27th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took the chair at 1 1 a.m., and read prayers.
– Petitions have been lodged for presentation as follows and copies will be referred to the appropriate Ministers:
Advertising in Telephone Directories
The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of citizens of the Commonwealth respectfully showeth:
That we, the undersigned, protest against the action of the Commonwealth Government in letting the contract for the advertising rights for the Victorian Pink Pages Telephone Directories to an American Company, General Telephone & Electronics Corp. U.S.A., trading in Australia as Directories (Aust.) Pty Ltd.
That this will mean that the American Company now controls the Telephone Directory Advertising in all but one State of the Commonwealth.
We respectfully request that this contract be revokedin the national interest, and your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Fairbairn, Dr Forbes, Mr MacKellar and Mr Staley.
Tothe Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliamentassembled. 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 Peacock, Mr Howson, Mr King and Mr Reid.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That the recent salary offer to the Manipulative Group (typists, shorthand/typists and machinists) by the Public Service Board fails to recognise the work value of the activities carried out by this group.
That the promotion structure is far too limited and unrealistic. There is no recognition for experience nor for the initiative and responsibility that is required in many of these positions. There is no recognition of the clerical tasks which the Position Classification Standards Manual specifies as being basic duties.
That consequently members of the Manipulative Group are considered second-rate citizens by the other Public Service groups, which is surely contrary to the fundamental principles of Democracy which Australians believe in.
That many competent secretaries are forced to leave this structure and become clerks or clerical assistants, as these women have to pay the same amount of money for goods as other people.
That it is becoming increasingly necessary to classify secretaries as clerical assistants or clerks in order to get competent staff.
That many school leavers, especially in Canberra, are unwilling to spend time and money to train for a profession as a secretary or keyboard operator when they can get easier and more highly paid positions with only the qualifications they have upon leaving school.
That there is insufficient recognition of the fact that while a typist or machinist can do clerical work, a clerk cannot perform any of the Manipulative Group’s jobs without months of special training.
That in the sophisticated business world of today secretaries need to be highly trained, responsible and educated and yet the Public Service fails to recognise this.
That there are an increasing number of Graduates interested in secretarial work but at present there is no scope for them within the Public Service and therefore they are forced to seek employment in industry although their basic degree may be more oriented towards the Public Service.
That while the Public Service offers such poor remuneration for highly skilled work and no promotion opportunities there is naturally going to be a high turnover of staff within this group.
Your petitioners therefore 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 Mr Clyde Cameron.
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 showeth:
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 has 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 short-sighted 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 residents of the Division of the Australian Capital Territory respectfully showeth:
That the National Capital Development Commission have advised us of their intention to dev elop the entire western side of Melrose Drive with flats and town houses.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the aforesaid strip of land on the whole western side of Melrose Drive be reserved for development as parkland. Your petitioners are concerned that such a development will place an excessive strain on the schools of the area, and will result in a diminution of theland available for recreational purposes, and will create traffic hazards. 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 the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
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.
– Does the Postmaster-
General recall that in answer to a question I asked on 22nd August the Prime Minister admitted that during a television interview on Channel 7, when discussing foreign takeovers, he stated ‘I do not like these takeovers’ and ‘laws may soon be introduced to curb foreign takeovers’? The Prime Minister then suggested that my question should be directed to the PostmasterGeneral. I now ask the PostmasterGeneral: How does he reconcile the statements of the Prime Minister with the action of his Department in taking the Pink Pages advertising contract away from a wholly owned Australian company and giving it to an American company - an act which will cause much hardship and unemployment to many Australian workers?
– A company by the name of Directories (Aust.) Pty Ltd was operating in Australia in relation to Pink Pages advertising. Some 6 or 7 years ago that company was taken over by an American company. When tenders were let recently for Pink Pages advertising on the normal basis of calling of tenders, the tenders received from Directories (Aust.) Pty Ltd were more favourable than those of Edward H. O’Brien Pty Ltd for every State of the Commonwealth. It was in the best interests of the Post Office for the Directories (Aust.) Pty Ltd tenders to be accepted. The Post Office and I believed that it was desirable to have in Australia at least 2 companies capable of organising the selling of advertising in the Pink Pages. Notwithstanding that the tender from Directories was of advantage to us compared with the tender from O’Brien in the case of New South Wales, we gave the contract in New South Wales to O’Brien. Therefore, we made a sacrifice in terms of our interest so that we could have 2 firms associated with this operation. The Pink Pages for New South Wales represented more than 40 per cent of the total. We believe that what we did was justified in that the O’Brien organisation received that area of the advertising and Directories, which presented better tenders, received a little less than 60 per cent of advertising in the other States.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether he can say what would be the effect on Australia of an immigration policy confined solely to sponsorship by Australian residents of relatives and friends, without the exercise of discrimination.
– The obvious way to describe this is that it would be disastrous to the prosperity and development of this country. Anyone who made that statement obviously could not have understood the implications of what he said. A very large percentage of the migrants who come here are nominated by the Commonwealth or the States. These are the people who make a great contribution to our development programmes. Such a policy would obviously mean that the big programmes such as the development of the north-west and other similar kinds of activities would be very severely slowed down. About 78,000 of the 98,000 tradesmen who come here would be prevented from coming. Without any doubt it would mean that there would be a very severe curtailment of migration from the United Kingdom, North America and South America and a big reduction in migration from the northern European countries and the southern European countries. Therefore it can be seen very clearly that this policy would affect our development programmes.
I believe that a reduction in the migration programme would very seriously impair the development of this country if it were done under all circumstances. Circumstances change. As we moved towards overfull employment we would want migrants to come who would be able to help us. We have already started an in depth survey of population, including immigration and emigration, rates of births and deaths and similar matters. For any person to be making a definitive statement until this population survey is completed is, I believe, acting in a foolhardy way. The consequences of the statement would be inimical to the development of this country.
– Last week the Prime Minister took great pains to refute the allegation that the legislation on foreign takeovers would not be introduced this session, even to the extent of saying that he himself had put the finishing touches on it with the technical experts and hoped to bring in the Bill this week. I ask the right honourable gentleman whether the foreign takeovers legislation will be brought in and, if not, what sanctions will there be against such takeovers.
– I did make the statement mentioned by the honourable gentleman and I made a correction about it as soon as I had the opportunity to do so amongst the media that had published it. The position can be stated very clearly and accurately in this way. I have had 4 measures under consideration relating to somewhat similar subjects together with the urban and rural-
– The urban and regional development authority. The measures that I have been looking at are these. First of all the measure relating to restrictive practices; the second relating to monopolies, both domestic and international; and the third one relating to foreign takeovers, which was mentioned in the statement I made in the House.
– And the fourth one?
– I have already mentioned the fourth one, with a little bit of help from the Leader of the Opposition. The first 2 measures that I have mentioned will be placed on the table of the Senate today. They will not be passed into law because we believe that people should be given the opportunity to study them and to make recommendations to the Government should they think that desirable. The very important legislation in relation to urban and regional development has in fact been approved by me. I had the final draft approved on Wednesday and I will be introducing that legislation into the House. It was this Bill to which I should have referred.
As to the third piece of legislation, which relates to foreign takeovers, I have already agreed to the terms of reference for and the organisation of the Government authority which is to vet and control, as far as practicable, foreign takeovers. It is already working and I believe it has a considerable amount of authority and can work over a pretty wide area. I did receive advice that it would be difficult to introduce a permanent measure covering the whole gamut or range of takeovers. It was because of the advice given to me late on Thursday or Friday evening that I decided that I would make a statement. Yesterday I had further discussions with my colleague the Attorney-General who has assured me - and his advice is the same as my own - that not only would it be wise but he believes there is a reasonable prospect that we will be able to introduce a measure supplementary to the administrative arrangements that are made. I have given instructions that the Parliamentary Counsel, with whom I have already discussed the matter, and other senior officers do all in their power to have a Bill prepared. As soon as that Bill is prepared and is looked at by my colleagues and myself I will make a further statement to the House.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Social Services a question. I refer to the Government’s announcement that the principle of make-up pay would be accepted for Commonwealth employees’ compensation purposes. I ask the Minister whether the implementation of this will require new legislation and, if so, when is it proposed to bring that legislation into the House?
– It is true that the Government has accepted the principle of make-up pay for Commonwealth employees’ compensation purposes. As a Bill on this matter is to come into the House in order to implement the proposals for raising the rates which are contained in the Treasurer’s Budget Speech, and since at the same time it is proposed to make some minor improvements and amendments to the Act, advantage will be taken of this to introduce concurrently the somewhat more important proposal, which the Government ‘ has endorsed, of accepting the principle of make-up pay for Commonwealth employee’s compensation. At present the Bill is with Parliamentary Counsel. I cannot give a guarantee about this, but I would hope to have it later this week. At any rate it will, I anticipate, come into the House before we rise, and I would hope that the Opposition would give it a speedy passage.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Was I correct in understanding that the Prime Minister indicated in the television programme ‘Monday Conference’ last night that the purpose of the Australian battalion in Singapore was to reduce the possibility of trouble between Malaysia and Singapore? Does the Prime Minister really believe that Australian soldiers should be used as policemen between 2 Asian countries with whom we have friendly relations? Can the Prime Minister inform the House which part of the Five Power Arrangements authorises Australia to undertake this hapless and objectionable task?
– As is usual, there is a distortion relating to the implications that can be drawn from my statement. I will obtain the exact statement that I made and the honourable gentleman can look at it. If he does read it he will see that everything I said was couched in terms of possibilities. I have discussed this matter with senior representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs this morning and they see do difficulty in it at all.
– Is the Minister for National Development aware of a shortage of motor spirit in southern Queensland? As such a shortage not only could cause disruption in general traffic but also could seriously delay the harvesting of wheat which has just begun, will the Minister take every practicable measure available to him to alleviate the position as soon as possible as these wheat areas are subject to serious storm and hail damage at this time of the year? Finally, can the Minister advise the present position with regard to motor spirit supplies in Queensland, particularly in the Darling Downs and Maranoa areas?
– I appreciate the interest the honourable member is showing in this matter. In fact, I can join with him because the area of Darling Downs, as be knows, is adjacent to his own area of Maranoa. If I had had the opportunity, perhaps I would have asked myself a question on the same matter. The problem of supplies of motor spirit in Queensland is perhaps more difficult than that of other States. This goes back to the strike which took place some time ago when the Ampol refinery had some maintenance problems with its catalytic cracker. The difficulty at that time was that it could have no staff working on maintenance. The situation shortly after the end of the strike was that the cat cracker broke down altogether and it meant that total production from the Ampol refinery, which is one of 2 refineries in Queensland and on which Queensland depends very substantially for supplies, was reduced to about 30 per cent to 40 per cent. Maintenance work was carried on after the breakdown had occurred, and it was brought back into production just a few days ago. The problem was assisted by the diversion of tankers to several ports in Queensland. Of course, this does pose a problem of distribution from those centres to inland areas.
However, there is a co-ordinating committee which consists of representatives of the State Government, the Commonwealth and the industry. This committee is doing everything possible to ensure that supplies are maintained over the whole of the State on the best possible distribution basis. I am very pleased to inform the House that today rail tankers will be commencing to move from Brisbane to the Darling Downs and Maranoa areas and that the situation should be overcome substantially in a matter of days. I suggest, however, that the situation can be assisted by the public not undertaking panic buying. Perhaps I could pay a tribute to the people of Queensland for not buying in a panic fashion during this period of shortage. As a result, the distribution methods which have been adopted have been more successful. I think that, in view of the fact that the 2 refineries are now working at full production, additional tankers have now been diverted to Queensland and rail tankers are now carrying supplies out into the distant areas, this problem should be resolved in the very near future.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer. Does the Government intend to dissolve the Parliament without restoring salary justice to back bench members as recommended last year by Mr Justice Kerr? Is it a fact that the ordinary members of this House receive salaries far less than those of their counterparts in some State parliaments? Has the Government any plan for the adjustment of pension rates that will apply to those of us who are retiring from this Parliament or who will be defeated at the coming election? Is the present scheme specifically designed to encourage members with 12 years’ service to resign before they reach 50 years of age and accept either a lump sum payment or a pension? Finally, what other superannuation funds compel their contributors to continue contributing after they reach 65 years of age?
– I see no prospect of any change in salaries or pension arrangements before the election. I understand that the honourable gentleman, who is retiring from this Parliament, is concerned about the years of service he has put in and about the statutory requirement to deduct from his salary payments to the superannuation fund which we have. There are colleagues on my side of the House and no doubt on the other side who are very much affected. They came in at a very young age and qualified and they will go on paying under the statutory obligation for as long as they are here. That is not a feature common to any other scheme that I am aware of. I think there will be a need to look at the question of pension entitlement. I do not even like the word ‘pension’ because it rather implies that there is a handout whereas every member of this Parliament is making a very considerable contribution out of his salary.
That leads to the first part of the honourable gentleman’s question, which relates to the salary of members. The salary level of members of this House is quite clearly factually and unassailably below those of al least 2 or probably 4 State parliaments. I do not think that salary level can continue long into the future. I regret very much that the proposals that were before the House earlier this year were not put into legislative form. They were not, and there is no point in our looking over our shoulders and arguing about that. It will be a matter for the next Parliament to determine and I would hope that in the new Parliament there will be proper equity in salary payments to members.
– I preface my question, which is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, by referring him to a question I asked on 21st September about the French nuclear tests. Is the Minister aware of recent newspaper reports alleging that the French intend to continue nuclear testing in the future? Will the convention of 15 Pacific nations which he brought together recently at the United Nations be taking any action in relation to this report? Will Australia be acting in concert and individually to make its position quite clear to the French authorities in relation to this report?
-I have seen the report and I think it is probable that the French will be testing in the Pacific next year. We have sought confirmation of the aspect of the report which suggested the French would explode a very large bomb in the Pacific next year. We have not been able to obtain any confirmation of that report. On Tuesday when I was in New York I arranged a meeting, with New Zealand, the Latin American countries, the Asian countries which border the Pacific, the Pacific countries including Fiji, Canada and Japan. There were 15 in all. We had before us a draft resolution to go before the General Assembly. This was again before the leaders of the various missions on 5th October and a small working party of four was appointed to iron out some differences between the delegations as to wording.
We are united in thinking that we should bring this before the General Assembly as soon as possible in another effort to marshal world opinion against the holding of weapons tests in the atmosphere -and particularly in the Pacific region. However, I have noticed reports today that the vice-president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions is offering to conduct Australia’s foreign policy in relation to trade with France. Any action on trade needs to be very carefully considered. The record on sanctions applied against countries, even where most other countries have combined to impose economic sanctions, is a very sorry one in terms of the effects the sanctions have produced. In the case of one country, such as Australia, taking this action alone in a situation where it exports to France twice as much as France exports to it, the action would be counter-productive. Our exports to New Caledonia exceeded $22m last year but exports from that country to Australia were of the order of $500,000. So the result of imposing a ban would be to throw Australians out of work and damage Australian businesses. If necessary the Government will put trade on one side if there is a practical and effective way of bringing pressure to bear, but New Zealand; Australia and these other countries believe that this is not a practical and effective way. The action proposed by the trade union movement is just another attempt by it to usurp the foreign policy function of this Government.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Last sitting day he told me he would have a discussion with his Department about the answers given on his behalf in the Senate to the effect that an acceptance of the offer of DC3 aircraft was received from Cambodia on 8th January last year although the documents now tabled in the Senate indicate no such acceptance until more than a month after that date. The Prime Miister also told me that he would let me know why in February last year he gave an answer that negotiations were commenced for the purchase and delivery of such aircraft a little over a year before whereas the tabled documents show that the negotiations had taken place only during the preceding month or two and that he himself had approved a submission on 1st January last year which indicated that the Cambodians had not even been approached. I again ask why these answers were given on his behalf about the date of the acceptance of the offer and why he himself gave this answer on the date of the negotiations.
– As I am no longer Minister for Foreign Affairs I believe this matter should be left in the hands of the present Minister for Foreign Affairs or, as the problem is being handled in the Senate also, the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Senate. I will ensure that they give answers to the Leader of the Opposition.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. In view of Press reports in this morning’s newspapers of the communique issued in Djakarta by the Minister and the Indonesian Minister for Mines, will the Minister say whether Australian petroleum exploration areas have been greatly affected?
– I raise a point or order. Mr Speaker, I draw your attention to question No. 6214 on the notice paper in my name dealing with the question of the negotiations between the Australian Government and Indonesia in this area.
– It is out of date.
– Never mind about its being out of date. My question should have been answered.
– Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. He has made the point of order. The question placed on the notice paper by the honourable member for Hawker covers many other matters and was placed on the notice paper on 10th October. These negotiations took place only yesterday. I rule that the question is in order.
– The answer to the last part of the question by the honourable member for Mitchell is that the permits have not been substantially affected. I will seek leave - I hope some time later today - to make a statement and to table the agreement which has been arrived at with Indonesia. Therefore I will not expand on the position now beyond saying that I think it is agreed on all hands in Djakarta that the negotiations by the delegation for Australia have been brilliantly conducted. Originally the Indonesians sought a median line between Timor and Australia. Australia was arguing for the depths of the deep trough about 50 miles off Timor. The line which has been arrived at is about 60 miles off Timor. We will have on our side of the boundary waters 200 to 300 miles distant from Australia. This, however, results in a small fraction being taken off the area in which Woodside Burmah has an exploration permit, and perhaps a very small fraction will be taken from Arco Aquitaine. Arrangements have been made, as honourable members will see in the agreement, for protection in respect of those. But I emphasise that the boundary arrived at is at all points beyond the 200 metres depth line and is therefore in relatively deep water. At one point the depth is 600 metres. The areas conceded are not valuable areas, even small as they are. I think some give and take was required. There is an old saying that good fences make good neighbours, and I think that in international affairs good boundaries make good neighbours. The Indonesians are satisfied with the line; we are satisfied with it, and I believe it will hold as an historic boundary between our 2 countries.
– I address my question to the honourable member for St George in his capacity as Chairman of the Indonesian Sub-Committee of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Is it a fact-
-Order! The honourable member for St George may be the Chairman of a sub-committee but he is not in charge of Bill, motion or matter before the House. Therefore the question is out of order.
– Speaking to the point of order, I point out that standing order 143 states:
Questions may be put to a Member, not being a Minister or an Assistant Minister, relating to any bill, motion, or other public matter connected with the business of the House, of which the Member has charge.
I put it to you, Mr Speaker, that the honourable member for St George is in charge of the Indonesian Sub-Committee of the Foreign Affairs Committee, which is a parliamentary body, and he is answerable to this House for the conduct of that Committee. The matter I wish to put to him is relevant to the decisions of that Committee.
– My previous ruling still holds. The honourable member for St George is responsible to the Committee as the Chairman; he is not responsible to this House.
– I will put my question to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Is it a fact that the Foreign Affairs Committee has been considering relations with Indonesia for a long time and that it has carried out discussions with many interested people and experts? Is it a fact that the Minister in no way consulted the Committee before he embarked on recent negotiations with Indonesia or paid the Commtttee the simple courtesy of telling it that he was doing so?
– The Sub-committee dealing with Indonesia is doing a very useful job and my Department is giving it every assistance. However, it is dealing with general relations between Australia and Indonesia and has no authority whatsoever to negotiate an international agreement relating to boundaries, or any authority or interest in this matter.
– I rise to a point of order. That was not the question I asked.
-Order! There is no subtance in the point of order.
– I you wish, Mr Speaker, I am prepared to move dissent from your earlier ruling.
– The honourable member is quite at liberty to do so. The fact is that the answer of the Minister is relevant to the question. The Minister has even stated that he will deal with the matter subsequently. Surely that is relevant to the question.
– For these reasons I did not consult the Sub-committee before going to a foreign country to negotiate an international agreement. Indeed, the Subcommittee was not sufficiently interested to express any desire to see me before I did so or while these negotiations were in progress. I hope that no practice will arise where the responsible Minister cannot negotiate with another country without having first to consult a committee.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for the Navy. I refer to recent and continuing reports of foreign fishing vessels having been apprehended in Northern Territory and Papua New Guinea waters. I ask whether the Minister will take action to strengthen our naval patrols in northern waters. Will he give consideration to setting up a base in the very good harbour at Gove which is close to the centres of some of these operations in the Gulf of Carpentaria? Will the Navy speed up the planning of patrol boats with improved range, conditions and speed in order to provide greater surveillance of our vast northern coastal areas?
– I appreciate the concern of the honourable member with regard to the increasing frequency of incursion by overseas vessels into our territorial waters and our defined fishing limits. This has been an increasing phenomenon. Recently the majority of these vessels - not exclusively - have been Taiwanese. There has been an official statement from Taiwan warning its nationals against this practice. The surveillance of the fishing limits is not fundamentally a designated naval function. Indeed, with regard to the whole coastguard question there is a shared responsibility between a number of government departments, the Department of Shipping and Transport being the primarily responsible Department. I suggest that the question about coastguard activities might, therefore, better be directed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport.
With regard to the capabilities of the Navy to fulfil the functions it is agreed it should carry out at the moment, there has been a readjustment of the operations of our available patrol vessels. A new scheme is coming into operation in the New Year giving greater regional responsibility, for instance, to the Cairns facility and the 3 boats that are based there as well as 3 others in Darwin. At the same time we are beginning to look at the prospects of replacing the existing Attack class vessels when they become obsolescent. This study is now in progress with a view to acquiring just the sort of vessel to which the honourable member alluded.
-I direct my question to the Minister for Education and Science. I refer to the debate on the States grants legislation in which the Minister said the Government would reject the concept of the application of the means test for the purpose of the current grants and the further statement that the Commonwealth had invited New South Wales and other States to make a contribution equivalent to 20 per cent of the national average cost of educating children. How does the Minister reconcile these statements with the announcement last week by the New South Wales Premier that he will offer a mere 10 per cent of the cost by way of secondary allowance and, further, nothing at all if the means as assessed exceed $6,000? What action does the Government contemplate to overcome the needs of children in New South Wales, particularly those in large families, who will be denied any State assistance at all because of the New South Wales means test?
-The honourable member would know that the Victorian and Queensland Governments are marching on all fours with us in this par ticular policy. The Queensland Government already has put its decision fully into effect. The Victorian Government is putting its decision into effect over 2 years - in its Budget just passed and in the next Victorian Budget. New South Wales has made significant increases in per capita payments to students in schools. It has relaxed the means test which has been applied to parents, not to schools, in respect of secondary payments. It is my understanding of the New South Wales position that it, in principle, supports the general approach adopted by the Commonwealth but has to judge how far it can march towards that objective in accordance with its own budgetary situation.
– I address a question to the Postmaster-General. I have been informed, according to a document in my possession, that to impose a time limit on local telephone calls would impose a cost factor on people who necessarily make calls beyond 3 minutes duration. Will the Postmaster-General immediately and urgently extend the same generous treatment to other people, particularly those in business, by removing the intolerable burden of excessive charges by meter imposed on people making trunk calls as these people also necessarily make calls beyond 3 minutes duration? What justification can there be for discriminating so harshly between subscribers whose needs are identical?
– Recently I circulated to members of this House a report presented to me by officers of my Department about uniformity of telephone charges throughout the community and uniformity of trunk charges within the community. Therefore I believe that most honourable members are reasonably well informed in relation to the advice given to me. Approximately 54 per cent of calls which are made do not extend beyond a 3- minute period. It would be excessively expensive for the Post Office to install the equipment necessary to limit local calls to 3 minutes. Equally it would be very expensive in terms of loss of revenue, if we were to extend the period for trunk calls beyond the 3-minute limit. Honourable members will know that substantially throughout
Australia subscriber trunk dialling is available. This means that, dependent upon distance, a local call charge is made for so many seconds of a conversation. If this system is used properly by people within the community it is believed there can be substantial savings. Let me give an illustration. One businessman indicated that he would not use subscriber trunk dialling. The Post Office made a test of his use of trunk calling and was able to show him that had he used subscriber trunk dialling for the same length of time he would have saved $48 in that particular month. If people learn how to use STD properly there can be considerable economies to them. Of course, there are considerable economies to the Post Office. STD saves the Post Office, in operating costs, about $2.5m per annum.
– How soon will the Minister for Foreign Affairs be able to obtain from his Department the information on the date of negotiations with Cambodia for DC3 aircraft and the date of Cambodia’s acceptance of the aircraft which the Prime Minister told me on Thursday week last he would let me have and which he told me today is in the province of the Minister for Foreign Affairs?
-I must say that on my flight back from Djakarta last night I read the file on this matter, which is many inches thick, I would give an immediate answer if only I had retained the particular dates which the Leader of the Opposition requests. I will seek advice from my Department on the particular matters that he has raised. Just how quickly I can give him the information I cannot say, but certainly I will not delay the matter. I shall get the information as soon as practicable.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that there is a growing demand in Australia today for the adoption of our own Australian national anthem? Keeping in mind that there are some very competent and fine composers in this country today, is the Prime Minister prepared to initiate an Australia-wide competition for an Australian national anthem, and to include in the final choice ‘Song of Australia’ and ‘Advance Australia Fair’?
– Perhaps the Prime Minister would prefer ‘Fascination’.
– I ask that that be withdrawn, Mr Speaker.
-Order! I did not hear the interjection.
– What did he say?
-Order! I really cannot understand what the mirth has been about this morning. If honourable members heard some of this over the air they would not be very proud of what they are doing. I did not detect what the honourable member for Oxley said.
– He said ‘Fascination’. The Prime Minister thought he said ‘assassination’.
-I cannot ask the honourable member for Oxley to withdraw that.
– I think that increasingly numbers of Australians are anxious that we should have a distinctively Australian national anthem. Equally, I believe that large numbers of people would like us to retain in some form or another, for national days and other ceremonies associated with the Queen - as Queen of Australia - the present national anthem. I personally think that it would be well worth while for competent technical experts and others to give the most careful attention to this question of a distinctively Australian national anthem. I will have the greatest pleasure in looking into this matter.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. I was misrepresented by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon). In my question to the Prime Minister I asked whether he had indicated in the television programme ‘Monday Conference’ that the purpose of the Australian battalion in Singapore was to reduce the possibility of trouble between Malaysia and
Singapore. The Prime Minister charged me with distorting what he had said last night. Let me quote from the transcript of ‘Monday Conference’ last night. The Prime Minister said:
We would have to be prepared to - a situation might arise. A battalion stationed somewhere in Singapore would give him -
I presume he was talking about Tun Razak - the degree of confidence they would need that the possibility of trouble between Malaysia and Singapore would not emerge.
In forming my question I quoted directly from what the Prime Minister had said.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. In the last silting week the honourable member for Blaxland (Mr Keating) misrepresented me in a speech on the Loan (Qantas Airways Ltd) Bill when he raised the matter of the defence aircraft industry which apparently he thought was relevant. At page 1928 of Hansard, referring to me, he said: . . when he got to the door of the Boeing company in the United States to see the management he with the Secretary of his Department was virtually shown the door
I have never visited or sought to visit Boeing. I have never been overseas with the Secretary of the Department of Supply. The Secretary went overseas long after my visit and he was received very well by Boeing. The honourable member for Blaxland also said in his speech that I went overseas to see whether the Dassault organisation in France and the Boeing organisation in the United States were interested in joining a consortium with Australian companies. I comment that I have never gone overseas for that purpose. Other parts of the honourable member’s speech contain many errors of fact and judgment.
– I wish to make a personal explanation on the same subject.
– Does the honourable member for Blaxland claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. It is common knowledge within the aircraft industry, and I repeated it in the House, that the Minister for Supply (Mr Garland) made an abortive attempt to enter into a consortium to save the Australian aircraft industry and to save face for the Government.
– Order! Can the honourable member explain to the House where he has been personally misrepresented? He may not debate the matter.
– Yes. The Minister went overseas with officers of his Department to see companies overseas with a view to forming a consortium in Australia. If he denies that, he is misleading the House.
– Pursuant to section 33 of the Australian Capital Territory Electricity Supply Act 1962-1966 I present the ninth annual report of the Australian Capital Territory Electricity Authority for the year ended 30th June 1972, together with financial statements and the report of the AuditorGeneral on those statements.
– Pursuant to section 32 of the Homes Savings Grant Act 1964-1971 I present the eighth annual report on the administration and operation of that Act for the year ended 30th June 1972.
– Pursuant to section 23 of the Australian War Memorial Act 1962-1966 I present the annual report of the Board of Trustees of the Australian War Memorial for the year ended 30th June 1972, together with financial statements and the report of the Auditor-General on those statements.
– I wish to make a further personal explanation.
– Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes, I have again been misrepresented by the honourable member for Blaxland (Mr Keating). I understood the honourable member to conclude his personal explanation by saying that if I said I had not been overseas with a view to forming an aircraft consortium, I was misleading the House. I want to make it quite clear that I have not been overseas for that purpose.
MrMcMAHON (Lowe- Prime Minister) - I present the following paper:
Decentralisation - Commonwealth-State Officials’ Committee- Report dated June 1972.
I ask for leave to make a statement.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– As I have indicated in answers to parliamentary questions, the Commonwealth and State governments received the report of the CommonwealthState Officials Committee on Decentralisation in June of this year. I also indicated that the Commonwealth was agreeable to the publication of the report and that I was seeking the agreement of the States to this course. All the States have now indicated their agreement to its public release and the printing of the report has now been completed. In undertaking its task the Committee commissioned a number of studies - in some eases involving outside bodies - which are listed as Attachment A of the report. The printing of the studies in a separate volume is proceeding, but because of their size and for technical reasons it will be some time before the printing process is completed. In the meantime, arrangements have been made for copies of the individual studies to be made available in (he Parliamentary Library.
I should mention that the report is the work of officials of the Commonwealth and the States and it does not therefore necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth and State governments. The Premier of New South Wales has asked me to point out that the views expressed by the New South Wales’ Department of Decentralisation and Development in the supplementary statement to the report should not be taken as necessarily representing the views of the State Government. As far as the Commonwealth is concerned, I said in my ministerial statement of 19th September 1972 on urban and regional development that the
Government endorses the view of the Committee that the only type of decentralisation which offers significant prospects of success is selective decentralisation. I also said that we propose to establish a ministerial council, consisting of the Prime Minister and Premiers, as the principal body for consultation and co-ordination in the fields of urban and regional development. The Premiers have been advised of the Commonwealth’s initiative in this area of urban and regional development. So far as Commonwealth machinery is concerned, we will be introducing interim legislation shortly to establish a statutory organisation to be known as the National Urban and Regional Development Authority. I present the following paper:
Report of the Commonwealth-State Officials Committee on Decentralisation - Ministerial Statement, 10 October 1972.
Motion (by Mr Chipp) proposed:
That the House take note of the papers.
– This report is a result of 7 years of work by the Commonwealth-State Officials’ Committee on Decentralisation. A copy of the report was handed to me only about an hour before I came into the House and therefore I have been able to survey it only briefly. I have spoken on many occasions of the competent people who have examined this report in detail. I have been advised that it is an incompetent report and that it fails to deal with the really important aspects of the problems of centralisation and the necessity for decentralisation that confront us. The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) has been extremely sensitive about the criticism of the report by the New South Wales Department of Decentralisation and Development. In fact, one has only to examine the remarks of the New South Wales Department of Decentralisation and Development to realise how sensitive the Prime Minister is. A supplementary statement in the Commonwealth-State Officials’ report is headed:
Supplementary statement prepared by New South Wales Department of Decentralisation and Development.
May I say that these men have the complete backing of the honourable J. B. Fuller, the New South Wales Minister for Decentralisation and Development. The report states:
On behalf of New South Wales, the Department of Decentralisation and Development subscribes to the amended Report of the Commonwealth-State Officials’ Committee on Decentralisation, subject to the reservations and qualifications expressed hereunder, which are tendered as an annexure to the report.
It goes on to say:
On behalf of New South Wales a statement dated 25th October 1971 was submitted, dissenting from the terms of the draft of the CommonwealthState report -
And may I just point out to the House that in a speech to this House on 7th March of this year I was able to table that dissent aspect of the New South Wales Department’s report. The report goes on:
The dissenting statement contained a number of observations which are still pertinent to the final draft and which warrant restating as an expression of the State’s views.
I do not know whom we are to believe. Are we to believe the remark the Prime Minister made in his statement that the Premier of New South Wales disassociates himself from the Department of Decentralisation and Development or are we to believe that the Department is expressing the views of the State? Is the Premier of New South Wales disassociating himself from the remarks of the New South Wales Minister for Decentralisation and Development, Mr Fuller? We know already that there are differences between the Department of Decentralisation and the Commonwealth. These are aspects which we have to examine. The report goes on to say:
In effect, while New South Wales subscribes to the final report, it disputes the interpretation of the evidence and disagrees with much of the supporting analysis.
This is the report which was made after officials looked into this matter for 7 years.
– Eight years.
– My Leader interpolates to say that it was 8 years. They examined this matter of decentralisation and regional development for 8 years and yet we now find that there is a difference of opinion between the New South Wales Department of Decentralisation and Development and the remarks of the Prime Minister. After all, the inactivity of the Commonwealth has been notorious. The Prime Minister has to have some face-saving device, so he has joined with Premier Askin who is a great centralist. The report is about decentralisation, but the New South Wales Premier is the greatest centralist of all. He wants to build the grandiose Woolloomooloo scheme, which is another example of over centralisation. He wants to go ahead with the Rocks development in the centre of Sydney, which is another great centralist development. With the co-operation of the Commonwealth Government he. has permitted over-building in the central business district of Sydney, the development of North Sydney and his government proposes to build a third State office block costing $14m in the centre of Sydney. These are examples of the centralisation permitted by the Premier of New South Wales who now agrees with the proposals of the Prime Minister. I wish to quote again from this supplementary statement. It is not called a dissenting report as it was on 25th October 1971. The term has been softened down to a supplementary statement. This report prepared by the New South Wales Department of Decentralisation and Development states under the heading ‘General Observations’: “
For example, the fundamental obscurity about centralisation’ pervades the report.
We know about the centralisation of this Government and this Government has to pay for its policies. If the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony) will support the Labor Party’s proposal in relation to decentralisation, we will join with him and his party. We want to make decentralisation a real thing but one has to examine the record of this Government. It has been a Government of centralisation. It has over-built the central business districts of all our capital cities. It has allowed insurance companies to increase their capital investment in buildings in the centre of cities from $144m in 1961 to almost $l,000m in March 1972. For every $1 invested by insurance companies $4 has been invested by foreign companies. There have been no planning, no controls and no guidelines. The Government has allowed this centralisation in the centre of Sydney, Melbourne and all other capital cities.
Of course, we have to examine the other problems. What concern has this Government shown to try to stop the freeway distributors that are being constructed in Sydney? Commonwealth money is being used to build these freeways and the Commonwealth has a right to say where this money should be spent. Freeway distributors are being built in the inner city areas of Sydney and Melbourne, and this has proved to be the wrong aproach in every major city in the world. Freeway distributors might solve the traffic problem temporarily but in the long term they only aggravate the position. Last night under pressure the Prime Minister said that he is now prepared to look at rapid railway transport in urban areas. The Labor Party has been advocating this for years. The problems of the cities have to be solved by proper planning, and not by overcentralisation. The report goes on to say that if there is a decentralisation policy, there will be a saving of $223m in the next 30 years if the growth of Sydney between 1970 and the year 2000 is slowed by 500,000 people. We have been arguing this for some time and, frankly, Labor Party policy will be based towards achieving that end.
The major enemy of decentralisation has been this Commonwealth Government. Since 1949 the population of this country has increased by 65 per cent. A great deal of this increase has been the result of immigration. In fact, almost 1 per cent of our population increase has been as a result of migrants coming to this country; another 1 per cent comes from national increase. Instead of there being planning to decentralise industry, as was done by the Department of Postwar Reconstruction, so that these migrants and industries would go to the country areas, they went into the cities and have aggravated the growth problems of the cities. This is the result of the Liberal-Country Party Government’s failure to effect a dispersal of industry which is part of Labor’s policy. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) is a fringe dweller of Sydney; he lives in suburbia. He does not live in Double Bay like the Prime Minister. He lives in his electorate and he knows the difficult problems faced by the people who live in suburbia. The Leader of the Opposition and I, who are both fringe dwellers, have advocated that there be an improvement in the quality of living on the fringes of our capital cities. This is why we have talked about building metro towns in Sydney and Melbourne. They should be built on the same basis as the Belconnen and Woden areas, so that there is some quality of living on the fringes of our cities. In this way we can build up and develop growth areas such as Parramatta, Liverpool, Campbelltown and Penrith, not only as commercial centres to balance our transport load but also as cultural centres.
Because at the moment the real crisis exists in Sydney and Melbourne, we must meet the crisis in these areas. As well as improving the quality of life on the fringes of Sydney we want to improve the quality of life on the fringes of Melbourne. The only way that this can be done is by rational and proper planning. Consequently we say that we have to build a corridor of development between Sydney and Melbourne. We will have to make huge investments in order to upgrade our road and rail transport systems and along this corridor we will build new communities. We will begin with the Albury-Wodonga complex. Might I say to the Country Party that I am not unhappy with the proposal put forward by the New South Wales Department of Decentralisation and Development to develop the Orange-Bathurst area as a growth area. In fact, I think it is a progressive move. However, it has a lower priority than the development of the Albury-Wodonga complex. I do not intend to capitalise on the difference of opinion between Mr Fuller of the Department of Decentralisation and Development and the Deputy Prime Minister who, unlike the Prime Minister, wants to some extent to see this decentralisation policy really succeed. Because the Deputy Prime Minister is a member of the Cabinet he has to take a great deal of the blame for the overcentralisation of our capital cities.
In planning the building of our cities for the future we have to bear in mind that we are living in a day and age in which we have to be wise environmentally. We have to make sure that in developing cities such as the Albury-Wodonga complex we have high standards of pollution control. These standards will have to be higher than those which operate in Canberra. Without high standards of pollution control in developing Albury-Wodonga the salinity of the River Murray will increase and people further down the Murray will have to pay for the mistakes made just as they have had to pay for lack of planning over the years. Labor will introduce high standards of pollution control. We will be wise environmetally and will build our cities in balance with nature.
There are 2 major questions about which we will be concerned. Firstly, we will try to bring about efficiency in rail and road transport because we know the great problems involved in Australia’s cost structure because of transport. Secondly, there is the important principle of land costs. The average price of residential land in Sydney is nearly S10,000; in Melbourne it is between $7,000 and $8,000. Industrial and commercial land costs are also spiralling. A Labor government will work on a leasehold land tenure system similar to that which formerly functioned in Canberra on 1 January 1971. I believe that cities must be developed by a statutory authority similar to the National Capital Development Commission.
They are the things which Labor will seek to achieve. We will work in cooperation with the States. We will have the courage at least to sit down and work in co-operation with our colleagues in the States and in local government in order to make decentralisation a real success story. Surely this Government cannot claim after 8 years that this report is a success story. If this Government wants to compare its efforts it should compare them with the first report of the task force on new cities undertaken by the Australian Institute of Urban Studies. That report took only 8 months compared with the Government’s efforts over a period of 8 years. This effort is an example ot the go-slow, negative thinking of this Government. It is about time that we replaced it with a more progressive government that will do something about decentralisation.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Debate (on motion by Mr Giles) adjourned.
– In accordance with the statement I made in the House on setting up the inquiry on frequency modulation broadcasting, I present the following paper:
Frequency Modulation Broadcasting - Australian Broadcasting Control Board - Report dated June 1972.
I seek leave to make a short statement on the report.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order! Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– This report results from an inquiry which was conducted at my direction by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board into the possibility of frequency modulation broadcasting in Australia. The inquiry attracted a great deal of interest, and the Board heard 70 witnesses and considered some ISO written submissions. In addition, the Board itself undertook, through its Technical Services Division, an exhaustive examination of the technical problems involved, which are unique to this country. The result is a comprehensive report which the Government accepts as a blueprint for the introduction of frequency modulation broadcasting in Australia.
Briefly, the Board recommends that frequency modulation broadcasting be introduced in this country in the UHF band - that is, ultra high frequency - where there is sufficient space for the service to be utilised to its full potential. The Board notes that this decision means that a great deal of fundamental planning will have to be done to prepare adequate technical standards, and the Government has asked the Board to put this work, which is estimated to take 3 years, in hand immediately. The Government has accepted in principle the Board’s recommendation that frequency modulation broadcasting should provide a second regional service for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, planned as far as possible to cover the entire population. The introduction of this service will overcome a serious deprivation which has been suffered by country listeners, who have available to them less comprehensive service from the national broadcasting organisation - the Australian Broadcasting Commission - than do city people. This lack has always been of concern to both the Government and the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and I am very pleased to announce that it will now be overcome.
Opportunity will also be taken to provide an FM station, devoted mainly to the broadcast of fine music, to be operated by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in the capital cities. The Board has also recommended, and the Government has agreed in principle, that provision should be made for commercial FM services throughout the country. The Board has put forward proposals designed both to ensure that these services will be economically viable and also to encourage new managements and new ideas. These proposals will require careful consideration. The Board has also recommended the establishment of a new kind of broadcasting stations to be known, it is suggested, aspublic broadcasting stations. These stations, itis proposed would be conducted on a non-profit basis to cater for educational, professional, musical, religious, and other like interests. The Board has proposed that the transmitters for these stations should preferably be operated by the Government, with time apportioned between interested groups by a representative committee of management The Board has not attempted to spell out the method of operating these stations in detail at this stage. The Government accepts the fact that there is a demand in the community for the services of such stations, and will look to the Board to put forward detailed proposals in due course.
As I said, the preliminary technical work to establish an FM service in the UHF Band will take approximately 3 years, and this will start immediately. Contemporaneously with the technical investigations, the Board will develop, in association with my Department and the Australian Broadcasting Commission, coverage plans for the national service, and will also prepare proposals for commercial stations and for the public broadcasting stations. As soon as the technical standards have been promulgated it is hoped that the Government will be able to invite applications for licences for both commercial and public stations, and the first of the necessary public inquiries should be held in 1976. With regard to the national service, it is proposed that it should be developed as the work of converting the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s television stations to colour is completed.
Finally, I should emphasise that the introduction of FM will not be permitted to hinder such further development of the present medium frequency services as may be possible. As I have often stated, the possibilities in this band are very limited, but there is no doubt that the existing AM stations will betheprinciple source of radio service for many years, and they should be developed to the maximum possible. However, frequency modulation broadcasting represents a significant advance in broadcasting techniques and, when it is developed, as it will be, in the UHF Band where sufficient space is available for many stations it will offer a broadcasting service which the Government is confident will serve this country’s needs for- entertainment, information, and education for very many years. I present the following paper:
Frequency Modulation Broadcasting - Ministerial Statement, 10th October 1972
Motion (by Mr Garland) proposed:
That the House take note of the papers.
– I had intended to ask for leave to ask a couple of questions. The Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) has given me a copy of the report on frequency modulation broadcasting but I do not recall the report being presented to the Parliament.
– I presented it at the beginning of my speech.
– I missed that; I am sorry. 1 wanted to know whether the Minister intended to spell out more clearly and specifically the details relating to public broadcasting stations than he has done at this stage because if the report comes back for discussion during this session I think that is information which the country is entitled to have.
– The report now becomes a public document and, therefore, all the information in it is available to every member of the public and, of course, members of this House. If they read it they will have as much information as I have.
– I seek leave to continue my remarks.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Aged Persons Homes Bill 1972.
Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 5) 1971
Income Tax Bill 1972.
Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill (No. 2) 1972.
Export Payments Insurance Corporation Bill 1972.
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, 1 present the reports relating to the following proposed works.
Ordered that the reports be printed.
– On behalf of the Joint Committee on Publications I present the Committee’s report relating to the pink pages advertising contract for the Victorian telephone directories together with extracts of minutes of the proceedings of the Committee. I ask leave of the House to make a short statement in connection with the report.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– In July of this year, the Joint Committee on Publications became aware of a dispute over the award by the Post Office of a new advertising contract for the Victorian pink pages telephone directories. As a result of the new contract let, Edward H. O’Brien Pty Ltd lost the contract for the Victorian directories which it had held since 1924. The new contractor for the Victorian directories is Directories (Australia) Pty Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the General Telephone Directory Company of the United States of America. Newspaper reports at that time indicated that Edward H. O’Brien Pty Ltd, supported by the Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union, disputed the correctness of the Post Office’s decision to award the new contract :o Directories (Australia) Pty Ltd.
The Joint Committee on Publications, having power to initiate its own inquiries within its general terms of reference, resolved to inquire into the circumstances of the granting by the Post Office of the new contract. The Committee received written submissions from the interested parties and held a public hearing in Melbourne on 10th August. The bulk of the criticism levelled against the Post Office appeared to be firstly, that the tender conditions and requirements placed Edward H. O’Brien Pty Ltd and other small Australian tenderers at a disadvantage in competing for the contract against Directories (Australia) Pty Ltd which has large overseas financial backing. Secondly, that the Post Office in assessing the tenders had placed too much emphasis on the levels of minimum guarantees and projected sales, and should have given greater consideration to the percentage bids and proven ability of the tenderers to perform and meet obligations. Thirdly, that it was undesirable for economic and political reasons, to allow this activity to be in the control of overseas commercial interests, and that the Post Office should have given preference to Australian-owned tenderers. Fourthly, that by changing the contractor the Post Office was in some way responsible for the threatened unemployment of the Victorian employees of Edward H. O’Brien Pty Ltd.
The postal unions also put forward the proposition that the Post Office should itself arrange the advertising for the classified telephone directories, that is, that the Post Office should undertake the work of the contract. The Post Office’s view was that this type of function was more properly and satisfactorily performed on its behalf by private enterprise, there being more affinity between the work of selling pink pages advertising and a selling organisation in the private sector than there is between that function and the work of the Post Office in the public sector. The Post Office did not believe that there would be increased revenue and profit to the Post Office if it carried out the operation itself. It was the Post Office’s view that private enterprise, being competitive, would be more likely to achieve the optimum result.
The Committee investigated the criticism made of the Post Office and came to the following conclusions: Firstly, that the decision of the Post Office to award the contract to Directories (Australia) Pty Ltd was in accordance with accepted practice. Directories (Australia) Pty Ltd submitted the best tender in every respect, ft submitted the highest estimate of gross sales, offered the best overall percentage of gross sales as payment to the Commonwealth, offered the highest minimum guaranteed payment to the Commonwealth, and proposed the highest expenditure on sales promotion. Secondly, while smaller firms may be at some disadvantage when tendering for a contract, there is no evidence that in this tender Edward H. O’Brien Pty Ltd was placed at any special or unusual disadvantage by the tender requirements.
Thirdly, on the question of foreign ownership and preference to Australian-owned industry, the Committee makes the observation that the Post Office tender board had not received any Government direction to give preference to Australian-owned tenderers. All resident Australian firms are treated in the same way and compete on exactly the same basis for Government business. Further, there is no evidence to suggest that the contractor’s foreign ownership will be detrimental to the production of the directories. In the opinion of the Committee, however, whether the national interest would be better served if a degree of preference was given to Australianowned industry is a matter to which the Government should give its urgent attention. And finally, the Committee found that the dependence by a contractor on retaining one contract which is subject to periodic competition by public tender is an unfortunate aspect of the whole situation. There is no evidence to suggest, however, that the Post Office can be held responsible in any way for the hardship that may now be caused employees of Edward H. O’Brien Pty Ltd. But it can be envisaged that the same hardship will recur each time the contractor is changed if the contractor has been relying or specialising on the work of the contract.
This is the first inquiry of an ad hoc nature by the Committee on its own initiative, carrying out its task of keeping under review the Commonwealth’s publishing arrangements. The Committee’s role in this inquiry has been purely investigatory; it did not set out to be an arbitrator in the dispute, but rather to investigate the validity of the criticism publicly made of the Post Office. The conclusions reveal that the Committee is satisfied that the arrangements for the pink pages advertising contract in Victoria were properly made by the Post Office in accordance with accepted practice. The Committee has not made any recommendations, but has observed that whether the national interest would be better served if a degree of pref erence was given to Australian-owned industry is a matter to which the Government should give its urgent attention.
On behalf of the Committee, I thank the Australian Post Office and the other interested parties who made submissions to the Committee, and the witnesses who appeared before the Committee. As Chairman, I desire to thank the other members of the Committee for the work they have put into this inquiry, which has shown that the Committee has an important role to play as a watchdog over the Commonwealth’s publishing arrangements. I move:
– The Opposition joins with the-
– It would be more regular if we passed this motion because the Standing Orders do not permit debate on this motion. The honourable member for Hughes, I presume, could then seek leave to make a statement.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I thank the Leader of the House (Mr Chipp) and express the hope that opportunities might be extended to other members of the Committee who would like to say something about this matter. I must confess that a number of them have worked more assiduously that I on the Committee. I join with the Chairman-
-Order! The honourable member has not yet sought leave to make a statement.
– I am sorry. 1 seek leave to make a short statement.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The witnesses from the Australian Post Office provided a wealth of background factual information which assisted the Committee to come to its conclusions. In addition, members of printing firms and trade unions provided additional information and points of view which have also been taken into account. The House should have this question of the takeover of the printing of Australian telephone directories by overseas firms in very clear perspective as - a result of the
Inundation of petitions to this Parliament in recent weeks. I do not know how many petitions have been presented; there could have been dozens. There were hundreds of names of many of them - certainly there were on the one I had the privilege of presenting. Some of the petitions were signed exclusively by people who are engaged in the printing industry and involved in the printing of telephone directories, while others reflect the view of people around Australia who are very concerned with this unarrested trend - that is the best way to describe it - the sellout or abandonment of Australian control of many facets of Australian industry.
In my opinion what the Post Office has said substantially reflects the attitude of the Government. There is no question that if there were a government that set down guidelines aimed at building up the long term interests of Australian industry the departments would faithfully uphold such a point of view but the Post Office has said in effect; ‘We have had no guidelines on this. We have gone on to exercise the options available to us and we have taken our decision on the basis of considering profit and loss factors, and that is about all’. The unhappy position is that 60 per cent of the total advertising business associated with telephone directories in Australia is now in the hands of overseas firms. This adds up to a very large amount of money each year and it involves the employment of many thousands of people. The recognition of the fact that an Australian firm which has engaged in this business for 40 years has now with the approval of this Government lost its contract is probably a milestone in Australian history. The firm has lost the contract to an American concern which for 6 years has been a subsidiary of an American parent company. Now overseas interest - that is, Directories (Aust.) Pty Ltd” - are responsible for the printing and all the other work associated with telephone directories in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.
I rose mainly to make it clear that the conclusions which are provided in the report do not reflect the unanimous view of the Committee by any means. We had regard for the evidence given by all the witnesses. I personally was impressed with the evidence given by Mr J. S. F. Baker, Secretary of the Postal Clerks and Telegraphists Union, who expressed the anxiety of the members of his union about the disposal of contracts in a number of areas of PMG activity, including the developing PABX telephonic area. The Joint Commitee which concerned itself with this matter finally came to a stage where the differences between the members of the Committee showed themselves in no uncertain way. I can demonstrate this by reading 2 recommendations which some members of the Committee sought to make to this Parliament. The first was that the difficulty could be overcome by the Post Office’s undertaking to secure advertisements for the directories itself and that the Committee should recommend that more in depth investigation be undertaken of the Post Office’s capability to undertake all of the work of the contract itself. The Committee divided on that question, the voting being 7 to 4.
I would not want anybody to get the idea that there was unanimous agreement that the Post Office has done the right thing in letting this contract. The 4 who voted for the proposal have the strongest confidence in the capacity of the Post Office to apply itself to any business activity. It already engages in a variety of activities. It has now decided to move into a communication tower on Black Mountain here in Canberra, where it will provide tourist facilities, restaurants and all sorts of matters of this kind. It is interesting to note that the Government is requiring the Post Office to do this for the purpose of capitalising the project. If this is a lucrative activity there is no reason why we should not take whatever steps are available to us to allow the people to benefit by the considerable proceeds that could accrue.
Another proposal was put before the Committee; in fact, I moved it myself. It was to the effect that the Committee is of the opinion that the national interest would be better served if preference were given to Australian industry or if the work were undertaken by the Post Office. Here again the voting was 7 to 4. It is regrettable that such a principle had to be determined on party grounds. One would have thought that there might have been some crossing of the line in regard to a matter as important as h at- - that we should have regard to the national interest and that we should give preference to Australian industry. I would have thought that would be accepted as a cardinal principle regardless of political attitudes but regrettably, as I have said, the decision was taken on party lines.
I believe this makes a mockery of some of the debates we have been having in recent times and the pronouncements of the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) a week or 2 ago about overseas investment in Australia and the guidelines that have been set. This has a relationship to what we are talking about now. We have recently had on the part of the Government a virtual lift of the manifesto laid down by the Opposition as to the manner by which Australia should set out to have regard to the national interest and give preference to Australian industry. We are going to have impact studies made of all the proposals to take over existing industries in Australia and all the rest of it. An outline of the Labor Party’s programme was brought into this House 4 or 5 weeks ago, followed a couple of weeks later by an emulative statement by the Prime Minister. Now we come to the first opportunity when the Government can really give effect to its new-found regard for Australian industry and the need to give preference to Australians. But when a vote is taken in a committee it settles down onto a party basis. I put it to the Parliament that even within the context of the Standing Orders it is possible for any honourable member opposite who feels that the national interest should be served or that preference should be given to Australian industry to get himself off the hook. If the Leader of the House, who is sitting at the table, or the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme), who is walking into the House, has any strong feelings on this matter - if he wants to show his compliance and his agreement with the attitude supposedly expressed of this Government - now is the time for him to do it. Now is the occasion for the Government to say that it is not too late to retrieve the loss of this contract.
Included in the proposals on overseas investment which have been brought down by the Prime Minister are several proposals designed to facilitate the taking back, the buying back or the re-acquiring of interests which have already been lost to interests overseas. Here is the first opportunity to show whether the Government is fair dinkum. There is only a short time left for me to speak and for the Parliament at large. We have reached the stage in this Parliament when we are having dropped from great heights newly discovered principles and attitudes of the Government. One cannot help but feel that the Government has adopted a superficial approach, that it does not really believe in these things. I put it simply to simple people opposite: If you really believe that this principle is worth coverting and pursuing! act right now to retrieve for Australia control over this enormous and rapidly expanding business. It is one of the largest publishing activities conducted in this country and it should be given back to an Australian firm with guidelines to set about it in an efficient way, perhaps a more efficient way than that followed up to date by Edward H. O’Brien Pty Ltd. Alternatively, we could demonstrate our faith in Australia and the Australian Post Office, and in Australian technology and workforce. If necessary, overseas studies could be made so that we would have a counterpart of the American expertise which the Government seems to uphold so enthusiastically.
The Labor Party has a valid interest in this matter. The views it has expressed, which I read out earlier, are completely in keeping with the declared objects of the Labor Party over the last decade and completely in compliance with the manifesto which was brought down in this Parliament some weeks ago on the manner in which we should retain ownership in Australian industry and restore the benefits to the people. I rose to speak mainly to indicate that there is a lot of concern. The report given by the Chairman of the Committee, the honourable member for Ballaarat (Mr Erwin), could well give the impression that members of the Committee are not agitated. Four members of the Committee are agitated about the matter. I hope that their concern about the sell-out of a vital section of the Australian printing industry to an overseas firm is shared by at least one or 2 members on the opposite side of the House.
– I ask for the leave of the House,as a member of the Committee to make a statement on lines similar to those of the speech of the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson). I understand that the procedures of the House demandthat I act in this way. I do not agreewith that procedure but I have no alternative but to seek leave to make a statement on this important matter.
– Is leave granted?
– May I have the indulgence of the House for a minute or so to answer the honourable member’s question? Leave cannot be granted at this stage because the House has an extraordinarily heavy programme today. Honourable members on both sides of the House have prepared speeches. I know that members on both sides wish to speak on this issue. I will give the House an undertaking that time permitting within the next week or two we will resurrect this matter for discussion in the House.
– I move:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honourable member for Sturt making a statement on the report of the Joint Committee on Publications now before the House.
– I second the motion.
– I have moved for the suspension of Standing Orders and I know, Mr Deputy Speaker, that you will make me stick closely to what that actually means in terms of the restrictions imposed upon me.
– Hear, hear!
– The Leader of the House interjects in agreement. Let me say that it is a shocking state of affairs when a member of the Publications Committee has to move the suspension of Standing Orders in order to discuss one aspect of a report which fills 190 foolscap pages. I am forced to act in that way. I have already informed the Leader of the House that other members of the Committee want to participate in this debate, but naturally the Government does not want to debate the matter. How can we accept what the Leader of the House has just said? He gave an assurance and in the same breath qualified it by saying ‘time permitting’. Only the week before last I referred to the limited time available to discuss these important matters, and now I have been forced to move the suspension of Standing Orders to make a statement relevant to a document containing 190 pages.
When the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) was speaking the Chairman of the Publications Committee, the honourable member for Ballaarat (Mr Erwin), suggested by interjection that the honourable member for Hughes had no right to speak on the subject because he did not attend all the meetings of the Committee during the winter recess. I remind the honourable member for Ballaarat that with very little notice he changed the times of those meetings. I am not quarrelling with that but I do think it is unfair of the honourable member for Ballaarat to interject and say that the honourable member for Hughes was not at the Committee meetings as he knows that the honourable member for Hughes serves on a number of parliamentary committees, including the Public Works Committee, a duty which calls him away from the venue of the meetings of the Publications Committee. It is also unfair to suggest that the honourable member has not read the report. The Committee has met since the report was made available.
I also was unable to attend some of the winter recess meetings but we have read the report and all we want to do is have it debated. Some of the allegations made in the report ought to be aired. When Government supporters want to stifle the debate one can only conclude that they do not want those matters aired in this place. There are allegations that bad the Government and the Post Office adopted a more proper and correct line, a profit instead of a deficit would have resulted in 1970-71. In the last two or three weeks a great deal has been said about the fact that the Post Office ran at a loss last year but now has a profit of$60m and an alleged profit of $200m. In those circumstances it should not come as any surprise that a member of the Opposition moves the suspension of Standing Orders in order to have this report properly debated. I deplore that situation, and so would members of the public if they could be made aware of the system that prevails inthis place.
– Tell the public thetruth.
– Thank you for the interjection. The truth is in this document. The true attitude of Government supporters is contained in the report which the honourable member has just delivered to this House. I refer him to page 11 of the report, portion of which the honourable member quoted to the House. The attitude of Government supporters towards foreign control of the Australian Post Office is spelt out in the report.I hope you will forgive me, Mr Deputy Speaker, for transgressing for a moment. Honourable members opposite are completely out of step and out of tune with the statement ofthe Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) on foreign takeovers made in this House, from memory, last Wednesday week. That is clear from the report. If any honourable member opposite wishes to challenge me on that score he has only to read the report.I suggest to the honourable member for Ballaarat that he read in Hansard tomorrow what he has said in the last hour and he will realise that the allegations we are making are truthful. I have already stated that the document contains almost 200 pages. In it are statements by people within the industry which indicate-
– Order! The honourable member is getting onto the subject matter of the report rather than to the matter of the suspension of Standing Orders.
– That may be, but I think you would agree that I have laid a pretty good foundation. Perhaps I have transgressed a little in indicating to any fair minded member of the Parliament that members of the Committee should be allowed to debate the report. Unfortunately some of those members are at present attending another Committee meeting. The procedures of the House should allow for a full debate on the report. Why should it not be so?
– Why don’t you give us a chance to read the report?
– The Postmaster-General, as the Minister responsible for this portfolio, must certainly have had knowledge. He has had deputations to him.
– I have not read the report.
– Look, do not sit there interposing and saying that you have not had deputations from the industry relative to this matter. You know darn well you have.
– I have not.
– Do you mean to tell me. as the responsible Minister, that a report of this nature relating to the Post Office, for which you are ministerially responsible, has been seen by you for the first time this morning?
– I did not say that.
– That is what you are inferring. Do you mean to tell me that you do not know what foreign interests have done about the publication of the pink pages of the telephone directory? Are you going to infer to this House that this is the first you have heard of it? What aload of tripe, and you know it.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
– You do not like it;I can see that.
– Order! The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, there is a motion before you that so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honourable member for Sturt discussing this report. I suggest, with respect, that the honourable member for Sturt is ranging far wider than the terms of that motion and I suggest that you, Mr Deputy Speaker, might bring him back to that motion which he moved.
-Order! The Leader of the House might recall that I pointed out to the honourable member for Sturt that he was debating the subject matter of the report rather than the motion before the House. He also made a statement against the Postmaster-General.
– No, I did not. He made it against himself.
-Order! The honourable member for Sturt will cease interjecting.
– Well, don’t give me that.
-The honourable member for Sturt made a statement to which the Postmaster-General, out of order, replied. However, I felt that to a degree he should have been allowed to reply because of that certain statement. I would suggest to the honourable member for Sturt that he confine his remarks to the subject matter of the motion which he has moved for the suspension of Standing Orders.
– I am sorry that the Leader of the House, the Minister for Customs and Excise-
– Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
– Are you trying to take up the last 2 minutes of my time?
– If the honourable member will keep quiet he will hear what I am trying to say. Mr Deputy Speaker, my point of order is this: It is quite true, as you said, that you drew attention to the fact that the honourable member for Sturt was not debating his motion in accordance with the Standing Orders and my point is that he did not take any notice of you.
-Order! There is no point of order.
– If the honourable member for Mallee claims to be shocked, I will conclude my remarks. I must do so because of the means that have been used to deny me my last few minutes of speaking time. The Leader of the House should allow the debate to proceed and statements to be made if he wants to correct the impression he says that I have wrongfully given about the Postmaster-General. I suggest that the debate proceed so that at least 3 other members of the Opposition can speak. I challenge the Leader of the House to permit that course to be followed.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.
-Order! Does the Postmaster-General claim to have been misrepresented?
– I do. The honourable member for Sturt made mention of the fact that I could not deny that I had received many deputations on the question of the pink pages of the telephone directory, 1 have not received any deputations whatsoever about this particular matter. If he was referring to some letters which I might have received and he had made himself clear in that respect I would have accepted his comment, but in the way he made the statement it cannot be accepted. It was completely incorrect and misrepresented my situation.
Mr FOSTER (Sturt)- If I may, Mr Deputy Speaker, in fairness to the Postmater-General-
-Order! Does the honourable member for Sturt claim to have been misrepresented?
– If that is the name of the game, yes. In view of what the PostmasterGeneral has said, if I used the word ‘deputation’ I should have used the word ‘representations’. I ask the Postmaster-General to tell us how many of those he has had.
– It is essential that Standing Orders be suspended to enable this debate to proceed. It seems to me that while the Leader of tha House (Mr Chipp) may give an undertaking that if it is possible in the near future this debate will be continued it is highly unlikely that this will happen. I say this with the greatest possible, respect to the honourable gentleman. It is clear that the procedures of the House are not adequate to meet the present situation. The Chairman of the Publications Committee used a procedure of the House which prevents any honourable member from discussing his remarks, although my colleague, the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) did receive permission to make a statement. It should have been obvious to the Leader of the House and to those responsible for planning today’s business that a number of other members of the Opposition would want to discuss this matter. That is my first point. My second point is that in consideration of matters of a contentious nature time should be allowed for a proper expression of different points of view from both sides of the House. A motion should have been moved rather than permission being given for a person, in this instance the honourable member for Ballaarat (Mr Erwin), to make a statement.
I assert that it is highly unlikely that this matter will again come on for debate in this House. In the last few years we have had dozens of similar instances. There is only one way in which the. debate can proceed, and that is to allow it to proceed now. I admit the validity of the remark of the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) that honourable members have hardly had time to see the report and that most would not have had time to read it, but there are a number of honourable members who have been involved closely in this report, of which the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) is one, who may want to speak. On the Publications Committee the Opposition is represented by the honourable member for Sturt, the honourable member for Hughes, and the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Keogh). The honourable member for Hughes tells me that he did not know that this matter was to be raised at this particular time. He was not adequately prepared for it, nor was he given adequate notice.
I support the motion of the honourable member for Sturt on the grounds that the parliamentary procedures in this instance are completely inadequate. The procedures are being misused so that the Government’s position can be stated and no effective Opposition point of view can be expressed. The report indicates that members of the Labor Party who were members of the Publications Committee moved various amendments. I believe these should be debated in the House. However this debate is to be restricted. This is an example of various reports which are presented to the Parliament and which pass into limbo or are pigeonholed somewhere. At present it would be completely relevant to debate the activities of the Post Office and the printing of the pink pages of the telephone directories. For instance, it would be relevant to consider the requirements of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in respect of the presentation of opposing points of view on various topics. At present if representatives of the Government say that they will not take part in a debate, as the Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs did in respect of a recent debate on ‘This Day Tonight’, the situation is that an opposing point of view cannot be expressed. The whole approach of the Government on these matters is to restrict debate and to inhibit proper discussion of a matter. The honourable member for Sturt, as a member of the Publications
Committee, should be heard on this matter and either the Standing Orders should be suspended or the Government graciously should give him leave to make a statement.
This sort of thing happens so often that one would think that ultimately even the Government would recant. This morning perhaps almost 20 minutes have elapsed since the honourable member for Sturt rose to speak. The Leader of the House refused him leave to make a statement because there was insufficient time, but the subsequent discussion about the rights of members has occupied more time than would have been available for the honourable member for Sturt to make his speech. This is the totally erratic and nonsensical way in which this House is being manipulated. It prevents this House from being a proper debating forum. The restriction of debating time and the plain bad management of this House are enough to make the angels weep.
Sitting suspended from i to 2.15 p.m.
– The motion before the Chair was moved by the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) a little before lunch. The Government rejects the suggestion that this report by the Joint Committee on Publications should be taken to debate immediately. In the few minutes available to me I should like to cover some of the subject headings without actually debating the matter which falls within those headings. This report was presented to the Parliament this morning. No member of the House, other than members of the Joint Committee on Publications, has had the opportunity of reading that report. The honourable member for Sturt indicated that in addition to the report there were some 190 pages of transcript of evidence. Surely if we are to have a meaningful debate honourable members who are interested should have the opportunity of reading both the report and the transcript of evidence. If that opportunity is not to be available to honourable members - it would not be if the debate were to be proceeded with immediately-
– I rise on a point of order. Perhaps it is more a point of clarification than a point of order. I understand that the matter has not been listed for debate and discussion of the matter in this House would have ended following the statement this morning. As I understand it, no undertaking has been given that the matter will come up for debate. That is why I moved for the suspension of Standing Orders.
– That is what I am talking about.
– If you will have it debated, I will withdraw my motion.
– I did not know that I would get under the skin of the honourable member so early in my contribution to this debate. It seems to me important that honourable members should be informed before they participate in a debate, because we participate in a debate not only for our own purposes but also so that those people who listen to the broadcast and read Hansard will have knowledge of the subject matter. If this debate were to proceed immediately, surely it would be restricted to members of the Committee. Members of the Committee heard the evidence and produced the report for the Parliament. It would be a peculiar type of debate if members of the Committee were the only ones to participate and to try to elucidate some of the issues which are involved. As Postmaster-General I have certain information on this matter and it would be expected that I would like to participate if the matter came before the Parliament for debate.
My understanding is that some of the members of the Commitee were present at all meetings of the Publications Committee; some were present from time to time; and some were not even at the meetings of the Committee other than at the point of preparation of the report. So 1 am not quite sure that all the members of the Committee are, in fact, in a situation where they could contribute to a meaningful debate. But what would we be debating? The matter is related to a tender for Pink Pages advertising. Surely the detail in relation to that tender would be discussed in debate. I believe that it would be impossible for members of the House generally, without reading the transcript, to participate in that section of the debate.
The honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) raised the question of overseas ownership. This is a tremendous subject for debate. Is that to be undertaken in relation to a tender for Pink Pages advertising? In my view the Pink Pages tendering is a narrow issue. But I do not believe that the Opposition would treat it as a narrow issue: lt would treat it as a broad issue to be discussed on a political basis. Of course, if one speaks in terms of overseas ownership in relation to this particular matter there can be no virtue in it unless one also discusses the question of cancellation of a tender which has been let already. Does the Opposition suggest that that is an incorrect proposition for debate? If we are to cancel a contract which has been entered into legally, are we also to discuss the question of damages which might be paid to the persons offended by the cancellation? Surely the Government does not put itself outside the normal considerations of an aggrieved person? I suggest that this also is a matter which needs consideration before we enter into debate on the total subject matter. Very little was said by the honourable member for Hughes this morning about the employees of the company which did not get the contract in Victoria. Is this not to be a matter for debate in the House? 1 believe that the situation of those employees is a matter which we would all want to discuss in the House. I think that there is some information which would be made available and which might, in fact, disturb to some degree members of the Opposition who today are showing such great keenness to debate the issue.
It was suggested that the Post Office should undertake the business operation of selling advertising in the Pink Pages. I appeal to all members of the House, as I do to the public: If they believe that, the Post Office having called tenders, within a period of 2 months a decision should be made to cancel the tender system and that the Australian Post Office should enter the business of selling Pink Pages advertising throughout Australia, I am sure they do not understand the implications and complications associated with the subject. Are these matters not to be discussed if we have a debate? I am dealing only with the headings of the subject matter. I am not dealing with the detail. I am merely indicating the areas which I believe should be subjected to debate and my justification. and that of the Government, for believing that the debate should not be proceeded with at present.
Do not let us believe that there is not a good deal of union pot stirring in relation to this matter. Members of the Committee know perfectly well that there is. Not many members of this House have not had representations from some of the unions in regard to this matter. Are these things not to be discussed? I suggest that there are many items which could and should be debated and which are politically contentious and politically sensitive. I do not believe that, the House having received the report only a few minutes before and the Chairman of the Committee having sought leave to make a statement-
Mir SPEAKER- Order! The time allowed for the debate has expired. The question is:’ That the motion be agreed to’.
– Is it possible, Mr Speaker, for me to move for the suspension of Standing Orders to enable the Postmaster-General and other honourable members to continue the debate?
– Order! After we disposed of the motion before the Chair the honourable member can do what he likes.
That the motion (Mr Foster’s) be agreed to.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)
Majority . . . . 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Consideration resumed from 28 September (vide page 2222)
Department of the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts
Proposed expenditure, $43,411,000.
– The estimates we are debating have to cover the most widespread and diverse activities of any Federal department as they are presently defined. In this variety of activities I would like to mention that section which relates to grants to national organisations. The Government has cause to be proud of its actions in this field. I congratulate the Government on its decision to increase its aid to the Surf Life Saving Association from $36,000 to$50,000. There is no worthier group in Australia, I know how relieved the National Council of the SLSA was when it heard the news. Both Mr Speaker and I, as the honourable members for Phillip and Cook, had received representations from the surf clubs. I know
I speak for both of us when 1 say how pleased we were when we were asked to make representations on behalf of the clubs for this increase.
Time in this debate does not permit me to do justice to the hard-working, dedicated people who conduct the life saving clubs or to do justice to the work they do on our beaches. It is true to say that they undertake a most Australian of Australian activities. If the SLSA did not exist, the average Australian would not be able to enjoy that greatest of our natural resources for recreation - the golden surfing beaches for which Australia has justified its world reputation. However, if there is not some co-ordinated serious research undertaken into the causes of beach erosion around the continent then we may, in my own electorate for sample, see in the not too distant future the day when there are no natural beaches for the lifesavers to patrol or for the public to enjoy.
Already Cronulla beach is like Waikiki in that most of its sand is brought to an otherwise sandless area. This research might be undertaken by the newly established Institute of Marine Science or again it might be undertaken by the Maritime Services Board of New South Wales at its magnificent hydrological research establishment on Botany Bay. However, I do hope that in the coming 12 months this serious matter of beach erosion and the causes thereof will be referred to some coordinating authority, for example the Austraiian Environment Council for consideration. As honourable members will realise, the Council is chaired by the Minister for Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, who is at the table, and the several States are represented by the appropriate State Ministers.
I believe that the problem of beach erosion is national in its extent and requires a combined Federal-State government solution. Of course, the Federal Liberal Government has readily and generously accepted the need for its responsibility for financial aid in times of such national disasters as the cyclone in Queensland last summer. But I am suggesting that the need for serious and co-ordinated research into the causes of beach erosion should be recognised and accepted as a joint CommonwealthState area of responsibility and action. Many individual theories about beach erosion come forward, and I cannot recall having visited any annual general meeting of a surf club in my own electorate in the past 7 years or so - and I attend them all - when the problem of beach erosion has not been seriously discussed. I commend my earlier suggestion on this subject to the Minister.
The second grant to which I would like to direct a few remarks is the grant of $150,000 which has been made to the Australian Conservation Foundation. I would like to quote the Foundation’s executive who said in its September 1972 newsletter
– How many dollars?
– I will . repeat the amount for the honourable member for Sturt, lt is $150,000, which is 3 times the original grant. The executive of the Foundation said in its September 1972 newsletter:
We are most grateful to the Australian Government for its prompt action in providing such a useful grant.
It will enable the Foundation to continue its task of re-organising for. the future; its administrative machinery has been strained far beyond ils capacity.
I was interested to see that this grant will allow the Foundation now to employ a chief executive officer and I am sure that al! honourable members will be interested to know that the Foundation is offering him a salary of $20,000. Honourable members on the other side of the House may be interested in applying for this position after November, or whatever the date of the election is to be.
The sincerity of the Government must be obvious to all in that the Commonwealth is moving ahead as quickly as its constitutional power permits into encouraging this great field of conservation. To those of us who have had a lifetime interest in the preservation and protection of national parks this is most gratifying. I would also commend the decision of the Minister to make an initial grant of $20,000 to the Keep Australia Beautiful Council. In my own electorate “ there are several organisations which have been formed to protect local areas of natural beauty or to restore them. In particular I am thinking of the Save Kurnell Committee with which I have been associated and to which I give my full personal and public support, The Save Kurnell Committee represents an interested and active group of local residents who are concerned about the future development of the Kurnell peninsula. I would like to put forward their resolution of action as decided 2 years ago. At that time they decided that they would move that all unoccupied land on the Kurnell peninsula be zoned as country open space; that all lands adjacent to the Captain Cook landing place be so zoned and be added to the original reserve; that Towra Point be left in its natural condition for educational, scientific and passive recreational purposes; that the remaining ground zoned as country open space will be available for active recreational purposes; and that the Kurnell Committee present their plan to the Government for approval
Along with many other interested people in my area, including the present Chief Secretary of New South Wales, I spent a field day a year or so ago with this organisation and I believe that it was amply illustrated to the people outside my electorate, as well as to many inside it, that saving the Kurnell peninsula is indeed a very fine example of conservation being organised at the local level. Kurnell is a great heritage for Australia and I look forward to very strong support being given to the Save Kurnell Committee from the Australian Conservation Foundation. I certainly continue to support the Committee’s aims and activities. I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard a short article on the brief history of Kurnell which has been written by the Secretary of the Sutherland Historical Society.
– Order! Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -
In 1770 Lieut. James Cook was the first Englishman to sight the eastern Australian coast when he entered Botany Bay in the Endeavour. He was probably not the first white man, for there are shadowy figures of Spanish and Portuguese explorers who may have preceded him - and possibly Arabian and Chinese before then.
Cook prudently sent 2 boats’ crews to explore the Bay for a safe anchorage while the Endeavour stood off the entrance. They landed at
Inscription Point (so named in 1822 by the Australasian Philosophical Society who placed a plaque on the cliff-face to commemorate this landing). Cook rounded the north-west bluff, which he later named Point Sutherland, on the following day and landed at Kurnell, remaining 6 days and exploring a little of the peninsula.
The First Fleet of convict transports anchored off Kurnell in 1788 but left 2 days later for the better settlement site of Port Jackson.
The peninsula returned to its slumbers until 1815, when Governor Macquarie granted a whaling master, Captain James Birnie, 700 acres for a farm. This was first described as ‘Portion No. 1 in the Parish of Holsworthy’ but was later altered to ‘at Botany’. Birnie named this ‘Alpha’ (or First’) Farm, built a 3-roomed cottage, and installed a working manager and a couple of convict labourers. Some 60 acres was cleared of the big timber, fruit trees and vegetables planted and a dairy established. Birnie had a small ‘dock’ cut through the flat rocks on the foreshore (this is now the ‘children’s paddling pool’), and from there dug a channel through the sand to the grassy bank below the farm buildings, thus enabling his small ketches to load his produce for the Sydney markets.
Birnie ‘became lunatik’ about 1822, and his affairs were placed by the Court in the hands of trustees. Alpha Farm was sold in 1828 to John Connell senior, who had arrived free inthe Colony in 1803.
Connell’s son, also John, was granted Portions 2 and 3 at Kurnell by Macquarie in 1821; and John junior later bought several blocks of land in and around Kurnell at Weeney and Woolooware Bays, owning in all almost 2,000 acres. He milled the timber in these areas, cutting out most of the big trees between Kurnell, Port Hacking and around Woolooware, shipping it to Sydney via Botany Bay.
John junior’s sister Margaret married Thomas Laycock junior of ‘Kelvin’ Bringelly, by whom she had 2 sons. John Junior apparently did not marry (no record can be traced), and his father left Alpha Farm to the grandson Elias Laycock, who farmed it from about 1849 until 1859 or 1860, when he sold out to Thomas Holt.
The wealthy Thos. Holt had arrived from Yorkshire in the Colony in 1842; and amongst his vaTious investments was the purchase of some 12,000 acres ofland, both Crown and private. Holt entered the political field not long after bis arrival, and became the Colonial Treasurer in the first representative Legislative Council.
In the mid-1850s a citizens’ committee had been formed in Sydney to organise celebrations for the centenary of the landing of Capt. Cook, but little interest was shown either by the public or the Government, and the date passed without recognition - except for the Hon. Thos. Holt. As a Yorkshireman, Holt had always greatly admired James Cook. So, at his own expense, Holt erected the slim and graceful ‘Cook Memorial’ to mark the centenary.
At the beginning of this century the Government belatedly declared the unsold portion of Crown Land as a public reserve, including the landing area’. Most of the peninsula remained in private ownership - as it still does today. As far back as 1861 part of the Crown Land (Endeavour Heights) was declared a ‘Site for Noxious Trades’; and in later years it was planned to establish a cemetery on the heights. A ‘mortuary branch line’ was to lead off the Illawarra Railway from Sutherland, traversing the heads of the various inlets of Georges River, passing immediately behind the Cook obelisk, to terminate in a mortuary station on the peak of Endeavour Heights. This proposal was not officially removed from Government planning until after World War 2, although the opening of Woronora Cemetery in 1 895 superceded the necessity for the Kurnell cemetery.
The cutting out of all the big timber destroyed the habitat of both aboriginal and animal life, and turned most of the peninsula into swampy marshes and encroaching sandhills; and industrialisation has almost completed the destruction of the once lovely bushland area of the ‘Birthplace of Australia’.
– I thank the House. Time does not allow honourable members to cover adequately the activities of the Department of the Environment. Aborigines and the Arts. However, I would just say that it is a very interesting fact that whereas the Labor Party has been saying for a very long time that all the ecology, environment and conservation problems of Australia should be compounded into a responsibility of one monstrous, huge centralised organisation here in Canberra, this has never been, and never will be, I am sure, the policy of the Liberal-Country Party Government. I mention this fact today merely to point out that it is fascinating to see, from what has been said by the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) who is the Labor Party’s spokesman on these matters, that the Labor Party has finally come round to agreeing with Liberal Party policy on this matter and has agreed that the Federal Government should not adopt a policy of controlling and activating all actions in this field. I commend the policies of the Government; I commend its activities in this vital, and may I say, newly discovered field of political interest in Australia.
– In the time allowed to me 1 wish to concentrate on the environmental aspects of the estimates that are now before the Committee. I do so in some ways to rebut what the previous speaker the honourable member for Cook (Mr Dobie) just said, in that he has taken the concept of the Opposition as one of an overall structure dealing with the environment rather than an overall concept of what a Department of the Environment means and what it should deal with. Environment, ecology, pollution and conservation are nice ‘in’ words at the present moment. If we use these ‘in’ words we pay lip service to what are popular matters. What we really should be looking at is how much depth there is in action taken on these matters. There is too much accent on pollution and conservation per se. They are discussed too much in isolation and too much as isolated instances. What is the real subject of discussion is man’s use and manipulation of the world around him. Man has to decide what he wants and what he will do without. In other words, we have to find a proper balance between what he will accept for material, aesthetic and recreational purposes.
In examining the functions of the Department of the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, I am afraid that its functions are far too nebulous and that they do not give us any clear guidelines as to what we are determining. If we. are to decide what man wants, what he will accept and what he will do without, for a. start, members of Parliament, who will have to deal with the legislation that will handle these matters should be involved in this whole process of looking at the total concept. Yet what do we see? We see the briefest of debates on the report presented to the Parliament on the United Nations Conference on Human Environment held in Stockholm. Really there was no involvement on the part of the members of this Parliament in the matters discussed.
Another important conference that was held was the second International Parliamentary Conference on the Environment which was held in Vienna this year. The first conference was held in Germany last year. The Government was persuaded with, some reluctance to send 2 members along to that conference. We were represented this year by the honourable member for Henty (Mr Fox) and Senator Keeffe at this important international parliamentary conference which dealt with items raised at Stockholm. These are matters which are not reported to Parliament, matters which are not discussed in Parliament, and matters which do not involve the members of Parliament in having a look at this overall concept, despite the very wide ranging discussions that took place and the very sensible recommendations that were made. I think we should have a look at this total concept of the environment and the Minister should use his Department to encourage this sort of involvement of members of the Parliament and discussion of these wide issues.
Let us take the more popular issues of pollution that are raised and have a look at the record* We might even refer to what some of the States have done in relation to this matter. In 1958 a Clean Air Act was passed in Victoria, but still there is much air pollution in that State. In 1971 an Environmental Protection Authority was set up in Victoria and the pamphlet publicising the setting up of this authority is headed ‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and . . .’. ‘Tomorrow’ is right because despite the Clean Air Act of 1958 little has been done, and I have little confidence that anything will be done by the Environment Protection Authority. The Commonwealth has had a number of Senate select committees on pollution questions. What has resulted from them? Very little indeed. Recently a statement was made that action would be taken on exhaust emissions. A number of matters were put forward on this subject to the Senate Select Committee on Air Pollution. I know of one gentleman, a Mr Cosway, who uses a wet injection method of reducing exhaust emissions. He demonstrated his device before that Committee, and many others did the same. Very little assistance has been given to those men. If we think of what confronts all of us, we see just how pollution is a day to day affair. We are waiting for the election day to be announced. What will happen is that tons of paper will be produced We will have pamphlets and howtovote cards. Where will this paper go? It will pollute the environment in which we live. Perhaps it might be wise for the political parties to put on every piece of paper they publish a message such as ‘Do not rubbish Australia’, ‘Dispose of this’ or Do not pollute your environment’.
On a more serious note, mention has been made of impact studies carried out by the Department of the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts. I do not know whether these will provide the total answer. I think there is a greater understanding now that there is an economics of ecology. In a recent speech Brezhnev said:
As we take steps to speed scientific and technical progress, we must see to it that it should combine with a rational treatment of natural resources and should not cause dangerous air and water pollution or exhaust the soil.
Taking it from there, if we have a look at some of the industries that are established, the question is raised whether the pollution of the industrialised nations is not already adversely affecting the developing countries, whether developed countries in fact are not pushing industries with a high pollutant effect on to the developing countries and so causing problems for them. I believe that with our natural resources this is an area of which we have to beware. We must not have industries of this sort pushed upon us. Recently I saw an example of these economics of ecology in Tasmania at the pulp and paper works. The raw material comes from the natural forests and from planted forests. This brings in the economics of reafforestation of areas for raw materials. The actual industrial process itself causes the pollution through the various chemical treatments of the wood which causes the release of effluent which pollutes the environment. This raises problems for the industry. If rigid requirements are made on the industry it may mean that production is stopped; it may mean that man has to accept less of this material. I feel that members of Parliament should be informed of these things. The Department of the Environment should be taking a hand in these matters because industry may not necessarily be solely responsible. It may be that there has to be a partnership between the Government and industry in working out measures to control these disadvantages in conservation and pollution as they affect economics. We must think of the environmental aspects of industry and other things in a total concept of national planning. I trust that we will see the Department of the Environment really spelling these things out and being not a nebulous structure but something with real force and real effect in the community.
– Although in the past a number of people have been concerned about the relationship between man and his environment, about the utilisation and conservation of scarce resources, about the preservation of unique natural land forms and the conservation of the earth’s flora and fauna, only recently has this concern become widespread amongst the people of the developed countries of the world. There is no doubt that in these countries, it is the popular thing to be ‘for the environment’ and this to my mind is a very good thing. 1 only wish that this concern to combat pollution was even more widespread, and that individuals did ail in their power, which is considerable, to stop polluting the environment by such mundane but effective acts as not throwing cans and bottles about indiscriminately, not Uttering the countryside wilh all sorts of garbage and, in fact, by behaving like people who care about the surroundings in which they and other people live. As President Nixon said in his 1972 Environmental Message to Congress:
The starting point of environmental quality is in the hearts and minds of the people. Unless the people have a deep commitment to new values and a clear understanding of the new problems, all our laws and programmes and spending will avail little. The young, quick to commit and used to learning, are gaining the changed outlook fastest of all. Their enthusiasm about the environment spreads with a healthy contagion. Their energy in its behalf can be an impressive force for good.
I agree completely with this statement and have a strong belief that we must more strenuously assess our laws, our developmental projects, our manufacturing systems and methods, and our use of scarce resources to minimise adverse environmental impact. We must remember at the same time that the situation we face did not come about overnight, nor will it be rectified overnight. There are many factors deeply imbedded in our way of life which will have to be reassessed because of their detrimental effects on the world in which we live.
In the past we have emphasised quantitative growth at the expense of qualitative growth; the failure to attempt to assess environmental effects when undertaking new developments; neglecting to account for the social costs of pollution; the increasing dependence on conveniences such as the car without due regard for the environmental effects. But perhaps funda mentally we have had a lack of recognition of the concept, both nationally and internationally, of the interdependence of all the parts making up the environment. V;n himself is an increasingly important part of this total equation, not only because of the absolute growth in the world’s population but also because of man’s increasing capacity to alter the environment for both good and evil. Obviously entrenched attitudes will not be easily changed, and this in itself is not a totally bad thing. Measures aimed at environmental protection are not necessarily divinely inspired and it could be that in some cases the cure is or could be worse than the complaint. Nor are ail the problems going to be overcome by legislative action, despite the hopes of some people in this respect. To develop a new consciousness towards the problem of living in harmony with our environment we need new knowledge, new attitudes new insights, not only through all levels of government - and here I would like to place special emphasis on the role of local government which has particular responsibilities particularly in city areas - but in the private sector as well, in the protessions, in industry of course, right through to the individual citizens themselves.
The development of such a consciousness will take time and money, cooperation and imagination. In this development the role of our educational system, is vital, not only to develop the consciousness- of which I have spoken but also to provide training in those areas of knowledge the implementation of which will be of such importance. Here I think of land use planning, pollution control, ecological interaction and technological development aimed at minimising evironmental effects..
This all sounds very fine and we oan all pay lip service to lofty ideals.. But. I would like to sound some warnings at this stage. Firstly, in any consideration of environmental effects there are some very hard questions to answer. Any development must have some effect. The question is: What are the effects, and secondly, what is an acceptable level of effect? The question of how clean is clean enough relates very directly to how much everyone is willing to pay. The cost of the environmental clean-up and maintenance will have to be borne by each person whether as a consumer or a taxpayer and most probably as both, and the cost will not be cheap. These costs are not only direct money costs - they also relate to the effects decisions on evironmental matters have on our domestic economy, on the provision of jobs, the availability and cost of resources, the effects on foreign competition both at home and abroad, and the cost and prices of goods produced in Australia. These considerations place very real difficulties in the path of those responsible for making decisions and very real responsibilities on the shoulders of those providing the information on which decisions are based.
We need 2 things in the future - a healthy environment and a healthy economy. In the pursuit of the former it would be absurd to neglect the latter. The achievement of a healthy environment is dependent for its very lifeblood on a healthy economy. It would be ridiculous in my view to seek ecological perfection at the cost of bankrupting the taxpaying enterprises which will be paying in large measure for the advances sought. This means that progress may be unspectacular, but it should certainly not be an excuse for inaction. The difficulties of reconciliation are great but they must be faced even if mistakes are made.
All this leads to my second warning, and this ls specifically directed at those who see the cause of our problems as being the growth economy and the onward march of science and technology and who advocate as a cure the restriction or abolition of our dependence on technology, the cutting bask of an economy based on growth and the introduction of extremely harsh environmental legislation. Let us look at each of these in turn. Firstly, as I have said already, the economy and environmental action are irretrievably intertwined. Whilst we can argue about the distribution of funds within our economy, it must be realised that changes will cost a lot of money, and these cannot be paid for simply out of company profits. The cost of placing transmission lines underground, for instance, while technologically possible, may add so much to the cost of the provision of power that it becomes out of the reach of companies and individuals. Within Commonwealth and State Budgets the allocation of moneys is a closely debated topic. The competing demands of social welfare, health, education, housing come readily to mind. If there is no expansion of output within the economy roughly equivalent to the cost of cleaning up the environment then, of course, that cost can be met only by cutting down on other sectors of the Budget. This state of affairs could very easily work against those least able to withstand it - the less privileged of the land, the pensioners, the fixed income earners, the socially deprived - and could result in a backlash by the community against those responsible for this state of affairs. The only way out of the dilemma, is to expand the economy, with its consequent risks to the environment. Not to do so is to invite the slowing down or stopping of environmental action as a result of the backlash I have referred to.
Secondly, we must realise that cleaning up the environment will need the development and application of costly technology. In fact, far from technology being the bete noir, it is our hope of salvation. What is needed is a re-orientation of the direction of research, but research and the application of its results must be supported. Thirdly, it has often been suggested that harsh legislation should be introduced as the means whereby those polluting the environment can be made to pay and pay dearly for their sins. To my mind this is no solution. What is required is cooperative incentive based legislation, aimed at encouraging manufacturers to adopt new and worthwhile pollution methods aimed at encouraging individuals to keep in mind their effect on the environment. Punitive laws have to be enforced if they are to have any effect, and in an area as widespread as environmental control the sheer size of the law enforcing agency necessary is frightening. If, however, both companies and individuals secured worthwhile rewards - and this would almost automatically have to be economic - for acceptable environmental actions, the chances of widespread co-operation would be greater. Additionally, I have always believed in cooperation and incentive rather than compulsion as acceptable social values and such an approach would develop these attitudes within our society.
– It surprises me that any Government supporter, particularly the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar), would dare to rise in this House and talk about conservation when he has been a party to a campaign in Indo-China to eradicate almost three-fifths of its land area of timber. I take this opportunity to remind the honourable member how shockingly lacking he can be in this regard. In addition I remind the House of the stupidity of the Government and of the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) in attempting to introduce into this House a proposal to impose a tax on the use of liquid petroleum gas in motor vehicles. That proposal was very hastily withdrawn. The Government withdrew it because it knew of a decision on this side of the House to oppose it during the Budget debate. How unconcerned must this Government lie when it seeks to impose a tax on what can be regarded, in comparison with other petroleum products used in motor %’ehicles. as a comparatively non-pollutant fuel. So much for the Government’s hypocrisy in regard to that. 1 will waste no more time on that.
The honourable member for Warringah, who has hurriedly left the chamber, spoke about exhaust emission. How many Government supporters have stood in this place and have said, as a guide to transport companies and transport pool operators, that this Government would operate government motor cars and government transport vehicles with liquid petroleum gas? lt has not done so. Government supporters have woken up to the environment in the last few short weeks and they are falling damn short of what their responsibilities ought to be in regard to this matter. The Minister for the Army (Mr Katter), who is attempting to interject, does nothing in administering his portfolio to ensure that certain near city areas are given back to local authorities in the interests of the people, and in the interests of environment and recreational facilities. They should hand them back to the local councils which can make good use of them on behalf of the people. This Government has no use for them in this day and age for retraining purposes.
How much attention is the Minister for the Army paying to the Woodside area in South Australia and the Hills freeway where land is now being made available to every speculator across the Commonwealth and indeed to overseas speculators who are running rampant through the area offering all sorts of inflated prices for farm land adjacent to the very area to which the Minister will perhaps in the next few short weeks have to pay some regard. He should not sit in this place and think that he can make snide remarks when somebody is on his feet, thinking that that person may not have some knowledge of the situation. What he ought to be doing as a Minister is to stand in this place and say what ought to be said in the interests of the community.
Most of us are conscious that the world today faces a number of major problems which appear almost insoluble. The most important of these problems is the environmental crisis. This threat to the life support system of the earth is more apparent to those suffering from its effects already but is nonetheless shared by us all. In the developed nations it may manifest itself in emphysema, lung cancer, heavy metal poisoning, mental illness or by our increasing dependence on hazardous and potentially dangerous chemical sprays used in food production. In the under-developed nations environmental stress becomes evident earlier and shows itself in the more traditional manner through starvation and disease. It is doubtful whether the world can support over a period of time the level of industrial activity to which it is at present being subjected. Our wanton use of valuable and limited mineral and energy resources to create shoddy products of little or no real value is extremely short sighted in 1972 and will not only create animosity in the under-developed world but also will downgrade our own children’s futures.
The despoilation of land is still proceeding, even in Australia, although many nations are now spending millions of dollars in land reclamation projects. A recent survey showed that unless drastic steps are taken soon almost all of the native vegetation, except that under State control, which exists within a 50 miles radius of Adelaide will be destroyed by 1980 regardless of whether the land is suitable for agriculture. A common symptom of environmental breakdown is the use of irrigation for food production, leading to increased salinity levels and the ultimate failure of crops. We all are familiar with the problems of salinity along the Murray River caused by irrigation and the intrusion of salt water into the aquafier at the
Adelaide Plains due to over-pumping. The more dependent we become upon such exercises the more we are closing our options for the future. It is up to us to recognise these and other problems and to take responsible action now.
It is imperative that action be taken at all levels of government but the most important role must be assumed by the Federal Government. There are areas in which it can act immediately and have a significant impact. For example, the vast majority of Australians live in major cities which, as a result, suffer from congestion and air pollution. In order to assist decentralisation which will help to solve this problem, the Federal Government can provide cheap land, mass transportation systems, additional finance for tertiary educational complexes and establish Commonwealth Departments at the new sites to provide employment in the early stages of development. The efforts of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation should be considerably expanded in the field of environmental conservation and the Organisation should immediately undertake the national survey of natural resources which was suggested by the National Academy of Science in 1968 and again in 1972. This should be paralleled by the removal of income tax incentives for the clearing of indigenous vegetation and the provision of incentives for its retention. The Commonwealth should provide funds for the management of national parks in States and should assist with the purchase of important wildlife habitats. It should provide a subsidy to allow the States to remove stock from marginal areas, such as the north Flinders Ranges, and assist in the destruction of introduced pests which are now in that area.
One subject which is of particular interest to me and one which the laughing honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) may remember I have raised, is the open space and Hills face zone in the Adelaide Hills area in the Federal electorate of Sturt. There are local problems which require Federal assistance if we are to provide a worthwhile environment. The State Government is restricting development in the Hills face zone of both urban and extractive industry and the Australian Labor
Party’s shadow Minister for the Environment, the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren), has promised that the Australian Labor Party would, when elected, give assistance to the purchase of major portions of the Hills face zone and thus provide recreational land and preserve this vital backdrop to the city. A fund has also been established by the State Government to allow quarry site restoration and the planting of trees. There are many areas of land in Adelaide at present which will almost inevitably be built on because insufficient funds are available to enable them to be purchased as recreational land. Two such areas are Craigburn and Penfold’s vineyards. I have made vigorous attemps to frustrate the alienation of Penfolds and believe that other vineyards should be retained. I will work to achieve this.
At present our pattern of industrial development is capable of generating goods in excess of our reasonable personal requirements and this has resulted in the widespead introduction of gimmickry and deliberate obsolescence. The problem of distribution of resources is now being recognised and elementary arithmetic shows that there are insufficient materials in the world to provide the underdeveloped nations with a standard of living equivalent to our own. Because of this and other problems, goods will have to meet much higher standards of durability than heretofore. It is evident that with the introduction of automation and mechanisation fewer people will be required in the production of goods. Consequently more and more of us will become involved in one kind of service industry or other. We look forward in this respect to a shorter working week. The honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) has had plenty to say to straighten the twisted and tormented minds of members of the Government parties on this matter. Australia cannot ignore the greatest single problem facing the world today - over-population - and it is a problem in respect of which there has to be international understanding rather than countries saying that they have no problems simply because their problems are not the same as the problems faced by India, Pakistan and other nations.
The 10 minutes allowed each honourable member in this debate is not sufficient even to scratch the surface of this matter and the Government’s action in restricting the debate to 10 minutes for each speaker is indicative of its attitude to important matters such as this.
– It is not the Government and you know it.
– The honourable member for Angas who interjects so much should realise that the area which he represents in this Parliament is being denuded of vegetation, it is an area which should never have had a plough, harrow or pick put into it for so-called agricultural development because since it was opened up about SO years ago farmers have had to exist on a pittance, lt is no good the honourable member saying that he does not have to recognise certain factors, such as salination, in his electorate. But be that as it may, his thinking has never changed and is never likely to change.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I would like to move that the honourable member for Sturt be granted an extension of time.
– The honourable member for Hindmarsh has been in this House long enough to know that he cannot move an extension of time for any honourable member speaking in the Committee stages for the first time.
– Mr Chairman - [Quorum formed] In speaking to the estimates for the Department of the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts 1 would point out to the honourable member for Sturt who has just left his seat-
– I have come back.
– Well, the honourable member should be outside. He said that the Government has done nothing about the environment. The Government has a select committee which will shortly be presenting a report and on this committee are members of his own Party and the Government parties. The committee is in the process of preparing a report to the Parliament on the conservation of flora and fauna, the ecosystems, habitats, the environment and so on. So in that respect what he was saying was quite wrong.
I commend the Government on the amounts proposed to be allocated under division 245, subdivision 5, to items 16, 17, 20 and 21. The amount which has been proposed for the Australian Conservation Foundation has risen by $100,000 and the amount for the Australian Council of National Trusts has risen by $50,000. The Keep Australia Beautiful Council is to receive $20,000, whereas previously it received nothing. These amounts show that the Government is conscious of improving the environment and doing something about it in a practical way. While on the subject of the Keep Australia Beautiful Council, I would urge the Government to support the Northern Territory branch of this Council. It is endeavouring to educate the public against throwing cans, stubbies and rubbish on the highways, roads and beaches and into streams, waterholes and the like over the whole 520,000 square miles of the Northern Territory. It seems to me that when people from other parts of Australia decide to take a holiday in the outback they think: ‘This is wonderful. We can burn the country, plunder it, cast all our rubbish over it and then go back home and forget all about it’. So I urge the Government to assist this very worthy Council in the Northern Territory.
Amongst other organisations assisted through the Australian Council for the Arts, the Government has supported the Totem Theatre in Alice Springs. It is a very high class little theatre which produces first class performances and entertainment almost continually. Support has also been given to the Stuart Gallery in Alice Springs. It is featuring a type of art which hitherto has not been seen very much. It comes from the Papunya area, which is some 150 miles west of Alice Springs. The Pintubi tribes out there have produced a new form of art, and the Government is recognising this and supporting the Gallery which is putting it before the public. This indicates particularly good thinking.
In relation to national parks, it is time the Government stepped into this field, especially in the Mount Olga and Ayres Rock region, and gave a lead to the world. It is one of the main tourist attractions and national parks in Australia. It is one of the main areas that people from overseas visit. Three hundred miles away is Alice Springs and the McDonnell Ranges. This area has a series of parks and outstanding attractions. Tourists are nocking into it but it is in need of support and finance. The people do not want assistance for nothing. They have viable industries, whether they be in the McDonnell Ranges, the Alice Springs area, Ayers Rock, Katherine Gorge or any of the famous parks and resorts in the Northern Territory. They are looking to assistance from the Government in the way of loans. As they are operating a viable proposition they could well repay the loans.
The Northern National Park is on the edge of Arnhem Land, approximately 120 south east of Darwin. This is the area in which there have been some mining operations by Peko-Wallsend Ltd and Queens land Mines Ltd, although Queensland Mines is operated inside the Arnhem Land Reserve. The Noranda company is operating in the Jim Jim area at a place which I think is called Kongarra. This company states that mining can be carried out in conjunction with national parks. It states that if a township is built in the Northern National Park it will assist the policing and preservation of this area. I would like to hear the other companies interested in the same uranium deposits state whether they would be prepared to take steps to preserve the flora and fauna, the natural bush and the Aboriginal artifacts which are in this area. 1 urge the Government to take action in this regard. 1 know very well that it is carrying out and should have almost completed a study which will lay down guidelines as to the use of such areas as this national park. I am very much afraid and I think that many others who are interested in this matter are afraid that something similar to what happened at Finniss River may occur. The Finniss River incident involved an area around Batchelor which owing to a certain amount of thoughtlessness is now a dead area. We certainly cannot afford to have that sort of thing happen not only in the Northern Territory but anywhere in Australia.
Mining companies should be allowed to go into these areas but they must be forced to keep the environment in first class order. If their projects cannot meet expenses which will be entailed by establishing a town and plant outside a reserve area or spending far more money than they had thought of spending on containing their treatment plant - 1 think Noranda has stated that its plant can be contained within a half mile which will be restored - they should not be allowed to go into the areas. It is up to the Government to see that these mining companies play their part. They have finance and they have the men who can do a lot of organisation. They can build towns and police these areas. I am not against them. I consider that national parks and mining operations can exist hand in hand. But it is up to the government to see that these areas are policed and that companies such as Peko-Wallsend and Queensland Mines makes positive statements that they will protect the environment. I again stress the absolute urgency of helping the operators in the Alice Springs area.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I intend to address my remarks to that section of the estimates dealing with Aboriginal welfare. It is quite obvious that the present Government has a very scant regard for the Aboriginal people generally and places very little importance upon the urgent need for substantial improvement in their general welfare and conditions.
– Have you read the Budget?
– The Minister for Supply, a Minister from my own Stale, says: Look at the Budget’. In other words he believes only in the importance of money and nothing else. Of course one has to go a long way beyond that in relation to Aborigines. The remark by the Minister shows that he has very little knowledge of their needs. Aborigines are not different from us, other than in colour and custom. The portfolio of Aboriginal Affairs should be looked upon as a very important and responsible portfolio; but notwithstanding its importance, the Government has appointed as the Minister in charge of Aboriginal affairs a man who has very little interest in these people and certainly has very little knowledge of their customs and problems. I hope that no-one will think that I am casting a reflection on the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson) in that regard. I am not, but if he does not have much interest or much knowledge in these matters, that is it. The sources at fault are the Government and the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) for giving him that particular portfolio to handle.
A further indication of the Government’s lack of interest is the fact that the same Minister has been given several other areas of ministerial responsibility - tourism, arts and the environment - to take up the bulk of his time. So it is clear that the Government considers that Aborigines are worthy of only a bits and pieces Minister. In a report which appeared in the Melbourne Herald’ of 12th August reference was made to him as an odds and ends Minister. The article suggested that the present Minister seemed to be ill-fitted to cope with the mounting Aboriginal demands. It went on to say that the Minister was no match for Country Party Ministers who see Aboriginal land rights demands as being the thin end of the wedge which could threaten existing land ownership in the outback. In this area Mr Wentworth, the previous Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, ran foul of the Country Party. He had a reasonable understanding and sense of sympathy for the Aboriginal people, but apparently he pressed their case too hard and clashed with Mr Nixon, then the Country Party Minister for the Interior, who was also responsible for the administration of Aboriginals in the Northern Territory. As a result of Country Party pressure and Liberal Party apathy and disinterest a change in the Ministry occurred. As far as the Aborigines are concerned, it is a change for the worse.
In order to illustrate the attitude of the Liberal Party to Aboriginal affairs I refer to an article which appeared in the Australian’ of 23rd March last. It reported the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner) as having referred to the Minister as a shreds and patches Minister presiding over a rag bag of responsibilities of minor importance. If the honourable member was correctly reported one can assume only that he and his colleagues look upon the Aboriginal people as a lot of ratbags and of very little importance. If this is the general attitude, and it certainly appears that way, it is no wonder that the Aboriginal people have expressed their resentment and lack of confidence in the Government generally.
Of course, there can be no doubt where the Democratic Labor Party stands in this regard. Members of the DLP also would have thrown their weight against any suggestion of land rights for the Aborigines. The DLP attitude was made quite clear in an article appearing in the Melbourne Herald’ of 7th August which stated that the DLP at its State conference had rejected a motion calling on the Government to recognise land rights for the Aborigines. The article reported that Senator Little of the DLP had said that the only thing worth preserving in Aboriginal culture was bark painting. It is a shocking thing to say, but at least it proves where the DLP stands in relation to protecting the land rights of the the Aboriginal people. One can well imagine the brick wall that the Minister must run into when he tries to put up any recommendations of his Department in respect of moves towards Aboriginal land rights.
It is utterly impossible and ridiculous for one Minister to try to handle the several responsibilities that the present Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts has had placed upon him. If he is to do the job properly there is ample room in Aboriginal affairs alone to keep him fully occupied at least for a few years until the several problems have been largely ironed out. To the best of my knowledge, during the period of 18 months or so that the Minister has held the portfolio he has never visited, let alone made a detailed survey or investigation of the situation, in the north, north-west and north-east of Western Australia where several thousand Aborigines live. Many of them are forced to live in deplorable conditions which the Minister would do well to study. I know that he travelled in that area as a member of the Committee examining Aboriginal voting rights, but that is a long time ago. The fact that he has not been there since shows that he does not have the interest he should have or that he has other responsibilities which have not allowed him the time to do so. I hope the latter is the case. If so, it further highlights the need for a Minister to have Aboriginal affairs as his sole responsibility.
I have said previously in debates in this House that housing, education, health and employment are the 4 main areas which require full and urgent attention in the interests of the Aboriginal people. These areas require urgent attention in a general way and not only with regard to Aborigines. There are general problems for all people in these fields. There is a serious lack of schooling opportunities and facilities for the majority of children, particularly in the outback areas of this country. The same is true of housing. The general situation in relation to hospitals and doctors is far from satisfactory. In each of the 4 areas there is a general need for overall improvement. If this general need was properly dealt with, if sufficient finance was made available, it would not be necessary to place so much emphasis upon the Aboriginal situation alone. Much of it would be attended to in a general manner. However, in some cases - not in all cases - in particular areas we have to adopt a different approach in the first instance.
Some well-meaning people err in believing that all Aborigines can be treated in the same way, regardless of the part of Australia in which they are living. That is not so. In certain parts of my own electorate of Kalgoorlie some of the Aborigines need teaching. They need to be shown what is required and what particular forms or lines should be followed in their own interests and the interests of their children, even the unborn children, in relation to such matters as malnutrition and health generally. Quite a few Aboriginal people do not realise the need for a proper system of hygiene or what can be the result of lack of it for themselves and families in the immediate and distant future. lt must be remembered that it could well be that before the Aborigines mixed with whites or other people the hygiene question did not have the same significance. There was then nowhere near the same incidence of some diesases. They were continually on the move and certain contaminations which are now apparent were not seen in those earlier days. Hygiene precautions were not so necessary. But today there is a need and to satisfy that need it will be necessary to finance and to equip medical and nursing terms to be operating continually out in the field, teaching and helping the Aborigines wherever they are, on stations, in camps, on reserves, or no matter where they are.
Very little progress will be made in some of these areas towards correcting malnutri tion, infant mortality diseases and general health matters if we simply sit back and wait for the people to come to the hospitals or medical centres. The children and the parents have to be taught that it is just as important to observe the standards of hygiene at home during weekends and school holidays as it is when the schools are in session. They must be taught that certain actions taken by them will greatly relieve the incidence of disease and will be a very large extent help to lower the infant mortality rate. These lessons can be learned only if the Government is prepared to provide sufficient finance.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– (3.34)- During the winter recess it was my privilege to attend a conference which was held in Vienna to discuss matters affecting the environment. It was attended by representatives of nations which belong to the InterParliamentary Union. The purpose of the conference was to enable the delegates to become informed in depth on the recommendations of the United Nations conference which had been held a little earlier in Stockholm. Secondly, its purpose was to endorse the recommendations of the Stockholm Conference where it considered these to be appropriate; thirdly, to identify any omissions or errors of strategy of the United Nations Conference and to refer to any recommendations which might require further international consultation and action. The fact that 32 nations were represented at this conference, which was held so soon after the Stockholm Conference, indicates the very great interest held by quite a number of governments of the world on matters affecting the environment.
I am quite sure that the Australian people would be interested in the matters which were discussed at this conference and the resolutions which were passed at Vienna. It became obvious to me, as I am sure it did to all the other delegates there, that some of the problems which many people believed to be peculiar to their own countries were matters which affect most countries. It became equally obvious that none of us can live in a world apart and that the actions which are taken by one country may affect people who live hundreds or even thousands of miles away. It became very clear to me that if mankind wishes to live in a world which is reasonably free from pollution and if it wishes to preserve for future generations a world of that nature, most of the governments in the world will have to take very drastic action and take it promptly.
One of the conclusions which was reached at Vienna was that the main thing wrong with the environment in developing countries is poverty and the main thing wrong with the environment in developed countries is pollution. The conference concluded that industry everywhere must build pollution control into its planning. I believe that the customer must be prepared to pay for a clean environment. The conference discussed resources of the sea and it recommended that governments ought to agree on the areas over which they have complete jurisdiction, that they should decide jurisdictional limits and within these limits each responsible government should undertake conservation measures so as to avoid decline in stocks which are caused by overfishing, pollution and by the destruction of habitat, and that outside these limits the resources of the sea ought to be regarded as the common heritage of mankind. The conference recommended that in the case of migratory species agreement ought to be concluded between the governments concerned so that benefits of exploitation of the species should belong to every country and that the costs of conservation should be equitably shared so that no few countries share all of these benefits exclusively.
The conference recommended that pollution of the high seas, whether it be by solid or liquid pollution from traffic, dumping or from the outflow of rivers, ought to be controlled. It recommended that a 10-year moratorium on commercial whaling should be called and, at the end of that time, that criteria should be laid down which would permit the rational exploitation of this resource for the benefit of mankind as a whole and, again, not for the benefit of comparatively few countries. Evidence was given to the House of Representatives Select Committee on Wildlife Conservation, of which 1 am Chairman, that if the hunting of one species of whale ceased today, the species could well become extinct within 25 years because its numbers are already down so low.
The Vienna Conference naturally discussed nuclear pollution of the atmosphere because of the tests which France had been conducting at that time. The conference concluded that nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere constituted a most dangerous source of pollution. It recommended that all tests should cease immediately and that a comprehensive test ban ought to be introduced on an international level. I mentioned that the purpose of the conference was to see whether there were any subjects which had not adequately been covered by the United Nations Conference. The conference concluded that the United Nations did not squarely face up to the problem of hunger and it rated the spectre of famine, particularly in developing countries, as the greatest threat menacing world population. It attributed this threat of famine to over-exploitation of the soil and water resources and to the impoverishment of the forests. The conference concluded that pollution increases the threat of famine which could become critical and it suggested that specific studies of this be undertaken at an international level immediately. It discussed the use of agro-chemicals and it suggested that knowledge of this should be pooled internationally with a view to eliminating the use of those chemicals for which less dangerous substitutes exist and so as to exercise more precise control of dangerous residues in soil, in air, in water and in plant and animal products which are intended for human consumption.
The conference suggested that particular attention should be given to the interaction of urban and land uses with the marine environment, notably wetlands. It was firmly of the opinion that the more developed countries should not transfer their problems of pollution to the underdeveloped countries by taking advantage of low wage structures and low costs of production. It recommended that a comprehensive network of protected areas should be established under international control so that representative examples of ecosystems of international scientific significance should be preserved for all time, particularly those containing genetic resources which are imported to conserve, and so that animal and plant species and their habitats should be preserved. It also recommended that international conventions be drafted to preserve wetlands and threatened species and that maximum tolerance levels of pollution, both of air and water, be made the subject of international agreements because it considered that pollution caused in international waters could affect people living in countries through which these waterways passed and it could affect the livelihood of people in countries who live largely on the resources of the sea.
It was suggested by that conference that much more research should be conducted into projects having environmental impact and that individual countries should consider adopting methods in favour of antipollutant goods and services and against certain goods and services which contribute to pollution and that these be of a fiscal nature and involve tax concessions. The conference suggested that consideration should be given to providing tax advantages to industries which recycle products. 1 have read of one city in the United States of America which has made it an offence for any retail establishment to sell goods in non-returnable containers. I believe that in the interests of a clean environment we ought to give consideration to this aspect. In some countries - Singapore is an example - it becomes an offence which carries quite a heavy fine for people who pollute the streets with rubbish.
The Vienna Conference concluded that environmental education at all levels is essential to the wellbeing of the planet in which we live and for man’s place in the planet. It recommended that all governments support an education and information programme both in regard to policy and money and that every parliament establish a special committee which is competent to deal with environmental problems. I express the hope that when this Parliament is convened in the new year the new Government will decide to set up such a committee in this place.
– 1 am not scheduled to speak but because of a misunderstanding on the Speaker’s list of speakers, I will take the opportunity of speaking until one of my colleagues arrives. I am pleased that the matter before the Committee concerns Aborigines, the arts and the environment because they represent 3 of the merging issues in Australia about which young people, particularly, are showing a great deal of interest. These are several of the issues which we can identify as representing the future for Australia in many respects and certainly the quality of life for Australians. I cannot help but feel that the Government has a new found interest in some of these issues. I suppose it is better late than never. Even though the Government has emerged so belatedly, in this pre-election period, with concern about Aboriginal welfare, environmental matters and many other things, it will help to compound the efforts that have been made by the Australian Labor Party to make these real issues for the whole country.
The question of the environment has lacked Commonwealth involvement. Issues have been before the Parliament in recent times which demonstrate this in a very real and effective way. It is staggering to think that the Commonwealth Government, which now has a Minister responsible for environmental affairs, has been a party to putting to the Parliament proposals that would have a deleterious effect on the environment. I refer particularly to the proposal to concentrate Commonwealth Public Service facilities in restricted parts of the great cities of Melbourne and Sydney. Honourable members will recall that the Public Works Committee was directed to make an inquiry into a proposal to establish a $55m, I think it was, office complex at Wooloomooloo which was to accommodate 15,000 personnel. Recently we have heard from the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson), who is at the table, that there is to be a manifestation of governmental concern in the form of impact studies and subsequent statements. The effect of that is to ensure that in respect of every developmental proposal a study will be made from an environmental standpoint.
I ask the Minister whether, in fact, he has been practising what he preaches in respect of the matters which I have just mentioned. For example, does he think it is good for the environment of Sydney for the Commonwealth to put 15,000 people in a narrow, bottle-necked isthmus which already suffers from great strain from the standpoint of the movement of traffic and the commuting that goes on? The Public Works Committee received evidence from specialised groups and departmental people to the effect that great costs would be involved in amplifying the services if we were to provide that office facility at Wooloomooloo. Yet this is the proposal from the Commonwealth Government. What is to happen now? Does the Government have a genuine regard for the environment to the extent that it will not allow that proposal to proceed and will replace it with a new idea?
If the Government were re-elected - which I think everyone now concedes is a dubious proposition - would it really be intent on crowding 15,000 people into one Commonwealth building at Wooloomooloo, or would it give expression to the new policies of decentralisation which have been eloquently outlined by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and other spokesmen for the Government in this period preceding the election campaign? Which choice will the Government make? When it is all said and done, only a matter of weeks ago the Government stood for the conglomerated proposal represented by the Wooloomooloo office complex. Subsequently - maybe a week or two later - the Government came down with its decentralisation proposal. Its first proposal would have contributed to the destruction of Sydney’s environment. The Wooloomooloo area needs replenishing with people, parks and landscaped areas, instead of adding to the intensive development that is already in evidence there. Where was the example? Where was the impact study? If the Minister is to reply at all, I hope that he will make some reference to this matter and the question of where the Government stands on the matter now. The Committee also examined a proposal for an office complex in Melbourne to accommodate 20,000 office employees.
Committees such as the Public Works Committee should not have to take the law into their own hands. I suppose this is the kind of thing that is happening all round Australia, where there are strikes and demonstrations which often occur because this Government has failed to face up to pressing issues. Even committees of the Parliament have to take decisions at their level instead of the decisions being taken at the conceptual Cabinet level. The Public Works Committee did not want to stop the Wooloomooloo office complex project. We know that its cancellation would mean great inconvenience to the Public Service and to the facilitation of government busi ness and the business that people do with governments and so on. We have a similar attitude to the Melbourne office complex. Some members of the Committee were tempted to knock that proposal back also, because it cannot be accounted for in terms of environmental considerations. It is important for the Government to make itself clear. Is it just going to bring down statements or is it honestly intent on giving effect to these high principles?
I should like to say just a few words about Aboriginal affairs. 1 think, here again, there are indications that the Government has not facilitated proper co-ordination between the various governmental departments which have a responsibility for Aboriginal affairs. I refer especially to the Kormilda College, which is an educational residential college for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. Some 500 pages of evidence were taken by the Public Works Committee in respect of a proposal to replace the existing facilities at Kormilda. Among the witnesses were public servants and representatives of sections of the Northern Territory Administration. The proposal involves the expenditure of many millions of dollars. I should like to know from the Minister - who, after all, is responsible for the administration of the Government’s policy on Aboriginal affairs - whether his own Commonwealth Office of Aboriginal Affairs has a view about the residential college concept for Aboriginal students which is being implemented in the Gove Peninsula area, in the Yirara College at Alice Springs and in the Kormilda College at Darwin. The fact of the matter is that no evidence was given to the Public Works Committee by the Commonwealth Office for Aboriginal Affairs.
I put it to the Minister that if he makes inquiries he will find that the Government is financing a proposal which his own Commonwealth Office of Aboriginal Affairs does not uphold. Here is just one more example of how this Government, in its desperate state, in attempting to retrieve its flagging electoral prospects is just throwing money here, there and everywhere, willy-nilly almost, without proper comprehension and without proper pursuance of ideals and philosophy, to the point where it is becoming confused and is at cross purposes with itself. I make the charge that many millions of dollars are now being spent on Aboriginal residential colleges in the Northern Territory on proposals which do not have the backing of the Commonwealth Office of Aboriginal Affairs. I challenge the Minister to produce any statement from the Commonwealth Office of Aboriginal Affairs indicating its approval, endorsement or support of the Aboriginal residential college concept to which 1 have referred.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Luchetti) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– This afternoon I intend to confine my remarks in the debate, on these estimates to the matter of the environment. It is a rather intriguing study which I have commenced just recently, and to me it is becoming increasingly important. Perhaps one of the most significant national developments during the 1960s was the widespread realisation by the public that the quality of the environment in which we live is declining, that the air and waters around us are becoming increasingly polluted and that much of the land upon which more and more of us live, is becoming increasingly congested with mounting burdens of waste disposal and with growing social problems. This awareness gave rise to a deepening public concern for the protection of our natural resources and for the acknowledgement of our social obligations and to an insistence that some action be taken to reverse these, processes of deterioration.
The responsibility for what has taken place over a. long period of time rests with many men in many places. If one wants to be with it these days the. terms to know and use in daily conversation are ‘conservation’, ‘pollution’ and ‘ecology of the environment’. Hardly a day goes past in our lives when these words do not appear in the Press, over the radio or other news media. But to know how to use these words and the meaning of them one must first define them. The definition of ‘conservation’ is ‘a preserving from harm or decay, protecting from loss or being used up’. We naturally think in terms of conserving our flora and fauna. In preserving these we also preserve our national heritage, our way of life and the rights of every person in this land to enjoy the beauty of the scenery, the landscape and the natural habitat. We all own these. We all have a stake in these, things and we have a responsibility towards them.
The next word to define is ‘pollution’. This is defined as ‘destroying the purity or sanctity of or making foul or filthy’, Immediately we think in terms of pollution of water, air and soil. But we, the humans in this world, are also responsible, for polluting the atmosphere with noise. I am told that the level of noise in some of our cities regularly exceeds 85 decibels. I am also told that this is a level widely regarded by doctors as causing severe hearing difficulties. Some of us are also responsible for polluting our minds with pornographic literature and twisting our minds physically and mentally by the use of drugs.
The ecology of the environment embraces all forms of life and its natural surroundings. It is the study of environments and the interdependence of life that exists in those environments. Some of us may have taken a course in science and will remember the long hours of work over some science project where diagrams were drawn to explain how the plants grew, how the cows ate the plants, how the men ate the cows, and how what was finally left was returned to the plants. This was a simple process which we all understand. But today, with the tremendous increase in scientific knowledge, things are not so simple because the value of this scientific knowledge gained is either not being passed on to the people or, where it is passed on, many of us tend to disregard it. The pace of life which we live nowadays has increased alarmingly. For the great majority of people the tendency is to look for the easy way out for themselves regardless of how it affects somebody else.
Another factor which is becoming an increasing problem in our environment is the population increase throughout the world. Everywhere one sees evidence of a lack of planning for an increase in population. I call it a lack of planning because it has brought us the major problems of increased crime, vandalism, riots, aud an increase in alcoholism and drug addiction, an increase in emotional and mental disorders and an increase in unemployment, welfare dependency and poverty. I reemphasise the word ‘planning’ in relation to the future growth of this country, because as our population increases the people must be housed, fed, entertained and gainfully employed. It is not just a case of desiring increased population because the accepted view is that our country is underpopulated. If we as a country are to become a world power with a strong voice in the management of world affairs we must improve the efficiency of the economy we already have and want, and we must make better use of what we possess. I believe that the size and affluence of a country are not pre-requisites for greatness and progress.
I have mentioned the concern that is evident regarding conservation, pollution and the envirionment. But who is to blame and who will accept responsibility for the situation? We have quite a number of socalled leaders today who persuade people to march through our towns and cities waving banners to declare their right’;, privileges and freedoms as individuals. But how many gatherings of the people and marches have we had in this country that are organised to declare an individual’s responsibility to his country, his family and perhaps his fellow citizens? I can think of only one, and that takes place every Anzac Day. These people who gather and march in protests and demonstrations against pollution blame everything from government and politicians to big business and advances in technology. They tura on a tremendous show of public sentiment. Everybody has a good day. They finish up tired and happily worn out. They have enjoyed the party. Then they all go home, and the pollution continues.
I ask again: Who is to blame and who will accept the responsibility for this situation? The answer to this question, as I sen it, is you and I - every person, every single human being. It is not government or big business that is responsible for the destruction of our wildlife and flora which should be preserved. Government and big business are not to blame for the cruelty, apathy, sadistic rowdyism and disregard for the feelings of one’s neighbours that we see reported in the Press every day. The answer is that man alone is to blame. Once upon a time he could always leave behind the mess he created and move on to greener pastures. Today there is no place to go, no place to run to. We have run out of green pastures. Therefore, I think it is of extreme importance to our future generations that we as a people do something to conserve our environment, whether we do it individually or collectively.
In the Book of Genesis we are reminded of this. It says that God created man in his own image and gave him dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, the cattle and all the earth; over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. He commanded that man be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth, and subdue it. In my opinion man has done just that. He has followed out these orders implicitly. But in doing so he is well on the way to destroying the only home he knows. We must learn that the conservation of our environment must be a joint venture between man and nature if we are to hand our country and our way of life over to future generations in good order and condition. The challenge of preserving this environment may well become one of man’s greatest tasks in the near future. The establishment by the Government of the Department of the Environment is a significant step forward in this direction. The recently announced intention to introduce legislation for urban and regional development is another significant step forward in planning properly for the preservation of our environment.
– I appreciate the sentiments that have been expressed in this debate by a number of other honourable members on the need to preserve our environment and our ecology. Lack of thought on this matter in the past has caused many of our problems. It will perhaps take as long to cure those problems as it took to create them. But I would like to sound a warning. It is not a matter of ecology and environment versus development, but rather of ecology, environment and development. Our trees, waterways and lakes cannot figure so largely in our thoughts that people will not be provided with the services, amenities, standard of living and quality of life that they have come to expect in modern Australia. Therefore we should think in terms of ecology, environment and development.
With good grace on the part of eco.logists. environmentalists, developers and governments I think a lot of the problems can be solved. But at the moment it seems to me as though we are heading for a clash. This has happened in the United States of America, where protracted legal cases arise over many development projects that are absolutely essential for the continuation in that country of the plain, ordinary services that are required. The same thing could happen in Australia unless there is good grace on the part of governments, ecologists. environmentalists and the other people who at the moment seem to be lining up against each other.
It is to be accepted that, the way Australia is developing at the moment, we will require thousands of miles of highways. We will need more sewerage works. We will need to develop our natural resources - extract a greater amount of them from the ground. We will need to provide power so that our industry and domestic life can continue. T would like to give the Committee one example - that of power. Our electricity requirements in the last 12 years have doubled and by 1975 there will be something like 20,000 megawatts of generating capacity in Australia. If our electricity requirements continue to double every 12 years, by the year 2,000 we will require between 80,000 and 100,000 megawatts of generating capacity. So we will have a large number of power stations. VVhere will these stations be put, and for every station that is required will it be necessary to have protracted legal proceedings? Will construction be held up because the environmentalists and the eco.logists do not want them placed in particular locations? If these power stations are not constructed, and we do not get the generating capacity I mentioned, the whole nation could come to a standstill.
When we talk of power we talk of the primary energy resources - coal, uranium, natural gas and oil. Oil and coal are perhaps pollutants. People are afraid of uranium and nuclear energy because of the safety hazards that they present and also because of the waste materials. The provision of natural gas to the community will require the construction of long pipelines. The main pipeline under consideration at the moment is the Australian Gas Light Company’s pipeline, which will stretch for something like 760 miles from South Aus tralia to New South Wales and will require along that length, I would suggest, a width of about 60 to 80 feet of territory. Naturally, trees will have to be pulled down and perhaps some of our waterways will be interfered with. Perhaps in some circumstances the pipeline will have to be constructed over the top of a mountain rather than being concealed. If there is to be a fight every time a development project is undertaken I am afraid we will be in for a long period of worry and fighting, and not development, in this country.
Too strict controls on environmental and ecological matters will create vast problems for governments and private industry in Australia. Mr John W. Simpson, the President of Power Systems Company, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, in America put it fairly well, I think, in a speech he made not so long ago when he said: lt’ we lel ecology become a political football with legislators vying with one another to see who can get the cleanest anti-pollution bill on the books regardless of its consequences; or if we allow ourselves lo become panicky because some freelance writer has prophesied the collapse of our planet, then we are in trouble.
I have taken part in this debate today merely to sound the warning that it is not environment versus development; rather it is ecology, environment and development.
– I am glad that we have had such a useful series of speeches today and also last Thursday week on the estimates for the Department of the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts. It was to be. expected that there would not be the concentration on Aboriginal affairs that might have taken place last year, owing to the fact that we had a debate on that subject only 2 weeks ago. Consequently the speeches on the Department have generally concentrated on the importance of the environment in Australia at the present time. I think it is noticeable that a change has taken place since, we debated these estimates last year. In that debate emphasis was made about the shortage of staff in my Department. I think it is good to know that the Department, with the large increase in staff that has taken place in that period of .12 months, is now able to carry out the tasks and responsibilities that have, been entrusted to it. I pay a tribute to the small staff that 12 months ago shouldered the large burden that had to be carried at the time. 1 think it is important that we have been able to set up an administrative structure that enables the Commonwealth to play its part in the environment scene. It is important here that the Committee should realise the change that has taken place in the policy of the Opposition over the last 12 months. I think honourable members should take, note that when the estimates for this Department were discussed on 13th October last year the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) said:
The various piecemeal activities of several government departments must be lumped together so that the environmental policy reflects the environment itself - a whole and integrated system. The United States of America, for example, has a problem solving agency - the Council of Environmental Quality - and a policy making agency - the Environmental Protection Authority. When the EPA was formed a year ago ;t took over organisations from 6 federal departments-
He listed them and then went on to say a little later:
This is the way it is being done in the United States of America. Similar moves are being made in other federal states such as Canada and West Germany. 1 say to the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson) that we have an opportunity here to do likewise.
It is interesting that only last Thursday week, speaking in this debate, the honourable member made the following statement:
Many countries have tried to set up huge monolithic departments with the power to solve environmental problems, lt is a hopeless and futile path to take.
In fact, the Opposition has completely changed its mind over the last 12 months. It has realised now, as it did not realise 12 months ago, that the path that has been taken by this Government is the correct one in the federal system such as we have in Australia. We have set out to establish a federal structure that works co-operatively with the States and with other departments. This is a policy-making Department on matters of the environment. The administrative responsibilities are handed over to other administrative departments. In the same way also it is recognised that the States have the main responsibility in this field and we have to work cooperatively with them. This was the principle that I enunciated 12 months ago. We have followed it and it has worked successfully. I think it is interesting to all honourable members to note that if we had done what the honourable member for Reid suggested we should have done 12 months ago he would now be saying as he said last week: ‘It would be a hopeless and futile path to take’. The Opposition really has no clear conception as to how environmental machinery should be established in Australia. It is time it woke up to its lack of thought and planning on the whole of this important matter.
Some good comments have been made today, particularly by the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar’ and the honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart). Both stressed the need for balance in environmental considerations and said that we must balance the needs of the environment against the needs of the economy and try to see that the two march hand in hand together. They were not saying that there must be economic growth and that there must be care of the environment but rather that the two can be made to co-operate and not to fight against one another. The Government, through the Australian Environment Council, has established the means by which we can see that we do get this balance not only in relation to matters which are the direct responsibility of the Commonwealth but also in relation to those which are the responsibility of the States. There has been very great progress in the work of the Environment Council. Last week a particularly important meeting of the Council was held in Brisbane at which it was made clear that progress has been made in the field of air pollution.
I take up the remarks of the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins) who said how much had been done in this field since, for instance, the Clean Air Act of 1958 was established in Victoria. I refer the honourable member to a recent report of a document presented to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development working party in Tokyo which shows that the proportion of solid particles in the atmosphere in Melbourne and Sydney has been considerably reduced since 1958. Great progress has been made as a result of these Clean Air Acts which have been passed in many of the States in Australia in the past few years.
I am glad to see that as a result of the announcement by both the Commonwealth Government and State governments of the polluter pay’ principle that industry is cooperating with governments in seeking solutions to environment and pollution problems and that the governments and industry are working together to find better solutions than they have had in the past. Therefore I would say generally that in the field of air pollution, noise pollution, water pollution and soil pollution much progress has been made in the last 12 months. I think the speeches that have been made today indicate a much greater appreciation of the problems that will face Australia in the year to come and the realisation that the Government has played a very important part in performing the task that is facing Australia at this time. I thank all honourable members for their contributions to the debate today.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure, $105,040,000.
– This afternoon I propose to deal with relations between Australia and 2 of oar closest and, one would hope, our friendliest neighbours, Malaysia and Singapore. What has happened over the last few years is that Australia’s relations with both Malaysia and Singapore have been damaged almost beyond repair by a succession of Liberal Party Prime Ministers and by their ham fisted and diplomatically inept statements. The catalogue of offensive remarks and offensive statements by the 2 most recent Prime Ministers is appalling. Let us examine those of the former Prime Minister, Mr Gorton, who in a calculated insult confined the operations of the Five Power Defence Arrangements to a non-existent country that he chose to call Malaya. In one phrase he unilaterally divided Malayasia into 2 parts and categorically asserted that Australia would not assist East Malaysia. It would rather be like the United States of America saying to us that the ANZUS Treaty did not include Tasmania.
The second piece of Gortonian diplomacy was recorded for posterity in a speech that the former Prime Minister made to the American Chamber of Commerce in Brisbane in March of this year. Recalling his discussions with the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, he said:
The Tunku said be wasn’t sure what I meant when I said Australia wouldn’t help. ‘Well,’ I told the Tunku, ‘if you get into any sort of border fight you had better cope by yourselves because Australia bloodywell won’t be there’.
This may be the style of the language that is used by the Liberal Party in its faction fighting, but it is not the style and it is not the language that any country uses with 2 countries such as Malayasia and Singapore which have long traditions of culture and long traditions of dealing with other countries on a businesslike and proper basis.
One would have thought that we had reached the rock bottom in our diplomatic relations with the countries of Malaysia and Singapore, but no, because along came the present Prime Minister (Mr McMahon). In an interview he gave on television before leaving Djakarta he immediately raised the question of how important the Five Power Defence Arrangements were so far as the Liberal Party was concerned. In the interview he said:
There was an immediate, quite vehement response from both Singapore and Malaysia and the Prime Minister spent the rest of his trip in Malaysia and Singapore trying to wriggle out of his indiscretion. It seems to me that there is little wonder that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Malaysia can say that the Labor Party’s defence policy for South East Asia is acceptable to the Malaysian Government. It is no wonder that the Singapore Prime Minister indicated that Australia’s military commitment does not mean a great deal to the Singapore Government one way or the other. This is precisely the point of view thatI expressed in this House. It is precisely the point of view that was vehemently attacked by Government members when I expressed it. But it is the truth because this is what these countries have come to feel.
A yawning credibility gap has been created by the McMahon Government and by the Gorton Government and neither Malaysia nor Singapore can trust a government that has indulged and is continuing to indulge in the wild indiscretions in which this Government has indulged. But not satisfied, it seems, with the almost unbelievable catalogue of diplomatic disasters, the Prime Minister capped previous performances by stating last night that all the Australian battalion was doing in Singapore was to reduce the possibility of trouble between Malaysia and Singapore. Honourable members will recall that this morning I asked the Prime Minister whether he really believed that Australian soldiers should be used as policemen to stop trouble between 2 countries with whom we have friendly relations. In a typical fashion the Prime Minister sought to give the impression that he had not said what millions of Australians heard him say. We are getting a bit sick and tired of flirtations with the truth and dealings with untruth that have marked this Prime Minister. He refused to take up my question about what part of the 5-power defence arrangements authorised Australia to undertake this hapless and objectionable task.
The Labor Party - this is the clear policy of the Labor Party as has been stated time and time again - is opposed to garrisoning Australian forces in Malaysia and Singapore. We find abhorrent the idea that Australian soldiers should be used as policemen in foreign countries. Not only has this Government given Australian soldiers the impossible task of being the fall guys to reduce the possibility of trouble between Malaysia and Singapore. This is a distortion of the role of our own armed forces. This Government must not be allowed to use our soldiers, our airmen and our naval personnel as pawns in its petty Party political game. It has no right, nor has any other government the right, to ask our soldiers to do its dirty work for it but this is precisely what this Government has done.
The statement of the Prime Minister is an afront to 2 independent and sovereign countries. What impertinence it is for this Government to interfere militarily in relations between 2 neighbouring countries! What misplaced delusions of grandeur have led our foreign policy and our defence policy to interfere so blatantly in other people’s affairs? What sort of Pentagon mentality have we adopted in our relations with other countries? This Government’s penchant for military interventionism as a substitute for foreign policy has to cease. It is past time that common sense prevailed, and it is certainly not going to prevail with the present Prime Minister leading this country.
I want to make a couple of observations on the monumental hypocrisy of this Government in its relations with the People’s Republic of China. I take a quote from a Liberal Party handbook published in 1972. It reads:
Countries can, of course, have dealings with each other in a whole variety of ways without the political-legal process of ‘recognition’, which implies little more than the establishment of formal relations through the exchange of diplomatic representatives. Lack of formal recognition will not detract in the future, any more than it has in the past, from our perception of the important place of China in the world and our respect for the individual people of China.
What humbug! If diplomatic relations are to be looked at in these terms, why have diplomatic relations with any country in the world? Why place such emphasis upon diplomatic relations with Taiwan? The whole thing smells of humbug and hypocrisy. We in the Labor Party have maintained since 1954 that we cannot ignore one-quarter of the world’s population. It is our purpose and our intention to move rapidly towards a recognition of the People’s Republic of China. We have heard recently that the Australian Government has not been and is not hostile to the People’s Republic of China. What an incredibly short and selective memory the Government has. Do supporters of the Government not recall that Australia led in the United Nations every movement, every motion and every resolution that came up to have the admittance of Communist China, the People’s Republic of China, to the United Nations regarded as an important question so that it could circumvent a simple majority decision of the United Nations and replace it by a twothirds vote? This was the sort of hostility and it was a continuous campaign. If honourable members read the speeches of the leaders of Australian delegations to the United Nations they will see this compound of hostility being thrown forward at each and every opportunity. This is the hostility that has been a mark of Australia’s foreign policy.
Now the Prime Minister has indicated that it is really the attitude of the countries around the area that will dictate what we do in our relations with China. Let us have a look at the countries in the area. Japan has just recognised China. If I may take up another flirtation with the truth which was mentioned last night by the Prime Minister, he said that Indonesia has not recognised China. Indonesia has.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Luchetti) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I am surprised at the attitude of the Opposition which is bursting to get involved with China. For what purpose I do not know.It does not seem to have given a very good reason. We are getting along very well indeed with China. Why do we want to change this relationship, when probably recognition of China would create other difficulties with closer neighbours and so on? My purpose in speaking in this debate is to refer to the islands int he South Pacific.I had the honour of leading a delegation in that area last year. The members of the delegation were tremendously impressed by the attitude of the people on islands such as Western Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Fiji, their regard for Australia and their close ties with Australia.I think that the view of the average Australian towards these islands, if the average Australian ever thinks about them, would be somewhat hazy. All members of the delegation were impressed with the fact that we have so much in common with those people, particularly those in the newly independent countries. They look to Australia as a leader in the Pacific and as a leader they can trust. They look to Australia for assistance to overcome the difficulties which they have.
I am very pleased to know that the Government has again increased aid to these islands. I think the increase to about $2m last year reflected a 40 per cent increase. The Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) has announced that an amount of $15m will be spent over the next3½ years. This is a substantial increase. The countriesI mentioned have much in common with Australia. Most of them were former colonies of Great Britain, as was Australia. They have a similar political structure. They have an acceptance of British common law. They have many cultural ideals which are natural to their own way of life and which are in common with ours. They have strong cultural ties of their own. They have no divisions amongst themselves. They are strong natural entities. But of course they have economic problems. Their resources are not great. They depend on tropical products such as cocoa and copra. They are faced with tremendous population pressures. They do not appear to have made much headway in controlling their population and for this reason they are heading for very considerable trouble.
As I mentioned, their resources are small. One of the things which impressed me was the injustice meted out to the people by nations which control the great land masses of the world. The resources of the ocean surrounding these islands are not available to the islanders to any great extent. The great nations such as the United States of America, Japan and China are using trawling fleets to take out the fish resources from the Pacific Ocean. I believe that in fairness the fish in this area rightly belong to the people on these islands. We have a parallel in a sense in the northern Atlantic where Iceland is trying to reserve the fish resources for its own people, and I believe she is justified in doing so. It is a small island and fish is its only resource. I appreciate the difficulties. These people have traditional fishing rights and Iceland wishes to extend its fishing limits to 50 miles from the coastline. This is quite reasonable. But I do not want to enter into a debate on that because it is none of our business. The South Pacific area is our business and I understand from the arguments put forward in discussions on the law of the sea that these islands were looking to Australia to put their case for them. Surely to goodness we canlook at the very special circumstances of this South Pacific area - this enormous ocean with its tremendous number of islands. They do not have sufficient resources to maintain their people in a reasonable standard of living. The ocean is rich in natural resources.
However, the Opposition wants to give these people handouts. These are proud people who are anxious to build their own economies and surely the resources of their ocean can be reserved for them, l.et us consider the vast land mass of Australia and our vast plains from which we harvest wheat and o:her crops. To these island people the ocean is like these vast areas are to Australia, Canada or the United States of America which supply great grain crops. So I make a plea for greater consideration to be given to granting these people control over the resources of the .isa, the only area they have to harvest, an area which contains the only substantial natural resource that is available to them. All the nations I have mentioned have great resources other than fish and it is not essential that they fish in these areas. I believe that the members of the delegation which toured the area will be delighted at the increase in aid to these islands which look to Australia. If every Australian could appreciate the interest shown and the sense of leadership given by Australia, the average Australian would be keener to see more money spent in that area. Australia gives most generous aid to other countries when its resources and population are considered. In terms of this populationresource ratio we have a better record for giving aid to underdeveloped countries than any other nation. But we do not get credit for this from our mass media. This is a pity because ours is a wonderful record. But we will get far greater returns for every $1 we spend in this South Pacific area than from every $1 we spend in the international areas to which our spending has been inclined.
– In considering foreign affairs we have to recognise that there is new thinking in Asian countries which amounts to a questioning or, in some cases, a rejection of the belief that the security of individual nations can be protected and national interests promoted on the basis of the alignment of the great powers and the cold war style of confrontation and the containment of communism. In question are those policies that require considerable defence effort and involvement in military treaties or other defence arrangements, often at the expense of the nation’s international reputation for political and military independence. The present international situation is favourable for the working out of alternative arrangements to hostile confrontations. There is a greater awareness of the dangers as well as the enormous wastefulness of continuing military confrontations. It has been estimated, for instance, that the enormous expenditure on defence in 1970 was equivalent to one year’s income of the entire population of the developing countries. In most cases it has complicated national security problems rather than offered solutions to them.
What has Australia’s reaction been? Particularly in the years since the Second World War our reaction to developments in Asia has reflected a preoccupation with the securing of our own defences rather than with the seeking of a deeper understanding of the changing scene and the. developing of better relations with the countries of the region. Our policy in a nutshell has been defence before diplomacy and it has been mostly of a negative character. Treaty relationships usually have been with pro-Western countries in the area and Asians have regarded our efforts as efforts to improve our own defence rather than help the Asians defend themselves. There is a more rational appreciation now of the nature of international relationships and of the strengths and limitations of the expressions of even the closest friendships. In a given international conflict it may be impossible to enforce or invoke a treaty because of the dangers involved or because priorities have changed, substantially weakening the spirit of the original treaty.
It will be contended, of course, that Australia has moved closer to the major powers of Asia in recent years. But have, we moved so very much closer? It could be argued that our policies have in truth been designed to keep Asia away from Australia. Political developments in Asian countries have, of course, been followed closely by the. Government but its paramount concern has been to determine whether Australian security has been endangered, whether communist objectives have been advanced and what defence, measures should be taken to deter a possible threat. Seldom has the Government looked beyond these narrow objectives to encourage the countries concerned to meet these challenges in a more positive way. What should we do about it? Ours is a prosperous and politically stable nation on the periphery of one of the most populous, economically depressed and politically unstable areas of the world. But the image of Australia as a nation aloof and detached is not one which inspires the respect and confidence of our neighbours. To improve this image Australians need to make a sustained effort to move closer to our neighbours.
More purposeful steps should be taken to acquire a deeper understanding of these countries and their problems and to participate with them in their search for greater co-operation, such as a search for a system of collective security which would obviate the need for heavy defence expenditure. A progressive move for Australia would be to assume the leading role among developed countries in providing development assistance. Expanding our aid programme by doubling our present level of expenditure would go far towards encouraging the confidence that is necessary in these regions. We should not be spending 0.7 per cent of our gross national product on aid to under-developed countries. Most of this is being spent in Papua New Guinea. I am not arguing against money being spent in Papua New Guinea; that is our direct responsibility. In addition we should be spending at least 1 per cent of our gross national product to help these under-developed countries to develop and find more secure systems. After all, our security can never be wholly assured while our neighbours are enduring political instability. Political stability cannot be achieved in the poorer countries in states of stagnant political and economic conditions. The gap between the standards of living in those countries and prosperous nations like Australia is widening rather than narrowing. In per capita terms Australia should be setting the pace in the challenging task of seeking to overcome one of the most serious threats to world security - the widening gap between rich and poor countries. If we did this Australian security and commercial interests would be improved. However, in conflicts Australia too often plays a totally negative role. We could be far more active in pursuing diplomatic means in an attempt to search for peaceful solutions. Australia has yet to show any great interest in the efforts of Asian countries to find ways of reducing tensions.
Australia observes rather than participates in such moves. Ceylonese plans for the neutralisation of the Indian Ocean provoked little response or encouragement from the Government. In fact we only squeal about the Rusian presence. The Malaysian neutralisation proposals have received more attention, but the response has been measured and cautious. Clearly Australia could do more to encourage these moves, which if successful would have obvious benefits for Australia. Collective security and neutralisation proposals are presently under constant discussion in most South East Asian capitals, but the few Australian statements on the subject have been restrained, at times even sceptical. On the question of the neutralisation of the Indian Ocean we have repeated American reservations about the technical weaknesses, and even the Americans themselves are beginning to question their own reservations. This serves as an illustration of the negative character of Australian foreign policy.
Our hesitant and conservative attitudes towards such moves by Asian nations simply reinforce a widely held belief in Asian capitals that Australia, despite its claims to the contrary, prefers to keep apart from Asia. It is therefore not surprising that at least 2 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations have rejected a suggestion that Australia be invited to participate in that organisation. Ironically, one of the members against Australian participation, Malaysia, is one of the Asian nations with which we have close relations, or at least so we like to think. One practical requirement of the new foreign policy would be for the Government to play an active role in providing the Australian public with information about the real nature of our international position and the aims of our foreign policy, in order to counter misguided views and prejudices still held by far too many Australians.
– With all respect to the honourable member for Maribyrnong (Dr Cass) I think we have heard a most extraordinary speech from him, because the proposition which he put forward as the basis for his speech was clearly erroneous and the evidence which he put forward in support of it was virtually non-existent. The honourable member’s contention was that Australia deliberately kept away from Asia; that we kept the people of Australia away from contact with Asia and an appreciation of Asia. He, of course, put the blame on the Government for this state of affairs. He said that we like to keep apart from Asia. I just do not know what appreciation the honourable member for Maribyrnong has of the very positive steps taken in recent years by the Government to bring Australia as a nation closer to Asia and to bring the Australian people closer to Asia. So the basic proposition that the honourable member makes is clearly wrong.
As I was just sitting here in the last few minutes listening to the honourable member’s speech 1 merely jotted down 7 points indicating the continuing closeness between Australia and Asian countries. First of all there is the increasing involvement of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Asian countries and the increased number of diplomatic missions that we have. Frequent visits are made by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and by the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) to Asian countries, forging bonds between ourselves and those countries. Secondly, there are the very considerable Government proposals and support for the teaching of Asian languages and culture in Australian schools. Thirdly, there is the enormous foreign aid budget. I do not know whether the honourable member for Maribyrnong understands the extent and nature of our foreign aid budget, but in terms of the percentage of gross national product we are fourth in the world. In terms of general expenditure on foreign aid and in terms of aid following specific catastrophes that occur from time to time Australia cannot be described in any other way than as a generous foreign aid donor both in the extent of aid we give and in the absence of strings which are attached to the aid which we give. I really cannot understand how the honourable member for Maribyrnong could make the comments he made about our foreign aid programme.
Fourthly, there is a very healthy trend amongst private organisations to establish links between Australia and Asian countries. I mention for one the Law Asia
Association. Fifthly, there are, of course, an increasing number of associations of Asian and South East Asian countries of which Australia has become a member. I think in particular of ASPAC and the part that Australia has played in this organisation, particularly with the establishment of the registry of experts. Sixthly, I think immediately of our wider involvement in Asia in terms of a contribution in almost every area of Government activity that one cares to name. There must be very few Australian Government departments that do not now participate in some way in assisting Asian countries and the people of those countries. I believe we can do more, particularly in the field of foreign aid, but with respect to the honourable member for Maribyrnong I think it is very unfair to make the deprecatory remarks that he made about the Government’s attitude and involvement in its relationship with and closeness towards the countries of our region. So I reject the basic proposition made by the honourable member for Maribyrnong and I draw attention to the complete lack of any evidence to support the extraordinary proposition that he made.
The main comments that I want to make are with respect to the speech made by the honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison), which probably exceeded that made by his colleague, the honourable member for Maribyrnong, in its extreme nature, lack of authority and peculiarities of origin. The honourable member for St George seemed to be taking to task the Prime Minister for some statements that he made on a television programme last night. What is extraordinary is that the honourable member drew attention to some comments made by the Prime Minister with respect to some future possible, hypothetical military involvement by Australia in Asia. He completely overlooked the fact that Tun Razak’s proposals for the neutralisation of South East Asia have now and always have had at the very basis of those proposals the guarantee of neutralisation by the powers in the region. He has emphasised on every occasion that I know when he has spoken about this subject that the great powers must guarantee the neutralisation of South East Asia, otherwise that neutralisation will be purely illusory and of no value whatsoever. The Prime Minister merely looked forward to a time when, of course at the wish and with the consent of some Asian countries, we may have a limited military involvement still in that region.
What is equally extraordinary is that the honourable member for St George gave no credit at all to the Prime Minister and paid no regard at all to the fact that the Prime Minister and the Government on this and previous occasions have spoken in favourable terms of the proposal for neutralisation. The Prime Minister and other Ministers have said that neutralisation is a desirable thing. Peace is a good thing. We look forward to peace. We look forward to neutralisation. But it is illusory merely to pretend that you can say: ‘From tomorrow we will have neutralisation. Everything will be fine after that. No guarantees will be necessary. We can rely on the good faith of some countries in Asia which have not shown much good faith in the past, and everything will be perfect.’ This is mere idealism. As Tun Razak himself has said on numerous occasions, you cannot have neutralisation of South East Asia without guarantees by the great powers.
It is about time that the honourable member for St George and some of his colleagues drew attention to the fact that this Government has supported this proposal and has supported proposals that have come from Asian leaders, who of course are concerned themselves about the military activity which has been so prominent in their region. I think attention should be drawn to that aspect rather than to seeking to criticise the Prime Minister for merely pointing out the possible future military role that Australia might play as one of the sub-guarantors of such a neutralisation arrangement. What is more pernicious is that this is not just an instant observation by the honourable member. It is part of a whole range of attitudes adopted by him and his colleagues in the Opposition who would seek to divorce Australia from the region in which it is situated. They seek to take away any substance that might be given to the Five Power defence arrangement by wanting to withdraw our limited military involvement in the region.
They would seek to bring our involvement with the South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty to an end and to convert the ANZUS Treaty to what they are pleased to call an instrument for peace and justice. They will not face up to the fact that it is a military treaty. They will not accept it on those terms. They seek to convert it into what they call an instrument for peace and justice. They might bear in mind that their own youth association, the Young Labor Association, has condemned the Federal Conference of the Labor Party for what it termed putting blind faith in the ANZUS Treaty as an instrument for peace and justice. The Young Labor Association urged that Australia should align itself with the national liberation fronts operating in Asia. That is the real attitude adopted by the Opposition and those who support the Opposition. They would end our defence arranagements on which we and our allies rely. We are parties to these agreements and we should live up to the obligation that that involves. They make a very substantial contribution to Australia’s role in Asia and a substantial contribution to improving stability in the region in which we live.
– by leave. - I wish to make a statement to the House on the agreement reached with Indonesia. I table the text of the agreement between the Government of the. Commonwealth of Australia and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia establishing certain seabed boundaries in the area of the Timor and Arafura seas. It is supplementary to the agreement of 18th May 1971. I also table a map showing the boundary which has been agreed. The agreement which we have just reached with Indonesia is one which should give us great satisfaction for a number of reasons. In the first place, it has removed a potential source of disagreement between Australia and Indonesia, our close neighbour, and has thus contributed materially to the strengthening of friendly relations with that country, which for us are vitally important.
In the second place, the agreement has finally removed the uncertainty which prospecting companies were facing regarding the limits of Australia’s national authority over the seabed in this area. In the third place, it has secured for Australia by far the greater extent of the seabed area in which Australia had already granted exploration permits under Australian legislation. I need not elaborate on the importance of good relations with Indonesia. I will say only that the negotiations which led up to the agreement were conducted in a most amicable atmosphere on both sides. I believe that my attendance in Djakarta yesterday was regarded by the Indonesian Government as an indication of the importance which we attach to our relations with Indonesia in general and to this agreement in particular.
The agreement is a concrete demonstration of our determination to put substance and content into our relationship with Indonesia, as the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) made clear this year in his meetings with President Suharto. I draw the attention of the House to the third preambular paragraph of the agreement which states that the 2 governments ‘resolving as good neighbours and in a spirit of co-operation and friendship to settle permanently the limits of the areas’ have agreed to the articles which follow. It will be obvious that so long as uncertainty remained regarding the limits of Australia’s jurisdiction in that area, that uncertainty would be a factor inhibiting the operations not only of those companies which already hold permits but also of others which might become interested in the. future. The agreement has finally removed this element of uncertainty and has thus given the green light to exploration organisations to proceed in the knowledge of precisely where the seabed boundary lies.
I come now to the substance of the agreement and to its effects. First, it represents a mutually acceptable accommodation of Australia’s and Indonesia’s respective claims to sovereign rights over seabed resources in the area concerned. I have every confidence - and the same sentiments were expressed yesterday by Professor Soemantri, who signed for Indonesia - that the agreement will be permanent. The new boundary is as defined in articles 1 and 2. Second, it will be noted from article 4 that the 2 governments mutually acknowledge the sovereign rights of each government in and over tha seabed within the limits established by this agreement and that they will cease to claim or exercise sovereign rights over natural resources beyond the boundaries now established.
Third, so far as Australia is concerned, we retain the whole of our 200-metre continental shelf. The importance of countries’ retaining sovereign rights, at the very least out to the 200-metre depth line, has been emphasised by Australia in the law of the sea discussions in the United Nations. Indeed, in many parts of the Timor and Tanimbar seabed areas the boundary now agreed is some way down the southern slope of the Timor Trough. Fourth, in the Tanimbar area no existing Australian permits are affected. In the sourthern area, opposite Indonesian Timor, 6 permits are affected. Five of these are affected to a very small extent only and only one rather more extensively. All the areas affected are in the deeper water.
Fifth, the Indonesian Government has recognised the position of the existing holders of Australian permits. These permittees have the right within 9 months of ratification of the agreement to make application to the Indonesian authorities. If they do so, they will be offered by Indonesia a production sharing contract over the same area on terms no less favourable than those contained in existing Indonesian production sharing contracts. If the companies do not make application, or if after negotiation an offer by Indonesia is not accepted, the Government of Indonesia will have no further obligation in respect of that particular permit.
There are other articles, more of a machinery nature. I should also mention article 7 which provides that if a petroleum deposit is found which extends beyond the boundary, and if this deposit could be recovered in whole or in part from one side of the boundary, the 2 governments will seek to reach agreement on the manner of exploitation and the equitable sharing of benefits arising therefrom. This is a customary and indeed necessary provision in international agreements of this nature. I should also direct attention to article 10 which provides that the agreement shall enter into force on the day on which the instruments of ratification are accepted.
Some minor amendment to the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act will be required before Australia under our constitutional procedure will be in a position to ratify the agreement. It is intended that this amending legislation should be brought down early in the Autumn session next year.
Before concluding my remarks, Mr Speaker, I pay a warm tribute to the Commonwealth Solicitor-General, Mr Ellicott, Q.C., who led the Australian delegation in its negotiations. Their successful conclusion owes a great deal to the skill, energy and courtesy which he brought to the task. I also express warm appreciation of the constructive and gracious manner in which the Indonesian delegates conducted their side of the negotiations. The Solicitor-General in his opening remarks at the start of the negotiations said: ‘Good fences make good neighbours’; a saying which I picked up and repeated in answering a question in the House this morning. The SolicitorGeneral indicated Australia’s wish to come to a settlement which was fair and equitable and which represented a boundary permanently satisfactory to both countries. I believe that this has been achieved and 1 commend the agreement to the House.
Bill presented by Mr Lynch, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill gives effect to the announcement by the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) in his Budget Speech on 15th August last of the Government’s intention to bring down legislation concerning child care centres. This Government initiative is a tangible expression of its very real and proper concern for the welfare of children. It is designed as a humanitarian measure with particular concern being directed to those in need.
The purpose of the legislation is to ensure the development of child day care facilities of good quality throughout the Commonwealth. Included in the concept good quality’ are both the physical arrangements and the professional staffing, in the provision of which the overriding consideration will be the emotional, intellectual and physical development of children in child care centres.
This legislation expresses the Government’s recognition of the rapidly increasing proportion of married women in the labour force and of the consequences of this phenomenon for the care of their children. Since 1961 the proportion of married women in the labour force has increased from 17 per cent to over 35 per cent. It is evident that, for a wide variety of reasons, an increasing number of married women are choosing to remain in or return to paid employment. They include mothers with young families. It is known that at the present time over 25 per cent of mothers with children under the age of 6 are in the labour force. Some of these mothers are engaged in paid employment in their own homes and care for their children at the same time. But there are over 150,000 preschool aged children whose mothers, or single fathers, work outside their homes.
Consistent with these developments the Government some time ago established a special section within my Department - the Women’s Bureau - to examine problems relating to the employment of women. Its work has included an investigation relating to needs in child care, particularly the needs of working mothers. Its studies covered developments in the field of child day care in most other industrialised countries. Further research programmes instigated in my Department and elsewhere subsequently indicated the parameters of the problem of child day care. Most importantly, they revealed that child care facilities had not kept pace with the rapid growth in the female labour force during the 1960s, and that, as a consequence, existing child care facilities were inadequate, qualitatively and quantitively, for the growing numbers of children needing them. Not only were there too few centres but in many cases the provision was only for child minding and not for the quality of child care appropriate to the educational, emotional and developmental needs of the young children involved.
Having studied the nature of the problem, the Government established a committee of officers to report on the action required for its solution. The committee examined the dimensions of the problem, a range of possible remedial actions, and various approaches to financing. During this examination the committee had the benefit of consultations with State government departments and with representatives from a wide range of local government, professional and voluntary groups and organisations throughout Australia concerned wilh day care arrangements for children. These consultations revealed among other things, that child care which was beneficial to the child’s overall development was prohibitively costly for the large body of parents, and secondly, that the childminding arrangements that most parents could afford fell far short of the quality that was required in the interests of child welfare. While many working mothers were able to make satisfactory arrangements for their children during working hours, a substantial number were not, partly because of a shortage of child care facilities and partly because of the cost. It became evident that only through Government action could the problems that had developed in relation to child care be met within an appropriate time scale.
In summary, the Government decided that action was urgently needed; action to ensure sufficient good quality child care facilities in the community for the proper care and development of pre-school aged children whose parents or guardians are unable, for a variety of reasons, to make other suitable arrangements. These facilities should be available at a cost that is not prohibitive to parents, especially to parents of children in special need. The latter include one-parent families, newlyarrived migrants, low-income groups generally and families where one of the parents is sick or incapacitated.
It is important to acknowledge that this initiative comprehends assistance at 3 levels - that of the child, of the family, and of the community. For that reason there will be no static approach to the concept of child care. The scheme is forwardlooking and includes provision to stimulate research into all factors relating to the needs of the community in relation to the care of children, and for experiments in various child day care methods. It is the Government’s intention to ensure an ongoing evaluation of both the short-term and long-term effects of the measures which this Bill will make possible.
Before describing the scheme I want to emphasise 2 points of substance. First, it is the view of authorities concerned with child care - for example the Child Psychiatry Section of the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists - that alternate care, provided for young children while their mothers are working, which is inadequate and unsatisfactory, can contribute to emotional disturbance in the child’s later years. Of particular concern is the situation where young children are left in the care of untrained and unsupervised child minders who do not have the facilities conducive to the social and emotional development of young children. Unfortunately, many young children are being taken care of in just such circumstances.
The Government’s initiative is to remedy this situation. Second, the Government’s initiative springs from its concern for the welfare of children of working mothers. The increase of working mothers in the labour force is a phenomenon of modern industrial society. I do not make a value judgment upon it. It is also a fact that at present 25 per cent of mothers with children under 6 years of age are in the labour force. That a substantial number of such mothers cannot make satisfactory arrangements for the care of their preschool aged children is yet another fact. The purpose of the scheme is to meet this existing problem - to help the children of working and other parents insofar as they are deprived of proper child care either because good quality facilities are not available or because the cost is presently too high. The scheme is not intended either to encourage or discourage mothers from entering paid employment.
In summary, the Bill provides for assistance to non-profit organisations, including local governing bodies, to establish and operate centres which provide day care for children of working and sick parents and which give priority of admission to children in special need. For this purpose children in special need are defined in clause 20 of the Bill. The proposed scheme has 4 main elements, as follows: (i) capital grants; (ii) recurrent grants in respect of qualified staff; (iii) recurrent grants with respect to children in special need; and (iv) grants for research and evaluation of matters relating to child care.
In summary, unmatched capital grants will be provided and made payable direct to eligible organisations for: (i) the purchase, erection, extension or alteration of buildings, including necessary fixtures, and land cost, for use as a child care centre; and (ii) the purchase and installation of equipment for use in child care centres. Capital grants will cover up to the full cost of a new centre including land, buildings, fixtures and all necessary equipment. There is no requirement for eligible organisations to match funds provided in the capital grants, and in this respect the scheme is exceptional. The Government regards unmatched grants as the most effective method of ensuring that sufficient new child care centres will be built where they are needed most, particularly in areas of greatest social need.
Provision in the Budget of funds for capital grants in this financial year should enable a substantial expansion of the number of child care places in the community. It is hoped to establish some 50 new centres catering for some 3,000 child care places in the first full year of the scheme. This would provide an increase of about 20 per cent in the number of child care places available in Australia, lt is a significant first step, and the Government intends that at least this rate of growth will be sustained in subsequent years. Capital grants other than towards equipment operate on and from 16lh August; that is, the date following the announcement of the scheme by my colleague the Treasurer (Mr Snedden). Grants for equipment will be operative as from the date the Act receives royal assent.
Organisations Eligible for Capital Grant
The Bill defines organisations eligible for capital grant as including local governing bodies, trusts established for charitable or benevolent purposes, and other organisations that are corporations in the legal sense and are carried on otherwise than for the purpose of profit or gain, as approved by the Minister. However, non-profit organisations and associations that are not bodies corporate will be eligible to apply for capital grants in respect of equipment. For its application for an unmatched capital grant to succeed, a claimant organisation will be required to demonstrate that it is capable of efficiently managing a child care centre, and that it can bear the responsibility of ensuring the centre’s financial viability.
Applications for grants will be considered on their merits. Honourable members will appreciate, however, that claimant organisations will have to demonstrate that they have the organisational structure and capacity to endure, and to use unmatched capital grants effectively. In the case of small, jess structured organisations, evidence of this capacity may include the existence of a larger body willing to act as guarantor, or the possession of sufficient assets to ensure the continued operation of the centre. In all cases, the acceptance of a capital grant will automatically involve responsibility for running the child care centre in accordance with the required conditions which I shall deal with later. Local governing authorities and organisations backed by such authority will be particularly well placed to meet these conditions.
Recurrent Grants in Respect of Staff
There is provision for recurrent grants to eligible organisations to encourage the employment of certain types of qualified staff in specified numbers in child care centres. The Government regards these grants as particularly significant because they should improve the quality of the care provided without causing the cost of the service to the parents to increase. Broadly speaking, these recurrent grants will be determined on the following basis. They will be based on a prescribed proportion of the salaries payable to qualified preschool teachers and nurses employed in centres - the 2 categories of professionally qualified staff regarded as necessary in centres providing good quality care. This prescribed proportion of salaries will be half.
Where there are 15 or more children 3 years of age or over enrolled full-time, the grant will be in respect of one pre-school teacher. After the first 20 children 3 years of age or over, the grant will be in respect of one qualified nurse for every 20 children or part thereof. There is provision for grants in respect of additional pre-school teachers in child care centres accommodating more than a prescribed number of children. The number will be prescribed by regulation. Younger children under 3 years of age have other and more demanding needs. The basis of the recurrent grant in respect of staff is therefore different. The grant will be available for a qualified nurse employed in a centre for every 10 such children or part thereof for which the centre has enrolments.
The number of children in this context refers to children enrolled for 8 hours during the day in a centre. The Bill includes provision for the calculation of the grant to be made in such a way as to take into account the varying hours that different children might attend centres. The Bill defines a qualified pre-school teacher as a person who has such qualifications as are recognised by the Australian Pre-School Association as being sufficient for a preschool teacher. Thus, under the scheme opportunities will exist for children aged between 3 and 5 years in child care centres to receive pre-school education. The Bill describes in some detail how these grants will be paid to eligible organisations. Arrangements to calculate them are such as to avoid undue fluctuations in the receipt of income by organisations, for example, during school holidays when enrolments in centres might be low.
There are 3 points I wish to make explicit with respect to staffing. Firstly, setting of standards for the employment of qualified persons in child care centres is a function of State or local governments. Secondly, the recurrent grant which I have just described in respect of staffing is intended as an incentive towards the employment of qualified staff. Thirdly, in addition to these staff, in respect of whom grants will be payable, other staff may need to be employed in centres to meet such staffing standards as are laid down under State legislation or local government by-law.
Recurrent Grants with Respect to Children in Special Need
The Bill provides for special recurrent grants to enable centres to offer reduced fees in respect of enrolled children from low income and other families in financial need. There have been suggestions from time to time thai attendance at child care centres should be free. The Government does not accept this view, except for the most necessitous cases. The fees normally charged to parents of children not in financial need will bc of the order presently being charged in the community. For these fees, however, children will enjoy in government-assisted centres a quality of care superior to that otherwise available because of the nature of the facilities and the qualified staff provided. Reduced fees will be charged to parents in financial need, varying with their circumstances. To enable this reduction of fees, eligible organisations will receive special recurrent grants.
The method of determining the amount of these special recurrent grants to organisations is administratively simple and straight forward. The basis of the method will be that an organisation operating a centre will receive payments with respect to children in special need. For this purpose, ‘children in special need’ is defined in the Bill - Clause 12 - as children of one parent families, of families in the first 3 years of settlement in Australia, of families where one of the parents is sick or incapacitated, and of families eligible to receive assistance under the subsidised health benefits scheme. The level of the grant paid to organisations operating centres in respect of each child in special need may be up to some $8 per week per child under 3, and some $6 per week per child 3 years of age and over. The maximum rate per hour of attendance per child that may be paid to an organisation will be prescribed by regulation. The actual amounts paid in respect of different centres will vary according to the relative capacity of the respective client parents to pay.
The circumstances of families placing children in child care centres cannot be predicted in advance. Family circumstances, particularly in the more needy section of the community, are subject to considerable fluctuations. For this reason the level of fees charged a family at each point in time must be left to the judgment of supervisors of centres. Supervisors will be expected to take a humane approach in making reduced fees available to parents when and where they judge it to be necessary. This type of flexibility towards the reduction of fees is in line with the current practice in those few existing centres that are presently able to offer reduced fees to certain parents. In administering the scheme my Department will provide guidelines to organisations running centres that should assist them in determining the cases and occasions that warrant reduction in fees.
In a scheme of this nature, that relates to the development and care of children, every opportunity must be made to ensure that organisations assisted can operate their child care centres with compassion and with the capacity to assist the most needy cases as they arise from time to time. At the same time, it will be the responsibility of organisations operating centres to balance their own financial budgets, taking into account the recurrent grants that will be made available - both in respect of staffing and with respect to children in special need - the fees they can collect, and their other sources of income, if any, against their outgoings for salaries, maintenance of equipment and buildings and other current expenditure.
Eligibility for the Recurrent Grants
At present in Australia there are some 80 child care centres operated on a nonprofit basis. It is expected that non-profit organisations operating these centres will be eligible for both types of recurrent grants in respect of those centres immediately the scheme commences, if they comply with the conditions required under the scheme. Such organisations need not be corporations in the legal sense to be eligible for the recurrent grants. In respect of these grants the scheme will come into operation when the Child Care Act receives royal assent.
Funds for Capital and Recurrent Grants
Funds for capital and recurrent grants amounting to 4.8m have been provided for this financial year in the Appropriation Act (No. 2) 1972-73. It is estimated that the total amount for capital and recurrent grants during the first full year of the scheme will be of the order of $6.5m. Over the first full 3 years, it is envisaged that at least $23 m will be expended on these grants.
Conditions Relating to Grants
The Bill provides that before grants are made, the Minister may require the grantee to enter into an agreement and give security for the carrying out of that agreement. The Bill provides 2 mandatory conditions in any such agreement relating to capital or recurrent grants. They are:
The intention of the first of these conditions is to ensure that preference in admission is given to those in greatest need of child day care. The intention of the second is to ensure that centres receiving grants will be open on normal working days and for sufficient hours to cater for the needs of parents or guardians working full time. In effect this will exclude from capita] or recurrent grants organisations which operate centres for limited hours and for limited periods of the year. Organisations will need to operate centres for at least 8 hours a day throughout the working year.
Additional conditions may be included in agreements relating to capital and recurrent grants, such as the following:
It will, of course, be obvious to honourable members that organisations seeking capital grants will have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Minister that a need for the new or additional child day care facilities exists.
Standards Advisory Committee
The Bill provides for a child care standards committee to be established to advise the Minister on the range of facilities that will be covered by the unmatched capital grants to organisations, on the standard of these facilities and on the service provided in child care centres in receipt of grant. In considering appropriate facilities and their standard the committee will, of course, have regard to the standards for child care centres required by State legislation. In addition, this committee will advise the Minister on the comparative merits of individual applications for capital or recurrent grants and, where appropriate, be available to advise organisations who wish to make applications for grants. The committee may also be asked to advise on other matters referred to it in connection with the child care scheme.
The child care standards committee wil! be assisted by committees in each State. These State committees will act as contact points with organisations seeking capital or recurrent grants. Their members will carry on a liaison with applicant organisations following receipt of initial applications and, where appropriate, during the design and construction stages ot new centres, in making appointments to these committees, it is my intention to seek the best advice possible. I hope that it will be possible to include officers of relevant State government departments who can advise on the facilities that should be provided, on the best approach to the development of children in centres, and as to the geographical areas that are in greatest need of additional child care facilities.
The Government intends to ensure that developments in its provision for child care continue to have regard to the wide variety of views that are known to exist in the community on the subject. One practical application of this proposition will be studies to review how the scheme provided for in this legislation is meeting the needs of the child, the family and the community, and to identify inadequacies, if any. Evaluation of the new scheme will be continuous. The second expression of the Government’s concern about future developments is the provision for research to explore the very large field of child care, particularly as it relates to day care, and related areas such as after-school and holi-day care for school-aged children.
The Bill provides for funds lo bs allocated for research and evaluation. The amount will be $200,000 for the remainder of this financial year, and it is anticipated that at least Sim could be spent over the next 3 years. Some of the funds will be used to make grants to suitable research bodies, and some for the employment of experts on contract to examine on -going activities. The scope for research is very wide. The Government is uncommitted as to the eventual directions in which its assistance towards child day care nay develop. Because of this the Government wishes to see the examination of the subject continued. One area that will inevitably attract investigation is alternative forms of child day care such as family day care centres. Also worthy of study is the motivation for mothers of young children to continue to care for their own children in their own homes rather than to enter paid employment. For example, in this regard what is the persuasive influence of appropriate family counselling on mothers of young children?
Another area that will need development is the form by which the evaluation of child care arrangements may proceed. It may be possible to involve, say, professionally qualified social workers or sociologists experienced in the child care field to work in and around the Government assisted child care centres. These people could report to the Minister from time to time on the overall impact of the present scheme. Additionally, they might make themselves available as opportunities arise as advisers on problem cases and situations to organisations running centres.
Another important avenue for research relates to the training of staff for child care centres. There is a view, for example, that new forms of training are required to meet the needs of children in child care centres. The research would need to concern itself with whether such courses might range from professional to short part-time training arrangements applicable to child care personnel. Obviously these research possibilities and others that might emerge during the course of debate cannot all be undertaken simultaneously; thus the question of priorities arises.
There is provision in this Bill, therefore, for advisory committees to advise the Minister on various matters. 1 have in mind that one such advisory committee would be established to advise on the allocation of grants for research and evaluation. lt is proposed that this committee be called the ‘Child Care Research Committee’. The functions the Government envisages for this committee are to make recommendations regarding applications for grant; to evaluate the direction of the Government’s child care scheme when requested and to advise accordingly; to recommend measures for the training of child care personnel; to recommend areas for research and experimentation into important aspects of child care; and to advise on the application of research findings.
In conclusion I recall some of the principal factors to which the Government has had regard in developing the scheme provided for in this Bill. Children of pre school age should not be deprived of proper care and the opportunity for the fullest possible development because their parents are not looking after them at home during the day. The community’s attitudes to the working mother and working wife have changed dramatically in the last decade or so; there is certainly no question about this. It was confirmed again and again during the consultations which the committee of officers undertook during its examination of the child care problem and to which I have already referred. The attitude of the working mother is that her presence in the community is a fact and that assistance with the care of her children is a pressing need. The Government, in bringing down this legislation, is meeting this need. It will be clear, however, from observations I have already made that the Government is not necessarily committed to any one method for achieving this purpose. Its intention is to ensure that the development of its assistance for child day care is kept under close review.
Continuing evaluation of the centra is essential. It is not the Government’s intention to help additional child care centres into existence and then forget about them. The evaluation will reveal what is happening in the centres and what their impact is on the community, on the families involved and on the chilren themselves.
Child care centres will be community oriented. This is implicit in the references I have made to their impact on the community. It is basic, therefore, that the physical conditions in the centres facilitate and encourage the participation and involvement of parents in the care and development of their children at the centres. (Extension of time granted). One responsibility of the Child Care Standards Committee will be to examine designs for centres to ensure that they incorporate physical features which parents placing their children in a centre can use as a community service. More precisely, parents will be encouraged to see the centre as a place to which they can come to discuss the development of their children with other parents, with the staff in the centre and with qualified professional people.
The Government envisages that if a beginning can be made to turn this legislation into reality quickly, we can look forward to an increase of at least 20 per cent per annum over the next 3 years in the number of places for pre-school children that will be available in child care centres. This is worth achieving while research into related developments is being evaluated, lt is very important for honourable members to appreciate that significant though the increase in physical accommodation is, of much greater importance is the provision for improving the quality of child care that will be available to the community in future years. I draw the attention of honourable members to the recurrent grants that encourage - indeed, demand - the employment of qualified staff in centres including staff capable of providing preschool education. The Government is not unmindful of the shortage of such teachers and elsewhere is providing for the support of colleges concerned with their training. Thus, simultaneously, the supply of trained pre-school teachers is being increased and opportunities are being created for their employment.
The Government welcomes the opportunity to develop this legislation at this time. Under it a scheme is being provided for child care centres of good quality. Parents who use them will have the satisfaction of knowing this. The quality of child care is important not only to parents who, for one reason or another, choose to work, but also to all parents because in today’s mobile society, with families living apart from grandparents and other relatives, there are many who have nowhere to turn when they are ill or in need of assistance with their children during the day. Child care centres have to be seen in their proper perspective; they are supportive of the family unit and in extreme cases are the alternative to placing children in residential institutions. I commend the Bill to the House.
– I want to move that the debate be adjourned. But before I take my seat I would like to ask the Minister whether he will make available to members on both sides of the Parliament the copy of the interdepartmental committee’s working papers and reports on this matter so that we will know what we are talking about and so that the Parliament can have the advantage which at the moment only the Minister seems to enjoy.
– It is not the normal practice of this Parliament to do this. The honourable gentleman is very much aware of this fact. In precise terms, the answer to his question is, no.
Debate (on motion by Mr Clyde Cameron) adjourned.
– by leave - I wish to inform the House that it is the intention to hold she general election for the House of Representatives on Saturday, 2nd December 1972. It is proposed to recommend to His Excellency the Governor-General that he dissolve the House of Representatives on 2nd November 1972. The date proposed for the issue of the writs is 2nd November 1972 and for the close of nominations 1 0th November 1972.
– by leave - The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) has steadfastly adhered to the principle he announced for himself on this subject last March - “What I have never done is fix a date until I have made up my mind what the date is likely to be’. We have not only had speculation on the election date, we have even had just as much speculation about the day ;hat the date would be announced, and as that day approached we even had speculation about the time of the day on which the date would be announced. Who ever again will he able to say that the right honourable gentleman cannot keep a secret? Who will ever again say that he cannot grasp the nettle? The date announced - 2nd December - places the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony) in a quite extraodinary position. He appeared to intend to hold his own election on 25lh November - the ultimate gesture of Country Party independence. Certainly one now has a magnificent example of the trust, the confidence, the comradeship between the 2 leaders of the coalition. As the Deputy Prime Minister said: ‘He told me he would not tell me so I did not ask him’.
So now we have the date, and I must say that I think it is jolly decent of the Prime Minister to let us know officially.
The second day of December is a memorable day; it is the anniversary of Austerlitz. Far be it from me to wish, or to appear to wish, to assume the mantle of Napoleon, but 1 cannot forget that 2nd December was a date on which a crushing defeat was administered to a coalition - a ramshackle, reactionary coalition. There was really no reason for the Prime Minister to wait this long because there is no Budget legislation awaiting passage. Every piece of welfare legislation was put through both Houses on the day it was introduced. Every piece of taxation benefit similarly has been put through. The only bills which are long standing on the notice papr are the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill, the Fisheries Bill and the Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Bill. They have been on the Notice Paper since April and May of 1970 and 1971 and nobody really thinks they will be brought up for debate if the right honourable gentleman can help it. The only Budget measures which still have not been passed are the Appropriation Bills (No. 1) and (No. 2). There are uncharitable people who suggest that the delay in passing the Budget formally is to defer the contingency motion in the name of the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton).
The only thing that I would like to say about the date chosen is that I must tell my colleagues - at least 26 of them - that there will be no Christmas holidays for them this year. My Party - both the members in the Parliament and its officials outside - has been ready for this election for many months, whenever it was to be held and whenever it was to be announced. Despite some statements made by Ministers, particularly the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) who is the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and who of course also was not consulted on the date, I may say that Labor’s campaign will not be American style either in method or in purpose. It will be based from beginning to end, through the length and breadth of this country, upon the public meeting when we shall not only talk directly face to face to the people but also answer their questions. Nor will our campaign be presidential. The Labor Party will win this election because of the known qualities of its team and its policies, because it has men better prepared for office than any who have sought to gain office at any election since federation, and because our policies are the best prepared and most thoroughly scrutinised ever presented by any party at any election since federation. It is on these facts and our faith in the good judgment of the Australian people that we rest our confidence on the outcome of the election now announced to be held on 2nd December.
– by leave - Throughout the year this House has been kept informed of developments in Papua New Guinea, most recently when on 31st August 1972 I tabled 2 statements which resulted from constitutional discussions held with Papua New Guinea leaders in late July and early August. The Papua New Guinea House of Assembly has recently debated the timing of self government. On 27th June the Chief Minister made a statement in the House of Assembly in which he said:
The view of my Government is that self government should not occur before 1st December 1973 but that it should come as soon as possible after that.
He moved that the House take note of the paper. The debate was adjourned until the September meeting of the House. On 5th September the Chief Minister moved an amendment to the motion, adding 2 clauses which read:
That the House:
Request thai constitutional changes necessary for internal self government be brought into effect on 1st December 1973 or as soon as possible thereafter; and
Interpret full self government for Papua New Guinea as leaving with the Commonwealth of Australia final powers only in the matters of defence and external affairs which it will exercise with the fullest consultation with the Government of Papua New Guinea.
In speaking to the amendment the Chief Minister also cited internal security as one of the powers to remain in the hands of the Commonwealth Government after self government. After further debate, the House of Assembly on 19th September 1972 voted in favour of the resolution as amended by a majority of 18 (52 in favour, 34 against and 13 not voting). The Government, for its part, accepts the proposed timing which it notes has a degree of flexibility and will gear its own preparations accordingly.
In doing so the Government has been obliged to consider whether a majority vote in the House of Assembly conforms with the terms of the United Nations Charter which requires that self government be brought about in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the people. The Commonwealth Government has followed the policy that it should look to the House of Assembly to represent the wishes of the majority of the people. During my visit to Port Moresby on which I reported to the House on 31st August, I discussed with the Chief Minister and his colleagues how this policy should be put into practice. We agreed that important constitutional changes required a recorded vote in favour in the House of Assembly by a substantial majority of members, the majority being broadly representative of the country as a whole.
In respect of the resolution on the timing of self government, I point out first that there was an interval of 2 months between the tabling of the motion and the vote on it. I also record that in only one of the 18 administrative districts was there no vote in favour of the motion. Honourable members will note that the Chief Minister referred to self government as leaving with the Commonwealth such powers as defence, internal security and external affairs. This broadly accords with the approach of the Commonwealth. Given the complicated nature of the administrative and legislative steps, some flexibility may be necessary in determining the full list of powers handed over by the chosen date for self government. Self government will be formally signified by amendments to the Papua New Guinea Act which will vest in the Papua New Guinea Government Executive Authority which now legally lies in the hands of the Commonwealth. I see no reason why this formal step should not be completed by the date set for self government in terms of the motion just approved by the House of Assembly.
The Australian Government’s policy towards Papua New Guinea has been to encourage self government but not to impose it. Australia’s formal obligations to Papua New Guinea under the United Nations Charter are not completed until that country’s independence. We have pledged aid and assistance beyond that time. Australia will not remain involved in Papua New Guinea except in accordance with the wishes of the majority of the people as represented by the House of Assembly. If we are asked to continue to assist we will. There is no question of Australia deciding unilaterally to withdraw its involvement in Papua New Guinea. In informing the House of the Government’s acceptance of the timing for self government as endorsed by the House of Assembly, I affirm that it is our intention to put our utmost effort into preparations for effective and responsible self government in Papua New Guinea. The Government has confidence in Papua New Guinea’s leaders and their deep concern for planning the future of their country.
– by leave - I take this immediate opportunity to say that the Australian Labor Party supports and endorses the statement made by the Minister for External Territories (Mr Peacock). I would like to express also what I believe is a general view that the Minister has done our country a service in the comradeship and co-operation which he has achieved with the Government of Papua New Guinea. The Minister has shown himself a patriot and a leader in this country’s relations with its neighbour. Only last month, I notice, the publication ‘The Australian Liberal’ was referring to such matters as my Party has been advocating and which the Minister enunciates as ‘hasty and arbitrary independence for New Guinea’. In the first year or more of this Parliament there was more intemperate expression on this subject than on any other. How petty and futile those utterances now appear. The great manifestation of the issue of law and order was to be the Labor Party’s attitude towards the colony of Papua and the Trust Territory of New Guinea.
With the honourable members for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) and Oxley (Mr Hayden) I made a fortnight’s tour of the Territory in December 1969 and January 1970 - the sixth visit I had made to the Territory since my election to this Parliament. In January last year I made another fortnight’s tour with the honourable members for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron), St George (Mr Morrison) and Blaxland (Mr Keating), and with the Federal President and Federal Secretary of my Party.
– Your guardians.
– The Minister is unduly excitable for this hour of the day. I ask for leave to incorporate in Hansard statements that I made at the end of those 2 visits.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The documents read as follows) -
STATEMENT BY THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, MR E. G. WHITLAM, PORT MORESBY, 12th JANUARY 1970
In the past fortnight Mr Beazley, Mr Hayden and I have talked to some thousands of New Guineans and talked with hundreds of elected persons, administrators, teachers and students who will soon be assuming even more responsibility for their country’s affairs. New Guinea is already rich in leadership. The lime when that leadership will assume its full and proper responsibilities cannot and must not be long delayed.
The plain fact is that for the rest of this century Australian governments will be formed by either the Labor Party or the Liberal Party. All members of the Australian parliament have supported the quadrupling of Australian aid in the past decade. While the consensus which existed on New Guinea during Sir Paul Hasluck’s administration has broken down under Mr Barnes, there is no divergence between the parties on this crucial point. It is Labor policy and it is Liberal policy that aid in finance and advice will continue. It is our firm belief that it will increase. It is certain that for the rest of this century at least Australia will be a donor nation to developing nations. New Guinea will long be a principal recipient
To emphasise the solemnity and sincerity of this undertaking, we have suggested that Australian assistance should be made part of treaty arrangements between the constitutional government of an Independent New Guinea and the government of Australia.
Australia would not have been permitted to remain in New Guinea as trustee had she not promised to prepare New Guinea for independence. The governments of 112 nations have just called on Australia to transfer full executive and legislative powers to elected New Guineans. The fact of independence ls just not negotiable. There is not nearly as much negotiability about the postponement of independence as some New Guineans and many Australians seem to assume. Australians who think that the United Nations need not be taken seriously may be more respectful of the United States. Anybody who doubts the seriousness of America’s purposes on this matter is fooling himself.
The Australian Parliament has responsibilities beyond New Guinea. Its primary responsibility is to the people of Australia. It has the responsibility of protecting the reputation and the relations of the nation with all countries. These are the responsibilities of the elected persons of the Australian Parliament and the elected government, and of no others, elected or non-elected. The Australian Parliament cannot escape or share this responsibility.
Therefore it is either misleading or meaningless to assert that the decision for independence is one for the people of New Guinea alone. The form of independence is certainly for them to decide for themselves. The fact of independence has already been decided.
An Australian election must be held by the end of 1972 at the latest. It may be earlier. It is our belief that a Labor Government will emerge from those elections. We therefore felt it obligatory to indicate how a Labor Government would discharge its responsibilities to the people of Australia and its obligations to the people of New Guinea, including those Australians whose families and fortunes are at stake in New Guinea.
New Guineans will have home rule as soon as a Labor Government can make the necessary arrangements with the House of Assembly which will also be elected in 1972.
This means that laws made by the Assembly will no longer be subject to veto by the Australian Government; that all matters affecting the welfare of the New Guinean people except defence and foreign affairs will be subject to laws made by the Assembly alone; and that those laws will be administered by a public service responsible only to the House of Assembly.
Australians who remain in the service of the New Guinea government will equally be responsible to the House of Assembly, but the Australian Government will accept responsibility for their salaries and the welfare of their families.
The House of Assembly will decide the form of the constitution New Guinea is to have after independence.
It is certain that the assumption of an increasing measure of responsibility will accelerate the desire and ability to accept total responsibility. In this sense it is true that the people of New Guinea will decide their own time-table for independence.
Elements in the Administration, and in the expatriate community, are anxious to postpone every delegation of power to the Papua New Guinea people into an indefinite future. Most disturbing is the open hostility in the Administration to those who have, if perhaps in gravely mistaken ways, attempted to assert their rights. The manner in which the Department of External Territories endeavoured to enforce the sale of Bougainville land disqualifies those responsible for the policy from any claim to have the well-being of the people at heart. Batons and tear gas have no place in land sales. This incredible exercise in the techniques of violent expropriation has shaken confidence. It threatens to create deep and enduring hatred against Australia and Australians. It is a factor underlying the Mataungan misunderstandings.
A reasonable minimum wage;
An arbitration system for plantation workers and all labourers;
An end to the shame whereby Australia’s name is associated with plantation wages of $5 a month or less - the worst wages in the Pacific and probably the worst in the world.
In New Guinea every industrial dispute is automatically a dispute between an Australian or an Australian company on one hand and NewGuineans on the other. The Territory has moved to the position where the Workers’ Associations should be treated seriously. We heard from workers’ leaders, engaged in struggles to lift wages aslow as $6 a week, that claims to private employers for wage increases simply went unacknowledged. Even worse, the Administration itself for months on end ignored wage claims from officially recognised workers’ associations. It needs to be quite clear that salary and wage discrimination is the basis of every other form of discrimination.
There has been a clear deterioration in race relations, reflected in the movement of battalions of police to Bougainville and Rabaul. There are more police in Rabaul than in any Australian city except Sydney and Melbourne. Australians in Papua New Guinea are not in their own country. The whole direction of administration needs reorientation. The basis of Australian policy should be discrimination in favour of the people whose country this is. Only discrimination in favour of the under-privileged can reduce inequality.
The Department of External Territories, which rules, should become a Department of Pacific Relations, which advises. Australian officers should not be masters but envoys, not rulers but helpers. The best of them are. There is cause for pride in much done in health, education, communications, agriculture, and public works, and in the defence services. There is no cause whatever for pride in labour relations. This is the Achilles heel of the whole Australian position in New Guinea. It is full of danger for the near and distant future.
Nor can we have any pride in the fact that in the 5 largest towns there is no local government, and no businesses, factories or even taxis owned by locals. In New Guinea commercial enterprise has become synonymous with expatriate enterprise.
We have tried to impart a feeling not only of urgency but of self-confidence in the ability of New Guineans to make their own decisions. There are New Guineans who are well equipped to fill the highest political and administrative positions in their country. Indeed, no Australian could claim the contrary without reflecting on Australia’s record of administration at its crucial point.
The House of Assembly and its members should now be taken seriously as the representatives of their people and treated by all Australians with proper respect and seriousness.
The only thing in which New Guinea is really unique among the countries of the world is that alone among significant populations its people make no final decisions on any matter affecting their welfare.
It is not unique in its economy, in the difference of economic standards between sections of the country, its educational or social standards, its need for economic aid from abroad, its need for advisers, the diversity of its local customs, or even the multiplicity of its languages.
All these matters present complex and difficult problems for any future government of New Guinea.
None of these problems require colonial rule for their solution or easing. In fact, many of them will worsen if foreign techniques, methods, laws and customs continue to exclude local custom, knowledge and experience.
An outside administration cannot teach or impose unity. It can by errors unite a people against it. This is the very situation which Australians at home will not permit, and Australians in New Guinea must most avoid.
STATEMENT BY THE LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, MR E. G. WHITLAM, Q.C., M.P., PORT MORESBY, 3rd JANUARY 1971
This visit has 2 chief aims: to widen personal contacts between this country and the Australian Labor Party; and to widen the debate on issues about this country’s future.
Since my last visit one year ago, the problems of Papua New Guinea have achieved greater prominence in the Australian Parliament and the Australian Press than ever before. More Papuans and New Guineans than ever before have been prepared to speak freely and vigorously about the future of their own country. In both countries, there is a growing consciousness of the identity of Papua New Guinea as a genuine, distinct and distinctive nation.
The basic political question - the question of self-government and independence - is by no means the hardest problem facing this nation. The present and future leaders of Papua New Guinea are faced with far more difficult problems concerning development, education, the distribution of wealth and ownership, land reform, regional co-operation and race relations. Discussion and decision on these matters are now urgent in the very short time remaining for Australian rule in this country.
Despite the Australian Government’s present official attitude a majority of the members of the Australian House of Representatives would now personally favour immediate self-government for Papua New Guinea.
The United Nations General Assembly has again called upon Australia to prescribe a specific timetable for self-determination and independence. The 98-nil vote (with 5 absentions) included all the near neighbours of Papua New Guinea and Australia.
It is an error to suppose that decisions about the political future of this Territory rest solely here. Australia has to decide whether or not she is willing to continue as a colonial power. This is a decision by Australians about Australia’s place in the world.
It is increasingly likely that the next government of Australia will be a Labor Government. The Australian Labor Party will not accept a colonial role on Australia’s behalf. We have many moral and material responsibilities to the people of Papua New Guinea, and inescapable responsibilities for our own nationals in Papua New Guinea. Ruling is not one of those responsibilities.
My basic proposition is that none of the real problems of Papua New Guinea come nearer to solution by continuing Australian rule. On the contrary, Australia’s false position as a ruling colonial power detracts from the ability of Australia and individual Australians to help Papua New Guinea.
One of the most distressing trends in Papua New Guinea is towards separatism. Every year that independence is delayed the more the focus of national identity is blurred and the more powerful such movements, are likely to grow. This is a clear example of how external rule sharpens internal difficulties.
I should make it absolutely clear that the Australian Labor Party has no wish or intention to form a branch or sponsor any party in Papua New Guinea. Political parties in Papua New Guinea must grow in response to the needs and circumstances of this nation, just as the Australian political parties grew in response to the needs and circumstances of the Australian nation.
The presence with me of Labor officials as well as parliamentarians is a sign of our deep and continuing interest in the welfare of this country, as a neighbour nation, not as a colony.
– I thank the House. Perhaps it would be salutary for us all to remember how valid have proved the criticisms of Labor policy expressed in the early months and the first year or so of this Parliament and how Labor’s critics in
New Guinea fared at the hands of their fellow citizens in this year’s elections in New Guinea. At the end of this Parliament self-government, or home rule, is already so well established that by the end of the next Parliament we can expect Papua New Guinea to be a fully independent member of the United Nations and of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Consideration resumed (vide page 2286).
Department of External Territories
Proposed expenditure, $131,754,000.
Department of Foreign Affairs
Proposed expenditure, $105,040,000.
– I would like to say a few words about our foreign aid programme. Firstly, this is a very specialised task and it is one which I suggest requires the relevant amount of study, research and trained personnel. It has been asserted that Australia has not taken these points seriously, except perhaps significantly enough in view of the debate which we have just heard in respect of Papua New Guinea. Let us look for just a moment at the international setting, in very generalised terms I admit. The world is divided quite starkly and dramatically between rich and poor nations; the socalled developed and the underdeveloped or less developed. Some 20 per cent of the world’s population controls 80 per cent of the world’s income. Again, it seems to be commonly accepted that despite the efforts of aid the gap between the rich and the poor nations grows wider rather than the reverse. The problem has been compounded by the tremendous population growth, especially in the developing countries with the development of medicine. Its extension to these countries has helped to keep more people alive for a longer period. It is not just a matter of the birth rate but rather an extension of the expectation of life. In the developing countries the mortality rates among young people are now falling at the rate of 5 per cent to 6 per cent a year. It is stated that in Ceylon, for example, the use of DDT to eradicate malaria has reduced the death rate by 35 per cent in 2 years.
During the first development decade, that is between 1960 and 1970, the lot or economic conditions for more than one billion people hardly changed despite our aid programme. Professor Hogan of the Economics Faculty at the University of Sydney, indicated recently that during this decade countries with a per capita gross national product of $400 or more increased their per capita real product by 3 per cent during the 1960s. Countries with a gross national product of between $251 and $400 per head achieved a growth rate not much different. Those of between $151 and $250 per head - and that is a pretty miserly amount - recorded a growth rate of just over 2 per cent per year. The poorest countries, with less than $150 income per head a year, had a per capita growth rate of only slightly above 1 per cent. That draws attention to the statement I made a short while ago, that despite this decade of aid there does not seem to be any relief for the mass of humanity who live in these areas. It is a case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer despite the earnest attempts to provide international aid. Professor Hogan said:
Thus between 1960 and 1968 the higher income developing countries increased their real per capita income by almost $200 per year while the lowest income countries increased by not more than $10.
There is much evidence of a need for more specialised research into our aid programme, both before the extrusion of aid and after it has been given. In the latter case there is a need for much more systematic valuation of the effects of our aid giving.
I think we ought to take note of what is happening in some other countries in regard to this matter of proper research, systematic research and continuity of research. Great Britain has an Overseas Development Administration which is part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The United States Agency for International Development has a large degree of autonomy under the State Department. Germany has a Ministry of Economic Co-operation. Canada and Sweden have international development agencies. Holland has a specialised aid department. There does seem to be a strong case for Australia to develop such a specialised agency. I suggest that such an agency not only would bring to its use many of the specialised disciplines that are not available in the Department of Foreign Affairs at the moment but for those officers who make a career in international aid there would be a continuity in their career which is not available at present as members of the Department of Foreign Affairs. This kind of institution typically is not staffed by diplomats and general administrators but by specialists in many fields such as economics, sociology, anthropology, agriculture and forestry.
Perhaps there should not be a separate aid department but rather a statutory authority responsible to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. When I speak of a statutory authority I mean something like the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. This body could make use of the kinds of specialists I have mentioned as well as others. Such an authority would give a continuity of membership and it would also help to develop expertise amongst these people in this very important business of international aid and international development. Such a body would have a greater degree of freedom and flexibility. It could make considerable use of advisory panels to help it carry out its tasks. It is also noteworthy that in Canada there is the International Development Research Centre, the Council of which is chaired by the Honourable Lester Pearson who is so well known. One-half of the Council’s members are from Canada and the other half are from around the world.
In the few minutes remaining to me in this debate I will make a quick reference to another aspect of our foreign aid, and that is in respect of overseas students, particularly private students. The whole policy needs re-examining. There needs to be some study undertaken, and I understand that some study on this question is now being carried out at the Australian National University. This is a good thing. There needs to be an evaluation cf the benefits of bringing thousands of Asians to Australia to carry out their studies. It might well be worth examining whether or not it would be a lot better for us to send experts to and to provide facilities in their own country. Many students come to this country for upwards of 10 years. Some of them during that time cannot help being alienated from the kind of society whence they ‘fearne. They, go back- to their -.own people, strangers! amongst them. There is a danger that in such a long stay in Australia ‘the” courses which they may undertake “will become irrelevant to the needs of the countries which sent them to Australia.
There is .also the danger that the courses we provide are- much too sophisticated for the kind of environment in which these young people are to operate. There is considerable evidence that the medical and engineering faculties and social science subjects such as economics are not altogether relevant to the kind of primitive society to which these people must return. Therefore it is suggested that there should be a closer selection of students to come to this country. Probably there should be greater emphasis on people coming here for short term courses and also postgraduate studies that may not be available in their own countries. In my view there should be greater emphasis on technical training in the developing countries. Even in Papua New Guinea which I visited over a year ago I found a tremendous dearth of technical training and of equipment in technical schools and colleges. There is a good deal of scrounging, if I can use that term, of old motor vehicle bodies in order to give some training in motor mechanics. The same applies to the building trades. If it happens in Papua New Guinea it happens even more so in Asian countries, as I found out from visiting them.
In 1971 10,400 private students came to Australia. Australians need to be reminded that in respect of these students who come here Australia bears at least three-quarters of the cost. The fees they pay would not amount to more than one-fifth or onequarter at the most of the cost of educating them here. Therefore we should look at where these students come from. Of the 10,400 who came here in 1971, 6,786 or 65 per cent came from Singapore or Malaysia. Another 1,356 came from Hong Kong. So the vast majority of them came from comparatively well developed countries and it is a strong suspicion in my mind and in the minds of many others that many students who come here are the sons and daughters of comparatively wealthy parents. The question which should be examined is whether we can best help developing countries by giving aid of this kind possibly to those not so much in need of it. I hope that Australia will develop this independent semi-autonomous body which will look after our international aid provisions.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– The estimate for the Department of Foreign Affairs for 1972-73 amounts to more than $105m of which $1,116,100 is the estimated cost of our representation at the United Nations. The United Nations General Assembly is at present meeting in New York for the 27th session and out Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr *N. H. Bowen) has just returned from it. During the session Australia will be elected a .member of the Security Council. Australia is the candidate for the European group of nations and should be elected unopposed, lt is therefore an appropriate time to consider the significance of Australian membership. More than a quarter of it century has passed since the United Nations charter was signed in San Francisco. A gathering of more than 50 countries solemnly signed a document in the preamble of which they expressed their determination to spare future generations of mankind from the ravages of war. They undertook to maintain world peace, to suppress acts of aggression and’ to settle international disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with the principles of justice and international law.
Filled with optimism this group of nations envisaged the development of a system of collective international security, a system that the League of Nations had failed dismally to create after the First World War. At the time of its foundation members of the United Nations even talked of establishing a single united world society. Looking back over those 26 years of involved and lengthy discussions, at the lofty aspirations that the United Nations set for itself, it is obvious that there is a wide gap between the idealistic goals of the members at that time and the realities of the succeeding years. The honeymoon of the United Nations Organisation was short. Stalin’s brand of aggressive communism left no hope that a concensus might be reached between the nations which would enable the United Nations to implement the spirit of the Charter. In the Security Council the frequent use of the veto by the Soviet Union served constantly to paralyse the organisation in matters concerning world security.
As the post-war world shaped into 2 major confronting blocs, the possibilities for major constructive activity by ;he United Nations diminished. The operations of the world organisation became increasingly confined to those areas in which the direct interests of the super powers were not at stake, a limitation which could hardly be reconciled with the idealistic goals underlying the United Nations Charter. The United Nations now seems to have found its limited role. It has become almost solely a forum for discussion, not one for decision or legislation. The record of the world organisation in peace-keeping operations clearly demonstrates its limitations. If we exclude the Korean war in which the United Nations participation was secured only through the absence of the Soviet representative on the Security Council - a situation which is unlikely to occur again - the only major operations have been in the Congo and Cyprus. During the Suez crisis in 1956 the United Nations emergency forces were used in the Middle East when both Soviet and United States interests coincided. But, as the June war of 1967 was to demonstrate, this expedition had no lasting effect. In subsequent conflicts in the Middle East the United Nations has acted only peripherally and with little effect. In the Indo-China conflict - perhaps the most serious issue in international security since the end of the Second World War - the United Nations has played no role whatever. It is a sad commentary on the United Nations that most changes for the better in world security have taken place outside the world organisation.
Sitting suspended from 6.13 to 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting for dinner I was saying that most changes for the better in world security had taken place outside the United Nations. I would like to go on to say that the detente in relations between the Soviet Union and the United States owes nothing to the United Nations General Assembly or to the Security Council. One issue which posed a sudden serious threat to global security, the Cuba crisis, was settled by a direct contact between Washington and Moscow. This style of negotiation has continued. The United Nations has played no role in the winding down of the Vietnam war or in the contacts between American and Chinese leaders. In the IndoPakistani war the Security Council did, after much debate, reach a resolution urging a cease fire but only when the war had virtually come to the end desired by the Soviet Union.
We must not allow the failure of the United Nations to play a significant role in the resolution of world conflicts and in peacekeeping operations to detract from the importance of the organisation. It is important that we should recognise its limitations and that we should appreciate that in the present state of international relations it is difficult to see how the United Nations can play other than its present role. Influence on matters concerning world security still remains the province of the great powers. It is obvious that if the United Nations is to play a major role in any particular issue it will almost certainly be at the specific request of the major powers - a situation which must automatically place the United Nations in a role of secondary importance. It was originally intended that the Security Council should occupy the role of the supreme tribunal of internatonal peace and security. However, for most of its life the Council has been rendered impotent by the veto. One need not reiterate here the United Nation’s failure to act over the Munich assassinations, its failure to act against hijacking or its double standards of placing sanctions on Rhodesia for alleged racism but failing to act against Uganda. Its double standards were also apparent when the People’s Republic of China was admitted to the United Nations because it was the effective government of the mainland, but Taiwan was expelled even though it was the effective government of Taiwan.
It is into this forum that Australia will probably move within the next few weeks. However, it would be unrealistic to expect any dramatic changes. The presence of the People’s Republic of China on the Security Council has meant that the trend will be towards more vetoes, more verbal confrontation and even less agreement than there has been in the past. As is already the case in the General Assembly, not all of the decisions of the Security Council will necessarily be in Australia’s interests. Australian membership of the Security Council will therefore not necessarily mean that Australia will be contributing towards the improvement of world security, decisions on which will in the future, as in the past, probably be taken outside the Council’s chambers. The significance of our membership should not however be discounted. The Security Council is an important forum for debate and for the expression of views. It will give Australian representatives a unique opportunity to familiarise themselves more fully with the present trends in great power relationships, particularly as they impinge upon the prospects of security in the Asian region.
But do not let us delude ourselves into believing that the decisions of the United Nations will always be just decisions, that they will always be moral decisions or that they will always be the right decisions. The decisions will be those of a number of nations, some large, some small, using the United Nations largely for their own political ends. It does much good work through its agencies and it is, as I have said, an excellent forum for discussion. However do not let us fool ourselves into believing that it is anything more than that. There is only one country to stand up for Australia’s interests, and that is Australia. One would like to believe that we could put our complete trust in the United Nations. However, like Oliver Cromwell, who put his trust in God, we should also keep our powder dry.
– The honourable member for Deakin (Mr Jarman) has said that Australia should be concerned primarily with Australia’s welfare and that if we are not concerned with it nobody else will be. I want to speak about a matter which I believe is of paramount importance to Australia and that is our relationship with Papua New Guinea. We noted just before dinner the statement of the Minister for External Territories (Mr Peacock). I believe it was a statement that everybody on this side of the House will welcome. Before very long we will be moving to a situation of self-government in Papua New Guinea. In fact, I think we really have a de facto self-government in New Guinea now. I think this is a tribute to the far-sighted, statesmanlike policies of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) following upon his very much publicised, and at the time criticised, visit to Papua New Guinea 21 years ago.
The present Minister is also to be congratulated on his performance since he has been Minister for External Territories but I think the way was really paved by the present Leader of the Opposition. 1 also think that if the present Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) had been Prime Minister any earlier we may not have reached the situation in which we are today, because I think that the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) was probably pushed by the Leader of the Opposition into coming out in favour- of early selfgovernment and independence - for Papua New Guinea. With the present Prime Minister’s incapacity to make any sort of decision at all, I very much doubt whether we would have reached the present situation if he had become Prime Minister a year earlier than he did, I think that that at least is some cause for satisfaction.
I would like to say something about the military relationship of Australia with Papua New Guinea. I think this matter is of paramount importance because Papua New Guinea is our closest neighbour, because shortly, as I have said, it will achieve self-government and independence, because that independent country may have to face enormous economic and political problems and last but not least, because there are many Australian nationals who will be involved in any changeover that takes place. We must bear in mind a combination of 3 very important factors. The first is the forthcoming selfgovernment and what I call the present de facto self-government in “ Papua New Guinea. The second is the existence of a number of separatist movements within Papua New Guinea itself. The best-known is probably the strong sentiment towards separatism in Bougainville. Some of its people want to form their own independent nation and others rather favour the idea of union with the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. A third factor is the existence of the Pacific Islands Regiment, a regiment which is using Australian weapons, has many Australian officers and non-commissioned officers and is in fact a part of the Australian Army.
The present course of the coalition in New Guinea, I think, has been very tactful and discreet, and I have no quarrel with it. It is endeavouring to do its best to reach consensus. When I was in Papua New Guinea during the last recess I detected, I think, some feeling that the Government was being a little bit indecisive on some things. In the present situation I believe that this would be a virtue. It is probably preferable to err a little on the side of indecision rather than to take precipitate action in a situation which could become quite explosive. However, no matter how politically adroit the Government might be we cannot close our eyes to the possibility of a secessionist movement being in conflict with the government of an independent Papua New Guinea. It is far from impossible that in such a situation the Government of Papua New Guinea would want to use its army. We have to decide on whether we want to be involved, and if so, how much we want to be involved. What if there is a prolonged struggle? Do we want our own type of Vietnam? What are the Government’s plans for such contingencies?
A lot of attention must be given to what is to happen in such situations and whether we are doing everything possible to prevent their coming about. I appreciate that finding the answers is not easy, but whatever happens, if something goes wrong in Papua New Guinea, Australia rightly or wrongly will get some of the blame for it. We must still make a maximum effort to see that there is no interference by Australia in the internal affairs of Papua New Guinea after independence. Crucial to this effort will be the Pacific Islands Regiment, or whatever it will be termed after independence. I question the wisdom of maintaining the Pacific Islands Regiment as part of the Australian Army. Very shortly moves must be made to pass the responsibility for the Pacific Islands Regiment over to the Government of Papua New Guinea.
I know that it is very easy for us to say that we are not going to interfere but in the event of any conflict the temptation for Australia to interfere in the internal affairs of Papua Ne.w Guinea will be very great.
It will have to be resisted and we ought to make it clear now that we will resist any such temptation. How many times have we heard in the past criticism of the stupidity of Imperial Britain’s drawing artificial lines on the map and of the even greater stupidity of Britain’s interfering to maintain its boundaries after independence had been granted, such as happened in the conflict between Nigeria and Biafra?
We have to make it clear that this will not happen in Papua New Guinea. A first stage must be the alteration of the arrangement with the Pacific Islands Regiment. Otherwise we will Kind that we have an Australian garrison on foreign soil. The Labor Party is opposed to such an arrangement. We do not want Australia to have a garrison in Singapore and we do not want an Australian garrison in Papua New Guinea. We ought to move towards separation of the Pacific Islands Regiment from the Australian Army. The Pacific Islands Regiment should be brought under the responsibility of the Government of Papua New Guinea. I believe that Australia’s military presence in Papua New Guinea should be redesigned so that the force becomes fundamentally an indigenous force. Australia should act in a technical and advisory function to train such a force against any external threat. Our servicemen should be supernumeraries and should act only to the extent requested by the Government of Papua New Guinea.
I do not apologise for raising this subject. I appreciate that many of these questions must be dealt with very carefully but our military relationship with Papua New Guinea must be squarely faced and on this subject we cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand. We have to say exactly where we stand. If we do less, we will be doing a disservice not only to ourselves but also to the people of Papua New Guinea.
In the short time left to me I would like to say that I think a very much greater commitment for civil aid to be given to Papua New Guinea after independence should be stated by the Government. I am sure that much of the opposition to independence within Papua New Guinea has sprung from a fear amongst the people of that country that if it is given independence Australia will up stumps and leave Papua
New Guinea to itself. If, that were to be the case there would be. some grounds for apprehension about independence. The Leader of the Opposition has made quite clear the attitude that would be adopted by a Federal Labor government. I would like to see a greater pledge given by this Government. Many Australian public servants in Papua New Guinea feel that they are being let down by the Government and I would like to see a greater measure of support for them. I would like the Austraiian Government to say that it will look after the future of any. Australian who is working in Papua New Guinea. Many people who are uncertain about their future there are coming back to Australia while they are still young enough to get a job here. I hope that this situation will be rectified and that the Australian Government will state quite clearly that it will give continuing civil support to Papua New Guinea as long as that country wants to keep Australian personnel.
– I wish to direct my remarks to the estimates of the Department of- Foreign Affairs. Statement No. 8 presented by the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) on 15th August shows a proposed expenditure of $220m in 1972-73 on official economic aid to developing countries, including $145m for Papua New Guinea. This represents an increase of $34m over the estimated expenditure in 1971-72 and an increase of $19.8m over the actual expenditure of $200.2m for the 12 months ended 30th June 1972.- 1 believe that there is general support in the community for the Government’s continuing programme of assistance to developing countries as an integral part of our foreign policy. Most honourable members, if not all, have, been receiving letters in recent months from supporters of Action for World Development, urging that Australia’s overseas aid be increased to $240m in the current financial year.
The main point to be noted is that the Government’s programme of aid to developing countries is forward looking and flexible. This has been demonstrated during the past year by our programmes of aid to Indonesia and Vietnam and by our ready provision of relief and emergency aid to the unfortunate victims of the IndoPakistan conflict. Our aid programmes are designed to promote the economic develop ment of recipient countries and are based on the priorities that they have requested. With the exception of a loan in ,Papua New Guinea our aid has been given, as grant aid with no strings ‘attached. The Colombo Plan, initiated by Australia 22 years ago, continues to play an important part and is at the heart of our bilateral programmes. It has not only assisted the economic, development of the recipient countries; it has. also helped to build goodwill and closer understanding between Australia and neighbouring countries. Moreover, it is in our own interests to play a leading role in providing strength and stability in this region of the world.
In 1972-73, in addition to further .financial assistance for the building of the defence forces in Papua New Guinea, the Government proposes to spend approximately $14m on defence aid to certain developing countries in South East Asia. Statement No. 8 reveals the very wide field covered by our multilateral and bilateral aid programmes. As time goes on these programmes will no doubt continue to expand. Over the years Australia has built up a reputation as a responsible and reliable member of the United Nations and has played a significant role in upholding the principles of the United Nations Charter.
Unlike certain other countries Australia has regularly paid its dues as assessed and has fulfilled its obligations in relation to peace keeping operations. 1 think it is appropriate that we should -seek membership of the United Nations Security Council for 1973 and 1974. Our approach to the many problems raised in the United Nations has been constructive and we have endeavoured sincerely to play an effective part on the world scene. In the past year the People’s Republic of China has been admitted to membership, but the initial attitude of its delegates and its blocking of the admission of Bangladesh into the United Nations can scarcely be regarded as an auspicious beginning.
According to a gallup poll published in May/ June 1972 the Australian people are closely divided on the China problem. It is reported that 53 per cent are in favour of recognising the Peking Government and 51 per cent are in favour of the continued recognition of Taiwan. The majority views expressed were ‘It is a separate country’ and ‘We cannot go back on our policy’. It is true, as the, honourable member for Deakin (Mr Jarman) said earlier, that the United Nations was founded in an atmosphere of high hope after World War II. Unhappily that high hope has not been fulfilled. Some of the United Nations agencies certainly have done valuable work, as the honourable member for Deakin has said. The General Assembly does at least provide a common meeting ground and a common forum for many nations of the world, but there are some aspects of the United Nations that are far from reassuring. Its financial position is most unsatisfactory and the double standard that it applies in” international affairs is, to say the least, deporable.
Clearly there is one standard that the United Nations applies in relation to the communist and other totalitarian countries and an entirely different standard it applies with regard to democratic and other noncommunist countries. There is a general readiness to denounce so-called racism. Ironically enough, this is a word which does not appear in the Oxford Dictionary. I take it that what they mean is racialism. Yet there does appear to be no denunciation of the heartless, ruthless expulsion by Uganda of 80,000 Asians from that country, including 23,000 who thought that they had acquired Ugandan nationality. The only really helpful move comes from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who has indicated that these 23,000 Asians would qualify lor United Nations assistance. The unjust discrimination against Jews in the Soviet Union is another instance of this double morality, because it is apparently ignored by the United Nations. Unless these double standards are abandoned-
– What has your Government said about this?
– Is the honourable member in favour of it? The honourable member will have an opportunity of expressing his views and I will be very interested to hear what he says. I repeat what I said: The unjust discrimination against Jews in the Soviet Union is just another instance of this double morality, because apparently it is ignored by the United Nations. Unless these double standards are abandoned the effectiveness of the United Nations as an instrument of true peace and understanding amongst nations must fall far short of earlier expectations. The use of the, veto at a recent Security Council meeting in relation to Middle East violence and terrorism has also been a big disappointment and has unhappily demonstrated once again the patent defects of the United Nations as a world peace-keeping organisation.
– I want first to say something about the estimates for the Department of Foreign Affairs if only because they do not include any appropriation whatsoever for educating the Australian people further in the need for aid for developing countries. I take this opportunity of paying tribute to the World Council of Churches and also the Roman Catholic Church for the sums that they have appropriated to build up the Action for World Development programme and of saying how valuable I think it has been in our community. The fact is that I have a question on notice concerning my belief that the Australian Government should be assisting in this work. The first part of my question reads:
Did a General Assembly Meeting of the United Nations in New York in 1970 adopt Resolution 2626 (XXV) proclaiming the Second United Nations Development Decade starting from 1st January 1971 and an International Development Strategy for the Decade?
Of course, frankly I can answer my own question. The answer is yes, this was adopted. The second part of my question reads:
Did clause 84 of the Strategy state that an essential part of the work during the Decade will consist of the mobilisation of public opinion in both developing and developed countries in support of the objectives and policies for the Decade and that governments may give consideration to the establishment of new national bodies or to strengthening the existing ones designed to mobilise public opinion?
The answer again is yes, this was adopted. The third part of my question reads:
Did Australia announce that it fully supported the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade.
The answer to that question also is yes. By answering the question I am doing the work for the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Bowen). Then we come to the crux ot the matter. The fourth part of my question reads:
If so, (a) what action has the Government taken to honour its obligations under clause 84 of the Strategy-
I am afraid that the answer to that will be that the Government has not taken any action whatsoever. The fourth part continues:
We have seen a very nice report brought down in this chamber. It is a glossy, well prepared report but that report has been laid on the table of this chamber with a pretty dull thud and without much influence on public opinion in this country. Part 4 of my question continues: and (c) has consideration been given to establishing a national body to mobilise opinion or to strengthen an existing body which does this work?
I am interested in this part of the question - I do not know the answer - because I believe that the Government should have given this sound consideration and it should be helping the Action for World Development programme. 1 have learned that this programme is supposed to continue for another 2 years. The programme needs the support of government. Our own Government has voted at the United Nations in favour of this particular resolution. Part of the resolution was that we should be mobilising public opinion in this way. I trust that the Government will turn its mind to this matter. I wanted to say these few words in this debate before moving on to the Department of External Territories.
I echo the words of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and also the honourable member for Kingston (Dr Gun) in congratulating the Minister for External Territories (Mr Peacock) on the job that he has done since taking over this portfolio. I think that if the Minister were fair, and if this were not an election year he in turn would pay tribute to the Leader of the Opposition for the wonderful job he did in January 1970 when he visited Papua New Guinea. Indeed, any objective observer would realise that the visit by the Leader of the Opposition created the catalyst through which all the splendid developments that we now see taking place in Papua New Guinea have come. I repeat that the visit by the Leader of the Opposition created that catalyst. It is to the credit of the Minister that he accepted the challenges that were laid down at that time and that we have achieved a development of the policy in the way that we .ire now seeing it.
There are 27 Commonwealth departments and I think we could agree that in 26 of those departments there is a great need for a change of outlook. The Department of External Territories is the one exception that proves the rule. The change came with the new Minister and it is very stimulating for those of us who have been able to visit that country to see what has happened in Papua New Guinea. Having said that, that is the honey and now comes a bit of the salt, because I also support what the honourable member for Kingston said about the position of the Army in that country. Let me make it clear to the Committee that at the moment about $2Sm of the Australian taxpayers’ money is being spent on the defence resources in Papua New Guinea. I am not going to pass judgment on whether this is a correct sum and I am not going to pass judgment on how this money is being spent in Papua New Guinea other than to say that it is my belief that it should be spent through the Department of External Territories and not directly through an appropriation to the Department of the Army. I need not linger on this, because I know the Minister’s answer in a previous debate has been that it is our obligations under our United Nations treaty relating to New Guinea in particular, which make it necessary for this sum to be spent directly from Australia. 1 do not entirely accept this argument, because I believe that we could very well delegate our responsibilities for defence and, indeed, to an extent for foreign affairs, to the Administrator in Papua New Guinea, His Honour Mr Les Johnson. I believe that he could have these powers delegated to him by the Minister hers and although, in fact, of course this would mean that Mr Michael Somare and the Administrator’s Executive Council would not de jure be making the decisions in this sphere, in practice de facto they would be making those decisions. I also realise that the Minister has gone some way towards this. Mr Michael Somare is now a defence spokesman. I am sure there is a lot of consultation on these matters between the Administrator’s Executive Council, the Administrator and, indeed, the Minister foi External Territories. In my view it would be a great improvement if we went one stage further and delegated these powers to Papua New Guinea and appropriated this $25m through the estimates for tha Department of External Territories. J feel it would then be clearer that it would be the Papua New Guinea Government itself - Mr Michael Somare and his Cabinet - which would decide whether this money should be spent on defence. We do not want to take the S25m away from the Territory. It needs it. But the Government of Papua New Guinea may prefer to spend some of it in another way, or it may consider that it needs more defence and spend more of the appropriation going through the Department of External Territories on defence.
I draw the Minister’s attention to the $40m or thereabouts being appropriated directly from Australia for what I call marginal salaries for expatriates in the Territory. I believe that, although there was good reason a year or two ago why this money should be seen to be coming from Australia rather than through the Department of External . Territories, that reason has now gone. Recently Mr Michael Somare said that he believed that there should not be more than 3,000 expatriates, or Australians, working in the Papua New Guinea Administration, if I understood him correctly. He has made this decision. There is now no excuse for this $40m not forming part of the appropriation made through the Department of External Territories. Indeed, as part and parcel of this should go a decision of this Government to provide a reasonable employment security scheme to those people who are surplus to requirements. Australia has one of the most sophisticated Public Service organisations in the world. I believe that we have made a mistake in foisting on to Papua New Guinea a similarly sophisticated Public Service establishment. I believe that the first step has now been taken to see that the Public Service establishment in Papua New Guinea is not so sophisticated or expensive. It is time we welded this in with a proper employment security scheme for those Australians who now have to return to this country.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I was interested to hear the remarks of the honourable member for Kingston (Dr Gun). He talked about the situation in Papua New Guinea and brought to our attention some of the very real changes which will occur in this area of our immediate environment. I should like to extend the situation and talk about the South ‘East Asian area. I believe that this area is probably the most exciting, in terms of changes and potential for the future, of any area in the world. In my view the opportunities are enormous and the difficulties are enormous, and I believe very sincerely that Australia has a very great part to play in the future organisation and the future happenings in this area.
There is no doubt that in the last 5 to 7 years the situation in South East Asia has changed dramatically. As we know, the British military presence in this area has diminished to a very great extent. The British are becoming very concerned with their entry into the European Common Market. Whilst their economic influence in our region remains very Strong there can be no argument, in my view, that the absolute military security which they once presented for us is no longer there. The United States, whilst filling the vacuum created by the withdrawal of Britain for some time, over the last few years has shown a marked change pf attitude towards its foreign policy. The Nixon doctrine, as we all know, placed a very much greater emphasis on the need for countries to maintain to a much greater extent the responsibility for their own defence.
I believe that the visit of President Nixon to Peking earlier this year in itself had a very great effect on the quickening pace of change in South East Asia. One of the areas in which it had a particular effect - the country in which it had perhaps the greatest effect - was Japan. Everybody is tremendously preocupied with China. There is no doubt that a country of more than 800 million people has a certain magnetic attraction. But let us not forget for a moment that we should not be deluded into thinking that China will become a great trading nation in the near future. This simply will not happen. Anybody who thinks that simply by recognising China Australia will avail itself of vast trading opportunities just does not know the facts. However, of course, the position of China is one of the imponderables in the area.
In this context I mention the effect President Nixon’s visit had in helping to bring about to a much greater degree the emergence of China into the concert of nations. The effect on China was not as strong as it was on Japan. I regard Japan as a country to which everybody in the South East Asian area should look for all sorts of developments in the future. We can see these changes occurring very rapidly. The previous Prime Minister of Japan, in my view, retired prematurely following the visit of President Nixon to Peking. He was replaced, not in my view, by his chosen successor, but by the present Prime Minister of Japan who in my view has adopted a very different foreign policy for Japan.
We have seen already the very quick movements which have taken place between Japan and China. I noticed today a newspaper report which stated that the Japanese Parliament had doubled Japan’s military expenditure. There is very little doubt in my mind that in the next 5 to 7 years Japan will devote an increasing proportion of its vast economic resources to military expenditure. This is not necessarily bad. J am particularly hopeful that Japan will play a much more significant part in the political life of the South East Asian area. I do not think that it is realistic to suppose that a nation should continue as an economic giant and a power pigmy. 1 think this situation must change.
The position of Russia, of course, is open to a lot of conjecture. I believe that the Indo-Russian entente will have a very great influence on the patterns of power shifts which will take place in our region. We can see that being offset to some extent by the Chinese relationship with Pakistan. Taiwan is a country which enjoys, to my mind, a somewhat peculiar situation. It is always dangerous to speculate about the future, but I see 2 possibilities. I do not see them really taking place until the present situation of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek resolves itself. I think Taiwan under his successor will be a very different place. It could move gradually towards incorporation within China or alternatively the Taiwanese - as opposed to the Chinese on Taiwan - could assert their independence and say that they have no particular wish 10 become absorbed within China and in fact could work towards becoming an independent nation. These, very briefly of course, are some of the imponderables in our region at the moment.
One might ask what this has to do with Australia. We are here and I think that our background and our present economic and political stability place us in a very real position of influence simply because we do not have a history of violent antipathy towards any of the groupings within this area of the world. We do not have the history of conflict that exists between various of the groups within South East Asia. That has put us in a peculiarly strong position. I believe that we can and should utilise this unique position to act as an honest broker, as a trusted ally, as a country that has a very real interest in strengthening and preserving the economic and political stability of the region. It is only through the preservation and strengthening of the economic and political stability of the region that real progress can be made.
In the time available I want to mention briefly something that has occurred over the last 2 days which I believe has not been stressed sufficiently. I refer to the agreement reached between Australia and Indonesia with respect to the sea boundaries between the 2 countries. It is surprising that the media have not placed a greater emphasis on what I regard as a truly historic decision achieved with a minimum of rancour. Who could possibly have expected this as little as 7 years ago. It is a very real tribute to the officers of the various departments who have taken part in the negotiations and it is a very real tribute to the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) and to Australia as a whole that this decision has been made. Similar decisions have been the cause of major international conflicts particularly in respect of sea boundaries. Today sea boundaries have assumed even greater importance because of the doubts and the unresolved questions about sovereignty over sea beds. I think that the officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Minister deserve the highest possible credit and the highest possible praise for making what I regard as a very major breakthrough in terms of settling possible areas of dispute between Indonesia and ourselves.
– Order- The honourable member’s time has expired.
– 1 would like to . take «the opportunity during this debate, in the short time of 10:-minutes allowed, to’ say ‘a few words about the problems being presented by what I see as- the’ inadequacies of foreign aid, particularly when I consider the activities and the good work being done at the moment by the Action for World Development movement. The Action for World Development movement came into existence as’ the brainchild of the World Council of Churches and the Catholic “Church. It has existed primarily as a lobby group concerned with “petitioning governments, making its views known and putting itself forward as the conscience of the developed countries of the world as far as the problem of poverty in the under-developed countries is concerned.
Let me start by quoting from an introduction to the book ‘The Challenge of World Poverty’ by Gunnar Myrdal. The introduction was written by . Francis O. Wilcox -who is probably well known as the Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies at Washington in the United States of America. The introduction was written at the end of 1969, so it is a little dated. He said:
As we move into the 1970s, 2 great problems stand out above all others: (1) how the world community can avoid the kind of conflicts that might lead to all-out nuclear war; and (2) how we can utilise world resources so that mankind may be able to meet the urgent challenge of poverty and then move on to better things.
Professor Wilcox went on to add:
The sad truth is that we have not made very much progress on either of these fronts. On the economic side, there has been a great deal of talk but not nearly enough capital for development purposes. . . . Ten years ago the United Nations declared the 1960s the Decade of Development.
The problem that was posed by the learned gentleman seems to be still with us. If we analyse the history of aid from developed countries to under-developed countries we do not have a very pretty picture in terms of proper motives or altruism.
It is not very difficult to cast one’s mind back to the end of the Second World War and recall Marshall Aid. Marshall Aid was poured into Europe in particular and was primarily intended as a political weapon to contain communism. .It is true that it helped to put Europe on Its feet, and it was -successful in achieving both ends. But if would be a mistake to confuse the altruism” that is sometimes identified with Marshall Aid with the prime political purpose it was intended to serve. The history of foreign aid can’ be traced since that time. It. does, not have an earlier history. The movement of men, materials and wealth to and from the developed and the undeveloped countries before the Second World War was mainly a matter of what could be called the imperialistic and neoimperialistic systems. When foreign aid came into existence after the Second World War it was primarily intended to achieve a political aim. The Russians gave steel mills to the Indians. We poured money in here and there wherever we thought it would serve our own selfish interests. If the recipients benefited, no harm was done.
But let us not fool ourselves: We were thinking of ourselves. That can be seen in the preference given to bi-lateral types of aid as opposed to multi-lateral types of aid. France - it is one of the countries that exceeds the Australian contributions - poured its aid into Tunisia and the exFrench colonies. The Netherlands -in a different way did the same sort of thing. That is another country that exceeds Australia’s contributions. We did exactly the same thing in Papua New Guinea. I am not really suggesting that this should not be done, because we are all human beings, but I think we do ourselves a disservice when we put forward the idea that we are doing it because we really want to help that country for its own sake. We do not, except insofar as its improvement benefits us.
When we examine the failings of the foreign aid schemes of the world we observe the waste, the inefficiency and, in particular, the wealth that has been given to corrupt regimes and governments in under-developed countries irrespective of how they used that aid. One sees the same situation developed to the stage of being a caricature, because then it really is wasted and it only perpetuates a regime that foists itself on the people of that particular area. We must learn to realise, as Wendell Willkie once said, that we need one world or a global village and to rely more on the multi-lateral agencies even if, when contrasted with our own narrow national interests, we say: They may not spend the money. They may not give the aid Li the interests of Australia in particular.’ The United Nations agencies might well say that it is better to put the Australian contribution into area X irrespective of whether area X impinges on Australia’s national interest. Surely that is the sophisticated and the civilised way of doing things. Yet we still cling to the old way.
What I am trying to say can be put another way. If I am correct in suggesting that we give our aid to benefit ourselves we fail to give aid to those areas of greatest need where it does not help us. I think there will be general agreement from the Liberal Party, the Country Party and the Labor Party that excessive population is one of the world’s great problems. The United Nations has a development programme and has formed a body called the United Nations Fund for Population Activities which is designed to finance and subsidise family planning groups in underdeveloped countries. This in itself reflects the great need there is to somehow stop the population explosion, put a blanket over it or slow down the level of population in underdeveloped countries so that the ever widening gap between the developed countries and the undeveloped countries can be bridged.
The United Nations Fund for Population Activities became fully operational in 1970. The Australian Government has been lamentable in its complete neglect and rejection of this body. We have given nothing to it. We stand out virtually like a sore thumb among the developed countries of the world in this respect. A target figure of $15m was first set out for this body. The figure was revised in 1971 and became $25m. The Government of the United States has made a contribution of $12.5m. Countries which have contributed to this body include Denmark, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, India, Morocco, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Singapore, the United Kingdom and so on. I could give an ever increasing list of developed and underdeveloped countries that have made a contribution to this all-important fund which operates in a field where many people think the real solution to the problem lies. Yet Australia does nothing. I am suggesting that the reason Australia does nothing is because no immediate return to Australia is seen.
– What nonsense.
– That must be right.
– That is the silliest remark I have heard you make for a long while,
– Well, the honourable member is wrong. This shortsighted Liberal-Country Party coalition Government can see no mileage in it for itself, so it gives nothing at all.
Let me finish on this note: The honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds) quoted with approval the suggestion that some body like the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation be set up to co-ordinate this sort of thing and speak with the other nations that have statutory bodies such as the British, the Canadians and the Americans and to work through the United Nations. We have nothing like that. Our Government refuses to have anything to do with such a proposition. The only party which has anything to say on this subject is the Australian Labor Party. It is a firm plank in its policy to do just that very thing - to reorganise the administration and to establish a mutual co-operation agency. I would like to finish my speech with a quote from Mr Robert McNamara, who is well known as an ex-Defense Secretary of the United States and who is now a Chairman of the World Bank. He said:
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I am sorry that we did not hear the quotation from the honourable member for the ACT (Mr Enderby) who has just spoken. I can only hope that the quotation he missed giving us was more appropriate to the subject of aid than his speech was. I think we should bear in mind when we talk of aid given by the large European and developed countries that the aid given by Australia is in the form of direct aid and that the aid given by the large European developed countries is in the form of credit, loans and tied aid right along the line. Talk to Asian countries, talk to African countries or talk to any country that has received aid from Russia, for example. Talk to the Indonesian’s and see what they think of the aid they received from the eastern European countries. It is certainly a strange story.
While we are talking about quotes, let me quote what our Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) said is really the main purpose of Australian aid. It is strange that honourable members from the other side of the House are interjecting. The Prime Minister said that the purpose of the Australian aid programme is:
To assist with the economic development of other countries. We do not want recipients to tell us of their everlasting gratitude and friendship for Australia. We do not use it as a substitute for trade promotion. Our aid should always maintain the primary characteristic of being humanitarian and moral.
That is the policy of this Liberal-Country Party Government in the field of aid. If some members of the Opposition had stopped to talk to some of the people of the Asian countries around which they have traipsed about what they think of our aid programmes, they would get a reaction favouring Australia’s policy in regard to aid. They would be told the truth about the aid that comes from some of the European countries. One only has to go to the suburbs of Djakarta to see the rotting machinery that has been left there by the Russians. One need only go to the Indian sub-continent to see some of the other aid that has been given by western countries and which is lying rotting on the ground.
I was not going to talk about aid tonight; I intended to talk about the South Pacific. But I think we should bear in mind that we are talking about these estimates. We are talking about the appropriation that is being sought by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Appropriation Bill (No. 1). I invite all honourable members on both sides of the Chamber to look at page 43 of the Bill that we are discussing. They will see that the aid for which the approval of the House is being sought represents an increase of nearly $7m over the previous year.
– That does not convey anything much.
– It does not convey anything to the honourable member for Sturt, but it does convey a lot to the countries that will receive this untied aid from Australia. Let us look at some of the things.
– Let us look at the percentage.
– I will give the honourable member time to work out the percentage. Let us look through the actual figures.
– How much time is there?
– It may be a bit much, but I gave him the offer. I can yell louder than the honourable member if I want to. We see from the Bill that special aid to Indonesia is to go up from $9m to S 12m a year. We see that the South Pacific aid programme, on which I was hoping to speak tonight, moving from Sim to $1.6m. We see every conceivable area of aid being increased and we do not see any of it tied to Australian credits or to Australian manufacturers. It is not tied. This is aid, as declared by the Australian Prime Minister - the Prime Minister who I am sure will lead us to a very resounding victory on 2nd December.
I do not like to be political in an Estimates debate because this is far too serious a matter to be political about. I think the reality of our aid programme has been that it is not political; it has been related to countries that need aid, which is given in the form that they have wanted it. If we go to Nepal, Bhutan and some of the small countries of the world we will find that they have Australian aid. What possible political advantage is there in Australia giving aid to these small countries? There is none. This Government is giving aid for humanitarian purposes. I suppose there are many honourable member from both sides of the chamber who receive many letters, deputations and representations at the present time about the level of our aid programme. They all admit that the level of our aid programme has been solid and good and high, and they say it should be higher. This is desirable; of course it should be higher. But let us not overlook the fact that the community in Australia admits to the success of our aid programme and commends the Government for it. The increased aid to the South Pacific and to Indonesia, which has not as yet been included in these estimates, is further evidence of the Australian LiberalCountry Party Government’s plan and intention to continue increasing its aid to countries less fortunate than Australia, and will continue to do this for as long as it is in government - and that will be for a very long time.
– That is 10 or 15 years.
– I am sure that the honourable member for Mitchell will be here in 10 or 15 years time.
– He is 83 now.
– Gladstone was even older. I was going to mention the fact that our aid to the South Pacific area concerns mainly training programmes. The great things we are doing in the South Pacific area relate to training programmes and one of the surprising things that I found when I visited Fiji on behalf of the Government in July was that nearly one-half of the training programmes related to administration programmes. Of course, we should be looking more towards the South Pacific area. 1 believe that as a Government we are. I believe that the aid we have been giving to Papua New Guinea has been of great assistance. Along with everybody on this side of the House who has shown a keen interest in the development and the sane progress of Papua New Guinea and the announcements made tonight, I think I must agree that Australia and Papua New Guinea will have to look more towards the South Pacific area than they have as yet done, because the South Pacific area is part of an area in which the political and constitutional change is dynamic. It is to Australia’s - what shall I say - not advantage but its Australia’s responsibility-
– Everlasting credit.
– Thank you. That is a good phrase.
– Who wrote that speech for you?
– Not the same person as writes your speeches, I am glad to say. Mr Cameron cannot write speeches for me. I think Australia’s performance in the South Pacific is something of which we can be justly proud, but above ali we have had an aid programme for which every Australian can thank *r Federal Liberal-Country
Party Government because it : has taken such a humanitarian and moral attitude in relation to it.
– As the honourable member for Cook (Mr Dobie) sits down one almost feels as though we ought to send around the plate.
– Have, you ever contributed?
– Yes, I have contributed in terms of humanity and tolerance tonight in listening to you. The honourable member for Cook asserted that Australia does not tie its aid. It is my understanding that some of our aid - not a very large proportion of it - in fact is tied. The honourable member said, of course, that our aid is non-political. For instance, some years ago I think we were part of the voting pattern that prevented North Vietnam from joining the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East and so on. Do not say to us that this Government is non-political in its foreign relations and so on. Do not say to us that all our aid is based upon humanitarian motives. Of course, it is not. Some of it is and some of it is not. Some of it is hard-headed and some of it is generous. Honourable members opposite should not give themselves a dislocated shoulder from patting themselves on the back about it.
The honourable member for Ryan (Mr Drury) made some comments about compassion. If there is anybody more notably lacking in compassion than this Government in moments of great crisis I would like to know who he is. I instance the Bangladesh disaster of last year. There were refugees, floods, and all the rest of it, and we were almost the last country to move in any effective way. The same comments apply to the Uganda situation. I do not know how many people from Uganda ought to be allowed to come to Australia. I think that whoever applies to come here ought to be judged upon his merits, but certainly the way in which we have operated as Australians-
– How many would you take.?
– A country that can stand the honourable member for Mcpherson can stand anything. In a world of trouble and worry and hardship we have done little enough in these matters unless we have been driven into a corner by public clamour or something else. The next point I make is this: I understand that tonight we are debating the estimates for the Department of Foreign Affairs. This is the occasion on which the House places before the Minister its views on these matters. I want to know why the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) is not paying the House the courtesy, as he is duty bound, of sitting at the table tonight. I have been here long enough to know that anybody who has any real respect for the parliamentary institution has no right to be anywhere else when the estimates for his department are before the House. One of my principal criticisms of the Minister is his total discourtesy and disregard for the Parliament itself. Foreign affairs are a very important issue. We can speak about it only briefly tonight because we are allowed but 10 minutes in this debate. If something goes wrong in the area of social services it will cause hardship. If the finances go wrong because the Treasurer has made more than normal miscalculations we will have tension and anxiety. But if we make errors in relation to foreign policy it could result in a total national disaster.
We are discussing the disposition of some $105m to approximately 56 posts all round the world and a dozen major international organisations. Of course, the Department of Foreign Affairs illustrates the very significant way in which Australia stretches out to the world, and the discussion of its operations ought to be more effective than we have been able to have in this House in the last 12 or 18 months. I would rather call this a discussion of international relations than of foreign affairs. I think it was a piece of 18th or 19th century vanity to change the name of the Department to the Department of Foreign Affairs. I would much rather it be the Department of International Relations or some name similar to that. I think we have to go past the stage of talking about the world as being foreign. I believe that Australia’s stance in relation to foreign affairs has been disastrous. Australia has presented an image or a picture to the world of being totally irresponsible in international affairs. It has had no attitude of its own and most policies it has adopted have been completely imitative.
Let us take the situation in relation to China. While the rest of the world has gradually been coming around to the view that this very large and significant nation is naturally a part of the community of nations, we have waited for 20 years or more for others to make up our minds. We have been sycophantic. I think that is the best term I can apply to our operations in Vietnam. We did not go there to save the South Vietnamese. We did not go there to stop the hordes from the north. We went there because we wanted to keep in good with our American allies. We are stricken with an inferiority complex, and the Minister has expressed this at international conferences. We seem to be still inflicted with the last tremors of the cold war. Of course, we ought to be in the business of initiating matters for ourselves.
It is true that no matter what the size of a nation is it still can be significant in the world at large. Switzerland is a significant country in the world, even though it is not a member of the United Nations, because of the relationships that it has managed to establish. Australia is a nation of some significance. We have a position in this part of the world which is of great importance to our neighbours. We should be initiating matters with our neighbours in the islands of the Pacific, such as the British Solomons, Fiji, Tonga, the Cook Islands and all the rest of them. To them we are the metropolitan power. We have to be something rather than the big brother over there. We can take the initiative in this area. Of course, the same applies to our relationship with Indonesia and South East Asia. Therefore all that one can hope for in a debate like this is that one sows the seeds of thought amongst the people listening. Obviously the Minister is not listening and I hope that somebody will bring these matters to his notice.
It is the Minister to whom I wish to refer at this stage. I am a member of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs. This morning I asked the Minister whether he had consulted, discussed with or mentioned to the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, particularly the Chairman, his proposal to go to Indonesia and make the arrangements in relation to territorial waters. I understand that he did not even pay the Committee the simple courtesy of saying that this waa on. The other night a very large and important document on aid was presented to the Parliament and, as I undestand it, the Chairman of our Committee, the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner) - he is also Chairman of our sub-committee on aid - did not even know it was on or about. What was the Minister’s answer this morning? The assumption was that the Parliament had nothing to do with foreign affairs at all. The Labor Party did not join the Foreign Affairs Committee for many years because we regarded it as a private ministerial study circle.
I want to express my despair at the way in which the Minister has operated ?s far as this Committee is concerned. The Parliament ought not to tolerate the continuance of is lowly subordinate function. It is totally a ministerial committee. It is provided that the Committee and its Subcommittee shall sit in camera and their proceedings shall be in secret unless the Minister at the request of the Committee otherwise directs. We have had open hearings over the last four or five months. It is further provided that the Committee may communicate with the Minister but all communications with him and the fact of any such communication shall be confidential to the Committee and to the Minister. This Committee is a part of the Parliament. If there is anything that ought to be out in the open it is foreign affairs or international relations. What is so secret about it? I suppose that when you are negotiating, as happened in Djakarta over the past few days, on the details of a draft agreement or something of that sort that it is a confidential matter and any public discussion on it perhaps would inhibit arrival at a result. But what is so secret about the situation in China, Tibet, Peru or anywhere else? If there is anything which ought to be public knowledge it is matters associated with foreign affairs.
I regard the Minister’s approach to the Committee as being discourteous and discouraging to the Parliament. Restrictions have been imposed upon us in regard to matters on which we should have been able to make our own decisions. For instance, we had a South Pacific sub-committee. It was suggested that it would perhaps be worth while to visit some of the areas but of course that would be a waste of public money, I suppose. VIP jets can fly around this country at a great rate. They can roar across to the Cocos Islands and everywhere else but humble members of this Parliament who want to consider these matters are to be excluded from such things. I believe it is time that the Parliament took control of foreign affairs and that the Foreign Affairs Committee became a parliamentary statutory committee of the same sort as the Public Works Committee and that we had continuing debates in this place about it. The discussion on aid to which I referred earlier will not come back for discussion in this House, and that is a matter to which we have to give very serious consideration. I happen to support the views that have been expressed - that we ought to be expanding our aid - but the House itself has to become involved in the way in which this is done. The sum total of experience in this House is likely to be as valuable in this matter as the sum total of experience in departments Or anywhere else. So tonight one can only express some sort of faint hope that the Parliament will become involved in these matters.
I hope that our relationships with Papua New Guinea will not come into the scope of foreign relations and that we will not create a barrier between Papua New Guinea and Australia which is based upon the view of one or the other is a foreigner. We live in a world in which barriers have fallen down between France and Germany. Surely we are not going to build barriers here.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– In speaking to the estimates for the Department of Foreign Affairs, totalling $105,040,000, I should like to refer to some of the remarks made by the honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison) who is apparently the leading speaker on foreign affairs for the Opposition. Why he has continually to portray Australia as being hostile to Asian countries particularly Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia I do not know. Why would we continually support such items as are listed in the Estimates if we were hostile to those countries? I will not mention them all because they are too numerous but I will mention a few of them. Division 270 sets out our support for the Australia-Japan Joint Economic Committee and a contribution of $45,000 for the Asian and Pacific Council Cultural and Social Centre, Korea. Sub-division 5 lists fifteen to twenty items totalling about $38m or $39m. The projects include the Colombo Plan with a contribution of about SI 6m; special aid to Indonesia amounting to $12m; the South Pacific aid programme amounting to about $lm; and a contribution to the Foreign Exchange Operations Fund, Laos, amounting to $643,000. They are countries towards whom we are supposed to be hostile, according to the Australian Labor Party’s shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs. Why would we be so interested in giving this aid if we have a hostile attitude towards this part of Asia? They are our near neighbours, with whom we would normally be endeavouring to create good relations in order to live with them and to trade with them.
I will mention a few other projects listed under the Department of Foreign Affairs. Special aid to the Khmer Republic, that is Cambodia, amounts to $1.5.m. Australia also provides aid for the Australian-Asian University Aid and Co-operation Scheme, and the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. An amount of $2m is provided for the South East Asia Treaty Organisation aid programme. So the list goes on. Why does the Opposition put forward the argument that Australia is hostile towards her near neighbours? Nothing could be more ridiculous nor further from the truth. It was said that Australia was hostile towards Indonesia. Let us have a look at the aid and assistance we have given to Indonesia, Australia gave Sabre aircraft to that country.
– You bought the Fill as a fighter.
– We gave that country Sabres, you may remember. In 1970 we pledged an amount of $53. 8m to be spent over a 3-year period. That arrangement will conclude this year with an expenditure of $20. 5m. Just as he was informed by the Chair that his time had expired, the honourable member for St George was about to say that Australia was hostile towards Indonesia as well as towards Singapore and
Malaysia. We have pledged for this country over the next 3 years aid amounting to $69m. That was announced in June this year.
– That is not an unfriendly act.
– This is not what you would call an unfriendly action; you are quite right. Look at the sort of things we have supplied such as practical assistance with water supplies at Bogor and Denpasar. There is also a railway rehabilitation project and port rehabilitation project.
– There is the racecourse.
– That was provided by private enterprise. You would be just the man to be a ticktack expert on some racecourse in Sydney. You would be just the bloke. There is also the assistance given in relation to telecommunications and radio telephone and teleprinter channels. Australians are over there helping Indonesia to rehabilitate that country. I must admit that we did give them a few Sabres and spare parts and we made available crews. The Sabre is a pretty decent sort of aircraft in anybody’s language, even that of honourable members opposite; but they would not know anything about it. This was one of the points on which one Opposition member strongly criticised the Government for doing nothing to help Malaysia and suggested that we were hostile towards Malaysia. But in Sabah we have the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation building a road from Telupid to Ranau at a cost of Si Om. Australia is sharing this cost to the tune of $6.75m. There is another road project in west Malaysia. We are helping Malaysia in practical ways with a bituminous concrete pre-mix plant and by supplying steel bridges and we still have more Malaysian students in Australia than students from any other country.
I also mention Singapore which was another country the honourable member for St George said this Government had on the hostile list. We have assisted Singapore in the same sort of fields but not to such a great extent because it has a much higher standard of living. We have helped Singapore in the fields of medicine, science, industry and education as well as having its students here. As at June this year there were 790. students in Australia I refer now to the Philippines which L mentioned earlier in my speech Under the Colombo. Plan and the South East Asian Treaty Organisation economic aid programme, in 1972-73 Australia’s contribution to the Philippines could be almost $2m This is an area which is considered to be and treated by some as a hostile area. We are supplying the Philippines with flour, wheat, machine tools, radio equipment and our own aircraft landing system which was invented in Australia and installed at Manila and Mactan international airports. As I have been saying for quite some time, this is the area . in which we should be interested. We should be aiming our friendship and finances towards these ASEAN countries. Why the honourable member for St George takes it upon himself to say that we are hostile towards these countries, I do not know. 1 am certain that whenever he goes there they welcome him. We must be friendly towards these people. The agreement which we. signed with Indonesia and which was announced. in the House today concerning the sea-bed was made with the best intentions–
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I rise under standing order 66. I understood the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) to have indicated that at the completion of my speech this afternoon I was about to launch a hostile attack on Indonesia. This was very far from the facts. I have with me the Hansard greens of the speech I made this afternoon in which I pointed out in relation to Indonesia the flirtation with the truth that has become a mark of the recent statements of the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon).
– You were putting it mildly.
– I think the difficulty with the Prime Minister is that his imagination outdistances his objectivity. I would take issue-
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - The honourable member cannot introduce nev, matter.
– I am not introducing new matter. I am repeating what I have said.
– What is your point of order?
– It is not a point of order. I am talking in terms of standing order 66. The point I made was …that last night the Prime Minister categorically stated that Indonesia ‘did not recognise the People’s Republic of China. That is not the truth. Indonesia does recognise the People’s Republic of China. This is another instance of the flirtation with the truth which we have come to associate with the Prime Minister. In my concluding remarks I was not launching a hostile attack on Indonesia. If anything, I was trying to correct a misunderstanding which the Prime Minister introduced on television last night.
– I want to deal with one or two matters, the first involving what I consider to be straight out contempt of this Parliament and the Australian people. 1 refer to the statement made this morning by the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen), who does not consider that the debate on’ the estimates for his Department is sufficiently important to warrant his presence in the Parliament, in which he indicated that he did not believe it was any business of the Foreign Affairs Committee or the Parliament that he had gone to Indonesia to sign an agreement on what in effect are the borders between Australia and Indonesia. If the Australian Parliament is not entitled to be notified in advance of any such agreement and not entitled to ratify any such agreement it is pretty useless having a Parliament. What the statement and action of the Minister suggest is that we have some God-like figures in this country who are so stupid that they believe that they alone have the right to determine the borders of this country. That is in effect what has happened in this instance. I am not saying that the borders drawn are good or bad but this Parliament should ratify any agreement which alters the sovereignty or control of any territories formerly under the control of the Australian Parliament. In the United States of America no such agreement could be made without the ratification of the United States Senate. It is an indictment of the parliamentary system in this country that one man can sign an agreement without having even ro enter into discussions with a parliamentary committee of any description or having to report the matter to the Parliament which, after all, is supposed to be the legislative body controlling national affairs.
The other matter I want to deal with is in the same vein. This morning at question time the Prime Minister, in answer to a question in which he was asked why, when he was Minister for Foreign Affairs, he gave information to the Parliament which was not correct, indicated that as he was no longer Minister for Foreign Affairs the question should be directed to the present Minister. How ludicrous it is for us to have a situation where the Prime Minister suggests that we should ask another Minister why the Prime Minister misled the Parliament originally, or, if he did not mislead the Parliament, why he made statements which were in error? The facts as I see them are that no person other than the person who misled the Parliament can explain such actions. It is no good suggesting, as the Prime Minister has suggested that the blame for actions for which he was responsible as Minister for Foreign Affairs should be placed on an officer of the Department. Ministers are responsible to this Parliament for the decisions of their departments. In this instance the documents concerned were signed by the Minister and in my opinion the taking of action against an officer of the Department is just looking for a scapegoat on whom to lay the blame. There are sufficient areas of doubt about the propriety of what was done and the manner in which supposed overseas aid was made available lo countries after aircraft had actually been purchased, to cause concern. According to the documents that are now available, some of the requests were asked to be altered after they had been made in the first instance. There is sufficient evidence to support a prima facie case against any Minister.
I believe that this Parliament should not have to debate this type of matter under the Estimates. A statement should be made by the person responsible, the person who signed the documents which enabled the purchase of the aircraft and which initiated the moves. That is the present Prime Minister. He must accept responsibility and cannot blame officers of his former department and certainly cannot ask the present Minister to explain away actions which he himself took. I believe that in this instance there is every need for the Parliament to be told exactly what is going on, exactly what went on, why the normal procedures were not carried out and why it was that after purchasing aircraft we had to ask overseas countries whether they would like these aircraft as aid. That is what the documents show. This is a serious matter because there is at least prima facie evidence that incorrect procedures were adopted in the name of this Parliament.
I raise one other matter in relation to the estimates for the Department of External Territories. A division of responsibility exists between the defence of the Territories and the maintaining of law and order in the Territories and other forms of government. Because of this division the Pacific Islands Regiment is placed in an advantageous position when compared with the Territory police force which could have the result that persons who would normally enter the police force - the best of the recruits - were siphoned off into the Pacific Islands Regiment. Under the existing circumstances this may not matter greatly, but it can create in the Territory the same sort of problems as most of the countries of Asia already have. Because the most able people are being attracted into the Army as opposed to the public service and the police force, if you are not careful you can create a situation - I am not being critical of anyone on this - where those in the Army will feel at some stage that they are better qualified to govern the country than those persons who are elected or those persons who are running the public service. This has happened in most of the countries of Africa which have achieved independence.
I believe we have a responsibility to ensure that no section - especially the defence forces, which at the moment anyway are our direct responsibility - is placed in the position where it has a distinct advantage in the recruitment of personnel, as has occurred and does occur elsewhere. It is very important that this matter be given serious consideration and that we do not build up an elite in the Pacific Islands Regiment to the detriment of other areas of activity in the Territory of Papua New Guinea. I hope that the Minister will take note of this matter and give it serious consideration, because we do not want happening in New Guinea what has happened in so many African countries because of the elitism which has characterised defence forces.
– I would like to commend the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) for his statement on overseas aid and the booklet that honourable members have received giving the particulars of the Government’s foreign aid policies. It is a well presented document containing a great deal of information and will be welcomed by most people interested in overseas aid. The Government’s economic assistance to New Guinea and Indonesia is commendable and praiseworthy, as much has been achieved in those countries in recent years with rehabilitation programmes. However, in emergencies we fail badly, and I wish to quote 1 or 2 instances with which I have had first hand experience. The first is the great cyclone which ravaged the off-shore islands and coastal regions of East Pakistan on the night of 12th and 13th November 1970. I have been back to those islands twice since that cyclone, which is now claimed to be, the greatest natural catastrophe this century and there is no doubt about that. Shortly after the cyclone I saw just what did happen. To the victims of the greatest natural catastrophe this century all we provided was $425,000.
This time last year, of course, we had the refugee problem in India, mainly in West Bengal. The Government provided $5,500,000, but of course $2m of that was not used because India’s invasion of East Pakistan quickly brought an end to the refugee problem. Even though repeated calls were made by many members in this House, by me in particular, to send cash and not food aid, that money was not spent. Had cash been sent I am sure that many of the refugees in the camps could have been saved. There are still some 20 million people homeless in Bangladesh and large scale assistance is urgently needed to avert famine conditions at the present time. For almost 2 years I have been endeavouring to get the Government interested in a rehabilitation programme. However it has shown little interest to date.
When I was in Bangladesh earlier this year I spoke to Sheik Mujibur Rahman. He was interested in the Government building fifty 100-bed hospitals in various centres throughout the country. Again he wanted the Government to undertake programmes to rehabilitate the devastated area of land to get it back into production. He wanted the Government to provide irrigation and build roads and schools. This is the sort of programme in which the Government should be engaged. It should be engaged in construction work. Even though strong representations have been made by other people and myself, we certainly have had little influence to date. At the present time the Government’s assistance to Bangladesh is little different from that of a voluntary agency - and I might say a small one at that. The situation in Bangladesh is still one of grave concern. This is the reason why most voluntary agencies are directing their major efforts in this region. For example, the. Christian Organisation for Relief and Rehabilitation has undertaken a $30m programme for rehabilitation in Bangladesh. The World Council of Churches last July spent $8m of a $13m programme. CARE and Oxfam, of course, have spent millions in recent months, and the Australian voluntary agencies have taken up special programmes running into millions of dollars.
The Minister in his statement said that the Government’s aid programme was motivated on humanitarian grounds. I would just like to point out that $4m or even $6m is certainly not a sacrificial contribution when 20 million people are homeless. What is the Government doing in Bangladesh: The Minister in reply to a question I asked in Parliament 2 weeks ago stated that we are providing food aid, galvanised iron sheeting and 4-wheel drive trucks, and that 3 aircraft are under charter to carry relief supplies. I know assistance has been provided in other directions. This sounds impressive. However it is not an amount of which we can fee) proud when it is compared with the total area of need. I say again that there must be a starting point. Our aid must be compared with something, otherwise it is meaningless and has no beginning. The United Nations has stated that $ 1,200m is still needed for rehabilitation work in
Bangladesh. 1 say again that any aid programme must be compared with the overall area of need. Otherwise the aid provided is only a statistic and is not therefore being provided on humanitarian grounds. The history of humanitarian work is long and proud, rich and diverse. It develops an individual and community conscience, together with a desire to eliminate all forms of suffering, to spread knowledge and to bring about social justice and international peace. These precious needs must always remain the basic principles of any humanitarian motive.
The number of people in urgent need throughout Asian countries continues to increase each year. In other words the gap widens because the total area of need is unknown. Today we have the resources and technical knowhow to come to grips with many of these great human problems. However, we fail to do so because we are not tuned in on the frequency of need. To overcome the problems of hunger, poverty and neglect in those countries I would like to see the Government give consideration to setting up an advisory council on development aid, membership of which would come from voluntary agencies, churches, universities, banks, youth organisations and so on, as well as from government nominees. Such a council could determine our aid programmes and priorities. With poverty in the world continuing to rise at an alarming rate, the time has now arrived for the Government to seek a much closer liaison with voluntary agencies, many of which have had many years of experience in aid programmes.
While the Government continues to base its aid programme on a limited area of need it becomes even more important that a full utilisation be obtained of funds that are available. For this reason I again suggest as a beginning that 10 per cent of any increase in Colombo Plan funds should be channelled through voluntary agencies, because in many instances these funds would be far better utilised and would reach the areas of greatest need, that is, the villages. I believe that we must do far more to raise the priority of aid in Australia and for this result to be achieved a much closer working liaison must be developed between the Government and voluntary agencies. I say that because it is a
Government responsibility to help to stimulate a greater interest in the private sector, as this in turn supplements Government aid.
Another matter I wish to raise is that in an emergency the Government can authorise the expenditure of only $25,000 without calling the Cabinet together. This is a much smaller figure than most voluntary agencies in Australia can allocate in an emergency. I feel that the figure should be at least $100,000, and that after the Prime Minister has consulted the Treasurer and Minister for Foreign Affairs he should have the power to allocate up to Sim in times of emergency situations such as in 1970 when a cyclone struck East Pakistan. I repeat that this is not a large amount of aid in a programme of $220m and I trust that some consideration will be given to these proposals.
– I would like to speak for only 2 or 3 minutes on the estimates for the Department of Foreign Affairs. Before I reach the main point that I want to raise I would like to comment on remarks made by the honourable member for Cook (Mr Dobie) and the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder), who referred to Australian aid to Indonesia. They stressed how much we are giving to Indonesia. By interjection I indicated that amongst the things we have given to Indonesia were a racetrack, our broken down horses and a system of automatic totalisator betting. Probably very few honourable members will regret that that particular export to Indonesia seems to be going broke. The honourable member for Cook used grandiose language to describe our aid for overseas countries.
Let us get down to tin tacks and see what we have in fact done and how much of our aid falls into the same category as the deplorable Jetair Australia Ltd affair. That affair showed that politicians in this country were trying to save some of their political cronies by pumping money into the pockets of those cronies through sending aeroplanes or what-have-you overseas and calling it foreign aid. It is extremely regrettable that such transactions are included as foreign aid. I think the Government should apologise for having done that sort of thing. It should certainly explain to this Parliament how it can come about in this country that the Minister for Foreign Affairs could decide to fish a company out of debt by giving it a large amount of public money while knowing at least one of its directors extremely well as a supporter of the Liberal Party.
– Instead of making those charges tell us what you mean.
– I think what I mean about the Jetair business is fairly clear. It has been widely ventilated. I do not mind talking about it here. The only reason why I am drawing attention to it again is that the expenditure on Jetair aircraft appears as expenditure on foreign aid for overseas countries. Let us look very clearly at what we are doing when we talk about foreign aid. In many cases were are buying up equipment which is useless in this country from people who have politically supported some of the Ministers here. We are paying excessive amounts of public money for such goods, sending them overseas and calling it foreign aid. I think it is deplorable.
– Do you want to see the Government of Cambodia fall? Be specific.
– On the contrary. I feel very strongly about the Government of Cambodia and about other countries, but there are certain ways in which aid should be given. If the honourable member for Angas wishes to debate ways of helping the Government of Cambodia I will be very happy to accommodate him. I suggest that the Government of Cambodia can be helped without helping dubious characters such as those associated with Jetair Australia Ltd. Let us come to the more general position of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Department, having received riding instructions from the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) because of the imminence of the elections, is trying to make every post a winning post. Yesterday a settlement was reached with Indonesia on a subject which apparently had not been discussed by Government committees or by the Cabinet at all. A quick decision was made simply so that it could be said that a decision had been made. It can be added to the relatively short list of decisions taken by the Government.
Another decision that has been made is to have Australia elected to the United Nations Security Council. To do that we must have the votes of countries which normally do not support us. What are we doing? I put it to honourable members that we are prepared to sell out some of our views and some of our reasonable propositions vis-a-vis the Soviet Union to get the support of that country. The Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) has proudly announced that the Soviet Union will support our election to the Security Council. This contrasts with the behaviour of some Ministers who proudly parade before migrants from captive countries like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Ukraine and parts of Poland and speak of support for them against the Soviet Union. They certainly want their votes but what are we doing for them? We are doing everything we possibly can and are coming to secret agreement with the Soviet Union so as to get the 3 Soviet votes - as honourable members know, the Soviet Union has 3 votes - necessary to enable Australia to be elected to the Security Council. I appeal to the Government to think about this. Just winning an election is not really the be-all and end-all of governments in Australia. It should not be the be-all and end-all of Australian governments. I know that members of the Government parties consider it to be the most important thing because they cannot see themselves in any other position. I can see them in another position and I feel quite confident that they will be in a different position at the end of this year. However it is important that they do not do too much damage to Australia’s prestige and reputation in the meantime.
One of the ways in which we have been antagonising the Soviet Union up until now has been by accepting its political refugees into Australia. It has been alleged that for the next few months - until the vote for the Security Council is taken - the Soviet Union should not be antagonised and that the Department of Foreign Affairs has told the Department of Immigration that it should not be sympathetic to people whom the Soviet Union wants to exclude from membership of any outside nation - people whom it wants to get back into its own clutches. There axe allegations that this has been done with respect to a prominent Ukrainian who has escaped fromthe Soviet Union to Vienna. I intend to put a question on notice about this matter. It is important that this sort of procedure should not be adopted.
I do not have much confidence in the present Minister for Immigration (Dr Forbes). The previous Minister for Immigration, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch), who is sitting at the table at present, was a reasonable sort of bloke when he held the Immigration portfolio. I think basically he was a. humane sort of person who wanted to deal with people as reasonable individuals. He felt sorry for them if they had to leave their own country because of political or religious persecution or whatever other reason. It is important for Australia not to lose its reputation for showing consideration to these people and for being prepared to look after them. I am happy about supporting the right of people to be out of the Soviet Union and in Australia, but we should not be giving them misinformation and pretending we support them while at the same time remaining silent in places where what is said really counts - in the United Nations - and making general statements simply to get support from the Soviet Union on an issue that is not really terribly important to Australia, namely, whether Australia is to be a member of the Security Council next year. This is important only in that it may add to the prestige of this Government which has so little prestige overseas. The Government is anxious to grasp this sort of position so as to be able to tell the Australian people that it is loved by all people overseas. I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service, if he is on speaking terms with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, to tell him this when next he sees him.
– I should like to reply briefly to some of the more outrageous comments by the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman). I have heard 2 speeches tonight that have been totally insincere and totally wrong in almost every detail. One speech was by the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) whom I thought to be a fair and objective sort of member of Parliament until I heard him speak tonight. The other speech was a typical speech by the honourable member for Prospect. Honourable members have become accustomed to Eis snide untruths on many occasions, and tonight was no exception. He grins his acceptance of precisely what I have said. Let us analyse some of the comments he made tonight. The first concerned the raeecourse in Indonesia ‘in respect of which he more than implied that the Government was wasting foreign aid by donating money to this venture. Not one cent of Government aid has gone to the Indonesian racecourse project. The entire investment from overseas has been by private individuals. It is a good thing that private individuals have seen fit to invest in this sort of project in Djakarta, but it is utterly wrong for honourable members to stand in this chamber and imply that the Government would have a part in such a project. If the honourable member for Prospect suggests that any honourable member from this side should apologise for anything he has said, I suggest that the honourable member would have to apologise 4 times as much for the inconsistencies that he consistently utters in this chamber. I should like also to refer to the honourable member’s use of the phrase ‘of little prestige to the Government’.
– What about Jetair?
– It is my turn to ladle it out now, and you can sit and cop it, and it is about time you did. I refer to the honourable member’s use of the phrase ‘of little prestige to this Government’. Only those who sit on whatever they sit on in this chamber would think for one minute that this Government’s reputation overseas could be referred to by such a phrase. Only those indolent and idle people who do not get up and go overseas could, for one minute, suggest that that remark might be true. No matter where one goes throughout the length and breadth of the world one finds that Australia’s aid is second to none. I can quote from the annual report of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and from reports from the World Bank all of which say, in effect - I ask the honourable member for Prospect to listen to this - that compared with the aid of any other nation Australia is away ahead and above it. The honourable member for the Australian
Capital Territory had the unmitigated ignorance to suggest that our aid should be compared with the aid of the United Kingdom and of other European countries, but there is no comparison. I regret having to say it, but the United Kingdom’s aid is little better than World Bank loans, yet it counts its contributions as aid. With one exception, with World Bank loans a country enjoys a holiday for 5 years before it starts making capital repayments and meeting interest commitments. If anything, United Kingdom aid is a little bit worse. For any honourable member in this place to compare the aid of the small nation of Australia, given free of interest commitments and of capital repayments, with the sort of aid that comes from Europe is little short of lunacy. I never thought that I would have to sit in this chamber and listen to such a miserable interpretation of the facts as I have heard tonight. The honourable member for Prospect accused the Government of corrupt action in giving aid to nations that support it. I ask: Who is to be the judge of what is a corrupt government and what is not?
– I did not say that for one minute.
– You accused the Government of corrupt - I use that word lightly and it may not have been the word - or wrong actions in giving aid.
– You have a look-
Mir GILES- You have a look at the Hansard record tomorrow morning, if you do not correct it.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett) - Order! The honourable member for Angas will address the Chair.
– I apologise, Mr Deputy Chairman. If the honourable member for Prospect looks at the Hansard record in the morning he will see what he said. I am sure that you, Mr Deputy Chairman, and I will be able to see what he said, but that is the impression I gained. He accused the Government of some form of corrupt action because it dared to give aid to countries because such aid might suit its political purposes. Honourable members opposite have no regard for the free rights of people in those nations and want to dictate political courses by interference and by asserting their point of view on those countries. This seeps through in every utterance by a certain section of the Opposition which rises on debates of this nature. This type of political bias runs through the debates but I will have none of it. I believe that this Government and Australia should give aid where it is needed and I hope that our record will always be along these lines.
In the brief time remaining to me let us examine the record in terms of fact and not of opinion. During the last decade aid from the Australian Government has trebled. It was $64m in 1961-62 and it was $200m in 1971-72. There is another $20m in the estimates for this year, making $220m. It was given; it was not in loans, not in moneys needing repayment and not in moneys needing an interest commitment. Since the framing of the estimates which we are now discussing another $4.6m has been granted, as announced in statements today.
Australia is in the top 3 donor countries, no matter whether this is decided on a percentage of gross national product or whether it is decided on a percentage of gross expenditure. One per cent of gross national product was the aim of all free countries in the 1960s. This was not reached. For Australia the direct government aid to which I have referred, plus financial transfers, private investment and voluntary aid to the developing sector, has represented a total of 1.27 per cent of gross national product - not one per cent as the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) suggested Australia should give; but 127 per cent. So, as far as I am concerned, Australia clearly leads the world in this field without even taking into account the fact that the aid is given free, as a gift, and is free from both capital repayment and interest commitment.
There is room to say that this is not a fair method of making a comparison on a country to country basis. But all we can do in Australia is do as other countries have done in the past, namely, use private flow investment, voluntary aid and financial transfers on top of direct government aid as a method of compiling the figures. When we do that, our figure is 1.27 per cent of GNP. I repeat that these are not opinions; these are facts. If we consider aid, whether it be in these forms or in others the first thing we have to realise, if we study the problem properly, is that mere aid from government sectors is not the complete answer for developing nations. It may well be that the gain is much greater from a certain amount of capital inflow whether from a private sector or from any other. Certainly, the third factor of trade is of vital consequence to these countries. How often have we read in the newspapers recently that India has steel. The steel making facilities have been given by foreign aid, but India cannot find markets for the steel it is now producing. So the third factor of trade is equally important.
This leads me to the last point I wish to make tonight. I feel very strongly in relation to this matter because I remember making my maiden speech on it many years ago when I entered this House. Australia is the only nation, as far as I know - certainly it was up to a year ago - which bent its tariff laws to allow manufactured goods from slowly developing nations to enter it. This policy may not be as effective as it should be. But there would be those, such as the honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison), who would remember the battle Australia had with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to make sure that we got this measure through. It was fought hard by other nations. Today this trade is helped by the fact that Australia is the only nation which allows tariff remission on certain manufactured goods from, speaking from memory, about 57 nations which are classified as developing nations. That is the record of this Government, and the day any government of Australia in the future has such a proud record within such a very short period will be the day. I will be very pleased ifI can ever hear of this record being equalled in the short term.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Dr KLUGMAN (Prospect)- Under standing order 66, from which I quote,I should like to explain myself ‘in regard to some material part of my speech which has been misquoted or misunderstood’. The honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) who has just resumed his seat, referred to my alleged attack on the Government for aiding corrupt overseas governments. I point out, because he obviously misunderstood what I said, that on the contraryI did not criticise the governments to whom we were giving aid. I went out of my way to say that we should have given a particular type of aid in the case of Cambodia. I was referring - I do not think I used the word corrupt’ but I am quite happy to use it as the honourable member suggested it - to the fact that our Government was corrupt in the sense of buying cast-offs from political and personal friends, for example, Jetair Australia Ltd.
– There have been several references by preceding speakers to the subject of aid. I reenter the debate in order to give some comments from the Labor Party’s point of view on the concept of aid. Aid, as has been pointed out, is of fairly recent vintage. It was started in post-war Europe to overcome the devastation which had been caused by the war and was to assist in the rebuilding programme under the Marshall Plan.One of the main motivations of the Marshall Plan - I think it is inherent in subsequent aid programmes - was the political motivation and the motion or desire to contain communism. Because of this political streak in our aid programme and in other Western aid programmes and in communist aid programmes from the other side of the fence, the benefit that could have accrued to the poorer countries of the world has been diminished.
There have been some very forthright statements on the political content of aid. I think none has been more forthright and more political than that attributed to President Nixon who, in a speech on 23rd February 1966. before he became President, had this to say: i don’t believe any foreign aid programme can be justified unless it serves political ends. i don’t believe any foreign aid should be used to subsidise socialism abroad. Foreign aid is one of the most powerful instruments we have to reward our friends and punish our enemies.
That is a very blatant statement of aid policy. I think that inherent in that statement are a number of considerations which have affected aid policy in the post-war period. Certainly, in our activity in Asia, we have been prompted by this desire to pre-empt the Communist bloc. We had an example of this when the Prime Minister (Mr
McMahon), who was then the Minister for Foreign Affairs, announced Australia’s aid to Cambodia. He said:
The decision to increase our aid has been made in pursuance of our policy of aiding South East Asian nations to resist communist aggression.
One also can see the political motivation in the civic action of our armed forces in Vietnam. One of the publications put out by the Department of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the Department of the Army described the purpose of civic action in these terms:
There is no doubt that most of the effort of the civic affairs unit is to improve the social and economic standards of the population as a means of winning their support for the Government of South Vietnam.
In regard to the discussion that we had this afternoon on the subject of Malaysia and Singapore, I do not see it as the role of the Australian armed forces for them to be used to prevent trouble or the possibility of trouble between 2 of our friendly neighbours; neither do I see it as a function of our armed forces to go into a country to win support for the government of that country when it cannot attract the loyalty of its own people. I conclude on this question of aid motivation with the observation that if it had not been for the cold war our humanitarian motives might not have been so much in evidence.
But fortunately there has been a change and a rethinking of aid programmes. There has been the report of the Pearson Committee, which was set up to examine on a world-wide basis the present state, and perhaps the future, of aid programmes. It came to a couple of conclusions which I think are particularly relevant to our motivation or our thinking on aid. The first was that aid is not a guarantee that the recipient country will choose any particular ideology. The Pearson Committee pointed out that aid does not usually buy dependable friends. These conclusions are very true and they have been borne out by the experience of a number of countries, both on the communist side and on the western side, that the recipient country will not choose any particular ideology because of the aid and that aid does not buy dependable friends. This has led, particularly in the United States of America, to a realisation that aid does not have this political benefit that was described by Mr Nixon in 1966.
What has happened is that an aid fatigue has set in. This is unfortunate because international aid is not achieving 2 things. It is not achieving the diminution of the gap between the rich countries and the poor countries. In fact, that gap is becoming wider and on the projection of present estimates this gap will become larger and larger over the next 20 years. Another feature that is often overlooked is that the gap between the rich and the poor within the less developed countries is becoming wider. I appeal to honourable members on both sides of the Parliament not to be mesmerised by statistics. Let us not look to neon lit statistics and talk about 1.67 per cent of our gross national product because the important thing is not the amount of aid. Let us fix this in our minds. The important thing is the quality of aid and what that aid is achieving.
Other philosophical questions should also be taken into account. From our high position of Western developed countries we seem to assume that all countries want to adopt our Western standards. God forbid. We have worshipped the God of the gross national product. We have put all our emphasis upon economic growth in terms of the gross national product. We are setting out to create in these countries societies, economies and cultures that are identical with ours. It is unfortunate and the sooner we realise it the better, but we have distorted the social and economic fabric of many of these countries by the type of aid we have provided. Forutnately a re-thinking is taking place on the question of the statistics and the merit of measuring by economic statistics. One of the International Bank’s advisers has recently written:
A rising growth rate is no guarantee against worsening poverty. We were taught to take care of our GNP as this will take care of poverty. Let us reverse this and take care of poverty as this will take care of the GNP.
In other words, what he is saying is: ‘Let us worry about the content of the GNP even more than its rate of increase.’ Robert McNamara, the former United States Secretary of Defense who is now the President of the World Bank, had this to say:
The state of development in most of the developing world today is unacceptable and growing more so, not because there has not been progress but because development programmes have been directed largely at gross economic goals and have failed to ensure that all nations and all groups within nations . have shared equitably in the economic advance.
I think this is important, certainly the way the Labor Party looks at the question of the equitable distribution of the wealth of the countries ‘of South East Asia. We have provided a lot of infrastructural aid in the building of roads, bridges and dams. Those who benefit most directly and immediately from this” type of programme are the people who have the capital and who are in a position to exploit the facilities that have been provided. This increases the gap between the rich and the poor in those countries and does nothing to distribute as equitably as possible the economic wealth that is available.
A few years ago food aid comprised about half of our total bilateral programme. A lot of this is not motivated by humanitarian considerations but, in plain fact, to get rid of surpluses. I was delighted to note that a publication of the Department of Foreign Affairs said that when the size and content of food aid programmes are based solely on the need to dispose of surplus commodities, food aid may well be open to the charge that it is ineffective. It may not only be ineffective but it may also be counter productive, because the experience in a number of countries in South East Asia is that the agricultural development of those countries has declined because of their dependence on foreign food aid. We also find that the trade in agricultural products of similarly less developed countries has been affected. My conclusion is that we should start re-focusing our aid, not in terms of neon lit statistics but on some very simple things such as eliminating crippling disease, blind ignorance and the wretchedness of poverty. I think it is about time we measured our achievements in terms of people and welfare and not money and statistics.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– A number of the recent contributions to this debate have focused on the question of foreign aid, and I would like to contribute a little further to that. The honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison) made a number of largely unexceptional propositions. He pointed to more problems than solutions to them. One would not question in any substantial measure the statement that we should not give foreign aid .for purposes such as relieving agricultural surpluses, indoctrinating other people or at least assisting them to feel more friendly disposed to us rather than <o some other forms of government or ‘ideology. Those things have been accepted for some time now. The difficulty is in executing the programmes so that those matters lake a back seat and so that other more humanitarian and constructive issues come to the fore.
The increase in aid in this budgetary year to $220m, including the major portion that goes to Papua New Guinea, is one of the more commendable developments in our budgeting this year. There is a fairly widespread awareness throughout the community of the desirability of Overseas aid. A movement called Action for World Development has spread itself fairly effectively through numbers of community groups and numbers of people, largely through a church basis. In the main it has very desirable aims. Depending on the group and the’ people involved and perhaps the origin of the push in that direction, I find it to be a varying mixture of reality and unreality. On the one hand we have very desirable general aims of improving the lot of people less well off than ourselves and on the other hand we have what amounts to attempts to restructure our tariffs so that we let in the agricultural products of underdeveloped areas, presumably sometimes running the risk of sending to the wall some of our own producers or manufacturers.
I feel that some of these things are very uncritically stated but nevertheless they come under a general umbrella of a desirable public interest in the question of . aid for people less well off than ourselves. Some assessments and re-assessments now being made and published may throw certain doubts on my belief in the matter, but I think that the education of people to help themselves is perhaps the best single way, short of attending to various crises as they arise, of giving aid to people who need it more than we do ourselves. The salient feature of the Government’s efforts in this direction has been the Colombo Plan. Over the last couple of decades members of the Opposition have rarely disagreed with it. One of the difficulties in making it absolutely effective is assessing what needs will be most to the fore when the students whom we are helping to educate return to their homelands. An additional problem is to see that they do return. So we have this rather paradoxical, ironical situation whereby quite a number of people who come here as students to improve themselves to go back and improve their own countries get to a point where they see that the improvement, to themselves at least, may be better spent somewhere else, namely here, and failing here, perhaps the United States, Canada or somewhere else where they can get post-graduate scholarships or employment in teaching or scientific areas. So that is a real problem which we have had to face both in the ambit of the Department of Foreign Affairs and in relation to our education policy for many years now. It is difficult to know how we can solve it. 1 think the only way to do this is to have constant assessments and reassessments of the kind that have now been done back in the home countries of some of these students to see in fact what they are doing and whether they are using their acquired skills in roughly relevant ways. The more we can do in that direction the better I think will be spent the money we expend in this field.
There are, of course, the humanitarian aspects of this aid - not of the Colombo Plan precisely, but of overseas aid generally. I think my friend the honourable member for Holt (Mr Reid) has more than anyone else enunciated views in that sphere since be came to this Parliament. Therefore I think there is a place for looking intensively and with as much possible unselfinterest as we can muster at matters such as those which have arisen in Bangladesh and more recently in Uganda. I think perhaps we could allow our flexibility of operation here to be somewhat greater than that of the past, especially in regard to the introduction of relatively few numbers of people who are under considerable threat in their own areas. I think that the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen), who is now at the table, has acted with considerable insight and considerable diligence in relation to one or two of the recent crises such as that of Bangladesh in seeing to the best of his ability and authority that the aid ‘that was going from public and even private sources in Australia to that area was spent in the best possible ways. I say this becaue there is a long history, as many honourable members have mentioned in the past and even tonight, of difficulty in seeing that overseas aid is expended in the best possible way.
In the remaining few minutes of my speech I would like to touch on the question of Papua New Guinea which is related to the foreign affairs area. The Minister for External Territories (Mr Peacock) in a statement tonight made mention of selfgovernment in that area. This is something which has moved much more rapidly than most members of this Parliament could foresee in the last two or three years and certainly before that time. The general development of self-government, of autonomy, or semi-autonomy is one which in the general sense, is desirable but which clearly in the last few months alone is not going >to be achieved without difficulty. This is seen from public statements relating, for example, to reassessment of Bougainville copper contracts and to reassessment of the positions of public servants, particularly expatriate public servants and so on in New Guinea. There are internal problems in New Guinea which will take a lot of solving by Mr Somare or anyone else. I think that our good will, our interest and our money will be needed for as long as we possibly can expend them in that quarter, because the people of Papua New Guinea face problems which are, I think, a good deal more serious than the would-be urban crises which are developed by our friends from the Australian Labor Party in respect to Australia.
There is a developing urban squatter problem in places like Port Moresby where highlanders dispossessed either of territory or of jobs are coming down and are forming relatively speaking unhealthy social groups and are tending to increase at a rapid rate, even to the point of 4 or 5 per cent per annum of population growth, which is quite a remarkable figure. There are considerable fears in Papua New Guinea that the ultimate division in the country may be one of highlanders versus lowlanders
People, particularly in the academic area, foresee this possibility with certain misgivings, in fact with quite precise misgivings. I think it will be a great pity if Papua New Guinea’s ultimate selfgovernment is prejudiced by the inability to carry out what the honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison) and others were talking about in relation to other places - that is, the minimising of the gap between the haves and the have nots, or at least the haves and those who have less. We just have to help as much as we can to get this rather precipitate development in the direction of self-government to a point where all members of that community are to the best of our assistance going to share in the autonomy that develops. It will not be easy, and one can take either a pessimistic or optimistic view about future possibilities. The best we can do is to continue to develop our attitudes and our assistance as we have in the past, bearing in mind that the major portion of our foreign affairs aid still relates to this external Territory which is now to be a self-governing unit.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I am very glad of the opportunity to continue some remarks that I made primarily, on the estimates for the Department of External Territories. I am grateful that the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) believes that I should have this opportunity. I want to continue my remarks by reminding the chamber that earlier on I pointed out that although there are 27 departments of the Commonwealth Government, 26 of which we on this side of the Committee believe need a whole new reappraisal, new thinking and new stimulus in regard to members of the public service who run them, one department, the Department of External Territories, is an exception. The stimulus in regard to Papua New Guinea came from a visit to that country by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) in January 1970. He created the catalyst through which so many good things have come in regard to the Territory’s development to selfgovernment and then later to independence.
Having said that, I would like to point out that there are one or two areas where I believe there are distinct differences between the attitudes of the Government and the attitudes of the Opposition in regard to Papua New Guinea. One of them is the Army, and I will not dwell on that again tonight. Another is the na«?r of appropriating $40m, which at the moment goes directly from Austraia to Papua New Guinea under, I believe, the estimates of the Prime Minister’s Department or maybe some other department rather than through the Department of External Territories. This amount is being spent on the extra salaries of Australians working in Papua New Guinea. I want to add to those 2 areas of difference by pointing out that I hope that an Australian Labor Party government will give the Government of Papua New Guinea - the Administrator’s Executive Council as the Cabinet of that country is known now - n:n idea of what the long term financial commitments of this country will be. Perhaps those commitments could be given over a 5, 6 or 7 year term. lt has been of great interest to me personally to go to Papua New Guinea and find there a department of economic planning such as we on this side of the Parliament think we ought to have in Australia. I am referring to the Office of Programming and Co-ordination, which is one of the departments of government in Papua New Guinea, The Office of Programming and Co-ordination was not brought to Papua New Guinea because of some clear thinking on the part of Australian politicians. I believe it was brought to Papua New Guinea because of the advice of the World Bank and the United Nations which, of course, have taken such an interest in that part of the world. The Office has given to the economic planning of that country a cohesion which would not exist without it. It does, I believe, cause some problems for the Treasury up there but in my view it is something which ought to be emulated in this country and something which I hope an Australian Labor Party Government will give to this country.
That Office of Programming and Coordination, so far as I can see, is working with one arm tied behind its back, because one of the main sources of funds for Papua New Guinea is the appropriation by this Parliament. As is so common with the way in which we work in this country at the present time, that appropriation is made from year to year. So although there is the nucleus there of a department which can do some effective long term planning it does not know enough about Australia’s commitment to that country in order to make the maximum use of the Office of Programming and Co-ordination. So I hope that we will be able to change this situation. I hope that if by some sad mischance the Australian Labor Party is not governing in Australia over the next year the Minister for Foreign Affairs who is at the table will have an influence on the incoming government and will see to it that a longer term commitment is made to Papua New Guinea rather than the present ad hoc year to year commitment.
I might add that this fits in very well with a lot of the speeches that we have heard in this debate tonight because we are debating not only the appropriation for the Department of External Territories but also the appropriation for the Department of Foreign Affairs. Many honourable members have taken the opportunity to speak of aid for developing countries. We ail realise that a tremendous amount of the aid from Australia does go to Papua New Guinea. The point I want to make arising from that is that it will be good for this country when we do not have to put so much of our aid into one basket, namely, the Papua New Guinea basket, and can spread more of it around to others of our neighbours. We have a tremendous task to carry out in Vietnam to make up for the sins of the past. A great deal of development must be carried out there, and so much must lie on Australia’s conscience to make up for what it has done. Much more aid must be appropriated to that country. I believe that we may be able to do this in the not too distant future because of the extra income that will accrue to the Government of Papua New Guinea from the Bougainville project.
These are part of the calculations which would be made when we in Australia decide on some formula in relation to what amount we will appropriate to Papua New Guinea over the long term. We can make it flexible. We need not be too inflexible about this. Perhaps the formula should be such a one that we will make up what is required in order to maintain a 10 ner cent increase in the gross national income cf Papua New Guinea. I do not pretend to have all the arguments before me on this subject. Others may favour a more closed commitment. Perhaps we could appropriate $X and allow for an increase of perhaps 10 per cent to take account of the decline in the value of money, so that Mr Michael Somare, the Chief Minister, and his Government in Papua New Guinea will know what they can expect from this country and plan accordingly, using this Office of Programming and Co-ordination.
The next point I wish to raise relates to the influence of Japan on Papua New Guinea in forthcoming years. I believe that as members of this Australian Parliament we have been a little too sensitive in talking about this matter. When I was in Papua New Guinea in June the Papua New Guinea ‘Post-Courier’ carried the headline. ‘We look to Japan . . . says Somare’. The article which followed read:
Papua New Guinea’s first Chief Minister, Mr Somare, sees this country’s future linked with Japan and Asia.
And in doing so he has played down Australia’s role as trading partner, . aid provider and supplier of expatriate experts.
Later the article continued quoting Mr Michael Somare:
We in Papua New Guinea are dominated in both trade and aid by Australia’, he said. ‘The big question is how much will this change when Papua New Guinea becomes independent and can work out its own foreign policies’
I would like to continue to read from this main news item of Monday, 19th June, but I have not the time on this occasion. The point I want to make is that as a member of this Parliament in Papua New Guinea at that time, I was asked by many people including indigenous politicians how I viewed this sort of speech by Mr Michael Somare. I had to say that I was not at all resentful as long as I could be confident that Mr Michael Somare and, indeed, anybody else who talked in these terms realised that Japan or any other country which built up a relationship with Papua New Guinea was obliged, in my view, to give the same sort of aid as this country has been giving by direct grant without any ties attached to it at all.
It is no good thinking that we in this country are going to be pleased by the fact that our grants are building roads and that we are responsible for so much development if some other nation will come in and not do its share in providing aid for this developing country. I repeat that I do not feel at all resentful about Japan’s taking an increasing interest in Papua New Guinea. The more countries that do so, the better. The more people who trade with Papua New Guinea and take its products, the better. But let us hope that if Japan or any other developed nation of Asia does involve itself as Australia has involved itself in that part of the world it will grant aid in the way that we have done.
– A very extraordinary doctrine has been propounded in the course of this debate in the last hour or two. It is one which would somehow deny to the Executive the main right to make foreign policy and conclude agreements with overseas countries. The first person to propound this doctrine was the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant), and he was followed in that view very much by the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes). Both of these honourable members seem to have an extraordinary idea of what is involved in foreign policy procedure and in government procedures generally. They think that somehow a government in power can mix up actions it has to take for governmental purposes with the proceedings of some committee or other.
Like the honourable member for Wills, I am a member of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs. Anyone who takes any interest in foreign affairs knows perfectly well that for some time there has been one outstanding difficult question between Australia and Indonesia. Whereas our relations are very friendly, very intimate and full of trust and we have had meetings, the one thing on which we have not been able to agree hitherto has been the demarcation of the sea boundaries. It was known also some time ago that a high powered collection of officials was going to Djakarta to talk at length about ali the technical and legal questions in relation to this matter and would be in Djakarta for some time. In fact, these talks have been going on for a long time. One thing I did not know was that they had managed to conclude an agreement - at which we must be very delighted - and that on his way back from New York the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) instead of coming directly to Australia diverted to Djakarta probably at some considerable physical distress to himself. Whilst there he signed this agreement and participated in the finalities of this agreement. We should all be extremely pleased with this. We have heard from his own lips what it was all about.
What I suggest is that we do not try to intrude the rights of the Parliament, which are very important, into situations where it would be quite silly and inappropriate to do so. Let us take the contributions which might have been made by the honourable member for Wills and Corio had they known these things, had anyone asked them, and had they had full confidence. No doubt the honourable member for Wilis would have injected a degree of verbosity into the debate. I do not know what the honourable member for Corio would have injected into the debate. He talks about his rights as a member of Parliament. What he would have been able to inject into the debate on this matter has not been made apparent to me from what he has said in this House on foreign affairs. It is misleading for honourable members, to confuse the rights of members of the Parliament and the rights of the Parliament with proper executive procedures which are absolutely essential.
The honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) introduced what seemed to me to be an extremely sour note into the motives for giving aid. The honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison) has suggested that behind all this foreign aid there has been some overall wicked motive and that people have given this aid for political motives. There is, of course, a measure of truth in that; but let me refer to the giving of Marshall aid programme which was the first big world aid programme. It is true that the United States Government was at the time interested in holding off the communist world; but it was particularly interested for obvious, sensible reasons and which could have been and were generous as well. In other words, it decided it would provide the wherewithal for the recovery of the rest of the world.
As one who lived through some of the subventions which went through Congress and who heard the debates which took place there I can assure the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory that there was mixed up with this an extraordinary degree of generosity on the part of the American people who were very directly conscious of the amount of direct taxation which they had to pay to finance these aid programmes. The aid was given with the kind of spirit which we now apply to our ordinary charitable operations. But aid, like everything else in human affairs, is a mixture but to write it off as a sour thing which nobody does anything about unless he has the worst motives is by no means just to the generosity of our own people, the Government and I think a very large proportion of members of the Opposition.
We should at least get into this the right spirit of generosity coupled with selfinterest. We are interested in the welfare of the countries of South East Asia and our neighbours. We have an intense self-interest in their success. Some of us are particularly interested in trade, know-how, or some other particular aspect; but overwhelmingly we do support these things not only because we want to uplift the standards of these people and to play our part in improving their lot in life but also because we believe this is very much in our interest as well as in their interest in helping to promote a peaceful foundation for this part of the world.
The honourable member for St George made some rather bitter, cynical remarks about the part we have been playing in Malaysia and Singapore. I know that this has become a matter of controversy but let us remember that the remarks made by the leaders of these countries and by our visitors to them are susceptible not to the normal human process of conversation but also, one might say, to treatment by the mass media. If some sensation can be scraped up from a few words uttered by someone this is made a subject of considerable agitation and misrepresentation and does in itself lead to a considerable degree of confusion and misunderstanding from time to time between the peoples of the 2 countries concerned. The people in
Malaysia and Singapore on a personal basis and on a basis of direct understanding are extraordinarily friendly, intimate and the best relations exist with them. But if we have regard to some of the remarks which are reported in the Press, or even more widely, there is always some other interpretation placed on them.
The latest one concerns the question of Malaysia’s neutrality. Tun Abdul Razak has been propounding the idea that this should be a large neutral zone guaranteed by the outside world. But this is nothing new. He has been saying this for a long time. All his neighbours know this and we know it. We know the difficulties involved in achieving it. For our part it is obviously something that we would like to promote. It is not in our interests that the whole of this area should become the cockpit of super-power politics. I use the term ‘superpower’ because the Japanese, the Chinese and the Americans are all operative in this area, as is the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics. This is obviously one of the points at which the super-powers meet. As for most of the rest of the world their interests are split. It would be in our interests to keep everybody out. Our policy on Malaysia and Singapore, particularly in the Five-Power pact, has been dedicated to a very similar end. None of the people in that area seriously think that any of the five powers are a menace or are threatening their future. What we are doing is to assist this process of making sure that this area is neutral and that other countries which interfere in any way will find in this area a hard core resistance which will assist in what Malaysia wants to do, as well as the rest of the world.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mi Corbett) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Proposed expenditures agreed to.
House adjourned at 10.49 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The problem encountered by families in remote areas in educating their children are of concern to me. The matter has recently been the subject of Commonwealth-State discussions at Ministerial and Departmental levels. However, I am unable to comment further since an expansion of Commonwealth assistance would involve a Government policy decision.
asked the Minister for Educa tion and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
It is not possible therefore at this stage to provide an accurate assessment of the additional cost to the States.
The revenues of State Governments, including the general revenue assistance provided by the Commonwealth, have increased substantially in recent years. They are expected to continue to increase in the future and the Commonwealth’s decision to transfer payroll tax to the States will be a factor in this.
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The purpose of the Schemeis to give women who have already decided to return to work an opportunity to make full use of existing or potential capacities. A real measure of the success of the Scheme is the extent to which this purpose has been achieved. This requires qualitative as well as quantitative data, a point the honourable member has apparently chosen to ignore.
Primary Industries: Assistance (Question No. 6277)
asked the Minister for
Primary Industry, upon notice:
What were the (a) categories, (b) numbers and (c) percentages of primary industries in respect of which applications for (i) debt reconstruction, (ii) farm build-up and (iii) rehabilitation assistance were (A) processed, (B) approved and (C) rejected in each State and the Commonwealth during July 1972.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Monthly statistics by categories of producer as requested by the honourable member have not been collated. The Bureau of Agricultural Economics undertakes analysis of data, supplied to it by reconstruction authorities for the purpose of assisting in periodic reviews of the progress of the rural reconstruction scheme. The most recent analysis covers approximately the first 9 months of the scheme up to March 1972. This has been used to provide the information set out in the accompanying Tables.
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice:
On what subjects and dates has he or his predecessor and the Minister for Customs and Excise made references to the Tariff Board on which the Board has not yet completed public hearings (Hansard, 27th October 1971, page 2658).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The table below lists matters under reference to the Tariff Board on which the Board, as at 11th September 1972, had not yet completed public hearings. References by the Minister for Customs and Excise under the Customs Tariff (Dumping and Subsidies) Act are included and identified by the term (D & S), and by-law references by the same Minister by the term (B/L).
Tariff Board: Completed Public Hearings (Question No. 6314)
asked the Minister for
Trade and Industry, upon notice:
On what subjects and dates has the Tariff Board completed public hearings on references by him or his predecessor and the Minister for Customs and Excise on which the Board has not yet forwarded reports (Hansard, 27th October 1971, page 2659).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The table below lists matters under reference to the Tariff Board on which the Board had, as at 11th September 1972, completed public bearings, but had not yet forwarded reports. References by the Minister for Customs and Excise under the Customs Tariff (Dumping and Subsidies) Act are included and identified by the term (D & S).
Tariff Board: Reports to be Tabled (Question No. 6315)
asked the Minister for
Trade and Industry, upon notice:
On what subjects and dates has the Tariff Board signed reports which have been received by him or his predecessor and the Minister for Customs and Excise but not yet tabled by them (Hansard, 27th October 1971, page 2660).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The table below lists Tariff Board reports that have been received but which, as at11th September 1972, have not yet been tabled. Those references by the Minister for Customs and Excise under the Customs Tariff (Dumping and Subsidies) Act upon which reports have been signed but not yet tabled are included and identified by the term ( D &S).
asked the Prime Minister upon notice:
What was the (a) date, (b) duration and (c) purpose of each visit he has paid to the Northern Territory, and what centres did he visit on each occasion.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
My last visit to the Northern Territory was made during the recent Parliamentary recess. During that visit I opened the Darwin River Dam on 29th June and, after opening the Ord River Dam, visited Gove on 30th June and 1st July, during which time I visited the Yirrkala community, opened a Transitional College at Dhupuma and opened the alumina plant.
Although I have not maintained detailed records of my visits to the Northern Territory, I have been there on several occasions. Available departmental records show that on 23rd March 1967, when Treasurer, I visited Alice Springs and had discussions with the Administrator. Further, during my tenure of the portfolios of Navy and Air, I visited Darwin from 15th-19th March 1954, when I made tours of inspection of defence installations in the area, including the site for the new 11,000 foot main runway at Darwin Airport and Naval facilities.
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
As I announced in the House on 17th August 1972, the Government has decided to offer to share in the costs of State teachers colleges which are being developed as self-governing institutions under the supervision of appropriate co-ordinating bodies in the States. This assistance will be on the basis of$1 Commonwealth for $1 State for capital costs and $1 Commonwealth to $1.85 State contribution plus fees for recurrent costs as from 1st July 1973. The Government has also decided to offer to share with the States, on a similar basis and from the same date, the capital and recurrent costs of preschool teachers colleges.
Such support of State teachers colleges and preschool teachers colleges was advocated by the Senate Committee. (Recommendations 7, 14, 31 and 32). This support will extend to the training of technical teachers (Recommendations 22 and 23). The Government has not been prepared to extend this support to non-government teachers colleges as recommended by the Senate Committee Recommendation No. 10. However, teacher trainees, whether they are preparing to work in independent schools or in government schools, will be equally acceptable for places in the self-governing teachers colleges just as is the case with teachers training at universities and colleges of advanced education. The students would be eligible for Advanced Education Scholarships.
In announcing the new policy on teacher education, I re-affirmed the Government’s view that teacher education should be provided in multipurpose institutions wherever possible. The Senate Committee advanced this view in Recommendations 28-30. I also stated that I wish to see the existing voluntary, bodies continuing to play an important role in the pre-school area, a view shared by the Senate Committee. Pre-school authorities will be involved in the discussions to lay down guiding principles for the Commonwealth’s new program of support for the pre-school teachers colleges. (Recommendation 15). There will be a greater number of Commonwealth Advanced Education scholarships available for tenure at preschool teachers colleges as a result of the 50 per cent increase in the overall number of these scholarships in 1973. Living allowances payable to scholarship holders will also be increased. (Recommendation 16).
An area of particular concern to the Senate Committee was the training of special teachers for handicapped children (Recommendations 18-20). The Committee’s recommendations in this area were directed to the Australian Universities Commission and the Australian Commission on Advanced Education. Both Commissions have informed me that they will encourage the development of courses in Special Education in the areas of tertiary education for which they have responsibilities. I have asked the Commission on Advanced Education to look in particular at special areas of need, such as the training of teachers of the handicapped and special remedial teachers, when it is considering the teachers college programme for the period July 1973 to December 1975.
The Senate Committee gave considerable emphasis in its report to the area of educational research (Recommendations 3, 17, 24-26). As I announced in my speech of 17th August, the amount allocated for 1972-73 for projects recommended by the Australian Advisory Committee on Research and Development in Education is $300,000. an increase of 21 per cent over 1971-72. The Committee has told me that the funds which can usefully, be allocated are limited by a number of factors, including the supply of trained research workers. The expenditure estimated for 1972-73 reflects the level of productive activities which the Committee believes can be supported at this stage. The Senate Committee consideredthat the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Research and Development in Education should inquire into the aims of pre-school education. This Committee has already had consultations wilh pre-school authorities on research needs. It is also considering the possibility of further research into methods of screening applicants for teacher training.
Other recommendations directed to the Commonwealth by the Senate Committee are under consideration. As I indicated in my speech of 17th August, the proposal for a national tertiary scholarship scheme (Recommendation 4), has already been discussed with State Ministers. My Department is currently taking steps to arrange an early, meeting with State officials to examine the matter further. This proposal has, of course, significant implications for State policies on teacher-training scholarships and it is one which, I believe, will require considerable investigation and planning before it could be implemented. A related matter which the Senate Committee wished to see investigated is the possible introduction of loans for tertiary students (Recommendation 5). My Department has already made investigations in this field and these will continue in consultation with Treasury and banking officials.
The Senate Committee’s recommendations on collection of statistics relating to teacher education needs (Recommendation 8) and on the need for improved liaison with industry in the development of programmes in vocational education (Recommendation 21) are other matters which are under consideration by Commonwealth Departments.
I am not aware of any announcements by State Governments that they have either adopted or rejected specific recommendations directed to them by the Senate Committee. However, in the area of administration of teacher education, most States have either established, or are moving to establish, statutory, boards of teacher education and/or advanced education as advocated by the Committee. The conditions under which the Commonwealth is offering matching support of teachers college costs will encourage these developments. At the Australian Education Council meeting in May of this year, State Ministers agreed that State teachers colleges be supported on the same basis as universities and colleges of advanced education. In all States, provision has or is being made to enable teachers colleges to become self-governing institutions and a number of teachers colleges are already free of direct Education Department control. State Ministers also expressed support for research into methods of screening applicants for teacher training (Recommendation 3).
On 10th March 1972, I wrote to the following authorities drawing their attention to the Senate Committee’s recommendations: State Ministers ot Education, the Australian Universities Commission, the Australian Commission on Advanced Education, the Australian Advisory Committee on Research and Development in Education, and the Australian Council on Awards in Advanced Education.
asked the Minister for Educa tion and Science, upon notice:
– The answer tothe honourable member’s question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) As indicated in the Fifth Report of the Australian Universities Commission, the allocation of the Special Research Grants between individual universities has been related to the number of academic staff and research students at each university and takes into account the distribution of staff and students between the different faculties. For a more detailed discussion of the matter, I would refer the honourable member to Chapter 10 of the Commission’s Fifth Report.
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows’
asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
If so, (a) why is the Department so determined that Social Workers should not indicate to clients that their pensions/benefits are to be approved in cases where it is clear they will be approved; (b) is it felt that clients should be left in a state of tension and suspense; if so why is this thought to be good for clients; (c) why should clients be treated with so much vagueness by, the bureaucratic machine which is determining a fundamental and, in most cases, essential issue in their life and, explicitly, why should there be so much secrecy and why cannot a client be advised of the stage that investigations have reached; (d) why is it thought to be so terribly dangerous to let a client know that his claim is in the final stages of processing and that u final decision is imminent;
– 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 Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The honourable member may recall that in announcing that new Programme, the Prime Minister made it clear that in recognition of the termination of the specific purpose programme of assistance for science facilities, the amounts annually available after the first two years of the new Programme to the States and to the independent schools, would be increased, in the case of the States by $4m. annually and in the case of the independent schools by Sim. annually.
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
State with (a) Commonwealth, and (b) State funds, were built in each year or triennium or other relevant period of time for which figures are readily available during the period 1964 to 1971.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows-
A great deal of the information sought by the honourable member, although not in the form he has requested, is contained in statements already provided to Parliament. The dates of these statements are: 6th October 1965. Statement by Minister:nCharge, Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research. 28th April 1966. Statement by MinisterinCharge, Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research. 14th September 1966. Statement by MinisterinCharge, Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research. 27th March 1968. Statement attached to Second Reading Speech of Minister for Education and Science. 18th September 1968. Statement by Minister for Education and Science. 31st March 1969. Statement by Minister for Education and Science. 8th December 1971. Statement by Minister for Education and Science.
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Estimated number of laboratories to be constructed in the period 1st July 1971 to 30th June 1975 and from 1st July 1964 to 30th June 1975 in non-government secondary schools.
The Commonwealth has enacted legislation to provide unmatched capital grants of $20m for government schools in the States over the 18 months to June 1973. The Government has introduced this session the States Grants (Schools) Bill which provides further grants for government schools totalling $167m. in the 5 years commencing July 1973. Each State will be free to develop with these funds its own programme of school construction, including the provision of science laboratories. The passage of this legislation will undoubtedly have an impact on each State’s programme of laboratory construction.
asked the Minister for Education and Science, 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 Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) The provision of the information requested would require time and resources of staff not available to my Department, which has no requirement for maintaining separately information of such a kind. I- emphasise that the process of assessing the entitlement to assistance of individual non-government schools for science facilities has been a continuous process since the original visits made to such schools by members of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Standards for Science Facilities in Independent Secondary Schools. Schools qualify for additional laboratories only when the Committee is satisfied that their provision is fully, justified by educational need.
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
Ballarat Grammar School, Ballarat College, Brighton Grammar School, Camberwell Girls Grammar School, Camberwell Grammar School, Carey Grammar School, Caulfield Grammar School, Christ Church Grammar School, The Hermitage, Claredon PLC, Clyde School, Elsternwick Methodist Ladies College, Essendon Grammar School, Fintona, Firbank, Geelong Grammar, The Geelong College, Gippsland Grammar School, Girton CEGGS, Haileybury, Hamilton and Alexandra College, Hawthorn Seventh Day Adventist High School, Huntingtower, Ivanhoe CEGGS, Ivanhoe Grammar, Kevington, Kingswood, Korona Lauriston, Lilydale Adventist Academy, Luther College, Melbourne Grammar, Mentone Grammar, Mentone Girls Grammar, MLC Hawthorn, Morongo, Peninsula Church of England School, Penleigh PLC, PLC (Burwood), Queen’s CEGGS Ruyton, St Anne’s (Sale), St Catherine’s (Toorak), St Leonard’s (Brighton), St Margaret’s (Berwick), St Michael’s CEGGS, Scotch College, Shelford, Strathcona, Merlon Hall, Tintern, Toorak -College, Trinity Grammar, Mount Scopus, Wesley and Yarra Valley.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) The information sought is set out below both for the schools he listed and for other non-Catholic applicant secondary schools in Victoria.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
Has he yet conducted the inquiry into the terms and conditions upon which houses are made available to Ministers in Canberra which he promised to instigate in March 1972; if so, with what results.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
I refer the honourable member to the statement made by the Minister for the Interior on 26th September 1972 (Hansard, page 1873).
asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
Shopping Centre area.
– The answer to the honourable members question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Edu cation and Science, 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:
I have been informed that:
It is estimated that in 1972-73 the Commonwealth will receive the following amounts, representing repayments of principal and payments of interest, under the Agreements indicated in respect of loans made for railway projects:
It is not possible at this stage to state the annual payments to be received by the Commonwealth in respect of these projects in the years after their completion; the amount of these payments will depend upon the amounts and timing of future advances by the Commonwealth to the States. However, the approximate total amounts which the Commonwealth will receive by way of repayments of principal and payments of interest in respect of advance to the States up to 30th June 1972 under the Agreements concerned, and the year of the final payment in respect of such advances, are as follows:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
scheme and (b) in respect of each other hydroelectric and water project for which it has made loans.
– The answer to the hon ourable member’s question is as follows:
I have been informed that
The payments which it is estimated the Commonwealth will receive in 1972-73 in respect of hydro-electric and water projects for which it has made loans are:
It is expected that the Snowy Mountains HydroElectric Scheme will be completed during 1973-74. Calculated on the basis of past and present interest rates, annual payments of principal and interest to the Commonwealth in respect of advances made to the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority up to 1973-74 will be about $47m from 1974-75 to 2024-25 and will thereafter decline until 2044-45 when those advances will have been repaid.
Tasmania - Hydro-Electric Power Development
This project is scheduled for completion in 1975-76. However, under the terms of the Tasmania Agreement (Hydro-Electric Power Development) Act 1968 Commonwealth assistance does not extend beyond that provided to 30th June 1972.
Equal annual repayments of principal of $2,988,875 are expected to commence in the current financial year and continue through to 1979-80. Interest of $1,445,564 will be due in 1972-73 and will decline thereafter as the amount of outstanding principal is reduced until 1979-80 when a final interest payment of $140,480 is expected to be made.
Western Australia - Comprehensive Water Scheme It is expected that the works for which assistance was available under the Western Australia (South west Region Water Supplies; Agreement Act 1965-1971 will be completed in 1973-74. The State has now received the full amount of Commonwealth assistance.
Repayments of principal are due to commence in 1975-76, when the Commonwealth expects to receive $41,667, and will increase thereafter until 1982-83 when capital repayments of $800,000 will be received. Receipts at this rate will continue until 1989-90, at which time the loans made in earlier years will have been completely repaid and the size of subsequent repayments will decline. All loans are expected to be repaid by the end of the financial year 1996-97. Interest payments due in 1973-74 and 1974-75 will be $707,025 and will decline from 1975-76 onwards as loan repayments reduce the amount of outstanding principal.
Ord River Scheme and Dartmouth Reservoir
It is expected that construction of the Dartmouth Reservoir will be completed during 1978-79 while for the Ord River Irrigation Scheme the date of completion of works for which Commonwealth loan assistance is available is uncertain at this stage. Because the amount to be repaid by the States for these projects will depend upon the amount and timing of advances it is not possible at present to estimate the annual repayments to be received by the Commonwealth.
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
What (a) salaries and (b) allowances are paid to Members of the Northern Territory Legislative Council.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (a)*Members of the Legislative Council are paid the fallowing annual fees:
Elected Member $2,750
The following allowances are paid to elected members:
Darwin electorates - $200 per annum
Other electorates - $400 per annum
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1) Yes.
asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
Has the Commonwealth acted to stop the introduction of the freshwater fish Nile Perch into Queensland by the State Government; if so, why.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
A proposal to introduce Nile Perch into Australia was submitted early in 1969 to the Australian Fisheries Council by the Queensland Government. The Council subsequently referred the proposal to a technical sub-committee of the Standing Committee on Fisheries. Since then the subcommittee has been preparing a fully documented case covering all aspects of the possible introduction of Nile Perch. It is expected that in the near future, the sub-committee will submit its recommendation to the Standing Committee on Fisheries which, in turn, will submit a recommendation to the Australian Fisheries Council. Until then the question of Commonwealth action does not arise.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
Will he bring up to date and consolidate the information which his predecessor and be have given on 15th May 1970 (Hansard, page 2331), 20th August 1971 (Hansard, page 486) and 2nd December 1971 (Hansard, page 4115) on the internal and overseas securities on issue, annual interest liability and capital repayments in respect of (a) the Commonwealth, (b) each State, (c) semi-government authorities in each State, (d) local governments in each State and (e) each mainland Territory.
– I am informed the answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The information previously supplied on Commonwealth and State securities on issue, total debt of semi-government authorities and local governments, annual interest liabilities, capital repayments of Commonwealth and State Governments and funds provided for redemption by semigovernment authorities and local governments has been consolidated and brought up to date in the following tables:
The information in the foregoing tables has been taken from Government WhitePapers, Government Securities on Issue (published each year with the Budget papers), The Annual Reports of the National Debt Commission, Finance Bulletins, Bulletins on State, Territory and Local Government Authorities’ Finance and Government Securities and Local and Semi-Government Authorities Debt.
Statistical data for Local and SemiGovernmental Authority Debt was not collected during the war years and was resumed in 1946-47. Details for Commonwealth, State, Local and SemiGovernmental Authorities have been shown for 1947 in lieu of 1945.
The table ‘Capital Repayments’ shows actual expenditure of the Commonwealth and the Slates on debt redemption from the National Debt Sinking Fund, Consolidated Revenue Fund and Trust Fund. It excludes redemptions from Loan Fund, i.e. where securities are issued and the proceeds used to redeem other securities
The figures shown for Local and SemiGovernmental Authorities are of funds provided for the redemption of debt. They relate to funds provided for combined redemption programmes for both internal and overseas debt, i.e. repayments by instalments, and amounts credited to sinking funds - including earnings on sinking fund investments. Unlike Commonwealth and Slate sinking funds, contributions paid into some Local and Semi-Governmental Authority sinking funds are not expended on debt redemption as they become available, but are accumulated until maturity of the loan for which the contribution is payable.
With regard to the Mainland Territories, data for debt outstanding and capital repayments are only available since 1960.
Sewerage Services: Perth Metropolitan Area
– The honourable member for Stirling (Mr Webb) asked me a question on 19th September 1972, without notice, concerning a letter to the Treasurer from the Chairman of the Perth Metropolitan Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Board asking for Commonwealth funds to assist the Board in providing sewerage facilities.
I saidI had not seen any such letter, and reminded him that normally a letter of that kind would come through the Premier and not direct from a semi-government authority. I undertook to obtain the letter, and to ask for a Treasury report to be sent at the same time.
I have been informed that the Chairman of the Perth Water Board did write such a letter, but that it was addressed to the Minister for Supply and the Minister Assisting the Treasurer, who replied to it and who has subsequently answered a fur ther letter from the Chairman of the Board.
Copies of the Chairman’s first letter were sent to the Treasurer by some members of this Parliament, including the honourable member for Stirling. They were answered by the Minister Assisting the Treasurer. The Treasurer himself answered a letter from the Minister for Air on the subject.
The replies made by the Minister Assisting the Treasurer, and by the Treasurer, set out the Commonwealth Government’s policy on the matter of Commonwealth assistance to State semi-government and local authorities, which is well known to honourable members. In brief, the Commonwealth’s policy on this matter is that these authorities are created and function under State law and their finances are a matter for State Government consideration. In accordance with this attitude the Commonwealth, rather than provide funds specifically for such authorities, provides large amounts of untied assistance to the State Governments which they are free to disburse as they wish. It also, of course, provides assistance to the State Governments, as appropriate, in connection with their Loan Council works and housing programmes. A significant proportion of the latter is made by way of grants.
The replies also pointed out that Western Australia received a further temporary addition of $3m to its semi-government borrowing programme for 1972-73 (making a total of $9m in all) following submissions to the Loan Council by the Premier concerning unemployment in the Perth area and the suitability of an expansion in the Perth Water Board’s works programme to assist in overcoming this. The State will also continue to benefit from permanent additions to its semi-government borrowing programme of $2m and $3 that were approved, again with Commonwealthsupport, in 1970-71 and 1971-72 respectively.
As I reminded the honourable member for Stirling, it would not be appropriate for the Commonwealth to consider any policy change in relation to such a matter otherwise than as a consequence of an approach made to me as Prime Minister by the Premier of the State concerned.
asked the Minister for Immi gration, upon notice:
What payments did his Department make to (a) Qantas, (b) other airlines; and (c) shipping companies for the transport of migrants to Australia in 1971-72 (Hansard, 27th October 1971, page 2653).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The following information relates to calendar year 1971:
Assisted passage migrants accepted under bilateral schemes or arrangements with countries of emigration travel to Australia on transport provided by the Commonwealth or by the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM). Assisted migrants approved under the unilaterally administered Special Passage Assistance Programme (SPAP) can either travel on Government arranged transport or make their own travel arrangements.
Payments made for migrants travelling on transport arranged by the Commonwealth:
asked the Minister for Supply, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
In the following tables, however, Commonwealth Hostels Limited has calculated the approximate nominal capacity in terms of the number of people each hostel could have accommodated; the number of people in residence on each of the dates requested is also shown. The number of persons who could have been accommodated in modern accommodation is indicated in brackets.
Army huts and converted wool stores. The original capital cost of these buildings is not available. The total expenditure on a programme carried out progressively, over a number of years to replace nissen huts and other sub-standard buildings with modern motel-type accommodation on hostel sites presently in use was$23,462,576.
askedthe Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
About half of the unused accommodation is being progressively demolished because of the substandard nature of the buildings. (2)Thepresentpolicyistoadmittohostel accommodationmigrantfamilieswithdependant childrenwhoarenototherwiseeligiblebutwho faceserioushardshipwithoutsuchassistance.
asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Health, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) As indicated in the reply to question 5100 of 30th May 19.72, the posting of notices with child endowment chequeswas one of a number of measures designed to further publicise the Subsidised Health BenefitsPlan. It was considered that most low-income -families receiving child endowment would be contacted in this way, but the lodgment of applications is a matter for action by those families.
It is not considered appropriate to try to assess the number of applicants influenced to apply, for subsidised health benefits in the manner suggested by the honourable member, nor has any estimate been made of the number of additional applications likely to flow from this measure specifically.
asked the -Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
First Division - DepartmentalHeads, and certain other officers as determined by the Minister.
Second Division - All officers whose duties, are ofan administrative, professional or clerical nature.
Third Division- All remaining officers.
The Secretary, Department of Transport, is an expatriate officer of the First Division. The following table lists the various offices of the Department the occupants of which are included in the Second Division and shows the number of expatriate and indigenous staff employed in each:
Prices of Home Building Blocks (Question No. 6318)
asked the Minister for
Immigration, upon notice:
What are dates and details of the information in his Department’s latest housing booklet on the average prices for blocks of home building land at various distances from the State capitals.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The information about prices for blocks of home building land in the latest edition of the booklet ‘Housing in Australia’ produced by the Department of Immigration - (British edition published in May 1972, No. 39) is based on material published in the December 1971 issue of a quarterly bulletin prepared by the Commonwealth Banking Corporation for use by its Financial and Migrant Information Service overseas. The text was prepared in December 1971 and the booklet reminds readers in 6 places that the information (including details about prices for blocks ofland) is based on information as at December 1971. The prices given are as follows:
Within 5 miles of the city - Very little vacant land available. Prices range from$A10,000 (£4,600) in older areas to$A40,000 (£18,400) in harbour suburbs. Good positions usually exceed $A25,000 (£11,500).
From 5 to 10 miles out- From$A12,000 (£5,520) to$A35,000 (£16,100). Limited vacant land available.
From 10 to 15 miles- From$A8,500 (£3,910) to $A30,000 (£13,800). Limited land available.
More than 15 miles- From$A5,000 (£2,300) to $A10,000 (£4,600).
Within 5 miles of city- From $A 10,000 (£4,600) to $A20,000 (£9,200). Very limited number of blocks available; select areas from$A20,000 (£9,200) to$A50,000 (£23,000).
From 5 to 10 miles out- From $A7,500 (£3,450) to$A15,000 (£5,900) (eastern and south-eastern suburbs), $A4,500 (£2,300) to $ A 10,000 (£4,600) (northern and western suburbs).
From 10 to 15 miles- From $A4,000 (£1,840) to$A10,000 (£4,600) (eastern and southeastern suburbs), from $A4,000 (£1,800) to $A6,000 (£2,760)) (northern and western suburbs).
More than 15 miles- From $A3,000 (£1,380) to $A4,500 (£2,070) (northern and western suburbs).
Within 5 miles of city- Number of blocks available negligible.
From 5 to 10 miles out- From$A2,200 (£1,012) to$A9,000 (£4,140). Bulk of new residential development lies in this radius.
From 10 to 15 miles- From $A 1,800 (£828) to $A3,500 (£1,610).
More than 15 miles- From$A1,500 (£690) to $A2,500 (£1,150).
Note - Blocks in coastal areas generally are higher-priced.
Within 5 miles of city- From$A5,500 (£2,530) to $A12,000 (£5,520). Inner suburban lots becoming scarce.
From 5 to 10 miles out- From $A2,500 (£1,150) to $A10,000 (£4,600).
From 10 to 15 miles- From $A2,000 (£920) to $A3,000 (£1,380).
More than 15 miles- From $ A 1,500 (£690) to $A2,500 (£1,150). Highest along beach frontages.
Within 5 miles of city - Very limited land available. Prices up to$A20,000 (£9,200).
From 5 to 10 miles out - Most popular blocks $A4,000 (£1,840) to $A7,000 (£3,320). Slightly cheaper blocks may not be fully serviced.
From 10 to 15 miles- From $A2,700 (£1,100) to$A5,000 (£2,300), mainly along arterial roads, Darling Ranges and new coastal subdivisions.
More than 15 miles- From $A2,500 (£1,150) in outer districts to $A9,000 (£4,140) for select blocks in holiday resort areas.
Within 5 miles of city- From $A2,500 (£1,150) to$A 10,000 (£4,600). Limited land available.
From 5 to 10 miles out- From $A 1,500 (£690) to $A5,000 (£2,300).
From 10 to 15 miles- From $A600 ; £276) to $A2,000 (£920).
More than 15 miles- From$A400 (£184) to $ A 1,800 (£828) (outside suburban area).
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
What (a) salaries and (b) allowances are paid to (i) Ministers and (ii) Members of the Papua New Guinea Parliament.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The salaries and allowances paid to Ministers and Members of the Papua New Guinea House of Assembly are:
The Chief Minister and the Speaker receive a personal entertainment allowance of $500 and $300 per annum respectively.
All Ministers and the Speaker are entitled to reimbursement from the Ministerial Entertainment Fund of the costs of entertainment provided in connection with their duties.
Ministers and the Speaker are also paid an ‘Electorate Representation Allowance’ of $1,300 per annum towards the employment of personal staff in their electorates.
All Members (including Ministers and the Speaker) are paid electoral allowances which vary acocrding to the type of electorate and the estimated cost to a Member of travelling within his electorate. The allowances range from $250 to $1,500 per annum for open electorates and from $1,000 to $2,000 per annum for regional electorates.
In addition to his salary as a Member, the Chairman of Committees is paid an allowance of office of $500 per annum. Official Members are paid an allowance of $400 per annum for their duties in connection with the House of Assembly.
ns asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– I draw the honourable member’s attention to the answer given by the Treasurer in the House on 29th August in relation to this matter and to my own statement to the House on the same day.
asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Navy: Shipbuilding programme (Question No. 6492)
asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 October 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1972/19721010_reps_27_hor81/>.