28th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. J. F. Cope) took the chair at 2 p.m., and read prayers.
– A petition has been lodged by Mr Lynch as follows and a copy of the petition will be referred to the appropriate Minister:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned electors of the Division of Flinders respectfully showeth:
That concern is felt by electors in the said Division of Flinders at the closing of ‘Maryport’, the former rehabilitation centre at Mt Martha, because:
The closing was unnecessary and unwarranted and, therefore, against the best interests of the whole community;
The closing has meant loss of employment, and therefore financial loss, for a number of people living on the Mornington Peninsula;
‘Maryport’ offered rehabilitation training in a peaceful and picturesque setting considered by, staff members to have been conducive to the physical and mental recovery of the many people treated at the centre; and
The constantly-expanding population of the Mornington Peninsula, and the growing number of disabled, will create demands for rehabilitative services which can best be met through the reopening of ‘Maryport’; and
A need already exists on the Mornington Peninsula for training centres for long-term, slowlearner and handicapped patients.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to restore and improve ‘Maryport’, to allow it to re-open as quickly as possible so that it might resume its vital work.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
– I wish to inform the House that the Treasurer (Mi Crean) left Australia last Tuesday to attend the meeting in Washington of the International Monetary Fund Committee of the Board of Governors on Reform of the International Monetary System. He is expected to return to Australia next Monday. During his absence, the Minister for Social Security (Mr Hayden) is acting as Treasurer. I also inform the House that the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Bryant) is unable to attend the House this week as he is ill in the Repatriation General Hos- pital, Heidelberg. I expect he will be back with us next week. 1 know all honourable members join me in wishing him a speedy recovery.
– Was the Prime Minister aware of Senator Murphy’s raids on the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation headquarters in Canberra and in Melbourne during the early hours of Friday, 16th March, before they occurred? If he was aware of the ra ds before they occurred, at what time and by whom was he informed?
– Since the House last met, the Attorney-General has twice visited the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation headquarters in Melbourne. 1 did not know that he was going to make the first visit. 1 did know that he was going to make the second.
– My question is addressed to the Postmaster-General. Is it correct that approximately 300 official post offices are to be declassified to non-official status? If so, why has this been found necessary? Will such action in any way destroy career opportunities of existing postmasters and other Post Office employees? Will it mean a denigration of Post Office services to any sections of the community?
– There are the usual problems associated with the Post Office in that my predecessor was always talking about the number of closures he was forced to implement. Honourable members will have noticed that in February 1972 the then PostmasterGeneral referred to the fact that he had been closing post offices at an average rate of about 200 a year. I have before me a submission made by the Postmaster-General’s Department on what action should be taken in regard to a number of official post offices. This matter requires a lot of consideration. I must also take into account the fact that a royal commission into the Post Office is pending. There has never been a case where career opportunities have been affected by the closure of post offices. It follows, of course, that with the advent of what might be termed growth centres further career opportunities should open up. It follows also that many post offices should be relocated and that many non-official post offices should be upgraded to official status. If that policy is implemented and encouraged, it should also follow that there will be no denigration or limitation of career opportunities.
– I ask the Minister for Immigration: Did he state publicly that he is in possession of complete documentation of the activities of international criminal bodies and their local affiliates? Has he indicated that he has had this information since early January of this year? Did he say that these reports indicate the leadership and the people involved? Do they contain anything more than mere assertion? Did the Minister also say that a person has to commit an offence which attracts a sentence of more than one year’s imprisonment before he has the power to consider his deportation? In view of the information which he alleges he has in his possession, why has he taken no action and preferred instead to cast aspersions on large sections of the Australian migrant community?
– I must say that I am surprised at the tenor of the question asked by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition because the records of my Department indicate that he when Minister for Immigration was deeply concerned at the activities of criminal elements in our community, a small group of people in the total migrant intake but nevertheless too many because one person in our community who is addicted to violence is too many in terms of the acceptance of these activities by the Australian people. When he was Minister for Immigration, the present Deputy Leader of the Opposition used strong terms and took strong action to deal with what he had evidently felt was a lack of government action and a lack of action by the appropriate government agencies to curb violence in our country.
What I said was that the information which had been gathered by the Special Reports Branch of the Department of Immigration had been made available to me immediately on taking office. It was information which I am sure was available to the honourable member at that time although probably with the lapse of time I had further information available to me. That information caused me as much concern as it caused him. Honourable members opposite do not appear to accept what I say but, if there is any doubt about it, this information is on record and 1 am sure that if the Deputy Leader of the Opposition wants to have correspondence tabled we can do it. However I want to show him the courtesy of answering his question and to tell the House the facts, which are that in relation to this matter the Deputy Leader of the Opposition displayed his concern during the time when he was a member of the Government. The then Government did not take the action that he felt should have been taken. This Government deprecates in every way activities associated with violence irrespective of where those involved may come from and I want to say that clearly.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition spoke about the action that should be taken. The Department of Immigration has received specific continuing instructions that there shall not be considered for migration anyone who has an addiction to or a record of violence. Those instructions stand. I give the assurance to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and to the House generally that this Government will take action to see to it that migrants who come before our courts, are convicted and have records that put them within the provisions of deportation will not remain in our midst. Such action would be taken according to the due processes of law. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has raised the question of the status of migrants in our community, I place on record in this House that since World War II more than 3 million people have come to this country and the overwhelming majority of them have been great citizens. Some of them have served in this Parliament. I want also to take the opportunity to tell the House that the last time there was an inquiry made into criminality in the migrant community the figures spoke for themselves. The cases appearing before superior courts-
– Mr Speaker, I rise to a point of order. How long do we have to listen to this?
-Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– If the honourable member is not interested in the good name of migrants, who comprise 3 million of the people in our community, he should be ashamed of himself. I was about to say before I was irreverently and irrelevantly interrupted, that according to the latest survey of cases before the superior courts, the rate per thousand of population appearing was 1.14 Australian born and 0.61 non-Australian born. We have kept a continuing check on the rate of criminality among people we have invited to join us. I say again that, overall, the people who have come to join us in the family of the nation have in fact been outstanding citizens. That should be placed on the record. They do not want their good name to be besmirched by a handful of people who are criminals and who incidentally may have received, improperly, shelter and comfort from people who should have known better than to give it to them.
– 1 have to inform the House that we have present in the gallery this afternoon a delegation from the People’s Assembly of the Arab Republic of Egypt led by the Honourable Fuad Abu Hemeila. On behalf of the House T extend to these gentlemen a very warm welcome.
Honourable members - Hear, hear!
– My question is directed to the Minister for Science, and it concerns the Australian Institute of Marine Science. In view of the lack of research into marine science in this country, and having in mind the potential of the fishing industry, can the Minister say what steps have been taken to implement the legislation establishing the Australian Institute of Marine Science laboratory?
– We are faced with a problem as to the location of the Institute of Marine Science. Honourable members will recall that the Act specifies that the Institute must be at or in the vicinity of Townsville. We have since found that the site that was selected, Cape Pallerenda, is not suitable because of the introduction of a radar system by the Royal Australian Air Force at Townsville. We propose introducing into the House in the near future an amendment to the relevant Act which will give the Australian Institute of Marine Science Council an opportunity to consider other sites. In short, we cannot proceed with the Institute until we have the location organised. We will regard this matter as having some urgency, because 1 agree with the honourable member that this is an important facility for Australia, and he can rest assured that we will take every step possible to ensure that the Institute is suitably located. The amending legislation will be introduced as soon as possible.
– I direct my question to the Prime Minister. I refer him to a report in today’s ‘Canberra Times’ headed Terrorists to be named in House* and a report in today’s Australian’ headed ‘Murphy to name 30 Terrorists’. I ask the Prime Minister whether these headlines, whether correct or not, represent a very serious and frightening departure from the concept of the need for guilt to be proved by the courts before a person is branded as a criminal?
– What about Prime Minister Menzies?
– This is a very important matter of principle. Mr Speaker, I would be pleased if you called honourable members to order.
– Will the Prime Minister assure the House that the Government, despite the doubts which have been created by recent events, adheres to the view that it is for the courts, not the Press or even the AttorneyGeneral, to determine the guilt or innocence of a person accused of a crime?
– I hasten to give the assurance that the right honourable gentleman seeks. The Attorney-General will not name any persons who have not been convicted of crimes and I hope that the Press would not name persons as criminals unless they had been convicted of crimes. The difference between the present Attorney-General and his predecessor is that the present Attorney-General is prepared to see that law and order are maintained in this country irrespective of the persons involved. The preceding AttorneyGeneral, as many honourable and right honourable gentlemen in this House will know, did his best to cover up for people who had been convicted of crimes.
– I address a question to the Minister for Housing. In view of current concern at rapid increases in home building costs, can the Minister indicate whether, in addition to any other measures, any research or inquiry is being undertaken or sponsored by the Government into alternative and cheaper building materials or methods? If not, will the Minister consider some initiative in this direction?
– The Government is concerned about the increase in costs, and some of the matters being looked at concern my colleague, the Treasurer. Nevertheless, so far as the innovation of new technologies and materials is concerned, the Government is committed to intensify investigation through the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and will shortly be setting out to achieve this end. It is realised that there are problems in respect of the availability of materials and the types of techniques that have been utilised up to date which have the tendency to sustain high costs in the building industry and that it will be necessary to introduce new techniques. It is felt that there is a likelihood that Australia might now be on the threshold of new industrialised techniques in regard to the production of housing.
These matters have been the subject of discussion between myself and such organisations as the Master Builders Federation, the Housing Industry Association and the Chamber of Manufactures. The general intent is to devise the processes by which new technologies can be introduced. I hope that in the not too distant future I will be able to put before the Cabinet specific proposals which will take advantage of proposals to move the whole housing and building industry into a state of metrication involving, as it does, a system of preferred dimensions of building sizes and other matters related thereto. In general, there is a very real concern about this matter on the part of the Government and proposals will be put before the Cabinet which will stimulate efforts at present being made towards the study of technological advances in housing and building.
– I ask the Prime Minister a question. Is it the policy of his Government to to make direct financial grants to municipal authorities, as foreshadowed last weekend by the Minister for Urban and Regional Development in relation to the Brisbane City Council, or will finance for local government continue to be channelled through State governments as in the past?
– The grants which the Commonwealth will make to local government bodies will, of course, consonant with section 96 of the Constitution, be made through State governments. The grants will be made to the State governments on condition that they are passed on to the local government bodies.
– I address a question to the Minister for Immigration. As there are 1,200 unemployed women in the Wollongong employment district, will he consult wilh the Minister for Labour and ascertain whether any of the 600 stated vacancies at Broken Hill Co. Pty Ltd could reasonably be filled by women?
– I was not aware of the exact number of unemployed in the region to which the honourable member refers. The Immigration Planning Council met yesterday in Melbourne and is continuing its deliberations. It takes into account all the data made available from the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Labour and all of the representations that have been made either for or against the present level of intake. When the Immigration Planning Council has completed its deliberations a recommendation will be made to the Government. I take note of the reference that has been made by the honourable member and I will refer it to the Council so that it will be included in its deliberations.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. In referring, in his recent answer, to persons who had been convicted of crimes hemp mentioned in the Parliament, he did in the course of his answer make a very serious allegation against my colleague in the other place who was the previous Attorney-General and suggested that he had covered up for such persons. I ask the Prime Minister: Will he now, in fairness to my colleague, name the instances where he suggests that this has occurred in order that the former Attorney-General may have an opportunity of defending himself against this serious charge?
– The former AttorneyGeneral will be fully exposed in the statement to be made in the other place by the present Attorney-General this evening and in this place by the Minister representing him also this evening.
– I direct my question to the Acting Treasurer. Has the concentration of economic power, in terms of ownership and share of domestic markets, increased in Australia in recent years? If so, has there been a tendency for the concentration of economic power in either of these senses to increase more rapidly in the last 5 years than in the previous 5 years? ls there any indication that the rate of increase, if any, of the concentration of economic power might increase in the near future?
– There is no official information upon which one can base a statement on the point which the honourable member has raised. My own impression is that there has been an increasing tendency for concentration of economic power in Australia. The only official reports which I am aware of have been compiled by the Commonwealth Statistician and referred to the mining industry, the manufacturing industry and some other sectors of the economy. There have been quite a number of non-official but nonetheless authoritative and reliable reports on the degree to which concentration exists in the Australian economy. Fairly recently Mr Sykes wrote a series of articles in the ‘Australian Financial Review’ on this subject. Professor Wheelwright has written a number of works in this area too, and of course so too have other academics. Hylda Rolfe several years ago in a work which is somewhat dated now but still with some relevance, entitled ‘The Controllers’, gave an interesting analysis of a number of company board directors indicating the cross relationship of board directors between financial, commercial and manufacturing interests. While not drawing any conclusions about how this cross relationship was used nonetheless the inference is clearly there that even if it is not used it is capable of being used to regulate the operation of the economy.
Personally I am not gravely alarmed about the existence of concentration of economic power if we are .talking about, for instance, monopolies or oligopolies in the economy because in Australia I believe there is a sound case for large scale production to achieve economies of scale. What is essential in those sorts of situations of course is to guarantee that there is sufficient competition within the economy to make sure that the monopolies or oligopolies are not exploiting and abusing their position of economic dominance. Personally - and I stress a personal point of view here - I would use the competition which imports could contribute to a much greater extent than has so far been used. The Government of course is concerned about the need for greater efficiency and responsible practices by business generally and this has been the motivation for our proposing a prices justification tribunal, a protection commission, machinery for consumer protection and a tightening of restrictive trade practices legislation.
In the tertiary sector, of course, it is more difficult to achieve competition between the various elements in that sector and Miss Lampe, 1 have noted in the ‘Australian Financial Review’, many times has pointed out the seeming absence of real competition, for instance, between insurance companies, although I am sure they are not the only institutions in the economy and in the tertiary sector which are able because of the complexities, in that case, of their operations to avoid real competition. What I am saying and what the honourable member is referring to is a matter that does deserve considerable attention. It is a matter which presents considerable problems because of definition of what is economic concentration for the purposes of a rigorous meaningful statistical exercise. I will refer this matter to the Treasurer on his return from the United States, because it also involves consideration of whether we have sufficient resources available at this stage to carry out the sort of inquiry which is necessary and, 1 believe, desirable to fulfil the sorts of needs that the honourable member has in mind.
– I address my question to the Minister for External Territories. As a preface I state that it is a well established practice for senators and members of the Commonwealth and State parliaments to attend Anzac Day commemoration services throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth. Does the new Government intend this year to carry on with the longestablished custom of arranging for a delegation to attend the various ceremonies near the battlefields and war cemeteries of World War II in the Commonwealth Territory of Papua New Guinea?
– The honourable member will be aware that the Papua New Guinea Government has indicated that henceforth Anzac Day will not be recorded as an official holiday in Papua New Guinea. The Government is making arrangements for members of the Parliament to visit Papua New Guinea. Letters have been sent to the Whips of the various parties. The visit should take place in May.
– Is the Minister for Secondary Industry aware of allegations that subStandard carpets which are banned in the United States of America because of their high fire risk are being imported into Australia from that country? Are there any existing regulations or standards on the importation of goods which prevent goods which are dangerous to the consumer being brought into Australia?
– I have not heard of any recent cases of imports from the United States of carpets which may be of the type subject to high fire danger. There would be regulations which would require the Department of Customs and Excise to pay attention to this matter. I feel sure that the officers of that Department would be aware of what to look for in this regard. I think it would be reasonable to say that such goods would not escape their observation. However, I will see whether there is any reason to take unusual precautions and I will notify the honourable member of the results of my inquiries.
-I call the honourable member for Moore. It is the Country Party’s turn.
– The Country Party bad the last one.
– That is right. Its members have 2 more to catch up. I am keeping a good tally to ensure that all Parties get a fair go. If honourable gentlemen read the sheet which is put in each Party Room each week they will see that the Country Party is a couple behind in the number of questions without notice that it is entitled to ask. It is the turn of the Country Party to make up for that this week.
– As the Postmaster-General has had the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the inconvenience and frustration caused by the unnecessary issue of multiple telephone directories in Western Australia, is he in a position to announce a return to the former single directory which not only met with the universal approval of subscribers but also simplified and expedited the booking of trunk line calls?
– It is a little early for me to make a quick decision on that matter as I returned from Perth only on Saturday last. When I was there I was introduced to the problem. In 1971 the directory was divided into some 5 portions. I have spoken to a number of members of Parliament, representing Western Australian electorates, from both sides of the House. They all agree that the only motivation for the division of the single directory would be to increase the sales of advertising in the Pink Pages. Accordingly, I see no reason why we should encourage that sort of exercise. From my own point of view I see no reason why we should not revert to a single directory.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Minerals and Energy. The Minister, of course, is aware of the tremendous interest in the distribution of natural gas throughout the nation. Now that difficulties apparently have been withdrawn from the establishment of a national pipeline grid and the construction of a pipeline to convey natural gas from Gidgealpa in South Australia to Sydney and certain towns in New South Wales, will the Minister assure me and the House that the work will proceed with the utmost expedition?
– We will proceed to construct a pipeline on a national basis with the utmost expedition. I have in mind the honourable member’s interest particularly in the provincial cities of Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange. Their needs will not be overlooked irrespective of what will be the final route of the pipeline.
– My question, which is addressed to the Prime Minister, arises out of the answer just given by the Minister for Science about the siting of the Institute of Marine Science. Will the Prime Minister give an undertaking to the House that when the Institute of Marine Science is sited it will be sited nowhere else but in north Queensland? Also, will he give an undertaking that those who examine alternative sites will do their best to see that the site they choose will be as close to Townsville as possible?
– I believe that these matters can be properly discussed and debated when the Bill is introduced.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry a question relating to applications for permits for the import of potatoes from New Zealand or elsewhere for that matter. 1 know that one application has been withdrawn following my recent remarks on this matter in the House. I ask: Have any further applications been received by the Minister for Primary Industry and if so, how many applications has he received? Further, is the Minister aware that Lockyer Valley potatoes will be available in early May and that a good yield is anticipated? Finally, will he assure the House that permits will not be issued while Australian growers are able to supply the Australian requirements at a fair price?
– Trade in potatoes between New Zealand and Australia is a matter for the Minister for Overseas Trade. I would imagine that on his recent visit to New Zealand the Minister for Overseas Trade took into account some of the matters that were mentioned by the honourable member. I will refer the honourable member’s question to the Minister for Overseas Trade so that he can receive a detailed answer.
– I ask the Minister for Immigration a question which arises from his visit yesterday to an inner suburban school in Melbourne. Is he aware that the Assistant Director of Education in charge of staffing Victorian secondary schools has issued a circular advising school principals that there is to be no increment over 1972 levels in the migrant English teacher staff of any particular school? Does this circular go on to say that since teachers trained in the teaching of English as a foreign language have other teaching methods they may not be used to teach English to migrant children if this leaves vacancies in relation to their other methods? Is the Minister able to reconcile these instructions with claims by the Victorian Minister for Education that he realises English teaching to migrants is of great importance to certain schools, particularly those in inner suburbs?
– It is true that I visited an inner suburban school in Melbourne yesterday. I want to say that I was tremendously impressed with the spirit and the performance of the body of teachers that I met. I do not think that in any school, even in the schools in my electorate, of which I am very proud, I have ever met a body of more dedicated men and women who want to help the children of whom they are given charge. In the school I visited 81 per cent of the children come from migrant families. The teachers in that school have great difficulties. Not only are they acting as teachers, but also they give counsel to parents after working hours. This assistance, given freely in their own time, illustrates their great dedication. I was tremendously impressed.
At the same time the question of additional teachers for migrant children was raised. The last time this was raised - I think, by the honourable member - I indicated that our target for this financial year was to have 1,000 teachers to support the teaching of English in Australian schools. I hope that that figure will rise to 1,500 this financial year. Specifically in answer to the honourable member, I must say I have seen a copy of a directive which seems to me to say: ‘We will have migrant and remedial teachers but we will not take any more on the staff, and if there are general shortages we will not appoint those teachers’. That seems to me to be saying: ‘We will have them but we cannot appoint them’. This is a puzzle which I have not yet resolved.
I am afraid that in some circumstances, if the Department of Immigration makes funds available to some of these inner city schools for the teaching of English, there will be no accommodation available for this purpose. It seems to me that what we should be doing is seeking a meeting of the Victorian authorities in particular with my colleague the Federal
Minister for Education to determine just what can be done. There is a great deal being done by teachers under impossible conditions. The children need the help and I think we must try to break the deadlock as soon as we can.
– The Prime Minister will recall an earlier question today in which I asked whether he was aware of the raids by Senator Murphy on the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation headquarters in Canberra and Melbourne. In his answer he referred to 2 visits. He said that he did not know of the first one but he did know of the later one. He indicated when he said that he did not know of the first visit that he did not know of either visit on Friday, 16th March but he knew of visits on later days. I ask the honourable gentleman: Was a request made from his office or by a member of his staff for the provision of the VIP aeroplane for Senator Murphy at about 6 a.m. on Friday, 16th March?
– My question is directed to the Minister for Transport. I refer to the Commonwealth aid roads legislation which will be due for renewal in 1974. Can the Minister advise whether he proposes to hold discussions with the State instrumentalities concerned and whether local authorities will have an opportunity to put forward proposals prior to the drawing up of new legislation? If so, what procedures is he contemplating? Will he ensure that adequate funds are available for the continuation of the road construction program including country roads?
– The Commonwealth Aid Roads Agreement is at present under review by the Commonwealth Bureau of Roads. Also I am reviewing the present Agreement with a view to submitting to the Cabinet very shortly a proposal on the Government’s policy in relation to the establishment of a national roads scheme so that the Commonwealth will have a greater say in what roads are to be built and their priorities instead of the present situation in which the States are determining what roads shall be built. Our national highway system is in a chaotic condition. National roads and roads of major importance, such as the Hume Highway and the Pacific Highway, will never be completed while we persevere with the present system. The whole matter is under review and I hope to be able to present the proposal to Cabinet at an early date.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Immigration. In view of stories, especially one in yesterday’s Sydney Sun’, alleging that former citizens of Yugoslavia are worried about being deported to Yugoslavia, will he give an undertaking that no citizen of Australia will be deported and that no unnaturalised person living in Australia will be deported without due process of law and, if deported, will not be deported to any totalitarian country?
– Under this Government no Australian citizen will be deported. Australian citizenship is indivisible in our eyes and you do not deport citizens - otherwise some of us might be on our way. That is the answer to the first part of the honourable member’s question. Secondly, the honourable member for Prospect very properly asked for an assurance that no-one would be deported from this country without due process of law. On behalf of all members of the Government, and particularly the Prime Minister, 1 give that assurance unequivocally. The third aspect of the honourable member’s question related to discretion which can be exercised in relation to deportations within the process of law. I should like to say that compassion has always ruled as far as this Government is concerned and it always will.
– Did the Minister for Defence say in a speech to the National Press Club on 15th March that decisions about the future structure of our armed forces and the kind of equipment which they need must be made in the light of our new national goals? Can he inform the House what new national goals he has in mind?
– At the National Press Club luncheon I referred to a number of matters, particularly, of course, in relation to defence. I think the honourable member is referring to the size and structure of the army, I have indicated to the House that an investigation is currently being made within the Department of the Army into the size and structure of the armed forces. The inquiry is in no way related to any figure that th: honourable member for Barker may have mentioned in a recent statement. From memory he indicated that the size of the army Should be about 40,000. I think it is quite Clear, and ( think the 2 Ministers who preceded me as Minister for Defence would be able to advise him, that at no time did the Department of the Army indicate what the size of the armed forces should be. It is quite Clear that it would not be competent for this Government to indicate what the size of the army should be until the results of the inquiry, which is currently being conducted at my direction, are available to the Government.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Defence. I refer to the possible establishment of a station in south eastern Australia to complete the world network of the Omega navigational system. Is the Minister convinced that Omega would be of insignificant military assistance to United States submarines?
– The matter that the honourable member has raised comes within the responsibilities of the Minister for Transport.
– You are wrong.
– 1 understood the honourable member to refer to Omega.
– May I say by way of explanation that I asked about military assistance.
– The decision whether this installation should be provided in Australia is one for the Minister for Transport. For the benefit of the honourable member I repeat that this matter is in no way related to the Department of Defence. It is a matter for decision by the Minister for Transport.
– Has the Acting Treasurer seen reports to the effect that the recent measures relating to foreign investment in this country have acted mainly to deter fixed interest lending rather than equity investment? As equity investment is far more significant in terms of the establishment of foreign ownership and control of Australian industry and resources, does he think that these reports indicate that some reconsideration of these measures is called for?
– The purpose of the controls on the inflow of foreign capital in fact was to control the amount of liquid funds coming into the country from external sources. It was not to control the degree of foreign ownership of Australian enterprise; that would require different measures altogether. If the honourable member is suggesting that there should be a development of policies in that direction, I suggest that the matter should be left until the return of the Treasurer, who is responsible for the enunciation of policy in this area.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Urban and Regional Development. Has the New South Wales Government decided on Lucas Heights as the site for a new $80m refinery for Ampol Petroleum Ltd? fs this not an excellent site by reason of its remote situation and the fact that it is a sandstone scrub area which, from an environmental point of view, is first class? ls it true that New South Wales, being a sovereign State, has full power over this decision? ‘Vill the Minister inform the House of the position regarding this matter?
– I was informed last Thursday by a representative of Ampol Petroleum Ltd that the company, in conjunction with the New South Wales Government, would he making an announcement that afternoon to the effect that the New South Wales Minister for Decentralisation and Development and Ampol had decided to locate a refinery at Lucas Heights near Sutherland in Sydney. I then made certain investigations and was able to ascertain that originally Ampol sought to develop a refinery in Sydney near Blacktown but that proposal was opposed by the State Planning Authority of New South Wales. The State Planning Authority then sought to determine whether in fact it was necessary to establish another refinery in the Sydney region. An instruction was given that the State Planning Authority should investigate 2 sites, namely, Kurnell and Lucas Heights. Before the investigation was completed, a unilateral decision was made by the
New South Wales Cabinet, without consultation with the State Planning Authority, that the site for the refinery would be Lucas Heights.
There has been a partnership between the New South Wales Government and the Australian Government on several progressive policies. We have made progress and there are good relationships between the Commonwealth and that State. In the area of the proposed site for the refinery a joint study has been undertaken by the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Australian Academy of Social Sciences with the 3 Federal Departments of Urban and Regional Development, Science, and Environment and Conservation and the New South Wales Department of the Environment. A joint study between the State Planning Authority of New South Wales and the National Urban and Regional Development Authority on Menai and Holsworthy also has been undertaken. Despite this, a unilateral decision was made by the New South Wales Cabinet. The issue is now before the Federal Cabinet and discussion is taking place to determine what will be the attitude of the Australian Government. I am seeking consultations with my colleagues with a view to ensuring that there is a thorough investigation into all aspects. I am quite sure that my colleague, the Minister for Minerals and Energy, will be concerned in relation to our overall fuels policy. I am sure that the Minister for Overseas Trade and Secondary Industry will be concerned in relation to imports and exports and the placement of industry in Australia. I am sure that the Minister for the Environment and Conservation will be involved. Certainly in relation to this Government correctly determining a planned policy on where industries should develop, the Department of Urban and Regional Development will have some say. I have no doubt that even the Prime Minister’s Department will be involved in relation to determining tariff matters. This is not forgetting the role of Treasury which may determine whether foreign money can be invested in this installation. Yes, there has been a unilateral decision made by the New South Wales Government. But I am totally opposed to the siting of this installation, as are the people in the Sutherland area and my colleague, the Minister for Housing, in whose electorate this installation is intended to be located.
– I call the honourable member for Wakefield.
– Mr Speaker-
– I suggest that further questions be put on the notice paper.
– For the information of honourable members, I present copies of statements made by myself in February with regard to the Australian Transport Advisory Council meeting held in Hobart on 16th February 1973. These statements included:
Increased Controls on Vehicle Exhaust Emmissions;
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Social Services Bill 1973
Repatriation Bill 1973
Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Bill 1973
Repatriation (Far East Strategic Reserve) Bill 1973
Interim Forces Benefits Bill 1973
Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Bill 1973
Commonwealth Electoral Bill 1973
Australian Capital Territory Representation Bill 1973
Northern Territory (Administration) Bill 1973.
– I move:
That a Joint Committee be appointed to -
The Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory has a long and distinguished record of valuable service to the Parliament and to the people of the Australian Capital Territory. The motion seeks to re-establish the
Committee with slight variations. First of all there is the question of membership. Previously the Committee’s membership of 9 was made up of 5 senators and 4 members of this House. With the creation of a specific portfolio of the Capital Territory, the Government believes it now more appropriate that the majority membership should be drawn from the House of Representatives. We propose that the 5 members of the House of Representatives should be in the proportion of 3 Government members to 2 nonGovernment members and that the Senate representation be 2 senators from the Government Party and 2 senators from the nonGovernment Parties. The Committee Chairman would be nominated by the Prime Minister. I have notified Party leaders in the Parliament of the proposals I have just outlined. In addition we have included in the motion a provision which would allow either House of Parliament, in addition to the Minister, to make references to the Committee. I believe that this will be a valuable extension of the Parliament’s direct involvement in Committee affairs and one which will be welcomed by all honourable members.
Re-establishment of the Committee, we expect, will allow a continuation of important work in hand before the prorogation of the House last year. In particular it is hoped that the Committee will be able to complete the examination of territorial accounts of the Australian Capital Territory, the full title of that inquiry being: An Inquiry into State and Municipal Costs and Revenues in the Australian Capital Territory. This work is important in the process of evolving satisfactory plans for territorial government in the Australian Capital Territory. In the previous Parliament the Joint Committee had already made a good deal of progress with what is inevitably a complex issue. The past work of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory is well known and needs no further elaboration from me on this occasion. As the member for the Australian Capital Territory and as the first Minister for the Capital Territory, I am confident that the Committee will continue to play a valuable role. In both capacities, it gives me great pleasure to commend the motion to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Malcolm Fraser) adjourned.
– 1 move:
That a Joint Committee be appointed to inquire into and report on such matters relating to the Northern Territory as are referred to it -
HO) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that all members of the committee have not been appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy on the committee.
This motion seeks to establish a Joint Committee of the Parliament on the Northern Territory similar in all respects to the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory.
With the creation of my portfolio of Minister for the Northern Territory and the establishment of a full Department of the Northern Territory, based in the Northern Territory, this proposal is both logical and valuable. I have discussed the proposal with members of the Northern Territory Legislative Council and from all accounts I believe it is widely supported by them. We see the Committee as a valuable link between the Territory and the national legislature; a means of raising the general level of awareness, in this Parliament and elsewhere, of the Territory and its problems; and a proper recognition of the new situation created by the Government’s new administrative arrangements.
So far as the composition and functions of the proposed Committee are concerned, the terms of the motion are identical with those for the Committee on the Australian Capital Territory. There will be a total membership of 9. Five are to be drawn from the House of Representatives in the proportion of 3 from the Government and 2 from the Opposition. Four will be senators - 2 from the Government and 2 from the non-Government membership of that chamber. The Chairman will be nominated by the Prime Minister, and either House, in addition to the Minister, will be empowered to send references to the Committee.
There are many subjects likely to form the basis of references to this new Committee, all of them of considerable significance to both the Territory and its legislature and to this national Parliament. One of them, widely canvassed in the Territory itself, is the question of future steps in the process of territorial involvement in the government of its affairs. I believe the Committee has an extremely valuable role to fill and that it will quickly come to be recognised in the same way as its counterpart in the Australian Capital Territory. I warmly commend the motion to the house.
Debate (on motion by Mr Malcom Fraser; adjourned.
Debate resumed from 15 March (vide page 662), on motion by Mr Bryant:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Mr FitzPATRICK (Darling) (2.58) - I support the Bill because I believe that the situation in which the Aboriginal people find themselves is one of which no sincere Australian should be proud. However it is of some satisfaction to know that every member on the Opposition side of the House who has spoken on this Bill has spoken in favour of it. It is also of some satisfaction to know that after 200 years of discrimination against the Aboriginal people there is now a growing consciousness of their plight and to some degree amongst the general public a desire to right some of the harm done and the injustices that have been handed out to these people. On the other hand, there are many Australians who would like to forget our early treatment of tha Aborigines, which of course destroyed their opportunities as hunters and food gatherers and their system of a subsistence economy that was geared to the satisfaction of their immediate needs. Not only have we destroyed these opportunities but we have also destroyed a very rich culture in which their extremely complex social organisation, which was based on a spiritual belief, had a marked effect on every facet of their daily lives and resulted in a shared sense of responsibility for the common benefit of the people as a whole. The question we should be asking ourselves is: What have we given them in return? There can be no doubt that the bulk of the Aboriginal population in Australia is now detribalised and comprises a visual minority subculture group which is economically and socially disadvantaged.
The intrusion of the industrialised economy, coupled with the farming of their tribal lands, has led to a complete breakdown of the Aboriginal culture. In many country towns the Aboriginal community is a tightly knit kinship group which interacts with the general community but which cannot be described as a part of the majority culture. Many of them for many years, and even today, are only casually employed. They have never been integrated into the economic and social life of the dominant European culture. The great majority of them have been forced to expect their basic needs to be met by government and private handouts. Because there is no other sure way of their meeting these needs, many of them have accepted this situation in a passive or fatalistic manner. Of course there are many bitter and hostile members amongst their group and, of course, there are a few who have managed to rise above this environment. When we set out to improve the way of life of our Aboriginal population, it seems to me that this <s the background wilh which we have to contend.
Because their situation is so desperate we are indeed fortunate that only 1 per cent of the Australian population is of Aboriginal ancestry because, as the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Bryant) has said, only 10 per cent of this number are satisfactorily housed and socially integrated into the community. There can be no doubt that many are models which many other Australians could emulate. As the Minister has stated, the other 90 per cent live in a state of huge social depression which a wealthy country such as ours should not tolerate. Therefore, it must be of some satisfaction to many sincere Australians to hear the Minister say that the Government does not propose to tolerate this situation any longer than is humanly possible. The Minister has given an assurance that the Government will launch an attack on all the problems that face the Aboriginal population. The problems connected with education, employment and housing have received special mention, and so they should, because these problems have long been the concern of people who are interested in our Aboriginal population. In spite of this, today nobody knows how many houses are needed to re-house adequately the Aboriginal population in Australia.
A doctor, working under a research grant through a Sydney university, recently told me in part of my electorate - in Bourke - that the last census conducted in that area could have been as much as 50 per cent incorrect. He said that when the census was taken, the official went out to the Aboriginal reserve and many of the Aborigines were missing. I asked him why this was so and he said: There is always someone going around the Aboriginal reserves inspecting the huts and telling the Aborigines that too many people are living in each hut’. For this reason the Aborigines have a tendency to withhold the real numbers of their population and particularly the number in each hut or each tent, whatever it may be.
In travelling around Australia with other members of the Australian Labor Party’s Aboriginal Committee I have seen some shocking housing arrangements for Aborigines. In the opal fields of South Australia some were living in dugouts on the side of hills and others were in huts on the wind swept common with no trees or any other vegetation within the vicinity. It must be admitted that the manager of this reserve, would need to be a very capable man because he has many different functions to perform, such as looking after the school, Post Office, oval and the water supply as well as the Aborigines in that area. The manager lived on the side of the hill in a well kept house with a garden, with white stones and a big pathway leading to his house. The outhouses which accommodated the tools and other equipment were much better buildings than the ones in which the Aborigines lived. It seems to me that at one time this could have been necessary and justified but we must realise what a detrimental effect it would have on the minds of the Aboriginal school children. When the wind blows there is an all day long battle to keep sand out of their eyes and once the wind stops the flies take over. It seems to me that it would be a pretty hopeless proposition to convince the school children that they have equal opportunities to advance in our society under conditions such as these because even the manager of a reserve must have appeared to them to be as far away as the moon.
The position in my own electorate is far from what it should be. Nevertheless it must be admitted that great progress has been made over the last few years. The problem has been attacked from many different angles and by many different groups of people. Perhaps the most commendable of these is a group which is known as the Self Help Building Society. I inspected one of its houses. I was informed that it paid $1,000 for the house and all the Aborigines came along and helped to renovate the house and paint it. It was a credit to their efforts. The house would be worth at least $10,000 today. I was also informed by one of their leaders that 4 Aborigines had found a job for the outlay of $50. As a matter of fact, I purchased a couple of souvenirs that were cut out of mulga and had emus, kangaroos and this type of thing mounted on them.
Each time one visits towns such as Bourke, Brewarrina and Walgett where there is a large Aboriginal population nearly equal to the European population, one finds more Aborigines in well kept houses of a very good standard with nice gardens. These houses compare more than favourably with the neighbouring European houses. If a person visited only these places and noticed the housing increase each time he went back, it could be thought that we were making great progress with the Aboriginal problem. However, if a visit was made to the reserves or the settlements which are usually situated about 3 miles from the towns, one would find suffering, sickness and alcoholism. It seems to me that the numbers in this situation are increasing instead of decreasing. One wonders whether we are really coming to grips with the problem or just skimming the cream off the top in assisting those Aborigines who would have progressed properly without our assistance.
I cannot see how we can lift the standard of living of the Aborigines unless we can raise them up as a group. The only way this can be done is by providing some form of permanent employment for Aborigines. Europeans should realise how Aborigines feel when they have to leave homes on the river bank or in a settlement to take up cottages in town. The eyes of the community are on them and if they make any little slip, critical tongues attack them. In spite of this many Aborigines who have been in constant employment have made the grade. Of course, the situation is different altogether for those who only have casual employment. Some of them move into houses in the towns and after a while become unemployed and they move out again to their shacks on the river bank.
I remember that on one occasion I went out with the welfare officer and interviewed one of these people who had just moved back on to the river bank. He was asked why he had left the town. The social worker said to him: ‘You are a good worker. You will probably get another job within a few weeks.’ He said: ‘Well, why should I struggle in town to compete with other people just to please you?’ He may have had a point but the unfortunate thing is that when this happens school age children also move out with the
Aborigines. The trouble is that there are no educational facilities in these places. There is no such thing as electric light and many of these people are very lucky if they have running water. There is no television or wireless, or environmental stimulus as the school teachers in that area call it. They say that this puts the Aborigines a long way behind the European population.
It is often said that Aborigines leave school at an early age and they are referred to as drop-outs. It seems to me that they could more than rightly be called ‘kick-outs’ because they did not have an opportunity in the first place. Many of the people in the area say that it is of no use to encourage Aborigines to be more education conscious because they do not have the mental capabilities to compete with Europeans. However, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation statement on race blew this contention sky high. It pointed out that according to present knowledge there is no proof that different groups of mankind differ in their mental characteristics. The mental characteristics of different ethnic groups are much the same given equal opportunities. If Aborigines are not making progress as a group I believe that we should look at our system of housing, employment and school curriculums. No-one would doubt the sincerity of the Minister for Education (Mr Beazley) in this regard. I believe that the Minister is on the right track by making an all-out attack on these problems. To do this the Minister will need the co-operation of all sections of the community. I am sure that each and every one of us wishes him well in his efforts.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Beazley) read a third time.
Report of Advisory Group
Debate resumed from 15th March (vide page 608), on motion by Mr Daly:
That the House take note of the paper.
– On 15th March I tabled in the House a document recommending bilingual education in certain Northern Territory schools. Mr Speaker, dhiyangubala ngarra ga wanga nhokala yolnguwurru mathakurru. What I said then was: ‘Now I am speaking to you in the Aboriginal language’. It was Gupapuyngu, the language spoken by my Aboriginal friends at Milingimbi in Arnhem Land, and although it may sound strange to your ears, to them it is ‘the language of the heart’ and to their children it is their mother tongue. But, until this year, it has not been the language used by teachers in the Milingimbi school. Gupapuyngu. like most Aboriginal languages, is about as different from English as one could imagine, yet until this year little 5 and 6-year- old Aboriginal children for whom it is their mother tongue, going to school for the first time, have been faced with a European teacher speaking to them in English - which they must very soon learn to read and write or drop hopelessly behind in all of their school work. Assisting the European teacher there has often been one of their own people who does her best to help these small children understand. But what of their own language, the language their mothers and fathers speak, the language the old people speak, the language of the tribal stories, myths, legends and ceremonies? The schools have turned their back on that language and it is no wonder that the shocking comment has been heard from a 10-year-old Aboriginal boy: ‘Ours is a rubbish language, isn’t it’.
Australia is a member nation of the International Labour Organisation. Article 23 of the ILO Convention Concerning the Protection and Integration of Indigenous and Other Tribal and Semi-tribal Populations in Independent Countries reads as follows:
On 14th December 1972 the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) made the following announcement:
The Federal Government will launch a campaign to have Aboriginal children living in distinctive Aboriginal communities given their primary education in Aboriginal languages.
The Government will also supplement education for Aboriginal children with the teaching of traditional Aboriginal arts, crafts and skills mostly by Aborigines themselves. . . .
We knew then that this would not be an easy policy to implement. There are more than a hundred Aboriginal languages and dialects in active use in the Northern Territory alone. Only a very few of them have been linguistically analysed and written down. Furthermore, in some communities a number of different languages is spoken. There are few trained teachers available to do the job, and nowhere near the quantity of written material in these languages needed for school work. In this situation the wise course seemed to be to have a small advisory group of people to go to the Northern Territory and, as quickly as possible, look into the resources of trained manpower, the teaching materials available and the state of linguistic analysis reached in the various languages and dialects. They were to discuss the matter with educationists, linguists, administrators, and with the Aboriginal people themselves, and in the light of all this, to make recommendations for a program of teaching in Aboriginal languages which would incorporate the teaching of traditional Aboriginal arts, crafts and skills.
The group chosen comprised Dr Betty H. Watts, Reader in Education at the University of Queensland, Mr W. J. McGrath, Inspector of Schools, Darwin, and Mr J. L. Tandy, a senior Education Officer of the Department of Education in Canberra. Their recommendations are presented in the document which 1 have tabled. They advocate a bilingual approach with most of the children’s early schooling in the appropriate Aboriginal language, leading to the acquisition of literacy skills in that language. This will be followed by a transition to literacy in English and the use of English as the medium of instruction for a substantial component of the children’s later schooling. There will be increased emphasis upon the teaching of traditional Aboriginal arts, crafts and skills and this will continue through the entire period of the children’s schooling. The teaching will be done on a teaching team basis, the Aboriginal member teaching the Aboriginal language component of the curriculum, assisted as required in the preparation of lessons and so on by the non-Aboriginal member, who will also teach the English language component.
The educational aim of such an approach is the development of children who are thoroughly competent in their own language and able to read and write it, who are more proficient in English than they would have been under the present system, and who are better at all their school subjects because their schooling, and their early schooling in particular, has been more interesting, enjoyable and meaningful to them. One can also confidently expect psychological benefits from this recognition of the children’s language and culture, and more enthusiastic support from the parents for the schooling their children are offered. This is not a program that can be implemented immediately in schools in all Northern Territory Aboriginal communities. As 1 mentioned earlier, there are communities where as many as 9 languages are spoken, <ir where the dominant language has not yet been linguistically analysed and written down, or where the dominant language is not the language of the country, or where the language used by the children is a form of pidgin detested by their elders. Such situations pose very real problems and it will take time and deep thought, both on our part and on the part of the Aboriginal communities, before decisions can be made by them as to which language they wish to be used in their schools.
A start can be made, however, in communities where only one language is spoken or where there is a dominant language acceptable to that community, where that language has been linguistically analysed and recorded, where there are Aboriginal people able to teach in it and where the Aboriginal people themselves want it to be used in their school. Five such places in the Northern Territory are at Angurugu on Groote Eylandt, Milingimbi, Goulburn Island, Areyonga and Hermannsburg and the program is operating now in those schools. More schools will be added as we are able to develop the necessary resources for them.
During a recent visit to the Northern Territory I saw the first steps being taken towards this form of schooling. The 2 classes being taught in their own language were the most entranced classes we saw on the entire trip. In one class, young children were so riveted by a lesson being given in their language by an Aboriginal woman teacher that they paid no attention to the invasion of their classroom by more than a dozen adult Europeans. The second case was where a distinguished Aboriginal bark-painter was used as an art instructor, teaching senior boys the art of bark painting. They obviously had for him a reverence, even awe; they thought it a great privilege to be taught by him.
This is the very essence of the matter and I have had no hesitation in accepting recommendations which will have the effect of implementing this quality in education in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities. I also intend to bring this document to the attention of State Ministers for Education, and particularly to those of Western Australia. South Australia and Queensland. I shall ask them to give their most serious consideration to the possibility of adapting its recommendations for implementation in schools in the distinctive Aboriginal communities in their States. (Quorum formed.)
– I am glad to have an opportunity to commend to the House the statement by the Minister for Education ,’Mr Beazley). I support it very warmly and I support also the terms in which the Minister spoke to us a few moments ago. It is true that this program follows on an initiative taken by the past Government. But I think that we should acknowledge gratefully the energy that the Minister has shown in regard to the program and the practical results which will flow from that energy. I place on record how much 1 support what is being done.
I think that in the pre-school level and infants school level, and even up to the primary level, there is a great case to be made out for the use in Aboriginal schools in the Northern Territory, particularly in Central Australia, and in Western Australia of the native language where that is current and in use by the Aborigines who live there. There are many reasons for this. I agree that there must be an association in the mind of a young child with the family situation and the transition which all children have to undertake from a purely family situation to one of the wider community. I agree that as a matter of practical education a good deal of the confusion which is felt by Aboriginal students at later ages may well be due to the fact that we have not made sufficient use of Aboriginal languages in training in schools, particularly in the primary and sub-primary schools.
I should like to make one or two additional points. The first follows from conversations I had some time ago with the international head of the Summer Institute of Linguistics - Dr Townsend - in which he made 2 points, one of which I am glad to see was incorporated in the Minister’s speech, namely, that literacy should be established in the Aboriginal language. This is essential, and the Minister very rightly drew attention to some of the difficulties inherent in implementing this concept. But the Minister is going to implement it nevertheless. 1 think one point has to be faced. Experience indicates that the incorporation of English in the education of an individual who speaks another language should be carried out by somebody who is fluent in both languages. This is a great practical difficulty to which I will return in a moment. If a proper transition is to be carried out the teacher must be fluent in both languages. I agree that eventually there must be this transition to English because English gives opportunity for education and for advancement in the various transactions of life. The transition must be a matter of choice by the Aborigines themselves.
In my experience I have found that most Aborigines, although they do not want to abandon their own language, are anxious to become literate and fluent in English. We have made a great mistake over many years in Papua New Guinea in allowing a kind of pidgin to become established to such an extent that it is now probably ineradicable. I hope that that mistake will not be repeated in Australia, although I regret to say that there are some indications that it is being repeated in this country. We should help Aborigines to become fluent in normal English, but I do not believe that this means imposing upon them an English curriculum in primary and preprimary schools. The decision which is incorporated in the Minister’s statement is, therefore a wise and a good one.
I turn now to the practical difficulties inherent in the implementation of this policy. They are many. Languages are so diverse and different. Many of us are inclined to dismiss the Aboriginal language as something which is very simple. People say that the Aboriginal language is made up of only a few words and that it has no structure. Nothing could be further from the truth. Investigation has revealed that Aboriginal vocabularies are far more extensive than was once thought and that Aboriginal syntax - sentence construction and so on - is much much more complicated than English and, indeed, I would say is far more complicated than even Greek or Latin. For that reason the learning of Aboriginal languages is by no means an easy thing.
As is pointed out in the paper, there are mixed situations in which two, three or more languages are current in a given group. This is not always so foreign to Aboriginal thinking as might be first believed, because very often the husband and wife in an Aboriginal family speak different languages. This situation does not always happen, of course, but it is by no means uncommon.
– Many are tri-lingual.
– Yes. Therefore, a mixed language situation is not foreign to the Aboriginal approach. But I agree that the existence of a mixed language situation does add to our difficulties. I do not think that one could hope to get Europeans in general to become fluent in Aboriginal languages. There are some exceptions to this. For example, a dedicated lady in the north east of Arnhem Land is very much at home in the Aboriginal languages. I do not think that we can hope to get Europeans as a whole to speak Aboriginal languages because firstly the languages themselves are so difficult to learn and secondly the languages are very much localised, so that skills learnt at great cost and effort in one part of Australia are useless in another part of Australia. I might qualify my statement by pointing out that languages in the western desert have fairly widespread use but languages used in the north of Australia, particularly in Arnhem Land, Cape York and Western Australia, are very local and very different. So I do not think that we can hope to get Europeans to become fluent in Aboriginal languages and to carry out the function of the transition which requires someone who is fluent in both the English and Aboriginal languages.
I would think that the solution must lie in the further training of Aboriginal teachers. I do not go with the idea that a teacher, in order to teach in a primary or infants school, has to undergo such a tremendous amount of training. Very often the mother or a woman in the natural situation is absolutely capable of doing this. I think it is much better to sacrifice a little academic proficiency in order to get the language proficiency. I hope that Kormilda and the other centres with which the Minister is so familar would turn their attention more to turning out, quickly, Aboriginal teachers, particularly Aboriginal woman teachers, who could be used in the pre-school, infant and sub-primary grades. I am not suggesting for one moment that we should not endeavour to get Aborigines who are academically capable of taking the higher grades; I am not trying to rule that out for a moment. But it does seem to me that the first priority now is to get Aborigines who are capable in their own language - the language is crucial - of taking the lower grades in the schools.
I know that the Institute of Aboriginal Studies has done a lot of work on Aboriginal languages. The Institute has reduced languages to the printed word. It has found out the syntax of the language, analysed words and compiled vocabularies. But the real practitioner of a language is someone to whom that language is native. Let me take up one or two side matters. The Minister spoke of Aboriginal studies being taught in the schools. This, of course, is a good thing in regard to Aboriginal secular life, artifacts and perhaps even some bark paintings. But the Minister has made some reservations. He spoke of those parts of ceremonial life which are approved by the community. A tremendous amount of ceremonial life is local and should not be the object of open study in an Aboriginal community, because from the Aboriginal point of view the efficacy or the nature of the ceremony depends upon the details of that ceremony being restricted. The profanation - to use that word in its technical sense - of the ceremony by its incorporation in school curricula might help to dissolve the power and the significance of it for Aboriginal people. Although I agree with what the Minister has said about incorporating Aboriginal skills, not necessarily formally in the curricula, I think some reservations have to be made in regard to the ceremonial life and that side of Aboriginal studies where the Aboriginals themselves should be consulted and in no way should they be pressurised into making public or more widespread the knowledge and significance of their ceremonies.
Finally I would like to say that I hope on a wider scale that the Administration will not try to mix up the various tribes in a way which the tribes themselves would resent. Let us have no more instances like Maningrida where there seems to have been almost some kind of deliberate attempt to play down tribal significance. We have mixed groups which are very difficult and which I believe are not in the best interests of the Aborigines themselves. If there is to be mixture and a breaking down of the tribe then let the initiative come from the Aborigines. We should not try to push them harder or faster than they themselves would choose. I would almost hope that in some cases there might be within a limited framework some kind of re-sorting of the tribal situations, again not forcing it, but allowing the Aborigines themselves to choose it. As an example I am thinking of the Aboriginal settlements of Papunya and Yuendumu which are almost adjacent to each other. Perhaps there could be some interchange between the populations of those 2 settlements. I am not suggesting that members of those settlements should be shifted but 1 believe they should be allowed to decide whether there should be some interchange which might be to the advantage of everyone concerned. I do not want to say any more. I want to conclude my speech simply as I started by commending the paper and the Minister.
– I rise briefly to commend the sincere efforts of the Minister for Education (Mr Beazley) in presenting the paper and the recommendation to the House. I support what the honourable member for MacKellar (Mr Wentworth) has said with regard to the speed and pressure that is put on Aboriginal children at various levels of learning in regard to whether they should learn their own languages or English. In the past a lot of damage has been done by the very sincere efforts of the authorities - I refer particularly to the Welfare Branch of the Northern Territory Administration - by pressure-cooking the job. Whilst it is difficult for Europeans to teach many of these languages I think that the Government will have quite a lot of trouble in getting the Aboriginal people themselves to teach these languages correctly, as is envisaged. I commend the Minister for Education on the thought he has put into the paper and I commend the work that has been done by Dr Watts, Mr McGrath and Mr Tandy.
I see the scheme as a way of encouraging Aborigines to be interested in teaching their own children in their own areas so that the children will grow up with respect for and knowledge of their own circumstances and traditions. I am pleased to see that the young ones growing up will be assisted to grasp the situation and to have more self respect as they grow older. In many cases even now they know nothing about their traditions. This scheme should help them to learn about those traditions and to learn the crafts and arts. Many children are rapidly growing into a European way of life. If they want to do so, so much the better for them. They should not be pushed one way or the other. If the young Aborigines enter our way of life it would be a great pity if they entered it without having any chance of knowing about their traditions, background and arts. I commend the paper and hope that the scheme will be successful. I hope that the people will be found to teach the Aboriginal children throughout the length and breadth of the country. This will be difficult as there are many dialects and languages but I am certain that it will be of benefit to them.
– I would like to commend the Minister for Education (Mr Beazley) for what he has said and for the acceptance of the report. This House ought to pay tribute to much of the pioneering work that was done by the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) in the original efforts to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the problems of Aborigines.
– Hear, hear!
– I am grateful to the Minister for his recognition of that fact. The paper deals with one aspect of an extremely difficult and intricate problem which the Minister would realise will not be solved m one year, 5 years or 10 years - perhaps not in one or two generations. This matter involves not only schools and teachers but also social workers and a multi-sided approach to difficulties which are now part of the Minister’s general and overall responsibilities. I recognise that it is proper that the Department of Education should have total responsibility for education in the Northern Territory. I am glad to see that that has come about, because having 2 systems of schools was not a sensible approach.
The discussion has centred to a significant extent on schools in the settlements where Aboriginal people are closer to their own past than they are in other areas such as Katherine, where there are schools with a significant
Aboriginal population of up to 40 per cent or 50 per cent of the total school population. They have many problems, perhaps different kinds of problems but ones which are equally intractable. At Katherine probably more has been done than at any other centre in the Northern Territory and perhaps more than in any other centre in Australia, to tackle these problems. A variety of people have worked under the general name of the Katherine project. I think it might be useful for this House if the Minister asks his officers to document what has been attempted, the successes that were achieved and the failures that resulted from some of the efforts in that area, not restricting the examination of the paper to what has occurred at Katherine but including other examples where special efforts have been made to solve some of the problems of education and of Aborigines in the wider community. If this document were available it would show that there have been many dedicated people in education departments and other Government departments, social workers and health officials who have been concerned with these matters.
Many lessons can be learned from the small successes that have been achieved and from the failures of different approaches. If this information could be collected in one paper it would be a useful guide for the future. It would also show that many people have thought seriously and compassionately about this problem for a number of years. I appreciate what the Minister has said and I support his remarks.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 13 March (vide page 470), on motion by Mr Crean:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Is it the wish of the House to have a general debate covering the 2 measures? As there is no objection, I will allow that course to be followed.
– The House is asked to appropriate quite considerable sums under these 2 Bills, which are rightly being treated as one, for carrying out the proposals submitted in the early stages of the new Government. When one looks over the very brief course of the new Government and sees how it has arranged the expenditure of this money, one must feel that this was a unique episode in Australian political history. The Government was formed overnight and was placed in the charge of 2 men only. Between them they shared out all the portfolios, offices and responsibilities of the former Government. An examination gives us all some food for thought as to what could be done by ruthless men if they had a compliant Governor-General. We could find the exercise of all political power in this country suddenly concentrated in a very limited number of hands - probably as few as one. For those 2 men the episode must have been a field day. No doubt in their old age they will look back on it with great pride. If one thinks of what happened during this period one finds it is rather fascinating to consider the activities of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam). Undoubtedly he would go to an office in the morning and no doubt for much of his time would be engaged in public relations activities, which all of us would agree is something at which he shines completely. When it comes to pulling the wool over people’s eyes or persuading them of a case, the Prime Minister has scarcely a peer in this country. But if one considers his administrative work, he must have gone into a department and, in accordance with normal good administrative procedure, an officer of the Public Service would have given him a ministerial letter to write to the Ministers in change of other departments. The Prime Minister would spend about an hour in studying the letter, would sign it and then, a little later, would quit that office and presumably go to another department. The first thing that would happen when he arrived there would be that an officer of the Department would hand him his letter to read and he would then proceed to reply to it.
I presume that this must have been a little amusing for the departments concerned and also for the Prime Minister who would be writing letters to himself, giving orders in one section and then, in another section receiving the orders and carrying them out. It was a strange situation because just 2 men had divided up between themselves all the offices and powers of government. In fact, the Prime Minister became for a while the giant PoohBah of all time. He was the giant Pooh-Bah in charge of writing letters to himself and running departments, one with the other. He was the big Pooh-Bah in charge of all the important offices and baby Pooh-Bah was in charge of the lesser ones. This must have been a unique and fascinating episode. I hope that someone studied what happened and will write the story. It would be amusing and edifying and certainly would make a unique constitutional history, at the very least. This was a field day for 2 for a while until, of course, the lesser mortals of the Australian Labor Party got to work and played the numbers game, largely for the purpose of sharing out the gigantic Labor loot, a great bag of loot to which most of them had been quite unaccustomed in the past. They proceeded to split it up and share it out. The leaders - the lucky ones - having moved into new offices, proceeded to appoint their supporters with the result that each big flea had little fleas, little fleas had further fleas, and so on down the scale.
This process led to some confusion. For instance, baby Pooh-Bah got himself in a good deal of trouble and became very confused over his particular offices. He could hardly be blamed because, even after the stripping down and sharing out by the numbers, he was Minister for Defence. Minister for the Navy, Minister for the Army, and Minister for Air. Who can blame him if sometimes he forgets that he is Minister for Supply also. In this process many new people were imported very quickly to service this new Ministry and they became a little confused by some of the splitting up of functions between the professional Public Service and the kind of people who, no doubt, are good and capable adherents of the Labor Party. Large numbers of pressmen suddenly transferred their employment. They were taken off the payrolls of the Press magnates and, very quickly, put on the new padded payroll of the Public Service. This process continued and, of course, it led to a certain amount of confusion. How were these people and the professional public servants alongside them to know how to sort out functions and roles to which neither side was accustomed?
I refer again to the baby Pooh-Bah. He. of course, became very confused and, on one occasion, in his confusion he cast a slur on a senior public servant, a slur which he has not yet removed. 1 repeat that this was an extraordinary episode. Not only have we this extraordinary and unique history, which we are still going through, but also we have the shakedown process. A number of honourable members must distinguish between a good many Ministers in the new Government and the efficiency with which they operate, particularly in answering mail from constituent. It is not for me to mention the distinctions between individual Ministers, but most honourable members would not take long to recognise the great differences of quality. We find that some Ministers who are so busy with public relations work, who issue most public statements and make most speeches around the country take longest in attending to their correspondence.
I hope that the Government will shake down in its departments. Admittedly some of the Ministers do not quite know which department they are in. Some are probably located in this building, which is so short of office space, and the Ministers may not even have an office here. Even if they do have offices here, some of the officials of their departments, especially since so many have been added to the establishment, might not know where they are. For the sake of good government I hope that the Government is shaking down into a satisfactory routine and will be able and equipped to spend the very large sums of money which are to be made available in these 2 Bills. The baby Poo-Bah, so far as I know, is our first great generalissimo. He has a magnificent title and many Ministries under him. Although he personally has been elevated, the forces which he commands have been shrinking very solidly and quickly.
The size of the Army has shrunk away to the extent of about a quarter since baby Poo-Bah arrived. He has indicated, in answer to questions, that he has schemes for the future of the armed forces. We do not know them yet. We have not been told what they are, but apparently they are in his mind. In regard to the reduction or the melting away of the Army, and in particular, of a large number of national servicemen, the purpose is somehow to reach a kind of target which notionally he has but which we do not know about. We cannot assess what it will be. We have to look forward to the day when he will specify these things so we will know what is happening and measure it against the targets that he has, first to quantify the value of his targets and what he proposes to do with them and, secondly, so that we may know to what extent he is realising them. We have not been told the planned size of the armed forces. The Government does not know because it has to re-examine everything, which up to a point, of course, is a very fair and reasonable process. I hope that the Government examines this matter so that it can bring forward tangible evidence by which we can measure this very important function of government.
I wish to point to one particular outstanding weakness of the Government and in particular a personal weakness of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister, perhaps not surprisingly, does not have an ounce of Treasury blood in his whole makeup. Honourable members on this side of the House who have exercised the power of government for some years know that the 2 basic things in government are that the total resources are limited and that the establishment of priorities is absolutely essential. The Prime Minister, on the other hand, is so fascinated by ideas that he cannot hear of anything except pulling out his cheque book, writing a cheque and saying that he will do it all. The Prime Minister has written a good many cheques. As every day goes past he metaphorically writes still further cheques. Unless this process ceases, Australia will run itself into a big budget deficit position. It is difficult at any one period of time to measure the effects, particularly over time, of a budget deficit of a certain size, but we do know that historically the process of rampant inflation has always had at its heart and as one of its worst features the development of uncontrolled budgetary deficits. Unless the Government finds within its soul the way to discipline itself and its policies, we shall be headed for further and further inflation.
So far, the measures proposed, such as the setting up of a prices justification tribunal and so forth, in solid terms amount only to evading the. issue and diverting attention to what undoubtedly will be said to be the misdoings of business and of various (firms in the economy. Some of this undoubtedly goes on, but the focus will be in the wrong place. There probably will be no focus - we do not know, but I will be interested to find out what emerges from this process - on the giant rises in costs which, since the Government came to power, have been hidden. In fact, the Government has even appreciated the currency, whereas its domestic or internal policy is slowly eroding the fundamental basis of Australian payments. So, whilst we may be able to continue to do this for a while, unless the Government reapplies monetary discipline over the entire economy there will be more and more cost and price rises and huge extra payments for wages which, even recently, greatly exceeded productivity and the capacity of the economy to pay for them. Such increases will get worse and worse unless the Prime Minister and his leading Ministers decide that they will discipline the whole Government, bring the entire issue to heel, make ways and means match and generally apply discipline not only to the entire governmental establishment but also and in particular to the activities of the chief spending Ministers. So, in passing these Appropriation Bills - as undoubtedly we will - we shall watch with some concern to see whether in fact the Prime Minister and the Government are really serious about conquering what today is our greatest problem, namely, inflation.
– I wish to speak on a matter which has become the subject of some fairly irresponsible debate around the country in the last couple of weeks and which has now reached a stage where the level of debate is reaching dangerous proportions for the future of several maritime ports in Australia. Over the last 2 or 3 weeks, the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser) has made a number of charges in this House about the inactivity of the Federal Government and its failure to prevent employers of waterfront labour from changing the means by which the idle time levies are collected in minor ports.
The Victorian Government, which is acting purely in an election situation, has no power or authority in this field but has a Minister running around the country making all sorts of irresponsible statements. I refer to the Stop Press article in this afternoon’s Melbourne Herald’ as an illustration of the degree of irresponsibility displayed by the Victorian Government on this matter. The Minister foi
State Development in Victoria said that the Victorian Government would investigate what action it could take within its legislative power to ensure that the people of western Victoria could send their wool and other products through the port of Portland. The report says that his Government was taking a strong stand against the Commonwealth Government on inflated levies on shipping at Portland. Last Wednesday, in the State Parliament, where he was answerable to other members, the Minister for State Development said that he acknowledged that the present situation was not the responsibility of the present Federal Government. However, for public consumption he now is reported as indicating that the Federal Government is responsible for the situation.
I should like to deal with this matter on a far more serious plane than has been the case in the past. The honourable member for Wannon quite clearly is grandstanding. He was a member of a government which, without protest passed through this Parliament legislation which created the present situation. The Waterside Workers Federation of Australia did not want the abolition of the general industry levy which had applied prior to 1967. The Federation did not want the responsibility for the collection of the levy taken away from the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority and placed in the hands of employers. This was done against the protests of employees in the industry; it was done according to the basic philosophy on which the Liberal Party governed, namely, that the government should not act in matters of relationships between employees and employers.
At the time, the now Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) said in this House that it was the Government’s aim to place the stevedoring industry on the same basis as private industry, whereby employers were responsible for the employment conditions of their employees. Honourable members will be fully aware that the stevedoring industry is not a normal area of employment. In order that the House will fully understand what has occurred, I point out that, arising out of the Woodward Report of 1969, Australian ports fell into 2 categories - ports where permanent labour was employed and ports where the casual labour situation remained.
The levy, which now is the cause of such consternation, was not struck on all ports. It was struck only on those ports where casual labour was involved. The purpose of the levy was to meet the cost of paying minimum guaranteed wages where the employment available did not enable waterside workers to earn the minimum guaranteed wage. It does not require an Albert Einstein to work out that ports with low rates of usage will be the ports which require the greatest amount of making up of the guaranteed minimum wage. The result of this policy, which was accepted by the Government and handed over for the employers of waterside labour to control, was that ports such as Geelong, Burnie and one or 2 other ports such as Albany and Bunbury in Western Australia were required to add to the costs of labour an amount per man-hour sufficient to pay the idle time levy in other ports such as Portland, Cairns and a number of other ports around Australia. In fact, what was happening was that ports which were in direct competition with capital city ports - Geelong’s main competitor for work load is not Portland; it is Melbourne - were charged a levy of 40c in order to subsidise minor ports.
In principle, I would not object to this if it were applied uniformly on all ports and if a general industry levy were collected by the Government’s own authority, the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, to be paid to waterside workers where they did not earn the mimimum guaranteed wage. If this were done, it would be fair. It is a solution which I now strongly recommend to this Government. But what was proposed by the Victorian Government in the Victorian Parliament last week and what has been proposed by the honourable member for Wannon is a solution which would require this Government to cripple ports such as Burnie. Geelong and Albany so that idle time can be paid in Portland. I think we should understand exactly what we are talking about in this situation.
The honourable member for Wannon denied a statement which was made by the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) last week that work had fallen off in the port of Portland. 1 have pointed out that the honourable member had used annual figures over a number of years to prove that work loads had been increasing. However, in the first 2 months of 1973, when the Association of Employers of Waterside Labour decided to change the levy system to one where each port was responsible for paying its own labour - I would have thought that this would have lent itself to Liberal Party philosophy - only 4 ships called at the port of Portland and they loaded something like 3,000 tons of cargo. In the same period in 1972, 16 ships called at the port of Portland and loaded in excess of 100,000 tons of cargo. So for the honourable member for Wannon to suggest that the situation at the port of Portland was not precipitated by a falling off in the rate of cargo shipped through that port is to mislead this House. The fact is that less than 3 per cent - it is nearer H per cent - of the loading which went through that port in the first 2 months of 1972 went through it in the first 2 months of this year.
The solution to the problem is not to close any ports or place an unfair burden on other ports which are in a better, though not dissimilar, position to the port of Portland and which are also struggling for survival. There is a concerted effort by the conference lines to close down every minor port in Australia and some of the capital city ports. The solution to the immediate problem of Portland which is being bandied around by t he honourable member for Wannon and supported by the Victorian Government will facilitate the closing down of those ports by the conference lines. Quite clearly it is the responsibility of this Federal Parliament to enact legislation which will ensure that the Commonwealth of Australia decides through which ports and under what conditions our goods will be shipped and if the conference lines seek to continue the monopoly which they have had on our shipping over a number of years they should be required to comply with those conditions which the Australian Government lays down. But to suggest that ports such as Geelong in Victoria, Burnie in Tasmania, and Albany and Bunbury in Western Australia should pay a levy which is 20 times what they are required to pay to meet idle time or the unearned portion of the minimum guarantee in order to subsidise smaller ports while the major ports in the capital cities do not meet this levy in any shape or form is eventually to destroy not only these smaller ports but also the intermediate ports and to assist the conference lines to achieve their objective of reducing the number of Australian ports to two or three major ports.
Already the major proportion of goods produced in the Portland area which are to be shipped by sea are railed to Melbourne for loading onto ships. Already a substantial proportion of goods which could be shipped from the port of Geelong is railed to Melbourne for loading onto ships. Ports which have adequate facilities to handle these goods are not being utilised. Shippers prefer and are obviously prepared to meet the cost of transporting their goods by rail or road to the capital city ports for loading onto ships. 1 ask that the Government give serious consideration to this problem and reject out of hand the suggestions which are being made, fostered by the Victorian Government for political purposes, that the solution to the problem of Portland is to close the port of Geelong. This is the- end result of the proposal which the honourable member for Wannon has put forward and the proposals which have been put forward in the Victorian Parliament by supporters of the Victorian Government. This will not assist the situation in Portland. All that will happen will be that the goods which could be shipped through Geelong will be transferred to Melbourne for shipment and the situation in the minor ports then will be even worse.
The only solution to the problem is the reintroduction of a general levy on the whole of waterside labour to be collected by the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, as was done prior to 1967 under a system which was abandoned with the full support of the honourable member for Wannon and other members of the Liberal Party in this House because they believed that the employers had the sole right to do so. The accusation made by a Victorian Minister that this is something which was done by the Commonwealth Government is utterly untrue. The fact of the matter is that this change in the levy system, and 1 can tell the House the extent of the change, has meant that the uniform 40c which was charged on all ports where casual labour was employed has been varied so that at the port of Geelong it has dropped to 2c while at the port of Portland it has increased to SI. 25. This is a serious blow to a port such as Portland and the solution to the problem is to reintroduce the general levy.
I think it is incumbent upon me to deal with one other matter before I conclude. At question time I asked the Minister for Overseas Trade (Dr J. F. Cairns) a question in relation to the importation into Australia of overseas carpets. The Minister indicated that he was not aware of the matters I had raised, namely, that carpets which had been banned
In the United States because of the high fire risk in buildings in which they were laid were currently being exported to Australia. I am assured by carpet manufacturers and textile industry representatives in Australia that regulations have recently been introduced in the United States under which carpets must meet a minimum fire safety standard and that carpets which had previously been manufactured and which did not meet these standards are now being exported to Australia at prices with which the Australian industry cannot compete. Unless there is a very substantial reappraisal of the standards required for the entry into Australia of this type of material the Australian public in the next few weeks will be sold material which is a danger to those people who place them in their homes and especially to people in major buildings in which this material is used. I raised this matter with the Minister today because I consider it to be extremely important. It is especially important because the Australian industry could well have its future existence threatened by the dumping in Australia of substandard goods which are not saleable in the country of their origin. I ask the Government to give very serious consideration to this and to examine fully the claims which are being made by the Australian carpet industry. This is a very serious matter.
– This afternoon we are debating 2 appropriation Bills, the Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1973 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1973. In 2 senses these Bills can be regarded either as supplementary to or as replacements for Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1972 and Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1972 that were introduced when the last Budget was brought down. The total amount appropriated under the 2 Bills is, I believe, of the order of $123.999m. Under Appropriation Bill (No. 3) the amount is $56m, and under Appropriation Bill (No. 4), that is the capital Bill, the amount is $67,944,000. We have no intention of objecting to either of these Bills, but we believe that, in the interests of this country, certain aspects of the Bills should be highlighted. From an examination of the second reading speech of the Treasurer (Mr Crean) it can be seen that Appropriation Bill (No. 3) relating to maintenance expenditure affects, first of all, the first Whitlam administration order and then the Treasurer’s advance account. One item to which we could raise no objection is the appropriation of $10m for the advancement of Aborigines and their development.
There are 3 different sections to the capital account. One relates to an advance of $15m to the State of New South Wales which was agreed to by my own Government before the last Budget was introduced and the money for which is now being appropriated. The second advance of the order of $3lm is for employment, and the residue of it is for capital expenditure of a maintenance or development kind.
To sum up, I have looked very carefully through the figures and I can find nothing wrong with the arithmetic. It is to 2 particulars of the Bills that I feel objection has to be taken. But before I deal with those, Mr Deputy Speaker, may I ask you to look at the kind of economy that was inherited by the Labor Government when it took office. When you look at the figures that have been presented, and particularly when you note the dates, unmistakably, even you, Mr Deputy Speaker, must ask who was responsible for the happy state of the Australian economy today and which Government was responsible for the development and the progress now taking place.
Let me mention to the House one or two details, perhaps even a few, that I think will be of interest to all. Let us look at what was previously called gross national production or, as it is now called, gross domestic product. In the December quarter of last year there was an increase of 2 per cent in real terms in non-farm income. In other words, the rate of increase over a period of a year was of the order of 8 per cent. That, in anyone’s language, is a healthy increase and something of which the former Government could well be proud. What has to be pointed out is that the Labor Government can under no circumstances be credited with what should properly be credited to the Opposition, that is, the former Government of this country.
Secondly I want to point to the figures for unemployment - and the figures relating to employment too. because we regard this as a humanitarian rather than an economic problem and consequently we want to see unemployment as low as practicable and employment as high as it is possible to get. The figures show that over the months of September. October and November there was a rise of 46,000 in employment. As we would expect, in seasonally adjusted terms we find that in January there was a fall of 1,000 - an extraordinarily high figure, perhaps an unprecedented figure, for the month of January - and in the month of February a fall of 32,000, which brought the percentage of unemployed down to 1.8 per cent of the work force on a seasonally adjusted basis. Nobody could ever claim that this was the result of activities of the present Government or sensible economic management by that Government, but it could only be the result of action taken by the McMahon Government and the result of Treasury and Government action from September 1971, right through from the presentation of the Budget last year until today.
There are 3 other aspects I want to mention, because they are related to 2 important subjects I will mention later on. The first is the way in which we in the former Government were able to reduce interest rates during 1972. In December 1971 the interest rate was running at about 6.99 per cent, but by December 1972 it was 6 per cent. Added to that, the consumer price index, which is after all a pretty good indication of the way in which inflationary pressures are acting, in 1972 fell from a rate of increase of 7 per cent to about 4.6 per cent. I ask all members of this House to keep those figures in mind, because it is about the inflationary impact of actions by the Government that I want to speak in a few moments.
Shortly I shall turn to the future of the economy, but before I do so, may I mention 3 problems and give a partial answer to each one of them. We all know that if average earnings exceed productivity, then without any doubt there will be an inflationary relationship, and a pretty precise relationship, between the two. Whilst there can be no completely accurate arithmetical figure, at least one can say that they will be closely related. If average earnings are considerably in excess of the other there is no doubt that there will be considerably increased inflationary pressures. The second point I want to make relates to the administration order, which is part of what was mentioned in Appropriation Bill (No. 3). That Bill appropriates funds for administrative purposes. I believe that if we go back further than this and try to ascertain the causes of some of our inflationary problems today we will find that partially they lie in the fact that in the drafting of that administration order there is no means by which the
Government can get a consistent and thoroughly cohesive economic policy. In other words, I think it can be argued, and argued pretty conclusively, that unless there is coordination rather than independent action by 27 Ministers galloping off in different directions at the same time inevitably it will be found that there is a lack of Treasury control of the economy, with all the difficulties that that problem can cause in terms of inflation.
Finally I refer to the fact that for some time we faced difficulties relating to 2 sectors of the economy. Since 1970 we had been continually warned by the technical experts that demand inflation was just about to engulf us and that demand inflation in combination with wage cost inflation would give us a degree of inflationary pressure that we had not known for some time past. Let me go back to answering part of the problem that 1 believe is of vital importance to us. We were worried about the lack of demand. In fact we now find that demand increased by about $2,250m in the December quarter, a rise of about 1 1 per cent as compared with the previous December quarter. Therefore not only are average earnings rising, but we find in the demand sector, particularly that sector relating to retail trade, increases of the kind I have mentioned. It is the combination of these circumstances that creates such grave difficulties for us. In itself I would not worry too much about demand. I feel that there are means by which this problem can be overcome. In fact, you can take it in your stride. But when demand is increasing rapidly it creates conditions under which wage demands can be made with the inevitability, because of the industrial strength of the trade union movement, that those demands will be met by industry, thus compounding the problem and all that goes with it.
Let me come to the problem, as I see it, before us today. I mentioned the way in which the consumer price index has fallen from 7 per cent to 4.6 per cent - a memorable achievement by the former Government, that is the present Opposition. But what is the Labor Government led by Mr Whitlam doing to completely reverse the trend during the course of 1972?
I refer to some of the claims that are now before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The first claim relates to a flat increase of $11.50 a week to the national wage based on the 1953 base and asking for increases consistent with prices and productivity increases over that period. I think the House and the general public should know that both the employers and the Commonwealth Government itself believe that the cost will be $2,700m in increased wages in any single year; that is, an increase of 17.S per cent. There is also a claim for an increase of $13.80 in the average minimum wage to a minimum of S65 a week. I have had these figures costed but because of the many qualifications associated with the increase I think it is better to proceed to other matters rather than to concentrate too much time on this particular asapect of our inflationary problem.
The Public Service unions have claimed an increase of 7.5 per cent which could very easily amount to more than $ 1,000m additional to the pay roll of the Commonwealth. That, of course, would be subsumed somewhere within the $2,700m that I have just mentioned. One can add to this the further claim now made by the oil industry for a 35-hour week. Most honourable members are under a compulsion to admit that if it were granted in the oil industry there is no doubt whatsoever, following the Gallagher award and its consequences, it would flow on to every other section of the community, no matter how long the period involved. I suggest that 3 reasonable assumptions can be made. First, the standard working week for all employees would be reduced by about 5 hours a week. Secondly, there would be no associated increase in productivity. Thirdly, output would be maintained by an increase in over-award working and, consequently, over-award payments. If that came to pass in full and the flow on occurred - inevitably it would occur - the cost, according to figures relating to August 1972, would be about $3,000m and unit costs themselves would rise by about 18 per cent.
The Opposition is more interested today in people and the humanitarian aspect of this situation because these wage claims, approved by the Government, have a moral significance and an economic effect on the less fortunate sections of the community and, consequently, must be carefully considered. The best estimate that I have been able to obtain of the consequences of the 35-hour week would be that it would add $800 a year to the costs of an average family. Frankly, that is something that the Opposition wants to avoid and it is the reason that the Opposition believes that there should be the closest scrutiny of wage demands and that every effort should be made in the interests of those people to keep wage demands to a reasonable amount, an amount which could, in fact, be economically sustained by the community.
– What is the source of that figure?
– I do not have the source here but if the honourable member wants it I can get it for him. I turn to the last Treasury Information Bulletin because I believe that the increased expenditure mentioned contributes to the inflationary problems that we face today. Despite what has been said by the Treasurer in answer to a question in this House, we will find that the total Budget deficit that we will face - this is put as a minimum and not as the maximum - will have risen from $630m to $960m. The major portion of that increase, excluding unavoidable increases such as those caused by additional numbers of the social welfare beneficiaries, is due to Government action. By direct Government action the cost to the community will be something like $168m for the balance of this year and $33 1 m in a full year. As is pointed out on page 3 of the Treasury Information Bulletin, most of this money, either directly or indirectly, will be in actual expenditure on goods and services, thus adding to inflationary pressures, particularly to demand, and complementing and adding to the problems that arise because of cost inflation in the way in which it is now occurring.
I make this immediate comment and hope to impress it on members of the House: Look at the achievements of the former government - the present Opposition - and make a comparison based on the possibilities or even the probabilities of what is likely to happen in the course of the next 18 months. It is a pretty safe bet that the trend and tendency towards a reduction of interest rates will change completely. Honourable members can be absolutely certain that the influences I have mentioned - there are others in abundance - are having an impact on inflationary pressures. Honourable members will find over a period that far from a reduction of 7 per cent to 4.6 per cent in the consumer index gradually the consumer index will at least rise to as high as 7 per cent in the period of the next Budget and could be substantially higher.
Honourable members do not want to get into arguments in this House about possibilities in a period of more than a year because the unpredictable can, in fact, happen. Looking at the situation under normal conditions it can be said that inflationary pressures will be high. 1 think the Opposition is justified in saying that inflation is the greatest economic thief of all because, first of all, it affects people who are less able to look after and protect themselves. It affects our export industries, manufacturing industries and primary industries as well. It then affects all other sections of the community. Particularly in the end will it affect those who have massive industrial power and are able to protect themselves unto the last against the impact of inflationary pressures. In my view, and I believe in the view of the Opposition as a whole, this is the greatest economic problem that this country faces today. Unless it is satisfactorily bandied by the Government as a whole, and not individually by 27 Ministers, it will be found that so much of the good done by the preceding Government will be destroyed but, above all, the alleged goals of the Australian Labor Party to control inflation and to bring real benefits to the Australian people will be destroyed in the process.
The Opposition will not object to the Bills. However 1 believe it is highly proper, in the interests of the Australian people, that the problem should be identified as much a? possible. We must persist in identifying it and saying where the Labor Government is going wrong. I believe the contributions to inflation are the most mammoth series of blunders that the Labor Party has committed since it has been in office.
- Mr Deputy Speaker - (Quorum formed.) I thank the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) for his assistance. I trust that I will be able to reciprocate in like manner on a number of occasions. In following the right honourable member for Lowe (Mr McMahon) in debating these Appropriation Bills one must pay him respect for the submission that he made and which has been documented because it contains a considerable amount of detail from a variety of sources and it deserves a proper analysis if it is to be properly answered. This is not possible to do in directly following him in the debate. However, there were some points that he made which I was happy to hear. For example, I was pleased to hear him remark on the happy state of the economy and the rate of Australian development. I would agree with him on this but I differ with him as to the reason for the happy state of the economy and the rate of Australian development.
There is no doubt that in Australia today the stimulus of the new Gobernment. the new confidence that the public, industry, commerce and working people have in their country arises from this change which is in strange contrast to that of the previous Administration. We have heard the old canard with regard to the arbitration system that here there should be Government interference at all times against any increases being given to the working people in wages and conditions. I am sure that we as the Australian Government are confident that this information is available to the court and that it will be used in making a decision. It seems natural for the right honourable member for Lowe to equate shorter working hours with reduced productivity. Of course this is something with which obviously the majority of the Australian people do not agree.
– It has been proved wrong.
– The honourable member reminds me that it has been proved wrong because there are such things as greater efficiency and such things as developments in technology. I could go on and list many factors that are concerned in this and why there should not be this fear that the Opposition and its supporters try to inculcate in the community. Mention was made of the efforts of the last Administration to help the less fortunate members of the community. I believe that in the Government’s program there is a much sounder basis for benefits for the less fortunate members of the community than was ever shown in the last 23 years.
My last comment on what was said by the right honourable member for Lowe refers to what he had to say about the 27 Ministers of the Australian Government and their activities. The members of the Government Party are proud of the fact that we have 27 Ministers who all meet together to make decisions on such matters as those for which these Bills will provide the finance to carry out. They all meet together and play a part in those decisions. There is no inner 11 and there is no outer 11 determined by the vagaries of one man or perhaps 2 men or perhaps outside influences. These 27 men who act as Ministers are elected by their fellows, supported by their fellows and they jointly make decisions to help govern the country.
In dealing with these Appropriation Bills I note that there are large sums of money for a variety of departments. Those of us who have served in the Parliament before know that these Appropriation Bills show a greater variety of departments, new concepts of appropriation of money for departments which will allow the new policies of this Government to be brought forward and carried out to the benefit of Australia. For example, one is the Department of Environment and Conservation. I remind honourable members that under the last Administration the Department of the Environment was almost the ministry of odds and sods. It was tucked away with a small staff and it had very little purpose or real effect. It is pleasing to see that this Department has been given individuality and a structure of its own to deal with the very real problems that it will have to deal with in our community today. It is no longer one of the odds and sods. It has a really increased role. It has a reality about it. It will be able to deal with the problems of air and water pollution. It will be able to co-ordinate with other departments in urban and regional development. It will have a real effect on wildlife conservation which so far has received little purposive treatment.
A matter I wish to raise in this debate ties in with the activities of expenditure relating to assistance given to local government. I refer to the problem of the solid waste mess in our community today because it is a matter that is tended to be overlooked. We have air pollution and water pollution control but we have forgotten about garbage and the problems it brings with it. The reason we tend to overlook it is that so much of it is related to the local government level. So much is left to local authorities to find the holes and areas of land to be reclaimed - all sorts of subterfuges are made - to get rid of the millions and millions of tons of solid waste which we create. I quote a statement by Art Buchwald made in 1970. He said:
And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminium can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminium cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried: Look at this Godawful mess.’
This is one of the problems we face in this aspect of the environment. What we throw away does not go away. Active measures will have to be taken to solve this problem. I trust that this Department will have a look at this problem. There are certain things that can be done. One is to implement recycling. But here again the economics of recycling are rather a problem. In theory a recycling centre that operated at a loss would still be a net gain as long as the cost was lower than the former cost of disposing of the waste conventionally. The real problem here is what I was talking about before. This Government hopes to assist local government. It is with local government that the disposal of solid waste rests. So, it is very hard to convince other bodies that recycling is an economic proposition. I believe that in this Department we have a hope that sound measures may be taken to cope with the problem.
The Appropriation Bill once again shows substantial expenditures proposed by the Department of Education. One must even give some credit to the previous administration in that in the last few years the Australian Parliament has played an increasing role in education. I think some side effects must be considered by the Government when dealing with education. A great deal of public investment has gone into education and we should be examining the return to the public from that investment.
In late January of this year a conference nf the Australian and Ne,v Zealand Student Health Association and the Australian Association of University Counsellors was told that hoth student counsellors and physicians should check students who sought to drop “tit from tertiary education. This might well also apply to those students who fail exams at this level. Not only dropouts but also failures should be checked because the education nf those students, particularly those who have reached the later years of their courses, represents an enormous public investment. At the moment universities vary a great deal in the treatment that they give to dropouts and failures. Despite the fact that much has been spent on them there is very little activity in certain areas to endeavour to salvage these young people and what they have learnt and to allow them to use their knowledge in the community.
It may be that our universities are not geared and financed to give this type of help. I trust that in the future we will see in the appropriations for the Department of Education a sum set aside for this purpose. I believe there is much waste in the community today, particularly with later year students who for some reason or other fall by the wayside and find themselves unable to be employed in a great variety of categories in the community. lt is perhaps fitting that the Minister for Health (Dr Everingham) should be sitting at the table at present because one of the problems in the Australian community is, it is suggested, a relative shortage of doctors. Twenty-six of the 108 medical schools in the United States have decided that medical courses could be shortened by up to one year by a reduction in holiday and vacation periods. I realise that academics probably would resist this suggestion because they are interested not only in administration and teaching but also in research work. This reduction would restrict their research work. But when there is a high community need such as we saw during and after the Second World War courses may be, and are, shortened. During that period it was possible to supply good graduates in shorter time. This is another matter which I should like to see covered in Appropriation Bills. We should properly finance the shortening of these courses.
We have seen recently a statement that this Government, through its Department of Health, wishes the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories to expand into the pharmaceutical industry. A strong comment by a former Liberal member of this House appeared in the Australian Medical Association Gazette warning the Government against planning to expand its activities into the pharmaceutical industry. Indeed, it even threatened the Government as to what would happen to the supply of pharmaceuticals. I belive that we should press on with the development of the CSL expanding well into the pharmaceutical industry. No longer should it be a restricted organisation whose main task is to supply the unprofitable sera and vaccines and other products which the commercial pharmaceutical companies will not produce, supply and sell. The sort of blackmailing attitude that is taken in that article in the AMA Gazette of 8th March 1973 is to be deplored. I am sure that it is something the Australian people do not want. They reject the basic argument in support of it.
– Are you still a member of the AMA?
– Yes. I have been a member of the AMA for many years. I have expressed my views to members of the AMA for many years. In my own State, my fellow members of the AMA respect my right to state those views.
– That is not denied. I am not denying that.
– I am just clarifying the issue. 1 have not hidden my light under a bushel on these matters and I will not hide my light under a bushel but will continue to criticise and to press for changes in the usually conservative attitude that I find in the medical profession. 1 should like now to refer in passing to a matter in regard to the Department of Health, and that is the provision of home kidney dialysis machines. These are machines that largely are imported and attract customs duty. They cost some $5,000 to supply to the individual to use in the home. Such a machine in the home enables that individual to lead a relatively normal working life. Little help has so far been given by the Commonwealth Government to these individuals. One concession has been made in the supply of dialysis fluid. No assistance is given with respect to the supply of machines, blood, membranes or drugs that are necessary. I suggest that if we took some action in this regard the savings that we would make in pensions paid to such individuals would very easily cover the concessions that are made.
I am proud to speak on these Appropriation Bills in this first term of the Whitlam Government. I look forward to speaking on many more such Bill in the future. I know that the next set of Appropriation Bills will indicate the very real advances that are being made in policies and conditions for the ordinary people in the community.
– The Appropriation Bills before the House are very important because government is finance and finance is government. These Bills, which deal with a wide range of expenditure, basically are concerned with the distribution through various Government departments of the funds necessary to maintain the financial bloodstream. It behoves us all to be always deeply conscious of how we spend someone else’s money, whether it is that of another person or of a government. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– by leave - The statement which I am about to read dealing with the subject of Croatian terrorism was made in the Senate this afternoon by the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy).
– What about copies?
– Because the AttorneyGeneral was forced by tactics adopted by the Opposition in the Senate to make the statement earlier than he had intended there has not been time to prepare copies for this House at this stage. This is being done and we will let honourable members have copies as soon as possible. However, I have asked that copies of Senator Murphy’s speech in the Senate be made available to honourable members at this stage so that they can follow what I am about to say because the speech of the Attorney-General and my own are substantially the same.
We must never accept the proposition that we must get used to political terrorism, involving bombings, murder, intimidation and that democratic governments are powerless to suppress such activities. That such actions have occurred in Australia with increasing frequency in recent years is beyond dispute. There was a curious defeatism and lack of initiative in successive Liberal-Country Party Governments’ reaction to these outrages.
Honourable members will recall that, throughout the last session of the last Parliament, the former Attorney-General was asked a great number of questions by Labor senators about the activities of Croatian extremists in Australia and the matter was canvassed in this House. A constant theme in the answers that came from the government of the day was that although there were undoubtedly individual Croatian extremists in Australia who were prepared to resort to the most violent methods in alleged furtherance of their cause, there was no credible evidence that any Croatian revolutionary terrorist organisation existed in Australia. For example in the Senate on 24th August 1972, the then Attorney-General said: the searches and investigations carried out by the Commonwealth Police hitherto have not been able to discover any evidence of an organisation.
The then Attorney-General again repeated this assertion on 19th September 1972 in answer to a question from Senator Douglas McClelland which is reported in Hansard at page 894. It is important to remember that the time when these questions were being asked and answered was a time of great public concern about terrorism. The reasons for this were twofold. Firstly, in June 1972 a group of 19 Croatian terrorists crossed into Yugoslavia from Austria and engaged in terrorist activities in Bosnia. Six were Australian citizens and 3 others had previously lived in Australia. In other words, nine, or approximately one-half of the group, had been in Australia and about one-third were Australian naturalised citizens.
As a result the Yugoslav Government presented a strongly worded aide-memoire to the Australian Government alleging, inter alia, that the headquarters of the HRB (Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood) were located in Australia, that the Australian Government had provided shelter for the ringleaders, who were named, and that the HRB, which had been thought by the Australian authorities to have been defunct for some years, had been reorganised early in 1972 as the HIRO (Croatian Illegal Revolutionary Organisation).
Following receipt of this aide-memoire, the Commonwealth and State police conducted a series of raids in Melbourne and Sydney during the month of August and a great deal of material was seized. It is to be assumed that the first law officer of Australia, of the Commonwealth, the Attorney-General, would be kept informed by the police of the results of their investigations, especially as he continued to be closely questioned in the Senate about Croatian extremist activities. And, indeed, he admitted on 19th September 1972 that he had seen a lot of material in the possession of the Commonwealth Police.
The second factor which highlighted the question of Croat terrorism in Australiaand which attracted special attention from the Commonwealth and State police was the occurrence of 2 bombing incidents in Sydney on 16th September 1972 involving premises and persons connected with the Yugoslav community. These incidents left unaltered the then Attorney-General’s statement that there was no organised terrorism among the Croatian community in Australia.
One must assume also that the AttorneyGeneral of the day would have known that a cache of explosives and documents had been discovered in the Warburton Ranges outside Melbourne, about the middle of 1972 and that amongst these documents were several stating the aims and objects of an Ustasha-type organisation known as HIRO (Croatian Illegal Revolutionary Organisation). This is the very organisation to which the Yugoslav Government’s aide-memoire made reference. However, when the Senate rose on 27th October 1972, neither the Attorney-General nor any other member of the Liberal-Country Party Government had produced any evidence of the existence in Australia of organised Croatian terrorism and that Government held firmly to the position that no such evidence existed.
On taking over the office of Attorney-General, the present Attorney-General considered it his duty to find out for himself whether this was true and to inform the Parliament and the people of Australia of the facts. The impending visit to Australia of the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia gave special urgency to this investigation, since, if the true picture was different from that painted by the previous Government, the present Government was entitled to entertain grave fears for the safety of our distinguished guest and would be in duty bound to take adequate precautions for his safety.
The Attorney-General stated categorically thai the Liberal Attorney-General’s oftrepeated assertion that there is no credible evidence of the existence in Australia of organised Croatian extremism cannot be sustained. The contrary is true and was true at the time he made his statements. The evidence - overwhelming evidence - is to be found in documents which the Attorney-General has tabled in the Senate this afternoon. They are enormous in their volume; they are extensive and lengthy. However, because of the difficulty relating to time that I mentioned earlier and because of the limited scope of the Senate printing facilities, notwithstanding the fact that officers of the Senate worked until the early hours of this morning to print this material, it has not been possible to supply honourable members with copies of these documents. What I would like at this stage is to have leave to incorporate the list of documents referred to by the Attorney-General in the Senate and the summary of documents and undertake that at the first opportunity tomorrow I will supply honourable members with the balance of the copies of the docu ments. I ask leave to have the list of documents that I have referred to and the summary of documents incorporated in Hansard.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection leave is granted. (The documents read as follows) -
Document A.l- The Menzies Statement of 27th August 1964.
Document A.2 - Letter’ from Dr Hefer to Mr Menzies received 2nd September 1964.
Document A.3 - Letter by Sir Garfield Barwick as Minister for External Affairs to the Attorney-General of 6th January 1964.
Document A.4 - Notation by Mr Snedden when Attorney-General, on a departmental submission dated 25th September 1964 relating to prosecution of certain Croatians.
Document A.5 - ASIO Position Paper of 1st May 1967.
Document A.6 - ASIO Position Paper of 1st October 1967.
Document A.7 - Report of the Crime Intelligence Bureau of the Commonwealth Police dated 6th March 1968 on the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood (HRB)
Document A.8 - Letter by Mr Lynch, when Minister for Immigration to the then Attorney-General dated 3rd December 1969.
Document A.9 - Letter by Mr McMahon as Minister for External Affairs dated 16th December 1969.
Document A. 10 - Commonwealth Police comments upon the two preceding Ministerial letters.
Document A. 11 - ASIO comments on the two preceding Ministerial letters.
Document A.12 - Report of conference between Commonwealth Police and ASIO held on 17th February 1970 in respect of the Rolovic Note delivered to the Australian Government.
Document A. 13 - Background brief by ASIO dated 2nd April 1971 on Croatian National Resistance (HNO)
Document A. 14 - Memorandum from the AttorneyGeneral’s Department dated 10th June 1972 to the Attorney-General advising of the Croatian Illegal Revolutionary Organisation (HIRO).
Document A.15 - Record of interview prepared by Senator Greenwood when Attorney-General, of his interview with the Yugoslav Ambassador on 19th July 1972.
Document A16 - Press Statement by Senator Greenwood, when Attorney-General, dated 20th July 1972.
Document A.17 - Press Statement by Senator Greenwood, when Attorney-General, dated 11th August 1972 relating to the armed incursion into Yugoslavia.
Document A.18 - Copy of a submission by the Attorney-General’s Department to the AttorneyGeneral relating to a passport application by Jure Maric.
Document A. 19 - Letter by Senator Greenwood, when Attorney-General, to the Foreign Minister, Mr Bowen, dated 27th November 1972.
Document A.20-Letters by Senator Greenwood, when Attorney-General, to the Minister for Immigration, Dr Forbes, dated 29th June 1972 (passport application by Josip Bogut) and 12th November 1972 (deportation of Marincic).
Document B.l - Constitution of the Croatian Liberation Movement (HOP).
Document B.2- Constitution of the official ‘Croatian Ustashi Movement’ and the seventeen principles of the Ustashi.
Document B.3 - Correspondence between Josip Kovac of Canberra and Srecko Rover of Melbourne dated 14th and 21st July 1972.
Document B.4 - Copy of a letter to Prime Minister McMahon by the Croatian Co-ordinative Committee of “Victoria dated 25th May 1972 complaining about the cancellation of Srecko Rover’s passport.
Document B.5 - Letter to the Attorney-General from Ljubomir Vuina dated 23rd September, 1972.
Document B.6 (a)- Copy of a record of A.B.C. television interview with Tomislav Lesic on 19th September, 1972.
Document B.6 (b) - Copy of a record of interview on A.B.C. television with Fabian Lovokovic on 20th September, 1972.
Document B.7 - A series of photographs taken at the Wodonga Training Camp in 1963.
Document B.8 - Constitution of the Australian
Croatian National Resistance - Oceania (H.N.O.).
Document B.9 - Record of interview between Superintendent Milte and Srecko Rover.
Document B.10 - Intelligence report by a troika terrorist group and a copy of a map of Yugoslavia which marks the route into Yugoslavia taken by the terrorist raiding party of June, 1972. Rover’s papers (1972).
Document B.11 - Letter by Srecko Rover to the Governor-General dated 20th October, 1972 complaining about Her Majesty the Queen’s visit to Yugoslavia.
Document B.12 - Aims and objects of the Croatian Youth (H.M.).
Document B.13 - The principles and the oath of the World League of Croatian Youth (S.H.U.M.S.).
Document B.l 4 - Constitution of the Croatian Illegal Revolutionary Organisation (H.I.R.O.) and the transcript of committal proceedings in Victoria against its leaders.
Document B.15 - Letter by Joint Committee of Croatian Organisations in New South Wales to Prime Minister McMahon dated 31st August, 1972.
Document B.15A - Copy of police reports on the United Croats of West Germany (U.H.Nj.).
Document B.16 - Oath of the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood (H.R.B.).
Document B.17 - The papers of Adolf Andric.
Document B.17A - Photographs of the pen bomb, Richmond Town Hall, 2nd September. 1967.
Document B.l 8 - The Jure Marie papers of May, 1967.
Document B.l 9 - Record of interview by Sgt. George of the Commonwealth Police with Jure Marie of 5th June, 1968.
Document B.20 - The Jure Marie papers of August, 1972.
Document B.21 - Record of interview by Sgt. Brown of the Commonwealth Police with Blaz Kraljevic on 8th August. 1972.
Document B.22 - Map of part of Germany obtained at the premises of Pericic in August, 1972.
Document B.23 - A news sheet entitled ‘Report from Revolutionary Front’.
Document B.24 - Letter from H.R.B. Europe to A.S.I.O. and letter relating thereto by A.S.I.O. to Department of Immigration.
Document B.25 - Copy of a Commonwealth Police report upon $300 being forwarded to Sweden from Mount Gambier, South Australia.
Document B.26 - Copy of a memorandum from the Australian Embassy, Washington, to the Department of Foreign Affaire about the American government’s attitude on Yugoslavia.
Document B.27 - Photographs of bomb incident in Sydney on 16th September, 1972.
Document C.l - Publication entitled ‘Ustasa’, 1941- 1971.
Document C.2 - Publication entitled ‘Pregled’, March, 1972.
Document C.2A- Letter by A.S.I.O. dated 24th April, 1972 to the then Attorney-General.
Document C.3 - Publication entitled ‘Spremnost’, August, 1972.
DocumentC.4 - Publication entitled ‘Uzdanica’.
Document C.5 - Publication entitled ‘Vjesnik’.
Document C.6 - Publication entitled ‘Hrvatska Drzava’, February. 1973.
Document C.7 - Publication entitled ‘Obrana’, January, 1973.
Document C.8 - Publication entitled ‘Hrvatska Borba’.
Document C.9 - Publication entitled ‘Osvit’, February, 1973.
Document C.10 - Publication entitled ‘Kletva’.
Document C.ll - Publication entitled ‘instructions for Croatians outside their Homeland’.
SUMMARY OF THE DOCUMENTS
The documents constitute evidence that Croatian terrorist organisations exist in Australia and have so existed for many years.
In 1956 General Luburic, who had his headquarters in Spain, split away from the general organisation that was continued after 1945 by the Ustashi leader. Dr Ante Pavelic. General Luburic was interested in amore militant revolutionary organisation. Dr Pavelic was advancing in age and died in 1959. Dr Pavelic, in 1956, created the ‘Croatian Liberation Movement’ (H.O.P.) with its headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as a general world organisation to incorporate and co-ordinate the various other organisations and movements within it.
One of these organisations, controlled by the military office of the H.O.P.. is the official ‘Croatian Ustashi Movement’. General Luburic on the other hand, created the Croatian National Resistance (H.N.O.) with its headquarters in Madrid, Spain. This organisation has proved to be a marked inciter of militant revolution against the State of Yugoslavia throughout the world.
Here in Australia, the split between the two Ustashi world leaders was reflected by the establishment of the Croatian Liberation Movement (H.O.P.) Australian Branch. It has been led since its foundation in 1956 by Fabian Lovokovic.
In Victoria, Srecko Rover followed General Luburic and formed an Australian Branch of the Croatian National Resistance (H.N.O.). The H.O.P. in Sydney is linked directly to the Buenos Aires headquarters of the world organisation of H.O.P. The Melbourne Croatian National Resistance (H.N.O.) is linked to the Spanish headquarters of that organisation which produces ‘Obrana’.
The emphasis of this statement seems to have been that investigations would be made of various organisations and where evidence: which would be receivable in a court of law’ . . ., was obtained an appeal to the law’ would be made. In addition details of security investigations would not be made public.
He also stated in the letter:
I should like to suggest that ASIO should maintain some supervision over migrant groups (making no attempt to disguise its surveillance) and bring to your attention any activities which might be considered by them to contravene Sections 30A or 30C of the Crimes Act.’
There is a period of public quiescence at present. I would not want to see the whole issue revived by prosecutions which are not in themselves of great proportion . . . signed BMS’.
Mr Lynch further stated that:
I have reason to believe that the terrorists are endeavouring to create the impression amongst Yugoslav migrants in Australia that the Croatian extremists have the support of significant sections of Australian society and even the government’.
It is quite clear that Australian Croats are involved in an international conspiracy directed against the Tito Government of Yugoslavia and it seems that members of the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood will persist in their attempts to attack people and premises of the Yugoslav Government in Australia.’
I said that it was very difficult to have this knowledge of a person’s intent before he left Australia.
Where there was some reason for believing that a person because of his statements, activities and associates could be presumed to be fostering terrorist activities the Government could act and I instanced the refusal of a passport to Srecko Rover’.
On balance our view is that this is a case in which the issue of a passport might properly be again refused.’
Both ASIO and the Commonwealth Police had recommended to the Department of Immigration against the issue of a passport to Maric. Despite these recommendations the Attorney-General was not in favour of refusing a passport to Marie. Nonetheless the Minister for Immigration did not grant the application.
Croatian Liberation Movement (HOP) and the Croatian Ustashi Movement (UHRO)
He (Ante Kovac) says that our politicians have degraded the letter “U” and that he will have it rectified’.
In fact it is or was a body of people who resisted the Communist Government in Yugoslavia during the War and of course became an unpopular body with its Government. Violenceis far removed from its concepts in this country’.
The writer of that letter is a former Colonel in what was the elite Black Legion of the Ustashi in the Hitler puppet regime of Croatia during the Second World War. (The Black Legion was an elite part of the Ustashi Army similar to the German SS and had the concentration camps under its control.)
Croatian National Resistance (HNO)
We regard Yugoslavia and Yugoslavianism as the greatest and the only evil that has caused the existing calamity . . . Therefore we consider any direct or indirect help to Yugoslavia. Croatian national treason.’
Also included in this document is a report upon the General Assembly of the Croatian National Resistance in Australia of 18th October 1969. This Report refers to a world tour of Croatian Associations by Mr Srecko Rover including a visit to Spain ‘on a matter of importance’. Reference is also made to fraternal greetings and ‘thoughts’ of officials and members of Croatian National Resistance in Europe, stressing the special importance and significance of our Associations in Sweden and Germany’, as well as of members in Argentina and South America. This greeting also extends to the United States members.
We will do it by any means possible.’
When Superintendent Milte askedhim which organisation he belonged to in Australia, Rover stated, None, Sir. I was a member of the HOP but they expelled me because of my radical views.’ When asked did he know Jure Marie, the Andric brothers, Ivica Kokic and Josip Senic, Rover replied:
I know all these people. Andric was the person who made the pen bomb.’
The pen bomb referred to is the one that exploded at the Richmond Town Hall on 2nd September 1967 when a youth suffered grievous bodily harm. It was at a Yugoslav National Day.
When Superintendent Milte put to Rover that Father Kasic advocates violence to free Croatia from Yugoslav tyranny, Rover made the following statement:
But this is alright because it is just, like Victoria wanting to govern in its own right from New South Wales.’
The most significant statement by Rover in this interview, which is a clear admission by him that he supports violence and terrorism is shown by the following:
Milte said: How do you propose to overcome the present Yugoslav Government?
He said: By similar means to that being used in Vietnam today.
Milte said: What do you mean?
He said: Your Government is trying to overthrow the North Vietnam Government by means of force and we intend to do the same in Yugoslavia. I will do anything in my power to assist them in achieving this aim.’
All original documents and articles that had been obtained under search warrants in August 1972 from Rover and other persons were returned to Rover and those persons in November 1972 as required by the then Attorney-General. Paper (a) of document B10 is an Intelligence Report (translation attached) from a Troika’ terrorist group operating secretly in Australia. Paper (b) of document B10 is a copy of a map of Yugoslavia which marks a route into Yugoslavia to an area where the armed terrorist raiders of June 1972 were crushed in an armed skirmish with the military and security forces of Yugoslavia. [The Croatian Armed Forces (HOS), the seal of which is in the possession of Srecko Rover and referred to above, was formed, according to ASIO, after 1945 and was the successor to the Ustasha Army. General Max Luburic was its world leader and his successor was considered by ASIO to be Josip Bicsic. The organisation publishes a paper in Argentina entitled ‘Hrvatska Gruda’.
Srecko Rover has, in a past police interview, supplied the following information about himself:
He was born, Sarajevo, on 3rd February 1920 where he was educated to Matriculation standard and later attended the University of Zagreb, the capita] of Croatia. He studied Electronic Engineering. However, he left University in 1943, having been called up to serve in the Second Bojna Ustaske Vojnice (i.e. Second Battalion, Ustashi Armed Forces). He joined as a Private and in June 1944 was promoted to commission rank of Lieutenant. He served in Armoured Units in Sarajevo in the First Ustaski Zdrug (i.e. Brigade), ready to repel any Allied landing that might take place on the Adriatic Coast by the Western Allies. In 1945, on the downfall of the Axis powers, Rover went to refugee camps in Italy and Austria and in the next few years was involved in several guerrilla terrorist raids into Yugoslavia. In 1950 he migrated to Australia and has ceaselessly pursued the aims of organising the overthrow by force and violence the State of Yugoslavia.
We do not recognise any Yugoslavia, Monarchist or Communist, and we will fight against her by the use of all means of total destruction. . . . ‘
Article 3 states:
We remain loyal to the ideas and principles underlying the Croatian Right of State Party . . as well as to the principles of the Croatian Ustashi Movement of Dr Ante Pavelic, the Poglavnik.’.
World League of Croatian Youth (S.H.U.M.S.)
Croatian Illegal Revolutionary Organisation (H.I.R.O.) and Croatian Revolutionary Army (H.R.V.)
A militia is to be formed in any case; they are to be given military training and preparations for their arming are to be made:
The Supreme Stozer will open special training schools for terrorism and for all ‘activist’ activities on - assassinations, raids, sabotage, arson, etc.’
Joint Committee of Croatian Organisation in New South Wales
Document B15 is a copy of a letter by the Joint Committee of Croatian Organisations in New South Wales to Prime Minister McMahon dated 31st August 1972, complaining about searches made on the premises of certain Croatians. The letter contained a printed sidenote with the names of the following organisations:
The document is clear evidence of the unification which had been achieved in 1972 of all the militant and extremist Croatian organisations. The United Croats (UHNJ) has its associations overseas, as. with HOP and HNO, and is a terrorist organisation. The United Croats is an organisation based directly on Ustashi principles and methods of operation. This is shown in document B2. Press reports of State Police proceedings in New South Wales and Commonwealth Police reports on this terrorist organisation are contained in document B15A. That document contains the criminal record of the Australian leader of the United Croats of West Germany as well as a full statement of the structure of this terrorist organisation.
Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood (HRB)
I swear by Almighty God and things that are most sacred to me (or ‘by all the Saints’) to fight, until the end of my life, for the liberty and sovereignty of the Croatian People. By voluntarily joining the ranks of the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood, I pledge myself to obey and carry out without demur any orders and instructions, given me and to serve loyally the Brotherhood’s Revolutionary Principles.
I pledge myself to keep any secrets entrusted to me and not to disclose anything that might damage the interest of the Brotherhood and of the Croatian People.
If I offend against this Oath and the Brotherhood’s Revolutionary Principles, my penalty under the organisation’s laws, shall be death.
So help me God.’
Croatian National Resistance ‘SUD’ Armed Forces Headquarters 25 th March 1964
Top Secret Operation area 8
To gentlemen Croatian Officers, NCOs and Soldiers.
Documents B8 to Bll already set out the evidence in respect of Croatian National Resistance and that it is led in Australia by Srecko Rover, who. as already stated, possesses the seal of the Croatian Armed Forces (HOS). Another document in the series in document B18 contains a copy of the print from the seal containing the insignia of the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood. Bound in a red folder contained in document B18 is the Croatian text, together with a translation of a Handbook or Manual of Croatian Revolution.
Sergeant Brown of the Commonwealth Police with Blaz Kraljevic on 8th August 1972. Kraljevic relates how he was recruited to take part in the armed terrorist raid into Yugoslavia of June 1972, and how Lovric and Glavas were also recruited for that raid. Lovric and Glavas took part in the raid. Kraljevic missed joining the group in Germany-Austria, due to his arrest for liquor offences in Victoria. Another Croatian named Zdenko Marincic who was associated with Kraljevic, left Australia at that time, but was turned back by German police at FrankfurtonMain. Upon his return to Mascot Airport he was arrested, charged and convicted of having unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm - a rifle and four silencers secreted in a toy koala bear. He was sentenced to nine (9) months imprisonment. Although an alien he was not deported.
Germany that was obtained by the Commonwealth Police under a search warrant at the premises of Pericic in August 1972. Although Pericic’s passport had no markings on it, airline tickets and other documents evidence that he had travelled in Europe in May/June 1972. The terrorist raid into Yugoslavia in June 1972 was mounted from Germany and Austria. This can be related to the document that contained a record of an interview between Superintendent Milte and Rover in which Rover stated that persons would be sent through Germany, to fight in Yugoslavia. The evidence contained in Document 20 of Marie sending money to Vegar in Europe can be related to the statements made by Tomislav Lesic on the ABC television on 19th September 1972, and contained in document. 6 (a). In that interview Lesic slated that funds were sent to guerrilla fighters in Europe and Croatia.
H.R.B. It relates to the terrorist raid Into Yugoslavia in June 1972.
Attitude of the United States Government
Photographs of bomb incident, Sydney, 16 September 1972
USTASA’, (JUBILEE), 10 April, 1941-1971 edition. Page 38 carries a poem by Venco, AUSTRALIA, tilled ‘TO CROATIA’.
Oh, my beloved Homeland, turned into a dungeon, Thy children’s innocent blood continues to flow Because of their Croatian name. Today thou enjoyest neither freedom nor justice, With the symbols of thine old fame defaced, With the soulless foe trampling thee underfoot. But not so forever, for the Croatian fighters, The creators of another Tenth of April will rise, And a dawn of freedom shall yet be born for Croatia.
Au revoir, oh my ancestors’ cradle,
My brothers and sisters, my sea, my clefts, dales and my hills,
Au revoir, for the hour is nigh. A new generation has arisen from the graves of thy martyrs,
Woven from the fibres of sacrifice and permeated with love
For thee, oh my Homeland of knights.
PREGLED’ (REVIEW), March, 1972, Page 17 carries a picture titled ‘ON THE EVE OF CROATIAN REVOLUTION’ and showing perched in a tree a sniper with his rifle at the ready. The caption says, ‘HAVE A LOOK AT THE ABOVE PICTURE’. ‘SPRINGTIDE IS APPROACHING IN PRENJ AND PAPUK MOUNTAINS (Translator’s note- two mountain ranges suitable for guerrilla operations). LONG LIVE THE YOUTHFUL SPIRIT OF CROATIAN REVOLUTION”.
The Director-General of A.S.I.O. wrote on 24 April 1972 to the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) enclosing copies of translated articles and commented that the Attorney may ‘wish to examine’ (the articles) ‘in the light of the Crimes Acf.
SPREMNOST’ (READINESS), August, 1972, front page. Under the title of “THEY HAVE DIED FOR CROATIA’, the paper lists the nineteen participants in the incursion into Yugoslavia saying that ‘WE MUST ALL AGREE’ THAT THEY HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES FOR CROATIA. ‘UZDANICA’ (MAINSTAY), No. 1, 1972 Page 1. It carries an article signed by ‘T. S.’ and titled OUR ANGLE ON BUGOJNO’, which identifies its readers with the terrorists taking part in the June, 1972 raid in BOSNIA, YUGOSLAVIA. Page 13 carries an article by ‘STEF’ and titled ‘A CROATIAN DEATH MORE HONOURABLE THAN LIFE’ dealing with Dr Jelic’s death copies from the ‘CROATIAN STRUGGLE’. It contains another article headed ‘THE REVOLUTIONARIES’ BREAD IS COVERED IN BLOOD’, signed by ‘BUCO’, which praises the June, 1972 raiders.
VJESNIK’ (CHRONICLE) OF THE CROATIAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT H.O.P., in
Canberra, July, 1972. Page 7 carries an anonymous article headed ‘WE HAVE FOUND THE ANTIVENOM TO SERBO-COMMUNIST VENOM’. The article praises the Ustashi movement and its Aims. Its conclusion calls on Croatians to answer the call of duty, their motto being ‘A PAINFUL WOUND CAN BE TREATED ONLY WITH AN EVEN MORE PAINFUL MEDICINE’.
February, 1973. Page 8 carries an article by Ivan JELIC headed ‘SPEAKING FRANKLY’, which calls for the establishment of a Croatian government in exile, to include the best, most able and most resolute exiled Croatians -who will ‘COORDINATE OUR STRUGGLE’ AND LEAD IT ALONG THE MOST EFFECTIVE LINE SO THAT ‘THE WORD “STRUGGLE” WILL ASSUME ITS TRUE MEANING’. ‘OBRANA’ (DEFENCE), January, 1973. The paper front-pages a picture of GENERAL LUBURIC in a dress uniform, complete with the Nazi decoration of a Knight’s Cross. Pages 4 and 5 carry Swedish press comment on the September 1972 airliner hijacking. The Swedish papers quoted from are picked in a manner presenting the hijackers in a most favourable light, behaving like perfect gentlemen throughout the episode. The article’s purpose of praising the hijackers is transparent. Page 9 carries extracts from the text of a leaflet received by the paper from Cleveland, U.S.A., titled ‘A PROCLAMATION TO THE SERBIAN PEOPLE’ and signed by the ‘UNION OF SERBIANS AT HOME AND ABROAD’. The extracts call ON THE SERBIAN FIGHTERS TO FOLLOW THE CROATIAN PATRIOTS’ EX
AND CONSULATES! ‘ The text purports to use the Serbian variant of the Serbo-Croat language. But its grammar, style and terminology are such as could never have been used even by a simple Serbian. The ‘PROCLAMATION’ is a transparent plant, most probably composed by a Croatian born or at least educated in ZAGREB.
GLE). It has a routine Croatian extremist inflammatory approach. ‘OSVIT’ (DAWN) CROATIAN WEEKLY, No, 69, 14.2.1973, front pages under the title of ‘THE TRUTH ABOUT THE ANDRIC BROTHERS’, its reporter’s interview of ‘a person who docs not wish to disclose his name for personal reasons’. The paper goes on to say that it does not ‘belong to any political party and, as such’, does not ‘engage in polities’. Its only desire is to ‘write for and inform the Croatian people of developments both inside the country and outside’. Stating that it will follow its regular practice of not commenting on any political articles, the paper adds that what it wishes to serve is ‘the interest of the Croatian people and their freedom’.
The interview itself is most strongly proAndricbrothers
The end of the interview makes it clear that the paper has the interviewed person’s full name and address. ‘KLETVA’ (CURSE), a roneoed booklet circulating in the Croatian community. It is a manual for revolutionary armed forces and irregulars. It includes chapters on the general REVOLUTIONARY ORGANIZATION, SABOTAGE, INTELLIGENCE SERVICE, SECURITY SERVICE, PROPAGANDA SERVICE, REVOLUTIONARY COURTS, GUERRILLA WARFARE and on REGULAR ARMED FORCES, complete with diagrams on basic army units. ‘INSTRUCTIONS FOR CROATIANS OUTSIDE THEIR HOMELAND’ an openly H.R.B. leaflet signed by the CROATIA’S NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT and circulating of late In the Croatian community. It opens by calling on the Croatians abroad to wreck Yugoslav embassies and consulates, and to kill Yugoslav diplomatic representatives. The leaflet is highly inflammatory.
– I think I can say at this stage that when copies of all the documents are available tomorrow honourable members will be able to judge for themselves the strength of the statement that is now being made. The documents about which I have spoken come from the files of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, the Commonwealth Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Although some of the documents tabled contain a classification stamp such as ‘secret’ or ‘confidential’ they are no longer so. They have all been declassified and no breach of security is involved in tabling them. In contrast to the last Government’s policy of trying to sweep this problem under the rug, we propose to bring it into the full light of day.
The documents establish beyond doubt that Croatian terrorist organisations have existed and do exist in Australia today. There is incontestable evidence that 3 extreme Croatian terrorist organisations exist in Australia today. They are: The Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood (HRB); the United Croats of West Germany (UHNj); and the Croatian Illegal Revolutionary Organisation (HIRO). There are 2 youth organisations that have very revolutionary aims and have been used as recruiting grounds for the 3 extreme terrorist organisations. These youth organisations are: The Croatian Youth (HM) and the World League of Croatian Youths (SHUMS). There are 2 umbrella type general organisations which by their publications, training camps, discussion groups, funds and close links with their national organisations provide the climate for the forming of the inspiration to the youth groups and the extreme terrorist organisations. These umbrella organisations are: The Croatian Liberation Movement (HOP) with its official Ustasha movement within it (UHRO) and the Croatian National Resistance (HNO) and its Croatian Armed Forces (HOS). The summary of the documents contains inter alia: The report of the Crime Intelligence Bureau of the Commonwealth Police Force dated 6th March 1968; papers about the notorious Andric brothers; papers about Jure Maric including the structure of the Croatian troika terrorist cell, a self-contained group of 3 terrorists consisting of an intelligence officer, a scout and an explosives expert; documents concerning all of the Croatian organisations mentioned and documents indicating links with overseas terrorist organisations as well as other related documents.
It is impossible to draw any other conclusion from the evidence contained in these documents than that the then AttorneyGeneral, Senator Greenwood, on the most charitable view of his conduct, displayed an irresponsible indifference to information which was available to him and which proved up to the hilt the seriousness of the problem to which Labor senators and members repeatedly attempted to alert him. Let me give a striking example. The Yugoslav aide-memoire was received by the Australian Government on 16th August 1972. Among those named in the aide-memoire as being one of the ringleaders of Croatian terrorism is one Jure Maric. He was already well known to the Commonwealth Police. He first came under notice in 1963, after a group of 6 Croatian extremists, allegedly from Australia, entered Yugoslavia illegally for the stated purpose of waging a guerrilla campaign against the regime. Marie was linked with the organisation of this incursion.
Investigations conducted over a period of 4 years established the existence in Australia of a terrorist organisation known as the HRB (Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood). Marie was one of its leaders. After a number of Australian police raids in 1967, including one on Marie’s premises, the HRB appeared to become moribund in a formal organisational sense, although as we now know it continued to operate through troikas or cells. However, Marie continued to be the subject of scrutiny by the Commonwealth Police and a possible prosecution of him under the Commonwealth Crimes Act was considered in October 1970. He was also the subject of memoranda from the Commonwealth Police to the AttorneyGeneral’s Department on 9th August 1971 and 12th September 1972. In view of the questioning in the Senate to which he was being submitted at the time, one assumes that the former Attorney-General would have seen these memoranda.
Marie was one of those whose premises were searched by the Commonwealth Police under warrant on 22nd August 1972, following receipt by the Australian Government of the aide-memoire from the Yugoslav Government in which he was named. Among the documents seized were a detailed map of the area where the Bosnian guerrillas had illegally entered the country; a letter discussing an initial ruling body of an independent Croatia (including, significantly, the name Rover of whom more later); a receipt from Wollongong Post Office for the transmission of a registered postal article to one Vegar at Off en berg in Austria (Vegar was one of the guerrillas killed in the Bosnian operation); a bank slip issued by the ANZ Bank, Wollongong, acknowledging transmission of money to Vegar; a letter detailing future plans for the recruitment of volunteers in Australia for further incursions into Yugoslavia. One of the letters signed refers to the fact that the ‘financial resources of the organisation which we took wilh us from Victoria as well as those received later, have now been used up*.
Does this sound like an individual operating independently of an organisation? The Commonwealth Police certainly did not think so. Their conclusion is as follows:
The evidence contained In this document when taken into consideration with that enumerated in the aforementioned memorandum of 7th November 1972 would seem to irrefutably implicate Jure Marie with a Croatian Nationalist Organisation which apparently exists in both Australia and Europe and which has been engaged in an attempt to overthrow the recognised Government of Yugoslavia. It is also considered that, regardless of what this organisation is called, it is in fact a resurgence of the former Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood (HRB) and appears to involve a number of persons who were previously, identified as members of the HRB. As you will recall in our initial assessment of the allegations made in the Yugoslav aide-memoire presented on 16th August 1972, we expressed ‘serious concern about the possible existence of a clandestine terrorist organisation in Australia*. We also stated, inter alia: With regard to the allegations about the HRB, I would draw your attention to cur earlier reports (reference 224/283 headed Croatian Nationalist Activities in Australia, dated 5th July 1972, and reference X.61, headed Srecko Blaz Rover, born Srd February 1920, Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, dated 20th April 1972) indicating the possible resurgence of a HRB type organisation. In the past it has generally been assumed that the HRB as such ceased to operate as an organisation in Australia circa 1967-1968. In the light of intelligence gathered by this Force over the past 9 months, the allegations of its continued existence by the Yugoslav Government must be taken seriously.
The Police report from which I have quoted is dated 23rd November 1972. However, a preliminary report on documents seized from Marie, Rover and others was made by the Acting Commissioner of Commonwealth Police to the Attorney-General’s Department on 12th September 1972 and the AttornevGeneral would undoubtedly have seen this report. Though all the seized documents had not been translated at this stage, there were references to the maps, to the receipt for the transmission of money to Vegar and to handwritten items relating to the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood and the organisational infrastructure of a troika group. In short, on or soon after 12th September 1972 the then Attorney-General was in possession of evidence that the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood had been revived, was functioning actively and was associated with the June incursion into Yugoslavia which had been the subject of complaint in the Yugoslav Government’s aide-memoire of 16th August 1972. Yet on 19th September 1972 the then Attorney-
General returned to his denials of the existence of any Croatian terrorist organisation in Australia and never resiled from that standpoint throughout the life of that Parliament.
A responsible Attorney-General, aware of Marie’s past role as a leader of HRB, aware of the fact that Marie had been named as a terrorist in the Yugoslav document, aware of the anxieties about the resurgence of Croatian terrorism expressed almost daily by Labor senators, would surely not have reacted to the raid on Marie’s premises and the seizure of documents referred to in the way in which Senator Greenwood reacted. Let us examine his conduct in this matter in some detail, since it is symptomatic of the previous Government’s attitude to the problem. The first point to note is that the raid on Marie, and other suspected terrorists, was not made at the Attorney-General’s instigation. On 23rd August, the day after the raids, in reply to a question from Senator O’Byrne, the then Attorney-General stated in part:
The position as I have stated it for several weeks - that there is no credible evidence of any Croatian terrorist groups in Australia - still stands. The searches which were made yesterday by Commonwealth Police Officers, together with State Police officers, were not directed towards obtaining any such evidence … I should state that the searches yesterday were made as part of a police investigation and were made without my knowledge.
Parliament rose on 27th October without any information being given to the Senate about the contents of the seized documents.
Marie had been named as a terrorist in the Yugoslav Government protest presented to the Australian Government on 16th August 1972. A bland interim reply was given to the Yugoslav Government on 20th October 1972, mentioning that the matter was being investigated but making no admissions about the presence of Croatian terrorist organisations in our midst, even though evidence of the existence of such organisations was in the possession of the Attorney-General when the interim reply was given. No further reply to these allegations was ever made by the Liberal Government to the Yugoslav Government. Yet the conclusion reached by the Commonwealth Police and conveyed to the Attorney-General’s Department as early as 17th August 1972 was in these words: lt (i.e. the aide-memoire) does contain a core of almost irrebuttable fact.
In addition the Director-General of ASIO on 7th September 1972 stated in reference to the aide-memoire in a letter to the AttorneyGeneral’s Department:
Also in general terms, some of the information is almost certainly inaccurate; other portions contain elements of truth but appear exaggerated; and yet other statements are well-based. Overall the Aide-memoire and enclosures contain sufficient accurate material to suggest that it would be illadvised to dismiss the allegations as either exaggeration or fabrication until such time as the results of current inquiries are known.
ASIO never retreated from that stand and subsequently agreed with the present AttorneyGeneral that the aide-memoire contained a core of irrebuttable truth. And yet, on 19th September, the then Attorney-General said in the other place: lt comes to the question whether we should accept allegations made by the President and the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia as having a basis in fact notwithstanding that our investigation of those allegations in Australia has proved that the allegations are without such a basis. Simply, it comes down to this: Does this Senate accept what is alleged by the President and the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia in preference to what our own Commonwealth Police have found and what I have stated?
It had taken the then Attorney-General only a month to forget the Commonwealth Police’s core of almost irrebuttable fact’, and less than a fortnight to forget the cautionary advice of ASIO. In one of the many debates on this subject last year Senator Greenwood indignantly asked Senator Murphy whether he gave greater credence to the allegations of the Yugoslav Government than to the statements which he the then Attorney-General had made. We now know for sure that the answer is: Yes, and so do the Commonwealth Police and ASIO’.
As though the evidence I supplied were not enough to convict the last Government, through its Attorney-General, of misleading the Parliament and the nation, of deceiving a friendly foreign power, of imperilling the lives of Australian citizens by shutting its eyes to the evidence of organised terrorism, there is yet another perhaps more glaring example of the existence of a dangrous, violent Croatian revolutionary terrorist organisation in Australia. This organisation, separate and distinct from the HRB (Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood) is the Australian Branch of the UHNj (League of United Croats of West Germany). Its leader in Germany is one Ante Vukic, whom our Commonwealth police considered such a dangerous man that they advised the Immigration Department against granting him a permit to visit Australia in May 1972. The organisation in Germany was associated over the last decade with attempted murders of Yugoslav officials and attacks on Yugoslav embassies, and employed strong-arm squads to threaten other Croats living in Germany for the purpose of either conscripting them into the organisation or extracting financial contributions. A branch of this murderous organisation was formed in Sydney around June 1971 and its membership and activities were well known to the Commonwealth Police. Its meetings, ironically enough, are or were held in the Ulster Room of the Irish National Association Hall in Devonshire Street, Sydney. Its leader is a man with a particularly violent record named Jakov Suljak. His name will certainly not come as a surprise to the former Attorney-General since he wrote to Senator Greenwood on 25th October 1972 after being arrested on a charge of assault and mentioned in the course of his letter that he had also been accused of the ‘city bombings’, an obvious reference to the bombings in Sydney on 16th September 1972.
In June 1969 Suljak was gaoled in South Australia for a period of 9 months for 2 particularly brutal assaults. He had already been charged with similar offences on 5 separate occasions and is at present on bail pending trial for assault and being found in possession of an unlicensed pistol. On 11th November 1969 the Commissioner of Commonwealth Police, Mr J. Davis, recommended that he be deported, but his recommendation was not acted upon. Among the voluminous documents on Suljak and the Australian branch of the terrorist organisation UHNj, which have been tabled today in the Senate and which will be tabled in this place tomorrow, is a letter dated 30th May 1972 from Mr Davis, Commissioner of Commonwealth Police, to the Department of Immigration. The letter, a copy of which was in the files of the Attorney-General’s Department, sets out the fact of the existence of this organisation, its meetings, its office holders and its involvement in breaches of the peace in Sydney over the preceding months.
A brochure produced by the Special Reports Branch of the Department of Immigration in August 1972 on Croatian extremist activities makes special reference to the UHNj, its organisation in Australia, its activities and its members. A copy of this brochure was forwarded to the Attorney-General’s Department on 25th August 1972 and it was specifically directed by the Permanent Head of the Attorney-General’s Department to Senator Greenwood himself. His most vehement denials of the existence of extremist Croatian organisations followed shortly after his receipt of this document, which is among the documents tabled today in the Senate. Moreover, if the former Attorney-General was unwilling to accept the evidence which abounded in Government files, he had only to read the daily newspapers to discover that the New South Wales Police stated in court proceedings, which were fully reported, that Suljak was a member of what was described in the Press as ‘a Croatian terrorist movement, the United Croats of West Germany*.
When Suljak was arrested on 19th October 1972 a considerable quantity of documents was seized from his dwelling. These documents established the fact of transmission of funds from the Australian branch to the parent bodyin Germany. A number of photographs of armed men were also found, including one in which Suljak can be seen standing beside an Ustashi flag in the company of other armed men. There is no doubt that the members of the Sydney branch of the UHNj consider themselves Ustashi. Both the letter of Commissioner Davis of 30th May 1972 and his detailed report of 26th October 1972 refer to incidents in which the organisation was involved which clearly demonstrates its Ustashi allegiance. For example, they publicly displayed an Ustashi flag at Sydney airport and also at a Croatia v. Yugal soccer match in Sydney on 15th August 1971. Several of their members have admitted to the police that they consider themselves Ustashi.
In an article by Suljak in the November/December edition of the organisation’s paper ‘Croatian Call’, he urged Croats in Australia to support UHNj and stated: lt is our duty to support the Croatian Liberation struggle . . . for without a bloody shirt there will be no independent State of Croatia.
He does not confine his appeals to the journalistic level but regularly ‘stands over’ other Croats for donations to the cause. At this point honourable members might well ponder a few questions. Why was this man Suljak not deported in 1969 as recommended by the Commissioner of Commonwealth Police? Why has his organisation, which flaunts its Ustashi allegiance, and which is acknowledged by ASIO in another document which is to be tabled here tomorrow, to be a terrorist organisation, been allowed to continue in existence? And above all why was this existence denied by Senator Greenwood?
A rather surprising beneficiary of the former Attorney-General’s benevolence is one Zdenko Marincic. ] Marincic arrived in Australia on 16th January 1970. He became secretary of SHUMS (Union of Croatian United Youth of the World) which, despite its innocent sounding name, is under the effective control of Srecko 1 Rover and is suspected by the Commonwealth Police of being an extremist front organisation (see letter from J. Davis, Commissioner of Commonwealth Police, to the Attorney-General’s Department dated 8th June 1972). He first attracted police attention on 29th November 1970 when he removed a Yugoslav flag from the balcony of the Southern Cross Hotel in Melbourne during Yugoslav National Day celebrations and burned it. For this offence he was convicted on 9th February 1972 and fined. On 19th May 1972 Marincic hastily left Australia. This was shortly before the ‘Bosnian incident’, the incursion into Yugoslavia, which has already been referred to. Marincic turned up in Frankfurt, Germany, but the German authorities refused him entry. He had not obtained a re-entry permit before leaving Australia, so he has no right at all to be here. Nonetheless he returned to Australia on 24th May 1972 and was immediately arrested and charged the next day with having a firearm in his possession. He was convicted and sentenced to 9 months imprisonment.
This was not a simple firearms offence. When he left Australia hurriedly on 19th May 1972 Marincic took with him a rifle and 4 silencers which he concealed in a toy koala. When the rifle was discovered the German authorities refused him entry and he returned to Australia with gun and silencers. He also was in possession of a booklet in the SerboCroatian language containing instruction on sabotage and of the names and addresses of Ambroz Andric in France, Adolf Andric in Germany and Pave Vegar in Germany. AH 3 of these men were named in the Yugoslav Government aide-memoire as participants in the Bosnian incursion anc?, it will be recalled that Jure Marie had also maintained contact with Vegar. All 3 were killed in this adventure, according to the Yugoslav Government. Surely it is a reasonable inference that MarinC1C went to Germany to join the Bosnian incursion or at least to help equip it
On 18th October 1972 the AssistantDirector of the Special Reports Branch of the Department of immigration recommended Marincic’s deportation. In weighing up all the considerations, including Marincic’s probable fate if he returned to Yugoslavia, the AssistantDirector said:
I believe the strong doubts which exist about his past and future involvement in potentially violent Balkan politics should be exercised in favour of Australia and therefore recommend that Zdenko Marincic be deported.
Such action, I suggest will have a salutary effect upon those Croatians who use Australia as a base for pursuit of their ideals and will also provide the Yugoslav authorities with a positive indication that Australia neither supports nor condones extremism.
I venture to suggest that they are sentiments with which the overwhelming majority of Australians would agree. These sentiments, however, did not find favour with the last Attorney-General in the previous Government.
In a long and carefully argued submission to the Minister for Immigration dated 12th November 1972, Senator Greenwood reversed the priorities as between the interests of Australia and those of an obvious Croatian terrorist in favour of the latter. His letter, which is among the documents tabled, should be closely studied by everyone who is interested to discover the basis of his curiously tender regard for men whose preferred methods of asserting their political beliefs are the bomb and the gun. Let me quote just one passage from this extraordinary letter from the then Attorney-General, Senator Greenwood, to the Minister for Immigration of the day. It states: 1 appreciate your concern that Marincic is a person whom we could not safely allow to remain in Australia. 1 understand your apprehension is that he is a man with a propensity to violence and that, in view of recent happenings involving violence to persons and property, we have a paramount obligation to the Australian community to remove him from the country.
Naturally I share your apprehension that we should knowingly allow a person of violent proclivities to remain in this country if he is an immigrant whom we can deport. But this is a matter of balancing the likely harm to Australia against the consequences of deportation. It is relevant in each case to note the country to which a person will be deported.
I have indicated the traditional and accepted rule - applicable not only in the past in this country but also in the USA and the UK - that deportation or extradition does not take place where a person is likely to be dealt with for his political opinions by the country to which he is sent. I believe that this outweighs all other considerations in this case.
In the event, Marincic is still with us. However misguided one might consider an Attorney-
General who placed the interests of an obvious terrorist ahead of the interests of the Australian people, there would be some who would be impressed by the countervailing libertarian considerations on which his submission was apparently based. There is, however, a fatal flaw in this argument, which assumes that the deportation of Marincic would inevitably place him at the mercy of the Yugoslav police. The chief law officer of Australia, the then Attorney-General, must have been familiar with the decision of the High Court in the case of Znaty v. The Minister of State for Immigration and Another reported in 1972 Argus Law Reports at page 545. Judgment in this case was delivered on 25th February 1972, that is, some 9 months prior to the letter to the Minister for Immigration urging him not to deport Marincic.
The judgment of the High Court in that case clearly established the right of the government to deport a person to anywhere. Counsel briefed by the Attorney-General submitted that the law was and had been since 1903 that the government is not bound to send the deportee back to the place from which he came, and the Court approved that submission. If we assume that Senator Greenwood was familiar with this decision - surely he would not undertake to advise the Minister for Immigration without familiarising himself with the up-to-date state of the law regarding immigration matters - we can only reach one conclusion about this conduct in this matter: In order to protect a terrorist from deportation, he misinformed the Minister responsible for the issuance of a deportation order about the legal consequences for the terrorist of such an order.
This is a serious charge but is supported by an earlier example of Senator Greenwood’s benign view of the rights of terrorists. This case involved none other than Jure Marie, about whom I have already said a great deal. On 4th July 1972 the Attorney-General’s Department put a submission to him that he should recommend that Marie’s application for a passport be refused. The officer of the Department who made this recommendation pointed out that ASIO’s latest report and the most recent Commonwealth Police report on Marie indicated that he was deeply involved in Croatian nationalist activities and was prepared to support acts of violence against Yugoslavia, that there was a real possibility that he would, if granted a passport, be a participant in acts of violence directed against Yugoslavia and that, if this occurred, it would be an embarrassment to Australia’s relations with Yugoslavia. Senator Greenwood rejected this advice from his Department and was not in favour of refusing the passport to Marie. Fortunately, the Minister for Immigration did not grant Marie’s application.
In a previous debate on this subject Senator Greenwood indignantly repudiated the charge that he was ‘soft’ on the Croatian terrorists. Surely that was a mild charge to lay at the door of a man whom the documents prove to have been the active protector of terrorists. On 21st September 1972, 2 high-ranking officers of the Attorney-General’s Department, alarmed by recent events, especially the bombings in the streets of Sydney, called on him and drew to his attention certain Croatian publications and discussed the various Croatian organisations. Their submissions to the Attorney-General are among the documents which were produced today to the Senate and which will be produced here tomorrow. One of these officers, who had been specially assigned 6 years earlier to Croatian affairs and was considered in the Department to be the expert on this subject, expressed fee view that 2 of these organisations - HOP and HNO - Vere not primarily cultural but political and militarist’. A few weeks later this officer was relieved of his duties concerning Croatian matters.
The tone of the last Government’s attitude towards Croatian terrorism was set as long ago as 27th August 1964 by Sir Robert Menzies. His statement was precipitated by a complaint by the Yugoslav government of the day following 2 incidents - firstly, the ‘1963 guerrilla incursion into Yugoslavia by 6 Croatians previously resident in Australia and. secondly, the discovery of a military-style training camp for Croatian extremists near Wodonga, Victoria. Mr Menzies, speaking on the subject, gave a little lecture on Balkan history and stated that police “had found no evidence whatever to support allegations of Ustashi violence towards individuals of Yugoslav nationality’. Mr Menzies went on to say:
It is understandable that some Yugoslav migrants of Croatian origin should continue to hope for the establishment of an independent Croatia and within a democracy like Australia they have a right to advocate their views so long as they do so by legitimate means.
That is a reasonable proposition; no-one could agree with it. But I leave it honourable members to judge whether the ‘means’ disclosed by these documents today are ‘legitimate’. The long list of unsolved crimes of violence - something like 52 incidents in the last 9 years - tells an eloquent story of the indifference of Liberal-Country Party government of 23 years duration to the ‘means’ used by Croatian extremists to attain the goals about which Mr Menzies spoke so benignly. The police have done their best with inadequate resources and no encouragement. They could hardly fail to draw the conclusion that successive Liberal governments could not have cared less whether they succeeded or not in crushing Croatian terrorism.
To be sure, there were sporadic cries of alarm from individual Liberal-Country Party Ministers of the day. For example, on 3rd December 1969 the Honourable Phillip Lynch, then Minister for Immigration, wrote to the then Attorney-General Hughes expressing: . . concern at the likely serious consequences if Croat nationals in Australia are permitted to continue unchecked their terrorist activities and outrages against representatives of the Yugoslav Government and authority generally in this country. I have reason to believe that the terrorists are endeavouring to create the impression amongst Yugoslav migrants in Australia that the Croatian extremists have the support of significant sections of Australian society and even the government. I am moreover concerned with the likely effect upon our relations with Yugoslavia, especially in terms of our migration arrangements with that country, of continued incidents of this kind and the apparent inability of the law authorities to apprehend offenders.
The Minister recommended that the Government should make a strong statement that outrages ‘of this kind will not be tolerated’. That was Mr Lynch in government. Mr Lynch out of government speaks in a different tone. Last week he condemned the precautions taken to protect the visiting Yugoslav Prime Minister as ‘hysterical’.
Sir Garfield Barwick, then Minister for External Affairs, also expressed his concern shortly after the 1963 incursion into Yugoslavia. In a letter addressed to the AttorneyGeneral and the Minister for Immigration dated 6th January 1964, he wrote, in part:
In essence, the problem is one of ‘keeping an eye’ on immigrant extremists, while operating within the framework of existing law and practice. We should not abandon our democratic principles of free speech, belief and association but I would hope that migrants are left with no misunderstanding of the disfavour with which the Government would view any activities which might reasonably give rise to objections by the present governments of their countries of origin. With this end in mind, I should like to suggest that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation should maintain some supervision over migrant groups (making no attempt to disguise its surveillance) and bring to your attention any activities which might be considered to have contravened Sections 30 (a) or 30 (c) of the Crimes Act. In appropriate circumstances, it may be necessary to consider the desirability of prosecutions under the Act as a further deterrent to uncontrolled extremism, although this measure need not be adopted except in the last resort.
The story unfolded today and the documents tabled show how little heed was paid to the warnings of Mr Lynch and Sir Garfield Barwick.
Indeed one can only agree with the comments made by one prominent politician in a letter which he wrote to the then Attorney-General on 16th December 1969. His comments included the following:
The extremists themselves may by now have come to believe that they can act with impunity and that they can therefore, without risk to themselves, step up the level and frequency of violence.
He went on to express some concern that:
On the only occasion when an offender (who was arrested at the time of committing the offence in the course of a public demonstration) was brought before a court, he was fined an amount which might have left an impression with the Yugoslav missions here . . . that the Australian authorities did not take the matter seriously.
For the benefit of honourable members who are interested, those comments came from the Rt Hon. William McMahon, when he was Minister for External Affairs. Even after these ministerial complaints the attitude of Attorney-General Hughes and his successors was one which ASIO described to the present Attorney-General as that of ‘indifference’ to the problem of Croatian terrorism. It bears repeating. Even after these ministerial complaints and the other matters to which I have adverted, the attitude of Attorney-General Hughes and his successors was one which ASIO described to the present AttorneyGeneral as that of indifference to the problem of Croatian terrorism. In the view of ASIO the Organisation was not given proper ministerial directives in regard to Croatian terrorism.
Passing reference has been made to Srecko Rover. He is a leader of the Croatian Liberation Movement in this country and, indeed, he is a world figure of considerable, importance among emigrant Croats. He is the leader of HNO (Croatian National Resis tance), based in Melbourne and linked with the Spanish headquarters of the organisation. Among the documents tabled today is a copy of an interview between a Commonwealth Police officer and Rover. The latter admits that he will use any means possible to achieve an independent Croatia; claims to know that one of the Andric brothers (since killed in the Bosnia incursion) made the pen bomb which exploded in Richmond Town Hall on 2nd September 1967, gravely injuring a young man; advocates the violent overthrow of the Yugoslav Government. Documents seized in the raid on Rover’s home in August 1972, copies of which are amongst those tabled today including a map of the route to be followed by the incursionists, prove conclusively his personal involvement with the Bosnia incursion of June 1972. Also seized was a seal bearing the insignia of the Supreme Headquarters of the Croatian National Resistance and the Croatian Armed Forces, ammunition and documents relating to the instigation of guerrilla activity in Yugoslavia.
A most significant document seized was a report from the Supreme Advisory Council of the troika dated 15th July 1972, indicating that an organisation has been set up in Australia on the basis of small cells or troikas. The manner in which these troikas operate is set out in detail in a report from tha Commonwealth Police prepared on 6th March 1968 which was always available to the former Attorney-General and which is among the documents tabled today. In a move to establish himself as the leader of Croatian nationalism in Australia, Rover was mainly instrumental in the setting up in May 1972 of KOHDA (Co-ordinating Committee of Croatian Associations in Australia). Affiliated with the Committee are such important organisations as HOP (Croatian Liberation Movement), HNO (Croatian National Resistance) and UHN (United Croats of West Germany).
Now that it is clear that the ‘ new Labor Government intends to cope vigorously with the problem of Croatian terrorism we hope and believe that it will be possible to gain the co-operation of that vast majority of peaceful Croatian citizens who are the first victims of the fanatical minority of their countrymen who engage in terrorism. The documents I have referred to show that Croatians have been intimidated to contribute money to the terrorists. The measures which we propose will put an end to this.
What we have said about Croatian terrorism applies to all terrorism - the Bulgarians, Daskaloff and Petroff, were convicted of throwing a bomb into the grounds of the Russian Embassy in Canberra not very long ago and were sentenced to terms of imprisonment. Despite that these men were clearly liable for deportation, the previous Government did not deport them and they are still here with us. The present Government’s policy will be to deport aliens associated with terrorist organisations who have been convicted of crimes of violence, and become liable to deportation.
Recommendations have been made that certain persons be deported, not necessarily to the country from which they came. All proper procedures and safeguards of civil liberties will be observed. The Minister for Immigration makes the necessary orders. The new policy is to cut out the cancer of terrorism from our body politic. This should apply to all who are liable to deportation and from whom violence can be apprehended. The law will be used to deal with terrorism and violence.
Important changes will also be made in our police and security arrangements. Pending the full report on the operations of ASIO and its relations with the executive government which the Attorney-General intends to present to Parliament during this session, the DirectorGeneral of ASIO will operate mainly from Canberra. This will ensure closer liaison with the Australian Government and the Commonwealth Police in combating terrorism. In the past there has been inadequate co-operation between ASIO and the Commonwealth Police in areas where their operations overlapped. This is a problem to which the AttorneyGeneral has given much attention in the past few weeks.
Another problem is that matters of national security often involve breaches of State criminal law. This has often meant that ASIO has not been supplied with information which bears on matters of national security. The conclusion the Attorney-General has drawn from this is that we need Federal laws to cover crimes which may affect national security. The Attorney-General is to recommend to Cabinet that legislation be introduced for new or strengthened Federal criminal laws to deal with offences such as the use of telephones or postal services to convey threats to persons or property, committing an act of violence against a foreign guest of the Australian Government, against diplomatic or consular personnel or premises or against persons or premises engaged in or used for overseas or interstate trade and commerce, acts of violence or threats of violence against Australian Ministers or officials of the Australian Government and others, acts or threats of violence or extortion by aliens, inciting in Australia acts of violence against a person or property in a foreign state with which Australia has friendly relations or to collect money or to train persons in the use of weapons, explosives or poisons in Australia for this purpose. The Attorney-General will also propose legislation to supplement the powers already possessed by the Australian Government to prevent the entry into Australia of terrorists or persons associated with organised crime.
The Commonwealth Police will be strengthened, especially in its criminal investigation unit. The Commissioner of Commonwealth Police had requested the previous Government to be supplied with extra staff and additional translators but this request fell on deaf ears. These requests have now been examined by the Attorney-General’s Department, found to be reasonable and appropriate, and the Attorney-General has approved them.
I should like to add a word about the events of last week. The Attorney-General had advice that terrorists came to Canberra last week with the intention of killing the Yugoslav Prime Minister. The Commissioner of Commonwealth Police, Mr Davis, advised the Attorney-General that, frustrated in that ambition by security precautions which were taken and were obvious to us all, the terrorists might make an alternative attempt on the life of the Australian Prime Minister or other Ministers of the Government. The unanimous opinion of the federal law enforcement authorities was that it was unsafe for the Australian Prime Minister to walk through the Port Kembla steelworks of the Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd on Wednesday last. In this situation, we make no apology for any steps which the Attorney-General took last week to ensure that the intentions of violent terrorists were thwarted. Those who take the view that those precautions were unnecessary because nothing happened are indulging in a twisted form of logic. Toleration of terrorism in this country is over. Whatever we import from the rest of the world we do not need terrorism. This government is determined that terrorism in Australia will be stamped out. I present the following paper:
Croatian Terrorism - Ministerial Statement, 27th March 1973.
Motion (by Mr Daly) proposed:
That the House take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Mr Snedden) adjourned.
Debate resumed (vide page 706).
– Before the debate on this measure was adjourned. I was making the point that the Appropriation Bills before the House at the present time are very important Bills because they deal with the distribution of finance through the various Government departments, both new and reconstructed. 1 was making the point that we must be most careful of how we distribute finance, whether it is our own, the Government’s or some other person’s. Like the honourable member for Wentworth (Mr Bury) and the right honourable member for Lowe (Mr McMahon), I am concerned about how the distribution of Government finance controls or inhibits inflationary growth - possibly the greatest problem facing Australia today. No sector feels the effects of inflation more than the fixed income earners, the social service beneficiaries, the mining industries, the export manufacturing industries and the primary producers. That is why, in speaking on these Appropriation Bills, it is my intention to make a plea for the primary producers of this country, the export manufacturers and those mining industries which have been savagely affected by the world currency alignments. Although my remarks will, through necessity on account of the short time available to me, centre largely on the grain trade, they will refer generally to the industries I have mentioned.
At the outset and in passing I refer to 2 things said by members of the Australian Labor Party recently. The first came from the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Whan), who unfortunately is not at present in the chamber. He said in this House on 14th March last that the wool industry will no longer have its traditional right of taking part in deciding policy in that industry but that it will be dictated to by this Parliament - meaning, of course, the Labor Party. The second statement was made by the Minister for Health (Dr Everingham) who, at a recent meeting of primary producers at Biloelain central Queensland, proved himself rather naive and impotent in respect of currency alignments. 1 understand, from reports from people who attended, that the people were astounded by some of his statements, which showed that he, a Minister in the Labor Government, was completely unaware of currency problems and their effect on returns to growers. The Minister made the point, and so wrongly, that because the Japanese yen had been appreciated Queensland growers could take comfort that most of the sales would be in Japanese yen.
My reason for speaking is to protest at the indicated attempts to erode the primary producer’s rights to negotiate for his survival and to correct the wrong impression that was conveyed by the Minister for Health at the Biloela meeting on Saturday, 3rd March. I can only presume that this thinking is Labor Party thinking, based on erroneous premises and devoid of logical reasons. In offering to advise honourable members opposite of the facts in this industry, I am mindful of Dr Everingham’s complete lack of knowledge and the following statement by the Minister for Primary Industry (Senator Wriedt) at Healesville on 10th March:
On the matter of my inexperience in rural matters this is true, and I admit to having a lot to learn.
We are concerned therefore at the intoxicating possibilities that can flow from the Labor Party’s lack of knowledge and finesse in rural matters. In the interests of survival for rural industries I suggest that honourable members opposite seek the advice of the Leader of the Country Party and the Deputy Leader of the Country Party rather than accept the text book philosophies of an insurance agent or shipwright and that ex-public servant, the honourable member for Eden-Monaro, who convinced us on this side of the House the other night of the need to contribute to a fund to send him to an optometrist to cure him of his’I’ trouble.
The truth of the situation in the coarse grain industries is that values are set on a world basis at the Chicago Grain Exchange and are quoted in United States dollars. This is because this Exchange is the greatest centre of free trade in the world, on account of the sheer volume of production and because prices are dictated not only by supply and demand forces but also by American selling policy and the inbuilt subsidy system. The world’s consumers are interested only in what prices, C and F, the grain will cost them delivered to their premises and they will buy at the cheapest possible prices. This is a fact of cold, hard business, an irrefutable fact of life. That is the first point: Prices are quoted in US dollars. Prior to the decision of the small dictatorship to appreciate the Australian dollar in December, prices quoted for sorghum at the Chicago Exchange were C and F $92.15 per metric ton, returning the growers $65.50 f.o.b. Following the appreciation the Chicago Exchange prices remained the same but the price return to the growers following the unilateral decision to appreciate our currency fell back to $61 to $62 per metric ton f.o.b. Incidentally, approximately $14 per ton to cover freight and handling costs must be subtracted from this amount to give the return to the farmer at railway sidings. These prices reflect the appreciation of the Australian dollar by 7.05 per cent. The world price expressed in American dollars remained the same but the Australian producers received fewer Australian dollars.
The significant feature in world grain trade of recent weeks, of course, is that for the period from the end of December to midJanuary very little grain was traded on account of the nervousness that developed in world grain trade due to currency scares. In effect, interest went out of the market. With the large Argentinian crop on the market, and following the effects of the huge US wheat sales prices on the world markets, sorghum prices dropped to their present level on the Chicago Grain Exchange of SUS76.40 C and F per metric ton, which returns the growers f.o.b. approximately $46 per metric ton at the new exchange rales. But - and I emphasis this point - if the exchange rates as applied prior to the December 1972 appreciation were still in force, the price returned to the grower f.o.b. would be $54 per metric ton and not the $46 they are now getting - some 17 per cent less for their crop than they would have got if there were no currency changes. I seek leave of the House to incorporate in Hansard the following table which indicates the percentage decrease in sorghum farmers’ net income following the currency revaluation.
-Order! Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows):
– I thank the House. These figures are alarming and are cause for concern. The estimated loss to the Queensland sorghum growers is $10m, all caused by the ill-conceived and badly advised currency decision of the Labor administration. The position as far as the wheat industry is concerned follows the same pattern. At this stage I compliment the personnel of the Australian Wheat Board for the magnificent job they have done in disposing of the respective wheat crops. I do this as a rebuttal of what we in primary industry call that rather infamous speech at Healesville casting aspersions on personnel of certain boards. I say to the Labor Party: ‘We do not want your meddlesome union officials, jobs for the boys, and paid stooges intent on destroying private enterprise.’
The best thing to help the wheat industry guard against revaluation losses in the future is for the present Treasurer (Mr Crean) to accept the recommendations put to the previous Treasurer, by the honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair) and to which no reply has been received to date. I refer to the request made by the honourable member for New England, a man of great practical experience who saved the wheat industry and wool industry in this country from failure, to vary the inflexible rule of the Reserve Bank not to grant exchange cover for more than a month after the sale proceeds should have been received. With the trend towards term sales there is a need to have a specific cover at a realistic price for every American dollar received from the proceeds of term sales, irrespective of when it is received, at the exchange rate applicable at the time of signing the contract, thus making forward exchange cover on term sales a practical proposition for the Australian Wheat Board. Criticism has been expressed of why sales are not expressed in Australian currency. Even though it was a strong currency in the days of the previous government it is not accepted as a world international currency. Additionally, the world grain situation at the present time is a buyers’ market and the buyer dictates the terms. The competition in world markets is very keen and we are selling in competition with Canada and the United States of America who sell in United States currency. Some other countries have their reserves in sterling and thus trade in this currency but the Australian dollar is not accepted as an international trading currency.
Following the currency alignments, the price of American wheat dropped 30c a bushel but still returned the American farmers the same price and allowed them to control the world market prices. Recently there has been another fall of some 20c to 30c a bushel, even though there are logistic problems within the United States of America. This gives the lie to statements made in this House by members opposite that world trading prices in wheat are buoyant, whereas the opposite is the truth - they are declining. Unfortunately we have no wheat to sell this year but the crunch will surely come when there is, as there surely will be, another American stockpile and internal subsidies to keep American farmers afloat. These hidden subsidies to farmers are inbuilt into every country’s system, excluding Australia. Even though prices are better than they have been for many years, no benefit is flowing back to the Australian wheat grower. Coupled with a run of bad seasons - on an average over the last 4 years our production has been 23 per cent under the quota - it is no wonder the wheat industry is facing hardship. A Bureau of Agricultural Economics survey has shown that farm income has degenerated in the last 3 years in comparison with the 4 years prior to the last survey in 1967.
The industry cannot carry the loss of $28m due to our revaluation on the produce as follows- in 1969-70, 3c a bushel; in 1970-71, 3c a bushel: and in 1971-72, 4c a bushel. This is due to the action of the Government. The compensation of this amount should be recommended immediately by the interdepartmental committee and included in the funds contained in the Appropriation Bills. As a further argument for this to be done, the Labor Government has announced the first payment of $1.20 per bushel on this year’s crop, but the final advance on the 1969-70 crop will bring total advances up to only $1.19, an indisputable fact that hardship is being caused if compensation is not granted. In addition, freight rates overseas have increased and are now twice as high as they were last year. We have to compete with the large steel boats of 60,000 to 70,000 tons which deliver steel to the Gulf of Mexico ports and carry grain back to Japan for a nominal fee.
The position is not healthy for the grain industries. It is necessary to straighten out the rather muddled thinking on these issues for those who sit on the Treasury benches and who seem to think the appreciated value of the yen will result in increased returns to Australian exporters. This is proving that they are completely unaware of trading and financial arrangements. The Japanese will buy as cheaply as possible, or, more correctly, will only bid high enough to clinch a sale. Similarly the United States, which controls world prices, for the reasons outlined above, will sell only at a price which will allow their farmers to stay in business. Irrespective of what is the relationship between the yen, the mark, the franc or the United States dollar, the price will be the bidding price on the Chicago Grain Exchange expressed in United States dollars, based on government policy as to the returns to the United States farmers. The relationship between the yen and the Australian dollar has no relevance whatever. I say that for the information of honourable members opposite. The Japanese pay a United States price more or less depending not on whether the yen in comparison was devalued or appreciated, but the constant factor is the amount of United States dollars set by that country’s trade policies, irrespective of currency changes. The net result on account of the 18 per cent appreciation, in effect of the Australia dollar has been a fall of 18 per cent in the gross f.o.b. price paid to farmers and at least 25 per cent on their net returns. These losses of $28m for wheat and SI Om to Queensland sorghum growers are real and demonstrable. Hardship is being caused, and the farm sector is in real trouble. It hoped that this year some respite would be gained to repay the debts of past years and build up a reserve for the years when trading would return to normal.
The Government has taken away these peoples’ livelihood. It should now do something about reparation for its misdoings and lack of concern. Any discussion on compensation must have as its base prices quoted on the Chicago Grain Exchange. History will surely record that the Labor Party panicked at the first sign of a trade surplus. Proceeds of our exports exceeded the costs of our imports by some 8398m in the last 3 quarters. All the Government has done is to discourage exports and thus deplete the Treasury of income tax. It has also encouraged imports. As was said in this House recently, the only people who really gained were those who repay overseas borrowings and the currency speculators. Imports have not become cheaper. In fact, cars are dearer. There is only one way we can pay back the overseas lenders the $5,500m we owe them and the $ 10,000m of Australian assets held by overseas investors in shares, land and property and that is the long hard road of economising on imports, controlling costs and increasing exports. There was no need to appreciate the Australian dollar in December. There was a need to devalue in sympathy with the devaluation of the American dollar, for the only way we can buy back Australia is to have a large trading surplus of exports over imports.
Sitting suspended from 6.10 to 8 p.m.
– I am happy to participate in the cognate debate on the Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1972-73 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1972-73 which were introduced into the House recently by the Treasurer (Mr Crean). This legislation is designed to enable the Government to carry out its undertakings and its election promises to the people of Australia. Appropriation Bill (No. 4) seeks to appropriate a total of $67,944,000 from the Treasury. Mainly this sum of money is to meet the need for capital works and services for the extra departments and the changed structure of Government departments. The amount for capital works and services is $21,124,000. Included in the total appropriation sought under this Bill is an amount of $15m for a loan to the New South Wales Government for specific budgetary assistance to that State following an undertaking by the previous Government. The provision of $31,820,000 for employment creating purposes will enable the States to proceed with approved projects in accordance with agreements reached with the Commonwealth.
My concern is that the previous Government in its anxiety to reduce unemployment figures prior to the last Federal election on 2nd December stipulated that loan money for unemployment relief was to be used by the States to absorb the largest number of unemployed. My constituents feel that the money is not being wisely spent and I think the same pattern applies in other parts of the country where unemployment is acute and work of an unimportant nature which absorbs the largest number of unemployed is being carried out. I refer to work such as the cleaning out of gutters and reducing the grass and weed menace in the respective shires. Councils in my area, particularly the City of Greater Cessnock Council, feel that if the money is allocated to obtain more capital equipment such as bulldozers and materials used in more effective projects such as sewerage works, road building and the construction of bridges it would be of more benefit to the people in the shires because it is work of a permanent nature. I hope that it is the wish of all honourable members that unemployment relief work should be of a more constructive nature.
Everyone in this Parliament knows that there is an urgent need throughout the country for sewerage facilities. Many parts of the country lack adequate sewerage facilities. I think that the installation of sewerage facilities should be regarded as more important than the clearing out of drains and the removal of weeds or grass. I think that the type of work in which some of the former unemployed were engaged, such as removing weeds and grass, had a somewhat demoralising effect because those engaged in it felt that they were not doing a constructive job of a permanent nature and from which all the community would benefit. I guess that such work would have the same mental effect as if the person concerned were digging post holes and filling them in again. It is not work of a permanent nature. I hope that the Government will see its way clear to make available a substantial amount of money to be spent on capital equipment so that work of a more constructive nature might be carried out throughout the Commonwealth, particularly in my electorate of Hunter. - Admittedly 1 suppose that any government would like to reduce the number of unemployed by engaging the unemployed people on projects which absorb the most labour. I can understand why the previous Government implemented a policy whereby the highest percentage of labour was engaged in work that would have the purpose of reducing the unemployment figures. Any government which does this is committing an act of deception. It would be better to tell the Australian electors as a whole that the Government was engaging the unemployed on a more worthwhile class of work such as the installation of sewerage facilities, road building and bridge construction. I emphasise the need for sewerage facilities in particular.
I was pleased to hear my colleague the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins) refer this afternoon to the plight of those unfortunate people in Australia who have to depend on charitable organisations to supply them with kidney machines. I cannot recall any other honourable member on either side of the House raising this matter in which 1 believe the Parliament as a whole should show greater interest. Right near my home in Toronto a very decent type of young Australian boy has been on a kidney machine for 2 years. He has to depend on the local Lions Club to raise sufficient money for the machine. The amount required to instal a kidney machine in his home was correctly quoted by the honourable member for Scullin as $5,000. 1 think that we are imposing too much on worthy organisations such as Lions, Rotary, Apex and similar bodies. When you think that to enable this young Australian lad to live he has had to depend on these service organisations to supply him with a kidney machine there is some reflection on all parliamentarians-
– Mr Speaker, so that all honourable members may hear this important statement 1 invite your attention to the state of the House. (Quorum formed.)
– I am grateful to the honourable member for Wentworth (Mr Bury) for directing attention to the state of the House. He obviously thinks that my submissions to the Parliament are worthy of a larger audience. I think they are too. For the benefit of those honourable members who did not hear what I was saying before attention was drawn to the state of the House I was emphasising to the Parliament the urgent need for it to give greater consideration to making money available to the States to relieve the chronic situation of persons who must use kidney machines. These machines could be made more readily available without the need to impose on worthwhile organisations such as Lions and Apex Clubs and the like, which in recent years have had to go around collecting money to provide kidney machines to relieve worthwhile Australians of the great mental torture in having to travel considerable distances to hospitals to receive kidney machine treatment.
I have not the precise figures but there must be some hundreds of Australians who need such treatment. This is evident from the long wait for a kidney transplant, which, I understand from the honourable member for Scullin, is now approximately 2 years. Earlier today the honourable member for Scullin expressed great concern for and showed a great interest in these unfortunates who have to spend a minimum of 30 hours a week having their blood purified by a kidney machine to enable them to live. I hope that in the future the Government and the Parliament will take a greater interest in this problem and appropriate sufficient money so that kidney machines will be made more readily available to those unfortunate Australians who suffer the kidney ailment which necessitates treatment by a kidney machine.
I make reference also to Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1972-1973 which is before the House at present. The appropriations in this Bill similarly are designed to meet the needs of the pattern of Labor’s legislative program of change. The Bill provides an appropriation of $10,850,000 to be allocated to the Aboriginal Advancement Trust Account to improve the health, education and housing of Aborigines and to make legal representation available to those Aborigines who appear as defendants in courts. For some years Europeans, particularly in New South Wales, have had the benefit in certain circumstances of legal representation being provided by the State Public Defender’s Office Which does a good job for those eligible for its aid.
I think the right for Aborigines to have an equal opportunity to avail themselves of the benefits provided by the Public Defender on the same basis as Europeans is long overdue. Of course, I am reminded of the fact that it was a New South Wales Labor government which introduced legal aid for Europeans through the office of the Public Defender in the New South Wales Department of the Attorney-General and of Justice. Some years ago the Australian people by referendum expressed overwhelmingly the view that more should be done for Aborigines. Whilst I admit that the previous Government had shown some endeavour to aid Aborigines, I am joyfully pleased that my Party in Government is making a more determined effort to relieve the plight of Aborigines.
It is not true to say that in recent times nothing has been done. I had the opportunity, with the honourable member for Balaclava (Mr Whittorn) and others, of visiting the Kormilda College in Darwin, which is to be rebuilt. Another college is to be built for Aborigines near Alice Springs. My Government believes that sufficient was not being done by the previous Government and we are endeavouring to meet the needs of Aborigines whose problems are a legacy, one might say, of our great-great-grandfathers. The present generation of Australians has copped the lot, if I may use the vernacular, and has been burdened - and happily so - with the need through taxation to assist financially in meeting the problems of the Aboriginal people.
In the news media recently there has been much talk about the reaction of the people of the southern metropolitan area of Sydney who have expressed indignation at the possibility of an Ampol refinery being built in that region. This matter was raised during question time here today. I feel that I can assure the Parliament that the people of Newcastle and the people of the Hunter Valley region would not express strong resentment at the oil refinery, which is proposed by the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd and H. C. Sleigh Pty Ltd, being built in the Newcastle area. Despite this Government’s efforts, which have been partially successful in reducing the number of unemployed, unemployment is still far too high in the Hunter Valley region and in my electorate. For instance, in the Cessnock Shire about 500 workers are unemployed. Included among this number are 186 senior males, 116 junior males, 66 senior females and 90 junior females. It is my hope and wish that If BHP and H. C. Sleigh, which I understand are carrying out a feasibility study, see fit to implement and bring to fruition the establishment of an oil refinery at Newcastle, attached to that oil refinery will be a coal pilot plant.
The United States of America is becoming concerned at exhausting its natural gas supplies, at the present time, when the development of Australia’s natural gas supplies is in its infancy. The oil magnates of the United States are switching their interests to coal with a long term view to developing oil from coal with methods which would reduce pollution to a considerable extent. This process would be a considerable boon to the coal industry in the Hunter Valley, which is becoming redundant through the domination of the export coal industry in the Bowen Basin. Should a coal research pilot plant be attached to the BHP and H. C. Sleigh oil refinery, it might regenerate the coal industry in Newcastle, should such a refinery be established near the port of Newcastle. It would give some assurance to the security of employment of those who are still engaged in the coalmining industry in the rich Hunter Valley area.
– -It has been a tradition that debate on an Appropriation Bill gives individual members the opportunity to canvass a wide range of subjects. Tonight I would like to deal with a question which is exercising the minds of many people in Australia at present - nuclear testing in the atmosphere. I would like to discuss a couple of the aspects of atmospherio nuclear testing. I want to begin my speech by quoting from the draft report of the Scientific Committee on the effects of atomic radiation to the General Assembly of the United Nations. The report, which was presented on 6th March 1972, said:
Man has been continuously exposed to natural radiation since his appearance on earth and, until less than a century ago, was exposed to natural radiation only. Even now despite the widening use of radiation producing devices, the widespread radioactive contamination from nuclear weapon tests and the Increasing applications of nuclear energy and radio isotopes, natural sources are the main contributors to the average radiation exposure of human populations-
This is important - and are likely to remain so in the foreseeable future.
I think it is important to remember this even if only because a large segment of the population knows little or nothing about naturally occurring radiation and has the mistaken idea that radiation occurs only as the result of nuclear explosions. It is also important because any discussions about levels of radiation following a nuclear explosion should take place bearing in mind the naturally occurring radiation levels. Other people more knowledgable than myself know the precise details, extent and sources of some of the effects of exposure to radiation. But suffice it to say that natural radiation is of 2 origins - terrestial and extraterrestial. Man-made sources of radiation include mining for radioactive material, medical use of radioactive material both for diagnostic and treatment purposes, nuclear power production, miscellaneous sources such as electronic tubes emitting X-rays, but not designed for that purpose and, of course, nuclear explosions for both peaceful and non-peaceful purposes.
Extraterrestial radiation originates in outer space. As a result the earth is exposed to secondary cosmic rays. Typical values at sea level in temperate latitudes are around 30 millirads per year. This figure increases with altitude, the dose rate approximately doubling every 1,500 metres, up to a few kilometres above earth. This is particularly important to Parliamentarians who travel frequently in aeroplanes because passengers and crews of high altitude aircraft are thus exposed to higher levels of radiation than are people at ground level.
Terrestial sources are radio-active nuclides present in varying amounts in all rocks and soils. They are also transmitted through food chains or are inhaled and lodge in the tissues of the body. Most of the world’s population receives about 50 millirads of radiation a year from external sources and 20 millirads a year from internal sources. These all add up to about 100 millirads a person a year from natural sources of radiation, both terrestial and extraterrestial.
The radioactivity concerning us originates from nuclear explosions - specifically atmospheric nuclear explosions associated with the testing of nuclear devices. It is well to remember that nuclear weapon testing has declined in rate over the past few years. Those tests carried out before 1963 still represent by far the largest series of events leading to global radioactive contamination. The United Nations report that I have already mentioned goes on to say that the debris injected into the atmosphere by these tests have now almost entirely been deposited onto the earth’s surface, so that most of the residual radioactivity from earlier tests is now present in soil, crops and animal tissues from which it is steadily removed by a number of different factors.
The fallout from nuclear testing of most concern is that which results from longer life particles of radio-active material. Leaving aside the technical details, the most dangerous radioactive isotopes resulting from nuclear explosions are strontium 90, cesium 137 and iodine 131. Strontium 90 is absorbed into the body and lodges in the long skeletal bones and may interfere with that most important of substances, bone marrow. Cesium lodges in the muscles and body fluids, and its effects can include genetic mutations; iodine with a short half-life of 8 days, concentrates in the thyroid and can upset the metabolic rate of the system.
There are 2 common methods whereby such radioactive nuclides may be absorbed by man. The first has become known as the foragemilkman way and the second is called the soil route pathway. The first is important because comparatively short lived fallout such as iodine 131 finds its way to the human population in the milk they drink. The second pathway is important when one is dealing with the longer living radio-nuclides. I believe it is interesting to know that the United Nations Committee found that intake of strontium 90 is now lower than it was in the past because comparatively small amounts of it are absorbed from the soil by plants used particularly as foodstuffs or animal feed.
The Committee concluded that the mean per capita annual doses to be received from strontium 90 and cesium 137, between 1955 and 2000 by the whole world population amount to one thirtieth of those received from natural sources. However iodine 131 in milk has been reported in populated areas of Australia, Polynesia, South Africa and South America and other places after the French tests of 1970 and 1971 at levels that may have given doses to infants equivalent to that received from natural sources. In recognition of this, Australia has instituted monitoring programs, one operating since 1957 monitoring the levels of long lived radioisotopes in fallout, particularly strontium 90 and cesium 137, the other being instituted because it is considered that fallout from a particular test or tests may reach Australia and dealing with the short lived radioisotopes, particularly iodine 131.
I believe that we should look at the results from the 26 monitoring stations around Australia. The Atomic Weapons Test Safety Committee Report No. 3, presented to the Federal Parliament on 13th April 1972, gave details of the fallout on Australia resulting from the 1971 French tests in the Pacific. It took about 16 days from the date of the first explosion for fresh fission products to reach Australia. They were monitored from late June until late November 1971, when the levels became so low as to make no further contribution to the radiation doses. The report concluded that the levels of radioactivity remained very very low and that the radiation doses were of the order of 0.1 to 2.2 millirads. These correspond to about 1.2 per cent and 2.2 per cent of the average annual background radiation from natural sources.
With respect to idoine 131, the report tells that the Australian National Radiation Advisory Committee, in line with recommendations issued by the United Kingdom Medical Research Council, adopted a safety level of 840 millirads per year for iodine 131. This means that provided a child did not consume more than 840 millirads of iodine 131 per year in its milk its health would not be endangered. Tests were taken in 9 major population centres, covering about 75 per cent of the total Australian population, following the French tests, and the results indicated that the radiation doses to thyroids of young children consuming fresh cow’s milk ranged from 4 to 62 millirads per year, and this is, of course, well below the safety limits. In fact, the total radiation doses from fresh fallout over Australia in 1971 were lower than those received from the 1966 series of French tests and comparable to those of 1968 and 1970. The 1972 tests resulted in fallout levels about one hundredth of earlier tests.
I think it is good for us to reflect that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, when resuming tests in 1961 and during subsequent tests by that country and the United States in 1962, injected more radio-active debris into the atmosphere than all previous tests. The levels of strontium 90 and cesium 137 fallout have been falling steadily since 1965. France and China are the only 2 countries currently testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere and thus contributing to nuclear fallout.
The medical effects of irradiation are not for me to debate tonight, except to say that the chief fears are of increased cancers of all types and of genetic abnormalities either from gene mutation or from chromosomal aberration. At the levels of fallout registered in Australia it would seem to be unnecessarily alarmist, in my view, to suggest that they constituted a serious health hazard. Whipping up public fear will not solve the problem presented by atmospheric nuclear testing. This may lead honourable members to think that 1 do not believe we should protest about the French continuing atmospheric nuclear testing. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that we were quite right in protesting and in continuing to protest over the years and that we should take whatever responsible action we can to mobilise world opinion against those who continue to conduct atmospheric nuclear tests. When I say that I definitely include the People’s Republic of China.
I have said we were right in protesting and continuing to protest. We were right because any addition to background radiation should be minimised. Whilst Australia has less cause to protest than other countries in terms of actual fallout on its territory, we are in a position of some influence in the Pacific and we can assist the protests of smaller Pacific nations whose real concern when expressed individually, may not be accorded much weight. But we should not be confined to the Pacific. We are also a part of the world community and our concern should properly extend to all regions of the world. If we adopt that view, the actions of the Chinese must be of importance to us also. In fact Australia has protested about the French tests in the Pacific ever since they were commenced. These protests became progressively stronger. On 29th March last year the then Minister for Foreign Affairs released a statement saying that the Australian Government remained opposed to all nuclear tests particularly in the Pacific. The Department of Foreign Affairs had delivered a note to the French authorities expressing our opposition and our concern. He went on to say that the note recalled our past opposition to such tests in the Pacific. It re-affirmed our interest, as a party to the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963, in seeing the Treaty universally applied and supported. It reiterated our community of interest with the nations and the peoples of the Pacific and emphasised the deep concern of these people at the continuation of the tests. It finished with a re-statement of our opposition.
We continued to make our opposition known and at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment we sought to promote a form of resolution which would mobilise the greatest number of delegations in opposing atmospheric nuclear tests. This principle is already endorsed in the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963, banning testing in the atmosphere, outer space and under the water. We are a signatory whilst neither France nor China has signed this treaty. We felt that the Conference was not the appropriate forum to attempt to extend international obligations in the field of disarmament and therefore we tried to amend the New Zealand and Peruvian resolution. When this was not acceptable to the movers we abstained at the committee level vote, along with 13 other countries including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, because we disagreed with the details of the wording. We reiterated our strong opposition to the tests and voted for the resolution at the plenary session, once again making our opposition clear and unequivocal.
On 1st August last year we announced at the fourth session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of the Seabed and Ocean Floor, that, with 11 other countries, we would be sponsoring a resolution declaring that no further nuclear weapons tests likely to contribute to the contamination of the marine environment should be carried out. We requested the Chairman of the Committee to forward the resolution to the Secretary General for referral to other bodies including the Conference of the Committee of Disarmament. Our protests continued to escalate, culminating with our cosponsoring of a resolution with 12 other sponsors inviting the General Assembly of the United Nations to declare itself in favour of 2 main objectives: Firstly, a halt to all atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in the Pacific region or anywhere else in the world, and universal support for the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963; and secondly, the suspension of all nuclear weapons tests in all environments and the negotiation of a treaty banning all such tests.
In his address to the Assembly on 27th September 1972 the Australian Foreign Minister said:
Australia would particularly like to see the negotiation of a comprehensive treaty with effective provisions for verification and control to prohibit the conduct of nuclear weapons testing in all environments in all states. The first step towards that objective should be, in our view, the universal acceptance and Application of the existing treaty banning nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere. But we still do not have universal acceptance of this treaty and there is still no halt to nuclear weapon testing in the atmosphere.
Our resolution was subsequently passed with a large majority. I mention this because, contrary to some popular opinion, it shows a consistent, long term opposition to atmospheric nuclear testing, exhibited by the previous Government over very many years. This opposition increased in intensity and culminated in our successful resolution to the General Assembly of the United Nations. Our opposition was not only to the French tests but to all testing - atmospheric testing particularly.
There are now only 2 countries testing nuclear devices in the atmosphere - China and France. Both test sites are about the same distance from Australia. Tests at both sites result in some fallout on Australia - much less than on other parts of the world, but nevertheless measurable. It is absolutely ridiculous for the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) to say, as he did in answer to a question in this House on 13th March:
The physical features which give Australia that option of approaching the International Court of Justice against the Frencn tests are not applicable against the Chinese tests.
That is sheer nonsense. We do have fallout from Chinese nuclear testing on Australia. Whilst in physical terms Australia is fortunate because the fallout here is so slight, nevertheless we have an obligation particularly to the smaller nations of our Pacific region to act in their interest and add weight to their concern. It would be completely wrong for Australia not be be seen as acting to protect these smaller nations as well as speaking on her own behalf. But we must be consistent. We must make the strongest protests to the French - and also to the Chinese.
While diplomatic relations were not established with the Mainland Chinese we could protest only in general terms through the United Nations. This we did, following up on general protests with a specific note handed to the French authorities. Now that the new Government has established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, similar channels for specific protests are open to it. If atmospheric nuclear tests are contemplated by the Chinese then we are duty bound to protest to them in similar vein to our protests to the French. We would be hypocritical and cowardly if we did not.
The most effective form of protest is open to debate. The Government speaks of taking the French to the World Court. This has several potential drawbacks, the first one being that the French may argue that matters of national security are involved and that the World Court had no jurisdiction in such a case. On the other hand it could be that the French would welcome such an opportunity to state their case and may even call Australian experts to substantiate their proposition that their tests are ‘cleaner’ than any before and well within internationally accepted safety limits. Should they win the case Australia’s position would be immeasurably weakened. In any case the World Court has no power to enforce its injunctions unless the Security Council decides to support it. This is not a possibility because both France and China would veto any Security Council action.
If we cut off diplomatic relations we will be in the same position as we were with China and will be able to make only general appeals to the United Nations without direct communication with the French Government. No good could come of that. Additionally scientific and technological exchange of great significance to Australia would be lost. If we imposed trade sanctions we would hurt ourselves much more than we would hurt France - and trade sanctions are not particularly effective anyway. The balance of trade between Frauce and Australia is substantially in our favour and we could end up putting Australians out of work with no real results being achieved. It may be that the Prime Minister knows that an appeal to the World Court is not a goer and that he is encouraging Senator Murphy in his ambitions to argue the case before that body in the knowledge that, on the one hand, no effective result would be achieved and, on the other hand, Senator Murphy may be humiliated. In any case, if and when action is taken against the French, a believable and honest Australian Government would have to make similar protests against the Chinese. It it does not do so, it is guilty not only of cowardice but of deceit and dishonesty as well.
– The major items in the schedule of moneys to be appropriated, in particular under Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1972-73, are the grants for unemployment relief and, in particular, the $30,350,000 grant to the States for employment creating purposes. It is not my purpose to oppose the approval of these moneys which doubtless are already, or soon will be, woven into the spending programs of the States for the period to the end of June. However, it is instructive to consider for a while the whole approach and framework of thinking of this Government which these grants reflect. What is ultimately at stake - as my colleagues who have already spoken in this debate have made clear - is the sound economic management of this country. There is hardly an issue of greater concern to this Parliament. The fact is that the Government, bewitched by its own election propaganda, has something of a fixation about unemployment. We have heard repeatedly from the Treasurer (Mr Crean), the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) and even the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) about the unemployment situation that the Government inherited’.
The Minister for Labour was perhaps the most beguiled. When in mid-December the end of November unemployment figures were announced the Minister-designate for Labour pounced on them, mouthing great forebodings of gloom. In fact the figures showed a small improvement in the position to an unemployment level of 1.94 per cent of the work force on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared with a peak of 2.14 per cent at the end of August. There had, in fact, been a small improvement every month from August to November. Perhaps that should have counselled some caution, but not to the Ministerdesignate. The Minister-designate was reported in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ in these terms:
It would be at least a year before the Government could see any appreciable improvement in the unemployment position’, he said. ‘It must get worse’, he went on. ‘You do not turn the economy on and off like a tap. The unemployment figure would be 200,000 by February . . .
That is what the present Minister for Labour predicted. And much has been said in this House since then about unemployment. I am not belittling the problem of unemployment. As usual, to hear honourable members opposite speaking one would think that they had a monopoly of concern for the hardship and the human problems and difficulties associated with unemployment. I believe honourable members on this side of the House are, and have always been, every bit as concerned as the Government with the hardship and the human problems of unemployment.
Contrary to statements from the present Government, the truth is that in December last year, as the seasonally adjusted figures indicated, the Australian economy was on course for the achievement of full employment, as members of the then Government asserted prior to the election and Opposition spokesmen have claimed since the election. The progress towards full employment has gathered pace. At the end of December the seasonally adjusted unemployment figure was 1.78 per cent of the work force compared with 1.94 per cent at the end of November. At the end of January the figure was 1.66 per cent and at the end of February it was right down to 1.54 per cent. To get away from the seasonally adjusted figures I quote the Treasury’s own recent Round-up of Economic Statistics: ‘Between the end of November and the end of February there has been a fall in the actual number of persons registered’ - not seasonally adjusted - ‘for the first time in 25 years.’ In short the cyclical downtrend in unemployment - the cyclical upswing in economic activity - has over-ridden the normal seasonal increase in unemployment, so strong has been the movement. And as set out in the Round-up there are other indicators of the strong foward surge of the economy.
Predictably, of course, it is now claimed from the other side of the House that this has been due largely, if not wholly, to the advent of the Labor Government. That is rubbish. The additional employment creating grants we are now discussing have had some effect, to quote the rather muted praise of the Treasury Round-up, by way of reinforcing the underlying trend. But, by and large, the leads and lags of economic events are longer than that; they are such that the onward march of the economy is not so quickly or simply manipulated. As the Minister for Labour said: ‘You cannot turn the economy on and off like a tap’. Quite right.
These events, this recovery and this movement of the economy go much farther back than December. But that having been said, the time is not far distant when the policies of this Government will make themselves felt and, indeed, I venture the view, and I warn the Government, that the cumulative effect of its own direct action since assuming office and the indirect influence of the Government on economic affairs will, if the present course is maintained, result in a resurgence of inflation and over-full employment greater than this country has seen for many years. When men tioning the indirect influence of the Government on economic affairs, I refer for example to its all but unqualified support of the claims at present being considered in the current national wage case, claims for a large increase in the minimum wage, a substantial flat increase in the total wage and the restoration of cost of living adjustments. I shall come back to these later.
I refer also to the Government’s legislation for 4 weeks annual leave for Commonwealth public servants as a lead to the rest of the work force; and I refer to the Government’s support for the 35-hour week, ostensibly only in the oil, power and vehicle industries, but in fact since it cannot be quarantined there, in industry at large.
I say that the effect on total demand of the free spending by the Government, as evidenced by the emerging record budget deficit on which I have commented previously, along with a resurgence of private consumer spending and some investment spending, especially on housing, contains seeds for the emergence of excess demand. The combination of free spending by the Government and these trends in the private sector, together with the cost pressures stemming from heavy wags demands, a shorter working week and longer holidays - and, to give the whole picture, the impact of the current world food shortage on the prices of some key food items notably meat - may spell inflation in a very big way. To put the stress on inflation in this way is to attract from the Treasurer the charge that he made the other day in speaking to his proposal for a joint parliamentary committee on prices. Presumably he was referring mainly to honourable members on this side of the chamber when he said: To hear members of the House speaking you would think that inflation in Australia was an entirely new phenomenon’. He must have been joking. The prevention of inflation has been a key concern to honourable members on this side of the House for quite some time.
I go no further back than January 1971 when the then Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) addressed the nation on inflation. That speech was so highly regarded by Professor Hancock and collaborators that it features as an important document in a textbook of Readings for Australian Students of Economics. Of course, that was at about the time when inflation had got away somewhat from the then Government.
I concede that we on this side of the House to some extent are speaking from experience on this matter! But the policies of the then Government were getting inflation under control. The facts are set out in the Treasury Round Up’ No. 1. Thus, while the inflation built up, in terms of the increase on the position a year earlier, to a rate of 7 per cent in the December quarter of 1971, in the June quarter of 1972, prices were up by 6.1 per cent on the position a year earlier; in the September quarter they were up by 5.8 per cent: and, in the December quarter, they were up by only 4.6 per cent. I say ‘only’; that is high enough, but 4.6 per cent compares very favourably with the 7 per cent increase on a year earlier recorded during the previous December quarter. But I am willing to bet that that is the end of the improvement - and that is what the matter now before us is all about.
Unemployment is a great social and economic evil; but so is inflation. A significant build-up in the rate of inflation makes the Government’s professions of concern for social justice ring very hollow. How can we square them with the professed objectives of a new deal for the poor, the pensioner and the underprivileged? The rich, by and large, are well set to cope with, if not to gain from, inflation. It is the poor who must struggle to keep up and fight the never ending battle of stretching shrinking dollars to cover family needs* Perhaps, as one political analyst put it, it is true to say that the poor, by and large, are locked into safe Labor electorates or otherwise - I am thinking particularly of pensioners - they are to be found in the so-called widow belts of seats held by honourable members on this side of the House. So, in crude political terms, the Government can tolerate a spanking rate of inflation and. having appreciated the exchange rate, it can later depreciate it with reasonable impunity as costs and prices get too far out of line. Perhaps that is an unduly cynical approach; so I shall take the more charitable view that the Government simply has not perceived the end point of the path on which it has now embarked.
Basically, this is the point I wish to underline in speaking to these Bills. While 103,845 people - in actual terms - out of work at the end of February (the Minister predicted 200,000) still leaves things to be done, it is inflation and all the inefficiencies of overfull employment which, if the Government stays on its present course, are the problems which are just over the horizon. And what it is necessary to stress is that the economic is a stern task master. The economic capacity of the nation imposes limits - a little elastic, it is true; but not very much so - on what can be done at any one time. Increased pensions and repatriation benefits such as the Government has introduced into this House in the past few weeks are indeed of the highest priority. But a resurgence of the rate of inflation can undo what is done and can set back in time the achievement of the Government’s objective of increasing pensions to 25 per cent of average weekly earnings. That is the point that I would stress.
We have before us 2 Bills which will approve, among other things, the allocation of $30m to the States for employment creating purposes. I take it that that is in pursuit of the objective of the Government, as forcefully affirmed by the Prime Minister recently in answer to a question, that full employment for this Government means virtually zero registered unemployed. That is a laudable objective and one that we could hardly oppose - even if, unhappily, it is impracticable. As I mentioned, recently we have been presented with a Bill to increase pensions and repatriation benefits. That is a most laudable objective that we could not and would not oppose. The Government has introduced a Bill to grant 4 weeks annual leave to public servants. Again, that in itself is a laudable objective that we could not oppose. Who would oppose it, considered as a particular measure? Other measures are in the pipeline. There is the proposal for a subsidy on interest payments on housing by making such payments tax deductible. That is an extremely attractive measure. A number of people said to me that they voted for the Australian Labor Party because of this proposal, and it is with some regret for them and for myself that I applaud the Government’s dragging its feet in relation to that measure.
All these measures are laudable; they are the sorts of measures that we on this side of the House would support. But what is lacking is any explanation by the Government of how it sees these measures in relative priority; for instance how it weighs the proposal to provide an extra week’s leave to public servants against using those funds to pay in whole or in part an extra $1.50 a week in pensions. I suspect that the Government has not really got around to thinking these priorities through. I suggest that the march of events, as I have tried to set them out, is soon going to change that.
– I do not want to go over all the old ground that has been covered in regard to revaluation and its effect on industries such as the wool, beef cattle, minerals, sugar and dairy industries. However, before I commence my remarks on these Bills, I should like to bring to the attention of those honourable members who are present in the chamber - there are few enough - the quality of member we now have representing the electorate of Berowra. It is quite refreshing to see an academic of his status who has such an understanding of the human element and the problems that affect people. After all, that is why we should be here; that is what Parliament is all about. I should also like to make brief reference to comments made by the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James). He made elaborate comments on the 100 or so days of this Government and referred to the regime of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam). Certain elements of the media talk about the Prime Minister being a second Menzies or Abraham Lincoln; refer to the reign of 100 days, trying to condition the minds of the people of Australia to make them believe that they have entered into some great new perfumed garden. I will go into details on that later.
The position in electorates represented by people such as myself, the honourable members for Leichhardt (Mr Fulton), Maranoa (Mr Corbett), Darling (Mr Fitzpatrick) and many others, whether we admit it or not - we on this side of the House will never cease to draw attention to the focal point of the ingredients of tragedy that lie in the fundamental policies of this Government; I am not being over-emotional when I say that - is affected by the policies of the Government. The Government has almost a paranoia about people who are in the inland. It developed as it sat by for 23 years and saw this country develop because of the immense production in rural areas. I am one who will not for one moment deny the contributions made by urban and metropolitan areas. It takes two to tango and one without the other is futile. But let us keep the thing in equilibrium and not bring into existence a regime which is determined - in every measure it has tried to plaster over its intention and in every measure if we probe deeply enough we find these ingredients - to penalise people who do not live in urban and metropolitan areas.
Again I repeat and I will repeat it for the next 3 years, if this Government goes that long, that not for a moment do we on this side of the House fail to recognise the rights and entitlements of people in the cities and provincial areas. We would be idiots if we did because we are dependent for the consumption of our products upon the growth and vitality of our great cities, and the people in the cities - let us mark this well - depend so much upon the productivity of, the virile production and the expansion of production in rural areas. I remember well the great and tragic drought and the market conditions which were reacting so tragically on the lives of people in inland areas and how the economy of the urban areas suffered. In the 15 or 16 minutes left of my time tonight I will not pretend for a moment to be carrying a brief for the great mining companies and the great overseas and local combines which own vast tracts of land. The big people associated with these industries are well and truly capable of watching their own interests and finances. They have reserves of knowhow and vast reserves of funds and can carry their own brief. But I am deeply concerned for every person in Australia when I see the very vitals and the characteristics of our nation twisted into ugliness, as they are now.
However, let me get back to the subject of the revaluation and the effect it had on these industries. I am concerned for those who are dependent on these industries and let me take as an example the greatest mining complex in this nation which is located at my headquarters, Mount Isa. This is a great and prosperous city with wonderful ethnic groups of people from all nations who have combined to form a magnificent community. There were great hopes in the area that very shortly the northern leases would commence operation. What ate the northern leases? They are another little Mount Isa all over again. They are located some 8 to 12 miles from Mount Isa. It is sad to go out there now and see where millions of dollars have been invested in such a vast operation which would employ perhaps 3,000 good Australians and bring to the area all that would come with such an operation indirectly. The sign which pointed to Hilton Town - 1 mile’ has been covered over. Why? Because, like so many other operations it has been frozen suddenly because those concerned do not know what the future holds.
The Minister for Minerals and Energy (Mr Connor) has thrown out a few hints lately and they have an ominous content. If he is thinking of nationalisation, and he could well be doing that, he should look at the lesson which history has taught us and particularly at what we once regarded as the European family, the family from which we have been emotionally expelled and will very soon be effectively expelled because we are becoming more and more regarded as a member of the communist bloc. Would that be any wonder in view of the frantic wooing of communist countries? It is said that the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) is a second Menzies. I would say that he is a second frenzy because he has one frenzy after another in his mad endeavour to move up into the communist bloc. Why? This is one of the great, free nations left in the world and no-one - most members have moved around the world on some political trip or other - can deny that Australia has always been regarded as a great nation. Our standard of living has moved from third best to second best in the world. But quite suddenly we get a group of people coming into power in this nation, wanting to twist our ideologies and change the whole character of this country. I wonder what would happen if we went to the people tomorrow following Senator Murphy’s operations which have yet to be debated.
The effects of revaluation on the little man in country areas, particularly in a vast area such as the one 1 represent, are very worrying indeed. First and foremost, dealing more specifically with mining, employment opportunities have been brought to a standstill. It is interesting to note one or two comments that have been made and I will read them. One says:
In order to estimate the direct losses in mineral export revenue it is necessary to distinguish between those minerals sold on the open market-
I am being perfectly objective in expressing this viewpoint as will be noticed as I go on a little. It continues:
That statement was made by the Bureau of Mineral Resources and, by the way, I was giving a 1971 evaluation. The estimates take into account only the December 1972 revaluation of the Australian dollar of 7 per cent and the devaluation of the United States dollar against gold by 10 per cent on 14th December. The statement continues:
On the basis of projected export earnings for minerals sold on the open market, of which Australia is not a dominant supplier, the loss to revenue for 1973-74 is expected to be about $ 34m. In addition domestic prices for copper, lead and zinc are based on prices converted from sterling and so producers would also incur a loss.
This is where the statement goes further to substantiate another quotation which I will make in a moment. It continues:
The loss on domestic sales of these minerals is estimated to be about $10m in 1973-74.
Another authority has said:
The latest revaluation of 7.05 per cent will cost the mining industry about $100m per annum at a time when metal prices are depressed and production is well below capacity. The figure is substantially higher than the 1971 loss due to the unilateral revaluation on this occasion.
The point I want to make is that these losses have occurred. It would be quite stupid to say that the drop in the revenue of these mining operations has not been occurring over the last few years but the rate of fall which is so obviously due to this revaluation allied with the devaluation of the American dollar is incalculable. I think the estimate that has been given is very rough. There are people like Hancock. Has he been knighted yet? Honourable members opposite would have knighted him had they had the opportunity and had not adopted a policy of not giving honours because no-one pushed their barrow harder than he did in Western Australia prior to the election. He has had a change of heart and has changed his opinion quite decisively, and allied with him is the Premier of Western Australia. The Premier does not know which way to turn because he has suddenly seen the complete collapse of the future of his great State. The point I am trying to make relates to the hopes and aspirations of the little people. People like Hancock are well able to look after themselves. They do not need someone from the outback to come here and plead their case. But I will plead the case of every person who is affected or will be affected and who will be forced to look for employment elsewhere. Will it be offering elsewhere? No way in the world - because the great billions that come from these industries will be stripped by almost 7 per cent and this country cannot sustain that sort of drop! I believe that the Minister for Primary Industry, (Senator Wriedt), is not a bad sort of fellow. I suppose that a man who has been selling insurance or who has worked on a ship would have a pretty profound knowledge of primary industry. I suppose that his appointment as Minister for Primary Industry is in keeping with the Prime Minister’s policy of putting people into places where they cannot be terribly effective and so the Prime Minister can remain a god-like figure. It is pretty obvious. Mr Menzies! Abraham Lincoln! This is so laughable. There is so much that could be said on this subject and I do not have time at the moment to say it all.
For a moment now I would like to speak about local government and to point out how the whole of this revaluation is tied up with the future of local government where it is most effective, and that is in country areas. The real value of the operations of local government is in helping towards decentralisation. A very significant conference involving about 1,000 people - people dedicated to local government, steeped in local government, as my whole life has been - was recently held here in Canberra. Every leader - the Prime Minister of the day, the Deputy Prime Minister, my own leader, the present Prime Minister and myself - all said that we would look for a better deal for local government. The day has come when local government must be provided with more finance. Its responsibilities are increasing. It must have direct access to funds. The second great claim was that it must be represented at the constitutional convention - and not only must it be represented but it must have a voice.
As one who has spent a lifetime in local government, I would say that under this Government there has been no change in its position. There have been many changes in other directions. We did get changes - and God forbid that those changes in many respects should have happened to this wonderful nation - that have pushed us into the communist bloc, not left wing, not radical but into the communist bloc. There is no question about that. Our allies now, those countries being wooed, are the communist countries of this great globe of ours. But there has been no change in the status of local government, because the Prime Minister stated in answer to a question today that the additional funds to be provided for local government would be made available through the State authorities. 1 admit that constitutionally this is necessary, but it was my own Leader, the present Leader of the Country Party, the past Deputy Prime Minister, Doug Anthony, who put forward the first constructive suggestion. Our thunder has been stolen, but we have a little more to give and we will blast the government. His suggestion was that a special function of the Commonwealth Grants Commission should be established for funding local government.
I do not want in any way to disparage the various Ministers for Local Government in the various State Governments. I believe that those who hold the highest position in the land in local government are a pretty good crowd of fellows. They co-operate and they all help. But it is inevitable that any State Government will make finance available to local authorities on its own terms, and this is the great flaw in the whole argument. There has to be some rethinking. There has to be a constitutional change, or at least preliminary discussions on a constitutional change, which will make the fourth level of government, local government, effective and have the use of funds which are specifically granted to local authorities so that they do not have to go cap in hand to the State Government except for the specific and formal requirements of moneys. By that I mean finance for roads and so on.
Local authorities differ right throughout the nation. What might be one local authority’s requirements for funds in relation to a particular project could be quite different from requirements elsewhere. Hence we cannot establish any uniformity. Local authorities should be entitled to make their own approach to the Grants Commission or some other instrumentality, and in that way power will be effectively given to local government. By the way, local authorities are as suspicious as most Australians are at the moment of the Commonwealth Government’s centralising of control and power, completely in accord with socialist, communist domination. There has been a gradual whittling away of local control and power, and it is being done in a very effective manner.
I am amazed that the media does not wake up to this and blast it high, wide and handsome that here is centralised control. When the Prime Minister who preceded Billy McMahon, John Gorton, gave some sort of indication in any way that he might just to a minor extent create new central authorities there was a great burst of condemnation. Is it not obvious that the Whitlam Government is bringing the power not to the ministers generally, because they have been appointed on the basis that they will be mainly ineffective, and all power will come back to 2 or 3 men and eventually to one? Is it not obvious to the whole nation that here has been established a dictatorship, and that the sections of the media which go along with this apparently are trying to create a god-like figure? A second Menzies! Forgive me if I look a little nauseated. I cannot help it. Sir Robert Menzies suffered a stroke recently. Good heavens, if this sort of news gets to him he will be back in hospital. And as for Abraham Lincoln - oh, brother!
Most honourable members must have read the article written by an American journalist, or it may have been written in Australia, 6 weeks ago in which it was stated that the American people do not yet regard us as being so pro-communist as Cuba or Chile but - it is only a matter of time. Mr Whitlam is talking about having talks with President Nixon. President Nixon’s advisers said: ‘Let it go for a while, boy. Let him simmer down.’ Abraham Lincoln! God help us. I had many more things to say but when I thought of Abraham Lincoln it really brought me to a standstill. I thank the House for its indulgence.
– I think it is appropriate - in any case this is the first opportunity since the last sitting week of the House - to review the first 100 days of this Government’s existence. Who would have thought that in that short period there would have been such a dismal performance in the interests of the country and such bad behaviour as well. Let me commence by reading what I think is a very telling letter that was published in the ‘Australian’ newspaper. It states:
Now being the anniversary of the Labor Government’s first 100 days in office, I think it an apt time for a progressive analysis. In matters which concern me personally ( I’m 24 years old, single), I find little reason for rejoicing. I’m finding it far more expensive to live (food prices have risen astronomically), I had a long weekend ruined because of a petrol strike and I’ve been coerced into joining a union (fees $25). Besides this, I read that because of its vast spending spree (aid to North Vietnam, jobs for the boys, pay rises for MPs), the Government will probably be forced to increase taxation in the coming Budget. Guess who’ll be paying? But apart from all this, the Labor Government, in my books, has made one serious blunder - freeing draft resisters. To me and thousands of other national servicemen who did what we were asked to do this came as a personal affront. It is a stigma now deeply branded into the hide of the Labor Government- and deeply embedded in the minds of the voters.
I want to commence by saying that this Government has by its behaviour lost the confidence of nations around the world. I refer particularly to our relations with the United States. Intemperate, insulting statements have been made by Ministers about our friend. They have been suited to street corner debate rather than being statements that one could properly expect to come from Australian ministers of State. That was an apt description given by the ‘Sydney Morning Herald*. We are used to it here but it deeply insulted President Nixon and his government. ANZUS is our primary defence treaty and anyone who damages it in any way damages Australia’s national interests. Under the heading of confidence, what has been done to the Government’s reputation and this country’s reputation in respect of the United States bases in this country? Let us be certain, the left wing of the Labor Party is still very much opposed to the attitude the Government has taken, and we have not heard the end of that yet. Damage has been done to Australia’s reputation in financial matters in respect of the long term commitments entered into by the mining companies around the world.
Damage has been done to the reputation of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, which other countries and our friends are entitled to rely on when they give Australia help in military intelligence. What the Prime Minister has done as Minister for Foreign Affairs has been not only a mishandling of principles; the fact is that in the way things have been done the very style has been wrong. It has induced a lack of confidence in this country. The character of his international dealings has been such that we have lost the trust of our friends. Many Ministers of his Government make statements apparently without reference to him. Indeed the Prime Minister himself has admitted that there has ben a lack of consultation on questions regarding the currency and in foreign affairs where a number of Ministers have expressed themselves in harsh terms. The Prime Minister has said in a number of speeches that Australia would have a new way and yet he has not spelt out what that new way will be and so it is obvious that the United States of America, Britain and our Asian neighbours should have severe doubts about what our new policies will be - in other words, a breakdown in confidence without any counter-balancing advantage to our national interests. I quote part of an editorial in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ of 22nd March 1973. I allude to the style of the Prime Minister. The article read:
Mr Whitlam chose a strange time and place - a private dinner in Canberra last night in honour of the Yugoslav Prime Minister, Mr Bijedic - to attack the previous Federal Government for its complacency over Croatian terrorist activities in Australia. Most people would have thought that Parliament was the proper place for such comments. . . .
The article later stated:
The main thing to emerge from his remarks last night was his firm support for Senator Murphy’s highly publicised confrontation with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in Melbourne last Friday. Until the Canberra dinner he had been almost completely silent on the matter, but now he has not only backed the Senator (and his posse of Commonwealth police) but has forecast a- major restructuring of ASIO. Whether this, last night, was a matter of passionate interest to Mr Bijedic must remain a matter for conjecture. Locally, however, there are still plenty of unanswered questions.
This is again damage without advantage. The Prime Minister took with some glee the decision with the Treasurer (Mr Crean) to make a unilateral revaluation of the Australian currency. He later admitted under questioning that there had been no consultations with the Minister for Overseas Trade and Minister for Secondary Industry (Dr J. F. Cairns) and the Minister for Primary Industry (Senator Wriedt). No consultation took place. Why not? Does he not trust them or do they not trust him? Surely to heaven these men who have responsibilities on behalf of important sectors of the Australian economy and Australian people have a right to be heard. The future of many Australians is involved.
We saw, too, the setting up by this Prime Minister of a 2-man government - Australia’s first 2-man government. Many decisions were made by that Goverment, most of them unjustified as to their urgency. Why were there only 2 Ministers and not 4 - including the 2 leaders from the Senate? That, surely, was a calculated snub of the Leader of the Senate, Senator Murphy, as was pointed out by Mr Max Walsh of the ‘Financial Review’ in an article on 5th January. That use of dic- tatorial power, albeit for a short period, is un-Australian and should never be repeated in the history of this country.
We have had coming up, particularly in the last few says, the question of the establishment of an Omega station in Australia. I was interested to hear the Minister for Defence (Mr Barnard), who has 5 portfolios - a regular Pooh-Bah in Australian politics. He shuffled around in answer to the question I asked him but he ended up supporting the view that the Omega Station will be no defence hazard. I take this opportunity of putting on the record, because the Prime Minister places such importance on the transcript of his Press conferences - indeed there is evidence he regards them as official documents, but I do not have time to deal with that aspect now - his answers to questions addressed to him at the Press conference on 13th March. The record of that conference includes the following:
Q.: Mr Whitlam, until 101 days ago when Labor was in Opposition, Labor members spoke frequently about the defence significance of Omega. I remember Mr Barnard giving a learned exposition on how it could be used by nuclear submarines. Now when we contact Mr Barnard’s office we are told that it is purely a matter for Mr Jones.
PRIME MINISTER: That’s right.
Q.: When we talk to Mr Jones, we are told he doesn’t want to talk about it. Will you tell us what your Government’s attitude is to Omega - what’s going to happen about it, and do you expect any problems within the Party over this?
PRIME MINISTER: It is a matter for Mr Jones and his Department. There are no submissions from him on the subject.
Q.: Is it of defence significance, Sir?
PRIME MINISTER: I would believe it would have some defence significance. But I frankly don’t know enough about it.
This, in spite of his comments before the election. The Prime Minister continued:
I’m leaving it to him to brief me. But, as rational men, you will know that there are very few navigational aids which don’t have some defence significance.
Q.: Mr Barnard in the past has been quite outspoken about lt. You don’t feel that if perhaps, as the expert in what’s now the Cabinet, he should be consulted on this?
PRIME MINISTER: He has responsibilities in defence matters. This is primarily, as far as I concern myself with it, a navigational matter.
Q.: You agree with the previous government?
PRIME MINISTER: As far as I know, this is primarily, a navigational matter. It will be taken up by Mr Jones if it is taken up at all.
Minister about Omega. After the decision last weekend in Melbourne, of which we are aware, I hope that this comment made by the Prime Minister receives the widest publicity in order to see whether he renegues on his previous decision. I have been talking about the lack of trust which people have been encouraged to have in this Government.
I refer briefly to some other issues, including the fiasco of the Government’s dealing with the troops in Singapore. The Opposition rightly moved to censure the Government in this matter and moved the motion which, as close observers noted, the Prime Minister did not attempt to answer directly. Indeed he connived with the Leader of the House (Mr Daly), who is sitting at the table, to gag the debate after 3 speakers on the ground that there would be plenty of time for people to express their opposition during the AddressinReply debate. But, of course, the Leader of the House gagged that debate when 16 Liberal speakers alone wished to make contributions to the proceedings of this House. So much for the contradiction by the Prime Minister. In that debate - I think this is of particular importance - he admitted, and no evidence can be better than personal admission, having given a secret briefing to certain journalists involving matters which were highly classified.
Reviewing again the performance of this Government, the Cabinet’s mutual admiration society wore off around about the end of last month. We remember the decision made about the export of merino rams when the Government decided to allow 30 merino rams to be exported and the Prime Minister - this is another piece of evidence - tried at a Press conference to hide the breach of Australian Labor Party’s policy in consequence. I would say that that is evidence of his desire to fool the journalists and the people, yet this is a Prime Minister who claims to favour open government.
I come to the question of the recognition of China. I do not disagree in principle with that recognition but the point is at what price was it given. The Prime Minister has been most evasive and uncommunicative in answering questions on that matter. However every person who lives in the real world knows that when anyone is making an agreement with somebody he does not give away his position and promise that he will make that agreement in advance because a recognition involves a number of points given and points accepted - a number of conditions. It has never been satisfactorily answered by the Prime Minister or by his Government as to what conditions Australia gave in receipt of normalising diplomatic relations. We were told that we had to give up all contact with Taiwan-
– And $80m of trade.
– And $80m of trade as my colleague says, and I am pleased to call the honourable member my colleague. But let me point out that the United States which has made an accommodation with the People’s Republic of China - that is, Peking - has retained an accommodation with Taiwan. Tt has de facto relations with the People’s Republic of China but each has liaison officers with full relations with Taiwan. Canada simply found a formula of noting the position of the People’s Republic of China in Taiwan and retained a neutral position. Why could not Australia have done that? Why did we give away so much? The point is that the Prime Minister’s method of dealing is not in Australia’s interest.’ He barges in. He has done the same in New Guinea over the last few years and it remains still to be seen whether the- policy that he has advocated turns out to be really in the interests, of either Papua New Guinea or Australia.
I come to the lack of economic, responsibility of this Government with, overspending meaning a deficit building-up, I would predict, to at least $ 1,000m in this fiscal year. The Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) and the Prime Minister are now eating their words relating to the economy on the predictions they made before the election about the level of unemployment as it would be today. The Government has, as a part of that economic overspending, increased to 35 the number of Government departments in Canberra. I will quote a small extract from the ‘Sunday Independent’ of 7th January. The article is entitled ‘Government Jobs to Cost us $35 Million’. It reads:
The Australian taxpayer will be hit with a $35m backlash from the Federal Labor Party’s new-look Government.
Creation of 16 new departments has sparked a scramble by public servants for plum jobs, many carrying wages above $16,000 a year. ‘
The $35m cost estimate is considered conservative.
Under the new Labor Government there are 37 ministries, 10 more than under the McMahon Government.
The Prime Minister, of course, occupies 2 of these positions. He is the Minister for Foreign
Affairs as well as Prime Minister. How can a man properly carry out the high offices of Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia? It is impossible. Anybody who has occupied either of those offices in recent times knows of the enormous work load and the enormous responsibility. I am not worried about the work load on the Prime Minister. I am worried that he cannot do it properly in the interests of the Australian people. But he is trying. There are hundreds of cables received on foreign affairs alone in this country and they need to be read if our policy and interests are to be maintained. But in his role as the great diplomat to which my colleague the honourable member for Kennedy referred he - and he is most ambitious in this field - has in the short time he has occupied that office insulted the President of the United States - there can bc no doubt about that; he has set his people to undercut a senior Minister of the Malaysian Government - a friend of ours; he has made disparaging remarks about the Government of Thailand, for which he has been chastised. What sort of record is that? Educated people, thinking people, rely on the movements and attitudes of Australia or any other country over a period. They expect us to be stable and to treat our friends as friends and not just rush off in some direction with a halfbaked scheme or to make lightheartedly some jibe or insult. That is no way to pursue the interests of Australia or indeed to further world peace.
I come now to the Minister for Defence (Mr Barnard) who is also Minister for the Navy, Minister for the Army, Minister for Air and Minister for Supply. I regret that I will not have time to list all these matters. But the Minister for Defence occupies 5 portfolios. How ridiculous can you be? What a silly position he found himself in with the departure of his former Press secretary. The position was, I think as cogently as it can be stated, that one minute the Press secretary resigned and the next minute the Minister for Defence said to him: ‘No, do not resign next week, go now’. And then he said: ‘But I don’t know the reason why he left’. We have not heard the full story on this. I conclude by reading paragraph 14 of the minute obtained from the Secretary of the Defence Department and tabled in this House by the Minister and which I believe will repay careful study. It reads:
If the failure to inform you -
That is the Minister - that I had had your decision actually disseminated has misled you into believing that nothing had been conveyed to Mr Lloyd, I must apologise. I took it for granted, perhaps wrongly, that you would understand that your decision had to be conveyed to people for practical reasons associated with the seating arrangements and the like.
There is a whole depth of meaning in that which repays study to us all. I will not go on in detail now.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Dr Jenkins)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– 1 should like to congratulate the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) on another well considered and useful speech which is typical of his contributions to the Parliament when we on this side were in government and now that we are in Opposition. It is a great shame that there are not more honourable members on the Government side of the House to listen to him. I am not surprised that there are not more Government supporters in the House because the position is that they feel the same embarrassment about talking on these Bills as we would if we were in government. There is a long list of honourable members on this side of the House who wish to take part in this debate and I trust that they will all be given the opportunity to do so. This is a cognate debate on Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1972-73 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1972-73. I wish to refer particularly to Appropriation Bill (No. 3). I make the point that we are discussing the appropriation of additional funds to finance the additional departments which have been set up by the new Government in what one could well describe as a Parkinson’s law operation.
– That is all it is.
– I thank the honourable member for the interjection because that is all it is. The honourable member for Curtin mentioned the fact that in the last Government there were only 27 Ministries and in this one there are 37 - 10 more. It is the additional amount of money to be appropriated that we are discussing - more than $57m. I want to indicate where some of that money is to go and in particular I want to speak in regard to unemployment benefits but before I do so I should like to ask a question of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Bryant) because a private member has less than Buckley’s hope of asking a question during question time, these days, as you would know, Mr Deputy Speaker. I wish to refer to an appropriation of nearly $llm for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. It is set out in Appropriation Bill (No. 3) under division 245 - Administrative. I realise that the Minister is away and will not be able to do this tonight but I trust that he will tell the House at some time where that money is to be spent. I think that the House is entitled to some sort of accounting for the proposed expenditure of $12m. I do not think it is proper that the Minister should just sign this and that and dispose of such an enormous amount of money without any accounting; yet that is what I understand the position is going to be.
– Where is the Acting Minister?
– I do not know where the Acting Minister is but the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Bryant) is away sick. I trust that he will give us this information in due course. I turn to other appropriations in this Bill and particularly to those amounts to be spent in respect of unemployment benefits. I want to refer to a couple of things that the Government continues to say. The Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and almost all of his Ministers, probably with the exception of the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) who is at the table, use the expression whenever they propose action which is controversial: ‘We have a mandate’.
– You are on the beam now.
– I think we are on the beam because I put it to the House that the Government does not have a mandate in the way that it thinks it has. I remind the Government that there is a difference of only 3 per cent between the number of electors who supported it and the number who did not support it at the last election. So, it does not have such a mandate. It certainly does not have a mandate to do as it has said, namely, to change the structure of Australian society.
– Do not stir them up.
– I think it would be highly desirable to stir Government members up and get them out of their burrows. They have no mandate to change Australian society. Certainly they have no mandate to destroy Australian society. From the cliches used by some of the Government members this is precisely what they are about to do. ‘Redistribution of income’ is another famous expression. I say that the Government has no mandate to redistribute income, to punish those who are prepared to work and to support those who wish to live in idleness at the expense of those who wish to work. If this is what the Government means by redistribution of income, it. does not have such a mandate.
I should like to draw attention to some figures on the question of unemployment benefits. I put the view to the House that the proposed unemployment benefits represent the most retrograde step that this retrograde Government is ever likely to introduce. I refer to the proposal to pay unemployment benefits at the adult rate to minors. As the Minister for Services and Property, who is now at the table, nods in agreement I take it that he agrees with this policy. I am making a plea in the national interest. The Minister appears to support my plea for what we believe to be in the national interest.
Let us take the hypothetical situation - this could well happen - of a husband and a wife with 3 children over the age of 16 and under the age of 21 - or any age over 16. If the whole family goes to the unemployment office and says, in effect, that the members of the family do not want to work and that they are unemployable - it is easy to find a way of proving such a claim - they can draw $102 a week in unemployment benefits. Does anyone on the Government side of the House deny that? That family can receive over $5,000 a year for doing nothing. Add to that amount the cost of fringe benefits and the fact that the total unemployment benefit is not subject to income tax and we are talking about a very satisfactory income. I make the point that the Government is operating under double standards. On the one hand it wants to prop up to this quite fantastic extent people who are not prepared to work. On the other hand, last week the Government appeared in the national wage case and supported the case for an increase of the minimum wage to the handsome figure of $65 a week, as I understand it. I ask the House: What will the conscientious, hardworking person, whether he be Australian born or a migrant, on $65 a week, with a wife and 3 or 4 children say about working for that wage when he can go to the unemployment office with his family and draw in excess of $102 a week without doing a tap of work. This proposal will completely destroy incentive.
The best thing such a person can do is to go onto unemployment benefits.
I looked at a document today which 1 would commend to the House. It was produced by the Commonwealth Statistician in May 1971. It is the ‘Survey of Average Weekly Earnings’. The average weekly earnings in May 1971 for an adult male were $89.50. The number of adult males earning $80 a week or less was 892,000 and the number earning $100 a week or less was 1.5 million. That is, 1.5 million adult males in Australia were earning less than what it is possible for such a person and his family to draw in unemployment benefits. How can anyone justify that situation? At this moment there are 29,000 people estimated to be on the minimum wage of $54 a week in Australia. Receiving less than the wage of $64 a week, which will be the new minimum wage, there are nearly 250,000 people. So what I am saying is that this question of making a judgment on whether one will work and be punished or go on unemployment benefits, is of distinct interest to 250,000 people in Australia. I should like to put the position - and I trust that the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) will answer me-
– He will not.
– He will not. Of course, he will not. If the Minister says anything he will talk about something that happened in Indo-China in 1846. 1 turn now to the position of unemployed 16-year-olds. There are many of them. I know of some personally. I am sure all honourable members do. The children of some families leave school and decide that they do not want to work. They can register for unemployment benefits. With the passage of the relevant legislation they will receive $21.50 a week plus the fringe benefits of free medical, pharmaceutical and hospital entitlements. An unemployed 16-year-old will receive $21.50 a week for doing nothing. I take as an example an apprentice fitter. The Party which the Government represents is supposed to be the Party of the workers. It is supposed to represent those on salaries - the blue collar workers. The Opposition represents all people in the community.
– Who are you kidding?
– I do not think I am kidding too many honourable members on the opposite wide. There are only 5 or 6 of them present in the House.
– Would you like me to help you?
– I appreciate the help from the honourable gentleman. He belongs to the academic wing of the Labor Party - the socialist wing - which is attracted to the Party on ideological grounds. The bulk of the people on the other side of the House came up through the trade union movement. They are supposed to represent people who work for wages. I am making the point that they do not represent these people. A 16-year-old apprentice fitter undertaking a 5-year course earns $28.64 a week. He is the highest paid young man of that age that I could find on ordinary award rates. A shop assistant receives $27.80 a week, a clerk earns $28.10 a week; and a storeman receives $24.05 a week. Some juvenile workers, at least in South Australia, earn $13.50 a week at the age of 16. Females receive even less. The Labor Party is supposed to be taking the lead in seeking equal pay for women, equal opportunity and so on. But here is a case where this policy certainly does not apply. A juvenile worker actually receives $8 a week less than someone who draws an unemployment benefit.
– The Party for the non-workers.
– As my colleague has said, the Labor Party is the Party representing the non-workers. That is a very good point.
– The bludgers.
– The Labor Party represents the professional bludgers in the community. One could say: ‘No wonder some young people stay at home instead of going to work’. These young people are in the minority but this Government wants to encourage that form of lethargy and laziness. We do not. This Government is out to destroy incentive and self-confidence and will turn the young people of this country into a conglomeration of professional bludgers. We all know that there is a very strong personal antipathy between the Minister for Social Security (Mr Hayden) and the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) and there is this constant contest between them for the control of funds.
I would like to quote what the Minister for Social Security had to say about eligibility for unemployment benefits. I am still not sure who speaks for this department in the Government. I do not know whether it is the
Minister for Social Security or the Minister for Labour. Could someone on the other side of the House tell me?
– They do not know.
– They do not know, there is no response at all, and I do not know either. The position is, as I have said, that virtually anybody can claim unemployment benefits by establishing that he is unemployable, and that is what the Minister for Social Security sets down as his criterion. An article headed Hairy jobless can get dole’ appeared in the Age’ of 13th January and another article based on the same press release appeared on 19th February. The article in the ‘Age’ stated:
The Minister for Social Welfare (Mr Hayden) has stood up for the rights of long-haired youths to draw unemployment benefits.
Employers have sometimes refused to employ people because of their appearance - particularly long hair and ‘mod’ clothes.
Mr Hayden said he had directed officials that in such cases, the applicant should no longer lose bis employment benefits.
The Minister said:
Employers are a small minority in the community
This is doctrinaire socialism - and they have no God-given right to impose hair style and mode of dress on other people,’ . . .
He said he wanted to set up an informal and independent appeals system against decisions by his officials -
And so on and so on. The truth is that long hair is not a criterion. We have the evidence around us. When we go into a government department every other young person employed there has long hair. Therefore it is not correct to say that long hair is a criterion. The situation is that those people who do not want to work just go to the employment service, are allotted to an employer and make themselves so objectionable that the employer will not employ them and then they go on $21.50 a week plus free medical, hospital and other benefits.
Unfortunately time will not permit me to quote examples of other authorities such as local governing authorities which have made the point that special funds allotted to them by the Commonwealth Government have not been used because they have been unable to employ people for the reason that those people just do not want to work. It is ridiculous to say that there is unemployment in this country. It is true that there is a level of unemployment but also there is opportunity for those who are unemployed to work. The Chief Engineer from the Mosman Council is reported in February as saying:
Since the relief work started on January 24, 26 men have left, three were dismissed for misconduct, one refused to work and two were round sleeping on the job after being warned.
These men simply do not want to remain in employment.
– Did he say how many were left?
– There were none left. Quotations of this sort can be obtained from an enormous number of agencies. I could refer, if time permitted, to experiences in New Zealand and Canada. In Canada a jobless man can draw as much as $100 a week provided he works for 16 weeks in 52 weeks. The Australian Government is going as hard as it can to copy what is being done in Canada. I suggest that Mr Trudeau only just retained office by one seat because of the discontent in Canada where unemployment was so high.
In Adelaide Mr Branson, the President of the South Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, had this to say about a month ago: . .
It is strange that there is such a number on unemployment relief and yet it is almost impossible to obtain labour for full-time, long-term employment. ‘
He went on to say:
In the Brighton area a company that employs about 80 people is considering cutting out a shift because it cannot recruit a further eight workers.
This sort of situation exists all over’ Australia. Once again in South Australia, the personnel manager of Chrysler Australia Ltd said about 3 weeks ago that his company’s employment office had been open all day but few people had applied. He went on to say that Chrysler Was having to relax its age limits for vacancies and was taking on more women workers. We believe - and I think that I can say that this is Liberal philosophy - that generous unemployment benefits should be paid to people who really need them. I would, strongly support any move to make generous unemployment benefits available to, for example, someone who is redundant, someone whose firm has been taken over and which does not have a vacancy for him or a sick wage earner such as the head of a family who has children.
We on this side of the House say that until people who suffer misfortune can re-establish themselves they should be given every opportunity for rehabilitation and that neither they nor their families should suffer financially.
But the bludger, the professional idler, the parasite on this community who just will not work should not, in my opinion at any rate, be paid unemployment benefits. In the certain belief that I will not be granted an extension of time I will not have the opportunity to quote the irrefutable evidence of authorities around Australia-
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I do not want to go over the ground covered by my colleagues the honourable members for Kennedy (Mr Katter), Curtin (Mr Garland) and Boothby (Mr McLeay). But I want to make one comment in regard to Australia’s participation in international affairs. I remember not so very long ago hearing in this House the present Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) make comments about Sir Robert Menzies, who was the Prime Minister of that day, in regard to what the present Prime Minister called Sir Robert’s intrusion into the Suez crisis. Of course, the implication was that the then Prime Minister did not have a full appreciation of the situation in the international field. I think that the present Prime Minister will realise and appreciate that international affairs are not perhaps as easy as he might have thought when he was on the Opposition side of this House. The Prime Minister’s adventure in the field of international relations did not succeed to a very marked degree during his recent visit to Indonesia and in the comments he made in regard to the position of Thailand. I hope that these events might be a lesson to him and that in further comments that he makes about Australia’s position in the international field he might give a great deal more deep and full consideration to some of the problems that exist.
The comments of my colleagues the honourable members for Kennedy and Curtin in regard to the direction of our foreign policy should be noted by all Australians. In recent months the Government has leant very considerably towards the Left. As has been said, comments that have been made by responsible Ministers - and I use the term ‘responsible’ advisedly - in regard to our relationship with the United States and in regard to actions of the United States are certainly not comments that should be made by responsible Ministers. I recall that it has been stated by at least one of the members of the present Government that we should break the Australian-American alliance.
At this stage I do not want to say a great deal about the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation but I must confess that, having listened to some of the comments from the Government side and from the Senate, I feel that many questions were left unanswered by the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy). I mention also that ASIO has been a target for those with left wing sympathies. It has been part of a policy of the left wing within the Australian Labor Party to destroy ASIO and to discredit it both in Australia and overseas. While I do not want to make any dogmatic comment, I believe that many questions have been left unanswered by the Attorney-General.
Let me refer now to the PostmasterGeneral’s Department. Some of the comments made by the Postmaster-General (Mr Lionel Bowen) have caused a degree of concern to people in my electorate and also to people in other country areas. I want to be fair to the Postmaster-General. I appreciate that he has only recently taken over this portfolio and therefore it will take some time for him to gain a full appreciation of the situation within his Department. As I have said before, more money should be made available from the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the PostmasterGeneral’s Department. I emphasise that point. But at the moment there appears to be a reluctance in the Postmaster-General’s Department to appreciate the need for telephonic communications in country areas. In one reply I received from the Postmaster-General he said:
The more liberal conditions of the policy governing the provision of country telephone services introduced in August 1970 has attracted increasing demand for new services, and this work must be integrated with area development programs as resources become available.
I believe that resources must be made available. There is not much point in bringing in a policy unless the Government is able to put it into effect. Because of this policy, people in country areas are, in some circumstances, not receiving as effective a service as they were receiving before the policy was brought into being.
Let me give an illustration. Certain private lines are providing people with telephone services. As the PMG’s Department moves into the area to take over those lines, no work is done on the lines except by the PMG’s Department. Therefore I believe that money will have to be made available so that the work in these areas can be done expeditiously. Let me refer also to the hours of operation of country telephone services. In country areas, because people have to go away from their homes to perform their work, in many instances if a telephone service closes at 6 o’clock as much as li or 2 hours of a farmer’s time are wasted while he goes inside to make a telephone call. I believe that, wherever possible, the service should be extended to 8 o’clock. I point out that a call to Sydney made after 6 p.m. costs 57 cents as against 86 cents if it is made before 6 o’clock. This proposal should be of considerable advantage to the primary producer, to people living in country areas. I hope that work in country areas will not be delayed because of the inquiry that is being instigated. I hope that such work will be expedited.
To my mind, the answer given this afternoon by the Postmaster-General to a question relating to official post offices was not satisfactory. Reports that many official post offices - one of the figures given was 300 - are to be declassified are causing a degree of concern. In his reply to a question the PostmasterGeneral said that the previous Government had a policy of closing down some non-official post offices. In this House and in other places I have opposed the closing down of these country post offices. I was successful in keeping many of them in my electorate open. I know that representations made by other honourable members were also successful in keeping other post offices open. I am sure that the Postmaster-General will find that honourable members now have exactly the same attitude as they had to earlier suggestions of closing down non-official post offices.
I want to turn to the matter of export incentives. I hope that consideration will be given to retaining export incentives and that no steps will be taken either to reduce or to remove them. It has been said that there is no need to give concentrated attention to maintaining our exports. I think that the export incentive payments should be maintained. A report I have reads as follows:
The incentives were a major element in the vehicle building companies’ decisions to procure vehicles from one or another source. To remove the incentives would be to alter the economics and thus the options available to the vehicle building companies.
There was no certainty that the vehicle builders would continue to use Australia as a source of supply of CKD packs for assembly in other countries if the incentives were removed.
I think that if this matter were to be investigated it would be seen that as many as 4,000 or 5,000 jobs of Australian workers would be in jeopardy. So I feel that the Government must give attention to retaining the export incentives. In my humble opinion, the arguments against doing so have been amazing. The report to which I have referred said that the opposition to the system was based on the following:
The budget position involved a substantial and growing deficit and this could be partly cured by removing the export incentive system. There were arguments in favour of the money involved being diverted to the achievement of the Labor Party’s social objectives. Australia’s current favourable balance of trade made it no longer desirable to encourage exports of manufactured products.
In my opinion, none of those 3 arguments against maintaining our export incentives has any validity.
I want to make some comment about devaluation. The other night the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Whan) referred to an increase in prices since the alteration of the value of the Australian dollar. What he did not say was that if there had not been a change in the value of the Australian dollar the primary producer would have been receiving an even greater amount. I should like to emphasise something that I mentioned in this House only a short while ago, the fact that many people now talk about the primary producer receiving a great return for his product, that he has now literally overcome the problems and difficulties and, to use an expression that has been used many times in this country, he is now again home on the pig’s back or the sheep’s back. I pointed out on that particular occasion, and I emphasise it again, that what the primary producer is now receiving does not make up for the lean and difficult times that he went through a short while ago.
I should like to refer to a comment made by the Bank of New South Wales concerning the up-valuation of the Australian dollar. In its March ‘Review’ the Bank of New South Wales argued that the currency move could have been an over-kill method of bringing the balance of payments back into equilibrium. But in the same article the Bank said the Government’s action was fortuitously justified after the event by further substantial price rises for wool and stronger demand for other exports. That was certainly not a factor related to the attitude of the Government. I emphasise the point I made earlier by reading a further extract from that report. The report said:
Australia’s export earnings were subject to violent fluctuations - and it was a rare year when there was all round strength among rural exports as in 1972. A turnabout in rural prices could bring the current account back into deficit as rapidly as it went into surplus. The subsequent 10 per cent revaluation of the United States dollar presented Australia with another policy challenge.
Anybody who has any association with the primary producer knows that there are many factors concerning the primary producer’s product and work over which he has absolutely no control. Fluctuations in his earnings in many instances are caused by things outside his control.
I should like to mention one other matter. I refer to the advertising of drugs on radio and television. I note that the Minister for Health (Dr Everingham) has been reported as saying that he would like to see the banning of all advertising of aspirin on radio and television. This appears to me to be an amazing contradiction. Although some members of the present Government say we should ban the advertising of aspirin because it is harmful, other members of the Government say that people should be allowed to smoke marihuana. I think the smoking of marihuana is completely and absolutely, beyond any shadow of doubt, a far greater danger to the community than any aspirin would be. Suggestions have been made that drug manufacturers lack a sense of responsibility and are interested only in selling their product so that they may make money out of it, that they do not have any regard to the benefit to the community. I should like to read a letter which was circulated by a drug company concerning this matter. I think this reflects a lack of responsibility which sometimes is shown by the news media. This letter from the drug firm states:
Following lay Press reports on Saturday 24.2.73, we, the manufacturers of-
The name of the drug is then stated - are concerned with the possible abuse and misuse of … by young persons deliberately seeking hallucinatory effect. The reporting of full details of the trade name, availability through pharmacy, price and even the number of tablets required for a trip may encourage experimentation by teenagers who would not normally even consider die use of known hallucinogenic drugs. Although this drug and derivatives have been dispensed and recommended for allergies and sickness by pharmacies for 20 years, the author suggests that it must now be considered whether these should be restricted . . .
The letter goes on to state:
The company believes that such decision is very important to the community and cannot be rushed. We therefore take the unusual action of requesting you, the pharmacist, to remove . . . from open shelves to the security of the dispensary to be handled only by qualified staff. This, we believe, will minimise the possibility of misuse of our product following the unfortunate Press release identifying generic and trade names.
I think that letter shows 2 things, firstly, a sense of responsibility by the drug companies and, secondly, a reminder to the media that they should have some consideration of the full effects of certain matters before they report them. I have made no bones in this House before about being associated with both a radio station and a television station, but I believe that this matter shows that in many instances we can rush into things without giving full consideration to the effects of what we are doing. In regard to the banning of the advertising on television, radio or even the Press of aspirin and various beneficial medicines such as that, I believe that very careful consideration should be given before action is taken.
– The announcement last year of positive steps towards a continuing program of selective decentralisation represented a major step forward in the development of our nation. For such a program to be successful there must of course be the closest possible consultation with the States in a truly federal spirit. The present Government favours the development of certain regions, starting with the AlburyWodonga region, and it has been suggested that a Bathurst-Orange development might follow, and then others, but a number of aspects must be considered very carefully if regional development is to be balanced and satisfactory. Much has been said and written, over the years, of the need for a clear policy on decentralisation. About 8 years ago a Commonwealth-State Officials Committee on Decentralisation was established to gather the information needed to justify a Commonwealth policy on decentralisation. The detailed work was carried out by a technical sub-committee whose reports were finally collated and considered by the CommonwealthState Officials Committee in October 1971. The Committee then prepared and circulated a draft report to the various Commonwealth and State authorities.
There is, of course, the question of the extent to which Commonwealth participation in a decentralisation program is allowed by the Constitution. Section 51 (ii) of the Constitution provides that the Commonwealth cannot discriminate between States or parts of States in matters of taxation. The Australian Industries Development Association has, within the past 12 months or so, published 2 penetrating articles of very great interest. One of the articles was published in March 1972 under the heading: ‘Decentralisation: What’s happening about it?’ The other article, published in May 1972, appeared under the heading: ‘An urgent need for decentralisation policy’. The August 1972 issue of ‘Canberra Comments’ published by the Australian Chambers of Commerce contained an excellent article entitled: ‘Decentralisation and urban affairs’. interest in this whole subject has become more and more intense in recent months and the ‘Manufacturers Bulletin’ of 1st September 1972 reported a statement by the New South Wales Minister for Decentralisation and Development that about 700,000 people will have to be diverted from the Sydney metropolitan area to country centres of New South Wales over the next 28 years. The Minister said that this is equivalent to the creation of two and a half Newcastles, 23 cities the size of Wagga Wagga or 7 new cities of 100,000 residents. He went on to say that the climate had never been more favourable for a determined assault on the demographic imbalance which afflicts all Australian States and that there was now no question as to the attitude of all Governments, both Federal and State, towards decentralisation as an urgent national requirement. He then stated:
A measure of the possibilities open to us ls the acknowledgement of State Planning Authority of New South Wales that the Sydney Region Outline Plan will only work if 300,000 job opportunities are created outside the Sydney region by the year 2000.
Another eminent authority, Dr Colin Clark, has written extensively of the need to decentralise. In an article published in the Brisbane Courier-Mail’ on 6th September 1972, he claims that our capitals in 20 years time will be unfit to live in unless urgent and positive steps are taken. I shall quote some passages from Dr Clark’s article. He writes:
There is only one solution. Our growing Industry and population must be diverted to new towns. This emphatically does not mean ‘satellite towns’, which will only make the confusion worse.
Dr Clark continues:
A new town must be economically independent, not just a commuters’ residential area.
Dr Clark claims that such a new town: . . should be at least 90 minutes travel time away from any existing large town.
He gives examples from Britain to indicate what should be avoided. He points out that British new towns are now being designed for populations of 250,000’, but that ‘even this latter figure, unfortunately, must be regarded as a minimum’. Dr Clark goes on to say that nobody likes to work in a small town which principally is dependent on one or two industries because there is too much economic uncertainty. He continues:
Conversely, employers do not like to establish their businesses where the labour force is too small, with a limited range of skills and of ancillary enterprises.
Dr Clark is critical of South Australia for developing Elizabeth only 15 miles away from Adelaide. He believes that it will be a mistake if another new town is built only 50 miles from Adelaide, with a population aim of only 200,000 people. He points out that some economists think a population of nearly 500,000 is necessary before the essential economic conditions are satisfied and that none would put the figure below 250,000.
Dr Clark argues that, with our expected rate of population growth, Australia should be in a position to build a number of new towns during the next 20 years, but not an unlimited number. He claims that, instead of enlarging existing small towns, there is much to be said for designing new towns on vacant sites. He states:
The funds available for subsidisation being limited, Australia’s strategy will have to be to start only one or two new towns and to run each of them up to near the economic minimum size as rapidly as possible before starting on others.
He suggests that no employer should be compelled to move to a new town, but that those who choose to stay in the capital cities should be faced with a payroll tax increasing year by year and the proceeds of this tax should be used to give substantial subsidies on the payrolls of employers in new towns. He also suggests that, to encourage decentralisation, there should be an equalisation of telephone charges over substantial distances and that the building of migrant hostels should he diverted to new towns.
The journal ‘Canberra Comments’ of August 1972 makes the submission that, because of the importance of containing cost-push inflation, great care will need to be taken to ensure the economic and efficient utilisation of resources in the decentralisation of industry. The article points out that Australia has examples of decentralised industrial development based on the processing of raw materials and that more of this kind of development could be encouraged, provided that Australia’s cost structure can be improved relative to costs overseas. The article stresses the vital need for the closest co-operation not only between State and Federal governments but also between governments and private enterprise. It also emphasises that incentives for decentralised development will be effective only if the total economic environment in the decentralised locality is taken into account and that businessmen with first-hand experience of decentralised development will need to be brought into consultation with State and Federal authorities at an early stage to ensure that basic commercial considerations are not overlooked. One of the most important of such considerations, of course - it almost goes without saying - is an adequate supply of water.
I am sure we all agree that to counter the drift to the cities the formulation and implementation of a national policy for regional development, supported by both the States and the Commonwealth, is of prime importance. As the Australian Industries Development Association has pointed out, the vital element for successful decentralisation is the provision of employment, and secondary industry must provide the major thrust for successful decentralisation of the magnitude required. The Association suggests that, having declared a national objective, the following immediate steps should be taken: Firstly, we should nominate selected growth centres for decentralisation; secondly, planning bodies should be organised and forward cost studies prepared; thirdly, we should decide which industries are best suited for immediate decentralisation; and, fourthly, we should consider the proximity to markets, the readily available supply of labour, the ease of obtaining raw materials, the lowering of cost disadvantages and the improvement of telecommunications and rail and road transport to service markets. The Association emphasises the immediate need to subsidise those companies that are willing to decentralise straight away because the risks to these pioneer companies are greater and the disadvantages faced are more acute than those which would be encountered by firms choosing to decentralise at a later time, when a new city is more firmly established. Demographic surveys show that, of all the countries that belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Australia is one of the most highly urbanised. I hope most sincerely that very careful steps will be taken to remedy the situation over the years ahead.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Daly) read a third time.
Consideration resumed from 13 March (vide page 471), on motion by Mr Crean:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Daly) read a third time.
Motion (by Mr Morrison) proposed:
That the House do now adjourn.
– I desire to bring to the notice of this Parliament the matter of motor vehicle insurance policies being issued by a firm known as the Australian Motorists Insurance Co. Pty Ltd which operates from the ground floor, 225 George Street, Sydney with a postal address of Box 4, Post Office, George Street North, Sydney. A young man from Scone in my electorate entered into an agreement with this company for a $3,000 cover on a 1971Valiant Pacer sedan on 19th March 1971, to give cover until 19th March 1972. During the period of the policy, this young man was involved in a major accident and damage to the extent of $1,000 was done to his vehicle. A firm of solicitors in Scone, McLellan and Noonan, acted for him in relation to a claim arising out of this accident. On 23rd January 1973 the claim was rejected by the insurer and, after obtaining counsel’s advice, it was decided not to take the matter further. This advice was given after an examination of clauses 12 and 13 of the agreement and for the purpose of the record 1 shall read these clauses to the House. They are in the finest print and one has to get a magnifying glass to read them. Clause 12 states:
All differences arising out of this Policy shall be referred to the decision of an Arbitrator to be appointed in writing by the parties in difference or if they cannot agree upon a single Arbitrator to the decision of two (2)’ disinterested persons as Arbitrators, of whom one (1) shall be appointed in writing by each of the parties within two (2) calendar months after having been required so to do in writing by the other party. In case either party shall refuse or fail to appoint an Arbitrator within two (2) calendar months after receipt of notice in writing requiring an appointment, the other party shall be at liberty to appoint a sole Arbitrator; and in case of a disagreement between the Arbitrators, the difference shall be referred to the decision of an Umpire (who shall be a practising member of the Bar in the State in which such dispute arises) who shall have been appointed by them in writing before entering on the reference and who shall sit with the Arbitrators and preside at their meetings. The death of any party shall not revoke or effect the authority or powers of the Arbitrator, Arbitrators or Umpire respectively. And in the event of a death of an Arbitrator or Umpire, another shall in each case be appointed in his stead by the party or Arbitrators (as the case may be) by whom the Arbitrator or Umpire so dying was appointed. Each party shall pay his/her or their own costs of the reference and moiety of the costs of the award (including Arbitrators’ and Umpire’s fees. And it is hereby expressly stipulated and declared that it shall be a condition precedent to any right of action or suit upon this Policy that the award of such Arbitrators or Umpire in respect of any such difference shall be first obtained.
Clause 13 states:
No action or suit shall be maintainable against the Company in respect of any claim hereunder unless the same shall have been referred to Arbitration as hereinbefore provided within six months (6) from the date of the occurrence of the accident or loss in respect of which the claim is made. And further no action or suit shall be maintainable against the Company unless proceedings are commenced within six months (6) from the date of the award in an Arbitration obtained in manner hereinbefore provided.
Clause 12 might be called a common arbitration clause but if it is examined it will he seen that the insured is required to pay his own costs of the arbitration proceedings plus one-half of the costs of the arbitrator even, it would appear, if he were successful. As these costs could well exceed $300 this is a real deterrent to taking any dispute to arbitration. However, clause 13 is even more harsh. In the present case the accident occurred in March 1972 but it was not until 23rd
January 1973 when the claim was rejected that any difference arose under the policy which could give rise to arbitration. This means that by failing to reply to a claim either by way of accepting it or refusing it, the insurer may be able to allow the period of 6 months to pass and may, therefore, be in a position of asserting that there is now no enforceable claim available.
I feel that the company to which I have referred, the Australian Motorists and General Insurance Co. Pty Ltd is acting in a way which is not in the best interests of the community and is bordering on dishonesty of purpose. I would like this matter to be checked by the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) and some action taken to protect people who have the misfortune to insure with this company, the Australian Motorists and General Insurance Co. Pty Ltd. I have been asked by this young man to bring this matter forward and this request has the full backing of his solicitors, McLellan and Noonan, of Scone.
– About an hour ago I was engaged in making some comments about the record of this Government in its first 100 days of office. I took the opportunity presented by the debate on the Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1973. Unfortunately there was not enough time allotted to me in which to list all the misdemeanours of this Government and I propose to mention a few more in the time that is now available to me in the adjournment debate. I was in the midst of explaining that we had the incident that has become known as the Barnard affair. The Minister for Defence (Mr Barnard) had this strange separation from his Press Secretary and instilled into the position of the Minister are certain elements. He maintains that his Press Secretary notified him of his intention to resign the following week. The Minister said to him: ‘No, leave this week’. However, he later claimed that he had no idea why the Press Secretary left him. I pointed out in my earlier remarks that this is a very strange matter and I drew attention in particular to a very telling paragraph in the document supplied by the Secretary of the Department of Defence at the request of the Minister for Defence. It would repay study by honourable members. The importance of this matter to the Government is not Mr Lloyd, the Press Secretary; its importance is that it brings into question the whole competence, if that is the word and not the opposite to it, of the Minister for Defence.
Another matter of importance in the conduct of this Government during its period in office is the allegiance which it has shown that it has to pay to the trade union movement. The ‘Australian’ on 26th February referred to 2 matters. The ‘Australian’ newspaper is an impeccable source so far as the Australian Labor Party is concerned, almost its authority and certainly a newspaper which is most favourable to the Government. The first matter was the statement by the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh) of the new Government policy that government contracts are to be restricted to firms employing union members and firms which have good relations with the trade union movement. This is a policy which leaves out of consideration quality and price as determining features for the placing of government contracts and creates a situation in which the Minister or some public servant has to decide which companies get contracts but not on the basis of quality and price. So it opens the way to corruption, to trade union pimping and favouritism. The second reference was to the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) who tried to get a fourth week’s annual leave given only to those public servants who are trade unionists. The ‘Australian’ in an editorial on 26th February condemned those policies. Imagine the Australian’ condemning policies of the Labor Government! It said:
The use of such power to enforce a principle of doubtful national significance seems indefensible.
With that I heartily agree. The fact is that this Government understands that it has an obligation to the trade union movement irrespective of what is right in the Australian national interest and it is engaged in making the pay-offs. The Australian Labor Party rests four square on the trade union movement and is afraid to resist excessive demands. Indeed even in the reformed Australian Labor Party the trade union movement has some 60 per cent of votes.
I come next to the oft-quoted mandate that the Government claims to have for everything in its policy speech. The whole concept of a mandate is fallacious, and the Prime Minister, who is a Queen’s Counsel, knows much better than to try to maintain this fallacy. I challenge him to look up the references, the constitutional authorities, to see what they say about the concept of a mandate. It is quite clear that the concept is invalid. The Government must do, under our Constitution, what it believes is right, not what is in some policy document, and the Opposition must oppose what it believes is wrong. It is quite fallacious, quite incorrect and indeed dangerous for the Government or the Opposition to believe that a matter has been decided at the elections and cannot be opposed. I refer to the Minister for Immigration (Mr Grassby), his verbose and boring Press releases and his striving to make something newsworthy every day. He surely by now must have been through all the classic backgrounds and poses for photographs in newspapers.
– You are simply jealous.
– That may be. No doubt his lively imagination will ensure many more photographs. I refer next to the Minister for Northern Development (Dr Patterson), whom I am pleased to see in the chamber. That has been quite a change for the Ministry this evening. So much has been heard from him and indeed from other Ministers about what would be done in the north. Let us face it: That Minister has been discredited by the Minister for Minerals and Energy (Mr Connor) and then by the Cabinet in a public squabble about his policies.
– I raise a point of order. The honourable member is reflecting unfavourably on the Minister for Northern Development.
-Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– Of course, it has been found that other Ministers have taken over areas, or it has been claimed that they should have areas, which one would have thought that the Minister for Northern Development would have had. What has been left for him to do? It has been said, perhaps a little unkindly of him, that he is the Minister for sugar. That is all that has been left to him - sugar.
– That is more than you have.
– I am sorry. I do not wish to be unkind to the Minister. I think that many of the policies he put forward and his attempts are deserving of support, but what I am pointing out in a list of examples is that this Government has been inadequate and incorrect in what it has put forward, and I think it is wrong that it should have stripped the Minister of so much responsibility. Indeed, the Prime Minister in order really to crush the Minister politically took the whole question to the Australian Labor Party’s Federal Executive, a body which is mainly comprised of non-members of Parliament. He moved himself - imagine it - a motion that that body congratulate the Government, of which he is the Prime Minister, on its new minerals policy. How silly can you be? You would think that self-adulation would not have too much part in Australian politics, but of course there was a method in his madness. This was a means of crushing the policies of the Minister for Northern Development, and, needless to say, the Australian Labor Party’s Federal Executive passed the motion which the Prime Minister had moved. But of course the Prime Minister did something very wrong in that he introduced a Cabinet dispute into a body outside the Parliament, and that of course is a bad principle for the Australian Parliament.
Another point that has been evident in the Government’s conduct has been the appointments it has made to its political friends in the area of the arts. I say deliberately that many of those appointments are pay-offs, and I intend to return in detail to this subject on another occasion. We have seen an example of empire building in the area of the arts - a tremendous growth. We have seen the using of actors employed by the Labor Party in the election at a parliamentary opening as a payoff. We have seen Ministers employ members of their families and give them other perks. I conclude by saying that the time has come for this Government to govern responsibly in the interests of Australia, leaving aside all dramatics, improprieties and evasion. It is the results of policies that are of importance, not the promises and the publicity themselves.
– I do not wish to delay the House for long, but there were one or two comments by the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) that I think should not pass unnoticed. In this Parliament the honourable member for Curtin has assumed a very strange role. He was elected to the Ministry of the McMahon Government - which is no great credit - by reason of the fact that he complied with the requirement that you had to be very good and always bow to the Prime Minister and you were accordingly selected. In that Ministry he was what is classically known in political circles as a geographical selection. He was not picked on ability but merely because someone had to get in from Western Australia, and the talent was so low that the honourable member won in a canter. When the present Parliament resumed the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) selected him, I think, for a shadow Ministry, but subsequently the Liberal Party had a vote on who should be on the front bench and now the honourable member is back in the back blocks. The former Minister for Supply could not win a place on the Liberal Party front bench - and after all that is not a colossal task - and we find that ever since then he has been taking it out on us by continually moaning and groaning about what is happening on this side of the Parliament simply because of his personal disappointment about nonrecognition of the great ability of which he has so much and of which he constantly tells us. We do not mind this, but why not give us something constructive?
The honourable member spoke on the question of supply. If he happens to be a wizard on supply, why is it that he is not sitting on the front bench of the Liberal Party and telling us from there what is wrong with supply, contracts and all these things. The fact of the matter is that he is speaking as a political discard of the Liberal Party on great international and national affairs. He has been found wanting in respect of these matters, and the Government does not want lectures from Liberal Party discards on how to run this country. The people outside know that we are doing it well. Whether the honourable member can read or not, let him look at the mandate we have. It is a pretty clear one and a pretty broad one. If he is here to obstruct the Government in this or another place, let him take the consequences in due course. He will find adequate opportunity to do so.
The honourable member attacked the trade unions, their excesses, the demands they are making and matters of this nature. I did not hear him attacking the Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd or the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd or any of the major monopolists which his Party supports in this Parliament together with all others who exploit the people of this country and go unchallenged and who for years were supported by the Government of which he was a Minister. When he was Minister for Supply he said nothing about those who exploited the taxpayers of this country by imposing exorbitant charges and other things of that nature. But now he has reached a position where he has become one who is finding all the flaws in the things that are happening in respect of these matters.
The honourable member talked about political appointments. Honourable members know that after the 1969 elections the Government scattered Liberal discards from this Parliament from one end of the world to the other. It had Mr Freeth in Tokyo. We ran out of places for them. There were so many Liberal members the Government did not want that it knocked up sending them around the world. The last people in this nation who ought to talk about political patronage are the members of the former government who sit opposite. We only have to run down the list of the appointments they made. One day I asked a question here as to how many boards and committees there were, and I think I got the longest answer to any question given in the Parliament. Littered from end to end amongst the names given were members who had been appointed as favourites of the then Government for services they had rendered to certain people who then sat on the Government side of the Parliament. So let us not talk about political patronage. We have not started yet, because we know we have to think it over carefully. So great were the number of appointments made by honourable members opposite that I do not think that if we appointed one a day we would have enough to catch up.
I mention these things so that honourable members opposite will know that it is a long hard road on that side of the chamber. The honourable member for Curtin does not want to get cranky early. He will have plenty of time to get it out of his system. He has years in front of him in Opposition. So I say to him: ‘Don’t get rid of it all at once. It is a tiring game in Opposition.’ I was in Opposition for 20 years. A member can start exuberantly, as did the honourable member, but he will have to do it day after day. It is like a 6-day bike race. Consequently the honourable member does not want to be up again and again on the same subject. This is his second speech for the day. He said that he did not have sufficient time. We hear similar statements frequently.
I would point out to the honourable member that there is no chance of his winning his way back to the front bench opposite on the talents he endeavoured to display today. After all, capable men like the former Minister for Social Services, the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth), are looking for a place on the front bench. I also see aspiring new members opposite. I have not seen them properly in action yet but many of them look bright, intelligent young fellows. The honourable member for Petrie (Mr Cooke) is looking happily at me. I suggest that he would decorate with great distinction the front bench opposite. This obviously is making the honourable member for Curtin annoyed. He has no chance of getting on the front bench again. No doubt one of the bright new members will get the place he seeks.
I do not wish to detain the House. I simply rose to put the honourable member for Curtin right on a few points. I repeat that for 23 years, we in Opposition, watched political patronage being exercised by former governments. We watched the previous Government go to its doom because of the incapabilities of its Ministers, among whom was the honourable member for Curtin who spoke this evening and earlier today. We watched the previous Government caring little about those who were exploiting Australia so long as its powerful friends were protected. We watched a Ministry selected. The honourable member for Curtin was one appointed not on ability but because of the geographical location of his district and because he worshipped the little man who was Prime Minister not so long ago. The Government is in office because it has a clear mandate. It has a policy and has been doing things. I say to the honourable member for Curtin that we do not want to be instructed by him on how to run the country because we do not want to end up again in Opposition.
– The Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) reveals a great capacity to rise . at this time of night and poke fun at various members of the Opposition. It is time we looked at the Minister himself. Most honourable members can remember the great speeches he used to make on a great variety of high policy matters when he was in Opposition, particularly in respect of immigration. At one time he was the shadow Minister for Immigration. Unfortunately the shadow was too pale and wan for his own liking and a little dark for the liking of others so it was thought that he should be removed from that shadow portfolio. The South Australian Premier did not like him nor did one or two members sitting beside him on the front bench so the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam), as Leader of the Opposition, was forced to reallocate his shadow portfolios. After the elections the Prime Minister was confronted with the. horrible knowledge that the honourable member for Grayndler had been elected to the Ministry. What a shock this was. The Prime Minister had to find a portfolio for him. What did he find? The honourable member for Grayndler was appointed to look after property and services - something that I, when I was Minister for the Interior, used to handle in about 2 hours a week. My successor, the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt), handled it in about one hour a week. The Prime Minister created a whole new portfolio and the honourable member was made Minister for Services and Property. I am told on good authority that the Minister has so little to do in this portfolio that often his staff brings him a broom so that he can sweep out some of his offices to keep him busily employed during the day.
– Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Is it in order for the Minister to admit publicly that he only worked for an hour a week when he was a Minister?
– With great respect, I am no longer a Minister. However, it is in order for me to admit publicly that I could handle all matters related to services and property in a couple of hours a week while as Minister for the Interior I dealt with policy matters relating to the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and other aspects of the Department of the Interior.
Let us consider now the situation of the Minister for Northern Development (Dr Patterson). He and the Minister for Services and Property had great dreams of what they would do if they were in government. The Minister for Northern Development when in Opposition made tremendously strong speeches about primary industry. He and the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) were great rivals for the portfolio of Minister for Primary Industry. Indeed it was a matter of much comment, concern and interest in the Australian Press following the elections as to who would secure this important portfolio. But who got it? A cabin boy from Tasmania got it - someone no-one had ever heard of before. He admitted quite frankly that he could not tell a merino from a corriedale. Primary industry organisations throughout Australia have been suffering ever since. We have yet to hear from the Minister for
Northern Development in his capacity as such. We hear of great rumbles in the Cabinet room and of how he will stand everybody up. We hear that he will do over the Minister for Minerals and Energy (Mr Connor) in the Cabinet room yet the next day the newspapers report that the great, big trundling Minister for Minerals and Energy has trundled tie little Minister for Northern Development right out of the road. The Minister for Northern Development is like Freddie Daly who sweeps the dust from the offices within his Department.
What a great collection of Ministers we and the nation are faced with on the front bench opposite. What the Australian public did not bank on was a hotchpotch collection of Ministers. I would have appreciated, as would many people have appreciated, the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Hansen) being given a portfolio. He is a genuine, hard working member. And what of the honourable member for Brisbane (Mr Cross)? He even had the Prime Minister’s nod as a prospective Minister, but he had no such luck. I look around and see other worthy members, including the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Keogh). He has made many powerful speeches about the shipbuilding industry. But consider the decline in the Australian shipbuilding industry. Since the change of Government the Evans Deakin shipyard cannot get an order. Ships are being imported. The Australian National Line has been given permission to import a vessel. As for the news of last week, it is a wonder that the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Duthie) and the honourable member for Braddon (Mr Davies) can sit in this chamber knowing that the ‘Straitsman’ - an Australian-built ship which cost $1.2m of hard earned Australian money - is to be tied up at the dock whilst the Australian Labor Government in cohorts with the Tasmanian Government brings in an imported ship to handle the trade. What a travesty of justice! What sheer hypocrisy from those members opposite who for so long have espoused the great cause of Australian nationalism.
– They will bring in Dutchbuilt destroyers.
– The latest yarn is that they will bring in Dutch-built destroyers which may well be better than Australian-built destroyers. Again, this is sheer hypocrisy. How the honourable member for Wilmot, a man of the cloth and a sincere, hard working member, can tolerate that proposition is beyond me. It amazes me that he and the honourable member for Braddon can sit quietly without speaking on this important matter. Their consciences were so stirred in the last Parliament that night after night when I was Minister for Shipping and Transport I was under continuous attack from them. I received constant deputations from them pleading with me not to put Australian seamen out of work and not to tie up Australian ships but to find a way to remedy the situation so that the Australianbuilt ship, the ‘Straitsman’, could handle the job.
Much more could be said about these matters. All I can say is that the people of Australia have been totally deluded. When I see the collection of hotchpotch Ministers that the Prime Minister has had to appoint to a variety of portfolios I feel sorry for the people of Australia. It really hurts me to think that when they wake up and read their morning newspapers they see statements by the clown from Riverina. We have heard no statements as yet from the Minister for Northern Development. We look forward to the day when he will introduce a great policy for northern development. We have had 100 days of so-called action from the Government, but not one word and not one policy decision from the Minister for Northern Development.
– All he has is sugar.
– I do not think he has made a statement on sugar. When all is said and done that really is the only matter he has to handle in his portfolio. Everything else has been pinched off him by the plaguing Ministers around him. The poor Minister for Northern Development. The only consolation he has is that, as he himself says, he gets the money.
-Order! It being 11 p.m., in accordance with the order of the House, the House stands adjourned until 2 p.m. on Wednesday, 28th March 1973.
House adjourned at 11’ p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Minister for Labour, upon notice:
What steps has he taken to obtain observance of the Procedures for Dealing with Industrial Disputes as laid down by his Department, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the National Employers Policy Committee.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
In Canberra, on 6th May 1970, agreement was reached on these procedures and an official announcement made which stated inter alia that the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the National Employers’ Policy Committee would be advising their respective affiliates to adopt the principles expressed in the agreement. The announcement went on to say:
It will be the mutual responsibility of individual unions and employers to give effect to the guidelines in one of the following ways:
The meeting agreed it would be important to translate these principles into action as soon as practicable on the basis of mutual decisions by the parties; to the extent that the negotiating parties to these principles can assist in such implementation this will be done.’
Accordingly this responsibility for implementation and observance is primarily a matter for individual unions and employers.
It should be remembered that these procedures were agreed against a background of trade union opposition to any form of penal provisions and, as I have already publicly announced, the Government will be removing that disturbing element from the industrial arena. This should greatly facilitate the implementation by individual unions and employers of the recommended procedures.
asked the Minister for Immigra tion, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
Did he refuse to permit 5 members of the Rhodesian Girls Brigade to stay overnight in Sydney en route to New Zealand from Rhodesia; if so, why?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
No. The decision to permit 5 members of the Rhodesian Girls Brigade to transit Australia en route to New Zealand without an overnight stay was taken in November 1972 in accordance with policy relating to U.N. Security Council Resolutions concerning travel of Rhodesians.
I approved an overnight stopover for them upon their return from New Zealand so that their group concession flight arrangements could be completed and to make it possible for two members of the group to visit relatives in Sydney.
Migrants: Appeals agains Rejection of Entry (Question No. 102)
asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Those persons who appeal against their rejection for entry will have their cases fully considered. While this procedure has been followed in the past, the criteria on which appeals will now be determined have changed.
The Government’s policy of non-discrimination and of placing emphasis on family reunion, sponsorship, and a sincere desire to settle in Australia and become a member of the national family will be reflected in decisions on appeals as well as in the handling of new applications.
Department of the Environment and Conservation: Staff (Question No. 105)
asked the Minister for the Environment and Conservation, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Second Division Officers - 2.
Third Division Officers:
Class5 - 4.
Fourth Division Officers - 20.
Environment, Aborigines and the Arts or the Water Branch of the Department of National Development. Of the remaining 7 officers 2 were employed previously in organisations concerned with national park management and policy.
asked the Minister for the Environment and Conservation, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Australian Capital Territory:
asked the Minister for the Capital Territory, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) The matter is under review.
asked the Minister for the Environment and Conservation, upon notice:
What action has the Government taken to coordinate and implement the recommendations of the Senate Select Committees on Air Pollution and Water Pollution.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
I have asked my Department to review the action that has been taken to implement the recommendations of the Senate Select Committees on Air Pollution and Water Pollution and to report on what further action is desirable.
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
What is the value at (a) cost and (b) current valuation of the art works included in the National Collection.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Labour, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: .
(a) Metropolitan residents . . . . 15,604
asked the Minister for Immigra tion, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Immigra tion, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The 1973-74 migration program is currently under consideration.
asked the Minister for Immigra tion, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Immigra tion, upon notice:
What (a) financial and (b) other assistance has been provided by his Department to migrants who wished to reside in non-metropolitan areas since 4th December 1972.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Immigra tion, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) There has not been a meeting of Immigration Ministers since 4th December 1972.
The last Conference of Ministers was held in Canberra on 25th February 1972 when it was decided that the Ministers should meet again on a date to be decided in the period September-November 1972.
My predecessor later decided that the Conference should be deferred until a date early this year because of the proximity of the proposed date to the recent Elections.
asked the Minister for Immigra tion, 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:
Electoral Redistribution in Western Australia (Question No. 173)
asked the Minister for Services and Property, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Select Committee on Pharmaceutical Benefits: Cost (Question No. 199)
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
What was the cost of conducting the House of Representatives Select Committee on Pharmaceutical Benefits and reporting the conclusions.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Clerk of the House of Representatives has advised that expenses incurred by or on behalf of the Select Committee in its inquiry totalled $19,393. This sum does not include the cost of the transcript of evidence as that figure is not available from the Chief Parliamentary Reporter.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Agreements Involving the Sea-bed and Continental Shelf (Question No. 144)
asked the Minister for Foreign
Affairs, upon notice:
Is there any difficulty in the Commonwealth negotiating with adjacent countries on matters concerning the sea-bed and the continental shelf, when questions involving the rights of the Commonwealth and the States may be unresolved?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
My Government has not negotiated any agreements involving areas of sea-bed and continental shelf over which State rights are claimed. On the view of State rights taken by my Government, no difficulties would arise if it did.
Negotiations concerning the Sea-bed and Continental Shelf (Question No. 145)
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
What is the present position concerning negotiations with Portugal on the sea-bed and continental shelf in the Timor Sea.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Australian Government has suggested to the Portuguese Government that negotiations be held between Australia and Portugal at a mutually convenient time in 1973. The Australian Government awaits the Portuguese Government’s response.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: <1) How many Commonwealth employees were having deductions made from their salary on behalf of each of the Public Service Unions on the pay day nearest to (a) 1st January 1972, (b) 1st July 1972, (c) 1st January 1973, (d) 15th January 1973, (e) 1st February 1973 and (0 15th February 1973.
– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:
en asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Each of these Agreements is subject to ratification in accordance with the Constitutional requirements of each country. Indonesia has ratified both Agreements. Before Australia can ratify the Agreements it will be necessary, in conformity with Australian constitutional practice, to bring Australian legislation into line with the provisions of the Agreements.
A Bill to enable early ratification of these Agreements will be presented in the House in the near future.
en asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
What international conventions, treaties and agreements have been signed, ratified or acceded to by Australia since 2nd December 1972, and upon what dates.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Diplomatic Service: Papua New Guniea Personnel (Question No. 261) Mr N. H. Bowen asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
How many people of Papua New Guinea are presently stationed in Australian Embassies or High Commissions overseas.
Where are they stationed.
How many are presently training in Australia with the Department of Foreign Affairs or any other Department.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: _
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 27 March 1973, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1973/19730327_reps_28_hor82/>.