House of Representatives
20 November 1973

28th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr SPEAKER (Hon. J. F. Cope) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.

page 3477


Leader of the Opposition · Bruce

– I have a matter of privilege which I wish to bring up. As I have said before, a matter of privilege in this House is not an issue of personal rights or privileges as that word is normally used in relation to members of the Parliament. The word ‘privilege’ arises out of the need for members of this Parliament, who are elected to represent the public of Australia in a democratic form, to be able to conduct the affairs of the nation in this Parliament fearlessly. Honourable members can conduct them fearlessly only if they are satisfied that there will be no recourse to accusations which are demeaning of their character so that they will not raise the issues fearlessly because of the fear of being traduced falsely. Mr Speaker, I am bound to say that I would like you to consider whether under the ordinary forms of the House, there has been a prima facie breach of privilege and, if so, whether it should be referred to the House of Representatives Privileges Committee.

The nature of the breach of privilege relates to contempt of honourable members of the House generally and contempt of an honourable member of the House precisely. Last week in this House there was a debate on some Bills relating to the Constitution. It commenced on Wednesday and ran through to the Wednesday night. It also happens that on that evening there was a reception for the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr Kirk. During the course of Wednesday evening there was as you, Mr Speaker, will well recall, considerable debate. As a result of that debate the Opposition parties were pursuing a certain course of action. There were general allegations that the actions of the Opposition arose out of circumstances surrounding the reception of the New Zealand Prime Minister. The matters were pursued the fallowing morning. On the Thursday certain statements were made. As a result of those statements personal explanations - I should not call it debate - were made. That appeared to be the end of the matter. There was a series of words which would have best been not said. The question arose as to whether privilege should have been properly raised then. It was not so raised. Mr Speaker, an important matter is before the House. If the continual conversation goes on it will detract from the importance of this matter to the House. This is not just a political issue; this is an issue that runs back for centuries and is concerned with the traditions of the Westminster Parliament. If the traditions of the Westminster Parliament are not upheld, we will regret this for many, many years to come.

On Sunday, 18 November, the Prime Minister was interviewed in Hobart. I feel that I must read this matter into the record for I believe this to be an extract of the interview. The question was asked:

How many drinks do you think Dr Forbes did have and how red were his eyes really the next day?

The Prime Minister answered:

I don’t know what his resistance is. I don’t know whether his resistance is low or his intake is large. I have watched him for many years at night and, like everybody who has had that joyful experience, I have no doubt as to the cause of it. But I don’t mind drunks as long as they don’t disrupt procedures. Some of my best friends get drunk at night, particularly after free drink. But I don’t allow them to break up the party and he was full that night and he was hung over the following morning. Now, there is no question about that. I don’t mind if he just lies torpid in his seat but the fact was on the Wednesday night during one division he got up from where he was sprawled, came to the table and leant on it and shouted across to one of my colleagues: ‘It’s your fault, Daly! It’s your fault, Daly!’ and going on with a lot of pleasantries. And the following day during question time when I quite gently said that the Liberals had abused my hospitality, he got up and said it was offensive. Well, he was one of the causes of it. In answer to your question, I don’t know. All I can say is the symptoms were obvious.

This is not the time to debate the issue. I do not believe that the issue is one for debate at all. It is a matter for you to decide whether there is a prima facie case and, if there is, the matter should go to the Privileges Committee for the Privileges Committee to report to this chamber. When that report is presented, it is a matter for the House to act as it sees fit. It will be guided by the recommendations from the Privileges Committee. At that time, I will say more.


– Due to the implications associated with this matter, I am of the opinion that the House should consider it forthwith.


– When you say that the matter should be considered forthwith, are you inviting me, Mr Speaker, pursuant to that ruling to proceed to debate the issue now?


– Yes, absolutely.


– I submit to your ruling and I will proceed. I wish to point out to you that I am not aware of the procedure to which you are now committing the House having been followed in the past. The purpose of the Privileges Committee is to allow the House to have the advice of that Committee as to whether what has been said constitutes a breach of privilege and, secondly, if it does constitute a breach of privilege, what action the House should take. The Privileges Committee, in pursuing its inquiries, has the advantage of the assistance of the Clerks of the House and the experience which the Clerks can bring to bear on the matter. The Clerks, of course, are entitled not only to give their own expert views to the Privileges Committee but the Privileges Committee, either directly or through the Clerks, also oan call upon the law officers of the Crown to give any advice that may be necessary. That we do not have available to us now. Also if the Privileges Committee were to find that there was a breach of privilege it would be entitled to make a recommendation to the House as to the way the House should deal with the matter. As a result of your course of action, Mr Speaker - and I think, with respect, that that is a matter which needs to be examined at a later point - we will not have that advantage. I have not brought into the House with me May’s Parliamentary Practice’ but, if I remember correctly, the relevant matter appears at page 571. I am prepared to locate the part of the book where it appears. My recollection that it was page 571 comes from having read page 571 of Odgers’ ‘Australian Senate Practice’. There, Mr Odgers, the Clerk of the Senate, is drawing from May when he says:

It is a high breach of privilege to utter, or publish, words slandering either House of the Parliament, its proceedings or its members.

The modern trend, however, leans to the view that criticism, even if intemperate and wrong-headed, of Parliamentary institutions or of the conduct of members should not be stifled unless and until it reaches the point of improper obstruction, or is likely to cause substantial interference with the performance of their functions.

The dignity of the House may be best served by ignoring those reflections on Parliament or its members which, while technically contempt, do not really obstruct proceedings. But ignore

These are very significant words - can breed abuse and probably the prestige of the legislature would be enhanced if occasionally the penal powers of the Parliament were to be’ invoked to punish contempt.

What must be remembered is that privileges are not the prerogative of members in their personal capacities: Insofar as the House claims and members enjoy those rights and immunities which are grouped under the general description of ‘privileges’, they are claimed and enjoyed by the House in its corporate capacity and by its members on behalf of the citizens whom they represent. In 1965 the Committee of Privileges of the House of Commons inquired into allegations, made outside the House, by an honourable member in which he charged certain other members with insobriety during Commons proceedings. In its Report (Paper No. 129 of Session 1964-65), the committee said -

In 1701 the House of Commons resolved that ‘to print or publish any books or libels, reflecting upon the proceedings of the House of Commons, or any member thereof, for, or in relation to, his service therein, is a high violation of the rights and privileges of the House of Commons’. Since then, words or writings reflecting on the House, and on members of the House, have constantly been published upon the principle that such acts tend to - obstruct the House in the performance of its duties by diminishing the respect due to it.

The committee reported that the precedents showed that the House had always regarded allegations of drunkenness as a gross libel on the House and a breach of its privileges.

In the course of this inquiry, it was claimed that justification had never been accepted by Committees of Privilege as a defence. The basis of this rule is that, where an act is an unlawful one, as in contempt, then it cannot be made lawful by being justified. (Paper 129 of Session 1964-65, p. 6.)

Let me deal more specifically now with the way in which privilege arises in this Parliament. In this Parliament we follow the Westminster pattern, and in the Westminster pattern it is quite clear-


-Order! I think it would put the matter in order if the Leader of the Opposition were to move that this matter be referred to the Privileges Committee.


- Mr Speaker, I asked you at the outset what you wished me to do. I pointed out that we did not have the advantage of a motion. I understood you to be recommending or ruling to the House that we proceed with the issue of substance now. If, on the other hand, you wish me to move a motion that it be referred to the Privileges Committee, I think that is the correct action and I will follow that course. I had misunderstood your ruling, Mr Speaker. I now move:

That the question of privilege arising out of whether or not a contempt was committed by the Prime Minister be referred to the Committee of Privileges for investigation and report back to this House.

In the course of that inquiry I expect the Committee of Privileges to take such advice from the Clerks as it ought to and that it take such advice from the law officers of the Crown as it feels it ought to. It so happens - and I make this point with due humility and it is not to be read in any other way - that the Committee of Privileges in fact has a Government majority. I accept that this is the way in which our committees are constructed, but on such an issue as this I think the fact that there is a Government majority will not matter because the issue, I believe, is so important that all members of the Committee will approach this inquiry and investigation as members of a Parliament sworn to uphold the Parliament and knowing the importance of the Parliament to our constitutional procedures in Australia. The basis of the motion is that a contempt, in addition to whatever the contempt committed by the Prime Minister last Wednesday or Thursday was repeated and compounded and worsened - and deliberately done so - by the actions and statements he made on Sunday, and it is these latter which should be examined by the Committee of Privileges.


– Before the right honourable gentleman resumes his seat, if this allegation is based on newspaper reports, will the right honourable gentleman present the newspaper report.


- Mr Speaker, I do not have with me a newspaper report. I have just been provided with one. I have previously read out what I believe to be the text of the question and reply. I also have a newspaper report, which of course does not give the answer in full.

Mr Daly:

-Will you read it to us?


– Yes, I will be happy to do so. The report from the ‘Australian’ newspaper on Monday, 19 November, reads as follows:

The Prime Minister, Mr Whitlam, said yesterday he did not mind drunks as long as they did not disrupt proceedings.

Mr Whitlam, attending a Hobart Journalists Club luncheon, was questioned about an incident in the House of Representatives on Thursday involving a Liberal M.P., Dr Forbes.

Mr Whitlam admitted he had said of Dr Forbes: It’s what he put in his guts that’s rooted him.’

Dr Forbes on Thursday told the House: 1 want to put this statement by the Prime Minister on record so that the Australian people will know what an arrogant, foul-mouthed individual is this man who masquerades as a statesman.’

Referring yesterday to the incident, Mr Whitlam said Dr Forbes had been ‘full’ the night before the incident and had been hung-over in the House on Thursday.

Mr Whitlam said he had commented in the House on Liberal M.P.s abusing his hospitality at a reception for the New Zealand Prime Minister, Mr Kirk. Dr Forbes had protested at this.

But he was one of the offenders,’ Mr Whitlam said.

To a question about Dr Forbes’ condition, Mr Whitlam replied: ‘The symptoms were obvious. I do not know what his resistance is. I do not mind drunks, aslong as they do not disrupt proceedings. I would not mind if he (Dr Forbes) would just lie torpid in his seat.’

He described an incident in the House on Wednesday night when Dr Forbes had left his seat and lain across a table, saying: It’s all your fault. It’s all your fault,’ to another M.P.

He was full that night and he was hung-over the next morning,’ Mr Whitlam said.

Mr Speaker, this report was printed and published by Mirror Newspapers Ltd, 20-24 Holt Street, Surry Hills, New South Wales 2010 for Nationwide News Pty Ltd of 31-33 London Circuit, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. I should make the point abundtantly clear that the issue of privilege does not relate to the writer of the story or to the publisher of the newspaper because, in terms of newspaper reporting, it is a reasonably true facsimile of what was said. Therefore, I want to make it clear that the issue of privilege does not relate to them.

I have a final comment to make. I hesitated at first to say this because this matter is going to the Priveleges Committee and one ought not to pre-judge anything that is going to the Privileges Committee in a semi-judicial sense, but I want to make it clear for I think it ought to be made clear in fairness to my colleague and my friend of many years standing who has served this House for 17 years - Dr Forbes - that he was not in any way affected by alcohol on that night. Furthermore, Dr Forbes was not in any way affected the following morning. I raise this matter because Dr Forbes has suffered very great personal condemnation. I believe that he has been held open to ridicule and contempt and I want the record to contain this defence of him. I think it is proper, for otherwise what has been said is likely to be left unanswered for some time while the Privileges Committee considers this matter. In considering this matter it will not be dealing with just that one person but it will be dealing with the potential in the future for anybody in this House recklessly or maliciously to attack any other member of this House. That must never be allowed to happen, for if that happens this Parliament will cease to be able to play that pinnacle role in relation to Australia’s Constitution that it now does. I have moved the appropriate motion.

Mr Anthony:

– I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.


-Does the honourable gentleman wish to proceed with his remarks now?

Mr Anthony:

– - I will reserve my right to speak.

Leader of the House · Grayndler · ALP

– It is the right of any honourable member to raise a question of privilege. It is also the right of any honourable member to move a motion. It is also the right of this House to debate that motion and either accept it or reject it. Therefore the procedure adopted today is in conformity with the Standing Orders of this Parliament. As is our right, this Parliament will decide whether or not the matter raised is a matter for reference to the Privileges Committee. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden), who should know the Standing Orders, came into this Parliament completely unprepared to substantiate his case before honourable members.

Sir John Cramer:

– That is ridiculous.


– I ask the House to judge. He had more runners around him than has SP bookie as he made his speech. He did not even have May’s ‘Parliamentary Practice’ open, which is the gospel for people putting motions of this kind. He had to look up the reference. He had the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lynch) standing by his side. The Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Anthony) then came up to him. The Leader of the Opposition was confounded when we asked him to substantiate his allegations in relation to this matter which he wants referred to the Privileges Committee. Honourable members opposite know as well as I do that there were lengthy periods when nothing was happening in the House as the Leader of the Opposition fobbed through his papers looking for an argument to support his motion to refer to the Privileges Committee a matter affecting the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam), the first citizen of this country. The very least that we could have expected from the Leader of the Opposition was respect to this House and a properly prepared case instead of one in relation to which he expected to rise to his feet, like all Liberals do, and ask the House to accept his view, endorse it accordingly, and bring forth no doubt some prearranged verdict that has been worked out already in the Liberal Party caucus.

The House will not accept that, and neither will the Government. We will debate this issue and we will see precisely whether it should be referred to the Privileges Committee. It was not until I asked the Leader of the Opposition to read the article on which he was basing his motion that he sent away for the newspaper which he said had printed the things that he wanted the Parliament to discuss. He did not have the newspaper with him. He did not read the article before being asked to do so, and he did not know in which newspaper the article had appeared. He then said: ‘Here it is’. The Leader of the Country Party rustled one up from somewhere. What a fantasy it is to adopt this kind of approach.

Mr Chipp:

– With respect, I raise what I believe to be a very important point of order. In order to make it I refer to standing order 96 which reads:”

A matter of privilege at any time arising shall, until disposed of, or unless the debate on a motion thereon is adjourned, suspend the consideration and decision of every other question: Provided that precedence over other business shall not. be given to any motion if, in the opinion of the Speaker, a prima facie case of breach of privilege has not been made out or the matter has not been raised at the earliest opportunity.

To me that simply means that when my Leader first raised this matter this morning, you immediately ruled, Mr Speaker, that the matter for debate should proceed forthwith. The assumption, on my part at least, was that there was no possible doubt in your mind as the Speaker of this House that a prima facie case had been made out for a breach of privilege. If I have misinterpreted your ruling I would be grateful if you would inform me why you allowed this matter to proceed if you had not made up your mind that a prima facie case of a breach of privilege had been made. If in the circumstances you had come to such decision, I am astonished and confounded by the position which the Leader of the House has indicated the Government will obviously adopt on this issue.


– Order! It is within the prerogative of the Speaker to make a determination as I did this morning. It is quite in conformity with the Standing Orders and the general practices of the House to do so.


– What happened in this House has been reported in the Press, and enlarged upon by the Prime Minister in discussions with

Press representatives who have asked questions of him. The Prime Minister was not the first person to take this matter into the public square, as it were. I shall refer to that later. Let us look at the events - they have been reported, as the Leader of the Opposition has said - which occurred in this chamber last Wednesday night. They did little credit to the Liberal Party and a considerable amount to the Country Party. The honourable member for Barker was accused by the Prime Minister in this House the other night of doing certain things. I shall quote from the newspaper clippings I have in front of me, particularly one headed: ‘You are foul mouthed, the PM told’. The Prime Minister is reported as having, during the course of the debate, turned to the Leader of the Opposition and said: ‘Let us both withdraw’, which the Leader of the Opposition refused to do. The following report subsequently appeared in a newspaper:

The House of Representatives broke into uproar yesterday When a Liberal MP angrily told the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) he was arrogant and foul mouthed.

Dr Forbes (Liberal, SA) said Mr Whitlam was masquerading as a statesman.

Mr Whitlam had said of him during Question Time: It’s what he puts in his guts that’s rooted him’.

Dr Forbes glared at the Prime Minister and added: I want to put this statement on record so that the Australian people will know what an arrogant foulmouth this person who masquerades as a statesman is’.

That is hardly Geelong Grammar language either, is it? That was from a person who has accused the Prime Minister of foul language. I remember that later in the course of that debate he leaned across the table to me and shook his fist - both of them, I think - and said: ‘You will get yours, Daly. You will keep. We are after you. You will know what is coming to you’. I do not put any judgment on his condition, but he was certainly bewildered. I was frightened by his approach. In fact, I felt like appealing to you, Mr Speaker. But then the honourable member-

Mr Katter:

– I rise to a point of order, Mr Speaker. We are discussing a most serious matter. I think this is one occasion on which the Leader of the House should take the seriousness of the matter into account. He is endeavouring in his usual manner to reduce it to a farce.


– Order! There is no point of order involved.

Mr Katter:

– There is a point of order involved, Mr Speaker. I appeal to you to keep him in order.


-Order! There is no point of order involved and the honourable member knows it.


– What I am saying is that the honourable member for Barker did not keep to this House the argument that developed in it. I have in front of me an article which appeared in the section headed ‘In Federal Parliament’ in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ on Friday, 16 November, entitled ‘Angry exchanges outside chamber’. It states:

Mr Whitlam then rose and walked from the House chamber into the Government corridor, which leads to the Prime Ministerial suite.

Dr Forbes followed and called down the corridor: Whitlam, you are a filthy bastard’.

What high school language. He is complaining. Mind you, this was said in the passageway. The article continues:

Mr Whitlam made no immediate reply, but watched as Dr Forbes turned and collided with Mr J. Riordan . . .

The honourable member for Phillip. This is what happened the next morning. The article goes on:

Mr Whitlam said to a nearby member of his staff: Look at him, he is still staggering’.

Interviewed after the incident, Dr Forbes said the implication that he had drunk too heavily was completely untrue*.

He said: ‘I was very angry because of this allegation. It was a dirty trick, it was untrue*.

He went on to say a few other things. Later he went on television and radio and in interviews to the newspapers and gave terrific publicity to this matter. Now he and the Leader of the Opposition are complaining because the Prime Minister has answered these allegations in response to Press inquiries that came up from time to time. I do not pass any judgement on the honourable member’s attitude on that night. But the Leader of the Opposition went to great pains to defend him. I have in front of me an article which appeared in the Adelaide ‘Advertiser’ on Friday, 16 November, which states:

Outside the House, Dr Forbes said he had had no more to drink at the reception for Mr Kirk than he usually did.

I always have a couple of drinks before dinner’, he said.

But sometimes they act quicker than usual. This matter was taken into the public square by the honourable member himself and by members of the Opposition. To those who are complaining about the conduct of the Prime Minister, I say: What about the appearances of the honourable member for Barker on television and radio to give great publicity to this matter? He is not the offended man. He is not the gentleman who is humiliated by all of this. He wanted to make great political capital out of it. Have honourable members ever heard anything like what was said by the Leader of the Opposition today? He said that he raised this in a non-political way. Could anybody believe such a statement? Of course he could not. Honourable members opposite do not seek to raise other matters that bring this House into disrepute. I did not hear them citing the case involving the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) who swung punches in King’s Hall the other night and missed every time.


-Order! I remind the honourable gentleman that he is not now discussing what happened during an incident in King’s Hall which was settled amicably between the 2 opponents.


Mr Speaker, I was just instancing the double standards of the Leader of the Opposition. Members on this side of the Parliament have continually been described in the House as Fascists and Communists. The Minister for Environment and Conservation -

Mr Cohen:

– The word ‘Nazis’ was used the other day.


– Yes - Nazis. There is no desire to do anything for us in respect of that matter. The honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) is sleeping once more over there. I have not taken offence at the remark that he made about me on IS November 1973. It is reported in Hansard as follows:

I think that earlier today I made a slip of the tongue. I understand it has been corrected in Hansard but I thought I should properly report this to the House. It was the Leader of the House whose condition I thought was partly responsible for the confusion last night.

I did not see any non-political person opposite wanting to refer that statement to the Committee of Privileges to protect my sobriety and integrity. Of course not. There is a double standard applying on the other side of the chamber. If honourable members run right through the pattern, they will find that this applies right throughout the situation. Every time a member is insulted or offended by something that is said in this place are we to have that matter referred to the Committee of Privileges? Is every member here so sensitive that he takes offence on every such occasion? What protection is an individual who runs to the Press, radio and television and who says to the

Prime Minister ‘You are a foul mouthed b- so and so’ entitled to? His conduct is reprehensible. He is the person who ought to be investigated. He walked down the Government corridor of the Parliament and physically threatened the Prime Minister of this country. There must be serious doubts if he knew what he was doing at that time.

This gentleman now wants this matter referred to the Privileges Committee. Of course, he will be supported by honourable members on his side of the Parliament. All they seek to do is to make political capital out of it. But if I turned up the records of the Parliament and indicated what has been said about members on this side of the chamber the Privileges Committee would be in session all the time. That is what would happen if we inquired into everything that has been looked upon as an insult to or a reflection upon people. I have not time to read from all the newspapers I have here. But honourable members can judge from the headings themselves. One states ‘Angry outburst outside the chamber’. Another states ‘ “You are foul mouthed”, the PM told’. Yet another states ‘Liberal front bencher calls PM “A filthy b- “’. What a good education that is for the up and coming kids of this country from this once great Party whose members come from the gay, great schools. They were the great public school boys. These are the people who are attacking the language of the Prime Minister. At least the words that the Prime Minister used were well couched and thought out carefully. They were used only under great provocation and questioning from the Press because of the conduct of the honourable member for Barker in taking an internal fight into the public forum.

Today, honourable members opposite seek to escape responsibility for their actions and the publicity that has been given to the matter. I am sorry that I do not have unlimited time to talk on this motion. The members of the Party that raised it are continually saying that they do not have the time to debate great issues in the Parliament. Yet, with all the legislation confronting us and with all the great issues to be decided they raise a cheap political stunt to protect a member, so they say, who is responsible for any publicity that arose out of this incident. Furthermore, whatever might be said, what ought to be inquired into in the Parliament is the conduct of a lot of the members of the Liberal Party on that night who behaved irresponsibly in a way that brought little credit on them or their Party. They degraded Parliament and brought it into disrepute by their conduct,led very ably by the honourable member for Barker.

There is no reason why on this occasion we should go further into this matter. The other night the Leader of the Opposition quoted from ‘Australian Senate Practice’ written by Mr Odgers, the Clerk of the Senate. I do not have time to read all of the relevant material. But he ought to have gone on a little and completely destroyed his argument by reading the concluding paragraph. In the view of the Government, no case has been made out for this matter to be referred to the Privileges Committee. This is a cheap political stunt designed to protect the honourable member for Barker for conduct that he must regret at this time. I believe that the House has wasted enough time on on issue like this. I formally move:

That the question be now put.


– The question is: ‘That the question be now put’. Those of that opinion say ‘aye’.

Government members - Aye!


– To the contrary, ‘no’.

Opposition members - No!


– I think the ‘ayes’ have it.

Mr Snedden:

– This is an outrageous procedure, Mr Speaker.


– Order! Is a division required?

Mr Snedden:

– This is an outrageous procedure, Mr Speaker-


– Order! There can be no debate on this motion. Ring the bells.

Question put -

That the question be now put.

The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. J. F. Cope)

AYES: 61

NOES: 54

Majority . …. . 7



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Original question (Mr Snedden’s morion) put:

The House divided (Mr Speaker- Hon. J. F. Cope)

Ayes . . . . 54

Noes . . . . 61

Majority . . 7

Question so resolved in the negative.

page 3484


The Clerk:

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

National Health Scheme

To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:

The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

That they oppose the Australian Health Insurance Program and any National Health Scheme.

That they wish to retain the right to choose their own medical care by selecting a General Practitioner, Specialist or any other medical classification of their own choice under the present conditions in private consulting rooms and also the right to choose an intermediate ward or private hospital of their own choice.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Government will take no measure to interfere with the existing health scheme.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Adermann, Mr Bonnett, Mr Donald Cameron, Mr Cooke, Mr Corbett, Mr Drury, Mr Jarman, Mr Katter, Mr Killen, Mr McVeigh and Mr Eric Robinson.

Petitions received.

National Health Scheme

To the Honourable the Speaker, and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:

The humble petition of undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

That the proposed ‘free’ national health scheme is not free at all and will cost four out of five Australians more than the present scheme.

That the proposed scheme is discriminatory and a further erosion of the civil liberties of Australian citizens, particularly working wives and single persons.

That the proposed scheme is in fact a plan for nationalised medicine which will lead to gross waste and inefficiencies in medical services and will ultimately remove an individual’s right to choose his/her own doctor.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Government will take no measure to interfere with the basic principles of the existing health scheme.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr England, Mr Giles, Mr McLeay and Mr Wilson.

Petitions received.

National Health Scheme

To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:

The humble petition of undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

That the proposed ‘free’ national health scheme is not free at all and will cost many citizens more, particularly single people and working wives.

That the proposed scheme is in fact a plan for nationalisation of health services which will lead to impersonalised and mediocre standards of medical care, the creation of a huge new bureaucracy, and will limit the citizen’s freedom of choice.

That the present health scheme can be amended to overcome existing deficiencies, and that the proposed scheme is totally unnecessary.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Government will take no measures to interfere with the basic principles of the existing health scheme which functions efficiently and economically.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. byDr Cass, Mr Garland and Mr Thorburn.

Petitions received.


To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:

The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

That the undersigned men and women of Australia believe in a Christian way of life; and that no democracy can thrive unless its citizens are responsible and law abiding.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the members in Parliament assembled will see that the powerful communicator, television, is used to build into the nation those qualities of character which make a democracy work- integrity, teamwork and a sense of purpose by serving, and that television be used to bring faith in God to the heart of the family and national life.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Sir John Cramer, Mr England, Mr Kerin, Mr Luchetti, Mr MacKellar, Mr Ruddock and Mr Turner.

Petitions received.


To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:

The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

  1. Your petitioners believe in the principle that every Australian child, irrespective of the school he attends, is entitled to economic support for his basic educational needs from the funds placed at the disposal of the Australian Govern ment through taxation. Further, they believe that this economic support should be in the form of per capita grants which are directly related to the cost of educating an Australian child in a government school.
  2. Your petitioners believe that in addition to this basic per capita grant additional assistance should be provided in cases of educational disadvantage, but they believe that the appropriate instruments for reducing economic inequalities are taxation and social welfare systems which deal with individuals and families and not with schools.
  3. The reduction of the existing per capita grants will impose great hardships on many parents who have chosen, at considerable personal sacrifice, to send their sons and daughters to independent schools. Indeed curtailment of the said grants will create divisions in the community.
  4. Some independent schools of high educational standards will be forced to close with the consequences that children attending those schools will have to attend government schools already over-taxed and under-staffed.
  5. Some independent schools have been encouraged to lower standards in order that their parents may continue to receive per capita grants.
  6. Parents should be encouraged to exercise freedom of choice of the type of school they wish for their children. The proposed legislation will penalise parents who try to exercise this choice, and discourage them from making a vita] financial contribution to Australian education over and above what they contribute through taxation.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled should acknowledge the right of every Australian child to equal per capita grants of government money spent on education.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Jarman and Mr Lamb.

Petitions received.

National Library of Australia

To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:

The humble petition of citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:

That only a professional librarian will be able to carry out the duties of executive head of the National Library of Australia in the best interests of the Parlitment and people of Australia.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that a professional librarian be appointed to this position.

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

Petition received.


To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:

The petition of the undersigned respectfully showeth:

That grave concern is felt at the possible ratification by Executive Council of the Bill passed in the Northern Territory Legislative Council to amend the Criminal Law Consolidation Ordinance, making abortion legal.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled should take measures to ensure that into the laws of this land no principle is admitted which would violate a fundamental right, namely, the right to life.

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

Petition received.

page 3486



– I acted this morning in complete conformity with the powers of the Chair. I have mentioned this before and that is my ruling on the matter.

page 3486


Leader of the Opposition · Bruce

– I give notice that at the next sitting I will move:

That this House censures the Prime Minister for his contempt of the Parliament and his personal abuse of its procedures and its members to protect himself.

page 3486


Motion (by Mr Whitlam) - by leave - agreed to:

That so much of Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition from moving his motion forthwith.

page 3486


Motion of Censure

Leader of the Opposition · Bruce

– I move:

That this House censures the Prime Minister for his contempt of the Parliament and his personal abuse of its procedures and its members to protect himself.

Last week the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) made statements which were reprehensible and contemptible. They had no basis in fact. They were the outpourings of a man whose mind knows no boundaries. His big head is not big enough to contain it. At every opportunity vindictiveness and hate pour out of him. I ask honourable members to look at him. He knows, even though he gives no service to it, that this Parliament is the pinnacle of the protection of the citizens of Australia in every constitutional form. This Parliament must act responsibly because it bears full responsibility for the protection of the Australian people. In order to do its job the Parliament must be conducted properly, with due regard to the development, over the centuries, of the Westminster proceedings in Parliament. The Prime Minister knows the proceedings. He has read of them but does he give proper appreciation to them? He knows that this Parliament should not be a place to which honourable members come and are able to assassinate the character of any other member in it without any basis for the assassination, without any truth in the allegation, and without any opportunity for that member to protect himself against the public scandal that would arise as a result of those statements.

The Prime Minister knows that. He also knows that the Westminster parliamentary system which we have adopted in Australia has deliberately designed itself to protect members of the Parliament, from whatever side they may come. The Speakers of parliament have constantly been alert to ensure that these sorts of allegations cannot be made. They know that if a man or a woman comes into this Parliament and is subject to character assassination, that person does not have the courage and the freedom at all times to pursue the issues that he or she feels ought to be pursued in the way that they ought to be pursued. That is the privilege of this Parliament, and that is what is meant by privilege. What the Government, led by the Prime Minister, seeks to do is to silence the Liberal and Country Party members and prevent them from properly exposing the bad effects of Government against the possibility of being accused in the way that the honourable member for Barker (Dr Forbes) was accused.

An error was made the other night, Mr Speaker. You must listen to this because you may think that I am criticising you, but it is my honest belief - and it is the honest belief of honourable members on this side of the House - that a serious error was made in the procedures of this Parliament in relation to a constitutional Bill. What we sought to do then, by point of order, was to establish that error and, as I made clear on a couple of occasions that night, we said we would do whatever was necessary to co-operate in the correction of that error because we regarded it as an error and we believed that we should not take advantage of the error in order to subvert the particular piece of legislation. That was what the Opposition Parties sought to do. With respect, Mr Speaker, it was not understood by you and by your advisers, and it certainly was not understood by the Government. The Government became bellicose and aggressive and tried to silence Opposition members by stating that we in globo were affected by the Prime Minister’s hospitality. It happened that it was not his hospitality; it was the hospitality of the people of Australia as shown through him. We were supposed to be cowed down and not to pursue that point. Hansard and the record of proceedings will show that an error was made. We were supposed to be cowed down. Then the Government got the idea that it should make it clear, through its propaganda machine, that our actions were not right, correct and proper actions but were actions stimulated by an excess of alcohol. That was the clear imputation which was being put. It was not true. I know of no member on this side of the House who was affected at all.

Mr Enderby:

– You were not here half the time.


– That sort of outburst illustrates that it is a deliberate policy on the part of the Government to defend its own faults and errors by making allegations against members on this side of the House which are aimed at detracting from our character as men. A deliberate course of action was taken to denigrate us on that ground. Who was chosen as the vehicle for the denigration? The honourable member for Barker. This is not a place to speak to the record of a man, and I do not. But those of us who have served in the Parliament for, I think it is, about 16 or 17 years with Jim Forbes, the member for Barker, know him to be a man of immense personal standing and of very great personal characteristics and courage. If he had something to be criticised or condemned for, nobody would sooner stand up and take it than Jim Forbes would. But when he has been wrongly traduced, when he has been chosen as the vehicle to attack all honourable members on this side, and when, unwittingly, recklessly and uncaringly the Government is prepared to pull down this great institution of parliament at the same time, then this Parliament has come to a sad position. That is the basis.

The Prime Minister to protect himself from outrageous statements has prevailed upon his Party. There are members on the Government side of the House for whom I have great respect. There may be some of whom I have not enough personal knowledge to have a personal liking for them, but I have a great respect for many of them. I am ashamed that they allowed themselves to be manoeuvred into a political position of being prepared to abandon the parliamentary institution in order to protect a leader who acted so reprehensibly in their interests last week and again on Sunday of this week. How any man could, on the Thursday, do what he did is difficult to understand, but in relation to the Thursday I am prepared to say that the Prime Minister was in some way activated and lost control of himself and therefore said words that he would not otherwise have used. But when, 48 hours later, the Prime Minister deliberately and carefully chooses his words to do as much harm as he possibly can, there can be no excuse for him. The fact that he is the Prime Minister makes the offence worse. We know that if a judge has before him somebody who has a responsibility for law enforcement, such as a policeman or a lawyer, who has broken the law, the penalty imposed is severer because that person should know better and should give good example. We were given a horrid example by the words which, I regret, I must read out again so that their full implication can be understood.

The carefully chosen words of the Prime Minister which are designed to cause as much harm as possible can be described only as a wonderful collection of spite. The question which was put to him was:

How many drinks do you think Dr Forbes did have and how red were his eyes really the next day?

The Prime Minister, sitting at the table, looking at the eyes of the honourable member for Barker, sitting in his place, is able to say that they were red. Does anybody believe that? The Prime Minister replied:

I don’t know what his resistance is. I don’t know whether his resistance is low or his intake is large. 1 have watched him for many years at night and, like everybody who has had that joyful experience, I have no doubt as to the cause of it. But I don’t mind drunks as long as they don’t disrupt procedures. Some of my best friends get drunk at night-

I suppose that is an allusion to religious or racial groups - particularly after free drink. After free drink I have seen some things happen in this place but I do not intend to speak about them today. Is there anybody in this House who thinks that it will help the character of this Parliament by restating what he had seen after some function in this place? If there is, then let him get up and say so. Let him pick the persons whose character he is going to assassinate, because that is what the Prime Minister did and he did it without the slightest warrant on which to base the assassination. It so happens that the honourable member for Barker spent most of the latter part of the evening with the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett) and the honourable member for Balaclava (Mr Whittorn) watching the Royal wedding. If the Privileges Committee had been allowed to investigate this matter, there could have been sworn evidence which would have been much more preferable to unsubstantiated, vicious allegations such as those that were made.

The basis of the rule of the protection of members does not have anything to do with the fact that members are in some sort of privileged class. That is not the way in which the word ‘privilege’ is used. Privilege is extended in order to enable every member to come in here fearlessly - without any fear of threat and without any hope of favour - and to conduct the affairs of this nation and its electors as they ought to be conducted. That is the original privilege and it has lasted for centuries. One of the simplest ways of character assassination is to allege that a man is drunk. Let me make quite clear that if an honourable member gets up in this House and makes such an allegation every newspaper, every radio and every television station can publish or broadcast that allegation without the slightest fear of having to answer for the consequences in damages. So that when an allegation is made, whether it is true or false, it can be printed without any recourse through the law for the man traduced.

I want to make it clear that when the Press, radio and television report the proceedings they do so properly because it is an event that has occurred in this House and as such it ought to be reported. It is a matter of public notoriety. So I do not criticise any members of the media for reporting it. What I do is criticise the man who triggers it off and causes it to be reported and who deprives an honourable member of his right to correct the allegation. If, because of the use of the numbers in this House, an honourable member cannot even bring it up in debate in order to justify himself, what is he left with? Absolutely nothing. I ought to point out that in this House protection from the law is given to the publishers of anything that is said in this House against anybody, whether the person is a member of this House or not. When it involves a person other than a member of this House we all know how contemptuous it is to name in this House somebody who has no right to defend himself and who must live with the damage that has been done to his character. That is why the rule is so clear. The rule is that a member should not traduce other members of this House. If he does traduce another member he is in contempt of this House. If he is in contempt of this House it is a breach of privilege and it ought to go to the Privileges Committee, which Committee will report back to this House.

Are we in this chamber to be reduced to a position where we cannot argue issues, to a position of personal innuendo going backwards and forwards? The people of Australia will not benefit if we reach that stage. What they want is the argument on the issues and the principles so that they know which policy they support. They want to hear honourable members on this side of the House say why we oppose and they want to hear Government supporters argue their case. But as a result of what has happened this morning this Parliament has said that if anybody in this chamber gets up and throws personal abuse and engages in character assassination of another member he can do it with impunity.

Mr Speaker, that ruling by this House cannot survive. If we act according to that ruling we will no longer be a Parliament, we will be a rabble. So long as that ruling continues no member of this House is safe from personal abuse. It can range across the whole of the moral crimes and criminal crimes and nobody will have the right to protect his reputation. Mr Speaker, the Parliament today has sunk to a level the like of which no other Parliament in the world which treasures democracy has done. We have pushed aside the Privileges

Committee cavalierly by the force of numbers. The reason that the Privileges Committee has been set aside cavalierly is to protect one man, and that one man is the Prime Minister. He is being protected from paying the penalty for deliberate words used in Hobart in relation to the honourable member for Barker.

Mr Speaker, it is a sad day for the Parliament. I introduced this matter of privilege and tried to do it as dispassionately as possible and within the context of the way in which matters of privilege have been traditionally raised over the centuries, and certainly have been raised in my time in this Parliament since 1955. The normal way is for the person raising the issue of privilege to get up, raise it and state what is the matter complained about. The Speaker then takes counsel as to whether there is a prima facie case, and if there is it goes to the Privileges Committee. If there is not a prima facie case, that is the end of the matter - and the person who raised it, and all parties, accept the ruling of the Speaker on the matter. It must be done that way because the Privileges Committee has tremendous power and it must not be used improperly. We have all taken the rulings of the Speaker, knowing that he has taken proper advice and counsel. That procedure today was abandoned. That procedure today was abandoned, and I must say it, only for one clear reason - that is, to protect the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister should give example to this Parliament, not call upon the Parliament to protect him from his own sins. Mr Speaker, I am bound to say that during the years I have been here the Prime Minister has set up a pattern of uncontrolled tongue and uncontrolled action and has consistently got away with it. Most times it has been ignored because we did not want to make an issue of it but today, because of the action of his own Party in protecting him in this manner, I am bound to say that I have never seen in this Parliament a man so willing to abandon for his own self-protection all the forms of the House. Many of us here will remember the night he threw water on the present Governor-General. Many members here will remember the night that he accused my colleague, a former Prime Minister- he was not Prime Minister at the time - of a matter against which the honourable gentleman could not adequately protect himself. It was untrue but he could not protect himself against constant innuendo. Nobody will forget the occasion on which he accused my friend and colleague, the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) - I quote his words as I remember them - and said: ‘You’re not slurring so early today’. Nobody will forget the occasion that the then Secretary of the Department of the Navy was sitting in the officials box and he turned and said: ‘That creature’. (Extension of time granted.) I thank the House. I have only 2 sentences to add. There have been many other occurrences and they have culminated in this event. I am not proud of the performance of the Parliament today in using numbers to prevent this matter going to the Privileges Committee.


-Order! Is the motion seconded?

Leader of the Australian Country Party · Richmond

– Yes, I second the motion. I would have preferred to reserve my right to speak later but, on the performance of the Government in relation to the last motion which was before the House, it appears that the Government will gag the debate on this motion and so deprive us of a full debate. I rise with very great feeling. I think that this is the blackest day I have seen in the Parliament.

Government members - Ha, ha!


– I fail to see how men sitting behind the Prime Minister (Mr Whitiam) can laugh so easily. I have such respect for the private members of the Government that I know that within their own minds there must be a good deal of stirring as to their respect for their Prime Minister because of such unmanly conduct as we have seen over the past few days, and because he has prevented the court of Parliament making a judgment on whether his actions or the actions of the honourable member for Barker (Dr Forbes) have been appropriate. That is what has happened by the refusal to allow this matter to go before the House of Representatives Privileges Committee. Surely there are such decent instincts among honourable members of this Parliament as not to allow this sort of thing to go on unbridled as we are seeing today. We have before us a motion of censure of the Prime Minister. It covers 2 matters. The first is the unpardonable, vicious, malicious, and unmanly attack which he has made on a colleague in this

Parliament, and the second is an implication against honourable members of the Liberal Party in this House. I do not see why the Prime Minister should distinguish between members of that Party and the Australian Country Party, other than to try to be smart and create a division between the Opposition parties. I was here last Wednesday. I was here in the afternoon and I was here in the evening. Fortunately no accusations can be made against me because I was at the function for only about 5 minutes. But if any accusation had been made against me I would have retaliated exactly as did the honourable member for Barker because it was unfair and unjust-

Mr McLeay:

– And untrue.


– And untrue. I was here and I had my wits about me watching the proceedings. It was not a disturbance just after dinner as a result of the party. There was an uproar in this Parliament during the afternoon as you, Mr Speaker, know only too well because you warned a number of us on many occasions that we had better restrain ourselves. We are seeing also the Government using its weight of numbers to repress any chance of this matter going before the Privileges Committee. It is a sad day for the Parliament when a matter cannot be judged fairly and equitably. Even though the Government has the numbers on the Privileges Committee we are prepared for that Commute to make its judgment on the matter. But no, the Prime Minister is not even prepared to do that. He has shown cowardly instinct by trying to restrain this form of action. All I say, in Australian language, is that he is nothing more than a dingo. Over the years no man has been more vile in making insinuations against members of this Parliament and in vilifying them than has the Prime Minister. Now, in a state of intoxication of power as Prime Minister, he thinks that he can make slanderous remarks about members of the Parliament, particularly members of the Opposition, and go unquestioned or unchallenged. If he thinks that he has reached that stage of importance, he will find retaliation not only from this side of the House but also from the Australian people. Every member of this Parliament has a responsibility to preserve and to protect this institution. There can be no protection for this institution and the individuals in it unless this matter can be fairly resolved before the

Privileges Committee. As this has been prevented by the Prime Minister, I must level the severest censure at him. He quite obviously is not a man who is prepared to let independent judgment determine the ruling of the day.

A few years ago, one other example of this sort of slanderous language occurred, but in much more modified tones than have been used by the Prime Minister. The person concerned was a then member from South Australia, Mr Andrew Jones. On that occasion, Mr Andrew Jones said outside this Parliament that half of members of this Parliament were drunk half of the time. The then Opposition, led by Mr Calwell, took offence - and rightly so - at that comment. It was examined. That honourable member was asked by this Parliament to withdraw those remarks and to apologise. He withdrew those remarks. But, as I said, they were modest by comparison with the remarks with which we are dealing now because they were general comments on all members of Parliament and were not related to any particular individual. When the finger is pointed at a particular individual, as has been done so contemptuously and reprehensibly in the case of the honourable member for Barker, as reported in yesterday’s ‘Australian’, there is only one fair and honest course to be taken and that is for the matter to go before the Privileges Committee. Mr Speaker, I am disappointed in you-


– Order! The right honourable gentleman will not reflect on the Chair. Whether I made a wrong ruling or not is not the point. The point is that the right honourable member cannot reflect on the Chair. This morning I acted within my powers; I asked for the matter to be resolved forthwith. The right honourable member cannot reflect on the Chair.


– Well, I will not. Maybe that is cause for other action to be taken. But, in relation to the proposed reference of this matter to the Privileges Committee, for the Prime Minister to give a direction to the members of his Party that they are to oppose the reference is, I think, a wrong procedure to be followed in this House. I would have thought that on an issue such as this there might have been enough red blooded men in the Government Party to have this matter examined. I will play politics hard. I will accuse Ministers if there is maladministration of their departments. But I do not ever wish to get into the area of personalities.

Government members - Oh!


– Honourable members on the Government side may laugh. Nobody in this place is pure. On many occasions, one could pick on individuals in respect of actions that they may take. I hope that I will never degrade myself to the level of trying to win a parliamentary debate on that basis. What we have seen today is the worst action that we could possibly witness in this Parliament. The standard of the Parliament is degenerating. If this is the start of the tactics which this Government intends to use in its dictatorial approach to government, it is a bad and sorry day for Australia.

Prime Minister · Werriwa · ALP

- Mr Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden), in moving his first motion this morning, said that he would be impartial and dispassionate. He certainly made no such attempt in moving his second motion. The Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Anthony), in seconding the second motion, said that he would never descend to personalities. Honourable gentlemen have seen a fine display of personalities from the right honourable gentleman.

Inevitably, there are certain procedural technicalities in the matters which have come under debate. The first thing that the Leader of the Country Party said was that he was speaking in support of the motion forthwith because if he did not do so he would not get his opportunity to speak. The fact is that any person seconding a motion can immediately follow the person moving it, and the person who seconded the first motion this morning deliberately reserved his right to speak. He could have spoken immediately. The seconder could have spoken this morning on the first motion immediately after the mover. The Government could have gagged him only at the cost of gagging itself. So let that be clearly understood at the outset. The seconder did not speak on the first occasion because he gave up the right to speak; and the seconder on the second occasion exercised the right of which the Government could not deprive him without depriving itself of the opportunity to reply to the mover.

Now, let us get these things quite clearly. This morning, as on last Wednesday night and as on last Thursday morning, there was a constant effort to bait and belittle the Chair. This morning there were constant references to your own conduct, Mr Speaker, in respect to the first motion moved this morning. Your conduct was completely correct, I would submit, and certainly in accordance with precedents; that is, a person bringing a matter of privilege is entitled to move, and normally does, that the matter go to the Standing committee of Privileges. He does not leave it for the Speaker to determine whether there is a prima facie case. If every matter in which a person thinks that inside the House or outside it he has been abused is to go to the Committee of Privileges, the Committee will be sitting the whole time.

Nobody in this Parliament has been so constantly vilified and traduced inside it and outside it as myself. That position I accept in good part because I know it is the constant effort of conservative forces in this country to belittle whoever may be from time to time the Parliamentary leader of the Australian Labor Party. This vilification, this traducing, goes with the job. It is well known that except at question time, and only then occasionally, I do not ask for the withdrawal of unparliamentary remarks about myself. Constantly during debates members of Parliament introduce and volunteer derogatory remarks about me. I do not dignify the people by asking for a withdrawal or, when it comes to my notice, by making a personal explanation. On this occasion, as I pointed out, there have been constant references to your somehow having given a wrong ruling this morning. You did not and, if you had, that could have been put to the test in the House.

But let met come back to the position of last Wednesday night. The point has been stated quite clearly as to what happened last Wednesday night. An attempt was made constantly to belittle you and to bait you. I will quote what I said last Thursday morning to describe the proceedings. I said:

In an attempt to frustrate the recording of the constitutional vote required -

On the Constitution Alteration Bills - 2 devices were used. Mr Speaker, the Opposition last night failed to say ‘no’ when you put the question on the third reading. The Opposition tellers whom you appointed refused to act. By those 2 devices it hoped to frustrate the recording of the absolute majority, which the Constitution requires.

This was a perfectly deliberate act by the Opposition. It refused to say ‘no’ when you, Mr Speaker, put the question. The tellers whom you appointed refused to comply with your appointment. This is what the Opposition did on all three of these Bills. A vast amount of parliamentary time was taken up insinuating that somehow you had acted in breach of the Standing Orders. You had not. As my colleague the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) pointed out, even when the Parliament was completely unanimous, when nobody said ‘no’, when Opposition tellers could be appointed because there was no Opposition - the Speaker of the day still had the votes recorded to show that there was an absolute majority in favour of the constitution alteration Bill as required by the Constitution.

Mr Speaker, if one goes through the whole of the proceedings land the divisions of last Wednesday night one will remember that there was this allegation that you had done something wrong. It was during the course of some of these numerous divisions that the honourable member for Barker (Dr Forbes) came to the table and used the words which my colleague the Minister for Services and Property abbreviated this morning. There can be no doubt about the conduct of the honourable member for Barker last Wednesday night during the division. The House was full. He was not speaking on any of the Bills. He was not at the table. He came to the table and honourable members will remember his postures and his words. They are not recorded in Hansard because nobody chose to dob him in, and you, Mr Speaker, were tolerant of his conduct. This was the genesis of the whole business during these constant divisions that night. The honourable member for Barker was the aggressor. Honourable members, in a full House and with full galleries, were able to see and to hear the honourable gentleman.

The chamber that night was rowdy indeed. There is no question that it was a rowdy chamber. It would require a very innocent person to discount the explanation that everybody outside the chamber gives for our rowdiness. It was a perfectly human explanation, but we do ourselves no credit by protesting, over-protesting, that the obvious explanation had no basis in fact. It was a very rowdy chamber and among the rowdy people, among those who were noisiest and among those whose attitude was most obvious, was the honourable member for Barker. He got from his place to the table, and honourable members saw and heard what he did and said. It is not recorded in Hansard, but nobody would deny what he did and what he said.

The following morning, in answering a very long question by the Leader of the Country Party, I said:

I regret that my hospitality last night was abused.

Then I proceeded to give an explanation of those Opposition attempts to frustrate the constitutional vote being recorded. Hansard shows that the honourable member for Barker said:

On a point of order: On behalf of everbody on this side of the House, I find the Prime Minister’s remark extremely insulting and demand a withdrawal.

You, Mr Speaker, said:

Order! There is no point of order involved.

Then, in view of the honourable member’s aggression, on the Thursday morning, repeating in kind if not degree his aggression on the previous night, I proceeded to make my remarks.

I do not commit aggression in this House. The matters which the Leader of the Opposition dredged up in his impartial and dispassionate analysis of my conduct over the last 2 decades show that I am not the aggressor, but in fact I am on occasions prepared to repulse aggressors, and I did last Thursday. I made an aside across the table in answer to an aside that the right honourable gentleman made and then - I suppose it is fair enough - he dobbed me in. It was an aside across the table. Nobody heard it in the gallery. Nobody heard it in the chamber. You did not hear it, Mr Speaker. The Clerks did not hear it. It was not heard on the radio. The right honourable gentleman used a phrase across the table to which I had taken exception once before and I responded. These were asides. They were unmannerly asides. Mr Speaker, you said that you had not heard his aside. If you had, you would have asked him to withdraw it. I withdrew my comments and he would not withdraw his. Who is the well behaved member of Parliament in this respect?

If I were to comment on the interjection that has just been made it would be recorded. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lynch), whose conduct was scarcely exemplary last Wednesday night although I believe he was as sober as I was last Wednesday night, has made an interjection which, if I picked it up, would disrupt proceedings and there would have to be withdrawals and so on. I am not so sensitive in these things and I will not dob him in as his Leader dobbed me in. If I say something unmannerly in this House or something that is out of order I will withdraw it. My comment was an aside in answer to the Leader of the Opposition, who would not withdraw his comment. I withdrew; he would not withdraw. Who is the big man in this case?

The fact is that last Wednesday night the Opposition did its best to disrupt proceedings. Honourable members opposite deliberately baited and belittled you, Mr Speaker. You took it coolly and tolerantly, as you always do. But there were circumstances which help to explain the rowdiness. There was an incident which people well remember. On Thursday morning this was revived by the conduct of the aggressor the previous night. Whatever my conduct may have been in the chamber, I believe that nobody can ‘accuse me of conduct outside the chamber or in the corridors such as the honourable member for Barker perpetrated. He went out into the corridors and, in the presence of honourable members, used language, in a -very loud form, which would not be tolerated in the chamber. I responded in at least wholesome terms. Honourable members heard and saw him. They heard what he said and they observed how he was moving about. Then later on the radio-

Mr McLeay:

– Who are ‘they’?


– One has been identified. The honourable member for Phillip (Mr Riordan) was mentioned this morning. I think they came into collision. It was not the fault of the honourable member for Phillip that they came into collision. On the Thursday, the Friday and the Saturday-

Mr Snedden:

Mr Speaker, what is now being said is worsening the crime committed. As a point of order I ask you to ascertain whether the honourable member for Phillip is alleging that the honourable member for Barker was affected by alcohol at the time of the events out in the corridor.


-Order! There is no point of order involved.

Mr Snedden:

– If it is alleged by the Prime Minister that this is so the honourable member for Phillip should state whether it is true.


-Order! There is no point of order involved. This is a substantive motion. Some honourable member a short while ago called the Prime Minister a dingo. He would not have been allowed to call him that unless it were a substantive motion which was being debated. The Prime Minister’s time has expired.


– The Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) this morning has -

Motion (by Mr Daly) proposed: That the question be now put. (The bells being rung) -

Mr Daly:

– On a point of order, Mr Speaker, if the honourable member for Barker desires to speak I will withdraw the motion. On a further point of order, the honourable member did not rise to speak either.


-Order! No division has been taken as yet. The tellers have not been appointed. There is no need for the Minister to put a piece of paper over his head.

Question put.

The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. J. F. Cope)

AYES: 60

NOES: 54




Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Question put:

That the motion (Mr Snedden’s) be agreed to.

The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. J. F. Cope)

AYES: 54

NOES: 61

Majority . ….. 7



Question so resolved in the negative.

page 3494




– Are there any further notices ofmotion? There being no further notices of motion, I call on questions without notice.

page 3494




Mr Speaker, I ask that questions be placed on the notice paper.

Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.

page 3494



Minister for Services and Property · Grayndler · ALP

– For the information of honourable members and in accordance with an undertaking the Minister for Defence (Mr Barnard) gave recently in answer to questions by the honourable members for Barker (Dr Forbes) andFlinders (Mr Lynch), I present a statement making available further information on the re-shaping of defence activities.

page 3494


Tariff Board Report

Minister for Ser vices and Property · Grayndler · ALP

– I present the report by the Tariff Board on the following subject

Consumer Electronic Equipment and Components

Ordered that the report be printed.

page 3495


Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation · Newcastle · ALP

– Pursuant to Section 39 of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Act 1956-1969, I present the annual report on the operations of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission for the year ended 30 June 1973, together with financial statements and the Auditor-General’s report on those statements.

page 3495


Ministerial Statement

Minister for Environment and Conservation · Maribyrnong · ALP

– by leave - On 11 January 1973 the Minister for Customs and Excise, Senator Lionel Murphy, after consultation with me, announced that he would no longer agree to waive the ban on the export of kangaroo skins, which was imposed in 1923, and furthermore that he had taken action to prohibit the export, without consent, of all kangaroo products. We were concerned about the disturbing rate of destruction of kangaroos. We agreed that the export of kangaroo skins and products would only be permitted when we were satisfied that this would not affect the conservation and preservation of the various species. In order to minimise hardship arising from contracts already entered into with overseas buyers the prohibition was not brought into force until 1 April 1973.

On 9 March 1973 I called a meeting of Australian Government and State Ministers responsible for wildlife conservation to discuss the implications of the action taken to ban exports of kangaroo products. The Ministers agreed that they were opposed to the uncontrolled harvesting of kangaroos and related species; that for conservation purposes selective culling or harvesting of certain species of kangaroos may be a legitimate management practice; and that a scientifically acceptable range of data gathering and control measures be drawn up to regulate culling or harvesting throughout Australia in the interests of conservation of the species and the general environment. To implement this latter decision the Ministers set up a working party of officers from my Department, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and each State and Territory wildlife authority to report on techniques of data gathering, man agement and conservation of kangaroos and related species throughout Australia.

On 29 May 1973 this working party completed its report which I have now tabled. I forwarded the report to the Ministers concerned under cover of a letter dated 31 May. This letter expressed my opinion of the report in the following terms:

It seems to me that this report goes a long way towards setting out the essential steps which should be taken to arrive at rational, conservation-oriented, harvesting programs for the various species of kangaroos. Presuming that Ministers accept this report the next step will be for interested State and Territory fauna authorities to submit their detailed programs to my Department for review. I will then consider what recommendations I can make to the Minister for Customs and Excise on the export of kangaroo products and skins.

I was unable to advise the States that I was prepared to recommend any lifting or easing of the ban at that time, for a number of reasons. Firstly, New South Wales had not agreed that the annual quotas for each species of kangaroos harvested should be determined by consultation between the appropriate authorities of the States or Territories and the Department of the Environment and Conservation. If this means that I and the Minister for Customs and Excise should simply rubber stamp any level of exports which the State regards as satisfactory then I do not regard such a proposition as realistic.

Secondly, some States had not introduced a tagging system, the purpose of which is to identify skins and carcasses of animals which have been legally taken. It seems clear to me that wildlife authorities cannot adequately police all the controls on harvesting, which are envisaged in the report, unless tagging systems are instituted. In the case of skins and carcasses for interstate trade or export, tagging systems are even more necessary to prevent illegal harvesting across State or territorial borders and to prevent shipment of illegally taken skins and carcasses.

Thirdly, Western Australia had not agreed that kangaroos should not be classed as vermin. Under the Western Australian Vermin Act 4 species of kangaroos are declared to be vermin and because of this the duty is imposed on all landholders to destroy all kangaroos of those species at all times. This classification is quite inconsistent with the aims of kangaroo management programs as expressed in the report, which is based on the overall conservation of all the various species of kangaroos and embraces the control and management of populations over as wide a portion of their total range as possible.

The response from the States in which commercial kangaroo harvesting exists has been disappointing. The States concerned are Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. In reply to my letter of 31 May, the Minister for Primary Industries, Queensland, expressed his opinion that the existing State kangaroo management program met the criteria set down in the working party’s report. Nevertheless, Queensland has not yet provided the detailed conservation programs for each species in the form agreed upon. Nor has it introduced, or indicated its intention to introduce a tagging system. However, I am advised that Queensland is preparing new management programs for kangaroos for implementation in 1974.

Similarly, the New South Wales Minister for Lands and Tourism in his reply to my letter maintained that his State had already established control systems which met the requirements outlined in the report. Again, no programs have been submitted, nor was he prepared to admit any role for the Australian Government in determining the level of harvesting to be permitted. The Department of Fisheries and Fauna of Western Australia has submitted management programs for the species of kangaroos which are commercially harvested in that State. These programs are, in my view, deficient in terms of the requirements set out in the Report. The South Australian Minister for Environment and Conservation has advised me that his State intends to implement a tagging system as part of its kangaroo management program in 1974, and is prepared to co-operate with the Australian Government in accordance with the working party’s recommendations.

The overall situation is that while States have generally claimed that kangaroo conservation is well managed no State has yet submitted full details of its program in the manner recommended in the report of the working party, which its own officers helped to prepare. I am confident that most States have the basis for sound programs of kangaroo conservation which could be readily upgraded to meet the standards set out in the report. However, until satisfactory programs are prepared meeting the full - I stress full’ - conditions of the report and implemented I am not prepared to recommend to the Minister for Customs and Excise any relaxation of the prohibition on the export of kangaroo skins or products. I present the following paper:

Ministerial Working Party on Kangaroo ConservationReportMinisterial Statement, 20 November 1973.

Motion (by Mr Daly) proposed:

That the House take note of the paper.


– I thank the Minister for the Environment and Conservation (Dr Cass) for making the report available to me towards the end of last week. I have read the report of the working party and I find that it endorses most of the recommendations with respect to kangaroos which were made by the Joint Select Committee on Wildlife Conservation of which I was Chairman in the last Parliament. That Committee unanimously opposed the uncontrolled harvesting of kangaroos. It recognised that at some times and in some places, kangaroo populations became too large and that some culling was necessary. But the Committee stated categorically that it believed that controls at all times should rest with governments. This view has been expressed by the working party and to this extent it endorses the view expressed by the Select Committee. But I also agree with that part of the report of the working party’s submission which stated that the object of fauna conservation was to ensure the survival in reasonable numbers of all of our native fauna in the presence of man and his activities. I believe that any policy designed to achieve this must establish land use priorities because in my opinion the great majority of that section of our wildlife population which is under threat - and this applies to and includes quite a number of species of the kangaroo family - is threatened not because of hunting but because of the spread of civilisation which has gradually encroached on and eroded its habitat.

The time to enlarge our national park and sanctuary system is now, before some species of the environment are irretrievably alienated. We have the opportunity of avoiding some of the mistakes made by a number of older countries. I think that we ought to take this opportunity now before it is too late. We do not want to waste our opportunities. Any harvesting program for kangaroos must include regulations with respect to age, sex and size, and I believe that only governments are capable of implementing these regulations. I do not believe that all private individuals who have a vested interest in kangaroo harvesting can effectively discipline themselves. Some can and do because they also have a vested interest in conservation, but as a result of the irresponsibility of some individuals I firmly believe that controls at all times should rest with governments. I support the recommendations of the working party and the views expressed by the Minister for Environment and Conservation.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Assent reported.

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The following Bills were returned from the Senate:

Without amendment -

Wine Overseas Marketing Bill 1973.

Broadcasting Stations Licence Fees Bill 1973.

Without requests -

Excise Tariff Bill (No. 3) 1973.

Customs Tariff Bill 1973.

Diesel Fuel Tax Bill (No. 1) 1973.

Diesel Fuel Tax Bill (No. 2) 1973.

Excise Bill (No. 2) 1973.

Wine Grapes Charges Bill 1973.

page 3497




– Order! I have received the following message from the Senate:

The Senate, having considered message No. 201 of the House of Representatives, has agreed to the following resolution in connection therewith, namely, that the Senate, while not agreeing to the resolution transmitted to it in message No. 201 of the House of Representatives for a joint meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives, expresses the opinion that planning for the new and permanent Parliament House should commence immediately and the site be upon Capital Hill.

page 3497


Discussion of Matter of Public Importance


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

The uncertainties created by the Government’s foreign policies.

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


- Mr Speaker, I bring forward for discussion this matter of public importance on behalf of both the Liberal and Country parties. I believe it to be justified. It does not denigrate the Government for all its foreign policy initiatives - there have been some which both my leader and myself have commented upon favourably, albeit that the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) has misquoted me in relation to some of these - but it gives voice to some doubts and uncertainties which have occurred during this Government’s period of office so far as its foreign policies are concerned. Australian foreign policy should serve this country’s national interest, but the Government’s new nationalism in foreign policy is not in Australia’s interest. It is not new nationalism but old-style aggressive nationalism, a petulant self-assertiveness that has already harmed relations with the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the South Pacific countries and Japan. Such a claim does not suggest that Australia should adopt a servile attitude towards other countries or that their approval should be sought before decisions are made.

Australia’s national interest is best served by recognising that we are living in an increasingly interdependent world - interdependent in terms of peace and security, in terms of human well-being and prosperity - a world in which Australia could and should make a substantial contribution. Whatever the proclaimed intentions of the Australian Government, its conduct of policy has not inspired co-operation; but rather it has aroused suspicion and uncertainty among the countries of our region and damaged our relations with many countries - damage that throws serious doubt upon the Prime Minister’s claim that he had been the greatest Foreign Minister Australia has ever had. As Mr Maximilian Walsh, in the ‘Australian Financial Review’ of 9 November this year, commented, the Prime Minister had described himself in this way with characteristic lack of modesty’ and had ascribed to himself ‘ a role which many would regard as somewhat larger than life itself.

In addition to earlier tensions created by the Government in its relations, for example, with the United States of America, the tenor of a reply by the Prime Minister to a question at the National Press Club luncheon on 8

November is said to have further strained relations. When asked about the United States international precautionary alert to its forces, the Prime Minister was reported as replying:

I do not know if they were put on alert. I was not told. I believe the announcement was for domestic American consumption.

As Allan Barnes of the Melbourne ‘Age’ commented, Mr Whitlam’s statement: . . shocked a number of foreign diplomats, including some from the American Embassy who were present. His remarks are certain to be reported to the State Department in Washington. They will do nothing to help improve the relations with the Nixon administration.

They are not my words; they are the words of an objective reporter. What the House must realise is that with those remarks the Prime Minister also attacked the integrity of the United States Secretary of State, Dr Henry Kissinger, a man whose achievements in the field of foreign relations, to put them at their minimum, have not only been more significant but also infinitely more successful than have the Prime Minister’s.

It ought to be remembered that in answer to the charge that President Nixon had ordered the alert to distract public attention from the Watergate scandal, Dr Kissinger conducted the most searching examination of the matter and nailed it as a lie. Dr Kissinger’s statement predated the Whitlam statement. The Prime Minister knew that, rejected it and hurled it back at the United States Secretary of State. His statement, therefore, is tantamount to calling Dr Kissinger a liar. To make it even worse, if that is possible, it follows the occasion last month when the Prime Minister trenchantly criticised the United States Administration for sending arms to Israel, arms that were forwarded subsequent to the massive re-supply by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to the Arabs. I am advised that such criticism caused Dr Kissinger to write to the Prime Minister explaining the true position. I am advised further that it was a temperate letter, couched in diplomatic language, but its message was clear: Do not criticise at least until you know the facts - a thoroughly reasoned and reasonable response. What was the Prime Minister’s reaction? At the next opportunity it was to criticise the United States’ handling of the Middle East crisis. He turned the heat on Dr Kissinger himself. But this is the pattern of the Prime Minister’s actions - a history and record in the domestic sphere of over-reaction to criticism. Now he is performing predictably on the same plane in the international arena. But the men scorned, men such as Nixon, Kissinger, Prime Minister Heath, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, should not feel too bad. Only last week, in Melbourne, he told us that his own Ministers were headline seekers; talked too much; were not able yet to perform properly in their jobs, and he threatened to resign last week because of a Labor member’s resolution before Caucus. Again, as Mr Allan Barnes has said, this action was entirely unnecessary - shades again of his swiping at his critics.

Now let us look elsewhere. Consider the Prime Minister’s visit to Japan. There again the actions of the Government in the international field are akin to its actions in the domestic sphere, namely, to act first and think later. We have heard so much about the Treaty of Nara, announced with great ceremony, but frankly no one knows what the Treaty will contain. As the Japanese Foreign Minister, Mr Ohira, said after the Tanaka-Whitlam agreement:

From now on between the 2 Governments the officials will be wracking their brains and will be working hard to come up with a draft of the treaty.

The Liberal Party would not proclaim a treaty if there were none in existence. These are the actions of our self-proclaimed greatest Foreign Minister ever. When he saw Chairman Mao the occasion led to extraordinary ecstasy. I remind Australia’s answer to Mohammed Ali that only a fortnight before his visit to China the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr Trudeau, also had visited China, had been received with the same organised enthusiasm, had secured a trade agreement to plan long term commerce between the 2 countries, had secured agreement to the establishment of the first non-communist consulate in China, probably to the established Shanghai, and Mr Trudeau had also met Chairman Mao - but no shades of Cassius Clay from Mr Trudeau.

Also in China the Prime Minister of Australia said that Australia’s new aspirations are symbolised more in our relationship with China than our relationship with any other country. Just what does this statement mean to us? Just what does it mean to the countries of South East Asia? Ties with China are important, but there must be limits on the extent to which Australian ‘aspirations’ depend upon them or are symbolised by them. As I have said before, perhaps it is just a matter of style, but it is important in international relations that style and aspirations be matched. This the Liberal Party in government would do. Undoubtedly the Liberal Party whilst in government had closer relations with the countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations than this Labor Government can claim. Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines have all had difficult times during the period of this Government and have been offended by remarks of the Prime Minister.

The uncertainty regarding the future of the Five-Power Arrangements as a result of the Australian Government’s decision to withdraw were well put last week by the Singapore Foreign Minister, Mr Rajaratnam when interviewed on the Australian Broadcasting Commission program ‘Monday Conference’. He said:

There are 5 partners to this Five-Power defence agreement and I think 4 of them are more or less in accord;

I pause at this stage to indicate clearly that at this stage of his remarks he was referring to Australia - one of the partners has a slightly different approach which, if pursued to any extreme logical extent, could materially alter - and very substantially, possibly, alter - the relationship between Singapore and Australia and perhaps the others as well.

It will be recalled that the New Zealand Labor Government has stated unequivocally that it will not walk out of the Five-Power Arrangements. So far as Papua New Guinea is concerned, we have had numerous changes of direction and stated attitudes by Ministers of this Government leading to the most extraordinary uncertainties. At the commencement of this year the Minister for External Territories (Mr Morrison) boasted that the Labor Government would make Papua New Guinea independent by 1974. He was forcibly and publicly challenged by the Chief Minister of Papua New Guinea and told that this was primarily a decision for Papua New Guinea. The Minister for External Territories later retreated from this assertive position.

We then had the dogmatic statement by the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Charles Jones) that he would dictate the terms of Papua New Guinea’s national airline. Again the Chief Minister was forced publicly to rebuke a Labor Minister and policy was changed. Then we had the riots in Port Moresby in August of this year which the Minister for External Territories dismissed as a mere stoush after a football match. Again the Papua New Guinea Ministers thoroughly disagreed with this assessment. Later the Prime Minister at first refused to allow Papua New Guinea’s Defence and Foreign Relations Minister, Mr Albert Maori Kiki, to travel with the Australian delegation to Japan and to participate in discussions. He was forced to change that attitude only after the Chief Minister personally pleaded with him to permit Mr Kiki to participate in the talks in Japan.

The period of Labor administration of Papua New Guinea has revealed a record of misconceived intent, confusion of policy and a regrettable continuing state of convulsive colonialism. In contrast, the Liberal Party’s policy towards Papua New Guinea was and is clear and unexceptionable. It is the country of the people of Papua New Guinea, it is their future and they should be the determinants of that future. So far as our relations with the South Pacific are concerned it will be recalled that the Prime Minister attended the South Pacific forum at Apia in Western Samoa in April. It was alleged that the Australian delegation would adopt a low profile strategy. As the ‘Australian Financial Review’ on 9 November this year said:

Mr Whitlam’s one foray into the Pacific was se close to a disaster it was embarrassing.

The low profile strategy was somewhat distorted by the presence in Apia harbour oi HMAS ‘Vampire’ and the Fiji Prime Minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, manoeuvred an internal dispute over Fiji unionism into a regional crisis involving Australian trade union interference in Fiji affairs. No wonder the ‘Australian Financial Review’ referred to the visit as being close to a disaster.

The Opposition, therefore, censures the Government and brings before the House a matter of public importance referring to the uncertainties that have been created by the Government’s foreign policies. It condemns the Government - and the Prime Minister - for its handling of international relations, for its facade, for its old-fashioned aggressive jingoistic nationalism and above all for its undiplomatic diplomacy. The Prime Minister has created uncertainty. He has misquoted me, for example, to support his arguments. He deserves criticism in the specific areas to which I have referred and the criticism that will be referred to by my colleagues following me in this debate. Undoubtedly amongst the countries of South East Asia and even within

Australia itself there is grave uncertainty as to the future direction of Australia’s foreign policy.

Prime Minister · Werriwa · ALP

– The Opposition spokesman on foreign affairs, the honourable member for Kooyong (Mr Peacock), has raised for discussion as a matter of public importance ‘the uncertainties created by the Government’s foreign policy.’ Those are his words. They would not be used in any other part of the world or in any part of Australia outside of this chamber. The honourable member seeks to flesh out this phrase by a catalogue of quotations. I do not propose to take up very much of the House’s time in dealing with the matters he raised. First, he mentioned my somewhat abrupt reply to a question which raised some subjects on which the questioner knew quite well that he would get no reply from me any more than he would have got one from any of my predecessors. It was about the United States alert. At the time I had not studied Dr Kissinger’s statement. I have since studied it. I accept his statement. My Foreign Minister (Senator Willesee) has already made clear the Australian Government’s support for Dr Kissinger’s efforts. I need merely add that the following day I, myself praised Dr Kissinger’s extraordinarily successful initiative in bringing together, for the first time since 194S, Egypt and Israel in the same place at the same table. I am second to no one in the world in my admiration for the efforts that Dr Kissinger has made in many parts of the world.

It is relevant, however, to point out that the Australian Government was not at the time informed officially by the United States Government about the alert, nor was it informed that the alert applied to the North West Cape installation. The implications of this are among the subjects which the Minister for Defence (Mr Barnard) will shortly discuss with and in the United States. It is also worth recognising that while the United States is very much a partisan and has been so for the last quarter of a century in the hostilities in the Middle East, all America’s allies, including Australia, are neutral. 1 would have hoped that the honourable member who raised this subject would give a bit of support to the present Australian Government - in the face, admittedly, of some comments made by those who sit behind him and beside him - for preserving the attitude that all Australian governments have preserved under Chifley, Menzies, Holt, Gorton and McMahon, that Australia should remain neu-, tral in the affairs of the Middle East and preserve an even-handed stance. I have done so. My Government has done so. I would have expected more support from the Liberals and the Australian Country Party for preserving that traditional and proper Australian stance.

Mr Chipp:

– The President of your Party has not been even-handed.


– He has not, but he is not expressing the Party’s policy on this subject, determined as recently as last July at the last Federal Conference of the Australian Labor Party. I presume he has been speaking as the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Mr Peacock:

– He seems to make a lot of mistakes on policy matters.


-Order! The honourable member for Kooyong was heard in complete silence. I ask honourable members to extend the same courtesy to the Prime Minister in answering the argument put forward by the honourable member for Kooyong. If he does not receive that courtesy I will see that he does.


Mr Speaker, Australian governments, including my own Government, have been neutral in the hostilities in the Middle East. I am happy that the honourable member for Hotham nods his concurrence with that proposition. I should have hoped that there would have been more support for the present Australian Government in following the traditional Australian government attitude there. I reiterate the pride that the Australian Government takes - and I would think all members of the Australian Parliament should take - in the fact that last month a most experienced and distinguished Australian was President of the Security Council during that crucial period and did all that that body could do to bring an end to the hostilities.

The next subject matter dealt with by the honourable gentleman was Japan. He sought to belittle the Nippon-Australia Relations Agreement which the 2 countries are to conclude. He can describe as he wishes the way it was announced. It was announced by the Prime Minister of Japan. The honourable gentleman ought to recall that only a year before his associates had rejected the idea for a treaty between the 2 countries which Japan had put for many years past and which it formally put at the first ministerial meeting held in Canberra last year. The idea was to have a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation. Our predecessors had just rejected that idea. At least we are doing something about it. Japan has welcomed the fact that the largest and most senior ministerial delegation ever to leave Australia had such full, frank and fruitful discussions with their Japanese counterparts.

The honourable gentleman next mentioned China. I should have thought he would have shown a little modesty on this subject because he in fact was asked to visit China while he was a Minister and his attendance was vetoed - there is some doubt whether it was vetoed by the leader of his Party or the Leader of the Country Party (Mr Anthony).

Mr McMahon:

– That is absolutely untrue. He was asked to go as Minister for the Army and in no other capacity.


– Order! Interjections will cease.

Mr McMahon:

– Well, he has to tell the truth.

Mr Morrison:

– Did he go to China or did he not?


– He did not go to China. It now appears that his Prime Minister would not allow him to go because he was Minister for the Army. I do not know why he would not allow him to go- I do not see why that would have precluded it. The honourable gentleman was invited and he was not allowed to go. I believe that the honourable gentleman supports the Australian Government’s establishment of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. I think he said so a couple of weeks ago.

Mr Peacock:

– And my Leader said so.


– Yes, but I think you had inferred your attitude before that. I have always given the honourable gentleman credit for pursuing an enlightened, contemporary point of view on many subjects such as Papua-New Guinea and China. He might not always have been enthusiastic about facing up to the facts, but in general on these matters he has faced up to the facts and I have given him credit. I think it is a bit ungracious of him that he should now refer to the fact that

Australian Ministers are allowed to go to China and are welcomed in China. We now have the situation in China as we had in Japan. Our predecessors would not formalise relations between Australia and her principal trading partner, Japan. The new Australian Government has done so. Our predecessors pursued the fruitless idea that one quarter of the world’s population could be ignored and that there could be recognised as the President of the whole of China a man who has not set foot on the mainland since 1948 or 1949. It was an absurd business. We at least wholeheartedly and promptly restored between Australia and China relations which should never have been severed. Australians and Chinese can now visit each other with the full warmth that should always have applied but which was suspended for 23 years.

Then the honourable member mentioned Indonesia. Relations between the Australian Government and the Indonesian Government have never been so close. I visited Indonesia last January. The Minister for Immigration (Mr Grassby) visited it last May. The President has sent his two personal assistants, Major-General Sudjono Humardhani and Major-General Ali Murtopo to Australia. Neither has expressed the least misgivings about our policy. They reflect completely the personal ‘thinking of the President. The Foreign Minister, Mr Adam Malik, has just visited Australia. He told the National Press Club:

My visit to Australia is not intended to solve any problems between our 1 countries, for happily we have none.

I shall visit Indonesia over the Easter break next, year at the personal invitation of the President. I will have the opportunity for lengthy, private and informal talks with him. Our defence aid and economic aid have continued undiminished.

The honourable gentleman mentioned Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. It is true that in relation to Singapore there is a slightly different attitude expressed about the situation in which both countries find themselves. Australia wholeheartedly and uninhibitedly welcomes the change in our area brought about by the detente between the United States of America and China and diplomatic relations between Japan and China. In the view of the Australian Government these are circumstances that we should all welcome. The Singapore Government has expressed some misgivings. I presume to say that the Government of Singapore sooner or later will establish diplomatic relations with China.

As I said in answer to a question without notice by the honourable gentleman last week, technically Singapore recognises the existence of the People’s Republic of China. It has never recognised the pretentions of the Chiang Kai-shek regime in the province of Taiwan but it has not had diplomatic relations with Peking, that is, with the People’s Republic of China. Inevitably, it will. I should have thought that the sooner it does so the more gracious would be its acceptance of the inevitable; but that is a matter for the Government of Singapore. It is true that the Prime Minister of Singapore releases the text of speeches he makes to closed gatherings. I do not. I will not. At the meeting of the Commonwealth heads of government at Ottawa the Prime Minister of Singapore raised a great number of matters about which there had been disputes between Singapore and Australia before the present Government ever came into office. One matter of dispute has arisen since the change of government in Australia, that is, the repatriation of Singaporean students studying in Australia. The present Australian Government may advise students that it is their duty to go back to the country which gave them their basic education but it will not deport those students. If Students choose to remain in Australia, irrespective of their race or nationality they will be permitted to stay. Every other matter that was raised as a matter of dispute between Singapore and Australia arose during the term of office of our predecessors. When diplomatic approaches are made they are handled promptly and courteously. We do our best to solve those matters. At the request of the Government of Singapore I shall be their guest early in February. In March this year the late Tun Dr ‘Ismail, the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, paid a highly successful visit to Australia. In September the Philippines Foreign Secretary, General Romulo, paid a visit to Australia. He had intended to visit Australia last year but the invitation was not pursued by our predecessors. It was promptly pursued by us, and General Romulo was happy to be here. I need merely add that the wife of the Philippines President was recently my guest.

The honourable gentleman then referred to Papua New Guinea. It is the Australian

Labor Party which identified the legitimate claims by the people of Papua New Guinea to self government and independence. The honourable gentleman has the lack of grace to mention the attendance of Mr Maori Kiki at the ministerial talks between Japan and Australia. Last year the then Prime Minister did not introduce the Chief Minister of Papua New Guinea, Mr Somare it was left to the honourable gentleman who has raised this matter of public importance. But this time the Prime Minister of Australia fully involved the Foreign Minister of Papua New Guinea in the discussions. I introduced him to the Japanese Ministers individually and at the committee meetings. The relations in a personal sense as well as in an official sense, between Mr Somare, Mr Albert Maori Kiki, the Minister for External Territories (Mr Morrison) and myself could not be closer. It is because of the long-standing arrangements between us, forged throughout the last Parliament, that we can look forward for generations to the happiest relationship between these 2 neighbouring countries.


-Order! The Prime Minister’s time has expired.

New England

– Neither in the style nor in the substance of his foreign policy has the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) or the present Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Willesee) been able to provide certainty for members of this Parliament, for the people in this country or for our friends in other countries. Today, more than at any other stage, we are in the position where we are uncertain as to where the policies of the Prime Minister are leading us. If there were ever a need to assert this, following the reference to the pseudonym of Mohamad Ali, now is the time. One saw in the inferences that could be drawn from the Prime Minister’s speech today the degree to which this man, strutting the world stage much like a peacock, attempts to influence others and to persuade himself but lacks the substance to back his arguments.

It is unfortunate that today the Prime Minister has suggested that those problems of uncertainty are not felt outside Australia. Why, only a few weeks ago the China Mail’, one of Hong Kong’s 4 English daily newspapers, carried an attack on Mr Whitlam. The article was written by a staff writer, Mr Dennis Mullen, and it was headed ‘Mr Upstart Down Under’. Another article, which was written by Derek Round, of Hong Kong, is headed: ‘Gough - Bashing Time in Asia. That article contains direct and substantial references to the degree to which the style of the Prime Minister has destroyed Australia’s position abroad.

Closer to home, the Prime Minister has defended his relations with Dr Adam Malik, the very distinguished foreign Minister of Indonesia. The Prime Minister’s visit to Indonesia was more distinguished by his attacks on Dr Adam Malik than by any other aspect of that visit. Indeed, that visit did more to destroy Australia’s image in Indonesia than any visit made by any other Minister or Prime Minister in recent years. In the Sydney Morning Herald’ of 24 February 1973 Mr Brian Johns wrote a wrap-up report of the Prime Minister’s visit to Djakarta after the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Dr Malik, made it known that Indonesia was opposed to the Prime Minister’s proposal. The article states:

The Prime Minister reacted angrily - very angrily - when he first heard reports of the report soon after Dr Malik’s briefing on Wednesday.

That night Australian Embassy officials - and members of Mr Whitlam’s party - were telling Australian journalists, that Dr Malik was ‘unreliable’, erratic and out of favour with the Indonesian Government’.

How is that for the style of a man who is the Prime Minister or Foreign Minister? What a way in which to treat the Foreign Minister of our closest neighbour and a former chairman of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East.

On 1 March the ‘Australian Financial Review* reported:

Australian diplomats in Singapore and South East

Asian capitals are working overtime to try to erase the false impressions arising from Prime Minister Whitlam’s 3-day visit to Indonesia.

So much for the close ties that the Prime Minister claims that he has now re-established with Dr Malik and with Indonesia.

Indeed, this seems to be the pattern of the man’s behaviour in the foreign policy arena. Having offended so many, he then seeks to pour oil over troubled waters and to try to reconcile a country’s attitude to himself and to his Government. Unfortunately, the uncertainties created by the constant change from familiarity to contempt are such that the uncertainty is generated, provoked and extended rather than ameliorated. Indeed, one of the basic problems of the man is that he fails to appreciate the elements of diplomacy itself. The Prime Minister is not now in the chamber, but perhaps for his reading later I will read into Hansard some quotations from a book entitled ‘Diplomacy’ by Mr Harold Nicolson. He states:

These, then, are the qualities of my ideal diplomatist. Truth, accuracy, calm, patience, good temper, modesty and loyalty. They are also the qualities of an ideal diplomacy. ‘But’ the reader may object ‘you have forgotten intelligence, knowledge, discernment, prudence, hospitality, charm, industry, courage and even tact’. I have not forgotten them. I have taken them for granted.

How much better our foreign policy would be if any of these qualities were possessed by the man who was Foreign Minister and today is Australia’s Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister stated that outside this chamber and in Australia no doubts are cast as to the substance and direction of Australian foreign policy. Only a week ago in this House I asked the Prime Minister whether he had read an article written by Professor Arthur Burns, Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University, which appeared in the ‘Bulletin* of 10 November. It referred to the new Russian threat. In the article, Professor Burns, who has been one of the leading figures in the Australian Labor movement, asserts his concern at the direction in which the foreign policy and the defence policy of Australia are taking us. He asserts his concern at the degree to which there is a potential nuclear war between the major powers of the world. He stresses his concern not only at the situation in the Middle East but also at the deteriorating situation between the Soviet Union and China and their constant border confrontations, with 67 divisions from each force facing one another across the boundary between the 2 countries. He suggests that the loss of control of affairs, even by the 2 major powers, makes the necessity for the development of Australia’s relations with the United States even more urgent than it has ever been before. Yet it is in that area and in the substance of foreign policy that I think all honourable members of this Parliament and ali Australians must have the greatest concern.

The new aspirations of the foreign policies of the Labor Government have generated a complete redirection of Australia. That redirection has taken us away from a premise of regional security and of developing friends and allies and close associates in the areas that surround us towards the presentation of the Prime Minister as a mini-Kissinger trying to participate in the solution of world problems. On the Prime Minister’s many visits, accompanied as he is in his semi-presidential style around the world, he has asserted that Australia’s role as being greater than we believe it should be at this stage. I believe it is important that not only in our relations with Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, but also in our developing relations with the about-to-be independent Papua New Guinea, we should pursue a policy that maintains the line that has been so well and effectively presented for so long - the concept of regional security, which we should not forsake. If one particular bent of the Labor Party’s foreign policy has emerged it is certainly this intention to try to assert Australia’s role in the world beyond our immediate neighbourhood.

The Prime Minister, in each of his visits as Prime Minister, has attempted not to visit those countries which are our neighbours, but to bypass them. His visits have been rather to countries further afield. In particular his journeys to China, Japan and Ottawa have been seen as an assertion of Australia’s role not in our immediate region but in the world beyond that immediate area. The consequence of this for Australia is quite frightening, both in the defence and in the foreign policy sense. If we wish to assert and to maintain an independent competence, if we want to be seen and respected as a nation, it is important for us to be seen and accepted in the region which is our geographic site. If we are not accepted by our neighbours as friends and if we are suspect because of the policies, the statements and the prejudices that come from the members of the Whitlam Ministry as well as from the Prime Minister himself, it not only weakens our capacity to play a greater role in the wider world but it also weakens our own security and the stance that we believe we should have with those countries which over the 2 decades of Liberal-Country Party Government were seen to turn more and more to Australia as a leader in things that affected them.

It is important that we should look at both the style and substance of the foreign policy of this Labor Government. In the style we have had constant assertions by the Prime

Minister on the degree to which he has been able by personal discussions with world statesmen to influence their attitude to world events. Yet in the presentation of the substance of this policy we have had a weakening of our ties with those who had been our traditional allies - in particular, the United States and the United Kingdom. But more importantly and more significantly geographically at a time when Australia is becoming more competent and more respected in itself, it is losing respect because of the presentation of a policy which is denying the right and the role of this concept of regional security in the sphere of our principal influence. It is in those 2 areas that I believe both the Prime Minister and the Labor Government deserve to be condemned.

Minister for Science and Minister for External Territories · St George · ALP

– It seems to me that inaccuracy has almost become a virtue with the Opposition. The Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party, the honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair), has just pointed out that the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) has not paid visits to this part of the world about which he spoke and in fact all the visits of the Prime Minister have been to countries outside this region. I think we ought to put on record that the first visit that the Prime Minister paid overseas was to New Zealand. The second visit the Prime Minister paid overseas was to Papua New Guinea and he then went on to Indonesia. The reason the Prime Minister went as far afield as Ottawa is very simple. It happened to be the venue of the meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers.

Members of the Opposition have been talking about style. Again they seem to have a very short and convenient memory. I think all of us can recall the style of a former Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton). We can remember the style of another former Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Lowe (Mr McMahon). I have mentioned before but I think I had better mention again the style of Mr Gorton when he was conducting Australia’s foreign relations. I refer to a report in the Australian Press of a discussion that he had with the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman. When asked for an observation on what Australia’s involvement would be under the Five Power Arrangement if there were any border dispute the comment of the right honourable member for Higgins was:

The Tunku said he wasn’t sure what I meant when I said Australia wouldn’t help.

Now for the style. The report states:

Well’, I told the Tunku, ‘if you get into any sort of border fight you had better cope by yourselves because Australia bloody well won’t be there.’

Mr Les Johnson:

– Who said this?


Mr Gorton. That is the grand style of Mr Gorton. That is the type of style under which the foreign policy of Australia was run before this Government came to power. The right honourable member for Lowe had discussions in Indonesia about the Five Power Arrangement. The Arrangement was dealt a mortal blow under the leadership of the former Government when the right honourable member for Lowe said that the Five Power Arrangement is not very important; that it is in fact only a forum for consultation. That was in Indonesia. Then he went across to Singapore, a member country of the Arrangement, and spent the rest of that trip trying to get out from under the equivocation and the lack of style and lack of awareness of what foreign policy was all about.

The honourable member for Kooyong (Mr Peacock) made one accurate statement. He said that Australian foreign policy should serve Australia’s interests. The concern that the Opposition had for foreign policy when it was in government was not in terms of the interests to Australia, nor was it in terms of the interests of the Australian people. It had only one interest in foreign policy and that was to use it as a tool to organise its re-election. To do this members of the Opposition lied and lied and lied to the Australian people. It became so obvious-

Mr Sinclair:

– Give us one example.


– Very well. The honourable gentleman asks for one example.

Mr Sinclair:

– I would be delighted to hear it.


– I was rather hoping you would be. I have with me a publication entitled ‘Viet Nam Questions and Answers’ which was issued under the authority of the Minister for External Affairs, the right honourable Paul Hasluck, M.P. at that time in May 1966. That publication says:

  1. . while Australia values the closeness and strength of its friendship and alliance with the United

States, our forces are in Viet ‘Nam to help the Government of the South, at its request . . .

I think we can all recall the Labor Party, which was in those days the Opposition, demanding time and time again that that request be tabled. Late one evening in 1972, 6i years later, the government of the day, now the Opposition, tabled the letters. These letters nail the lie on which the honourable member asked me to elaborate and I shall do so. There was an exchange of letters between the Australian Ambassador in Vietnam, Mr H. D. Anderson, and the South Vietnamese. A letter written to the then Prime Minister of the Republic of Vietnam, dated 29 April, reads:

I have the honour, with reference to our conversation yesterday, to confirm the Australian Government’s offer to send to Viet Nam . . .

The response - these letters require an acknowledgement in order to make an agreement - which came from Mr Ky who was then the Prime Minister of the Republic of Vietnam, says:

I have the honour to refer to your letter of today’s date confirming the Australian Government’s offer to send to Viet Nam an infantry battalion of 800 men, with some 100 personnel in logistic support, to serve with United States forces in assisting in the defence of the Republic of Vietnam.

I wish to confirm my government’s acceptance of this offer . . .

All the time that this Opposition was in Government it claimed that our participation in the Vietnam conflict with hundreds of Australians killed and hundreds more wounded, was because of a request from the Vietnamese Government.

Mr Sinclair:

– That is correct. It was a verbal request.


– It was not a request. It was not an invitation. It was an acceptance of an offer - an offer that was engineered by the United States Government. We are talking of the question of style and of how we as Australians relate to our foreign policy. When the present Opposition was in government it not only sold a part of the farm every year but it also sold out in a most blatant way Australia’s sovereignty. I go back to the arguments over the North West Cape and the agreement that was entered into. It was one of the most shoddy agreements that Australia has ever been a party to because under that agreement Australia’s sovereignty was sold; there was a complete sell-out of Australia’s sovereignty. I want to remind honourable members opposite, because they do have a conveniently short memory, that under the North West Cape Agreement Article III provides for an exchange of letters on the basis of consultation on the use of the base. But when those letters were published at the insistence of the United States Ambassador we found in them provision to prevent the Government of Australia from restricting at any time the United States Government’s use of the station for defence communication, including Polaris submarines. The exchange of letters said that it was not intended to give Australia control over or access to messages from the station. On Australian soil, in an agreement entered into by an Australian Government the present Opposition when in government sold out Australia’s sovereignty. It was always concerned not about foreign policy for foreign policy’s sake; nor for foreign policy in the terms of the matter of public importance proposed for discussion by the honourable member for Kooyong which states that ‘Australian foreign policy should serve Australia’s interests’, but it was interested only in how it could utilise Australia’s foreign policy to have the Liberal-Country Party Government re-elected.

We had the sight of an Australian Foreign Minister - that honourable member is no longer a member of this House - going to the United States of America and pleading in public fora for the United States to intervene in the domestic affairs of Australia. In a speech which he made on 5 October 1972 to the AmericanAustralian Association, talking to an American audience, he said:

Whether you yourselves really wish actively to contribute to this shift of political power, which having regard to the present policy statements of the Opposition would lead inevitably to the imposition of conditions of Australian control of American bases-

Back to the American bases again. In fact, that former Foreign Minister pleaded with and asked the American public - he made this point in official discussions with the American Administration - to intervene in Australia’s domestic affairs. This was a monstrous appeal. There has been no precedent for it in any other country or at any other time. That is what the present Opposition when in Government thought of foreign policy. It was an appalling sell out. This Government believes that we do not need to walk or to march to the beat of another drum. We are capable of measuring our own steps and seeking our own direction.

We are doing no more than what President Nixon once said, to this effect:

If domination by an aggressor can destroy the freedom of a nation, too much dependence on a protector can eventually erode its dignity.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Martin)Order! The Minister’s time has expired.

Motion (by Mr Daly) proposed:

That the business of the day be called on.


-Order! The question is: That the business of the day be called on. Those of that opinion say aye, to the contrary no, I think the ayes have it.

Mr Sinclair:

– The noes have it.


-Is a division required?

Mr Sinclair:

– Yes.

Mr Peacock:

– We understand that there were to be 3 speakers from each side.

Mr Sinclair:

– That is right - 3 from each side.

Mr Daly:

– No. There were to be 2 speakers from each side.

Mr Peacock:

– We were under the impression that there were to be 3 from each side.


-Order! Is a division required?

Mr Sinclair:

– Yes. I called for a division.


– Ring the bells. (The bells being rung) -

Mr Daly:

– On a point of explanation, Mr Deputy Speaker, the arrangement was for 2 speakers from each side to participate in this debate. I suggest to the Opposition that, if it wants arrangements to be kept, it should not upset such arrangements in this manner.


-Order! Is it your wish to proceed with the division?

Mr Sinclair:

– Yes.

The House divided. (Mr Speaker-Mr V. J. Martin)

AYES: 60

NOES: 53

Majority . . . . 7



Question so resolved in the affirmative.


- Mr Deputy Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


– Order! Does the Deputy Leader of the Opposition claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes. I understand that immediately before the vote was taken the Leader of the House (Mr Daly) made a statement that there had been a firm agreement between the Government and the Opposition parties as to the number of speakers in the debate. As I understand it from information given to me, the Leader of the House said that there was an agreement that there would be 2 speakers a side. That is not the case.

Minister for Services and Property and Leader of the House · Grayndler · ALP

Mr Deputy Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


-Order! Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lynch) was advised behind the Speaker’s chair by me this morning that because of the hold-up tactics of the Opposition this debate would run until 2 speakers from each side had spoken. There is a quite simple solution to this. The Government side of the House is not dominated by the Country Party, even if the Liberal Party is. In future-

Mr Sinclair:

– Here comes the blackmail. Here comes the jackboot style.

Mr Lynch:

– Put in the boot.

Mr Sinclair:

– Where is your swastika? Jackboots Daly. Here it comes. Wait for it.


-Order! The House is developing into a slight rabble. I suggest that honourable members give the same attention to the Leader of the House as they gave to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.


– You know, Mr Deputy Speaker, some of that language should almost go to the Privileges Committee. I just advise the Opposition, in order that there will not be any misunderstanding, that in future the arrangements will be put in writing.

Mr Wentworth:

– I rise on a point of order. May I point out that as a self-confessed falsifier of Hansard the Minister has no credibility whatsoever.


-Order! No point of order arises, and the honourable member well knows it.


– As we evidently cannot trust the one on the Opposition side responsible for making arrangements concerning the business of the House, or the people behind him, so that there will be no doubt whatever in future as to what the arrangements are and so that honourable members opposite will be fully advised, let me inform them that in one hour from now the debate on the estimates for the Department of Immigration will be finished. That arrangement ought to be understood.

page 3508


Bill presented by Dr Patterson, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Northern Development and Minister for the Northern Territory · Dawson · ALP

– I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this Bill is to provide legislation enabling the Australian Government to make a non-repayable grant of up to $5m to the Queensland Government to assist in the construction of the Kinchant Dam near Mirani in North Queensland. The Kinchant Dam will provide the main water storage for the Eton irrigation project, a scheme which will stabilise sugar production in an area highly susceptible to drought. It will also provide for future expansion of sugar production in line with market opportunities. Water will also be made available for intensive beef production on improved tropical pastures and the storage will be of considerable value to the local communities and tourists for recreational purposes.

The total cost of the project was estimated in February 1973 at $10.15m. The balance of the cost of the project will be financed by the Queensland Government. The project as a whole will comprise: Mirani Weir on the Pioneer River, with a storage capacity of 2.5 million cubic metres (2,000 acre feet) and estimated to cost $868,000; a pump station of 6.4 cubic metres per second (225 cusec capacity located adjacent to the weir, and an open diversion channel 5.25 kilometres (3.25 miles) long to convey water by gravity to the main storage, estimated to cost $955,000; Kinchant Dam on the north branch of Sandy Creek, with a storage capacity of 48.1 million cubic metres (39,000 acre feet), and estimated to cost $5,047,000; and irrigation and ancillary works comprising two main channels, distribution channels to farms, four pumping stations and associated distribution systems and drainage works, estimated to cost $3,280,000.

The Kinchant Dam will be located in a proven and established agricultural region with significant scope for increased efficient production. The region has been plagued, however, by recurring droughts and the absence of conserved water has seriously limited stability and growth. Fluctuating production seriously affects not only farm incomes but also the efficiency of operations of sugar mills in the area, especially the North Eton sugar mill. The proposed scheme will enable cane growers to stabilise production and to meet additional over-peak allocations. Unit milling costs would consequently be reduced and additional ‘benefits to growers can be expected through the distribution of increased mill profits from the co-operative mills of North Eton, Marian and Racecourse. In the first stage of development of the project, water will be supplied to sugar cane growers on 137 cane assignments totalling some 5,100 hectares (12,600 acres) and to beef producers on 890 hectares (2,200 acres). The second stage will enable an expansion of irrigated cane on a further 3,140 hectares (7,550 acres) of assigned land.

An economic evaluation of the project has been carried out by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. This evaluation examined the impact of the project from the national, regional and the individual farmers’ viewpoints and the report on the project comments favourably on all aspects of its economic impact. The evaluation was based on conservative estimates of long-term sugar prices. For example, on the basis of a conservative longterm price estimate of £55 sterling c.i.f. London per long ton and sugar yields averaging 4.9 tons per acre, the return to capital was calculated at about 8 per cent per annum. On the other hand, based on an average London Daily Price over the past 18 months of about £85 sterling, the return would rise to about 14 per cent per annum, while at present world prices of around £100 sterling, the return to capital would be about 17 per cent per annum. It is estimated that annual additional sugar production arising from the initial development will be about 17,300 tonnes (17,000 tons) valued, on the basis of the average level of returns for the past three seasons, at between $1.7m and $2.0m. It is estimated that, at full development, the total additional sugar production from the scheme will be about 46,100 tonnes (45,350 tons) per year, valued at $4.6m to $5.4m, again on the basis of the average level of returns for the past three seasons.This would rise to almost $7m based on the current level of world prices.

The Eton project will significantly improve social and economic conditions in the area. The Bureau’s regional analysis showed improvement over the national results; indeed it identified considerable regional monetary- and non-monetary benefits. In addition to stabilis- ing farm and mill peaks, employment opportunities will be created in connection with the capital works and farm and mill activities. The projected annual value of these benefits will be nearly Sim under stage 1 and about $1.5m at full development. The evaluation also showed that the project area would derive substantial net benefits. The project will be a major factor in helping to stabilise incomes in this established area. It is in the long-term national interest to underwrite our sugar marketing commitments by means of stable production levels. Our irrigated cane fields - and in this respect I would also mention the Burdekin delta - are among the most productive in the world, and the Eton project will assure an annual supply of at least 75,000 to 80,000 tonnes of sugar for export. The environmental study reported favourably on the proposed scheme. It is anticipated that no animal or plant pest species is likely to be introduced or that water quality in the Pioneer River is likely to be impaired. In addition, the storage created by Kinchant Dam will provide a facility for aquatic sports and recreation, and will encourage tourism.

This Government is committed to a program of continuing support for soundly-based water conservation projects in established and proven areas. The Eton project, for which Kinchant Dam will be the main storage, will fully meet these requirements. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Bonnett) adjourned.

page 3509



In Committee

Consideration resumed from 13 November (vide page 3273).

Second Schedule

Department of Immigration

Proposed Expenditure, $63,079,000

Department of Labour

Proposed Expenditure, $35,726,000


– Not a great deal of time has been allotted for the debate on the estimates for the Department of Labour and the Department of Immigration. In fact, we have about 1 hour or 59i minutes from now. As a number of my colleagues wish to speak on these estimates I will be as brief as I possibly can. I wish to direct my remarks to the estimates for the Department of Immigration and to express a point of view. I want to pay tribute to the overseas officers of that Department. I recently returned from a visit to South America. While there I took the opportunity to talk with our immigration officers in every country there in which Australia is represented. The officers to whom I spoke conformed to the pattern that I have come to expect from officers of the Department of Immigration. They were courteous, helpful and dedicated.

I found that a great deal of interest in Australia prevailed in most of the countries of South America and that the interest has increased for a number of reasons - firstly, because of a general frustration with the policies of a number of governments in South America, and secondly because of the comparative lack of employment opportunities in South America. I firmly believe that we could double our present intake of migrants from that continent and that we could do so with great advantage to ourselves. In the past and currently Australia has been criticised for the quality of some of its present intake. I believe very strongly that the quality of some of the prospective migrants that are offering from a number of South American countries is far superior to that of some of the migrants who are presently coming to Australia to become permanent residents. Many of these people are well educated and well qualified in technical skills. A large number of them speak English. I believe that they would be an asset to Australia. If we could arrange to move these people by air we could bring some of them here very quickly.

I said that these people would benefit Australia. It is well known that at the present time a number of commodities- are in short supply in Australia, and to some extent this is due to a shortage of labour. Surely a shortage of labour contributes to inflation, as does a shortage of any other commodity. Prices are fixed on the basis of supply and demand, and this surely affects wage levels. When skilled tradesmen are in short supply the amount of remuneration which they can demand - I do not quarrel with this - is higher than if a greater number of them were available. The fact that there are not enough to supply our requirements means that we are short in quite a number of directions. For those reasons I believe that we could with advantage increase our present level of intake of migrants.

I have said on a number of occasions that I believe that the last Government made a mistake by reducing the level of our intake. It cut it down from about 185.000 to about 140.000. The present Government has repeated the mistake and is even worsening it by cutting the intake further to a figure this year of about 110,000. I have never believed that migrants take jobs which would otherwise be available for Australians. Every migrant who comes to this country has to be fed, housed and clothed. Migrants contribute very substantially to the home consumption of both our primary production and our manufactured products. They have contributed substantially to our manufacturing techniques and skills and to the total volume of our production. In many instances they have provided us with new industries. They have brought new industries to this country, and they have also brought in a considerable amount of capital.

For the reasons I have stated, I believe that the contribution made by migrants very greatly exceeds the cost of the demand they make on Australia or on the public purse for increased services by way of roads, water supply, power supply, hospitals, schools and so on. If the Government were to give some consideration to the suggestion of increasing our present intake it would be doing something much more positive to reduce the present rate of inflation than that which would be achieved by its half-baked policy of price control, which has not worked in the past and is not likely to be any more successful in the future. I will content myself with saying that and hope that by sitting down now I will provide an opportunity for at least one of my colleagues to express a point of view.


– In speaking to the estimates for the Department of Immigration I wish to bring a few matters to the notice of the Committee. I am pleased to note the increased allocation of $10,420,000 for 1973-74 for the child migrant education program as compared with the actual expenditure for 1972-73 of $5,061,184. This is more than a 100 per cent increase. Likewise, the 1973-74 allocation for the adult migrant education program including part-time instruction is $3,600,000 this year as compared with an actual expenditure in 1972-73 of $1,917,740. Most new settlers come to Australia with the objective of bettering their socio-economic position, readily adapt to the Australian way of life and accept the concept of being partners in building the Australian nation. Their beneficial effect to our style of living since the commencement of the immigration program in 1949 is well known to all of us and is welcomed.

The lot of the migrant can be a very lonely one particularly if he or she does not understand the Australian language. Many become isolated in a prison of non-communication. They can converse only with their own countrymen. For most of their daily lives they are locked in a cell by the barriers of language difficulty. This situation does not apply only to new arrivals. Many of our middle-aged and even persons in the higher age group who have been in Australia for many years are still unable to speak the Australian language. The Government needs to do more to enable these people to learn our language and so to join fully in our Australian life stream. In many families the children act as interpreters. They translate the circulars from school, the household accounts and the household correspondence. But it is the aged migrant who does not have continual access to an interpreter who really suffers loneliness - I said earlier, the extreme loneliness that comes from being unable to communicate, from going about one’s life in sign language. Some of our migrants have to shop in that fashion.

Many of our new settlers are unskilled manual workers in heavy industry, factories, in the building and related industries. These are occupations in which the risk of on the job injury is greater than in the more highly skilled occupations. Then follows the problems associated with workers compensation claims. It is interesting to note that there is reference in the report of the New South Wales Migrant Task Force of June 1973 to the injury known in the vernacular as Mediterranean back. I have several constituents who are new settlers and who have suffered internal back injuries on the job - injuries that are difficult to treat and injuries that have destroyed the ability of those persons to carry on their respective occupations. In each case the reporting of the accident, the subsequent medical treatment and compensation litigation have been prolonged and hampered by language difficulties. The conditions under which the injuries occurred could be related to poor safety education and poor safety protection on the job. The unskilled migrants employed in those industries which were first to be hurt in the times of economic squeezes under the stop-go financial policies of the previous Government were the people least able to protect themselves. Because of language problems they were least able to adapt to changing employment opportunities and to seek other positions. It is no wonder that so many new settlers become disillusioned and pack up and leave at the first chance. The Labor Government recognises the difficulties that the migrants face and will do its best to help them overcome their difficulties and become permanent settlers.

The honourable member for Henty (Mr Fox), who was the previous speaker in the debate, made some remarks concerning the beneficial effects of our migrants and of the new settlers who have come to this country since World War II. I should like to support him in those comments, but I take issue with him on the number of new settlers coming to this country. He was a supporter of the Government which was in office until 2 December of last year and in which, obviously, there was dissension as to what ought to be the migration policy of Australia at that stage. I wish to quote from page 2052 of the Hansard report of the debate on the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1972-73 in which the former honourable member for Mcpherson said:

But it is time that we took a pull on this migration operation, particularly in respect of bringing people here who are in such a desperate situation in their own countries that for them anything is better. I know there are great interests in Australia which are allegedly short of manpower to develop our resources. But at the same time we have thousands of Australians, skilled people, going to universities and high schools.

It would appear from what the honourable member for Henty said today that he did not agree with the attitude of the former honourable member for Mcpherson, who was a member of the Australian Country Party, at that stage. I will come back to that a little later on.

I move on to the situation that now exists as far as the citizenship ceremony is concerned. As from 1 December of this year, as a result of the amendments forced upon the Government recently by the Opposition in the Senate to the Australian Citizenship Bill 1973, British subjects registering for Australian citizenship will be required to participate in the public citizenship ceremony. In my own area - the Newcastle region - there have been reports in the Press and even, I understand, letters to some of the columnists of British settlers having complained because they have not had the opportunity previously to participate in these ceremonies. They felt that they were being left out, that the ceremony was an important one and that they, as new members of the family of the Australian nation, ought to be able to participate in it. As from 1 December they will be able to do that. But, as I have said, as a result of the amendments forced upon the Government by the Opposition in the Senate, as from 1 December settlers from the United Kingdom and any of the other British Commonwealth of Nations countries will be required to renounce their allegiance in the oath sworn at such citizenship ceremonies. In effect it means that they will be required in that oath to renounce allegiance to the United Kingdom, if they come from that country, and to swear allegiance to this country and Queen Elizabeth of Australia. I am very sure that there are going to be considerable misgivings by settlers who come here from the British Commonwealth of Nations at having to renounce allegiance to their country of origin, particularly if it is the United Kingdom.

I want to make it very clear to listeners to this debate and to honourable members that the present oath of allegiance is not something that this Government wanted. It fought very hard to have the renunciation sentence excluded from the oath, but, as I said earlier, as a result of the efforts of the Opposition in the Senate all candidates for naturalisation and for citizenship will be required to renounce allegiance to the country within the British Commonwealth of Nations from which they have come. I say again that the retention of the renunciation of allegiance to one’s country of origin is a hurtful exercise. It has no legality in the international world. I can only interpret it as being an effort to try to keep such citizens off the electoral roll. There are something like a quarter of a million permanent settlers in this country who have to take out citizenship before they can become enrolled. The retention of the renunciation of all other allegiance is a severe emotional barrier to many of them.

The Australian Country Party was much to the forefront in insisting upon the retention of the renunciation. I would like to quote again from page 2052 of Hansard. It states:

How many Scandinavians or north Europeans do we attract to Australia? These are the people who have made a success of life in their own countries. We can attract only the people who have made a devil of a mess of life in their own countries - and they will make a devil of a mess of Australia.

That again was the former honourable member for Mcpherson speaking in this House. That was his attitude. Obviously it was the attitude at the time at a very high level of the Australian Country Party. If that was the Country Party’s opinion of the new settlers who were coming to this country then it is very understandable that it should insist upon the retention of the renunciation of allegiance in the new Australian Citizenship Act.


– I wish to make a few remarks on the estimates for the Department of Labour. The first matter to which I wish to refer is the role of the inspectorate within the Department of Labour. I was intrigued to receive the booklet ‘Towards a New Life’, being a progress report by the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) on the contribution made through his portfolio. It is a magnificent little booklet that is printed in a bright red colour. To think what this new industrial life will be under the aegis of the Minister - life under Labor; life under Clyde - with this inspectorate that has been established or is proposed to be established must make many employers throughout Australia concerned at what lies ahead of them. Is there to be a great bureaucratic department of inspectors who will go out into all industry and carry out their inspectorial duties pursuant to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act?

In the past there has been provision in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act for the appointment of inspectors and authority has been given to them to prosecute for breaches of an award. It is an authority which is not only given to an inspector but is also given to a long list of other persons. It is as well to remind the Committee who they are. Subsection 2 of section 119 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act states that any penalty for breach of an award may be sued for and recovered by the Registrar, an inspector, any organisation which is affected or whose members or any of them are affected by the breach, any member of any organisation who is affected by the breach, any party to the award or order, or any officer of an organisation which is affected or whose members are affected and who is authorised to institute the prosecution. A wide range of persons is authorised to enforce the Act and enforce awards if there has been any breach. So why has it been necessary for the Minister to propose, as he said in his little booklet, a trebling of the number of inspectors? That is what he has said.

He said that his objectives will require a trebling of the existing number of inspectors. He said that action has already been taken to commence the first stage of the increase in size of the inspectorate and that he expects another 40 or 50 inspectors to be in their posts by the end of this year. I should like the Minister for Labour to explain to the Committee how many of these inspectors have already been appointed. If the total of 40 to 50 have not been appointed, when will they be appointed?

To take it further, I ask the Minister: When is it expected that the full size of the inspectorate^ - the trebling of its existing size - will be achieved? Not only that. Once all these inspectors have been appointed, what will be their role? How will they operate? Are they to operate on their own initiative, simply taking an industry at a time or, say, a group of industries at a time in a particular State, making a factory by factory or office by office examination of the employers to establish whether they have been observing the award? Will the inspectors act not on their own initiative but on a request of a union or of an employee who has a complaint and goes to the Department of Labour? Will they act upon an instruction or a request by the Registrar? Indeed, how are these inspectors to go about their task? With this trebling in size of the inspectorate, I should like to know, and I am sure employers throughout Australia would like to know, the answers to those questions. Will the inspectors be given carte blanche to perform their duties however they like? If they are not to act on their own initiative but are to wait until a union or an employee or someone else has brought a matter to their notice, will it be the inspectorate which will prosecute? Why will it not toe left to the unions, which already have the authority to institute proceedings?

In my experience in Western Australia, unions have been very active under both State and Federal awards in looking after the interests of their members and in bringing prosecutions where that has been thought necessary. Does the Minister for Labour consider that the unions have not been doing their job, have not been looking after the interests of their members, have been falling down on the job and that because of this he must establish a new bureaucracy in order to do what the unions have failed to do? As I have said, in my experience the unions have done their job and have done it very well. They have acted as a watchdog for their members to see that the awards have been observed. A situation in Western Australia has come to my notice where, for example, a union and an employer by agreement have conducted affairs in the employer’s establishment not exactly in terms of the award. Along comes an inspector who observes this practice and says: ‘Notwithstanding the agreement, I am going to apply the letter of the law. I am going to prosecute’. He has done so and the Industrial Court has been obliged to find the employer guilty, when he could have protested his innocence because of the agreement between him and the union. I ask the Minister for Labour whether that is going to be the basis upon which the inspectorate will carry out its work. Will it disregard custom and practice within an industry, agreements between employers and unions, by which the establishment has conducted itself? These are very real questions that I think the Minister must answer rather than in this grandiose way simply say that he is leading industry throughout Australia to a new life. We have yet to see what that new life will be.

In the few minutes remaining to me, I want to touch briefly on another matter. I refer to the peace conference which the Minister has called. I ask the Minister to explain to me and to the Committee the relationship between the peace conference he has called for 10 December and the special committee of inquiry which he also announced in the booklet Towards a New Life’ and which previously he has mentioned in this House? Is it intended that the peace conference will subvert that committee of inquiry? Is it intended that the committee of inquiry will not be called into being at all? I notice that, of the 11 points listed for discussion at the peace conference, a good many were proposed to be items for in-depth study by the committee of inquiry.

Another question relating to the peace conference and the proposals put forward by the Minister for Labour in relation to the peace conference needs to be answered. I refer particularly to the Minister’s proposal for mediation and conciliation in support of voluntary negotiations to reach agreement between employers and unions and, as the Minister quite deliberately said, independently of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. As has been described in the Press, the voluntary negotiated agreement presumably will run in tandem with the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.

But where will the Minister obtain the skilled mediators and conciliators if this independent course of voluntary negotiation is pursued? The most experienced people in Australia in the field of mediation and conciliation are presently within the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Is it proposed to draw them from the Commission and to place them on these new committees to provide support for voluntary agreements? If the Minister’s idea is to draw this skill from the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, how will he replace this skill? Is it intended to be part of a process whereby the conciliation and arbitration system will be weakened in order to strengthen voluntary negotiations - a polite euphemism for collective bargaining? If that is to be the case, how will these 2 systems be able to run in tandem? Once we draw the skilled operators away from one part of the system and put them into another, the 2 systems cannot run in tandem. If the Minister does not propose to draw the mediators and conciliators from the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, from where will he obtain them? Who will they be? What pool of skill does he know exists in Australia from which to draw them? In other words, before the Minister’s 11 point program can make any real progress we need to have answered the 2 points that I have raised, firstly, whether the special committee of inquiry is to run in tandem with the Minister’s peace conference, or whether it is to be forgotten and brushed under the carpet, and secondly, the Minister’s idea of voluntary negotiated agreements and mediators and conciliators needs much better definition before it can get off the ground.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Martin)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.


– It is in support of the estimates relating to the important subject of immigration to which I want to speak. In the total reach of the new policies and programs already undertaken, and others in process of preparation and introduction which have occupied the Government of which I am a supporter, none has more incisively and imaginatively gripped the mood and temper of the nation than has the subject of immigration. In his statement to the House, the Minister for Immigration (Mr Grassby) revealed his remarkable capabilities and the informed concern with which he deals with the many facets of the subject under review. 7 congratulate the Minister for his enlightened approach to this important subject. It would seem to me that there are 3 possible reasons to support a program of immigration. These reasons could be summarised as follows: Firstly, in order that the growth of population may ensure the numbers to defend ourselves against an invading enemy; secondly, to increase the work force so that, irrespective of vocational qualifications, jobs may be filled to meet existing requirements; and thirdly, to recognise the trust of a large and wealthy country, and to make available to all people of general integrity, irrespective of race, colour and religion, and from all countries, those who are willing to offer their talents, energies, cultures and experience to the enrichment of a creative and distinctive Australia.

I submit that the first of these reasons has never been a laudable one. The concept of large population build-ups for the sole reason of preserving a fear-obsessed nucleus is a doubtful if not totally unworthy motive. Further, the spectre of imagined invaders has ceased to be credible - if indeed it ever was so. It is now clearly apparent that the cultivation of friendly neighbours in our region is more likely to ensure peace in our time than is the belligerence of prejudice, ignorance and rejection. The second of the reasons I have given is scarcely less worthy. The importation of labour resources without the highest regard for needs and aspirations is not only dehumanising and depersonalising, but also has within it the seeds of discontent and disruption. When pressure groups make noises for the block intake of large numbers of migrant workers - undeniably difficult though it may be to recruit from a decreased pool of unemployed persons - it is all too easy to forget the accumulation of problems which have arisen in the past from a supply and demand concept. Job vacancies filled by migrant workers with little regard for vocational qualifications, language disabilities, housing and accommodation, welfare provisions and adequate eduational facilities for their families, is to create such additional problems as would far outweigh the temporary stopgap policy of manning the assembly lines and filling the less-popular and often lower income vacancies available.

In 1972 Australia received 112,468 settlers. Settlers returning and residents who left Australia plus the substantial total losses of our total long-term movement and total short- term movement numbered a staggering 84,846. Hence our net gain in 1972 on total overseas movements was only 27,846. The figures manifestly speak for themselves. Jobfilling working bodies from overseas do not produce settlers into our country; they produce only temporary working guests - and often disillusioned and unhappy ones at that. The Minister’s well-researched and forward looking statement not only points up the difficulties but also offers practical proposals and provisions on a wide range of serious problems previously encountered. If I could return for a moment to the third of the reasons I advanced for support of an immigration program, it would seem to me that it is the only moral and valid reason. It is also the only workable one. I suggest that given a prosperous and wealthy nation, all people of integrity from any nation should be available for selection providing that they are willing to offer their abilities, talents and cultures in return for the services and benefits which a creative Australia offers to those who sincerely desire to make our country their permanent home.

The Budget estimates provide for an intake of 110,000 migrants - and this is a moderate figure, as is the expenditure, being an increase of only $4m. However, the program includes a variety of low-cost but eminently effective measures that are designed to correct many of the weaknesses of the past and, equally importantly, to plan constructively for the future. I intimated that I would comment briefly on just a few of these supporting features. More than most countries, we must be concerned with the problem of integration and settlement. It is in the development of post-arrival services for migrants already here - and for those yet to come - that we see high priority given in the Budget figures. The Minister has rightly stated on a number of occasions the great importance of establishing effective communications with migrant members of our community. Of course, English language training is the essential starting point in effective communication, and it should be noted that planned expenditure for this purpose is $ 15.48m, an increase of 65 per cent over expenditure in the preceding financial year.

The greatest increase occurs in the area of child migrant education, and I for one am acutely aware of the need for this increased expenditure in this area. How often have I seen reticent, nervous, bewildered migrant children, newly arrived from overseas and subjected to all the competitions in Australian schools, with totally inadequate linguistic ability or preparation? Many have miraculously triumphed in spite of the system. What of the hundreds of those who have been “unable to make the grade due to the gaps in our migrant education policies? Expenditure on child migrant education is expected to reach SIO. 4m, being an increase of 100 per cent. The major portion of this expenditure will finance the salaries of special teachers for migrant children in government and independent schools in all States. The number of special teachers is expected to increase from 1,054 to 1,500 in the financial year. The number of children receiving this kind of education and assistance will rise from 40,000 to 60,000. The Minister’s proposals for a diploma course in migrant education, the reform of school curicula, emergency classrooms and location of special services in socially deprived areas will all add to the effectiveness of the migrant education program.

While on the subject of education, it must be remembered that not only children but also adults are in great need. Provision is made for 4,000 full-time students. The worth of this scheme will diffuse itself from the students benefiting to the communities from which they are drawn. One must commend the home tutor scheme, staffed by volunteers. This scheme is aimed to reach the migrant women, on a one-for-one basis, in the homes. Briefly, I should like to comment on the issue of pre-embarkation preparation. Whilst it is easy to take pot-shots at past performances, it now must be abundantly clear that more advanced procedures must be initiated and selection techniques must be more thorough. The era of the big sell is over. To walk tall in Australia may not be as important as walking well. We have no need to apologise for Australia, even by inference. We should be honest enough to acknowledge our deficiencies and confident enough to advocate our strengths. I would commend to the Minister the following thoughts: Where shipping is used - and I believe this method of transport has distinct advantages if creatively used - at least a month’s intensive preparation program could be put into operation. Shipboard life can easily be wasted and frittered away. Chartered ships, even temporarily modified and oriented towards pre-arrival education, would provide the initial encouragement for continued education after arrival in Australia and through the variety of schemes envisaged in the Minister’s proposal.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Scholes:

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


– I wish to speak on the Estimates of the Department of Immigration which provide this year for an expenditure of $63,079,000. It is interesting to note that the actual expenditure in this Department last year was of the order of $53,029,612. It is interesting also to look at the dissection of the figures in regard to this Department, with particular attention to amounts of money being spent in the various fields and facets of immigration. If we look at the estimate for the Good Neighbour Council - this is a wonderful way of assisting migrants - we find that $745,000 has been allocated and that last year $618,255 was actually spent in this regard. Grants to community agencies involved in integration activities total $370,000 in this year’s estimates, compared with $284,015 last year. These are 2 important aspects of the immigration sector and it is pleasing to see increases there.

For national migration from Europe under agreements and arrangements, passage and associated costs this year total $12,420,000 compared with $3,397,000 expended last year. Special passage assistance programs are important and it is pleasing to note that the passage and associated costs this year will be provided to the extent of $7,050,000 compared with $3,225,339 last year. As previous speakers have mentioned, there have been increases in the adult migrant education and the child migrant education programs. The child migrant education program this year provides for an expenditure of $10,420,000 as against $5,061,184 expended last year. I regard migration as an important matter in this country. I refer to statements made recently by the management of the Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd which said quite openly and frankly that it desired an intake of skilled migrants to enable it to overcome the lag in the production of its goods. We know that there is a shortage of consumer goods right across the country. No. 8 gauge wire, No. 10 fencing posts, barbed wire and a host of other important products are in short supply because there is a shortage of skilled labour in these industries. Additional work force is needed to increase the quantity of these goods being manufactured.

I have just received from the statistics section of the Parliamentary Library the latest figures regarding Australia’s migrant intake, the number of people leaving Australia and the net gain to Australia. The figures are alarming as I think the Minister for Immigration (Mr Grassby) would agree. The figures relate to the period ending 30 June each year. In 1970, 185,099 settlers arrived; in 1971, 170,011; in 1972, 132,719 and in 1973, 107,401 settlers arrived. The alarming part of the situation is that when we look at the net result - that is, the number of settlers remaining in Australia after taking into consideration those who have left - we find that in 1970 we had a net gain of 136,702; in 1971, a net gain of 119,083; in 1972 a net gain of 75,672 and in 1973 a net gain of 56,562. These figures must give rise to alarm about Australia’s immigration program. They indicate that a tremendous number of people are leaving Australia. I take it that a percentage of those who are leaving Australia are skilled members of the work force. So this situation is not good for industry in Australia.

It is interesting to note that possibly onethird of Australia’s total population is linked either directly by birth or less directly .by family or marriage to the history, language, culture and traditions of an overseas country. So overseas migrants, mostly European, have over the years made a great contribution to the development of Australia and have had a considerable influence on our national life. They have brought the culture and customs of their countries to Australia. They have integrated them into our community with advantage to Australia.

This wonderful country is surely in a most advantageous position to attract migrants. Australia has freedom of religion and freedom of speech and anybody who desires to get on has the opportunity to do so. In the past we have made many mistakes which should not be repeated. As I have said before, we are in a position to screen our migrants to see that we get the best type educationally, physically, mentally and skilled. We should also be accepting those migrants who are prepared to preserve our democratic way of life. This is most important.

Our immigration policy must also, of course, take into account our capacity to pro vide employment. This, too, is most important. At present there are opportunities in the heavy industries and in other industries in Australia for skilled people. We must be able to house migrants. This is another important aspect of a successful immigration policy. There must be good educational facilities and, as has already been mentioned, increased sums are being made available to educate the children of migrants and, indeed, the migrants themselves. Social service provisions also are important. We must avoid different social and economic problems which may follow from an influx of people having different standards of living, traditions and cultures. This Government’s policy is for an immigration intake in 1973-74 of 110,000 migrants. I say with all due respect to the Minister and to the Government that this figure is not high enough; it should be more. The Government proposes that the 110,000 settlers will comprise 60,000 assisted migrants and 50,000 unassisted migrants. With a strong demand for labour in Australia there should be a larger intake. There is no doubt that, if we can get more skilled workers to Australia that will assist considerably to arrest the inflationary trends that are occurring in our economy at present. I have mentioned that the net figures which I quoted a little time ago certainly give rise to alarm.

I am pleased to learn that an extensive program of research is nearing completion and that public hearings will be held in all States. Of course, this program was started by the Liberal-Country Party Government and the present Minister for Immigration is carrying it through to its finalisiation. It should give us some valuable information and assistance with regard to immigration. We should be giving more consideration to the integration of migrants into the Australian community and not allowing them to congregate in settlements as they are prone to do in many part of our country. I think that our immigration policy at this point of time should be stepped up.

Minister for Immigration · Riverina · ALP

– It has been suggested in some quarters that the estimates for the Department of Immigration might be reduced, that the expenditure should be down as the intake is down and that somehow Parkinson’s law should apply. Mr Parkinson does not work in the Department of Immigration. But the confusion is understandable. The estimates under consideration are not merely those of the Department of Immigration because our Department covers not only immigration but also emigration, settlement and welfare, citizenship and population. I really think that the name of the Department is long overdue for a change to make its functions plain.

The appropriation this year, as has been (noted by honourable members, shows an increase of $ 10.25m. Of course the reason for this is the new emphasis on welfare and settlement services. The honourable member of Paterson (Mr O’Keefe), who has just spoken, very rightly expressed concern about the returnee rate and the fact that the program was tending to bleed to death. I think the figures speak for themselves. We have certainly tried to reverse that trend. I would hope in this year that we will reduce the returnee rate by something like 5,000. But there is also an increased expenditure on migrant education, a considerably increased expenditure on welfare services and in addition to that we have appointed 48 multilingual welfare officers as another part of the new effort to ensure happier and more successful settlement.

We have increased the number of assisted passages this year from 57,000 to 60,000. That will cost nearly $lm. This will facilitate family reunion and more successful settlement. In relation to passports - this is an aspect of the Department’s activities that is often overlooked - more than one million people leave Australia every year and one million people enter Australia for all sorts of purposes. It is interesting to note that the number of passports issued within Australia have more than doubled since 1968-69 and increased by 379 per cent in the last 10 years. In the year 1972-73 more than 250,000 passports were issued. This figure is rising again. There was a time when it took 2 weeks to get a passport. These days, under procedures that we have adopted, it takes 72 hours. Extra staff and overtime have been needed to achieve this result, but it is a public service and it has been given and given gladly. So there is a difference there.

References have been made to the level of the program. This year there is a proposed intake of 110,000 migrants. Last year it reached 107,000 or a little more. In fact, this was not even the target, but in the last quarter of the year we made an all out effort and that was the end result. This year the expectation hardly goes as high as that. One may well ask, why. I think I should quote a single advertisement that appeared in Britain which, of course, has provided up to half the migrants to Australia for a great many years. In Britain, among advertisements for Australia or by Australian agencies, States and governments, there are advertisements from France, Italy, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany and Belgium. Those advertisements offer attractions like wages for metal workers of various categories of £Stg75 a week with free fares and full social and health insurance free. Two return trips a year to the home country are included in the offer. Australia cannot match those things and it would be stupid to try to do so. Our industry cannot do so. Our public services are not geared in that way at the moment. It would be wrong to advertise an instant paradise. We do not intend to do that.

We intend to pitch our advertising program on the basis of helping to build a better Australia and helping to pioneer a community and a nation still in the making. This means that we have to put ourselves forward warts and all. We must tell the story, give the facts and then invite people to this country on the basis that our future is unlimited, that we want to build that future now. We should not deceive or oversell. If that is done, unhappiness will be imported. Malcontents will be with us ultimately to be lost to us as was the case in recent years. The points made by the honourable member for Holt (Mr Oldmeadow), the honourable member for Henty (Mr Fox), the honourable member for Shortland (Mr Morris) and the honourable member for Paterson (Mr O’Keefe) were well made in many instances though I think that generally there is a lack of understanding of the fact that there is not an inexhaustible supply of people waiting to come to Australia. That is just not true. We have to be responsible in our approach. The Government is trying to do that. The end result will be better for us and for the migrants.

I make one other point in relation to staffing overseas. Of course there have been adjustments. In times past the period for interview was 20 minutes. We were in effect selecting migrants like sausages with 20 minutes to have a look at them. After a few words had been exchanged in that 20-minute period the decision was made. That is not really good enough. What we are doing now under our structured assessment system is spending up to one hour, sometimes much more, with the applicant to ensure that there is a better deal for the migrant and for the counsellor. We are endeavouring to ensure that there is less unhappiness in order to bring about a reduction in the return rate. Those are the reasons why the estimates are of the order of an increase of more than $10m this year. I do not apologise for that. It indicates a program designed to bring about henceforth migration without tears, for the benefit of the migrant and for the greater development of Australia. .


– I shall be brief as I understand that the debate is to conclude at 25 minutes to 5. In 1945, at the end of World War II, the population of Australia was 7 million. In that year Arthur Calwell, who was then the Minister for Immigration, announced the establishment of a concerted immigration policy on the basis that increased population was essential to the growth and full development of the Australian economy in the post-war period. That policy wasbased on the realistic belief that neither morally no physically could we hope to occupy this vast continent with a small population while the population of the rest of the world was increasing so rapidly. As a consequence the actual number of migrants was established at the maximum which was considered to be the nation’s capacity to absorb effectively. One of the fundamental principles underlying the continuance of the immigration program was the great economic and social benefit that flowed as a result of it.

At the peak of the program several years ago Australia was absorbing 180,000 migrants a year. This caused strains on the economy with the result that during the term of the previous Government the figure was dropped back to 140,000. Under the present Government the intake for 1973-74 has been set at 110,000, a drop of 20 per cent from the previous year. It is the decrease in the migrant intake that has prompted me to speak today. A high migrant intake causes problems at a time of inflation or under-employment. It is tempting for governments faced with that sort of problem to reduce the migrant intake rather than to tackle the basic problem. Today, when many harsh remarks have been made in this chamber, it would be less than fair for me not to pay tribute to the energy and enthusiasm of the Minister. Looking to the future of this country, I ‘believethat we should be absorbing many more than 110,000 migrants a year. Inflation is still a serious problem but unemployment no longer is. There are too many jobs available, resulting in many job vacancies. The Minister claims that he expects that fewer settlers will leave Australia now that there is a Labor Government and that consequently therewill be a net settler increase in 1973-74. I think that the Minister is being over-optimistic in this belief. The gallup polls relating to the popularity of the present Government would not lead one to that conclusion.

In the long term national interest the Government should make immediate and concerted efforts to attract more migrants to Australia. Australia needs a strong and vigorous migration program based on the selection of suitable settlers with the capacity to integrate into Australian society. It is a matter of record that migrants have contributed significantly to the enrichment and development of the Australian way of life. I end by reiterating what I said earlier: Australia cannot morally or physically expect to occupy this vast and wealthy continent while the rest of the people in the world have barely a square foot of land on which to place their feet. We are in a position today to invite to our shores as migrants those whom we believe can most easily be assimilated. We may not always be in that position.

Motion (by Mr Clyde Cameron) agreed to:

That the question be now put.

Proposed expenditures agreed to.

Department of Minerals and Energy

Proposed expenditure, $41,252,000.


– Inthe past year the Department of Minerals and Energy has figured in more matters of public importance in this Parliament than have any of the other 37 departments. That illustrates the concern of the Opposition about the policies that are being introduced by the Government in this field. In no other policy field has the Whitlam Government been so disastrous as it has in the field of minerals and energy. The tragedy is that in wrecking the Australian mining industry the Minister genuinely believes that somehow he is helping Australia. He has a horror of overseas capital. He misrepresents and distorts the position. Figures produced by the Commonwealth Statistician show that 44 per cent of the minerals industry is owned by people who do not reside in Australia, The Minister has produced new figures based on a new formula making the position sound worse. He says that 62 per cent of the industry is owned or controlled overseas. For the purposes of the Minister it is possible for an Australian firm with 75 per cent Australian ownership to qualify as owned or controlled overseas. Final control over Australia’s minerals is exercised by the Government. It will always have that control through its control over exports. It appears that the Minister will go to any lengths to prevent private enterprise - Australian or overseas - from carrying on its business of prospecting for and mining minerals. The Minister took over a prosperous, thriving industry with great expectations. Now it is rapidly going downhill. How has the Minister achieved this, and why has he achieved it? Firstly, he has prevented overseas capital from coming into Australia. Originally there was a 25 per cent freeze of overseas funds, and this made it very difficult to borrow overseas. This has now been increased to 33$ per cent. These funds are frozen in the Reserve Bank. But there are exceptions to this.

We were informed in the newspapers only very recently that a new iron ore project at Marandoo in Western Australia is expected to proceed. It is reported that the multi-national company, Texasgulf, which has a 50 per cent’ interest in this venture, will not have to deposit 33i per cent. One asks: Why has the requirement been waived, if it has been waived? I should like to know which Minister or Ministers make these decisions. What are the criteria on which these decisions are based? Why should one company receive preferential treatment and another not? For example, we know that Mount Isa Mines Ltd, the majority of which is now Australian owned and which is wholly managed by Australians, cannot get a farm-in even though it has applied to assist in the search for oil. This farm-in is blocked. Yet, if what we read in the newspapers is correct Texasgulf, which owns 50 per cent of this iron ore project and which is completely managed in the United States because it insists on having this management, gets the nod whereas WoodsideBurmah does not. What an opportunity this is for political patronage. It will be interesting to see, when the Minister for Services and Prop erty (Mr Daly) produces a Bill dealing with the disclosure of political contributions, whether any of those getting political patronage are or have recently been contributors to the Labor Party. 1 should like also to know - I hope that the Minister for Minerals and Energy will answer my questions later in the debate, as we expect him to do - whether Texasgulf is getting help in infrastructure which is not available to other iron ore companies.

This is only one of a great many of the Government’s detrimental policies. Of course, in the 10 minutes available to me in this debate I do not have time to refer to all the Government’s detrimental policies. I shall mention quickly some of the many actions which are detrimental to mining, which have been introduced by the present Government and which are already having a cumulative effect. I have mentioned the freeze of 33i per cent. There is the abolition of the oil search subsidy at a time when we were told by the Minister for Minerals and Energy that Australia needs to step up its search for oil. The oil search subsidy which was of considerable encouragement, particularly to the smaller Australian companies, is about to be abolished. There has been the abolition of the concessions provided under section 77 of the income tax legislation, which encouraged capital for mining. This, of course, has a major effect again on the small Australian companies. I have mentioned already that farm-ins have been cut out. Mount Isa Mines, which is an Australian owned and Australian managed company, cannot even get a farm-in in a prospective area to look for oil. What has happened now, of course, is that virtually every company is not inviting any further farm-ins because it believes it is just a complete waste of time seeking other people to assist it in the search for either oil or minerals.

The Minister for Minerals and Energy has announced that all oil will be taken at wellhead by the Federal Government. This, of course, means that there is no incentive for anyone to search for oil or minerals. The companies have only one buyer and if that buyer, which is the Government, says that it will pay them only half what the oil is worth, the companies have no recourse of any sort, provided of course that the particular Bill on which this is based is held to be valid. I continue with the detrimental policies of this

Government. We were told in the Budget that the gold tax-free assistance was to be abolished. We were told again only last week that it was going to happen, and now we are told that Caucus has overruled this. We are starting to wonder just who runs the Government and who runs the country. It is too late now if the Government tries to restore this assistance because the plain fact is that major projects were scheduled to go ahead in the large area around Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. At least 4 old goldmines were to be re-opened when the price of gold increased, but the reduction in the tax concession has knocked this on the head. It has probably been knocked on the head forever, or for a very long time.

The prospectors’ tax exemption has been abolished. If ever the Government has done a futile thing it is the abolition of this tax exemption. The Department of the Treasury has said that the total saving would be approximately $20,000 a year. This exemption is applied in a case where a prospector might find something which turns out, perhaps a long time later, to be a viable mine. If he sells his interest in the mine the proceeds used to be tax free. In most instances a prospector is lucky if this happens to him once in a lifetime. The proceeds used to be tax free but they are no longer to be tax free. One can give many other examples. Of course, the revaluations of the Australian dollar have had a vital effect on the ability of the mining industry to compete in Australia. There has been the abuse of the miners - reference to the mugs and the hillbillies. The Government has forced the withdrawal of uranium offers. The accelerated write-off of capital costs has been abolished.

What is the net result of this on a great mining industry - an industry which in the 1960s built up enormously and has made Australia, in the eyes of the world, one of the leading mining industries in the world? We were the envy of the world. Now only five out of 21 rigs are drilling on-shore; 16 rigs are idle. Three major overseas oil companies are ceasing operations in Australia and moving out. Another major company, Kenecott has announced that it is no longer interested in the Cadia prospect even though there is a possibility that some other company will come in. An Australian owned and operated tin mine at Emmaville in New South Wales has shut down. Shares have dropped 50 per cent in 9 months. Queensland Mines Ltd does not know where it stands. It was delisted but has come back again. It does not know what the situation is.

The new search for oil has virtually ended. I have already mentioned that 4 gold fields are not being reopened. Australian oil companies are going overseas because they know that in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines there is some certainty of what the rules are, but there is no certainty in Australia. Natural gas to Sydney has been delayed. The Pipelines Authority Act is claimed to be wholly invalid. The Weipa alumina refinery, which would have been worth $500m to Australia, is not proceeding because of the actions of this Government. Processing is more economic overseas. Sales of uranium have been lost for all time. We know that $750m worth of contracts could have been obtained and that Australia would have obtained at least a share of that money.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Scholes:

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


– In speaking to the estimates for the Department of Minerals and Energy I, in a contradistinction to the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn), am delighted that such a department exists. I congratulate the Minister for Minerals and Energy (Mr Connor) and all who work with and for him for their many achievements through the Minister’s 1 1 months of stewardship. One of the many and great achievements of the Australian Labor Government is that at last we have some planning in this vital sphere of our minerals and energy resources. No plans previously existed, and the honourable member for Farrer is, to a large extent, responsible for that. The world has an energy crisis. Recent news has indicated that Australia’s great overseas airline, Qantas Airways Ltd, is cutting its services to the west coast of America. Why? Because there is a shortage of fuel. We read that Belgium is the second European country to ban Sunday driving. Why? Because there is an acute shortage of fuel. That is just recent news and there has been more of that sort today. Yet when our Government took over the reins of power in this country 11 months ago there were no plans. As I understand it, there was not even an inventory of our resources. One would think from this that there was no national interest. It was incredible. Money was pouring into this country from foreigners buying up our precious national assets without anyone being being given an inkling of what might be the priorities of Australians. Under the Liberals and the Country Party we were lying back and enjoying what was happening to us, which was a form of rape. That was the heritage of the Australian Labor Government and, in particular, of our Minister.

We on this side of the chamber are people who believe in planning, not in the ad hocery of the Liberal-Country Party Government past. It has no right whatsoever to criticise, as the honourable member for Farrer did today. That Coalition left a vacuum in policies in the field of minerals and energy. We are perfectionists. We want, for instance, to see the Bureau of Mineral Resources as one of the great areas of government in a country like ours gathering all the facts and figures for the benefit of policy making which it is possible to gather. I hope these estimates cover that need. We want to see the Minister using those facts and figures in arriving at the correct decisions - in public - as part of open government. We want to see him with adequate staff. Of course, he needs to build up the staff and resources of his Department to do the things which he is doing and which he wants to do. Some criticism was made in relation to this only last week by, I believe, a member of the Country Party. There will need to be new staff because the jobs have not been done hitherto. Our political opponents - our predecessors in office - did not arrange to do this vital work, I suspect that these estimates do not provide all the answers. I suspect that the Minister needs to win a few more battles with the Public Service Board in order to be able to do the work which he has set for himself and which his colleagues have set for him.

Let me come to some of that work. I would sum up our Australian Labor Government policies in the minerals and energy field as follows: Firstly, optimism of Australian equity and control in the production, processing and sale of minerals and mineral products; secondly, the rationalisation of production, that is, conservation of raw materials; thirdly, the rationalisation and conservation of energy resources. The Minister had more to say about that during question time a week ago. The area where there has yet to be, in my opinion, more to be said - I am sure that the Minister will agree with this - is in respect of the dis covery of new resources. I recognise - I know that the Minister recognises - that there will have to be more guidelines when he has got the necessary facts. We must not throw out the baby with the bath water and we do not intend to do so. Exploration is needed. I shall give some of my guidelines in relation to this a little later.

Firstly, let me make some comments on those areas in which our policy is clear. The first point is that the minerals and energy industries have no parallel in any other industry in that they are each based on a resource which can only be discovered at high financial risk and at very great expense. The second point is that Australia does not have available in the indigenous private sector all the high risk funds necessary for successful exploration. I believe that more thought will be given to the way in which Government funds are to be used in this area. Certainly the previous Government used public funds by means of taxation concessions and subsidies. I understand that $49m was used last year in this way and that $41 6m has been used over the last 20 years. I have my own personal doubts as to whether public funds ought to be used in these risk areas. It depends how they are used. Certainly our predecessors used public funds wrongly. What I do know is that the Liberal and Country Party Opposition in the Senate is putting in danger the Australian Labor Government’s attempts to harness savings in Australia by means of updating the Australian Industry Development Corporation. It would seem that the Liberal-Country Party Coalition with the help of the Australian Democratic Labor Party is going to throw this proposal out when a harnessing of savings is sorely needed.

My third point, which I think needs to be made, is that foreign risk money is available and is only waiting for clear-cut rules to be laid down. Foreign companies are accustomed to the requirements that local equity is a condition of mineral development. In some cases they are at present unable to find out the required proportion of equity although we do know that once production is undertaken we want Australians to own at least 51 per cent. These sorts of questions will await the introduction of the Bill relating to the fuel and energy authority. My fourth point is that there seems to be no reason why we should not welcome foreign risk capital. In my view 99 per cent of it will be lost, and what better country to lose it in than ours? Provided that once a discovery is made, the development of it is subject to predetermined Australian equity interest - I have already mentioned 51 per cent - there is, in my opinion, no risk in allowing foreign control; as long as we have 51 per cent margin over it or more if possible.

My fifth point is that we have to realise that minerals are discovered only after great financial and physical effort. We cannot change the rules after discoveries have been made, and that is why the Minister has been very careful to lay down rules. A change in the rules is not only inequitable to those who have laid out their money at risk, it is also disastrous so far as any further exploration effort is concerned. Although so much risk capital is lost, it is true that there is a direct relationship between the amount of successful discoveries and the amount of risk capital invested. That is why we need that risk capital. A minerals and energy policy requires a very subtle balance between the need to maximise Australian interest, conserve presently known resources and encourage the discovery of new ones. My last point is that the Government will achieve all of its policy objectives with the energetic help of the Australian mineral and petroleum industries. I know that this Government can and will consult with the industry on how best to achieve these objectives. Today’s issue of the ‘Australian’ carries a supplement which shows very encouraging signs of the industry’s response.

Let me come back to that area of mineral exploration where I suggested that the guidelines are not yet sufficiently clear. Let me put forward my suggestions about those guidelines. Firstly, the Government is anxious to compile a reasonably accurate inventory of its raw material resources. This should have been done years ago but our present Government is now doing this. In the case of some raw materials such as iron, aluminium and coal, the reserves are so large that there is no point in further exploration expeditions, in my belief. In other cases, the Government should, in my view, require that Australia’s 30-years requirements be reserved. Perhaps it should be 20 or 40 years but I am suggesting 30 years. Under my guidelines the Government would normally issue permits for exports only for any excess beyond that reserve figure of 30 years.

Another policy suggestion from me is that I recognise that the Government is anxious to encourage exploration of Australia’s mineral resources and welcomes expeditions for this purpose from any source. It especially welcomes joint venture operations with Australian companies. However, the Government makes it clear that Australian equity, both in shareholding and in management, must predominate in any production arrangements. I mentioned that earlier in my speech. My third suggestion is that the Government might believe that because of the intrinsic material value of Australia’s raw materials it is appropriate and desirable that it should participate directly in all phases of the industry, including exploration and financing. However, it might prefer to undertake the geological and geophysical surveys which are basic to all earth science developments and to encourage detailed exploration by the private sector. Nevertheless, in my view the Government should reserve the right in the national interest to buy an equity position in any discovery, either by outright reimbursement of part of the exploration costs or by sharing in the development program.

I congratulate the Minister on what has been achieved. I know that Rome was not built in a day - he knows that as well as I do - and that much more has yet to be done. Thank goodness we have a department and an energetic Minister like the ones that we have to get on with the job of finding a solution to these problems in the interests of Australia. I condemn the previous Government for leaving this vacuum which the Minister has had to fill.

Leader of the Australian Country Party · Richmond

– The last remarks of the honourable member for Adelaide (Mr Hurford) are a little hard to take when one realises that the tremendous growth in the development of the mineral industry in Australia was largely a result of the policies of the previous Government. The growth of the mineral industry in Australia has been one of the great success stories of the last decade throughout the world. Nobody can justifiably level that sort of charge that the honourable member made in his speech.

The administration of the portfolio of Minerals and Energy has been characterised by a lack of communication. A great gulf of mistrust and misunderstanding exists between the Minister and the industry. Policies and rules are confusing and confounding. The industry is in a state of great uncertainty. I believe that considerable problems exist through an inadequate flow of ideas from the Minister’s departmental echelons to his office. It is not that this information is not available; apparently it is not sought by the Minister’s officers.

Policy pronouncements from the Minister have been difficult to obtain and have been painfully extracted rather than offered. We get these major statements out of the Minister each time there is a censure motion against him or he finds himself in a corner. It is almost as if he is letting another hare go loose hoping that the hounds will not get too close. It is perhaps because of this lack of openness that a great deal of confusion exists about Government policy in the minerals and energy area. There is uncertainty about Government policy regarding Australian equity ownership and about the conditions on which export licences can be obtained. The proposed minerals and energy authority looms shadowlike in the background - its exact powers uncertain but its creation a matter of considerable apprehension throughout the industry.

In responding to the recent matter of public importance which I proposed for discussion in the House, the Minister for Minerals and Energy referred to proposals to process coal into motor spirit. On an initial examination, it does seem to me that such an approach could have considerable merit. A study has been undertaken by Hydro-carbon Research Incorporated of the United States of America of the production of petrol from Australian brown coal. The study shows that for this process a plant would be necessary with access to coal, 138 kv electricity, river water and natural gas. Taking into account credits derived from the sale of by-products such as fuel oil and petrochemicals, the study suggests that, using the h-coal process, petrol could be produced at a manufacturing cost of about 9c a gallon.

A further study has been undertaken by the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Queensland. The University conducted a feasibility study of the production of liquid fuels from coal at Blackwater in central Queensland. A capital investment of approximately $258m would be required, but the study suggests that petrol from such a plant could be landed in Gladstone at a net cost of about 8c a gallon. The return on investment would be between 12 per cent and 23 per cent before tax. On the basis of these studies, there may indeed be grounds for looking into coal conversion for some of our future petrol requirements. The central Queensland plant envisaged in the study could fill 40 per cent of Australia’s anticipated requirements for 1975. There are vast coal reserves in Australia and particularly in Queensland.

I find it difficult to reconcile this conclusion with the proposals of the Minister for Minerals and Energy in respect of natural gas. I cannot see why the Minister is so intent on converting natural gas at Dampier and Redcliffs beyond the liquid petroleum gas stage into motor spirit. I am told that this is a highly expensive process of doubtful economic viability. It is almost certainly much more expensive than coal conversion. As an example of some of the further problems in his. proposals, I point out that it would be necessary to transport petrochemicals as well as the motor spirit from Dampier to the eastern seaboard at considerable expense. At present it appears that the Minister proposes to proceed with both types of motor spirit production, regardless of the very dubious economics of the gas conversion process. I ask him to reconsider my earlier proposal that a special committee be established to make an in-depth investigation of our future energy requirements and the most appropriate means of meeting them. It is both unsatisfactory and irresponsible to make far reaching decisions on the basis of intuition and a few scraps of information and advice.

If, as seems possible, coal conversion is a viable proposition, we need to look at this proposal urgently as part of a comprehensive program. We would need to look at the necessary pipeline requirements, at the regional development aspects and at the environmental implications. There is certainly room for considerable debate on all of these matters. What does appear to be accepted by industry experts is that the discovery and the development of new crude oil reserves would be the most economic means of meeting our gasoline shortfall. Exploration should be encouraged - not discouraged, as Government action is prompting. Perhaps most importantly of all, there must be a clear recognition that these matters must involve close liaison between the Minister and those with expertise in the industry. I have already suggested a special investigation into our energy position. This must be considered as but a first step to a closer and continuing liaison between the Minister and the industry. Far too much damage has been done already through a mutual lack of respect and communication.

As a continuing long term arrangement, I would suggest for consideration the adoption of the Canadian system of a federal petrol industry cabinet committee which was first set up in Canada about 4.5 years ago. The committee consists of between 10 and 12 members chaired by the Minister for Energy and Mines Resources. Other senior Ministers sometimes attend. Industry members debate among themselves and the Minister can determine industry feeling and has access to advice outside the Public Service. Subjects discussed are critical to Canada’s petroleum industry and include export licensing, pricing and tax arrangements. The Canadian Government and the Canadian industry believe that the committee is of great practical value to the country. I commend these courses to the Minister as constructive suggestions to meet our present position. We cannot allow the situation to continue in which the Minister of his own initiative makes impromptu, sometimes blundering, bluffing statements. This is no substitute for carefully studied, discussed and collectively resolved arrangements for both the Government and the industry.


– I support the estimates for the Department of Minerals and Energy, The Minister for Minerals and Energy (Mr Connor), who is at the table, has repeatedly drawn the attention of the nation to the world energy crisis or, rather, the crisis in hydrocarbons. He has implemented policies which are directed to a balanced evaluation of our minerals and energy resources. These policies are geared to be in both the short term and the long term in the best interests of the nation as a whole. In dealing with the real energy crisis, I point out that less concern would have been shown in the crisis in America were it not informed opinion that there will be, indeed, within a time of interest to most of us, difficulties in keeping up with the expanding need for energy if we are at the same time to eliminate the pollution caused by venting the products of burning fossil fuels into the atmosphere. Correspondingly, the threat of fossil fuels exhaustion has long been on the horizon.

The reasons why this situation is now taken seriously are, first, that it has been expressed in a quantitative form. It is not a matter of the world’s fossil fuels running out in the literal sense for perhaps 25 years; but the site of the remaining oil, which is under the sea or shale, leads to difficulties in extraction, so that the price will rise greatly. Correspondingly, much fossil fuel, particularly coal, contains sulphur, and this is costly to extract. Secondly, the date has been stated for the exhaustion of the indigenous supply at about the present price in constant dollars in the United States. That date is about 1985. The prospect of the United States placing 80 per cent reliance upon Arab oil involves prodigious dangers. An extraction of all world fossil fuels, including coal, is foreseen within 2 generations.

The alternatives currently are atomic energy or solar energy. We ought to ask whether large scale atomic energy utilisation will be able to overcome low intensity radiation hazards. The whole question of nuclear technology as it applies to both reactor and waste disposal has not yet reached the level of meeting national accepted standards of safety. The position with regard to the degree of pollution of the atmosphere by atomic reactors is still contentious. Eventually it will probably depend upon how much one can pay to build in safety features, which of course affects the price of the energy produced. As the world for perhaps the first time is being made aware of the exhaustibility of its energy resources, particularly in fossil fuels, research upon solar conversion will increase in many parts of the world and become massive in some because of the growing doubt about the viability of the large scale use of atomic energy, and about pollution and the pollutive prospects of gasifying coal. There are 3 parts of the world which are ideally situated for solar energy conversion. They are the Sahara, north India and central Australia. So to that extent I feel we ought to exploit this advantage to its maximum.

I noticed in the ‘Sunday Mail’ of 16 September a report that Dr Lloyd Herwig of the National Science Foundation of the United States of America has predicted that Australia could become the world’s biggest energy rich nation in the 1990s through solar energy. It is reported that the Foundation has urged the Australian Government to proceed to a massive investment in solar energy development. Dr Herwig states that Australia can be a major exporter of energy by storing the excess solar energy which falls on Australia in the form of liquid hydrogen and exporting it as natural gas is exported. I believe that the solar energy potential of Australia is of paramount importance to this country and that solar energy will be overwhelmingly more valuable to us than perhaps our mineral resources. The solar energy potential of Australia is, of course, inexhaustible.

Solar energy can supplement our existing and future energy requirements in 3 main areas. The first is in domestic and commercial hot water systems, house and office heating and cooling. In this area we lead the world, particularly through the research that has been carried out by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. The second area is in the provision for fuels for transportation from distillation and fermentation of plant material, and the third is in electrical power generation. Of these 3 possibilities the first is already economically viable but needs Government action to encourage installation of solar hot water systems. These have a higher initial cost than do other hot water systems, but because the fuel needed for their operation is free they become economic over a period of years. Some incentive is needed for the householder to install these units rather than a penalty as is presently imposed by the electricity generating authorities by not allowing cheap tariffs for booster heating.

The wider use of solar units would also encourage industrial development by a large factor and would produce significant cost reductions. Further developmental studies are being carried out by the CSIRO and university departments, and will increase the effectiveness of such units. Research on the use of solar energy in the other 2 areas I mentioned is not so well developed, but research carried out so far indicates that significant contributions to our energy needs can be provided by solar energy. The potential of these energy resources is of such importance that a major research program is totally justified. At the present time several groups in Australia are working independently in this area with negligible funding for a project of this national importance.

Groups are working on solar energy at the following universities: Queensland, New South Wales, Sydney, Australian National University, Melbourne, Broken Hill University College, and at the university in my own electorate, the Flinders University. Regrettably, much of the effort is fragmented. It badly needs coordination and direction. The Australian Government, and in particular the Minister for

Minerals and Energy and the Minister for Science (Mr Morrison), have the resources to achieve co-ordination and direction. I take this opportunity to request both Ministers to call a national symposium of all interested groups to hammer out a national policy in this area. I feel that a national policy on solar energy is urgently needed. I take this opportunity to request both Ministers to allocate a modest sum in the vicinity of $2m per annum initially to fund research in this area. Close co-operation between the CSIRO, universities and industrial organisations will be required. This will be achieved if the development of solar energy is approached as a national effort.

The work at Flinders University is directed mainly towards electrical power generation, and it is likely that four or five years of intensive research work is required before the full promise of this aspect can be properly assessed. Since it would then require a further 5 to 10 years for engineering and pilot plant studies to be carried out, this will take us into the latter part of the century before significant contributions to our power industry can be effected. By this time our oil and gas reserves will be tight and power costs will have escalated. This is why I believe that it is a matter of some urgency that we as a nation begin an extensive program of solar energy research now. I ask the Minister for Minerals and Energy to call a symposium of the groups involved in the area of energy research and to give urgent consideration to the allocation of the modest sum of $2m to ensure that this nation develops its potential and increases its energy options. I support the proposed expenditure.

Minister for Minerals and Energy · Cunningham · ALP

– The honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn) raised the question of the iron ore development at Marandoo and asked just what the legal position is. It is a simple one. There has never at any stage in relation to the Marandoo project been any question of the transfer of shares. Two distinct groups of companies have met in a partnership arrangement, and that arrangement is outside the scope of the Companies (Foreign Takeovers) Act. That is the position. There was never any question of share transfers involved.

With regard to oil search - ‘and much has been said on this score - the latest figures are particularly interesting. For the year ended 30 June 1973 these figures are only approximate - the expenditure off-shore for oil exploration was $79m. The figures for the previous year were precisely the same. The amount paid in subsidy was approximately the same - $2m - in each year. On-shore there was a drop from $24m for the year 1971-72 to $13m for the year 1972-73. That is part of a fairly general world-wide phenomenon, because it is generally recognised that the main sources of oil today are off-shore. They are more remote, they are more difficult of access, and the money is going in that direction.

Much has been said about the harsh deal handed out to Woodside-Burmah. Much has been said about the discouragement of overseas enterprise in searching for oil in Australia. This is the position: The Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd, which has a half interest in the consortium for extracting the oil deposits in Bass Strait, is 83 per cent Australian owned. Therefore, because it has a 50-50 consortium arrangement with Esso the Australian equity in Bass Strait is 4H per cent. The other major source of hydrocarbon is the North West Shelf. The Australian equity in this case is 15 per cent. Crocodile tears are being shed, and by allegedly patriotic Australians. We are in a strong position thanks to the policy of the new national Government. We have ended the section 77 rackets. It has been a matter of distaste to me to have to sign approvals for petroleum search subsidy payments to be made to major oil companies which frankly do not need them. Nevertheless they are in respect of contracts which were entered into by the former Government and which we will honour until the expiry of the Act on 30 June next year. Other smaller explorers which might have had the benefit of subvention from that Act have been denied it.

As for the future - this was made very clear at the time by both the Treasurer (Mr Crean) and myself - the moneys that would normally have gone to the racketeers under section 77 will be recycled through the petroleum and minerals authority. It will be very interesting to see whether the members of the Opposition will line up enthusiastically to support that measure, because there our main effort will be directed towards helping the middle group of adventurers in the minerals field. In all cases - and there are quite a number of them - they are people who have discovered something worth while - so good, in fact, that hardboiled, hard-nosed overseas mining interests want to come in with them to acquire a minority holding. We will instead provide them with assist ance. It may take the form of a cash loan, acquisition of shares, the guarantee of a bank overdraft or a partnership. But whatever it is we will ensure that worthwhile mineral projects are kept within Australia and are developed by Australians and for the benefit of Australia.

The Leader of the Australian. Country Party (Mr Anthony) laid great stress on the need not to convert liquid petroleum gas into motor spirit. He said that it was a doubtful proposal. Let me refer him to recent comments made by the United States Director of Fuel Resources who particularly categorised the liquids available from natural gas and their conversion as being one of the more readily available forms of motor spirit. In my responsibilities I am playing for time because, on present projections, we have merely 8 years’ supply of crude oil. More will be discovered. But, knowing where extra motor spirit can be obtained, naturally I want to get it. In the case of the Redcliffs project we can obtain it and at the same time leave quite a reasonable profit for the good and powerful consortium which has been formed. I believe that we can obtain as much as 12,000 barrels a day of motor spirit from it. Might I mention - this has been ignored conveniently by the Opposition - the little matter of about 24,000 barrels a day of liquid petroleum gas that is being exported from Australia. It is being done in pursuance of contracts. If the crunch ever came and by any chance Australia ever needed those extra hydro-carbons the boom would very quickly be dropped. But that would be only in an emergency - and a grave emergency. My objective is to obtain every extra barrel of motor spirit I can for Australia and for the needs of Australian industry, Australian transport and the private motorists.

Apart from the possible impact on the Australian motorists, in terms of pricing, there has been no general appreciation of the new world situation which we are now entering following the developing world energy crisis. In the last 50 years mankind has consumed more energy than in the whole of recorded prior history. In the emerging world, nations will be ranked by their energy reserve ratings and efficiency of utilisation rather than on population, gross national product or any of the traditional criteria. All the national energy systems have been a combination of fossil fuel resources - of coal, oil and gas. Electricity has been generated from them and distributed by a national grid system. Because of the convenience, liquid petroleum and natural gas have supplied a share of the world’s energy market disproportionate to their relative position in overall energy reserves.

If one looks at the estimates of the recoverable reserves of energy in any of the major countries having these deposits, one will find that coal still bulks very large. As a matter of fact coal has been exploited only to the extent of 2 per cent of the world’s total recoverable resources. This has been due to a number of factors. Oil has been more convenient; it has been cleaner; at a certain stage it was a little cheaper. But today the industrial nations of the world are facing a period of rising prices for both liquid petroleum and natural gas. The obvious symptoms were plain for all to see in the United States at least 12 months ago prior to the decision of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to restrict crude oil supplies. The United States, with 6 per cent of the world’s population, uses 35 per cent of the world’s energy. The plight of the major industrial nations today is a direct result of the over dependence on an attractive liquid fuel, which provides 70 per cent of the freight carried on the world’s oceans, it was President Wilson who said that the Allies in World War I ‘floated to victory on a torrent of oil’. Control of oil supplies was the major strategic objective in World War II.

Oil is becoming scarcer, dearer and more difficult to find. The transference of oil search to the remoter depths of the ocean is the measure of man’s frantic search for this limited resource. It is generally forgotten that oil, natural gas and coal are chemical cousins. They are all variable equations of hydrocarbons and they can be transmuted from one to the other. As I said last week, we depend for transmutation on the chemical engineers. The natural consequence of the growing scarcity of oil and its depletion is that prices will continue to rise. The technocrats believe that within 5 years the price of imported crude oil delivered to any major industrial nation will be more than that of oil and its derivatives derived from the economic conversion of coal and other carbonaceous materials into liquid and gaseous fuels.

In Australia we have every reason to be thankful. It would appear I am quoting the broad figures of the Joint Coal Board - that in New South Wales there is approximately 100,000 million tons of black coal. There is a similar amount in Queensland. It is not all recoverable. It is not all of the same quality. The recovery factor is generally reckoned to be 5C per cent. In Victoria there would appear to be an equal tonnage of brown coal. That is our greatest national asset, combined with the natural gas which we can derive from our off-shore fields. Our fuel and energy policy has been conditioned by our known limitations of indigenous crude. Although we hope by systematic organisation to augment our 8-year reserves, our energy planning has been built increasingly around our available reserves of coal. Natural gas, particularly from the northwest shelf, is a wet gas. In aggregate and by the restructuring of the liquids - that does not merely mean liquid petroleum gas; it means also the condensates - we can probably obtain a yield, spread over a considerable time, of motor spirit products equal to our present reserves of crude oil.

On several occasions I have informed the House that the Government will establish a national fuel and energy commission to devise and implement an integrated and co-ordinated national fuel and energy policy. The commission will prepare an annual energy budget based upon Australia’s needs and available resources, having regard to variations in the location and availability of such resources. The commission will regulate the exploration, development, transportation, pricing and marketing and use of oil, natural gas, coal, fissionable materials and hydro-electricity. It will prevent the depletion of the fuel and energy resources needed to match Australia’s requirements and, of course, will guard the ecology and environment from pollution.

Obvious constituent representatives of such an authority will be the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, the Pipeline Authority, the Joint Coal Board and the Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria. Added to these, of course, will be the petroleum and minerals authority that is to be established under the legislation to which I have just referred. One of the key utilities for the use of this commission will be the trans-continental pipeline for the distribution of natural gas by the inter-connection of Australia’s resources in Bass Strait, Gidgealpa-Moomba, Palm Valley and the north west shelf. At a later stage - I stress that it will be considerably later - when depletion of our resources ultimately occurs the same concept of a pipeline will be available for the transmission of synthesised natural gas from black and brown coal or, in the even remoter future, hydrogen gas associated with the utilisation of solar energy.

One of the outstanding features of my recent visit to Japan was the ready agreement of Mr Nakasone, the Japanese Minister for International Trade and Industry, to join Japanese technologists with Australians in a feasibility study for the hydrogenation of coal into liquid motor spirit and other derivatives. He also agreed to a study being made of Australia’s unique resources of solar energy, due to our record hours of sunshine and the relative aridity of portions of our continent. I also refer especially to the energy problems of Japan, our principal trading partner. On my recent visit to Japan I at all times conveyed to the various leaders of the Japanese Government and industry Australia’s guarantee that we would make available to them energy resources of all kinds that are surplus to our national needs. The coal hydrogenation project is the first step in the implementation of these objectives.

In the utilisation of Australia’s worldranking reserves of uranium we also know that there must be a special relationship between Australia and Japan in enrichment technology. We have the necessary uranium not only to supply our own and Japan’s foreseeable needs but also to make provision for other major trading partners, such as West Germany and Italy. The control of Australia’s energy resources will, in the terms of the Tokyo statement by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam), remain in Australian hands with the certainty of long term supply contracts to those of our trading partners to whom we can give from our abundance.

There is one other matter - it will be dealt with tonight in another place - to which I should make reference, that is, the inquisition - I will characterise it as that - into the construction of the pipeline. In the arrangements that we entered into with the Australian Gas Light Company it was quite clear that we would stand in its shoes; that we would take over - we have in fact done so - the liability for its contracts; and that we would acquire, and we have, the pipes imported from Japan. I might say that they are pipes of a very special character. They were constructed only after exhaustive computer studies and repre sent the acme of metallurgical excellence in their field. We have used the Australian Gas Light Company’s consultants. We have used the intermediary of its designing, that is, the East Aust. Pipeline Corporation. We have worked closely in conjunction with it. I pay a tribute to both Mr Donald, the Executive Member of the Pipeline Authority, and Mr Butters for their co-operation. Tenders for the first sector of the pipeline have closed. They are now being examined. As for the allegations which have been made that there is no notion as to the cost of the pipeline, we have in all respects proceeded on the basis of the estimates - the very sound estimates - of the Australian Gas Light Company. I challenge anyone in this chamber or in the other place to fault them in any way. That is what we have done and that is what we intend to do.

It also should be said that there is an urgent need for the city of Sydney to get its supplies of natural gas. Frankly, had the Australian Government not come into the picture, there could have been considerable financial problems for the original company and its concept. A transmission agreement is in the process of being negotiated. That company will be treated fairly. The undertaking was given - signed by myself and Sir William Pettingell- that in no respect would the Australian Gas Light Company be disadvantaged as a result of the transference of the project. That undertaking will be strictly adhered to.

I also want to stress that even with the known recoverable reserves of natural gas at Gidgealpa, and having regard to the known needs or the dedicated needs of Adelaide for natural gas and of the proposed petro-chemical project at Redcliffs, as well as of Sydney itself, there is still a shortfall of, I would say, between 0.8 and 0.9 of a trillion cubic feet. It will be necessary for us therefore to proceed with all expedition not only to complete the construction of the pipeline but also to go beyond it to Palm Valley to provide the necessary backup from the very substantial reserves which have been proven there. In that way the future of industry and commerce as well as the domestic requirements will be assured in both Adelaide and Sydney. It is time that the sniping and the nit-picking ended because we are in business and we mean business. We have the authority under the Act. The Australian Gas Light Company will find, and has found, that we are good people to deal with. I move: That the question be now put.

Question put.

The Committee divided. (The Chairman- Mr G. G. D. Scholes)

AYES: 59

NOES: 50

Majority . . …. 9



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Leader of the House · Grayndler · ALP

– I suggest that the order agreed to by the Committee on 12 September for the consideration of proposed expenditure be varied by postponing the consideration of the proposed expenditures for the defence services.


– Is the suggestion agreed to? There being no objection, that course will be followed.

Department of Science

Proposed expenditure, $100,421,000.


– The matter that I wish to raise has very little political significance, but I hope that what I say might commend itself to the Government. It is, I am afraid, only a minor matter. One of the things that always strikes me about the work of the Department of Science is that it is not always focused or available to the public. Let me deal first with the second point. It seems to me that a great deal of confusion exists in our primary industries as to the correct nomenclature for plants, particularly pest plants, for insects, particularly pest insects, and even for a variety of trees. In different parts of Australia the same tree can be called by a different name and the same pest can be called by a different name, so there is not much chance of an Australian policy taking account of this circumstance.

Would it not be possible for the Department to standardise nomenclature and to put out information in a readily available form? For this purpose I suggest that we use coloured slides and tapes to go with the slides. For example, for the Australian locust, we could have slides showing its development and the way in which it causes damage. We could have slides showing any other pests or the useful grasses which, I assure honourable members, have different names in different parts of Australia. We could have a series of slides which could be produced by the Department and which could carry the necessary information.

As I said, this matter has no political implications. It is something to which I think the Department might turn its mind and I will be quite happy to put before the Minister for Science (Mr Morrison) a detailed proposal in this regard. I think this would be of special interest to my friends in the Australian Country Party because they know the difficulty in dealing with some of these pests and the opportunities which are lost through not appreciating the properties of useful plants. Very often it turns upon the fact that they do not know what to call the damn things. They are called one thing in Western Australia and another thing on the Riverina. This is a very simple and practical proposal which I hope will be implemented by the Department. As I said, I will be happy to put before the Minister a detailed plan of how this should be done. This proposal could even apply to things which are not of productive significance, such as the recognition of Australian birds and wildflowers. It is very difficult to get any kind of coherent pattern in regard to the recognition of these things.

Secondly - and I am dealing with something entirely different - I believe there are things which could be done in Australia that are not being done. I refer particularly to a study which I think should be made of the behaviour in Australia of ferral domestic animals, that is, domestic animals that have gone wild. I say this not because I believe it has any immediate practical importance but because I believe that it would have great theoretical importance. We may be able to look at the position of the wild horses, the wild cattle or the wild pigs in Australia. These are animals which have had no experience handed down to them for their wild lives, yet they have established communities with rules of behaviour which are quite complicated and quite set. If we looked at these animals in the Australian environment we might be able to clear up some of the fundamental problems of behaviour and ecology, and some of the fundamental problems of how much is inherited and how much is not. These are absolutely basic problems in science. We have in Australia the opportunity, through a proper study, of solving some of these problems which have bedevilled science as a whole throughout the world.

I am not suggesting that we spend any great amount of money. I would have thought that even a few tens of thousands of dollars properly applied would be able to produce in Australia something which is of world importance. I discussed this with Sir Macfarlane Burnet and he agrees that this is of prime importance and should be done in Australia. I discussed with him this particular proposition, and I put it to the Government that it is one of the things which we might be doing. I am not asking for anything of any great significance financially. I am simply saying that the attention of the Department might be focused here, and we could get with a comparatively small expenditure in Australia something which could be theoretically of world significance.

I put to the Government 2 unrelated propositions. The first is the popularisation of knowledge by the use of such things as colour slides and tapes to make available to Australian farmers, to Australian children, to Australian researchers - to the people who are interested - the correct nomenclature not only of Australian plants an animals but also those that have been introduced into Australia. Secondly, I ask whether it would be possible to have an ecology study done here relating to the behaviour in Australia of domestic animals which have gone wild and established their communities with their own pattern of behaviour. This second matter is of no practical productive consequence but I think it could be of considerable theoretical consequence and might perhaps bring a great deal of credit to Australia if this were undertaken. I do not want to take up the time of the House further. In relation to both these matters I would be very glad to put a detailed program before the Government and to participate, myself, in the guidance and development of that program. I thank the Committee.

Monaro · Eden

– I should like to consider for a moment the course of development of science in this country. We have a fundamental basis of science in the British tradition, without the population that has enabled Britain to develop a sophisticated technology around its science. In the main, science research in Australia is concentrated in the fundamental area. We have the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation which for many years was concerned with fundamental research. The problems of applied research have only I suppose in the past 5 years occupied the mind of the CSIRO. The problems of social research are only just now being considered by our one professional research organisation. The problems of the interaction between science and the environment also are now concerning the CSIRO. If we think about the structure of research in Australia we realise that we have only 2 fundamental research groups - the CSIRO, which is sponsored directly by the’ Australian Government, and universities whose basic research function is to produce research workers.

It is not satisfactory for us to give to the universities a great amount of research work which is on-going in nature because basically the universities, when they have produced their doctors of philosophy and people with various other degrees, lose a continuity which can be maintained only within the confines of a professional research organisation. This has not really affected Australia greatly in relation to fundamental scientific research, but it has certainly affected Australia in regard to the social sciences. We do not have an on-going social science research organisation. In the more obvious areas of economics we have a few small groups which are taking on this professional mantle. In other areas such as sociology and medical research we find few organisations which have this on-going professional component. So it is important, 1 believe, that we develop a wider approach to research in Australia. Our nation - our economy and society - is growing and becoming more sophisticated, and it is vital that we have these professional research organisations which deal with economic, sociological and medical research. We have tended to look, as happened with the Vernon Committee’s recommendations, at the political consequences of research organisations.

We cannot afford any longer to deny this country the services of professional research organisations in these areas. We certainly cannot afford to deny this country these organisations simply because they become critics of government policy. Naturally they will criticise, but in a virile, healthy political environment any government can afford such criticism. 1 have been impressed by the brochure that was circulated to all members by, presumably, the French Ambassador in Australia. It is entitled 1972, France, Science Research and Development’. On page 60 of that document there is an illustration of another area in which research has been neglected in Australia, that is, the area of industrial development and innovation. On page 60 of the document we find a chapter entitled ‘A Policy of Innovation’. At the foot of that page there is a table which goes from basic research through development to industrialisation. At the basic research end in France, as indeed in Australia, the Government accepts responsibility for financing the basic drive. Then we go through basic research, directed research and applied research.

There are few applied research organisations in this country. When it comes to developing the applications of basic research in Australia, we have had one very good illustration in a field with which I am quite familiar. I refer to wool research, an area to which, incidentally, over the years the CSIRO has devoted a great deal of time. But yet in this applied area, when it came to bringing the machinery of wool measurement, for example, into application, there were a lot of difficulties which were not covered by existing research organisations. A lot of time and effort had to be given to this particular area and special grants were necessary from this Government to carry out this applied research. No organisation was geared to the problem of applying the products of fundamental research, not only as far as the scientists were concerned but as far as the economics were concerned. There was no organisation which could apply the fruits of this research in the industrial sphere. This organisation in France had the point of applied research only as the third stage of an 8-stage development of research. It goes then through pre-development, feasibility studies, technological research development and the pre-mass production stage. At that stage the work is being financed more by industrial funds than by government funds. Then comes the production and marketing stage where the government’s role is that performed in Australia by the Australian Industry Development Corporation in the present structure of our economy. It provides venture capital, and then the project merges into the commercial field and is supported by commerce.

Australia does not have this sophisticated development. I am not asking that this sophisticated development should be developed in Australia at this stage because in many areas we do not have the market base for such development. But I believe that we should be giving much more consideration not only to this question of innovation and development but also, as I mentioned before, to the social and economic research functions of our research and science fields. In regard to this question of innovation I should like to quote from this document. It states:

In a market economy in which international competition is’ becoming increasingly stiff, industrial growth calls for the continuous renewal of production. This only innovation makes possible.

Here, of course, we are talking about the fundamental economic concept of productivity. In a sophisticated economy it is no longer possible for us to rely on a fairly crude allocation of labour alone for an increase in productivity. It is absolutely essential that we must foster innovation at the ground roots level and see it through to industry. In order to do that we need not only the fundamental science research that CSIRO represents in Australia but also all the other research organisations that I have mentioned as I have developed this argument. The document goes on to state: As the ultimate phase in the complex process of research, innovation comes into its own after basic, fundamental, directed or applied research has given rise to a new discovery. It is up to innovation to insert this discovery into the economic cycle that ends with production.

In other words it is not good enough to get the idea alone; we need to continue the innovatory process right through to the application phase. As I have already mentioned, in France this process has been divided into 3 operational phases. These are predevelopment stage, which investigates the feasibility of the innovation, the technological research stage and the premass production stage. Having done research myself, in terms of physics, chemistry and economics, I know that the last person to innovate is the person who gets the original idea. The apparatus that will work in the laboratory will never work in industry. The scientist with all his loving care and with all his knowledge of the idea he has developed, knows exactly where to tap the apparatus or where to kick it if brute force is required to make it work. These things cannot be relied on in industry. So a completely separate group of people is needed to integrate with scientists and with industry and to understand how to apply the knowledge.

Unfortunately I do not have time to develop another important area of research - namely, communications - which has not been given very much consideration at all in Australia. I believe that we need to develop as conscientiously and as systematically the whole area of communication between the research worker and industry as indeed we do the area between the research worker and the application of his ideas. I believe that the Department of Science is a welcome development in the growth and maturation of this economy and our society. For the first time we have a systematic approach, though an embryonic one, to this multitude of problems.


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


– I wish to refer to 2 matters, namely, the stationing of a meteorological officer at Shepparton and the possible movement of the headquarters of the Antarctic Division from Melbourne to Hobart. The Goulburn Valley is the most intensely farmed and irrigated area in Australia. Some of its crops are particularly prone to weather conditions. I refer particularly to the fruit industry and the tomato industry. For some time people in the area have made representations for the stationing of a meteorological officer at Shepparton. I had some correspondence on this matter with the Minister for the Interior in the previous Government who was then in charge of the Bureau of Meteorology. With the change of government the discussions continued with Mr Hannay, the Victorian Regional Director of the Bureau. A meeting was convened in Shepparton earlier this year and representatives of the different interested people in the area attended. Since then the senior officer of the Victorian Department of Agriculture in Shepparton, Mr Wauchope, has arranged with the Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Mr Ian Smith, to write to the Commonwealth Minister requesting the stationing of such an officer at Shepparton. My information is that such a letter has been forwarded.

I would ask the Minister for Science (Mr Morrison) to give this request sympathetic consideration and approval. Weather is tremendously important to high risk, high value crops and also to the overall efficient utilisation of irrigation water, the problem of frosting and the avoidance of flooding. There are 2 research stations in the Goulburn Valley - a horticultural research station and an irrigation research station. The officers of these research farms would be more than happy to co-operate with the meteorological officer for the development of certain programs such as water use, irrigation timing, macro and micro climatology, instrumentation, frost timing, etc. I ask the Minister to give this request serious consideration and approval. If that is done I believe that this will be a most important development for the greater matching of what we can produce efficiently and the preservation of the environment. This will be achieved through reduction of the risk of unnecessary flooding through better timing of irrigation, through better weather forecasting and other meteorological services such as the provision of evaporation-precipitation ratios, etc., which will add to the productivity of this most highly developed area in northern Victoria.

The other matter I raise relates to the concern expressed by a number of people about the possible movement of the Antarctic Division headquarters from Melbourne to Hobart.

I think many members of Parliament have received letters on this matter from exmembers of Antarctic expeditions. I have received several letters, including one from a personal friend who was the leader of a previous Antarctic expedition. All of the letters express concern over the possible movement of the headquarters. I have been trying for a couple of weeks to ask a question of the Minister on this subject but unfortunately, due to nobody’s fault, I have not been able to ask the question to ascertain what is the actual position at present. Evidently at the moment there is a need for rehousing or more adequate housing for the headquarters of the Division in Melbourne. I think that this is accepted by everybody. This perhaps raises the question of whether to rehouse the headquarters again in Melbourne and perhaps add to the present building or whether to move it somewhere else. Apparently, for a variety of reasons, there is pressure that the move be to Hobart. There is concern that such a move will reduce the efficiency of the operations of the Division. I shall quote a section from a letter I have received from a previous leader of an Antarctic expedition. When referring to the possible movement to Hobart he states:

I consider that such a move can have only detrimental consequences for Australia’s Antarctic work. Hobart has not the technological resources needed to support a complex expeditionary headquarters; it has not the sources of supply; it has not the variety of scientific support facilities (universities, CSIRO laboratories, instrument makers, government Departments, etc.).

From Hobart many categories of expeditionary personnel would have to be sent to Melbourne for their specialised training. The design and maintenance of mechanised equipment demands close collaboration between the user and the supplier and most of the suppliers of such equipment are in Melbourne but not in Hobart.

In addition the transfer to Hobart would result in the resignation of a number of key personnel upon whose long period of polar experience the logistic effectiveness of the ANARE depends.

The move would, moreover, be expensive and so would the operations in Hobart as compared with those in Melbourne.

Lack of technological back-up facilities, posisible resignations of senior personnel and the increased cost of the overall administration of the headquarters are arguments that have been put by other people who have been connected with the Antarctic Division in some form or another over the years and all those people are most concerned for the possible future efficient operation of the Division, if the move takes place. As I have not been able to ask a question of the Minister I should be pleased if he would at least clarify the position on the thinking of his Department on this subject when he replies. I ask him to consider the detrimental effects a move to Hobart will have on the Division, if it takes place.


– In the few remaining minutes I shall briefly refer to one particular aspect of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. I remind members of the Committee of paragraphs 64 to 67 inclusive of the report from the House of Representatives Select Committee on Wildlife Conservation of last year. In those paragraphs emphasis was placed on the relatively poor use of land use authorities both at Federal level and in the States. There is almost a complete absence of land use authorities in those areas though there is a growing need for their services. It was with some pleasure that I observed in recent months that CSIRO has effected a significant amount of re-orientation of its research program.

An example of the re-organisation of the research program can be found in the reorganisation of the land resources research activities. That re-orientation has the objective of meeting more effectively the increasing demand for information by those concerned with environmental matters and land use planning. Three divisions in CSIRO have been grouped together under the title of the Land Resources Laboratories. Surveys will be conducted and research on land resources and their potential uses will take place. In addition, management techniques aimed at optimising land utilisation will be developed. Research on all aspects of Australian soils will be carried out. A pilot study of land use in the Eurobodalla Shire in the South Coast region of New South Wales has been commenced by the Division of Land Research, in collaboration with New South Wales Government authorities. This study, which will take account of all aspects of land use requirements, is designed to provide information to those responsible for the making of decisions about land use. It is a project that takes account of the needs of the community as a whole rather than of individual industries. This sort of work will provide an example of land resources research. From time to time members of the public and conservation groups protest about proposals to mine, clear or otherwise alter important natural areas but the real conflict is that, with the demand for productive use of resources being now so widespread, it is affecting some of the last natural areas. When those areas are threatened with alteration the public places higher values on them.

I welcome the fact that the Land Resources Laborataries have been set up within CSIRO. This will have beneficial effects on land use in Australia. It is proposed to set up a biological survey of Australia under the direction of the Department of Science. The intention is to spend $750,000 on this project over a 3-year period. The small amount of $120,000 is available this year. There will be Commonwealth-State co-operation and the implementation of the proposal will plug up a hole that has existed for many years related to biological information, particularly about Australian fauna. This will be of benefit to the whole community and will improve our knowledge of our country.

Motion (by Mr Morrison) agreed to:

That the question be now put.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Progress reported.

Sitting suspended from 6.11 to 8 p.m.

page 3534


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

Second Reading

Minister for Urban and Regional Development · Reid · ALP

– I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill represents an important step in the implementation of the Government’s urban and regional development policy. Soon I expect to introduce three other Bills which together represent major initiatives in the Government’s policy. This Government is committed to a direct and continuing involvement in cities, old and new. In the existing Australian cities, programs have been devised and expenditures set aside to overcome the sewerage backlog, purchase land for urban development, improve urban public transport, conduct area improvement programs and preserve and enhance the national estate. These initiatives are all designed to improve the life of ordinary Australians within our existing cities.

Another major component of the Government’s urban and regional policy is the new cities program. This program supplements and supports our policies in the existing cities. New cities are designed to reduce population pressure on existing cities and, at the same time, provide alternative living areas for future generations of Australians. There are two broad types of operation under the new cities program. The first is what we call regional growth centres. These comprise new city development at a substantial distance from existing metropolitan centres.

Mr McLeay:

Mr Speaker, I direct your attention to the state of the House. (The bells being rung) -


-I think the honourable member for Paterson put his foot inside the curtain. Will you retrieve him, please. (Quorum formed)


– The second may be called system cities. These are intended as substantially self-contained cities on the fringes of existing metropolitan areas. In formulating its policies on new cities, the Government has had the benefit of the recommendations of the Cities Commission. The basis of these recommendations is set out in the Commission’s first 5-year report which I tabled in this House on 25 October 1973.

It is fitting that the first Bill concerned with the new cities program to be introduced into this House should be the AlburyWodonga Development Bill. This is not because the development of Albury-Wodonga as a regional growth centre will be the major component of the Government’s urban and regional policy. Rather, it is because this operation has been the first time when the major principles of the new cities policy have been worked out. One of the most important of these principles has been co-operative federalism and I will be referring to this in a moment.

Honourable members will know that it was the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) who first proposed the accelerated development of Albury-Wodonga. As long ago as August 1969, Mr Whitlam, then the Leader of the Opposition, said that Albury-Wodonga would be suitable for new urban development. This proposal was part of the policies which we presented to the people before the recent election.

Since 2 December last year, events have moved quickly. On 25 January, the Prime Minister and the Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria met at Albury and announced their intention to jointly develop Albury-Wodonga as a growth centre. The Premiers stated on this occasion that the willingness, for the first time, of the Australian Government to make available significant financial aid for this development provided the means for action.

On 25 January, the three heads of government agreed that Albury-Wodonga would be developed into a major city which will attract large numbers of Australians, which will attract industry, which will control pollution and protect the environment, and in which every attempt will be made to preserve the identity and character of the existing cities. This development was to be the task of a specially created statutory authority. On 23 October, the Prime Minister and the Premiers met again, this time in Wodonga, to sign the agreement which forms the Schedule of the new Albury-Wodonga Development Bill. The nature of this Agreement and the whole course of events since 25 January are an example of co-operative federalism at work. Differences of approach will inevitably arise when 3 governments approach a joint task, but the important thing is that a spirit of goodwill and a will to co-operate should guide the governments. That spirit and that will have guided us. This Bill represents our achievement.

Honourable members have before them an Australian Government Bill and, appended to it, an Agreement between the 3 governments. Complementary Bills, with the same Agreement appended, will be introduced into the New South Wales and Victorian parliaments in the near future. Hopefully by the end of this year, a development corporation will be established by the 3 governments. The task of this corporation will be to plan and organise the development of the growth centre.

The present Bill is concerned, therefore, with the steps required by the Australian Government to establish the organisational structure of the Albury-Wodonga growth centre and the legal framework within which this will operate. The structure appears complex. Such complexity is the result of the constitutional relationship between the 3 governments concerned and the role that each government has agreed to play. In essence, the arrangement provides for each government to continue its normal functions in Albury-Wodonga.

Over and above this, the Australian Government will make a major financial contribution towards the cost of land acquisition and the development of infrastructure which arise directly from the decision to stimulate accelerated growth. The development structure provides for a Ministerial Council of the 3 governments to oversight development. A statutory authority will carry out that development. This authority will comprise a Development Corporation established by the Australian Government and a State corporation established by each State government. The functions of the Development Corporation, conferred on it by the Federal and State governments, will include urban and regional planning and development, construction in designated areas, growth centre promotion, negotiation with Federal, State and local government agencies, the protection of the environment and the involvement of the local community in the planning process.

The functions of the New South Wales and Victorian corporations will be the acquisition, holding, management and provision of land, the provision of municipal type services and the levying of charges in new urban areas. The membership and staff will be common to the 3 corporations. We are confident that this apparently complex arrangement will not adversely affect the working of the development machinery. Not only will the membership and staff be common to the 3 corporations and therefore work as one, but also the task of the corporations working as one will be clearly defined. They will be responsible to the one body, namely, the ministerial council. The development structure also includes two other important provisions. The first is a consultative council to ensure public participation. On this consultative council will be representatives of local government and other community interests. The functions of the council will be to advise the Development Corporation on matters of concern to the local community. The second provision is for strong and continuing links between the Development Corporation structure and the existing agencies of the Australian and State governments.

The Bill and the agreement arise from detailed discussions between the 3 governments at which a range of important principles and policies have been arrived at. Those concerned with the structure of the development organisation are included in this Bill and agreement. An understanding has been reached between the 3 governments on the principles and policies which will govern the implementation of the agreement and the operation of the development organisation. The most important of these are:

  1. The general financial arrangements provide for each government to continue to provide funds for facilities and services which it ordinarily provided to the population of Albury and Wodonga.
  2. In addition, the Australian Government will make special funds available to the States for on-payment to the appropriate corporation for:

    1. land acquisition;
    2. land development, including headworks;
    3. municipal type facilities; and
    4. selected building works.

The funds to be made available each year by the Australian Government will be in accordance with an agreed development plan.

  1. Funds made available for land acquisition will be either loan funds or non-repayable grants on a matching basis under conditions which will be set out in the Albury-Wodonga Appropriation Bill which I hope to introduce next week. Funds to be made available to the Development Corporation for land development and selected building works will normally be loan funds. Provision is made for current practices to be observed in fixing the terms of the loans and for payment of interest to be deferred in some cases. Funds to be provided for municipal type services will take account of existing State practices and sources of funds normally available to local government authorities.
  2. In addition, during the early years of the development, the Australian Government will be prepared to provide special financial assistance to the States to assist them in providing facilities which are normally their responsibility but which could not be provided without such special assistance. We have made this offer because we accept that it might not be practicable for the States during the next few years to take special measures at AlburyWodonga without affecting existing State-wide priorities. The 3 governments have agreed, however, that after this transition period each will provide from its normal sources the services and facilities it would ordinarily provide to the population of Albury-Wodonga.
  3. The administrative expenses of the Development Corporation will be shared equally by the 3 governments.
  4. As agreed on 25 January and 23 October, the Development Corporation will follow a policy of providing fully serviced sites for development on a long term leasehold tenure unless there are exceptional circumstances. In the case of residential land, the form of land tenure will be decided by the 3 governments in the light of the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Land Tenures.
  5. The price of land to be acquired under the terms of appropriate State land price stabilisation legislation will be based on the market level of prices prevailing at 3 October 1972. Adjustments will be made for land price changes - due to factors other than the announcement of the development of the complex - during the period up to the date of actual purchase. Land to be acquired under these conditions is to be designated not later than 30 June 1974. In the timing of acquisition deference will be paid to any special cases of individual hardship which may occur. All 3 governments have agreed that land price stabilisation is essential for the success of the growth centre. Without a supply of raw land at prices uninflated by speculative action - which is what is happening in Sydney and Melbourne - neither industry nor people will be prepared to move to the growth centre.
  6. As a first step, the Development Corporation will, with the assistance of the private sector, become a developer within the existing municipal boundaries of the cities of Albury and Wodonga. The development will be on lands which are outside land within the city of Albury, which are presently zoned urban, or lands to be zoned urban in the recently exhibited interim development order. Likewise, the Development Corporation will become a developer of lands within the defined urban boundaries of the city of Wodonga but which are outside those lands for which all planning consents required for urban sub-division have been granted. All lands in those areas within which the Development Corporation will become a developer, and which will need to be rezoned urban for purposes of the growth complex, will be publicly acquired.
  7. In the development of the new growth complex, special attention will be given to control of pollution, including effluent disposal. Special attention will also be given to protection of the environment, not only of the centre itself, but also of areas which will be affected by the establishment of this new growth complex.
  8. In the planning of the new growth complex, every attempt is to be made to preserve the identity, character and vitality of the historic centres of Albury and Wodonga.

I turn now to the Bill itself. Honourable members will note that in Part III the Bill establishes the Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation as a body corporate and with the usual powers of such a body corporate. Clause 8 of Part III of the Bill sets out the functions and powers of the Corporation. It will be noted that clause 8 (1) sets out those functions of the Corporation which will be conferred on it by the Australian Government. The States have agreed that in their legislation they will confer such State powers on the Corporation as are necessary for that Corporation to carry out the planning and development tasks which have been entrusted to the Corporation by the 3 governments. Sub-clauses (3) and (4) of clause 8 provide for this.

Part (IV) of the Bill deals with the constitution and meetings of the Corporation. The Corporation will consist of 5 members. A Chairman will be appointed for a term not exceeding 7 years. Two Deputy Chairmen will be appointed for a period not exceeding 5 years. Two other members shall be part-time and appointed for a term not exceeding 3 years. The Chairman will be appointed on the nomination of the Australian Government. Each of the State governments will nominate one of the Deputy Chairmen. The 2 part-time members of the Corporation will be appointed on the recommendation of the Ministerial Council with a view to ensuring the representation of local interests on the Development Corporation. The provisions relating to appointment, termination of appointment, disclosure of interest, and acting appointments are in keeping with those of other Commonwealth statutory corporations.

Part (V) of the Bill refers to the powers of the Corporation to appoint staff. These provisions are once again similar to those of other Commonwealth statutory authorities with the specific understanding that the employment by the Corporation of officers of States will be facilitated as far as possible. Part (VI) of the

Bill sets out the provisions with regard to finance. The Agreement sets out in more detail the form of physical and financial programming which will constitute the basis of the annual financial estimates of the Development Corporation. This programming procedure is very important. I refer honourable members to Part (III) of the Agreement. The Corporation will be empowered to borrow money from the State or other approved lenders. Part (VII) of the Bill includes the requirement that the Corporation shall report annually and that it shall meet the audit requirements of the Auditor-General. It will be noted that this section of the Bill also provides that the GovernorGeneral may make regulations for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.

I turn now to the Agreement scheduled to this Bill. As the preamble makes clear, this Agreement springs from the intentions of the 3 governments that a Development Corporation will bring about in Albury-Wodonga a city with a high quality of environment, appropriately planned and developed, with full regard to human requirements and the involvement of the public. Furthermore, in its operation the Corporation will involve, as far as possible, the established Australian, State and local government authorities in the development of the growth complex. Honourable members have received an explanatory memorandum of the agreement which is scheduled in this Bill.

In concluding I take the opportunity of thanking my colleagues on the Ministerial Council - Mr Murray Byrne, the Victorian Minister for State Development and Decentralisation, and Mr John Fuller, the New South Wales Minister for Decentralisation and Development. Their willingness to work hard, to co-operate and to compromise has been a very pleasing feature of this whole operation. Not only that, but they have encouraged their officers in the respective State departments to work hard and some times under great pressure in order to achieve this program. I take the opportunity of commending and thanking rr;y own officers in the Cities Commission and in my own Department, and officers of other Australian Government departments, particularly Attorney-General’s Department and the Treasury, for their continuing efforts over the past 10 months.

I would be the first to recognise that the total concept of what we are setting out to do in Albury-Wodonga is a difficult one to grasp. It is a new concept. One of the most rewarding features of the Albury-Wodonga Agreement is that in a very short space of time we in the Australian Government have been able to develop and explain this new concept to State politicians and administrators. With the understanding that they have acquired we have been able to formulate this Agreement. Let there be no mistake about this. It is an historic Agreement. Moreover, we have reached the Agreement with a high level of enthusiasm. I commend the approach of the State politicians in New South Wales and Victoria and their administrators to honourable members opposite. We have not tried to force concepts on to the States; we set out to persuade them of the validity of our case. Once they understood it, I believe they welcomed it. May I say it was a warm welcome. I believe that the understanding that we have reached amongst 3 levels of government on the principles to be applied to this growth centre provides us with a basic approach to the other areas this Government will want to develop in co-operation with these and other States. Indeed, at a ministerial meeting with representatives from all States last month, we were all able to reach accord on the same principles. I will be speaking about the principles underlying our approach to growth centres and bur approach to land commissions when I introduce further Bills into the House tomorrow.

There is no doubt in my mind that with the goodwill and enthusiasm of State and local governments we can formulate and implement policies in urban and regional development which will be of great benefit to all the people of our nation. The tasks ahead of us are enormous. But in 10 months we have been able to achieve a great deal. Albury-Wodonga is only the beginning. It is a first step in a continuing program of involvement by the Australian Government in our cities, old and new. Sydney and Melbourne are suffering from all the ills of overcrowding, mismanagement, neglect and haphazard planning which the previous Federal Government ignored or tacitly accepted. For 23 years those now on the Opposition side of the House not only allowed the present ills of Sydney and Melbourne to accumulate; they postively added to them by their unco-ordinated and shortsighted approach to urban development.

This Government cannot solve the problems of 23 years overnight. These are still early days in the life of this Government. Yet our achievements in the fields of urban and regional development so far show our determination, not just to overcome past mistakes, but to create new opportunities for Australians to live in urban areas that are comprehensively and attractively planned. There can be no doubt that this Government has done far more to create new cities than the previous Government even thought of doing during its 23 years in office. Under its administration, the population of the non-urban areas in Australia declined from 31 per cent to 14.7 per per cent of Australia’s total population. This Albury-Wodonga Bill and Agreement symbolise an important first step. I am confident that our future initiatives will be welcomed by the people in our cities and regions. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Edwards) adjourned.

page 3538


In Committee

Consideration resumed (vide page 3534).

Second schedule.

Department of Tourism and Recreation

Proposed expenditure, $4,758,000.

Mr Eric Robinson:

– I am terribly pleased that the new Department of Tourism and Recreation has been created. That is not to say that previous governments have not recognised the significance of the tourist industry, but I do not believe that the recognition has been fast enough. That would apply throughout Australia, including all State governments of various political persuasions. I am sorry that the Minister for Tourism and Recreation (Mr Stewart) is not in the chamber tonight, because I wanted to congratulate him on the way he has commenced carrying out his responsibilities. Unlike some of his colleagues, he is apparently convinced, and rightly so, that there is some value to be had out of first class State-Federal relationships, and I am delighted to see the co-operation the Minister is encouraging with his State colleagues. As to whether it works well, we will have to wait and see, because it is early days yet; but at least it is encouraging to see the signs that have been exhibited.

As to recreation, it is good to see that encouragement is being given to voluntary bodies to assist in the development of sport. An enormous contribution has been made, as the Minister, who is now in the chamber, would know, by voluntary bodies in developing sport and sport facilities throughout Australia. It isabout time that greater Government assistance was given to them. We all know that part of Australia’s reputation comes from the prowess earned on the international sporting field. It has been seen fit to give an increased grant to the National Fitness Council. Of course, it is worth remembering that this organisation was the child of the late Harold Holt. It was the late Harold Holt who was so interested in national fitness, who first conceived the idea of forming this body, and what a wonderful contribution it has made to Australia.

The Minister might care to comment at some stage during the evening on the grants that he made available only a matter of days ago to the various States for recreational purposes. I was very disappointed to see that Queensland’s allocation was only $270,000. When compared with the allocations to other States, particularly South Australia and Western Australia this was of a very low order. I would like the Minister to comment, and comment very frankly, on this, because if there is not the degree of co-operation between the Federal Government and th Queensland State Government which we would expect we ought to know about it and we all ought to do our best to see that if there is an unfavourable situation it is corrected in the State’s interest. I know of one association, the Playground and Recreation Association of Queensland, that is doing wonderful work in the newer suburban areas and in the crowded city areas to make facilities available for the community. I know it has put up submissions and I would hope that although it has not been successful up to now it will gain some assistance from the Government.

I turn to tourism. We have always heard over the years about the potential of the tourist industry. I hope that before I retire from this Parliament we all will be able to say that we really believe that the potential has been achieved. There is no doubt that if this Government’s policies can be generated along the lines of having an effective liaison and cooperation with private enterprise we will see enormous growth of the tourist industry in the provision of substantially attractive tourist facilities not only for Australians to enjoy but also for overseas visitors as well. Of course I would not be faithful to my own electorate if I did not mention the splendours of the Gold Coast, which is only one, admittedly the most outstanding one, of many great tourist areas of this nation.

In terms of external earnings, tourism can be of significance. I know that at the moment we do not have a problem with external earnings. We have tremendous development of minerals and we have rural industries doing well, but in an area of potential growth we ought to be doing more to stimulate overseas earnings. At the moment in the field of tourism there is a deficit in our balance of payments. Australians are spending more travelling overseas than we are earning from overseas visitors coming to Australia. I believe that it is in the national interest that that trend be altered and be altered before too long. We know that we have particular problems. We are a large country, isolated in degree from the rest of the world and not within the path of many tourists. Therefore it will require particular policies covering many Government departments if we are to attract the great majority of overseas tourists to Australia.

The tourist industry is labour intensive. Therefore it has merit in decentralisation. Again we talk a lot of decentralisation, but here is an industry geared and read to make a contribution to assist in decentralisation throughout Australia. The Minister has produced, as he has done on recreation, a very fine volume. It is entitled ‘The Development of Tourism in Australia’. It contains many good ideas. One would not expect any government to implement them all in a matter of a few years. I would hope however that before long this Government will see to it that the tourist trade has access to long term developmental funds, because this is important if we are to have capital invested in the tourist industry. I hope that the Government will follow the policy speech of the Liberal Party and give tax deductions for income producing buildings. If we are to have our tourist facilities updated, if we are to have facilities and amenities which are competitive with those in overseas countries, we must have first class accommodation available. I believe that the industry will find it difficult unless it can get access to long term developmental funds and get some assistance in the way of tax deductibility for income producing buildings.

I hope that this Department grows. I could not say that about a lot of Government departments. This is not one department that needs to be bogged down with bureaucracy. With the right policies, in the international sense and in the national sense, with co-operation with the State governments, with eager cooperation with private enterprise, by maintaining a great degree of Australian equity, we can seek and earn the just rewards from this industry. Given this sort of approach, I believe it will repay the national purse. I hope that as Budgets come along over the years we will see this Department grow in national significance.


– If one is to believe the old saying that man does not live by bread alone one has to express one’s disappointment over the allocation in the Budget to recreation and sport. The total amount, about $4,500,000, certainly looks impressive by past standards. It is in fact a great deal more than the Liberal Government saw fit to dish out in the previous 10 years or more. But surely we do not measure progress in this country against that sluggish pace. Of the total made available in the Budget, $3.2m has been earmarked for the creation or completion of single and multi-purpose community recreation and sporting centres. Perhaps the Treasurer (Mr Crean) and his advisers felt that they were being extremely generous. But how far will this money get us? One tartan track costs $130,000; one indoor 25 meter swimming pool would cost $280,000. So with this paltry sum all the Minister for Tourism and Recreation (Mr Stewart) can do is to plug the most frightening gaps, but hardly what is needed to create a chain of modern recreation and sporting facilities so badly needed in all our cities and the country areas.

One cannot rid oneself of the feeling that somehow, for some mysterious reason, probably inherent in our upbringing, we in Australia still tend to regard sport and recreation with some condescending amusement, and that our public and even many of our politicians somehow fail to grasp the real significance and meaning behind this all. People who have devoted half a lifetime to these problems have proved - if only we, the legislators, would listen - that physical fitness, mass recreation and sport are not idle pastimes but matters of national importance. (Quorum formed). The honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Bourchier) probably called attention to the

State of the chamber because there were only 5 Liberal members present. I do not think there are any more now. As I was saying, Australians do not regard physical fitness, mass recreation and sport as idle pastimes. Honourable members on this side of the Parliament consider them to be matters of national importance. It is not because we want to create a super race, imitating Hitler’s Uebermensch but because we are losing, through premature cardiac failures and other illnesses directly attributable to lack of exercise, thousands of outstanding Australians whose skill, brains and work capacity are indispensable for our country. Despite the undoubted progress in these fields since 2 December last when the Labor Government took office, I feel that we have still not quite accepted full responsibility for the physical well-being, fitness and recreational pursuits of our people. In many other parts of the world this has been achieved, with remarkable results. In those countries governments have come to the correct conclusion that they are responsible not just for the formal scholastic education of their population but also for their physical and mental health. What are recreation and sport if not the most striking aids in this battle?

We tend to cry poor mouth whenever we have to give money to projects or causes, the immediate results of which cannot be seen. We are a pragmatic people, ruled by what we fondly refer to as common sense. We have to have evidence before we are convinced or converted. There is plenty of evidence in a number of Western countries that recreation and sport contribute materially and significantly to a nation’s overall prosperity, happiness and health. We also have evidence of what happens in places where these are ignored. Rome did not decline only because of its faulty plumbing system. The decline was possibly caused by an overemphasis on sex and an under-emphasis on healthy recreation. Australia could be developing rather rapidly to that stage also. We are a rich country, and recent generous grants have merely underlined this. The Government has given over $lm to fewer than 100 writers in the hope of encouraging literature. No doubt many of them will never write one worthwhile line or stanza, yet no one claims that the money is wasted. We have spent $1,400,000 on a single painting which will hang in our national art gallery and will no doubt puzzle most visitors except perhaps those who are able to see in the picture what even the painter might not have seen.

There is a lot of money for many other things as well. New South Wales is forced to spend about S70m a year on the cure or punishment of alcoholics - something like $800 a head. We are also spending vast sums on the prevention and detection of illnesses or diseases, many of which are caused by our soft life style with lack of sufficient exercise. Even horses and dogs in this country are luckier than humans. Only recently the Totalisator Agency Board in New South Wales announced a pay-out of $llm to various galloping, trotting and greyhound clubs. No doubt these grants will make our horses and dogs fitter, whilst their trainers and owners die of heart attacks at 50 or 60 years of age due to lack of exercise. I am not begrudging what the Government gave to sport and recreation; all I am saying is that it is a mere pittance compared with our other expenditures, especially when one considers the millions of Australians who are involved. Our needs are tremendous, almost stunning. In just about every category our facilities are inadequate, outdated or shabby. Consider Sydney with almost 3 million people. It does not have one public indoor swimming pool, one proper football stadium, one decent indoor stadium and dozens of other things which even small, much poorer communities in Europe and Asia now take for granted. It is time we had a good second look at our attitude to recreation and sport.

One would have to be a magician to produce really good results with these paltry sums amounting to about 35c for every Australian, not in a week or even in a month, but in a year. That is about the price of a pint of beer. Would one pint of beer satisfy most honourable members every year? After the events of the last few days, I doubt it. I hope that the Minister for Tourism and Recreation will be much more demanding before the next Budget session and that he will convince the doubting Thomases in our Government and the Parliament that a much larger slice of the national cake is required, in order to plan and execute a large scale recreation and sports program, than he received in the last August Budget. Let us take it as a start, as a foot in the door, but not more than that. If this country with its allegedly sports loving, outdoor living people, basking in the reflected glory of our few brilliant individuals, cannot spend more generously on the physical fitness, recreation and leisure time activities of its people, it is our woolly attitude that is at serious fault and not our ability to meet these serious obligations.


– It is not surprising that the Australian Country Party has some interest and expertise in tourism because in the Queensland Parliament the tourist electorates are represented almost exclusively, ably and adequately, by Country Party members. In speaking to the estimates for the Department of Tourism and Recreation I am pleased to see that some increases have been made. I agree with the honourable member for Banks (Mr Martin) that they are unfortunately small. In regard to the availability of money for the development of tourist attractions, I agree with a statement by the Minister for Tourism and Recreation (Mr Stewart) that Australia’s tourist attractions are part of our national heritage and must be developed and preserved. I welcome his announcement about the surveys of regional tourist areas to determine broad development needs because in my own electorate are situated many of Australia’s finest tourist areas.

In the brief time available to me I wish to be constructive and I would like to pass on to the Minister some informed observations made to me during many discussions I have had with people involved in the tourist industry. I know that grants are vitally necessary. Grants are needed, but not merely as industry handouts because generally the tourist industry is - I have had this impressed upon me - a quite viable industry. Where money must be made available and attention given is in assisting the overall climate within which the tourist industry can expand. The tourist industry has within it the highest concentration of small to medium businesses of any industry except farming.

There are some very major problems with which the tourist industry is faced and on which I would like to speak at some length but which I can only enumerate one by one. I think the Minister may be aware of most of them. One problem, of course, is the competition from overseas resorts, cruises and the like, and the provision by our competitors overseas of concessional air fares and other inducements. That is probably a serious problem in Australia because of our greater remoteness from potential sources of tourism than many other countries of the world. There has been over the years - I do not blame the Minister or the Government for this - a lack of incentive for capital investment in Australia, as compared with our neighbours such as New Zealand, Fiji and Indonesia. In fact, Australian investors could gain greater advantages and greater returns in past years by investing in the Fiji industry rather than in the Australian industry. That is one problem at which we should look. Another problem is, of course, the rapidly increasing cost structure without the compensating increase in volume. This has been aggravated by inflation and, to a degree, the currency revaluation.

Another problem the industry faces is a lack of co-ordination - I think that this problem is being overcome - between, for instance, the Federal and State governments, between governments and local authorities and regional organisations and between governments and the carriers and operators of the industry. There has been a somewhat poor communication within the industry itself. From where can the industry receive positive assistance to obviate some of these problems and foster growth? The tourist industry is a potentially great industry. It is a great industry now. It will become greater in the future. Unfortunately, contained in the Budget were some proposals which have adversely affected the tourist industry. They include the increase in navigation charges, landing fees and fuel tax. These increases will result in a consequent increase in air fares, which are a problem now as they are somewhat uncompetitive.

I feel that we should give consideration to making available special fares and travel’ concessions as well as such things as return concessions, youth fares, tour basing fares and the encouragement of off-peak utilisation. Those are areas to which I think we should pay special attention and give special consideration. It is true to say that we have a good 2-airline system in Australia which caters quite well for our general business travel. But I wonder whether we have paid enough attention to tourism and made any major effort to attract tourist traffic to any real extent, which could perhaps remove the need for the closure of some of our inland airlines. Another matter at which I think we should look is in the area of accommodation. It is here that the industry has to compete. It is here that we must have accommodation of international excellence and standards available at reasonable tariffs.

I can suggest areas at which the Government could look and in which it could provide some help and consideration. One would be the provision of depreciation allowances and sales tax concessions in various areas. Perhaps some attention can be paid to anomalies such as the radio and television licensing system. I believe that the full licence fee has to be paid at present for each set in each unit. I believe that we should consider granting concessions in respect of telephone and telex charges. We must look at remote area concessions. They are very important because our great and vast centre is a magnificent tourist attraction, although as yet it is very largely unappreciated We should look to providing assistance in the promotion of travel. Perhaps we should look at .the provision of assistance in the formation and encouragement of regional organisations. Possibly the Minister is giving this matter some attention. I think we should consider granting special tax concessions to assist and encourage promotion. The Minister is undertaking regional surveys. I welcome the announcements he has made in this respect. Perhaps consideration could be given to things such as postal concessions for the distribution of tourist material. They are just suggestions at which we should perhaps look if we are interested in assisting the industry to overcome some of its problems.

I believe the tourist industry has not yet received proper recognition as an important entity. Perhaps a lot more statistical data can be recorded and made available. It is possibly not generally realised, although I feel that the Minister is probably quite aware of it, that a considerable tax revenue is generated directly and indirectly by the tourist industry. The industry provides a number of social benefits. It provides appreciable employment. It greatly assists in decentralisation. It has considerable educational value. Also it has the added advantage, of course, of providing facilities for rest and recuperation.

I conclude by pointing out that the balance between expenditure abroad by Australian tourists and expenditure in Australia by overseas tourists is becoming increasingly unfavourable. Thus I do not think we should concentrate solely on the importance of visitors from overseas, although I welcome the fact that Australia is becoming a very important convention centre. I thing visitors from overseas are important. Somebody told me that they provide only about 10 per cent of the turnover of the Australian tourist industry. I do not know whether that is correct. At any rate, the percentage is quite minor. I think that much greater emphasis must be placed upon persuading Australians to travel within their own country. In putting forward these observations - they have not been put forward in a critical manner - I have tried to be constructive. These observations have been passed on to me by people who have played a great part in the development of the tourist industry in my area. They are interesting observations. I think they are pertinent observations. I thought that they might be of some interest to the Ministers. I, too, join in congratulating the Minister for his energy and devotion to a new portfolio which I welcome in the Parliament of Australia.

La Trobe

– It should be obvious to all honourable members why the new Labor Government has combined the areas of tourism and recreation in one single portfolio. It is the first Federal Government to recognise fully the importance of tourism and recreation as 2 interlocking areas of increasing national responsibility. A growing problem facing Australia and all comparable western industralised countries is the good use of leisure. It is a problem of urban societies. As Australia is the most urbanised nation in the world it is a more pressing problem for us than for any other nation. I congratulate the Minister for Tourism and Recreation (Mr Stewart) for his wholehearted acceptance of the challenge that this problem presents.

If the public’s money is to be spent wisely and not indiscriminately there must be planning based on thorough research of the state of tourism and recreation. In the first session of this Parliament the Minister presented a report entitled ‘The Role, Scope and Development of Recreation in Australia’ which was prepared by Professor John Bloomfield of the University of Western Australia. That report set out the general principles which we have adopted for a national recreation program involving not just a few groups in isolated recreational pursuits but the whole of our society. It is not a fixed plan but the basis of a flexible blueprint to be modified, improved and updated by the involved community as factors affecting leisure time change. Man’s physical and mental capacities are not oppos ing but complementary factors. That they are complementary factors is summed up by the adage ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’.

In the largely sedentary working life of the average Australian worker ever increasing demands are made on the mind while physical capacities become atrophied. It has been estimated that by the year 2,000, when working hours give way to leisure time to an increasing degree, people may have 3 or even 4 days to spend on recreational and educational pursuits. With this certain increase in leisure time and with the equally strong desire of man to escape, however temporarily, from a highly industrialised and urbanised routine existence it is our responsibility to recognise, for the first time in the history of Australia, that recreation, sport and travel should constitute an integral part of our life. This report and another I will mention indicate the high degree of recognition this Government has afforded to the problem. It should not be necessary to sharply divide work from leisure or to concentrate leisure into extended weekends or annual holidays. Leisure should be more accessible than that if our resources are to be available to as many as wish to use them and concentrated over-use is not to diminish their utility. The Minister has recognised this. The Government will establish a series of community centres to cater for the young and the old and will design large multi-purpose centres at schools for use by the students and the local community to satisfy the need for cultural, sporting, recreational and artistic activities. This approach will avoid unnecessary duplication of expensive facilities and at the same time will help to break down the barrier that artificially yet effectively divides schools from the general community.

Success will depend upon the co-operation and initiative of State and local governments. In Victoria the Minister for Sport and Recreation has indicated his support for the concept of community-shared facilities at schools. Preference has been given in the recreation grants flowing from the 1973-74 Budget to projects which involve State or local government funds. In my own electorate of La Trobe, $53,500 has been granted for an indoor family leisure centre at Carrington Park in the city of Knox and $46,250 for a sporting context at Kilsyth.

On the third day of the current session of Parliament, the Minister for Tourism and

Recreation tabled his report entitled ‘Development of Tourism in Australia’. This report was prepared by the Department with the advice of the Australian Tourist Commission, the Australian National Travel Association and other interested bodies. It is not a bureaucratic document implemented from above. It demonstrates the Government’s concern at the role of tourism in the life of Australians as well as as an earner of income from overseas visitors. As leisure time increases, we will need to encourage and provide for travel in Australia of ordinary, average Australians to see and learn more about this country and to enjoy and enrich their increasing leisure time. To make this possible, the Government will make grants, loans, tax concessions and other inducements to ensure that Australian cities and tourist centres are provided with accommodation and amenities of international standard. Australia has much to offer the traveller - snow fields, surfing, fishing, the hot, arid yet life-abundant centre, and countless geographic and scenic wonders.

Not all of these are far flung places. Some of our greatest assets are close to major cities. I wish to talk about the large forests and national parks that are in close proximity to urban dwellers and are readily accessible to them. These large recreation and tourist areas such as the Dandenong Ranges and the Mornington Peninsula to the south east of Melbourne may however not be available to future residents. They are a rapidly diminishing asset and steps should be taken now to see that they are preserved. The threats to these tourist and recreation areas are overurbanisation, over-utilisation and underdevelopment - a seemingly paradoxical amalgam but in fact a very interrelated one. These threats have been measured by the Department of Tourism and Recreation and by the Department of Urban and Regional Development. The report on tourism examines the place of tourism in Australia in relation to individual demands, community values and our national identity and, most importantly, its relationship to the environment.

As detailed studies of the demand for different types of recreation activity, including tourism, have not been carried out in Australia, future projections on data developed in the United States of America can give us a guide. We can expect in America at least a fivefold increase in total outdoor recreation by the year 2000. The pattern of demand for these resources will change with increasing affluence and general awareness of the environment. Applying these growth rates to the large recreation areas close to Melbourne, we can expect a fifteen-fold increase in the use of the Dandenong Ranges, the Mornington Peninsula and the Eildon Weir at the end of 30 years, everything else being equal in regard to access and availability of these natural resources. The Department will need to assist tourist attractions that harmonise with these areas. Development should be concentrated on such projects as pioneer settlements, the preservation of historical sites and buildings, fauna sanctuaries and amenities at national parks. The Budget allocated $ 1.75m in 1973-74 to expand a scheme of grants for the development of uniquely Australian tourist attractions. The Dandenong Ranges, the Mornington Peninsula, the Healesville-Warburton shires and the Alexandra district abound in examples that merit Federal Government assistance.

Strict town planning and regional development is necessary to prevent over-urbanisation from killing the very resources that make these areas great tourist attractions. These areas will be greatly affected by the south east and Lilydale corridors of growth set out in the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works plan for Melbourne’s future expansion. For example industry, apart from horticulture, agriculture, forestry and water resource management, should be kept out of the Dandenong Ranges or the beauty of this area will be greatly harmed. Projects qualifying for assistance might include museums, art galleries and theatres with a special Australian character and sanctuaries or parks featuring Australian wildlife or native flora. These projects harmonise with the village atmosphere that is unique to the Blue Mountains and the Dandenong Ranges.

The greatest asset of these areas is that urban dwellers do not need to travel far to enjoy them. But careful management of parks and other tourist attractions will be necessary to prevent over-utilisation or destruction. I believe the report of the Ayers RockMount Olga National Park tabled by the Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation of this House carries many lessons for the management of these areas close to Melbourne. I congratulate the Minister for making it a condition for grants that the environmental impact of the project must be considered in formulating proposals for assistance and, if the impact is likely to be significant, demanding that an environmental impact statement be prepared. I congratulate the Minister for his work which makes, despite inadequate funds, an important contribution to the nation’s economic and social wellbeing through the more enjoyable use of our everincreasing leisure time.

Mr Donald Cameron:

– I should like to commence by congratulating the Minister for Tourism and Recreation (Mr Stewart). It has been very rare for me to offer congratulations to a Minister of the Labor Government this year. The Minister administers only a minor portfolio, but I believe he has had his heart in his job. I refer particularly to the sporting and recreation side of his portfolio. I should like to place on. record my appreciation of the action of this Labor Government - it creates a lump in my throat to say it, but it is well deserved - in providing Sim in the Budget for assistance to national amateur sporting associations. Members of the House know that this money is being put forward for the purpose of a fair subsidy for bona fide Australian amateur sportsmen, sportswomen and officials attending national and international events, for assistance with travel costs for overseas sportsmen, sportswomen and coaches who visit Australia on approved tours and for grants towards administrative costs of world championships held in Australia.

I believe that the provision of this money is good because I recall, as the National President of the Federation of Australian Karate Organisations, attending the world championships of karate in Japan 3 years ago. The battle we as members of that team had to go through to raise the air fares was something which had to be experienced to be understood. One felt a sense of shame on arrival in Japan to see the teams from some 41 other countries participating in the championships. There were we, decked out in suits and sports coats facing representatives from the other countries who were dressed up in their national uniforms or in sports coats which had been provided by their country of origin. It has seemed that previously if one did represent Australia overseas the attitude was: ‘Do not tell us about it’. If one won fame and glory, the rest of the nation would share in that glory, but that was about the full extent of people’s interest. But we have a breakthrough, and I am quite sure that when a Liberal government is returned it will not go back on the initiative which has been commenced by this present Government. I am sincere in my congratulations for what it has done.

I have been reminded that the honourable member for Parramatta (Mr Ruddock) is shortly to make his maiden speech and I have been asked to make my comments short. I shall endeavour to do that but it is a pity because this portfolio, though a minor one, is still an important one. Tourism, or the tourist industry, employs some 10 per cent of the Australian work force, and an industry which, either directly or indirectly, employs 10 per cent of our work force is an important one. But what I fail to see is why government after government, including this new Government, is incapable of putting into practice the fine recommendations that have come from the various organisations which have from time to time brought forward reports and advised them. It is a deplorable situation when the total overseas income from this source is still only $139m. The little island of Jamaica in the Caribbean earns as much as that from tourism. My figures may be incorrect but they will not be too far out. If my memory is correct, Mexico earns $3 billion a year from tourism.

Mr Wentworth:

– How much?

Mr Donald Cameron:

-It earns $3 billion a year. That is a lot more than our $139m. What government after government fails to see is that if we want to come near that figure we have to make it attractive for overseas visitors to come to Australia. In the report that the Minister introduced into the Parliament - it is a considerable report and a lengthy one - he directed attention to the need for internal air fares in Australia to drop so that we can encourage people coming from overseas to get away from Sydney, to look at the outback and to travel north, south and west. We have these recommendations during the debate on these estimates, but a few days ago when we dealt with the estimate for the Department of Civil Aviation, we saw that the Government has introduced increased air charges which has the effect of destroying the market in this country. It is a backward step. I know that the Minister, who is unable to criticise publicly this very fact, must himself see the destructive element in the Budget as it affects his portfolio. Australians are not great travellers. They travel overseas before they see their own country. It is terribly important that some of the recommendations in this report become a reality and not just a continuing pipe dream. They have been a dream for a long time and it is time that somebody did something about them.

In accord with my undertaking, I will conclude, but I do remind the Committee that the Liberal Government actually doubled the number of tourists coming to Australia in the past 5 years. If this rate continues, we can look forward to one million overseas people coming to Australia in the year 1978. It should be more than that if we get off our seats and go out for it. It is terribly important that if we are going to develop this country as an attraction to overseas visitors we develop our facilities. Much as the hotels in Australia might parade themselves as being 4-star hotels etc., the accommodation in this country is, by overseas standards, not very high. To enable a higher standard to be achieved, we must recognise that this is an important industry and make cheaper money available to the industry so that it can build better class accommodation. I conclude with those few remarks. I regret that an important subject is to receive the guillotine treatment or something of that sort tonight, because I am sure the Minister would benefit if he were to be given the advantage of hearing the views of many members of this Parliament.

Minister for Tourism and Recreation · Lang · ALP

– I admit that I am more afraid of the Leader of the House than the Australian Country Party is, and he has told me that I am to talk for only 2 minutes. All I want to do is to thank the honourable members for Mcpherson (Mr Eric Robinson), Banks (Mr Martin), Fisher (Mr Adermann), La Trobe (Mr Lamb) and Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) for the very decent way they have treated me this evening. It is a new portfolio and I am feeling my way. I am absolutely certain that all honourable members are still feeling their way on both tourism and recreation. I could talk for a long time because in the past 12 months I have learned things that I thought did not exist. Tonight those honourable members who have spoken have been most polite and cordial. They have offered some criticisms and they have offered a lot of suggestions. I accept the criticisms and I accept the suggestions, and I will make certain that those criticisms and those suggestions are fully considered by my Department.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Department of Urban and Regional Development

Proposed expenditure, $10,800,000

Leader of the House · Grayndler · ALP

– As I might not be present when the event occurs, might I crave the indulgence of the House to ask that, when the honourable member for Parramatta (Mr Ruddock) speaks tonight, no honourable member rises until the period of 20 minutes has expired, in view of the fact that it is his maiden speech in this Parliament.


– This is a new Department, just as the previous estimates concerned a new Department. On this occasion I think it is important that we should take a close look at what is going on in relation to this Department. The functions of the Department of Urban and Regional Development have a far reaching effect and, if I may say so, have a very important impact on the future development of Australia. I think that even the Minister will agree with those statements. However, the Department needs to be properly handled at this stage of its development because the foundation we lay in relation to a department of this character, which is going to have such far reaching effects, is all important, in my opinion. In Labor’s hands, as it is a socialist Government, it is possible - and I am not making a charge in this respect - that if it approaches the Department with that idea in its mind, it could do great and irreversible damage to this country in many ways. It could in fact stultify development, and in the process it could cost thousands of millions of dollars, more perhaps than would be justified.

The Liberal Government had established last year the National Urban and Regional Development Authority and we had approached Sir John Overall, as the head of that authority, to carry out functions similar to those envisaged at the present time by the Minister for Urban and Regional Development. I have put in many years of study on this matter; indeed, I think I can claim to be largely responsible for the fact that this Authority under the Liberal Government was established. There are many things that we need to watch on this occasion. The first is the question of orderly development of our existing cities. I know that the Minister has thought of (his. There is a need to decentralise the cities on a satellite basis, and I do not think the Minister will disagree with that.

Apart from anything else there is also a need to watch out on the development of existing towns in Australia. We do not often speak on this subject but the Commission is not only a development organisation; it is also a decentralisation organisation, or should be. We should bear that in mind at all times. The second point is that we should give encouragement to the new growth centres and in this respect, as I have just said, decentralise the existing towns with the new growth centres.

We must have complete co-operation with the State governments and their authorities. There are many dangers in this regard but I do not have time in this debate to develop this aspect. I mentioned some of the dangers last Thursday night when speaking to another Bill. Not only do we need co-operation with the States, but in my opinion it is essential that we also should give encouragement to and co-operate with private enterprise participation in the development. I am sorry to say that there is not enough emphasis on this aspect. I do not want to trespass on another Bill that was introduced by the Minister tonight but I believe that private enterprise participation is essential and that there is a real need to assess national priorities. I do not think that enough attention is given to that matter at present.

The authority which was established by the Liberal Party has now been taken over by the Labor Party which has given it the new title of Cities Commission. In addition, the Department of Urban and Regional Development has been established. All of these proposals depend on money, and money is power. Decisions on all future operations will, if we are not careful, be made in Canberra alone, notwithstanding the Minister’s statement tonight that he will co-operate with the States. Of course the States will accept money where they can get it. But the dictation of what is to be done in my opinion can easily be directed from the central control in Canberra. If that is the idea, we will have a superfluity of goverment ownership and State and local governments and regional authorities will be mere puppets rather than authorities having some say in the development of the various States. These remarks, of course, can apply to the Cities Commission too. There is a great danger that if development proceeds under these organisations in accordance with the Australian Labor Party’s avowed idea of socialism we will have the dead hand of socialism on the future development of city growth throughout Australia. If that is the guiding principle, the situation will develop where the individual will be forgotten forever and irrevocable harm will result in the future.

Sir John Overall has now gone, of course. The report that has just been tabled is informative and credit must be given for its production and the fact that it was produced in such a short time. It is, however, mostly a rehash of already available information. Time has not permitted proper research - this is no reflection on Sir John Overall - in depth of the ramifications or economic effects of some of the suggestions that have been made. Growth centres are mentioned for many areas in all States but no priorities of any kind are suggested and there are no estimates of the probable costs entailed in the program envisaged in the report.

The estimates for the Department provide for a total expenditure of $136m this year. The Treasurer (Mr Crean) said that this is only the beginning. Taking only one centre, I understand that $33m is proposed for AlburyWodonga this year. Have we any ideas of what we are letting ourselves in for in this respect? The ultimate costs could run into thousands of millions of dollars, yet nothing has been said about it either in the Bill which was introduced tonight or in the report I am discussing at present.

The Government proposes to set up land commissions to buy land to let out on a leasehold basis. This will apply to schemes all over Australia. Development corporations are to be set up and financed by the Government. Yet no evidence is given of the total cost involved in these ideas. The Minister aims for a new city at Albury-Wodonga with a population of 300,000 people. I admire him for his enthusiasm, but he is living in dreamland. I have had 50 years experience in development work and I can tell him that his present objective will never succeed within the time limit he has in mind. It will be many long years before any real results are achieved. The proposals will grow with the power of money. I do not deny their need, but in the meantime the cost will be astronomical. The overhead costs in arranging this type of project are not being taken into consideration.

Already the propaganda of publicity has created vast trading and dealing in land around these proposed growth centres - not only at Albury-Wodonga but all over Australia. Nothing has been done on the question of priorities. False values for land can be created, and many of the excited little fingers that are trying to grab profits from these land deals are in for a rude shock as times passes. I tell the Minister that land prices cannot be controlled whether the land is leasehold or freehold. The market will find its own level in spite of what is done in this respect. I have lived in this business for a long time and 1 have learnt that in real estate there is no effective way of controlling the price of land, and if one imposes control one inhibits the dealing in land.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Berinson) - -Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.


– In speaking to these estimates for the Department of Urban and Regional Development I should like to deal with the subjects of planning and priorities within the States and particularly in New South Wales. In any set of circumstances and for any specified activity of government, one can envisage an optimum area to be covered by the legislative or administrative unit. The optimum will depend on such factors as economics of scale and the value of costs of local variability, including its effects on the localisation patterns of the economy. History will play its part in communities through the social and economic interest generated by earlier boundary decisions and by other factors in past development. If a large number of governmental activities is being considered there is likely to be a correspondingly large number of sets of optimum areas with a great deal of overlapping. Economies of scale, however, operate also between activities and will almost certainly point to standardisation of a few sets of areas.

In practice it is common for such sets to be defined as if by successive subdivision as in the Australian Federal, State and local hierarchy and its particular expansion through county councils in New South Wales. It is worth noting the statutory provision that exists for a further breakdown into local districts in New South Wales and into divisions of local government areas in Queensland. Government boundaries, once established, tend to be self-justifying because government expenditure, regulation of private activities and the psychology of the citizen all combine to concentrate economic development at the political and administrative centres and to orient the lines of communication towards them. This generalisation may be subject to some notable exceptions, however, in a growing economy.

It is common enough to find that the emergence or expansion of a conurbation has rendered existing governmental divisions obsolete. In an area of energetic discovery and exploitation of mineral, pastoral and agricultural resources new concentrations of population and industry in isolated areas can sweep away the old and more leisurely justifications for the placement of local administrative centres. A new port with feeder transport facilities can become an economic and social centre for an area cutting across a number of existing jurisdictions. A dynamic economy must be ready to adjust its government boundaries from time to time if it is to make the most of its potentialities. Efficient government decision-making in a changing environment requires more than just the redrawing of the boundaries as catchment areas shift or merge. It requires also that the community be alive to the arrival of new tasks for government and be ready to modify the structures to cope with those new tasks. One such task that has taken on urgency in Australia is that of regional planning which has been sadly lacking over the past 20 years. The need is most acute in the metropolitan regions but the challenge also exists, in a more tractable form, in the non-metropolitan areas that are achieving an industrialisation built on major concentrations of natural resources.

A second task, which is perhaps of even greater urgency, is to inject into large urban environments factors that will create for the individual a sense of neighbourhood - a local intimacy - to counter the brutalising anonymity of size. Neither of those tasks is performed adequately by the governmental structures at present existing in most parts of Australia. The greatest example of that was the creation of the town of Mount Druitt by the State Planning Authority of New South Wales and the placing there of 60,000 people without an amenity of any description. Another example is the New South Wales Government spending $10m a mile on the construction of the Warringah Expressway and the resumption of hundreds of homes in so doing. Surely eventually decentralisation must come instead of ploughing all traffic and commerce to Sydney and to the other main cities of Australia. In the creation of large urban development, with industrial centres to absorb the manpower pool created, the full benefit of a 40 hour week is lost if 3 hours a day is spent travelling to the job and the salary received is eroded by travel costs.

In the metropolitan context it seems that a 2 tiered government system is called for if it is desired to meet simultaneously the need of the individual for local intimacy and tutelage as well as the need of the whole area for planned development and redevelopment. In its far-flung city administration Brisbane has the machinery to promote efficient growth at the macro-level but lacks the means to humanise the city at the district or neighbourhood level. Sydney, with 39 local government areas in and around the metropolis, has gone some way towards meeting the need for a more intimate focus of civic feelings and has tried to provide for the macro-requirements through the specialised services of the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board, with the Council of the City of Sydney to retail electricity and the State Departments of Main Roads, Railways and Government Transport and, since 1964, the State Planning Authority. Neither Brisbane nor Sydney, however, seems to have adequate machinery, in practice, to answer the challenge of change at either the local or the metropolitan-wide level. The specialised agencies not only lack co-operation and co-ordination among themselves but also have no direct electoral link or means of 2- way communication with those for whom they are supposed to plan. The State Planning Authority may be able to surmount the latter barrier by involving the planners in public relations to a sufficient degree. It may be able to cajole the suppliers of metropolitan services into a co-ordinated approach to the development of the Sydney region, but this has yet to prove itself.

I add that the Brisbane City Council, despite its favourable circumstances, has failed to take planning to the people, or indeed to engage in any significant development planning other than the periodic colouring of areas in maps as required by statute. With the introduction of the Federal Department of Urban and Regional Development and its policy to assist the States and local government in the promotion of regional development one finds the objective of achieving equality of living standards generally as between regions throughout the

State. (Quorum formed) Councils today, both metropolitan and country, look to the Federal Department of Urban and Regional Development as a body with which problems that form part of a regional context such as planning, decentralisation, consideration of, and access to, the nation’s finance, that are so important to the orderly planning and development of this country, will be able to be discussed.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Scholes:

– I ask honourable gentlemen to resume their seats in the chamber. I call the honourable member for Parramatta and remind the Committee that this will be the honourable member’s maiden speech. I ask honourable members to extend to him the usual courtesy. The Committee has already agreed that the honourable member for Parramatta may speak for 20 minutes.


– I rise to address the Committee on the estimates of the Department of Urban and Regional Development. It is a new department and the estimates cover many matters that have not previously been dealt with under a single heading. During the Parramatta by-election a great deal of emphasis was placed upon the actions of this Government which would bring benefit to people living in the western suburbs of Sydney. I would agree that the people residing in these areas are entitled to benefits and improvements in their life style. Many statements made by the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) have signified the importance of this Department in bringing about such a change. The Minister has suggested in all seriousness that the growing of trees would aid in bringing about fundamental changes in these areas, and I would agree that if the Department of Urban and Regional Development had the resources and constitutional competence this would bring it about.

The estimates for the Department of Urban and Regional Development cover expenditure in a number of areas. The appropriation under the sewerage agreements of 1973 will be most significant to my electorate if the moneys offered to New South Wales are spent in this local area. Similarly, Parramatta with its special buildings of historic importance may well derive benefits as a result of expenditure of funds on special items of interest to the national estate. I trust that Mr Justice Hope’s committee will take note of the numerous buildings in Parramatta, some of which have been acquired by the

National Trust and others which ought to be preserved. The committee should deliberate quickly so that funds can be made available in order that those properties affected by special use zonings - which are now being used to aid in the acquisition of historical buildings and adjacent land - may be evaluated fully and acquired at a fair market price. I draw to the attention of the Committee the report entitled ‘The National Estate - Principles and Policies, Submission to the Task Force’, and particularly the section which deals with this matter to which I have referred. Paragraph (vi) (a) under ‘Recommendations’ states:

Zoning policies should be formulated to take account of those buildings and lands which are considered to be of importance or interest.

Without immediate action being taken to make funds available and to evaluate properties that will be affected, homes of people could be affected by those types of zonings. People could suffer. They may not achieve aworthwhile price for their properties and, in fact, they may be hampered by these types of zoning which will restrict their ability to be able to deal with their properties as other people might be able to deal with theirs. For Parramatta, the item in these estimates which is most significant is the expenditure anticipated through the Cities Commission. In a most attractively produced document dated 30 June and headed ‘Report to the Australian Government, a recommended New Cities Program for the Period 1973-78’, matters relating to urban and regional development for a period of 5 years are discussed. It is easy, of course, to see where a substantial sum of money is being spent - in the production of this most elaborate document.

The document deals with the history of the Cities Commission and it attempts, in part, to justify its existence. It evaluates the needs of an urban community and highlights some of its shortcomings. It deals with matters of pollution, economic growth and sewerage. Although my electorate was singled out for detailed examination some months ago and former Commonwealth Governments were blamed for deficiencies resulting from past unplanned growth, the report of the Cities Commission ignores Parramatta and the western suburbs. It speaks of metropolitan growth centres. It discusses in detail Campbelltown and Geelong rather than Parramatta and its environs. Surely a growth centre is not just outer metropolitan subdivisions. The Cities Commission must deal with areas which are being singled out for growth and which are growing.

The report of the Cities Commission, in chapter 5 headed ‘Recommendations for Action’, sub-heading ‘Sydney’, states: . . the Commission sought to discover what steps should be taken immediately to alleviate existing problems and to formulate the most satisfactory foundations of a policy which could cater for inevitable future growth.

It examines, in part, Holsworthy, Campbelltown and Gosford-Wyong. It is disappointing to the electors of Parramatta - and no doubt to the electors of adjoining electorates - that the western suburbs and the north-western suburbs do not warrant treatment in considering future growth centres in the city of Sydney. Another related matter is the report of the Department on regions of local government areas to be used by the Minister for Urban and Regional Development in approving aid to local government councils. This report is, of course, based upon the philosophy of the Government. In paragraph 35 that policy is spelt out. It states: . . a formal regionalisation of cities based on a range of socio-economic characteristics and the supply of public facilities will therefore provide a framework in which the Government can pursue its equalisation objectives.

The regionalisation appears to be seen by this Government as a means whereby it can achieve its objectives of bringing about an egalitarian society. Unfortunately, these objectives do not bring about equality but rather debase the quality of life and bring down people and their environment to the lowest common denominator.

I should perhaps digress a little here to note that there is a proposal for the siting of an airport at Galston. As honourable members would no doubt be aware, this area, which is a little to the north of my electorate of Parramatta, is typical of this objective of reducing areas of particular beauty and charm to the lowest common denominator. No doubt this proposal will not proceed. The problems of building an airport in Galston over a rough and rocky terrain, requiring the filling of valleys and the levelling of hills, will be far too high a cost for the people of Australia to pay. It is significant to note the statement only last week of the Minister for Housing and Minister for Works (Mr Les Johnson) in which he indicated continuing expenditure on Sydney’s Kingsford-Smith Airport. I think that this confirms the Government’s only practical objective - that of maintaining and extending Sydney’s present international airport to meet future needs.

The plotting of regions for local government organisations seems to be an important part of the Government’s strategy. It is proposed that Parramatta will form part of a region including Auburn, Balkham Hills, Blue Mountains, Colo, Fairfield, Holyroyd, Parramatta, Penrith and Windsor. I am surprised at the nature of this region. There is little community of interest between Colo and Auburn or between the Blue Mountains and Fairfield. One might be tempted to suggest that the regions proposed for the city of Sydney have as much community of interest within each region as the Minister would have achieved if he has cut the city up as he would cut an orange into quarters. I would concede that for specific projects a form of regionalisation can be desirable.

One matter that is of concern to me and my electorate is the Parramatta River. There is an urgent need for what I would call a beautification program. Much work has been done by the New South Wales State Government and the Department of Health to raise the quality of the water flowing down the river, and certainly industrial pollutants are being restricted. Many factories and plants have installed machinery and extensive filters to ensure that industrial wastes are now removed from any water finding its way into the river - I think that the action of the Department of Health in this area deserves commendation - but the river itself is still ugly. Green weed may be growing and mangroves may be regenerating, but car bodies and rubbish still litter its edges. I have proposed, and will do so again, that a Parramatta River commission be formed. The region of councils bordering the river should be aided with finance and in appointing rangers who could patrol the river. Councils could in concert act to acquire land for riverside parks and bring about, along the whole of the river, a program of beautification which is sorely needed. Such a program could not be envisaged under the form of strict regionalisation proposed, and grants for this purpose could not be contemplated. Yet it is a new and urgent need which must be met by governments.

There are other areas in which the Federal Government can act within the limits of its own power to assist in meeting the demands of the western suburbs. Some of my electors, and people from surrounding areas who use the Kingsford-Smith Airport, demand that consideration be given to the use of helicopters from Parramatta to reach the Sydney Airport. With the sort of development that the Minister has spoken of on a number of occasions for Parramatta, the demand for this sort of service will increase. It seems to me that a heliport could easily be established along the river and that it would certainly enable businessmen and the prospective influx of senior public servants to move more efficiently between Parramatta, Sydney and other Australian capital cities.

I believe that one of the basic differences between the Opposition and the Government in the area of urban development is the Government’s desire to impose its own ideas on what is essentially local development and to bring about uniformity. Galston, of course, is an example of the sort of mistake that can be made when ministers and members of other State parliaments have to make a decision for another city. All too often the important environmental consequences are overlooked. Throughout Australia today there is a feeling of frustration - which is certainly evident in the electorate of Parramatta - on the part of people and organisations who are endeavouring to maintain and improve the quality of life within their neighbourhood.

There are many laws, both State and Commonwealth, which can be of assistance and can bring about a review of decisions taken at a local government or State level but the methods of obtaining the review are not known and are rarely considered by these organisations. The legal profession, as a general rule, is not competent, by way of training, to advise on these matters. I believe the time is right for us now to embark upon a program of teaching neighbourhood law in our universities so that young lawyers can be aware of the laws dealing with and relating to the environment, laws relating to the administration of local government, approval of developments and the means of achieving a review of decisions when taken without thought to local opinion. The sorts of frustrations which lead people to think of green bans and the like, which are so abhorrent to most Australian people, highlight the need for adequate teaching in this area. Already at the University of Sydney the students themselves are calling for the introduction in their courses of the teaching of environmental laws, or as

I would prefer to call them, neighbourhood laws. Without prompting the students are giving consideration to the drafting of legislation which can be helpful in these areas.

I was pleased to be able to read an article by Gwilym Davies published in the Australian National University ‘News’ of July 1973. The article deals with environmental resources law and it brings together bits and pieces. The article goes along in the same direction. Towards the end of that article there is a comment which I would like to quote. It reads:

First, there is no doubt that environmental law, both statutory and common law, will come to be of increasing importance to legal practitioners. The statute law will certainly proliferate thus making it essential that practitioners are aware of its details as well as its basic provisions and of the workings of the administrative machinery lying behind it. They will need this knowledge whether they are acting for industry, conservation groups are even ordinary individuals seemingly doing no more than going about their everyday business. Environmental legislation will percolate through to all levels.

There has been a course in environmental resources law established at the Australian National University. I think this type of teaching has to be more broadly based right through our universities so that people can get support from the legal profession to assist them in meeting the demands of protecting their environment and protecting the type of locality in which they live and to ensure that the good things about our life are aided. There is a need within our universities to encourage students to think about these areas in a progressive way to assist in development of new law rather than to think simply in terms of the interpretation of the present law. With encouragement by the honourable members of this Parliament of community involvement rather than the imposition of our own views to meet genuine pressures and frustrations that exist within our electorates, this Parliament might be able to get down to the matters of real national importance which demand our attention.


– On behalf of all honourable members on this side of the House I should like to compliment the honourable member for Parramatta (Mr Ruddock) on the manner in which he delivered his maiden speech. As one who has gone through an agonising quarter of an hour or 20 minutes it takes to make a maiden speech, I know the sort of emotional feelings the honourable member must have experienced. He delivered his speech with great aplomb and a feeling of confidence. I think that we all wish him well in the speeches that he will make in this House in the future.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– He set an example which many of his older colleagues could well follow.


– I think the Minister has made a very fine point. We had hoped that the contributions made in this chamber by some of the older members of the Liberal Party of Australia were even half as good. However, I should like to take up one or two points which the honourable member made. I do so without in any way wishing to downgrade his speech, which I thought was a first class performance. The honourable member dealt with the siting of an airport at Galston. Shortly after this matter blew up the former Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator Cotton, appeared on the television program ‘Federal File’ in a discussion on the siting of an airport at Galston. He made it very clear that if the Liberal Party were returned to office - this was the feeling at the time the Liberals were in office - it would favour the Somersby area as the site for a second airport for Sydney. Sir Robert Askin has said that he had a site in mind but he would not name it - that is, not prior to the last election. Somersby was one of 2 sites which had been selected for consideration by the previous Government. While I sympathise greatly with the honourable member for Berowra (Mr Edwards) and the honourable member for Parramatta over the Galston site, I state quite categorically that the Somersby area is equally as lovely and equally as attractive as the Galston area and has as much to offer the people of New South Wales and the people on the Central Coast.

The phoney environmentalists, the middle class environmentalists who came to Canberra in their thousands recently, were noticeably absent when people were trying to impose a second airport on the people in my electorate. It was different when real estate values or their properties were affected; they got angry and heaped abuse on the Labor Party. I would like someone on the other side of this chamber to get up and say that Somersby and the Central Coast is less attractive to the community and to our society than is Galston and that it should be thrown to the wolves. I never received any support for my opposition to locating an airport at Somersby, apart from people within the immediate area of Somersby.

Not one conservation society, not one group of irate Sydney citizens came to Canberra in buses to help us fight the previous Government on that issue. Frankly it made me sick to see the sort of phoney attitudes that have been expressed by large sections of the Sydney Press and the Sydney environmentalists, and to hell with the people who live in the Gosford and the Central Coast districts.

Mr Bourchier:

– The Sydney Press too?


– The Sydney Press too. The honourable member for Parramatta made one or two comments which I think ought to be taken up. I like the proposal to have patrolmen along the Parramatta River. They could probably be known as ‘Ruddock’s Raiders’. I should like to point out to the people of Sydney the effects of the honourable member’s suggestion for the use of a helicopter to take people from Parramatta to Sydney (KingsfordSmith) Airport. How many electorates would the helicopter have to fly over? There is nothing noisier than a helicopter. The sight of North Shore businessmen commuting to Kingsford-Smith Airport in myriads of noisy helicopter is enough to make one’s mind boggle. I suggest to the Liberal Party and to the honourable member for Parramatta that they give that idea some very serious thought otherwise we will have another 100,000 people on the lawns outside this Parliament protesting at such a monstrous proposition.

I come back to the estimates for the Department of Urban and Regional Development. Unfortunately I have only 5 minutes left in which to speak. I was very interested in the speech made earlier by the Minister for Urban and Regional Development when he introduced the Albury-Wodonga Development Bill. No doubt we will have time to debate that Bill. Two Central Coast councils covering the Gosford Wyong districts are at the moment wondering what sort of role they will have to play in the future development of the Gosford-Wyong centre. I am hopeful that the Minister will be able to visit the area early in the new year. He was to have made a visit just recently but unfortunately the arrangement clashed with a visit by Sir Charles Cutler and we decided to postpone it to a future date. I am most conscious of the need to keep the community informed of the future role that local people will play, for instance, in the work of this Development Authority. I reject completely the proposition put up by some councillors that all that needs to happen is that the national Government should hand over millions and millions of dollars to local government or to a regional development authority, which will then develop an area. The district in which I live is one of great beauty destroyed by the inadequacies and inefficiencies of local councils which simply do not have and never have had the expertise required to develop growth centres which will each incorporate a population of half a million people.

Mr Nixon:

– This is the first electorate-style speech that you have made for years.


– I reject that proposition out of hand. But I do believe that local councils have a great deal to contribute by way of local expertise. Let me deal with one most serious problem that arose in my electorate in the course of the last State election in New South Wales. The recently elected member for Gosford, Councillor Brooks, the Shire President, used his position as Shire President-

Mr Hewson:

– Is he not the new member?


– He was elected member for the Gosford electorate last Saturday and I congratulated him on his election. He used his position as Shire President to reject all Federal aid on the ground that acceptance of this aid would involve control of the Central Coast area from Canberra. He said that-

Mr Martin:

– Shame!


– He rejected all Federal aid. He said: ‘We do not want anything to do with it’. He said that if he accepted Federal aid this would mean that he would be told what to do by Canberra bureaucrats. He used all sorts of phrases such as nationalisation and socialisation which, if I may say so, were a load of codswallop. The fact of the matter is that, as we see from what is proposed with the AlburyWodonga Development Authority, development authorities have a 3 -tiered involvement at the levels of Federal, State and local governments. A range of experts will be provided from the State and national governments. These experts will carry out the planning. We are talking about building 2 major townships of, I should imagine, the size of a large suburb in Canberra, of between 30,000 and 40,000 people. Planning of that type requires the work of ecologists, demographers, engineers, all ranges of scientific experts and planners including town planners.

It is simply absurd to suggest that this type of expertise can be gathered from the local community.

I urge the Minister for Urban and Regional Development - I know that he is willing to do so - to keep the lines of communication open. Councillor Brooks is now the State member for Gosford. I wish him well in the 3-year term for which he has been elected. Now that the election has been held, I hope that he will adopt a different attitude, that he will agree with the attitudes expressed by other local councillors and that he will join with us in a spirit of co-operation, such as has been shown to this Parliament today with respect to the Albury-Wodonga development. The Minister for Urban and Regional Development has managed to work with the Liberal Governments of Victoria and New South Wales with respect to Albury-Wodonga. I hope that Councillor Brooks will say: T am prepared to put aside petty party politics so that what we will do with the State and Federal governments will be for the benefit of the people of the Central Coast area’. The concept is most exciting. In the past, the development of this area has been allowed to sprawl with the most objectionable type of poor development, ad hoc planning, roads going in all directions and shore fronts being taken over by developers. High rise flats have been constructed everywhere without any consideration of the total concept of the needs of the community. This is a great opportunity which we must not lose.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Scholes:

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


- Mr Chairman, I ask you to bear with me for a moment at the opening of my remarks as I wish to congratulate the Minister for Tourism and Recreation (Mr Stewart) on the work that he is doing. I did not get the chance to do this earlier. I believe that the Minister has done an excellent job in a new area. I guess that his main problems will hinge on the very small allocation of money to his Department. But, when proper consideration is given to this allocation, it will be seen that it is certainly the right and proper policy in a period of inflation and shortages. However, I hope that in future years the Minister will be able to attract a considerably larger appropriation.

The move by the Minister for grants to be made for the preservation of historical sites and buildings is a departure from what one might call the norm, but it is a sound and wise move. This is the only way in which our old historical buildings can be preserved and restored. As I am personally involved in such a venture as the restoration of an historical building, I am closely familiar with the costs involved. It is only when one is faced with such a task that one realises why so much of our history is being destroyed. In many cases the expenditure of large sums of money is not justifiable economically. What the Minister for Tourism and Recreation now intends to do will ensure for the future the preservation of our grand old buildings. But I repeat my hope that, in future years, the appropriation for his Department will be considerably larger. I thank you, Mr Chairman, for bearing with me while I placed those comments on record.

The Committee is discussing now the estimates for the Department of Urban and Regional Development. I completely and wholeheartedly support plans for the dispersement of our people throughout Australia. However, I do wish to offer certain criticisms. Firstly, the major criticism of the allocation of $93m for the new cities program is the impact that it will have on the current inflationary situation. The bulk of funds being made available will be devoted to land acquisition and there will be a concentration of expenditure in small regions. This, of itself, can be expected to cause inflation through the injection of excess funds to these areas. It should be stated that, if State governments fail to pass necessary land price stabilisation legislation, no funds will be made available for land acquisitions by land commissions. It appears that the land to be acquired is likely to be that which is presently zoned as rural but which is suitable for subdivision for urban purposes within any designated growth centre. This is the same type of land which has put large amounts of money into the hands of developers in both Sydney and Melbourne, and to a lesser extent in other areas.

However, a policy directed only at land on the urban fringe will short-sightedly neglect the boom that will occur in land in designated growth centres within the present town boundaries. Values of both residential and commercial land within present town boundaries can be expected to escalate rapidly in this circumstance. Examples of this second type of boom abound on the fringe of present cities, the chief examples of the phenomenon being 40 acre weekend farms’. It is doubtful whether price stabilisation will work, and it is possible that an abatement of the land price boom is more likely to be achieved by increasing the supply of subdivided building blocks in the short term. A further criticism of the policy of land acquisition can be directed at the terms on which money is lent to the commissions. At present, the terms being discussed are for money to be made available at the long-term bond rate, with interest repayments being deferred for 10 years and then capitalised into the moneys to be repaid. With the recent upward movement of the bond rate of 8.5 per cent, the capitalisation of interest repayment* for 10 years will have the effect of more than doubling the initial amount of the loan before repayments begin. In this case, the high repayment costs coupled with the cost of developing the blocks - that is, surveying, connection of electricity, gas, water and sewerage service and roads, etc - will result in high land rents being paid by eventual lessees, if a true leasehold system is to obtain. A third criticism of the proposals is that of the selection of a suitable indicator of inflation in calculating the annual increase from the base price of any land the price of which is stabilised. No indicator has yet been selected. If one is chosen which reflects the increase in similar rural land in other centres throughout a particular State, the effect may well be to increase the price of frozen land rather than to leave it stable at constant prices, that is, increased annually only in line with inflation as measured by the consumer price index.

The proposal to provide $30m in 1973-74 to help overcome the backlog in sewerage services can also be regarded as being inflationary in view of the current labour shortages throughout the economy and particularly in the construction industry. This shortage will be worsened if new subdivisions are to be sewered as they are developed rather than being added to the backlog. From the foregoing it appears that moneys to be expended by the new Department of Urban and Regional Development are likely to be inflationary in their effect on particular regions. More importantly, sums of money are being apportioned without any clear indication that much thought has been given to how policies of land price stabilisation will operate and whether they are, in fact, likely to be effective in halting rising land prices. An examination of the structures of the various Government departments leads one to the conclusion that the Department of Urban and Regional Development in the most top heavy or, in the words of the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron), it has a greater proportion of fat cats than any other. Using the information supplied in the Estimates of Receipts and Summary of Estimated Expenditure for 1973- 74, a ratio can be determined of Second Division, that is, executive officers, to Third Division, that is, professional and skilled clerical staff. For the Department of Urban and Regional Development this ratio is slightly less than 1:5. Comparable ratios for the administrative section of other departments having a similar co-ordinating function or profession base are: Prime Minister’s 1:7, Special Minister of State 1:9; Attorney-Generals 1:10, Foreign Affairs 1:20, Treasury 1:19, Education 1:49. In view of the expected growth of the Public Service wage bill in 1973-74, such a high proportion of executive staff as will exist in the Department of Urban and Regional Development appears unwarranted. The total appropriation for this very new and young Department in its first year of operation is about $208m. So far as the Minister for this new Department is concerned, does this not follow the old saying of putting a beggar on horseback and he will ride to hell’? How can this very large amount of money be efficiently and economically expended at a time when inflation is at its worst in our history, and manpower and materials are in such short supply?


– The Australian Labor Government, under the leadership of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam), has been responsible for a large number of new initiatives of reform such as the very great economic reforms introduced by this Government in the fight against inflation, in the areas of education and health, in the new area of foreign affairs, to the Constitution, and so I could go on. So much has been done in a period of 11 months that it makes one almost breathless. Certainly one of the most important initiatives has been that taken in the sphere of urban and regional development. For many years people have been looking askance throughout this country, particularly in the new areas of development, at the utter and complete lack of planning by State and local government authorities and particularly at the fact that increases in rate revenue have reached saturation point. It was obvious that something new had to be done. It was suggested by Sir Robert Menzies, of course, as late as 1950 but, as always, procrastination took place and it was another 23 years before anything was done. Today something is being done. I am very pleased to say that it is being done on the basis of need, because there are very great needs, particularly in the areas of great development. I represent one of those areas - the area running through Blacktown, in the State of New South Wales in the metropolitan area of Sydney, on through to Mount Druitt, St Marys and Kingswood. It is an area which has developed at a greater rate than has practically any other area in the whole of Australia, if not faster than the whole of Australia. It has more children living in it than certainly any other place in the whole of this country. It has great needs. It has needs for assistance to provide access roads, for transport to remove the chaos from the roads, for improvements in education and health facilities, for recreation centres and for child care centres. All these are very great and vast needs throughout the area. I mention child care centres. Sometimes we can learn something from other countries. Sometimes before we abuse the systems of other countries we should be able to accept the good that those countries do. I instance China. In China there are children’s palaces to care for children after school hours, in other words, the latch key children, the children waiting till their parents come home. In Shanghai alone there are 1 1 children’s palaces in all taking between 1,000 and 1,500 children a day and undertaking every possible type of activity - hobbies, sports, the arts, music and so on. This type of thing needs to be looked at in this country, just as we need to give far greater emphasis to child care centres for the children of those women who have to work, not because they want to work but simply because of economic circumstances.

I have to compliment the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) in particular on his initiative in the outer western suburbs of Sydney, because undoubtedly in his pilot project in the outer western suburbs of Sydney and the outer western suburbs of Melbourne he has one of the most forward looking propositions which has ever been initiated in the history of this country Arising out of the Budget there is an allocation of $5m for each of those areas, that is. Melbourne and Sydney. The Minister’s proj ect is a pilot project. It is only the beginning to see how these things should be handled in future. Already, of course, we have received great assistance in the western suburbs of Sydney in the provision of health services in the last fortnight. Special medical health centres are to be built. Pediatric services are to be established, as are drug dependency and alcoholism services as” well as psychiatric services. These have been announced in the last fortnight. The Minister for Tourism and Recreation (Mr Stewart) has announced the provision of recreation centres, including the provision of recreation centres in schools for community use. This is the first time in the State that school facilities have been made available for community use. These things have already come about.

One of the important things for the future is what is to be done in the sphere of assistance for local government, and this comes into the pilot project announced by the Minister for Urban and Regional Development for the western suburbs of Sydney and the western suburbs of Melbourne. As I have said, there are very great needs in those areas for roads, child care facilities and recreation facilities for the children. It is an area of need because of a lack of foresight and lack of planning by previous Federal and State governments. But there is equally very great need for co-ordination of activities. I am sure that the Minister would agree that one of the greatest problems we have in all these fast developing areas is the complete lack of coordination between Federal authorities, State authorities, local government authorities and semi-governmental authorities. One finds it almost impossible to get them to work together - first of all to work out the needs of the area, then to work out the priorities and finally to work out how those priorities should be financed. This is one of the greatest needs of urban planning and urban development.

I am concerned particularly with the crisis in roads. Frankly, I am going to adopt a parish pump attitude on this issue of the road crisis in the Blacktown municipality. The results of a number of public surveys have been released recently. They indicate that the roads in that area are the worst in New South Wales. Anybody who goes into the area will appreciate that this has reached crisis point. The reason is that the developers have moved in - including the Housing Commission of

New South Wales and companies like Hookers - and have established massive estates. They make extraordinary profits and yet they do not plough back the finance to provide access roads into the area or to provide the necessary community facilities such as meeting halls, ovals and so on. The result is that they then turn to the Government - in this case the Australian Labor Government - to provide those facilities.

I emphasise for the benefit of the Minister for Urban and Regional Development the seriousness of what I can only call the crisis in roads that exists in that area. I sincerely hope that when the allocations are finally announced - they must be announced in the very near future - for the $5m allocated to the western suburbs of Sydney, special emphasis will be given to the roads system. It is vital. It is the major - issue - the major crisis - at the moment. It is the one that needs to be met first. I compliment the Minister on his initiative in undertaking this pilot scheme in the western suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne. I think this whole issue of reforms in urban and regional development is one of the most important that have been introduced,’ certainly in this century. No other Federal government in the history of this Parliament has had the initiative or the courage to undertake this type of reform. I am very pleased to see it. I am very proud to be part of a Government which has initiated such important policies for the future development and future good living in our urban areas.


– In speaking to the estimates for the Department of Urban and Regional Development I want to say something about the dramatic progress that has been achieved for local government by the Australian Labor Government in its first year of office. This Government, in accordance with its election campaign pledge of 1972, is committed to the strengthening and upgrading of local government. Local government is an important partner in government. The Australian Government pursues a course of giving greater recognition to the role it plays and the responsibility it has in our 3-tier system of government. It is the Labor Party’s policy to try to ease the burden of increasing rates on home owners and intending home owners, and at the same time to see that there is opportunity for important improvements in the range and quality of municipal services.

Municipal, city and shire councils have come a long way in the years since Federation. Major items of expenditure by local governments today are public works; health administration, including garbage collection and disposal; public services; administrative and general expenses; the maintenance of municipal property; and the acquisition of assets. High works outlays dominate the expenditure of most local authorities and in the majority of cases a continuing rise in total annual spending has also occurred. With recurrent cost increases, improving standards of living and growing public wants, the expansion in local government spending has often exceeded the rate of population growth. We live today in a time when the public looks more and more to local government for increased services, particularly in the field of welfare. This Government is looking to greater community involvement in the implementation of its social welfare programs by seeking the participation of councils in the decision making process at the local level.

The financial position of local government has rapidly worsened in the period since World War II. It operates under a set of financial arrangements that were drawn up in the period immediately following World War I. They were arrangements based on the situation and needs of the 1920s when local government borrowing was relatively insignificant. This Government has taken several steps to improve the financial position of local government. Firstly, at the insistence of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam), for the first time local government was represented at the Australian Constitutional Convention. Secondly, the 1973-74 Budget provides an amount of $30m to reduce the backlog of sewerage services in the States. Thirdly, we have seen the establishment of the Cities Commission to plan and develop new cities, to develop new areas on proper planning principles and to assist regional groupings in the presentation of applications to the Grants Commission. Fourthly, we have seen the enlargement of the Australian Grants Commission and the granting of local government access to it through regional groupings. This access to grants from the Grants Commission will go far in assisting local councils in lesser privileged areas more effectively to provide municipal, health and welfare services for their communities.

Fifthly, we have seen the establishment of land commissions to stabilise land prices in the respective States and to give the mass of the people an opportunity to obtain a home and land at a reasonable price. Sixthly, despite the opposition from the Liberal and Country Party members, the Constitution Alteration (Local Government Bodies) Bill has passed this chamber and has been sent to the Senate for approval. If the Senate rejects the Bill it will be passed again in this chamber in the new year and the Australian people will have the opportunity at the referendum to be held in conjunction with the next Senate election to authorise an amendment to the Constitution which will give local government access to the Australian Loan Council for borrowings. This will mean longer term borrowing and lower interest rates for councils, and what amounts to a saving for ratepayers.

At this stage what does local government think of the action that has been taken by the Australian Government? Let me mention a couple of the motions put to the Australian Council of Local Government Associations by the New South Wales Local Government Association executive. The first was:

That the Australian Government be formally thanked for its assistance in securing local government representation at the Australian Constitutional Convention.

Another motion was:

That local government in all States join together for the purpose of mounting a strong publicity campaign to inform the public on the importance to local government of a ‘Yes’ vote at the proposed referendum concerning the admission of local government to the Australian Council.

It is interesting to note that at the meeting of the Australian Council in Hobart last week the Council unanimously carried a decision supporting the case at the referendum for access by local government to the Australian Loan Council and to establish a body to operate at the national level to seek finance for local government. The Opposition parties have steadfastly opposed any upgrading of the status of local government. One can judge this only as an exercise in hypocrisy. Many members of the respective political parties are also active in local government. I do not think that anybody in public life today fails to see the bind in which local government is caught financially. It is said at the local level that local government should be upgraded, that it should be given assistance and recognition. But here in the place where it matters and in the Senate, Opposition members join together under a different set of hats to oppose local government.

In conclusion let me refer to the continued approach of the Australian Country Party members, particularly, to draw a difference between the needs of the urban areas and the needs of the rural areas in development. According to my observations, their attitude is to alienate the views of the country population and those of the metropolitan areas. To me this is patent divisiveness. The reactionary political parties have always existed on a policy of divide and rule, trying to show people that they are different from them. After all, urban dwellers and rural dwellers are Australians. Both rural towns and metropolitan areas ought to be developed under the best planning principles, under the best access to finance and under the most efficient methods possible. After 23 years of standing still under Liberal-Country Party administration there has been a change. The sweeping out of the old brigade and the arrival of the new Australian Labor Party Government has resulted in recognition being given to local government and the institution of new principles of planning and developing our cities as well as decentralisation. The Albury-Wodonga Development Bill, which was introduced this evening is clear evidence that the Government is acting as quickly as it can to develop areas away from metropolitan and urban regions on the basis of developing Australia in the best interests of Australia.


– The estimates before the Committee for the Department of Urban and Regional Development provide for an appropriation of some $10. 8m as against an expenditure of $4,891,462 in the last financial year. The increase, as far as I can gather from the estimates, is mainly for the purpose of the administration of the Department of Urban and Regional Development. Perhaps the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) may care, if he has time, to explain in more detail what expenses are involved. I must comment on the statement made by the previous speaker in the debate, the honourable member for Shortland (Mr Morris), concerning local government and the Australian Country Party. It is not true to say that the Country Party has in any way downgraded the local government administration of this country. As a matter of fact, we agree entirely with the 3-tier system of government. Anyone who cares to look at the speeches I have made over the years will see that on many occasions I have raised the subject of the provision of financial assistance to local government. What we have been saying is that local government is a creation of the State parliaments and their legislation and therefore anything that is done by the Commonwealth should be done through the State Parliaments. We still abide by that view.

It has also been said, not only in this debate but also in other debates, that nothing much has been done in the last 20-odd years about the development of inland areas. I heard that said in a debate a few days ago, I think about northern development. It was said that nothing much has been done about the development of the north. I would suggest to those honourable members who have made statements of this nature that they should have a look at northern Australia. Perhaps a good place to start is Western Australia, where literally hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on the creation of industries. I am not trying to knock what the Minister for Urban and Regional Development is doing, but I would like to know what will be the base of the development he referred to in the Bill he introduced tonight in relation to Albury-Wodonga. What I mean by ‘the base’ is the industry.

We talk about Canberra and the way in which it has developed. The industry in Canberra is the public service. That is what it revolves around. Take out the Public Service and we lose Canberra. Albury-Wodonga or any other development within the Commonwealth needs a base, an industry. It is one thing to develop houses, streets and whathaveyou, but the people have to have jobs. It is necessary to have a system of industry within such developments. This is what I mean when I say that development has gone on in various parts of Australia right outside the cities, particularly in my State of Western Australia where hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in towns, railways and ports in developing industries and facilities for exporting from this country. The base of industry in those areas is, in the main, mining. If one wants to develop an area in Australia, no matter where it is, one must have industry. I listened very attentively to what the Minister had to say tonight and, so far as I know, he did not mention the word ‘indus try’. I would appreciate it if at some time in the future the Minister were to explain to the House what the base of the Albury-Wodonga development will be, how it will be achieved, and what negotiations have been taking place between industry and the 3-tiers of government that are involved. I think he will agree with me when I say that it is necessary to have a base.

The Grants Commission Bill was introduced into the House earlier in the session. It comes within the jurisdiction of the Minister. The Bill relates to the moneys that will be made available to local government throughout Australia. The local government bodies have been formed, according to a document which the Minister has put down in recent times, into regions. The point I wish to raise is that the regions concerned, particularly the local government bodies, are anxious to know how the system of allocating moneys will operate. The Minister for Urban and Regional Development and, I think, the Special Minister of State (Senator Willesee) made a joint statement recently - it does not appear to be dated - about the procedures to be followed in relation to Australian Government grants to local government. It was a brief statement. Apparently it was intended to give to local government some information relating to the making of applications to the Grants Commission. But the information in this respect is very brief indeed. The local government bodies throughout Australia want a detailed statement about what is to happen in relation to applications to the Grants Commission, what they will be able to apply for, and what areas will benefit from moneys provided under these grants.

They are waiting for the appropriate Minister to bring down a statement on what the Government policy is in relation to Commonwealth aid roads grants. I take it that the program for the development of roads would not come within this area to be covered by the Grants Commission. The sooner the Minister makes a definite statement in relation to the areas of local government to which moneys will be made available by the Grants Commission the better it will be. It will be only wasting the time of local government bodies and their accountants throughout Australia if that is not made clear. A lot of work will have to be done by the local government accountants throughout Australia. There are, I think, 900-odd local government bodies in

Australia. Their time will be wasted if the facts of the situation are not properly laid down. I appeal to the Minister to make this information available to the local government authorities as soon as possible. The Minister asked me to speak for only 7 minutes. I think I have spoken for 8 minutes. So I will resume my seat.

Minister for Urban and Regional Development · Reid · ALP

– Honourable members will have to be patient with me because I do not have sufficient time in which to reply to all of their comments. I have about 7 minutes in which to speak. In the next 10 days we will be debating in this House in full detail the proposed AlburyWodonga Development Corporation and the appropriation for the Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation. We also will be discussing a lands commission Bill and the allocation of money for the new cities or growth centres.

The expenditure before the Committee is for the Department of Urban and Regional Development, the Cities Commission and the National Capital Development Commission. The National Capital Development Commission is a well established body. It was established by the previous Government in the late 1950s and it has done a remarkable job in the development of Canberra. It has made mistakes and it is not been without criticism. It is something which was set up as an example. In Opposition I always used to say to the then Government: ‘If it can be done in Canberra why can it not be done elsewhere?’ There seemed to be a refusal by the then Government to accept my proposition. The Labor Government has been the only Government to take action to try to duplicate the work that has been carried out in Canberra.

Something happened at the last election. Frankly it is appalling to think that those who now sit on the Opposition benches are dumb during question time about the problems which confront them. Nobody opposite is asking questions without notice about those problems of urban and regional development. Eighty-five per cent of the people of Australia live in urban areas. The last election was determined in 2 cities. Something happened in them to bring about the change. One of those cities is Sydney. The outcome of the last election in Sydney was determined in the electorates of Phillip, Cook, Evans, Mitchell and Macarthur which includes the urban area of Campbelltown. In Melbourne, the decision for a change was made in the electorates of La Trobe, Diamond Valley, Casey and Holt. The change occurred in those 2 cities and yet the Opposition just sits dumb. It does not ask questions. It has no real policy as an alternative proposal on urban affairs, and that mystifies me.

What really happened was that there was an over-centralisation of population in both Sydney and Melbourne and growth problems occurred with land, housing, sewerage, roads, urban public transport, the provision of new urban areas and, of course, the neglect of the national estate. The honourable member for Parramatta (Mr Ruddock) spoke tonight about the national estate. For the 23 years that his party was in office, not one penny was offered to preserve the oldest building in Australia, the Elizabeth Farm cottage which was built in 1793 and which is in his electorate. Yet we this year have allocated $2. 5m for the restoration and enhancement of our national estate. We are already making an allocation of funds. The fact is that there has been over-centralisation and those people in the rural areas who talk about decentralisation now have allies in the city because the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and I are advocates against the over-centralisation of population in our major cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne. It is for this reason that we believe we must start to create new centres.

This is why the Cities Commission has set up 12 new development areas throughout Australia and why in the first 10 months of office we have been able to achieve an agreement on the historic development of the Albury-Wodonga area. We believe that we must make our cities rational places in which to live and that areas like the central business districts of Melbourne and Sydney cannot go on as they are. We cannot continue with this megalomania of trying to over-centralise the cities. We must balance these metropolises. We have to make sure that the cities of Melbourne and Sydney become rational places in which to live and at the same time we believe we must establish new growth centres in other parts of the country.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Progress reported.

page 3560


Aboriginal Affairs - The Parliament

Motion (by Mr Daly) proposed:

That the House do now adjourn.


– There are certain matters to which I wish to refer to put the record straight concerning what I know of the events of last Wednesday and Thursday. We are all aware, of course, of the remarks of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and his references to the honourable member for Barker (Dr Forbes). It so happens that the honourable member for Barker shares a flat with me and I saw him and had a discussion with him last Wednesday night before he went to bed. I can vouch completely for the fact that, as far as I could see, he was not in any way unduly influenced by liquor. When we woke fairly early in the morning I had breakfast with the honourable member and allegations that his eyes were bleary or that he was in any way affected physically by the events of the previous day were completely far fetched. I think it is important that these things should be known because on the allegations is based a very determined and intended slur.

Mr Wentworth:

– Scurrilous.


– I will not endeavour to describe the nature of the slur but it is based completely on false premises. Of course, the Prime Minister has followed the old adage that where there is alleged to be smoke there is always some fire and, using this rather ruthless method, he has slurred the honourable member for Barker and has built up a case which from any moral decency point of view is absolutely outrageous. I feel that this should be recorded.


– I believe that the Leader of the House (Mr Daly) wants to speak for a few minutes, so I shall not take my full time to allow him the opportunity to speak. The matter to which I wish to refer tonight is, I suppose, not unknown to honourable members from the various electorates around Australia. I refer to the position of country hospitals. In this case, the hospital to which I wish to refer is the Barmera District Hospital. It has the advantage, according to some, or perhaps the disadvantage, according to others, of having around it the Gerard Aboriginal Mission. Furthermore it has living around it in that area many of what I might call civilian, non-reserve type Aboriginal families who are highly thought of and respected in the community. The Barmera Hospital has to cope with both of the groups I have mentioned and, furthermore, must cope with itinerant Aborigines coming in from further afield. Of course, the hospital is subject to the charter of country hospitals which is currently laid down in the State of South Australia.

The sort of problem experienced at present by the Barmera Hospital is well highlighted by the following facts: It is a hospital of 40 available beds. Its average daily occupancy rate between 30 June and 31 October of this year was 35.17 which, as honourable members will see, is a very high occupancy rate. Of this average, 5.51 is accounted for by Aborigines. In relation to the total number of Aborigines in that area, it means that one Aborigine out of every 30 in the area is in that hospital every day. As the daily average of Aborigines has increased from 3.05 last year to 5.51 for the first 4 months of this year, the hospital has a problem because of non-payment of hospital dues. It is fair to say that this hospital has worked very hard to try to make sure that all Aborigines who are admitted to the hospital are properly signed up in regard to their hospital benefits but in spite of this there exists a tremendous problem in terms of the amounts of money owing over quite a period of time.

I provided the previous Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Minister for the Capital Territory (Mr Bryant) with full documentation of this case and his Department wrote - I think the liles will show that it was back in September - to the Barmera Hospital stating that the Department was most interested in looking at this case to see whether the amount of money owing, which at this stage is in the region of $8,000, spreading over more than a year, could be repayable by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs as a special grant to that country hospital. I mention this tonight because there has been a little lapse of time and for this reason I have handed the Minister the files tonight. Secondly, I want to put before the House what must be a problem that affects hospitals in many parts of Australia today. If the Government can make up this amount of money to a hospital in a country area - in this case, a brand new one built by the South Australian Government - under a form of rating to help repayable loans in that area, then it would be less of a handicap on the district as a whole and would be some small gesture towards attracting first class facilities into country areas, such as this area of Barmera. I hope the Minister in this House who represents the

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs is able to successfully meet the request on proper consideration after studying the files I have handed over to him today.


-I call the Leader of the House, closing the debate.

Minister for Services and Property · Grayndler · ALP

Mr Speaker-

Mr McLeay:

Mr Speaker, just before the Minister closes the debate I should like to be associated with my colleague the honourable member for Wentworth (Mr Bury)-


-Order! I am sorry, the call has to come from the Government side of the House.

Mr McLeay:

– Would you give me 2 or 3 minutes?


– Very well.


-I call the honourable member for Boothby.


– I should like to go on record because in the years ahead these debates will be read by other people, by those who follow us and, who knows, perhaps by some of our children. I wish to support the honourable member for Wentworth in what he had to say about the events of last Wednesday and Thursday. Like him, I reject completely the allegations about the honourable member for Barker (Dr Forbes). I was here throughout the whole of the proceedings, and I have no hesitation in saying that all of the matters raised by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) were untrue. The honourable member for Barker was nol sprawling on the table as the Prime Minister described. During most of that evening we were - I would think probably 20 of us - watching television in the Party room, and the honourable member for Barker was one of those present, watching. I would also say that anything the Prime Minister had to say about what happened the next day was a complete falsehood. To say that the honourable member was hung up was unfair and untrue. Unfortunately, we are not able to say the words that we believe-


-Order! I would remind the honourable member for Boothby that I have allowed quite a lot of latitude. However on the motion for the adjournment the honourable member may not refer to a debate that took place in the House on a motion.


– 1 appreciate that, Mr Speaker. I am not referring to that debate.


-I do not think the honourable member for Wentworth went into the debate, but the honourable member is now proceeding to deal with that debate.


– I am talking about what happened last Wednesday and Thursday, and what happened during the weekend outside the House. I wish to make the point that as from today, without reflecting upon this debate, any member in this place can reflect upon any other member in a way that would imply that that member was drunk or had been drinking - whether it be true of false - and, according to the precedent laid down today, nothing can be done about it. I could say, for example, that the Minister for Transport (Mr Charles Jones) was at this moment reeling, drunk in the aisles and you, Mr Speaker, to be consistent, could not possibly correct me. Yet we all know that the honourable gentleman is a teetotaller. It is this aspect of what has happened in the past few days that I deplore most. Anybody can say anything along those lines about anybody in this place, and completely destroy his character, whether it be true or false. I deplore what I believe to be the reduction of the standard of parliamentary debate and parliamentary democracy. I am disappointed in people on the other side of the House because not all the good guys are on this side of the House. There must be some decent fellows on the Government side of the House who are as disturbed as we are about what has happened. I can remember when the Minister was in Opposition and he was righteously and, I think, reasonably concerned, and called me a liar. He was named. When he withdrew, the whole thing was blown over. However, those good old days of chumieness have gone. It is to my eternal regret that there were not at least 4 people on the Government side of the House who had enough courage to stand up and say what they knew in their hearts to be right because the honourable member for Barker was completely innocent of all the things of which the Prime Minister accused him. I am pleased to be associated with the honourable member for Wentworth in placing this on record. I think that posterity will be the judge.

Minister for Services and Property · Grayndler · ALP

– I do not intend to enter into a debate that was finished this morning. I am completely at a loss to know who the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) is speaking about. All the sins are not on this side of the Parliament in regard to that matter, and members of the Opposition who want respect should watch their own language. We resent being called fascists and communists and all kinds of things by people opposite who then talk about purity of speech and all those things.

Mr Charles Jones:

– We copped it for 23 years.


– We copped it, as the honourable member for Newcastle has said, for 23 years and you have only got a fraction back of anything you gave to us. If the honourable member for Barker and others want to be respected, they should watch their own conduct. I will not go into the matter any further. I think that subject was disposed of. I make my own judgment on the occurrence of last Wednesday and on which I pass no judgment now.

All I rise to say at this stage is that the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) the other night made a statement in regard to the use of cars and lack of facilities for members to get to Parliament because of delays. The honourable member has since explained to me that he was not quite fully informed on the matter. I accept his explanation and exclude tonight his criticism of the use of Ministers’ cars at that time. I want to say something to the House tonight and I ask all honourable members to listen to it otherwise they might be walking to work. It is said that there are delays in cars arriving for members of a morning. Before the honourable member for Angas raised this matter, it was brought to my attention by the Transport Officer, Mr Gordon Pike. The Transport Officer for the House of Representatives has asked me if I would bring to the attention of members and senators the importance of being punctual when cars are ordered for their use.

It has been noted in recent weeks that members have kept cars waiting for up to a quarter of an hour or more, and in so doing have completely disrupted further bookings made with the Transport Department and kept other members waiting for long periods. It should also be appreciated that because of demands on the Transport Department, a form of shuttle service has to be instituted. If members or senators are not ready, of course, a certain amount of disorganisation occurs. It would be appreciated, therefore, by all concerned if members and senators would co-operate and be punctual and not keep cars waiting.

In view of the honourable member’s comments that they were delayed indefinitely and it was for purposes which were quite wrong, as I have since ascertained, I have instructed the department that in future unless members or senators of the parties are ready at the time for which the car is ordered, vehicles are not to wait, and those who are delayed can take their chance and await further transport if and when it is available. In other words, all members of the Senate and this place, from both sides of the Parliament, when they order cars to take them to the Parliament of a morning will need to be on time otherwise the cars will not wait. It is no concern of Ministers that members have been kept waiting; it is because of members’ own reluctance to be on time. These are facilities that are given to members in order to bring them to their place of work at the appropriate time. I now formally advise the House - I shall circulate a copy of my speech to all honourable members - that if they order a car for say 8.45 or 9.45 and they are not on time, the car will not wait there. That will overcome criticism in this Parliament of transport and other matters. No service in the world can cater for members who order cars in great numbers and then are not on time. I ask all Whips and all members of the Parliament to take a note of this. Any inconvenience caused in the future will be entirely due to the members concerned.


-Order! It being 11 p.m., the House stands adjourned until 11.30 a.m. tomorrow.

House adjourned at 11 p.m.

page 3564


The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:

Mr K. Milte (Question No. 405)

Mr MacKellar:

asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:

  1. Has the Commonwealth, or any person on behalf of the Commonwealth, paid any sum of money to Mr K. Milte since 2 December 1972.
  2. If so, on what date or dates did the Commonwealth, or such person, pay money to Mr Milte and what sum was paid to him on each of the dates.
  3. Has the Commonwealth, or any person on behalf of the Commonwealth, agreed to pay any sum of money to Mr Milte at any time in the future; if so, at what time.
  4. If money is to be paid in the future, what sum or sums has the Commonwealth, or such person, agreed to pay Mr Milte, and on what terms.
Mr Enderby:

– The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. to (4) Mr Milte, who is a practising barrister, was engaged to advise the Attorney-General in connection with Croatian matters. This engagement covered the period from 13 March to 6 April 1973. The fees paid to Mr Milte in respect of that period were:

Mr K. Milte (Question No. 406)

Mr MacKellar:

asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:

  1. Has a Mr K- Milte been retained by the Commonwealth or by any Commonwealth Department or Agency.
  2. If so, in what capacity has Mr Milte been retained.
  3. What are the terms of Mr Milte’s retainer.
  4. What functions are to be performed by Mr Milte pursuant to the terms of his retainer.
Mr Enderby:

– The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. to (4) The information sought by this question appears from the answer provided to question No. 405.

Mr K. Milte (Question No. 407)

Mr MacKellar:

asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:

  1. Was a Mr K. Milte present at the regional office of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in Canberra on the night of 15-16 March 1973.
  2. If so, in what capacity was Mr Milte present at the office.
  3. What actions did Mr Milte perform while at the office.
  4. Was Mr Milte present at the headquarters of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in Melbourne on 16 March 1973.
  5. If so, in what capacity was Mr Milte present.
  6. What actions did Mr Milte perform while at the headquarters.
Mr Enderby:

– The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. to (6) Mr Milte accompanied the AttorneyGeneral to the regional office of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in Canberra on the night of 15-16 March 1973 and to the headquarters of that Organisation in Melbourne on 16 March 1973. Mr Milte was present as an adviser to the Attorney-General.

See answers to Question No. 405.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Question No. 742)

Dr Klugman:

asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:

  1. How many persons were employed (a) full-time and (b) part-time by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation as at 30 June 1973.
  2. Is this an increase or decrease on the position twelve months previously.
Mr Enderby:

– The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. and (2) It is not the accepted practice to disclose the number of ASIO staff. There is no significant difference in the figures at the given dates.

Homosexuals (Question No. 824)

Mr Doyle:

asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:

  1. How many arrests have been made by the A.C.T. Police of persons alleged to have been involved in homosexual acts carried out by consenting males in private since 1 July 1970.
  2. How many convictions were recorded in the same period.
  3. Is there any evidence that male homosexuals residing in the Australian Capital Territory have been subjected to blackmail, persecution or standover tactics.
Mr Enderby:

– The Attorney-General has supplied the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. None.
  2. None.
  3. On 28 February 1971 a male person was assaulted by six youths who spoke to him in terms that clearly indicated that they regarded him as a homosexual. The offenders have not been identified. Between 25 and 31 January 1972 two suspected male homosexuals were assaulted and robbed, but subsequent investigations were unsuccessful in establishing the identity of the offenders. Between 17 and 28 February four suspected male homosexuals were administered stupefying drugs and robbed. The offenders in each case were later arrested and convicted in the A.C.T. Supreme Court. On 24 February 1972 a further two suspected male homosexuals were assaulted and robbed and, in both cases, the offenders were later arrested and convicted. On 2 June 1972 a male person was fatally assaulted after, the offender claims, the victim made homosexual advances to him. The offender was subsequently convicted of murder.

Unemployment Benefits (Question No. 912)


asked the Minister for Labour, upon notice:

  1. How many (a) males and (b) females have been receiving unemployment benefits continuously during the last (i) 4 months, (ii) 3 months and (iii) 2 months.
  2. Have there been repeated advertisements for labour, especially female labour, in the Bendigo area; if so, is the shortage of labour in Bendigo consistent with the figures provided in answer to part (1).
Mr Clyde Cameron:

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

  1. The Department of Social Security which compiles the statistics of unemployment benefits has provided the following most recent figures of the duration of receipt of unemployment benefit for the categories in which they are available in respect of (a) the area covered by the Bendigo Office of the CES and (b) Australia as a whole.
  1. It is quite common for various categories of vacancies for labour to be advertised in the Bendigo area as elsewhere in Australia. Although there are unemployed persons in the area, as the figures in the above Table show, there is at the same time an unsatisfied demand for labour of the type and occupational skill .required by some employers. Having referred specifically to advertisements for ‘female labour’, the honourable member may be interested in the Government’s campaign against discrimination in employment and occupation. Advertising vacancies as specifically for males or for females when there is no inherent job requirement justifying this is a practice which should be discontinued. The National Committee on Discrimination in Employment and Occupation which I set up in May this year is currently developing guidelines for eliminating discrimination from job advertisements.

Naval Board (Question No. 928)

Mr Hamer:

asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice:

  1. Is he ex-officio Chairman of the Naval Board.
  2. If so:

    1. how many meetings of the Board have been held since 2 December 1972: and
    2. how many of these meetings has he chaired.
Mr Barnard:

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

  1. The current instrument by which in pursuance of Section 7 of the Naval Defence Act 1910-1971, the Naval Board is appointed, states, inter aiia, that the Minister of State for the Navy shall be the President of the Naval Board and shall preside at all meetings of the Naval Board at which he is present.
  2. I am informed that for the period 2 December 1972 to 2 November 1973 inclusive, the Naval Board has met on thirty-eight occasions.

As a deliberate decision, I have attended no meetings of the Naval Board. The reason for this should be plain from my public statement of 19 December last year. In summary, that statement made it clear that consistent with the Government’s policy of developing integrated defence management, the Department of Defence would exercise greater authority and control over the execution of defence policy and the attainment of defence objectives. Further the Secretary of the Department would be the principal adviser to the Minister for Defence on policy, resources and organisation and the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee would be the Minister’s principal military adviser. So it obviously follows that were I as Minister for the Navy, for so long as that portfolio exists, to preside over meetings of the Naval Board and thereby associate myself with its deliberations, I would find myself in the incongruous position of taking decisions, as Minister for Defence, on those deliberations when they involved matters that are subject to advice to me from the Secretary to my Department or the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

My decision not to attend meetings of the Naval Board has not in any way impeded consultation between myself and the Chiefs of Staff both collectively and individually and between myself and other members of Service Boards.

Military Board (Question No. 929)

Mr Hamer:

asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice:

  1. Is he ex-officio Chairman of the Military Board.
  2. If so, (a) how many meetings of the Board have been held since 2 December 1972 and (b) how many of these meetings has he chaired.
Mr Barnard:

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

  1. Australian Military Regulations and Orders provide that the Minister is President of the Military Board.
  2. I am informed that for the period 2 December 1972 to 2 November 1973 inclusive, the Military Board has met on thirty-one occasions.

As a deliberate decision, I have attended no meetings of the Military Board. The reason for this should be plain from my public statement of 19 December last year. In summary, that statement made it clear that consistent with the Governments’ policy of developing integrated defence management, the Department of Defence would exercise greater authority and control over the execution of defence policy and the attainment of defence objectives. Further, the Secretary of the Department would be the principal adviser to the Minister for Defence on policy, resources and organisation and the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee would be the Minis ter’s principal military adviser. So it obviously follows that were I as Minister for the Army, for so long as that portfolio exists, to preside over meetings of the Military Board and thereby associate myself with its deliberations, I would find myself in the incongruous position of taking decisions, as Minister for Defence, on those deliberations when they involved matters that are subject to advice to me from the Secretary to my Department or the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

My decision not to attend meetings of the Military Board has not in any way impeded consultation between myself and the Chiefs of Staff both collectively and individually and between myself and other members of the Service Boards.

Air Board (Question No. 930)

Mr Hamer:

asked the Minister for Air. upon notice:

  1. Is he ex-officio Chairman of the Air Board.
  2. If so, (a) how many meetings of the Board have been held since 2 December 1972 and <b) how many of these meetings has he chaired.
Mr Barnard:

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

  1. No. Under Air Force Regulation 28, the Chief of the Air Staff is Chairman of the Air Board. <2) See 1.

Navy Personnel: Discharges (Question No. 984)

Mr Bonnett:

asked the Minister for Navy, upon notice:

  1. What was the number of discharges of Navy personnel from 7 December 1972 to 31 August 1973 in each of the following categories:

    1. Termination of service engagement,
    2. on retirement,
    3. at own request,
    4. medical, and
    5. for disciplinary reasons.
  2. What was the number of accepted enlistments for the Navy during the same period?

Mr Barnard:

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

  1. Statistical records of Navy personnel are kept on a monthly basis only. Therefore, the following figures show the number of discharges during the period 1 December, 1972 to 31 August, 1973.

    1. on termination of service engagement - 549,
    2. on retirement - 22,
    3. at own request- 487,
    4. medical and death - 136,
    5. for disciplinary reasons - 139, and
    6. 282 were discharged as unsuitable.
  2. The number of accepted enlistments for the Navy during the same period is 1928. n.b. figures include the Maritime element of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.

Service Recruiting: Advertisements (Question No. 1011)

Mr Wallis:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

  1. Do the Services recruiting offices utilise nonmetropolitan newspapers in advertising for Service recruits.
  2. Are the advertisements limited to newspapers whose circulation reaches a certain figure; if so, what circulation must a newspaper reach before it is used for Service recruiting advertisments.
Mr Barnard:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. No. Any newspaper is elegible provided it has an audited circulation or makes a statutory declaration of its nett paid circulation.

Snowy Mountains Council (Question No. 1015)


asked the Minister for

Minerals and Energy, upon notice:

  1. Will he provide me with a copy of the minutes of the last four meetings of the Snowy Mountains Council.
  2. If so, will he do so as a matter of urgency.
Mr Connor:

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

  1. and (2) Yes. I have recently provided the honourable member with the papers requested.

Department of Defence: Interdepartmental Committees (Question No. 1059)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for

Defence, upon notice:

Will he provide a list of the interdepartmental committees, which have been established since 2 December 1972, of which officers of his Department are members.

Mr Barnard:

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

No. On 20 September 1973, my colleague, the Prime Minister, informed the right honourable gentleman in reply to a question without notice about interdepartmental committees that, if he wished to know the composition and function of any particular interdepartmental committtee, and for what period of time it has been active, the Prime Minister would be happy to provide him with that information.

If the right honourable gentleman wishes to have information about a particular committee on which my Department is represented, I will assist him as far as possible having regard to the Prime Minister’s answer to Question Nos 964 and 1057.

Department of the Navy: Interdepartmental Committees (Question No. 1060)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Navy, upon notice:

Willhe provide a list of the interdepartmental committees, which have been established since 2 December 1972, of which officers of his Department are members.

Mr Barnard:

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

No. On 20 September 1973, my colleague, the Prime Minister, informed the right honourable gentleman in reply to a question without notice about interdepartmental committees that, if he wished to know the composition and function of any particular interdepartmental committee, and for what period of time it had been active, the Prime Minister would be happy to provide him with that information.

If the right honourable gentleman wishes to have information about a particular committee on which my Department is represented, I will assist him as far as possible having regard to the Prime Minister’s answer to Questions Nos 964 and 1057.

Department of the Army: Interdepartmental Committees (Question No. 1061)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for the

Army, upon notice:

Will he provide a list of the interdepartmental committees, which have been established since 2 December, 1972, of which officers of his Department are members.

Mr Barnard:

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

No. On 20 September 1973, my colleague, the Prime Minister, informed the right honourable gentleman in reply to a question without notice about interdepartmental committees that, if he wished to know the composition and function of any particular interdepartmental committee, and for what period of time it had been active, the Prime Minister would be happy to provide him with that information.

If the right honourable gentleman wishes to have information about a particular committee on which my Department is represented, I will assist him as far as possible having regard to the Prime Minister’s answer to Questions Nos 964 and 1057.

Department of Air: Interdepartmental Committees (Question No. 1062)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Air, upon notice:

Will he provide a list of the interdepartmental committees, which have been established since 2 December 1972, of which officers of his Department are members.

Mr Barnard:

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

No. On 20 September 1973, my colleague, the Prime Minister, informed the right honourable gentleman in reply to a question without notice about interdepartmental committees that, if he wished to know the composition and function of any particular interdepartmental committee, and for what period of time it had been active, the Prime Minister would be happy to provide him with that information.

If the right honourable gentleman wishes to have information about a particular committee on which my Department is represented, I will assist him as far as possible having regard to the Prime Minister’s answer to Question Nos 964 and 10S7.

Department of Transport: Interdepartmental Committees (Question No. 1075)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice:

Will he provide a list of the interdepartmental committees, which have been established since 2

December 1972, of which officers of his Department are members.

Mr Charles Jones:

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

No. On 20 September 1973, my colleague, the Prime Minister, informed the right honourable gentleman in reply to a question without notice about interdepartmental committees that, if he wished to know the composition and function of any particular interdepartmental committee, and for what period of time it had been active, the Prime Minister would be happy to provide him with that information.

If the right honourable gentleman wishes to have information about a particular committee on which my Department is represented, I will assist him as far as possible having regard to the Prime Minister’s answer to Question Nos 964 and 1057.

Department of Works: Interdepartmental Committees (Question No. 1085)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Works, upon notice:

Will he provide a list of the interdepartmental committees, which have been established since 2 December 1972, of which officers of his Department are members.

Mr Les Johnson:

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

No. On 20 September 1973, my colleague, the Prime Minister, informed the right honourable gentleman in reply to a question without notice about interdepartmental committees that, if he wished to know the composition and function of any particular interdepartmental committee, and for what period of time it had been active, the Prime Minister would be happy to provide him with that information.

If the right honourable gentleman wishes to have information about a particular committee on which my Department is represented, I will assist him as far as possible having regard to the Prime Minister’s answer to Question Nos 964 and 1057.

Censorship (Question No. 1105)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:

  1. What is the membership of the working party that has been established to examine and report on the implementation, on a uniform basis, of the Government’s censorship policy.
  2. What are the terms of reference of the working party.
  3. Has the working party met; if so, when.
  4. When is the working party likely to complete its deliberations.
Mr Enderby:

– The Attorney-General has provided the following answer:

  1. The working party will comprise officers of my Department and representatives of the Chief Secretary’s Department, New South Wales; the Chief Secretary’s Office, Victoria; the Department of Justice, Queensland; the Premier’s Department, South Australia; the Chief Secretary’s Department, Western Australia; the Attorney-General’s Department, Tasmania.
  2. The working party’s terms of reference are to examine and report to the Australian and State Governments on the practicability of implementing on a uniform basis the Australian Government’s policy on censorship.
  3. Yes. On 29 and 30 October 1973.
  4. It is expected that members of the working party will soon be able to submit a final report to their Ministers.

Housing: Canberra Rents (Question No. 1114)

Mr Wilson:

asked the Minister for the Capital Territory, upon notice:

  1. Did his immediate predecessor say, in a statement on A.C.T. Government housing on 31 January 1973, that examination of housing finance discloses that rental operations had been carried out at a loss.
  2. If so, is he prepared to make available the financial information which led to his predecessor making this statement; if not, why not.
Mr Bryant:
Minister for the Capital Territory · WILLS, VICTORIA · ALP

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

  1. Mr Enderby did say that ‘A preliminary examination of housing finances disclosed that rental operations had been carried on at a loss . . .’
  2. It is clear that some rents are inadequate to meet costs as there has been no adjustment since 1970 despite substantial cost increases. Arrangements are in hand for accurate financial statements to be prepared and these will be published when available.

Funeral Benefit (Question No. 1119)

Mr Bennett:

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

  1. Are checks conducted to ensure that market value is received for funeral subsidies paid.
  2. Can the Minister say whether funeral costs could be inflated because funeral insurance and subsidies are available.
  3. If so will the Minister investigate the high costs charged to families of the deceased where subsidies have been paid over the last 12 months.
Mr Bryant:

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

  1. No.
  2. The question of the cost of a funeral is a matter of private arrangement between the person providing the service and his client. However, the knowledge that a funeral benefit is payable in respect of the deceased person could inflate that cost thus defeating the purpose of the benefit.
  3. This seems to be a matter on which consideration by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Prices would be more appropriate than a Ministerial inquiry.

Dairy Industry Bodies (Question No. 1126)

Mr Lloyd:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

  1. Does the Australian dairy industry have two federal bodies, viz.: the Australian Dairy Farmers Federation and the Federal Dairy Council.
  2. If so, what is the membership claimed for each of the bodies in each of the States.
  3. What representatives of each of the organisations are represented on what Commonwealth and State dairy industry bodies.
Dr Patterson:

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

  1. The Australian dairy industry is very diverse, encompassing as it does wholemilk, manufacturing and condensery sectors. It embraces many organisations whose membership goes beyond State borders. These include the Australian Dairy Farmers Federation and the Federal Dairy Council.
  2. The information is not available to the Department in the detail sought by the honourable member. I have arranged for an approach to the two bodies concerned and will pass on to him whatever information they provide.
  3. I have taken the honourable member’s interest to be in producer representation on statutory dairy industry bodies. Whilst I do not have details of the position in the six States, there are two such bodies under Commonwealth legislation, namely, the Australian Dairy Produce Board and the Dairying Research Committee. Producer membership of these bodies is decided by the Minister from among persons whose names have been submitted to him by the Australian Dairy Farmers Federation or by another relevant organisation of dairy farmers. The producer members are appointed to represent the dairy farmers of Australia and not as representatives of a particular organisation. Of the three producer representatives of the Australian Dairy Produce Board two were appointed on the nomination of the Australian Dairy Farmers Federation and one on the nomination of the Federal Dairy Council. Of the four producer representatives on the Dairying Research Committee the three members representing dairy farmers engaged in the production of wholemilk for use in the manufacture of dairy products were appointed on the nomination of the Australian Dairy Farmers Federation. The member representing dairy fanners engaged in the production of wholemilk for human consumption was appointed on the nomination of the Milk Producers’ Association of Australia and New Zealand and the Australian Dairy Farmers Federation.

Australian Apple and Pear Corporation (Question No. 1134)

Mr Anthony:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

  1. What stage has been reached in discussions with industry organisations regarding the establishment of an Australian Apple and Pear Corporation.
  2. What method is proposed for the collection of levies from the industry to finance the activities of the Corporation.
  3. Is it proposed that the levy will be collected on apples destined for utilisation by the processing industry.
Dr Patterson:

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

  1. On 25 October 1973 I issued a Press release giving details of the Government’s decision to establish an Australian Apple and Pear Corporation and stating that legislation for its establishment would be introduced in the present session. The Corporation will be established along the lines discussed with and agreed to by the Australian Apple and Pear Growers’ Association.
  2. The general intention is that a levy to finance the Corporation should apply to all apples and pears produced and sold. The most appropriate method of collection is presently under study. In the meantime the charge imposed on exports of apples and pears under the Apple and Pear Export Charges Act 1938- 1968 will be continued to finance the immediate needs of the Corporation.
  3. Yes. It is envisaged that the Corporation will be engaging in important activities in the research and promotion fields related to processed apples and pears.

Second International Airport in New South Wales (Question No. 1151)

Mr O’Keefe:

asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:

  1. Has the Government given consideration to the establishment of the second international airport in New South Wales at Hexham, and does it appear to be an excellent site.
  2. Is Hexham situated in open country between the City of Newcastle and the City of Maitland, where there would be no noise or pollution problem for any nearby residents.
  3. Has this site been investigated, and is there any possibility of the second airport being established there.
Mr Charles Jones:

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

  1. The Government has given consideration to the establishment of the second airport in localities remote from Sydney. It has been established that additional time, cost and inconvenience to passengers in transshipping to Sydney would be considerable. Furthermore, the need to ferry passengers, arriving on large international aircraft, to Sydney in smaller types would result to no significant reduction of aircraft movements in the Sydney area and hence additional airport capacity in proximity to Sydney would still be required. The site at Hexham has severe disabilities, the most important of which is that it would not be compatible with the continued operation of military aircraft at Williamtown.
  2. A major international airport could not be established at Hexham without creating serious noise problems in the populated areas of Tarro, Beresfield, Woodberry, Hexham, Sandgate, Shortland and Birmingham Gardens.
  3. The Hexham site was investigated some years ago in connection with the requirements for a domestic airport for the cities of Newcastle and Maitland and surrounding areas. This was, of course, prior to the introduction of jet aircraft and their accompanying noise problems. The civil aviation requirements are now, however, being satisfactorily provided at Williamtown and, in fact, there are projects in hand at the present time to improve the civil terminal areas facilities extensively which will permit the operation of DC9 and B727 aircraft. There is no possibility of the second airport being established at Hexham at this time. I consider Williamtown would be a more suitable site.

Commonwealth Police: Salaries (Question No. 1163)

Mr Wilson:

asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:

  1. Have the salaries of members of the Commonwealth Police Force been raised to the level of salaries paid to members of the A.C.T. Police Force.
  2. Did the Attorney-General promise that this would be done.
  3. Have certain members of the Commonwealth Police Force been notified of reductions in their salaries.
  4. If so, what are the reasons for these reductions.
  5. If salaries have been reduced, are the salaries paid to those members of the Commonwealth Police Force who have suffered a reduction equal to the salaries paid to members of the A.C.T. Police Force.

Mir Enderby - The Attorney-General has furnished the following reply:

  1. The salaries of members of the Commonwealth Police Force were raised to a comparable level with the salaries paid to members of the A.C.T. Police

Force, due regard being paid to the different bases for determining the salaries of the two Forces, the difference in the organisation patterns and the responsibilities involved. Since this adjustment was effected, the salaries of members of the A.C.T. Police Force have been increased and I have directed that the salaries of members of the Commonwealth Police Force be again reviewed.

  1. Yes.
  2. No - there has been no reduction in the salary of any member of the Commonwealth Police Force.
  3. See the answer to (3).
  4. See the answer to (3).

Treasury Publications: Quarterly Comment on Investment Accounts (Question No. 1194)

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. Has the Treasury ceased publication of a Quarterly Comment on Investment Accounts.
  2. If so, is it because the recent figures indicate a downturn in economic growth.
Mr Crean:

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

  1. and (2) The Treasury does not publish a Quarterly Comment on Investment Accounts’ or, indeed, any document with a title along those lines. The Statistician publishes a document entitled Quarterly Estimates of National Income and Expenditure’ but there has been no cessation of publication of that document.

Repatriation Patients: Use of Adhesive Gum Sets (Question No. 1215)

Mr Bennett:

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

  1. Have Repatriation patients in Western Australia, who utilise adhesive gum sets for post operation purposes, had difficulty in obtaining supplies with no alternative offered.
  2. If so, what were the reasons for the shortage.
  3. Will the Minister seek ways of overcoming any possible future shortage including alternative sources of supply.
Mr Bryant:

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

  1. Until recently there has been no difficulty in obtaining supplies of adhesive gum sets for patients in Western Australia. These sets are purchased by the Department from a local agent who obtains supplies from the Australian distributor in New South Wales.
  2. I understand that the recent shortages are being caused by industrial disputes in New South Wales. Supplies for Western Australia have consequently been held up for approximately three weeks.
  3. Alternative sources of supply are available either from stocks held by the Department in other States or from other interstate contractors and can be airfreighted to Western Australia at short notice. Some stocks of adhesive gum sets are now held by the Department in Western Australia to meet immediate demands.

Road Maintenance Tax (Question No. 1237)

Mr Bennett asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice:

Which of the States implement a road maintenance tax system, and what are the amounts collected in each of the States under this system.

What consideration is given to amounts collected under road maintenance schemes when CommonwealthState roads agreements are entered into.

Mr Charles Jones:

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

  1. All States, except Tasmania, impose a road maintenance tax on specified classes of commercial goods carrying vehicles.
  1. In formulating the current Commonwealth Aid Roads legislation consideration was given to the availability of State finance for road works. The sources of finance taken into account included motor vehicle taxes, fees, road maintenance charges and local government finance.

The Australian Government is presently considering its policy towards financial assistance to roads after 1974 when the current Act expires. In deciding this it will take into account a survey by the Commonwealth Bureau of Roads in conjunction with State road authorities of all Australian roads.

Financial resources available to State governments for road purposes will be taken into account in this review.

Rail Sleepers (Question No. 1238)

Mr Bennett:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice: What is the-

  1. Comparative purchase price;
  2. life expectancy;
  3. maintenance cost per kilometre and
  4. safety record of

    1. Concrete and
    2. Timber sleepers.
Mr Charles Jones:

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

  1. Because the prices offered by unsuccessful tenderers must remain confidential I am unable to provide a detailed breakdown of prices.

On the basis of 133 kilometres of track the BTE report showed concrete $1.2m cheaper in terms of contract price and $1.9m cheaper in terms of cost delivered to site with fittings than 225 millimetre by 150 millimetre treated Jarrah sleepers.

  1. Concrete sleepers have been assumed in BTE report to have a life if 50 years. Evidence now coming to hand indicated that in practice this will be exceeded.

Timber (treated Jarrah) sleepers have been assumed to have a life of 30 years but this now appears to be somewhat optimistic.

  1. Present value of maintenance costs over 50 years discounted to base year at 7 per cent for concrete sleeper track $25,000 per kilometre and for treated timber sleeper track $63,500 per kilometre.
  2. The safety record of concrete sleeper track in Great Britain is very good.

Between Port Augusta and Whyalla in South Australia the concrete sleeper track brought into service just before the summer of 1972-73 has given no trouble. Indeed measurements taken before and after the summer period showed no deterioration in the alignment of the track.

There have been no derailments on the Whyalla line whereas experience has been that new railway lines such as Port Pirie to Broken Hill built with timber sleepers have suffered derailments where the suspected cause was buckling of the track in hot weather.

Iron Ore (Question No. 1270)


asked the Minister for Minerals and Energy, upon notice:

  1. What was the contract price per ton of iron ore in respect of all contracts ex Western Australia up to December 1972.
  2. Have any of these contracts been negotiated; if so, what is the comparable price per ton.
  3. How has currency revaluation affected each of these contracts.
Mr Connor:

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

  1. In my statement of 23 February 1973 announcing that the Australian Government had imposed export controls on all minerals, I emphasised that the contracts and related information provided to the Government by exporters of minerals would be treated in the strictest confidence. I am therefore unable to provide the honourable member with the information from the contracts held by my Department. However, I would refer the honourable member to the chapter on iron ore in the Australian Mineral Industry 1971 Review issued earlier this year by the Bureau of Mineral Resources. Table 5 (pp. 176, 177) of that chapter provides details taken from published reports of Australian iron ore and iron ore pellet contracts with overseas steel mills.
  2. and (3) Most of the long term contracts for Australian iron ore and pellets contain provision for periodic review of prices. Where the provision was for a price review this year, negotiations have already been completed or have commenced. I would also refer the honourable member to my statement of 29 May 1973 in which I announced that the Australian iron ore producers had reached agreement with the Japanese steel industry for an increase in prices which would provide substantial relief for the affected companies who had sought compensation from the Japanese steel industry following devaluation of the United States dollar.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 November 1973, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.