30th Parliament · 1st Session
The House met at 11 a.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the GovernorGeneral.
The Clerk read the proclamation.
The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that the Deputy of the Governor-General for the Opening of the Parliament requested the attendance of honourable members in the Senate chamber forthwith. (Honourable members attended accordingly, and having returned)
The Deputy authorised by the GovernorGeneral to administer the oath or affirmation entered the chamber.
The Clerk read the commission authorising the Right Honourable Sir Edward Aloysius McTiernan, K.B.E., Justice of the High Court of Australia, to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Queen required by the Constitution to be taken or made by members of the House of Representatives.
The Clerk laid on the table returns to 127 writs for the election of members of the House of Representatives held on 13 December 1975.
The following honourable members made and subscribed the oath or affirmation of allegiance:
Abel, John Arthur, Evans, New South Wales
Adermann, Albert Evan, Fisher, Queensland
Aldred, Kenneth James, Henry, Victoria
Anthony, John Douglas, Richmond, New South Wales
Armitage, John Lindsay, Chifley, New South Wales
Baillieu, Marshall, La Trobe, Victoria
Baume, Michael Ehrenfried, Macarthur, New South Wales
Beazley, Kim Edward, Fremantle, Western Australia
Birney, Reginald John, Phillip, New South Wales
Bonnett, Robert Noel, Herbert, Queensland
Bourchier, John William, Bendigo, Victoria
Bowen, Lionel Frost, Kingsford-Smith, New South Wales
Bradfield, James Mark, Barton, New South Wales
Braithwaite, Raymond Allen, Dawson, Queensland
Brown, Neil Anthony, Diamond Valley, Victoria
Bryant, Gordon Munro, Wills, Victoria
Bungey, Melville Harold, Canning, Western Australia
Burr. Maxwell Arthur. Wilmot. Tasmania
Cadman, Alan Glyndwr, Mitchell, New South Wales
Cairns, James Ford, Lalor, Victoria
Cairns, Kevin Michael Kiernan, Lilley, Queensland
Calder, Stephen Edward, Northern Territory
Cameron, Clyde Robert, Hindmarsh, South Australia
Cameron, Donald Milner, Griffith, Queensland
Carige, Colin Laurence, Capricornia, Queensland
Cass, Moses Henry, Maribyrnong, Victoria
Chapman, Hedley Grant Pearson, Kingston, South Australia
Chipp, Donald Leslie, Hotham, Victoria
Cohen, Barry, Robertson, New South Wales
Connolly, David Miles, Bradfield, New South Wales
Connor, Reginald Francis Xavier, Cunningham, New South Wales
Corbett, James, Maranoa, Queensland
Cotter, John Francis, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Crean, Frank, Melbourne Ports, Victoria
Dobie, James Donald Mathieson, Cook, New South Wales
Drummond, Peter Hertford, Forrest, Western Australia
Edwards, Harold Raymond, Berowra, New South Wales
Ellicott, Robert James, Wentworth, New South Wales
Falconer, Peter David, Casey, Victoria
Fife, Wallace Clyde, Fairer, New South Wales
Fisher, Peter Stanley, Mallee, Victoria
FitzPatrick, John, Darling, New South Wales
Fraser, John Malcolm, Wannon, Victoria
Fry, Kenneth Lionel, Fraser, Australian Capital Territory
Garland, Ransley Victor, Curtin, Western Australia
Garrick, Horace James, Batman, Victoria
Giles, Geoffrey O’Halloran, Angas, South Australia
Gillard, Reginald, Macquarie, New South Wales
Goodluck, Bruce John, Franklin, Tasmania
Graham, Bruce William, North Sydney, New South Wales
Groom, Raymond John, Braddon, Tasmania
Hamer, David John, Isaacs, Victoria
Haslem, John Whitton, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Hayden, William George, Oxley, Queensland
Hodges, John Charles, Petrie, Queensland
Hodgman, Michael, Denison, Tasmania
Holten, Rendle McNeilage, Indi, Victoria
Howard, John Winston, Bennelong, New South Wales
Hunt, Ralph James Dunnet, Gwydir, New South Wales
Hurford, Christopher John, Adelaide, South Australia
Hyde, John Martin, Moore, Western Australia
Innes, Urquhart Edward, Melbourne, Victoria
Jacobi, Ralph, Hawker, South Australia
James, Albert William, Hunter, New South Wales
Jarman, Alan William, Deakin, Victoria
Jenkins, Henry Alfred, Scullin, Victoria
Johnson, Leonard Keith, Burke, Victoria
Johnson, Leslie Royston, Hughes, New South Wales
Johnson, Peter Francis, Brisbane, Queensland
Jones, Charles Keith, Newcastle, New South Wales
Jull, David Francis, Bowman, Queensland
Katter, Rober Cummin, Kennedy, Queensland
Keating, Paul John, Blaxland, New South Wales
Kelly, Charles Robert, Wakefield, South Australia
Killen, Denis James, Moreton, Queensland
King, Robert Shannon, Wimmera, Victoria
Klugman, Richard Emanuel, Prospect, New South Wales
Lloyd, Bruce, Murray, Victoria
Lucock, Philip Ernest, Lyne, New South Wales
Lusher, Stephen Augustus, Hume, New South Wales
Lynch, Phillip Reginald, Flinders, Victoria
MacKellar, Michael John Randal, Warringah, New South Wales
Mackenzie, Alexander John, Calare, New South Wales
McLean, Ross Malcolm, Perth, Western Australia
McLeay, John Elden, Boothby, South Australia
McMahon, James Leslie, Sydney, New South Wales
McMahon, William, Lowe, New South Wales
McVeigh, Daniel Thomas, Darling Downs, Queensland
Macphee, Ian Malcolm, Balaclava, Victoria
Martin, Vincent Joseph, Banks, New South Wales
Martyr, John Raymond, Swan, Western Australia
Millar, Percival Clarence, Wide Bay, Queensland
Moore, John Colinton, Ryan, Queensland
Morris, Peter Frederick, Shortland, New South Wales
Neil, Maurice James, St George, New South Wales
Newman, Kevin Eugene, Bass, Tasmania
Nicholls, Martin Henry, Bonython, South Australia
Nixon, Peter James, Gippsland, Victoria
O’Keefe, Frank Lionel, Paterson, New South Wales
Peacock, Andrew Sharp, Kooyong, Victoria
Richardson, Peter Anthony, Tangney, Western Australia
Robinson, Eric Laidlaw, McPherson, Queensland
Robinson, Ian Louis, Cowper, New South Wales
Ruddock, Philip Maxwell, Parramatta, New South Wales
Sainsbury, Murray Evan, Eden-Monaro, New South Wales
Scholes, Gordon Glen Denton, Corio, Victoria
Shipton, Roger Francis, Higgins, Victoria
Short, James Robert, Ballaarat, Victoria
Simon, Barry Douglas, McMillan, Victoria
Sinclair, Ian McCahon, New England, New
Snedden, Billy Mackie, Bruce, Victoria
Staley, Anthony Allan, Chisholm, Victoria
Stewart, Francis Eugene, Lang, New South Wales
Street, Anthony Austin, Corangamite, Victoria
Sullivan, John William, Riverina, New South Wales
Thomson, David Scott, Leichhardt, Queensland
Uren, Thomas, Reid, New South Wales
Viner, Robert Ian, Stirling, Western Australia
Walks, Laurie George, Grey, South Australia
Wentworth, William Charles, Mackellar, New South Wales
Whitlam, Antony Philip, Grayndler, New South Wales
Whitlam, Edward Gough, Werriwa, New South Wales
Willis, Ralph, Gellibrand, Victoria
Wilson, Ian Bonython Cameron, Sturt, South
Yates, William, Holt, Victoria
Young, Michael Jerome, Port Adelaide, South Australia
– Honourable members, the next business of the House is the election of a member as Speaker.
-I propose to the House for its Speaker, Mr Billy Mackie Snedden, the right honourable member for Bruce, and move:
That the right honourable member for Bruce do take the Chair of this House as Speaker.
– I second the nomination.
– I accept the nomination.
-I propose to the House for its Speaker, Mr Scholes, and move:
That the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) do take the Chair of this House as Speaker.
– I second the nomination.
– I accept the nomination. (The time for further proposals having expired)
Mr CHIPP (Hotham)-It gives me a great deal of pleasure to move that the right honourable member for Bruce be Speaker of this House. I do so with a great sense of honour. It gives me pleasure because Mr Snedden has been a close personal friend of mine since I entered this Parliament. I hasten to add that I do not suggest for a moment that a close friendship with me necessarily leads people to high office, and I do not rely on that ground for nominating the right honourable member for Bruce. I have nominated him because I believe he has outstanding character and the experience and the personality that would make him an outstanding Speaker of this House. I think he has proven beyond any doubt that he has character. Politics is an arena wherein there are many victories and many defeats. Mr Snedden has accepted the defeats and the victories with grace and dignity. He has shown enormous courage in adversity and his integrity is respected by all throughout the nation irrespective of their political persuasion. During his time he has undergone several ballots inside and outside the party room. I believe that today, Mr Clerk, you will not have to call for a photograph to determine the result of this ballot.
In addition to being fitted for this position by his character his experience is second to none in this chamber. He was the Leader of the Liberal Party and led the Liberal Parry after its first defeat in 23 years. I say without hesitation- I think I would have unanimous support- that a great . share of the credit for the extraordinary position that the Liberal Party is in today, with the biggest majority ever in this House, can be laid at Mr Snedden ‘s door for his efforts in rebuilding the Liberal Party after that defeat. He has been leader of the House of Representatives and, as I have also occupied that role, I know that that kind of experience and training is very helpful for the holder of the position of Speaker. He knows that you cannot always manage this House, which sometimes tends to become extraordinarily difficult, through the pure legal processes of the Standing Orders. Tolerance needs to be shown and consultation is needed with the Leader of the House on this side and his counterpart on the other side. He has had a distinguished ministerial career, among his portfolios being that of Attorney-General. His legal training will give him extraordinary insight in interpreting the Standing Orders. He is a Privy Councillor.
The third thing is his personality. He has shown through the years, as a friend of mine and as a friend of many people in this House, tolerance that I think is a vital quality for a person who is to be the Speaker. He is a very approachable man and I am sure he is the sort of person to give the 34 new faces in this place, the new members, every help and encouragement. He also has a sense of humour and that is absolutely vital for a person in the position of Speaker. However I do implore him not to have his nose broken again if he plays squash any more with any Ministers because the sight of a Speaker with his nose in plaster under the wig he threatens to wear might well test our sense of humour.
I believe that the Parliament needs such a man as the right honourable member for Bruce. This country is in a crisis state. The dignity of the Parliament needs to be restored and it can be restored only by a man who will command respect. Parliamentarians speak in this place and on television about the dignity of Parliament and say that politicians must be respected but that dignity and respect should be shown here. Sometimes I cringe when I see school children in the gallery during some of the behaviour that occurs in this House. Respect cannot be demanded, it must be earned, and we as members of the thirtieth Parliament have to earn that respect. There is a place in this House for interjection at the right time and sometimes our tempers become heated. Therefore the office of Speaker needs a man of tolerance, character and integrity. I suggest that Mr Snedden is such a man and I have pleasure in nominating him.
-I am honoured and privileged to second this motion on behalf of the National Country Party. I also am very pleased in a personal sense to second the motion that the right honourable Bill Snedden be elected to the office of Speaker of this House, a motion so capably moved by the honourable member for Hotham (Mr Chipp). One of the main reasons it gives me pleasure is that I have always had a strong personal respect for Mr Snedden as a man. Like the honourable member for Hotham, I regard Mr Snedden as a personal friend but this will not influence him at all in any treatment that he might give when he is elected Speaker. He commands my respect for the way in which he has carried out his duties as a member of this House during the 17 years that I have had the opportunity of seeing him in action in this House. I believe that all fair-minded members of this House would agree that the right honourable Bill Snedden has conducted himself as a very able member of Parliament and has handled the hurly burly of debate in a calm, effective and dignified manner. I am sure that these qualities will be displayed in his important position as Speaker of the House. His ability cannot be questioned, as the list of the offices he has held and which were detailed by the honourable member for Hotham will show.
I endorse strongly the personal tributes that were paid by the mover of the motion to the right honourable Bill Snedden. He has been an outstanding all-rounder in his lifetime. He has been a great community worker, a great member of Parliament, a great parent and a great sportsman. I am confident he will discharge his duties without fear or favour. I am sure he will always reach his decisions on the grounds of fairness and regard for the Standing Orders, and for the dignity and decorum of this House. I am sure that the right honourable Bill Snedden will be a fine Speaker. In conclusion, I offer him my personal co-operation. I am sure all members of the National Country Party will do the same and will support this motion unanimously. I formally second the motion.
Mr E. G. WHITLAM (Werriwa-Leader of the Opposition)- It is appropriate that the first motion I move in this Parliament, like my last motion in the old Parliament should concern the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes). On the last occasion I spoke he was Speaker. He was entrusted by honourable members with a task of unprecedented importance for the institution of Parliament and for the future of Australian democracy. By the manner in which he discharged that task- by the manner in which he carried out his duties, throughout his term as Speaker and during the gravest crisis ever confronted by the Parliament- the honourable member brought credit and dignity to his office, and earned, as no Speaker has before him, the right to continue in the chair. During the events of 1 1 November- momentous for the Parliament, for the strength and vitality of our democratic institutions, for Australia’s reputation in the worldthe honourable member for Corio emerged as a true and valiant defender of the rights of Parliament. No higher praise can be given to a Speaker. Mr Speaker Scholes upheld the ancient traditions of his office and discharged the primary function for which that office was created. He stood firm in defence of the people’s House against a challenge to its authority, first from the Senate, and subsequently from the representative of the Crown itself.
On the afternoon of 1 1 November Mr Scholes was directed by the House to wait upon the Governor-General and convey to him the views of this House- its want of confidence in the installed Prime Minister and its wish that the leader of the Party commanding a majority in the people’s House be called upon once more to form a Government. It is no fault of the honourable member for Corio that his message went unheeded and unheard, that the Governor-General refused to see him until after the dissolution of Parliament was proclaimed, that the Speaker was insulted by the representative of the Queen, and that the office of Speaker and all the rights and privileges it embodies were treated with contempt. After the coup d’etat Mr Speaker Scholes was the only member of this House to retain office with the approval of the House. He did not rest in his endeavours to redress the wrong that was done to this institution and to defend the rights of honourable members. He wrote promptly to the Queen expressing his concern at the events of 1 1 November. He elicited from Her Majesty a response to the effect that if the Queen’s representative chose to abuse his powers there was nothing she could do about it and nothing we could do about it. That response was proper, and doubtless, I regret to say, it was accurate.
The rights of the Australian Parliament in relation to the Crown remain unclear. The reserve powers of the representative of the Crown in Australia remain unchallenged. Powers that the American people rejected in 1776 survive in Australia in 1976. Sooner or later those powers must be curtailed if parliamentary democracy in this country is to flourish in full measure. The record will show that Mr Speaker Scholes took his stand in defence of the great central principle of our system of governmentthat the will of the people resides in this, the people’s House, and in this House alone. For the record and for the information of honourable members I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard the correspondence between Her Majesty and Mr Speaker Scholes.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The documents read as follows)-
I am compelled by events involving yourself through your representative in Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Sir John Kerr, A C, K.C.M.G., K.St.J., Q.C.. to communicate my concern at the maintenance in the office of the Prime Minister of the Hon. Malcolm Fraser, M.P. despite his lack of majority support in the House of Representatives.
Immediately following the announcement of the dismissal of the former Prime Minister, Mr Whitlam, and Mr Fraser ‘s appointment, the House of Representatives carried a resolution expressing want of confidence in the GovernorGeneral’s nominee and requesting the re-instatement of the former Prime Minister in whom the House expressed confidence.
I am seriously concerned that the failure of the GovernorGeneral to withdraw Mr Fraser ‘s commission and his decision to delay seeing me as Speaker of the House of Representatives until after the dissolution of the Parliament had been proclaimed were acts contrary to the proper exercise of the Royal prerogative and constituted an act of contempt for the House of Representatives. It is improper that your representative should continue to impose a Prime Minister on Australia in whom the House of Representatives has expressed its lack of confidence and who has not on any substantial resolution been able to command a majority of votes on the floor of the House of Representatives.
It is my belief that to maintain in office a Prime Minister imposed on the nation by Royal prerogative rather than through parliamentary endorsement constitutes a danger to our parliamentary system and will damage the standing of your representative in Australia and even yourself.
I would ask that you act in order to restore Mr Whitlam to office as Prime Minister in accordance with the expressed resolution of the House of Representatives.
For Your Majesty’s information I would point out that Supply was approved by the Senate prior to 2.25 p.m. Mr Fraser announced that he had been commissioned as Prime Minister in the House of Representatives at 2.33 p.m. The House expressed its view at 3. IS p.m. by 64 votes to 54. I sought an audience with the Governor-General immediately following the passage of that resolution. An appointment was made for me to wait on the Governor-General at 4.45 p.m. The Governor-General prorogued the Parliament at 4.30 p.m.
The House expressed its view after the passage of the Supply Bills and was and is entitled to have that view considered.
Yours sincerely, G.G. D. SCHOLES Speaker
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second
17th November, 1975.
I am commanded by the Queen to acknowledge your letter of 12th November about the recent political events in
Australia. You ask that The Queen should act to restore Mr Whitlam to office as Prime Minister.
As we understand the situation here, the Australian Constitution firmly places the prerogative powers of the Crown in the hands of the Governor-General as the representative of The Queen of Australia. The only person competent to commission an Australian Prime Minister is the GovernorGeneral, and The Queen has no part in the decisions which the Governor-General must take in accordance with the Constitution. Her Majesty, as Queen of Australia, is watching events in Canberra with close interest and attention, but it would not be proper for her to intervene in person in matters which are so clearly placed within the jurisdiction of the Governor-General by the Constitution Act.
I understand that you have been good enough to send a copy of your letter to the Governor-General so I am writing to His Excellency to say that the text of your letter has been received here in London and has been laid before The Queen.
I am sending a copy of this letter to the Governor-General.
Yours sincerely, MARTIN CHARTERIS
– In the last few days, when it became known that the GovernorGeneral proposed to appoint one deputy to swear in the members of both Houses, contrary to the practice and the Standing Orders of each House, Mr Speaker Scholes wrote to the Governor-General and secured the appointment of 2 deputies as usual and required. I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard this further correspondence.
The CLERK-Is leave granted?
– Leave is refused.
-None of us can have any doubt about the fitness of the honourable member for Corio to carry out the duties of Speaker. He has demonstrated all the qualities of a fine Speaker- wisdom, tolerance and selfassurance, clarity and certitude in his rulings, that special blend of firmness and fairness essential to the good conduct of proceedings. When the supreme challenge came to the rights of this Parliament he bore himself with dignity and carried out his tasks with the highest conception of his duty to the institution he serves and the cause of Australian democracy. It is above all in recognition of his actions and conduct at that time that I commend him to honourable members as our Speaker.
-In supporting the motion that the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) do take the Chair I remind the House- I am sure that all who were in the last Parliament will agree with me- of his great technical competence as a Speaker. He was a very fair Speaker. There was very great clarity in his rulings. While the turn of political fortune may mean that he will cease to have the Speaker’s chair as a result of the election in this House there is nothing in his record that deserves defeat. His last action was to vindicate the rights of this House against what was an act of very great discourtesy. Had there been only one deputy to swear in both Houses we would have been cooling our heels in this chamber waiting for the process to be finished in the Senate. I would like to know why such a discourtesy, never offered, to this House before in my 30 years in this Parliament, took place. But it is consistent with the attitudes shown towards the rights of the House by the holder of that office.
There is a great importance in the Speakership, but this importance is slurred over. No reference was made from the other side to the importance of the speakership in vindicating the rights of this Parliament. There is a tendency of mind in text books to talk about a military raid on Parliament as something done by Charles I and Cromwell. The last military raid on an English speaking parliament took place in Australia in 1917 under the orders of William Morris Hughes, who was the then Prime Minister. The Speaker of the day, although of the same political persuasion, did not co-operate; neither did the Clerks of the House. But a servile majority of the House of Representatives was prepared to vote to vindicate a military raid on itself which its own Speaker and its own Clerk did not support. So I say that in Australia the tradition of vindicating the rights of this House in the formation of a government and its rights vis-a-vis the Crown is very defective. I believe that the correspondence of the honourable member for Corio with the Governor-General, with the Queen and then with the Governor-General again will last in this country as significant documents beyond the chances and changes of any election because they are documents of the greatest significance and the principles incorporated in those documents are principles upon which proper parliamentary government in this country will have to proceed. I believe that abroad there are very few observers of the Westminister system who would not vindicate what was done by Mr Speaker Scholes.
For those reasons I have pleasure in seconding his nomination to the Chair. However, knowing of course the composition of this Parliament and the likely election result I can only say that personally I very greatly regret that the Liberal Party did not choose a much more competent man as its nominee for Speaker and one in whom we would have much more confidence. I refer to the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles ).
– I rise to support the nomination of the right honourable Bill Snedden as Speaker. I do so and participate in this debate because of the innuendoes made and the inferences drawn by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr E. G. Whitlam) and the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley), the two who have nominated Mr Scholes for the position of Speaker. There is no doubt that the Leader of the Opposition, by his innuendo and inference, demonstrates once more that he still fails to recognise the verdict of the Australian people on 13 December. Equally, I think it is a pity that he fails to recognise that the fault in many instances lies not in others but in ourselves. He should learn some humility and that the judgment of the Australian people is more important than that which he sought to impose on the previous Parliament and which he apparently still intends to endeavour to impose on this Parliament.
It seems to me that several aspects of the allegations made need to be answered. I deal first with the suggestion that in some way Mr Scholes, as Speaker, acted with the authority and the backing of the members of this Parliament when he corresponded with Her Majesty the Queen. On no occasion was the question of his correspondence with Her Majesty raised in this chamber. He wrote to Her Majesty without in any way receiving the authorisation of this Parliament. That correspondence was undertaken on his own behalf without the backing of the Parliament and in a way which ignored completely the fact that under the Australian Constitution there is not one House of Parliament but there are 2 Houses of Parliament.
In this Parliament a few moments ago the Leader of the Opposition once more stated that in his view the sooner the powers of the Senate are curtailed, as were the powers of the Senate in the United States of America, the better. Under the Australian Constitution, fortunately, the powers of changing the Constitution lie not with the members of the Opposition, not with the members of the Australian Labor Party, nor indeed even with the members of this Parliament. They lie with the Australian people. The only way in which the powers of the Australian Constitution can be changed significantly is by referendum. If the powers of the Senate are to be reduced it will not be by correspondence between the Speaker in this Chamber and Her Majesty. Neither will it be by inference that there should be a reduction in the powers of the Senate to enhance in some way the status of this House.
The importance of this election is that we on the Government side of the House are confident that in the right honourable Bill Snedden we have a man who can and will act with the authority of this Parliament, who will act in accordance with the terms of the Australian Constitution. He is a man of experience and integrity, of competence and humility, a man in whom we have complete trust. There is no doubt that as a result the Australian Constitution will be observed and the rights and interests of the Australian people protected.
I believe it inappropriate at this time that there should be any doubt about the capacity or otherwise of the Governor-General to have acted as he did. Indeed, the verdict of 13 December must remain the ultimate determinant and, as my colleague the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) has said, if there is any doubt I would commend to honourable members a reading of the letter from the representative of Her Majesty the Queen which completely refutes the allegation that the Governor-General acted in any way outside the powers which are his within the Australian Constitution.
-I listened with astonishment to the remarks of the honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair). Honourable members should remember his action on 12 November when he speaks of Parliament and what it stands for. On 11 November in this House the honourable member for Werriwa (Mr E. G. Whitlam) was removed from office by the Governor-General and replaced by the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser). The House immediately passed a resolution of no confidence in the honourable member for Wannon and the next day, to their eternal parliamentary shame and the shame of the people who supported and nominated them, members of the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party went out to the Governor-General’s residence and were sworn in as ministers- an act of treachery and treason against the whole parliamentary system.
Motion (by Mr Sinclair) agreed to:
That the question be now put.
– In accordance with the standing order the bells will be rung and a ballot taken. (The bells having been rung)
-The result of the ballot is: Mr Snedden, 90 votes; Mr Scholes, 37 votes. Mr Snedden is therefore declared elected.
-I wish to express my appreciation for the high honour that the House has been pleased to confer upon me. (Mr Speaker having seated himself in the Chair)
– I call the Prime Minister.
- Mr Speaker, I should like to offer you the warmest congratulations on behalf of the Government and the Government Parties and my own personal warm congratulations for the high honour that this House has bestowed upon you. It is an honour that has been truly deserved. The Government and, I believe, the Parliament has complete confidence that under your Speakership the Parliament will be a place of dignity, of courtesy and of propriety, with the interests of the people we are meant to serve, the people of Australia, to the forefront of our minds.
Mr Speaker, in this Parliament and in the wider field around Australia you have always been a man of great courtesy, and that is a quality which has often been rare in this Parliament. I hope we will see more of it. May some of your courtesy spread its way through the rest of us who have not practised it so well. You have good relations with members on both sides of the House and I know that you will perform the task of Speaker with dedication and great concern for this Parliament, for this institution. The Government, for its part, is determined to strengthen the institution of Parliament. Policy announcements will be made where they ought to be madewhen the House is sitting in the Parliament itself. There will be proper opportunities to debate matters of major significance and debate will not be cut off as it has been on some occasions in the past. There is much room for committee reforms in the Parliament. We have had a situation in which a joint committee - (Opposition members interjecting)-
-Mr Speaker, in case the honourable gentlemen opposite did not understand me, when policy matters are introduced into this Parliament and policy announcements are made in this Parliament, there will be proper opportunity to debate them. On previous occasions there was no opportunity to debate policy in this Parliament and debate was often cut short when it should not have been. That will not occur in the future. But if an Opposition persists in tactics or approaches designed to frustrate the proper workings of the House, obviously the Leader of the House will have to take to himself the powers under the Standing Orders and use them appropriately.
Committee reforms are something which a committee of this House and of the Senate have been examining. The Government will look forward keenly to a final report from a reconstituted committee so that action can be undertaken to reform the workings of the Parliament and to enable the members of the Parliament to have a fuller and a more appropriate role in the nation’s affairs. I believe that there have been opportunities in the past when governments could have acted in this way. My Government is determined not only to assist you, Sir, in setting standards of conduct of behaviour in this Parliament, but also to do a great deal to enhance the working of the Parliament and to make private members of the Parliament feel that they have- as they have- a more significant role than has sometimes been the case in the past.
The office of Speaker is a responsible job, and this is an important time for the future of Australia. I should just like to repeat, Mr Speaker, that you have the good wishes of every person in the Government and, I believe, the good wishes of the Parliament. You have had a long and distinguished career in the Parliament and I can think of nobody who will fill this task better, with greater dignity, with more honour and, as I indicated, with greater courtesy. These are qualities the Parliament needs; they are qualities Australia needs. We thank you for taking the chair.
Mr E. G. WHITLAM (Werriwa-Leader of the Opposition)- Mr Speaker, I offer the sincere congratulations of the Opposition on your election to your high and ancient office. There are few members of the House indeed who have had so long and deep an experience as yourself. There are few people in the House who have been members as long as you; you have been a member for over 20 years. No one in the House has been a Minister longer than you; you have been a minister for 9 years, ranging from Attorney-General to Treasurer. You were Leader of the House on two occasions, amounting in all to 3 Vi years. You were Leader of the Opposition for 2V4 years. You represented your Party and the Parliament at many conferences and in many overseas delegations. Few people could hope to equal your record of experience as a member of Parliament, as a representative of the Parliament, as a Minister in the Parliament. Three times, when you were in my present position you tendered congratulations to the Speaker- in February 1973, July 1974 and February 1975. You would blush if I were to recall the sentiments you expressed as those required by an ideal Speaker. It is enough for me to say that I will keep them by me for ready reference.
– You might give me the reference.
– My only misgivings, Sir, arise from a doubt of your willingness and capacity to assert the rights of the House. After all, you yourself abetted the first attempt by the Senate to usurp the rights of this House in April 1974. The attempt failed because you, unlike your successor, did not corral the complete conservative coalition of newspaper proprietors, Chief Justice and Governor-General. I concede that your attitude is not likely to handicap the House in this Parliament when the Senate, I expect, will be quite quiescent. Mr Speaker, there will be widespread satisfaction on both sides of the House that your Party, on one of those occasions when it conducted a secret ballot for its officers and nominees, made amends to you by nominating you to your high office. There is much personal goodwill towards you on both sides of the House. I certainly share that sentiment myself. I am most happy to convey to you the congratulations of myself and my colleagues.
- Mr Speaker, on behalf of the members of the National Country Party I extend sincere congratulations to you on being elected to the very high position of Speaker of this House. I also extend to you my own personal congratulations. You have been a friend and colleague of mine for many years and it is indeed fitting to see this distinction bestowed upon you. You have held many responsible positions in this chamber and you understand the forms of the House and its mood. I am sure that in your position you will do all possible to maintain the decorum, dignity and propriety that go with the responsibilities of your office. You are a person who has had misfortunes but one of your greatest attributes has been your ability to show no bias, no bitterness and no retaliation. As a Speaker must show impartiality and no bias, you are a fitting person to hold the position. I wish you many years of service in the office.
I should like to commend the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes), who has experienced disappointment today in not being elected as Speaker, for the service he gave in the previous Parliament. His misfortune was not of his own making but was due to those in his own Party who wanted to abuse the forms of the House and to reject the Constitution.
-Mr Speaker, I congratulate you on your assumption of a very important and high office not only in this Parliament but also in our community. You take this office at a time when some of the problems which beset myself and my predecessor do not exist within this Parliament. The governing party has a majority in both Houses and therefore it is less likely that conflict between the Houses will exist. You also take office at a time when this House is at what I must say is its lowest position with regard to government and administration. This House has had removed from it its pre-eminent right over the finances of the Commonwealth. It has had removed from it rights which people’s houses, including the House of Commons, have had for 700 years.
– The Leader of the House expressed his opinion in an earlier debate. His opinion is that a man who robs a bank and gets away with it is properly and legally entitled to the funds he collects. Having robbed the bank of integrity and obtained a majority in this House does not make the actions which preceded the election proper any more than the verdict of the Australian people in 1966 reflected what was proper and subsequently proved correct in those days. Mr Speaker, I have been diverted by an interjection and I am sorry.
– You are out of order.
-That decision is the Presiding Officer’s responsibility and not the responsibility of the honourable member. I am sure the Speaker can carry out his duties far better than the honourable member. That is why the honourable member was not selected yesterday. Sir, you assume responsibilities also outside this chamber. You are responsible for this Parliament and every person who enters and works within it. The people who work within this Parliament are the people most neglected by this Commonwealth of ours and least thought about by those who exercise power. You, Sir, have a responsibility which will bring you in conflict with your executive and rarely bring you satisfaction. The conditions under which people work in this Parliament are below sub-standard and this Parliament, under its laws, would not allow other people to work under similar conditions. Sir, I congratulate you and I say to you with all the goodwill in the world that I trust that your service to Parliament this House of the Parliament as its Speaker will be such that it will place your name high in the list of the people who have occupied that chair and that it will bring to this Parliament and, more importantly, to this House of the Parliament, the respect and the position to which I think the Government of this country is entitled.
– It is not only appropriate but certainly it is also my wish that I be allowed one or two moments to congratulate you, Mr Speaker, most sincerely on your elevation to the office you now hold. In passing may I also pay my compliments to the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes). I was a trifle astounded to hear him refer to banks as storehouses of integrity. I have no doubt that that statement, if I heard it correctly , will be noticed in high places. I know that all sorts of banks store commodities, sometimes of great importance, but probably nothing of greater importance than integrity. I was interested in the honourable member’s use of that term.
Mr Speaker, my purpose in rising is to congratulate you and I request you to pass on my best wishes, and the best wishes of honourable members of this side of the House, to your wife. In times of adversity men come forward- and in this case I would spell Men with a capital. I think you have succeeded in attracting the admiration of the people of Australia for the fine way in which you and your wife have coped with adversity. In many ways adversity is a major requirement in forming character, and character is what is needed to control this House in a dignified and proper fashion. I personally wish you well and I hope you have a long, successful and happy sojourn in your present office.
-I would like to congratulate you, Mr Speaker, on assuming this high office. The honourable member for Hotham (Mr Chipp) was unkind enough to refer to a nose injury of yours which goes back so many decades that it must be embarrassing to consider the lapse of time. I would like to join him in saying that I hope we do not have the misfortune of seeing you taking the chair on any future occasion with your nose out of joint. I feel certain that you were reassured today to have the expression from the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) that he stands firmly behind you. Some people would be unkind enough to make some pointed comments about that remark. It is not the first time that he has given you assurances of complete and loyal support to you but I think he means it this time. I found the principle firmly enunciated this morning by the Prime Minister a rather novel one, that there would be a completely free flow of debate in this chamber- except when it was embarrassing and then, of course, the matter would be put to the vote.
Mr Speaker, you bring the breadth of experience to this chair which should allow you to discharge your duties with dignity and to attract great respect to this House. I sincerely trust that you display the depth of personal qualities which must also go with this. I believe you will and I wish you well in the future.
– I thank the House and I thank the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) for the words he has spoken. There has been some departure from practice today in that issues of debate have been raised when really they should not have been raised. However, it was for the information of honourable gentlemen. I add that I think it will be in the interests of the House if we can have as many questions as possible in question time. I think the proposal put by the Prime Minister will contribute to that. I thank the Prime Minister for what he said. I thank the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr E. G. Whitlam). All of them customarily congratulate the Speaker, but I felt in the congratulations a real sense of meaning. I appreciate that. The honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) may, I hope, understand that I felt that he contributed very greatly as a Speaker in the period that he served. I appreciate the kindness of the gesture of the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) in speaking as he did. I draw the attention of the House to the fact that there is in the chamber today the longest serving Speaker in our history, Sir John McLeay. (Opposition members interjecting)
– Order! That is the first time I have said it. I hope it will not be said very often. I hope I will have no need to repeat it. The office of Speaker has a great tradition. In many ways it is the fulcrum of parliamentary democracy. I am greatly honoured to occupy the position. I will be most alert to my responsibility to protect the dignity, the decorum and authority of the House. I will expect all honourable members to conduct themselves and to make their contribution to proceedings appropriately. I look forward to retaining the camaraderie of my old colleagues of the House and to building that camaraderie with my new colleagues. I thank the House.
– I have ascertained that it will be His Excellency the Governor-General’s pleasure to receive the Speaker in the Library of the Parliament this day at 2.42 p.m.
– Prior to my presentation to His Excellency this afternoon, the bells will ring for 3 minutes so that honourable members may attend in the chamber and accompany the Speaker to the Library, when they may, if they so wish, be introduced to His Excellency.
Sitting suspended from 12.47 to 2.41 p.m. (The House proceeded to the Library, and, being reassembled)
– I have to report that, accompanied by honourable members, I this day proceeded to the Library of the Parliament and presented myself to His Excellency the Governor-General as the choice of the House, and that His Excellency was kind enough to congratulate me on my election as Speaker.
– His Excellency also presented to me his commission authorising me to administer to members the oath of affirmation of allegiance. I now lay the commission on the table.
The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered a message that His Excellency the Governor-General desired the attendance of honourable members in the Senate chamber forthwith. (Mr Speaker and honourable members attended accordingly and, having returned).
- Mr Speaker, I have the honour to inform the House that the Ministry is as follows:
Minister for Administrative Services and Vice-President of the Executive CouncilSenator the Honourable R. G. Withers.
Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development- Senator the Honourable Ivor J. Greenwood, Q.C.
Minister for Industry and CommerceSenator the Honourable Robert Cotton.
Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Public Service Matters- The Honourable A. A. Street.
Minister for Education and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Federal AffairsSenator the Honourable J. L. Carrick.
Minister for Social Security and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Child Care Matters- Senator the Honourable Margaret Guilfoyle.
Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs-The Honorable M. J. R. MacKellar.
Minister for the Northern Territory and Minister Assisting the Minister for National Resources- The Honourable Evan Adermann.
Minister for Post and Telecommunications and Minister Assisting the Treasurer- The Honourable Eric Robinson.
Minister for Construction and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence- The Honourable John McLeay.
Minister for Science- Senator the Honourable J. J. Webster.
Minister for the Capital Territory- The Honourable A. A. Staley.
The first 12 Ministers named comprise the Cabinet. The Leader of the House is Mr Sinclair.
The Leader of the Government in the Senate is Senator Withers. In the Senate, Senator Withers will represent me in all matters except federal affairs and child care where I will be represented by the Ministers who are assisting me in those matters. Senator Withers will also represent the Ministers for National Resources, Foreign Affairs and Defence. The other portfolios will be represented in that chamber as follows: Employment and Industrial Relations, AttorneyGeneral, Business and Consumer Affairs by Senator Greenwood; Overseas Trade, Treasurer, Primary Industry and Transport by Senator Cotton; Post and Telecommunications by Senator Carrick; Health, Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Aboriginal Affairs and Repatriation by Senator Guilfoyle; Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Construction by Senator Webster.
Ministers in the Senate will be represented in this House as follows: The Minister for Administrative Services by Mr Street; the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development by Mr MacKellar; the Minister for Industry and Commerce by Mr Howard; the Minister for Education by Mr Viner; the Minister for Social Security by Mr Hunt; the Minister for Science by Mr Adermann.
The Government Whip is the honourable member for Bendigo, Mr Bourchier, and the Deputy Whip is the honourable member for Griffith, Mr Donald Cameron.
– I have the honour to inform the House that the Parliamentary Labor Party has elected me as Leader, the honourable member for Reid, Mr Uren, as Deputy Leader, the honourable member for Bonython, Mr Nicholls, as Whip and the honourable member for Hunter, Mr James, as Deputy Whip.
– I wish to inform the House that the National Country Party has elected me as its Leader, the honourable the Minister for Primary Industry, Mr Sinclair, as Deputy Leader and the honourable member for Maranoa, Mr Corbett, as Party Whip.
Bill presented by Mr Malcolm Fraser, and read a first time.
– I have to report that the House this day attended His Excellency the Governor-General in the Senate chamber when His Excellency was pleased to make a speech to both Houses of the Parliament. The Speech will be included in Hansard for record purposes. (The Speech read as follows)-
Senators, Members of the House of Representatives:
We assemble at a time when large areas of New South Wales and Queensland are being devastated by severe flooding. It is a terrible experience for those affected and my Government expresses its deepest concern for their plight. The Government is consulting with the States in taking action to ensure that all proper assistance is available. The Natural Disasters Organisation is operating smoothly.
Following the decision of the Australian people in the elections last December for both Houses of Parliament, my Government believes that the Australian people have given it a strong directive to bring under control the highest unemployment for forty years and the worst prolonged inflation in the nation’s history. The Government believes that excessive government intervention in the life of the nation is a major factor in economic instability.
My Government’s immediate objective is to bring inflation under control so that there can again be jobs for all who want to work.
The Government’s long term objective is to prevent the growth of centralised bureaucratic domination in Australia, the increasing dependence of individuals on the state. It is to encourage the development of an Australia in which people have- maximum freedom and independence to achieve their own goals in life, in ways which they decide.
As part of this approach the Government will place great emphasis on directing welfare assistance to those in real need. Unless there is a concentration on those in real need, schemes of assistance do not provide maximum possible assistance to the disadvantaged and become excessively costly. The Government does not believe that the poor and disadvantaged can be best helped by increasing the dependence of everyone on what the Government chooses to provide.
My Government believes that adequate opportunities for the disadvantaged as well as the most rapid improvement in social service provision, are dependent on people being free and encouraged to achieve their best. The disadvantaged must be helped in ways which leave them the maximum independence.
At the root of the economic crisis is a steadily increasing tax burden required to finance, at the expense of the private sector, an ever-growing public sector. Measures to deal with this crisis will advance Australia towards the long-term goal of a society based on freedom and on the mutual respect freedom makes possible.
The Government’s strategy to achieve its objectives can be summarised as follows:
Control of inflation is the Government’s first consideration. Unless inflation is brought under control there will be no adequate employment opportunities, no soundly based return to prosperity.
The Government has already begun to implement its economic program to achieve this objective. It is a full three year program.
The budget deficit must be lowered, otherwise inflationary pressures will intensify. The very rapid growth in government expenditure in recent times has been accompanied by enormous waste. The Government has taken a number of actions to reduce expenditure and inefficiency.
Immediate economies have been made in administrative expenses. These affect, among other things, overtime, travel and subsistence expenses, advertising, consultancy work, the activities of commissions, boards of inquiry, and so on, as well as expenditure by Ministers and other members of Parliament.
The growth of the Federal bureaucracy has been halted by the announcement of revised staff ceilings. Further revisions to these ceilings to reduce the size of the service were announced last week.
There has been an initial review of the Government’s spending programs and, with the other measures taken, expenditure reductions worth about $360m in the current year have been achieved. Savings from these decisions in later years will be considerably greater.
The Government has also appointed an Administrative Review Committee to review administrative expenditure, achieve maximum administrative efficiency, and eliminate waste and duplication within and between Government Departments, and between Commonwealth and States. The committee will report progressively.
The Government has been forced to examine all expenditures in terms of their priority. Choices have to be made. It will be necessary to economise on some worthwhile projects which are not urgent, in addition to continued action against waste and duplication, to effect the necessary transfer of resources to the private sector. Only if this is done can prosperity and productive job opportunities be restored.
While the Government in these ways is seeking to cut the costs of public administration, it also seeks to promote worthwhile innovation in the Public Service. The Government will give close attention to the Report of the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration when it is received.
Concurrent with action to bring the deficit under control, the Government has announced a number of measures to further restrain inflation, encourage investment in plant and equipment and expand job opportunities in the private sector.
These measures include the new 40 per cent investment allowance and the relaxation of conditions applying to the interest deductibility of convertible note issues.
The Government has introduced a major set of monetary measures to take up excess liquidity and encourage investment. The package included a special new security, the Australian Savings Bond, which was outstandingly successful in supporting the February loan raisings.
The Government will continue the suspension of the quarterly tax instalments for the three instalments that would have been payable for the 1976-77 financial year.
Alongside its assistance to manufacturing and other industries, the Government has taken action to assist the rural community to overcome its present crisis. Rural industries will not be neglected as they have been in the past
Government support for industry- primary as well as secondary- will be based on reports of the Industries Assistance Commission. The Government, of course, makes policy in this area. The Government is pursuing energetically proposals for a Rural Bank and a Farm Income Reserve Fund.
An important contribution to economic revival and the expansion of job opportunities will be made by the Government’s policy for Australia ‘s resources. The prime objective of the Government’s national resources policy is to return resource development to its proper role in the nation’s economy and to restore overseas user’s confidence in the Australian mining industry’s long term reliability.
The Government seeks to assure its overseas trading partners, including Japan, that we will be a stable and steady trading partner. Reliable access to overseas markets for a range of Australian products will be sought.
The development of the North- West Shelf is a high priority and the Government is working closely with the Western Australian Government and private enterprise to bring the gas on-stream at the earliest possible date.
The Government will energetically promote overseas trade and participate actively in the discussion of trade problems in the Conference on International Economic Cooperation and the forthcoming UNCTAD Ministerial Conference, as well as in the Multilateral Trade Negotiations being conducted under the auspices of G ATT.
The Government will encourage measures aimed at improving the efficiency, economy, and adequacy of our transport services. In achieving these objectives it will work through Commonwealth, State and industry advisory bodies and it will review means of strengthening the Australian Shippers’ Council.
Action will be taken to give effect to the Government’s commitment to develop a relative freight equalisation scheme for Bass Strait traffic.
The Government will ensure that business activity is regulated by law to prevent exploitation of consumers. It will also review existing regulations to ensure that they are in the public interest and do not needlessly hamper business efficiency. The Government will review the operation of the Trade Practices Act and closely cooperate with the States in protecting the consumer.
Australia will not return to a soundly based prosperity without understanding and cooperation between all sections of the community. The Government needs broadly based advice from the community and in this regard will be looking to such bodies as the Economic Consultative Group and the proposed tripartite national consultative council in the industrial relations area. With this in mind the Government has established the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs to develop and maintain close contact with consumers and business. In the field of transport, improved communication and cooperation with the States will be undertaken through the Australian Transport Advisory Council, the Marine and Ports Council and the Transport Industries Advisory Council.
Talks are to be held with union and employer groups on the future role and operations of the Prices Justification Tribunal.
A major step in the Government’s strategy and an important support for community cooperation will be the introduction of tax indexation.
In the next Budget, the Government will begin implementing its tax indexation policy. The greater the support given to the Government’s economic program, the greater the first step can be. This reform will compel Governments to be honest- if they want more money, they must legislate for it. It will protect the average Australian and the low income earner against higher tax levels caused by inflation. It will check Government-induced inflation. It will be more effective in protecting the incomes of wage and salary earners than any other single measure.
The Government intends to increase the capacity of Australian workers and employers to decide the leadership of their organisations. Legislation will be introduced providing for officially conducted secret ballots in elections for officials in organisations registered under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The Government is also proposing to ensure that members receive each year a report on the activities of their organisation and its finances. These measures will be discussed with the trade union movement before legislation is introduced.
To re-establish a pattern of cooperation in national affairs and reverse the excessive centralising of power in Australia, the Government proposes to make the most important reform of the Federal system since Federation. Its core will be the principle of tax sharing. The possibilities of this new approach to Federalism are demonstrated by the recent Premiers’ Conference. The working of our governmental system has been corroded by the absence of reasonable financial autonomy for the States. Under this Government, the States will have access to a secure proportion of personal income tax revenue. This will both make possible more effective community participation in State and Local Government and a more rational use of the Government’s resources.
In making these reforms, particular care will be taken over the special circumstances of the less populous States to ensure that they are in no way disadvantaged.
To assist in achieving cooperation between the various spheres of government, an Advisory Council on Inter-governmental Relations will be established.
In line with its policy of developing governmental authority, the Government will progressively act to confer executive responsibility on the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory with the objective of advancing the Territory to Statehood. A joint Federal and Northern Territory Legislative Assembly committee will be set up to work on arrangements for the transition to Statehood.
For the A.C.T. the Government will propose legislation to ensure that the A.C.T. Legislative Assembly has responsibility for the financial management and decision-making related to Canberra’s local affairs, although the Parliament will retain a reserve power of disallowance. A task force has been established to make recommendations on the framework for the transfer of appropriate authority to the Assembly.
Action to restore Australia’s economic well being and decentralise Government decision making is essential to the Government’s ability to provide better and more effective assistance to the disadvantaged. The Government will not permit economic recovery to take place at the expense of those who are less well off.
The Government proposes to introduce to the Parliament amending legislation to increase social service pensions and benefit rates every six months in accordance with movements in the Consumer Price Index. Similar legislation will be introduced to increase repatriation compensation payments.
The Government will proceed with a review of the income security system as a whole, including the effectiveness of guaranteed minimum income proposals in overcoming poverty.
The possibility of expanding the area of choice in services available to the disadvantaged and those in real need, while fully maintaining support, will be investigated by the Government.
It is believed by the Government that voluntary welfare organisations are a critically important part of the Australian welfare system. Accordingly, financial assistance to them will continue. In addition, the Government will assist voluntary bodies by placing public service resources at their disposal through improving opportunities for transferability of staff between the Government and the non-government sector.
Medibank will be retained and the Government will ensure it operates efficiently. The Medibank Review Committee has been established to examine the program in this respect.
Measures have been taken to ensure that only those genuinely eligible receive unemployment benefit. The Government will do everything in its power to ensure that these measures are applied with a sensitivity and understanding that respects the dignity of the unemployed, and that there is a simple, understandable and effective appeals system to protect applicants for benefits against arbitrary action by officials.
The Government believes that education is a prime means for individual self development. An education system to achieve this end must be based on equality of opportunity and the pursuit of excellence.
Legislation will be presented to Parliament early in the session to provide assistance to the States for education in 1976. This legislation will authorise funds for the programs of the Schools Commission, Universities Commission, Commission on Advanced Education and the Technical and Further Education Commission, which are now proceeding.
The Government has requested reports from these Commissions on the triennium 1977-79 by the end of March.
The relevant Commissions will be asked to give close attention to measures designed to achieve greater equality in teaching and facilities, and in particular to giving effective educational opportunities to the disadvantagedhandicapped, Aboriginal, isolated and migrant children.
The functions of the Commissions and how they relate to State programs and responsibilities will be examined by the Government. Proposals are being considered for a single Tertiary Education Commission to perform the functions currently undertaken by the Universities Commission and the Commission on Advanced Education.
The Government intends to proceed with the establishment of the maritime college at Launceston.
The Government gives high priority to the provision of trade union training. It is particu- l arly concerned that training opportunities, and the composition of National and State Trade Union Training Councils recognise the important position of women in Australian employment.
The Government’s foreign policy will reflect a greater self-reliance, and willingness to develop friendly and cooperative relations with all countries. The Government will continue fully to support international initiatives for the reduction of world tensions.
Within South East Asia Australia has particularly good relations with the ASEAN group of countries. The Government will seek ways of expanding cooperation with them both individually and as a group as well as maintaining and developing substantive communications with all the countries in the Asia-Pacific area.
My Government’s diplomatic effort will give greater emphasis to the Asia-Pacific region. It will seek to extend and deepen Australia’s relations with Japan. In response to messages from the Prime Minister of Japan, expressing the wish for the early conclusion of a treaty of friendship and cooperation between the two countries, the
Government has made decisions which will enable the negotiations delayed last year to proceed. Bilateral relations with China will be further developed.
The Government believes there is a need to pay more attention to relations with countries with which we share common philosophical commitments.
Priority will be given to the protection of Australian interests in areas adjacent to our continent. In the Indian Ocean the Government supports United States efforts to balance the Soviet presence while hoping mutual restraint will keep the balance of forces at the lowest practicable level. Conscious of the steady and systematic development since 1968 of Soviet naval capabilities in the Indian Ocean area and its use of facilities there, and given the need of the United States to have adequate logistical back-up in an area where developments could affect global stability, the Government supports the United States development of Diego Garcia facilities.
The Government believes Australia has a continuing responsibility to assist in the progress of Papua New Guinea and will, therefore, continue a comprehensive program for cooperation and development. The Government looks forward to the visit of Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister and to having early discussions with him. The Government also accepts that it has a responsibility to assist with the economic advancement of developing countries.
The nation’s security is a prime concern of the Government. The Government will watch the international situation closely to ensure timely warning of any changes adverse to the nation’s security interests. It will maintain and foster the valuable defence relations with Australia’s allies and other friends, including close associates in the neighbouring region.
The Government will ensure that the nation has at its disposal an adequate defence force that is properly trained, equipped and supported.
Thorough assessments of equipment needs are being undertaken as part of the review of the Defence Program. Once the priorities are determined my Government will act without delay to acquire the chosen equipment. An order for medium range transport aircraft for the RAAF is expected to be placed within the next few months.
A plan for a new cadet system is being drawn up. The new style cadet corps will retain the essential virtues of cadet training, but will seek to rely more heavily on voluntary support from the community.
The Government places importance on improving the Defence infrastructure, and has directed that a number of studies be undertaken in relation to our Western seaboard. These include an examination to expedite completion of HMAS Stirling in Cockburn Sound, and the early establishment of a Joint Services training area at Yampi Sound.
The new Defence organisation established by the Defence Reorganisation Act will facilitate the development of a Defence Force in keeping with Australia’s needs. A Defence Council has been established to facilitate the access by the Minister for Defence to all relevant advice and information concerning the control and administration of the Armed Services and to ensure that the views of the services are reviewed by an appropriate body.
The Government is firmly committed to furthering equality of opportunity for women in education, employment, and in public life. It will encourage the full participation of women in all aspects of Australian life to ensure that their contribution of skills and talents is used to the full. The Commonwealth Public Service Superannuation Scheme to be introduced shortly has been amended to make better provision for women employed by the Government.
The Government recognises the major contribution that migrants have made to Australia. It will intensify action to meet the needs of migrant and ethnic communities in Australia.
In order to consult adequately with migrant communities, the Government will see that consultative committees are established in every State.
It will cooperate with the States and migrant communities in disseminating ethnic languages and cultures.
It favours the provision of migrant advisory services and assistance schemes in industry and will encourage industry to take a greater responsibility for the welfare of migrant workers.
The Government will make available adequate numbers of bilingual staff in public hospitals and government departments.
The thrust of the Government’s policy in Aboriginal Affairs is to promote self-management and self-sufficiency for Aboriginals. To this end the Government will be considering ways of providing opportunities for Aboriginals to play a significant role in setting their long term goals and objectives, priorities for expenditure, and in evaluating existing programs and formulating new ones.
The Government will introduce legislation to establish a new Home Savings Grant Scheme. The Government will review the Housing Loans Insurance Scheme.
The Government is conscious of the need to protect and improve the nature of the environment.
To provide a coherent national approach to pollution control, the Government will discuss national environmental standards and criteria with the States. As soon as those discussions have been concluded, legislation will be introduced.
The implications of the affirmation by theHigh Court that the Seas and Submerged Lands Act 1973 is valid for the administration of all offshore operations, are now under close study and appropriate revised arrangements are being worked out in cooperation with the States. In these consultations the Government will seek to work out an appropriate basis of cooperation with the States not only in relation to particular industries but in particular for the protection of the marine environment.
The subject of privacy will be referred to the Law Reform Commission. The terms of reference will be settled after consultation with State Attorneys-General. After consideration of the Commission’s report the Government will introduce appropriate legislation.
The Government will continue to implement the Family Law Act.
Australia has a fine record of achievement in the creative and performing arts.
It is the Government’s intention to encourage their continued growth and development, and to emphasise the development of young talent. The Government also believes that the States and private interests can play a crucial part in the healthy and vigorous growth of the arts.
The Government will give effect to the National Gallery’s policy of giving first priority to purchasing Australian Art. Australia’s National Gallery should hold the very finest work of Australian artists of all periods.
The Government will support a more vigorous sponsorship of exhibitions which will give more Australians ready access to the art and culture of other countries.
The Government will continue to encourage the rapidly growing Australian Film and Television Industry.
Further development of the creative and performing arts will add greatly to the depth and value of life in Australia.
The purpose my Government has set itself is not merely to give Australia prosperity, predictability and stability. It is also to develop in a rational and sensible fashion a new and exciting role for government- one which places more reliance on the commonsense and reason of the Australian people.
Australians are increasingly well educated, they have a high capacity to participate in and shape the decisions that determine their future. My Government is determined to develop these possibilities in the process of government in a manner never before undertaken.
We have a unique opportunity to establish in Australia a truly liberal and humane society- to demonstrate that independence and freedom are not only compatible with action to assist the disadvantaged but inseparable from it.
The Government is not concerned with power for itself. It is the servant of the Australian people. Its purpose is to work with the people to create an Australian democracy which will be an example to the world of what a free people can achieve.
I now leave you in the faith that Divine Providence will always guide your deliberations and further the welfare of the people of Australia.
Motion (by Mr Malcolm Fraser) agreed to:
That a Committee consisting of Mr Groom, Mr Braithwaite and myself be appointed to prepare an AddressinReply to the Speech delivered by His Excellency the Governor-General to both Houses of the Parliament and that the Committee do report at the next sitting.
Sitting suspended from 3.54 to 5 p.m.
– A short while ago Tun Abdul Razak died. It is appropriate that the House pay its respects to his memory and to what he did in the service of his country and of the region in which he lived. Tun Abdul Razak ‘s death is a great loss to the people of Malaysia, South East Asia and the world. In his death Australia itself has lost a dear and good friend. Tun Razak had a sustained and close contact with leaders of the Australian Government, of both sides of politics, for many years. He was greatly respected by all Australians and especially by those who came to know him. He was respected for his depth of feeling, his sense of purpose and his dedication.
Tun Razak ‘s career was one of achievement. During the war he joined the Malayan resistance. He had a brilliant academic record in England where he was admitted to the Bar. He held high administrative posts in Malaya’s preindependence period while seeking Malaya’s national independence. It was one of those countries that moved from an old regime to a proper and dignified independence through co-operation, common sense and reason. In 1955 he was Education Minister and there laid the basis for Malaya’s national education system. In 1957, on Malayan independence, Tun Razak became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and National Security. He spearheaded the antiinsurgency campaign. In 1960 he also became Minister for National and Rural Development, a post he held for 10 years, which he used to achieve rapid progress in the development of rural areas and which did much to raise the standard of life throughout rural Malaysia.
In 1970 Tun Razak became Prime Minister and Defence and Foreign Affairs Minister. He made a significant contribution to the development of Malaysia both domestically and internationally. He was a skilled administrator and conducted Malaysian affairs with great dignity, calmness and sense of purpose. His statesmanship and his contribution to peace and stability in South East Asia will long be remembered. He helped to establish some notable and worthy goals not only for his own country but also for the region and he was not deterred by the fact that their achievement in the immediate present seemed difficult. I knew Tun Razak for a long period and I will mourn his loss personally. I therefore move:
That this House records its sincere regret at the death of Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, and expresses to the people of Malaysia profound regret and to his family tenders sympathy in their bereavement.
– The Australian Labor Party supports the motion which the Prime Minister has moved. Only 4 months ago Tun Razak was the guest of the Parliament. He was returning a visit which I made 2 years ago. He was South East Asia’s longest serving and one of its most dedicated national leaders. He had been a Minister since Malaysia was created. For the past 5 years he had been its Prime Minister. Before Malaysia was formed he had served as a Minister in the State of Pahang, of which his family were the hereditary rulers. He had devoted his whole adult life to equipping his nation for selfgovernment and asserting its independence. One of the most revealing things I learned from him was that when he was 10 years of age the coronation occurred of his grandfather as Sultan of Pehang. He said: ‘A very big hall was built for the occasion and all the chiefs, nicely dressed, stood in the hall. The British Governor and his officers were there too. Everyone was standing except them. That picture has stayed in my mind. The British put us on the stage but with no part to play. This was our country but they sat there and ruled it, and all we could do was to stand by and watch. I remember that occasion very well ‘.
Tun Razak was known as a very quiet person. He pursued a low profile in public life at home and abroad. Nevertheless, I believe that one needs to understand the man’s background and his earliest impressions to understand, to appreciate, to applaud his consistency of purpose and his persistence in achieving it, and his achievements were remarkable. Malaysia is not the easiest country to rule- constitutionally, ethnically, culturally- yet he brought it together, he helped to bring it to independence, he preserved its independence and he gave it a leadership role in the region, not least in ASEAN, such as no other person could have done so well. He played a leading role in the creation of the concept of a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality in South East Asia, a concept which, as the whole of ASEAN recognises, offers our best hope for the future of our region.
I had been his guest on 9 visits to Malaysia since 1962. My wife and I had formed a close friendship with him and his wife. The new Prime Minister of Malaysia is, of course, a brotherinlaw of the late Tun Razak. They married sisters. Many of us have lost a good neighbour and a good friend in Tun Razak. We can at least be happy that a man who was brought into public life from the professions, where he enjoyed a very high standing indeed and an outstanding reputation, is the new Prime Minister of Malaysia. To Tun Razak ‘s family, to the people of Malaysia, to the Government of Malaysia all Australians can say that they have lost a good neighbour and a good friend. We will remember the contribution that this man and those associated with him made to steady progress and proper aspirations in our region.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honourable members standing in their places.
– During the period when the House was not sitting Chou En-lai also died. With his death China lost one of her great leaders and the world lost one of this century’s outstanding men. His death will be sadly felt not only by the Chinese people but also by people throughout the world. Chou’s career spanned more than SO years, a record that few could equal. A determined revolutionary, he was a major figure in the turbulence of China’s revolutionary period and beyond, playing the roles of party organiser, military leader and intellectual, combining those qualities and characteristics with rare skill and a rare capacity. He was second only to Mao Tsetung in his influence on contemporary China. As Premier, Chou En-lai stood willing to discuss with candour his country’s position with visitors and other dignitaries. These explanations of China’s role made a significant contribution to world understanding and in particular to an understanding of modern China. A committed believer in the Marxist-Leninist perspective in the world, he applied this perspective through the established canons of international relations. History will remember Chou En-lai as a major figure of his era who served his country with sacrifice and dedication over a span of years that has few parallels. In his last years, gravely ill, he worked with grace and composure to maintain and enhance China’s internal stability and position in the world. I therefore move:
That this House records its sincere regret at the death of Chou En-lai, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, and expresses to the people of China profound regret and to his family tenders sympathy in their bereavement.
– The Australian Labor Party supports the motion of condolence of the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) on the death of Premier Chou En-lai. His death has been lamented not only by the people of China, for whom it was an occasion of profound national grief, but also by statesmen and people the world over. With his great compatriot Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai embodied and expressed the aspirations of the people of China for national unity and international dignity. His death has removed the last but one of the giants of modern history. In the eyes of the world he represented the authentic spirit of the new China and her people. At the same time he remained a figure of world stature, of universal renown. While serving always the interests of his own people he was never remote from the wider concerns of humanity. He had an instinctive familiarity with nations and people everywhere, with the arts of diplomacy and the workings of governments. It was this which made him over half a century a supremely skilled and eloquent spokesman for his country, the supreme internationalist amongst statesmen and the chief interpreter to the world of the ideals and aspirations of his people.
His great achievement was to restore to a quarter of the world’s people their proper place in the community of nations. He won for his country by slow degrees the trust and respect of other nations. For too long in that task he met grudging response from Australia and her allies. Only in recent years have all Australian governments and parties come to accept the place of China in our region and in the world and the legitimate claims of her people to recognition and full membership in the world community. I believe the judgment of history wm confirm that on all momentous issues affecting the peace and security of our region China has been proved right and the Western nations paid a heavy and tragic price for their folly and short-sightedness.
Premier Chou En-lai worked tirelessly to better the living standards of his people. He was both a product and an architect of the tumultuous events of the revolution whose effects have transformed his country and its relations with the world. People everywhere admired his valiant participation in the Long March. Modern China owes much of its strength and confidence as well as its growing industrial development to the ideals he formulated and the inspiration he provided to his people.
I made 2 visits to his country, the second as Prime Minister. During my visits I spent some 20 hours in discussion with him and was profoundly impressed by his charm, his humanity, his vigour and his vision. It was a vision which encompassed the world, a world where China would neither dominate nor be dominated. If the world now better understands China and the people of China it is chiefly because of this extraordinary man. He worked passionately for peace. He saw peace as the indispensable condition for the progress of mankind and the realisation of the aspirations of his country. He deepened and extended China’s contacts with the world in culture and trade. More than anyone else he helped break down the ancient fears and suspicions of his country that prevailed abroad. His per.sonality embodied both the spirit of contemporary China and the values of its ancient civilisation, the longest civilisation to occupy one part of the earth’s surface. In time I believe the world will come to see the full dimensions of its debt to this wise, patient, cultured and, in the highest sense, aristocratic representative of his people.
-I join with the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and the
Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) in support of this motion of condolence in respect of the death of the Premier of the People’s Republic of China. Like so many people holding office in the parliaments throughout the world I have joined with the throng that has gone to China in recent years and have had the great privilege of meeting with Premier Chou En-lai. In speaking of this man one must of course reconcile his history with the torment of China up to 1949 and the great achievements of China since 1949. It has been an unfortunate aspect of Australian politics that the exploitation of foreign affairs during the 1950s and 1960s and the plight of Asia during that period clouded both the achievement of China and the ability and achievements of the individuals in the Government of China, one of whom was the Premier, Chou En-lai. The responsibility of the Government of China in 1949 to tackle the problems of some 600 million people, to get the industries going, to overcome the illiteracy, to overcome the enormous health problems, to overcome the poverty, then to face the trade embargoes, the hostility of much of the Western world, was a responsibility that fell very largely on the person of Chou En-lai. The internal problems of the cultural revolution took toll of his health and he came through that revolution in the same position as Premier of that country. In personal relations with Australia, he had much to do with the very important visit of the Australian Labor Party delegation to that country in 1971. He had a great deal to do with the exchange of representatives between the Labor Government of Australia in 1973 and his own country. The greatness of China in 1976 can be very directly associated with his ability and with his contribution to his own country. He was, by any political standards, a great man and he goes to his grave knowing that over 100 countries recognise his country.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honourable members standing in their places.
– General Mohammed, Nigerian Head of State and Commander of the Armed Forces, met his death on 13 February 1976. General Mohammed had served with the United Nations peace-keeping force in the Congo. He was a prominent leader of the Nigerian Federal Forces and was Minister for Communications. He became Nigerian Head of State and Commander of the Armed Forces in July 1975. His Government introduced a number of significant changes, I therefore move:
That this House records its sincere regret at the death of General Murtala Rufai Mohammed, Head of State and Commander of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and expresses to the people of Nigeria profound regret and to his family sympathy in their bereavement.
– On behalf of the Opposition I join the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) in expressing regret at the death of General Mohammed. He had been Nigerian Head of State and Commander in Chief since July last year. Just 10 years ago in this House, on 8 March 1966, Prime Minister Holt moved a motion of condolence upon the death, also by assassination, of a former Prime Minister of Nigeria, Sir Abubakar Balewa. It is a tragic blow for the Nigerian people that domestic upheaval has again deprived the nation of its leadership. General Mohammed had served in the armed forces of his country during the civil war and also with the United Nations. He had launched many programs at home in the difficult ethnic and economic situation facing his country- the most populous and perhaps the most vital and bestendowed nation in Africa. He gave his support, as his country has consistently, to the Commonwealth. We extend our sympathy to his family and our good wishes to the Government and people of his country.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honourable members standing in their places.
That Mr Lucock, the honourable member for Lyne, be appointed Chairman of Committees of this House.
– I second the motion.
That Dr Jenkins, the honourable member for Scullin, be appointed Chairman of Committees of this House.
– I second the motion.
Mr O’KEEFE (Paterson)-Mr Speaker, I commend to you and to the House the appointment of Mr Philip Ernest Lucock, C.B.E., the honourable member for Lyne, as Chairman of Committees of this House. The honourable member has had a distinguished parliamentary career, having been elected as honourable member for Lyne in a by-election on 22 March 1952. He has been re-elected on all subsequent occasions. During his membership of the House of Representatives he has demonstrated great ability and a knowledge and capacity which qualify him for the appointment which this
House is considering. During his parliamentary terms he occupied the position of Temporary Chairman of Committees from 28 February 1956 to 20 February 1961 and served as Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees from 8 March 1961 to 27 February 1973. He has been Acting Speaker on occasions. Indeed, the honourable member’s service as Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker in previous parliaments constitutes a parliamentary record.
The position of Chairman of Committees of this House is extremely important because the occupant serves not only as Chairman of Committees but also as first deputy to the Speaker. Mr Lucock brings to the House a vast experience of parliamentary procedure. Over the years as an occupant of this important post he exhibited great tolerance, wisdom, dignity and fairness on all occasions. Mr Lucock has represented Australia on many overseas delegations, and represented this country in a most distinguished manner. In 1957 he was a member of the Australian delegation to the 12th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. Mr Lucock is regarded by parliamentarians in this country as an outstanding chairman who will bring great credit to this Parliament and to the position for which he is nominated. I have much pleasure in commending to the House Mr Philip Lucock as a member exhibiting the best qualities required for the position of Chairman of Committees of the House of Representatives.
– I take much pleasure from being allowed to second the motion that Mr Lucock, the honourable member for Lyne, be appointed Chairman of Committees. My friend, the honourable member for Paterson (Mr O’Keefe), has already mentioned that the honourable member for Lyne has established a record of service in this particular position in this Parliament. I go further by saying that the honourable member for Lyne has actually served as Chairman of Committees, and therefore as Deputy Speaker, under 3 Speakers to my knowledge- Speaker Cameron, Speaker Sir John McLeay, who was with us earlier today, and Speaker Sir William Aston. When the parties to which he and I belong occupied the Opposition benches, Mr Lucock served this House well as the senior Deputy Chairman of Committees. I am satisfied that he will be elected to this important position today. Perhaps he will allow me to say that this will be a proper return to the position in that it is almost a parliamentary tradition that he should occupy it. I hope I do not magnify any facet of Mr Lucock ‘s makeup by saying that.
With you, Mr Speaker, Mr Lucock will bear a heavy responsibility for the proper conduct of this House. Long may intelligent and informed chairmanship allow rational debate to be the method by which issues are decided in this House. There have been times when signs of rowdyism did occur, as you, Mr Speaker, will be well aware. In pointing out to both you, Mr Speaker, and Mr Lucock the heavy responsibility that you bear, I would like to say very sincerely that no Presiding Officer can function properly in controlling this House without the complete support and understanding of the House. I know, Mr Speaker, that when you are away on important business that probably you will have to conduct over the years you will be happy and find solace in the fact that Mr Lucock, as your deputy, will be presiding over this House in your place. Over the years I have found him to be a most knowledgeable and experienced man who is sensitive to the mood of the House. I would have hoped that there would have been unanimous support for him to have this position. I have much pleasure in seconding the motion before you for the appointment of Mr Lucock.
Mr SCHOLES (Corio)-I have very much pleasure in supporting the nomination of the honourable member for Scullin, Dr Jenkins, who served in the last Parliament as Chairman of Committees. Prior to that he served as a Deputy Chairman of Committees. He has served in this Parliament and in the Parliament of Victoria. He has a vast experience of parliamentary affairs and showed during his term as -my Deputy and as Chairman of Committees in this House that he is a man of tolerance and capacity, a man who did the job of Chairman of Committees in the manner this House deserves. I am aware of the quality of the other candidate, the honourable member for Lyne, Mr Lucock, who, as has been said, has given great service to this Parliament.
– Why is Bob Hawke getting his seat then?
– Once again we hear the voice from the wilderness of the gentleman who sought high office very recently but was not quite able to command the sort of respect that is required.
– Order! There is no need for interjections from the Government Parties’ side. I suggest to the honourable member for Corio that he speak about the qualities of the honourable member for Scullin.
-I was saying that the honourable member for Lyne who also has been nominated is also a person of quality. He has shown his capacity to serve. However I believe that the interests of the House and the Parliament would be served by the continuation in office of Dr Jenkins. He came to that office last year. He served for a relatively short period but he served well. I commend turn to the House. I suggest to the House that it would do itself and the institution of Parliament a service by appointing to the position of Chairman of Committees a member of the Opposition, a man who has shown his quality and capacity to serve in that role.
-The House should be well aware by a simple glance at the Parliamentary Handbook of the qualifications that the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins) would bring to the task. He is a medical practitioner with an M.B., B.S. and is one of the few people in this Parliament who holds the degree of Master of Science. He served in the Victorian Parliament for eight or nine years and he has served with distinction in this Parliament. His qualifications, academic, political and parliamentary, are not unique in a House which has a great deal of quality but they are of a very high order. All of us have seen him in command in the chair. He provided adequate support to the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes), as his Deputy. He handled all difficult occasions with aplomb, with rapport and, I believe, with fairness.
The House should be grateful for the service he has given on several very important committees. He was chairman of the Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System. The work he has done there, I hope, will produce a more satisfactory parliamentary arrangement for all of us. Members casting their vote ought to remember that kind of service to the parliamentary system. He was chairman of the Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation and brought the same qualities to that committee. In examining the qualifications of the 2 candidates for this position I think we should give consideration not only to their personal qualities but also to the general qualities of parliamentary work which they have produced over their years of effort in the parliamentary system. I claim, with no disrespect to my friend the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock), that in work on the constructive side of the parliamentary system the honourable member for Scullin is pre-eminent. Therefore, if we want to do justice to the parliamentary system we should vote for the honourable member for Scullin.
Let us turn for a moment to my honourable friend from Lyne. Apparently the 3 years he has been in recess on the Opposition benches have produced a changed person. I do not recognise any person of that name and kind sitting in the chair, deliberating with wisdom, dignity and fairness. I speak to the Liberals now: It is very difficult for a member of the National Country Party to be non-political about anything, even passing the salt. The honourable member for Lyne exercised a notable bias in the chair. It is true that he has been a member of Parliament for a long while. He has been a member for 23 years, but he has not had 23 years experience, he has had one year’s experience 23 times because he is a remarkably slow learner of the rights and duties of the people for whom he deliberates, particularly members of the Opposition.
– You will find out in the next couple of months.
– I recognise the difficulties which you, Mr Speaker, will have overcoming some of the attitudes which you might have had in the past, but you will not be assisted in any way by having the honourable member for Lyne as Deputy Speaker. Therefore, this afternoon I hope we will cast our vote objectively and vote for my friend, the honourable member for Scullin. I put this point- this is something that honourable members opposite might consider more deeply when we are facing up to the next Federal election- it may well be that this Parliament should start to consider alternation. Perhaps the Speaker could be from the government party, and the Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker could be from the Opposition party, as is the case with many of our Committees, standing committees and so on. I put that forward as a suggestion for the future because, much as honourable members opposite might ponder the scarcity of people on thus side of the House, in politics there is an awful lot of future but not too much of it will belong to them.
– In accordance with Standing Orders the bells will be rung for 2 minutes and a ballot taken. ( The bells having been rung)
-Ballot papers will now be distributed. Will honourable members please write on the ballot paper the name of the candidate for whom they wish to vote. The candidates are: Dr Jenkins, Mr Lucock. (A ballot having been taken)
-The result of the ballot is: Mr Lucock 87 votes, Dr Jenkins 35 votes. Mr Lucock is declared elected.
– The Government and I would like to offer congratulations to Mr Lucock, the honourable member for Lyne. He first entered this Parliament in 1952. He has had a long and distinguished career in the service of this Parliament and its institutions. He was the Temporary Chairman of Committees from 1956 until 196 1 , Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees from 1961 to 1973 and Acting Speaker in 1964. He has represented Australia overseas on many significant delegations. He has great experience in this House- experience when the House has been quiet and experience when it has been not as quiet as it should have been. He will be continuing his service to the Parliament in his capacity as Chairman of Committees and I believe all honourable members know that he can again carry out this task efficiently and with great distinction. I am very glad that the Parliament has the services of such a man.
– On behalf of the Opposition I also congratulate the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock). In doing so I wish to endorse the facts as given by the honourable member for Paterson (Mr O’Keefe) and repudiate the views expressed by the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant). I do not like being upstaged in this place. I do not remember when it last happened. The honourable member for Paterson was briefed on the facts by the same person as briefed me and I can therefore only say about his neighbour and my good friend that he has had the exceptional experience of 20 years in the Chair in one capacity or another in Government and in Opposition. There have been occasions when his rulings have differed from those of the Speaker and, as he would remember, I have given valiant support to his views in that conflict. I also said that I wish to repudiate the views expressed by my colleague the honourable member for Wills. I do not believe that one should express the same views about the honourable member for Lyne as so many people on both sides of the House express about all members of the Country Party in general. Of all members of the Country Party, the honourable member for Lyne has undoubtedly the best pastoral qualifications. In the company he has to keep he shines like a good deed in a naughty world. Both as Leader of my Party and as a personal friend, as I believe I can claim to be, I congratulate the honourable gentleman- not for the first time.
– On behalf of his colleagues and on my own behalf I would like to congratulate the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock) on being elected to the position of
Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker. I should say that he has been re-elected to those positions which he has held with great distinction for many years. Indeed it is a continuation of a record-breaking innings which will be very hard for any person to challenge in the future. He has continued in this office, not only because of the manner in which he has been able to control the debate of the House and the general operations of the chamber but also because of his great wisdom, dignity and fairness. I am sure that if he continues in that way we will treat him with the reverence he deserves.
-I would like to add my congratulations to those offered to the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock) on his election as Chairman of Committees and as your Deputy, Mr Speaker. This is the second contest between us. The score is now one all. My only regret is that the time between contests was not longer. I congratulate you, Mr Speaker, on your election to office today. Perhaps in the next few weeks you will realise the scope of the duties you have taken on. The new Chairman of Committee well knows the task that faces him. He knows, Sir, that when you are not in the Chair and are carrying out your other duties- other honourable members may not believe this- the Chairman of Committees bears a very heavy duty in the running of the House or the Committee.
I hope that in the holiday he has had during the last 2 parliaments he has given some thought to the operation of the position of Chairman of Committees and that with your co-operation, Mr Speaker, there may be some improvement in the facilities available to him. Also in the holiday about which I have spoken, I believe that he has probably come to realise that the Committee stages, which are his particular province, have started to take on a lesser importance in the Australian Parliament, yet they are the most important stages of the parliamentary process. I hope that he will use his position, his experience and the short time that he has had to reflect over the last 3 years, to produce improvements not just for his own sake but to enable all honourable members to debate the issues in the House or in the Committee stages. I congratulate the honourable member and wish him well.
-First of all I would like to thank the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser), the Leader of the Opposition (Mr E. G. Whitlam) and the Leader of the National Country Party (Mr Anthony) for their kind words. I would also like to thank my nominator and seconder, and the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins) for his remarks. I appreciate the work that he did during his term as Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker in this Parliament. The Leader of the Opposition spoke about my pastoral experiences. I am reminded of certain words of the late Archie Cameron who once said that one of the things I did in my pastoral duties was to look after the sheep that were fleeced by certain people in a certain profession. Possibly that experience also would be of great value in this House. I might say to the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) that if he had put forward the same proposal during the last Parliament I would have been in wholehearted agreement, but over recent months I have changed my mind and now do not agree with his proposal at all. Of the honourable member for Scullin, at some stage you, Mr Speaker, and I might need his services, not as a Chairman of Committees but in his medical capacity as an anaesthetist to some honourable members who go over their time.
May I make just two brief observations. A great deal has been said in this House about Parliament and parliamentary democracy. One of the remarks was passed by the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) and I think we should take notice of it. He said that neither you, Mr Speaker, nor I nor any other occupant of the Chair could carry out his duties without the support of honourable members. I believe that at this stage with the complexity of our public life, with the challenge that is being thrown out to our parliamentary institution, there comes to each and every one of us in this House on both sides a tremendous responsibility. I do not exclude from that remark the members of the Press because I believe they too have a responsibility in this twentieth century. There are 2 things of paramount importance. One is the rights and privileges of every member, including members of the Opposition. Irrespective of what might have happened in this House recently I believe that is one of the things to which attention must be given. The second is that I believe we face a responsibility in view of the number of members who have been elected on the government side to see that members of this Parliament accept their responsibility as representatives of the electorate.
Because of the complexities I believe there are 2 dangers. There is the danger of executive control that is sometimes overridden by departments and departmental heads. Each and every one of us must remember that the most vital and important functions that we have to fulfil in this place are our responsibility to the electorate, to the people who are our masters- that was said in the recent election- to the government of a democracy and to make sure that we do nothing to lower the standards of this House, the responsibility of this House and the progress of Australia. To you, Mr Speaker, I offer my wannest personal congratulations. You may rest assured that during the term of office for which it has been my privilege to be elected you will have my wholehearted support in every action that enhances the prestige of this House.
– I thank the. honourable member for Lyne, the Chairman of Committees, and add my congratulations to those already expressed by the House.
– Petitions have been lodged for presentation as follows and copies will be referred to the appropriate Ministers:
To the Honourable, the Speaker, and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble Petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That the three service cadet forces have great value in the development of the youth of Australia.
That the disbanding of the cadet forces will disperse accumulated expertise and interest of those involved, and in some cases negate the efforts of many people over many years.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Government will reconsider its decision and that the Government will reinstate the cadet forces.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Killen and Mr Adermann.
To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble Petition of the undernamed persons (electors of the Division of Electorates in N.S.W.) respectfully showeth:
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, by Mr Cadman.
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 three service cadet forces have great value in the development of the youth of Australia.
That the disbanding of the cadet forces will disperse accumulated expertise and interest of those involved, and in some cases negate the efforts of many people over many years.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Government will reconsider its decision and that the Government will reinstate the cadet forces.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Kevin Caims, Mr Jull and Mr McVeigh.
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 we, the undersigned are opposed to the adoption of the recommendation by a working party of the Department of Media that the statutory requirements for Radio and T.V. Stations to provide Religious Programmes be abolished. that implementation of this would greatly reduce the beneficial effect Christian morality has had on the laws and culture of Australia which would be in opposition to the spirit and intent of the preamble to the Constitution which contains the words humbly relying on Almighty God. that 86 per cent of Australians claim to be Christians and such an overwhelming majority merits an increase rather than a decrease in religious content. that as the present time allowance for religion on T.V. was established by a Royal Commission, it should not be changed by the hurried decision of a small non-representative Committee composed of anonymous Members.
Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House will request the Government to take no further measures which will reduce the time for Religious Programmes on Radio and T.V. by Mr Hodges.
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 we strongly oppose any change to the statutory time requirement binding radio and television stations to provide religious broadcasts as recommended by the Department of the Media.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Government will take no measures to interfere with the existing requirements.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr McVeigh.
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 implementation of the Report on Housing by the Priorities Review Staff will not ensure that the Australian community can secure living accommodation of its own choosing appropriate to its needs: that many of the proposals positively discriminate against home ownership: that the proposals if implemented would not encourage thrift and initiative but would further advance the philosophy of dependence upon the Government for basic services: that the proposals are concerned with redistribution of income than providing accommodation for the Australian community.
Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House will request the Government to take no further measures which will make home ownership unattractive to those who have a home and unachievable for those who have not.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, by Mr Hodges and Mr Ian Robinson.
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:
That the plan to obliterate the traditional weights and measures of this country is causing and will cause widespread inconvenience, confusion, expense and distress.
That there is no certainty that any significant benefits or indeed any benefits at all will follow the use of the new weights and measures.
That the traditional weights and measures are eminently satisfactory.
Your petitioners therefore pray:
That the Metric Conversion Act be repealed, and that the Government take urgent steps to cause the traditional and familiar units to be restored to those areas where the greatest inconvenience and distress are occurring, that is to say, in meteorology, in road distances, in sport, in the building and allied trades, in the printing trade, and in retail trade.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, by Mr Eric Robinson.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble’ petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectively showeth:
That we wish to protest most vigorously at the increases in postal charges, especially with regard to religious, non-profit making magazines in Category A.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to:
Diminish the size of the increase or, if possible, leave charges as they are, and provide special rates for such magazines.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Donald Cameron.
To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That whereas the natural environment of Fraser Island is so outstanding that it should be identified as part of the World Natural Heritage, and whereas the Island should be conserved for the enjoyment of this and future generations.
Your petitioners humbly pray that the members, in the House assembled, will take the most urgent steps to ensure:
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. byMrHurford.
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 existence of a system of double taxation of personal incomes whereby both the Australian Government and State Governments had the power to vary personal income taxes would mean that taxpayers who worked in more than one State in any year would-
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that a system of double income tax on personal incomes be not reintroduced.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray by Mr Morris.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of certain citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:
That many of the countries who have benefited from Australia’s foreign aid programs are now suffering even more because of economic problems, principally inflation. Some of these, the poorer nations of the world, are now having to deal with inflation rates of up to ten times, and more, that of Australia’s, on top of their age-old problems of overpopulation, famine and droughts.
We as concerned Christians, benefiting from the prosperity of our own wealthy nation of Australia, believe this nation has a moral responsibility to the poorer countries. At present our contribution to overseas development assistance is hardly adequate to meet the massive needs apparent in these countries.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that Australia’s foreign aid budget be expanded to meet the growing needs of the world, and not reduced, in an attempt to solve Australia ‘s own economic problems. Regardless of any economic benefits that a policy of reduced spending may produce, overseas aid must be one area not to suffer from any general austerity campaign. Australia must not, in her isolated selfishness, penalise the poorer countries of the world as an easy way out of her own problems.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray,
Petition received. by Mr Stewart. Petition received.
-Mr Speaker, I give notice of my intention to present on General Business Thursday No. 1 a Bill for an Act relating to the limitation of electoral expenditure and the public disclosure of the sources of funds made available to political parties and candidates.
-Mr Speaker, I give notice that on General Business day No. 2 1 shall move:
That in the opinion of this House the Government should implement forthwith a natural disaster insurance scheme.
Aboriginal Tribal Lands at Aurukun
– I give notice that on General Business Thursday No. 3, 1 shall move:
Whereas section 5 1 paragraph 26 of the Constitution confers on the Parliament of Australia the power to make laws with respect to ‘The people of any race for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws’; and
Whereas the Australian people at a referendum of May 1967 indicated overwhelmingly their view that this Australian Parliament has a special obligation to make laws for the advancement of the people of Aboriginal race; and
Whereas the State Parliament of Queensland has passed a law, the ‘Aurukun Associates Agreement Act of 1975’, disposing of Aboriginal land to Tipperary Corporation, Billiton Aluminium Australia B.V., and Aluminium Pechiney Holdings Limited without any reference in the Act to the Aboriginal inhabitants having a standing as parties to the Agreement, notwithstanding a reference to Aboriginal people in Queensland generally receiving the benefit of a royalty;
Therefore in the opinion of this House, legislation should be introduced protecting the rights and standing of the Aboriginal people in the tribal lands affected by the Agreement, and providing for the recognition of traditional Aboriginal owners in the Aurukun area as those Aboriginal people who have common spiritual affiliations to a site on the land and who are entitled by Aboriginal tradition to forage as of right over that land; and providing for the recognition of traditions, observances, customs and beliefs as applied in relation to the people of Aboriginal race at Aurukun, and to sites and areas of land at Aurukun.
-Mr Speaker, I give notice of my intention to present on General Business Thursday No. 4 a Bill for an Act relating to corporations and the securities industry.
-Mr Speaker, I give notice of my intention to present on General Business Thursday No. 5 a Bill for an Act to amend the Broadcasting and Television Act to exclude present and future newspaper investment from radio and television holdings.
-Mr Speaker, I give notice of my intention to present on General Business Thursday No. 6 a Bill for an Act relating to trading and financial corporations formed within the limits of Australia, to foreign corporations and to certain other corporations.
-Mr Speaker, I give notice of my intention to present on General Business Thursday No. 7 a Bill for an Act relating to the provision of land in the Northern Territory for Aborigines.
- Mr Speaker, I give notice of my intention to present on General Business Thursday No. 8 a Bill for an Act relating to national rehabilitation and compensation.
-Mr Speaker, I give notice of my intention to present on General Business Thursday No. 9 a Bill for an Act to alter the Constitution so as to ensure that Senate elections are held at the same time as House of Representative elections.
-Mr Speaker, I give notice of my intention to present on General Business Thursday No. 10 a Bill for an Act to establish an Australian Government Insurance Corporation.
– I give notice that on general business day No. 11 I propose to move:
That this House expresses its serious concern and deplores the action of the Government in its implementation of the Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants’. This House calls on the Minister to-
extend the period of amnesty from 3 months to 12 months;
precisely lay out the conditions surrounding the granting of amnesty;
appoint an independent committee of appeal comprised of representatives of our ethnic communities to investigate cases where amnesty has been refused.
– I give notice that, at the next sitting, I shall move:
That, unless otherwise ordered, the House shall meet for the despatch of business on each Tuesday and Wednesday at 2. 15 p.m. and on each Thursday at 10.30 a.m.
I further give notice that, at the next sitting, I shall move:
That, unless otherwise ordered, at 10.30 p.m. on each sitting day the Speaker shall propose the question ‘That the House do now adjourn’ which question shall be open to debate; if the House be in committee at the time stated, the Chairman shall report progress and upon such report being made the Speaker shall forthwith propose the question ‘That the House do now adjourn’ which question shall be open to debate. Provided that:
if a division be in progress at the time fixed for interruption such division shall be completed and the result announced,
if, on the question ‘That the House do now adjourn’ being proposed, a Minister requires the question to be put forthwith without debate, the Speaker shall forthwith put the question,
nothing in this order shall operate to prevent a motion for the adjournment of the House being moved by a Minister at an earlier hour.
any business under discussion and not disposed of at the time of the adjournment shall be set down on the Notice Paper for the next sitting, and
if the question ‘That the House do now adjourn’ is - negatived, the House or committee shall resume the proceedings at the point at which they had been interrupted.
Provided further that, if at 1 1.00 p.m., the question before the House is ‘That the House do now adjourn’ the Speaker shall forthwith adjourn the House until the time of its next meeting.
- Mr Speaker, I move:
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until 2.15 p.m. tomorrow.
- Mr Speaker, on a point of order, the Opposition would be prepared to give leave for those 2 motions of which notice has been given to be moved forthwith.
– The honourable member for Corio has indicated that the Opposition would be prepared to give leave for those 2 notices to be dealt with forthwith. Is it the wish of the Leader of the House to proceed now to deal with the matters or to leave them as notices for the next day of sitting?
-I would prefer to leave them as notices for the next day of sitting.
– The Leader of the House has indicated that he would prefer to leave the matters as notices for the next day of sitting.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 6.8 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 February 1976, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1976/19760217_reps_30_hor98/>.