Ordinance is inoperative.
There are 2 problems, and the House has to consider them. They are the inoperativeness of the Ordinance and the invalidity of the Ordinance. They are not 2 estates which coincide. They are quite different. As Mr Justice Fox said, it is not that the particular Ordinance is invalid; it is merely that the form of promulgating, the form of notification, has been wrong. It seems to me to be appropriate to hold fire on suggestions which I might make as to what should be done in relation to the form of notification. With great respect, I find myself in agreement with the view expressed by the 2 judges who did not agree with Mr Justice Fox regarding one defect.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
– I recapitulate in very brief form the argument which I was putting to the House before the suspension of the sitting. It is this: There are 2 distinct issues for the House to decide; one is the question of urgency and the other is a consideration of the merits of the legislation. Attending the latter issue is a consideration of all of the incidents which have led up to the unpleasant circumstance. I hope that I have put the argument with clarity, if not with conviction, to my friends opposite that here we have a whole gathering of statutory instruments, ordinances and regulations sweeping back over a generation and more which are thrust into doubt because of the judgment of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory.
That is the issue. The House can make a judgment on that Turning to the other matter of the Aboriginal ‘embassy’, that remains on its own a distinct and plainly identifiable question. It is not directly linked with the motion which has been proposed by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair). Already in a preemptive way I have indicated that I have some misgivings about certain aspects. I hope that I will be able to explain those misgivings again with candour, although possibly not with conviction or satisfaction to all concerned.
That the motion (Mt Sinclair’s) be agreed to.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)
Majority . . . . 7
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill presented by Mr Sinclair, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Mr Speaker, I rise to order. It is a question rather than a point of order as to whether or not, now that the Minister is about to commence his second reading speech, we can take it that there will be an unlimited debate on this matter.
– Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– It is a question as to procedure.
– It is beyond the control of the Chair.
– Is the Minister prepared to say?
– Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.
– This is an urgent Bill. The Government regards its introduction and passage as a matter of some urgency. However, in accordance with the arrangements that we have made with the Opposition, there will be an adequate opportunity for members of this House to debate the substance and context of the legislation. As was undertaken by me earlier this day and by the Leader of the House (Mr Chipp) last night, the debate, if the Opposition so wishes, can be adjourned and can proceed later in the day.
The introduction of the Bill follows a decision yesterday by the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory in which the Supreme Court held that the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972 was not notified in accordance with the requirements of the Seat of Government (Administration) Act, and is not therefore in operation. The Act provides that every ordinance shall be notified in the ‘Gazette’. The Act further provides that a notice in the ‘Gazette’ of any ordinance having been made, and of the place where copies can be purchased, shall be sufficient compliance with the requirement of notification. Two of the judges of the Supreme Court found that neither of these prerequisites had been satisfied in the case of the particular ordinance before them. The third judge held that the first, but not the second, prerequisite had been satisfied.
The form of the notification in this case was based on the form used for many years in the Australian Capital Territory. A form to similar effect has also been used for varying lengthy periods in regard to the notification of ordinances of other Territories and of regulations made under Acts of the Commonwealth Parliament. The matters raised by the decision of the Supreme Court are extremely urgent. If the decision is correct, then no ordinances made in the Australian Capital Territory since 1940 are in operation, other than those ordinances notified in yesterday’s special ‘Gazette’. Similarly, ordinances made in the Northern Territory, in Papua New Guinea and in other Territories of the Commonwealth over varying periods of years are inoperative. Moreover, if the decision is correct, doubts exist whether regulations made over many years, and perhaps dating back to Federation, under Commonwealth Acts are in operation. The Government has considered the course of appeal to the High Court. But the urgency of the matter and the state of uncertainty that would prevail failing its resolution, as well as the far-reaching effect of the decision, require that the effective operation of all these ordinances, regulations and other instruments be placed beyond doubt immediately by an Act of this Parliament. This is the purpose of the Bill before the House. It is designed to cover the position with regard to ordinances of all the Territories of the Commonwealth and also with regard to regulations, rules or other instruments under a law of the Commonwealth or a Territory of the Commonwealth.
It is proposed to move an amendment to the Bill at the Committee stage. The amendment relates to an inadvertent omission at a technical level relative to circumstances where 2 notices might be issued in a ‘Gazette’. I will explain this further in Committee, but I intimate that this amendment will be moved. I have asked that it be circulated at the same time as the Bill so that honourable members can see it and consider it in conjunction with the Bill itself. As I have explained, the measure relates to the efficacy of ordinances, regulations and other instruments. Its range of effectiveness is such that I believe that this House must consider the matter with expedition. Accordingly, I now. commend the Bill to the House.
– I move:
Let me say at this stage that I, too, will be circulating an amendment which we propose to move in Committee. Our amendment will cover the civil and criminal rights and liabilities of persons purported to be arrested on 20th and 23rd July under the ordinance which was not operative at that time.
– When will you, circulate your amendment?
– I would hope, within 5 minutes.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Pursuant to section 122 of the Repatriation Act 1920-1972 I present the annual report of the Repatriation Commission for the year ended 30th June 1972.
– by leave - Honourable members will be aware that there have recently been, or are in prospect, some important developments which will have a significant effect on world trade in the years ahead. It is becoming increasingly clear that international trade is entering upon a new era. Its characteristics are likely to be markedly different from those experienced in the past. It is possible, too, that there may need to be some changes in the institutional framework in which the world economy has functioned over the last 25 years. Australia cannot remain unaffected by major changes in the rest of the world. It is too soon to chart these changes in detail but some of the salient features are already visible. I have thought it appropriate, therefore, to provide honourable members with a background statement of the broad issues which will influence Australia’s trade policies in the 1970s.
Let me make it quite clear at the outset that I am confident that we will be able to meet the challenges ahead provided we follow soundly-based policies and have careful regard to our real national interests. The record of the past decade testifies to our ability as a nation to adapt to changes in our trading environment. A few simple facts will serve to illustrate this. Ten years ago our exports totalled $2,1 50m. In the year just ended - 1971-72 - they reached a record $4,900m - up 130 per cent. A decade ago, when Britain first was negotiating to enter the European Economic Community, some 19 per cent of our exports were sold to Britain. Now, with Britain on the point of entry into the EEC, the proportion has fallen to 9 per cent. The trade surplus of $895m in 1971-72 was also an all time record. We have also, successfully diversified our trade in terms of items exported, as well as countries. Exports of manufactures have grown from $244m 10 years ago to over $950m last year - from 12 per cent of Australian exports then to 20 per cent now. We have seen a rapid expansion of our new exportorientated mining industries. New markets have been found and developed for the traditional mainstay of our export earnings, the rural industries.
I am sure all honourable members will join me in paying tribute to the hard work put in by Australian exporters in achieving these results. I know that they, for their part, would be the first to recognise the contribution made by the development of sound Government policies to assist them in their export activities. Measures such as the export incentives scheme, the provision of export finance and insurance, the expansion of the Trade Commissioner Service, the negotiation of bilateral trade agree ments and international commodity arrangements, trade promotion and publicity and so on, have played a vital part in our export performance. It is very reassuring to face the future with such a record of solid achievement.
The world of the 1970s differs in important respects from that of the 1950s and 1960s. Indeed, the balance of economic power has changed quite dramatically. The European Economic Community and Japan are now major economic and trading powers rivalling the United States. The combined gross national product of the EEC countries and Japan was only about one-quarter of the gross national product in the United States 20 years ago. It is nearly 70 per cent today.
The share of world exports enjoyed by the United States in 1950 was about one- , third as much again as that of the EEC and Japan. Now, the situation is reversed, with United States exports accounting for only about two-thirds of their combined total exports. So the world cannot expect the United States to provide the same degree of economic leadership as it has over the past 25 years. The international monetary system - the life-blood of world trade - has come under increasing pressure and it is by no means clear that its structure is adequate to deal with the changed trading circumstances of the 1970s.
Britain and 3 other European countries are about to enter the EEC. There are fears in some quarters that an enlarged Community could be a threat to world trade. Certainly it must have a major effect on traditional trade patterns and some Australian industries will be adversely affected. There are also signs of a resurgence of economic nationalism and protec’tionism in a number of countries. There are pressures in some countries for the establishment of regional trading blocs, attacking the very foundations of the multilateral trading system which has been the basis for world trade growth.
The issues underlying the currency crisis which came to a head in the second half of 1971 have still to be resolved. My colleague, the Treasurer (Mr Snedden), is closely watching developments in this area.
The currency realignments of last December and the current sterling float have had important consequences for the patterns of world trade. The full effects of these and other measures that may yet have to be taken will be important and far reaching. The experience of recent months has reminded us that trade will grow and flourish only if the world monetary system is adequate and sufficiently flexible to cope with a constantly changing world situation.
Economic growth and world prosperity depend to an important degree on the progressive reduction in barriers to trade and we will all have our own distinctive role to play in this process. We have supported fully the efforts of our major trading partners to operate within a system of multilateral trade and payments. We believe that the general acceptance of this objective, both in principle and practice, provides the soundest basis for expanding world trade and prosperity. We will continue to support the concept in every way we can.
One positive outcome of the monetary crisis is the agreement reached between the United States, the EEC and Japan to enter into multilateral trade negotiations during 1973. The Australian Government warmly welcomes the agreement reached between the major trading powers. Their initiative offers the prospect of a further liberalisation of existing barriers to trade. Negotiations will cover tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in both agricultural and industrial products and will be directed towards improving access to world markets, including the vital North American, European and Japanese markets.
The recent report of a group of trade experts gathered together by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development will help international policy makers to focus on the conceptual framework of the 1973 negotiations. Although the views expressed on some issues appear to reflect the group’s predominantly European membership, the report is a useful and timely contribution. It is being studied closely by those of us in Australia who are responsible for international trade relations. I attended the third United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in
Santiago earlier this year. UNCTAD and related organisations have a most difficult task in formulating acceptable solutions to the problems of underdeveloped countries.
We are helping where we can. We were the first nation to introduce a system of preferences for imports from developing countries and we are expanding its scope. We are providing trade promotion training courses and other forms of technical assistance. We have made provision this year for S220m of economic aid to Papua New Guinea and other developing countries. 1 believe we must encourage direct Australian investment in joint ventures, particularly in South East Asia, which can contribute to the economic development of the region.
Australian trade policies are’ designed to further our national policy objectives of continued and stable economic growth, full employment associated with rising population, improved living standards and adequate defence. The trade policies of any responsible government must serve these objectives. Our import and export policies are aimed to support the efficient and economic development of our resources. Some people seem to forget that those they call consumers’ are also heavily involved in the whole process of employment and production. Most consumers arc dependent directly or indirectly on the fortunes of our manufacturing and export industries. Action to drastically cut tariffs, or to revalue the currency, is sometimes put forward as necessarily being in the consumer’s real interests. But such action could reduce our economic growth and the well being of the economy generally. Consumers would hardly benefit if, as a consequence, they found themselves with lower incomes or even unemployed. The fact is that there are no simple panaceas for achieving economic growth.
The Government’s policy is quite clear. We will continue to provide tariff protection to ensure that economic and efficient Australian industries are maintained and encouraged. We will continue to encourage efficient development of our resources for export. We will not shrink from encouraging changes in industry structure, when these are required by our own or world circumstances. It is sobering to recall that trade in goods and services accounts for some 26 per cent of our national turnover. Our national welfare is therefore very much a function of the success or otherwise of our trade policies and practices. I have referred to our strong commitment to multilateral trade. We have also sought to develop and consolidate our trade in other ways. We have entered into an increasing number of bilateral agreements and we continue to give strong support to international arrangements designed to stabilise world trade In major commodities. Existing agreements covering trade in sugar, wheat, tin, coffee and certain dairy products have proved valuable to the industries concerned.
The decision by Britain, Ireland, Norway and Denmark to become members of an enlarged European Economic Community from the beginning of 1973 probably represents the single most important event in international trade in recent years. Our trade interest in Britain is well known. Until overtaken by Japan and the United States, Britain was our most important export market. For some commodities it is still our largest single overseas market. The enlarged EEC including Britain will become our largest trading partner. Our exports to the 10 countries totalled $936m in 1971-72 while imports were $l,410m.
From 1st February 1973 Britain will assume obligations to the EEC incompatible with her obligations under our bilateral trade agreement which will be terminated as from that date. Over the next 5 years - the so-called transitional period of Britain’s membership of the enlarged EEC - our traders will lose the benefit of unrestricted duty-free entry for many of our traditional exports to Britain. The existing margins of preference will be progressively eliminated and our exports will be confronted by the whole apparatus of restraints enshrined in the Common Agricultural Policy. Certain tariff action to be taken by Australia in consequence of the termination of the United Kingdom-Australia Trade Agreement will be the subject of a separate statement. Fortunately, this Government and the industries which stand to be most affected realised nearly a decade ago that it was virtually certain that Britain would ultimately join the Common Market. The breathing space afforded by General de Gaulle’s veto in 1963 has been used to envelop new markets for much of our traditional trade.
The Government remains very concerned, nevertheless, about the fate of those exports which still go to Britain. It is not possible to say now what the final effects of British entry will be but satisfactory alternative markets will be found for some of the displaced trade. But there can be no question that, for a number of our export industries, the consequences will be severe. Fresh, canned and dried fruits, dairy products, wines, and possibly sugar are among those likely to be affected most. During recent talks with EEC Commissioners in Brussels and senior Ministers in London, I made certain proposals designed to ameliorate the expected difficulties which our trade will encounter. These proposals are in the process of being considered and there will be further discussions later this year.
Another development of significance is that the remaining 6 members of the European Free Trade Association - Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Iceland, Portugal and Finland - have negotiated arrangements with the enlarged EEC providing for free trade in industrial products. In addition, association arrangements may be negotiated with perhaps as many as 50 independent countries. This new grouping of nations could be either a very good or a very bad influence on world trade. Our immediate policy objective will be to develop the closest possible relationship with the enlarged EEC. Our aim will be to influence it to follow liberal trading policies in accordance with the rules of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
The most significant change in our trade relations in the 1960s was the success achieved in developing markets in Asia. The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) recently visited Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia and returned convinced not only of their goodwill towards Australia but also of the growing opportunities for Australian trade and investment in the region. I visited Indonesia in July and discussed a wide range of trade issues with senior Ministers. The basis for a new bilateral trade agreement was negotiated at that time. Measures have been taken to strengthen governmental and commercial relationships with a number of these Asian countries. Regular trade talks are now being held with Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan. Business cooperation committees have been established with Indonesia and South Korea as well as Japan. We have always enjoyed strong trade links with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (Ceylon).
Important new markets have opened up in the Middle East. The Arab Republic of Egypt has emerged as our largest single market for wheat. Other countries in the region are now significant buyers of wheat and are very worthwhile markets for a wide range of processed foodstuffs and of manufactured goods. Japan is now a larger market for our products than Britain and the United States combined. Our exports to Japan have more than trebled in 10 years. Our imports from Japan have grown sixfold since 1961-62. The recent slowdown in Japanese industrial growth has been reflected in a cutback in its imports of certain basic raw materials of importance to Australia. Such developments illustrate the interdependence of trade and the need for liberal and enlightened economic policies, particularly in the major industrialised economies. The formal basis of our trading relationship is the Australia-Japan Treaty of Commerce which was originally negotiated in 1957. In some important respects our economies are complementary. We have common interests and objectives in a wide area of international trade and economic affairs.
The growing complexity in our relationships is reflected in the establishment last year, while I was in Tokyo, of the AustraliaJapan Ministerial Committee which will provide a forum in which to discuss the broad range of issues of mutual concern. We recognise the increasing dependence of the enormous Japanese industrial structure on imported raw materials. It is our wish to co-operate with Japan in providing it with the greatest possible security in its sourcing of raw materials. We will seek to ensure that Japan’s reliance on Australia as a major source of supply for a number of vital raw materials is soundly based and well warranted.
Equally, of course, we will be pursuing Australia’s national interests. We will be looking to the Japanese market for improved access for our exports. We expect Japan to recognise our need to ensure the sound development of Australia’s raw materials industries, our need for both remunerative and predictable access to the Japanese market, and our desire for further processing in Australia of our national resources. I believe that these objectives will be achieved by the exercise of common sense and on the basis of a clear understanding of our mutual needs.
Australia’s second largest trading partner and the major source of our imports is the United States. Our exports to that market have almost trebled over the last 10 years. Imports from that source have risen by about two and a half times. This growth reflects a close and friendly trade relationship with the United States. There are, however, some long-standing trade irritants. I refer to the restraints on important products such as sugar and dairy products and the high tariff on imports of wool.
The recent suspension of the restraints on imports of beef, veal and mutton for the balance of 1972 was greatly welcomed by the Government and the meat industry. I hope that this suspension will be continued indefinitely. It will be bur aim to have other trade barriers liberalised in the context of the multilateral negotiations next year, particularly the wool duty which we believe has an unfortunate impact on our wool sales in the United States market. I am hopeful that the liberal trade philosophy espoused by the present United States Administration will prevail. The world needs a prosperous, outward-looking United States committed to a system of multilateral trade and payments.
We have long-standing and harmonious trade relations with Canada. Our exports to Canada have risen fourfold in the last decade and imports from Canada have doubled. Our trade relations with Canada have been regulated for many years by our bilateral trade agreement. Exploratory discussions are resuming this week in Ottawa concerning the future of the agreement.
Earlier this year I visited Chile, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico - the first senior Australian Minister to visit that part of the world. I found all these countries extremely friendly to Australia. All are anxious to diversify their trade. All expressed a keen desire to establish closer trade and economic relations with us. There is already significant trade with the countries in the area. I have little doubt that our traders will be able to take advantage of the undoubted market potential in the region.
Australia has particular interests and responsibilities in the South Pacific. Our trade with the region is growing in importance and our trade relations are strong and cordial. These countries are feeling their way towards closer trade and economic association. We stand ready not only to assist this development but also to consider means by which the economic relationship of the Pacific countries with Australia might be strengthened so as to serve the best interests of all concerned.
It goes without saying that in the consideration of future policy objectives and initiatives relating to trade, the Government will be according high priority to the welfare and development of Papua New Guinea. Our trade relations with New Zealand are naturally very close. We have a common interest and concern over aspects of world trading arrangements. We have been able to work together to achieve the same objectives. We shall continue to cooperate closely with New Zealand. In May, agreement was reached on measures to broaden the coverage of the Free Trade Agreement and to facilitate the flow of trade between our 2 countries.
With future access to the British market certain to be curtailed, the need to look more closely at other potential markets is clear. This has been done at an increasing tempo over the past decade. Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union represent a market of some 370 million people with rising per capita incomes. Foreign trade is growing even faster as their industrial and economic development enables them to compete in world markets and requires them to import capital goods, basic raw materials and consumer products. The socialist countries have shown a desire to develop closer trade relations with the Western developed nations. We have encouraged and lent our support to efforts made in recent years by a number of these countries - Poland, Romania and Hungary - to develop multilateral trade associations with the rest of the world through GATT membership.
It is of considerable interest to note that over the past decade imports from Western developed countries have grown significantly faster than imports as a whole. This growing involvement of the socialist countries in world trade could be a most significant factor in the 1970s. Our exports to these countries have more than doubled in the last decade to reach $147m in 3971- 72 but we have barely scratched the surface. Since 196S we have negotiated trade agreements with the USSR and with most of the Eastern European countries. In 1971 we sent trade survey missions to 6 Eastern European countries and a mission is about to visit the Soviet Union. Only ill health prevented Mr Patolichev, Minister of Foreign Trade of the USSR, from coming to Australia last month for talks aimed at strengthening and broadening our commercial relationships.
I would like to see many more Australian businessmen visiting the capitals of these countries for discussions with Eastern European trading and industrial enterprises. The trading problems arising from the difference in our economic and trading systems are very real. Our businessmen will need to develop a knowledge and understanding of the practices under the socialist system. Joint trade committees have been established with Romania and Czechoslovakia. These committees will facilitate contact and communication between Australia and these countries on trade policies and problems.
My colleague the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) explained our attitude towards the People’s Republic of China in his statement on international relations during the Autumn session of the Parliament. Accordingly, it will be sufficient today if I merely repeat that it is the genuine desire of the Government to normalise its relations with China provided that mutually acceptable terms can be worked out. I have always believed that the development of trade with China would be beneficial and I will continue to work to this end. There are useful opportunities for commercial trade. Already significant sales of pig iron, steel, industrial chemicals and sugar have been made to China. Over 100 Australian businessmen participated at the Canton Fair earlier this year.
South Africa has always been a valuable market. Our exports last year were valued at $80m. In fact, it has become one of our most important outlets for manufactured goods. Our trade with the other African countries - other than Egypt - is limited but they have been making considerable strides in their economic progress and undoubtedly offer good prospects for future trade development. Exports to Africa have increased two and a half times over the last 10 years. Some 5 trade missions have visited African countries in the last 5 years, and another will depart next month. Over the same period we have organised or participated in 11 trade displays. We have 3 Trade Commissioner posts in the area with a total marketing staff of 16. We will expand our trade representation as resources permit.
My purpose in this statement has been to give honourable members an indication of the more important developments which will influence Australia’s international trade in the year’s ahead. We enjoy healthy trade relations with almost every part of the world. The record trade performance last year is the measure of the efforts of the Government and our industries and traders to come to grips with our competitors in the rest of the world. The trading problems and opportunities which face Australia are many and varied; and all are challenging. They demand a sense of purpose and a drive to succeed. We must observe carefully, analyse clearly and formulate our response with a cool and considered judgment of the national interest. Any Australian Government will be required from time to time to determine the fine balance between what we are prepared to pay in return for what we hope to receive in terms of improved access to world markets. In general, I believe that our best course will be to follow the basic principles and practices which have guided us in the past.
We must adhere to the principle of more liberal trade by active support of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. We must participate fully in multilateral negotiations designed to reduce barriers to trade. We must keep our bilateral trade relations under constant review and be prepared to adjust to ever-changing circumstances. We must continue to work for international commodity arrangements which improve conditions of access to world markets and stabilise prices at levels remunerative to producers. We must ensure that economic and efficient Australian industries are maintained and encouraged on terms which will make them competitive with the rest of the world. We must expand our commercial intelligence of world markets by means of the Trade Commissioner Service and by active support of trade missions and trade surveys. We must be prepared by way of trade promotion and publicity to bring our products before the attention of the increasingly sophisticated world consumer. We must be sure that our financial arrangements-export credit and insurance - will enable our exporters to compete on equal terms in world markets. But, most importantly of all, we must be ready at all times to innovate and react positively to an increasingly competitive and complex world situation.
Finally, Mr Speaker, I assure honourable members that this Government possesses both the desire and a will to play its full part in achieving a stable and growing world economy in which the interests of all nations, rich and poor, are adequately recognised. We will be flexible and accommodating to the interests of our trading partners provided they have proper regard for the interests of Australia.
A supplementary paper is available which provides more detailed statistical material covering both our export and import trade.I present the following papers:
International Trade - Ministerial Statement, 13th September 1972; Supplement to Ministerial Statement.
Motion (by Mr Howson) proposed:
That the House take note of the papers.
– One could have expected a statement from the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) in these circumstances about the very important subject of international trade partly because it is a long time since we have had any indication of what the Government has been thinking about or even that it has been thinking at all. Some features of the Minister’s statement are pleasing but much of what he said is a collection of quite general statements, almost platitudes. Some are almost so abstract as to be meaningless, some are ambiguous and some are contradictory to others.
The Minister has chosen to select some statistical facts, to state some changes in Australia’s trade with countries and areas, most of which are simply beyond dispute. But he omitted many other statistics that are not nearly so pleasing for the Government but which he should have looked at and which everybody surely would expect him to have looked at. He saw fit to concentrate on our trade surplus of $895m in 1971-72, an all-time record. He painted an optimistic picture in the first few pages of his speech, a picture based upon the trade surplus figure. But what about the invisibles? We had a’ trade surplus in 1971-72 but in that same year we had a record deficit on invisibles of $l,247m. Has that escaped the Minister’s notice? Was he aware of it? He has no intention of informing the House and the people. It would have conflicted with the optimistic view he adopted.
I assume that the Minister wrote his own speech and that it was not written for him by somebody in the Department. If it was written in the Department, it does not improve my opinion of the Department. I prefer to assume that the Minister is responsible for the oversight. I have pointed out that no attention has been given in the Minister’s speech to the astonishing record deficit on invisibles. Naturally, no attention has been given to what might be done to correct that deficit. Not much attention has been given to shipping, to the negotiations in which the Minister was involved. He very gladly signed a new set of contracts with the Conference lines, turning down some of the offers of Scandinavian lines. I appreciate that there is no evidence that the Scandinavian lines have contributed to any party funds. However, some Scandinavian bulk loading lines seem to be offering a proposition well worth examining. Organisations like the Aus tralian Wool Board were thoroughly in favour - and said so without hesitation - of an examination of the Scandinavian offers. But it had to be the Conference lines and it looks as though the invisibles deficit of $ 1,247m is to stay with us for as long as we have this approach. A similar position applies in the fields of insurance and banking.
A vast movement of trade has taken place from Europe to other parts of the world where the British oriented shipping, banking and insurance systems do not work. Consequently we are getting the worst end of the deal by having to pay excessive charges for shipping freights, insurance and banking facilities in the areas where increasingly our trade is going. A new Government initiative is required but there is no sign of it in anything that the Minister has had to say. He did not even mention to the House the invisibles deficit of $ 1,247m. A closer examination of that deficit shows that it relates to the United Kingdom and the United States, our great and powerful friends. Last year $750m of it was with the United Kingdom and $690m . of it was with the United States of America. How much can one do for one’s great and powerful friends?
– Ask them in Hanoi. They will tell you how the Russians do it.
– I am sure that the honourable member’s experience in the Air Force will keep him up to date in this matter. We have to think in much more realistic terms than the kinds of political terms that have enabled so many Liberal back benchers such as the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham) to keep their seats by kicking the communist can. But it will not be quite so possible to do that as it once used to be because one cannot be sure any more that if we have the downward thrust of China Dr Kissinger will not be on the end of it. With all those beautiful statements that the Minister made about socialist countries, it will not be so easy now to kick the communist can around as it used to be. Listen to them. He said:
It is of considerable interest to note that over the past decade imports from Western developed countries have grown significantly faster than imports as a whole. This growing involvement of the socialist countries in world trade could be a most significant factor in the 1970s, Our exports to these countries have more than doubled in the last decade to reach SI 47m in 1972-73. . .
He is now telling the business friends of the honourable member for North Sydney that the trading problems arising from the difference between economic and trade systems are very real. He said:
Our businessmen will need to develop a knowledge and understanding of the practices under the socialist system.
What a change that is. It will not be quite so easy now to ignore a situation in which since 1951-52, over a period of 20 years, our deficit on current account with the United Kingdom has reached about $8,000m and with the United States $7,481m, a total of $15,501m. Our total deficit is only $9,645m. So we have a credit on current account with other countries of $5,856m but a deficit with Britain and the United States of $15,501m. These deficits will have to change. Inevitably it will not be possible for Britain, going into the Common Market, to take 18 per cent of our exports and for us to take 31 per cent of our imports from Britain. This position will have to change.
So 1 direct attention to the next fact that the Minister now knows that the United Kingdom is going into the Common Market. He said:
The breathing space afforded by General de Gaulle’s veto in 1963 has been used to develop new markets.
I do not ignore some of the things that the Government has done in its exports incentive scheme and things of that kind. I think that most of the development that has taken place in the last 9 years has been normal commercial or business development in which the Government has played no significant role. It has had 10 years in which to do something. The honourable member for Wentworth (Mr Bury), who was a Minister at the time he made the comment, was inclined to say that whether Britain went into the Common Market was not of much importance for Australia. The Prime Minister at the time did not like that - or was it the Minister for Trade and Industry at that time who did not like it?
It does not seem to me that the Government has taken a positive role in the last 9 years in this matter. The Minister says that the Government nevertheless remains very concerned about the fate of those exports which still go to Britain. It is concerned 10 years after the breathing space began. It is not possible to say now, says the Minister, what the final effects of the British entry will be but satisfactory alternative markets will be found for some displaced trade. I have not any confidence about that. The Minister has said nothing to us that would give any justification for confidence in that statement. What has the Government done to ensure that satisfactory alternative markets will be found and where will they be?
The Minister went on to say that there can be no question but that for a number of our export industries the consequences will be severe. What are they? The fresh, canned and dried fruits industries, the dairy industry, the wine industry and possibly the sugar industry are among those likely to be affected most. The consequences are likely to be severe. After 9 years of breathing space it must be a lot of satisfaction for the growers in those industries to know that despite General de Gaulle and his 10-year breathing space, the Right Honourable the Minister for Trade and Industry is now saying that the consequences for them will be severe. How severe? What is going to be done to modify the severity of the consequences? There is no indication in the Minister’s statement of any attempt to reconstruct those industries affected or to transfer people out of them, if that is what is going to happen. Is there to be a scheme of compensation? There has been no suggestion of this. There is not even a recognition that it may be necessary because this Government does not plan ahead. The Government is like a man who waits for something to happen to him before he works out what he is going to do about it. It has an ideological objection to anticipating anything. It believes in what it calls ‘free enterprise’, and that means that you do not anticipate anything; you wait until it hits you and then you try to do something about it. That is not the way in which free enterprise operates in business. That is the way in which only this Government does it because free enterprise, as I know it, tries to anticipate what is going to happen and tries to make plans ahead. It is only the Government which interprets free enterprise ideology in the terms that you do not do anything until the crisis comes. Business does not behave in that way otherwise it would be bankrupt, as the Government is. I am totally dissatisfied with the absence of constructive measures that the Government might have considered for those industries I have mentioned and for which the Minister regards the consequences as severe.
The final point I want to make is in relation to tariff making in Australia. We still have the 19th century laissez-faire attitude to the making of tariffs. We still talk about economic and efficient industries but nobody knows what this means. Economic and efficient on what standards? Tariffs are too high, the Tariff Board tells us and they have to be reduced. But what are the consequences of reducing them - 150,000 people out of work here and 20,000 people out of work there? I would say that there are at least 25,000 people who are unemployed today as a result of the application of the Tariff Board’s recommendations by the Government. That figure is likely to increase. Nothing the Minister has said can possibly change the situation.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
- Mr Speaker, we have listened to a very broad, in fact, a major statement on tariffs and trade by the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony). It is a statement which deserves a considerable amount of time for debate which unfortunately cannot be allocated to it in view of the exigencies of parliamentary business. Nevertheless, certain comment needs to be made. The Minister, as the Leader of the Country Party, must put the best gloss he can on the loss of the largest open market for rural products in the world, namely, the United Kingdom, which has gone into the Common Market. As the honourable, member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) has said, the Minister cannot provide a satisfactory alternative. Of course, it is nice to hear him recant in relation to trade with the eastern European countries. Trade there will be on a pretty tough basis, too. What reason have those countries to love Australia or a government of his political persuasion?
In general terms, the world is breaking up into protective trading blocs and, frankly, we are not in any of them. At the present time the major one is the European Economic Community. Britain has gone in there to get out of the wet, and has said, in effect, ‘Go hang the Commonwealth’. COMECON is the next one. Of course, it pivots on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. There is another one which consists of the 2 American continents. As for the rest, Japan is on the loose and so are. we. If we have any trading relationship at all it is this: We are part of what has been called the Pacific triangle of trade between the United States of America, with whom we have a very substantial deficit, and Japan, with whom we have a very substantial surplus. In the triangular exchange, up to date one has approximately balanced out the other. But that situation will not continue, because of the negotiations that are being, conducted as. a result of the recent conference between the new Prime Minister of Japan and the American President.
The deficit between the’ United States and Japan is about SUS2,200m per year, and the pressure is on. The deal proposed is this: The Japanese need fuel and enriched uranium. In the process once more this Government will be upstaged in its trading relationships. The. proposal is that the Japanese for a period will purchase from the United States something of the order of $US1,000m worth of uranium, and Australia once more will be left out in the cold. To make the position worse, currently the world is undergoing a monetary crisis in which the world’s major banker - the United States - is, according to orthodox capitalist canons, verging on insolvency. Within itself, as far as its own internal trade is concerned, it can carry on satisfactorily; but, in terms of its liabilities and its assets, the United States dollar today is a suspect currency. That goes also for the pound sterling.
What steps has this Government taken to protect our trading contracts in the future? How are they to be negotiated? Thanks to the Smithsonian Agreement, we have lost already something of the order of S56m. We have yet to hear from the Government what has been lost as a result of the floating of the pound sterling. Of course, no-one can quantify it exactly, but we have yet to hear what will be the loss as a result of the further adjustment of world currencies which will take place following the United States presidential election. Only yesterday the Chairman of the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd in his annual report warned about currency instability. In the world today bilateral arrangements have to be made. Those arrangements will need to provide for some fixed parity as between the vendor and the purchasing country in respect of the relativity of their currencies for the term of the agreement. This Government of so-called businessmen, of course, would not know where to start in the matter.
The Minister for Trade and Industry has paid lip service to multilateral trade. What are the facts today7 Every one of the socalled Western democracies, the industrial democracies, pays lip service to free trade, and goes as hard as it can for protection. Let us look at our 2 major trading partners, the United States and Japan. What is our position with the United States? There is a tariff on wool of 25c a lb. What has this Government done about it? How has it used its leverage in respect of our trading deficit of over $600m a year with the United States? There are. quotas on beef, sugar, lead and zinc exports from Australia into the United States.
Let us now take the case of Japan, probably the most sophisticated and most determined exponent of protectionism in the world today. Japan will take raw materials - coal, iron ore, bauxite and other non-ferrous metals - but precisely how much can we get into Japan in quantities that count? Even if we could export satisfactory quantities, the Minister for Trade and Industry has been less than frank with the House because the system of distribution in Japan is such that it is very difficult to trade with that country. This is because of the hold of the Zaibatsu, the companies which before World War II were in charge of Japanese trade and commerce. They will dictate the terms of trade and commerce. There are some possibilities of trade with the Common Market countries but whether one looks at the Common Market countries or at the western hemisphere bloc of the 2 Americas, one finds that there are rural agrarian pressure groups in control and dictating and distorting the economies and the terms of trade of those countries. Today it would not matter at what price we offered some of our rural products because we could not get them into the Common Market countries, try as we may. As for the future, unless and until we arrive at a situation where there is some form of world monetary stability, trade will be on the basis of individual reciprocal arrangements for fixed periods and with fixed relativity to the respective international currencies. This Government is a discredited Government; it does not know where to start. It has been going by guess and by God. It has been playing by ear and not to economic music. The incoming government will face the cleaning up of a mess of this Government’s creation.
– I have waited for a debate on trade in the House of Representatives for something like 3 years since this Twenty-seventh Parliament came into being. I would direct the attention of the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) to the fact that it was on 3rd November last year that I asked him when we were to debate the statement made by Sir John McEwen on trade with the United Kingdom and the levies on imports, which statement incidentally is still on the notice paper and dates back to 28th October 1970. The Minister made a subsequent statement but we have debated neither statement. The Minister said on 3rd November 1970 in reply to me that he would try to have a debate on the paper he presented soon. This is not November 1970; it is September 1972. There have been a great many statements on trade made outside the House but no opportunity has been given until now to the Australian Parliament to debate the momentous decisions on trade which have been made across the world in recent times. This is the first opportunity.
I would like, to refer to the situation in which we find ourselves. The honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) very rightly pointed out that whatever claims might be made by the Minister for the expansion of our trade and our balance of trade, the fact of the situation is that in net terms we are a long way behind - over 20 years by about $8,000m. This is hardly a record to be proud of. I would say in relation to the. industries that are affected by Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community that we have overall primary exports worth $2,000m, of which probably only $158m worth will be affected by the decision of Britain to enter the EEC. But those industries to some of our communities are particularly sensitive. The Minister made a rather doleful reference today when he said:
The Government remains very concerned, nevertheless, about the fate of those exports which still go to Britain. It is not possible to say now what the final effects of British entry will be but satisfactory alternative markets will be found for some of the displaced trade.
I emphasise that ‘some’ only are to be satisfactorily adjusted. The statement continued:
But there can be no question, that for a number of our export industries, the consequences will be severe. Fresh, canned and dried fruits, dairy products, wines, and possibly sugar are among those likely to be affected most.
That is a most doleful statement for these industries and the people engaged in them. The Minister referred to the fact that the Government had been farsighted enough 10 years ago to make great adjustments. After 10 years of great adjustments, to make that doleful statement today is not a terribly impressive performance. I am not at all clear what stage we have reached either with our negotiations with Britain or with anyone else on these matters. The Minister, in his statement, also said:
I made certain proposals designed to ameliorate the expected difficulties which our trade will encounter. These proposals are in the process of being considered and there will be further discussions later this year.
I have been trying and the industries also have been trying to find out exactly what is proposed, because the Minister, in addressing a meeting of the Western Australian Country Party on 24th July 1972 stated - I quote his own Press release:
I put forward some specific proposals which they are now examining-
Apparently this was referring to Britain and the European Economic Community. In fact, of course, I have been trying to establish just what were these proposals and with whom he talked because Sir Alex Douglas-Home, who is the British Foreign Secretary, in reply to Mr Leslie Huckfield, M.P., in a letter stated:
Australian Ministers, including Mr McMahon on bis visit to London in November last year, have expressed their satisfaction at the steps taken in the EEC negotiations to safeguard Australia’s interests over the transitional period.
That is a very big statement for the British Foreign Minister to make - that our Government has expressed satisfaction at the arrangements made for our industries. Sir Alex Douglas-Home’s letter continued:
No Australian Minister has criticised the UK. for joining Europe, and many Australians welcome the prospect-
That hardly seemed to be satisfactory to me, as a member representing industries in trouble. But I did try to make sure just what was being done. Writing again to Mr Huckfield, M.P., on 8th June - shortly afterwards the Minister for Trade and Industry in Australia said that he had proposals before the Government of the United Kingdom and before the European Economic Community - Sir Alex DouglasHome stated:
This is why I emphasise the fact that we have received no formal communication. from the Australians since the time the negotiations were completed.
I am quite confused by the procedures which have been adopted in these negotiations. Firstly, it was indicated by the British that there had been no negotiations at all. Then it was indicated that there had been no formal communication. The Minister for Trade and Industry, in reply to a question on this matter from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), said that he had made his position clear and he did not have to say any more. If it is clear to him, it certainly is not clear to members of the Parliament. It is not clear to some of the industries. I am most concerned about the canned fruits industry. I might say that following the last visit overseas of the Minister for Trade and Industry I did try to find out whether any specific arrangements had been made there. I was most anxious to find out whether there had been any particular proposals because this is an industry which touches on a number of communities. If it is one of those for which the Minister has indicated that the consequences will be severe, then we should know urgently. On 13 th July in the British House of Commons Mr Redmond, asked the Prime Minister whether he would make a statement on his recent official discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. Another question on the same subject was asked in the British House of Commons by Mr St John-Stevas and the Prime Minister of Great Britain replied:
Mr Anthony, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry in the Australian Government, visited this country from 25th to 28th June. My ministerial colleagues and I had a most useful exchange of views with him, particularly on commercial relations between Britain and Australia in the context of the enlargement of the European Communities.
It sounds like a most chummy little discussion. But it does not say that any formal proposals were presented and that they would be under consideration. I think the Minister for Trade and Industry has a responsibility to this Parliament to say exactly what is being done because we are no wiser following his statement. His statement, after 3 years of silence by him and bis predecessor, ls certainly inadequate.
The British Parliamentary UnderSecretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs is a Mr Anthony Royle and his report on the visit of the Minister for Trade and Industry was in these terms:
Mr Anthony met a number of Ministers and officials during his visit and both sides were able to benefit from a useful exchange of views on a whole range of questions. The question of canned fruit exports from Australia is one which falls within the responsibilities of MAFF and you will by now have seen Anthony Stodart’s written answer of 18th July … to your question seeking similar information to that for which you ask in your letter under reference.
The information was that there had been some discussions but that no proposals bad been put forward. Surely the Parliament of Australia has a responsibility to ask for and to receive further information after 10 years of expectancy that there will be serious consequences of Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community. Surely it is time we knew precisely what the proposals are and what they involve so that we all can comment on them and perhaps add to them and even contribute to them in the national Parliament. It is time industries themselves knew what is going on.
However, it is fairly obvious to me that the Minister’s statement leaves all these questions unanswered and we are now no wiser as to what he did in London other than that he had some talks. But what are the proposals? I suggest that what we should have done a long time ago. when apparently the Minister said that every body was aware that Britain would go into Europe and that the Government was gearing itself for this event, was to renegotiate the preferences which we had been given and which had some value and significance at that time. Was that in fact done? The honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) pointed out that there has been a considerable display of enterprise by Australian businesses and exporters, but what did the Government do in those 10 years? What specific steps were taken?
I draw attention to the fact that one industry with which I am familiar, namely, the rice industry, faced a problem 10 years ago. This industry tackled its problem successfully. It did not really get any specific assistance from government but, to be fair in this regard, it did not really ask for assistance. The industry recognised that if the bulk of its exports were still going to the United Kingdom 10 years later the industry would be in serious trouble. So, quite independently of government, this industry diversified to Asia, to such an extent that the bulk of its export traffic now goes to our neighbouring countries and not to Britain. This is an example of an industry with self-help and I think a tribute should be paid to it. The rice industry probably was the first industry so to move and to display this kind of enterprise. Of course, the canned fruits industry was in a different situation because it came into being under the umbrella of imperial preference and treaties which were entered into between the Australian Government and the British Government. What I am pointing out now is that this industry, which was born of government decisions and born under an umbrella of government aid, protection and assistance, is now finding that the umbrella is being taken away.
The Minister for Trade and Industry has pointed out previously when this question has arisen that there will be a phasing out period of 1 year. However, unfortunately, we are already facing the crunch, as the Minister has indicated in his statement, which is associated with currency problems and other decisions of government. This is not just an abstract question. It is a question that surely deserves some clear indication by the Government to this industry firstly, that it desires the industry to continue, secondly, the scale of its continuance, and, thirdly, the arrangements which are in prospect. If there are no arrangements in prospect after 10 years of anticipation, it certainly is an indictment of the Administration.
So. I draw attention to these great gaps in the statement of the Minister for Trade and Industry and also to the great differences between what he has said in Australia and what the British Prime Minister, the British Foreign Secretary and other British Ministers who have given replies on this subject have said in their country. Either we are speaking in different languages or we are being mas.ively misunderstood. It is possible that the Deputy Prime Minister has been misunderstood and that his proposals have not been understood by the people to whom he addressed them, but I think he owes this Parliament something better in relation to these industries 10 years after the first intimation was given that there was a future for them. We should know what that future is and we should also know what the Minister proposes to do to ameliorate the consequences which, he has told us, will be severe.
Debate (on motion by Mr Giles) adjourned.
Debate resumed (vide page 1289). (Quorum formed.)
– The Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) who gave the second reading of this Bill H hours ago announced that in the Committee stage he would move an amendment to cure a deficiency in the Bill which had been discovered since it was drafted in the early hours of the morning. Perhaps I may assist him to avoid other embarrassing court rebuffs by pointing out that there are a couple of other errors in the ‘Gazette’ notice which is the basis of this legislation. I refer to Commonwealth of Australia ‘Gazette’ No. 86A dated Canberra, Tuesday, 12 September 1972. At question time this morning the Minister for the Interior (Mr
Hunt) admitted that this ‘Gazette’ notice was not published on the date it bears but was published after midnight.
– May I have the indulgence of the honourable member?
– Have you circulated your amendment?
– I think it was circulated an hour ago.
– It has not yet been received.
– Is this a second reading amendment or a Committee amendment?
– This is a Committee amendment. 1 do not object to its being made a second reading amendment.
– It would help us to give it mature consideration if we could have it.
– It is still with the Clerks, I am told. It was given to them over an hour ago. I gave permission - 1 do not know whether I can correctly say ‘instructions’ - and expressed the wish that it be circulated. I have only one copy here but I will give it to you straight away. As I say, it is the only copy.
– That is due notice.
– I hear the honourable member say ‘due notice’. In fact, it has not been in my province to distribute it. After all, the second reading of the Bill concluded H hours ago. The honourable member asked me whether he could have a copy of the amendment, and I assured him that he would have it.
– In 5 minutes.
– I know, and I regret that he has not had it. I certainly have a copy.
– This is why I asked the Leader of the Opposition what amendment it was. If it is a Committee amendment it does not have to be circulated until such time as the matter goes into Committee. If the Leader of the Opposition wishes to circulate it, it can be made available to honourable members.
– There is some misconception here. I began my speech by referring to an amendment that the Minister for Primary Industry, in his second reading speech, said that he would be moving in the Committee stage and which he circulated forthwith. In moving the adjournment of the debate to a later hour today I said that I also proposed to move an amendment in the Committee stage and, in answer to the honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr Brown), I said that I would give him a copy of it in 5 minutes. I certainly obtained a copy myself. I gave it to some of my colleagues. There must have been some jumble in the instructions or the communication, but I certainly gave permission for my amendment also to be circulated, as I stated in the House I would do.
– It does not matter. Honourable members opposite will not support it whatever it says.
– Some of them might. I started by referring to an amendment which the Minister who introduced the Bil said that he would be moving to cure a deficiency which had been noted in the Bill since it was drafted in the early hours of this morning. I am trying to be helpful by giving notice of deficiencies in the Gazette notice which was issued on yesterday’s date so that early steps can be taken to amend it or to validate it so that there will be no more embarrassing court rebuffs to the Government. I have already pointed out that, as the Minister for the Interior admitted at question time this morning, the Gazette notice was not published on the date it bears. It was published after midnight - namely, today. In addition to that, I direct the Minister’s attention to the Gazette notice. The first line is ‘Australian Capital Territory’. The second line is ‘Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1901- 1972’. There is no such Act.
– How much do these draftsmen get?
– I do not reflect on the draftsmen. After all, nobody works at his maximum efficiency at or after midnight, and that is when they had to work on this occasion. The Seat of Government (Administration) Act was first introduced in 1910 and it has been amended on a few occasions since. If the Minister seeks to make an amendment to validate these 2 errors in the Gazette notice during the Committee stage of the Bill he has ample time now to act.
– What was the second one? The first was 1901 instead of 1910.
– The second one was the fact that the Gazette notice bears yesterday’s date, whereas the Minister admitted at question time this morning that it was published after midnight - namely, today. Honourable members may now think that when the Bill passes, the whole view from Parliament House will be decent and orderly. They may think that once the Aborigines have been deprived of their land rights for the rest of this Parliament, once the people who have the highest infant mortality rate in the world are no longer in view, once the people who have the highest incident of leprosy, venereal disease and tuberculosis of any identifiable racial group in the world are out of sight, the whole view from Parliament House can be seemly and we can rest secure. After all, it is only the Aborigines and a few young supporters who are concerned. Accordingly, they will not be able to express their displeasure at this year’s election.
But I would remind honourable members that the present Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) is reverting to the form of one of his predecessors, the present Deputy Leader of the Liberal Parly and Treasurer (Mr Snedden). In that case action was taken to take away the accrued rights of a very prominent businessman, Mr Gordon Barton. Honourable members will remember that it had been arranged that there should be a Privy Council hearing in London on a Monday, seeking a mandamus against a Commonwealth official, and on the previous Thursday the regulations were altered. The regulations as amended were printed in Australia but no notice of the amended regulations was given to Mr Gordon Barton’s attorneys. Apparently no copies of the regulations were circulated or available. Mr Barton swore at the time that only 12 copies had been printed, that they had all been airmailed to London and that they got there in time for the Monday hearing. On the way to court the Solicitor-General of the Commonwealth, appearing for the Commonwealth which was resisting Mr Gordon Barton’s application, pointed out that the regulations had been altered, that the official against whom the mandamus was sought no longer had authority in the matter and that the Privy Council, even if it upheld Mr Barton’s application, would have issued a fruitless order. Nobody is secure under a Liberal Government which can alter the law retrospectively in this fashion - whether he be an Aboriginal or one of the biggest businessmen in Austalia. Honourable members opposite may believe that there will not be electoral retribution for their conduct. They should recall that the Australia Party owes its genesis to Attorney-General Snedden’s conduct in 196S.
Let me remind honourable members that the whole basis of this legislation is the Australian Capital Territory Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972. In a statement by leave on 11th May we were told by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) that adequate public notice would be given of the coming into effect of the ordinance. The Parliament rose 3 weeks later. Three weeks after that the ordinance was made. Nobody knew about it. The public was not told; nor, of course, were members of Parliament. No adequate notice was given to anybody. Three weeks later a ‘Gazette’ notice was made and that Gazette’ notice stated what copies of the ordinance cost and the names of the offices to which one could write to get a copy, but not the addresses at which one could call to get a copy. At a quarter to ten that morning the Commonwealth Police implemented the ordinance - at least they implemented it partially. They implemented it against the Aboriginal embassy on the lawns opposite Parliament House. The Aborigines had not seen a copy of the ordinance.
– They were not there.
– Order! I suggest that interjections from the corner on my right should cease.
– I do not mind an interruption from the honourable member for Hume (Mr Pettitt), but when such an example is set by the 2 knights who have interrupted already, that is, the honourable member for Mallee (Sir Winton Turnbull) and the right honourable member for Fisher (Sir Charles Adermann) - the cavalleria rusticana in the House - it is a different matter altogether. If there is one thing on which the Country Party is united it is In the repression of those whom it employs and in this respect it makes no distinction between European Australians or Aboriginal Australians. It has been a source of shame to members of the House to see the deterioration in the Minister for the Interior since he took over that portfolio. He has a great number of Aborigines in his electorate of Gwydir - not least in the largest centre, which is Dubbo - and he knows the social and economic conditions of the Aborigines in that area. When the former Prime Minister asked a question in February that was adverse to the Aboriginal embassy, the Minister for the Interior, to his credit, gave a temperate, factual, decent reply. On 11th May, as I have quoted, he was still intending to follow the proper procedure of giving adequate notice of the ordinance. But then his Party got hold of him. It has been the misfortune of the mainland Territories of Australia and, until the recent beneficent change of regime, of the external Territories also that there has been a succession of Country Party Ministers controlling them. Of course, every Australian who lives in those Territories has suffered from this, but in particular the Aboriginal people have suffered.
When interrupted by another member of the Country Party, I was describing the chronology of the gazettal of this ordinance. Yesterday morning the Full Court of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory ruled that proper notice had not been given of this ordinance and that therefore the ordinance, while valid, was inoperative. One should have thought, after the previous promise that adequate notice would be given, and after the Court’s disclosure that no proper notice had been given, that on this occasion proper and adequate notice would have been given. But what do we find? At 11 o’clock last night the Minister for Primary Industry who is the Deputy Leader of the Country Party and the representative in this place of the Attorney-General, gave notice of this Bill. This was immediately followed by a statement by the Minister for the Interior - the junior Country Party Minister in the chamber - that a new gazettal was being made. The House rose at 11.40 p.m. The Bills and Papers office of this House closed at 11.45 p.m. Still there was no ‘Gazette*.
Then at about half-past twelve, in an extraordinarily impressive display of the panoply of the law, the Commonwealth Police arrived and explained the ‘Gazette’ to the people who had re-erected the Aboriginal embassy on the lawns of Parliament House. These people were perfectly entitled to do so because, be it remembered, there had been no operative ordinance denying them the right to do so. The ‘Gazette’ came out after midnight. Apparently the first public officials to see it were members of the Commonwealth Police and the first people to whom they showed it were the people who, within the law, bad re-erected the Aboriginal embassy.
This is the notice we have been given all along. On 11th May notice was going to be given. The ordinance was made on 30th June. An ineffective and inoperative gazettal was made on 20th July. Yesterday the Full Court of the Supreme Court ruled that no proper notice had been given. At 11 o’clock last night we were told that there was going to be a new gazettal and after midnight the ‘Gazette’ was published. Apparently the Bill was prepared this morning. But then somebody found out that there had been an oversight in the Bill. So we have been told that there is going to be an amendment to it. There could scarcely be a more tawdry history in any legislative matter than this. As I said this morning, it is not only a disgrace to this Government but also an embarrassment to this Parliament and a scandal for the country; and this at a time when we happen to have the First Australian Parliamentary Seminar of the parliaments of the countries within our region meeting under our auspices. What must the delegates think of the procedures in the Parliament of the largest country in this area? What an example we set of law and order, of decent procedures and of the rights of individuals.
There can be no dispute that this validating Bill is required because for decades under successive governments notices have been given in the ‘Gazette’ in a sloppy fashion. Frankly, the ‘Gazette’ notices have said only that certain ordinances, regulations or instruments were available for sale at a certain price. They omitted the formality that they had been made as the various Acts require. This Bill will ask us to assume that all those ‘Gazette’ notices in fact said that the ordinances, regulations and instruments had been made, and also that they gave a proper notice of where they were available. In these circumstances we will not vote against the second reading but we will move an amendment in Committee to preserve the rights of persons who were affected by the proceedings outside this House on 20th and 23rd July.
I concede that the Minister for the Interior was extraordinarily mortified and embarrassed yesterday and that some of his interjections or answers to questions I put to him after 11 o’clock last night might have been ill considered. However, I would hope that no Minister ever again will overlook the rights of citizens to resist arrest if the arrest is being made without authority. A citizen has rights. A policeman is a citizen too, but he has no greater rights than another citizen unless the law expressly gives him those rights. A policeman in the Australian Capital Territory has no inherent right to arrest people. If a policeman without authority is arresting a person it is no offence to hinder’ the police, to assault the police, to obstruct the police, to resist arrest or, I imagine, if police alone were in earshot to use indecent language. That is the array of offences for which 27 people were arrested in association with the demolition of and evictions from the Aboriginal embassy on 20th and 23rd July.
If this Bill is passed in its present form those persons who were then arrested can still be charged and, if the facts warrant it, convicted because the Act will have retrospective effect. At least it would be arguable that that was so. We should put it beyond argument. We should make it quite plain that any of the persons who were arrested on 20th or 23rd July in association with the ordinance which was inoperative should be in no jeopardy at all. We should also ensure that those persons retain the rights which they would have had to seek redress. This should be clear to anybody in this country: If it cannot be asserted that a person has broken a law there cannot be any excuse for arresting him. If he has been arrested falsely, if he has been prosecuted maliciously - although this might not be the case in this instance - he has rights. He should not be deprived of his rights. He should not be put in jeopardy retrospectively. I would imagine that that is what the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) meant when he said in answer to my colleague Senator Cavanagh yesterday afternoon:
As to whether any compensation may be payable, I feel that the Government’s attitude would be that if people considered that their rights had been infringed they, like everyone else, have access to the courts of law to assert those rights.
We will not vote against the second reading. We will move our amendment in Committee. If the amendment is defeated we wm vote against the third reading and in that case we will also vote against the Bill in the Senate. I should explain that we will not vote against the second reading because it is important that people who have acted under ordinances of the Australian Capital Territory and other territories, who have acted under regulations under Commonwealth Acts, and who have acted under instruments made by Ministers, should have their rights confirmed. If persons find that they were able to escape liabilities or were able to enjoy benefits under laws which everybody thought were valid up until now and now find that that is not the case, the matter should be promptly put to rights. One would have thought that there would have been no difficulty in doing that tomorrow. Nevertheless the House has said that it is to be done today, so we will not vote against the second reading.
– This is a small Bill. Nevertheless it is quite remarkable and exceptional. Its exceptionality may be found in the test that there are probably not another three or four Bills of a similar character to be found in the statute books of any Parliament, certainly in the Commonwealth of Australia and certainly in the States of Australia. This Bill is brought about by exceptional circumstances and I want to refer briefly to those circumstances so that my argument may at least appear to gather some measure of relevance and perspective.
The Bill arises from what I would describe as the Aboriginal embassy case. I use that term compendiously and certainly not offensively. It involved the purported gazettal of an ordinance and the subsequent finding by the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory that that ordinance, although not invalid, was inoperative because of technical reasons. Those reasons have been shortly stated by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) - the failure to observe the points of punctilio of notification and so forth. This Bill sets out to put at rest doubts which may have come into being because of the similar form of notification of other ordinances going back, I understand, some 30 years or so. Of course, it has retrospective force.
It is a sturdy principle of parliamentary activity, as I understand it, that legislation seeking to have retrospectivity should command the characteristic of being exceptional and all of the circumstances relating to it should be scrutinised with the utmost care. It is not that the ordinance was invalid but that the notification was. But if it was invalid on the count of some defect or blemish in the form of notification, it stands to reason that there could well be scores - one could go further and say hundreds - of ordinances which would run the risk of challenge on the count that they too were inoperative because of the failure to observe the prescribed form of notification, or what the court has taken to be the reasonableness of the form of notification. So this Bill seeks to cure retrospectively any blemishes, any defects, which may be in existence.
So much for the Bill itself, although I will be coming back to the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition. But I want to way something for myself about the Aboriginal embassy incident. I want to say it without any heat, and I hope that even though my views may not be accepted at least they will be appreciated. The embassy was created on 26th January 1972. The Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972 was produced on 30th June 1972. Its ‘making’ as an ordinance was gazetted on 20th July 1972. So some 6 months had elapsed. I do not think any person could fairly say that the Government entered upon any precipitate action as far as the Ordinance was concerned. Indeed, as far as I am concerned personally, I thought the inactivity of those 6 months represented a curious mixture of dither and irresolution. I do not say that by way of stricture of my friend, the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt). He is a member of a Government, and it is the whole Government that must answer on this count.
I hold the view, and I hold it firmly, that the Aboriginal cause has not been advanced one iota by the existence of the embassy. I am filled with a sense of shame as my recollection sweeps around this country to what I would describe as some of the very genuine manifestations of neglect by us elsewhere. Let me take my own city of Brisbane. When I go into town of a morning and come home of an evening, I am not filled with any sense of exhilaration to see members of the Aboriginal race gathered together in some of the parks and the places in South Brisbane neglected, afflicted by the ravages of alcohol, afflicted by the gatherings and the temptations, if you like, of the cities. And when I go to such country places as Mount Isa and Cunnamulla and I see there the neglect in housing, it fills me with a seme of shame.
So if there is to be the acceptance of a responsibility in this area - and that cause I plead - it is ours collectively, and 1 do not believe it is to be advanced by a gathering, however meaningfully, however, tenaciously held by those who are involved, on the front lawns of Parliament House. Surely the test of protests in the ultimate is to be found in dignity - not dignity in any snob sense, but dignity in terms of resolution but at the same time dignity in terms of advancing a cause. Does it dignify a cause when the cause is not being advanced? Surely there is something wrong with the argument or, worse still, surely there is something wrong with those who should listen to the argument. Possibly that is where the fault lies, that we have not listened to the argument and we have not responded as willingly and meaningfully to the argument as we should have Jone. These are the views I hold, and I hold them be they in relation to any gathering of people outside Parliament House. If they were of any race on the face of the earth who sought in this way to extend their protest, I would seek to discourage them, not on the ground of seeking to daunt them at all in prosecuting their cause but rather in the firm belief that it was so useless, so forlorn, and not achieving what they seek to achieve.
I come to the Ordinance itself which has led to the distress - I use that term with some feeling - in which this Parliament and the country find themselves. The Ordinance has a frugality of expression that almost borders on the incomprehensible. For example, it states that copies of it may be obtained from a Government publishing officer, P.O. Box 84, Canberra. I can understand that. It goes on to state, that a copy can be obtained ‘over the counter from the AGPS book centres’. This is all very fine for those who are moving daily in the area where this jargon is used. May I ask those responsible this question–anc the ultimate responsibility of course must be taken by the Government, because this is where there is a repository of responsibility in these matters - what .on earth could the AGPS be to a person who had no connection with it?
– It could mean greater public schools.
– Precisely. Why this groaning display of provincialism? It states that copies may be obtained from .these book centres in Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. What happens if a person comes from Hobart or Brisbane? This is just as relevant, and I think it is fair criticism to make of the Gazette. I suppose the only comfort to be drawn from ail this is that the judgment of Their Honours in the court is salutary.
This brings me to what I regard as the central principle involved in this great issue, and that is the whole method by which ordinances and subordinate legislation are handled. This strikes no note of novelty. From the very day on which the Lord Chief Justice, of England, Lord Hewitt, wrote his famous polemic treatise, The New Despotism’, the people in the United Kingdom have been seized with the need to try to control in a firm, sensible fashion the great mass of subordinate legislation. Would any member of this Parliament truthfully say that he or she reads, let alone comprehends, the mass of legislation, regulations or ordinances that comes down? There are simply not enough hours in a day. When the Kerr Committee reported to this Parliament in October of last year there was a sense of exhilaration coming from here and there to the effect that we were going to do something about it. The United Kingdom went through the, Donoughmore Commission. I will have something to say about that in a moment. In 1929 it went through the Franks Committee. Both these bodies produced sturdy recommendations trying to come to grips with what is after all the very ethos of Parliament. Governments go. Ministers ano even Prime Ministers are ephemeral. But surely the institution of Parliament is the beckoning light to those who, if they have, a feel for it, seek to maintain it. How on earth do we maintain it when bit by bit, drip by drip the whole of its authority is being washed away?
Take the case last night. Could any person say, with reason being his companion, that he knew what was in that Gazette published last night? Surely there must come a time when we do bow to the forces of reason, no matter how tempting we may find it to shun them or indeed how convenient we may find it to pretend that they do not exist. What prospect was there for any member of this Parliament, let alone those to whom it was directed, to know what was In it last night? I was reminded of the words of a judge of the Supreme Court- a great judge, if I may so say with respect, and a great citizen - in a case in which he wrote his judgment in his own inimitable way. What he wrote is of some relevance to the point we are dealing with today. It was His Honour, Mr Justice Wanstall in the case of Hughes v. Hi-way Ads. Pty Ltd. It deals with the availability and publication of ordinances. In this case it was a Brisbane City Council ordinance. After having referred to the difficulty of getting accessibility to them, His Honour wrote - and it is a delightful story:
Gaius Caesar, better known as the Emperor Caligula, is reputed in literary tradition to have made a practice of depositing his criminal edicts on top of a monument so that he would have available for punishment the luckless victims who transgressed them in ignorance of their existence . . .
What is the difference between what Caligula did and what happened last night? We may as well have stuck the Gazette on top of the statue of King George V - on his head or on top of the horse - it would not have made much difference. This is the gravaman of the charge I make. It b important and deserving to be noticed by the Government.
I referred to the Donoughmore Commission. This was a committee of inquiry into the powers of Ministers and for part of the time its chairman was Lord Justice Scott. In one case which was under consideration, this is what he said:
There is one quite general question … of supreme importance to the continuance of the rule of law under the British constitution, namely, the right of the public affected to know what that law is. That right was denied to the defendant in the present case. The maxim that ignorance of the law does not excuse any subject represents the working hypothesis on which the rule of law rests in British democracy. That maxim applies in legal theory just as much to written as to unwritten law, i.e., to statute law as much as to common law or equity. But the very justification for that basic maxim is that the whole of our law, written or unwritten, is accessible to the public - in the sense, of course, that, at any rate, its legal advisers have access to it, at any moment, as of right.
What if a legal adviser had appeared there last night? What would have been his position? It is all very well for us to seek to extricate ourselves from these miserable circumstances into which we have been pushed by saying that the man had the ordinance there and read it. An adviser surely is entitled to consider what he reads. This is what concerns me: After having waited for so long, this action was taken. I know that people may say that it was a political judgment - that it had to be done, otherwise the tent would have stayed there for a long time, representing an eyesore with the possibility of a further catalyst for trouble. All these arguments exist but I do not think they relieve us of the responsibility of paying heed to this great principle. Ignorance of the law is no excuse but you must know what the law is and that was the difficulty faced by these people last night.
The last thing I want to say is this: 1 make an appeal, a simple appeal, to the Government and to all the Ministers responsible in this matter. I hope that we will have the sense of grace to say that we do not propose to persist with any prosecutions in this matter. It was an inoperative ordinance, not an invalid one. Nevertheless I do not think that we do credit to ourselves or do credit to the traditions of the parliamentary system if we say: ‘Well, so what? All sorts of things flowed from it, therefore we propose to get our pound of flesh.’ What is to be gained by this? ls the stature of anyone among us to be raised? Is the Government to be vindicated by pursuing such a course? Would the Government be chastised if it said: ‘Well, we concede that there is a difficulty here.’ My view is that the Government’s, and more particularly, I believe, the Parliament’s status and prestige would be enhanced if we could in a corporate fashion say: ‘With good will, a mistake was made. We are determined to try to make amends and the only sensible way in which we believe we can do that is to hold out a hand to you and to say that we do not propose to proceed further with these prosecutions.’
– May I commence by congratulating the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen)? There are perhaps one or two things which he said and with which I would not agree but I am sure that he touched the feeling of honourable members on this side of the House notwithstanding the fact that he sits on that side of the House. I can only hope that he won through to the hearts and minds of his colleagues. May I say also at this stage before I make my more general remarks, that the amendment that was mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) when he spoke earlier is designed to achieve largely what the honourable member for Moreton has put. It is an amendment designed to relieve these 27 men in the situation in which they now find themselves. They could be put back into a position in which they are in peril again through what is in essence a retrospective piece of legislation affecting vested rights, civil liberties, remedies, liabilities, privileges and everything in which we have all been brought up to believe.
The honourable member for Moreton mentioned Chief Justice Hewitt. I suppose that many of us were brought up on Hewitt’s writings and The New Despotism’. Surely that is what we have seen in this embassy case. This is perhaps what the honourable member for Moreton was trying to say - that we are seeing the new despotism. We have seen it reach its peak. I remind the House of some of the facts because not only have I been a member of this House speaking on this subject regularly since the Parliament resumed in February this year but I have seen the whole sorry tale unfold and I have also been a witness to some of its effects, fortuitously perhaps because this incident happened in my electorate. I was present on the Thursday when the ordinance - you can call it the ‘first’, second’ or ‘the Ordinance’ - was gazetted or purported to have been gazetted. At that time I could remember that the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) had been in this House 3 weeks before it rose and had told us that he was going to bring in an ordinance and I recall how he had been criticised for putting it in that way. He had been criticised previously. I remind honourable members of the way in which petitions were presented and read to the House asserting the right of the demonstration to stay in front of the House and the various ways in which the issue came up as we went along month by month. Before I get too far away from the subject, may I just pick up - because I am reminded to do so - the remarks of the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) which he made in one of the debates in which he lashed out vigorously on this subject a little while ago. The right honourable gentleman described the Aboriginal embassy as a tent city. I have heard the point of view put around that, if this sort of thing were permitted, everybody would come here - wharfies and everyone else - and we would have a slum in front of Parliament House. Surely this is nonsense. I am going to call, if I may, a witness to say that it is nonsense and the witness is no less a person than His Honour Mr Justice Fox of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. Surely he is a non-partisan observer. At page 2 of his judgment he puts the nail to the lie when he says this:
These persons, encamped as mentioned, constituted what has come to be known as the Aboriginal Embassy. The purpose of the Embassy was to bring to the attention of members of Parliament and others, matters of complaint concerning the welfare of the aboriginal race and in particular their ‘land rights’. Apparently no attempt was made during the period mentioned by anyone in authority to remove the tents; it is not suggested that the behaviour of Embassy members or their visitors was other than orderly. I emphasise the last sentence, which reads: it is not suggested that the behaviour of Embassy members or their visitors was other than orderly.
In fact, as a witness to what happened I can tell the House that the demonstrators attracted a lot of tourist support. Children collected signatures and went away with embassy literature. It was essentially a political demonstration. On 20th July 1972 rumour had it that the ordinance was to be gazetted. I am a lawyer. I am supposed to know my way around in the law. I am the Federal member for this area yet I could not find out in Canberra whether it had been gazetted. The Legislative Research Section of the Parliamentary Library could not find out for me. This comes back to what the honourable member for Moreton was saying: What a way to make laws and to let people know whether a law had been made which would convert something that had been legal into something that was illegal, in the darkness of night, cloaked in secrecy. Eventually I found out from an inspector of police who happens to be a good friend of mine. I went over to where the tents were. I saw no violence even at that time. I saw the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) there. The police had removed 3 or 4 - maybe it was 2 or 3; I do not know - of the tents. The remaining tent which carried the sign ‘Aboriginal Embassy’ and the flag - it is a symbol of the demonstration - had been surrounded by 20 or 30 people who were mainly Aborigines but included some white supporters. I saw the Reverend Jim Udy there. He is a well known and respected clergyman in Canberra. His arms were linked with those of other men around the tent. I saw the Reverend George Garnsey there. He also was linked with somebody else around the tent. What were they doing? They were singing *We shall overcome’. Where is the violence in that? Up to that stage, this had been one of the most peaceful demonstrations, testified to by Mr Justice Fox, that this country has ever seen. It was a testimony to their peaceful intent in relation to Aboriginal land rights.
Then, of course, the police were given their instructions, which they have to obey. They were told to move in and break up the demonstration and dismantle the tent. Then the violence happened. I have said over and over again that I do not know and I do not care who threw the first punch; it was inevitable once that stage bad been reached. There were arrests that day, but I do not know the number. When an attempt was made to put up the tent on the Sunday, 27 arrests were made and property was confiscated. People were taken into custody, kept in custody and fingerprinted. This situation still exists, because these people have not yet been brought to trial. The administration of justice in the Australian Capital Territory at the moment is such that it is very difficult to get a case brought on for trial. Criminal matters such as this sometimes can be adjourned for a year. I know of other matters that have been adjourned for more than 10 months before a date has been set for the first hearing. People who have had experience with the courts know that after a matter has been set down for hearing it can be stood over for lengthy’ periods of time. People do not receive a very high standard of justice in that sort of situation.
Challenges were made through the courts. The honourable member for Moreton said that it is axiomatic in any basic system for people to know what the law is so that they can be guided by it and assess what their actions will be. Obviously the lawyer who acted for these people thought that they had a good argument. Three Supreme Court judges agreed with him. As was suggested by the honourable member for Moreton and as is proposed by our foreshadowed amendment, these charges should be withdrawn. Presumably, if any competent lawyer bad been there on that Thursday morning and his advice had been sought he would have said: ‘This ordinance is still not valid’. I use the words ‘not valid’ to mean unenforceable or inoperable. I think it matters not which term is used; the ordinance at that stage was not law. One can play with words, but the situation does not change. Presumably, any competent lawyer would have said to these people: ‘They cannot do what they are trying to do to you. You are entitled to stand your ground as any citizen is entitled to do if someone comes along and uses illegal force against him’. In that sense, as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) pointed out, a policeman is no different from any other citizen. Had these people been given that advice, they would have known that they were entitled to do what they did, namely, stand by their tents and sing their song.
I remember that, after the fracas and discussion that followed, the Minister for the interior (Mr Hunt) went on television, and i was amazed to hear him say that he knew when he made his statement to the Parliament before it went into recess that the ordinance would be gazetted after Parliament went into recess and that no attempt would be made to make it law while Parliament was sitting. Given all the disadvantages of delegated legislation or subordinate legislation, about which the honourable member for Moreton has spoken, one asks: Why on earth would a Minister of the Crown have in his mind the intent to wait until Parliament dispersed and its members went to their various localities - Darwin, Townsville, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and so on - and then slip the ordinance through? Perhaps he was aware that members of the Labor Part)’ had indicated their opposition to it and intended to give whatever support they could to the demonstrators; 1 do not know. However, his actions were an abuse of this Parliament. There can be no doubt or suspicion about that, and there can he no weakening of that proposition.
I come now to what happened last night. There was a court decision which upheld an appeal lodged by the people concerned, thus reflecting the healthy and long tradition of English trained judges, Australian trained judges and American trained judges that this sort of legislation is rotten and is to be opposed at all costs. A strict and high standard should be demanded of any government that tries to enact this type of legislation. It may be of interest to honourable members to look at the final words of Mr Justice Blackburn and Mr Justice Connor which appear at page 5 of their separate judgment. After giving other reasons why they decided to declare this purported law not to be a law, they said:
These considerations strengthen the conclusion to which we have come, that Parliament must have intended that the public should be informed in plain terms that an ordinance had been made.
Of course, what they were talking about there was the requirement in the Seat of Government (Administration) Act that if subordinate legislation is to be introduced the people have to be informed. Also there is a set formula of words in which to frame it. This once again stresses the weakness of the system that has been foisted on the Australian Capital Territory and other parts of the country for so long, the Act requires that the public be informed if this type of legislation is to be introduced. The thing that strikes me is what 2 justices then went on to say. In my experience I have never known judges to say this sort of thing. The honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr Brown) might bear me out on this. I have never known a judge to say to counsel: ‘I will settle the form of the notice you need’. I have sometimes heard junior counsel indicate that they do not know how to do it, although one would hope that counsel appearing for the Crown and people advising the Commonwealth would know something about their trade. But here we have 2 learned judges actually spelling out what the Commonwealth should do. By implication they said: ‘We accept that you do not know how to do it. We accept that you do not know how to say that an ordinance has been made.’ Let us just reflect on that: We accept that you do not know how to say where copies of the ordinance may be purchased and we will tell you how to do it’. The actual remarks of the 2 judges can be found in the final pages of the judgment.
This leads me to deal with the questions of incompetence and haste. This morning we fought an argument in relation to the suspension of Standing Orders. Honourable members on this side of the House only wanted a little time to think this matter out. We accept that because of the invalidity flowing from this reasoning all manner of cases have gone wrong and legal rights have been upset, and these things have to be put right. But haste breeds haste; it feeds on itself and it produces confusion, uncertainty and further mistakes. Already this is happening. For example, the ordinance was gazetted at 1 o’clock this morning. How can anyone read at at 1 o’clock in the morning? 1 was opposite Parliament House myself. We could not hear it being read because of the wind that was blowing and the rain that was coming down. After the ordinance was made in that hasty way, the Government has the nerve, I suppose - or maybe it does this out of embarrassment - to offer another amendment. It wants to spell out something it forgot to do before. The effect of its proposed amendment is this: It has to tell the world, where there have been 2 or more publications, as there have been now, which one it expects the world to rely on. The Government forgot to include this in its original notification in the Gazette. How incompetent can one get? Like the Leader of the Opposition who drew attention to these matters, I will be surprised if last night’s Gazette does not produce another legal argument in another court. The document was published - if that word has any meaning at all - in the early hours of 13th September. But it bears the date 12th September. Honourable members might think that is a minor matter; but, because our judges feel strongly about traditions of this sort, it is a starting point. The document states:
Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1901- 1972.
There is no such Act. There are about 5 Seat of Government (Administration) Acts in respect of the Australian Capital Territory. The one I have just mentioned does not exist. If the whole purpose of the requirement in the relevant Act - the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910 - is to tell people where they can find their law, they will look for a long time to find this law, because it does not exist. The notice under it reads:
Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the above Act . . .
So a normally prudent individual might say: ‘If I want to know what the law is that the Government is fiddling with, changing or doing something about at 1 o’clock in the morning I should look not at all those ordinances but at the Act’. But there is no Act, so he will be looking for a long while. The Act does not exist. One can leave it only to the imagination to suggest what will be said about that situation by a court if the matter ever gets back to a court.
This brings us back again to the question of competency. There are 102 ordinances referred to in this purported gazettal made at 1 o’clock last night. I will protect myself by calling it a purported gazettal. Why did the Government choose those 102? I do not know; nobody knows. Ten of the ordinances are called the Trespass an Commonwealth Lands Ordinance and date back to 1932; 36 are called the Motor Traffic Ordinance and date back to 1936; 17 are called the Police Ordinance and date back to 1927; 17 are called the City Area Leases Ordinance and date back to 1936; and 18 are called the Court of Petty Sessions Ordinance and date back to 1930. I will wager with anyone that there is not one of those ordinances in print in its original form. Some of the ordinances may have been found in consolidations here and there and changed but I will wager with anyone that one could not lay one’s hand on the vast majority of them. So they could not be identified and one would not know what this meant. This gazettal therefore is not worth the paper it is written on which is an indictment of the state of law reform in the Australian Capital Territory.
One would not even know and certainly could not be sure whether these ordinances were made pursuant to the Seat of Government (Administration) Act - that is, the correct one of 1910 and not the nonexistent one of 1901. How would one know? There are other enabling Acts and the ordinances could have been made under those, so further confusion is introduced. Why did the Government single out 102 ordinances? The reasoning in this ‘judgment is far more damaging to far more ordinances than these 102. Presumably someone in great anxiety yesterday afternoon or last night said: ‘The police are to be put in some time after Parliament rises tonight to get rid of these people. We have to give the police protection’. I can understand that argument.
Someone - I am guessing here but I hope it is an inspired guess - must have said: What ordinances exist in this city which are now invalid but which need to be validated to give the police the necessary protection?’ A quick search has produced these 102 but not the thousands of others which are invalid. I was told this morning that adoptions were off in Canberra at the moment, that an adoption appointment with one of the judges was cancelled this morning because the adoptions ordinance was invalid. A woman rang me at 7.30 this morning to say that her son had been convicted about 3 or 4 months ago and she was very angry about the conviction. She asked did this help her in any way. The young lady who was given a term of imprisonment the other day for handing out leaflets advising young men to break the National Service Act should not have been put in gaol because the magistrates have not been properly appointed. The Court of Petty Sessions Ordinance which gives power to appoint magistrates is at this moment invalid.
So wherever one looks in this city at the moment there is no law. Mr Dobson, the Senior Stipendiary Magistrate, has stopped the sittings of his court because of this. No-one knows what laws are valid or invalid, lt is a terrible indictment of what this Liberal-Country Party Government has done for us in 23 years that this uncertainty can exist. I can remember - and I will finish on this note leaving with honourable members on both sides the suggestion that the most important aspect is the amendment about which I will be talking in the Committee stage - that 3 or 4 years ago a man called Taylor was convicted of a small offence in Canberra and sentenced to 3 months imprisonment. He took his appeal on the severity of the penalty to the High Court only to find that the Removal of Prisoners Act - not the ordinance - which had provided for an administrator to be appointed in Canberra to sign the necessary documents to transport people into the New South Wales gaol system had never been appointed. The High Court let the young man out - and this, too, is relevant to the amendment - which meant that every man who bad been committed to the New South Wales gaol system had been committed illegally.
- (Mr Lucock) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– This Bill must be passed and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) in the course of bis remarks conceded that. The honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) towards the end of his speech gave additional and more substantive reasons why it should be passed. That much should be beyond any doubt at all at this stage. As a result of the decision of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court a very serious state of affairs has arisen with respect to the operation of ordinances, regulations and other instruments in this Territory. All I want to do is to attempt to put the matter into perspective, in view, if 1 might say so, of some of the inflammatory remarks of the Leader of the Opposition on 2 occasions when he has spoken on this subject today. I want to put the matter into perspective just to see exactly what we will be dealing with when this Bill is passed to rectify this unfortunate situation which has arisen.
One way - and I do not pretend that it is necessarily of any vast substance - of putting this matter into perspective is to look at the number of arguments raised by the plaintiffs in the action in the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court, other than the technical and formal arguments on which the case was eventually resolved. If honourable members read the judgment, as I hope they will, they will see that a number of arguments was raised by the plaintiffs. They will notice that first of all it was argued as a very basic proposition that section 12(1.) of the Seat of Government (Administration) Act was, to quote the words of Mr Justice Fox, ‘so wide and general in its terms that it offends against a principle that it is for Parliament, and not the Executive, to legislate for the people of the Commonwealth’. That is a very basic and substantial argument which was raised by the plaintiffs but it was rejected by the court.
Then as a further submission it was argued that there was a provision of the Constitution that had been contravened, that section 52 (J .) of the Constitution contained a provision that the Parliament had exclusive power to make laws with respect to the Seat of Government and that that provision of the Constitution had not been complied with. That also was a very basic and substantive argument but it was also rejected. The third argument that was put on behalf of the plaintiffs was that because of the operation of section 12 of the Seat of Government (Administration) Act the ordinance was not in operation at all at the time. That again was a substantive argument, not a technical or formal argument, but it was rejected by the court. lt was further submitted that the ordinance did not apply to the land in question. One could not think of an argument of more substance than that in this case but it likewise was rejected. So too were rejected the other submissions that were raised by the plaintiffs, one submission being that the ordinance was invalid because it was unreasonable. After that was investigated the court likewise came to the same conclusion.
A further submission put on behalf of the defendants in the action was that the ordinance was not notified in the prescribed manner, that is, as prescribed under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act and therefore was not operative at the relevant time. It is here that we come to the gravamen of the issue that has been debated today. It is this argument that Mr Justice Fox rejected because in his view the notice that was originally contained in the Government Gazette stated with reasonable clarity that the ordinance had been made. So the issue was whether notification had been given that the ordinance in question had been made. The other 2 judges, of course, accepted the submission that was put on that particular argument. They decided that there was no proper notification as was required by the Seat of Government (Administration) Act.
It is on this matter, of course, that my friend and colleague, the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen), addressed some remarks. I want to refer to them because I think, with all respect to the honourable member, that he did not put enough emphasis on what, in fact, was contained in that original notification. It is true that the notification referred to what was described as the ‘AGPS’ which was described as being in Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. But I do not think that honourable members should overlook the fact that the notification did also state that the ordinance could be obtained by post, as was indicated by the honourable member for Moreton, but, more particularly, by post from the Assistant Director, Sales and Distribution of the Australian Government Publishing Service. I would have thought that when one has that expression set out in full in the notice, it really detracts somewhat from the argument that was put by the honourable member for Moreton, namely, that when the initials of the organisation where the document can be purchased are given that is just a hollow and synthetic reference - a casual reference - to the place where the ordinance can be purchased. I just put that, as I said originally, to try to put some perspective on the matter; not to argue against the conclusion that was reached by the majority of judges in the case, but merely to put it into perspective.
The decision has been given and the court has held that this was not sufficient and adequate notice of the making of the ordinance or of the place where the copies could be obtained. It is important that it should be put into perspective. I say that both with respect to the notification and the indication that was given as to where a copy of the ordinance could be obtained. Let us remember again other things that were contained in the original unacceptable notification because the heading did state, after all - I quote from it:
Notification of the making of ordinances.
It did, after all, give the number of the ordinance; it did, after all, give the title of the ordinance and it did, after all, give the price of the ordinance. I would have thought that anyone just looking at it, from my own point of view, would, in fact, find his way to the Commonwealth Government Gazette. Anyone who, in fact, understood what the purpose of the general notice was in the Gazette could not have come to any conclusion, having read it, other than that this particular ordinance had been made, that it had this number, that it was priced at 10c and that it was available in the places which were referred to in the notice. But, as I say, I am not attempting to put it any higher than that because the court has held that this was not a notification which complied with the provisions of the Act and, of course, it was of no effect. But it is important to bear it in mind and to put it into perspective when one considers some of the things that have been said in the course of this debate so far.
Finally, and this is the only other thing that I want to say, I think it has been overlooked and deserves to be mentioned, and deserves to be emphasised, that this is a matter of formality and a matter of some technicality. It is true, beyond any doubt, that the operation of that technical objection was that the ordinance was not effective and was not in operation at the relevant time. But let us remember that it was a technical act to bring it into operation. Let us remember that, above all, when we hear comments such as some of those made by the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) about bringing laws into operation in the middle of the night in some sort of secret way. This is a technical matter that had to be complied with and it was not complied with on the original occasion. It should be remembered, above all, that this is as far as it goes. It certainly does not go - the court did not go as far as to say that anything went - -to the actual validity of the ordinance itself. So, I think it should be borne in mind, as 1 have said, that these are matters which should be put into perspective. It is as well to bear this in mind in view of the comments, some of which in my view were unfortunate, that have been made in the course of this debate.
– The honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr Brown) must have a different sort of perspective from the people who are looking at this matter not as a technical operation but as a direction by this Parliament and through the agencies of this Parliament to citizens of this country. His arguments were plausible enough if one starts from the premise that if the Government carries out its operations in a technically correct way it is all right by him. This, of course, would be an unkind analogy perhaps, but that may well have been the argument in the 1930s about the gas ovens and everything else. It is all done by the due process of law. The argument from this side of the House is based as much upon the principles of delegated legislation and the way this Parliament carries out its operations as it is upon any technical inadequacies in the way in which this piece of printing has been performed or in which this Parliament carries out ils duties. The court, of course, in its judgment said: lt is clear enough that section 12 authorises the making of an ordinance- 1 think this is the important point of this section: without public scrutiny or parliamentary debate, and plainly it provides that such an ordinance . . .
Reference is made to the ready availability of the ordinance. The point made on this side of the House has concerned the failure of this Parliament to perform its just duty as a parliamentary institution. There should not be laws which affect people in their fundamental rights or which can apply the processes of law. or prison sentences, or fines or some other process of punishment to them which are not carried out with public scrutiny or parliamentary debate. It is, of course, not the function of the court actually to decide whether the Parliament is performing its duties properly as a parliament. That responsibility is ours and that is what we are debating today. 1 believe that the court, in making its decision in this case, performed a great service to the country and to those people who were standing for this cause and other causes, by suddenly throwing the matter into the parliamentary arena for general debate. But people, of course, must be guided by the general usage of this Parliament itself, which has been notably dilatory, I believe, in its control of subordinate and delegated legislation and its delegation of its authority to Ministers. That is our own fault. I suppose that each one of us is guilty of it and each one of us, therefore, should turn his thoughts to ways of overcoming the difficulty. My colleagues on both sides of the House have said how difficult it is, with the great mass of governmental activity and all that flows from it. lt makes it almost impossible to study everything correctly. But in other parts of the world, in other legislatures, even in the Senate, members are able to take a much closer view of these things.
I turn to the general question of what really happened and whether this ordinance was promulgated in a proper way back in July, for instance. It is all very well to say that one can get an ordinance by post, but one cannot get it by post with the present postal system and not even with the most perfect postal system if it has been promulgated by printing press at 10.30 a.m. and the operation to enforce it takes place H to 2 miles away at 10.40 a.m. I was here on the day this incident occurred. I was sitting in one of the rooms at a meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs. 1 was informed by telephone that the police were at the Aboriginal embassy. I went there but the police arrived there as quickly as I did. There was no possibility of anyone laying his hands on the ordinance, knowing what it was all about or even appealing for common sense.
That is what this was all about. Last night, if there was any difference, the circumstances were worse.
It is hard to believe that in this country at this particular time and in dealing with fellow citizens we should descend to this form of depraved executive action. I still find it unbelievable in the normal course of events. If I had thought that the Government were going to proceed in this way last night I would have waited around for a while, but I just did not believe that that was the way the honourable member for Gwydir, the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt), his officers and the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) - some of whom I have known for many years - would operate in these circumstances. That is the great disappointment and it is felt on this side of the House and, I think, also or the other side of the House and by a great number of people outside the House. The threat of government by decree hangs over our heads with increasing force and we cannot tolerate it.
It is a fundamental principle that laws shall be made by public debate, by people publicly responsible. Laws should be explained and discussed in open debate and should be capable of being amended during their passage through the legislative organs. We have a long tradition of this sort of thing. There is some sort of piquancy in this situation when we read of the Eureka Stockade incident. A major source of irritation was the objectionable way in which the licence system was administered. The piquacy lies in the fact that the name of the Governor of the day was Hotham, perhaps represented in this place by the Leader of the House (Mr Chipp) who is implementing these actions this afternoon. A report of the Eureka Stockade incident reads:
On the following day (30th November) Reds ordered a check-up of licences. The police were stoned and several shots were fired.
The same sort of melee occurred then as occurred outside Parliament House a few weeks ago. So, I will allow whatever part of my imprimatur is fixed upon this document as it passes through the House with the greatest possible reluctance. The first thing we must do is to mute government power and authority. We cannot afford to let all the bumblings of this Government go by. I suppose today’s exercise is simply another product of plain, bad government. It affects all those people who depend upon this legislation and these ordinances for such things as adoptions, the ownership of land and all the other matters that go with them.
What we are debating as much as anything else are the powers of Ministers and what Ministers are. Of course, the Minister for the Interior is a member of this Parliament. His charter runs because he is a member of this Parliament. He represents the Australian people here on the same terms as the rest of us. Because he has been exalted to the Ministry does not confer upon him any tremendous wisdom. In fact, some of us think that somehow, Ministers take leave of their senses at this point. Of course, what happens is that they depart from the Parliament, go off down the corridors, shut their doors on the Parliament and become imprisoned inside their departments. Their departmental officers belong to a different set of responsibilities from those applying to members of this House. So, one of the problems that arises today and one of the questions we should be trying to answer is: How are we to get the Minister for the Interior back into this Parliament as a parliamentary officer and not as an executive officer of some mystical being called ‘the government’. I do not believe there is a separate entity known as ‘the government’. As I have said before and as I say again, I can think of no reason why the people in the electorate of New England should have more ability to have their aspirations carried into executive action than the people of the electorate of Wills or of any other electorate.
What are the duties of the Minister for the Interior? The Minister for the Interior has had ample opportunity to discuss this matter at great length with people who are concerned with and interested in it. I believe that while initially the Minister acted in this House in a gentle and civilised way in reply to the first question from the lately canonised right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton), some of whose actions should require us to turn his portrait in Kings Hall to the wall, he should have consulted people concerned with the matter. He should have been prepared to take the Parliament into his confidence. There should have been some machinery whereby we could have sat together and decided the matter and where the people who were to be effected could have been consulted. I think this is one of the issues involved, namely, how this Parliament is to attain a closer relationship with the Ministers. I believe that is one of our important duties as a Parliament.
On the other hand, what are our own duties? The court said:
It is clear enough that this section authorises the making of an ordinance without public scrutiny or parliamentary, debate.
Obviously, when the Seat of Government (Administration) Act was first passed, the people who permitted that point to be written in were departing from their parliamentary obligations. We must set up a system to scrutinise all legislation and all executive action, no matter what it is. An administrative committee is presently examining administrative action, lt is taking a long time about it. I do not blame it because it is a very complicated area.
However, we are also here to protect people. We are not just the organs of administration of governmental power. We are the direct representatives of people who have a right to expect from us protection and almost a blanket coverage on their behalf. The other issue involved, of course, is open discussion, which is one area notably lacking in this House. Another point is the legislation itself .mci this is where 1 part company with this operation. When we examine the actual piece of legislation we are supposed to be considering today with its rather complicated titles and the misuse of the English language, which seems to be the only way in which we can draft legislation, we must try to make sure that the legislative, rather than the executive, writ runs in government and that we consider these matters with some proper machiner. From where do regulations flow? They do nol flow from inside the Parliament. It is almost impossible for us to have something thrown into the ring and finally come through as a piece of legislation. Somewhere back in the administrative machinery administrative convenience prevails and that is what decides the form of legislation. Nobody can blame the people who design it. If someone is sitting there as an administering authority, he is going to design his rules and laws in such a way that the administration will be made reasonably easy.
Therefore, I believe that this situation today is a serious reflection on the Parliament. It is a much more important operation than my friends opposite seem to think. We are forced to accept the fact that the legislation should pass through the Parliament. This document will validate all these matters. My friends opposite might say: ‘That is not what we are doing. All that we are validating is the notification.’ But of course, the court said yesterday: ‘If it is not notified correctly, it is not a valid or operative piece of legislation’. What are we doing? We are taking hundreds of pieces of legislation - I suppose there are more than 100 ordinances on this list, but there are dozens and dozens of others - and we are validating everything that is contained in every one of them. If those pieces of legislation were to come before this Parliament again, would we approve of them? I, for one, would not.
I have collected a series of these ordinances from the Bills and Papers Office. I refer honourable members to the Police Ordinance 1966, a clause of which states:
A member of the Police Force shall not, without the written permission of the Minister or a person authorised by the Minister for the purposes of this Section -
resign from Police Force: or
cease to serve as a member of the Police Force.
Penally: Fifty pounds or imprisonment for 3 months.
I take it that the ordinances we are validating today are rich wilh these pieces of free flowing administrative power. I would not vote for that ordinance if it came before this Parliament again but this afternoon I am asked to vote for it. I wish I had the time to produce the necessary 200 or 300 amendments to exclude from these ordinances all those sections of which one would disapprove. I disapprove of the summary courts - the lower courts - having the power to send people to prison. As 1 have said before and as far as my principles are concerned, if we are to send people to prison, they should be sent there by a jury or not at all.
Another matter is the writing of this ordinance. It was not written or passed through this place. It was produced administratively. It went through the system. The Minister for the Interior put his signature on it somewhere and so did the GovernorGeneral, bless him, and it passed through the printing press. The validating instrument is not this Parliament; it is the printing press. That is only one ordinance. One only has to take a look at the Motor Traffic Ordinance. We are validating this today. This ordinance contains 147 pages and about 200 clauses. One of the clauses states:
A person who commits an offence against this Ordinance may be prosecuted summarily before the Court of Petty Sessions and the Court may, where no other penalty is expressly provided, impose a penalty not exceeding One hundred pounds or imprisonment for six months.’
There are other clauses in this ordinance to which I could refer. While I approve in a way of what might be called the stringency of the penalty, I do not like the style of production. There is a clause that can send a man to gaol for 12 months for drunken driving or impose a penalty of £500 or $500 - I am not sure exactly what it is.
We are writing legislation which carries heavy penalties upon an individual and which decides the way in which we will do all sorts of things. It is all being verified this afternoon, having passed through the system without being brought into proper public scrutiny. Therefore I believe that we should be saying to the Government this afternoon that the writ of this legislation should run, say, until the end of next year. I would like to put a time limit on it so that in the intervening 15 months or so we could get to work, examine each one of these ordinances and codify the law in the Australian Capital Territory.
That brings me to the real question of representative government in this city. Some 50 or 60 years ago we had an acorn. We planted it and it has grown into the oak of Canberra. During that time the logical administrative needs of 50 or 60 years ago when Canberra was a tiny community have suddenly become a writ for a community that is nearly half as big as the population of Tasmania and it has no representative function in the legislation. I believe that the time has long passed when we should have established for Canberra a satisfactory representative government in which these laws are passed through the ordinary representative systems of the Australian community and in which the people who have made them have to answer for them. How can a citizen of Canberra approach the Minister for the Interior? It would be carrying his duties as a citizen too far to transfer to the electorate of Gwydir and become one of his constituents so that he could take action against the Minister at the ballot box and retreat from the advantage of being represented by the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby).
A charade is going on here in which an effort is being made to legitimise illegal acts for which penalties have been imposed upon people. All the operations of the past few weeks in particular are to be given some sanction of authority and legitimacy. We ought to be examining the whole situation of the law of the Australian Capital Territory. The Labor Party believes it is vital to do so. I saw what happened to the victims of the events of 20th July, lt was on 20th July about 28 years ago that there was an attempted assassination of Hitler. I saw the people manhandled over here. I saw them with their arms wrenched up behind their backs. I saw the indignity being foisted on them of being thrown into the police wagons. I saw the blood upon their faces. I saw them allayed. We must not perpetuate that situation this afternoon. I believe it is important that, when we come to the particular clause, the House supports the Opposition’s amendment.
The acts of 20th July were invalid. They were illegal and, within the limits of the attitude of civilised communities, they were totally brutal. I believe that the time has come for us to find a new way of establishing rapport between the Government and the citizens. Somehow we must find a better way of dealing with recalcitrant citizens instead of beating them up, throwing them into prison and dragging them into court, particularly when those people are operating, as my friends over the road were operating, in a peaceful, inoffensive and symbolic way. It is a serious reflection on the whole society and particularly on this Government that, in the dealings with one of the least offensive and least violent people on this planet, we had to descend to the final brutality of assault by the Australian Capital Territory police. I regret that the Australian Capital Territory police, for whom I have a great respect and who on the whole carry out their duties as one of the most civilised sections of the constabulary in Australia, were dragged into this operation. This was a case of plain bad government, of executive government run mad. Ministers have failed to take proper cognisance of their charter as members of the Parliament and they have allowed themselves to be totally imprisoned inside their executive and administrative system. Unless this Parliament can take control of the legislation and executive acts which run with its authority, Australia will continue to go down hill. I say, and I hope it is supported by the vote of this House, that the community should no longer tolerate the kind of governmental authority that is being exercised by the people sitting opposite.
– 1 would like to deal with one specific case that has arisen from this mess-up. It is the case of Miss Barbara Joyce Russell, an unemployed nursing aide, aged 22, of Strzelecki Crescent, Narrabundah, who was fined $40 by Mr Dobson, SM, in the Canberra Court of Petty Sessions on Monday. She was found guilty of encouraging the commission of an offence by distributing a leaflet on 28th July encouraging people not to register for national service. She was flown to Sydney yesterday because she refused to pay the fine. She is to be incarcerated, with light labour, at Silverwater Detention Centre in Auburn, Sydney. The ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, today said:
Looking pale and nervous at Sydney Airport yesterday. Miss Barbara Joyce Russell, an unemployed nursing aide, said the sentence would not deter her from her cause.
I think the National Service Act is an immoral and unjust law and I won’t comply with it in any regard because I feel it is my Christian duty.’
She was found guilty of handing out a leaflet entitled ‘Don’t Register for National Service’. As it happens, I do not feel very strongly one way or another about national service. I can see arguments either way on the question of national service as distinct from forcing people to go to Vietnam and fight there. But surely a person is entitled to distribute those sorts of leaflets. That, however, is irrelevant to this case as it exists at present.
The point is that looking at it in retrospect Mr Dobson, SM, was not acting legally last Monday when he fined her $40 or sentenced her to 20 days gaol in lieu of the fine. The Court of Petty Sessions Ordinance is one of the ordinances that was found to be invalid yesterday by the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court. Therefore, until this validating legislation is passed, Miss Russell is being detained illegally. It seems obvious to me that she should be released until such time as both Houses of this Parliament decide that the validating legislation should be passed. I approached the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) and asked him to release her as she was being held illegally. He told me that I was right on that point but that she should brief counsel to take legal action. She is an unemployed nursing aide. The Commonwealth is going to use Government money - the people’s money - to fight this case and postpone it until such time as the validating legislation is passed. I think that this is shocking behaviour.
– The Minister for the Interior is not even listening.
– He is not interested in people being in gaol. He is interested only in graziers receiving an extra cent for wool. I appeal to the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) who is representing the Attorney-General in this House - I know that he is one of the few reasonable people on the Government side - to intervene and ask the Attorney-General to behave in a legal fashion on this issue. Here is a girl who, because of her Christian beliefs, feels that she should distribute certain leaflets. She is put in gaol for 20 days. What happened was illegal. The Court of Petty Sessions was not a proper court to deal with her. Another ordinance was gazetted during the night to change that, and this legislation will retrospectively validate the situation. I realise that. But the point is that the Attorney-General should not keep people in gaol on the basis of legislation which may be passed by the Parliament in the near future. He should agree to release the lady. When she appeared in court previously she said that she was prepared to go to gaol if she had broken the law. So there is no reason to fear that she will not return if she is required to do so. 1 think it is completely wrong that the Attorney-General, who does a lot of talking about law and order and who pretends to be a Christian, should treat people in this fashion. When I spoke with him today he agreed with me that she is being held illegally. He said that I should go and get a lawyer to try and get her out of gaol. That is shocking behaviour. I do not think he is fit to be the Attorney-General. I do not think that he is fit to be registered as a member of the Bar in any State of the Commonwealth. I am prepared to debate with him on this issue. The AttorneyGeneral does a lot of talking about law and order. If he is not prepared to enforce the law as it exists in this country at the present time he is unfit to talk about law and order.
– I desire to participate in the debate. I feel that what has happened in Canberra over the last 24 hours will do no more than blacken the name of Australia in the eyes of the Aboriginal people of this country and in the eyes of those who live on islands adjacent to Australia. I could almost hear the groan from the Minister for External Territories (Mr Peacock) only a few days ago as he was taking off for the Cocos (Keeling) Islands to investigate a matter that was raised in this House when news was transmitted to him of the act of violence perpetrated under the cloak of an order by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt). The Government must accept responsibility for the irresponsible actions of the Minister for the Interior.
Let us take our minds back to the events that have occurred. Why were people camped on the lawns in front of Parliament House in the first place? I shall answer that question by referring to the judgment of the Full Court of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory, which reads:
These persons, encamped as mentioned, constituted what has come to be known as the Aboriginal embassy. The purpose of the embassy was to bring to the attention of members of Parliament and others, matters of complaint concerning the welfare of the Aboriginal race and in particular their land rights. Apparently no attempt was made during the period mentioned by anyone in authority to remove the tents; it is not suggested that the behaviour of embassy members or their visitors was other than orderly.
A lot is said in this Parliament about law and order. I draw the attention of the Minister for the Interior, who is now chatting away to one of his colleagues, to the fact that that judgment in itself did not in any shape or form give the remotest indication that there was any form of disorder. Therefore, why did the Minister become so obsessed with the desire, by fair means or foul, to remove these people who were carrying on a peaceful demonstration in which they were trying to bring to the attention of members of Parliament not only their needs but also their rights? What was the attitude of the Minister during the time they were there?
At public expense he had printed a booklet entitled ‘Aboriginal land rights and the Northern Territory’, which is merely a liftout from one of the most shocking speeches that has ever been made in this chamber. The Minister for the Interior may laugh. If memory serves me correctly, this booklet is a liftout at public expense of a speech delivered in this House on 23rd February of this year.
– I am not ashamed of it.
– The Minister is not ashamed of it?
– Not a bit.
– -If you do not keep the Minister for the Interior quiet, Mr Speaker, I might have to say something to him that is unparliamentary. Time will tell what type of person he is in this regard. For the Minister’s benefit I shall quote some of the charges he made in his speech. The Minister said:
Unfortunately there are indications that the 144,000 Australian Aborigines will be used as a political football this year.
He went on to condemn anybody in the community - ministers of religion and so on - who dared stand up and state what his attitude was to land rights for the people who have just as much right if not more to live in this country as you and I. Mr Speaker. The Minister for the Interior went on to point out in the booklet what a tragedy it would be if Aborigines were to be used for political motives. During the time this booklet was being printed there was in front of this building an orderly gathering of the Aboriginal people of this country. What respect did the Minister have for them as individuals? What respect did he have for them as a part of the human race that has been denied all concepts of what the Aborigines consider to be their just and proper right in this unforgiving land of white supremacy. I hope this booklet never finds its way overseas, although it has probably already done so. The Minister went on in the booklet to draw the red herring of hypocrisy about the fact that certain Aborigines were claiming land rights and a total payment of some $6 billion. The Minister knew darned well when he put that statement in the booklet that he was misrepresenting the true and proper facts of the whole matter of Aboriginal land rights. The Minister for the Interior is not fit to be in charge of any portfolio.
-Order! The honourable member for Sturt will not cast by imputation or any other means any reflection on the Minister for the Interior.
– Thank you, Mr Speaker. We have in this Parliament a Party that has dominated a particular portfolio, namely, the portfolio of the Interior almost since time immemorial. The Everard Park land rights case is a classic example of conflict between the Country Party and the Liberal Party. The holder of the Interior portfolio should have recognised his responsibility to care for those more unfortunate people who live in Australia. He should not have waited until the Office of Aboriginal Affairs suggested that something be done. If the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) was sincere in his speech on Australia Day this year and if he was sincere in what he had to say to the Aboriginal lass that he clasped his arms around in Adelaide during a visit to that city in the winter months about the rights of Aborigines he should have challenged the making of this ordinance. The Minister for the Interior, who should be sitting at the table, has completely and utterly sabotaged any form of sincerity shown by the Prime Minister. If the Prime Minister were as strong a man as he said he was on television the other night he would - being a man of decision, as he said he was - have nothing to do with the matter which is before the Parliament today. I can see that you are getting a little uneasy, Mr Speaker. Perhaps you feel that I am dealing too much with the subject of Aboriginal land rights. But that is the name of the game.
The marauders at Munich at midnight last week drew blood. The marauders in front of this House at midnight last night did not draw blood, but they may well have drawn blood because of their failure to appreciate the meaning of the basic principle of land rights to the Aborigines. The Government has also failed to appreciate it. What caused the Minister for the Interior to run frantically through the corridors of Parliament House last night and to come into this chamber at midnight and bring before the House in the manner in which he did a measure which enabled the removal of people from the lawns in front of Parliament House at a time when it was raining, when snow was falling on the hills surrounding this city and when it was as cold as blazes, if I may use that term. The Minister went outside with not one thought of compassion in his mind and said: ‘We can now pull down the tents’. Basic to the human race is food and shelter, but the Minister denied these people shelter last night.
What ought to be condemned more than anything else is that Government supporters set out to take action with a feeling in their own tormented minds that they were within the law. But the law was not at their disposal when they carried out this foul act. As I see it, and as the judgment sees it, the law was not on the side of the people who carried out that act. My mind goes back to the manner in which the people were shifted from outside this House during the parliamentary recess, but enough has been said about that. I rose to say that this particular ordinance is a shocking piece of legislation from a bad Government and I want to tackle the Government on this issue in the few minutes left to me. The Government has done absolutely nothing, other than use a few words, to put into effect any form of land rights for Aborigines. No supporter of the Government has ever said that the Government would be prepared to meet the councils of these people in proper conference and under proper circumstances, to listen to them, to talk to them and to find out their requirements. In this House Ministers have done nothing, other than to reply to one or two questions from this side of the House, to indicate the land rights position in relation to Everard Park. The documents relating to the proposed acquisition of that property on behalf of Aborigines have not been tabled. Some 3 or 4 weeks have elapsed since questions were put to the Prime Minister about the matter. The Minister for the Interior may well be looking at this matter. I suggest that if he were to tell the true story he would enlighten the interested public.
This ordinance will be condemned by every decent thinking person in this country. It might interest honourable members opposite to learn that in door knocking in my electorate I have found to my surprise that the treatment of Aborigines and the denial of their land rights by this Government rank as one of the main issues, at least in the minds of the womenfolk.
-Order! I suggest to the honourable member that he had some latitude early in his speech when referring to land rights and should now come back to the provisions of the Bill.
– Thank you, Mr Speaker, for pulling me up and saying that I have been given some latitude. Having quoted to you from page 108 I thought that you would feel that the whole issue was Aboriginal land rights.
– He is giving you a rotten go.
– I do not think Mr Speaker is giving me a rotten go. His own colleagues have made his position in the House untenable. I agree that he is in a difficult position in a debate such as this one. Probably you, Mr Speaker, would feel somewhat ashamed to preside over this House at this time of the afternoon when honourable members on both sides of the chamber are discussing this ordinance. What is the Minister’s next step to be? If I had the time in an electoral campaign I would cart this ordinance right through the electorate of the Minister for the Interior. I would do everything possible to bring about the defeat of a person who in this place has deliberated against the people he is elected to represent in his constituency and to administer through his portfolio.
Will the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair), who has charge of the passage of this measure, be prepared to have a proper look at Aboriginal land rights and have the subject fully debated? Will he have the statement of the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) brought forward on the notice paper so that we can debate it fully? Will he give members on both sides of the chamber an opportunity to put before the House the opinions of the Aboriginal councils and of the eminent and prominent church leaders throughout the country? Will he allow a full and open debate on this question, not . inhibited as is this debate? If ever a person deserved the condemnation of honourable members, including his own colleagues and the parliamentarians from other countries who are now meeting in Canberra, it is the Minister for the Interior. He deserves condemnation for the manner in which he has sought, to introduce this ordinance in order that he may achieve some peace of mind for himself.
If this is the way that a so-called responsible Minister of this Government accepts a challenge, I feel sorry for the people who come within the administration of his portfolio. It is a mean and lousy policy, lt is contemptible and deserves the condemnation of this House. I hope that enough honourable members opposite will abstain from voting or will not vote with their Party on this issue to enable the measure to be defeated. The Minister deserves to be censured by his own colleagues and they ought to withhold their support from this measure.
– in reply - This debate has canvassed 2 broad issues-
– Is the Minister closing the debate?
– I move:
That the honourable member For Hindmarsh be heard.
– I second the motion.
-I cannot call the Minister to close the debate when another member is rising. I must call the honourable member for Hindmarsh.
– I am closing the debate.
– You cannot. What do you think you are?
-Order! I will make the decisions about what goes on in this House. I cannot call the Minister to close the debate when another honourable member is rising to speak. I call the honourable member for Hindmarsh.
– I wish to protest against the manner in which this country of ours is being governed at present. It is high time that we had in power a government that has decent respect for human rights, human dignity, the liberty of the subject and the rights of man. We have not seen that in evidence here. We are living today in a country which has both Houses of its Parliament in session but not a single Minister who is in a position to do so is showing the slightest concern that at this very moment in a New South Wales gaol is a young woman of 22 years of age. She has been incarcerated against her will by an act of violence the equal of which surely this country has not witnessed since Federation. I refer to nursing aide Barbara Joyce Russell of Narrabundah who is in gaol at this minute, put there by a person who had no legal authority to do so. She was sentenced to imprisonment by a person who had no more legal right to order her to pay a fine of $40 or else go to gaol than has the ambassador of the Aboriginal embassy.
It is a scandal and disgrace that the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) can sit opposite me in this chamber as though nothing untoward is happening, as though everything is normal. This afternoon I pleaded with the Minister to let this young woman out of gaol. His interest was dismissed completely by saying: ‘It has nothing to do with me. Go and see the AttorneyGeneral.’ Fancy going to see the AttorneyGeneral. What faith can anybody have in this Attorney-General, a man who we all know broke the law of the land himself when he filled in a false declaration about his expenses in the election.
-Order! The honourable member for Hindmarsh will not in any manner cast aspersions on other members of this Parliament. The honourable member has been here long enough to know, and he knows it full well, that he cannot speak in this way, particularly about members of the other House.
– Fancy going to Ivor Greenwood, whoever he happens to be, and asking him to take action.
-Order! The honourable member knows that Ministers and members of the House will be called by their correct titles. The honourable member will obey the standing order which lays that down.
– Fancy going to this Attorney-General and asking him to do justice in a case of this kind. The Minister did not even have the decency to say to me: ‘Look, it is not my Department, but this young woman is somebody’s daughter. I will go and see the Minister myself.
– It would be unusual if she was not.
– The Minister laughs and says that it would be funny if she was not somebody’s daughter. This is the cavalier, miserable, mean and cruel attitude that the Government takes towards these cases where human compassion is the sort of thing we should be looking for.
– The Attorney-General told the honourable member for Prospect that he would do justice only if he was forced to.
– My Leader informs me now that the Attorney-General has already informed the honourable member for Prospect that he will not give justice to this young girl, who has been put into gaol by a man who had absolutely no legal right to put her into gaol, unless she goes to some barrister or engages counsel to make an application for her and pays for it out of her own pocket. Presumably if she took the action the Attorney-General would send senior counsel, the best counsel that money could buy, to appear.
– Not his money.
– Not his money, no. The Commonwealth’s money, the taxpayer’s money, this young girl’s money and the money of her mother and father would be used by the AttorneyGeneral to put a counsel into ‘the court either to ask for an adjournment or to put forward some cases indicating why that young girl should be kept there. I am not talking about a common criminal now. I am talking-
– Mr Speaker-
– ‘Sit down, you miserable cur.
– Order! The honourable member for Hindmarsh will withdraw those remarks and apologise.
– I apologise and withdraw.
– Mr Speaker, I think I should draw attention to the fact that Miss Russell, to whom the honourable gentleman is referring, is, I understand, imprisoned under the Crimes Act. That Act is in no way affected by the Bill before the House, although I understand the reason for the honourable member for Prospect raising this matter.
-Order! The Minister does not have the indulgence of the Chair to interrupt at this time the member who is speaking.
– On a point of order, I submit that the honourable member for Hindmarsh is talking about a matter which has no direct relevance to the Bill before the House.
-If the person who was involved in this matter is not in custody because of the ordinances-
– Mr Speaker-
– Wait a moment. I can only seek guidance on this. I have only come into the chair very recently. I have been under the impression that this lass was in custody because of the ordinances which are now before the Parliament, and this is why I have allowed debate on this matter to go on. 1 must seek advice, and the only advice I can take in relation to this matter is advice from the Minister representing the Attorney-General. I ask the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral whether this lass is in custody, as he has stated, under the Crimes Act and whether her imprisonment has any rela tionship to these ordinances. If she has been imprisoned under the Crimes Act, I will have to look at whether I can allow the continuation of the debate on this matter.
– Mr Speaker, you have asked for my advice. Perhaps I might elucidate the position. I have been advised by the officers of the Attorney-General’s Department that it is true that there is a question of a petty sessions ordinance, but the constitution of the court of petty sessions has not been judicially determined to be invalid, nor has my advice indicated that the court of petty sessions ordinance is invalid. For that reason, as I understand it, this matter does not come within the context of this Bill. I believe that there was some doubt, and I did not intervene while the honourable member for Prospect spoke. He mentioned that he wanted to raise a very human case and I believed that he should do so. The honourable member for Hindmarsh has similarly raised it. I am relating the advice which the Attorney-General’s officers have forwarded to me. At this stage they do not believe that the court of petty sessions ordinance is invalid, and accordingly I do not believe that it comes within the ambit of this Bill.
– I wish to speak to the point of order. This morning at some time we are not sure about because the Minister does not know for sure but at about midnight the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette was published and it listed certain ordinances which the Government obviously felt had been originally gazetted invalidly. Amongst them were 18 court of petty sessions ordinances for the yeats 1930, 1932, 1934, 1937, 1940, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1958, 1961, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970. They were re-gazetted. Surely this is prima facie evidence that the Minister for the Interior at least believes that the original ordinance is invalid. Otherwise, why gazette these ordinances again during the middle of the night?
– On that point of order, I am advised that 1 have apparently misinterpreted the advice. There is no suggestion at this stage that the ordinance is invalid, but it could well be that it might be held at some future time to be inoperative, and for that reason I withdraw my point of order.
– This is pretty rough. At least 5 minutes of my time has been taken up discussing a point of order that the Minister now admits was not a valid point of order. I will ask for an extension of time when my time expires. I return to the matter about which I was speaking. That young girl is in gaol at this minute. She will spend tonight away from her friends, her relatives, her dear ones and her loved ones. She will be spending a lonely night in gaol. That supercilious person on the other side of the table is interjecting again. He could not care less that there is in gaol tonight a person who was sent there by a man who had absolutely no legal right to put her in gaol. Yet there is a smug grin on the face of those few members opposite who are in the chamber. What sort of people are they? What sort of Government have we when the members behind the Government which has been responsible for this miserable treatment of this young 22-year old girl can sit back as though it is a great event, as though they could not care less. No wonder people are not being treated decently in this country when this sort of attitude is displayed by them. Where on earth could this young 22- year old girl, who is an unemployed nursing aid, get the money to brief counsel to make the application that the Minister says that she ought to make? We know where the Minister will get the money for his counsel. It will not be out of his own pocket. Yet he could find the money so much more easily than this young girl could. Here a Minister on $27,000 a year with $36 a day in allowances, with cars and staff and all the perks you can think of, has the hide to tell a poor, unemployed nursing aid to engage counsel. She is not even a communist, mark you, not a criminal. She is a girl who has done no harm to anybody. She decided to go to gaol rather than pay the fine that was illegally imposed upon her. She said: ‘I think the National Service Act is an immoral and unjust law. I will not comply with it in any regard because it is my Christian duty. She is a Christian. Let not the Minister for Immigration laugh that off because she is a practising Christian and a good cleanliving decent girl whom people had no right to grab by the scruff of the neck like a common criminal and shanghai to New South Wales to be incarcerated in a prison. Again there is that supercilious look on the face of the Minister for Immigration. He could not care less. He has sons and daughters. This girl is the daughter of somebody, let us not forget. Cannot the Minister wipe that smug grin off his face at all? Is it so funny that an innocent person is in gaol at this moment?
-Order! I suggest that the honourable member for Hindmarsh should debate the subject matter instead of endeavouring to bring in the personalities of fellow members to the extent that he has brought them in.
– I want to say that it is very doubtful whether the national service regulations are operative. Even that is open to doubt. We have heard a lot about the rule of law. We have heard a lot about the common law. But if we are going to talk about the rule of law for goodness sake let us make the rule of law something that we can respect. How can we respect this thing called ‘the rule of law’ when this Government allows people like this to be grabbed out of their homes and taken to gaol on the say so of a man who has no more legal right to make the decision than this book which I hold in my hand. Everybody knows this. That is the position. It is as simple as that and it is because it is so simple, perhaps, that the simple minded people opposite are not able to see how simple it is. But, worse than being simple., we are talking about a person’s freedom. Honourable members opposite talk about the liberty of the subject. They talk about people bashing people up at union meetings. They talk about the destruction of property.
What could be a greater act of violence than the violence that it reflected in the decision that was made yesterday to arrest this young woman, take her against her will outside the Territory in which she resided into another State, throw her into a prison and keep her there? Somebody without authority - with no more authority than this book - told her that she has to go to gaol and will be kept there tonight. If this Government could act as quickly as it did in reframing the Ordinance necessary to throw the Aboriginals out of the embassy this morning it would not have any trouble in arranging for this young lady to be let out of gaol in time to have her evening meal in decent surroundings as a self-respecting citizen, lt will stand to the eternal shame of every person who is personally responsible for this outrage if they allow her to stay in gaol tonight.
I will say this for the Minister for the Interior: Although he is primarily responsible for what happened at the embassy last night the Minister is clearly disturbed and distressed over the case of this young girl. I do not blame the Minister for the Interior at all in this connection. It is obvious that he is distressed, but the Minister for Immigration is not distressed. The honourable member for Chisholm (Mr Staley) is laughing about this, lt is obvious that the Attorney-General has not the slightest compassion, nor has he shown the least bit of distress at what is happening tonight to this innocent young woman. 1 now learn from the Leader of the Opposition that he has confirmed that the national service regulations are themselves inoperative. Is the Government going to allow this young woman who is in gaol because she handed out leaflets advising people not to observe an inoperative law - this person who was put into gaol by a person who had no right to impose a penalty on her - to spend tonight in prison? It will be a disgrace and a national scandal if this young woman is allowed to stay in prison tonight, lt is high time that the Government took stock of itself. The Government ought to realise that this is not a dictatorship: this is not a police State; we are not living under a government of Hitlerite Germany; we are not living in the Soviet Union; we are not living in Portugal or Fa.sc.isl Spain. We are living in what passes for a parliamentary democracy yet you behave like a bunch of ratbags who have not the slightest respect for law.
-Order! The honourable member will withdraw that imputation.
– I withdraw the imputation.
– Because it is a reflection on every member of this House.
– I rise to order, Mr Speaker. You have previously ruled that it is not-
-Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.
– I withdraw the statement. You are quite right, Mr Speaker, 1 had no right to make it and I withdraw it. But the situation is an absolute scandal when we have in this Parliament people who seem not to care. Good God, what sort of a setup are we living under? Just where do the rights of man end or begin, if this is the way you are going to treat this young woman? I say to the Government: If it can act as quickly as it acted last night to correct the defect in the law which made it an offence to have an embassy on the lawns opposite, to get the printing presses going after midnight and to get police storming the countryside in the early hours of the morning, then why in the name of God can it not act with the same alacrity to ensure that this young woman is not kept in gaol tonight against her will? lt is a scandal.
– Not legally kept there.
– She is not legally kept there against her will.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– After listening to my colleague the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman) and the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) it is clear that this is not a matter of what the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) should do. It is a matter of what his duties are and what he should do. It is his duty as Attorney-General to protect every person in Australia against an illegal act and he has certainly not done so in this instance. According to what he has told my colleague the honourable member for Prospect, if this woman likes to get a counsel she could get out of gaol. I think that is a statement that is hardly worthy of any Minister of the Crown. If this kind of thing were to happen when the Labor Party were in government the Attorney-General concerned would not remain in the position of Attorney-General for very long.
In my electorate of Sydney there are several thousand part-Aborigines. They are unanimous in their verdict, as expressed through the South Sydney Community Aid Centre, to the effect that they were absolutely disgusted, just as I was and so many other people were in the first place, at the removal of the tents or the Aboriginal embassy in the park opposite Parliament House. Action was taken in between sessional periods of Parliament. Why was it not taken in the first place during the last sessional period? Was the Government afraid that some Opposition members might actually take exception to this action and become involved in trying to protect these people? Why did the Government wait until the recess to remove this Aboriginal embassy? That is the question that honourable members opposite will not answer because there is no doubt that action was deliberately taken for the purpose of trying to avoid trouble with Opposition members in regard jo this matter.
I spoke about the South Sydney Community Aid Centre. This organisation is comprised of well meaning people and it is subsidised by this Government. Two field officers are working for the Aborigines through this organisation. It is comprised of men of religion and well meaning people who are trying to do something not only for the age pensioners and immigrants but also for the part-Aboriginal people who live in my electorate. These people are absolutely disgusted with the Government’s action in removing the tents during the last parliamentary recess. One thing is quite obvious: Despite what is happening in the Government ranks, ii would appear that even one Government supporter was disgusted with its action. 1 refer to Senator Bonner. He stated quite unequivocally that he was opposed to the removal of the tents.
In addition, the Minister who is supposed to represent the Aborigines of Australia - the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson) - has not spoken in this debate. I presume that in representing the Aborigines of Australia he is looking after their welfare. Why has he not spoken in this debate? Is he afraid of embarrassing his own Party colleagues? Is he afraid that he might get the sack from his position of Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts? Why does he not speak up on behalf of the people he is alleged to represent in this House? He has ample opportunity to say something, whether or not he agrees with the action that was taken.
I admit that there are regulations that must be adhered to by the public, but in this instance we must recognise the fact that the Aboriginal people have been a downtrodden people for many years. They have not had the educational facilities that we have had over the years. Naturally, when they want to put their case, they think this is the right way in which to do it. They were not doing any harm outside Parliament House. They were not interfering with anybody. They were not causing any disturbance at all. Yet, as I said before, their tents were removed during the last recess. Speaking on behalf of the part- Aborigines who live in the South Sydney area in my electorate of Sydney, I assure honourable members that they are absolutely disgusted with the action of this Government and that they will certainly vote accordingly at the next election.
– in reply - There has been a great deal of talk this afternoon about the so-called immoral acts of this Government. There has been a suggestion that the Bill that we are now considering is denying the rights of individuals. On the contrary it preserves the rights of individuals. There is no question of our destroying democracy; it is a question of our ensuring that democracy can function. Democracy can function only through the preservation of the rules and laws that are enacted through a Parliament. If a Parliament fails in its duty to consider cases that are presented before it - cases related not only to individuals but also to communities - it is not carrying out its function, lt is the individuals within the community who are the significant part of the laws that are enacted. It is in order to protect the rights of those individuals that this Bill is presently before the Parliament. Its purpose is to ensure that individuals are not denied the protection that laws are designed to provide.
This Bill, in general form, is designed to ensure that there shall be no doubt in the mind of anybody in Australia that the laws, regulations and ordinances covering a wide compass in fact are valid. I know that many individuals, in circumstances which are quite extreme as far as they themselves are concerned, are confined to gaol for one reason or another, and each one of us who is a responsible member of this House comes in contact with those people. Each one of us, if we do our job properly, should be aware of those individuals. But we on this side of the Parliament do not believe that the Parliament is the proper body to adjudicate on the rights and wrongs of these individuals. We believe that there should be outside the Parliament altogether - independent of the Parliament and independent of the Executive^ - a system of justice which is administered through the courts of this land. If the courts of this land are to know the laws under which they are to operate they must have before them rules, regulations, ordinances and Acts which are beyond doubt. That is the purpose of the Bill that we have before us tonight. Its purpose is not to cast into doubt the powers of the courts of this land; its purpose is not to cast into doubt the ability of the magistrates, justices and judges to adjudicate on the rights and wrongs of individual cases before them; its purpose is to guarantee those rights.
Many of the regulations and ordinances covered by this Bill date back many years. It covers Bankruptcy Rules, Matrimonial Causes Rules, Air Navigation Regulations, Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations, Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations as well as a great number of the safety regulations under the Navigation Act, Naval Forces Regulations and Military Financial Regulations. It covers also most of the ordinances of the Australian Capital Territory, which include companies ordinances, Marketable Securities Ordinance, Water Rates Ordinance, Sewerage Rates Ordinance, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, Legal Aid Ordinance, Legal Practitioners Ordinance, and ordinances relating to the registration of members of many professions such as medical practitioners, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, veterinary surgeons and surveyors. It covers also the Workmen’s Compensation Ordinance, Hire Purchase Ordinance, Advisory Council Ordinance, Child Welfare Ordinance, Maintenance Ordinance, Compensation (Fatal Injuries) Ordinance, Coroners Ordinance, Sale of Goods Ordinance and Lay-by Sales Agreements Ordinance. Are these regulations and ordinances which we should deny the right of bringing into certain validity?
None of these regulations, however, have been questioned at this stage. The point is that there is one ordinance alone around which much of this debate has revolved. It is that ordinance - the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972 - on which most honourable members have concentrated their remarks. It is only that ordinance that at this stage is inoperative; none of the others are. There has been no case in relation to any of the other ordinances or regulations. This Bill is being introduced in order to place beyond doubt the possible consequences of a decision similar to that which was handed down yesterday by the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. I acknowledge that the Leader of the Opposition, in setting out the Opposition’s case with respect to the general compass of this Bill, said that he was quite prepared to accept that it would be necessary to pass such validating legislation, and he said on behalf of the Opposition that it would not be opposing the Bill at its second reading stage.
Mention has been made of a number of particular instances within the context of this ordinance, and I would like to make some reference to them. But, before I do so, let me make one final remark with respect to particular cases under those ordinances which at this stage have in no way been adjudicated upon. The honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman) and the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) raised the case of Miss Barbara Russell. I know nothing of her. I understand from my reading of the newspapers and from the remarks that have been made tonight that she has been arrested on a charge which, I am assured by my officers, is a charge under the Crimes Act. It was because it was a charge under the Crimes Act that I raised the point of order with respect to the submission to this Parliament by the honourable member for Hindmarsh. If there is any doubt as to the validity of her charge it applies not to the charge itself but to the manner of her prosecution. I will be happy, on behalf of the honourable member for Prospect, to discuss this matter with my colleague the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood). I know nothing of the case other than in general terms.
As to the specific cases apart from that one, I think the things that need to be said relate, first of all, to the judgment handed down yesterday by the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. The general question of the rights of the individuals who erected their tents in front of Parliament House has been canvassed. It has been suggested that because the judgment was brought down yesterday there has been validly in the minds of those who erected the tents the feeling that they were entitled so to do. It has been suggested that because the ordinance has been declared to be inoperative they were in a position in which they might validly have expected that they would be permitted - in fact, were legally entitled - to erect their tents.
Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.
– The genesis of this debate was the inoperativeness as determined by the Pull Bench of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory, of the Trespass of Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972 within the terms of the Seat of Government (Administration) Act. Much of the debate in this chamber has been related to this Trespass of Commonwealth Lands Ordinance and before I conclude this debate I think I should refer to some of the matters to which honourable members have referred. First of all, it was alleged both here today and last night that those persons who re-erected tents in front of Parliament House felt that they were doing so with the full force of the law and in the belief that they were entitled to do so. Should they have thought that, it is my opinion that they could not have read the judgment nor could they have been aware of what the Full Bench said. Let me assure the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) and the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) that had they, too, read the judgment they would have been equally aware that the allegations they made by implication are inaccurate. Let me draw attention to page 118 of the judgment of Mr Justice Fox, to whom the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory referred as his silent witness, where he states:
I am of the view however that the plaintiffs have failed to establish any case for an injunction. They do not claim simply to be on the land, as pedestrians, or for some casual recreational purposes, or even as members of an assembly, as that term is ordinarily understood. They claim a right to erect and maintain a number of tents and live therein for an indefinite period. Whatever the position may be if the Commonwealth consented to such a course, it is apparent that the Commonwealth does not consent, but on the contrary actively, opposes il. In these circumstances, the plaintiffs have no right to go on the land, or remain thereon, for the purposes mentioned.
That right to which His Honour refers is a right under common law and not under any ordinance. The reason why the Government has referred specifically to an ordinance is not that in any way it denies the continued validity of the common law right. We believe it is necessary to ensure that in relation to Commonwealth lands which are not just in front of Parliament House but right throughout the Australian Capital Territory there should be a specific understanding that there is a continued opportunity - indeed, a right - for people to demonstrate, to be present on those lands and to express their views as a minority or majority group, lt is not a right to erect tents or to create what all of us saw, in the language which the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) used quite effectively this afternoon, as a presence which we found objectionable not because of its intrinsic presence but because of its failure to achieve what the honourable member for Moreton and so many others on this side of the house believe is a valid cause of Aborigines in the community.
I share with the honourable member much of his concern that persons, if they are to demonstrate, should recognise that it is necessary that they demonstrate to a positive conclusion; it is necessary that if they are to demonstrate they do not do so in such a way as to create within the minds of most people a feeling which is sympathetic not to the cause but to them as individuals. What I think the tent encampment in front of Parliament House did was create pity rather than sympathy and 1 do not think it is pity which engenders due sympathy for the Aboriginal cause. I, like the honourable member for Moreton, feel that there is a great deal we can do to help the Aborigines in our community but we should do it in such a way as to help them positively. I do not believe that the erection of tents in front of Parliament House achieved that objective. Therefore I believe it was necessary for the
Commonwealth to take action. The action the Commonwealth took was in accordance with the minds and directives of most people in the Australian community.
There were 2 specific alleged errors in the Commonwealth Gazette issued last night. My colleague, the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt), during question time this morning, referred to the time at which the Gazette was published. 1 am told that he referred in his reply to the time when it was handed to the persons occupying the tents on the lawn in front of Parliament House. I am told also that it came from the printer and was available here in Parliament House and to the Press Gallery at 11.40 p.m. Consequently the date, Tuesday 12th September, is correct. As to the typographical error, the transposition of ‘0’ and T in the title of the Seat of Government (Administration) Act - it should be ‘1910- 72” and not ‘1901-72’- I believe the fact that the Leader of the Opposition picked it up demonstrates how obvious it is that it is a typographical error and not a fundamental disability in the Gazette.
It might be worthwhile to refer to the fact that the ordinances and regulations with which the Bill before this chamber tonight is dealing date back right through the days of Labor administration, right through the days of Liberal-Country Party administration to the very early days of the Federation. Throughout that time many lawyers and counsel have appeared on behalf of the plaintiffs and applicants and none has noticed the fact that within this ordinance there was an invalidity in respect of the notification in accordance with the Seat of Government (Administration) Act. That nobody else before this has picked up the fact that it has not been notified in accordance with the Act, to my mind very actively demonstrates that, as the honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr Brown) said in this debate earlier, the actual details specified in the Gazette with respect to each of these regulations and ordinances has been complete other than in one minor detail. The whole of this debate this afternoon has been directed towards trying to correct one minor detail. It is important, I acknowledge, but its importance is something that needs to be placed in perspective. The details of the ordinance have been specified - the date of the ordinance, the year of the ordinance, the price of the ordinance, where the ordinance is available - the fact that this was referred to by initials, other than in full exposition, is the one and only matter that His Honour Mr Justice Fox has drawn on as the basis of his decision.
In order to ensure that there should be no doubt about not just that Bill but all others, the Government has introduced this Bill to ensure that there should be no question of the inoperativeness of the Bills. There is no question as to their invailidity only a question as to whether they are inoperative. I started my remarks earlier this day by referring to the broad compass of what this Bill is about and rather than talk about the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance which is a minor part of the whole field of regulations and ordinances with which this Bill deals, I feel I should come back to the generality of this matter. It is important that we recognise that there has been a minimal deficiency seen in one ordinance. It is important that we should recognise that in order to preserve the rights of those who wish to demonstrate and speak on behalf of minority groups, we are not seeking to remove them from the front of Parliament House. What we are seeking to do is to remove the tents in which they live. We are doing that and ensuring that we do it by specifically passing an ordinance which was gazetted last night in accordance with the specific requirement. But there are still the common law provisions to which His Honour Mr Justice Fox referred and the Government has taken action in such a way as to ensure that those people who have misguidedly taken a short term advantage of what they saw as a right should not take it as a continuing right. Indeed, for them to set up their encampment is to deny the rights of individuals to demonstrate. If they are to sit or stand and remain in front of Parliament House those who wish to be there will be denied that opportunity. This Government believes that there should be an opportunity for those who wish to appear in front of this House to speak as they wish. As I have said, I, like the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen), sometimes wonder whether the objectives of these people are effective in that, by demonstrations, they often attract to themselves pity rather than sympathy. I believe there are many other ways in which the Aboriginal cause could be promoted than by erecting tents opposite Parliament House. So, the Government presented the Gazette last night. It acted in accordance with an interpretation of the common law given by His Honour Mr Justice Fox.
There is one specific matter to which I should refer before 1 get back to the generality: The concern expressed by the honourable member for Moreton as to those who are being penalised with respect to the actions taken at the time of the removal of the tents on 20th July and 23rd July. I stress that none of the persons charged has been charged under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act, nor under the specific ordinance that has been the subject of so much debate here today. The charges have been largely. Hindering police, assaulting police and obstructing police. They have been a multiplicity of charges and none of them, 1 stress, has been under the Trespass On Commonwealth Lands Ordinance, nor after this Bill is passed is it envisaged that any charges will be laid under that ordinance, lt is envisaged only that charges should be pursued against those who have committed other offences not related to the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance. But with respect to the other charges and whether they should be pursued, my colleague the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) in another place has said that he believes that Messrs Ambrose Golden-Brown and William James Richard Harrison - 2 of the plaintiffs in the proceedings - might well bc found as having secured for themselves rights which should not now be taken from them. Accordingly, while it is believed that proceedings should be continued against all other persons charged with a variety of offences there is reason to distinguish these persons because of the degree to which they might well be said to have attracted to themselves peculiar rights. But the very fact that in this debate today we have had another range of ordinances and regulations and a number of other names raised stresses that were we to exonerate those other people there would be problems. Consequently, 1 do not believe that the move that is being made in the amendment submitted to this House for later consideration in the Committee stages should be agreed to. Accordingly, 1 submit this Bill to the House for its favourable consideration.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Clause 3: (1.) The publication in the ‘Gazette’, before the commencement of this Act, of any form of words being, purporting to be, or apparently intended to be-
a notice or notification of the making of, with respect to the making of, or referring to the making of -
a notice or notification of any such Ordinance, regulations, rules, by-laws or instrument having been made. shall be taken to be, and to have always been, a sufficient compliance with a requirement of any, law of the Commonwealth or of a Territory of the Commonwealth that the Ordinance, regulations, rules, by-laws or other instrument be published or notified in the ‘Gazette’, and the date of the publication in the ‘Gazette’ of that form of words shall be deemed, for the purposes ot that law, to have been the date on which the Ordinance, regulations, rules, by-laws or instrument was or were published or notified in the ‘Gazette’.
– I move:
This amendment is in accordance with the form of words distributed by me earlier in the day. The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that where there are 2 gazettal notices, as there are with respect to a number of ordinances referred to in the Commonwealth Gazette last night, there can be no confusion as to there being 2 instead of one ordinance only in existence. It is obvious that the purpose of the Bill before the Committee and of this particular clause of the Bill is to ensure that there should be a valid ordinance without any minimal inoperative defect. It is because of the inoperativeness of the past ordinances or of this particular ordinance that the matter is before us today. This amendment is intended to ensure that there should noi be thought to be 2 ordinances with respect to the same subject matter. It is felt, on legal grounds, that this amendment is necessary. It is only to ensure that there should be one ordinance and not 2 with respect to the same subject matter that this amendment is moved. I might state, because of the general content of this amendment, that it is one which is peculiarly of a technical nature. It does not in any way affect the whole purport of clause 3 which, of course is the main operative clause within the Bill. Clause 3 ensures that there should be corrected only in retrospect and not in prospect those defects which have otherwise been seen as possibly existing in a range of ordinances and regulations. The amendment is intended only to correct those ordinances and regulations to the degree to which there could possibly be an inoperativeness because of a technical requirement. The amendment is to ensure that there should not be 2 such ordinances and regulations in effect. I am assured it is a basis which will not deny any individuals the capacity to rely on the protections that exist within each of these ordinances but rather will protect any rights that they may have. It is felt that this amendment is necessary to cover any possible confusion which might otherwise occur. Accordingly, I submit it for the consideration of the Committee.
– The evidence mounts and the evidence accumulates as to the price we are paying for the haste - the illconsidered haste - that surrounds all of this little exercise. The rushing through of this ordinance last night and its attempted gazettal at half past 12 or 1 o’clock, whenever it was in the early hours of this morning, have just been confirmed again by the Minister’s belated attempt to say:
Well here is something’ - a piece of mumbo-jumbo it will appear to future legal historians - ‘that is to clear up a doubt that even the Government on reflection has discovered.’ Clause 1a - it is not clause 2 or clause 3, it is clause 1a - is a provision, to fit in somewhere between clauses 1 and 2. It reads:
Where there have been 2 or more publications in the Gazette of forms of words being, purporting to be, or apparently intended to be, notices or notifications of a kind referred to in the last preceding subsection in relation to the same Ordinance, regulations, rules, by-laws or instrument, that subsection applies only in relation to the earlier or earliest of those publications.
Lawyers will wonder what that means. I do not think there is any opposition to the amendment. It is a tragedy that it is necessary because it would be nice to think that we could be moving in the direction of a coherent, sensible, readable system of laws. But while this Government persists in its attempts to make laws in this matter and races ahead with something at 1 o’clock in the morning will we continually be asked to accept something like this just to clear things up? I pose that question.
– Of course this whole clause is to validate things which have been done in the past, many of which we would probably have disapproved of at the time if we had been here or would disapprove of now if we considered them thoroughly. This should be the occasion on which we do that. The Minister has implied that the people opposite may have been a little confused about the law. They should have been able to understand the judgment and the regulations and the ordinances and known full well that they were not being treated in this way - that they were being treated in that way. Nobody has demonstrated greater confusion than the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) and the Ministry and Government supporters. I suppose one of the most confused persons would be the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt). He has not even been allowed to handle the matter in this House. But, to use the phraseology of the Bill, we are purporting or attempting to or, perhaps alternatively, in consideration whereof, or apparently intending to be purporting, to be noting, or notifying in the terms of the classics all these things. Take this one-
– Put it in your own language, Gordon.
– I will read it clearly. I refer to Ordinance No. 20 of 1932 which reads:
Relating to Trespass on Lands belonging to, or in the occupation of, the Commonwealth within the Territory.
This is one of those things which we are purporting or attending to or going to do something about.
– Do not say it again; you have become tedious already.
– There is nothing more tedious than the constant assumption and conceit of the Leader of the House that he is trying to run this place with some decency and courtesy to honourable members on this side of the House. In the long history of human humbug, when it comes to the leading of the House, the honourable member for Hotham would be hard to beat. One clause of this ordinance reads:
Any such member of the Police Force or any such overseer or person may arrest without warrant any person reasonably suspected of having acted in contravention of this section, and may keep him in custody until he can be taken before a Court of Petty Sessions to be tried for the offence of which be is suspected.
We know of course that the courts of petty sessions cannot very well operate at the moment. What I am asking the Leader of the House (Mr Chipp) and the Government to do is take the whole question of law in the Australian Capital Territory and run a cleaner through it properly. We admit the necessity of most of that which has had to be done today for the benefit of those people who were inconvenienced by the incompetence or the accidents of the past. But surely there should be a lesson in all this. The sooner the Minister for Primary Industry can lose some of his conceit and presumption and start to realise that the Government has made a complete botch of this business from go to whoa, the sooner we might get along a bit better.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Proposed new clause 4.
– I move:
After clause 3, add the following new clause: 4. Nothing in this Act affects in any way the rights and liabilities in civil and criminal law of persons charged with offences arising out of incidents outside Parliament House, Canberra on Thursday, 20th July 1972 and Sunday, 23rd July 1972 where those charges or incidents arise out of or are related to the purported notification in the Gazette of 20th July 1972 of the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972.
The purport of this amendment is clear. The Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) understands it. He has referred to it already. It seeks to remove from peril the 27 people who were arrested outside this House, some on the Thursday and some on the Sunday. I confess quite readily that I am addressing my remarks to the honourable members for Moreton (Mr Killen) and Diamond Valley (Mr Brown) on the Government side of the House because I believe that they have shared the experiences that I have shared. They have been largely subjected to the influences to which I have been subjected. I am not suggesting that lawyers belong to a club or anything of that sort but I do believe that there is a community of interests or sympathies or loyalties to a sense of value that this Government has completely rejected and thrown out the window long ago. I can understand their sense of conflict.
Here were people assembled peacefully outside this Parliament House. As the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory has said, they were not breaking any law, and they were put upon by the police. I do not blame the police because this Government decided on a course of action. In the course of the fracas that followed a number of offences ensued including assault-
– You are aiding and abetting them.
– You mind your peace. I have had 1.5 years experience in the courts, which is more than you have had. The offences alleged included assault, insulting words and hindering police in the performance of their duty. Anyone who has had the experience - the honourable member for Moreton has had it right to his ears and it has enriched him and made him in part what he is today and the same applies to the honourable member for Diamond Valley - would know what can happen. We all know how charges are laid.
It is clear that the people arrested were not breaking the law at that time. J do not know what was the state of their minds but I have spoken to the Minister for
Primary Industry who is handling this matter and who is at the table at the moment. I do not think I am revealing a confidence when I say that I asked him whether the charges could be withdrawn. If this were done, we on this side would withdraw our amendment. I asked the Minister to let these people go and not to drag them through the courts. It has been proved objectively that at the time when they were there, peacefully, singing a song, they were not breaking any law; the court has said this. They may have believed they were breaking a law as I may have believed it and as other honourable members may have believed it but they were not; the court has said so. They should not now be put back into the position where they were breaking a law.
I spoke to the Minister for Primary Industry and he said that I should see the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood). I break no confidences when I tell this House that I spoke to the Attorney-General. Do you know what he told me, Mr Chairman?
– He is a hopeless bloke.
– I am not concerned with that. I understood the AttorneyGeneral to say - I listened to him very carefully - that if I could assure him that the people who were arrested believed on that Thursday morning that they were not breaking the law, he would take whatever course he could take as the AttorneyGeneral of Australia to see that these charges were withdrawn.
Let us think through the consequences of that attitude. The Attorney-General is saying that if I stand here now and it is not an offence to walk across to where my friend, the honourable member for Moreton, sits, but I believe it to be an offence and I walk across there, a law maker can then say: ‘I will treat you as having broken the law, even though you did not’. That is what the Attorney-General of Australia has said and that is exactly what has happened. I repeat this because it is worth reflecting on; that is exactly what has happened. He said that he will withdraw the charges because objectively they were not breaking the law; the ordinance was invalid. However, because they believed they were breaking the law - it is a state of mind - and even though the law as it was at the time and as found by the court was that they had not broken any law-
– This is a heap of nonsense.
– Let the PostmasterGeneral reflect on it and think about it or talk to the honourable member for Moreton behind him and see how much nonsense is in it.
– I do not need to know what the honourable member for Moreton says.
– Turn around and talk to the honourable member for Moreton and see what he says. The AttorneyGeneral has adopted a most hypocritical attitude. He said that people who did not break the law because the law was not there to be broken but who, in the confused state of things, thought they were breaking the law shall be treated as though they did break the law. That is the simplicity of the matter and that is why we are pushing this amendment. I do not get excited about these things. The Opposition will lose. We lose all the time. That is the charade and the farce of this place; there is no debate in this House.
– There is a very good reason for that.
– Yes, there is a very good reason - you have the numbers; but you will not have them for very much longer.
-(Mr Locock) - Order! Interjections are not helping the presentation of something that is extremely difficult. I have been a little disappointed this afternoon with some of the personal reflections that have been made from both sides. I would hope that in this debate, which is concerned with an emotional subject which is causing concern to certain groups and sections, we might be able to refrain from the personal reflections that have been coming from both sides. Honourable members might also reflect, as the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory has asked in regard to this matter, on the behaviour of honourable members on this subject and assist by ceasing to interject.
– I do not know whether it is parliamentary language, Mr Chairman, but 1 am indebted to you. One could go through law books and do some, research on the subject. There is a fair amount of material on this sort of thing from superior courts where judges have been concerned with this problem from time to time. Where something like this happens and retrospective legislation is passed, the people who are vitally concerned with the immediacy of the original mistake are usually allowed to take advantage of it. A totality surrounds the people who were arrested and charged on those 2 days. They were there for a common purpose. Earlier in the day 1 quoted what Mr Justice Fox said about it being a political demonstration. The people were there for that purpose. There can be no argument about that. I have never heard anyone say that they were not there, trying to defend their tents, their flag and their sign. Noone has argued that the police did not surround them and tear down the tents, acting pursuant to their duty as they saw it. That is the duty the Government gave them to perform. So there was a common interest and a common purpose identifying and linking up all those people on the Thursday and the Sunday. By every principle with which I am familiar, they should be given an indemnity. They should be released.
I suppose that the honourable member for Moreton and the honourable member for Diamond Valley will remember the Burmah Oil case that went to the House of Lords. In that case the same sort of problem arose. The whole purport of the judgment of the House of Lords on those 4 or 5 cases was that when this sort of thing happened and you had to introduce retrospective legislation, you gave a release to the people immediately concerned. You did not do it generally and take it out for everyone. You could not do that. But you let go those immediately concerned, those around whom you could put a ring of immediacy and totality. I understand that the Minister is prepared to do that in respect of the immediate, plaintiffs. All this amendment asks him to do is to extend it to the people who were there, the people who had linked arms around their tents and who were singing the song ‘We Shall Overcome’, and the ones who went back on the Sunday in an attempt to put the tents up again, in a spirit of conveying a political message and a political thought. The honourable member for Moreton might not agree with the efficacy and efficiency of it.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– During my life I have sought to observe one precept - albeit imperfectly - and that is to try to respond to argument and to reason. I want to make a second appeal to the Government to respond to argument and to reason - not to prejudice, not to something which may be imagined, either in terms of reality or in terms of imagination, to be the perfect solution. I want to put some hard, crisp argument to the Government regarding the position it is in and the position I understand the Parliament is in. I have not sought to trammel to date this debate by injecting some splendidly wished up view. I have long held the view that one of the crucial problems facing the parliamentary democracies is that of controlling effectively and perfectly subordinate legislation. It is not something that I have just written about the other day and it is with no sense of impertinence that I would invite all the Ministers and the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) to let us see their recent literature on the subject.
The most recent thing I wrote on this matter dealt with the Kerr Committees’ report. I cite it not by way of boastfulness. Lord only knows what an imperfect search for immortality that would be. I wrote for the ‘National Times’ for some months until there was an aggregation of wishfulness and maliciousness which asked me to stop. The last article I wrote on this matter was on 6th March this year. It was about protecting the little man from the powers of the state. It dealt with the accumulation of power that can be arranged against an individual, what he can do and the difficulties he faces in trying to protect himself against all the abrasiveness of the state. I know that I may be wrong. I have friends on both sides who have told me in the years 1 have been here that 1 have been wrong. I do not sit down and cry about that - not in the least. I may be wrong about this but I have a deep conviction that the parliamentary system can survive only if those who are called upon to run it are determined to assert the authority of Parliament. That is the premise from which I start. Honourable members may say it is an imperfect one. I am not going to argue it any further.
As far as this particular amendment is concerned, I made my position clear on the second reading of the Bill this afternoon. Wherever any law seeks to impose a penalty, to exact an obligation, to demand of a person that something be done, I say it must be stated in clear, explicit language. Is that too much? So be. it. 1 do not think 1 can find an argument on that count. Let me come to the immediate problem. I have no sense of patronage left in me at all. My friend the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) is a man of good will. When he stated a few minutes ago that the offences connected with this matter did not arise out of the trespass against Commonwealth lands I accepted that argument. But does the honourable gentleman seriously ask me to say that, with respect to all the offences, the Commonwealth should proceed untrammelled and unassailed? I do not think my friend, if he were to listen to the argument, would contend that for one moment.
Let me illustrate this very quickly. The Minister for Primary Industry said that a number of people have been charged with resisting arrest, assaulting a policeman and using offensive behaviour. I put this hypothesis to the Committee: Assume that a government determined that for some particular reason it was illegal to hose after 7 o’clock at night and an inspector walked in and hammered on the door. He was greeted by the householder who said: What on earth are you doing here?’ The. inspector asked: ‘What do you mean by having that hose on?’ And the householder said: ‘I know nothing about the ordinance concerned.’ Assume also that the particular ordinance happened to be an invalid and unenforceable ordinance. For heavens sake do not trot out to me. the doctrine of mens rea. This seems to be one of the imperfect acquirements bestowed by southern law schools. If a man came to my home, knocked on the door and said ‘You have a hose on, ergo you are guilty’, I socked him on the jaw and it turned out that the particular ordinance was invalid or unenforceable, is the Minister serious when he says - if not explicitly, by way of implication - that that would be no defence?
I do not know what strange jurisprudence has suddenly been acquired by some people. Let me take the case in point. I do not know what the 27 charges are. They have not been detailed. I would point out to the honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr Brown), who is interjecting, that I have been in and out of the criminal courts a little more than he has. Admittedly I may have a few more clients on the other side. At least I provide them with after sales service. But I am concerned with arguing this matter on its merits. I come to the case in point. I am running out of time. 1 hope that you will be indulgent with me, Mr Chairman. Let us take the case of an individual - I do not know whether this is the position here - who is arrested for a contravention of the ordinance. Let us take the trespasser who sat down on his - I must be elegant - posterior and refused to move. Let us assume that, as he was being taken off to the paddy wagon, a fellow rouser called out to him: ‘Break away. Give it to them’; in other words, he encouraged him, pursuant to section 7a of the Crimes Act, to break away from lawful custody, and he is charged. There is no suggestion of the Crimes Act being invalid. But what has he asked the person in custody to do? He has asked him to break away from lawful custody? Why was he in custody? He was in custody because of some supposed breach of the ordinance and that is the position in which he finds himself. Would my honourable friend from Diamond Valley-
– I did not say a thing.
– I am just inviting the honourable member for Diamond Valley to say something. Would he seriously say that it would be a breach? This is an absurd position. I tried to put to the Minister for Primary Industry and to the Government this afternoon that this splendid bravura-
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– Mr Chairman, I am willing to forgo the call to enable the honourable member for Moreton to have his second 10 minutes, if he so desires.
- Mr Chairman, what 1 tried to put to the House this afternoon was that where there is a proximate connection between the ordinance and what happened, the Government should show clemency. 1 did not use the word ‘clemency’; I used the word grace’. But is that a word which should necessarily embarrass the Government? I have put the position about the Crimes Act. Let me reduce the matter to absurdity by putting the case of an individual who was told at 1 1 o’clock in the morning that there was a great stir on the lawns in front of Parliament House and who, when racing to Parliament House to see it, killed a person on the way and was charged with manslaughter. I am not for one moment suggesting that it would be a defence to say: ‘This is connected with the Aboriginal embassy’.
– That could result from the amendment being carried.
– 1 feel no slender obligation to explain anything to the honourable member’s cerebral processes.
– Order! I remind the honourable member for Moreton of the comment 1 made a little earlier in this debate. I think it would be of advantage to all concerned if the Committee were to accept the suggestion that 1 made.
– Mr Chairman, it is not often that I am at a loss for words. I have sought to be relevant. I propose to continue to be relevant and not to be whistled to side by any imprecation or invitation. I come back to this matter and say that no person who has been nurtured with any liberal instinct - that would excuse at least a few in close proximity to me - would subscribe to the view, with respect to an ordinance declared by a court to be unenforcable, that one should then set out to pull in the whole apparatus of the law. What an incredible proposition. The ramifications of it absolutely appal me. 1 may stand alone, but stand alone I will in expressing that sense of defiance.
What 1 have sought to encourage from the Committee is an acceptance of the view that if there is a proximate connection between the Aboriginal embassy incident - I describe it in that fashion without any offence - and any prosecution connected with it, the Government should declare an amnesty. What has the Government got to lose? What argument has been advanced against doing so? A few banalities from the Minister for Primary Industry - that is all. I am not under any obligation to sit in this Parliament and put up my hand to vote meekly for what I regard on occasions as a curious display of administrative talent. Do not for one moment think that any one of you behind or in front, or on the port or starboard side, have me in a position, after 17 years, where I am going to say: ‘Yes, the Whip is right and I am wrong’. Let us hear :he argument of the Minister for Primary Industry. So far we have heard no argument. I have heard an insult come from one side. I regret to say that I have been invited by the Leader of the House (Mr Chipp) - to his discredit - to withdraw. I withdraw nothing. I have tried to put a case sensibly and cogently. Honourable members can accept it or reject it. lt would not worry me if my case were to be rejected. A Robert Gordon Menzies in his heyday - I have used these words before and I use them again - would have torn the life and the liver out of this Government for such a proposal. This is a dreadful, scandalous proposal.
I point out to the Minister that the test is a pretty clear one. He has said that 27 prosecutions are pending. Let us hear them. Is there a prosecution pending with relation to manslaughter with a motor car? I invite the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) to say whether he would honestly suggest that such a charge could be immediately connected with this matter. The honourable gentleman nods his head. I am talking about charges with immediate proximity to this issue. Is my request so unreasonable? It is possible that I am wrong. I am told frequently that I am wrong. But I do ask the Minister with all the simplicity I have at my command to look again at the implications of this legislation. To say what a person would do if he knew it was an invalid proclamation or ordinance is to adopt that clinical approach to the law that does not distinguish the law. The law is robust and alive and the great beneficial influences of the law are drawn from its robust qualities. I seek not to instruct any person as to the jurisprudence to which he should succumb, but I do extend an invitation with all of the sincerity at my command to all members of this Committee, no matter what their views may be, to look at the implications of asking all of those people who have been connected with proximity to face prosecutions on this issue. I think the best test would be for members of the Committee to put themselves in the position of those people. If a man came to you and you were convinced one way or another that the ordinance was not valid, and it turned out to be invalid, what would your reaction be if the Parliament of your nation then said: ‘It does not matter very much. We propose to proceed with the prosecution.’? I do not think that this Parliament will raise its status by succumbing to that blandishment but 1 do believe that this Committee and this Parliament will considerably enhance their prestige and status by stating in plain and simple language: ‘We propose to have another look at this issue and all of its ramifications. Clemency, mercy and understanding are the 3 goals we seek and these are the 3 goals we propose to attain.’
– Order! The honourable member for Hindmarsh knows perfectly well that applauding is not permitted and he has done it on more than one occasion. I suggest that the honourable member for Hindmarsh should give some consideration to his position.
– I wish to take only about one minute. I was not in the House at 8 o’clock when the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair), who is at the table, spoke on this issue. I was watching a television interview with Mr Bob Hawke. I understand from what others have told me that the Minister suggested that one of the reasons why the Government is not prepared to support our amendment is that I have already raised a different case, and that once the Government accepted this amendment it would be reasonable to accept amendments dealing with every other case that has been dealt with or is likely to be dealt with under the legislation that is being validated by this measure. I would therefore like to read to the Committee and especially to the Minister at the table what I said this afternoon. I have taken a copy from Hansard. 1 said: Therefore, until this validating legislation is passed. Miss Russell is being detained illegally. It seems very obvious to me that she should be released until such time as both Houses of this Parliament decide that the validating legislation should be passed. I approached the Attorney-
General (Senator Greenwood) and asked him to release her as she was being held illegally. He told me that 1 was right on that point but that she should brief counsel to take legal action.
As I pointed out earlier, the only reason 1 rose is to emphasise that I have not asked for charges to be dropped in the case of Miss Russell. As Miss Russell is being detained illegally any decent AttorneyGeneral or decent Government would have released her today and would have taken whatever appropriate legal steps were open to them tomorrow, the day after or on any other day, to deal with her. I repeat that any decent, competent and reasonable Attorney-General who believes in the rule of law and any Government which shares that view would have taken those steps. J have not yet heard from the Minister for Primary Industry who promised before the suspension of a sitting for dinner that he would take up Miss Russell’s case with the Attorney-General.I should be pleased to hear the result of his conversation with the Attorney-General who was completely and absolutely hypocritical when he spoke to me earlier.
– Order! There are 2 points to be considered. The honourable member for Prospect will withdraw his comment about the Attorney-General.
– Why? It is not unparliamentary.
– The honourable member for Prospect said that the AttorneyGeneral was completely hypocritical. I have asked the honourable member for Prospect to withdraw that comment. The second point is that I allowed the honourable member for Prospect to cite the case of Miss Russell because he was illustrating a point in relation to the comments of the Minister for Primary Industry, but the case itself has no direct relevance to the clause before the Committee. I allowed the honourable member for Prospect to mention the case as an illustration of another point but he is not allowed to debate that issue. I suggest to the honourable member that he withdraw his remark about the Attorney-General.
– I understand that I cannot argue the case with you, Mr Chairman. I therefore withdraw my suggestion that the Attorney-General is completely hypocritical.
– I have not yet spoken to the Attorney-General about the case. I will do so when I get a chance.
– I will try to put to the Committee the point of view of one who was there on the day of the events in question and 1 will try to avoid being tedious. We want withdrawn the charges which are laid against the people who were opposite Parliament House on 20th July when police action was taken in accordance with the requirements of the Trespass on Common”wealth Lands Ordinance. The charges that a?s laid are almost ritualistic in such a situation. They are offensive language, resisting arrest, assaulting police, offensive behaviour and so on. What happened on that day? The people were assembled as has been recounted a number of times today. The police arrived and an inspector of police went across to the assembled Aborigines and their supporters. He told them that the ordinance had been promulgated. I walked over to him, assured myself that he had the printed word, and discussed that matter. Then the inspector promulgated it, using a loudspeaker to make it absolutely clear that the police were carrying out their operations under the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance.
In the course of the melee which occurred the police arrested people. They pounced - I suppose that is the appropriate term - upon people and dragged them off as they became available. Therefore the situation arose out of the printing and promulgation of the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance. The operation was conducted around the promulgation of the ordinance by police by word of mouth to those people. Then there was a subsequent action. Charges were later laid. My friend the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) has asked: How are charges ordinarily laid in this situation?
A few weeks ago there was a great tumult in one of the city streets of Melbourne as a result of a demonstration about national service. Subsequently I went to the watchhouse to act in my capacity as a justice of the peace. The. police had arrested 13 or 14 people, had taken them to the watchhouse and had locked them up somewhere in the dungeons. I could see that during the course of this operation the police had no possible chance of identifying citizens A, B, C or D as having committed this offence, that offence or anything else. It was quite obvious (hat out in the back of the police station somewhere a scene like this had occurred: How many have you got there, Bill?’ ‘We have got 1 3.’ What are the charges to be?’ ‘Oh, well, 3 for resisting arrest, 4 for assaulting police, 3 for offensive behaviour and 4 for insulting language.’
I stood there during the course of the operation and set the bail. It was obvious that the deliberations outside had no possible relationship to the identification of particular sins with particular people. 1 am convinced that that is exactly what happened opposite this place, because I know perfectly well that there would be no chance of the policemen who were involved in these operations being able to say, when they put one person into the wagon and went back to grab somebody else, that the person they had pjt in there was the one they were charging with the offence of having said A, B, C or D.
We who are charged with the business of creating the law at least ought to know how it is carried out. I have learnt this not through the law courts as my friends opposite have, but because of the duties I perform in my capacity as a justice of the peace and because my office is near the Pentridge Prison I see a lot of the products of this haphazard administration of the law and the laying of charges. The 27 people who have been charged with the 27 offences have this set against them. The eloquent appeal of the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) and the equally eloquent one by my colleague on this side of the chamber surely simply add up to this: In a situation in which there are doubts about whether people acted in response to what is an illegal situation, to turn ordinance A into ordinance B to legalise their actions is not the way in which we conduct the affairs of the Australian nation. I think there is only one reasonable thing to do and that is to withdraw the charges. If the Government will not do that I hope enough members opposite will act to see that this is incorporated in this legislation. Surely to goodness on this occasion we do not have to rely again on the good grace of the Senate to protect commonsense. 1 am not asking for the application of law. I am not asking for technicalities. I am just asking that we uphold the commonsense way in which this Parliament should treat its own citizens. Frankly, for the life of me I cannot see what benefit, profit or advantageflows to the nation or any person by trampling on these people in this situation.
The Minister for Primary Industry implied that the Government was acting, as he thought, in accordance withwhat the people of Australia would wish. I do not think that is the case at all. In all the conversations one has had about this and the letters and telephone calls one has received I suppose that the weight of opinion in the hearts and minds of the Australian people has been 10 to 1 in favour of the people who were over there in the embassy, and I suppose that is the way all of us would want it it be. So I say to the Government: Either accept the amendment or give an undertaking that you will withdraw the charges. In this situation let humanity and innocence transcend the ‘rule of law’.
– It is understandable that in circumstances where the rights of individuals are affected there should be deliberate consideration within this Parliament as to whether or not charges against them should be advanced and proceeded with. It is equally true that within the arguments around this place today and around this amendment there has been reference to the delegated powers of this place and to the concern that exists as to the penalties that are imposed under the regulations and ordinances that are the subject of this Bill and this amendment. As to that, I think all of us share concern that the Parliament should retain to the maximum degree possible its prior responsibility to introduce laws and to consider penalties that apply as the result of a breach of those laws. I would doubt whether any member of this place would dissent from the view expressed by my friend and learned colleague, the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen), that it is an area within the Australian parliamentary system which needs to be considered and considered closely. But that is not expressly the subject of this amendment.
The substance of the argument with relation to the amendment is, of course, not with respect to those 2 persons who were the plaintiffs in the case that has activated the Bill but the question of the other 25 against whom proceedings are still pending. I accept the case presented by the honourable member for Moreton that it is true that each one of the offences, though not the direct result of a breach of the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance, was nonetheless related to the fact that it was in pursuance of compliance with the requirements of the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance that the persons charged breached the specific sections of the Police Offences Ordinance and the Crimes Act. But the basis of my case in rejecting the amendment is not specifically that these offences were different from a breach of the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance; it is based on a concern which 1 think every member of this Parliament needs to have about the maintenance of respect for the police force and respect for the observation of laws and for the police in maintaining and protecting the rights of individuals in our society.
Let me briefly refer to the list of offences which, if we were to implement specifically the amendment, it is sought to have automatically discharged from consideration. I say ‘automatically’ because obviously the persuasive arguments of this place cannot be discounted by the Government or by the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) in considering whether to proceed with the prosecution. I will not read out individual names, but let me pick out one offence from the list of many charges. The list reads like this: ‘Assaulting police, assaulting police, assaulting police, assaulting police’. I am reading consecutively the charges laid - one amongst several in most instances - against the individuals in the list that is before us. The list goes on like this: ‘Resisting arrest, hindering police, hindering police, obstructing traffic, insulting words, assaulting police, assaulting police, assaulting police, assaulting police, assaulting police, assaulting police - 2 charges’. I am not going through the total list, nor shall I go through the total list of charges. It is obvious that the list of offences includes a number of offences which go to the very heart of what I would see as and would contend is fundamental if in our society we are to preserve and protect the rights of the police. The rights of the police are the rights of the individual. The rights of the individual are tremendously important to every man, woman and child in Australia.
– I rise to a point of order. The basis of the point of order is this: The Minister has fallen into the gross error of describing those charges as though they were actual offences that have been proven. These men are still presumed innocent. It is a grotesque miscarriage of justice for the Minister to act in that way. It is an abuse of this Parliament. In an attempt to inflame people he has transformed the presumption of innocence into one of guilt.
– That is an opinion. It is not a point of order that can be taken under the Standing Orders.
– I take a point of order. Mr Chairman, is the Minister entitled to continue speaking after you have called another honourable member who is seeking to raise a point of order, as he has done on 2 occasions while I have been in the chamber, and yell and scream and thump the table so that the member taking the point of order cannot be heard?
– Order! No point of order arises. I think the confusion and the noise in the chamber were not coming from only one person.
– Mr Chairman, on a point of order, I ask you to rule whether this matter is sub judice or not. Charges are pending.
– The Minister has not mentioned any specific case. The Minister has mentioned general charges which have been mentioned by many honourable members today during the course of the debate. In the circumstances I feel that the matter would not be sub judice in the usual use of that term, although, as I said, I do not think that many of the remarks that have been made here today have contributed in any way to the subject before the Parliament.
– This amendment relates to charges or incidents concerning individuals whose names I have expressly not referred to. If we are to talk to the amend ment at all it is necessary that we regard the charges not in their entirety or in their particularity but from the point of view that they exist. It is necessary that there be consideration of charges. It is necessary that there be consideration of their implications. The point that I seek to make is that from the Government’s point of view it is not the Parliament that should be the judge, nor should it be the jury; it is the courts. It is the process of law. Were we to pass this amendment we would be putting the Parliament above the courts and the law. We would be putting the Parliament in a position where the charges, irrespective of the persons, would have no foundation whatsoever. I do not believe that under our system of law, under our system of the division of responsibilities between the executive and the Parliament and the judiciary that it is right, that it is proper or that it is democratic for us to prejudge matters which are more properly matters for consideration by a court of law.
We are not attempting to judge the individuals or the charges against them. I have expressly not referred to individuals. I have expressly not pursued any of the charges against them. I have merely stated the category of offences. I am expressly stating that there are no offences under the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance. I am expressly assuring the House that there are no charges pending either with respect to the removal of tents last night or on 20th July or on 23rd July under the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance.
– That is specious nonsense.
– I am talking specifically about the amendment which has been moved and which I do believe, if it were passed, would enable the courts effectively to judge a series of offences or alleged offences which I believe are material if the courts are to occupy their correct and proper place in reassuring the rights of individuals. I would reassure the honourable member for Moreton that I have some sympathy for the case that he has presented. The persuasive arguments that have been presented in this chamber by individuals from both sides must, I believe, be considered by the Government and by the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) in prosecuting any charges that have been laid. But I do not believe that a useful purpose will be served by the passage of this amendment - an amendment which would put the Parliament above the courts, which prejudges charges that have been validly laid not in respect to the Ordinance now before this Committee, not in respect to the Ordinance the subject of this Bill, but in respect to charges quite unrelated. Such action, I believe, would undermine the authority and status of the police in our society. It is for that reason that I do not believe this Committee should accept the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam).
– The Minister for Primary Industry has said that the amendment puts the Parliament above the courts. It is not the amendment that does that, it is the Bill. We are not upholding the authority of the courts by making this a retrospective Bill. The courts have ruled on this matter. The courts have said that the Ordinance was inoperative. As far as the courts are concerned, none of the 27 men charged in regard to incidents on 20th or 23rd July could be convicted. The courts have said that as far as the law stands at the moment there could be no offence. It is the Bill that puts the Parliament above the courts. It is the Bill which is sending these men for trial again. It is the Bill which is creating offences which did not exist before this Bill came in.
There have also been references to the status and authority of the police. It ill becomes this Government to hide behind the Australian Capital Territory Police in this matter. The Australian Capital Territory Police have been compromised in the whole of this affair on 20th July, the 23rd July and in the early hours of today. The police would not have acted but for their political masters’ instructions. The police would be the first to acknowledge that they were not acting under the law. Once the Full Court of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court gave its judgment yesterday the police knew and accepted loyally that the law was that no offences had been committed on 20th or 23rd July. It is the Government that has sent the police in on all these occasions. It is the Government which is saying that the police must now resurrect charges which the Full Court of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court has destroyed. Let us cut out the specious pleading in this matter. As the law stands at the moment in this Territory, no offences were committed on 20th or 23rd July. Nobody could have been charged with offences arising from those incidents. The police were not entitled to arrest anybody on 20th or 23rd July. The persons whom they purported to arrest were entitled to resist arrest because the arrest was without authority. Now let us support-
– That is not what was said.
– No, you do not understand. You reckon you are a barrister.
– The Minister is as obtuse in this matter as-
– Arrogant, I would call it.
– He has always been arrogant. I did not believe he could be so obtuse. He is persisting with the Bill unamended. He is rejecting the amendment. He is putting the police again in this invidious position. He is putting the Parliament above the courts. Accordingly, if the amendment is defeated, then the Bill will be voted against on the motion for the third reading in this chamber. I do not believe that this Bill without this amendment will pass through the Senate.
Motion (by Mr Giles) put:
That the question be now put.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman- Mr P. E. Lucock)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
That the new clause proposed to be added (Mr Enderby’s amendment) be so added.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr P. E. Lucock)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendment; report adopted.
Motion (by Mr Sinclair) proposed:
That the Bill be now read a third lime.
– Mr Speaker, I rise to oppose the-
Motion (by Mr Giles) put:
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)
Majority . . . . 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
That the Bill be now read a third lime.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker- Hon. Sir William Aston)
Majority . . . . 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Mr Chipp) - by leave - agreed to:
That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent notice No. 12, general business, being called on forthwith.
– I move:
That the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972 (No. 20 of 1972), made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910- 1972, be disallowed.
For 7 months the Government tolerated the existence, on the lawns outside Parliament House, of a tent which was called an Aboriginal embassy’. The Government has since in various debates suggested that the presence of a tent on the lawns outside Parliament is intolerable but nevertheless, the Government tolerated the presence cf this tent on the lawns outside Parliament for 7 months.
I want to repeat what 1 said once before. The tent which was erected by the people who claimed that they were running an Aboriginal embassy was not the first tent erected as a means of demonstrating on the Aboriginal question outside Parliament House. The first tent which was erected in connection with an Aboriginal demonstration was erected by the Canberra police. Four or five years ago some university students decided to hold a vigil in connection with the rights of Aborigines. The week that they chose for this vigil to go on constantly, day after day and night after night, happened to be both wet and cold. The Canberra police therefore, as a gesture of generosity towards the university students concerned, erected a tent on the lawns outside Parliament House and they put warming appliances at the doorway of the tent. I went over and spoke to the students on a number of occasions, so there is no question about this. The Government did not find the presence of that tent outside Parliament House intolerable.
The removal of the Aboriginal embassy was, of course, in connection with the South East Asia Treaty Organisation conference when many distinguished foreign visitors came to Australia and the presence of an Aboriginal demonstration of that nature became embarrassing. As a consequence, the Government began to take steps for its removal. We know that this ordinance is not necessary if one wished to remove a tent from the proximity of Parliament. When the case went first before the
Supreme Court of this Territory the judge in the Supreme Court said that, provided an action was taken in the court, the existing common law enabled the Commonwealth to remove trespassers.
The Government did not want that legal proceeding in the courts because of the publicity associated with it and it has chosen instead a path which has given it month after month of publicity. When the Government chose to seek to remove the tent again the other night, surreptitiously in the early hours of the morning, it ensured by the very timing of it - in the early hours of the morning - that there would again be adverse publicity for the Government, which was accused of stealth. So, as a means of handling this from the Government’s own point of view, the Opposition could not have asked for anything better. Those who have ill-will towards the Government could not have asked for anything better than the way the Government has handled this entire question.
We are in difficulty about the Aborigines because we know that after all these years of our history - nearly 200 years - it is time there was some sort of effective Aboriginal voice and Aboriginal presence in this national capital. I do not care whether it is in some cultural exhibit manned by Aborigines who can express their way of life; it is time the Aboriginal people were acknowledged in the Australian national capital.
– The Minister has already said that.
– I do not shift from the position that the real Aboriginal embassy in this place would be elected Aboriginal members of Parliament, representing their people in this Parliament in precisely the same way as 4 Maori members represent the Maori people in the Parliament of New Zealand.
It is quite intolerable that we just do not consider this. We have tried to pretend that assimilation will stop them being another race. We have tried to pretend that they are dying out and that all we have to do is smooth the dying pillow. We have tried to pretend anything and everything except that there is a permanent Aboriginal presence in this nation and it should be represented in the Parliament. It is because of that that the Aboriginal embassy was an embarrassment. The people who manned the embassy could not claim to represent the Aboriginal people. They were not elected by them. Some of them were people of full Aboriginal descent. Some were people of part Aboriginal descent and some were people of Islander descent who identified themselves with the Aborigines. Some of them spoke in the jargon of New York black power. Some of them had no idea what the Aborigines in the inland aspire to and some of them had genuine ideas about what the Aborigines in the inland aspire to. But because of these things and because of the need for an Aboriginal presence which the Government subconsciously feels - the Minister for the Army (Mr Katter) interjected a little while ago and said: That is what the Minister said; there should be an Aboriginal presence’ - the tents were tolerated for 7 months and then disposed of.
The ordinance is unsatisfactory and it should be disallowed on the ground that it is unsatisfactory. I draw attention to clause 8b. and 8c. of the ordinance. Clause 8b. states:
An officer of the Department of the Interior authorised in writing by the Minister may, on an application by a person who wishes to conduct a festival, show, fair, circus or carnival, grant to that person a permit to occupy for that purpose a specified area of unleased land belonging to the Commonwealth that is in the City Area, and the permit applies to that person and to all other persons to whom the permit is expressed to apply.
Permission may be granted for a tent to be erected there for a festival, a show, a fair, a circus or a carnival. The Country Women’s Association presumably could run stalls there to raise money for some country town or some country charity.
– The Country Party could meet there too,
– Or the Country Party could meet there. Presumably, the Parliament could. We would be like the old witenagemot to meet under the tree. But this ordinance does not give power to permit a tent to be erected there for political purposes.
Outside the Parliament of Western Australia the Aborigines erected a very beautiful tent and had established a dignified consulate, as they called it, as a means of demonstration. The Government hastens to assure us that people can hold a meeting on the lawns outside Parliament House and that there will not be any denial of the right to demonstrate but that a tent may not be erected there. There may be a tent erected there for a fair, a circus, a carnival, a show or for any of those purposes but no-one has the power in the future to permit a tent to be erected there where the purpose is to demonstrate for Aborigines. Provided that a permit could be granted for the Aborigines, we could say that with the consent of the police or the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt), the Aborigines could erect a tent. But they cannot. There is no objection to a tent; there is only an objection to the purpose of a tent. If it is for a fair, a circus or a carnival it is all right but if it is a tent for the purpose of reminding us of the Aboriginal people, it is all wrong. This ordinance does not give even the Minister for the Interior power to grant permission for a demonstration such as was tolerated for 7 months recently.
Therefore, in this respect that section of the ordinance represents a curtailment of freedom. It represents a curtailment of the freedom of the Minister. Neither the Minister nor anyone else can give authority for the sort of demonstration that existed in the past. There is no reason why that should be. It is quite foolish for the Minister to think that this ordinance will bind in that way. It would have been wiser to have left himself the power to grant the permission, but he did not do so. It shows a hostility towards anything that can embarrass. It does not matter that the land is occupied by a tent. It is what the tent is for; that is the point.
Section 8c of the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance reads as follows:
An officer of the Department of the Interior authorised in writing by the Minister may. by instrument in writing under his hand, certify that land described in the instrument or by reference to a plan on or annexed to the instrument is unleased land that -
belongs to the Commonwealth:
is within the City Area; and
is not within an area for the time being declared by the Minister, by notice published in the Gazette, to be, for the purposes of this Ordinance, a camping area.
The Minister can delegate power to the officer and the officer may, by instrument in writing, change the definitions of the area. A person is not going to know beforehand what is an area to which this ordinance applies. It can come from an officer by instrument in writing. People can put up their tents somewhere else in Canberra for a demonstration. Then an official, by instrument in writing, can change the definitions of the city area. A person does not know beforehand what the city area is, as he knew under the old law. If a person was putting up a tent he knew he was putting it in the city area. This is not the case now. He can put up the tent and then, by instrument in writing, where he put it can be defined as a city area and as an area which is not a camping area. Therefore a person may not put his tent there. Then the law is shifted to make the offence in this case. I think that this is an unsatisfactory way of drafting an ordinance. This instrument in writing changing the definitions of what is the law and the boundaries of the city applying to the Australian Capita] Territory is an unsatisfactory feature of this ordinance and constitutes another reason why it should be disallowed.
The Government would be wise to drop this matter. It has been told by the court that, under common law, it has the power to remove trespassers. The area that particularly worries the Government is, without any doubt, the city area. The Government has the power now, by due process of law, to remove any trespassers and it has the power to tolerate, if it likes, the presence of a tent or any other form of demonstration there under the existing law, to terminate it without this ordinance or to permit it without this ordinance which ties the Government’s hand and does not give it the power to permit a demonstration for the sort of purpose that existed when that tent was here for 7 months. I think that the Government, which has barged through this whole affair over several weeks in an extremely maladroit way, would be well advised to drop it and to stand by its common law rights which have been declared for it by the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory, because the ordinance that it has drafted is thoroughly unsatisfactory. It is an unwise way of doing things, and for that reason it ought to be disallowed.
I suspect that this ordinance will have a torrid time in the Senate, because the Senate committee which deals with regulations has taken particular exception in the past to this whole process of instruments in writing from officers which create offences or define the field in which offences occur. The Senate has disliked this vague, dragnet kind of definition of delegated powers, and the Government is probably unwise in putting this up anyway. But we have to declare our opinion on it in this House. The opinion that we on this side of the Parliament have formed is that the ordinance should be disallowed.
-Is the motion seconded?
– I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.
– There is one point on which I would like to join issue with the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) and that is the fact that apparently on some occasion the police erected a tent for shelter. Of course, it was not there for 6 or 7 months. It was not there for any length of time. So I think that its relevance is not terribly important with respect to the total argument. In a recent debate in this House I detailed the Government’s reasons for proceeding with the amendments to the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance. I do not want to take the time of the House by recounting those reasons in detail. The Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972 is an ordinance amending the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1932-1965. The ordinance was made under the provisions of section 12 of the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910-1970. The validity of the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972 has been considered by the full Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory, and the court found no fault in the ordinance. His Honour Mr Justice Fox made the following observation:
I am of the view however that the plaintiffs have failed to establish any case for an injunction. They do not claim simply to be on the land, as pedestrians, or for some casual recreational purposes, or even as members of an assembly, as that term is ordinarily understood. They claim a right to erect and maintain a number of tents and live therein for an indefinite period. Whatever the position may be if the Commonwealth consented to such a course, it is apparent that the Commonwealth does not consent, but on the contrary actively opposes it. In these circumstances, the plaintiffs have no right to go on the land, or remain thereon, for the purposes mentioned.
The other Justices comprising the court endorsed His Honour’s views. As honourable members know, and we have been discussing this practically all day, the court found that the ordinance had not been notified in accordance with the Seat of Government (Administration) Act and for that reason it had not been operative. This defect has since been remedied.
His Honour Mr Justice Fox in the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory has suggested, as the honourable member for Fremantle has said, that it would have been possible to move the campers under the general law. The Commonwealth might have exercised its ordinary rights as owner of the land to remove the tents put there without its authority. Alternatively, the Commonwealth might have instituted proceedings in the Supreme Court to have the campers and their equipment removed. These courses were considered but in each case it was felt that there were uncertainties in the existing law and some difficulties about its application to this particular case. It was therefore felt on this advice that the situation required a specific law which could clearly enable people to identify their rights. The ordinance is designed to prohibit camping on unleased Commonwealth land in the city area of Canberra unless such land has been declared a camping area by the Minister for the Interior. The definition of the city area is established by notices appearing in the Commonwealth Gazette from time to time. The last such notice was printed in Gazette No. 102 of 8th December 1966.
The honourable member for Fremantle has expressed concern regarding the provisions of section 8c of the ordinance. I point out to the House that this section is purely an evidentiary provision which enables an officer of the Department of the Interior, authorised in writing by the Minister, to certify that the land described in the instrument belongs to the Commonwealth, is within the city area and is not a camping area for the purposes of this ordinance. Although it is simple to establish the identity of leased land, the procedure is extremely complex with respect to unleased land because no certificate of title exists. Formal proof that a parcel of land is unleased would necessitate surveys, the production of title deeds and most of the records of the Lands Branch of the Department of the Interior. The other provisions of the ordinance were elaborated in the explanatory statement that was tabled with the ordinance.
It is important to stress that in the drafting of this ordinance, as in the drafting of all other ordinances, particular regard was paid to the criteria which have been established by the Parliament, particularly by the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances. The legislation does not restrict the traditional rights, such as the right of freedom of speech and assembly; nor should it. Legislation giving power to control camping on what might be described as municipal land is common throughout Australia. Usually it is local government legislation. Indeed, legislation was passed recently in Western Australia, as the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) mentioned, with respect to the camping that had taken place on the lawns in front of Parliament House in Perth. That legislation led to the removal of a camp similar to that which was occupied on the lawns outside this House - with less difficulty, I certainly admit.
The Government’s intention was made known to the Parliament on 1 1th May 1972 in a statement that I made in this chamber and that Senator Cotton made, in another place. That statement made clear the Government’s intention and made specific reference to the fact that the proposed changes would apply to the areas round Parliament House. As is usual with Australian Capital Territory ordinances this odinance was referred to the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council. That Council debated the ordinance on 13th June. That fact was reported in the Press. The details of the proposal then became public. I said repeatedly on television and radio programmes that the Government was amending the ordinance and that those concerned would be asked to remove their tents. When drafting was finally settled, the ordinance was signed by me and approved by the Administrator acting on the advice of the Federal Executive Council. The ordinance was gazetted on 20th July 1972. However, prior to the ordinance being gazetted, a senior officer of the Australian Capital Territory police informed the campers - on 17th July - that the legislation would be introduced and that it would require them to remove their tents and associated equipment. In fact, the terms of the. ordinance were explained to them.
The only ways in which the processing of this legislation was in any way different from the normal processing of legislation for the good government of the Australian Capital Territory was in the fact that the Government announced its intention in both chambers of the Parliament, thus giving an opportunity for that intention to be debated here and outside. The Government also made arrangements for the persons to be affected by the introduction of the legislation to receive personal notice of its imminent introduction. In the course of the debate in this House on the 14th August I recounted in some detail the. steps that were taken to inform the public through the media - radio and Press - and the discussions that I had had with the campers themselves, including John Newfong, who was there for some considerable period, about the. effect of the legislation. I explained to the House on that occasion that the campers had made it clear when the police approached them that they were prepared to move when the. law came into force. I also informed the House that it was only upon the appearance of a large number of outsiders that their mood changed to one of defiance and the police were required to move the embassy tent. I recounted the series of discussions that I and other Ministers and officers of the Department had with campers or their representatives in an effort to avoid violence when the campers sought to re-erect the tent on 2 occasions. 1 do not wish to recount what I said during that debate. It is on the record. But it is plain that the Government did all it could do to avoid violence. I certainly did all 1 could do in discussions with the people concerned to avoid the situation that 1 hoped would not occur. It is also clear that the police did act with restraint in the circumstances. The Commissioner of the Australian Capital Territory Police Force has supplied me with a copy of a letter from Dr James S. Udy, Superintendent of the Methodist National Memorial Church. As one of the demonstrators, his view of the police action must be treated with respect. In fairness to the Australian Capital Territory police, I would like to quote from this letter. Dr Udy wrote:
As the Superintendent of the Methodist National Memorial Church and also President of the Canberra Inter Church Council, I would like to express the deep appreciation of a considerable number of citizens wilh whom I have talked in the last few days concerning the very wise handling by your men of the demonstration outside Parliament House last Sunday. I, with others, was associated with the demonstration on the clear understanding that it would be non-violent and that it would give opportunity to express certain grievances concerning the handling of the Aboriginal people over recent years.
It was only on Sunday morning at a meeting held while many of us were in worship that a decision was made to encourage a physical encounter. I was present throughout the demonstration and felt that the members of your Force handled what could have been a very difficult situation with exceptional patience and tact.
With kindest regards.
I stress that Dr Udy referred to a decision to encourage a physical encounter. Unfortunately this ordinance has been widely misrepresented. It is not a question of the Government taking action against Aborigines; it is a question of the Government facing up to its responsibilities for preserving public places in Canberra for public use. No group should have the right to pitch tents at will on any public land it may select for the purpose. I am sure that no town outside of this city would allow tents to be pitched at will outside municipal chambers or in public places, for any purpose whatsoever. This ordinance is directed only against camping - that is, against the tent or associated equipment. It does not interfere with the traditional rights of peaceful assembly or the ability of people to demonstrate in orthodox ways. The ordinance has been promulgated in the normal way. It is of limited effect. It has been considered by the courts. It should not be used as a vehicle to debate national Aboriginal policies or for political manoeuvring.
I conclude on the note that the Government has sought to develop a single Australian society, giving to Aborigines an opportunity to move out into that society as they wish. We have tried quite deliberately, particularly in recent years, to provide Aborigines with the opportunities that are available to all Australians. I want to remind the House that the Liberal Party of Australia was the first Party in this country to endorse an Aboriginal for election as a senator. So, for the first time we see in this the national Parliament an Aboriginal senator, Senator Bonner, who is making a very sound contribution to the welfare and interests of the Aboriginal people of Australia.
– Mr Deputy Speaker-
Motion (by Mr Giles) proposed:
That the question be now put.
The question is: ‘That the question be now put’. Those in favour say ‘aye’; to the contrary ‘no’. I think the ayes have it.
– No, the noes have it.
-Is a division required?
– Ring the bells.
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker - Mr E. N. Drury)
It is outside the hands of the Chair. The motion has been put and it now has to be voted on by the House.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
That the motion (Mr Beazley’s) be agreed to.
The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker - Mr E. N. Drury)
Majority . . . . 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Bill presented by Mr Garland, and read a first time.
– I move:
This Bill seeks the approval of Parliament to borrowings by the Commonwealth not exceeding the equivalent of $US25m (SA21m) to assist Qantas Airways Ltd in financing the purchase of a sixth Boeing 747 jet aircraft, spare parts and related equipment at an estimated cost of approximately $US29m (SA24m). The aircraft is due to be delivered in March 1974. The Commonwealth has already arranged loans totalling $US139m ($A116m) to assist Qantas in financing the purchase of its first 5 Boeing 747 aircraft. These loans were approved by the Loan (Qantas Airways Limited Act 1968, the Loans (Qantas Airways Limited) Act 1971 and the Loans (Qantas Airways Limited Act (No. 2) 1971. The borrowings arranged under the authority of the last Act were applied to the financing of the fifth aircraft. At the time the Bill for that Act was introduced, the House was informed that Qantas had entered into a contract with the Boeing company for the purchase of a sixth Boeing 747 aircraft with an option to cancel delivery at any time on or before 1st July 1972. The date of the option was subsequently extended by the Boeing company and Qantas is now making arrangements to confirm delivery of the aircraft.
Generally, when we have introduced legislation for borrowings to assist in the purchase of new aircraft by Qantas, the loan agreements have already been signed, but have usually been conditional on appropriate legislative authority being given later. On this occasion, borrowing arrangements for the purchase of the aircraft have not been finalised at this stage as approval for Qantas to proceed with the purchase has only recently been given. These borrowings on behalf of Qantas are s;ecialised financing arrangements related to the particular requirements of the airline for the purchase of aircraft overseas and are in a different category from general purpose borrowings by the Commonwealth overseas. A central element in the financing arrangements is the participation in them by the ExportImport Bank of the United States, which specialises in providing credit on terms tailored to assist in financing the purchase of such items of capital equipment as Boeing 747 aircraft. I would mention that it is expected that the overall result of all the Commonwealth’s overseas debt operations, including aircraft borrowings, this financial year will be a substantial net reduction in overseas indebtedness.
As a step towards making arrangements for the financing of the sixth aircraft, an application has been lodged with the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a loan of $US11.3m, which is slightly less than one-half of the proposed total borrowings. The current lending terms of the Bank for aircraft finance are interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum with repayments over the last 5 years of a 10 year period which commences on the delivery date of the aircraft. The remainder of the proposed borrowings will be sought from other sources at an interest rate comparable to that carried by the ExportImport Bank loan. These terms are acceptable to Qantas. Other arrangements for the loans will be similar to those approved by Parliament for previous loans for Qantas and Trans-Australia Airlines in recent years. In particular, the Commonwealth will be the borrower in the first place, and the proceeds will be made available to Qantas on terms and conditions to be determined by the Treasurer pursuant to clause 7 of the BUI These terms and conditions will be identical with those under which the Commonwealth itself borrows the money. The airline will be required to meet al) charges under the loan agreements. Consequently, the Commonwealth will, as usual, assume the function of an intermediary in these arrangements. The detailed terms and conditions of each of the loans to be arranged will be subject to approval by the Australian Loan Council. Borrowings under previous similar legislation now total the equivalent of $A316m. Of this amount, approximately $A166m has been repaid by Qantas. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Charles Jones) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 31 August (vide page 1080), on motion by Mr Anthony:
– The main reason that I wanted to speak on these proposals was that on Thursday, 31st August, when they were introduced, there was a good deal of disagreement and a lot of criticism that they were suddenly sprung on. It was suggested, I think by the Opposition, that there should be a debate on them. I take the opportunity now of saying something about the proposals before us to give protection to both woven shirts and knitted shirts and outer garments. I am led to begin this discussion by some of the comments made by the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) when he talked the other day about the Tariff Board’s ‘search and destroy’ mission. I think it is very important that the duty of the Tariff Board and the place which it occupies in our economic scene should be spelt out with clarity. The Tariff Board is doing only what it was set up to do and that is to measure or assess whether an industry is economic and efficient. It is doing this better than it has ever done it before. It is doing it more courageously than it has ever done it before. It is doing it with a backup of a good deal more staff than it has ever had before. I was very surprised the honourable member for Lalor questioned whether the Board ought to carry out the kind of duty that it has always been obliged to do and that is to examine whether an industry is economic and efficient.
In the case of knitted shirts, and outer garments and woven shirts it is clear that the Tariff Board has done its work with more than its usual ability. It has spelt out as I have always wanted it to do, the subsidy component that is involved in the two sections of the shirt industry. The subsidy works out, according to the Tariff Board, at an annual cost of $45m. This works out, so the Tariff Board says, for every person who is employed, at $2,000. Should not the Board make these measurements? Is this not part of the Board’s job? The Board was specifically set up to measure the cost of protection. It is the Government which makes the decisions after it receives this information but it is the duty of the Board to make the measurements. For the honourable member to Lalor to speak as he did and say that the Board was on a search and destroy mission because it had set out to make these measurements is, I think, unworthy of him.
The Government accepted these decisions in principle. It is true that there has been some delay in taking action - and I am critical of this delay - but in principle the Government has accepted the Board’s recommendations. I. am concerned at the delay. Mr Peter Roberts, the head of the
United Graziers Association in Queensland is also concerned about this aspect. It concerns me as a representative of the exporting sector of rural industries that this burden of S45m is to continue for what I think is an unnecessary length of time. The reason given for its continuation is that the international negotiations had to continue. The Government has introduced this proposal announced last Thursday week and this has caused even more delay. But I am glad to say that there is in the statement of the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) a clear indication that the end of the honeymoon is coming. In July 1974 the industry must expect this duty to drop to a level which the Board has advocated. But there will still be 45 per cent protection. Garments will not come in duty free. But until that time there will be a continuation of what is called ‘tariff quotas’.
I was uncertain about what a tariff quota was. The clear difference between a tariff quota and a quantitative restriction is hard to define. However, there is in sight an end to the burden that the exporting sector has to carry. Under this legislation we know that this burden will come to an end in July 1974 but in the meantime the quantitative restrictions or tariff quotas will continue to operate. We ought to be clear that this method of protection is always frowned upon. It is open to all sorts of abuse inherent in a system where judgments are made by the administration. You cannot have any system of quantitative restriction, import licences, tariff quotas - call them what you like - without advantages being given to particular groups and who is to get these advantages no one can say.
I know that in the hands of the present Minister for Trade and Industry the system will be administered as well as it can be done but there is inherent in this system of protection a great danger, firstly, that unfair advantage may be given to certain people and secondly that the effect of competition will be taken away. There is no incentive towards a reduction of prices when an importer knows that the amount of imports cannot be increased. He asks: What is the use of reducing prices? We have to realise that this system of protection for industry will continue even if it is for a limited length of time. I want to make it clear that this burden will in the end be carried by the exporters and it will be resented by them as it has never been resented before because they are not in the position they used to be in when they could carry these burdens rather lightheartedly.
We should realise that this kind of action will destroy the opportunity to trade with those countries from whom we have been buying shirts. I refer to Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Communist China. We sell to them goods worth $800m more than we buy from them. What kind of inducement is it to those countries to buy more from us if we will not buy more from them? We have to realise that this action does inhibit our ability to employ our people. An amount of $45m is paid as a subsidy by the users of shirts so this, money cannot be spent elsewhere by them on other products. Therefore this limits the employment which could be created in other industries and it certainly tends to limit employment.
We know from our past experience that you never get good employment figures out of a sick economy. Economies are made sick when exporting industries arc not able to nourish. So let us for ever dispose of this myth that tariffs are needed to create employment. The application of tariffs may create employment in some industries but this is always paid for by employment lost in other industries such as the user industries and those industries the competitive position of which is limited by a sick economy or is limited by unwise tariff protection. I do not say that this is permanent, unwise, tariff protection.
– I congratulate the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) for continuing the restrictions on the importation of knitted shirts and outer garments and woven shirts. However, I rise tonight to complain violently about the fact that a decision such as this could be announced in the Parliament on Thursday, 31st August, when I have had on the notice paper since 16th May 3 questions on this subject. Question No. 5824 standing in my name and addressed to the Minister for Trade and Industry reads:
Question No. 5825 standing in my name also is asked of the Minister for Trade and Industry, and it reads:
Question No. 5826 standing in my name and addressed to the Minister for Trade and Industry reads:
Those 3 questions have been on the notice paper since 16th May. It is an insult to this Parliament and, in particular, it is an insult to me that the Deputy Prime Minister could come into this House last Thursday and make a statement which virtually answered those questions without giving sufficient information to the House as to why this decision was taken. Let us look at the Press statement released by the office of the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) on 24th August 1972 - 7 days before the Deputy Prime Minister came into the House and made this statement on woven shirts and outer garments. The Press statement released on 24th August is headed ‘Textile Industry Deputation’ and is in these terms:
The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister in Canberra today met a deputation from the Australian Textile Apparel and Related Industries Conference.
The deputation was led by Sir Robert Webster, Chairman of Directors of Bradmill Industries Ltd and President of the Australian Textile Apparel and Related Industries Conference. Other members of the deputation included Mr Warren Adcock, representing the Australian Confederation of Apparel Manufacturers; Mr John Brady, Chairman of Crestknit Ltd, representing the Australian Knitting Industries Council; and Mr A. J. Burgess, Director of the Textile Council of Australia.
The Deputation outlined some of the difficulties confronting the textile and apparel industries and there was a full and thorough discussion. The Ministers assured the delegation that the Government was looking closely and sympathetically at the problems of these industries.
The Prime Minister repeated the views he had expressed in Adelaide last month when he emphasised the Government’s recognition of the important place occupied by manufacturing industries in the Australian economy. The Prime Minister referred again to the fact that the Government was negotiating for voluntary restraint arrangements with low cost overseas countries in order to ensure protection for Australian manufacturers of textiles and apparel. The Prime Minister also commended the efforts of Sir Robert Webster and the industry itself in recent negotiations to bring about voluntary restraints by countries exporting to Australia.
That Press statement was released on 24th August after a deputation had been received by the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister. On 31st August the Deputy Prime Minister came into the House and made a statement, yet since 16th May I have had those 3 questions on the notice paper asking for specific information relating to this topic. The Minister has completely ignored those questions and they have remained unanswered. When the pressure is put on the Government by Sir Robert Webster and others it falls over itself. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister then can make a decision in 7 days. I asked how successful the negotiations were with these low-cost countries, but the Minister could not answer my question. Yet on 24th August he received this deputation and on 31st August he brought into the House all the documents necessary to answer the questions I asked him in May of this year. I do not like it. It seems to me to be another example of this Government not being able to run its own affairs and not being able to plan the economy in any way.
Manufacturing industries in Australia are an important part of our economy. We cannot allow an industry such as the textile industry, and in this instance the knitted shirts and outer garments and woven shirts industry, to be kept on a hook as long as they have been kept on a hook. It was in about May 1971 that the Minister for Trade and Industry announced the result of the Tariff Board inquiry, namely, that the quantitative restrictions would remain until March 1973 which is when they are due to come off. In that speech the Minister said:
Meanwhile the Government proposes to initiate negotiations with those low-cost countries which are the major suppliers of the products covered by these reports. These negotiations will be aimed at arriving at mutually acceptable arrangements which will allow these countries both reasonable access and growth prospects for their exports but also enable the more efficient sectors of the Australian woven shirts and knitted outergarments industries to continue to operate on a viable basis.
The hammer was about to fall in 1971 and the chopper is about to fall in March 1973. I asked those 3 questions which I have mentioned in May of this year. I asked them because certain people in the textile industry in my electorate had told me that they were in trouble. They told me that already at that stage representatives of the retail houses in Australia were over in these low-cost countries buying up stocks for next year. I could not get an answer to my questions and I still have not received an answer to those questions. This Government is treating the Parliament in the way it is treating the people of Australia: It does not know where it is going.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I am pleased that the procrastination which has been so evident within the Government ranks on the question of protection of this industry has at last ended. Not only I but also a number of other members of the Opposition have been pressing a case for the industry over the last year. The Oppo sition’s committee met representatives of the trade approximately a year ago and I am therefore very pleased that at least some decision has been reached. But I should make this point: The decision has been reached in some very extraordinary circumstances. For a start, every one of us in this Parliament was very surprised when this issue was brought into the Parliament a few weeks ago without any warning not by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) but by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony), the Leader of the Australian Country Party. Instead of being handled by the Minister for Customs and Excise, who happens to be a member of the Liberal Party, as would normally have happened it was handled by a Country Party Minister.
But I am glad that at last something has been done because had this industry not received some form of protection, despite what the honourable member for Wakefield (Mr Kelly) says - and I must give him full respect because he is at least consistent and always strongly opposes virtually any form of protection for Australian industry - the jobs of approximately 700 people, mostly women, employed in one industry in my electorate would have been in jeopardy and another industry in my electorate employing a large number of people could have been in serious straits. But the most important thing to look at here is the extraordinary circumstance that it took 12 months for the Government to make up its mind to make a decision on this matter. Suddenly without warning the matter was dropped into this House. The debate was to be gagged. It was only because there was some protest on this side of the House from honourable members who wanted to talk on this matter that finally the Government was forced to adjourn the debate to another time and so we are given the opportunity now to discuss it. I should also point out that another extraordinary circumstance is that this measure has been introduced on the eve of an election. One could be excused for saying that the Government’s procrastination and delay obviously have cost the industry dearly.
This measure spells the end of the fantasy to which the Minister has resorted on so many occasions when this matter has been brought before the Parliament by way of both question and debate when he has referred to voluntary restraints and the fact that they were being negotiated. We told him that these voluntary restraints would not be successful and I believe that this legislation now before the Parliament proves what we then said to be correct. The suggestion that the Government was going to negotiate voluntary restraints was only a means of delaying a decision because, as the honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) has said tonight, there has been confusion in this Government’s policy making. I would also make another point that the advisers of the Government - I say advisers’ because they will be advising a different government in a very short period, and I do not think there will be much more legislation initiated through the Government’s advisers by this Government - need to give consideration to whether or not the tariff structure is the most effective and the quickest way to protect any industry when protection is necessary or whether quantitative restrictions would be a much cleaner, much more effective and much more efficient instrument to be used in future. I. know the honourable member for Wakefield absolutely-
– Shudders with horror.
– Yes, he falls back with horror; that is quite right. But as I said earlier I give him credit for always being consistent. He is a complete and utter free trader. He is the opposite of the complete and utter protectionist He has not the balance or stability of both but at least right throughout he has been consistent. Naturally I expect him under these circumstances to recoil with horror at the suggestion of quantitative restrictions. I feel that quantitative restrictions as a form of protection and to meet the problems of the industry are at all times a far more effective and efficient and a far cleaner instrument to use. I support the Bill because it does give protection to a very important industry. It will help the employment situation in many parts of of this country, including my own electorate and other areas including decentralised areas and migrant centres where the jobs of many people, despite the fact that the honourable member for Wakefield thinks that these are rather impure motives which should not be considered, would be in jeopardy if some thing had not been done to protect the industry. But the circumstances under which this measure is introduced are extraordinary. The drama and the haste with which it was introduced on the eve of an election by no less a person than the Minister for Trade and Industry, after 12 months of procrastination, is not good government.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr Chipp) proposed:
That the House do now adjourn.
– A fortnight ago tonight I made a speech on the motion for the adjournment of the House, attacking the Government for allowing the international oil cartel companies every facility to squeeze almost out of existence 2 very small oil companies, IOC Australia Pty Ltd and XL Petroleum Pty Ltd. I said then and repeat tonight that in my view those little companies which have about 0.5 per cent of the trade in petrol and oil are doing a very good job in this country. They are providing some real competition against the larger cartels and they are providing lower prices. I outlined in my speech 3 of the ways in which I considered the Government was assisting these internationally based companies to do it. I mentioned first of all the matter of the refining of the indigenous crude oil which those small companies under the indigenous crude oil policy were bound to take. I showed how, because those 2 small companies did not have their own refining facilities, they were under this Australian indigenous crude oil policy bound to use one of the larger cartel companies to get their refining done. I appreciated that the Government, because it could see a conflict here in that the larger companies were not allowing the small companies a reasonable price for the refining of their indigenous crude, appointed Sir Leslie Melville as an arbiter. I went on to point out how, indeed, the decision of the arbiter, Sir Leslie Melville, was not being adhered to and that the price of the crude oil from the refineries was being loaded.
I pointed out. secondly, how these small companies had found a source of petrol outside Australia - indeed, in Asia - how once again Government policy was responsible for a tentative normal value of 3c or so a gallon above that at which the 2 small companies might otherwise have been able to buy their petrol and how I considered that this was being rather restrictive and I said that I was very disappointed that the matter was not coming before the Tariff Board earlier. I blamed the Government and, I suppose, indirectly, the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) for not seeing that this matter was cleared up earlier.
The third matter I referred to was the demand for cash for duties, or, more accurately, bankers’ cheques for duties from at least one of those 2 small companies. I cannot speak for the other one. In the course of my remarks I mentioned that I did not have time to develop this aspect, but I say it now because it is important, when I come to the second reason why I am on my feet tonight, not only to repeat those facts I mentioned a fortnight ago but also to refer to the speech of the Minister on the following night. It was a most extraordinary speech, if I might say so. I do not know whether he had an attack on his liver-
-Order! This is an adjournment debate. If the honourable gentleman refers to a debate in this session or discusses a debate in this session he could be out of order.
– This was an adjournment speech. In that particular adjournment speech of the Minister he, I must confess, dumbfounded me by attacking me personally and suggesting that I had attacked him personally. I have studied the speech that I made. In it there were 2 occasions on which I mentioned the Minister. One was in relation to the fact that in my view he should have noted rather earlier than he apparently has, this matter of Sir Leslie Melville’s report not being adhered to - the spirit of it. The words I used were:
The Commonwealth Government, and in particular, the Minister for Customs and Excise whom 1 did inform that I would be raising this matter tonight-
– Adhered to by whom?
– Adhered to by the refining companies. Let me repeat my words for the Minister because I really honestly do not believe that he read my speech, otherwise he would not have made the speech that he did. One of the main arguments of my attack was that the price that Sir Leslie, in his arbiter’s report, had decided upon was not being adhered to inasmuch as the refining companies were suggesting that Sir Leslie’s price was an exrefinery price. They will not provide the petrol at the refinery ex refinery. They are providing it from a terminal some distance away. I say here and now that in my view - everything I have said is documented and I have made sure that I have it in writing from those who provided me with the information - the charges from the refinery to the terminal are being loaded and are unfair prices. I would be surprised if this has not been drawn to his attention, but I hope that the Minister will take it up from this point.
At any rate, I mentioned the Minister in that regard and I mentioned him once more in relation to the second matter of dumping duties on the Korean and other Asian petrol. I said:
So far this campaign has not succeeded but it is no thanks to the Government or to the present Minister for Customs and Excise.
That was the only time, if I may say so through you, Mr Speaker, that the Minister was mentioned personally. The Minister used certain words against me and you will remember, Mr Speaker, on that occasion I was precluded by the Standing Orders from making the sort of personal explanation that I would have liked to make. This is why I am on my feet to-night. In referring to me, the Minister said: ‘He went on to attack me personally’. Later, he referred to the persona] venom which I allegedly directed against individuals po his side of the House and which was a personal characteristic of mine. I will have to leave it to other honourable members to decide whether indeed this is one of my characteristics. It certainly was not a characteristic of mine in this particular speech. Nevertheless, it is immaterial. As I have said, I leave it to other honourable members to decide as to whether it is a tactic I use in this House.
My point is that in his speech the Minister did not answer any one of the 3 points that I made against the policy of his
Department on this matter. He did not answer in relation to refinery prices of petrol. He did not clear up in any way the position concerning dumping duties on Asian petrol. He certainly did not say anything whatsoever about the demands of his Department calling for bankers’ cheques for duties. I understand - perhaps he could correct me to this but it is my information - that bankers’ cheques, or cash in other words, are not demanded for duties from the other companies.
The Minister hid behind the South Australian Prices Commissioner. In no way do I consider that the work of the South Australian Prices Commissioner in relation to oil and petrol is at all satisfactory. I would only draw to the attention of the Minister something that I have been told, namely, that the Prices Commissioner allows a profit of lc a gallon to the companies in deciding his price. The fact is that the companies are giving discounts of up to 10c per gallon in Victoria alone on their price of petrol, which shows just how ridiculous is the situation. I am not blaming the Prices Commissioner. He just does not have the facts. I do nol believe anybody in this country can get hold of the facts as to what is the true price of indigenous crude oil from the Middle East to these companies in Australia. I regret that I do not have time to show that rather than my attacks on the Minister being scurrilous his attacks on me were the main reason for my getting on my feet to drive home what I had to say in my speech against the policy of the Department not against the employees of the Department, for not ensuring that the small companies, which have only 0.5 per cent of the oil trade, are in some way protected so that they might provide some real competition against the large cartels.
– I am not rising to speak to the question.
-Order! Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. I have been personally misrepresented. I will be very brief. The honourable gentleman stated that he did not make any personal attack on me the other evening. If I have misunderstood him I apologise, but for the record I quote from page 972 of Hansard where, after saying that the Government was in collusion with the oil companies and that it had conspired to assist them, the honourable member said: . . may I say quite bluntly that I believe it is because the 2 Government Parties receive donations amounting to thousands of dollars for election purposes from the companies of the international oil cartel.
I leave it to the House to judge whether that implicitly or explicitly means a personal attack.
– 1 raise a matter which is giving concern to constituents of mine at Muswellbrook and must also be giving concern to people right throughout the country areas of Australia. I refer to the illness of a young lad, 15 years of age, and the great financial problems which are facing his parents. I will not cite his name or the name of his parents but I have them in correspondence. In December 1967, after a brief illness, a young resident of Muswellbrook in my electorate was flown to Sydney and admitted to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children for observation. He was at first in the care of a pediatrician, but later was transferred to a neuro-surgeon, Dr M. Sofer Schreiber. It was at first thought that he was suffering from a subdural haematoma. He was operated on- for this. A large blood clot was removed in this operation and he recovered. However, after a period of convalescence, it was found that the symptoms had returned and after further investigation a malignent tumour in the pineal area of the brain was diagnosed.
At this time he was in hospital for 70 days and had 3 major operations. He has since returned to Camperdown each year for revisions of the ventriculo atrial shunt, and has also had to return frequently for examination and tests. This year he has been in hospital twice in Sydney and is at the moment a patient in the Muswellbrook District Hospital where he has been for 3 weeks. The costs involved in long term illnesses such as this are severe and whilst the hospital charges are covered by the medical benefits fund for accommodation, the extras are not. For example, for a consultation by a specialist surgeon for which he was charged $25, the return by the fund was only $8.50. For a fee of $87 by an anaesthetist, the refund was only $12.80.
The point to be made in this case, however, is that apparently no provision exists whereby taxation deductions can be claimed for the very necessary costs involved in taking a patient to Sydney for this treatment. It is not possible to get this sort of care at any other place except, of course, in other capital cities. It is necessary to take the child by car or train as the local doctor in most cases does not consider the use of any ambulance justified and, as in the main there are numerous conferences with the surgeon, it is not practical for the parent to return home. So he or she requires accommodation adding to the already heavy cost.
I consider that country people are in a very disadvantageous position when confronted with such a situation. Some form of relief should be provided in the tax laws of the cost involved in seeking treatment in such cases. I bring this important matter to the attention of this House and the Treasurer (Mr Snedden), in the hope that he will consider amending the legislation so as to give financial relief to parents who find themselves in such a situation. In this lad’s case the position is without much hope. The tumour is inoperable due to its location and no chemical cure appears to be available. The parents of this boy have approached me and asked me to take this matter up with the Government not only on their behalf but also on behalf of many other country parents who are caught in the same situation. This is a very serious problem for these parents who are paying taxes only to find that the costs of this serious illness are taking all their ready money. They are finding it difficult to carry out. I commend this matter for the attention of the Government.
– I am sorry that the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) is not in the chamber because I want to take a little further the matter raised by the honourable member for Adelaide (Mr Hurford). It relates to the speech made in the week before the recent weeks recess by the Minister for Customs and Excise. During his speech, the Minister criticised the honourable member for Adelaide for the remarks he had made. He alleged that the honourable member for Adelaide on the previous night had made a scurrilous attack - that is what he called it - on himself and, furthermore, he accused the honourable member for Adelaide of making an attack on members of the Department of Customs and Excise. So I was most interested later that night to read the speech that the honourable member for Adelaide had made the night before on that subject.
I found that all that the honourable member for Adelaide had done, in a perfectly proper manner, was to make a speech criticising the policy of the Government in oil pricing. I will admit that the honourable member criticised the administration by the Minister for Customs and Excise of that policy. However, it was not in any way a personal attack by the honourable member for Adelaide on the Minister for Customs and Excise. I have heard much stronger attacks made on Ministers. I probably have heard them made in this House today and nobody took much exception to them. As for the claim in the Minister’s speech the week before last that the honourable member for Adelaide had criticised officers of the Department of Customs and Excise, I cannot find the vaguest reference in the speech of the honourable member for Adelaide to officers of the Department of Customs and Excise. It seems to me that if anybody made a personal attack it was the Minister for Customs and Excise and not the honourable member for Adelaide.
Furthermore, as the honourable member for Adelaide has just said, the Minister did not answer any of the charges that were made by the honourable member for Adelaide. This is an important matter because we are talking about a most important area of Government policy. The main charge that was made by the honourable member for Adelaide was that in the price war that is going on between the big oil companies - what we might call the cartel - and the little companies, namely XL Petroleum Pty Ltd and IOC Australia Ply Ltd, the Government is coming down on the side of the big oil companies against the little ones. The Minister did not seem to have denied those charges anywhere. In fact, later in his speech the week before last, the Minister more or less said that the Government was justified to act on behalf of the big cartels because he said they were looking after the little blokes - that is, the people who work in refining, marketing and distributing oil for the big companies. The Minister for Customs and Excise did not explicitly deny the charges. In fact, he justified them. So, it appears to me that the Minister for Customs and Excise was virtually pleading guilty to the charges made by the honourable member for Adelaide.
The Minister for Customs and Excise sought to justify the action of the Government in coming in on the side of the big oil companies by saying that this would help the people employed in the industry in refining and marketing. The argument that the Minister put foward is completely fallacious for 2 very good reasons. I might say first of all that the Government requires XL to take a certain amount of Australian crude oil. However, the refiners will not take the share from XL and IOC except at artificially high prices. The result of this is that XL is stockpiling its Australian crude; it is just lying idle. If the Australian refiners would take the crude oil from XL and refine it, surely this would provide not decreased but increased employment opportunities and prosperity for the employees in the Australian refining industry.
The imports of refined petroleum by XL and IOC will not pose any threat to the marketing and distribution by the big oil companies because it is only a tiny fraction of the total amount of petroleum sold in Australia. So, there is no threat that there will be any significant inroads into the market of the big companies by the little companies. I think that the 2 arguments put up by the Minister for Customs and Excise are completely fallacious. Another matter that disturbed me particularly is the question of dumping securities. XL has to put up cash securities in advance on imports of petroleum from overseas. This was done without a hearing by the Tariff Board. In fact, no reference was made by the Government to the Board until about 6 months after these prices had been set. I understand that is a completely unusual practice and it seems to me that it is distinctly discriminatory against small companies.
As I said, I believe this is a most important matter. It has special relevance, particularly if we examine the history of what happened in the recent oil strike that took place during the last parliamentary recess. I think most honourable members would have seen the interview that took place on ABC television between Mr Hawke, the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch). At that time, Mr Hawke alleged - I believe correctly - that the disputes that were then current between the oil companies and the unions and between Ansett Transport Industries Ltd and the Transport Workers Union were caused by the Government. He alleged that the Government put pressure on the employers to stop them from making negotiated agreements with the unions.* As proof that this actually occurred, in the case of Ansett, Mr Hawke produced a document from a senior employee in the Ansett organisation to establish that in fact the Government had put pressure on Ansett to stop them negotiating. The Government said: ‘You must arbitrate.’
Mr Hawke also established that there was circumstantial evidence that the same thing happened with the oil companies. As was their usual practice, the oil companies offered to negotiate with the unions earlier this year, but because it was an election year the Government said to the oil companies: ‘We do not want you to negotiate. We want you to go to arbitration.’ The reason is that the Government wanted a dispute to take place. The Government likes strikes, lt likes people being thrown out of work. It likes people being inconvenienced, because the Government believes that this helps it electorally and that is all that matters to this cynical Government. When Mr Hawke said at this interview that he believed that the Government had intervened to stop the oil companies negotiating with the unions, the Minister for Labour and National Service said that that was not so. He said that the Government had no power to put any pressure on the oil companies to stop them negotiating.
I believe that this cosy arrangement between the Government and the oil companies shows very clearly that the Government was in a very powerful position to say to the oil companies: ‘We do not want you to negotiate. You must make it an arbitrated settlement, an agreement
– Tonight I want to refer to an article in the ‘Sunday Mail’ of 10th September 1972 written by Jack Lunn. It is headed ‘Many Small Towns are Ailing’. It refers to an analysis of post-war population trends by Mr Brian Marsden, a Queensland University lecturer in urban geography. I think that the word ‘urban’ should be noted. Mr Marsden has done a great disservice to country towns and, like so many university lecturers, shows a deplorable lack of knowledge of the conditions which have caused the problems facing country towns. These problems can and will be overcome. The first major difficulty has been an unprecedented run of drought years with only spasmodic relief. On the law of averages, western Queensland must be due for a return to normal seasonal conditions. The second problem has been low world prices for some primary products, particularly wool and mutton. Due largely to Government action, the price of wool has recovered substantially, and lamb and mutton prices now give a reasonable return to the producers
Against this background, all that is needed for a recovery of the towns in wool growing areas hi particular is a return to normal seasonal conditions plus adequate long term finance. This latter requirement will be dealt with as a result of the undertaking given in the Government’s recent Budget. What is needed now in country towns and districts is some understanding and appreciation of the value of the production that comes from these areas and which will continue in the future to contribute in a very substantial way to Australia’s general prosperity. Australians resent seeing anyone kicked when they are down, and in effect that is what this article does to our country towns. I do not think that honourable members could imagine anything more depressing for residents of country towns than to read in the article the following words;
Cruel as it may seem, I favour abandoning the outback pastoral centres to their fate, at least for the next 20 years.
I think that that is a very grave disservice to those people who have managed to keep those towns which service the great pastoral industry going. I am not the only one who takes issue on the need to maintain these towns. The statement in the ‘SundayMail’ of last Sunday comes at a time when these towns need encouragement and assistance more than they needed it at any other time.
We find this sort of discouragement in other areas too. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), when visiting Dirranbandi, a western town in my electorate, in March gave residents of that town and consequently similar towns no reason to expect that a Labor government had any answer to their problems. The people there were bitterly disappointed because he had nothing to offer and because he showed a lamentable lack of understanding of the difficulties confronting them and the wool industry on which such towns are based. At Dirranbandi he said:
There is no short term or no certain approach to the future of wool. There are not enough markets to take all Australian wool. Most advanced countries are now finding synthetics most adaptable to their needs.
That statement was made in March. It indicates how wide of the mark he was and how close to the mark the Government’s policy was, with the Australian Wool Commission buying in the wool and stabilising the industry. I believe that that statement is not out of character for the Leader of the Opposition. It is not out of line with his general thinking. He showed the same lack of sympathy and lack of understanding of country people as long ago as August 1965 when, in a newspaper article headed ‘Concentrate on Better Cities’, he stated:
Too much attention is being paid to the wishes and needs of rural areas, and too little to the needs of the cities.
Cities and civilisation go hand in hand. By derivation civilised men are those who live in the cities. Pagans are those who live in the country.
That was what the Leader of the Opposition said. It is obvious that people in country towns and rural districts can expect no sympathy from a Labor government.
If people like Mr Marsden, who wrote the article in the ‘Sunday-Mail’, want to abandon country towns, they have a narrow, biased and uninformed attitude to the people who live in these towns and the districts surrounding them. That statement is not just my opinion. I am very pleased to be able to quote from another metropolitan newspaper. In an editorial on the same subject the Sydney ‘Sun’ on 17th August said:
This is a nation that owes its existence to what its rural industries earned overseas.
Industries still vital to Australia.
The farmers haven’t had much of a break. Not even with the weather.
They don’t want charity. Just understanding and the time to pay.
It is not the complete quotation, but the complete quotation would be just as favourable to that point of view. The reason why I speak tonight is to defend these country towns and the people who live in them and the people who live in the districts surrounding them. They have had a gruelling time. They have endeavoured to maintain this section of Australian production. They have not had all the advantages that people living in cities and provincial towns have had. I believe that they have now reached the stage where they could be on the way back. What they need is a run of reasonable seasonal conditions and adequate long term finance.
Mr Marsden, many university academics and other people should recognise the debt that they owe to residents of country towns and rural areas, as was so fairly and effectively acknowledged in the editorial in the Sydney ‘Sun’ of 17th August. If Australians are not prepared to utilise the great national advantages of the Australian inland, despite the present difficulties, then they are not worthy successors of the people who pioneered this great country and the outback areas of it. I am firmly convinced that western Queensland generally will recover from the difficult conditions that have been suffered over recent years and that in the next few years we will once again see prosperous western towns and districts playing their full part in the progress and development of Australia.
I refute completely the prophecy of gloom of Mr Marsden. I do so because I believe that the drift in population that has occurred has come about as a result of the unusual, exceptional conditions 1 have mentioned. When these conditions are corrected, as they have been corrected as far as the price of wool, mutton and lamb is concerned, we will see a return, with a reasonable, average seasonal condition in those areas. There are lots of interjections. As an indication of how wise the members of the Opposition are, I point out that one of them asked by way of interjection why the Country Party cannot see about producing rain. That gives an idea of how wise the people on the other side of the chamber are. However, the nonsense that they talk now is quite usual.
– Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to point out that the interjection came from the Liberal Party, not from this side of the House.
– That is not a point of order.
Mr- CORBETT- I disagree with the honourable member for Wilmot. I heard that interjection come from my right. The person who made it is now acknowledging that fact by nodding. So there was no mistake as far as I am concerned. My time is nearly up. AH I want to say in conclusion is that I trust the ‘Sunday Mail’, which has given large headlines to the rubbishing of towns in Queensland, will give equal prominence to the defence of these towns that I have put up tonight.
– Yesterday morning, responding I am sure to the general and heartfelt sentiment of the Australian people, this House adopted a resolution on the incidents at the Munich Olympic Games. It was in the following terms:
That this House expresses its horror and shock at the violence which was perpetrated upon competitors and officials at Munich and which threatened to destroy the spirit of the 1972 Olympic Games. The House extends its deepest sympathies to the families and relatives of the deceased, and calls upon all countries which participated in the Games to preserve this unique institution from attacks on its competitors and iti ideals.
The solemnity of the events to which the motion referred and the goodwill which prompted its presentation to the Parliament made it inappropriate yesterday to question its terms. I intend to do so now.
The motion, as can be seen, involved 3 propositions: Firstly, horror at the violence; secondly, sympathy to the relatives; thirdly, a call for the protection of future competitors and of the Olympic ideals. Each of these propositions is unarguable, but the question I am left with is this: Where are the fourth and fifth propositions? That is, where are the logical extensions to the 3 propositions expressed? Is it really enough to deplore violence without identifying and condemning its source? Is it enough to urge the avoidance of such acts without suggesting how that might be achieved?
How is it that, in reference to a tragedy in which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Arab terrorists at the Olympic Games in Munich, we could construct a motion which mentions ‘Munich* and ‘Olympic Games’ but neither Israeli’ nor ‘Arab’. Can we really believe that such excessive sensitivity is helpful, that impartiality conquers all, that the best contribution we can make to resolving the Middle East crisis is to shut not one but both eyes to it? I would have thought the opposite. I would have thought that the Munich terror could not be understood except in reference to the Middle East conflict and to the factors, especially terrorism, which now go to complicate, extend and prolong it.
Israel came into existence in 1948 by decision and with the acceptance of the United Nations. In a sense it was created by the United Nations. But it has never been protected by the United Nations and had its survival depended on that body it would not have survived at all. That was left to Israel’s own resolve and sacrifice, a fact ignored by those many people, of undoubted good intention, who counsel Israeli restraint to whatever provocation and its reliance on international protection. From Israel’s point of view, theirs is r counsel of destruction. The State was not more than 24 hours old before that lesson was learnt. On the very first day of its existence Israel was invaded by the armies of 6 Arab states and - while the United Nations stood by paralysed - 7,000 of its citizens died in its defence. From that day to this not a month and scarcely a single week has passed without further Israeli losses. Sometimes it was outright war, as in 1948, 1956 and 1967. For most of the rest it has been clandestine terror; on the borders, in the buses and airlines, in homes, hospitals, synagogues and schools - and now at the Munich Olympics.
In some ways the Munich murders were just another chapter in the story of the past 24 years, but in another way they were special and specially terrible. Here, horror was piled upon horror. The victims were innocent civilians. They were murdered when the Middle East, if not at peace, was at least in a state of cease fire. They were murdered on neutral soil. They were murdered while under the protection of a flag which, from time immemorial, has been a flag of truce. They were helpless, bound hand and foot and gagged, and they were murdered. And we are too sensitive to say who did it!
We have expressed our sympathy to the families of the victims, as decent men should. But if our words are not to be hollow we must spare a thought for the potential victims as well, those inevitable victims of the future if this barbarism is permitted to continue. We seem to accept too readily that Arab terrorism is somehow too elusive and intangible to combat and overcome. That is simply not true and the fact that it is untrue has been proved by the Kingdom of Jordan, an Arab State itself. Jordan crushed and dispersed its terrorists and if Syria and Lebanon would do the same, not only would the problem of terror be virtually overcome but also the prospects of a Middle East settlement would be immeasurably improved.
This is the point at which international pressure must be applied and Australia’s influence should be exerted in the same direction. Those who are genuine in their concern at the Munich murders, those who are concerned, as I am, at the subsequent innocent deaths in the retaliatory raids on guerrilla bases, must also work towards this end or remain piously impotent. This, I believe, was the point of the United States veto in the Security Council this week, and it was right. It has to be more than coincidence that Jordan, the only State to have rejected the terrorists, is now generally seen as closest to a peace agreement with Israel.
I make only one further comment. We should not allow to go unchallenged those comments by Arab spokesman, in Australia as elsewhere, that the terrorists are a legitimate nationalist movement deserving sympathy and support rather than censure. The terrorist programme itself refutes this because, unlike even the Arab States themselves, the terrorists do not demand an Israeli return to the 1967 borders or indeed to any other borders. On the contrary, they seek nothing less than the entire dissolution of Israel and its replacement with an Arab dominated State from which the great majority of Jewish Israelis would be expelled. To accept such a programme as legitimate is to invite international anarchy. Indeed, the very irrationality of the aim goes far to explain the irrationality and immorality of the methods adopted in its pursuit.
There are many problems in the Middle East but none is insoluble, including and especially the great human problem of the Arab refugees. Of course, most of the refugees will never be able to return to Israel any more than the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who fled from the Arab nations could realistically return to their former homes. But the refugees can and must be settled and rehabilitated and, indeed, this is the only long term and permanent solution to Arab terrorism as well as the overall Middle East crisis. The suppression of terror, however, must come first. Without that, tension and suspicion will remain at levels which are incompatible with real negotiation. Last Sunday night a Munich Memorial Rally was held in Perth. At short notice, without formal invitations and in atrocious weather conditions about 2,000 persons attended, of all faiths and from every walk of life. The meeting adopted a resolution which I believe I should bring to the attention of the House. It was in the following terms:
This meeting of citizens of Western Australia expresses its sorrow and abhorrence at the brutal murder, by Arab terrorists, of11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games.
Such senseless barbarism is a crime against humanity and a blow to that striving for world peace which the Olympic ideal represents.
Australia should not only condemn the terrorists involved but also those nations which, by harbouring, maintaining and supporting them, condone and indeed participate in their crimes.
Recognising that international efforts to impose a Middle East solution must fail and that efforts to impose a solution by terror must not be allowed to succeed, we urge direct negotiations between those Middle East nations which are now in conflict.
Australia must make ever effort to encourage such negotiations in the hope that the tragedy and brutality of the Munich Olympics will never be permitted to recur.
Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.50 p.m.
The following answers to questions upo n notice were circulated:
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
By what amount and percentage will fees payable in colleges of advanced education in 1972 exceed the fees payable in 1971.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
At the following colleges of advanced education the teaching fees payable for full-time ‘diplomatype’ courses increased from 1971 to 1972 as shown:
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Survey of Educational Needs (Question No. 5847)
asked the Minister for
Education and Science, upon notice:
When was he advised that New South Wales and Victoria intended to publish their sections of the Nation-Wide Survey of Educational Needs completed in May 1970 (Hansard, 5th October 1971, page 1861; 30th November 1971, page 3877; 22nd February 1972, page 98 and 27th April 1972, page 2066).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
In August 1971 my Department was advised that both the States mentioned intended to release their versions of the Survey. The Victorian Survey was released on 17th May 1972. The New South Wales survey has not yet been released.
asked the Minister for Edu cation and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Colleges of Advanced Education
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
Will he bring up to date and consolidate the information which his predecessor and he have given on Sth May 1970 (Hansard, page 1641) and 20th August 1971 (Hansard, page 487) on the revenue, including and excluding net revenue of business enterprises, received by (a) the Commonwealth, (b) each State, (c) semi-government authorities in each State, (d) local governments in each State and (e) each mainland Territory.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Commonwealth Statitician advises that the details of the current receipts of all Commonwealth authorities (including the mainland Territories) sought by the honourable member in parts 1 (a) and (e) of his question are given for the years 1967-68 to 1971-72 in Table 1 of the Budget paper ‘Public Authority Finance: Commonwealth Authorities, 1971-72’, a copy of which has already been supplied to him. Details of the current receipts of Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory authorities are also given in Tables 22 and 23 of that publication. For details of the estimated current receipts of all
Commonwealth authorities in 1972-73 the honourable member is referred to Table 8 of the Supplement to the Treasury Information Bull.-tin National Accounting Estimates of Public Authority Receipts and Expenditure’, which was also issued as a Budget paper.
The Statistician further advises that information sought by the honourable member in parts 1 (b),
and (d) of his question will be included in a new publication of the Bureau of Census and Statistics entitled ‘Public Authority Finance: State and Local Authorities, 1971-72’ (Ref. No. 5.41) which will provide figures for the years 1967-68 to 1971-72. This publication is to be released early in September and I have asked the Commonwealth Statistician to forward a copy to the honourable member. However the honourable member is asked to note that this publication will not include the separate details he requested for Semi-governmental authorities’, nor are such figures otherwise available. Owing to difficulties in arriving at an acceptable definition for general statistical purposes of what constitutes a ‘Semigovernmental authority’, the Statistician has discontinued compilation of series which purport to relate to this class of organisations. (See my answer to question no. 5546, Hansard, 31st May 1972, page 3431). The transactions of ‘Semigovernmental authorities’ in each State have therefore been consolidated with the transactions of the ‘State government’ in each State in order to provide details of the transactions of all ‘State authorities’ in each State. The tables in the above bulletin which are relevant to parts 1 (b), (c) and
of the question are as follows:
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
In respect of income tax, how many taxpayers were domiciled in each of the Stales and the Northern Territory as at 30th June 1971.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The latest available income tax statistics of numbers of returns for the 1970-71 income year lodged by taxable and non-taxable individuals are as follows:
Separate information on numbers of income tax returns lodged in the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory offices is not available.
The above statistics relate only to income tax returns lodgedup to 28th July 1972 in respect of individual taxpayers in offices in the States and Territories. Although the State or Territory in which returns are lodged would in practice normally be the State or Territory of residence of the taxpayers concerned, the above figures would include retains of some taxpayers who were not domiciled in the relevant State or Territory at 30th June 1971.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Details of the legislation were outlined in my second reading speech on the Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 4) 1972.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
Will the Government give consideration to an amendment to the taxation law to define (he term dependant’ to mean any resident person who is solely or principally dependent on the taxpayer for maintenance and support.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The question of extending the range of persons regarded as dependants, for whose maintenance a taxpayer may be allowed an income tax deduction, was considered along with many other proposals during the preparation of the recent Budget. The Government decided that reductions in taxation should be effected mainly by restructuring the income tax scale and increasing the value of the concessional deductions for the present range of dependants and by way of the other concessions announced in the Budget Speech.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable members question is as follows:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:
What decision has Cabinet reached on making records of broadcasts and telecasts available to persons who claim to have been defamed (Hansard, 2nd March 1972, page 507 and 10th May 1972, page 2286).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The position remains the same as indicated in my reply to a question without notice by Mr Jess in the House of Representatives on 10th May 1972, Hansard page 2286.
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
What per capita payments are made by each State Government and by the Commonwealth in each mainland Territory to pupils in (a) government and (b) non-government schools to meet the cost of(i) text books and equipment, (ii) fees, (iii) living away from home and (iv) travel.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows; 1 refer me honourable member to a booklet published by my Department in 1971 called ‘Government Giants, Allowances and Subsidies for Primary and Secondary Schools and their Pupils’. The booklet gives the information available in November 1971 for all States, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
The New South Wales Government has foreshadowed an increase in per capita grants to non-government schools from July 1972.
For the latest information on grants in South Australia, I refer the honourable member to the report of the committee appointed to make recommendations to the Minister of Education in South Australia on the distribution of additional grants of $400,000 in 1972 to independent schools with primary grades and to the further report of that committee on the distribution of an additional grant of $300,000 in 1972 to those independent schools with secondary grades.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:
Which annual volumes of Commonwealth Acts have been reprinted and which Acts have been reprinted with amendments incorporated since the statement by a former Attorney-General on 25th February 1971. (Hansard, page 643).
– The AttorneyGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
No annual volumes of Acts have been reprinted since the statement was made on 25th February 1971. The amount necessary to reprint the annual volumes that are out of print or in short supply has been included in the Budget estimates for 1972-73. Since the statement was made, the following Acts have been reprinted incorporating all amendments to the date of reprinting:
Aged Persons Homes Act 1954-1969.
Air Navigation (Charges) Act 1952-1970.
Aliens Act 1947-1966.
Audit Act 1901-1969.
Australian Capital Territory Electricity Supply Act 1962-1966.
Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Act 1956- 1969.
Bankruptcy Act 1966-1970.
Bills of Exchange Act 1901-1971.
Bounties Procedure Act 1907-1966.
Broadcasting and Television Act 1942-1969.
Citizenship Act 1948-1969.
Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act 1905- 1966.
Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918-1966.
Commonwealth Railways Act 1917-1968.
Control of Naval Waters Act 1918-1966.
Crimes Act 1914-1966.
Customs Act 1901-1968.
Defence Act 1903-1970.
Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952- 1966.
Diesel Fuel Taxation (Administration) Act 1957- 1966.
Dried Fruits Export Charges Act 1924-1970.
Dried Fruits Export Control Act 1924-1966.
Estate Duty Act 1914-1966.
Estate Duty Assessment Act 1914-1970.
Gift Duty Assessment Act 1941-1967.
Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-197 1.
Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Act 1911-1950.
Life Insurance Act 1945-1965.
Marriage Act 1961-1966.
Migration Act 1958-1966.
Oodnadatta to Alice Springs Railway Act 1926-1950.
Parliamentary Papers Act 1908-1963.
Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Act 1946-1960.
Patents Act 1952-1969.
Pollution of the Sea by Oil Act 1960-1965.
Public Service Arbitration Act 1920-1969.
Repatriation Act 1920-1970.
Reserve Bank Act 1959-1966.
Science and Industry Research Act 1949-1968.
Seamen’s Compensation Act 1911-1970.
Services Trust Funds Act 1947-1950.
Statute Law Revision (Decimal Currency) Act 1966-1970. Stevedoring Industry Charge Act 1947-1971.
Trade Marks Act 1955-1966.
Trading with the Enemy Act 1939-1966.
Wheat Industry Stabilisation Act 1968-1970.
Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905-1967.
World Health Organisation Act 1947-1963.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:
– The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
Natural Gas (Question No. 6159)
asked the Minister for
National Development, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
(a) and (b) The Commonwealth agreed to provide financial assistance for science laboratories and associated storage/preparation areas as follows at the schools concerned.
Senior Catholic High School, Wagga- 2 laboratories each 32.66 ft x 32.33 ft and a double storage/preparation area 19.66 ft x 24 ft.
Somerville House, Brisbane - 3 laboratories each 35.5 ft x 27.75 ft and 3 storage/preparation areas, each 11.5 ft x 26.75 ft.
Wagga .. 58,000 for Somerville House, Brisbane . . 87,520
Senior Catholic High School, Wagga:
Department of Education and Science examines this information, taking into account all the factors which might influence the cost of construction. Such factors would include the distance from the nearest major source of building materials, the availability and cost of labour, the nature of the site and soil, the location of the facilities in relation to other school buildings, whether the area is subject to flooding and whether building is elevated and the factors determining elevation if it is elevated. A recommendation is then made to the Minister on what is the reasonable cost of the facilities provided. The Minister determines the reasonable cost of the individual projects and this is the amount which the Commonwealth pays to the school for the facilities provided.
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
What number and percentage of pupils at (a) Government, (b) Catholic and (c) other private schools in (i) each State and Territory and(ii) the Commonwealth (A) were eligible for Commonwealth secondary scholarships (B) sat for the scholarship examination and (C) were awarded scholarships in 1972.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Alpha Motel - Caravan Park, Aspley.
Carina Caravan Park, Carina.
Shire Caravan Park, Innisfail.
Shire Caravan Park, Miles.
Caravan Park, Lightning Ridge.
Caravan Park, Tamworth.
McLeans Beach, Deniliquin.
Noewil Park, Albury.
Ball Park, Corowa.
Gundagai Combined Caravan Park, Swimming Pool, Camp Area.
Tumut Combined Caravan Park, Swimming Pool, Camp Area.
Hume Weir Combined Caravan Park, Swimming Pool, Camp area.
Bombah Point Combined Caravan Park, Swimming Pool, Camp Area.
Koombana Park, Bunbury.
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
International Conferences in Australia:
Support by Commonwealth Government (Question No. 5896)
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
Will he bring up to date the answer which his predecessor gave on 16th February 1971 (Hansard, page 69) on international conferences held in Australia which have received support from the Commonwealth.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
International Conferences held in Australia between 1st July 1970 and 30th June 1972 which have received support from the Commonwealth Government are listed in the table hereunder. The list has been compiled from information provided by the relevant Ministers.
As previously, the table includes conferences which might broadly be described as ‘intergovernmental’ and ‘non-governmental’ (i.e. sponsored by private organisations). The inter-governmental conferences, which for the purposes of this answer include conferences of an official nature such as those associated with United Nations bodies and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, are marked by an asterisk. Conferences and working groups relating to inter-Service co-operation - e.g. pursuant to the American, British, Canadian and Australian Armies Standardisation Agreement - have not been included. For these, the Departments concerned have continuing secretariats as part of their normal functions.
The table includes the cost of support by the Commonwealth. With regard to non-governmental conferences, where support in addition to a financial contribution has been provided, the form of support is shown. With regard to intergovernmental conferences the host facilities appropriate to the conference have been provided. These facilities vary from conference to conference and may include such items as conference accommodation, departmental administrative services, including secretarial services, transport and entertainment.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 September 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1972/19720913_reps_27_hor80/>.