House of Representatives
29 April 1976

30th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr SPEAKER (Rt Hon. B. M. Snedden, Q.C.) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

page 1731


The Clerk:

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

Trade Union Ballots

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 whereas the Democratic control of organisations registered under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act is essential to a sound system of industrial relations.

And whereas Democratic control can only be guaranteed by the opportunity for all rank and file members of organisations to vote in elections for all officials and all Committees of Management and whereas some forces within the Trade Union Movement are attempting to deny rank and file members the right to vote in all Union elections;

Your petitioners humbly pray, that the members in Parliament assembled will take steps to:

  1. Preserve Democracy in Trade Unions by guaranteeing the right of all members to participate in rank and file ballots for officials and Committees of Management.
  2. Resist the pressures from those elements in the Trade Movement seeking to deny members the right to vote.
  3. Ensure the widest participation in Union ballots by making voting compulsory in union elections.
  4. Resist the re-introduction of the undemocratic collegiate system of union elections, which enables control and manipulation by minority and extremist elements.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Uren, Mr Baume, Mr Cadman, Mr Connor, Mr Dobie and Dr Klugman.

Petitions received.

Overseas Development Assistance

To the Speaker and the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth that many Australians are concerned at the announced decision by the Commonwealth Government to reduce the 1975-76 Overseas Development Assistance vote by $2 1 million and by the abolition of the Australian Development Assistance Agency.

We your petitioners do therefore humbly pray that the Commonwealth Government:

  1. as a matter of urgency, reverse the decision to cut the 1975-76 Overseas Development Assistance vote so as to ensure that the full amount appropriated by the Parliament for Overseas Development Assistance is spent this financial year to meet the pressing needs of those in the developing countries;
  2. reaffirm Australia’s commitment of Overseas Development Assistance being a minimum of 0.7 per cent of the GNP.and
  3. establish a fully independent statutory authority to administer Australia’s official Overseas Development Assistance.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Bonnett, Mr Brown, Mr Fry, Mr Gillard, Mr Groom and Mr Jacobi.

Petitions received.

Income Tax

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-

  1. be faced with complicated variations in his or her personal income taxes between States; and
  2. find that real after-tax wages for the same job would vary from State to State even when gross wages were advertised as being the same; and
  3. require citizens to maintain records of income earned in each State.

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 Armitage, Mr Les McMahon and Mr Morris.

Petitions received.

Pharmaceutical Benefits: Milk Substitutes

To the honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. We the undersigned citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia by this our humble petition respectfully showeth:

  1. That reduction of the age limit from six years to eighteen months for patients eligible to receive cows milk substitutes as a pharmaceutical benefit under the schedules of the National Health Act will cause serious financial hardship to many families;
  2. That children allergic to cows milk and other dairy products who often include asthmatics and sufferers of respiratory complaints depend on Soya Bean milk such as Isomil or Prosobee as a main source of protein;
  3. That the Government’s action is responsible for a 100 per cent increase in the cost of milk substitutes frequently involving parents in expenditure of $10 per week to sustain desirable protein intake for an affected child;
  4. That there is an urgent, humane need to restore milk substitutes to children up to six years of age to the schedule of pharmaceutical Benefits.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that milk substitutes be restored to the schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits for children up to the age of six years as soon as possible.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr James, Mr Keith Johnson and Mr Morris.

Petitions received.

Aurukun Community: Mining

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:

Whereas the Aurukun Associates Agreement Act was passed in contravention of a 1 968 agreement;

Whereas this Act conflicts seriously with Commonwealth Government Policy on Aboriginal Affairs and on Australian equity in multinational corporations working in Australia;

Your petitioners therefore note with appreciation the statements already made on the matter by Government members but humbly pray that the Commonwealth Government will also

  1. initiate a Commission of Enquiry into the whole matter
  2. insist that no mining take place on the Aurukun Aboriginal Reserve until a full environmental impact study has been made by the Commonwealth Department of the Environment, Housing and Community Development
  3. refuse to grant an export licence to the Consortium until detailed negotiations are held at Aurukun by Consortium representatives with the Aurukun people, the traditional owners of the land, and advisers of their choice, and an agreement satisfactory to all has been reached.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray by Mr Eric Robinson.

Petition received.

National Employment and Training Scheme

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth-

That in respect to individuals employed under the National Employment and Training Scheme, great hardships have arisen with the changes in payment of allowances under that scheme.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that students under the NEAT scheme be allowed to earn sufficient extra income to maintain a reasonable basic standard of living and that this be done by revoking the $6.00 per week earning ceiling.

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

Petition received.

Aboriginal Welfare

To the Speaker and the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled, your petitioners humbly pray that:

  1. The Aboriginal Land Bill 1975 will be re-introduced into the Parliament and passed at the earliest possible date, and that administration of land rights shall remain the responsibility of the Australian Government following the decision of the Australian people at the 1967 referendum.
  2. Mining shall not be permitted on Aboriginal lands without the consent of the Aboriginal communities concerned having been established through full and fair processes of consultation.
  3. The Aboriginal Legal Service shall not be impeded in any way in its work of seeing that Australia ‘s Aboriginal citizens have a proper access to legal advice and proper legal representation in proceedings before the courts.
  4. The full purchasing power of Australian Government assistance for Aboriginal welfare and advancement, including assistance to Aboriginal groups establishing pastoral companies and other enterprises on land to which they have established rights, shall be maintained in the 1976-77 Budget.

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

Petition received.

Income Tax: Land and Water Rates

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth: That the undersigned persons believe that-

The $300 limit on income tax deductibility in respect of personal residential land and water rates is unrealistic and is a discriminatory income tax penalty.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the government will take steps to see that the aforesaid limitation is removed entirely or substantially increased.

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

Petition received.

Australian Heritage Commission

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned members of Leeuwin Conservation Group and electors respectfully showeth that:

There is a growing interest and concern in all sections of Australian society for the conservation of the environment, natural and man-made.

That there are also rapidly growing pressures by powerful forces tending towards the destruction of the Australian heritage.

That it is therefore urgent to appoint the Australian Heritage Commission, which was approved by both sides of this Parliament and to give the Commission sufficient independent staff, resources and funds.

That Technical Assistance Grants and Administrative Support Grants to community organisations are needed to partially redress the gross imbalance in technical expertise and resources suffered by community groups in pressing the community’s case against the exploiter.

That a proper balance between the Governments program of public austerity and the need for action in conservation would be a modest increase in the budget allocations in these areas over that of 1 975-76.

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

Petition received.

Australian Heritage Commission

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned members of the School of Environmental 1732 REPRESENTATIVES 29 April 1976 Petitions

There is a growing interest and concern in all sections of Australian society for the conservation of the environment, natural and man-made.

That there are also rapidly growing pressures by powerful forces tending towards the destruction of the Australian heritage.

That it is therefore urgent to appoint the Australian Heritage Commission, which was approved by both sides of this Parliament and to give the Commission sufficient independent staff, resources and funds.

That Technical Assistance Grants and Administrative Support Grants to community organisations are needed to partially redress the gross imbalance in technical expertise and resources suffered by community groups in pressing the community ‘s case against the exploiter.

That a proper balance between the Governments program of public austerity and the need for action in conservation would be a modest increase in the budget allocations in these areas over that of 1 975-76.

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

Petition received.

Health Insurance Act

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 Australian Medical Association and its affiliate, the Australian Association of Surgeons, intends entering into negotiations with the Honourable the Minister of State for Health, to alter the Health Insurance Act and regulations.

That such alterations as proposed are purely the wishes of a minority group seeking privileges in relation to the billing of patients, and particularly pensioners and less well off members of the Australian Community, which are detrimental to the spirit of the Act and contrary to the whole intention of the legislation.

That the Association of Surgeons has demonstrated by its refusal to treat pensioner patients in designated community and other hospitals providing beds under section 34 of the said Act, that its agitation against Medibank is purely the reaction of a selfish vested minority, and not in the best interests of the patients.

That the efforts by the Association of Surgeons to undermine Medibank by seeking to negotiate changes is the thin edge of the wedge to dismantle the Health Insurance Act altogether, an action which will not be tolerated by the Australian community in general and the pensioners, less privileged and disadvantaged members of society in particular.

Your petitioners therefore ask that the Australian Parliament refuse to countenance any changes to the Health Insurance Act, and particularly those sought by influential minority interests who have demonstrated particularly by their actions in refusing to co-operate in the treatment of pensioner patients in hospital, that they do not have the interests and welfare of patients as their prime concern.

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

Petition received.

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

  1. 1 ) That we are disturbed to find that current Medibank forms and other Government forms have replaced the heading of ‘ Christian name ‘ with ‘ Given name ‘, and
  2. That we feel that as Australia is still a predominantly Christian country, this situation is unacceptable, but in view of the fact that some Australians may not be baptised Christians, we would like to support Senator Bonner who suggested recently that the heading should read ‘Christian or Given name’.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House will urge the Government to use the heading ‘Christian or Given name’ on all Government forms and not the heading Given name ‘ as is being used at present.

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

Petition received.

Australian Heritage Commission

To the Honourable Mr Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

That the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia has by enacting the Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975 recognised that the national estate consisting of the natural and cultural environment of Australia should be preserved.

That the environment having aesthetic, historic, scientific, social and other special value for further generations as well as the present community must be recognised and protected by the Australian people and the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia.

That there are destructive and prejudicial elements operating against the national estate and Australian heritage.

That the need to establish the Australian Heritage Commission and the National Estate Register in accordance with the Act is urgent.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House urge the Government to take all steps necessary to implement the terms of and recognise the ideals reflected in the Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975 as a matter of urgency.

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

Petition received.

Whyalla to Adelaide Rail Service

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Whyalla, S.A., respectfully showeth that the passenger train service between Whyalla and Adelaide, S.A., is a most essential service and accordingly should be upgraded and retained.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House urge the Government to provide the funds necessary for the

*Petitions* 29 April 1976 REPRESENTATIVES 1733 upgrading and retention of the passenger train service between Whyalla and Adelaide, S.A. And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. byMrWallis. Petition received. {: .page-start } page 1734 {:#debate-1} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-1-0} #### QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE {: .page-start } page 1734 {:#debate-2} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-2-0} #### GROWTH CENTRES {: #subdebate-2-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -I ask the Prime Minister Has he read the report made on the AlburyWodonga growth centre in February by **Sir John** Overall, whom I expect he holds in the highest respect, as I do, as the man appointed by Prime Minister Menzies in 1958 to head the National Capital Development Commission and by Prime Minister McMahon in 1972 to be the National Urban and Regional Development Authority? Has he noted **Sir John's** recommendations that the centre should be promoted as a national endeavour with the Prime Minister's personal backing, that the centre should be regarded as a prime contribution to the total urban pattern of the future Australia and that the work of the Development Corporation has made an excellent start and is well on its way and is assured of success, given the ongoing commitment of governments? I hope the Prime Minister recognises the precise words which I have quoted from **Sir John's** report. I ask him: How soon will the Government, or better still, he himself express that commitment on Albury-Wodonga specifically and on growth centres generally? {: #subdebate-2-0-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr MALCOLM FRASER:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- I thank the honourable gentleman for the information that he has given the House. I should like to add only that it would be much easier to make the kind of commitment that the honourable gentleman would seek, if he in his time had shown some responsibility for the funds that he sought to take from the taxpayers right throughout Australia. The prime and pre-eminent responsibility of this Government is to show concern for overall financial management, to make quite certain that inflation is overcome and to show that we care for the money we take from other people. The honourable gentleman has made it quite plain that he never cared at all either about the money that he printed or about the money that he took improperly and with impropriety from the taxpayers of Australia. {: .page-start } page 1734 {:#debate-3} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-3-0} #### MEDICAL RESEARCH {: #subdebate-3-0-s0 .speaker-2E4} ##### Mr LLOYD:
MURRAY, VICTORIA -The Minister for Health will be aware of the concern of the medical research community that this Government will continue the low priority the Labor Government gave to medical research when it reduced the already modest allocation in the last Budget. 1 remind the Minister of the election policy statement of the Liberal and National Country Parties that we would provide a higher priority for medical research than Labor did. I ask the Minister to confirm our commitment to a level of medical research which will not only cover inflation but also allow a modest increase in real expenditure. {: #subdebate-3-0-s1 .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr HUNT:
Minister for Health · GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · NCP/NP -- I am conscious of the concern of the honourable member for Murray about the need for more funds for medical research. I am also very conscious of the deep concern among the medical research community about the level of funding for 1977-78. Over the last 2 weeks I have met with representatives of the Australian Medical Association, medical research workers and members of the expert committees which advise the Minister on medical research matters. I do recall the shocking treatment by the former Government of medical research in this country. In 1974-75 it allocated $8.03m out of a total health budget of $1,1 88m, which represented 007 per cent of the total funds expended on health in Australia. Yet last year the previous Government dropped the allocation to $5.2m, which reduced the amount of funds being spent on medical research by . 002 per cent out of a total budget of $2,400m for expenditure on health. It was a shameful performance. It has put medical research in Australia back many years. It is a matter of concern to the Government that Australia is lagging behind other countries by international standards on funds being spent on medical research. For instance, in the United States of America something like $6.40 per head of population is being spent yearly on medical research. In Canada the figure is $1.44. In Australia only 55c per head of population was provided for medical research under the last Budget. As the honourable member for Murray pointed out, we have a policy gradually to increase to international standards the amount of money being spent on medical research as the economic situation recovers. We are facing a very serious economic problem, one that we have inherited from the former Government, but we are considering at present ways and means of trying to improve the medical research situation in Australia. {: .page-start } page 1734 {:#debate-4} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-4-0} #### EAST TIMOR: DEATH OF AUSTRALIAN NEWSMEN {: #subdebate-4-0-s0 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN:
REID, NEW SOUTH WALES -- My question is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Is it a fact that the Indonesian Government account of the deaths of the 5 Australian newsmen in Timor said that the newsmen were killed when sheltering in a house which was struck by mortar fire and burned out and that the bodies were burnt so badly that identification was difficult? I ask the Minister what action his Department took when the newsmen 's personal effects were handed over by Indonesian authorities intact, not burnt, and with no sign of fire damage. In view of the widespread concern over the inadequate and incompetent action of his department on this and other matters relating to the invasion of East Timor, I again ask: Will the Minister institute a judicial inquiry into all aspects of the case? {: #subdebate-4-0-s1 .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK:
Minister for Foreign Affairs · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP -- Yes, it is a fact that that was the report that was given by the Indonesian Government and it is a fact that some elements of the journalists' property were found elsewhere. We inquired into that, as we have been continuing to inquire into the matter since then. So far as the request for a judicial inquiry is concerned, I answered that in detail yesterday. I said that the Government has an open mind on the matter. It is pressing for material, for evidence and for corroboration of differing accounts and will place before the House and the public all it can after the investigating team leaves Balibo. I have resisted the temptation on many occasions to contrast what we have done in this regard with what was done by the honourable member as a member of the former Government and of the Cabinet and therefore duty bound to support the action or non-activity of the previous Government. No moralistic hand-wringing now can explain away the lack of activity of his Party when in power. {: .page-start } page 1735 {:#debate-5} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-5-0} #### ALLEGED EXECUTIONS IN CAMBODIA {: #subdebate-5-0-s0 .speaker-KRR} ##### Mr McLEAN:
PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA -- I direct my question to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. It relates to recent events in Cambodia and seeks additional information to that obtained when a question on this matter was asked in February. Is the Minister aware of recent reports from Cambodia which allege that between 500 000 and 600 000 people, or 8 per cent of the total population, have died in mass executions since the present regime came to power? Is he also aware that such executions have included the bayoneting and clubbing to death of women and children and that many babies have been murdered by soldiers tearing their bodies apart? I ask the Minister, firstly: Will he, if it is possible to do so, have his Department check the authenticity of these reports? Secondly, will he indicate to the House what standards of human behaviour will be tolerated by this Government before it ceases to recognise officially a regime of the kind presently governing Cambodia? Finally- and although I accept that such action will not alleviate the circumstances of the people of Cambodia- if these allegations are proved correct, will the Government immediately rescind its official recognition of the regime in Cambodia as a gesture of Australia's contempt for the regime's inhumane treatment of the people of Cambodia? {: #subdebate-5-0-s1 .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK:
LP -- I have seen articles and other reports in international magazines and the Australian Press claiming that a great number of Cambodians have been killed or assassinated in a variety of ways, some of which were described by the honourable member in his question, since the present Government in Cambodia came to power a year ago. As I recall, the estimates of the number of people killed have varied from half a million to one and a half million. It does give some indication of the uncertainty surrounding the present internal situation in Cambodia that there can be such a discrepancy in the figures, in the accounts, being produced. The recent accounts of the number of deaths and executions are based on interviews with refugees. Whilst these reports appear to be consistent, I am not able to give an assessment as to their authenticity. After all, Australia has no diplomatic representation in Phnom Penh and little firsthand information is available on the events within Cambodia itself. As I indicated in my reply to a question without notice on 18 February- the honourable member refreshed my memory by saying that that was the date- if the reports are correct the Government would deplore the atrocities. We favour an early return to peaceful development and deplore breaches of human rights, terrorism and atrocities wherever they occur. However, I do not believe that it would assist the process of an early return to peaceful development in Cambodia if we were to withdraw our recognition of the Cambodian Government The reports from Cambodia are accounts of almost total deprivation of human rights and dignity. Worse than that, there have been reports of bloodshed, horror, terror and assassination on an almost indescribable basis. If those reports are true, no government could condone them, or let such events pass without comment. {: .page-start } page 1735 {:#debate-6} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-6-0} #### EAST TIMOR: DEATH OF AUSTRALIAN NEWSMEN {: #subdebate-6-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I ask the Foreign Minister a question supplementary to that asked of him by my deputy. I ask: Will he confirm that on 9 November last I wrote a letter to President Suharto, that I asked the Indonesian Ambassador to call on me and gave him that letter and that die letter was delivered by the Ambassador to the President on 13 November? How soon, if at all, after being installed as a caretaker Minister did he or the Prime Minister support the approach that I had made to the President? When was the first occasion that he or the Prime Minister took up this matter with the President? {: #subdebate-6-0-s1 .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK:
LP -Evidently time is diminishing the honourable gentleman's recollection of facts. He said 9 November. I understood that his letter was sent on 7 November. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -I thought I said the seventh. {: .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr MALCOLM FRASER:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- No, you said the ninth. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -Well, I meant the seventh. {: .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK: -I understand that you did write a letter on 7 November in connection with the then Government's inquiries relating to newsmen. You had at that stage met a fair degree of obstruction in the matter and you decided to take some action. It is interesting to note that, apart from your tacit approval in September 1974 regarding any impending invasion of Timor, I think this is the first action you actually took. The first occasion on which you raised aspects relating to Timor and Indonesia was in September 1974-and whether it was done tacitly or avowedly I do not know because I do not break conventions and go through the records of your Government in office. But my recollection is that it was well known amongst your Government, amongst your colleagues and amongst some who have worked for you and who are now writing for journals, that what I am saying is correct. So in the time frame of September 1974, when as I have said, either tacitly or avowedly you gave support to a degree of Indonesian expansionism, you then wrote on 7 November 1975 regarding the missing journalists. So far as cur action is concerned, our Ambassador in Jakarta was subsequently advised that President Suharto had been pleased to receive your letter but as I recall the advice tendered to me then, he now regarded the main subject of the letter, namely, the question of the fate of the Australian journalists, as being settled. We never accepted that. We never regarded the matter as being closed. So we have continued our probing. When I visited Jakarta- I think it was in January, following our visit to South-East Asia when we both went through Kuala Lumpur and Singapore - {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Two and a half months later. {: .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK: -No, not *2Vi* months later, because I had asked for the response of the Indonesian Government and I simply have indicated to you now that the response initially was that the Indonesian Government regarded the matter as being settled. Of course, our stance on Indonesia has been vastly different from yours. We have not been prepared to accept Indonesian assurances. We have taken a stance in principle on Timor which is the antithesis of what your Government did. We have called for a withdrawal of forces. We have called for a resumption of humanitarian aid. We have called for the implementation of an act of self-determination. We have done that not only at a government to government level and through the media here but also through the United Nations on 3 occasions in the short period we have been in office. What a stark contrast to what you have done! I do not believe that you can probe with any authenticity our record in government compared with yours. Yours was one of amoral nonactivity. Ours is one of probing on principle. We will get to the truth of the matter regarding the journalists and we will be seen to have been the only Western country, with the singular exception of Sweden, which has taken such a stand in principle and a stand in marked contrast to yours. {: .page-start } page 1736 {:#debate-7} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-7-0} #### PIRELLI CABLE MANUFACTURING COMPANY {: #subdebate-7-0-s0 .speaker-JNO} ##### Mr BAILLIEU:
LA TROBE, VICTORIA -Is the Prime Minister fully aware of the direct threat posed to a major cable manufacturing industry in the La Trobe electorate if the giant Pirelli company goes ahead with its proposal to establish here in the near future? Can the Prime Minister assure the House that the Government has required an early report from the Industries Assistance Commission on the matter of capacity within the present Australian industry and particularly that it has been made quite clear to Pirelli that the Government requires that firm to interpret the IAC findings on capacity as a clear guideline on any proposals Pirelli may be considering as to its future in this country? {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP **- Mr Speaker,** I raise a point of order. This is the third time that the honourable member has raised this matter. He will know that there is a dispute between him and the honourable member for Macarthur on this very matter. The point I take is that the honourable gentleman has a vested family interest in the company whose interests for the third time he is pushing at a time for questions without notice. {: #subdebate-7-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- There is no substance in the point of order. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP **-Mr Speaker,** do I take it that he does not have to declare his family interest in this matter? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -The Leader of the Opposition knows that there is no standing order that would require that. {: #subdebate-7-0-s2 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr MALCOLM FRASER:
Prime Minister · WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -The honourable gentleman has demonstrated once again to this House the quality of his nature and the quality of his politics. It requires no further comment than that, except that again it causes us to remember the deception of his own colleagues when he first described to his own colleagues and to the media certain breakfasts that he had had with certain strange visitors from overseas. If the honourable gentleman wishes to mix it in this environment he will come off worse, because his record is one of utter disgrace in this place. Let me now turn to the question that was asked by the honourable member for La Trobe, who has done a great deal over a long period to protect employment within his own electorate. That is an objective that I would have hoped honourable members on the Opposition side would have pursued to a greater extent than they ever have. The problems that have occurred in the honourable gentleman's electorate, of course, go back to the circumstances in which the Leader of the Opposition made a decision which would allow Pirelli to come into this country in competition with existing manufacturers who are already operating, as I am advised, at about 60 per cent or 70 per cent of capacity. In spite of the great words about Australian ownership, I am advised that permission was given on a 100 per cent foreign ownership basis. That decision was made, of course, by the previous Administration. The then Government, having made that decision, may have had some doubts about it because it made a reference for the industry to the Industries Assistance Commission, but after the decision had been made to allow the Pirelli company to come into Australia. That was done. A government had given a commitment and this Government felt that it would not be proper for the commitment to be withdrawn, and it was not. But we have advised the Pirelli company that a report from the Industries Assistance Commission is pending. We have asked for that report to be expedited to the extent that that is possible, because obviously its findings could have an implication for the whole industry, and that has in fact been drawn to the attention of the industry. This is just another of the very strange decisions of the Leader of the Opposition when he was in government. One might well ask why or how or for what reason he made that decision. {: .page-start } page 1737 {:#debate-8} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-8-0} #### EAST TIMOR: DEATH OF AUSTRALIAN NEWSMEN {: #subdebate-8-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I ask the Foreign Minister Has he written, and if so when did he first write, to the Foreign Minister of Indonesia or to the President of Indonesia about the S media men who were killed at Balibo? Has the Prime Minister written, and if so when did he first write, to the President of Indonesia on that matter? Did the Minister himself take any action in the matter before Sunday, 18 January- I think it was, although it might have been the following daywhen he was in Jakarta? That is, has the Minister written and when did he do so? {: #subdebate-8-0-s1 .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK:
LP -After months of silence the Leader has at last come out on an issue. The only thing to which you put your name before the demise of your own Government was a letter. You well know the dates to which I have referred. You are answerable to your own conscience from September 1974 onwards, and so too are those of your colleagues who remained silent on this issue. I have indicated to you that I made inquiries after coming into office during the caretaker period as to the response to your letter. I have indicated to you that I understood that the President was pleased to receive your letter but was not prepared to take any further action on the matter. Not only through our officers in Jakarta did I indicate that we were dissatisfied with that, but also we quite deliberately took action in the United Nations on the question of Timor. The number of occasions on which I have raised this matter directly with the President and with the Foreign Minister are two- in January and again this month. On both occasions I pressed the matter and as a result of pressing for this we have been able to get the team into Balibo to make the inquiries that are currently being undertaken. Our record on this matter is clear. We have been open not merely on the question of the journalists but also on the question of our policy on Timor. So the succinct answer is that I have not simply relied on the mails. I have raised the matter personally in Jakarta on each occasion, and not merely with the Foreign Minister but also with other leading government officials. That is why we have had some success in the representations we have been making. I wish that the Leader of the Opposition would be frank about the attitude of his own Government when in power on the question of Timor. I wish that he would come out and confirm or deny the allegations that have been made by people who worked in his own Department- or a person, **Mr Gregory** Clark, for example. Will he confirm or deny the reports made by **Mr Peter** Hastings in the *Sydney Morning Herald* in September 1974, when it was first alleged that some tacit approval had been given by the then Prime Minister, for Indonesia to take over East Timor? Will he deny the fact that the only group that showed concern about Indonesian expansion in Timor was the then Opposition in this Parliament when it raised a matter of public importance about an impending invasion of East Timor, which was dismissed out of hand by the then Government? Your record in foreign policy is abysmal. Your lack of credibility in your own activity and participation in this matter is worse than abysmal. {: .page-start } page 1738 {:#debate-9} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-9-0} #### FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS WITH AUSTRALIAN TERRITORIES {: #subdebate-9-0-s0 .speaker-KOB} ##### Mr HASLEM: -- I direct my question to the Prime Minister. Following the recent Premiers Conference it was widely reported that the State Premiers were very pleased with the financial arrangements they had made with the Commonwealth Government on behalf of their respective States. The Prime Minister would be aware that the people of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory are not represented at that conference. Can the Prime Minister assure the people of those Territories that they will be similarly pleased with the financial arrangements to be made on their behalf? I would like to assure honourable members on the Opposition side that I, as a resident of Canberra, have a deeply entrenched personal interest in this matter. {: #subdebate-9-0-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr MALCOLM FRASER:
LP -- I wish to commend the honourable member for the strength and vigour of his representation of the interests of the people who live in this city. I have no doubt that because of it he will remain their representative for a great many years. The House will be well aware that the constitutional and, flowing from that, the financial relationship between Canberra and the Northern Territory on the one hand and Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory on the other are both different in quality and in time from the relationships between the Commonwealth and the States. Therefore the relationships are not and cannot be identical in character. We have a commitment to move the Northern Territory towards Statehood over a given period. Once that is achieved the Northern Territory obviously will share fully in the general federalism arrangements on a proper basis that guarantees the interests of the Northern Territory. So far as the Australian Capital Territory is concerned we also have a commitment and examinations are under way to see what authorities can be passed to the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory. I would hope that satisfactory and proper decisions can be made about that matter. But at the same time the honourable member would be well aware- it is a very obvious fact- that the national capital is in the Australian Capital Territory and therefore the total and final relationship of the Australian Capital Territory and the degree of selfgovernment will be different from the arrangements that will prevail between the Northern Territory and Canberra. Within those constrictions and confines I am quite certain that an equitable and proper arrangement in the long term will be worked out and the interests of the people of the Australian Capital Territory will be safeguarded by this Government. If they are not I am quite certain that the honourable member will press us to introduce proper arrangements. {: .page-start } page 1738 {:#debate-10} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-10-0} #### EAST TIMOR {: #subdebate-10-0-s0 .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT:
WILLS, VICTORIA -- I direct my question to the Foreign Minister, who has continued to criticise the stand of the Labor Government on Indonesian actions in East Timor. Is it not a fact that pressure from Australia under the Labor Government forced Indonesia to be extremely cautious in its actions in East Timor until he took over office and that it was not until he had been the Minister for some weeks that Indonesia felt free to actually invade East Timor in force? Does he admit that his efforts were less effective than those of the Labor Government? {: #subdebate-10-0-s1 .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK:
LP -I think the events of Timor answer the honourable member's question. If there had been persistent pressure by the Aus.tralian Labor Party when in power it may never have happened. There was evidence of a likely invasion of East Timor as far back as late 1974. Throughout 1975 there was further evidence. We raised the matter in the Parliament here and it was dismissed out of hand. At no stage did you seek to raise the matter in the United Nations. You could have sought a voice in the Security Council. You could have taken action even earlier when the General Assembly was sitting in late 1974. Don Willesee was in fact troubled by this matter and you might well ask your leader why he took a different stance on the matter from that taken by Don Willesee. Perhaps, instead of asking me questions, at your next Caucus meeting you will ask him to state the truth and give an explanation of the duplicity of the Labor Party over Timor to those members of your party who are genuinely concerned about what you brought about. {: .page-start } page 1739 {:#debate-11} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-11-0} #### POSTAL AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSIONS {: #subdebate-11-0-s0 .speaker-K5A} ##### Mr O'KEEFE:
PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES -I direct a question to the Minister for Post and Telecommunications. When legislation was brought down, dividing the Postmaster-General's Department into 2 separate sections, namely, the Postal Commission and the Telecommunications Commission, were the 2 basic reasons given for it the improvement of service and greater efficiency? As neither of these 2 factors appears to have eventuated will the Minister consider further examination of the position? Will he also convey to the executives of these commissions that they still have a responsibility to this Parliament? {: #subdebate-11-0-s1 .speaker-KZL} ##### Mr Eric Robinson:
MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The question of dismantling the Postmaster-General's Department and creating the 2 commissions was the subject of a substantial inquiry and it was a decision reached by the Whitlam Administration. The present Government parties had reservations and qualifications about it at the time and expressed them in their stated policy. We have said that we will continue the commissions but we will look at their performance to see whether any changes are necessary to make certain that although they conduct their affairs in a businesslike manner they take into account all the social requirements within Australia. The commissions are settling down. I think they are learning quite clearly that they have a responsibility to the Parliament. I have had substantial personal discussions with the Chairman, the commissioners and the managing directors and they accept that they have to keep me, and through me the Parliament, well and truly informed. The fact that they are commissions does not in any way avoid the requirement and the necessity to keep the Australian Parliament and the Australian nation informed about the tasks they carry out. All I can add is that my associations with the commissions are cordial. We are having a substantial number of discussions and of course I will keep in mind the requirement to have efficient operations in both telecommunications and in the postal service. I accept the need for them, particularly in country areas. {: .page-start } page 1739 {:#debate-12} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-12-0} #### SHIPBUILDING INDUSTRY {: #subdebate-12-0-s0 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr CHARLES JONES:
NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA -Is the Prime Minister aware that Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd has called and closed tenders for two 13 000-ton general purpose ships; that the Australian National Line has called and closed tenders for four 15 000-ton bulk carriers; that Howard Smith Industries Pty Ltd is on the verge of calling tenders for a 30 000-ton product carrier for coastal operations; and that these companies and ANL are in a position whereby they cannot place orders for those ships until such time as the Government has determined its shipbuilding policy? When can the industry expect to hear the Government's policy on shipbuilding, having in mind that Carrington Slipways has already laid off 20 per cent of its work staff, that the Whyalla shipyard is on the verge of laying off labour and that the Newcastle State Dockyard will shortly be in a similar position? {: #subdebate-12-0-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr MALCOLM FRASER:
LP -- I again thank the honourable gentleman for the information he gave the House. I will refer it to the Minister for Transport when he returns. {: .page-start } page 1739 {:#debate-13} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-13-0} #### CLUNIES-ROSS RESOURCE RENT PROPOSALS {: #subdebate-13-0-s0 .speaker-EI4} ##### Mr MOORE:
RYAN, QUEENSLAND -Has the Deputy Prime Minister read the Crawford-Okita report on JapaneseAustralian trade? If so, would he care to comment on the report's backing for the CluniesRoss resource rent proposal? {: #subdebate-13-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member is required to ask a question directly and not to request a comment. If he quickly rephrases the question I will allow him to proceed. {: .speaker-EI4} ##### Mr MOORE: -- I ask: Does the Minister agree with the backing for the Clunies-Ross report on resource rent proposals? {: #subdebate-13-0-s2 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY:
Deputy Prime Minister · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · NCP/NP -- I am afraid that I could not hear half of the question. Perhaps the honourable member could repeat his question. {: .speaker-EI4} ##### Mr MOORE: -Would the Deputy Prime Minister care to comment on the Crawford-Okita report - {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: {: .speaker-EI4} ##### Mr MOORE: -Does the Deputy Prime Minister agree that the Clunies-Ross rent proposals are more equitable than coal export levies? {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY: -- I will be very happy to comment on this report when it is brought to my attention; but as yet it has not been brought to my attention. {: .page-start } page 1740 {:#debate-14} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-14-0} #### DEPARTMENTAL ESTIMATES {: #subdebate-14-0-s0 .speaker-AV4} ##### Mr HURFORD:
ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA -- I address my question to the Prime Minister. Is it a fact that a committee of departmental officials has now reported to the Government, at the request of the Prime Minister, on how to cut the forward estimates for 1976-77 by $2,500m, or was the request for a greater amount? Were all Ministers informed of this pruning exercise, or is the rumour correct that they were not? In the interests of open government, I ask: What are the details of the suggested cuts, particularly in relation to education? {: #subdebate-14-0-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr MALCOLM FRASER:
LP -- The Treasury, the Treasurer and the Government are involved in preparations which will lead up to the next Budget. This matter is being looked at well in advance in a prudent and proper way. This examination has been made all the more necessary because of the very grave difficulties that have been posed by the utter irresponsibility of the honourable gentleman or his Party at a different point of time. Apart from that, I can only suggest that the honourable gentleman have patience. However, I can give the assurance that the Budget that will be introduced by the Treasurer at the appropriate time will be the most responsible financial document introduced into this House for a number of years. {: .page-start } page 1740 {:#debate-15} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-15-0} #### OVERSEAS AID {: #subdebate-15-0-s0 .speaker-KRM} ##### Mr SIMON:
MCMILLAN, VICTORIA -Is the Minister for Foreign Affairs aware of the concern of many members of the community at the Government's deferral and reduction of overseas aid, amounting to $2 1.5m in the current financial year? Does the Minister believe that Australia can afford to contribute 0.7 per cent of its gross national product to or on account of overseas aid? What period of time does the Minister consider the Government will require to reach its policy target for overseas aid of 0.7 per cent of the gross national product? Finally, what steps are being taken by the Government to utilise surplus agricultural products from Australia as a means of supplementing the Government's overseas aid program? {: #subdebate-15-0-s1 .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK:
LP -- I am aware of the concern in the community over the cuts in Government aid programs for this financial year. It will be recalled that the cuts amounted to approximately $2 1.5 m. More than half of that amount- namely, $ 12m- in fact consists of temporary deferments of Australia's contributions to international organisations. The cuts will not impede the operations of those organisations as they operate on the basis of a different financial year. I have indicated that clearly in this House before. The Government's continuing commitment to aid should be clear. In particular, the aid program that we have negotiated with Papua New Guinea, which is at a minimum of $930m, is in real contrast to the breaking of the commitment to Papua New Guinea by the previous Government in the last financial year. It is well to recall that in the calendar year 1973, when the previous Government was in office, the aid program fell to 0.4 per cent of gross national product, which was the lowest percentage in many years. Because of the drastic economic situation with which the previous Government was faced, it cut its aid program in the last Budget, as I recall- the honourable member for Oxley can confirm thisfrom 0.56 per cent of gross national product to 0.52 per cent. The present Government has reduced that to 0.5 1 per cent. We have a clear commitment. We have stated it time and time again. At the recent Asian Development Bank meeting **Mr Chan,** the Papua New Guinea Minister for Finance, acknowledged with gratitude Australia's commitment in respect of its aid program to Papua New Guinea. He pointed out that the aid, being in the form of unconditional and untied grants, was an example 'which other developed countries would do well to ponder'. We have also announced that as a government we will be contributing to the replenishment of the soft loan funds of the Asian Development Bank. Australia's allocated amount of $4 1.6m has been announced by the Treasurer. We will support an increase in the Bank's capital. We have taken action to support the International Fund for Agricultural Development. These decisions should make it clear that the Government will do all possible, consistent with economic constraints, to meet its obligations to help developing countries. While it would be sanguine to expect to achieve 0.7 per cent of the gross national product by 1980, the Government still intends to work towards the achievement of that figure, difficult though it will be with the economic climate we have inherited. It must be obvious to all that the stronger the economy, the more aid we can give. The converse is, to some extent, the case, borne out also by the performance of the previous Government in cutting its aid programs. Critics of Australia's aid performance should note that its present level of 0.51 per cent is considerably higher than the developed country average of 0.33 per cent. {: .page-start } page 1741 {:#debate-16} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-16-0} #### SMITH REGIME IN RHODESIA {: #subdebate-16-0-s0 .speaker-NF4} ##### Mr COHEN:
ROBERTSON, NEW SOUTH WALES -- I ask the Prime Minister a question. Does his Government support the Kissinger 10-point plan to wage psychological, economic and diplomatic warfare against the Smith regime in Rhodesia until it yields to black majority rule? {: #subdebate-16-0-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr MALCOLM FRASER:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The present Government opposes racial policies wherever they may be. {: .page-start } page 1741 {:#debate-17} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-17-0} #### EDUCATION {: #subdebate-17-0-s0 .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr HODGMAN:
DENISON, TASMANIA -My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education. He would be aware that today is E day and that several thousand teachers and parents from many parts of Australia have travelled to Canberra to put the case of education to this Parliament. Would the Minister agree that peaceful and orderly gatherings of this nature are a true exercise of the democratic process and in marked contrast to the rowdy and violent demonstrations seen in front of this Parliament last year? {: #subdebate-17-0-s1 .speaker-EE6} ##### Mr VINER:
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs · STIRLING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP -I thank the honourable gentleman for the question which draws attention to the number of teachers and representatives of parents who are gathering in Canberra today to speak to as many members of Parliament as they can, representing the educational interests in Australia. I think the way in which this gathering of teachers and others has prepared itself, has come to Canberra and is approaching members of Parliament is in stark contrast to the way in which other gatherings came to present themselves to the former Government. I think it is an indication of the way in which teachers and others respect the attitude of this Government and the way in which their views will be received, understood and acted upon. I know from experience in my electorate recently- I received a delegation from the State school teachers union and parent organisations, and with them I visited schools in my electorate- the value of that kind of activity not only for me but also for members of the deputation. I know that this was done successfully in all other electorates in Western Australia. The Government has been quite clear in its attitude to education and the nigh priority it gives to education. The Minister has given to the teacher organisations throughout Australia assurances of the high priority which we give to education. I am quite sure that in future that will be shown by the programs which we put into effect and by the expenditure which is authorised. {: .page-start } page 1741 {:#debate-18} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-18-0} #### ANGOLA AND MOZAMBIQUE {: #subdebate-18-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I ask a question of the Foreign Minister about some other former Portuguese possessions, this time in southern Africa. Concerning Angola, about which he was asked a question at the beginning of last month, I now ask: On what date and in what manner was the Government there informed that Australia recognised it? Concerning Mozambique, about which I asked my last question a month ago, I again ask: When will he be able to announce the Government's response to the urgent appeals by the Secretaries-General of the Commonwealth and of the United Nations for assistance to meet her losses in applying sanctions against Rhodesia? {: #subdebate-18-0-s1 .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK:
LP -In regard to the first part of the question concerning Angola, I assume the Leader of the Opposition has read today's newspapers and that he would have seen that I answered a question on notice yesterday indicating that the Government had recognised the regime in Angola. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- You did not say when. {: .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK: -That very statement creates the official recognition. The honourable gentleman ought to know that. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- So this is the only way- an answer to a question upon notice? {: .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK: -- No. We are now taking steps to relay that information but, as the honourable gentleman would well know, a public statement is all that is required. So if he wants the date of recognition, the date of recognition was yesterday. In regard to Mozambique, I previously indicated to the honourable gentleman that the United Nations mission to Mozambique began discussions on a program of economic and technical assistance for that country. We are yet to receive the report and we are awaiting it. We have received a report from the meeting and inquiry made by the Commonwealth Secretary-General. When we receive the report from the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations we will be able to announce in greater detail the form of aid. I have previously said to the Leader of the Opposition that the Government has a disposition to assist in this matter. I would like to be able to indicate to him, for example, the extent of our food aid. The Prime Minister and I have made a decision that we wish to send some form of food aid to Mozambique, and that will be done, but I will be unable to give the detail of that and to compare it with the request until I receive officially the report of the Secretary-General's mission to Mozambique. I think it is proper that I should await its receipt. But the Leader of the Opposition may be assured that immediately it is received it will get attention- the attention of a Government seised of the importance of the matter and desirous of giving assistance particularly in the field of food aid. Additionally we have received, for example, advice from the World Health Organisation that Mozambique desperately requires skim milk powder. I believe that we could respond to that request. The Prime Minister agrees with me here- I am very grateful because it will reduce my paper work- that we will be able to respond to the request by the World Health Organisation for skim milk powder for Mozambique. {: .page-start } page 1742 {:#debate-19} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-19-0} #### GROOTE EYLANDT: COMMUNICATIONS {: #subdebate-19-0-s0 .speaker-JTW} ##### Mr CALDER:
NORTHERN TERRITORY -- My question is addressed to the Minister for Post and Telecommunications. I refer to a recent report of a flare-up of tribal fighting on Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria and at the same time a break in radio contact between police on the island and Nhulunbuy. If this is so, an even more dangerous situation than that reported could exist. I ask the Minister whether he will urgently follow up previous representations from Groote Eylandt for the installation of a permanent satisfactory communications system with the mainland so that emergencies such as that reported may be dealt with promptly and so that the Groote Eylandters may at all times be in telephonic contact with the rest of Australia. {: #subdebate-19-0-s1 .speaker-KZL} ##### Mr Eric Robinson:
MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · LP -I am aware that there are problems concerning Groote Eylandt. For some time there has been a high frequency radio link and a telex with the island but the atmospheric conditions have caused trouble. I am aware that there have recently been distress calls. I will certainly accelerate an inquiry. The Department is looking at the possibility of improving the link and it is looking, in conjunction with the mining company there, at the possibility of improving the television translator station. I will be having a meeting with the Australian Broadcasting Commission in Sydney on Monday and that is one of the matters I want to discuss. I accept that the general question of communications between Groote Eylandt and the mainland and on the island itself is important, particularly when we have troubles Uke this. I assure the honourable member that I shall follow this matter through and keep him informed. {: .page-start } page 1742 {:#debate-20} ### PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS {: #debate-20-s0 .speaker-JNO} ##### Mr BAILLIEU:
La Trobe **-Mr Speaker,** I rise on a point of order. I should like to make a personal explanation. {: #debate-20-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- If the honourable member wishes to make a personal explanation, no point of order is involved. Does the honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented? {: .speaker-JNO} ##### Mr BAILLIEU: -- I claim to have been misrepresented, **Mr Speaker.** {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: {: .speaker-JNO} ##### Mr BAILLIEU: -- On a point of order, after I addressed a question to the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser),** the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr E. G. Whitlam),** in a most curious and unprecedented outburst, alleged that I was involved in a dispute with the honourable member for Macarthur on the matter of possible disruption to the employment and future of hundreds of Australian workers employed in the local cable manufacturing industry. Honourable members, of course, would expect little more from the Leader of the Opposition than such a bullying and provocative - {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -The honourable gentleman will not argue the point. He will make his personal explanation. {: .speaker-JNO} ##### Mr BAILLIEU: -I want to inform the House that no such dispute exists, has existed, or indeed will exist. Furthermore, I inform the House that contrary to the innuendo made by the Leader of the Opposition, I have no vested interest in this or any other Australian public company. Can the Leader of the Opposition make the same claim? {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP {: .speaker-JNO} ##### Mr BAILLIEU: -I know that the Leader of the Opposition is sensitive on the matters I raise. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honourable gentleman will not argue the matter. {: .speaker-JNO} ##### Mr BAILLIEU: -To put the matter in perspective, **Mr Speaker** - {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I think that the honourable gentleman has already done so. He has stated where he has been misrepresented. He has made the denial. He is not permitted to argue. {: .speaker-JNO} ##### Mr BAILLIEU: -- Are you closing me off, **Mr Speaker?** The purpose of my interest, **Mr Speaker,** and the reason I raised this question is my concern for the jobs of 400 workers in my electorate. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -The honourable gentleman has already made that perfectly clear. {: .speaker-JNO} ##### Mr BAILLIEU: -- And the future of their dependants. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -The honourable member will resume his seat. {: #debate-20-s2 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
Leader of the Opposition · WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP **- Mr Speaker,** I wish to make a personal explanation. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented? {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP **- Mr Speaker,** the honourable gentleman has misrepresented me. I said that the honourable gentleman had a family connection with the company about which he has now asked 3 questions without notice of the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser).** I also inferred that there was a rival cable making company in the electorate of Macarthur. It was on that basis that I said that there was a conflict of interest in that sense, not financial but political, between the 2 Government supporters concerned. **Mr BAILLIEU** (La Trobe)-Mr Speaker, if I could put this in perspective and perhaps put the matter to rest - {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -No, I shall put the matter to rest. The Prime Minister has a paper to present. {: .page-start } page 1743 {:#debate-21} ### AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL {:#subdebate-21-0} #### Ministerial Statement {: #subdebate-21-0-s0 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr MALCOLM FRASER:
Prime Minister · Wannon · LP -- For the information of honourable members I present the report by the advisory group on the Australian Science and Technology Council. I seek leave to make a brief statement relating to that report. {: #subdebate-21-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. {: .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr MALCOLM FRASER: -On 9 February I announced that **Dr Matheson, Chairman** of the Interim Australian Science and Technology Council, had been asked to form a small advisory group to advise me on the role of a continuing science and technology council, its terms of reference and other matters concerning its operation. The advisory group reported on 24 March. It recommends an interim and short term course of action, bringing the advisory group into the Interim Australian Science and Technology Council- ASTEC- which would continue with changed membership and functions. The first task of the Council will be the preparation by the end of 1976 of a definitive report to assist the Government in its decisions on the long term future of ASTEC. In this task the Council will consult with interested parties including government departments and agencies. The permanent heads of the departments and agencies, with a significant research and development budget, will be able to participate in the discussions of the Council to foster mutual understanding. The Council will also consult universities, academics and other relevant bodies. In recognition of its short-term nature, the terms of office for members of the reconstituted Council will be for one year only. The advisory group also recommends that the Council should be independent of any department or Ministry having a significant concern with scientific and technical research and development. This is consistent with my statement of 8 December 1975 that as the problems of science involve all areas of government and are of the highest importance to Australia. ASTEC will report directly to the Prime Minister who will report to the Parliament. I have therefore confirmed that the council should report directly to me and decided that its secretariat should be located for the time being within my department. Membership of the reconstituted council will be announced as soon as those approached have indicated their willingness to serve. I wish to place on record my appreciation of the work of the advisory group and the speed with which it made its report. {: .page-start } page 1743 {:#debate-22} ### GRIEVANCE DEBATE Timor- Purchase of Lockheed AircraftShipbuilding Industry -Aircraft Flight Paths from Sydney Airport -Letters to Public {:#subdebate-22-0} #### Servants- Court Proceedings- Civil Rights Question proposed: >That grievances be noted. {: #subdebate-22-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
Leader of the Opposition · WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Earlier today I had informed the Foreign Minister **(Mr Peacock)** that I would raise the matter of his delay in responding to an urgent representation made by me and my colleagues. Before dealing with that I shall deal with a matter which he raised during question time. I must say that he has taken a particularly miserable and in fact despicable line in the insinuations he had made earlier and again today. He knows perfectly well that the refutation of what he had been insinuating and alleging cannot be published for about 20 years. I have had to suffer, not for the first time in this matter, insinuations and suspicions because I honour the convention that communications between heads of government remain confidential. I wrote a letter to President Nixon at the end of 1972. I wrote a letter to President Suharto towards the end of 1975. Each letter will completely vindicate my approach. Neither letter can be published. I make all allowances for the Minister. He has to take up this *machismo* image- to use a good Spanish or Portuguese term- because the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser)** does not have faith in him and his back benchers, as is quite plain from the maiden speeches made by so many of them and the questions directed to him, which have a very much more hawkish attitude and ideological attitude on these matters than he himself takes. He himself went to Bali last year. He there was briefed by men very close to President Suharto and to General Ali Moertopo. He remembers their names, I suppose. If he wishes me to remind him I can give the names to him. Those men gave the impression to the President and General Ali Moertopo that if a Liberal-National Country Party government were elected it would acquiesce in an Indonesian takeover in Timor. The honourable gentleman has been burdened on this issue particularly by the outbursts which were made on 28 August last in questions without notice, first by the Leader of the National Country Party **(Mr Anthony)** and then by the Leader of the Liberal Party asserting that Fretilin was communist controlled. Ever since then the Indonesians have been able to quote the view of the men who are now the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister as supporting their obsessions about any communist movements in our area. The Foreign Minister mentioned in particular **Mr Gregory** Clark. **Mr Gregory** Clark was reported in the Press a few weeks ago to have expressed some views as to what passed between me and President Suharto in Townsville, in April last year. President Suharto and I have known each other for some 10 years and I am in the situation of being able to express matters frankly, even bluntly, to him and he similarly to me. I am the first head of government in this country who has established a position of personal intimacy with any other heads of government in this area. I was the first head of government in this area whom the President visited in this way in April last year. He had visited Australia before but there were no meaningful discussions; it was purely a ceremonial visit. But in April we had a working visit and that is partly why we had it in Townsville. We had established the practice of every half year conferring on all matters between us. The record in due course will show that the President undertook that Indonesia would not resort to arms on the Timor issue. As long as I was the Prime Minister that undertaking was honoured. **Mr Gregory** Clark was reported as saying that I said some things to the President and that Indonesian Foreign Minister Malik was there. In fact Gregory Clark's reported observations showed that he was wrong in date and in personnel. **Mr Malik** was not there. **Mr Clark** was not there. **Mr Clark** has been represented on occasions as an insider as far as I was concerned. He was never on my staff and in the year that he was with my department- his appointment was open to the Head of the Department alone- he never had access to any of the documents to which I have referred. I had notified the Foreign Minister that I wished to raise a matter upon which I had written to him a month ago- a letter which he has not acknowledged or answered. It concerns the inexplicable purchase of Lockheed aircraft in the late 1950s. Let me remind honourable gentlemen of the circumstances by quoting what **Mr David** Fairbairn, D.F.C., said at that time. He said: >Let us see how the Government of this country has prevented the purchase of aircraft which the technical experts wanted bought, and which are made in the sterling area. First, we have the case of the Caravelle. TAA sent its experts, including **Mr Warren** McDonald, all round the world to look at every possible suitable aircraft and decided which was best. Among other places they visited Toulouse. As the honourable member for Fremantle said, they recommended the purchase of the best and most economical aircraft. So TAA decided to buy 2 Caravelles but was told by the Government that it could not do so. Eventually the Government said: 'You can buy Electras. ' **Mr Fairbairn** pointed out that the engines of Caravelles were Rolls Royce Avons made in Melbourne for our own Canberra jet bombers. The second case he gave was the rejection by the Government of the request by Tasman Empire Airways Ltd for approval to purchase Comet aircraft. He stated: >There is a board of six directing TEAL and its representatives spent 2 years visiting every firm in the world which turns out suitable aircraft. They inspected the aircraft, gave them test flights and eventually decided by a four-to-two majority in favour of the Comets. What did this Government do? It immediately sent the Director-General of Civil Aviation and the Minister for Civil Aviation to New Zealand and put the utmost pressure on the New Zealand Government and the board of TEAL to rescind that vote and not to buy Comets, but to purchase Electras instead. Again, **Mr Fairbairn** told the House: >I went to the Lockheed works at Atlanta, the De Havilland works at Bristol and the Sud works at Toulouse. I must say quite bluntly that, although I disagreed with the Government's policy on aircraft buying before I went abroad, I have come back disagreeing with it even more strongly. The facts are that Ansett Airlines of Australia asked for 2 Electras. TAA asked for 2 Caravelles. An application for 2 Electras resulted in orders for 13 Electras. TAA had to take three; Ansett got three; Qantas got four and TEAL had to take three. The essence of it is that nobody can import aircraft into Australia without the Government's permission, and the Minister concerned gave that permission. On the second day that we sat this year the honourable member for Fremantle **(Mr Beazley),** who frequently raised this matter in the late 1950s, asked the Prime Minister: >In view of the fact that the Lockheed Corporation is revealed as a major source of this sort of corrupt action, will the Prime Minister cause an investigation to be made into its activities in Australia where it has been the major supplier to civil airlines and defence forces? The Prime Minister said: . . . that question might well involve the previous Administration. There would probably need to be some assurance from the Leader of the Opposition in relation to some aspects of it. That was just a throw-away. But what he had in mind was revealed when my colleague the honourable member for Newcastle **(Mr Charles Jones)** later asked a question of the Prime Minister and was interrupted after he asked: >Is he also aware of the strong rumours at that time that a senior Liberal Cabinet Minister had been compensated by Lockheed following the Government's decision - The Prime Minister- showing, to use his phrase, the quality of his nature and the quality of his politics- said: >The honourable gentleman was Minister for Transport and as Minister for Transport he himself might have had quite close liaison and communication with the Lockheed Corporation ... I think it ought to be noted that the honourable gentleman may well need to look to his own house first because he may not be aware that one of the various defence Ministers, or was it the Prime Minister at that time, was responsible for ordering Lockheed aircraft in the period of the previous Administration As subsequent answers to questions on notice have shown, my Government ordered no civil aircraft from Lockheed. They were all ordered by the Menzies Government. The only orders that we placed for defence aircraft were for 8 Orions that were versions of aircraft which had been ordered- successfully and properly- by previous governments. *(Extension of time granted)* I thank honourable members. Meantime, on 18 February my colleague the honourable member for Shortland **(Mr Morris)** wrote to **Senator Church,** the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Multinational Corporations of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, concerning the sale of Lockheed Electra aircraft to Australia. **Senator Church** replied: >The Sub-committee on Multinational Corporations has decided to make its files available pursuant to formal government requests transmitted to the United States through our State Department > >Should you wish the Australian information the proper procedure would be to address a request through your foreign office. We will be pleased to respond as soon as possible. Accordingly, on 3 1 March I wrote to the Foreign Minister, quoting **Senator Church's** reply and setting out the circumstances in which Lockheed Electra aircraft had been ordered by or forced upon various Australian operators, and I went on to say: >A member of the Australian National Airlines Commission explained this transformation of a request for 2 Electras to orders for 13 Electras by informing me that the Lockheed agents in Australia . . . gave the then Minister for Civil Aviation the commission they had earned on one of the 13 Electras whose sale the company had procured and the Minister had permitted. I went on to say: >This information was reflected in the question for which the Minister supplied me with an answer . . . I gave the date and I gave the other references in *Hansard* to questions raised and answers received by my colleagues on this matter. I then asked the Minister: >We now ask your department to transmit through the United States State Department to the Church Committee a request for the relevant files. I have been reluctant to make allegations in these matters. Nevertheless, it is quite clear from what I have quoted that there were very serious misgivings about the propriety of ordering Electra aircraft in the late 1950s. I have not quoted what my colleagues said at the time. I have not quoted what some Government members said at the time. I have relied solely on statements made at that time by **Mr Fairbairn-** a man of considerable experience and very great interest in aviation matters and, by the universal judgment of honourable members who know him, a very honourable man. He did not talk lightly on these matters. I have given the Minister the information that I was given at the time. It came from a member of the Board of TAA. The matter was no great secret at the time. The Church Committee has disclosed that in most countries which purchased Lockheed aircraft at that time considerations were paid to Ministers or officials. My information was that a consideration was paid to the Minister in Australia at that time. That is shown by the question I asked at the time. I did refer briefly to this matter, on the 8th of this month, in these words: >In the late 1950s a Liberal Minister for Civil Aviation is believed to have received a very large sum for himself or his Party in consideration of orders for Electra aircraft which he had permitted and promoted. The sum is said to have been the commission on one of the 1 3 Electras ordered. Up till now I have merely wished to get the information from the United States Senate Committee which inquired into this matter and which disclosed matters that I believe have concerned every other administration that bought aircraft at that time. I believe that the same corruption occurred in Australia. I asked the Minister more than a month ago to take the steps. He has not acknowledged my letter. He has not answered the letter. {: .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr Peacock: -- It is not quite a month. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- It is 4 weeks and one day. But the honourable gentleman should answer his correspondence more quickly than that- and he does. This is not a letter which is confidential. This is not a letter from one head of government to another head of government. There is nothing secret about this matter. What is he concealing? I believe that in this case, where the correspondence can be revealed, he once again has allowed the trail to be overgrown and the clues to go cold. He delayed after my letter on 7 November last to President Suharto. He has delayed for the last month on my letter to him about a Minister- a corrupt Liberal Minister- of the 1950s. {: #subdebate-22-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! The Leader of the Opposition 's time has expired. {: #subdebate-22-0-s2 .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK:
Minister for Foreign Affairs · Kooyong · LP -- We have just listened to a tragic apology for ills, misdemeanours and non-disclosures by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr E. G. Whitlam)** when he was Prime Minister. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: -- Stop the humbug. {: .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK: -Stop the humbug! The honourable member for Newcastle should have interjected throughout the speech by his Leader. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: -- You know you are crook. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member for Newcastle will withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK: -Are you talking about me? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! The Minister for Foreign Affairs will resume his seat. The honourable member for Newcastle will withdraw the interjection. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: -- I withdraw the interjection, **Mr Speaker.** The Minister is covering up - {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Do so unqualifiedly and then resume your seat. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: -- . . . past malpractices and illegal actions by Liberal Ministers. {: .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK: -- It is extraordinary. I have not even commenced what I have to say on the subject of the Lockheed Corporation, and honourable members opposite already have closed their minds. It shows how objective they are. Let me refer to the first part of the address made by the Leader of the Opposition. He described my references to his performance in Government concerning the matter of Timor as miserable and despicable. All I can say in that regard is that the proper designation for his performance on this issue while Prime Minister is not merely miserable and despicable but indefensible and unsustainable. There is no way in which you can justify your past actions. Recourse to alleged conventions about the non-disclosure of discussions will not do. You know that a refutation can be made by your own consent to the publication of documents, by your own reference to actions that you could have taken and should have taken when we raised matters in this Parliament. It is not merely a matter of discussions between President Suharto and yourself to which I am referring. It is the lack of action by your Government in the international forum, on a government to government basis and in this Parliament itself. You stand condemned by the lack of activity during your own period in government. *Hansard* will reveal the infrequent references to Timor. *Hansard* will reveal the way in which you ducked and skirted around issues when asked questions by members of your own Party. *Hansard* will reveal the way in which you moved away from facing the allegations that we put to you in the Parliament itself. You are on very thin ice in hanging on to the alleged confidentiality of documents that record conversations between the President and yourself. Published documents here, together with media accounts, condemn you. Your lack of justification of your actions today further condemns you. I think the overwhelming majority of Australians will be of the same view when they compare your record with our record, which indicates a publication of views by me from the time an allegation was made against you of tacit support of Indonesian expansion, which I issued in September 1974 and in which I said that we would never condone any qualification of the international principle of self-determination for the Timorese. That was accompanied by a matter raised in this Parliament and was accompanied further in August and September by 2 statements that were issued, condemning your Government. All these are on record. You have no record to rely on other than one which alleges that the documents are confidential and cannot be disclosed for 2 decades. Your arguments simply will not stand up and you are condemned, not only by your own words - {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I call the Minister to order. {: .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr PEACOCK: -The Leader of the Opposition is condemned not only by his own words but also by those who work within the Department for which he was responsible. I would not know whether **Mr Clark** was an insider or an outsider. I do know that he worked in the Department of the Prime Minister. I do know that he did have access to some documents. It is clear from what the Leader of the Opposition says that he did not have access to all documents. But it is interesting to note that **Mr Clark's** account does corroborate the account of journalists in September 1974. The Leader of the Opposition can decide whether he chooses to make those documents available, but I would refer him to other opportunities he had to explain his Government's attitude to Indonesia and from which he withdrew. I now refer to the second matter that the Leader of the Opposition has raised. I received a letter from the Leader of the Opposition dated 3 1 March. The letter asked that the Government transmit through the United States Department of State to the sub-committee on multi-national corporations of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations a request for files relevant to the sale of Lockheed Electra aircraft to Australia. I regret that I have not been able to reply in writing to the Leader of the Opposition yet. He has at least said that I am normally expeditious, or words to that effect, in the replies that I issue, but I believe the Government would be unwise to accept the statements of the Leader of the Opposition at face value without any investigation whatsoever. Accordingly, I directed the Australian Ambassador in Washington to make certain preliminary inquiries on the basis of which the Government could decide whether the proper course of action would be to accede to this request. These inquiries have been complicated, which is why I have not yet replied to the Leader of the Opposition. The Australian Ambassador in Washington has reported to date that contacts between his Embassy and the United States Justice Department had revealed no evidence so far about payments in Australia in respect of the sale of Lockheed aircraft. I would add that the Justice Department has said that its own investigations into the question of overseas payments in general were at a very early stage and would take many months to complete. It is also said, quite rightly in my view, that in the absence of any suggestion that such payments have in fact been made, it is not prepared to search through masses of invoices and other raw documents for signs of such payments. In other words, I think it is fair that the Leader of the Opposition take the matter beyond what was contained in his letter and give us further details. This Government has nothing to hide. This Government will probe his allegations, but he should make them in more detail than they have been made to date. I would also note that the Ambassador in Washington has reported that a high official of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation gave himthat is, the Ambassador- complete reassurance that Lockheed had not at any stage in the postwar period paid sums of money to third parties involved in any Lockheed sales in Australia. Some may say; 'Well, they may be involved; so what for that.' But I can say on the basis of reports from the Embassy to date, following the cable I sent on the receipt of the Leader's letter dated 3 1 March, that we have been in touch with the United States authorities on this matter for some weeks and so far no indication of questionable payments by Lockheed in Australia has been revealed. As I understand it, the allegation of the Leader of the Opposition does not *prima facie* involve Lockheed itself as distinct from its agents in Australia. If he holds any substantive information that does suggest any third party payments by Lockheed I would be prepared to make the formal request to the United States Government that he seeks, and if necessary to seek a bilateral agreement on the release of United States information if any exists. I believe at this stage it is for the Leader of the Opposition to substantiate his claims. As I have said, the Government will not hold back and for all the argument over policy matters I think he would agree that if he puts material to me I will execute it faithfully and I will not hold back on anything. It relates to matters well before my time in this Parliament, but it does relate to men who may have to date an unimpeachable reputation. In fairness to whoever these men are or whoever this person is, I think the Leader of the Opposition ought to substantiate his claims to me. The Government has acted quite properly to date in making informal and preliminary inquiries on the basis of the material contained in the letters of the Leader of the Opposition. These have not so far thrown up any information to justify what he has said. Until there is such justification the Government is not prepared to make a formal approach to the United States Government. But on the receipt of more information from the Leader of the Opposition we will decide whether to proceed further. I bear in mind that he may have gone beyond the letter today in his speech. I will study the speech carefully to ensure that I have not missed anything and to see whether there is additional information contained in it that could be used. But I assume from my recollection of the speech that I will need further substantiation from the Leader of the Opposition before I can take the matter further, but it will be taken further. I could never condone such action and I will investigate the matter further provided the Leader of the Opposition does the proper thing and substantiates his claims. {: #subdebate-22-0-s3 .speaker-KWZ} ##### Mr WALLIS:
Grey -- I take the opportunity in this grievance debate to raise a matter of grave concern not only to my electorate but also to the electorate of the honourable member for Newcastle **(Mr Charles Jones).** I refer to the problems facing the shipbuilding industry today. A few weeks ago the honourable member for Newcastle introduced a deputation to the Minister for Industry and Commerce **(Senator Cotton)** concerning the problems in the industry in Newcastle as he saw them. I had the opportunity of introducing a similar deputation from Whyalla. They are the 2 major shipbuilding areas in Australia. The deputation from Whyalla resulted from what I think was a pretty responsible attitude taken by the trade unions in Whyalla which were organising protest meetings about what the future held for the industry in that town but decided to call off stoppages. They decided to approach the other local people interested in this matter- the town council, the people who represent the small contractors and the business people. As a result a public meeting was called in Whyalla. The meeting was held in a hall that was overflowing with people. It was decided at that meeting to send a deputation to Canberra to place the people's views before the Minister. I had the pleasure of arranging for that deputation to be heard. It was representative of all sections in the Whyalla district- the trade unions, the town council, the local business people and the small contractors around the town who supply building materials and so forth to the shipyard. There were discussions with the Minister here. He gave the deputation a good hearing; I do grant him that. He did concede many of the points which the deputation raised with him, but of course he could not give these people a definite answer. His reply was that he was preparing a submission to go before the Cabinet and he would take their views into consideration in preparing a submission to be put before the Cabinet. I understand from a newspaper report that a submission has been made to the Cabinet. We certainly hope that any decision that the Government brings down will ensure that the Australian shipbuilding industry will continue in the future as it has done in the past and in fact will continue to grow which in a maritime nation such as Australia is a matter of great importance. My main concern and responsibility is concerned with the shipyard at Whyalla which is owned by Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd. Perhaps it would pay us to look back at a few years of the history of the Whyalla shipyard. It was established early in the war years, in the early 1940s, in an area in Spencers Gulf that was considered to be strategically defendable. Previously the port of Whyalla had been used only for shipping out iron ore concentrates from Iron Knob and Iron Baron, and when it did start operations some of the first ships built there were for the Navy. I think the first ship built was the *HMAS Whyalla,* which served during the Second World War and was the first of a number of naval ships that were built there. The value of the shipyard was that it established a strong secondary industry well away from the major capital cities. Following the establishment of the shipyards, Whyalla has grown to the largest city in South Australia outside Adelaide and certainly it is one of the strong secondary industry areas outside the capital city and in a decentralised situation. As I said, many of the early ships built there were naval ships. It is interesting to note that last week in Adelaide the Minister for Defence **(Mr Killen),** when asked a question about the 2 frigates purchased from the United States, said that they could not have been built at Whyalla because we lacked the expertise to do the work. While I realise that these days naval ships are a lot more sophisticated than they were in the war years, I am sure that if Australia were in trouble tomorrow yards such as the State Dockyard at Newcastle, which is another major shipyard, and the Whyalla shipyard would be called upon to build these sophisticated naval ships and would be able to do the job. Let us consider some of the ships that were built at the Whyalla yard. First of all, the *Ocean Digger,* which was the first oil rig built in Australia, was built at that yard. I understand that there were problems involved in getting it built overseas and the Whyalla yard undertook the job and did it quite successfully. The largest ship ever built in Australia, the *Clutha Capricorn,* of approximately 83 000 tons, was also built at that yard. One unique ship built there, and this involved the question of expertise too, was the *Amanda Miller,* a 65 000 ton ship constructed for the R. W. Miller company. During the course of construction the ship caught fire. The honourable member for Newcastle **(Mr Charles Jones)** and I inspected the ship after the fire. Its back had been broken in five or six places and it was a complete mess. The ship was completely reconstructed on the Whyalla slipway and was only a few months late in going down the slipway. That certainly indicates that great credit is due to the expertise of the people in the yard and shows that there was no lack of quality in the workmanship of the men in the yard or in the design. As I have said, because of the establishment of the shipyard and some of the other activities which followed, Whyalla grew into the second largest city in South Australia, with a population at the present time of between 34 000 and 35 000 people. One of the unique things about it is that about 60 per cent of its people were born overseas. Whyalla has grown mainly on the basis of migrants who were brought to this country on the nomination of the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd to work in its shipyards. However, those people who have been brought from overseas are the ones who will be worst hit because many of them were brought from areas where the main industry is shipbuilding. If the wrong decisions are made and it becomes necessary for these people to move out of the area, they will have to leave an industry in which they have worked all their lives. We all know that problems exist in the shipbuilding industry throughout the world at the present time, and there are a number of reasons for that. One reason was the Arab oil embargo and another the dearth of super-tankers in the world. One of the problems that shipyards such as the ones we have in Australia are facing is that the overseas yards that formerly built super-tankers are now moving into other fields and building the types of ships which are quite within the scope of the Australian yards. The overseas shipyards are grabbing everything that is going and Australian shipyards now are facing highly increased competition from overseas. In a paper put out recently, Professor Fink of the University of New South Wales claims that those lower tenders are made at dump prices. So that problem has to be overcome. Certainly it would be a shame if the Australian shipbuilding industry were allowed to wither away because of a temporary situation whereby it is possible to buy ships at cheaper prices overseas than those for which they can be bought in Australia. It is rather ironic that such ships are being built with cheap raw materials supplied by Australia. As I have said, overseas shipbuilders are able to quote lower prices in tenders for Australian ships and, as a result, our yards have been placed in the position in which they now find themselves. It would be a shame if, because of present conditions, this industry slowed down or reached a stage where it became stagnant or there was no longer an Australian shipbuilding industry, which is necessary to give Australia, as a maritime nation, full contact with the rest of the world for our imports and exports. The honourable member for Newcastle mentioned today at question time some of the tenders could have been placed. Four 15 000-ton ships are on tender for the Australian National Line and two 13 000-ton general purpose ships for BHP. The honourable member also mentioned a Howard Smith Ship. I understand that there is also an arrangement between ANL and Lyaghts for the construction of a 20 000-ton slab carrier. What is going to happen to those tenders? There are sufficient ships on tender- seven or eight in all- to keep the Australian shipyards going for quite a number of years and to give the Australian Government and the industry time to reexamine the position and to look at methods of assistance. We know that at the present time, as a result of a Tariff Board report which the previous Labor Government accepted, assistance to the shipbuilding industry in the early 1980s will drop to 25 per cent. I believe it is possible that the factors which were relevant when the Tariff Board brought down its report are no longer relevant. We have to consider the types of assistance that are given overseas. Every major shipbuilding nation in the world assists its shipbuilding industry. Australia assists the industry in one form, that is, by way of a shipbuilding subsidy. Other nations assist the industry in eight or nine different ways, and I would suggest that when considering new policies to assist the industry we should look at those other forms of assistance in an endeavour at least to give the shipbuilding industry a chance to keep going and play its full part in the advancement of the Australian nation. {: #subdebate-22-0-s4 .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Giles:
ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {:#subdebate-22-1} #### Suspension of Standing Orders Motion (by **Mr Howard)-** by leave- agreed to: >That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the consideration of order of the day No. 1 Government Business Grievance Debate being continued until 1 p.m. {: #subdebate-22-1-s0 .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr NEIL:
St George -- 1 wish to draw to the attention of the House 3 actions of the Labor Party, two in New South Wales and one in the Federal sphere, which are of serious concern to my constituents. The first is a claim by the Mayor of Hurstville, Alderman Ryan, that a certain flight path to be taken by aircraft will go over the Connells Point area. This matter is most contentious. It is a matter about which I have publicly called for people to write to me and let me know their views. It is a matter on which the Federal Government has not yet made a decision. It is one on which I do not intend to become polarised at this time because in matters of extreme importance that should cross Party lines and be bipartisan there should be careful and clear discussion. In the last week or so, scare tactics, propaganda tactics, have been used for political purposes to put fear into the people living in the area on a totally untrue basis. I have discussed this matter with the Premier of New South Wales, **Sir Eric** Willis, who has said that statements made by Alderman Ryan about the flight path are a completely ridiculous and unbelievable distortion of the true position and a completely ridiculous and unbelievable distortion of statements made by him. {: .speaker-ZD4} ##### Mr Howard: -- He is a Labor candidate, is he not? {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr NEIL: -- Yes, Alderman Ryan is a Labor candidate for the seat of Hurstville. What the Labor people have done in their propaganda is to take the flight path as it now exists on the eastwest runway and move it 2 miles to the south so that it connects with the southern end of the north-south runway. Logic clearly dictates that if there were to be a second runway, parallel northsouth, that runway would be 200 or 400 metres from the present north-south runway. Let me make it clear that the runway is towards the north-west corner of the bay and take-offs over the bay are towards the south. Many people think that because the take-offs are over the water they are towards the east. We must be very clear on what we are talking about. These take-offs are to the south. What Alderman Ryan did, and he has been given the lie today by no less a person than the Mayor of Kogarah, was to take a simple statement by **Sir Eric** Willis, the Premier, who said that the planes would bank left or right, which is quite natural, and make up a completely new flight path, moving the east-west flight path two miles down to the south- not 200 metres but 2 miles- and then adding it to the end of the northsouth runway. If honourable members look at the map they will see that this would result in a turn that you could not take on a motor bike at 30 miles and hour, let alone in a jet aircraft. It would result in the total disintegration of the aircraft. The St George and Sutherland Shire *Leader* newspaper today carries various contributions solidly criticising this idea and Alderman Cavanough, the Mayor of Kogarah, has pointed out that Alderman Ryan sees a need to increase the vote in the Connell's Point area and therefore has deemed that there should be a flight path over the heads of those people. This is a complete distortion of the situation and is nothing but a blatant scare tactic. It will not work. The second matter I wish to raise involves thousands of my constituents and, I understand, people in many other areas. Letters bearing parliamentary letterheads, in some cases, have been sent to many public servants living in the State electorates of Earlwood, Hurstville, Georges River and Kogarah. From Press reports it appears that some of these letters emanated from the hand or under the guidance of the Labor member for Georges River, **Mr Walker,** who recently voiced statements about the new New South Wales Commissioner for Transport and was thoroughly condemned for doing so by senior and responsible members of the Labor Opposition in this House. {: .speaker-ZD4} ##### Mr Howard: -- A shocking performance. {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr NEIL: -- It was shocking conduct. These people have abused the privacy of thousands of people in New South Wales and they are complaining bitterly. Those people have been written to on parliamentary letterheads and have been asked for support in the election. These public servants want to know how these documents were obtained. I have discussed this matter with **Sir Eric** Willis who agrees with me that the only way that the people responsible could get hold of the names and addresses of these public servants would be by getting hold of the confidential list of subscribers to *Red Tape,* the Public Service magazine, either covertly or in cooperation with the Public Service Association. This is a disgraceful invasion of privacy by a party that claims to support privacy and it ought to be referred as soon as possible to the responsible authorities and to the Law Reform Commission. The third matter I wish to raise is the duplicity of the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr E. G. Whitlam)** in relation to what was said between himself and President Suharto in 1974. The Leader of the Opposition claims to rely on convention. I would not have brought this matter up except that he chose not to reply, even to the Minister for Foreign Affairs **(Mr Peacock).** The facts are these: Allegation after allegation has appeared in the newspapers and suggestions have been made in this House by the honourable member for Bradfield **(Mr Connolly)** and the honourable member for Hotham **(Mr Chipp),** as well as in numerous other places, that in some way or another during those discussions the Leader of the Opposition gave the nod or the wink to President Suharto or told him that he could have East Timor decently or indecently, in some way or another. Apparently one member of the Opposition knows what happened, the honourable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr Clyde Cameron),** because on 18 February this year, by interjection when the honourable member for Bradfield raised this matter, he called out: 'That is not true; that was never said by our Prime Minister.' Why do we not hear from the honourable member for Hindmarsh what was really said? The next matter of considerable concern to me is that there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that the Federal Government knew in October 1975 that the Indonesians had invaded East Timor in the first week of October. There is information which should have been acted on to show that the border was crossed in September, that there was an attack on 7 October by several hundred Indonesian regular troops with artillery and mortar support, that the Kostrad unit was involved with the Indonesian forces, that the border town of Batugade was forced and that on 16 October there was a second covert military operation when Indonesian troops attacked the town of Balibo where the Australian journalists were killed. There was some suggestion that a number of them were shot when the Indonesians entered the village and others may have been killed later. I want to know what information the Government had at that time and, more importantly, what information it gave to the journalists. Undoubtedly there was a delay of some days between the time the journalists applied to enter that country and the time when approval was given. Why the delay? Obviously there was serious concern about the matter. What was said to the journalists? Were they misled? Were they given the same version of the events that the Australian people were given? Were they refused the version given to President Suharto? Were they told about the covert acts of the Indonesian forces? Would they have taken more care for their own safety if they had known the true position? Were they briefed properly? Where are the documents? The convention does not apply. I call upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs to look at those documents or to have some sort of procedural inquiry which will enable them to be examined. The convention does not apply for 2 reasons. Why should a convention apply- it is a fundamental matter of foreign policy- to communications when the head of state is telling the people one thing and telling a foreign head of state the other? Who is more important, the people or the other head of state? Further, the Leader of the Opposition has waived that convention because he has talked about a document of 7 November, his own document. When he talks of that document, raises it in the Parliament and gets confirmation of it from the Minister for Foreign Affairs he brings out one of the documents. As any lawyer will tell you, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** when documents come out you do not get half of them, you have the lot. The Leader of the Opposition has waived the convention. He wants some of the documents, he wants his own letter of 7 November to support himself, but where are the rest of them? Labor Party members know it. There are hordes of them who know what happened throughout the whole sordid history of the most disgraceful episodes in Australia's foreign policy and it has to be brought out. Where are the Australian Woodwards and Bernsteins of the Press who will get on to this issue and bring it to light? The facts are long overdue and they should be dragged out before the matter dies in the mists of apathy. There has been an immoral and total - {: #subdebate-22-1-s1 .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Giles: -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-22-1-s2 .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter -On Thursday, 8 April, the last day of the last period of sittings, I rose during the debate on the adjournment to discuss a matter of grave concern to all parliamentarians. You will recall, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** that I was thwarted by a series of points of order designed deliberately to obstruct me. I must excuse from that charge the Minister sitting at the table, the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs **(Mr Howard),** who, to his credit, was prepared to do the right thing and give me a fair hearing. Unfortunately he was trampled by his own backbench and finally had to be rescued from his embarrassment by his senior and more hardened colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Sinclair).** It was an extraordinary situation. As the honourable member for Lyne **(Mr Lucock)** observed at that time, it was the first time in his very considerable experience that a member of the front bench had said something contrary to the wishes of honourable members behind him. In any case, with your leave, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** I shall now say what I was prevented from saying then. You will recall that on Thursday, 1 April, I referred in the House to the curious story of Danny Sankey and **Mr David** Rofe, Q.C., the plaintiff and his counsel respectively, in a vexatious political action being pursued in the Queanbeyan court of petty sessions against the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr E. G. Whitlam),** 2 former Ministers and a judge of the High Court. It seems that my remarks touched a sensitive nerve. **Mr Rofe,** Q.C., was quick to respond. So moved was he that he recklessly disregarded our parliamentary traditions and touched the boundaries of contempt of Parliament. Perhaps he should have considered taking libel action against me instead. {: .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Giles: -Order! I do not wish unduly to interrupt the honourable member for Hunter but I remind him that he has on the notice paper, under General Business, a matter which I understand directly relates to this subject. I would think that it is at least arguable whether he is not proceeding to debate the matter he has listed under General Business. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -I do not intend to debate that issue. I will keep away from it. I doubt that the Government will ever bring that matter on for debate, but I will avoid canvassing or debating that issue. {: #subdebate-22-1-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! Let us be quite clear. The issue with which the honourable member's notice of motion is concerned relates to the reaction by **Mr Rofe,** Q.C., to the honourable member's speech; is that correct? {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- Yes. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- The honourable member may proceed. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -Thank you, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** Perhaps he should have considered taking libel action against me instead. But apparently his knowledge of the libel laws is as pitiful as his understanding of parliamentary privilege, for in 1974 in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, it seems, he acted for John Giles Burke in a defamation action against the Leader of the New South Wales Opposition, **Mr Wran.** Its basis was as flimsy and spurious as the basis for the case in Queanbeyan. The evidence he tendered - {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr Neil: **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** I raise a point of order. The honourable member now intends to deal with the basis of a case in a court and he will deal with the evidence. {: .speaker-JM9} ##### Mr Armitage: -- Your are just trying to stop him talking. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member for Chifley will contain himself. The honourable member for St George is taking a point of order. {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr Neil: -- This clearly would be *sub judice.* It may be a matter in which there were settlements with orders of the court not to be disclosed. He is dealing with the basis of a court case, and I submit that that is *sub judice.* {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I uphold the point of order raised by the honourable member insofar as the honourable member for Hunter is touching on matters that are *sub judice.* Will the honourable member for Hunter proceed with his speech on that basis? {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- I will not canvass the case being held in the Queanbeyan court. I will purposely avoid touching on that, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** out of respect to you, and the Parliament. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr William McMahon:
LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** I raise a further point of order. This is a matter of very great national concern. There is already on the notice paper a motion by the honourable member for Hunter. It is a rule of this House that an honourable member cannot anticipate debate on a matter that is on the notice paper. {: .speaker-K4U} ##### Mr Nicholls: -- I raise a point of order, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr William McMahon:
LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- I have not yet finished. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! The right honourable member for Lowe is taking a point of order and I cannot hear him. The House will come to order while I hear the point of order. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr William McMahon:
LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- As there is a notice of motion on the notice paper and it will be subject to debate in which many of us want to involve ourselves, we cannot debate the matter on an occasion such as this. I ask you to rule that as this matter is on the notice paper it cannot be raised at this time and in this place. {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: **-Mr Deputy Speaker,** on that point of order, the relevant standing order says that the Speaker must take into account the likelihood of the matter coming on for debate. The right honourable gentleman is well aware that matters of General Business do not come on for debate and never have. Therefore, the matter of it being on the notice paper is irrelevant under the Standing Orders. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr William McMahon:
LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -That is absolutely wrong. {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: -- Read your standing orders. You know nothing about them. You are making a fool of yourself. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! This is not a personal dogfight between honourable members. I can talk with some knowledge about the fact that such motions can come on for debate. {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: -- Only if they are brought on by the Government. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Exactly, and they are brought on by the Government from time to time. It is not within the cognisance of the Chair any more than of the honourable member to know whether this matter will be brought on. In reply to the right honourable member for Lowe I ask that he examine standing order 82, which reads: >No Member may anticipate the discussion of any subject which appears on the Notice Paper. Provided that in determining whether a discussion is out of order on the ground of anticipation, regard shall be had by the Speaker to the probability of the matter anticipated being brought before the House within a reasonable time. Quite frankly, the Chair is in no position to deter.mine whether the Leader of the House intends to bring this matter on for debate. The Chair, therefore, is in a quandary on this matter. I would say that at this stage the notice of motion has not been on the notice paper for long. I rule that the likelihood is that it will be brought on for debate. If, in another two or three weeks or 6 months, it has not been brought on, the Chair must rule accordingly and allow debate to proceed. In the meantime, I do not see that I have any way of overcoming this difficulty other than to uphold the points of order raised by the honourable member for St George and the right honourable member for Lowe. {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** I raise a point of order. A matter of this nature has not been brought forward for several years. Possibly, the motion concerning the wine industry which you, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** moved in 1972 was the last. Your ruling is, in effect, gagging debate in the House on the basis that you are anticipating that the highly unlikely and improbable might happen. The notice is not likely to come on for debate. You are aware of that; I am aware of that. If the honourable member for Hunter is not able to speak to this motion under that standing order, then that standing order becomes so restrictive that no matter which is placed on the notice paper by any honourable member may be debated. I can put a notice on the notice paper today to prevent an honourable member on the Government side of the House from debating something in the adjournment debate tonight, knowing full well that if my notice never comes on for debate under your ruling no other member will be able to raise that matter. That is the reason for the standing order, and your ruling will prevent debate on any question that any honourable member wishes to place on the notice paper, even if the honourable member putting it there knows full well that it will never be debated. I can assure you that Opposition members will put on the notice paper matters which will prevent every Government member raising anything of any nature in this House, if that ruling is upheld. {: .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Giles: -Will the House grant me 10 seconds to discuss this matter with the Clerk, because it is very difficult for the Chair to rule on it. {: .speaker-ZD4} ##### Mr Howard: **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** I wish to speak to the point of order. The analogy drawn by the honourable member for Corio is quite irrelevant because the notice to which he refers was, in fact, put on the notice paper by the honourable member for Hunter and if what the honourable member for Corio is saying- that is, that such notices never come on for debate- is correct it is the fault of the honourable member for Hunter for putting it on the notice paper. If he is as convinced as the honourable member for Corio that his notice will never be reached it is open to him at any time to withdraw the notice from the notice paper and to speak to this matter in the adjournment debate or during the grievance debate. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! The Chair is prepared to rule now. I rule that the honourable member for Hunter has put that matter on the notice paper with a view to having it discussed. The Chair cannot say whether it will be discussed. I rule that the honourable member for Hunter is out of order in what he was attempting to say during this debate. The position now is that the honourable member's time has expired. This, I regret. Motion (by **Mr Scholes)** proposed: >That the honourable member for Hunter be granted an extension of time. {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr Neil: **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** I raise a point of order. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! I do not know that there is any need for one. The question is: That the motion be agreed to. All those in favour say 'aye'. {:#subdebate-22-2} #### Opposition Members- Aye {: #subdebate-22-2-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- To the contrary, 'no'. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr William McMahon:
LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I think the ayes have it. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: #subdebate-22-2-s1 .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- I sincerely thank the House and I thank the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs **(Mr Howard)** for his great courtesy. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr William McMahon:
LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- No. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. When I put the question only one voice said 'no'. Therefore, the honourable member for Hunter has an extension of time. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- The evidence **Mr Rofe** tendered in the action against **Mr Wran** for defamation was nothing less than a *Hansard* reference from the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, covering comments made by **Mr Wran** about the plaintiff. As any schoolboy lawyer would know, they were covered by parliamentary privilege. Naturally, the case was swiftly dismissed. Who were the instructing solicitors in this ill-fated litigation? None other than - {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! I rule that the honourable member is out of order in discussing what he is discussing. He will resume his seat. Debate interrupted. {: .page-start } page 1754 {:#debate-23} ### OBJECTION TO RULING {: #debate-23-s0 .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr SCHOLES:
Corio -I move: That the Deputy Speaker's ruling be dissented from. **Mr Deputy Speaker,** it is not possible for the Opposition to accept a ruling on the basis on which this ruling has been made. I do not want to prolong debate on this matter. However, I think that the Opposition has to express its serious concern at the ruling that has been given. {: #debate-23-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Would the honourable member put his motion in writing? {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr SCHOLES: -To save time I will ask the honourable member for Shortland **(Mr Morris)** to write it out and I will sign it. The Opposition must dissent from this ruling. It is a serious departure from the normal practices of this House to disallow discussion during a grievance debate of a subject of which notice has been given that it will be raised as a matter of general business. The Chair has always interpreted literally the relevant Standing Order. The Chair has always taken into account the probability of the matter coming on for debate. In this instance the probability of the matter coming on for debate is very low. In fact, it is almost nil. The next general business day will be next week and 2 questions are listed for debate on that day. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! I have the honourable member's motion. Is the motion seconded? {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr SCHOLES: -It is signed by the seconder. The motion does not need to be seconded until I have finished my speech. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -The honourable member may proceed on that basis. {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr SCHOLES: -The probability of this matter coming on for debate is low. As I have said, at this stage 2 items are listed for debate on the next general business day. Unless something extremely extraordinary occurred those items would preclude debate on this question on that day. It is anticipated that the subsequent general business day will be three or four weeks hence. I believe that 2 items are listed for debate and will take up the whole of the time allotted to general business. In order to assume that a question will come on for debate within a reasonable period the Chair would need an assurance from the Leader of the House **(Mr Sinclair).** If the Leader of the House stood up here now and gave an undertaking that this matter would come on we would have to accept the ruling. But there is nothing on the Notice Paper to suggest that this matter will be dealt with as Government business or that the Standing Orders of the House will be suspended in order to bring it on. This is the second occasion upon which the honourable member for Hunter **(Mr James)** has been prevented from speaking on this question by the activities of the honourable member for St George **(Mr Neil)** and other honourable members. This is a serious question because the rights of a member to speak in this House are in question. I believe, **Sir, with** due respect to the Chair, that your ruling is based on a probability which every honourable member who has been here for any period would recognise as being highly unlikely. I would suggest that the relevant standing order is framed so that a case of this nature can in fact be taken care of, that an honourable member cannot be prevented from raising a matter in this chamber because another honourable member or that honourable member himself may have placed a notice on the Notice Paper. {: .speaker-5E4} ##### Mr Sinclair: -- All you are doing is taking up private members' time. {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr SCHOLES: -I am sorry about this. But an honourable member has been gagged- and I think quite improperly gagged- from speaking in this House. {: .speaker-ZD4} ##### Mr Howard: -- He was given an extension of time. {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr SCHOLES: -- And sat down. The proposition that is before this House is whether or not an honourable member will be entitled to speak in this House on matters which are of consequence to him. The Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs **(Mr Howard)** said that because the honourable member had put the notice down he is not entitled to raise it. That in fact is saying that a member is not entitled to attempt to have this matter debated. It is saying that a member should not put anything on the notice paper even though he knows it will not be debated, because if he does so he will be debarred from debating that matter on any other occasion. {: .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- I rise to a point of order. I suggest that the honourable member for Corio is arguing against an existing standing order rather than arguing against your ruling. He is therefore out of order. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I take the view that the honourable member for Corio is arguing his case for dissent from the Deputy Speaker's ruling. {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr SCHOLES: -Finally I would just point out, because obviously the honourable member for Griffith does not know the standing orders, that the basis of the dissent is the section of the standing order dealing with the probability of a question coming up for debate. The question in this case is not likely to come up for debate. We know that, the House knows it and I believe that the ruling should be made in accordance with that section of the standing order. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Is the motion seconded? {: .speaker-HI4} ##### Mr Morris: -- Yes, I second the motion. {: #debate-23-s2 .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr LUCOCK:
Lyne **-Mr Deputy Speaker,** in supporting your ruling I think that I should raise 3 points. Firstly, there may be some substance in what the honourable member for Corio **(Mr Scholes)** said about an honourable member being prevented from speaking in this House. But it is within the discretion of the Chair to consider the possibility of a subject matter being debated. In fairness I must say that notice was given on 8 April of the matter under discussion. **Sir, I** believe that that date justifies your ruling in this instance. The second point I wish to make is that the matter which the honourable member for Hunter **(Mr James)** has raised is a matter of privilege. As it is a serious matter of privilege I believe that an opportunity should be given for it to be debated in this House, but I think that it would be detrimental to discuss during a general grievance day debate the subject matter that the honourable member has brought forward. The third point I want to raise is the one that was mentioned by the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs **(Mr Howard),** who said that it was the honourable member for Hunter himself who had placed the matter on the general business paper. **Mr Deputy Speaker,** for those 3 reasons I support your ruling. In the circumstances I believe it is a correct one. {: #debate-23-s3 .speaker-JM9} ##### Mr ARMITAGE:
Chifley -As the seconder of the motion - {: .speaker-5E4} ##### Mr Sinclair: -- You did not second it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- If it might help the honourable member, I see that the honourable member for Shortland is the seconder. {: .speaker-JM9} ##### Mr ARMITAGE: -- I shall proceed with my speech. I might just say, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** that you looked across at me when you asked whether the motion was seconded. Anyhow, that does not matter very much. The important thing here is that if the ruling of the Chair is upheld we could end up with debate on any controversial issue in the future being completely prevented. This is an important issue because anybody could put onto the business paper any matter which he wants to ensure is not debated in the House or which he wants to ensure is gagged. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr Innes: -- And keep on putting it on. {: .speaker-JM9} ##### Mr ARMITAGE: -And keep on putting it on so as to ensure that the matter does not come before this House. On 2 occasions the honourable member for Hunter **(Mr James)** has endeavoured to bring this matter before this Parliament. On each occasion a number of points of order have been taken and very deliberate attempts have been made to stifle the discussion and to make sure that the public interest is not served. If this practice is allowed to continue there will be a complete travesty of the forms of this Parliament and great damage will be done in terms of ensuring that matters of public importance of this nature are brought to life and are properly discussed in the Parliament where they should be discussed. {: #debate-23-s4 .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter **-Mr Deputy Speaker,** when the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs **(Mr Howard)** allowed me an extension of time, you agreed to allow me to proceed. After I had spoken about 20 or 30 words not touching on the case at Queanbeyan, I was asked to resume my seat. I was referring to the nefarious action of **Mr Rofe** against **Mr Wran** for defamation. The case for the plaintiff depends wholly and solely upon the transcript of proceedings in the New South Wales Parliament. It was after I said that that you, **Sir, ruled** me out of order. I fail to understand how I was transgressing the Standing Orders. I was not referring to the case in the Queanbeyan Court. I had used words appertaining to the action in relation to the New South Wales Parliament when you ruled me out of order. With respect, you seemed to have made up your mind that I should not be allowed to proceed in this free institution- the people's free institution. Men of this country have lost their lives in 2 world wars fighting for freedom of speech which I have been denied here today. I would like you to explain to me what caused you to prevent me proceeding when I was not making any reference to the proceedings in the Queanbeyan Court. I would be grateful for your explanation why you stopped me speaking. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I was not aware that that was the reason for moving dissent from my ruling. I thought it was for the other reasons which were advanced by the honourable member for Corio who led for the Labor Party on this matter. Therefore I will not deal at great length with the honourable member's point, except to say that I took the decision because I heard the honourable member proceed as he accurately said, for some 30 or 40 words. I took the view that once he started to mention **Mr Rofe,** Q.C., he was about to launch into matters that are contained in the notice of motion which appears in his name on the notice paper. That is a friendly rejoinder to the honourable member. It is not always easy for the Chair to be accurate at such moments, with noise or words flying. If the House wishes to divide on that issue instead of the issue which the honourable member for Corio raised as the reason for dissension from the Deputy Speaker's ruling, so be it. {: #debate-23-s5 .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES:
Melbourne -- I support the motion of dissent. I point out the ambit in which standing order 82 can be applied. **Mr Deputy Speaker,** no doubt it is at your discretion whether a contribution by an honourable member refers specifically to the subject matter of an item on the notice paper, but the real issue is when you anticipate what is a reasonable time for that matter to come before the House. I refer you to some of the history of notices of this nature. Could you advise us how many times matters on the notice paper ever see the light of day? It seems to me that you acted upon an assumption that this matter would be brought on within a reasonable time. That is the crux of standing order 82. The discretion lies with you. I think the responsibility ought to weigh very heavily. I wonder whether you could accurately assess when this matter may come before the House. It could go on for some considerable time. {: .speaker-5E4} ##### Mr Sinclair: -- All you are trying to do is waste Grievance Day. {: .speaker-ZD4} ##### Mr Howard: -- He is showing his muscle as a front bencher. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES: -- Do I have to listen to these yahoos from the other side of the chamber? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -The House will come to order. I do not think the honourable member for Melbourne is introducing any new subject. I hope that if he has anything that has not already been dealt with he will deal with it so we can resolve the situation. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES: -One could dissent from that ruling as well. The question is whether you are reasonably applying standing order 82. 1 do not believe you are. What could happen is that you could take a matter off the notice paper if you wanted to frustrate debate in this House. You could take it off today and put it back on tomorrow. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- If the honourable member is addressing his remarks to me, I remind him that the Chair cannot take a matter off the notice paper. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES: -- Of course you cannot. You are assuming what might happen in respect of an item on the notice paper. I think the last thing you ought to consider is frustrating an individual who raises an issue of major public importance, and frustrate him by applying standing order 82 in the narrow sense that you have. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I have no intention of frustrating honourable members who wish to express their views freely. The standing order is there. The honourable member has read it. I cannot tell when or if that motion will be brought forward. The Chair must act on the assumption that the honourable member put down his motion on the presumption that it would be brought forward. If the Chair is proved wrong ultimately, so be it. The Chair, *pro tern,* I think, has no option but to adopt the relevant standing order. Question put: >That the Deputy Speaker's ruling be dissented from. The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker-Mr G. O'H. Giles) AYES: 28 NOES: 74 Majority....... 46 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. {: .page-start } page 1757 {:#debate-24} ### GRIEVANCE DEBATE Debate resumed. {: #debate-24-s0 .speaker-JLN} ##### Mr ABEL:
Evans -The House will recall vividly these words: >Many of the fundamental challenges to be met by the new Labor Government are in the field of law reform. Labor has evolved a practical program to ensure our basic civil rights and freedoms- to reshape our laws to meet the needs and aspirations of the seventies. {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** I take a point of order. The subject matter being raised by the honourable member for Evans is listed for General Business Day No. 2 and is due for debate next week. {: #debate-24-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -The honourable member for Corio has made the point that the honourable member for Evans is anticipating a debate set down for next week. I ask the honourable member for Evans kindly to watch his words. I have not personally heard what he has had to say yet but I will be watching to see that what he says is in order. {: .speaker-JLN} ##### Mr ABEL: -- It is nice to know that honourable members really want to hear from this side of the House. The words I quoted were the ringing words of that great civil libertarian and protector of privacy, the honourable member for Werriwa **(Mr E. G. Whitlam).** He has a lot to say. How much force and reality do those words have today? With every pledge-signing member of the Australian Labor Party being legally bound to see those words carried through into nationwide legislative and administrative form, I draw to the attention of the House how in New South Wales Labor members have totally deceived the people of New South Wales and, with nothing less than Machiavellian charm, have been systematically invading the personal privacy of individual citizens. First the Labor Party set about mysteriously acquiring the names of people who voted in the last federal poll by postal ballot. How do we know that these snoopers do not have knowledge about how the people actually voted? Here we have one of the most sacred aspects of parliamentary democracy being abused in an unprecedented manner. No wonder the Labor Party members do not want secret union ballots. They would not respect them anyway. Having somehow acquired these lists, the Labor Party then set about ringing people and knocking on doors at all hours trying to get Labor votes. How disgusting! *(Quorum formed)* It is interesting to note that there were 4 Labor Party members in the chamber before the quorum was formed. The matter to which I was referring was so serious and the complaints so widespread that I asked the Minister for Administrative Services **(Senator Withers)** to investigate and report on this matter and I have also referred it to the Chairman of the Law Reform Commission for examination in its inquiry into invasions of privacy. The ghost of **Mr Adolf** Schicklgrueber rides again. I asked **Mr Wran** to say how these lists were acquired but he has offered not a syllable of reply. I guess he would not dare to explain, much less instruct his party to stop the practice. The next example of election snooping was the case of the erstwhile member for Georges River in the New South Wales Parliament, one Frank Walker. This delightfully charming gentleman decided to prepare a dossier on all public servants in his electorate, and this is being investigated by the New South Wales AttorneyGeneral, **Mr John** Maddison. The Labor snoops have now gone further afield. The Labor candidate for Ashfield, which is in my electorate, one **Mr Whelan** the brother of the ghost of Galston has been so concerned with our economy drive that he decided to send his personal council-paid driver to deliver - {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member for Evans will resume his seat. It being 1 o'clock p.m., in accordance with the Standing Orders the debate is interrupted and I put the question: >That grievances be noted. Question resolved in the affirmative. Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m. {: .page-start } page 1758 {:#debate-25} ### FOREIGN TAKEOVERS AMENDMENT BILL 1976 Bill presented by **Mr Lynch,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-25-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-25-0-s0 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr LYNCH:
Treasurer · Flinders · LP -- I move: The purpose of the Bill is to correct what are essentially technical deficiencies in the Foreign Takeovers Act 1975 and to remove the interlocking provisions between the foreign takeovers legislation and the Trade Practices Act which, in the past, have been thought to give preferential treatment to foreign corporations in their merger applications to the Trade Practices Commission. An outline of the legislation proposals was given by me to the House on 1 April 1976 in a statement on foreign investment policy. Briefly, this Bill, which does not materially alter the substance of the Act, is designed to overcome the technical deficiencies in the following manner: Firstly, the wording in the present Act may restrict, relative to the now repealed Companies (Foreign Takeovers) Act, the range of control situations caught by the Act. Clause 5 of the Bill closes this possible loophole. Secondly, the Act does not exempt share or asset acquisitions consequent upon proposals which were approved by the Government prior to the commencement of the Act but which had not been effected by that date. Clearly, once approval has . been given by the Government, it should not be necessary for the parties to again notify the proposals. Clause 6 of the Bill exempts such proposals from the ambit of the Act. Thirdly, persons who are required compulsorily to notify a proposal under section 26 of the present Act cannot implement their proposals until the expiration of the 40 days period laid down in that section. This applies even when, within the 40 days, the persons concerned have been advised that the Government has no objections to their proposal. This situation was never intended of course and clause 7 of the Bill will correct the anomaly. Fourthly, the effect of the present section 26 is such that parties cannot engage in any negotiations, with a view to acquiring or increasing a substantial shareholding in an Australian corporation, without leaving themselves open to the possibilities of committing an offence against the Act, unless they first notify the Treasurer and wait the prescribed 40 days. This requirement inhibits normal commercial behaviour. It was not intended that the Foreign Takeovers Act should create such difficulties. Clause 7 of the Bill is designed to rectify the situation. Finally, the wording of the present section 38 of the Act is such as to raise doubts whether transactions, made in contravention of section 26 would be valid at law. It was not intended that such transactions should be invalid and the Government regards invalidity as an unnecessary, harsh penalty. The Act contains adequate penalties for non-compliance and clause 10 of the Bill will remove invalidity from the sanctions in the Act. As these amendments are of a technical nature and as persons may already, unwittingly, be in breach of the Act, we do intend that the Bill should correct the identified anomalies in the Foreign Takeovers Act retrospectively to 1 January 1976. The date on which the Act commenced. I turn now to the second matter with which this Bill is concerned, that is, the relationship between the Trade Practices Act and the Foreign takeovers legislation. We have for some time been concerned that the foreign takeovers legislation may have provided foreign-owned companies with an advantage over Australianowned companies in respect of merger applications before the Trade Practices Commission. On behalf of the then Opposition I expressed concern about this matter during my comments on the Foreign Takeovers Bill on 20 August last year and the need for legislation in this area was foreshadowed in the foreign investment policy issued by the Coalition Parties in October 1 975. On 25 March my colleague, the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs **(Mr Howard),** introduced the Trade Practices Amendment Bill which provided, *inter alia,* for the discontinuation of the special treatment under the Trade Practices Act that may be said to have produced this advantage. Clauses 3 and 9 of this Bill complement that legislation. Their combined effect will be to remove the inter-relationship between the Foreign Takeovers Act and the Trade Practices Act so that foreign-owned companies no longer will be able to obtain automatic approval from the Trade Practices Commission for merger proposals consequent upon approval under the foreign takeovers legislation. All companiesboth foreign and domestic- from now on, will be treated in the same manner under the merger provisions of the Trade Practices Act. I commend the Bill to the House. Debate (on motion by **Mr Hurford)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1759 {:#debate-26} ### WOOL INDUSTRY AMENDMENT BILL 1976 Bill presented by **Mr Sinclair,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-26-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-26-0-s0 .speaker-5E4} ##### Mr SINCLAIR:
Minister for Primary Industry · New England · NCP/NP -- I move: >That the Bill be now read a second time. The main purpose of this Bill is to amend the Wool Industry Act 1972-74 to extend provisions relating to the certification of and dealing with profit or loss of the Australian Wool Corporation in respect of the wool minimum reserve price arrangement. The principal amendments proposed provide for machinery accounting arrangements for the minimum reserve price policy during the current season, and extend them to include the 1976-77 season. In addition, the amendments vary the accounting provisions of the Act to include in the Corporation's trading results any profit or loss arising from the manufacture of wool products or the trading in such products. This is necessary because the expanded trading functions provided to the Corporation in 1974 were not supported by prescribed accounting arrangements. The Bill also provides for the amendment of the principal Act to require consultation between the Australian Wool Corporation and employer groups before the Corporation takes action that could reasonably be expected to affect the conditions of employment, or the demand for labour, in the wool industry. This amendment balances a similar requirement for consultation with trade unions which is already included in the Act. Honourable members will recall that the amendment was requested by the Coalition Parties when an amendment to the Wool Industry Act was before the Parliament in NovemberDecember 1974. Opportunity is also being taken to amend the reference in the Act to the Wool Scourers, Carbonisers and Fellmongers Federation of Australia by retitling the Federation as Association, in keeping with the former Federation's recent change of title. The previous Government's decision on wool marketing for 1975-76 provided, in essence, for the continuation of the 1974-75 floor price arrangements including continuation of the 5 per cent wool tax on sales of wool. The revenue from this tax provides a fund to meet any losses that arise out of the floor price arrangement. How. ever, the existing accounting provisions in the Wool Industry Act provide only for the determination of profit and loss from the operation of the floor price scheme during the 1974-75 season, and they must be extended to include the 1975-76 season. In accordance with the Government's declared policy to maintain the floor price arrangement for the 1976-77 season, the Bill further extends the accounting provisions to cover floor price operations in that season. The existing legislation, together with the amendments proposed in this Bill, will provide that the results of the minimum reserve price operations of the Wool Corporation are to be accounted for in a number of periods: Firstly, 2 December 1974-when the floor price arrangement commenced- to 30 June 1975; secondly, July 1975 to June 1976; thirdly, July 1976 to June 1977; and fourthly, further as necessary until wool purchased under the reserve price arrangements during the 3 seasons has been disposed of. The amendments provide only for continuing accounting procedures. Details of the Government's policy on the floor price arrangements to apply in 1976-77, including the level of the floor price, will be announced after the end of the 1976-77 selling season. A defect discovered in the Wool Industry Act, consequent upon the amendment of the Act in 1974, makes it desirable to introduce amendments to provide explicitly for the inclusion in the Wool Corporation's trading results of any profit or loss arising from its activity in the processing or manufacture of wool products and trading in such products. The amendment introduced by the Bill relates only to accounting procedures. It does not provide an authority for the Corporation to engage in such activities. That authority may be exercised only to such extent as the Minister approves. Until comparatively recently the existing accounting requirements had been adequate because the Wool Corporation did not engage in processing or manufacturing activity. However, during the latter part of 1975 the Corporation undertook 2 relatively small projects involving the processing of wool in the United States of America, and there is now a need to provide appropriate accounting procedures. The amendments to the legislation for this purpose are of a machinery nature. I commend the Bill to honourable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr Keating)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1760 {:#debate-27} ### AUDIT AMENDMENT BILL 1976 Bill presented by **Mr Eric** Robinson, and read a first time. {:#subdebate-27-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-27-0-s0 .speaker-KZL} ##### Mr Eric Robinson:
MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · LP -- I move: The Audit Act of 1901 was the fourth piece of legislation enacted by the Commonwealth Par.liament It contained principles and procedures which were derived from the Audit Acts which were then in force in each of the States and which in turn had their origins in the British Exchequer and Audit Act of 1866. It laid down the arrangements for the keeping of the public accounts and for the audit of them by an Auditor-General. It conferred certain powers on the Treasurer. It required an accounting from him after the close of each financial year and it required an explanation and report from the Auditor-General on the Treasurer's stewardship. The Audit Act of 1 90 1 has been amended on a number of occasions as circumstances have shown the need for new provisions, or for the better expression of existing ones. It can be said with confidence that all governments have approached the amendment of this basic and important piece of legislation with the most careful consideration of the need for change. The Act governs the accounting for and auditing of a vast range of transactions amounting to receipts and expenditures of, in 1975-76 Budget terms, $19 billion and $22 billion respectively throughout Australia, its Territories and in all parts of the world and which are initiated by 25 departments of state. It is therefore important that amendments which are put forward are responsive to growth in volume and variety of transactions and to changes in methods of processing them, as well as maintaining in an appropriate way proper elements of control and accountability which Parliament would expect to be applied to the management of the Government's financial affairs. In the past 10 years there have been significant changes in accounting methods and procedures. If this had not been so government departments could not have coped with the volume of work as efficiently as they have. Honourable members will be interested to know that in 1974-75 the Department of Social Security issued 56 million cheques and the Repatriation Department nearly 9 million. The total number of cheques issued on behalf of all departments was 76 million. These figures are the end product of a very considerable accounting work load- a work load governed by the Audit Act and the Treasury Regulations and Directions issued under the authority of that Act. I referred to changes in methods and procedures. Chief amongst these has been the use of computers and I believe that the Australian Government is in the forefront of governments in applying modern technology to government accounting. Almost all of the 76 million cheques I mentioned above are prepared by computers; certainly all are processed, after presentation, by computer and the bank accounts quickly and accurately reconciled. Computers also play a part in the calculation of many entitlements ranging from salaries to pharmaceutical benefits. Most of the Government's millions of individual transactions are recorded, analysed and summarised in ledgers and accounting records that are processed by computers. I have mentioned some of these matters to illustrate to honourable members the extent of the accounting work which government departments must do. But I want to go on to emphasise that it is not enough to have modern equipment and up to date systems unless the legislation under which departments must operate is sufficiently flexible to allow vast numbers of accounts to be processed quickly yet accurately without the need for unwarranted clerical effort. This Bill will amend the Audit Act in a way which will provide that flexibility without destroying the principles of control which are necessary, and have been necessary since 1901, to ensure that moneys are paid out only when it is clear that there is proper authority for the transaction and that the supply or service has been performed. Many of the amendments proposed in this Bill are of a technical nature and I will not therefore attempt to explain them all. Some have been proposed as a result of legal advice to rectify defects in the present law and thus to validate existing procedures. I am happy to say that all of them have the full support of the AuditorGeneral, who has been consulted at every stage in the preparation of this Bill. Most of the proposals have been explained to the Eighth and Ninth Joint Committees of Public Accounts. No difficulties were raised in these discussions. The few proposals which were not discussed with the committees are mainly of a drafting nature or designed to give proper authority for already accepted procedures. I turn now to some of the principal changes which are proposed. Clause IS amends section 32 of the principal Act in order to remedy a defect in the present wording which was raised by the previous Auditor-General. In certain Acts which contain standing appropriations, the payment of moneys is expressed to be conditional upon some event occurring or some action being carried out, and legal advice is that until that event occurs or that action is taken there is no available appropriation. The calculation of income tax refunds must, for example, follow assessment action and until that process has been completed the special appropriation for these refunds cannot be drawn upon. The principal amendment proposed will make it clear that appropriation is available for expenditure subject to the occurrence of the contingency or condition expressed in relation to the appropriation. This does no more than give proper legal backing to procedures which have been followed for many years, probably since Federation. This and other amendments to this section do not imply any change in procedures, or any reduction in control, and they do not vary the long-standing requirement for the Treasurer to seek a Governor-General's warrant to cover the amounts he expects to be disbursed, and the Auditor-General to certify, before the warrant is submitted to the Governor-General, that Parliament has provided an appropriation which will authorise the disbursement of those amounts. The steps relating to the payment of accounts set out in the present section 34 are to be amended by clause 19 to provide a framework within which the most modern procedures governing computer-based and other payment systems may be properly developed and prescribed. For such systems the present section is too stringent in its requirement which states: ... no person shall certify any account until he shall have ascertained that the expenditure has been duly approved in writing by the prescribed authority and that the account is correct in every particular, and that the expenditure involved therein is in accordance with the laws and regulations applicable thereto and is charged against the proper head of expenditure. Systems developed for the preparation of accounts by computer do not enable a certifying officer to certify that the account is 'correct in every particular' or that it is 'in accordance with the laws and regulations applicable thereto' except insofar as he is enabled to rely on the various control points built into the computer programs and on information furnished to him by other prescribed officers. This does not, however, mean any loss of control over payments, which under a computerised system are computed from a vast number of individual records, always provided that there has been full observance of appropriate checks and controls as designed for the system. Under the proposed amendment it is this latter aspect, that of full observance of appropriate checks and controls, that becomes the central responsibility of the certifying officer. The proposed amended section 34 will allow the Treasurer to issue directions to certifying officers as to the checks to be imposed and for regulations to be made concerning procedures to be followed by them before they can give a certificate in those situations where it is impracticable to follow standard procedures. Clause 19 is also intended to clarify the authority of the Treasurer, already in section 34 of the Act, to approve act of grace payments and to authorise him to delegate this authority and thus facilitate the processing of claims for payments not otherwise authorised by law. Section 62a of the Audit Act empowers the Treasurer to open trust accounts, to define their purposes and to close trust accounts. But the Treasurer cannot vary the purposes of a trust account after it has been established and this leads on occasions to the need to close a trust account and open another with a slightly differing title and differing purposes. Legal difficulties then arise in connection with the transfer of the value of assets, such as stores bought from the funds of the 'old ' trust account, to the ' new ' trust account, as there is nothing in the Act as it stands to authorise the transfer of such assets. Clause 20 amends section 35 to overcome this problem. Clause 2 1 inserts a new section to deal with the considerable administrative difficulties which currently arise with appropriations and appointments when the administrative arrangements are changed resulting in the abolition of departments or existing functions being transferred to another department or departments. This provision will authorise the Treasurer to issue moneys already appropriated for the discharge of functions in one department to another department for the purpose of corresponding functions which have been transferred to it by order of the Governor-General. The Treasurer would not, however, be authorised to issue funds beyond the limit of appropriations already made by the Parliament. Clause 28 will remove the requirement in section 42 (2) of the present legislation for the Auditor-General to surcharge the person responsible for the loss of public moneys or stores, or damage caused to stores by fraud, mistake, default, neglect or error. Over the years that the surcharge provision has been in existence the Auditor-General's Office has experienced almost insurmountable difficulties in establishing default or neglect and the section has therefore been virtually non-operative. Moreover, it is no longer considered appropriate that the AuditorGeneral have the responsibility of deciding that recovery should be made in a particular case and without there being a requirement for proof of guilt or for a defence by the person at fault. Clause 45 replaces these outmoded provisions with more equitable procedures for the recovery of the loss of public moneys or stores that are under the control of an accounting officer or for the value of stores lost or deficient or damage to stores due to negligence or misconduct as a debt due to the Government, and gives to the Government, and its employees, the rights and protection of the law. The long-standing provision in section 5 1 of the Act requiring the Auditor-General to explain the Treasurer's statement of receipts and expenditure 'in full' is most difficult, if not impossible, to comply with. The amendment in clause 33 removes the difficulty confronting the AuditorGeneral in deciding precisely how far he should go in explaining the statement. The requirement as it stands is impracticable and has its origin in the early days of Federation when the expenditures of the Commonwealth were quite limited in volume and extent. The proposed change does not imply any reduction in the information to be given in the Auditor-General's report to Parliament; it simply means that the Auditor-General will exercise his judgment as to the need for explanation of particular expenditures. Clause 42 inserts a new Part which will provide proper authority for the Auditor-General to undertake certain audits in addition to those which Parliament specifically requires him to undertake. The first of these are audits imposed upon him by an ordinance of a Territory, as according to legal opinion he is not empowered to undertake such audits unless appropriate authority is given to him by the Audit Act. Secondly, there are the audits of quasi-departmental or inter-governmental activities in pursuance of a request by a Minister. It is undesirable as a matter of principle for the Auditor-General to accept such requests without a proper expression in the Audit Act of his standing and powers. A third category relates to public or private companies of which the Government is a member. In most of the cases I have just referred to it is appropriate for an audit fee to be charged so that the costs of audit are reflected in the accounts of the organisation. Legal advice, however, indicates that if audit fees are to be charged there should be proper authority for this in the Audit Act. Clause 42 will therefore make it clear that fees may be charged by the Auditor-General to- and paid by- an organisation for the audit of its books, records and financial statements. The standard accounting provisions applied to certain trading and administrative authorities have also been included in this Part in order to simplify the task of parliamentary counsel in drafting future public authority legislation. Honourable members will note that no change is proposed in this Bill to the powers and responsibilities of the Auditor-General. A good deal has been said in the Press and in other places about the need for management audits or efficiency audits. The case for the Auditor-General being required to go beyond regularity and to examine whether there has been 'value for money' has been strongly argued. The Government does not wish to make any such changes to the AuditorGeneral's powers at this stage but will give further consideration to whether they should be extended, and if so, just how they should be extended, at the appropriate time. I commend the Bill to honourable members. {: .speaker-AV4} ##### Mr Hurford: -- From my work on the Public Accounts Committee 3 years ago, I know how long it has taken this Bill to reach this House. Therefore it is with great reluctance that I move: Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 1763 {:#debate-28} ### PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES BILL 1976 Bill presented by **Mr Howard,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-28-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-28-0-s0 .speaker-ZD4} ##### Mr HOWARD:
Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs · Bennelong · LP -- I move: The object of this Bill is to obtain the approval of Parliament for ratification by Australia of the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances and to make legislative provision to give effect to control in terms of the Convention over consignments of certain psychotropic substances which enter Australian ports or airports in the course of consignment from a country outside Australia to another country outside Australia. 'Psychotropic substances' is a term used to refer to substances that have the capacity to produce a state of dependence and central nervous system stimulation or depression resulting in hallucinations or disturbances in motor functions, thinking, behaviour, perception or mood and, in respect of which, there is evidence of a likelihood of abuse so as to constitute a pubhe health and social problem. The aim of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances is to bring about international control of those drugs of dependence which fall into the category of psychotropic substances in a similar way to the international control now operating in respect of narcotic drugs in accordance with the provisions of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1 96 1 , to which Australia is a party. Like the Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the Psychotropic Convention provides a comprehensive code for international control which limits the manufacture, movement and use of the drugs concerned to medical or scientific purposes and imposes an obligation on parties to combat the illicit traffic, punish offenders and make provision for the medical treatment, care and rehabilitation of drug dependent persons. Drugs covered by the Convention are graded according to abuse potential and controls range from a virtual embargo on substances such as LSD and mescaline to less strict requirements applicable to minor barbiturates, tranquillisers and stimulants. Import and export controls are provided for in regulations made under the Customs Act. Offences involving illicit importation or exportation, trafficking in, possessing or conveying prohibited imports or prohibited exports are punishable as offences against the Customs Act. Controls in terms of the Convention over manufacture, distribution and use of psychotropic substances within a State are the legislative responsibility of the Government of that State. The laws of each of the States in this regard are in accordance with the Convention provisions. As certain territorial ordinances are yet to be brought in line with Convention requirements, the application of this legislation insofar as ratification is concerned would be contingent on this action. The Bill now before the House will also give effect to provisions contained in sub-paragraph 3 (e) of Article 12 of the Convention which requires a party to prevent passage through the party's territory of substances in Schedules I and II to the Convention, whether or not the consignment is removed from the carrying ship or aircraft, in respect of which an export authorisation cannot be produced on demand. Provision is made for regulations to: (a) exempt from the control preparations containing a psychotropic substance (other than a Schedule I substance) compounded in such a way that risk of abuse or of recovery of the substance in a quantity liable to abuse is negligible; and (b) add substances to, or delete substances from, a Schedule or to transfer a substance from one Schedule to another in pursuance of advices received from the Secretary-General of the United Nations or the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, as the case may be. I commend the Bill to honourable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr Young)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1763 {:#debate-29} ### CUSTOMS AMENDMENT BILL 1976 Bill presented by **Mr Howard,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-29-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-29-0-s0 .speaker-ZD4} ##### Mr HOWARD:
Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs · Bennelong · LP -- I move: The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Customs Act 1901-1975 by replacing the existing provisions relating to the valuation of imported goods for the purposes of calculating *ad valorem* duties with a new system of valuation based on the internationally recognised Brussels Definition of Value. The existing provisions require that valuation be based, at the f.o.b level, on the higher of the actual price paid by the importer or the current domestic value of the goods in the country of export. These provisions which have given rise to increasing administrative and legal problems in recent years were the subject of 2 cases before the High Court in 1974 and 1975. The decison in both cases substantially eroded the effectiveness of the existing system. An interdepartmental committee established to review Australia's customs valuation system prepared a Green Paper in 1975 which canvassed the possibility of adopting the Brussels Definition of Value. The paper was generally well received by industry and commerce and the committee recommended that the Customs Act be amended to provide for the valuation of goods in accordance with the Brussels Definition. The Brussels Definition was developed by the Customs Co-operation Council, an international customs consultative body, and forms the basis for the valuation systems of over 90 countries throughout the world including most of Australia's major trading partners. The definition is set out in annexes to the Convention on the Valuation of Goods for Customs Purposes. These annexes are reproduced in the Schedule to the Bill. The central feature of the Definition is the notional concept that the value for duty of any imported goods is the amount which those goods would fetch on the open market between a buyer and a seller independent of each other. It is a concept for general use irrespective of the terms under which the goods are imported. When the goods imported are the subject of a genuine open market sale the invoice price will generally be regarded as a valid indication of the value for duty. The substantive clauses of the Bill cover the usual machinery matters and repeal those provisions in the Customs Act relating to the existing system of valuation. In addition clause 4(3) provides for a number of modifications to the Schedule which adapt the Definition to Australian conditions. The most important of these are to be found in paragraphs (d), (0 and (h). Paragraph (d) modifies the definition in the Schedule to provide that imported goods be valued on an f.o.b. basis. The wording of the modification is taken from a protocol to the Convention which is awaiting ratification at the Customs Cooperation Council in Brussels. Paragraph (f) provides that outside packages, with certain specified exclusions, will form part of the dutiable value of the goods which they contain. This is a change to existing valuation practice recommended by the interdepartmental committee which considered that such a change would considerably simplify Customs entry procedures and be more in keeping with commercial practice. Paragraph (h) maintains a concession extendedto Canada in the Canada-Australia Trade Agreement of 1960. This concession allows valuation of Canadian exports as if they had been exported from the port of exit in Canada nearest to their place of origin. The Green Paper to which I have referred considered the tariff implications of a change to the Brussels Definition of Value. Available statistical information did not permit exact calculations but the committee was able to conclude that any difference in total Customs duty payable following the implementation of the Definition was likely to be negligible. However, the committee recognised that in particular cases there could be significant variations in amounts of duty payable leading to adverse effects on local industries or importers. The Government has decided that where such significant variations do occur with adverse effects to local industry or importers provision will be made for the Industries Assistance Commission to consider possible tariff adjustments for a period of 6 months after the implementation on 1 July this year. I commend the Bill to honourable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr Young)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1764 {:#debate-30} ### TARIFF PROPOSALS {: #debate-30-s0 .speaker-ZD4} ##### Mr HOWARD:
Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs · Bennelong · LP -- I move: The Customs Tariff Proposals I have just tabled relate to proposed alterations to the Customs Tariff 1966-1974. Customs TariffProposals No. 8 provide for the elimination of duty, with effect from 1 January 1976, on a further group of commodities which have been added to Schedule A to the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Customs TariffProposals No. 9 give effect to the Government's recently announced decision to allow duty free entry into Australia of certain motor vehicles of an age of 30 years or more. The operative date for this concession is 1 April 1976. 1 commend the Proposals. Debate (on motion by **Mr Young)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1765 {:#debate-31} ### PUBLIC EXPENDITURE {:#subdebate-31-0} #### Proposed Standing Committee Debate resumed from 28 April, on motion by **Mr Malcolm** Fraser: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) That a Standing Committee be appointed to: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. consider any papers on public expenditure presented to this House and such of the estimates as it sees lit to examine; 1. consider how, if at all, policies implied in the figures of expenditure and in the estimates may be carried out more economically; 2. examine the relationship between the costs and benefits of implementing government programs, and 3. d ) inquire into and report on any question in connection with public expenditure which is referred to it by this House. 1. That the committee consist of 6 members to be nominated by the Prime Minister, 5 members to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition, and the Chairman of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts or his nominee. 2. That every nomination of a member of the committee be forthwith notified in writing to the Speaker. 3. That the members of the committee hold office as a committee until the House of Representatives expires by dissolution or effluxion of time. 4. That the committee elect as Chairman of the committee one of the members nominated by the Prime Minister. 5. That the committee elect a Deputy Chairman who shall perform the duties of the Chairman of the committee at any time when the Chairman is not present at a meeting of the committee, and at any time when the Chairman and Deputy Chairman are not present at a meeting of the committee the members present shall elect another member to perform the duties of the Chairman at that meeting. 6. That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of 5 or more of its members, and shall appoint the Chairman of each sub-committee who shall have a casting vote only, and refer to any such sub-committee any matter which the committee is empowered to examine. 7. That a majority of the members of a sub-committee constitute a quorum of that sub-committee. 8. That members of the committee who are not members of a sub-committee may take part in the public proceedings of that sub-committee but shall not vote or move any motion or constitute a quorum. 9. That the committee or any sub-committee have power to send for persons, papers and records. 10. That the committee have power to move from place to place and to sit during any recess. 11. That any sub-committee have power to move from place to place, adjourn from time to time and to sit during any recess, sitting or adjournment. 12. That the committee or any sub-committee have power to authorise publication of any evidence given before it and any document presented to it 13. 14) That S members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee. 14. That the committee be provided with necessary staff, facilities and resources. 15. 16) That the committee in selecting particular matters for investigation take account of the investigations of other Parliamentary committees and avoid duplication. 16. That the committee have leave to report from time to time and that any member of the committee have power to add a protest or dissent to any report 17. That the foregoing provisions of this resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the standing orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders. {: #subdebate-31-0-s0 .speaker-K9L} ##### Mr GARLAND:
Curtin -This is a continuation of the debate on the motion to set up a public expenditure committee. When the matter was debated last night the 2 speakers for the Labor Opposition indicated that the Opposition would not be voting for the motion. I must say at the outset that I think that is a great pity, for reasons that I will come to later. Because each speaker in this debate has only a short time, let me take up briefly some of the arguments that were put forward. The former Speaker of this House, the honourable member for Corio **(Mr Scholes),** who I suppose put the official view of the Labor Party, indicated opposition to the motion for certain reasons. I believe it is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is to be divided right at the beginning of this matter, but of course that is the privilege of the Labor Opposition. It sounded to me as though the honourable member for Corio was making a case which indicated that he did not want to agree to it because it offended his view of the evolution of committees in this House, and of course he is a member of a committee examining the role of committees. From that point the honourable member went on to make criticisms, which I did not think were substantial reasons for opposing the motion. He spoke of the desirability of having the Speaker, rather than the parties, make appointments to the committee. Of course, that is established practice. Paragraph 2 of the resolution of appointment is consistent with previous resolutions establishing House of Representatives committees in past parliaments. The Labor implemented environment committee is one. At one stage the honourable member said he thought the terms of reference could be better, indicating that he thought they were not too bad in the generality. But then when he went on to discuss how they might be bettered he did not seem to want to alter a great deal. He failed to acknowledge that there is some experimentation, some novelty in this proposal, and clearly some change may be necessary after a period of trial and error. The honourable member did say that he thought the terms were high-minded, and one can only agree with that. He made a considerable attempt to show that the proposal is wrong because a senator could serve on the committee. Of course, the whole purpose of the paragraph to which he was referring is to provide for the **Chairman** of the Public Accounts Committee to be an ex-officio member- I understand at the suggestion of the Chairman. The provision goes on to state that there could be a nominee, and the inclusion of a nominee clearly is to take account of the case when the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee is a senator. This is intended to be a House committee and it must remain one. So I would say that the honourable member's arguments in opposition to the motion, and presumably they are the main arguments for the Opposition because he was the leading speaker, were relatively minor matters. The honourable member said a great deal about the need for qualified and adequate staff, and I am sure that every member of the House would agree with that. The overall evidence, and perhaps this meets the major point raised by the honourable member, given to the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System strongly supported the establishment of a public expenditure committee of the House of Representatives. While the matter can never be regarded as a settled one, surely it is worth a serious attempt by the Parliament to try to establish successfully such a committee. I believe that the time is overdue for us to try to obtain greater public control of funds, greater parliamentary control of funds, which after all are raised from people and are authorised for payment by this Parliament. The proposed committee could play a major role in that effort. Its terms are very similar to those of the House of Commons committee. The major objectives are set out in paragraph 1, which states: {: type="a" start="1"} 0. l ) That a Standing Committee be appointed to°. 1. a) consider any papers on public expenditure presented to this House and such of the estimates as it sees fit to examine; 2. consider how, if at all, policies implied in the figures of expenditure and in the estimates may be carried out more economically; 3. examine the relationship between the costs and benefits of implementing government programs; 4. d ) inquire into and report on any question in connection with public expenditure which is referred to it by this House. Those are important objectives and I believe that they will commend themselves to most members of this House, perhaps to all members to some extent. I refer in passing to paragraphs 10 and 13 of the motion, which I think are of very great importance. It has been said that the committee, if set up, would greatly restrict other activity in the House. I find that hard to believe since there are 127 members here and not many of them are Ministers. It has been said that the Treasury might have some problems in arranging financial forecasts. Perhaps it will have trouble, but the committee could encourage it in that direction and provide help if it was needed. It has been said that the United Kingdom committee has not altogether succeeded, but that is not a reason why we should not seek greater success or at least achieve as much as that committee has achieved. I for one am not convinced that those arguments are strong enough to indicate that this House should not set up the committee and that it will not be reasonably effective. Australia, like Britain, needs a committee such as that set up by the House of Commons in order to provide a greater control over expenditure. An interesting debate took place in the House of Commons on 15 January 1974, and what emerged from that debate was a qualified approval for the activity up to that point. We have the advantage of being able to look at the progress of the United Kingdom Committee and its history in relation to its examination of the implementation of specific policies by governments in the House of Commons. Some of the House of Commons sub-committees have looked in a narrower way at specific policies but other committees have had a wider role in looking at government activity. I quote from a speech in that debate in which it was said: ... the Committee would have a wider role than the old Estimates Committee - This is in the United Kingdom- and would keep under examination the projections of public expenditure made available to the House. It would be free to consider the policy behind the figures, and therefore might wish to examine Ministers on them. That brings me to the vexed question of the examination of policy. The Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser)** has indicated that as far as this committee is concerned he does not believe that policy ought to be questioned. Frankly, I think it might be very hard on occasions to draw the line. At page 1498 of *Hansard* the Prime Minister said: >The committee would not examine the Government's policies; it would rather be concerned to investigate economy and effectiveness . . . *(Quorum formed)* The calling of the quorum by the honourable member for Hunter **(Mr James)** was a typical trick on his part. He knows perfectly well that many honourable members are outside the chamber talking with visitors to Canberra about educational matters. I quoted that passage in order to draw attention to the use of the word 'rather', which I think underlines the point I was making. I believe that the Australian approach to policy matters may result in difficulties in interpretation, but I do not believe that it will be beyond the wit of members of the proposed Committee to devise a sensible distinction. I believe that in the past there has been inadequate examination of public expenditure. This Parliament does have a number of avenues for such examination; but, as honourable members know, the Estimates debate in this place is by no means satisfactory as a vehicle for examining Estimates. The speeches in that debate tend to be mini second reading speeches. The Senate sets out to do a better job and does a better job, but the Senate committees that do this work do not sit all year round and their scope is limited. There is also the Public Accounts Committee which is important and which does a great deal, but obviously it cannot cover the whole field. It is appropriate for me, on behalf of many honourable members, to pay tribute to the work that Committee has done. Co-operation between the proposed Public Expenditure Committee and the Public Accounts Committee will be essential, but there is so much work for the Parliament to do that I believe that with intelligent and objective people involved there will be no difficulty in defining useful areas of responsibility for each committee. In addition, there is the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations, but the scope is so wide that there will be more than enough work for each committee to be useful. The Prime Minister covered in his speech the major principles involved in setting up this Committee. I quote what he said, as reported at page 1497 *of Hansard:* >The ultimate control of Parliament over the Executive is its control over, and scrutiny of, the expenditure of money. This is a fundamental principle of democracy which this Government recognises. He said more to support the basic need for such examination. I expect this motion to be carried and I hope that the Opposition will enter into the work of the Committee. I have every confidence that members of the Opposition will be elected to the Committee and will support the value of the Committee. I believe that one of the problems of all sophisticated economies in the world is that of getting value for money from expenditure and achieving the objective set out in the motion which refers to the examination of the relationship between the cost and the benefit of implementing government programs. I support the motion. I believe that the Committee will be extremely useful to the Australian people. **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Before** I call the honourable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr Crean)** I want to make a comment about the quorum which was called. I confess that I am rather surprised to find that some honourable members are leaving the chamber after having entered the chamber during the forming of a quorum. No honourable member can retire from the precincts of the chamber once the attention of the Chair has been drawn to the state of the House. I also ask honourable members to remember that if they move from one side of the chamber to the other during the forming of a quorum they make it extremely difficult for the Clerks who are endeavouring to ascertain the number of honourable members in the chamber. This, in turn, handicaps the honourable member who is speaking, because there is a larger encroachment on his time than is necessary. I also want to say that I have been rather surprised to find that some honourable members have not been observing some of the Standing Orders, particularly the standing order relating to honourable members crossing between the honourable member who is speaking and the Chair. Not only the newer members of this chamber are committing this offence; some of the older ones also are committing it. I suggest that all honourable members look at the Standing Orders and that they try to raise the decorum of this Parliament. {: #subdebate-31-0-s1 .speaker-JAG} ##### Mr CREAN:
Melbourne Ports -My colleague the honourable member for Corio **(Mr Scholes)** indicated on behalf of the Opposition our opposition to this motion on the basis that there already is a committee set up to examine committees- I think it is called, rather tautologically. the Committee on Committees or the Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System- and we members of the Opposition believe that until that Committee comes to certain conclusions it is premature to set up a new committee on expenditure. The previous speaker, the honourable member for Curtin **(Mr Garland),** tried to see great virtue in a Committee on Public Expenditure, and that may well be the case. All I suggest, with all respect to the Government or to the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser),** is that the role of this proposed Committee really has not been thought out. The Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System, which did produce an interim report of some kind, was not very favourably disposed towards the creation yet of a Public Expenditure Committee. If we are to set up a committee, surely we should have some idea of what its role is to be. In the parliamentary process, to some extent these issues relating to the control by Parliament over the expenditure become rather fundamental. This issue arose about 6 months . ago. There is a rather comforting democratic theory that Parliament has the power to control the public purse. Maybe, with some limitations, it does. I think Parliament has about the same ability to control the public purse as it has to govern the country. You cannot govern a country unless you have an Executive and you cannot really operate the public purse unless the Executive decides initially what policies and so on need to be implemented. It seems to me that this has not yet been decided. The Prime Minister has said much about expenditure and, before he got to his present position, about excessive expenditure. It will be rather interesting after 30 June 1976 to find out by how much he really has reduced expenditure by that time and, when he writes his Budget for 1976-77, to find out how much less that Budget is than was the sum he did not like for the current year. I hazard the guess that the deficit to 30 June 1976 is not going to be anything like what the Government so far has crowed about it being. We had an admission of that yesterday from the Treasurer **(Mr Lynch).** I must say that 2 months ago I said to the Treasurer that I thought the deficit would be closer to $4,000m than the extravagant figure of $6,000m which he suggested at one stage. Be that as it may, one of the realities to be faced these days is the growing size of the community. After all, there is a deputation here in Canberra today whose intention is not that the Government should spend less. If anything its intention is that the Government should spend more. When one looks at the anatomy of total Commonwealth expenditure in Australia, one sees that one has not anything like the mobility needed to reduce it. I think the Parliament should be pretty careful in considering what it is going to scrutinise. I draw attention to the table on page 3 of the statements attached to the last Budget Speech. It shows that for 1975-76, out of a potential total estimated outlay of $2 1,1 77m, domestic outlays account for $4,5 15m. The rest, $ 16,662m, was what were called transfer payments and net advances. By far the biggest single item is payments made to the States. What sort of scrutiny does this Committee imagine it will have of expenditure which is not proposed in the next Budget? The Government provides the money but the expenditure is incurred by somebody else. The next greatest single item- and this is potentially nearly $6 billion- is cash benefits to persons. Surely, once the level of an age pension, child endowment or even a funeral benefit has been decided upon not much of the total expenditure can be scrutinised. The expenditure depends upon the living and the dead rather than upon any subsequent examination by an expenditure committee. With all due respect, what has not been clarified- I think the honourable member for Curtin **(Mr Garland)** was beginning to touch upon this- is whether this Committee is to try to examine expenditure before it has happened, while it is happening or after it has happened. It is easy to examine expenditure after it has happened; whether it is useful is a different thing. But at least a committee designed to examine certain expenditures after they have happened is already in existence. I am a little intrigued to see that in paragraph 15 of this motion one of the suggestions for this new committee is that it should be provided with necessary staff, facilities and resources. I hope that something will be done to endow existing committees with the necessary staff, facilities and resources. My friend, the present Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, the honourable member for Bradfield **(Mr Connolly),** may say something about the present inadequacy. It may well be that the need to have a new committee arises out of some deficiencies in the provisioning for the committees already in existence. I submit that that is something that ought to have been contemplated also before the Government launched the proposal for this committee. I have no doubt that the Prime Minister has what might be called a fetish about expenditure and he thinks that it will somehow add virtue to himself if he goes down on record as having set up an expenditure committee. With all respect to the previous Prime Minister, he had a fetish or two. If he wanted something he thought he should get it so I suggest that presumably there is no difference between one Prime Minister and another. I do not think that the present incumbent of the office has adumbrated what he thinks the duties of this Committee properly should be. Like most people, I have not had a great deal of time to look into this matter, but I commend to the attention of the House and perhaps even to the Minister Assisting the Treasurer **(Mr Eric Robinson)** who, at least, is a very zealous Minister I know from longer personal experience than he has that Ministers Assisting the Treasurer can perform very useful tasks because a vast amount of work has to be done, much unfortunately minutiae rather than substantialthe second of several articles devoted to the question of public spending which appeared in the November issue of the very influential journal *The Banker.* One article in particular draws attention to the British committees, one of which has the rather dubious title of PESC I do not know whether it is regarded as pesky but is initials are PESC it being, I think, the Public Expenditure Survey Committee. That Committee got into the realms that the honourable member for Curtin foreshadowed. If such a committee is to be useful and different from the Public Accounts Committee or the Estimates Committees of the House in their annual examination, it may begin to involve the very sacred realm of policy. Members of the Public Accounts Committee have always taken the view that while they may think that policy is foolish, it is not for them to comment on it. They are supposed to examine whether money spent in terms of that policy has been efficiently spent and properly deployed. According to the learned author of the article in *The Banker* the task of the functional subcommitteesthere is reference here to a subcommitteewas to be threefold. First it was to study the expenditure protections of the department or departments in its field, compare them with those of previous years and report on any major variations or important changes of policy and on the progress made by the departments towards clarifying their general objectives. The second task it was thought might emerge was to examine in as much detail as possible the public expenditure implications of the policy objectives chosen by Ministers and assess the success of the departments in attaining them. The third task was to inquire, on the lines of the Estimates Committee- the Expenditure Committee superseded the Estimates Committee in Britain- into departmental administration including effectiveness of management. How those 3 objectives can be essayed successfully without putting a critical finger on policy occasionally I do not know. Maybe in the long run there has to be more scrutiny by Parliament as such of policy if its democratic theory of control of the public purse is to have any meaning. Perhaps there will have to be more scrutiny and criticism of policy before it is implemented, bearing in mind that policy once begun can sometimes take years to achieve and, as I think this Government will soon learn, can also take years to reverse. There is a certain rigidity in government structures, particularly those which involve expenditure of the magnitudes I have outlined and where there is not nearly the amount of mobility in changing them that one thinks. The other difficulty that the writer of this article points to is that civil servants or departmental heads and their top echelons in particular become very skilful in evading the issues one wants to bring out rather than illuminating one upon them. I suggest that this again points to the need to have skilled staff at the outset and I believe it would be better so to endow the committees already set up. I do not denigrate in any sense the work that they have performed with limited facilities. Paragraph 16 of the motion proposes that the committee in selecting particular matters for investigation should take account of the investigations of other parliamentary committees and avoid duplication. Again, this seems to me to be a salutary reason why this Committee ought not to be established. I appeal to the Prime Minister, despite his zeal for creation, to take the sensible view that it would be better to let the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System examine the proposal for this committee and suggest what its role may be in relation to the Public Accounts Committee. I have not been a member of the new Public Accounts Committee for long- I was a member of a Public Accounts Committee a long time ago- but I find that a difficulty now is to get quorums for committee meetings because most members are on more than one committee. The committees tend to meet only when the House is not sitting which I think is correct. There are difficulties. How is the gentleman who is to be both the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and a member of the expenditure committee to attend meetings of both these committees? I understand also that the Chairman of the expenditure committee is to have a seat on the Public Accounts Committee. Therefore the 2 committees will not be able to meet at the same time. I am not too sure that there will not be a certain duplicating of membership of both committees, other than the members necessarily designated. This seems to me to make the task more difficult. I would therefore appeal to the Government to reconsider the matter rather than to move hastily. **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drummond)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-31-0-s2 .speaker-QF4} ##### Mr CONNOLLY:
Bradfield -The Parliament has in the last 2 days conducted a debate into the area of parliamentary control over the expenditure of public funds of a quality which I would suggest has not taken place for many years. As the present Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Accounts, and therefore naturally holding a brief for the continuance and strengthening of my committee, I welcome the decision of the Government to establish an expenditure committee. In so doing, however, it is my responsibility to point out to the House that while I accept some of the difficulties associated with the proposal which have been noted by honourable members, we are in fact initiating a fairly revolutionary step. One could perhaps wonder why in over 70 years of the existence of this Parliament it has taken so long for honourable members to consider seriously how we can conduct a more effective scrutiny over the expenditure of public funds for which we are fundamentally responsible. I think it is a fair criticism of Parliament that we have for so long been perfectly prepared to allow the finance administration of government to rest in a political Umbo, virtually free from the effective control of this Parliament. On those grounds alone I therefore must applaud the principle of establishing this expenditure committee. I seek leave to incorporate in *Hansard* the terms of reference of the proposed standing committee and the terms of reference and the duties of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee. {: #subdebate-31-0-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. *(The document read as follows)-* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) That a Standing Committee be appointed to: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. consider any papers on public expenditure presented to this House and such of the estimates as it sees fit to examine; 1. consider how, if at all, policies implied in the figures of expenditure and in the estimates may be carried out more economically; 2. examine the relationship between the costs and benefits of implementing government programs; 3. inquire into and report on any question in connection with public expenditure which is referred to it by this House The duties of the Public Accounts Committee are: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. to examine the accounts of the receipts and expenditure of the Commonwealth and each statement and report transmitted to the Houses of the Parliament by the Auditor-General in pursuance of sub-section (1) of section fifty-three of the Audit Act 1 90 1 - 1 950; 1. to report to both Houses of the Parliament with such comment as it thinks fit, any items or matters in those accounts, statements and reports, or any circumstances connected with them, to which the Committee is of the opinion that the attention of the Parliament should be directed; 2. to report to both Houses of the Parliament any alteration which the Committee thinks desirable in the form of the public accounts or in the method of keeping them, or in the mode of receipt, control, issue or payment of public moneys; and 3. to inquire into any question in connexion with the public accounts which is referred to it by either House of the Parliament, and to report to that House upon that question, and include such other duties as are assigned to the Committee by Joint Standing Orders approved by both Houses of the Parliament. **Mr CONNOLLY** In particular, the words "or any circumstances connected with them" included in section 8 (b) have enabled the Committee to conduct much wider inquiries than would otherwise have been the case without risk of legal challenge to its power to do so. It has, for example, over the years conducted inquiries into the administrative efficiency of departments and statutory authorities using its powers in the expenditure field and matters raised by the Auditor-General as starting points. *(Quorum formed).* It is necessary to see the terms of reference of the Public Accounts Committee and the proposed committee side by side to appreciate that there is a danger of a certain degree of overlap. The Public Accounts Committee, putting it in fairly simple terms, is required to report on the form of the public accounts and the method of keeping them as well as the mode of receipt, control, issue or payment of public moneys. We are also required to report on any items or matters in the public accounts and on the Auditor-General's report, and those matters which in the opinion of the Committee the attention of the Parliament should be drawn. We have done this now for a considerable number of years. While there may be some criticism as to output because the Committee has not been able to devote as much time as is necessary for the conduct of this most important work, this difficulty merely emphasises the need for the Parliament to make sufficient time available so that the finance committees of the House, have a reasonable chance- that is all we ask- to conduct their affairs in an efficient manner and thus enable this Parliament to carry out its financial responsibilities. One of the difficulties we will face with the establishment of the new committee is thus essentially, a question of finding time. As my colleague, the honourable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr Crean),** so rightly pointed out, it has been difficult enough in recent months for the Public Accounts Committee to achieve a quorum so that we can commence our meetings. Although I am pleased to say that the terms of reference of this new committee provide for a smaller quorum and a larger membership of 12 personnel than the Public Accounts Committee *(Quorum formed).* I hope that those teachers and members of P & C Associations who are listening to the broadcast of these proceedings and who are in Canberra by their hundreds today appreciate the fact that their parliamentary representatives are being withdrawn from their midst because a number of people in this Parliament in the so-called Opposition, wish to prevent the members of this House from performing their rightful duties. Despite the continual disruption that the Opposition is attempting to conduct I shall return to the matters which I regard as being of some importance. The implementation of this motion by the Parliament is a most important and vital step towards strengthening the role of the Parliament in the control and conduct of public expenditure. Nevertheless I have alluded to the fact that there will be difficulties in the effective implementation of the proposals for this new committee, particularly in regard to the time available for meetings. I was about to suggest before the last rude interruption that it will be necessary for the committee to sit during the normal time when Parliament is in session if it is to have any chance of conducting its affairs effectively. I realise that this proposal may be the subject of some controversy. Nevertheless it is impossible for committees to handle matters of such importance efficiently if they can meet for only one morning of a sitting week. It is all very well to establish committees. However Parliament and the Government must be prepared to give them the technical capability to conduct their operations otherwise we are, to say the least, participating in a stillborn birth. Therefore I suggest that we must consider the question of staffing. The Joint Committee of Public Accounts has a staff of 5 officers. The Secretary of the Committee is a Class 10 officer. I have no doubt that he should be at least a Second Division officer grade 1. Unfortunately, in recent years, due essentially to the activities of the previous Administration, there has been what is known in colloquial terminology as a grade creep in the Public Service. This means that whereas, say, ten years ago a Class 10 officer in the Public Service held quite a senior position today that rank is probably the equivalent of a Class 8 position. In other words, very serious consideration must be given by members of this Parliament to how we can give adequate staffing to economic committees in particular if they are to have any status in the eyes of the Public Service. Since the terms of reference of the new committee are based essentially on the British Parliament's Expenditure Committee, I wish to explain to the House some of the very important work which that Committee has conducted. Firstly, the Expenditure Committee of the House of Commons was established out of the apparent failures of the old Estimates committees. It has been rightly pointed out by a previous speaker that there has been merely 'qualified approval' for the work of the British Expenditure Committee. Nevertheless it is worth while mentioning to the House some of the reports which that Committee brought down and which are of relevance to the type of work that one would expect our Parliamentary Committee to conduct. For example, prior to the period 1973-74 the British Committee brought down reports on public expenditure and economic management, the relationships of expenditure to needs, the revision of the form of Supply estimates, public money in the private sector, youth employment services, employment of women, employment services and training, diplomatic staff and overseas accommodation, various aspects of defence expenditure, the British Council and further and higher education. I think these are good examples of the very wide areas of work which can be conducted by a committee of this type. Whereas the British Committee had a number of subcommittees covering trade and industry, employment and social services, defence and external affairs, education and the arts, etc. our committee will have only 2 subcommittees. Nevertheless I hope that on a functional basis at least the subcommittees will be able to conduct their affairs on a fairly specialised basis. This will enable the members to widen their interest and at the same time to specialise in the huge areas of public expenditure and the administration of Public instrumentalities which are so lacking at present. In recent years the Public Accounts Committee has conducted some extremely important inquiries. For the benefit of the House I shall mention some of them. For example, we examine general reports each year based on matters brought to our notice by the AuditorGeneral, particular reports arising from specific references and criticisms on reports of the Auditor-General, general examinations of financial administration of departments, the examination of particular matters chosen by the Committee and conducted over a number of departments, annual reviews of expenditure from the Advance to the Treasurer and the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and the form and content of the financial statements and related documents presented to this Parliament. Obviously we have been fully committed. It is for that reason I welcome the decision to establish another committee which will broaden the base of parliamentary review of public expenditure. In this context it is worth taking account of the fact that in recent years a number of important matters are being considered in relation to how departments would be administered. For example, there has been, through the Public Service Board, consideration of a greater administrative flexibility for departments. In turn this will result in greater managerial discretion for heads of departments. Nevertheless, there are considerable weaknesses of administrative control between how departments should administer their financial affairs through the Departmental secretaries and the role of the Public Service Board. In fact this is an area which I hope that this Parliament will, through its committees, be taking up in the near future. It is a complete absurdity to have a Public Service Board which is nominally responsible for an administrative audit but which has done so little. Last year it commenced for the first time in years section 17 analyses of the broader administrative performance of departments, a responsibility which, according to the Act, the Public Service Board has had for many years. Yet it did not bother to carry out its responsibility until the Public Accounts Committee and the Royal Commission on Public Administration made the Board realise that if it did not start moving soon it would come under considerable criticism. I leave the House with this fact. It is the responsibility of this Parliament to see that the administration of public funds of the taxpayers of Australia is conducted in an efficient manner and that people get value for their money. {: #subdebate-31-0-s4 .speaker-HI4} ##### Mr MORRIS:
Shortland -The previous speaker, the honourable member for Bradfield **(Mr Connolly),** drew attention to one of the problems of committees, and that is, because of their work loads, the need to meet during working hours. I point out that House of Representatives committees can meet during working hours. The general reason why they tend not to do so is the existing work loads. This point highlights the great need for any new committee or any committee activity to be looked at in the light of total committee activities. As a member of the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System, I regard the action of the Government in proceeding with this motion, before the Joint Committee brings down its final report, as discourteous, arrogant and preemptive. It is discourteous because it has no regard for the great deal of time and effort given by members of the Joint Committee, the Committee staff and its many witnesses since the Committee's formation was agreed to by this House on 18 September 1974. It is arrogant because the Government and the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser)** are well aware that the Committee has brought up an interim report. That report was brought up prior to the forced sacking of the previous Government. It was circulated for discussion and comment by members of both Houses. Nothing has been heard of the attitude of new members of this Parliament to the proposed new committee. Yet they are blindly rushing into supporting this proposed expenditure committee. It is pre-emptive because when it is passed the expenditure committee will be established without the final report of the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System having been taken into consideration, let alone the interim report which has been published. Irrespective of the fact that during our inquiries overseas, especially in relation to the United Kingdom House of Commons Expenditure Committee, we found that expenditure committees are not effective- earlier speakers have remarked on that- the Prime Minister is youthfully obsessed with forming an expenditure committee. Like the succession of repudiated election promises of the Prime Minister and his Government, the motion is another repudiation of an undertaking given by the Prime Minister. In this chamber on 16 March 1976- reported at page 635 of *Hansard- the* Prime Minister, when speaking to the motion to re-establish the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System, said: >I hope that the Joint Committee will not believe that the Government is pre-empting its work if I say that the Government very much hopes that an Estimates Committee of the House of Representatives will be established before the end of the autumn sittings. The broad purpose of this committee would be to consider how, if at all, the policies implied in the figures of expenditure and in the Estimates may be carried out more economically. The Government will also introduce resolutions to establish a number of other committees, pending final decisions on the future of the committee structure, decisions which I hope will be based on the report of the committee. That was a clear and unequivocal undertaking by the Prime Minister that any committee established before the Joint Committee's report would be subject to review after that report had been presented to this House. The motion is for the formation of a continuing expenditure committee, irrespective of the recommendations of the Joint Committee. That is a deliberate repudiation of the Prime Minister's undertaking on 16 March. I do not believe the interests of the Parliament and of the Australian people will be best served by establishing an *ad hoc* expenditure committee, without taking into consideration how that committee will supplement and co-ordinate with the activities of all other committees of both houses. There is a very great need for a more detailed and analytical examination by the Parliament of the proposed expenditure by the Government of the day. The question is how that examination can be carried out most effectively and most efficiently. I think all honourable members would agree with the Prime Minister's statement in his speech of 8 April when he said: >It is fundamental to an effective system of representative government that the people's representatives should be able adequately to supervise and review the activities of government administration. The Parliament should be able to subject policy, legislation and administration to close and effective scrutiny. The Public Accounts Committee Act of 195 1 established the Public Accounts Committee as a watch-dog committee to scrutinise past expenditure of the government. It has performed that task well and its members over the years have been members who have been prepared to go into the fine detail of accounting and analysis which is necessary in order properly to examine departmental estimates. During its 25 years of existence the Public Accounts Committee has demonstrated a willingness and a capacity to do this sort of work well. The Public Accounts Committee is the obvious committee to carry out the role of scrutiny of estimates and concurrent scrutiny of policy priorities allocated by government departments and the Treasury. The Senate Estimates Committees set up in more recent years also have performed well, despite the fact that they would have performed better with greater staff back-up. The Prime Minister has referred to the expenditure committees of the United Kingdom as being effective. From my observations, they are not. They suffer from the same problem, namely, that there are few honourable members who are prepared to give departmental estimates the close detailed financial analysis which is necessary if an effective scrutiny is to be achieved. I am afraid that that is what will happen again in this House. Furthermore, it is a fact of political life that there are few members of the Parliament who are prepared to argue against expenditure in their own electorates or constituencies. That has been well borne out by history. The National Country Party's attitude to Telecom Australia is an excellent example. I am sure that the Minister for Post and Telecommunications **(Mr Eric Robinson)** who is sitting at the table would nod in agreement with me. I believe that the most effective scrutiny of proposed and past expenditude by government can be achieved by implementing recommendations 5, 6 and 7 in the interim report of the Joint Committee on the Par.liamentary Committee System. Recommendation 5 states: >It is recommended that a new Public Accounts Committee be appointed, consisting of members of the House of Representatives only. It further recommends: >The Public Accounts Committee consist of 1 5 members. That number is identical with what has been suggested for the proposed Expenditure Committee. Paragraph (c) of recommendation 5 refers to the widening of the terms of reference of the Public Accounts Committee and the addition of the power to consider the implementation of policy aspects of the expenditure of government departments, statutory authorities and so on. Recommendation 6 states: >It is recommended that the practice of the Senate of committing the estimates of government departments and statutory authorities which are contained in major Appropriation Bills to estimates committees be continued. It goes on to state: . . . that the estimates committees be provided with adequate research and support staff to enable thorough scrutiny of the government 's expenditure proposals. To my knowledge, the lack of support staff has been the only weakness of the Senate Estimates Committees. Recommendation 7 states: >It is recommended that a set of functional standing committees be appointed in both Houses and that each committee have a clearly specified jurisdiction which corresponds to a specific area of activity of government or to a specified number of government departments and instrumentalities. I believe that those recommendations cover what is intended for the Expenditure Committee, except that the Committee appears to be set up in isolation, without regard to the functions of the other committees. In planning any system of committees consideration must be given to the respective numbers of members and senators, so that there may be a balancing out of the work load in order that the committee members may be able to carry out their duties effectively. We have heard that it is common for committees of this House not to be able to obtain a quorum. This is another reason why this Committee should not be set up in isolation, thus pre-empting any sensible coordination of a complete system of committees. An expanded Public Accounts Committee alongside strengthened Senate Estimates Committees would provide the effective financial scrutiny of government expenditure to which the public is entitled. The Prime Minister has said: >But the very fact of the existence of the Committee - that is the Expenditure Committee- and the lack of knowledge of the area which the Committee will investigate next will have its own salutary effect. The same may be said of the existing Public Accounts Committee. As one who has served for several years on the Public Accounts Committee, I suppose that there is some truth in the Prime Minister's statement- but only an element of truth, having in mind the demeanour of witnesses and the quality of some of the submissions that have been put to the Public Accounts Committee in the past. Historically, most members of this House have never taken the opportunity that the Budget Estimates debates offer to analyse proposed expenditure. There is no reason to think that that attitude is likely to change. Paragraph 1 (d) of the motion before the House provides for the proposed Committee to 'inquire into and report on any question in connection with public expenditure which is referred to it by this House '. That power has always existed in section 8 (d) of the Public Accounts Committee Act, which reads as follows: {: type="a" start="d"} 0. to inquire into any question in connection with the public accounts which is referred to it by either House of the Parliament, and to report to that House upon that question . . . From the time of the formation of the Public Accounts Committee under a conservative government until it went out of office in 1972 not one single matter was referred to the Public Accounts Committee by the Parliament. I doubt that there will ever be a reference under paragraph 1 (d) of the motion by this conservative Government to the proposed Committee. It is a blanket power which was never utilised by those who now propose this motion. It should have been used. Paragraph 1 (b) of the motion empowers the Committee to 'consider how, if at all, policies implied in the figures of expenditure and in the estimates may be carried out more economically'. Paragraph 1 (c) empowers the Committee to 'examine the relationship between the costs and benefits of implementing government programs'. I suspect that many honourable members may see paragraphs 1 (b) and 1 (c) as providing an opportunity to examine government policy as well as the efficiency of the implementation of government policy. Quite clearly, however, the operational guidelines attached to the Prime Minister's speech of 8 April state: >The Committee should take government policies as given and confine its investigation to the effective and economical implementation of such policies and matters related to the formation of estimates of expenditure. The prime objective of any financial scrutiny of public expenditure is to ensure that public funds are used efficiently in the implementation of government programs. The Auditor-General, **Mr Craik,** has drawn attention on a number of occasions to the need to examine the efficiency of the manner of government expenditure as well as simply to carry out an accountancy audit of expenditure. Nowhere in the motion does the word 'efficiency' appear, but it has to be the primary objective in any examination of public expenditure, past or proposed. The people are entitled to value for the money which they pay to governments. I would have thought that the Auditor-General's comments would have been considered before any impromptu move such as the establishment of this Expenditure Committee was made. Another serious shortcoming is the long time scale in which the Expenditure Committee is planned to operate. The Prime Minister has stated his expectation that it may take several years for the Committee to cover in its reports all areas of government activity. This, in effect, means a spot check of government instruments and agencies, not the speedy and complete analysis of aU government expenditure and estimates that is essential. It is deliberate misrepresentation to speak of the urgent need to examine the economical implementation of government programs by an Expenditure Committee if that examination will take several years to carry out. In summary, with the establishment of this Committee we will have 15 members of the House of Representatives on the Expenditure Committee, we will have 6 Senate Estimates Committees and we will have the Public Accounts Committee comprising 7 members of the House of Representatives and 3 Senatorseach committee with a secretariat and staff support, each calling for submissions from departments and others, each requiring substantial time from honourable members and honourable senators and aU doing broadly the same thing. The pre-emptive manner of establishing this Expenditure Committee in isolation from the current overall review of the parliamentary committee system is a first-rate example of ad hockery, of personal extravagance by the Prime Minister and of how not to achieve an efficient implementation of government and parliamentary initiatives. It will mean an *ad hoc* expansion of the bureaucracy, and financial waste. The action of the Prime Minister in ramming through the establishment of this expenditure committee without regard to its relationships to other committees, without waiting for the final report of the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System, is pre-emptive and likely to operate against the achievement of the close, effective scrutiny of proposed and past government expenditure that is so necessary. Additionally it is likely to result in duplication, even triplication, of the work of departments in preparing submissions and of committee staff. Its premature establishment in itself is an extravagance and in reality an indulgence of the Prime Minister. I hope that even at this late stage the Prime Minister will defer the appointment of this committee until the final report of the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System is tabled. Consideration can then be given to the total parliamentary committee system and how best the scrutiny that the Parliament and the Prime Minister seek to carry out can be achieved. {: #subdebate-31-0-s5 .speaker-KIK} ##### Mr LUSHER:
Hume -- It is interesting that the Opposition is opposing this motion. It is surprising to me that the Opposition would want to oppose a motion which is to set up a committee which will have effective scrutiny of a great deal of the financial activity of the Government and its related departments and authorities. However, that is the case. The Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser)** on 16 March, in moving for the appointment of a joint committee on committees for the Parliament, said: >The quality of the democratic process is enhanced to the degree that decisions are based on proper examination of the issues, to the extent that those affected by governmental decisions can be consulted and have a chance to be heard before decisions are taken. He went on to say: >The Parliament ought to be the place above all where policy can be fully debated and where legislation can be subjected to close and effective scrutiny. > >The Government believes that there is much to be gained from improved financial scrutiny of departments of the Executive. Honourable members will be aware of the Government's concern to minimise waste and to maximise efficiency in government expenditure. He continued: >The Government believes that at the present time this process of formation of the estimates is not subject to adequate scrutiny by this House. People are elected to this House, to this Parliament, to ensure, amongst other things, that their tax moneys are well used. If it is to fulfil that trust, the Parliament must have adequate instruments of supervision and control at its disposal. The Government reconstituted that Joint Committee on Committees for the Parliament. I think it is entirely within the Government's ambit of responsibility also to say that it believes that the scrutiny of estimates is of sufficient importance that it wishes to institute a committee which will have the responsibility of looking at those estimates, studying those estimates and keeping a general watchdog eye over the financial activity of government and its departments during the course of the year. On 8 April the Prime Minister moved for the establishment of an expenditure committee of this House. At that time he said: >The establishment of an expenditure committee marks an important step in the Government's policy of strengthening the parliamentary system. It is fundamental to an effective system of representative government that the people's representatives should be able adequately to supervise and review the activities of government administration. The Parliament should be able to subject policy, legislation and administration to close and effective scrutiny. He also said at that time: >The expenditure committee will greatly improve the capacity of this House to scrutinise public expenditure and improve Parliament's capacity to act as an able and effective watchdog over the affairs of the Government. > >There is a need for greater in-depth examination of public expenditure in relation to effectiveness and economy in the delivery of given Government policy. I do not think that there is very much there that could be disagreed with. Yet the first words that were spoken by the honourable member for Corio **(Mr Scholes)** as he led for the Opposition in this debate were: >It is the intention of the Opposition to oppose the establishment of a standing committee on public expenditure at this stage. It seems to me that the Opposition is demonstrating its traditional irresponsibility in opposing this motion. *(Quorum formed)* I do not know whether the honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr Innes),** who called for the quorum, has any schools in his electorate or whether amongst the two or three thousand people interested in the subject of education there are any parents or teachers here to see him today, on E Day, but it should be pointed out - {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr Innes: -- I rise on a point of order, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** My point of order is that the remarks that are being directed through the Chair to the House are not in line with the matter that is before the House, which is the proposed expenditure committee. **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drummond)The** point of order is upheld. The honourable member for Hume will confine his remarks to the subject before us. {: .speaker-KIK} ##### Mr LUSHER: -I just wanted to make the passing comment, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** that on this day when there are three or four thousand - {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I have already ruled that the honourable member for Hume is out of order. {: .speaker-KIK} ##### Mr LUSHER: -- Thank you, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** Before the quorum call which drew so many honourable members away from their constituents in King's Hall and around the House on E day I was about to make reference to the fact that the honourable member for Adelaide **(Mr Hurford)** seemed to wish to disagree with his Party's policy. I think that as the shadow spokesman on Treasury matters and as the former Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, he probably realises the importance of the establishment of this expenditure committee. However, I quote his words. He said: >I too agree that it is necessary for the Parliament to take a far greater and closer interest in the expenditure of government . . . It is pleasing to see that there are some members of the Opposition who wish to take that line and not to follow the Opposition approach of just opposing this Bill. But in the time that is left to me I should like to mention the fact that one of the important things is the great degree of coordination which will be necessary between the Public Accounts Committee, of which I have had the privilege of being a member in the last 2 Parliaments, and the new and proposed public expenditure committee in their operations. There is provision for the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, at present the honourable member for Bradfield **(Mr Connolly)** to be an *ex officio* member of the expenditure committee. I think that this is very proper. There is a need to see that there is a co-ordination between the activities of these 2 committees, but I think that there is certainly room for both of them. It is essential, particularly at these times of economic hardship, that the House of Representatives exercises in its own capacity and right adequate scrutiny over the estimates. The Public Accounts Committee has specific duties under the Public Accounts Committee Act. It is required to report on the form of the public accounts and the method of keeping them, on the mode of receipt, control, issue or payment of public money. It is also required to report on any items or matters in the public accounts or in the Auditor-General's report to which, in the opinion of the Committee, the attention of the Parliament should be drawn. The Public Accounts Committee has no power to bring about any changes in the matters in relation to which it has statutory duties. Due to the importance of maintaining an essentially political role it has been criticised for exercising its powers with caution. Nevertheless, we believe that the very existence of the Committee and the publicity which its hearings and reports receive, act as a restraining measure both on government and particularly on departments and instrumentalities on which public funds are spent. Evidence recently given to the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration on the role and performance of the Public Accounts Committee, although in my view somewhat misleading, has highlighted a number of problems which the Committee faces in the effective performance of its duties. There is no doubt that there are few institutions within the framework of Parliament which should have more potential power than the Public Accounts Committee. The Committee is supported by an effective staff. The capacity to employ outside specialist advisers would help it to be able to play a significant role in the parliamentary control of expenditure. In my opinion both the Public Accounts Committee and the new expenditure committee will suffer from the fundamental problem of the acute shortage of time in which to conduct their duties. I think these views have been supported by all previous speakers in this debate. To some extent this could be overcome by the establishment of sub-committees but in turn their capacity to be effective will, to a large extent, depend upon the provision of adequate specialist staff. Parliament 's ability to improve its capacity for financial review of public expenditure is dependent upon the committees being serviced by efficient and well qualified staff. In my opinion this is a necessary pre-condition if Parliament is to have any hope of maintaining its critical role in line with the changes in the appropriation system which are currently being debated and which are directed at giving greater administrative flexibility and managerial discretion to departments. It will also be necessary for Parliament, through the Public Accounts Committee and the expenditure committee, to initiate a serious examination of the growing trend in recent years towards the establishment of statutory authorities on the misguided assumption that by taking the functions of government out of the direct review of Parliament and ministerial direction more efficient administration will result. For this purpose I believe the Public Accounts Committee Act will require amendment to ensure that wherever public funds are spent the committees of the Parliament shall have the power of review. The Parliament's review mechanism through the committees must also take into account such recent developments as oneline appropriations for statutory authorities, triennial appropriations for departments such as Defence and Education and the likelihood of program budgeting being introduced on a more general scale. All these significant changes in public administration will require that the committees have the capabilities to review not merely accounting irregularities but also management systems adopted by departments, the development of programs, the implementation of policy and the expenditure of public funds. I believe that the establishment of the expenditure committee and the review of the Public Accounts Committee Act, which should be carried out concurrently but which looks like being carried out later, will be in a sense revolutionary in terms of the parliamentary review mechanism. If Parliament has lost its influence and has failed in the past to keep up to date with the evolution of public administration we have only ourselves to blame. There is undoubtedly a dynamic role for both the Public Accounts Committee and the expenditure committee in returning to this Parliament a degree of effective criticism of the performance of government administration that has been sadly lacking in the past. The National Country Party and I are very pleased to be associated with this measure. The scope is enormous. The challenge is also enormous. The times are difficult. I fully support the Prime Minister in introducing this measure before the receipt by the Government of the report of the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System. I believe the expenditure committee to be essential. It should have been set up years ago. I do not understand why it was not. Despite what the Committee on committees might say it is my view, and I believe the Government's view, that the expenditure committee is necessary, warranted and must be established. Should the Committee on committees report differ I for one would be prepared to oppose the Committee on committees in that respect. This House of the Parliament and we as elected representatives are entitled to have scrutiny over the Estimates of the Government. I am amazed that the Opposition is not prepared to support this proposal. It surprises me that the Opposition wishes not to increase the powers of this Parliament by opposing this motion at this time. {: #subdebate-31-0-s6 .speaker-JLN} ##### Mr ABEL:
Evans -- I am pleased to rise in support of the motion to establish a public expenditure committee. The establishment of this committee will ensure the orderly supervision of this nation's affairs in this House- and what better place should there be for the orderly supervision and the conduct of the affairs of this nation? A few moments ago a quorum was called because there was one member of the Opposition present in the chamber. Orderly conduct in the House is just as important as the establishment of committees. *(Quorum formed)* Before I was interrupted by the forming of another quorum for which the Opposition so generously called, I was saying that the expenditure committee will have the opportunity to supervise expenditure. Education is a real issue of expenditure about which this Government is concerned. As a consequence once this committee is established it will have the opportunity to examine in total education funding. It is regrettable that today we have to leave those teachers and others in Kings Hall and be called because members of the Opposition would stop us from presenting our education policy to those people. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr Innes: -- I rise to a point of order, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** which is in line with my previous point of order. The remarks that are being put through you to the House are not relevant to the matter before the House. I ask you to rule that the speaker direct his attention to the terms of the motion. {: #subdebate-31-0-s7 .speaker-KCT} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drummond:
FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA -I remind the honourable member for Evans of the motion before the Chair. {: .speaker-JLN} ##### Mr ABEL: -- I thank the honourable member for Melbourne for bringing that to mind. {: .speaker-LE4} ##### Mr Baume: -- He needs education. {: .speaker-JLN} ##### Mr ABEL: -- Yes. I thank the honourable member for Melbourne nonetheless for reminding me that the establishment of the expenditure committee will enable the Parliament to have an eye to go over the expenditure of education that this Government proposes to give to schools. That is, of course, why the teachers are here. They are concerned about that. The education of our children has an important bearing on Australia's future. The formation of a committee such as this one could be envisaged even in the State sphere. We could see the establishment of a public expenditure committee in the States. I imagine that if we had one in, say, New South Wales concerning itself with local government we would not have money being wasted by, for example, the Mayor of Ashfield, Alderman Whelan who is one of the Australian Labor Party's candidates in the State election next Saturday and who is misusing his office by expending - {: .speaker-HI4} ##### Mr Morris: -- I rise to a point of order, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** The honourable member for Evans wanted to make a speech in the grievance debate earlier today in criticism of the Labor Party's candidate for the seat of Ashfield in the New South Wales election. I submit that the debate on the motion now before the chamber concerning the formation of an expenditure committee is not the appropriate occasion on which to do this. I ask you to rule that the honourable member should speak strictly to the terms of the motion before the Chair. {: .speaker-KCT} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drummond: -A debate on the establishment of a committee such as this one on public expenditure is a reasonably wide-ranging debate. Some latitude can be given to speakers in such a debate. But direct criticism, as was raised earlier by a member of the Australian Labor Party on a point of order in regard to the people outside this chamber today, is something different. I ask the honourable member for Evans to keep in mind what we have before us. {: .speaker-HI4} ##### Mr Morris: -- You have not read the guidelines yet. {: .speaker-JLN} ##### Mr ABEL: -- At least I can read, which is more than I can say about the honourable member opposite. {: .speaker-HI4} ##### Mr Morris: -- You have not been in the House. {: .speaker-JLN} ##### Mr ABEL: -- You certainly have not. {: .speaker-HI4} ##### Mr Morris: -- You have just come in. {: .speaker-JLN} ##### Mr ABEL: -- You have been on your own; so you would not know. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member for Evans will address his remarks to the Chair and I invite everyone else to listen to him in silence. {: .speaker-JLN} ##### Mr ABEL: -Page 1499 of *Hansard* of 8 April sets out guidelines for the proposed committee and in the last paragraph we find these words: >There will be occasions where programs being examined by the Committee are delivered through State and/or local governments . . . I suggest, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** that any local government funding that is being examined by a public expenditure committee of this House or, indeed, any State House would be concerned with the misuse of ratepayers' money. This committee is being established for that very reason. What more blatant waste of the ratepayers' money could there be than there has been in the electorate of Ashfield, where the Mayor has utilised the mayoral car and driver to deliver political material on a door to door basis. {: .speaker-HI4} ##### Mr Morris: -- I rise to another point of order. I submit, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** that the honourable member for Evans is deliberately flouting your earlier rulings on the relevancy of the debate. The speech that the honourable member for Evans is trying to make is one which he had prepared for the grievance debate today and which he did not get an opportunity to make. I submit further that the motion before the House concerns the formation of a public expenditure committee and that if the honourable member had read the guidelines in relation to the motion he would have found that local government is excluded. **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drummond)Ruling** on the point of order raised by the honourable member for Shortland, I believe that it has more than a degree of substance in it. Once again I ask the honourable member for Evans to address himself to the motion before the Chair. {: .speaker-JLN} ##### Mr ABEL: -- On the point of order, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** I suggest with respect that federal funding of local government would surely come under the jurisdiction of such a public expenditure committee. Why can it not be brought up in this debate that the blatant use of the ratepayers' money in a State - {: .speaker-JM9} ##### Mr Armitage: -- I rise to a point of order, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** I make the point that the expenditure committee, if this Parliament decides to establish it, will have nothing to do with local government finances except insofar as the funds which might be channelled from the Federal Parliament to local government are concerned. It will have nothing whatever to do with them. I suggest, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** that the honourable member for Evans is putting you in a most embarrassing situation. We want to protect you and to look after you. I think that you should be much firmer with him. He is only a new boy. He is only a oncer. Look after him. {: .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr Hodgman: -- Speaking to the point of order, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** I respectfully submit that it is beyond argument that the committee whose formation we are debating at the moment will be supervising the transmission of funds from this Parliament to local government. Moneys which are not subject to scrutiny are already transmitted from this Parliament to local government. I submit, with respect, that the honourable member for Evans is entitled to point out that if they were subject to such scrutiny the sort of abuses he has mentioned never would have occurred. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member for Denison has made his point. Ruling on the point of order which has been raised, I would respectfully suggest to the honourable member for Evans - {: .speaker-HI4} ##### Mr Morris: **- Mr Speaker,** before you rule on the point of order, I seek your indulgence to inquire as to which point of order you propose to rule on. I submitted a point of order and you ruled on that point of order and asked the honourable member for Evans to confine his remarks to the motion now before the Chair. He then rose to his feet and addressed himself to you as speaking on a point of order upon which you had in fact already ruled. So I submit that there is in effect no point of order before the Chair and that the debate should continue. {: .speaker-KCT} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drummond: -I think that we have canvassed this matter fairly well. I have asked the honourable member for Evans to contain himself to a degree. I did say earlier that it was quite possible for this to be a very wide-ranging debate, but, in relation to the subject of local government, I think it was pointed out by the Prime Minister in moving the motion before the Chair that there is a degree of difference between the different forms of government. Anyhow, let us try again. I ask the honourable member for Evans to continue. {: .speaker-JLN} ##### Mr ABEL: -- The establishment of this committee is sought so that we will have a watchdog over the expenditure of Commonwealth dollars. I support the concept. It is little wonder that the Opposition is seeking to waste my time by taking points of order. It simply does not want the belief to be espoused that there should be supervision by members of this Parliament of the expenditure of Commonwealth dollars. If the expenditure of Commonwealth dollars were supervised I would not expect to see them being used on driving a person around the electorate of Ashfield for electoral purposes. The establishment of this committee is something that in years to come can be followed by the States. It is important that this House set the example by establishing such a committee. I suggest that if- surely honourable members opposite will not raise a point of order when I am only saying 'if- such a committee already had been established in New South Wales we would not have employees of the Ashfield Council turning up records in order to get the names and addresses of pensioners so that letters can be addressed - *( Quorum formed).* It is really pleasing to me to know that I have attracted such a large part of the Opposition's attention. As a matter of fact, I have drawn a few of its members into the House. I classify the wasting and blatant misuse of federal funds, Commonwealth dollars, as shameful, disgusting and repulsive. The establishment of this committee will in fact ensure that Commonwealth funds are not misused. {: .speaker-SH4} ##### Dr Klugman: -- Not if you are on it. {: .speaker-JLN} ##### Mr ABEL: -- Might I suggest that those who sit on the other side of the House will not have too much to worry about if I am on it. In New South Wales we are concerned that funds which come from the Federal Government are used wisely. This committee will ensure that the funds are used wisely. It will ensure that any misuse of funds through activities such as those of the Mayor of Ashfield, for example, will not take place. {: .speaker-KSF} ##### Mr Les McMahon:
SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I rise to a point of order. **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drummond)The** honourable member's time has expired. Does the honourable member for Sydney wish to continue with his point of order? {: .speaker-KSF} ##### Mr Les McMahon:
SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Yes. I think it might prove handy for the House to know and for the people who sit opposite to know that the honourable member for Evans is the campaign director for his party's candidate in Ashfield in the State election. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -There is no substance in the point of order. **Mr ABEL** (Evans)- **Mr Deputy Speaker,** I wish to make a personal explanation. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented? {: .speaker-JLN} ##### Mr ABEL: -- Yes. The honourable member for Sydney **(Mr Les McMahon)** has claimed that I am the campaign director for Alwyn Innes, the Liberal candidate in Ashfield for next Saturday's State election. I am not the campaign director for Alwyn Innes in Ashfield, nor am I campaign director for Jim Reid in Drummoyne. Nor am I campaign director for anybody. I just wanted to make that point. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member has made his point. {: #subdebate-31-0-s8 .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG:
Port Adelaide -Having listened to the contribution by the honourable member for Evans **(Mr Abel),** if it is true that he is not campaign director for the Liberal Party's candidate in Ashfield then the candidate is showing a fair bit of judgment. When this proposal to establish a standing expenditure committee was raised in our party room we had to discuss whether we would support or oppose it. We first had to look at the way in which this proposal was brought before the Parliament. We cannot consider it as a Government measure. It is a measure which has been put forward by the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser).** We have to look upon it as something he would want to achieve in this Parliament by using those who sit behind him. We have seen in the last couple of weeks the absolute farce whereby he conned you all into taking out of the Social Services Act the funeral benefit for pensioners and putting it back in 2 weeks later. {: .speaker-LE4} ##### Mr Baume: -- I raise a point of order. Is this matter relevant to the legislation being discussed? {: .speaker-KCT} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drummond: The honourable member for Port Adelaide has just started his speech. I will judge his remarks as he goes along. It is a far ranging debate. {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG: -I do not intend to refer to anything that does not have the effect of using up or taking away the use of money by the Government. The $1.7m which the Government thought was so terribly important was not considered by any committee. In taking the decision to take away from thousands of pensioners in Australia the funeral benefit of $40 a person no consideration was given to referring this to an expenditure committee. It has been decided to put this provision back into the legislation. This Government capitulated not because of the provisions in paragraph 1(c) of the motion which relates to costs and benefits but because the New South Wales election is on next Saturday and because a couple of the Prime Minister's cronies from Tasmania who were crying on his sleeve apparently capitulated completely and said: 'All right, we will put our hands up now '. {: .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr Hodgman: -- You cannot take a beating. {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG: -- It was not a beating for the Labor Party. It was an enormous success for the Labor Party because we told you people in the House of Representatives what was going to happen in respect of the funeral benefit for pensioners. We told you what would happen in the Senate. We told you what you would do in the House of Representatives. We were perfectly correct. The fact that the funeral benefit for pensioners has been restored to the legislation did not come about because of the proposal to set up this expenditure committee. It came about through the advocacy of the Australian Labor Party and those members serving in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. This measure is being put forward by the Prime Minister and there are those of us in Australia who happen to want to analyse all the moves made by him. He came before a committee on which I served- the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System. I am not sure whether it was before or after he stabbed the present Speaker in the back or whether he was just one of the backbenchers or the Leader of the Opposition. Nevertheless he came before that committee and gave evidence on the setting up of parliamentary committees and the way we should view the establishment of legislative committees and expenditure committees. He said that these things ought to be part of a comprehensive report to be brought back to the Parliament by that Joint Committee. At the initiative of the Government when we assembled here in February after the recess following the election on 13 December the Joint Committee was re-established. We were asked to bring in a final report on 26 May. Why could not this debate wait until 26 May? None of us seems to be able to delve into the Prime Minister's thinking on the motion to set up an expenditure committee. Does he want the parliamentary imprimatur on all the cuts that are going to take place in government expenditure, because one can relate that directly to his philosophy? There are 2 points to be considered. They are: Give everything back to the States that we possibly can so that we have no responsibility here, and let us get that terrible terror- the deficit- down. The honourable member for Evans raised the matter of education. Let us have a look at it. {: .speaker-KIK} ##### Mr Lusher: -- I raise a point of order. I appreciate your earlier ruling, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** that this is a wide ranging debate, but I submit that the honourable member is ranging a little too wide. {: .speaker-KCT} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drummond: -I do not believe there is any substance in the point of order. {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG: -- Perhaps there is a role for this committee in the field of education, but what I am saying is that we are opposed to the setting up of this Expenditure Committee because we have an expert committee already set up to look into parliamentary committees. No case has been presented from the other side as to why we should have rushed into setting up this expenditure committee or why we should rush into setting up legislative or tariff committees. Perhaps we can present arguments about them and about what we should have in this Parliament so that backbenchers, particularly those on the other side of the House, can get an introduction into the powers of the Parliament and clear up the vague views that some members have about what goes through the Parliament Let me look at the field of education in relation to cost benefits. What would happen for instance if an expenditure committee set up under this Government against the advice of the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System- because it says that overseas experience in Canada and in the House of Commons shows that expenditure committees are laughed at- was faced with a government decision to slash the teaching of Asian languages and cultures in schools? On my estimation in the first 6 months of this year this expenditure will be slashed by $45,000 by this Government. What would be the position if the expenditure committee said that the cost benefit of that cut was negative? Do not tell me this Government is going to say: 'We take the Committee's advice. We will restore the $45,000 that was in the original appropriation'. Let me look at some of the other areas of expenditure. {: .speaker-KIK} ##### Mr Lusher: -- I raise a point of order. Being consistent with the ruling that was made in relation to the honourable member for Evans on the use of examples in debating this motion, I think my point of order that the honourable member for Port Adelaide is ranging too wide should be upheld. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I ask the honourable member for Port Adelaide to bear in mind the substance of the motion. {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG: -I know that you, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** do not need an explanation but for the honourable member for Hume it seems to take a long time for these things to sink in. He should have a look at paragraph I (c) of the motion which reads: {: type="a" start="c"} 0. examine the relationship between the costs and benefits of implementing government programs, The honourable member for Evans suggested that perhaps local government questions should be considered. Our excellent candidate for Ashfield, the mayor who has been re-elected on a number of occasions, was perhaps using Australian Government money incorrectly. We will see on Saturday whether he has been using it incorrectly. I want to direct my remarks to the field of education, the money that is being spent there, how we would analyse the cost benefit of that sort of expenditure and whether in fact the influence of an expenditure committee would override the philosophy of a government, because these are the sorts of thing that we have to look at. Let us have a look for instance at the preschool teacher education allowances. On my estimation, if I were to say that those allowances are going to be slashed between 1 January this year and 30 June this year by up to $363,000, 1 would not be far out. I might be inclined to vote with the Government on this motion to set up the Committee if one honourable member opposite could tell me, convince me or persuade me in any way at all that such a committee could convince the Government to reallocate the $363,000 to this very needy area. Let me deal with some of the other estimates that I have made. In relation to Commonwealth post-graduate awards, tuition fees, facilities and stipends, if I were to say that my estimate is that the appropriation in 1975-76 is going to be slashed by $473,000, could honourable members opposite tell me again that the Committee is going to walk into the office of the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser)** and say: 'We have had a look at the cost and benefit of this money and we think you ought to put back that $473,000. Do not listen to what the Bank of New South Wales, ICI or BHP is telling you. We are telling you that it is money well invested?' Government members know that that is a joke, because the philosophy of this Government will override any committee. It will not be a question of the Committee telling the Government. The Committee will be there just as a lap-dog. Why could not the proposal have been debated after 26 May, when the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System brought down its report? Let us consider some of the other areas which I estimate will be slashed before the end of this financial year. If I were to say that the child migrant education program is going to be slashed by $983,000 before the end of the financial year, I do not think that anyone opposite would be able to prove me wrong. In their own estimates, Government members have come up with the same figure. Is the expenditure review committee going to tell the Prime Minister or the Minister for Education **(Senator Carrick)** that that amount should be put back into the education appropriation? Is it going to have sufficient courage to go outside on the steps of Parliament House and tell people such as those who are assembled there today that the Expenditure Committee is going to have that amount put back into the education appropriation? Of course it is not. What members on the Government side have to learn to do- sooner or later some of them will, as 6 senators did the day before yesterday- is to try to analyse what this Prime Minister has got them doing. Every time Government members put up their hands to support him they are not quite sure what it is all about, but they come in here boasting about what they are going to do. In the debate relating to pensions- perhaps that matter should have gone to an expenditure review committee- someone said: 'I am voting to take away the funeral benefit only because the Prime Minister has said that it is part of one big package whereby the pensioners are going to be better off'. The Government took away the funeral benefit and tried to tell members on this side of the chamber, who have observed conservative governments since 1900, that it had in mind something whereby the pensioners would be better off. What absolute rubbish! The pension never rose above 19 per cent of average weekly earnings between 1949 and 1972. There was no expenditure committee to look at that. When Labor came into power in 1972 the pension went to 25 per cent of average weekly earnings. Now, zombo it is on the way back again, under the Liberals. I have made some other estimates on education expenditure. If anybody could tell me that the expenditure review committee would have influence in that area I might be prepared to support the motion. But let us consider some of the questions. In relation to administration, the Government has said that perhaps people are being paid too much overtime. There is a question of the work having to be carried out. I think the honourable member for Lilley **(Mr Kevin Cairns)** would understand that. Look at the facilities, the property and maintenance and the other things that have been provided over the years through the Schools Commission. If I tell honourable members opposite that something like $1,500,000 has been slashed from the original appropriation for 1975-76, they will not be surprised because, having done their homework - {: .speaker-PD4} ##### Mr Brown: **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** I raise a point of order on the ground that what the honourable member is saying is irrelevant. I hope that he will take the time to listen to the point of order. I have read the motion which is before the House and, on my reading of it, there is nothing whatsoever in it to suggest that the function of this Committee is to take aside the Government and to say that it disagrees with the Government's Budget Estimates. There is nothing to suggest that it will encourage or seek to persuade the Government to restore reductions which the Government might have in mind. That being so, the whole of the honourable member's remarks of the last 10 minutes are quite irrelevant and consequently out of order. {: .speaker-KCT} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drummond: -I do not believe that there is any substance in the point of order. {: .speaker-PD4} ##### Mr Brown: **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** would you give reasons for that ruling? {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG: -- It is a cost-benefit analysis. Thank you for your ruling, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** Let me continue with some of the things about which honourable members opposite are trying to convince - {: .speaker-PD4} ##### Mr Brown: -- Would you give reasons for your ruling, **Mr Deputy** Speaker? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I ruled that there was no substance in the point of order. I do not think the Chair has to explain why it makes a ruling. {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG: -Thank you, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** Could I continue by saying that if I were to tell honourable members opposite - {: .speaker-PD4} ##### Mr Brown: **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** may I take it that your ruling is that all of what the honourable member is saying now is in order? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -No, I certainly am not saying that. I am saying that this is a wide ranging debate and there is a lot of latitude in it. Naturally, on occasions the honourable member for Port Adelaide will move outside the rules of debate - {: .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr Hodgman: -- Go over the edge. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Or go over the edge. I do not think that it is the Chair's function to pull the honourable member up on every minor argument he uses or on every occasion on which he goes outside the guidelines that I have tried to lay down this afternoon. In this instance, I think that the honourable member has transgressed quite a bit. At the same time, I believe that he should be given a little more time. {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG: -- To conclude, I have confined my remarks to what is considered in subparagraph (c) to be the cost-benefit analysis by which the Government wants its programs examined. If I said that in relation to Northern Territory educational services $1.4m had been slashed from the total of $2.1m in the first 6 months of 1976, would an expenditure committee have enough influence to stand over the Government and say: 'You cannot do this to the Northern Territory because what you are doing is breaking down the whole area of responsibility of the Schools Commission'? The Opposition believes that there may be reasons to support the motion, but it would want better arguments than those which have been presented by the Government to date. This is one of those smelly arguments that the Prime Minister comes up with, and Government members will learn their lesson because quite a number of them will be here only until the next election. If they just sit here passively they will have achieved nothing. I ask them to remember what Nehru said: 'If I live and die and leave the same world as I was born into, I have achieved nothing '. {: #subdebate-31-0-s9 .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr HODGMAN:
Dennison **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** I claim to have been misrepresented by the previous speaker, the honourable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr Young),** for the second time this session. In the rambling remarks of the honourable member for Port Adelaide he used words to this effect: 'Dealing with the funeral benefit, a couple of Tasmanians cried on their sleeves and, at the end, held up their hands against the measure'. Only 2 Tasmanian members of this chamber spoke on that measure. I was one, and the honourable member for Franklin **(Mr Goodluck)** was the other. We did not cry on our sleeves and we held up our hands against that measure 10 weeks ago. I regard that as a misrepresentation and I feel that it should be corrected firmly. The honourable member for Port Adelaide has a habit of doing this and, with respect, getting away with it- except when he tackles Tasmanians. Question put- That the motion be agreed to. The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker- Mr Drummond) AYES: 73 NOES: 27 Majority....... 46 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 1783 {:#debate-32} ### CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT BILL 1976 {:#subdebate-32-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 25 March on motion by **Mr Howard:** >That the Bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-32-0-s0 .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG:
Port Adelaide -The Bill now before the House represents one of the most significant measures that this Government will ever enact. It enacts into law the recommendations contained in 2 reports of the Tariff Boardone dating back to May 1972; 26 reports by the Industries Assistance Commission; 6 reports by the Temporary Assistance Authority; and 2 reports by the textile industry. It covers almost every industry in Australia- an incredible range of commodities, ranging from sausage casing of plastic, to colour television sets; from steel to motor vehicles and earthmoving equipment; and the whole range of textiles and machinery. Under it preference is accorded to various countries. It is, in fact, legislation which affects every Australian industry, every Australian worker and the whole of the Australian economy. It has been the constant theme of Government supporters that the Whitlam Government, by its tariff policies, brought Australian industry to its knees. Yet the first 28 schedules in this Bill were put into effect by way of Customs proposals by the Whitlam Government. The next 4 schedules, part of which took effect from 29 November last, in the time of the caretaker Government, have been the subject of little claim by this Government. In fact, on 19 February the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs **(Mr Howard)** tried to brush aside all the changes in the last 4 schedules by saying that they were nothing new. This Parliament has never heard what is involved. He could not even admit that the thirtysecond schedule was the imposition of world quotas in response to the embargo threat of the Philippines. It was open to this Government to follow the precedent set when the Scullin Government went out of office. The duty collections could have been validated by the Tariff Validation Act Bill. They could have been validated to a particular date and after that date this Government could have introduced its own amendments to the tariff or let the tariff revert to its original state. It has chosen not to do that. It has chosen to adopt the tariff policies of the Whitlam Government. It enacts into law all those changes which Government supporters have so vigorously attacked in the past. It is open to members opposite to vote against the Bill and to leave the Minister with the unenviable task of putting forward a Bill which we will support and his own Party will oppose. Of course they are unlikely to do so. They will vote for the Bui. They are faced at last with the realities of Government. They will say that these amendments merely put into operation the recommendations of the Industries Assistance Commission and the other bodies, and to some extent they are right, but all these amendments were made by the Whitlam Government after the reports had been tabled in this House, after the community could discuss them and after a deliberate political decision by Labor to pursue a particular course. If the Hayden Budget were as terrible as members opposite would have us believe and if indirect charges were wrongly raised, why are the 26th and 27th schedules of the BUI presented for enactment? Let us hear from members opposite. Either they agree with this legislation or they do not. If they do, they take the responsibility for enacting these changes into law. They take the responsibility for the state of all the industries which are affected by this Bill. They agree with the tariff policies in the Budget proposals of the Whitlam Government. If they do not vote for the BUI let us hear from them what amendments they will make. Let us hear their proposals for all these industries. If this Bill is passed let us never hear again criticism of the tariff policies of the Whitlam Government. As I have said, this is a very significant Bill. It gives this House the opportunity to debate the whole issue of tariffs and their place in the economy. If there is a single point on tariff procedure or policy it is dealt with by this Bill in one of its 32 schedules. It is regrettable that tariff debates have been so few. We had a few questions when the Whitlam Government reduced tariffs by 25 per cent across the board. In his unfortunate tenure of the office of Minister for Customs and Excise the honourable member for Hotham, Don Chipp, made a few vague remarks about the by-law system. We have to go back to the closing days of the 1966 session to find the last tariff debate. The government of the day introduced a very significant report entitled *Industrial Chemicals and Synthetic Resins* and attempted to sneak into the law a new tax called the support duties. It was left to the honourable member for Lalor, Jim Cairns, and the honourable member for Wakefield, Bert Kelly to bring these matters up in debate. I have a few procedural matters to raise. The Whitlam Government inherited a system. It failed to change it and it must take some of the blame. I raise these matters so that the Minister may give the House an assurance that they are being corrected. There is the *Gazette* notice procedure on tariff change when the Parliament is not sitting. The legislation was introduced with the promise of use in emergency only. There is the use of the proposal system when substantive legislation could equally well be introduced. There are too many validation Bills- an excuse for lazy officials; a device which prevents this House from discharging its constitutional duty of initiating changes in the tariff. There is the neat non-statement of what has been done about the Trans-Australia Airways recommendation to abolish the developing country preference for work gloves. I now turn to tariff policies. It is as well to state where we stand on this issue. The policy of the Labor Party is clear; we stand for the optimum use of Australia's resources, not development for the sake of development but for the best use that can be made of our resources. We stand firmly on the belief that a decision on the tariff is a political decision. It is not for the Government to shelter behind the recommendations of an outside body such as the LAC. That body is charged with making an objective report and does so. It is unable to take the political decision on whether Australia should have a particular industry. The industry may be needed for defence purposes, it may form a necessary technological base, it may be needed because it is labour intensive or it may be an infant industry which should be fostered. In chapter 3 of its annual report the LAC puts forward the view that its recommendations are made for the good of the community at large. But like the question 'What is justice?', so the question 'What is for the good of the community?' depends on who answers it. It is for the Parliament- this House- to determine that. It is not for an outside, unelected body to take that fundamental step. It is for the LAC to tell us what the cost will be to have any particular industry and the necessary measures to achieve it. If the Parliament decides that we should have an industry we must pay the cost whatever it may be. That does not mean unabashed and complete protection. It means a weighing up of the advantages and the disadvantages of any particular course for the future of Australia. We must recognise our responsibilities as a trading nation. We must ensure that the consumer is not being exploited, that he has the advantages of the best that the world can provide. Nevertheless, we must preserve our employment. We must preserve our technological base. We must never again be the technological peasants we were in World War II. These are the reasons why Ben Chifley encouraged the motor industry to manufacture in Australia and, while we differ on matters of detail, I do not think anyone in this House is prepared to see that industry dismantledexcept perhaps one. I regret that this Government, the Whitlam Government, the Gorton Government and the Holt Government all failed to give more precise guidance to the IAC and to its predecessor, the Tariff Board. I regret that the IAC is apparently so uncoordinated that it cannot take an overview of employment in Australia. It is pointless for the Commission in report after report to suggest that natural wastage will prevent retrenchments. Natural wastage simply creates a pool of unemployment in districts where no further staff is being taken on. It creates uncertainty and it does nothing to create new jobs. There are reports of the IAC mentioned in this Bill which predicted certain employment results. Those predictions have not been borne out. They have caused unemployment. My colleague, the honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr Innes),** will point to many of these as far as the electronics industry is concerned, based upon the predictions of the IAC. Those predictions have caused us to lose much of the technological base of Australia. They have stopped the flow of skilled labour and new techniques which meant even greater worker skills and satisfaction. As I have said, some of the reports on which this Bill is based have proved to be wrong. The processes which brought this situation about can be reversed but guidelines more precise than the Prime Minister has been prepared to give are needed. The only one that I can find is that in the *Australian Financial Review* of 4 February where the Prime Minister is reported as saying that it is no use the IAC running off and coming up with a report which was unacceptable to the Government. Perhaps he meant- and I put it to him- the superphosphate report. I want to see a better system, one where if there is a political decision taken in respect of a specific industry, and that decision is that we should not pay the cost of having that industry, its phasing out is done in consultation with employers and employees alike, to ensure that there is no disruption to our social fabric. Of course we will meet with vested interests which claim some special right to exist in their present form simply because they have always existed in that way. We have seen this in the case of the farmers who have claimed some special right to earn profits simply because they choose to live on the land. In common with any other industry, those engaged in farming must face the market place. If they cannot compete, they must invest their resources or employment elsewhere. Our present system is not good enough. It simply does not take the hard decision whether to have or not to have a particular industry and then achieve that aim by the least disruptive means. It does not face up to the fact that if we are determined to have an industry whether for employment purposes, whether because it provides a technological base or whether it is an infant industry which can grow to a world standard, we must be prepared to pay the cost. In addition to those remarks, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** with respect to the tariff legislation now before us I wish to introduce a subject matter so closely allied with the tariff that a lot more should be said about it in this Parliament and a lot more notice should be taken of it outside this Parliament by those who observe industries, the effect of government decisions on industries and the effect of outside bodies like the IAC in their recommendations on industry. I refer of course to the question of structural adjustment. The discussion of structural adjustment is very much in its infancy in Australia. I ask for leave to incorporate in *Hansard* pages 182, 183 and 184 of the Jackson Committee report on this aspect. {: #subdebate-32-0-s1 .speaker-DRW} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Dr Jenkins:
SCULLIN, VICTORIA -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. *(The document read as follows)-* {: .page-start } page 1786 {:#debate-33} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-33-0} #### STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE Overseas experience Over the last decade the governments of many European countries have increased the emphasis on assistance to facilitate the process of structural change. Assistance to employees may take the form of retraining or relocation, perhaps with income maintenance. Assistance to firms may be for adaptation to a new situation or, if this is not feasible, compensation for losses incurred in closure. The essential feature of adjustment assistance is that it is specific to a particular adjustment process and ceases with the adjustment; it is not a continuous subsidy which would attract more resources to the activities concerned. Governments have traditionally accepted some responsibility for helping employees adjust to structural change. Recently, rapid structural change has been associated with higher unemployment in many countries and more attention has been directed to the task of matching people to available jobs. The skills, location preferences and aspirations of the people concerned have to be taken into account. Sweden has shown the way in the introduction of much more comprehensive manpower policies. Her policies are designed to overcome faults in the labour market, to increase labour mobility and reduce the need for adjustment assistance. In addition industry-oriented adjustment programs for textiles, shoes and handmade glassware, have been adopted in Sweden which provides technical assistance and loan guarantees for mergers. In other countries, there has been a fairly cautious and hesitant movement towards adjustment assistance to firms. The arguments against it centre around the idea that businessmen decide to invest on the basis of their assessment of the risks of making a profit, and, as risk-takers they should bear any losses. The arguments for it are first that it will help bring about the results desired and second that to be equitable requires some assistance when structural change stems from sudden changes in government policy. **Major events** which stimulated assistance schemes were the substantial tariff cuts .which started in 1968 through the Kennedy Round of tariff negotiations, and changes associated with the adoption of the Common External Tariff by the European Economic Community. Present Australian policies In the last few years the Australian Government has introduced a number of programs to assist in the process of facilitating desirable structural change arising particularly from reductions in tariff protection. These programs are set out in Chapter 2. Structural adjustment assistance to firms has a negative side- the closure compensation for loss of assets, and a positive side which may be termed adaptation assistance. While there is provision for adaptation assistance in the form of loan guarantees and consultancy grants under the general revisions of the present scheme and for grants under SANMA there have been practically no requests for assistance in this form to date. These programs have been largely ineffective in meeting the problems caused by tariff reduction. This may be due to limitations inherent in the programs themselves, to their administration, to pressure of the current economic situation or to other factors. The programs have not been tested adequately. The assistance measures for firms were devised largely after the major tariff reductions had taken place and at a time of severe downturn in the economy. There was confusion as to administrative functions of the Department of Manufacturing Industry, the Interim Advisory Committee, and the proposed Structural Adjustment Board. Most submissions made no mention of the existing structural adjustment assistance scheme. While many sought positive government measures to adjust to lower tariffs, they did not refer to the present scheme as an integral part of the adjustment process. It appears that firms view the present scheme as being too limited in its provisions to play such a role. The upper limit on consultancy grants of $ 10,000 is of significance only to relatively small firms. Also assistance is only available within a period of twelve months or so after the change in Government policy concerned. As firms tend to struggle for survival this is often insufficient time for a firm to assess its position and decide on closure or major structural change. The extent to which the specific structural adjustment programs need to be provided depends in part on two important factors. First, the less rapid the tariff changes, the less would be the disruption and thus the less would be the need for specific programs. Second, the greater the degree to which other policies and practices are adequate or flexible enough to assist affected individuals and firms, the less is the need for specific programs. For example, the availability of retraining and relocation facilities which operate in an anticipatory sense should reduce the need for income maintenance payments. Again the need for adjustment assistance to firms will be less to the extent that the Australian capital market, and possibly the tax system, can be used more effectively to facilitate structural change. Case for more positive adaptation assistance The OECD, in its report on Australian industry policies, strongly urges that adequate structural adaptation measures should be available to facilitate the transition from the present high tariff structure. It places considerable emphasis on the devising of measures which would be anticipatory in character. The OECD said: In addition to the structural adjustment assistance policies outlined above (i.e. those under the present Structural Adjustment Assistance Scheme), which are to a considerable extent aimed at encouraging industries to adjust out of uneconomic lines of production, there is also a need to complement these policies with anticipatory measures designed to encourage resources to flow into areas of relatively greater advantage. Greater emphasis therefore should be placed on forward-looking measures directed, for example, towards encouraging research and innovation, greater efficiency and productivity, and the development of high quality resources. Such a strategy, in terms of aggregate costs and benefits to the community, would appear to be more desirable than an approach which relies essentially on reactive measures. We agree with the thrust of the OECD's conclusions. In Chapter 8, we argue that negative measures to bring about change such as tariff cuts should be matched by positive measures of equal force and effectiveness designed to bring about the desired attributes of industry. The forward looking measures favoured by the OECD should be used for this purpose. Structural adjustment assistance should be used to avoid the kind of reversal of a tariff reform program which has occurred in the present economic downturn. It should provide a real alternative to the use of higher trade barriers and ad hoc grants to firms to maintain employment; the latter trend to inhibit rather than facilitate adjustment. We also recognise that change must be managed at a rate which is generally accepted, to maintain social cohesiveness. The justification for income maintenance to individuals and closure compensation to firms is largely based on equitythose who bear the costs of a change that benefits the community as a whole should be compensated. We support limited adjustment assistance measures of this type to the extent that they meaningfully contribute to social cohesiveness. {: #subdebate-33-0-s0 .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG: -I thank the House. In its report, the Jackson Committee on Manufacturing Industry points to the fact that over the last decade, prior to our thinking about this development, many European countries have increased the emphasis on assistance to facilitate the process of structural change. The report gives many explanations of aspects of our thinking about structural adjustment- not just to industries, not just to handouts, not just to employees, but taking into account the whole geographic impact of some of the adjustments that must take place in an economy- and proposes that allied with the acceptance of a report from the Industries Assistance Commission by any government we have some other level of support to see that the people are not left stranded, to see that equipment is not wasted and to see that there is no great disruption in the social fabric, as I said earlier in my speech. I wish to quote what the Jackson Commute said when agreeing with the thrust of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on the question of structural adjustment. It states: >In Chapter 8, we argue that negative measures to bring about change such as tariff cuts should be matched by positive measures of equal force and effectiveness designed to bring about the desired attributes of industry. The forward looking measures favoured by the OECD should be used for this purpose. Structural adjustment assistance should be used to avoid the kind of reversal of a tariff reform program which has occurred in the present economic downturn. Of course they there refer to the 1974 downturn. They continue: >It should provide a real alternative to the use of higher trade barriers and ad hoc grants to firms to maintain employment; the latter tend to inhibit rather than facilitate adjustment. > >We also recognise that change must be managed at a rate which is generally accepted, to maintain social cohesiveness. > >The justification for income maintenance to individuals and closure compensation to firms is largely based on equitythose who bear the costs of a change that benefits the community as a whole should be compensated. We support limited adjustment assistance measures of this type to the extent that they meaningfully contribute to social cohesiveness. I think it is a very important aspect of the Jackson Committee report which looks at manufacturing industry and which has now come under a great deal of scrutiny from all government bodies, the Government itself and the rural community and its representatives, that there ought to be not only thinking in terms of whether a company is efficient or inefficient, whether it is profitable or unprofitable or whether it should continue to operate because it is perhaps in a country area, but also there ought to be a permanent government fixture or infrastructure that can deal with the effects of the operation of IAC reports. I want to refer to a paper on adjustment assistance for manufacturing industry which was put out by Charles and Farrell and presented to the fifth conference of economists at Brisbane in August 1975. They too recognise that so little work has been done in Australia on this question. In fact, in their opening sentence they state: >Adjustment assistance for manufacturing industry is a very new development in Australia. This probably reflects the fact that until recently Government policy in relation to import competition has been directed essentially at preserving existing industrial structures rather than in bringing about change. The fact is, of course, that we are going to have to live with a great deal of change. No one could or should predict that manufacturing industry will undergo the same sort of development in the next 20 years that may have taken place in the last 20 years. Obviously our responsibilities to the countries to our north, which is a subject about which I have spoken in this House previously, should be of prime importance to us. It would seem that the labour intensive industries of the developed world will perhaps find their way into these Asian countries which will then also be able to become economically independent. So we may see a great deal of change in Australia. But, as Charles and Farrell say, structural adjustment has not been pushed into the background because we thought in terms of preserving what was there and not in terms of the fact that change was going to take place. It never existed to be pushed into the background. People just did not think in terms of what that meant. I want to quote what Charles and Farrell have to say in their document. Also I would like to have incorporated all of the tables relating to the impact of the 25 per cent tariff cut, the structural adjustment and the income maintenance which has been paid over the last 2 or 3 years. They say. The need for, and therefore the costs of adjustment assistance will be minimised if a well-planned strategy of tariff and industrial reform is employed. All of these things are related. One cannot talk about the tariff, employment, structural assistance and manufacturing industry in isolation. All of these things are related. Whenever we talk in this Parliament about amendments to manufacturing industry legislation, whenever we are called upon to speak to forums or to take part in debates outside of this House, we should recognise the impact of the interrelationship between all of these things. Until we do so very little effort will be made to overcome the enormous problems and sometimes the human hardships that are thrust upon people by the effect not only of LAC reports but in some cases a downturn in the economy or a downturn in a particular industry. If we had this sort of infrastructure, it would be there to help people as also would be the National Employment and Training scheme if it had not been downgraded. One of the reasons I am so critical of the present Government is that it has downgraded the NEAT scheme. It was a plan to retrain people. This was something new in Australia. Instead of being dismantled, it should have been consolidated. We should recognise the fact that many people in Australiafar more in the future than ever in the past- will have to carry out a number of occupations throughout their lifetimes. Particularly unskilled and semi-skilled people will have to be trained, retrained and then retrained over again before their working days are over. It is further stated in the paper that the object of adjustment assistance is not merely to replace one form of long term assistance- for example, tariffs- by another form of long term assistancefor example, subsidies. Structural adjustment does not mean replacing one form of assistance with another. Structural adjustment is a very positive measure to see that all the people affected not just one area of the community- accept all the responsibility of change. I believe that the Government should act on a report on industry which was presented in the House on Tuesday. The Industries Assistance Commission has stated in this report that some 400 men may lose their jobs in small engineering works. Why should those 400 men in small engineering works with their respective skills have to accept all the responsibility of change because the Government says that it wants that change or because it says that it is uneconomic to keep those 400 people in those jobs in all those small engineering works around Australia? Why do we not say: 'We know the hardships you will have to put up with. Some of you may even have to shift. We will assist you to shift. Some of you may have to change your occupations. Some of you may have to retrain. We will help you with all those things because we consider your acceptance of our plan the best thing for Australia' No person in Australia will ever be convinced that it is the best thing for Australia for that person to lose his job if the Government does not have any plan to supplement what occurs after the job is gone. We have seen many plans in this regard. Unfortunately, we have not seen enough national plans, but we have seen several plans adopted. The longshoremen on the west coast of the United States of America have a contract with the shippers that has been in operation for years. If redundancy occurs on the wharves among the longshoremen, they are paid a certain amount of money. They are shifted to wherever they want to go. That move is paid for. Their houses are bought. They are re-established and as much as possible is done to find them new employment. If these measures were instituted hand in hand with what the Government considers to be the best economic process for Australia there is likely to be a greater measure of acceptance of those economic processes. The paper points out what happened when the 25 per cent tariff cut was instituted. The Goverment announced that if the employer signed a document that an employee had lost his job as a result of the tariff cut- by direct government action- the employee could continue to receive his wages for 6 months. It was very difficult for people at that time to organise themselves into a protest against that Government measure because at least the Government provided that merest of formalities, that is, pay for the affected employees for 6 months. The Government may have said: 'If you have to shift, shift yourself. If you have to find another job, you do it for yourself. If your kids have to change their schools that is your business. All we are saying to you is, here is your pay for 6 months'. But at least it was something new in Australia and it was accepted. Members of the Parliament who were here at that time, particularly those representing substantially industrial electorates, would know that there were only very meek protests and that people accepted it as some form of government assistance which recognised that people would be affected by what happened. One of the difficulties we have is in the rural areas. I know that we have not debated rural matters very often. But views have been put forward through members of the House and by way of circulars from rural interests to the effect that the rural sector is carrying aU the responsibility for the tariff cut, that this is unfair and that something ought to be done about it. **Mr Deputy Speaker,** I seek leave to incorporate in *Hansard* tables from the Statistician that are included in this paper. They are tables printed on pages 16, 17 and 18 of the document which point out the difficulties involved. {: #subdebate-33-0-s1 .speaker-DRW} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Dr Jenkins: -Do you seek leave at this stage to incorporate the tables in *Hansard?* {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG: -- Yes. {: #subdebate-33-0-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. Source: Department of Manufacturing Industry. {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG: -- The honourable member for Wakefield quite legitimately puts his view, whether it is accepted or otherwise, that the impost upon the rural producer or the exporter is far too great to carry the tariff protection as it is at the moment. On the other hand, members of the National Country Party ask repeatedly what the Government is doing to protect industries such as the textile industries which, through past protection, have been set up in rural areas. Whilst they represent exporters, they also represent people in the textile industry and other manufacturing industries. There is this enormous contradiction. For instance, up until June 1975 no fewer than 134 industries sought from the Australian Government assistance to continue operation or to allow them to close down in some sort of easy and peaceful way. The number of people involved in country areas, particularly in Victoria, was in the thousands. Of those industries which sought assistance, 69 were in the country districts of Victoria. The majority of the people involved were women who were working in country industries and who were being affected by the tariff cuts. Their problems cannot be solved by either side having a clear victory. As I have said previously, perhaps the population growth in Australia will help us solve some of the problem. We may not be able to afford, because of our population, to have these labour intensive industries. If this Government continues to pour money into education and to give education the priority that we did in the 3 years we were in office- I hope it does that- many children will receive training they previously did not think they would receive and they will not want to work in labour intensive industries. We all must solve these problems. We must look at all the hardships that can be thrust upon people as a result of tariffs before we reach any conclusions about the way to overcome these problems. One thing is certain: Very few of the commodities that we make in Australia could not be bought more cheaply overseas. If it were a clear-cut case of not having any protection, perhaps we should close down aU Australian industry. We are not reaching that stage. I hope that the endeavours of the LAC are not interfered with, despite the Minister's recent Press statement about looking at the social consequences. The LAC has to do that, anyhow. It always talks in terms of what it considers is best for the community. The Government must make the tough decision. Let us see that that is never changed. Let us see that the Government keeps its nose out of the business of the LAC. It is one of the bodies that bring thorough reports into this Parliament and allow industry or anybody interested to see what they are doing. The problem is not an easy one to overcome. We were faced with many problems. One was the problem of demand in 1973. We were applauded by the exporters in 1973 when we dropped tariffs by 25 per cent. We were condemned by many of our own people. There ought to be a great deal more debate in Parliament on these questions. Perhaps it is an area in which we ought to have a specialist committee, instead of an expenditure committee which will prove to be a fraud. Perhaps all those in the Parliament who are interested in the subject can solve some of the problems. {: #subdebate-33-0-s3 .speaker-LLN} ##### Dr EDWARDS:
Berowra -As the honourable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr Young)** said, this debate is concerned with a Bill that writes into the consolidated schedule of tariff rates the changes in tariffs in recent years, thus giving us an opportunity to stand back and take a general overview of the tariff as a major policy area. What we have just heard from the honourable member pursuant to that is a long exposition of what should be done in this area. What a difference there is between the sensible and high sounding proposals that he was just putting forward and the actual performance of his Party when in office. There can be absolutely no doubt that the ill-advised, unpredictable tariff changes of the Labor Government were a major contributing factor to the economic malaise, the deep recession and the high unemployment which this Government has inherited from the preceding Administration. The famous, or rather infamous, 25 per cent across the board tariff slash to which he referred was perhaps the ultimate contributing factor. I believe that it contributed to the uncertainty and lack of confidence in manufacturing industry more than did any other single action. Its direct effects contributed to the flood of imports that later in 1974 engulfed wide sections of Australian manufacturing and led subsequently to a very severe decline in manufacturing employment in Australia. In fact, between mid- 1974 and the latter part of last year Australian manufacturing shed of the order of 135 000 employees to fall to the lowest level of employment in that sector since 1968. The honourable member for Port Adelaide said that we accept what the Labor Government did if we enact this measure. That is an incorrect view because the former Government, having taken certain measures, then set about nearly as rapidly to reverse them all. {: .speaker-ZD4} ##### Mr Howard: -- Where have they all gone? There is not one Labor member in the House. {: .speaker-LLN} ##### Dr EDWARDS: -- They have now been saved in the last second by the honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr Innes),** who has just entered the chamber. This is a subject of vital interest to the whole Parliament and there is only one member of the Labor Opposition in the House. Members of the Opposition obviously do not want to be here to hear of the damage that was inflicted by their policies on Australian manufacturing industry. The honourable member for Port Adelaide has now returned to the chamber. I am glad he has. I want him to hear that it is not correct to say, as he said earlier, that to enact this measure would be forever to close the debate on what impact the tariff policies of the former Government had on Australian manufacturing industry, because the measures we are debating include a significant reversal of the measures which initially brought manufacturing industry so low. The 25 per cent across the board tariff cut meant for instance, a reduction from 45 per cent to 3316 per cent in the tariff on imported motor vehicles. That tariff was returned some time ago to 45 per cent. The schedule deals with many other measures that were taken in the latter stages of the preceding Administration which will require continuing review. For instance, we have had to arrive at a definitive position in relation to the motor industry, which was still left up in the air. Other industries which were supported temporarily by band aid, stop-gap measures introduced in a panic last year will have to be looked at on a long term basis. It is no use trying to talk to the Opposition on this matter, but there is not a single member of the Labor Party Opposition in the chamber. **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Dr Jenkins)Order!** The Chair can ignore only so many references to the state of the House. {: .speaker-LLN} ##### Dr EDWARDS: -We have to restore confidence, purpose and forward thrust, particularly in the manufacturing sector of the economy as an important component in our program for economic recovery and for restoring health to the Australian economy. Nevertheless I am glad to note a reasonable concern on the part of the honourable member for Port Adelaide, speaking for the Opposition, for a proper development of manufacturing industry in Australia. On behalf of the Government let me aver that it is a basic and continuing objective to sustain and develop an efficient, thriving and diversified manufacturing industry, to realise the overall national objectives of full employment and achieving the maximum capacity to meet individual and national goals- in. short, the optimum use of all our resources, as the honourable member for Port Adelaide said. An efficient, thriving manufacturing sector is essential to the realisation of these objectives. In some quarters there is a tendency to downgrade manufacturing as an important source of employment in Australia. It is said that manufacturing directly provides 'only' about 25 per cent to 27 per cent of employment. Of course, indirectly it results in a further large quantum of employment, perhaps as much again as that base 25 per cent. The point I would like to stress here is that 25 per cent or 27 per cent is the figure for Australia as a whole. It needs to be recognised that manufacturing is a much more important part of the economies of the larger States which after all, by their size and financial capacity, support the Federation in a very real sense. Manufacturing accounts for nearly 40 per cent of employment in New South Wales and upwards of 35 per cent in Victoria. It is interesting that in West Germany, to refer to perhaps the most dynamic comparable economy in the world, the proportion of employment in manufacturing is 40.5 per cent. So let there be no misunderstanding as to this Government's commitment to fostering a flourishing, efficient, diversified manufacturing sector in Australia. The view that manufacturing is a declining activity has reference perhaps to the United Kingdom. That is hardly the most appropriate example to set as a standard of comparison! The shrinking, shrunken, productive sector, industrial base, in the United Kingdom is well known and so are its consequences- a static or barely rising standard of living, chronic high inflation, a chronic balance of payments deficit. That shrinking industrial base in the United Kingdom is a very real thing and a warning to others. It is not, as is often alleged or implied, that productivity in Britain does not rise. On the contrary, the rate of increase in productivity in Britain stands reasonably high in the international league table. But in all the circumstances of policy in that unhappy country increasing productivity is utilised to shed labour rather than to produce more goods. The shed labour goes into less productive tertiary industries and especially into the ever growing machinery of government plus, of course, into unemployment. That is not the path we would want Australia to take. As the honourable member for Port Adelaide said, we are not arguing here that there should be protection of anything that moves or exists, or on the other hand that there should be no tariffs- even my colleague here, the honourable member for Wakefield **(Mr Kelly)** does not say anything like that. Our concern is the level of tariffs and other policies for the development of industry- what industries should be protected, how much protection should be given and in what form. We must always recognise that we start with what we have now and can change that only very gradually. The issue of the level of protection immediately involves the costs of tariff protection because it is right that tariffs do have costs. The real issue then is the magnitude of those costs and who bears them. I think it is worth remarking in passing- the honourable member for Port Adelaide touched on this matterthat in that respect there is really a great deal of muddled and misleading thinking. For example, the latest issue of *Muster,* the journal of the Graziers Association of New South Wales, refers among other figures to an enormous figure of some billions of dollars a year as the so-called 'gross subsidy equivalent' of our tariffs- that is, the equivalent of all our tariffs if the same degree of assistance were provided as a subsidy straight from the Treasury, handed over in hard cash. That sort of figure sounds horrific. Comparisons are made with the direct subsidies to rural industries of $100m or more a year. But the idea of an aggregate subsidy equivalent such as that referred to in that journal is a totally invalid one. It misses the point that whilst one can equate a particular tariff to the equivalent subsidy, they cannot be added up to obtain a meaningful figure. I shall not elaborate fully on that at this point because time does not permit, but I think perhaps the best way to see it is this: If we were suddenly to take away all tariffs, which would be quite different from taking away just one tariff, the only conceivable theoretical alternative- I stress theoretical- would be a very large devaluation of the Australian dollar. I stress that is a theoretical alternative; we are not talking in practical terms, at the moment, of doing anything like that. The effect of that large devaluation would be like the effect of tariffs - the price of imports would be higher and thus a large sector of manufacturing industry would be protected as it is now, but by the 'natural' means of the lower exchange rate. The substance of things would be much the same but the emotive reference to a massive subsidy would be gone. If tariffs do have costs, albeit vastly exaggerated by that sort of horrific but invalid figure, the positive side of the matter which far outweighs the cost is that the tariff system has been and remains the principal instrument of industrialisation in Australia and of supporting an enlarged population. Unequivocally, therefore, this Government is committed to the adequate protection of appropriate industries to foster an efficient, growing and diversified manufacturing sector complementary to our great rural and mining industries. I have no doubt that the majority of the electorate supports that objective. But to achieve it requires a pretty positive approach. For instance, does anyone believe that the multinational car manufacturers, American or Japanese, would manufacture here unless we took the necessary steps in the form, not only of tariffs, but also of local content requirements to force them to manufacture here? When we take those and like steps continuity and predictability are the essence of the matter. I might add that even under the new motor vehicle proposals recently debated in this Parliament there are some problems, especially for the manufacturers of components. The Government will be monitoring the situation closely. Meanwhile, the Government's positive long term approach will be spelled out in detail in the proposed White Paper on manufacturing industries. The White Paper will provide a forward view- a policy commitment against which long term business investment decisions can be made. We have to be thinking of the pattern and the volume of industry and its employment capacity, not to mention national security and other considerations, 5 or 10 years hence. I urge those with vital interests in this issue- individual firms and industry associations- who have not already done so to submit their views to the Government as a matter of urgency. In saying that we are committed to the adequate protection of industry in this way, I stress at the same time that we do not rest content with the level of tariffs. In particular, the Government is committed to the continuing systematic review of the tariff structure which indeed was instituted by the previous Liberal-National Country Party government. We are committed to that on the basis that the higher the level of assistance the more frequent should be the review and, of course, as emphasised by the honourable member for Port Adelaide, with appropriate structural adjustment. We are not, however, committed to the proposition that assistance would not be justified simply because the required tariff duty would exceed some arithmetical percentage. The whole context of these matters has to be looked at, not just the degree of protection. For instance, as the honourable member for Port Adelaide stressed, the degree of 'essentiality' of the industry has to be assessed. We cannot get away from the necessity to make that sort of judgment. It was made, for example, in respect of the motor industry. There are other factors to be considered, such as the prospect of growth and improved productivity through economies of scale and the industry's export potential. All these and other factors have to be considered. Nevertheless, we do aver that higher duties require greater justification due to the larger costs carried by the community and require more frequent review. That is where the main thrust of tariff change and bringing tariffs down needs to be directed. Then what is important is that change should be gradual and that there should be consultation between the Government and industry- the employers and employeesconcerned. What I am saying here and what the honourable member for Port Adelaide stressed is that of course it is the Government that makes tariffs: But that obvious axiomatic statement can be obscured by divergent or apparently divergent views as to the role of the Government's indispensable advisory body in these mattersthe Industries Assistance Commission, formerly the Tariff Board. A lot is said about the independence of this body. Various things are mentioned, but in particular it is said that the Commission should be independent in that it should make its findings without regard to the thrust of government policy. When that is said, I believe, the argument is more semantic than real. What is critical is that the Government, in its tariffmaking, should have available to it the fullest, most complete advice to enable it to arrive at wise decisions. That is what the whole thing is about- arriving at wise as against unwise decisions about protection. I take this opportunity to underline the recent statement of the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs **(Mr Howard)** who is at the table, that it is this Government's firm view that it requires that the LAC should take account of all pertinent facts including: the method and level of tariff and other assistance necessary adequately to protect the industry against import competition; whether the industry could be more efficient, the basis for judging efficiency, the possible improvement in efficiency and the level of tariff or assistance then required; whether the industry desirably should be re-structured and if so how this should be done and the consequences thereof; whether the industry is less efficient than it could be due to fragmentation, insufficient specialisation or some other restriction; and the probable consequences, social and otherwise of changing existing levels of tariffs or assistance. The purpose is that the Government may be able to assess and decide whether to adopt a particular recommendation of the IAC or, alternatively, what level of tariff or other assistance should be provided to the industry. That, I repeat, is vital. I submit that in no way is it an impairment of the independence of the LAC. In conclusion I take this opportunity to aver that the tariff has been and remains the principal instrument of industrialisation in Australia. There are costs, but what we have to achieve is a proper balance; and an efficient, growing and diversified manufacturing sector fostered by wise tariff policies and other measures, and complementary to our great rural and mining industries has a major- nay, an indispensable- place in that scheme of things. {: #subdebate-33-0-s4 .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES:
Melbourne -In this debate I should like to deal with some of the broader issues of tariffs. For that purpose I propose to illustrate my remarks by referring to the electrical and electronics industry, an industry about which I at least know a little, having spent some considerable time in it. The industry is affected by the fourth, fifth, seventeenth and thirty-first schedules of the Bill. All of these schedules arise out of reports of the Industries Assistance Commission. The treatment of the industry, as shown in the BUI, is a perfect example of what is wrong with the present system and why the present tariff procedures have led us to the loss of technology and its associated skills and contributed to the present unemployment position. When I say that the procedures are at fault I do not wish to suggest that the people in the system are not doing their job as it is presently designed, but rather that the system itself requires some radical change. It creates uncertainty, discourages investment, prevents the training in skills and causes unemployment without the opening up of corresponding employment opportunities in other areas. Let me take an example from what is known as the white goods industry which comprises refrigerators, washing machines and so on. The inquiry into the electrical industry was initiated in 1971 by the previous Liberal-Country Party Government. It dragged on for years. In late 1974 the Temporary Assistance Authority held an inquiry and recommended quotas. This was followed by an IAC interim report which was tabled and put into effect by the present Government. Before the final report of the IAC had been received, in fact even before the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs **(Mr Howard)** tabled the interim report- incidentally I think the Minister tried to slip the proposal which is now schedule 3 1 through the Parliament by suggesting it was nothing new; however that did not go unnoticed- the Department of Industry and Commerce was circulating industry on the holding of a new inquiry by the Temporary Assistance Authority. Whatever the reason, whatever the fault, there is no way that the industry can plan and progress under this type of inquiry system. Let me turn to the electronics industry at large. In the broad review of industry to which the IAC is dedicated, the electrical and electronic industry is one group. For reasons which baffle me the IAC inquiries are never related to an industry as a whole or to the way in which a factory operates, but are divided by the reference to the artificial distinctions imposed by the sub-items of the tariff. No industry works in those divisions of the tariff. No inquiry matches the real facts of industrial life. Be that as it may, the Tariff Board report was issued on 27 September 1 973 dealing with consumer electronics and the then Whitlam Government was pledged to find the right balance between ensuring that the consumer obtained the best and cheapest goods available and the need to preserve our technological base and employment. The report set out what could be done. It was wrong on 5 fundamental points. These 5 fundamental points were disastrous as far as that industry was concerned. The predictions were, first, that 4500 employees would be affected, but that unemployment would be minimal as their services would be used by other parts of the industry; secondly, that while black and white television would decline, the Australian industry would continue to hold and service the market; thirdly, that in the field of audio equipment, the Australian industry would continue to hold the top end of the market; fourthly, that in the field of colour television, Australian industry would increase, and would be able to compete against imports, especially of large sets, because of licensing agreements which would prevent Japanese importations for 2 years, and thereafter, Japanese importations only of smaller sized sets; and fifthly, that the manufacture of certain components would cease, but that manufacture of others would be maintained by demands from the professional and industrial sections of the industry. Those 5 predictions were totally wrong. Those are the propositions on which the Whitlam Government decided to act on the report. These are the cause of the problems of this industry today. It was not long after that report was adopted that we became aware of the concern within the industry, not the least from the trade unions which were being vitally affected by the decisions. Caucus sub-committees heard from representatives of industry and unions, Ministers received delegations and officials were pressed to take action. In the upshot a reference was made to the Temporary Assistance Authority. But it was a false start. The reference related only to colour television sets when the real concern was with the manufacture of components and their incorporation into finished goods. When the reference was finally changed to incorporate some components, each one grudgingly added to the list, we were faced with the provisions of the Industries Assistance Commission Act. By that Act the Temporary Assistance Authority is bound to take notice of whether an industry has been damaged by imports, not whether it is about to be damaged by imports. At that time imports were just beginning. The flow was a trickle. It is now a flood. But the Temporary Assistance Authority could not consider the future, only the past and the present. Even worse was to follow. When the TAA reported, as it was bound to do by the Act, that imports had not occurred but sounded a warning note that that situation should be kept under review, we found the next hurdle. When the Industries Assistance Commission Bill was before the Senate, **Senator Cotton** successfully moved an amendment which made it mandatory for the Government to accept and implement reports of the TAA whatever its views on the reports might be. Thus the amendment moved by the hostile Senate effectively removed from the Government the right to determine the protective levels of industry. It removed from this House a duty imposed upon it by section 53 of the Constitution. A government was forced to accept the recommendations of the TAA for no action on major issues because of its limited scope of inquiry. What is the position today? Employment which would be virtually unaffected according to the report has fallen drastically. Not the least of the problems is that the unemployment has fallen most heavily on the skilled work force. It has dried up the flow of apprentices. I take the example of Philips, a large company which can effectively relocate its staff. Perhaps to its credit it attempts to do so. At its peak it employed about 1 1 000 workers. Today it employs 8 000. In the very near future the employment at Hendon will drop below 1000 for the first time in 20 years. Plessy, the components manufacturer, is reduced to a mere shadow, and so it goes on. In return we have had a few companies which have sprung up to assemble colour television sets. But that is a screwdriver industry, merely assembling components imported from overseasa far cry from the high technological skills which the work force once had. Black and white television manufacture has all but ceased. Service and parts are difficult to obtain. The sets which are sold are all imported. No radios are manufactured in Australia except for a few car radios which are assembled. The warehouses of Australia are crammed with imported colour television sets, with many more on order, not only from Japan but also from European sources. Australian industry is in dire straits. The local manufacturers are inevitably turning to importing sets themselves rather than manufacturing locally. The critical components which were identified by consultants which the Government had to bring in after the Commission 's report are being somewhat shakily maintained by means of a subsidy which is destined to be terminated as soon as the LAC reports upon another sector of the industry, a report which was in draft stage last October, but which has yet to see the light of day in its final form. The previous Government attempted to take reasonable steps to see what was to be done with the B and D sections of the industry. But what will be the end result of that if we continue in the way that we have proceeded? My *guess* is that it is likely in the future that once again the matter of colour television sets will be referred to the Temporary Assistance Authority. That body will find that imports have damaged Australian industry and some temporary duties or even some quotas will be imposed. They will be far too late. This will enable the officials of the Department of Industry and Commerce, who bear a large portion of the blame, to shrug their shoulders and to say that the matter is being investigated. It would take the pressure off **Senator Cotton,** a Minister who when questioned about the imminent shut-down of the ferrite works at Hendon in South Australia, could blithely say that he was aware of it. If honourable members opposite want to see the concern he exhibits let them look at Senate *Hansard* of 30 March page 834. They might then be convinced about the attitude that was taken. The last conference on this matter which I attended was chaired by **Senator James** McClelland, then the Minister for Secondary Industry. It was attended by representatives of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and of the industry. It was then the policy of the Whitlam Government that large colour television sets should continue to be manufactured in Australia, that sets in Australia should be assembled from the bare printed circuit boards upwards rather than merely by the screwdriver assembly of imported sub-assemblies and modules, and that selected components designated by consultants as of high technological importance to Australia should continue to be manufactured in Australia. It is one thing to resolve to manufacture components but it is quite a different issue to find suitable markets for them. It is pointless to manufacture cigarettes if nobody smokes. It is pointless to manufacture components if there is no end use for them. In my view, the system of decisions on what industries should be protected and what level of protection they receive needs drastic changes in 4 areas. The first of these is the Government itself. As my colleague the honourable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr Young)** has pointed out, we need a key industry strategy. It is not for governments to shelter behind the LAC; they must bite the bullet. If they decide that an industry is required in Australia they must be prepared to pay the price. I do not suggest that they tell the IAC what to report, but there must be some guide as to whether a particular industry is required. So it is with shipbuilding, with the aerospace industry, with the car industry and it must be so with the electronics industry. The Government should hearken to a note of warning about the light manufacturing industry. I raised this matter with the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs, before I rose. {: .speaker-ZD4} ##### Mr Howard: -- The engineering industry. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES: -- The engineering industry. If we are not very cautious the end result, should we continue along the present lines, will be catastrophic. The industry ought to be looked at before it reaches that stage. The second area of reform is the IAC itself. It can and does act impartially. It is capable of producing impartial reports given that it knows whether an industry is required or not. But it must not be left to make that decision itself, as it purports to do now in its annual report, claiming that its decisions are for the good of the community as a whole. Governments make that decision, not the IAC. The IAC at present operates in a planning vacuum, and it takes a negative attitude. It is cutting down the tall poppies and not encouraging the short ones. It does nothing to open up new employment opportunities. It only cuts them down. It must reform its inquiry system so that in some way it is related to the real facts of industrial life and not to the divisions of the Brussels tariff. It must cease washing its hands by saying that natural wastage will avoid retrenchments and, therefore, unemployment. We heard reference by the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser)** today to employment in the Public Service. The same sort of philosophy is inherent in that concept. Thirdly, there is the Temporary Assistance Authority. If its hands are tied it cannot consider the future- the future where industry and employment plans are made. If the Government is bound to accept its reports, regardless of what it thinks, the legislation must be changed. Finally, there must be some drastic changes in the attitude of officials. When Labor came to power they explained away their past protection at any cost attitude by blaming it on Ministers. I am sure they are now telling their new masters that what they did under the Labor Government was under direction and against their wishes. But what did happen? They prevented the IAC from inquiring- not deciding, but merely inquiringas to whether colour television tubes should be manufactured in Australia. They said the industry did not desire to do this, and ever since the industry has consistently denied it. They have assisted in drafting the terms of reference to the IAC, a method which, as I have said repeatedly, causes inquiries to be unrelated to industry, leaving, in the electronics field ten or twelve different inquiries proceeding at different times, all dealing with the product of one factory- a factory finely tuned to make maximum use of its resources. They conduct star chamber inquiries as to whether a reference will be made to the IAC. Indeed the case that must be argued to the department to get a reference is sometimes even greater than the case which must be made to the IAC, but here there is no open hearing. They look upon conferences with unions and industry as merely a means of informing themselves of what goes on, so that they make decisions, rather than a forum where views put forward should be respected and acted upon. I ask honourable members to look at the by-law system. I pose the question: What is happening about by-laws for the electronics industry? Do those officials know what the LAC might report upon in the future, or are they merely making decisions from day to day? Where is the open statement of the future? At least in the car industry, with its local content plan, we know something about what will be under by-law. Perhaps the officials are working to something like a local content plan for the electronics industry, but we have yet to hear about it, and so far as I can gather, the industry itself has yet to hear about it. I am talking about the system. It is the same system as the one which Labor inherited and which unfortunately, in my view, it failed to change. We must therefore take some of the blame in respect of the matter. But today we must look at it again. I am looking to the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs to tell us just what it is that he proposes to do about this industry and other industries that are going to find themselves in a similar situation. There must be a balance between the rights of the consumer to obtain the best and cheapest goods and the maintenance of the technological base in Australia and the employment of Australians. The problem might be solved by the taking of a firm decision that we will not have an electronics industry- a decision which would put this nation back among the underdeveloped nations of the world in terms of the scope of the work force. It would be better solved by the taking of a firm decision that we should have an electronics industry with all that that means for the future. I am not talking about empty platitudes, nor am I suggesting that it is enough for the Minister to say: 'Of course we want an electronics industry, but . . .'.I am talking about a firm government commitment to have an electronics industry, to preserve our technological base, to preserve the skilled workers in employment in this country and to open again the opportunities for apprenticeship in the electronics field. I am talking about a firm government statement that we will have the industry whatever the cost and about the giving of an indication to the LAC that the industry is vital to the nation, which at least might have some bearing on the content of reports that are yet to come. It is not enough to refer the question of coloured television sets to the Temporary Assistance Authority once again. It is not enough to continue to hope that one day the saga of the white goods report will come to an end. It has gone on, like *Blue Hills,* since 1971. What we need is the immediate calling together of all the affected parties- the unions and employers alike- and the holding of a calm and rational discussion that results in the reaching of a firm decision on where the industry is going. I lay that down as what ought to be done or what ought to be taken as being the fundamental blueprint of our responsibilities generally for the future. I am sure that the honourable member for Wakefield **(Mr Kelly)** will tell me that the industry does not want the Government always telling it what to do. I suggest to him that the industry needs to know what the Government intends to do. It can then take its own steps in whatever direction it is going to be headed. Until that happens, there can be no confidence in the industry, there can be no advance in the employment opportunities and there can be no reversal of the present trend towards the dismantling of one of the industries which is basic to the welfare of this country. Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 8 p.m. {: #subdebate-33-0-s5 .speaker-K9O} ##### Mr Peter Johnson:
BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND · LP -- I wish to congratulate the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs **(Mr Howard)** on this most important piece of legislation which we are debating this evening. It is the Customs Tariff Amendment Bill. I believe that in Australia today we have to look at tariffs in a different light from what we have previously. Tariffs, as a mechanism for providing meaningful assistance to industry, are useless in today's world because of 2 main factors. Firstly, there is the volatility of national exchange rates *vis-a-vis* the Australian dollar and the United States dollar. In 1973 $A1 was the equivalent of U.S.S1.25. In 1974 it had risen to $1.45 and today it is back to $1.22. Secondly, there is the rapid and high rate of wage and raw material costs which has plagued Australia for the last 2 or 3 years and which this Government is now trying to control. These 2 factors in recent years have successfully rendered protection to all manufacturing industry through tariffs, virtually meaningless. Tariffs, as a means of providing assistance for industry, certainly had relevance in the period when wage and raw material costs in Australia were stable and when Australia was trading in an international environment with stable exchange rates. Under these conditions local industries cost disabilities as against overseas producers could be assessed with some precision and could confidently be expected to be maintained at assessed levels for fairly extended periods. In these circumstances the tariff could be used to provide meaningful assistance to local industries. It was used, too. It was the principal means of assisting the development of local industry in Australia. The use of protective policies commenced in the immediate prewar period and was maintained in the immediate postwar period until 1967-68 when the Tariff Board released the first of a series of annual reports which questioned the approach which had been used over this period. It called for the re-orientation of Australia's economic planning, the better utilisation of resources and the restructuring of industries. In the volatile international trading environment which I have just described there is a trend towards the use of a quota system for the protection of local industries. This is now gathering momentum in other countries, particularly for labour intensive industries and in the United States where quota contracts are negotiated with the governments of other countries over periods of 3 to 4 years. This use of important quotas has been giving some measure of stability to international trade, whereas if the tariff had been used extensively in such countries- as it is used in Australia- there would have been a serious market disruption in those countries as there has been in Australia. In other words, the time as arrived when we have to get more into alignment with the realities of the world trading situation. It is of no credit to us in Australia that we are now the last country still relying almost exclusively on the use of tariffs to assist local industry against imports. We should consider another factor and that is the unseen protection which governments of other countries have been giving their industries for many years. We in Australia have never attempted to make use of this protection, that is, non-tariff barriers to trade. If any honourable gentlemen are interested they can obtain from the Department of Overseas Trade here in Canberra a list of some 800 different methods being used in foreign countries as nontariff barriers to imports in order to protect their local industries. These include, for example, restrictive quarantine regulations, restrictive and stringent standards laws which the domestic industry is geared for but which foreign industry finds it difficult to meet. Labelling laws are another way of shutting out foreign goods. Taxation assistance and other subsidies to local industry by foreign governments are also a hidden protection, along with stringent customs regulations, transport subsidies and so on. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Many of the means of protection are so deeply rooted in the financial history of these countries that they go back 100 years or more and have become so much a part of the government of those countries and of their trade policies that they are difficult for investigators from trading partner nations to isolate and identify. To sum up, it is a fairly highly sophisticated trading world which we face and the methods we have been using and the policies we have been using in our trading relations have been simplistic and rudimentary in the extreme. We have been babes in the woods in international trade and we have been able to survive only because the situation immediately post-war made tariff control workable under the conditions which then prevailed and particularly under the canny leadership of **Sir John** McEwen whose policy was to foster the growth of Australian manufacturing industries. During the last few years we have been going through a period of dangerous stagnation and, in some industries, lamentable decline because we have been losing sight of the need to protect our industries and we have buckled under international pressures for a reduction of tariffs without the saving foresight of introducing quotas and other means of protection which have enabled our accusers internationally to be big hearted and to reduce their tariff levels. For example, the United States can make a grand gesture of reducing tariffs by 2 per cent across the board but it does not mean one damn thing because the United States has an iron clad series of guarantees for the security of its industries in the form of quota agreements which are controlled rigidly at the point of export in foreign countries or, if the governments of those countries are inefficient, at the point of arrival in the United States. Allied to this need to rethink our industry protection policies is the dangerous development here in Canberra, particularly in the bureaucracy, of the philosophy that our industries must be geared to the recent slow-down in population growth and intake of migrants because that is going to be the permanent situation. A number of people in Canberra are thinking that there is no future for labour intensive industries in Australia because the Borrie report has forecast zero population growth for this country, with a steadily ageing population. I am assured by the architect of that report that that was never in his mind and that it has been taken completely out of context. Of course, this argument is so absurd that it cannot be taken seriously. If we were to accept the Borrie report predictions as our destiny and not take corrective measures, how long would we last in the international demand for raw materials and living space? It would be an acceptance of national suicide. It would be a readiness to lie down and die. Therefore, despite the Borrie report, we must take it for granted that corrective measures will be taken, whether they be an incentive from government for a higher birth rate or a massive new injection of migrant intake, and of course industry must never be phased down. I have mentioned that instance because it is only another indicator of the steps that the shortsighted people will take to try to persuade this Government that the world is a global village and that Australia should surrender its industries in a magnanimous way to make work for foreigners and to raise standards of living elsewhere. Tomorrow those people who are economic missionaries but are without any practical commonsense will be quoting to us not the Borrie report but some other convenient stalking horse for their crackpot philosophies. Even the Borrie report is suspect. Let me quote to the House this extract from the Borrie report to illustrate that the authors do not even claim that their work is the definitive destination for Australia: >While the relatively short range of the Inquiry of some thirty years may disappoint some, anyone who has had experience with projections in the social sciences must know how hazardous a forward glance is, even to ten, let alone thirty years. Moreover, as the Report will show, the current demographic scene is so pregnant with evidence of change, both within and beyond Australia, that forecasting at this moment has become almost as hazardous as it was found to be during the years of the great depression of the 'thirties when the dominant fear was population decline. > >The breadth of the inquiry is therefore obvious from the terms of reference and it would be foolish to claim that the report now presented is, or could be, definitive on a number of matters that have policy implications. In concluding this section of my speech, let me summarise. Tariff protection is of no real value to this country under present international trading conditions. We are the last country in the world using it, and we are using it in a way which will do a great deal of damage to our secondary industries and to Australia internationally. We have to be smart enough to study the protective measures of other countries more closely than we have and, if necessary, to borrow from the best of their ideas. Our industries must be protected at all costs or we shall become a declining nation with massive unemployment and little technology and, during the adverse trade cycles, not even be able to afford to import the goods we require because we do not produce enough to enable us to earn money to buy. Finally, I wish to urge upon this Government as strongly as I am able the need to study closely the worldwide trend toward quota protection for industries in the time of international fiscal instability. I was very surprised to hear a member of the Opposition earlier in the debate refer to the 25 per cent tariff cut as something that was quite good. I would like to go on record as saying that that one single action was the start of the downfall of the previous Administration, because in one fell swoop it destroyed the confidence of a great number of business people throughout Australia. I know of one area in particular that was affected. I have been intimately involved in it for a number of years. I refer to the garment and textile industry. In the period 1972-73, 166 848 people were employed in that very vital industry in Australia. Following that decision to cut tariffs by 25 per cent, some 38 000 registered unionists of the 2 major unions in that field lost their jobs A further 12 000 people, who were not members of those unions and who were in the fringe areas, also lost their jobs. They were the people directly involved in the garment and textile industry. Each time I hear a member of the Opposition speak about tariffs and other related matters I am reminded of the old adage: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. An international survey was undertaken recently to look at tariffs and their implication on the Australian garment industry. Its purpose also is to put into clearer perspective the recession in the industry. A study tour of North America and Europe has gained further information from a variety of other sources. The study has visited Asia on a similar mission. I wish to urge the Australian Government to move as rapidly as possible to introduce a combination of voluntary restraint agreements and quota restrictions to control imports of clothing into this country, and also to move towards and to show the need for maintaining import controls. Without import controls the Australian industry would cease to exist and a further 125 000 people would be out of work. These remarks are related to an area which I believe should also be mentioned. The latest statistics which have come to my attention show that 13 per cent of people engaged in the industrythat is, 1 1 033 people- are actively involved and are employed directly in the country areas of Australia. In the last few years those people have been holding together the economies of a number of small towns throughout Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. With the low prices which we have in the primary producing area at the present time, if those people were to be no longer engaged in the industry we would have a serious problem on our hands. The disruption of the market for apparel and textiles in Australia in the 1974 and 1975 period closely paralleled similar occurrences in most other Western countries. A world wide assault has been made upon the markets of industrially advanced countries by textile producers from cheap labour nations. The garment industry in some Western countries, notably Sweden, Denmark and West Germany, have been hurt as severely or even worse than that of Australia. Japan, which previously had a reputation of being a cheap labour country, now is being forced to seek protection against imports of textiles from nations with much lower standards of living, much lower wages, and cheaper working conditions. The following salient points arising out of the international study to which I have referred are worthy of consideration by government, industry and even unions and the Opposition. Much of the cheap labour in low wage countries virtually is sweat shop labour being exploited by foreign capital. This point is demonstrated by the example of Thailand. The International Ladies Garment Workers Union, based in the United States of America, is aggressively opposing the internationalisation of garment industry sweat shops. No Western nation can compete on a fashion basis or by any other means against competition from apparel imports from cheap labour countries. Such competition must be controlled by a quota system on imports and voluntary restraints. The use of tariffs is ineffective. Constant government vigilance to safeguard a fair share of the home market for the local industry is essential. The United States has been the most successful nation so far in protecting its textile industry. New Zealand is another country which has not permitted serious damage to occur to its textile industry. Textile imports from countries with communist governments must be classified as unfair competition for industries in free enterprise nations. Such governments heavily subsidise export production from their factories and will export below the cost of production, sometimes to gain hard foreign currency. Hungary is cited as an example in that area. In Western nations the structure of the apparel industry is the same, being made up of numerous small countries supporting a large number of female employees. The industry is labour intensive throughout the world, and that includes the United States. There is evidence to indicate that the loss of or damage to the apparel industry in any Western nation forms a pool of unemployed who are difficult to place anywhere else in jobs within the national economy. In Sweden and West Germany women displaced from the clothing industry remain unemployed despite government assistance. The clothing industry is regarded by all nations as being an essential and basic industry within their national economies. In Sweden, where the Government allowed its clothing industry to be almost destroyed by import competition, the same Government has now embarked upon a program of buying back the industry to maintain a production capacity in clothing for defence and other national emergency requirements. Cheap imports do not necessarily provide cheap clothing at consumer levels anywhere in the world, contrary to popular opinion amongst members of the previous Government, nor do such imports provide satisfactory service to the consumer public, particularly after the local industry has been crippled. Damage to the garment industry in most nations has the domino effect of damaging other supplier industries. That applies especially in Australia, where the fabric and fibre industries do not export and rely heavily upon the local industry as a market. Workers in the Australian clothing industry are paid hourly rates which are amongst the highest in the world for their type of occupation. However, those rates will not price Australian workers out of their jobs if an adequate share of the home market is reserved for their products, as happens in the United States of America. If a free trade policy is followed for sections of the Australian economy such as the clothing industry, it not only seems likely but it will happen that the displaced workers from those sections will soon form a new class of poor in Australia. I should like to refer to the assertion made by a number of people of a net subsidy equivalent, which has been bandied around by some uninformed groups within the Australian community. I should like to bring to the attention of the House a few relevant and pertinent facts. Textiles, yarns and woven fabrics total a $68m subsidy level; clothing and knitted goods total $123m. The subsidy per employee, if it is used in that light, amounts to approximately $1,650, but I should like to put that into context. It does not mean that we are going to be able to buy a Holden motor car, the new price of which is $5,089, less the $4,000 subsidy per individual- according to one report- at a price of $1,089. That is just not so. Tariffs have been an important part of Australian labour intensive industries. We have built and effectively maintained a very high standard of living, and one of the means by which we have been able to maintain that high standard of living has been through the use of tariffs and protection measures for our labour intensive industries, such as garments and textiles, footwear, which is now coming back to this country after having been mainly offshore, the motor vehicle industry, the chemical industry, the tourist industry and quite a few others. Those are all industries whose continuation we need to ensure with the use of tariffs. We have now to go one step further and look at quotas. I support the Bill, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** {: #subdebate-33-0-s6 .speaker-ZE4} ##### Mr LIONEL BOWEN:
Smith · KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- This is an interesting piece of legislation which enables members of the Parliament to discuss a number of wide ranging subjects relating to tariffs, rural industry, manufacturing industry, service industries and, generally, what might be deemed to be the future of the Australian work force. There is no exact science to guarantee that we will get a first class result. I must confess that I find myself in agreement with what the last speaker, the honourable member for Brisbane **(Mr Peter Johnson),** said about many areas, having had experience in government and particularly in the manufacturing industry sector. However, if we look at the tools of trade given to a Parliament we find that we are faced with the Industries Assistance Commission Act which the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs **(Mr Howard)** now has under his wing. I want to remind him of some of the background of that legislation. There was the Crawford report which indicated how an effective Commission could work out the right approach to assist industry. I emphasise 'assistance'. It does seem though that in the application of the Industries Assistance Commission Act we have done everything but assist certain industries. We have worked out what in simple fashion is a reasonable level at which to ' assist ' industry. I think more weight could have been given to the philosophy of the Labor Party as expressed in section 22 of that Act. It says: >In the performance of its functions, the Commission shall have regard to the desire of the Australian Government, in pursuing the general objectives of national economic and social policy and urban and regional development, to improve and promote the well-being of the people of Australia, with full employment, stability in the general level of prices, viability in external economic relations, conservation of the natural environment and rising and generally enjoyed standards of living . . . I do not think any Government would disagree with that philosophy but it so happens that the Labor Government introduced it into the legislation. I want to come quickly to what I think was an error by the then Opposition parties which now form the Government. The amendment that we then had to accept related to section 26 of the Act. I recall looking at an old copy of *Hansard* which I think clearly showed that the honourable member for Corangamite, now the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations **(Mr Street),** said that this is what his Party wanted to introduce into this Bill. He said that we do not want ministerial interference and we do not want political control of these matters. Accordingly, the Senate agreed that section 26 be introduced into this Act. I think that from memory that amendment was moved in the Senate by no less a person than **Senator Cotton.** I wonder what those 2 gentlemen say today when they consider the ramifications of section 26 which admittedly was in the old Act. But look at the implications of it, ostensibly on the basis that you cannot have political interference and that this protection ought to be the subject of legislation, such as is set out in section 26, with which no government or Minister should be allowed to interfere. Surprisingly this only relates to temporary assistance, not to general assistance. If honourable members look at the Crawford report they will find that he recommended that all assistance be subject to the Commission itself, and that would have entitled the Cabinet and the Minister to take a considered view of those recommendations. What do we find in section 26? We start with this very good premise: >Where it appears to the Minister that urgent action may be necessary to protect an industry, ... he may request the Temporary Assistance Authority to undertake an inquiry . . . That inquiry is the subject of report back to the Minister as to whether it is necessary that urgent action be taken. If so, obviously urgent action would be taken. But where there is a report that no urgent action can be taken the Minister is powerless to do anything. So with the greatest of respect to our opponents when we introduced this legislation, I suggest they have another look at what they did. It has meant that a Minister, having received *prima facie* evidence of urgent action being necessary, has to comply with section 26 and we are bound by the decision of the Temporary Assistance Authority, which in the main I think consists of one man, and we need not be personal about that. If he says, as he did during most of 1 974, that some protection should be given it is granted. If he says, as he did during most of 1 975, that no protection should be given, nothing can be done. It is incredible to think that the Parliament has denied any Minister or any government the right to have a look at what was happening. It was a mistake, a genuine mistake because I notice that the same provisions appeared in the old tariff protection legislation. My worthy opponent, the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs **(Mr Howard),** never wants me to make accusations without being able to prove them, so let us have a look at the first annual report of the Temporary Assistance Authority. It clearly shows that we were endeavouring to assist industry by taking urgent action in regard to certain industries. The first reference was mushrooms. That must excite some honourable members, particularly the honourable member for Wakefield **(Mr Kelly),** because it is often thought that we do not need to protect these industries. In this instance it was recommended that no urgent action be taken. Of course, a number of growers went to the wall as a result of that decision. The next reference was footwear. In this instance it was agreed that some temporary protection should be given. We welcomed that. As we go through the report, particularly that section which applies to 1 974, we see that protection was given in most cases in that period. As an example references were made in spectacles, sunglasses and domestic refrigerators. When I look at the position in 197S I can say without any fear of contradiction that in at least 10 consecutive reports no protection was recommended. I am prone to think that the powers that be which were interested in the protective policy of the Industries Assistance Commission said: 'Do not bother to grant protection in those cases'. A classical example of this is the chain-saw industry. In this case the Industries Assistance Commission itself suggested that there should be protection for what was deemed to be an infant industry in Australia which would be producing a very worthwhile piece of equipment, namely, a chain-saw which would undoubtedly be of advantage to the rural sector in Australia. The Commission recommended that this industry ought to have some protection, and it was given some protection. But because of the competition which this industry was meeting the position of the industry had to be referred to the Temporary Assistance Authority. Despite the earlier recommendation of the Industries Assistance Commission, the Temporary Assistance Authority solemnly found that no additional protection was warranted, and the industry accordingly suffered damage. There we have the ridiculous situation of the report of the Temporary Assistance Authority virtually going right against what was the basic concept of the original report of the Industries Assistance Commission. There was a report on chain-saws and chainsaw engines. That was report number 10. That report recommended that no urgent action against import was necessary. The report on the plywood industry import was necessary. The report on the plywood industry was signed in August 1975. It recommended that no urgent action against imports was necessary. I think that that decision resulted in some 1500 men being displaced from their jobs, and no government could do anything about it. So it is not fair to say about the former Labor Government: 'You failed in every sense of the word to protect these industries'. We at least tried, but we got caught on an amendment that was introduced in the Senate and forced upon us. We had to accept it or virtually not get the Bill passed. I know that the Minister will look at this matter. He can do it on the basis that he is running the business on this occasion, and we do not mind that at all. There has to be a political decision as to what can be done to guarantee that an industry can continue to function, unless alternative employment can be found for the employees in that industry. I wish to emphasise this fact: The problems facing Australian industry are not all connected with the manufacturing industry. As I said earlier, I have looked at some of my old notes. I see a reference in them to processed foods. This industry was in trouble because the imports of canned pig meats increased by 64 per cent. Imports of canned mushrooms increased by 68 per cent. Imports of passion fruit juice continued to come into Australia at a high level, and that industry sought assistance. Frozen potatoes were being imported into Australia from all over the world and we desperately had to keep them out. So there was continual surveillance of the imports of citrus juice, meats, prawns, olives and other commodities. As I say, it is not just the manufacturing sector that is involved. Surveillance of the imports of a wide range of commodities is necessary. This matter cannot be related to tariffs alone. Let us look at the problems that occurred in our time. We introduced the 25 per cent tariff cut in, I think, 1973 but all the troubles arose in 1974. Probably most of them were related, as an honourable member said earlier, to an alteration in quotas, particularly in regard to textiles. It is impossible to run a textile industry on tariffs. Quotas must be employed. The United States of America has used quotas very well. I repeat that when we did introduce some quotas in respect of textiles, a protest note was delivered to us by the United States on the basis that we had interfered with the arrangements under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Of course, the United States had negotiated all of its agreements prior to the establishment of GATT. We never had any chance- the previous Government did not either- to negotiate any reasonable arrangements for textile quotas. The problem that now obtains in the Philippines is related to the quota situation and cannot be readily corrected. It is worthy of note that when some Kennedy Round discussions are next held some credit should be given to what the Australian Government did. It reduced tariffs. I understand that the United States is pressing again for a general reduction in tariffs, but not to take into account the tariff reductions which took place in Australia in 1973. A wider problem is to be found in relation to what is happening to the Australian work force. The report of the Jackson Committee clearly demonstrated what was called the deep seated malaise which has been evident for at least 10 years. That point is made by that committee. It points out that for 10 years Australian manufacturing was largely created to serve a growing domestic market. Problems exist there. Growth did help industry. The report says: >But now the domestic market is oversupplied and it can grow only slowly. Manufacturing is stalled and lacks purpose. It needs to export to grow. But the industry structure created by those earlier deliberate policies is not well suited to the challenges of international competition. Let us look at the work force in Australia. We are told that it is the unhappiest work force in the world. The former Department of Manufacturing Industry did a survey of what people working in that industry- those who had come from other countries and those who were born in Australiathought of their job. The majority hated it. Again we can see a problem area. The work force is multi-racial and multi-cultured. In fact, four out of ten were born outside Australia. They most frequently do the dirtiest, least skilled, menial tasks for which, despite unemployment, young Australians could not be found. Indeed, one quarter of Australian manufacturing output comes from 87 large foreign firms. So, there is a big problem for Australia in this field. A most senstive understanding of what can be done to assist the industry generally is required. I turn to the rural sector. From reading my copy of *Muster* and aU those other worthy journals that are sent to me I observe that the plea is for something to be done about protection. The report says that we must look at the enormous cost involved. Those in the cities might say: 'We have never been able to bank that saving. We can never get the saving banked. We cannot find it'. Rural industries are deemed to be overprotected. Perhaps they are. We must look at the situation existing in Australia. Australia is a very large land mass with diverse occupations. We must look at the gains resulting from a reduction of protection. The situation must mean that we will get a price reduction. The fallacy of the situation with respect to textiles is that there is no price reduction. We had no opportunity to say that the fact that clothing was cheaply made in Taiwan or South Korea guaranteed a reduction would flow here. It did not. The price was whatever the market could stand. An effective protection policy including the benefits of reduction in price cannot be run unless a guarantee is available that such a result will be seen here. On that basis, while we will acknowledge that studies have been done by Gareth Evans and others as to the benefits which would flow let us look at some of the other factors. The table which I have here in relation to the Australian tariff shows that about 43 percent of our imports enter free of duty. The world average is 38 per cent. So, we are above the world average in that area. Then we come to one bad aspect which demonstrates the distortion that exists. This shows that in another segment we are overprotected A lack of balance exists. No protection in any sense applies to 43 per cent of our imports while there is excessive protection in respect of another large percentage. That lack of balance must be corrected. Our work force must be kept employed. This can be done only if we get into close collaboration with the trade union movement and the industries concerned to determine what they think should happen. There is no better way to demonstrate a case than by example. In the few minutes left at my disposal I would like to look at the position of the textile industry. The textile industry employed something like 157 000 people in 1968-69. That number dropped in about the 1974-75 period to about 108 000 people. This clearly shows the position that existed in the textile industry. There were closures of some 200 factories. Closure compensation went mainly to the industry and very little went to the employees who were displaced. There was a general uncertainty as to what would happen. This is the situation that followed from a recommendation that it would be effective and reasonable to reduce tariff protection. It was said that imports were likely to increase by about $500m to $750m. These estimates were well out because in 1973-74 imports increased by $ 1,500m. In 1972-73 the level of imported textiles was $4,000m. In 1973-74 it was $6,000m. In 1974-75 it was $8,000m. This shows how far out the so-called experts were in trying to assess what would be the rate of import. A total of 38 000 people lost their jobs instead of 8000. It is very difficult for members of the work force in particular to regain their confidence and again work in the textile industry. They feel that they would be better employed somewhere else. Certainly they would not go back if they felt that there might not be job continuity. So this is one problem with which we are faced. We then come to the question of what the decision to reduce tariffs was all about. It was said that the tariff changes would be anti-inflationary and would reduce prices. There has been no sign that this has happened. The drapery component of the consumer price index for June 1972 was 121.3. In June 1973 it had gone to 131.1; in June 1974 it had gone to 153.6; and in June 1975 it had gone to 182.9. So despite the massive surge of imports the prices skyrocketed and the community received no benefit at all. We should be looking at ways and means of adopting a policy which would oblige a retailer selling clothing to specify the price of the import or the cost of production so that the consumer could see the markup. The Prices Justification Tribunal does not seem to be equipped to handle this sort of situation. Certainly at the moment invoices could be altered to ensure that the alleged price of the imported article is false. It now transpires- and the textile industry must face up to this- that the major importers were the manufacturers themselves. No third force suddenly arose in this country to handle imports. This was done by the people in the business. Retailers were quite happy to make a fast dollar and they did so effectively by placing orders right across the world and ignoring their local industry. What they forgot, of course, was that the 40 000 or 50 000 people unemployed were not able to buy shirts or pyjamas or what have you because they did not have the money to do so. So there was a complete rundown of the economy in this area. As I have said, there can be much agreement in this issue, but there has to be a lot of understanding of the human problem. In the motor vehicle industry I draw the attention of honourable members to what the present Government has done to Borg- Warner (Australia) Ltd. It looks as though this organisation is to close down at Albury. The Government is now effectively destroying this company's operation in the AlburyWodonga growth centre- a concept which we are so anxious to help to develop- by abandoning the non-reversion component of the motor vehicle industry policy which was acclaimed here as being a worthwhile proposition. I have serious doubts about the future of this project. Generally there is much room for more considered debate on what should be done for industry. We will accept the fact that there could be over-production but our main concern should be the employee. Our concern should be the development of Australia. We should get away from the division that parts us too often on silly issues between rural and city matters. The rural person certainly needs a guaranteed price for his product and I am amazed that he has never been able to get it. He never will get it if he leaves it to the free auction system under which he is taken to the cleaners every time. He needs 300c a kilo for his wool. **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-33-0-s7 .speaker-KCT} ##### Mr DRUMMOND:
Forrest -I also welcome the opportunity to enter into this debate which gives us the chance to have a far ranging discussion on tariffs generally. The tariff problem has always been with us. It has been with us for generations. In fact, I came across an interesting petition that was presented by French candlemakers in 1845 to the honourable members of the Chamber of Deputies. It went this way: >We are subjected to the intolerable competition of a foreign rival, who enjoys, it would seem, such superior facilities for the production of light, that he is enabled to inundate our national market at so exceedingly reduced a price, that, the moment he makes his appearance, he drives off all custom for us . . . This rival is no other than the sun. Our petition is that it would please your honourable body to pass a law whereby shall be directed the shutting up of all windows, dormers, skylights, shutters, curtains, in a word, all openings, holes, chinks and fissures through which the light of the sun is used to penetrate into our dwellings, to the prejudice of the profitable manufacturers which we flatter ourselves we have enabled to bestow upon the country. So we see that the seeking of protection is not anything strange or new. It is not strange or new that when different industries seek protection today we seem to be at loggerheads. However, that petition would appear to me to have been quite extraordinary even for those days. After hearing the previous speaker, the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith **(Mr Lionel Bowen)** and having listened fairly attentively to the debate to date, I realise that we are confronted with a very diverse subject. I realise also that we are in agreement on many issues. I think that we are in agreement more as individuals within parties rather than as representatives of the areas from which we come. There are 2 extremes to the tariff spectrum which Tariffs were originally imposed to redistribute income from the rural sector to the non-rural sector, for a number of reasons which I have outlined. It is time to ask whether governmental direction to the economy, through tariff protection, has achieved the desired result. The performance of the chemical industry, for one, would suggest not. Over the years there has been too little appreciation of the fact that policies benefiting the import sector, through their own efforts, produce their own effects on the export sector. In the current economic climate it is the indirect kicks to the export sector basically from the manufacturing industries that are the most difficult things to take and to weather. The rural industries are now paying too much for the product of protected industries. I carry on with my previous example. Protection to the Australian chemical industry resulted in an increase in the cost to farmers of chemical fertilisers. Another obvious hardship to the rural industries is the cost of labour. Astronomical increases in wages in manufacturing industries have been passed on to the farmer. The Industries Assistance Commission, in its annual report for 1973-74, calculated that labour costs to the manufacturing industries in 1973-74 were 28 per cent higher than they would have been without protection. These costs add up to a situation in which we are pricing ourselves out of rural export industries. In the present economic climate the rural export industries just cannot handle the situation. Is it not time the fatted calf was weaned and made to stand alone before it drags down the condition of the ever giving good old cow? With the honourable member for Wakefield **(Mr Kelly)** looking at me, I certainly would not lay claim to fame for that phrase. The example of the chemical industry demonstrates the dangers of allowing the Government, not the market place, to define what is economic and efficient. There should be a continual review of the tariff situation. I certainly am not advocating a free trade situation but a continual, serious review by the IAC with the conviction of the *Customs Tariff Amendment Bill* 29 April 1976 REPRESENTATIVES 1805 What are the reasons which cause us to override the removal of tariffs and so the economic efficiency of the country as a whole? Our tariff policies originated in the 19th century when the economy was dependent on rural industries. These policies were developed firstly for diversification of industry and consequent less dependence on fluctuating rural income; and secondly, because of the need to absorb and employ a growing population. These criteria have been deemed sufficiently important to maintain protection against import competing industries. But we must face the fact that over the last 100 years conditions have altered. Vast mineral discoveries have diversified the economy and eliminated recurrent balance of payment problems. In 1972-73, income from mining industry represented 4 per cent of the gross domestic product in Australia, an increase of 127 per cent over the previous 10 years. In comparison the income from the agricultural, forestry and fishing industries represented 8 per cent of the gross domestic product at that time, a decrease of 37 per cent over the previous 10 years. The infant secondary industries of 50 years ago should now be on their feet, but are they? A number of economists have analysed the development of the chemical industry in Australia as it has performed under protection. A specialist in industrial economies from Sydney University, **Mr T.** Parry, has produced an index of price ratios over major chemical products, taking Australia's position relative to the position of the United Kingdom and the United States of America. He took 1955-56 price ratios as the base of 100 and found as follows: Government behind it. Under these conditions there should be continued support for the export industries of Australia which are the life blood of Australia. There should be an understanding of the economic situation in Australia and of what it is doing to the export industries. I would like to have a brief look at the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and on its workings. Working, I believe on a quite different scale, for freedom in the market place is GATT. In 1948 Australia was one of 23 countries which signed the Agreement in an effort to help lessen the impact of trade restrictions as a potential cause of international conflict. Over the past 28 years GATT's membership has risen to eightyseven. Estimates show that GATT's members have four-fifths of all international trade. This makes it the most important international body concerned with negotiating the reduction of international trade barriers. The reduction of tariffs is one of the principal means of attaining GATT's broad objectives. There have been 6 main tariff negotiating conferences and, as a result of these conferences, the tariff rates for tens of thousands of items entering the world's commerce have been bound by the terms of the treaty against increases. The sixth negotiating conference, known as the Kennedy Round, reduced the average level of world industrial tariffs by about one-third. As a result of the Kennedy Round, Australia undertook to reduce tariffs on goods worth $137m, or about 4 per cent of its merchandise imports. In all, reductions in tariffs overseas applied to some $400m worth of Australian exports- about 13 per cent of the total. Since 1967, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on non-tariff distortions to trade, such as import quotas and export licensing. These become more important as tariffs fall. A system of reports by GATT members on nontariff interference against them by other countries was established in November 1967. The expectation prior to the 1973 Tokyo Round was that the non-tariff barriers would be the main matters negotiated. These, of course, are far more difficult to negotiate and police. In what is now called the 1 973 Tokyo Round the 87 trading nations agreed to undertake, within the framework of GATT, the most ambitious and wide-ranging round of trade negotiations in the post-war era. Australia welcomed these multilateral trade negotiations in 1973. Her interest was directed towards agricultural trade liberalisation and reduction of non-tariff barriers. This was because import restrictions and variable levies block off the overseas markets for much of our agricultural production and Australia has few manufactured exports which would benefit from overseas tariff reduction. It is important for Australia to work for the reduction of agricultural trade barriers as well as industrial tariff cuts so that she will not be subject to the painful economic and social adjustments that may result from the adoption of the latter without increases in export earnings. Some concern has been expressed, notably by the Australian Industries Development Association, that Australia might have dissipated its negotiating coin by its 25 per cent tariff cut in July 1973. The Australian position is not necessarily as bad as it looks in the continuing rounds. There are 2 reasons for this: The first is that a base date is set for negotiations. Australia has declared that the base date to which she will hold is 1 January 1973; that is, before the 25 per cent tariff cut. If this stand is successful, then the 25 per cent tariff cut will stand as an initiative which must be matched by other nations rather than as negotiating coin which has been lost to her. Secondly, because of inefficiencies under current tariff rates it should be possible to make tariff cuts with a sector-by-sector approach which would leave large proportions of Australian industries unaffected. The Tokyo Round was tied to the principle of reciprocity, and Australia should not consider further cuts unless she can be sure of gaining a trade-off. Granted, the areas about which Australia is most concerned in negotiations are non-tariff barriers, particularly in agricultural trade. Our great trading partners of the past, Great Britain and Europe, have put up impossible barriers against trade with Australian commodities such as beef, apples and grain. The policies that are followed within countries which are members of the European Economic Community have precluded us. They are non-tariff barriers which have to be negotiated through multilateral trade agreements. I suggest that we cannot afford not to review our own highly protected sectors within our own country without obtaining a reputation for being a little less than fair. It would be very selfish to hope that GATT should achieve international free trade without accommodating countries less fortunate than ourselves, but it is encouraging to observe that GATT, through persistent negotiation, is working to remove trade barriers to the efficient order of the international market place. We should take a lesson from GATT and return to the Australian situation. I realise that there are cases for protection where reasons other than economic efficiency demand that the Australian Government give direction to the flow of trade. In general I maintain that the Australian Government, like GATT, should aspire to a passive not an active role in regulating the market place. {: #subdebate-33-0-s8 .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wakefield -Before the suspension of the sitting for dinner the honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr Innes)** was making an impassioned appeal for a more sympathetic attitude to the electronics industry. I have here a quotation- I will not mention who said it until after I have read it- which says: >In the postwar period, the economy was one of the most highly protected in the world. 'The Australian economy had the support of a massive protection racket that would have turned Al Capone green with envy', he said. 'In 1973, for example, the consumer electronics components industry in Australia produced a wider range of components than in any other country. 'The rate of protection in many instances was around 1000 percent'. That is a quotation; it is not my opinion. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr Innes: -Who said it? {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr KELLY: -- The speaker was **Mr John** Halfpenny, the State Secretary of the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union. Not only do people like myself speak for the exporters of this country; people like **Mr Halfpenny** speak for the consumers. Let me read what he said again: >In 1973, for example, the consumer electronics components industry in Australia produced a wider range of components than in any other country. > >The rate of protection in many instances was around 1000 percent. Who was paying? It was the consumer. That is not my opinion; it is **Mr Halfpenny's** opinion. I would hesitate to put myself up alongside **Mr Halfpenny** as an authority in this area. The reason why I became interested in tariffs when I came into this House some years ago was firstly because I represent a rural constituency which depends on exports. I became aware that the farmers in my area were paying the price for the tariffs on weedicides and agricultural machinery. I became interested and indeed angry about tariff protection on that score. I know that always the cost of tariff protection is carried by the exporters and no one else. Tariff protection may be justified, but we ought to realise that it is paid by one group and by one group only in the end, and that is the export industry I am surprised and disappointed that not one member of the National Country Party is on the speakers list so far and that Party claims to speak for the exporters. I hope and I am always hoping that we will have from them the kind of interest and support that we need. But gradually I became increasingly aware that not only was the tariff on weedicides and on agricultural machinery a burden on the exporter but also the tariff on other tilings- things that the farmer might not buywas paid in the end by the exporters. We have had some discussions recently about the effect of tariffs on the motor car industry. We know that the tariff induced cost on a $5,000 car worked out at around about about $1,500 a car. I used to think that it was only at the time that a farmer bought a car that he had to pay that sum but I know now- and no one will deny it- that the exporter is paying not only the $ 1,500 on the car that he buys, if he can afford to buy one, but he is paying also $ 1 ,500 on the car that everybody else buys. No one would deny that the tariff is passed on to and paid by exporters in the end. No one, even the honourable member for Berowra **(Dr Edwards),** great economist though he is, will deny that tariffs are a tax on exporters. I am not saying that tariffs are not sometimes justified but in the economic field there is no such thing as a free feed. Someone always pays for tariff protection. One of the things that is gradually dawning on this country is that there is a price to be paidthere is no such thing as a free feed in this world. The cost of tariff protection, justified though it sometimes may be, frequently is a cost which is borne by the exporters in the end. That was the second thing that became evident to me- that it was not only the tariff on the things that the farmer bought but it was also the tariff on the things that he paid for as an exporter across the whole gamut of the economy that he had to meet. Another thing that became obvious to me was that there is another price to be paid. Let me give a clear case in point. There are many other examples also. I was in Bombay some years ago and I went in the morning to a skimmed milk factory which was using Australian skimmed milk powder which we had running out of our ears then, as we have now. We cannot find a market for it. I was shown the equipment that we had supplied to them under the Colombo Plan. I said: 'Have you got any problems?' The people at the factory said: 'There is only one problem and that is that we cannot get the foreign exchange to buy the skimmed milk powder'. In the afternoon I went to a textile factory which was making sheets. After trying to pretend to the people there that I understood the intricacies of the manufacturing process I said: 'Have you got any problems? They said: 'Only one. We cannot get our sheets into Australia over the tariff wall'. That pinpoints the problem. The Australian export industry is being damaged in that way also because our market opportunities are limited. We have seen this occurring again in the case of the quotas on knitted goods from the Philippines. I am ashamed to say that we have seen it occurring again in connection with the tariff on ceramic earthware that has been increased against the Philippines.That is another thing that made me angry from the point of view of the exporters. Then I began taking another wider view as experience taught me the hard economic facts of life. I used to think that although tariffs did impose a burden on the export industry they were necessary because they created employment. People used to point out the immediate employment opportunities that were gained once you increased the tariff in one area. But gradually I became aware that the employment gained in one industry by unwise tariff protection jeopardises the employment in other industries. Thousands of examples could be given. I give three. One is that there are about 10 times as many people processing the plastic granules as there are people making the granules. If we increase the price of the plastic powders by tariff protection, we diminish the employment opportunities in those sections of the industries which employ 10 times as many people making the granules into plastic products. I give honourable members another example. I am glad to see that the honourable member for Brisbane **(Mr Peter Johnson)** is in the chamber. If the tariff on yarns is increased, the competitive position of the maker of piece goods is made more difficult. If the tariff on piece goods is increased, employment opportunities in the garment manufacturing industry are much more limited. Motor cars have been the subject of great eloquence in this House. There are twice as many people servicing motor cars as there are people making motor cars and car components. Not many people know that. In many instances if we really want to blanket employment opportunities we clamp down on the opportunities for worthwhile service industries. I found that the people who came to me most frequently complaining about the cost of tariff protection were not farmers but those whose employment opportunities in secondary industry were damaged by high protection in the early stage of the industry. It is nonsense to say that tariffs create employment. All they do is transfer employment from one section to the other. Anybody who believes the nonsense that tariffs create employment is just kidding himself and everyone else. That is the kind of progression that took place in my thinking on tariffs. I do not pretend that it is a shining example of economic thinking. It is the way in which I plodded drearily along this tariff path. But the group which started to bring it into focus for me first was the Vernon Committee around 10 years ago. That Committee spelt it out. I know that in those days the honourable member for Berowra had a clearer vision then than he sometimes seems to have now. {: .speaker-LLN} ##### Dr Edwards: -- I referred to it in my speech tonight. {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr KELLY: -Yes. It was the Vernon Committee first, then the Tariff Board, followed by the Industries Assistance Commission, the Tariff Board's successor, which realised that we can produce anything in Australia but that if we use our limited resources wastefully, the size of the economic cake will be diminished, and that if we are not careful, the opportunity to do all the things we want to do will diminish. We could grow bananas at the South Pole, but it would be a silly, wasteful use of resources. One of the things that is becoming increasingly obvious is that we have tended to use our limited resources wastefully. It is only silly people, perhaps some members of Parliament, who say that we are a country of limitless resources. Only those who know farming as I do and know the country as many honourable members do will know how limited and tough our resources are. To pretend that we are anything but a country of limited resources is nonsense. We now knowthe IAC has led the way in our thinking- that because we are a country of limited resources, if we want to have a better standard of living, a higher material standard, we ought to use those limited resources sensibly. I think we owe a great debt of gratitude to **Mr Rattigan,** the Chairman of the IAC, in this regard. I am quite open about the fact that I think that **Mr Alf** Rattigan is one of the greatest civil servants who has ever served the country. I have heard people talk about 'a search and destroy mission' and other such nonsense. Anybody who knows Rattigan and his works and the way in which he spelt out with clarity and courage the necessity to use our limited resources must feel ashamed of the things that have been said. One of the reasons for my grasping the opportunity to speak in this debate is that this will be the last time I shall speak in this House while **Mr Rattigan** is the Chairman of the IAC. I would like to pay a public and heartfelt tribute on behalf of myself and people who think like I do and say that **Mr Rattigan** has with consummate courage and ability spelt out an unpopular message, maybe, but a necessary one. I think that **Mr Rattigan** himself may take some comfort from a quotation from Adam Smith of years ago. I have often taken comfort from it myself when littleminded men in this House and in other places have taken the opportunity to denigrate people who look at things with a wider vision. Adam Smith said: >The member of Parliament who supports every proposal for strengthening this monopoly ( by increasing tariffs) is sure to acquire not only the reputation of understanding trade, but great popularity and influence with an order of men whose numbers and wealth render them of great importance. {: .speaker-MH4} ##### Mr Jull: -Who said that? {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Adam Smith. He continued: >If he opposes them, on the contrary, and still more, if he has authority enough to be able to thwart them, neither the most acknowledged probity, nor the highest rank, nor the greatest public services, can protect him from the most infamous abuse and detraction arising from the insolent outrage of furious and disappointed monopolists. I wish I could write like that. The things that have been said about **Mr Rattigan** and the LAC in this place I think are shameful. I would like to pay a tribute to a man who with courage has carried the can for economic sense in a way that few people have in this chamber or indeed anywhere else. I turn now to what I think will be my final point. We in Australia have every right to be concerned about the ever-widening gap between the developed and the under-developed countries. Into that gap we will go one day unless we can do something about closing it. By far the most effective way that we can do something useful to close the gap is trade and not aid. The people in these under-developed countries are trying to pick themselves up by their bootstraps. We are always telling them that they must do more to help themselves. Yet when they start to do something to help themselves, what do we do? We put a duty on ceramic earthenware from the Philippines and on anything that threatens to come into this country cheaply. These people are not trying to do something evil. They are not threatening an invasion. They are just trying to sell us something cheaply. Having polished our halo publicly we say: 'Well now, of course we mean to help you and we will do it, shortly, but in the meantime we refuse to let you supply us with the things we want cheaply. ' I think it is about time that Australia started to face up to the fact that lecturing people in underdeveloped countries about how to behave is not enough. If we are one world and if we are not to become an island economy we had better start re-thinking about the opportunities we have to help people by helping ourselves- by buying the things which they want to supply to us cheaply. If we do not we will go down the same drain as the world did in the Depression years. The thing that brought the Depression to a head was economic nationalism. We should have a greater vision than we sometimes show and I fear are likely to show in this decision on the reduction of preferences to less developed countries which is said to be in the offing. If we are not careful we will encourage Australia to go down the same economic drain that the world went in the 1 930s. The question is much more important than people think. We are at the crossroads in our thinking. We have to decide whether we will become an economic island and refuse to take up the opportunities of advancement that are available if we are determined to live sensibly with our neighbours and to buy from them the things that they are good at producing so that they can buy the things from us that we are good at producing. If we do not do that there is no hope for us or for the world and we all know it. The only thing that saddens me in a debate such as we have had today is that there has not been one real item of consideration given to this aspect of our economic thinking. I conclude by saying that if there is one thing we ought to be doing in this House so that we can understand our problems better it is to think again about establishing a committee to examine the LAC reports. There is a real need for this. Great financial advantages or disadvantages are given to particular companies. I hope that we will have a committee such as this to help our understanding of the question. {: #subdebate-33-0-s9 .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Giles: -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-33-0-s10 .speaker-ZD4} ##### Mr HOWARD:
Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs · Bennelong · LP -- in reply- I should Uke very genuinely to thank everybody who has participated in this debate. This is the first occasion since I have been the Minister having responsibility in this area on which I have sat through a debate on tariffs. I can say that so far as I am concerned in future the maximum opportunity will be made available in this place for debates on these issues. I believe it is an area in which we must be very careful that we do not become doctrinaire. There are no simple, readymade solutions. It is easy to find- if I can borrow the old-fashioned labels- an area where a free trade attitude has led to employment dislocations and social deprivations. It is equally easy to find an example of where a protectionist attitude has not necessarily produced the desired result. In applying tariff policy a government has to pay regard to three or four paramount considerations. It must pay regard to employment considerations. It is all very well to talk about the long term economic consequences but it is not easy to explain those to people who are thrown out of work. It is not easy to explain them to people who suddenly find that their existence is subject to enormous upheaval. It is not easy to explain those sorts of theories to Australian industries which have demonstrated a capacity and a willingness to survive and to those who have to make hard and fast investment decisions and who must have some idea of the predictability of a government's approach to tariff matters. Equally, it is necessary to take account not only of the interests of employers and employees but also of the interests of consumers. One of the objects of the present Government in locating responsibility for the Industries Assistance Commission in the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs was to ensure that in taking tariff decisions and in considering the application of protection policies the Government would take account of all the interests across the whole spectrum including the interests of consumers. Perhaps in the past we have in our considerations given a little too much prominence to the interests of the employer and employee and maybe a proper regard has not been paid to the interests of consumers. In tariff matters, one cannot look at the interests of one section of the community in isolation from another. Unless one is prepared to bring to the application of protection policies a consideration not only of the employers but also of the employees and the consumers, one will make wrong decisions. I would hope, so far as my interest remains in this area, that when this House debates tariff matters it will do so as it has today. It has been an extremely wide ranging debate. It has given honourable members an opportunity to express very diverse points of view. I would again emphasise that it is not an area in which one should be too doctrinaire. I am not prepared to put a label on my own attitude. The only other matter I would like to emphasise is the question of the relationship between the Government and the IAC. We hear a lot about the independence and autonomy of statutory commissions. The IAC is the Government's independent advisory body on assistance for industries. That was the purpose for which the body was established. It is there to advise the Government on the implementation of its policies. It is there to give the Government advice on how to implement the economic objectives of the Government. But it is the Government's responsibility to set economic goals. It is the Government's responsibility and the Government 's right to lay down guidelines. Honourable members will be aware that recently I wrote to the Chairman of the IAC drawing his attention to the policy which had been enunciated by the coalition parties prior to the election campaign. This is no attack on the independence of the IAC. This is not a failure to recognise the independent advisory role of the Commission. It is a willingness by this Government to indicate its objectives in the area of protection policy. Those guidelines that were enunciated in the election policy speech of the coalition parties and which were repeated in the letter addressed to the IAC are a statement of some of the objectives of this Government in this area. In addressing that letter and in making that statement, the Government in no way detracts from the independence of the body. But equally, the Government in no way retreats from the fact that it is the Government's responsibility and the Government's right to set economic objectives and to define the policies. Equally, it is the Government's responsibility in the final analysis to determine whether the recommendations of the IAC on long term protection matters will be implemented. Honourable members opposite are aware of the history of the establishment of the IAC. The charter under which it operates has been clearly understood on both sides of this House. In conclusion, I would like again to thank those honourable members who have participated in this debate. I hope that in the future when debating tariff matters we will be able to have debates of a similar quality. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. Third Reading Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith. Bill (on motion by **Mr Howard)** read a third time. {: .page-start } page 1810 {:#debate-34} ### BILLS RETURNED FROM THE SENATE {: #debate-34-s0 .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Giles: -The following Bills were returned from the Senate without amendment or requests: Wheat Industry Stabilization Amendment Bill 1 976. Wheat Export Charge Amendment Bill 1 976. Wheat Products Export Adjustment Amendment Bill 1976. {: .page-start } page 1811 {:#debate-35} ### LIVESTOCK SLAUGHTER LEVY AMENDMENT BILL 1976 {:#subdebate-35-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 1 April on motion by **Mr Sinclair:** >That the Bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-35-0-s0 .speaker-GY5} ##### Mr STALEY:
Minister for the Capital Territory · CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP -- May I have the indulgence of the House to raise a point of procedure on this legislation. Before the debate is resumed on this Bill I suggest that it may suit the convenience of the House to have a general debate covering this Bill and the Livestock Slaughter Levy Collection Amendment Bill 1976, as they are related measures. Separate questions will, of course, be put on each of the Bills at the conclusion of the debate. **Mr Deputy Speaker,** I suggest therefore that you permit the subject matter of both Bills to be discussed in this debate. {: #subdebate-35-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Is it the wish of the House to have a general debate covering the 2 measures? There being no objection, I will allow that course to be followed. {: #subdebate-35-0-s2 .speaker-NH4} ##### Mr KEATING:
Blaxland -The Opposition supports both pieces of legislation. The first Bill- the Livestock Slaughter Levy Amendment Bill 1976- flows from the passage of the Meat Export Charge Amendment Bill 1976, which lifted the 0.6c per lb charge for meat inspection and disease eradication imposed by the former Government and replaced this charge with a $1 a head slaughter levy for all cattle slaughtered after 1 July. The $1 a head slaughter levy will raise approximately the same amount in revenue as the 0.6c per lb charge did previously, although that applied only to exports. The $ 1 per head slaughter levy is to be carried by the whole of the industry, which does have the virtue of equity in it, whereas the previous charge applied only in respect of exports. The levy has been imposed to offset Commonwealth funding of the national endemic cattle disease eradication program. The program is primarily designed for the eradication of brucellosis and tuberculosis. A complementary Bill- the Livestock Slaughter Levy Collection Amendment Bill 1976- seeks to establish a national cattle disease eradication trust account upon which this program will be funded. The future of Australia's beef and dairy export markets depends to a very large degree on the success of the brucellosis and tuberculosis campaign. The only criticism that the Opposition has of the legislation is that it does not apply the $1 slaughter levy until 1 July, although the 0.6c per lb charge was lifted on 1 March. The $2.5m in forgone revenue would not have been passed back to the producers; it would have remained with the exporters. It would have remained with them on the basis that there was no expectation that the general levy would be lifted and therefore the money would not have been refunded. It is a nice gift from the Government that is being made without the exporters even asking for it. The $1 a head levy should have been applied as from 1 March. However, the Opposition does not oppose the principle of the legislation. In respect of the Livestock Slaughter Levy Collection Amendment Bill 1976, the Opposition also agrees with this legislation. The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Livestock Slaughter Collection Act 1964-1974 to establish a national cattle disease eradication trust account into which the money raised by the $1 a head slaughter levy for disease eradication will be paid. The revenue from this levy will be used to augment a Commonwealth contribution towards the eradication of bovine brucellosis and tuberculosis in the Australian cattle herds. The Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Sinclair)** may authorise payments from the fund to the States for disease eradication or to the Commonwealth for the same purpose. The legislation is of a machinery nature to set up a suitable trust account, subject to normal audit procedures. The Opposition does not oppose this piece of legislation. I will not canvass the question of the beef industry or the manner in which these levies apply to it. They are matters which were covered in a debate earlier this year on the legislation to which I have referred. Both these bills are of a machinery nature. They flow from the lifting of the 1.6 per lb levy imposed upon export beef. To summarise, the Opposition supports this legislation, although it opposed the lifting of the lc per lb levy when other legislation was introduced a month ago. {: #subdebate-35-0-s3 .speaker-NI4} ##### Mr PORTER:
Barker -These Bills seek to amend the Livestock Slaughter Levy Act 1964-1974 in such a way as to introduce a slaughter levy of $1 a head on cattle slaughtered on and after 1 July 1976. As honourable members will recall, the Government recently passed legislation suspending the meat export charge, which was 0.6c per lb for beef and veal exports. The Industries Assistance Commission drew attention to the inequities of the export charge for the funding of the eradication of brucellosis and tuberculosis. As the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Sinclair)** said in introducing this legislation it has the support of industry organisations. The levy is designed to offset the Commonwealth's contribution to national endemic cattle disease eradication programs in Australia. The benefits to be derived from the eradication of brucellosis and tuberculosis, both as far as home consumption and our exports markets are concerned, are obvious. The Minister mentioned the importance of the eradication of these 2 diseases in relation to overseas markets for livestock. The problems facing the beef industry are enormous. One way to overcome some of the problems is through the extension of market opportunities, both domestically and internationally. Within the international area is the unfulfilled potential of live cattle exports. The statistics of world beef carcass production and consumption demonstrate that increased sales of beef products will provide part of the answer to the problems facing our cattle industry. Australia is the only great cattle growing country which does not merchandise its cattle. At the last census our cattle population exceeded 33 million and it grows faster than in almost any other country. But we are one of the only countries that does not have unrestricted cattle exports. The most cattle Australia has sold overseas in any one year was less than 20 000. In most years it has been around 5000. By comparison other countries with smaller cattle populations than Australia enjoy a healthy trade in live cattle as well as in beef. Unfortunately, more up to date figures are not yet available but in 1972 more than 50 countries exported more live cattle than Australia. Those countries ahead of Australia include China, Indonesia, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Some people have argued that an increase in the export of five cattle will affect job opportunities for abattoir workers. But these are 2 different markets. The world already has a live cattle trade worth over US$1, 500m per annum. This trade has not affected Australia or Argentina as the major beef carcass exporters. In fact, Argentina enjoyed a live cattle export in excess of 200 000 head per annum until 1970 when a foot and mouth outbreak reduced its trade to less than 100 000 per annum. This further substantiates this Government's purpose in moving to eradicate disease in this country and to prevent it being imported into the livestock of this country. I repeat that the carcass and livestock markets are different. The live cattle market gives good support to the carcass market. Australia's development of live cattle exports would not endanger our carcass production exports. In fact, development of live cattle exports will introduce Australian beef eating into new markets and will help to open new avenues for our carcass trade. At present many countries will not buy our carcass meats. Their customs and conditions are such that they buy only live animals. If these countries cannot buy from Australia they will continue to buy elsewhere. Our major buyers of carcass meat will always want that commodity. There are problems with livestock export of which I am fully aware. Chilled and frozen meats can be trans-snipped more easily and cheaper than live cattle. Live exports satisfy only a portion of the world meat protein demands. While the beast keeps fresher when live, the problem of transport, feeding, and holding restrict the live trade and will always require an increasing export of carcass beef from cattle producing countries. But if there are some buyers who want live cattle only and we do not supply them, someone else will as happens now. People suggest that the cost of transport is prohibitive. The meat division of the Department of Primary Industry said that as an indication of likely costs, shipping freights for sheep are around $35 a head and it suggests that the cost for cattle would be even higher. It may come as a surprise to that Department to know that in South Australia the Adelaide abattoir charges about $30 a head to slaughter cattle. I admit that it is probably the most expensive abattoir in Australia. But I am sure all honourable members will understand that, as we have a Labor Government in South Australia. This cost of slaughter must be included in the carcass price. I agree that there are problems but I do not believe that they are insurmountable. I repeat, that the livestock and carcass markets are quite separate. But they co-exist. In fact, livestock export will in all probability increase our carcass export and therefore increase employment in the primary and secondary industries which are associated with cattle raising. It will assist our abattoir trade, transport industries, wharf labouring, shipping and so on. Many say the livestock export figures are not relevant to Australia because a lot of the trade is in the northern hemisphere where stock is moved from winter to summer pastures and so on. But among the major live cattle exporters Ireland, Brazil, Uruguay, Columbia and Argentina are all shippers. They do not have large markets in close proximity which permit the use of land transport. We should also bear in mind that the vast Australian continent has such a different climate in the various regions that it can supply cattle to almost any country with areas of similar climatic conditions. What are the prospects of exporting to some of our nearer neighbours? The World Agricultural Report of 19 December 1975 reports that beef consumption in Indonesia is increasing significantly largely as a result of rising personal income generated mainly by the country's booming petroleum export trade. However, the country's cattle numbers are declining in the face of this expanding consumer market as slaughterers seek to supply demand with meat from native livestock herds. The Government there is concerned that continued shrinkage of Indonesia's cattle-people ratio will eventually erode nutritional levels unless steps are taken to replenish the diminishing cattle numbers. Another problem of growing concern in Indonesia is the country's Livestock Act which forbids the sale for slaughter of any large animal except old or unproductive stock or poorly bred males. Livestock economists have been advocating the sale of livestock at marketing age in order to shorten the production cycle and allow higher frequency of stock replacement as well as more efficient utilisation of the available feed supply at a constant size herd. Thus, there is room for Australia to assist Indonesia's beef production by increasing livestock through exports to that country. This is an area which needs to be examined especially in relation to our promise of aid over the next 5 years to that country. It may well be that some of that aid can be in live beef. Let me look briefly to Japan. Live cattle have been imported to supplement the Japanese domestic herd. There has been a growth in this trade over the years but the volume, which reached a high of some 8000 head in 1973, has been relatively small. In recent years the bulk of imports has been for fattening rather than for breeding purposes. Shipments are permitted only from designated countries which must be free from prescribed livestock diseases. The principal suppliers have been Australia, the United States and Canada. It is worth noting that **Mr Handbury** of the Victorian Stock Agents Association is reported as saying recently that Japan was seeking 12 to 15-month old British breed steers for fattening and processing and would pay producers around $150 a head. He said that one of the members of the Association procured an order for 1000 steers and another member could place a further 10 000 if able to shift them. This has been substantiated by members of the Liberal delegation that recently visited Japan. Private entrepreneurs there have shown an interest in this trade and if supply could be confirmed they are talking of converting tankers for this trade. They want the cattle to grow and fatten in Japan for slaughter. Therefore, I call on all honourable members to support this Bill which in the long term will open more of the world markets for us. Further I call on all interested parties to move immediately to promote the facilitation of this market of live cattle export to the Australian cattlemen. I do not expect an enormous market to develop overnight, but let us develop this market as well as our carcass export market. {: #subdebate-35-0-s4 .speaker-JXQ} ##### Mr FRY:
Fraser -I rise to support the honourable member for Blaxland **(Mr Keating)** in the support he has given to the Live-stock Slaughter Levy Amendment Bill 1976. Before dealing with the Bill, I would like to refer to the claim by the honourable member for Barker **(Mr Porter)** that there is a growing demand for our beef in Indonesia. He also referred to the pros perous oil industry in that country. Apparently e has not heard the latest information, namely that Pertamina, the government oil company, is in extreme difficulties, to the extent of a deficit of something like US$10 billion. I understand that that deficit is placing a great strain on the whole economy of the country. So, I hope that if we do develop our markets in Indonesia we get paid for the products we sell and the economy is much more stable in the areas in which we develop our markets than it is in the area of the allegedly thriving oil industry to which the honourable member referred. Ten billion dollars is a lot of money. I understand that it is about three times as much as any deficit that Indonesia ever had under Sukarno. I return to the Bill. The Opposition supports the Bill because it provides for a much more equitable manner of covering the costs of research in that the legislation applies to all stock that is killed and not just to export stock. Therefore, the amount of money collected is not dependent on the vagaries of prices on the export market and is spread more evenly over the industry. That is as it should be. After all, the health standards applying to our domestic beef market are just as important- they are even more important, in my view- as those applying to the export market. I do not know of any reason why we should accept lower standards of hygiene or health in relation to beef which is consumed locally than we should in relation to beef which is exported. I think this legislation is a commendable extension of the philosophy- it is a philosophy of the Labor Party- that rural industries, or any other industry for that matter, should contribute directly to the cost of their own research services. The beef industry has a pretty good record in that regard, in that already it contributes to the Australian Meat Board, it contributes to the Australian Meat Research Committee and it contributes to the meat processing research carried out by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. I do not think anybody would argue with the proposition that research in the beef industry is important. One cannot help but be impressed by the quite extensive inroads which have been made by artificial meat or substitutes for meat into the meat market in America and in Japan. If we are to protect our $2 billion industry in Australia it must be efficient. It must turn out a product which the people want and which is acceptable from both the health point of view and the nutrition point of view if we are to compete with, or to keep within due bounds the threat from, substitutes for fresh meat. So, although we refer to these levies as a charge against the industry, really they are not a charge; they are an investment in the future of the industry which the industry should be prepared to make. Generally it seems to be prepared to make that investment. I have said that industry should meet the cost of its own research services and that the beef industry is doing that to some extent. However, it should not be thought that it is doing so to the full extent. The beef industry still enjoys many government services to which it does not contribute directly. I refer to the service given by the district veterinary officers who are employed mostly by the State governments. They provide an excellent and high quality service, and there is no direct charge to the farmer for that service. The many government research stations scattered throughout Australia make a great contribution to the industry, particularly in relation to genetic or breeding research, not to mention the agricultural schools and colleges which provide the professional back-up for the industry. The Labor Party traditionally has had a progressive attitude towards the beef industry. The record shows that the Labor Government was responsible for setting up the Australian Bureau of Animal Health within the Department of Primary Industry. It also was a Labor decision to establish the animal health laboratories at Geelong. I believe that at the moment there is some concern that, with the impending release of the Bland Committee report, some of these institutions or proposed institutions may be the victims of a purge by that Committee. I hope that is not right, but there is some talk that it may be so. I understand that the Leader of the National Country Party **(Mr Anthony)** is so concerned about this matter that recently he cancelled a trip to attend a United Nations Conference in South Africa in case these things do come about. That is all I wish to contribute to the debate, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** The Opposition supports the Bill. I should just say that we would like to see the Government honour its election promise to implement all the recommendations of the Industries Assistance Commission relating to the beef industry, particularly recommendations concerning the long-term problems of the industry, and not just the rather minor and least costly recommendations which the Government is implementing in these Bills. {: #subdebate-35-0-s5 .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY:
Monaro · Eden -I am very pleased to be able to speak on the Livestock Slaughter Levy Amendment Bill and the Livestock Slaughter Levy Collection Amendment Bill because the people in the country have been looking forward to their introduction. I am very pleased also that the Bills are being supported on both sides of the House. It would appear to me that the attitude of the Labor Party is very mature and has shown over the past few weeks some mellowing in relation to people on the land. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- We will quote you on that. {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -I do not mind being quoted. Certainly the Bills have some interesting points in that they relate to a problem which at some stage, unless it is solved, could create a great deal of difficulty right across the country. The object of the Bills is to raise money for the eradication of diseases of all types. The Bill gives the Government scope to enter into programs for the eradication of diseases as it sees fit. The disease which obviously poses the greatest risk to this country's beef industry is brucellosis. A levy on the basis of $1 per head would collect at this stage between $8m and $ 10m per annum, which is about the amount spent last year by the previous Government on brucellosis eradication. I believe that that amount, whether it comes from the Commonwealth Government, from the State governments or from the beef producers, must be increased rapidly in the next few years. There is great danger in brucellosis, quite apart from its danger to humans. It is recorded that over 70 people die every year in Australia from brucellosis, and that is something we should remember. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- It makes you sterile. {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -- The sterility exists on the other side of the House. Apart from the inefficiency in our beef herds, which is significant because of the effect that brucellosis has in abortions, the main thrust of the problem is that in the future there will be a possibility of knocking out exports of our beef. The honourable member for Barker **(Mr Porter)** has referred to the export of livestock, and his attitude towards that question is becoming well known in this House. At the moment the main area in which brucellosis could affect our fortunes is in the export of meat. That fact has been quoted quite regularly from the Industries Assistance Commission report on brucellosis and tuberculosis. I take it that, because witnesses expressed their fears in this regard, the LAC recognised the problems that will occur with the United States market if we do not eradicate brucellosis in the near future. Certainly the former Australian Department of Agriculture stated evidence that it was the intention of the United States of America to extend a restriction on imports to imported dairy products. The Commission also referred in quite a few places in this report to the danger to beef exports. I quote from the LAC report: ... it was assumed that failure to eradicate brucellosis would lead to the termination of exports (whether from infected or non-infected animals) to the United States of America. I quote again from another part of that report: >The Commission believes that without eradication of brucellosis at least some dairy and beef export markets may be closed to Australia. This Government, a government that cares for industry, should press State governments and people involved in the beef industry to push forward with a full eradication campaign. Of course, as the honourable member for Fraser **(Mr Fry)** said, the question of who should pay arises. Basically the benefits do accrue. If we do not eradicate brucellosis it is the beef industry which will suffer most. The consumer will also suffer but in terms of hard cash the industry will suffer most. I suppose the overall economy also could be said to suffer in that any drop in Australian exports adversely affects our external balance and this has to be corrected by other exports or the cutting down of some imports. Basically I agree that the industry is bound to pay at least some proportion because it is the entity to which most of the benefits accrue. I can see also that the whole industry will benefit, not just the exporters. The honourable member for Fraser alluded to the fact that his Party allegedly did a great thing for the beef industry but the idea of putting a levy of 0.6c per lb on export beef for the eradication campaign reflected a rather cynical attitude. The Labor Government was known to disdain our rural export industries. I imagine that this was part of its false way of bringing down inflation by keeping down the local price of beef and other export rural products. The Government I support has seen the light because it decided to levy this $1 a head on the whole industry and it did so because not only the export beef industry but also the internal beef industry and the dairy industry will benefit from the eradication of brucellosis. I believe that most people who have anything to do with the export of beef or with people on the land would realise that we must get rid of brucellosis. Having decided in principle to do that there still are many problems unresolved. We know that many States still have not begun a test and slaughter campaign. One of the problems that must be resolved is the proportion that should be paid by the Government in accordance with the grounds I have cited. Obviously people on the land, the beef producers, should pay some proportion and obviously the State governments should pay some proportion. But also, as I said, the Federal Government should pay some proportion. The Livestock Slaughter Levy Amendment Bill will raise between $8m and $10m a year at the present rate of slaughter but that will not go very far towards meeting the cost of a full campaign. Last year, at the request of the New South Wales Government, the Federal Government supplied it with $8m but the State Government was able to contribute only about $2.5m towards the cost. The State government was left quite a bit short. The position was that because the New South Wales Government could not see its way to provide the remainder of the funds, the test and slaughter campaign had to be put back again. So there is a problem. What proportion should we pay and what proportion should we encourage the other people in the industry to pay? There are still problems involved in the slaughter of the cattle. There are problems with the unions associated with the abattoirs. The problems have arisen because workers in abattoirs are obviously worried about the effects that the slaughter of beasts suffering from brucellosis might have on them. No doubt they are aware of the fact that 70-odd people die each year from the effects of brucellosis. Certainly it is a problem that we have to overcome, hopefully with reasonable consultation between governments and unions. We have to overcome that problem in the near future. The other problem, of course, is the amount of compensation that is payable. If we say that the Government has to provide funds for the eradication of brucellosis - {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Can you detect it by looking at it? {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -- I am not quite aware of other problems, but certainly if I had done a veterinary course I would know the answer. I will refer a veterinarian to the honourable member who has just interjected so that he can solve his main problem, which appears to be how to detect brucellosis. I imagine that he talking about brucellosis in female animals. On that basis, I will certainly refer one of my veterinary friends to him in due course. But there is still the problem of the amount of compensation that the Government should provide. In different countries and in fact in different States of Australia, there has been some variation in what people think primary producers should obtain as part compensation for the loss of beasts which obviously is a necessary consequence in an eradication campaign. All these problems I hope will be solved in the near future. They are real problems and they must be solved if we are to maintain our export markets. If the witnesses to the Industries Assistance Commission inquiry- and there were many of them- were telling the truth there is a risk that we will lose the United States market. The United States, of course, has a ready-made rod for us if we do not eradicate brucellosis. Its policy in the past has been to impose hidden import restrictions on our beef when the time has come for it to have a cutback. If we do not get rid of brucellosis in our beef by the late 1980s the Americans will have another rod to beat us with, and that rod really will beat us, I fear. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- What are you suggesting? {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -- I suggest that we should get rid of brucellosis, and that is what I am talking about. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -But how? {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -- By an eradication campaign based on test and slaughter. The U.S.A. already has spent of the order of $S00m a year for the last 20 years in its eradication campaign. I understand that the Americans are hopeful of getting rid of brucellosis in that country within about 6 years. At that stage they are quite likely to say: 'Look, we have ideas about restricting imports. You have brucellosis in your country. We do not want imports of your beef. I cannot stress how much it is feared in my electorate that this will happen. The test and slaughter program which has been recommended by the State Departments of Agriculture, by the Federal Department of Primary Industry and by the IAC must get under way soon. Other countries are putting great effort into their programs. I understand that in Canada the test and slaughter campaign has been going on since 1956. In Eire the campaign has been under way since 1966. Of course, it is not likely that we will export to Eire. I mention also the United Kingdom to which we hope to export more beef. Its test and slaughter campaign has been running since 1967. The campaign in the Netherlands has operated since 1958. That campaign is pretty well finished. I might add that the campaign in Tasmania is nearly concluded and the campaign in Western Australia is very close to completion. In the other States in which brucellosis still persists at a level requiring action, we must get stuck into the problem. The Government must continue the provision of funds from the levy that it is about to collect. We must encourage farmers to realise the problems that could arise quite rapidly in 1982 or so when the United States of America, as I said, is quite likely to forbid Australia to export beef to that country. We need a greater awareness by farmers of these matters. We need a greater awareness by most of the State Governments. We require further a genuine and concerted effort by the Federal Government to prosecute this campaign for the eradication of brucellosis in Australian beasts. I welcome the fact that both sides of the House agree on the need for this legislation. I support these 2 Bills. Their provisions are marvellous for people in the country who will face a great many problems if we do not get stuck into this campaign. {: #subdebate-35-0-s6 .speaker-LE4} ##### Mr BAUME:
Macarthur -- It is a pleasure to follow my neighbour and friend from Eden-Monaro **(Mr Sainsbury).** With him, I look forward to a satisfactory result in an election this Saturday in a State sphere which covers part of his electorate. The matter about which we are speaking is one that is of vital concern to many beef producers in the electorate of Macarthur which has many high quality beef studs and cattle studs. I hope that the people of Australia will recognise and appreciate the hard work and dedication of those in this industry because there is not much reward for the dedication on the part of the many people who are committed to the view that they should try as hard as possible to bring a good quality product to the Australian people and to assist Australian exports by providing a top quality beef product which will attract additional export income for Australia. I commenced my contribution to this matter on the last occasion when it was raised by disclosing an interest. I wish to do so again. I have 2000 fifty-cent shares in a meat exporting company, Tancred Bros Pty Ltd. I am also a director of that company. I hope that other honourable members who have interests in matters which come before the House will follow a similar course of action and reveal the nature of their interests. I commend that proposition to the House. Even though my financial interest in the industry and in the company is not very great, I will admit, I do feel a great degree of commitment to the welfare of the Australian beef industry. It has had a most terrible battering- a disastrous battering. That battering to a degree resulted from the anti-rural policies of the Labor Government at the time. That Government imposed a levy at a period of temporary boom in the meat industry without any care, concern or worry at all about the consequences of that levy when the economic cycle turned, as it inevitably had to. That Government demonstrated a degree of arrogance and disregard for a major Australian primary industry and exporter that is typical of those in the Labor Party who appear to consider that Australia does not exist past the boundaries of its capital cities. What that Labor Government appeared to forget was that if its campaign of continual attack on primary industries in Australia, particularly the beef industry, achieved the end which apparently it was seeking- that was to drive producers out of business- it would have resulted in a massive increase in costs of all foods produced in Australia. The Labor Government that introduced this vicious charge on the beef industry set out to damage the farmers, who are supposed to be so well off, without any concern for the realities of the cycle, the ups and downs of any export industry. That Labor Government looked only at the 'ups' and forgot about the 'downs'. I suppose this attitude was reflected in its political activities; it continually thought of its temporary resurgence in 1972 and failed to look to its ultimate demise in 1975. There is in fact a cycle in all things and the only trouble with the Labor Party's political cycle is that it has a slightly eccentric wheel. When the meat export charge was imposed there was no doubt that the charge did not create a massive burden on the industry. Unfortunately the collapse of export markets created a disastrous impact on the industry. I would like to read a passage from the Industries Assistance Commission's report on this matter because I think it is an important reference. It states: >The meat industry export charge was introduced in November 1973 when the market was still extremely buoyant. In introducing the Bill in the Parliament it was emphasised that currently there is a very strong export demand for Australian meat and in these circumstances it is not expected that the charges will be passed back to the livestock producers. That position was true when the charge was introduced but so inflexible, so stubborn, and so determined are the residue who remain opposite; so obstructionist and antagonistic are they to the meat industry and in fact to any rural industry that when the circumstances changed they refused to change as well. The winds of change did not blow through their policies and as a result it blew through their numbers. Instead of representing something like 4 per cent of the saleyard price of cattle the charge now represents something like 10 per cent. This is the position at a time when most primary producers are losing money, when most beef producers are struggling to make ends meet and are going to the bank to look for their next quid. The Labor Government determinedly kept that levy on and in fact told the primary producers of Australia to go to hell. That is its positive contribution to the beef industry. There is no doubt that we face some degree of recovery in the beef industry. But it is a question of degree. We are not going back to the boom times, the exciting times of a few years ago when the Japanese suddenly discovered the particularly high quality of our chilled beef and rushed into our market to such an extent that they overpurchased and, I regret to say, entered into commitments that they could not meet. They encouraged many Australian companies to go into feed lots, for example, as joint ventures with Japanese operators. These ventures involved the investment of many millions of Australian dollars and they were undertaken on the understanding that the beef would be bought by Japan. There were contracts and arrangements. Regrettably these arrangements were not maintained when the Japanese Government took the view that the Japanese nation was over-supplied with cattle. As perhaps one or two honourable members on the Labor Party side know, cattle in Japan are fed on grain, and when the price of grain went up - {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- That is for Kobe beef but not for the rest. {: .speaker-LE4} ##### Mr BAUME: -- If the honourable member for Hindmarsh can point out to me the great open plains of Japan where animals graze at will, I will be most intrigued. I was unaware that Japan had large areas available for normal grazing. I thought it tended to be a fairly small place populated more by people. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- It is not all Kobe beef. There is a difference between Kobe beef and other beef. {: .speaker-LE4} ##### Mr BAUME: -- I am well aware that there is a difference between Kobe beef and other beef. There is no doubt about that. There is also no doubt that all stall fed beef is not Kobe beef. I state for the benefit of the honourable member for Hindmarsh that stall fed beef is grain fed. Stall fed beef cattle require grain to eat. Regrettably for the stall fed industry, a couple of years ago there was a massive increase in the grain price with the result that the Japanese faced great problems in feeding their animals. At the same time, of course, American stall feeders who like the Japanese produce a grain fed beef which I state for the benefit of the honourable member for Hindmarsh is not Kobe beef, also suffered a decline in their market. The results were that both nations wished to reduce the very large size of their cattle numbers and consequently there were reductions in Australian exports. It was a situation which the Australian producers or the Australian Meat Board could not have sensibly forecast. It cannot be forecast that there will be a collapse in a grain crop around the world forcing the price of the grain up to high levels. The immense impact that this has on the stall fed cattle industry is severe. It also had an effect upon Australia. The result was that the Japanese Government effectively broke undertakings that various Japanese companies had with Australian companies causing massive financial losses to the Australian beef industry and to Australian cattle producers. I mention by way of background, so that there is no suggestion of stupidity or foolishness in the sudden decline in the fortunes of the beef industry, that while all this was going on the Australian Labor Party Government at the time was totally aware of what was happening. Of course, it did not know what to do about it but it was aware of it. It did nothing despite the huge slump in the market and despite massive publicly reported losses in public companies. One pastoral company reported one of Australia 's biggest ever losses largely emerging out of the reverse in the beef industry. The Government was well aware of these losses and it still did nothing. It still levied this rip-off charge that knocked $20m out of this industry at a time when in many areas it was going broke. However, at the same time, the Government thought that perhaps something should be done. Of course, it did not know what to do because, frankly, in that Administration there was no one who understood the first thing about primary industry. The Minister for Agriculture at that time, **Senator Wriedt,** is a very nice fellow from a most worthwhile State which nonetheless tends to have a fairly limited grazing capacity. It appears to produce apples with a greater capacity and skill, which it also cannot sell, rather than beef. The fact is that the Labor Administration knew nothing about this industry. As a result of its accumulated wisdom it then decided to do something to help the industry in its time of strife. So having ripped off the industry $20m by way of an export tax, it decided to lend the money back to the industry with interest. That is a most curious way to help an industry. In fact, it put primary producers further into debt. {: .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr Hodgman: -- It put Shylock to shame. {: .speaker-LE4} ##### Mr BAUME: -- As the honourable member for Denison from the sunny apple isle says, the Labor Government put Shylock to shame. The key point I want to make is that this decision now to change the levy- to remove the serious burden on our beef exporting industry which is still in trouble- is a sensible, reasonable and proper approach. It is an approach that should have been taken a long time ago. I have heard honourable members opposite ask: Is it going to go back to the producers? The key thing is a suggestion that someone in the middle will get rich and fat as a result. Although I stress that the cattle market has improved a little and that our export markets have improved a little, let me read from the *Revised Outlook Statement on Meat* from the National Agricultural Outlook Conference in February this year. It states: >Overall, there is likely to be some improvement in market opportunities for exporters in the coming year. However, the likely expansion in the volume of imports permitted by major importing countries is still likely to be less than the potential increase in beef supplies available for export by major exporting countries. The market conditions clearly indicate that the scope for price recovery is strictly limited. So there is no question of being generous, over generous or anything like that to favoured sons in the beef industry. All that is happening is that the Government is at last getting off the back of the beef industry. The Government that got on the back of the beef industry was, of course, a Labor government. The present Government, which understands the beef industry, is the Government that is in fact getting off the back of the beef industry. A most curious proposition has been raised. It is that some fat cat in the middle will benefit from this whole business. I do not know whether honourable members directly opposite believe this. I do not include honourable members diagonally opposite who at least understand this industry far better than any member of the Labor Party could ever hope to understand it. The facts are that there is massive competition among processors in the industry. An appropriate expression would be that they are cutting each other's throat. There are many competitive processors. The profit margin that most processors earn is much less than 1 c in the $ 1 . {: .speaker-JUS} ##### Mr McVeigh: -- That is only 1 per cent. {: .speaker-LE4} ##### Mr BAUME: -Well worked out. Exactly. It is less than 1 per cent. Yet we hear these absurd remarks. Honourable members can check these figures. The profit margin is less than 1 per cent. We hear absurd remarks about the rake-off in the middle. In fact one honourable member opposite had the wit to produce a statement from official statistics showing the apportionment of the returns, before costs, from I lb of meat. The way the statistics were used showed a total lack of understanding by the Labor Party of what the whole industry is about. The things worrying this industry now are the massive rises in costs. It is absurd to produce statistics showing what happened to the return on 1 lb of steak or a piece of meat, without showing what happened to the costs as well. It is typical of the dishonesty of the gentlemen who occupied the Government benches that they would follow that kind of faulty reasoning. The facts are that the labour costs, for example, in this industry are now far higher than they were ever before. It now costs far more to process an animal than it does to buy it in the first place. That is a total disaster. The main rip-off comes in tax. Taxes and wages are the 2 big factors that are pricing Australian beef our of world markets. There are massive 23 per cent and 24 per cent wage rises in one hit, and the industry is expected to compete on world markets with countries which not only do not have our current rate of inflation but also which are devaluing. Our major competitors in the beef export markets are devaluing while Australia faces a very moderate change in its exchange rates as a result of its activities in a basket of currencies. Our costs are still rapidly rising as a result of 3 years of disastrous inflationary policies. I put to the House that this industry has had a belting as a result of the last 3 years of misdirected and disgraceful, I submit, governmental policies. It is now quite clear that it is to the industry's benefit as a whole- not just to one section of it- that the meat export levy has been removed and the brucellosis charge spread over all cattle instead of unfairly over one section of the trade, and that is the trade that goes to export. I expect that we will hear members of the Opposition reading the section of the IAC report which says that it may well be passed back. They will probably read half sentences that say that perhaps not all the benefit will come back. I submit that unless the beef processing industry gets a fairer return on its money than it has been getting over recent years, when the average return to beef producers has been something like onethird of the amount that honourable gentlemen opposite were prepared to pay out to investors in government bonds, this major export industry will continue to be in trouble. It is wonderful to see this Government trying to reverse the disgraceful and disastrous policies of the previous Government. I totally support this Bill. {: #subdebate-35-0-s7 .speaker-JM9} ##### Mr ARMITAGE:
Chifley -- I will not speak at great length. The honourable member for Macarthur **(Mr Baume)** said that he was a director of Tancred Brothers Industries Ltd and how hard the going is for that company these days. He said it is having a pretty rough time. I have a few facts about the position of Tancred Brothers in the last financial year. Admittedly, in 1974 its sales were $7 1.2m whereas in 1975 they were $5 1.7m. {: .speaker-JUS} ##### Mr McVeigh: **- Mr Speaker,** I rise on a point of order. I have listened to the honourable gentleman, but to this stage he has not mentioned the Bill or spoken to the Bill. I seek your guidance, **Mr Speaker,** on whether it is in order for an honourable member to take two or three minutes in a debate such as this on a Bill with a specific title without referring to the Bill. {: #subdebate-35-0-s8 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The point is well taken. I ask the honourable member for Chifley to relate his remarks to the Bill. {: .speaker-JM9} ##### Mr ARMITAGE: -- I am supporting the Bill. I am just making some points in reply to matters which have been raised in the debate and which ought to be fully understood because it is important that honourable members should know all about this Bill if they intend to support it. I am sorry that the honourable member for Darling Downs **(Mr McVeigh)** took so much time in taking his point of order. He could have done it much more quickly. As I said, Tancred Brothers' sales dropped and, of course, the reason is that the prices dropped. Even though sales dropped from $71m to $51m in a year, consolidated net profit went up from $112,000 to $213,000. In other words, even though sales dropped, profit went up by $100,000. I do not think the going was too tough if that is the case. I thought that this matter ought to be brought out. I am glad that the honourable member for Macarthur declared his interest in the matter before speaking. This is important and it is a good principle. In local government an alderman or councillor who has an interest in a matter must declare it under law. Strictly speaking, it is not required in this House but I am glad that the honourable member declared his particular interest in this legislation. I point out that the company has done very well indeed. I think that the profit carried forward amounted to some $1,289,000. So it is not doing too badly. As a director of Tancred Brothers, the honourable member no doubt is in a much better situation than he was with Patrick Partners. I think that the company is doing very well indeed. {: #subdebate-35-0-s9 .speaker-K5A} ##### Mr O'KEEFE:
Paterson -- I rise to support the 2 Bills that are being debated- the Livestock Slaughter Levy Amendment Bill and the Livestock Slaughter Levy Collection Amendment Bill. The national brucellosis and tuberculosis eradication campaign was commenced in 1970. At that time the Commonwealth Government's contribution was by way of direct grants to the various States out of Consolidated Revenue. The previous Government introduced the meat export charge legislation which, in the case of exports of beef and veal, raised 0.6c per lb for recoupment of the Commonwealth Government's contribution to this campaign. As honourable members know, that legislation was rescinded by this Government some little time ago to help the Australian beef exporters and producers to get back into the overseas markets, because in many instances they had been priced out of those markets by the actions of the previous Government. The purpose of these 2 Bills is to provide for the introduction of a further component to the livestock levy of $1 per head of cattle slaughtered on and after 1 July this year and to establish a National Cattle Disease Eradication Trust Account into which moneys raised through the additional slaughter levy imposed by the Livestock Slaughter Levy Amendment Bill 1976 will be paid. The only national cattle disease eradication campaign at present in operation is for brucellosis and tuberculosis. It has been stressed that the brucellosis and tuberculosis campaign is the only one that will be financed in this way. When we look at the Bill we find that, wisely, provision has been made to take care of other diseases that could occur in our cattle industry. Wider powers have been given to finance eradication of other cattle diseases should they occur. This is extremely important, because in our great cattle industry there are other exotic diseases which could occur in the herds. Brucellosis is a highly contagious disease causing abortion in cattle. This disease reduces productivity in the beef and dairy industries and is transmittable to humans. Evidence clearly shows that if brucellosis is not eradicated from Australian cattle there is a danger that imports of Australian beef and dairy products could be banned in other countries. Loss of those markets by beef and dairy producers could cause serious disruption to our economy. It could cause the producers of this country to face serious financial difficulties- more serious than they are facing at the present time with depressed prices and many of them being forced off their properties. Over the last 2 years the cattle industry has been in a very serious economic state. I think all members of this House realise that we have come from a very affluent situation 3 or 4 years ago to the point where cattle producers are finding it extremely difficult to carry on. The eradication of brucellosis involves vaccination followed by test and slaughter programs. Tuberculosis causes wasting and death in cattle and is transmissible to humans. Its economic consequences are similar to those of brucellosis. Export markets could be seriously affected with a resultant effect on the viability of our great cattle industry. Debate interrupted. {: .page-start } page 1820 {:#debate-36} ### ADJOURNMENT {: #debate-36-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! It being 10.30 p.m. and in accordance with the order of the House of 18 February 1 976 1 propose the question that the House do now adjourn. {: .speaker-5E4} ##### Mr Sinclair: -- I require the question to be put forthwith without debate. Question resolved in the negative. {: .page-start } page 1820 {:#debate-37} ### LIVESTOCK SLAUGHTER LEVY AMENDMENT BILL 1976 {:#subdebate-37-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed. {: #subdebate-37-0-s0 .speaker-K5A} ##### Mr O'KEEFE:
Paterson -As I was saying, **Mr Speaker,** export markets could be affected seriously with a resultant effect on the viability of the cattle industry, on the producers connected with the industry, and on the economy generally. The economic effects of both brucellosis and tuberculosis can be placed into 3 main areas: Human health, farm productivity and threatened loss of export markets. We know only too well the stringent regulations which the United States Department of Agriculture placed on our abattoirs that were exporting beef to the United States of America. We know that we had to spend millions of dollars in updating our works and our cattle processing plants to see that disease-free meat was exported to the United States and, indeed, to other markets. Brucellosis in humans in mainly an occupational disease affecting veterinarians, farmers, meatworkers and others who are in frequent close contact with infected cattle. It is interesting to note that the number of cases in humans reported in recent years has been relatively small. As was mentioned by a previous speaker tonight, they numbered about 70 but there would be many more cases not notified. Twelve cases were found to be due to infected milk, IS cases involved meatworkers, and others working in infected premises were infected mainly for reasons unknown We have to protect our great export beef industry. If we are going to protect it we have to see that our meat is disease proof. All our markets in the United States of America, Japan and Canada desire these precautions to be taken. I feel that this Livestock Slaughter Levy Amendment BUI will aid considerably the eradication of tuberculosis and brucellosis. Question resolved in the affirmative. BUI read a second time. {:#subdebate-37-1} #### Third Reading Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith. BUI (on motion by **Mr Sinclair)** read a third time. {: .page-start } page 1821 {:#debate-38} ### LIVESTOCK SLAUGHTER LEVY COLLECTION AMENDMENT BILL 1976 {:#subdebate-38-0} #### Second Reading Consideration resumed from 1 April on motion by **Mr Sinclair:** >That the Bill be now read a second time. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced. {:#subdebate-38-1} #### Third Reading Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith. BUI (on motion by **Mr Sinclair)** read a third time. {: .page-start } page 1821 {:#debate-39} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-39-0} #### Union Ballots-Education-Australian Assistance Plan-Imports of Fish and Chips- Court Proceedings Motion (by **Mr Sinclair)** proposed: >That the House do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-39-0-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I wish to raise a matter that is quite serious. It relates to the ballot shortly to commence in the Victorian Branch of the Federated Clerks Union. The ballot is being officially conducted by the Commonwealth electoral officer. The nominations for aU positions closed only a fortnight ago and ballot papers will go out, so I am informed, on 10 May, that is, the 10th of next month. The National Civic Council is fielding a full team for all positions behind the leadership of **Mr John** Maynes. These candidates are opposed by a full team of Australian Labor Party supporters. The matter about which I wish to complain and to which I require the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations **(Mr Street)** to turn his mind is the fact that the electoral officer conducting the ballot has taken the extraordinary step- unprecedented as far as I can ascertainof refusing to allow the candidates opposing the NCC nominees access to the electoral roll. This is an extraordinary and unprecedented action on the part of the electoral officer. With your concurrence, **Mr Speaker,** I want the Minister, by the time question time comes next Tuesday, to tell the House what steps he has taken to ensure that all candidates in this election are given equal rights to canvass the voters who will be deciding the result of the election. I have had a fair deal to do with officially conducted ballots. It is my experience that the electoral officer Will always make available to the opposing candidates the voters roll so that both sides Will have equal opportunity to reach the electors. The incumbent officials of course have the rolls available to them from the union office, so that the sitting officials have the decided advantage that they have access to the names of everybody who will be entitled to vote. If the electoral officer does not change his ruling quickly, it will mean that only one side to the election will know who is entitled to vote and the other side will have no opportunity to reach the voters. Nothing could be more detrimental to the good name of officially conducted ballots. Nothing could do more to bring into disrepute the Government's belief in officially conducted ballots than for the complaint that I am now talking about to be allowed to continue uncorrected. I say no more at this stage. I have plenty of other material which I shall use next week if I have not received a satisfactory answer from the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations about the electoral officer's behaviour. It is a new stance by the Electoral Office. I am very suspicious that there is some liaison or worse, some collusion, between the NCC and somebody inside either the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations or the Electoral Office. {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr Young: -- What about the Prime Minister? {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- It may even have been a directive from a Minister. Any of those situations would be too serious to contemplate and certainly too serious to tolerate. {: #subdebate-39-0-s1 .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr HODGMAN:
Denison -- I think honourable members will concede that I am not an aggressive person and that I seldom attack members of Her Majesty's Opposition except under the most extreme provocation. I believe the last occasion on which I was provoked to attack Her Majesty's Opposition was 17 February which we will remember forever as lamingtons and sour grapes day. It is regrettable that on another day which was given a name by many people to whom it meant a lot, namely E Day, we have seen in this Parliament a deliberate and concerted attempt by members of the Labor Party opposite to disrupt and wreck E Day and, more seriously, to prevent the right of access of constituents who travelled hundreds and hundreds of miles to Canberra to talk with their members about the pressing problems of education. I believe the Labor Party showed its true colours in respect of education today. It was obvious from the very outset that members opposite were determined to wreck and destroy E Day and to prevent the people who came here from talking to supporters of the Government including myself who have a genuine commitment to education. Shortly after question time arrangements had been made by myself and three of my colleagues, the honourable member for Braddon **(Mr Groom),** the honourable member for Franklin **(Mr Goodluck)** and the honourable member for Wilmot **(Mr Burr),** to rejoin a Tasmanian delegation with which we had been discussing education matters since before 10 o'clock this morning. What did we see? In the morning it was divisions, divisions, divisions- anything to prevent our getting out of the chamber to get back to our deputations, anything to prevent us from getting back to hear **Senator Carrick** address the rally. Members of the Opposition called division after division for the purpose of disruption and took points of order because they cannot take it. {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr Young: **- Mr Speaker,** I raise a very serious point of order as to whether the honourable member is entitled to charge the Opposition with using the chamber improperly by, under the Standing Orders, having divisions or even drawing the attention of the Speaker or his Deputy to the state of the House and the number of members present. {: #subdebate-39-0-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- No point of order is involved. {: .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr HODGMAN: -What members of the Opposition did not realise would happen was that at lunch time I went over to the rally, got on the platform and told the people why they had not seen members of the House of Representatives at that rally. I told them it was because the members were stuck in here because of tactics of members of the Opposition. What happened after lunch when we had appointments arranged? We have a new game in this Parliament. It is called the *Ted and Dick Quorum Show- the Parliamentary Kindergarten of the Air* and is under the sole management of the honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr Innes)** and the honourable member for Prospect **(Dr Klugman).** We had quorums. Of course there are others. They are all in it. They are all blackguards. The fact which is most fascinating about this is that they did not realise that a large number of people who came to this place to talk to us and whom we were meeting- we were dragged back to the chamber every time the bells rang- were members of the Labor Party. I have some petitions here, as a matter of fact, containing names of at least 6 members of the Labor Party. Those people saw members of the Opposition in their true colours and they were disgusted. It got to the stage that I brought my deputation into the chamber and I sat with them in the Speaker's Gallery, because that was the only place I could sit and talk to them without being brought back by the bells. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! If the honourable gentleman speaks to people in the Speaker's Gallery who are not members of the Parliament he will be out of order. {: .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr HODGMAN: -- Yes. The deputation has gone back to Tasmania. One of them is writing a letter of protest and he is writing it to **Mr Whitlam.** He could not believe that honourable members opposite could behave in such a disgraceful and such a reprehensible manner. They have shown themselves in their true colours. They have not wrecked E Day although they have inconvenienced hundreds of genuine people and scores of members of this Parliament. They acted like a bunch of bunnies. I suggest to them that the chickens will come home to roost because never again can they stand and say that they have a genuine commitment to education when they behave like a bunch of rabbits. The rest of the people in Australia now know them exactly for what they are. {: .speaker-JM9} ##### Mr Armitage: -- You got the money. {: .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr HODGMAN: -- And you are one of the worst, **Sir. I** hope it will be some time before I have to take a stockwhip to the members opposite again. Today was the day that they lost the great education debate. They will never regain the position of respect that they once held with a few members of the Australian community. They disgraced themselves and they are going to have to live with it for a long time. {: #subdebate-39-0-s3 .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG:
Port Adelaide -Of course the real test- without raising our voicesabout what happens with education will come with the Budget, and we will just sit here quietly. We know the honourable members from Tasmania. We saw them break down over the funeral benefits for pensioners so we can imagine what they will do over education. We will wait and see. If the honourable member finds being a member of Parliament too difficult he has an alternative. He can go back to Tasmania and seek some other employment. Quorums and divisions are provided for in the Standing Orders. I rise tonight to speak briefly on the question of the Australian Assistance Plan. I was originally a cynic about the Australian Assistance Plan but I have become a reasonably strong supporter of the scheme because I have seen the 58 organisations which needed funds and which were funded to the extent of about $504,000 in the western region of Adelaide, which includes not only my own electorate but also Hindmarsh and parts of Hawker and Kingston. A further 60 organisations in that region now have applications before the council of the Australian Assistance Plan seeking funds totalling $403,000. 1 know that if that money is received by these organisations it will do a lot to assist the way in which they in turn help the community and do a great job. I sincerely hope that the seminar that will be conducted this weekend in Canberra, although it has been broken down because of the restraint this Government wants everybody to show, nevertheless convinces the Government that the Australian Assistance Plan is here to stay. I rise tonight not merely to justify the existence of the Australian Assistance Plan. I am a little sorry that the honourable member for Hume **(Mr Lusher)** is not here. I say that not in a derogatory manner. The honourable member for Hume quite legitimately raised the question of whether too much of the money provided under the Australian Assistance Plan goes in fact to salaries and administration and too little goes into the community. He made a very protracted contribution on the adjournment debate one night on this subject. However, the Western Adelaide Regional Council for Social Development has taken the trouble to point out to the honourable member for Hume in a very comprehensive reply, as it ought to have done, the way in which the money is spent under the plan in our area and the proportion of each dollar that goes to the community groups and the proportion that is retained for administration. The reply shows, at least for the western region of Adelaide, quite serious flaws in the argument of the honourable member for Hume. I seek leave- I have spoken about it to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs **(Mr Viner)** who is at the table- to have the reply of the Western Adelaide Regional Council for Social Development incorporated in *Hansard so* that people can read both the statement by the honourable member for Hume and the reply, not from me but from the Western Adelaide Regional Council for Social Development. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. *(The document read as follows)-* >WESTERN ADELAIDE REGIONAL COUNCIL FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT > >A.A.P. Australian Assistance Plan 64a Woodville Road, > >Woodville, > >South Australia SOU. telephone 45 110345 6761 6th April, 1976. > > **Mr Stephen** Lusher, Member of Parliament for Hume, Parliament House, CANBERRA. A.C.T. 2600. > >Dear **Mr Lusher,** > >It was with a great deal of interest that we read the extracts from Hansard reporting your speech on the Australian Assistance Plan, given in the House of Representatives on March 4, 1976. It is only due to the interest displayed by Members of the House of Representatives that a scheme such as the Australian Assistance Plan can function properly in its context in the community. It is unfortunate, however, that some of the matters raised by you don't seem to have been properly answered by the Social Welfare Commission's 'Green Paper'. Please allow us therefore to point out some of the areas in which your perception of the Australian Assistance Plan may not be totally accurate. You state, for example, 'According to the report the cost of the administration and salaries of each region within the Australian Assistance Plan is based on a figure of about $66,000 in a full year'. You may notice through the 'Green Paper' that this is a recommendation for the future. In fact, for the financial year of 1975-76 each Regional Council for Social Development was allocated the sum of $40,000 for these purposes. That means that for the 34 regions you quote the amount of expenditure on administration grants would be $1.36m and not $2.2m. That, in other words, represents 1 8.5 per cent of the $7.4m not, as you stated, 40 per cent of the allocation. You further say 'in other words it is costing something like $2.2m to hand out $5.2m'. This may superficially appear to be the case. We can, of course, not speak for any region other than the Western Adelaide Regional Council for Social Development. However at the Western Adelaide Regional Council for Social Development the figures are much more encouraging than may be assumed by looking on raw data figures. The Western Adelaide Regional Council for Social Development has at its disposal $456,000 to be given to the community in grants to support community welfare activities. We have asked our Administrative Officer to prepare a statement (attached) indicating the amount of money it costs to administer those 456,000 dollars. As you may see from the statement, the figure is approximately $7,500. That represents about 1.65 per cent of the total grant figure of $456,000. That compares with 1.82 per cent of the total figure of funds available to the Department of Social Security spent on administrative and salaries, ($87m out of $4,772m) and, as you said earlier in your speech, that is 'not inordinately high'. This error in calculation is no doubt due to the assumption that Regional Councils for Social Development are established for the sole purpose of administering Capitation Grants. As the Green Paper documents, up till 1975-76 only 14 out of the 34 listed regions were, in fact, performing this function of administering Capitation Grants. In addition to that, all regions (both the unfunded as well as those regions with Capitation Funds) are performing social planning and community development activities. These activities are outlined on page 8 of the Green Paper and are quoted here for easier reference. 1.1 The Australian Assistance Plan (the AAP) is essentially a Plan for planning- it provides resources to enable a community to plan and develop social services in a way which reflects community needs and priorities. 1.2 It is concerned with the planning and co-ordination at a regional level of matters affecting social development. Through it all levels of government, community organisations, groups and individuals can become involved in social planning. 1.3 The AAP should be seen as complementing other planning mechanisms which may be established between the Commonwealth Government and State Governments within the social welfare sector. 1.4 The AAP is implemented through the establishment of Regional Councils for Social Development (RCSDs) which are independent organisations with a legal identity and which derive their income mainly from an administrative grant from the Commonwealth Government. This grant is intended to meet the basic salary and administrative costs of each Council. 1.5 By its composition and activities each Regional Council for Social Development enables government (i.e. Federal, State and Local Government), together with local organisations and interested members of the community, to consider the social needs of an area and the changing patterns of those needs; and then to plan for measures which will lead to an integrated and comprehensive range of social services being established within that region. 1.6 When fully implemented the AAP is intended to extend to every region of Australia although its actual operation may differ between the various states and within states between rural and urban areas. 1.7 The AAP provides a method of bringing together within a region all groups either with interests in or responsibilities for social development. Regional planning bodies have been created for other functions of government such as education, health, electrical supply and sewerage. Some of these are based on one level of government along, e.g. local governing authorities, but others are not. Regional Councils for Social Development complement these regional planning bodies. 1.8 The AAP provides some financial resources to be allocated by the Regional Councils for Social Development by way of grants for community welfare activities. However, this is not the major source of welfare grants. Other specific Commonwealth Government programs such as Community Health, Child Care, Community Arts, Tourism and Recreation, and the Aged and Handicapped Persons programs, for example, are the main source of funds for particular aspects of community welfare. 1.9 The Regional Councils advise the Commonwealth Government on the need for services in each region which may be funded through these specific programs. A statement is attached which outlines some of the activities in the social planning and community development field that the Western Adelaide Regional Council for Social Development has been involved in, other than the administration of capitation funds. You may see quite readily from this list that the vast majority of man hours is employed with assisting the community in a variety of ways other than merely handing out capitation funds. The Western Adelaide Regional Council for Social Development, in other words, uses capitation grants as only one of its resources to assist the community. Other resources include staff expertise and skills, and availability for assistance to the community. In your statement to Parliament you also refer to the breakdown of some of these administrative costs. These costs, as outlined in the 'Green Paper', are only a sample of what cost might occur in the administration of a Regional Council. This will of course vary from region to region as per requirements due to the size of population, area to be covered by the region, etc. In our case the cost of the executive officer who is, in fact, the Director of Social Planning, is about $13,800. In addition to that there is an Administration Officer who is in charge of capitation funding as well as providing advice to community groups (as far as their administrative problems are concerned) at a cost of approximately $1 1,000. Then there is a Secretary at the cost of $7,238 per annum. You may agree that all these figures are relatively low for the quality of service which is expected. Staffing overheads, as indicated by the 'Green Paper' amount to approximately 12.5 per cent of total salaries for payroll taxes, holiday pay loading, sick leave, workers compensation and other associated items. This amounts to another $4,000. * The significance or being a Director of Social Planning rather than an executive officer alone, is that apart from the executive functions this officer U also involved in social planning activities, including research, liaison work etc. When all this is added up, the figure of $36,000 has been reached. In addition to that, there are office rent, cost of equipment, stationary and supplies, telephone and postage expenses, etc. It is quite obvious that the figure of $40,000 at the moment is totally inadequate to cope with such requirements. There are insufficient funds to pay adequate travelling allowances, let alone, as you indicated in your speech, purchasing a car. All this so far has made no reference whatsoever to the tremendous amount of benefit to be derived by the community through the voluntary efforts put in by many members of the community. The AAP is an ideal vehicle to encourage and actually get the support (free of charge) of many skilled, dedicated and interested people. If the AAP were to be restructured it would be questionable whether there would still be the incentive for such voluntary participation which in itself must be worth a great deal of money in voluntary man hours. The Western Adelaide Regional Council of Social Development is fortunate to have amongst its members such notable people as 3 local Mayors, a number of Aldermen, several medical practitioners, a Regional Director of the Department of Community Welfare, a member of Parliament, Chairman of Community Councils for Social Development, a Superintendent of Police, a Baptist Minister and other activists in the community. The sheer potential, in terms of human resources, of such a group indicates the tremendous savings to government and the community by having an organisation such as the Regional Council for Social Development to bring together these people for the benefit of the community. We are putting a great deal of emphasis on this because it is an integral part of the process involved in the AAP which was not mentioned by you in your speech. Leading on from that, you may agree that the statement 'so it would cost $6m. to hand out $7.5m.' can no longer be seen as accurate. The $6m. administration grant, better called 'community development and social planning grant' involves a great variety of activities for the benefit of the community other than handing out the remaining $7. 5m. in grants. As for your statements on Professor Harris' minority report, it must be said that the Australian Assistance Plan is, in fact, working on a locality basis. Regional Councils are large enough to assist in making sure that the various local activities are co-ordinated and are co-operating with each other, but at the same time it must be stressed that both our capitation grant and our staff assistance is given to local groups, and not merely to regional or even larger bodies. We consequently disagree most strongly with the statements in the minority report, especially in view of the fact that Local Government, State Government, Federal Government, and Voluntary Agencies are well represented on our Regional Council ( as per Ministers ' Agreement and our Constitution). May I, at this point, quote from a statement made by the Minister for Social Security, the Hon. D. L. Chipp, on November21, 1975: 'Where the AAP is introduced with the support of State Government and guarantees the involvement of Local Government in its operation, a Liberal-National Country Party Government will continue to promote the development of the AAP and recognise Regional Councils for Social Development which have been set up on such a basis of cooperation between all levels'. May I quote further from the same statement: 'The Liberal and National Country Parties reiterate their commitment to supporting and enlarging participation in the decision-making structures relating to the AAP and reaffirm their commitment to the on-going nature of the Plan as a means of assisting individuals, groups and areas in greatest need of social welfare assistance at the community level . . .' 'We are in favour of increased funds for social welfare projects and agree that the AAP is, basically, a suitable vehicle through which social welfare funds may be channelled to the community . . .' 'Accordingly, a Liberal-National Country Party Government will continue the AAP as an experimental programme but will immediately consult with all Regional Councils for Social Development that have already been established to examine and review the progress of the AAP programme. In this review, care will be taken to avoid disruption to any legitimate community programmes already underway and there will be no changes made merely for the sake of change. In this review we will be concerned primarily to see that the AAP fulfils its original promise as a participatory scheme which gives all sections of the population a say in their community . . .' 'It has been falsely stated that the Liberal-National Country Party Government opposes the operation on a regional basis of diverse administrative, participatory and financial structures under the AAP. This is simply untrue '. May I on this occasion also quote from the official Liberal and National Country Parties Social Welfare Policy Document: 'We welcomed the introduction of the Australian Assistance Plan, because we believed that provision of some Commonwealth funds and assistance would act as a catalyst for citizen involvement in positive community service. We applauded the AAP's announced objective of establishing experimental schemes to see how grass roots participation could be increased. The Liberal and National Country Parties reiterate their commitment to supporting self-help groups and enlarging participation in decision-making. The AAP, however, has established some permanent structures in the guise of pilot experiments, and these need urgent evaluation. Imposition of artificial regions against the wishes of, and without consulting State and local governments is undesirable. We are concerned that the AAP does not appear to be adequately assisting those areas in greatest need, while devoting considerable proportions of its funds to affluent areas. Doubts about the plan and the inadequacies of prescribed and acceptable audit requirements. On returning to government we would re-examine the AAP. A Liberal and National Country Party government would immediately consult with the States, local governments and voluntary associations, with a view to establishing several pilot participatory schemes. We would encourage these schemes to have diverse administrative, participatory and financial structures, so that it might be determined which structures achieve the most desirable results in which situations'. This official policy statement raises a few important points. The Western Region of Adelaide can very well be seen as a natural community which does not consider itself imposed by the *Canberra government.* Evidence of this is that the AAP region and the Regional Organisation of Councils region is virtually the same and that on repeated occasions the Regional Organisation of Councils and its members have made it clear that it is their wish to retain the current boundaries. As far as the needs of the area are concerned there can be no doubt that the Western Adelaide Region is one of the most under-privileged in Adelaide and consequently it cannot be said that the funds of the AAP are going to affluent areas. Let me stress once more that due to the representation of all three levels of government and non-government voluntary community welfare agencies the Western Adelaide Regional Council for Social Development serves very well the role of a co-operating and liaising body which does not impose its views on the community but is representative of community opinion. We hope that in light of the information supplied to you herewith you will agree that the final statement of your speech 'if we are looking at fairly small cuts in the light of the Government's financial activities then I think that these amounts should be looked at seriously because I do not believe that any government could accept the recommendation in a report which asks for administrative expenses of $6m. in order to hand out to people an amount of $7.Sm.' are no longer accurate. We are seeking your assistance in bringing to the attention of Parliament this different and more accurate point of view. There can be no doubt whatsoever that many community groups have benefited greatly from the assistance of the Australian Assistance Plan, both financially and through the expertise provided by Community Development and Social Planning staff. The Australian Assistance Plan provides an opportunity for the community to determine its own needs and to do something about them. We feel that with the assistance of yourself and your parliamentary colleagues these benefits to the community can continue in the future. Yours faithfully, {: type="A" start="M"} 0. BENFREDJ {:#subdebate-39-1} #### Director of Social Planning Western Adelaide Regional Council for Social Development {: type="A" start="L"} 0. COGHLAN {:#subdebate-39-2} #### Chairman {:#subdebate-39-3} #### Western Adelaide Regional Council for Social Development Copies- Minister for Social Security, Hon. M. Guilfoyle {:#subdebate-39-4} #### Members of Parliament for Western Adelaide {:#subdebate-39-5} #### Regional Council for Social Development area. Regional Councils for Social Development. {: #subdebate-39-5-s0 .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG: -I thank the House. {: #subdebate-39-5-s1 .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY:
Monaro · Eden -- Last night I briefly touched on the matter of fish and chips. Today we had a representative of the community of Eden which is on the South Coast, in Canberra for E Day. He, in concert with many people who contacted members on this side of the House, was most disgusted with the attitude displayed in this House this morning. I found that during a period of about 1 *Vi* hours I was able to speak with this representative of Eden High School for only a few minutes. I was reminded of the statement I made last night about the problem created by the import of fish and chips. I was most gratified this morning to find that the few remarks I made in a very humble fashion as the member representing people who produce the raw products for fish and chips were mentioned by the Macquarie Broadcasting Service. For that reason several people telephoned me. It is amazing how few people in Australia realise how little of the fish that are caught in our waters we in fact eat. I am delighted to say that after speaking to people from the South Coast today I have discovered that the fishermen of Ulladulla- maybe some honourable members have been to Ulladulla; it is a delightful spot- will soon be selling fresh processed fish in Canberra. I hope that this will be a boon to our parliamentary dining room. {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr Young: -- Get some for Parliament House too. {: .speaker-SH4} ##### Dr Klugman: -- What about selling some milk too? {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -Does the honourable member want to sell Australian fish or is he in favour of South African fish? {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr Young: -- I asked you to get some fish for our dining room. {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -- I am very serious about this. I imagine that the fish caught in Port Adelaide is not worth eating. {: .speaker-SH4} ##### Dr Klugman: -- Why do you not sell some milk in Sydney? {: #subdebate-39-5-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! I would be grateful if the honourable member for Prospect would allow the honourable member for Eden-Monaro to talk about his chosen subject. If the honourable member for Prospect wants to talk about his subject I shall look for him if he stands. {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -I am very grateful for your intervention, **Mr Speaker,** in calling to order a person who obviously has no interest in Australian produced fish or Australian produced chips. Last year, during the Labor regime, we imported into Australia about 30 000 tons of potatoes. That is a fair sized shipload. That was done at a time when we were digging potatoes out of the ground in this country. At that same stage - {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Where else would you dig them from? {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -Out of your ears. At the same stage we were importing more than $lm worth of fish a week into Australia. The fish and chips problem was most anomalous because in a country in which the people go to the races, the football, the cricket, and to all sorts of events on Saturdays and Sundays and buy fish and chips on the way home, they are buying imported fish and imported chips. There is a need to develop an attitude in this country to Australian produced goods. Just as there has been a concerted effort by way of slogans and badges to promote manufactured goods we need a similar attitude towards primary-produced goods. Australians need to develop an attitude towards buying Australian fish and Australian chips. Those are the things that will support the people on the land in Australia and those out on the boats tonight fishing away with their poles and their nets. If Australians buy Australian fish and Australian chips they will support those genuine working people in my electorate who want to sell good fish and good chips to the football crowds of Australia. The honourable member for Mackellar **(Mr Wentworth)** has often asked the question, in the short time I have been here- and it will be a long time before I leave- why we should import into Australia commodities such as fish and potatoes. If we can cut down our imports obviously we will not have to export so much. {: #subdebate-39-5-s3 .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter -Before my time expired in the grievance debate today I was pointing out to the Parliament the ill-fated action taken by **Mr Rofe,** Q.C. against **Mr Wran,** the Leader of the Opposition in the State Parliament, for defamation. It was an unsuccessful action because **Mr Rofe** based his evidence wholly and solely on the New South Wales Par.liamentary Hansard. He was not aware, apparently, of parliamentary privilege. His instructing solicitors were none other than Norbett Lipton and Sankey, solicitors attorneys at law, and specialists in the litigious harassment of Labor parliamentarians. **Mr John** Giles Bourke, incidentally, was a building, real estate and land shark who duped hundreds of unsuspecting home seekers. This was the man who **Mr Wran** exposed in the New South Wales Parliament. He was charged on 9 counts of forgery and uttering valueless certificates for properties in Balmain, Glebe and Birchgrove. **Mr Rofe's** rough record is not limited to the case I have mentioned. In December 1974 the New South Wales Court of Appeal was critical of his behaviour as counsel for the respondent in the appeal case of Steele v. Mirror Newspapers. More surprising than **Mr Rofe's** response to my speech were those of the honourable member for Phillip **(Mr Birney)** and the honourable member for St George **(Mr Neil)** on Tuesday night, 30 March. The honourable member for Phillip described my remarks in this chamber as an unjust, miserable, false and vitriolic attack on a colleague of his at the New South Wales Bar. I repeat the accusations and throw them back in his own face. His defence of the man Sankey and his accusations against me were equally as unjust, miserable, false and vitriolic. I alleged in my speech on 1 April that Danny Sankey entered the witness box at the trial of Steward Harold Tange in the Sydney Criminal Court before Judge Hicks on 29 June 1971. Sankey gave sworn evidence that the accused Tange was in his solicitor's office in Pitt Street, Sydney, about an hour after a bank hold-up at Mascot by 2 masked robbers on 25 August 1970 at about 1.50 p.m. The honourable member for Phillip suggested that this was in no sense alibi evidence. I suggest to the contrary. I ask you, **Mr Speaker** Would not any person of moderate common sense conclude that evidence to this effect given by **Mr Sankey** was deliberately designed to invite the court to infer that the accused Tange, who casually dropped in on his solicitor at 2.50 p.m., was not likely to have been committing a robbery an hour earlier at the other end of the city of Sydney? **Mr Sankey** lent himself to this attempted deception. The honourable member for Phillip also explained that all but $132 of the $9,411, proceeds of the Mascot robbery, was recovered. He made this point to make light of police suspicions that **Mr Sankey** was being paid from the proceeds of Tange 's robberies. What the honourable member for Phillip neglected to mention was that at the time of the Mascot felony Tange was already on bail on 4 other armed hold-up charges, one of which involved the Clovelly branch of the Bank of New South Wales, when thousands of dollars were stolen and only $50 recovered. What happened to the proceeds of those robberies? In connection with the Clovelly bank robbery Tange was ultimately sentenced to 10 years penal servitude. *(Honourable members interjecting)-* {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! The House will come to order. The honourable member for Hunter cannot be heard. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- I notice that the honourable member for Phillip made no mention of **Mr Sankey** 's nightclub interests. He did not confirm, as I can, that **Mr Sankey** has a substantial share in the Caprice Restaurant at Rose Bay, where, for a price, he provides wealthy clientele not only with expensive fare but also with expensive telephone numbers. I said that I was surprised by the honourable member's intervention on behalf of his legal brethren. I was surprised, that is, until I happened by chance to be reading in the *Bulletin* of 12 May 1962 an article by **Mr Peter** Coleman, who is now the Chief Secretary in New South Wales. It was about a strange right wing organisation known first as the United Australia Movement and then as the New Guinea Party, which fielded candidates in the Federal election in 1963. **Mr Coleman's** article called the group 'off beat' and went on to justify that tag with details of its objectives, which were described variously as neo-fascist, war-mongering and ratbag. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: .speaker-JM9} ##### Mr Armitage: -- I move for an extension of time. {: .speaker-L1V} ##### Mr Yates: -- I move for an extension of time. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- There is no provision under the Standing Orders for an extension of time. The honourable member for Hunter will be entitled to another call if nobody else stands. I notice that the honourable member for St George is standing in his place. Is the honourable member for St George seeking the call? {: #subdebate-39-5-s4 .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr NEIL:
St George -I claim to have been misrepresented and I seek to make a personal explanation, **Mr Speaker.** During his speech the honourable member for Hunter **(Mr James)** said- I think it was a slip of the tongue- that I had made an answer in relation to the facts of the case to which he was referring. I believe that he meant the honourable member for Phillip. I made no reference to the facts of the matter in my speech. I confined myself solely to matters of general principle and I pointed out that I had no knowledge of those matters. {: #subdebate-39-5-s5 .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter -- I was saying that **Mr Coleman's** article called the group 'off beat' and that it went on to justify that tag with details of its objectives, which were described variously as neo-fascist, war-mongering and ratbag. I was fascinated to discover that the New Guinea Party's president and its candidate for the seat of West Sydney in the 1963 election is now a magistrate in the Australian Capital Territory. This magistrate, too, was recently involved in an interesting case- one in which he gave a most unusual ruling concerning the honourable member for Curtin **(Mr Garland).** If the Attorney-General **(Mr Ellicott)** wants some background on the magistrate he should consult his electoral neighbour, the honourable member for Phillip **(Mr Birney),** who, it turns out, was the New Guinea Party's vice president. What we are witnessing in the Queanbeyan Court are 2 scheming and unprincipled criminal lawyers who are pursuing not for the first time a case which has as its sole aim the vilification of leading Australian Labor Party politicians. They are being aided, abetted and - {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable gentleman is out of order. He is offending the sub judice rule. It being 1 1 p.m., the debate is interrupted. Does the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs wish to extend it? {: .speaker-EE6} ##### Mr Viner: -- No. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -The House stands adjourned until 2.15 p.m. next Tuesday. House adjourned at 11 p.m. {: .page-start } page 1829 {:#debate-40} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS UPON NOTICE The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated: {:#subdebate-40-0} #### Flood Relief and Reconstruction (Question No. 39) {: #subdebate-40-0-s0 .speaker-2E4} ##### Mr Lloyd: asked the Treasurer, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) Further to the answer to question No. 2379 *(Hansard,* 21 May I97S, page 2641), what sum was allocated to each State for flood relief and reconstruction under the Commonwealth-State arrangement in 1974-7S, and in 1975-76 to date. 1. Is any detailed investigation made by the Commonwealth before agreeing to finance flood restoration works to roads or levee banks in the States. 2. How does the Commonwealth validate claims from the States under the natural disaster arrangements. 3. Are sandbags required for levee bank strengthening paid for by the Commonwealth through its Natural Disaster Organisation or through the natural disaster arrangement {: #subdebate-40-0-s1 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Payments to the States for flood and storm relief and restoration purposes* were as follows: * Under established terms and conditions, the Commonwealth Government is prepared to meet all expenditures by a State in a particular year on agreed measures necessitated by 'major' disasters, including floods, in excess of a base amount set for that State. A 'major' disaster for these purposes is one which necessitates expenditure on agreed relief and restoration measures totalling one-tenth or more of the 'base' expenditure which, apart from assistance for personal hardship and distress, the State is required to meet in any year before Commonwealth assistance becomes available. This is intended to ensure that the Commonwealth Government does not become involved in numerous small natural disaster assistance schemes which the States are considered able to finance from their own resources. The relief and restoration measures the financing of which is supported in this way depend upon the circumstances applying and agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the State Government concerned. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The Commonwealth Government does not normally carry out any detailed investigation of its own to determine whether or not financial assistance for natural disaster relief in the States is required, as this is considered to be a State Government responsibility. If State Government investigation shows that necessary expenditure on relief and restoration measures could place an undue strain on the State's budget, the State may approach the Commonwealth for financial assistance. Any requests by the State Government are examined by the Commonwealth Government together with any relevant meteorological reports, press reports or information from the Natural Disasters Organisation, before the Commonwealth decides whether to provide assistance and if so on what basis and for what purpose. 1. A State which receives assistance under the natural disaster arrangments provides an audited statement of expenditures incurred to the Commonwealth Treasury as soon as practicable after the end of the relevant financial year. Advances may be made, however, on the receipt of claims made by the State in a form approved by the Commonwealth Treasury. The State ensures that any amount so advanced is not used or applied for any other purpose. Any moneys advanced that are not required are repayable by the State to the Commonwealth Government. 2. Where sandbags for levee bank strengthening are provided, as appropriate, by the Department of Defence to local government authorities, the costs are initially charged to the local authorities concerned. Such costs, however, could, where applicable, form part of the costs of flood relief expenditure claimed from the State which in turn could claim, subject to the requirements referred to above, re-imbursement from the Commonwealth Government. On page 36 of the Budget document 'Payments to or for the States and Local Government Authorities 1975-76' it is stated that, under a program of assistance for State Emergency Services, the Natural Disasters Organisation may make grants to the States to subsidise certain forms of disaster protection works, including levee banks. However, no assistance for this particular purpose has yet been paid. {:#subdebate-40-1} #### Public Service: Case of Mr W. F. Toomer (Question No. 49) {: #subdebate-40-1-s0 .speaker-JT9} ##### Mr Bungey:
CANNING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) Has action been taken by **Dr J.** B. Mathieson, Director of Health, Western Australia, against **Mr W.** F. Toomer, relating to statements made on television on 2 July 1974; if so, was this action initiated with the approval or aid of himself or his Department. 1. Was **Mr Toomer** charged and punished under the Public Service Act in respect of the same statements on the same television program; if so, what punishment was imposed. 2. If action has been taken, does he know whether **Dr J.** B. Mathieson intends to pursue the matter. 3. If it is to be pursued, what support will be provided by him or his Department. 4. Is any information available to support the view that the action is motivated by vindictiveness, spite or as a threat; if so, what is the nature of the information. 5. Did **Mr Toomer** receive a letter dated 11 July 1974 from Robinson, Cox and Co., 20 Howard Street, Penh, containing the statement that 'we would also appreciate it if you could let us know what compensation you are willing to offer to our client by way of damages'; if so, was this letter approved by him or his Department. {: #subdebate-40-1-s1 .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr Hunt:
NCP/NP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 understand **Dr Mathieson** has instituted civil proceedings, a matter which rests entirely with him and not the Department or myself. 1. Yes. **Mr Toomer** was charged under the Public Service Act in connection with statements made by him during television interviews on 28th June 1974 and 2nd July 1974. The penalty was reduction from Senior Quarantine Inspector (3), (4) and (6) As for ( 1) above. 2. No. {:#subdebate-40-2} #### Repatriation Inquiry (Question No. 146) {: #subdebate-40-2-s0 .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr Stewart:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What was the total cost of the Independent Inquiry into the Repatriation System. 1. What organisations representing veterans and their dependants have been invited to offer comments on the report. 2. When does the Government expect to be in a position to announce alterations in the Repatriation System arising from the recommendations of the report. {: #subdebate-40-2-s1 .speaker-JVV} ##### Mr Newman:
Minister for Repatriation · BASS, TASMANIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) The honourable member did not give the reasons he wished to have the total cost of the Independent Enquiry into the Repatriation System. If he wanted it as a basis of comparison with the costs of other enquiries, he should use the figures given here with caution as the cost of other enquiries may have been made on other different bases. Having said that, the estimated final cost of the Independent Enquiry into the Repatriation System is $834,000; this includes: the costs of salaries and travelling expenses for officers engaged full-time with the Judge in Sydney and on his movements around Australia and overseas the cost of salaries and travelling expenses of officers engaged full-time in the Department servicing the Enquiry; it does not include the cost of salaries of Departmental officers who were engaged in a part-time capacity in the provision of papers, comments and reports for the Enquiry. It also does not include certain administrative expenses such as the provision of superannuation rights, long service leave etc. associated with the service of officers engaged on a fulltime basis on the Enquiry. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. In tabling the Report on 19 February 1976,I invited interesting groups or individuals to make comments. Copies of the tabling statement were widely distributed to veterans' organisations throughout Australia. In addition, I expressly invited comments from the following organisations: Federal President, Blinded Soldiers of St Dunstans, Australia Federal President, Limbless Soldiers' Association of Australia Federal President, Federated T.B. Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen 's Association of Australia Hon. Secretary, Australian Services Council Federal President, Air Force Association Federal President, Regular Defence Forces Welfare Association Federal President, Rats of Tobruk Association President, Tasmanian Blinded Soldiers' Association President, Merchant Navy Association Chairman, Legacy Co-ordinating Council Federal President, Partially Blinded Soldiers' Association of Australia Federal President, Naval Association of Australia Federal President, The British Ex-Service Council of Australia National President, War Widows ' Guild of Australia National President, Australian Legion of Ex-servicemen and Women National President, Korea and South East Asia Forces Association of Australia National Secretary, Returned Services League of Australia Federal President, Totally and Permanently Disabled Soldiers' Association of Australia {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Veterans' organisations have been asked to provide their comments on the report within three months of the Tabling (19 February 1976), and the Government has undertaken not to act in respect of the Report until that three months has elapsed. {:#subdebate-40-3} #### Repatriation Department: Savings in Administration (Question No. 147) {: #subdebate-40-3-s0 .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr Stewart: asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) What savings have been made in the administration of the Department of Repatriation. 1. Where were these savings made. 2. Have any benefits or services available to veterans and their dependants been abolished or curtailed; if so, what are they. {: #subdebate-40-3-s1 .speaker-JVV} ##### Mr Newman:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. It is not possible to give details of savings made as at any particular date, but it has been estimated that $1,160,000 will be saved in administration costs by 30 June 1976. 1. In the main, reductions in overtime and staff travelling expenses, but also in various other administrative areas. 2. No benefits have been abolished or curtailed but some services have been reduced or discontinued. Examples of these are: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. reduction in number of visits by officials to country centres- this will reduce the personal advisory service to veterans and their dependants about their problems; 1. cancellation of screening films in Repatriation hospitals, as adequate numbers of good television sets are now available for patients. {:#subdebate-40-4} #### Telephones: Installation Costs (Question No. 172) {: #subdebate-40-4-s0 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP asked the Minister for Post and Telecommunications, upon notice: >What is the estimated average cost of installing (a) private and (b) public telephones. {: #subdebate-40-4-s1 .speaker-KZL} ##### Mr Eric Robinson:
MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >Telecom Australia has advised me that in 1974-75 an investment of $2,850 on average was involved in providing each additional service. For public telephones, additional costs of $ 1, 600 would be incurred on average for the cabinet, instrument, exchange equipment modifications and the provision of power. 1830 REPRESENTATIVES 29 April 1976 *Answers to Questions* {:#subdebate-40-5} #### Point Nepean Forts (Question No. 192) {: #subdebate-40-5-s0 .speaker-4H4} ##### Mr Hamer:
ISAACS, VICTORIA asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) Now that the Government has decided to transfer the Point Nepean Quarantine and Defence Reserve to Victoria as a national park, will he make arrangements to restore the historic forts at Point Nepean as a tourist attraction. 1. Has his attention been drawn to the great interest such restorations have aroused overseas. 2. Would this restoration be an excellent long-term project for, say, the Army apprentices. {: #subdebate-40-5-s1 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen:
Minister for Defence · MORETON, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 will be happy to arrange for the honourable member and appropriate officials of the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments to visit Portsea and consider what arrangements might be contemplated. 1. Yes. 2. No. Army apprentices undergo a long term and full time course, which would not permit their involvement in such a task. {:#subdebate-40-6} #### Wollongong University College (Question No. 224) {: #subdebate-40-6-s0 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Did Wollongong University College make a submission to the Australian Universities Commission's Medical Education Committee involving a proposal to establish a Graduate Medical School at the College in September 1 972. 1. If so, was this proposal evaluated by a working party established by the Hospitals and Health Services Commission; if so, with what result. 2. Does the Hospitals and Health Services Commission support the proposal to establish a Graduate Medical School at the now autonomous Wollongong University; if so, will the matter be considered in the context of the next Federal Budget. {: #subdebate-40-6-s1 .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr Hunt:
NCP/NP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. (a) The Wollongong University College did make a submission to the Universities Commissions' Committee on Medical Schools proposing the establishment of a medical school. The proposal was closely associated with a scheme for graduate training of general practitioners to be developed in association with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. The Committee recommended that the proposal by the University College not be supported but the Government deferred a final decision on this aspect of the report until further enquiries being undertaken by the Hospitals and Health Services Commission were completed. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. In its submission to the Universities Commission for the 1976-78 triennium, the University of Wollongong proposed the establishment of a postgraduate department of community medical practice, as an initial development in 1976. The Commission commented in its Sixth Report that the establishment of a postgraduate department of community medical practice should not be considered in isolation from the proposal to establish a medical school at the University of Wollongong 1. The proposal mentioned in ( 1 ) (a) was considered by a working party established by the Hospitals and Health Services Commission and the resulting report 'A Report on the Integration of Health Services and Health Education Facilities in the Illawarra Region', was tabled in Parliament 22 April 1975. The working party's report recommended, inter alia, that the Australian Government should agree in principle to provide resources for the addition of facilities and services in accordance with the health care needs of the Illawarra Region, but in such a way that they could be adapted and used in a future approved educational program of the type envisaged in the Wollongong proposal. The report also recommended that a planning team be appointed to report on the additional facilities and services required for this purpose and the additional hospital facilities that might be necessary. The planning team would also be asked to advise, in consultation with the Universities Commission, on the outlines of the features of a possible future medical school at the University of Wollongong 2. The matter will not be considered in the context of the Budget for 1976-77. {:#subdebate-40-7} #### Oil Companies Merger (Question No. 263) {: #subdebate-40-7-s0 .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr Stewart: asked the Treasurer, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) Can he say whether Ampol and H. C. Sleigh are considering a merger to allow the joint company to effect a takeover of Amoco. 1. If so, has the proposed merger and takeover been referred to the interdepartmental committee on foreign investment for consideration. 2. Has the Australian Industry Development Corporation been approached to fund the takeover; if so, how much has been requested and what would be the terms of the loan, if granted. 3. In the event of the proposed takeover becoming effective, will the employment of the staff of Amoco be safeguarded. 4. Would the proposed merger and takeover be in the interests of Australia. {: #subdebate-40-7-s1 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) I am not in a position to state whether Ampol and H. C. Sleigh are considering a merger in order to effect a takeover of Amoco. It is a matter for the parties concerned to make public such details as they see fit concerning any plans that they might have in a matter of this nature. 1. As the honourable member knows, matters referred to the former Foreign Investment Advisory Committee (as with its predecessors, the Committee on Foreign Takeovers and the Foreign Investment Committee) are confidential to the parties concerned. The only exception to this rule arises where an Order is made and published in the Gazette. This practice has been accepted by successive Australian Governments. 2. Discussions between the Australian Industry Development Corporation and its clients are confidential. 3. and (5) See ( 1) and (2) above. {:#subdebate-40-8} #### Geelong Air Cadets (Question No. 313) {: #subdebate-40-8-s0 .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice: >On what date will his undertaking made in Geelong to restore full Government financial support to the Geelong Air Cadets be honoured. {: #subdebate-40-8-s1 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >As I indicated to the Parliament on 31 March 1976, it is hoped that a decision on the arrangements to apply in the Defence Force Cadet organisation will be announced in the near future. Foreign Vessels: Fisheries and Health Hazards (Question No. 335) **Mr Lloyd** asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Further to question No. 128 concerning patrol boats, quarantine and foreign fishing vessels, does his statement that the appropriate level of Defence Force effort is being provided refer to the possibility that the number mentioned is the maximum that can be provided or to the possibility that the level of activity is adequate to protect this country from either threat. 1. In his reply will he consider the accusation that Oriental Fruit Fly was introduced into Australia by Taiwanese fishing vessels. {: #subdebate-40-8-s2 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) 'Appropriate' implies that the present Defence Force effort is assessed as cost effective by the relevant authorities. It is not of course the maximum which could be provided should priorities change in the amount of effort allocated to assistance to the civil authorities as against purely Defence matters. 1. Whether or not foreign fishing vessels pose problems of a fishery or health nature falls within the jurisdiction of my colleagues the Ministers for Primary Industry or Health. {:#subdebate-40-9} #### Defence: Rottnest Island Installation (Question No. 379) {: #subdebate-40-9-s0 .speaker-JT9} ##### Mr Bungey: asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has consideration been given to the closure of the Defence installation on Rottnest Island, Western Australia; if not, how long is it anticipated that it will be required for Defence purposes. 1. For what purpose is it currently used, and how many Defence personnel are normally stationed there. {: #subdebate-40-9-s1 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The matter has been carefully and thoroughly investigated and continued use of this Defence installation for the foreseeable future is confirmed. 1. Defence (Army) controls approximately 106 hectares of which only SO hectares are not available to the public. The island continues to be used frequently for training. The types of training undertaken include assault, swimmer courses, underwater demolition training, navigation exercises, operational mapping exercises and annual Army Reserve training. Use is also made of the facility for training by Navy and RAAF. There is only one Military member permanently stationed on the Island. He has one assistant for approximately three months of the year. {:#subdebate-40-10} #### Adult Wage (Question No. 72) {: #subdebate-40-10-s0 .speaker-JUS} ##### Mr McVeigh: asked the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) Is it a fact that increases in the Consumer Price Index have only been approximately 40 per cent of the increases in the adult wage over the past 5 years. 1. If so, has this huge wage increase contributed to (a) the mammoth increase in unemployment under the Whitlam Government by making it more costly for employers to provide jobs and (b) the slowdown in general economic activity with disastrous results to all. 2. Is this particularly disadvantageous to the rural industry which is not only vulnerable to seasonal conditions but also competition from products from low wage countries. {: #subdebate-40-10-s1 .speaker-KVM} ##### Mr Street:
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Public Service Matters · CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In the five years to the December quarter 1975, the Consumer Price Index increased by 68 per cent compared with an estimated increase of 132 per cent in the average weekly minimum wage rates for adults and 99 per cent in the average weekly male earnings. 1. Yes. 2. The rural industry has been disadvantaged, as indeed have many Australian industries, through the erosion of their competitive position in relation to many overseas countries. With the escalation of costs the rural industry has been particularly vulnerable since it has much less scope than other industries to increase the price of its products. {:#subdebate-40-11} #### Unemployment Benefit (Question No. 233) {: #subdebate-40-11-s0 .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: asked the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) Has he directed or has a direction been Issued that girls who refuse employment away from their homes are to be refused unemployment benefit. 1. If so, has this direction been implemented to force girls to accept seasonal employment where minimal accommodation is available and privacy not considered. 2. Is it considered to be a reasonable condition to apply that, unless girls are prepared to leave home and occupy mixed accommodation, they will be refused unemployment benefit. {: #subdebate-40-11-s1 .speaker-KVM} ##### Mr Street:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) No such direction has been issued. It has been the policy of successive Governments for many years that, in order to satisfy the Work Test, a female recipient of Unemployment Benefit should be required to accept employment away from home provided that the person concerned is over 18 years, is single, and is not pregnant. This policy was confirmed by the Government in January when it announced new measures relating to the administration of the Work Test. 1. and (3) Seasonal harvest employment because of its temporary nature is not normally included in the range of employment used to work test girls. The Commonwealth Employment Service has a clear policy in relation to female workers wishing to undertake seasonal work. For example, in the case of the dried fruits harvest, in the Sunraysia district, if any females indicate they would like to work on the harvest, and if growers are willing to accept them, the CES will not refer them unless, to the best of its knowledge, the accommodation is of acceptable standard. {:#subdebate-40-12} #### Unemployment Benefit (Question No. 236) {: #subdebate-40-12-s0 .speaker-K9J} ##### Mr Keith Johnson:
BURKE, VICTORIA · ALP asked the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, upon notice: >Has a directive been issued by him or his Department that recipients of unemployment benefit will no longer be eligible, if they refuse employment because the prospective employer refuses to pay award rates of pay. {: #subdebate-40-12-s1 .speaker-KVM} ##### Mr Street:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >No such directive has been issued to or by my Department. If a person declines an offer of employment or leaves a position, allegedly because the employer refused to pay the award rate for the job, and if after investigation his allegations are correct, his eligibility for unemployment benefit is not affected. I would like to add that the Commonwealth Employment Service does not refer applicants to employment where it is aware that the employer is paying below the award rate. NEAT Scheme (Question No. 265) {: #subdebate-40-12-s2 .speaker-ZJ4} ##### Mr Willis:
GELLIBRAND, VICTORIA asked the Minister for Employment and Industrial relations, upon notice: >How many persons are currently training under the NEAT system on (a) a full-time basis and (b) a pan-time basis. {: #subdebate-40-12-s3 .speaker-KVM} ##### Mr Street:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The most recent statistics relating to the number of persons in training under NEAT are as at end March. > >The total number of trainees at that date was 7404 persons. > >This total was made up as follows- > >4SS2 persons in full-time formal training > >705 persons in part-time training > >236 persons undertaking training, by correspondence > >1 828 persons in in-plant, ie on-the-job training > >83 persons in a combination of in-plant and formal training. NEAT Scheme (Question No. 266) {: #subdebate-40-12-s4 .speaker-ZJ4} ##### Mr Willis: asked the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, upon notice: >How many persons have sought assistance under the NEAT system for (a) full-time training and (b) part-time training since 1 1 February 1976. {: #subdebate-40-12-s5 .speaker-KVM} ##### Mr Street:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >Figures on persons seeking assistance under NEAT and who are interviewed in this regard do not differentiate between those wanting full-time as opposed to part-time training. > >During the months of February some 2030 people were interviewed with regard to their consideration for assistance under NEAT. During March 1594 people were so interviewed. > >As at end March there were 4552 persons in full-time training and 705 persons in part-time training. {:#subdebate-40-13} #### Building Industry (Question No. 394) {: #subdebate-40-13-s0 .speaker-KSF} ##### Mr Les McMahon:
SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP asked the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many tradesmen in the (a) building and (b) metal trades industries are unemployed in each State. 1. What was the intake of apprentices in each of these industries during the last 5 years. 2. Were they indentured or trainee apprentices. 3. Is there a uniformity in examination standards in these trades throughout the Commonwealth. 4. 5 ) How many apprentices were admitted to each of these trades in each Commonwealth Department during the last 10 years. {: #subdebate-40-13-s1 .speaker-KVM} ##### Mr Street:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="A" start="1"} 0. I ) The number of unemployed tradesmen registered with the Commonwealth Employment Service at the end of March 1976 in the building and construction and metal industries in each State was: {: type="1" start="3"} 0. The figures quoted relate only to indentured apprentices. 1. Examinations to assess the proficiency of apprentices at various stages during their technical education studies are conducted by the appropriate State authorities. In addition, apprentices in the licensed trades such as electricians and plumbers are tested before being allowed to practise their trade. Apprentice trainee tradesmen who move from one State to another are accepted by employer and union alike except in the licensed trades where recognition may not be automatic. 2. Figures relating to the intake of building and metal trades apprentices into each Commonwealth Department during the last 10 years are not readily available. However, my Department is currently obtaining information on intakes covering the last five years. When this information becomes available I will send it to the honourable member. {:#subdebate-40-14} #### Department of Defence: Air Travel Payments (Question No. 356) {: #subdebate-40-14-s0 .speaker-JT9} ##### Mr Bungey: asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice: >What sum has been paid by his Department to each airline for air travel within Australia during the last 2 years. {: #subdebate-40-14-s1 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {:#subdebate-40-15} #### Department of Health: Air Travel Payments (Question No. 360) {: #subdebate-40-15-s0 .speaker-JT9} ##### Mr Bungey: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: >What sum has been paid by his Department to each airline for air travel within Australia during the last 2 years. {: #subdebate-40-15-s1 .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr Hunt:
NCP/NP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {:#subdebate-40-16} #### New Zealand Meat Prices (Question No. 275) {: #subdebate-40-16-s0 .speaker-2E4} ##### Mr Lloyd: asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) Has he studied the New Zealand meat price stabilisation or price smoothing scheme. 1. If so, can he say how the scheme is financed, how it is operating this year, and what types of meat are in the scheme. 2. What is the minimum price, in Australian currency, for each type of meat in the scheme. 3. Does he intend to recommend such a scheme for Australia; if not, why not. {: #subdebate-40-16-s1 .speaker-5E4} ##### Mr Sinclair:
NCP/NP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. The scheme covers beef, lamb and mutton and is aimed at reducing peaks and troughs in returns to meat producers. The scheme is administered by the Meat Export Prices Committee, a group with members from the Government and the New Zealand Meat Producers Board. Under the scheme minimum prices for individual categories of meat are fixed in advance of each season on the basis of 'bench mark' grades for each category, with appropriate relativity between individual products and grades. A trigger price for each category of meat is also established prior to the commencement of each season at a level between 20 and 30 per cent above the minimum price. Prices are permitted to fluctuate between the minimum price and the trigger price without any adjustments. If prices exceed the trigger point, levies are paid into buffer accounts within the Meat Industry Stabilisation Account at the New Zealand Reserve Bank. The levies which are set for each 'bench mark' grade are determined each week, if necessary, following the announcement of the exporters' schedule of prices. Should market realisations not enable exporters to pay a schedule price at least equivalent to the minimum price, the Board makes supplementary payments to producers or would intervene in the market, or both, to ensure the producers receive the minimum price. The scheme is underwritten by the New Zealand Government to the extent that approval is given for Reserve Bank loans when the buffer accounts are in debit. One per cent interest is charged on the Reserve Bank loan. At present, prices for all grades of meat are at a level between the minimum and the trigger. There have been no payments to growers for any grade of meat during the last two months. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. The New Zealand grades of meat do not necessarily have an exact Australian equivalent. The following table gives examples of minimum prices for the main New Zealand grades of meat: 1. The Australian Government has Constitutional authority to introduce a scheme similar to the New Zealand scheme only in the A.C.T. and N.T. An Australia wide scheme could operate only with the agreement of the State Governments and with the introduction of appropriate legislation in each State. To be effective, a minimum price scheme would have to be operative Australia wide, or, at least in those States with geographic proximity. Otherwise, it could be expected that cattle would be moved from States without a minimum price into those where a minimum price operated when prices in the former areas were below those in the latter. Another difficulty in the introduction of a minimum price scheme in Australia is the lack of operational carcase classification systems. The Australian Meat Board is currently carrying out a program of technical research into, and commercial testing of, objective carcase classification. 1 have asked the Board to conclude its investigations as quickly as possible with the view to having the scheme introduced early in 1977. A special meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council was held in September 1975 to consider a minimum price scheme for cattle. I understand very little enthusiasm was displayed by some of the State Agricultural Ministers present at the meeting for such a scheme, notwithstanding that Tasmania and Western Australia had separately introduced comparable schemes. Subsequently Western Australia suspended its scheme. Nothing concrete eventuated from the Agricultural Council meeting and in view of the State attitudes clearly expressed at that time, I doubt that any useful purpose would be served by reviving the proposal at this time. {:#subdebate-40-17} #### Imported Books (Question No. 271) {: #subdebate-40-17-s0 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: asked the Treasurer, upon notice: >What was the retail or wholesale value of imported (a) comic books and (b) paperback novels during each of the last 5 years. {: #subdebate-40-17-s1 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The Acting Commonwealth Statistician has indicated that statistics regarding the retail or wholesale value of imported comic books and paperback novels are not available. Some statistics are collected on the value of imports of these commodities. However, separate figures for imports of paperback novels are not available; imports of paperback novels are included with imports of all other paperbound or unbound books and booklets. > >The following table shows the value of imports (in thousands of dollars) of the relevant commodities, as identified for statistical purposes, for the financial years 1970-71 to 1974-75. {:#subdebate-40-18} #### Soviet Warships in Indian Ocean (Question No. 43) {: #subdebate-40-18-s0 .speaker-CV4} ##### Mr Jacobi:
HAWKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Can he say how many visible surface warships or sighted submarines of the Soviet Union were in the Indian Ocean in each of the years 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1975 and to what categories of warships, e.g. cruiser, destroyer, submarine, mine-sweeper, etc., do they belong. 1. Is there any estimate of the ship days spent in the Indian Ocean by these vessels in each year; if so, what are the details. 2. Is he able to say to what facilities in what countries Soviet warships have access. 3. Are statistics available as to how many Soviet warships have passed through the Suez Canal since its re-opening. 4. Does the Australian Navy have its own reconnaissance to monitor these movements, or are the statistics supplied by British or United States or other reconnaissance. 5. Do Australian satellites sweep the Indian Ocean area in regular orbits. 6. Has he any information as to whether Soviet, American, British, or any other satellites also sweep the Indian Ocean area in regular orbits. {: #subdebate-40-18-s1 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) Typical average presences of Soviet naval and navalassociated ships in the Indian Ocean 1 97 1 - 1 975 are as shown in the Table below. Figures placed in brackets indicate additional annual average estimates of units engaged in harbour clearance of Chittagong (Bangladesh) and minesweeping operations in the Gulf of Suez. Note: 'Auxiliaries' include ships fulfilling a naval logistics role. 'Other' includes space-associated, research and intelligence ships. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Estimates of ship days for Soviet naval and navalassociated ships in the Indian Ocean 1971-1975 are as shown in the Table below. Figures placed in brackets indicate additional annual average estimates of units engaged in harbour clearance of Chittagong (Bangladesh) and minesweeping operations in the Gulf of Suez. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Before 1973, Soviet naval and naval-associated vessels were almost entirely dependent upon support facilities provided by auxiliaries and support vessels located in open sea anchorages. Since then the Soviets have been permitted relatively free and unrestricted access to facilities in Berbera (Somalia), Aden (People's Democratic Republic of the Yemen) and ports in Iraq including Umm Qasr Somalia In Berbera the Soviets have assisted in the extension of port facilities, including the building of a petrol, oil and lubricants storage area. They have also built a naval communications station (which is probably used to pass their own Indian Ocean traffic) and barracks and houses for Soviet technicians stationed at Berbera. A cruise missile storage and maintenance facility has been constructed there by the Soviets, and a major airfield should be completed by 1976; the U.S.S.R. should have at least access to these two facilities, and probably will retain a degree of control over their operation. While there are no docking or repair facilities ashore at Berbera, Soviet tenders, berthed there, provide maintenance support. Late last year the Soviets delivered to Berbera a large floating dry dock that is capable of handling any of the Soviet submarines that have operated in the area, as well as Soviet warships up to the size of a Kresta II guided-missile cruiser. Somalia relies heavily on Russian aid for its military supplies and in July 1974 signed a Treaty of Friendship with the U.S.S.R. People's Democratic Republic of the Yemen In Aden there are extensive repair facilities including a floating dry dock. The Soviets have made limited use of these facilities but not to the extent they have used the facilities in Berbera. Iraq In Iraq, the Soviets have limited berthing and refuelling facilities available to them at Umm Qasr as required. The extent of facilities available at Basra is unknown. Other Countries Other ports are visited by Soviet naval units but not on a regular basis. The Soviet Union could expect access to commercial facilities in ports belonging to countries with which she has diplomatic relations, provided the normal international diplomatic practice of obtaining prior clearance for a visit by naval vessels were observed. In many cases the facilities available are minimal amounting only to anchorages or alongside berths, although in Singapore, where Russian naval auxiliaries have been observed making use of commercial maintenance and repair facilities, such facilities are comprehensive. Countries recently visited include Mauritius (where Soviet aircraft have landing rights for the transfer of trawler crews at Port Louis), Kenya (Mombasa), Sri Lanka (Colombo) and India. Anchorages 'Open Sea' anchorages are still used. Anchorages most frequently used are: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Off the island of Socotra (People's Democratic Republic of the Yemen) in the Arabian Sea; 1. Off the Chagos Archipelago (British); and 2. Off islands in the Seychelles group. {: type="1" start="4"} 0. As at the end of March 1976 there have been 16 transits of the Suez Canal by Soviet naval or naval-associated ships since that waterway re-opened in June 1975. This total comprises five transits by combatants, four by auxiliaries and seven by other naval or naval-associted ships. 1. In addition to Australian information, a variety of sources are used to compile statistics on Soviet movements in the Indian Ocean. 2. and (7) Australia possesses no orbiting satellites. It is presumed that other nations have satellites passing over the Indian Ocean area in regular orbits.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 April 1976, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.