House of Representatives
29 August 1979

31st Parliament · 1st Session

Mr SPEAKER (Rt Hon. Sir Billy Snedden) took the chair at 2. 1 5 p.m., and read prayers.

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The Clerk:

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


To the Honourable, the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives, of the Australian Parliament assembled. The petition of certain citizens of New South Wales respectfully showeth:

Dismay at the reduction in the total expenditure on education proposed for 1980 and in particular to Government Schools.

Government School bear the burden of these cuts, 1 1.2 per cent while non-Government school will receive an increase of 3.4 per cent.

We call on the Government to again examine the proposals as set out in the guidelines for Education expenditure 1980 and to immediately restore and increase substantially in real terms the allocation of funds for education expenditure in 1 980 to Government schools.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Armitage, Mr Lionel Bowen, Mr Carlton, Mr Connolly, Dr Edwards, Mr Ellicott, Mr Gillard, Mr James, Mr Charles Jones, Mr Lusher, Mr MacKellar, Mr Leo McLeay, Mr Morris, Mr O’Keefe and Mr West.

Petitions received.

Commonwealth Employees (Employment Provisions) Act

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of electors of the State of New South Wales respectfully showeth:

That the Commonwealth Employees (Employment Provisions ) Act 1977 should immediately be repealed because:

It provides unfettered power to Ministers to suspend, stand-down and dismiss Commonwealth Government employees and places them in a markedly disadvantageous position as compared with all other Australian workers.

Its use places Commonwealth Government employees in direct conflict with the Government as it circumvents the arbitration tribunals and denies appeal rights.

Its use will exacerbate industrial disputes and inflame industrial relations in the Commonwealth area of employment.

The International Labour Organisation has condemned the Provisions of the Act as being incompatible with the rights of organised labour in a free society.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Dr Edwards, Mr Fife, Mr Les Johnson, Mr Lusher and Mr Leo McLeay.

Petitions received.

Commonwealth Employees (Employment Provisions) Act

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of electors of the State of Queensland respectfully showeth:

That the Commonwealth Employees (Employment Provisions) Act 1 977 should immediately be repealed because:

It provides unfettered power to Ministers to suspend, stand-down and dismiss Commonwealth Government employees and places them in a markedly disadvantageous position as compared with all other Australian workers.

Its use places Commonwealth Government employees in direct conflict with the Government as it circumvents the arbitration tribunals and denies appeal rights.

Its use will exacerbate industrial disputes and inflame industrial relations in the Commonwealth area of employment.

The International Labour Organisation has condemned the Provisions of the Act as being incompatible with the rights of organised labour in a free society.

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

Petition received.


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

That a grave threat to the life of refugees from the various States of Indo-China arises from the policies of the Government of Vietnam.

That, as a result of these policies, many thousands of refugees are fleeing their homes and risking starvation and drowning. Because of the failure of the rich nations of the world to provide more than token assistance, the resources of the nations of first refuge, especially Malaysia and Thailand, are being stretched beyond reasonable limits.

As a wealthy nation within the region most affected, Australia is able to play a major part in the rescue as well as resettlement of these refugees.

It should be possible for Australia to: establish and maintain on the Australian mainland basic transit camps for the housing and processing of 200,000 refugees each year; mobilise the Defence Force to search for, rescue and transport to Australia those refugees who have been able to leave the Indo-China States; accept the offer of those church groups which propose to resettle some thousands of refugees in Australia.

The adoption of such a humane policy would have a marked effect on Australia ‘s standing within the region.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Bourchier and Mr MacKellar.

Petitions received.

Pornographic Publications

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

That we the undersigned, having great concern at the way in which children are now being used in the production of pornography call upon the government to introduce immediate legislation:

  1. To prevent the sexual exploitation of children by way of photography for commercial purposes;
  2. To penalise parents/guardians who knowingly allow their children to be used in the production of such pornographic or obscene material depicting children;
  3. To make specifically illegal the importation, publication, distribution and sale of such pornographic childabuse material in any form whatsoever such as magazines, novels, papers or films;
  4. To take immediate police action to confiscate and destroy all child pornography in Australia and urgent appropriate legal action against all those involved or profiting from this sordid exploitation of children.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that your honourable House will protect all children and immediately prohibit pornographic child-abuse materials, publications or films.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Cotter and Mr Martyr.

Petitions received.

National Health Scheme

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

  1. 1 ) it is our belief that at the next sittings of the parliaments it is the intention of the government to increase the $2.50 NHS patient contribution.
  2. ) We the undersigned strongly object to the government taking this action.

We therefore do ask the Government of Australia not to take the action that is believed intended.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Cotter and Mr Martyr.

Petitions received.


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

  1. In S.A. Pre-School services are becoming increasingly inadequate.
  2. The development of adequate services has been curtailed by reduced Federal Budget allocations to Pre-Schools in the last two years.
  3. Projected cuts for 1979-80 will cause further deterioration of the quality of services offered.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Federal Government increase its allocation for Pre-School education immediately to enable the provision of adequate pre-school services in South Australia.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Hurford and Mr Wallis.

Petitions received.

National Women’s Advisory Council

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

That the National Women’s Advisory Council has not been democratically elected by the women of Australia;

That the National Women’s Advisory Council is not representative of the women of Australia;

That the National Women’s Advisory Council is a discriminatory and sexist imposition on Australian women as Australian men do not have a National Men’s Advisory Council imposed on them.

Your petitioners therefore pray:

That the National Women’s Advisory Council be abolished to ensure that Australian women have equal opportunity with Australian men of having issues of concern to them considered, debated and voted on by their Parliamentary representatives without intervention and interference by an unrepresentative Advisory Council.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Lloyd and Mr Martyr.

Petitions received.


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

That restoration of provisions of the Social Security Act that applied prior to the 1 978-79 Budget is of vital concern to offset the rising cost of goods and services.

The reason advanced by the Government for yearly payments ‘that the lower level of inflation made twice-yearly payments inappropriate ‘ is not valid.

Great injury will be caused to 920,000 aged, invalid, widows and supporting parents, who rely solely on the pension or whose income, other than the pension, is $6 or less per week. Once-a-year payments strike a cruel blow to their expectation and make a mockery of a solemn election pledge.

Accordingly, your petitioners call upon their legislators to:

  1. . Restore twice-yearly pension payments in the Autumn session.
  2. Raise pensions and unemployed benefits above the poverty level to 30 per cent of AWE.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Morris and Mr Shipton.

Petitions received.


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

That, as it is clear that unemployment is a long term problem in Australia, the Government should extend to the unemployed the same assistance as is given to any other disadvantaged member of the community. There is an urgent need to alleviate the financial hardship and emotional stress that the unemployed are suffering.

Your petitioners therefore pray:

  1. That the Government adopt positive policies to reduce unemployment,
  2. That the basic Unemployment Benefit be raised to at least the level of the poverty line as calculated by Professor Henderson,
  3. In line with other Social Service additional income awards, and in order to encourage work creation schemes and the fostering of initiative and self respect, that the $6 per week additional income limit be raised to at least $20 per week,
  4. That the financial penalties above the earning of $20 per week, assessed on a monthly basis, be calculated at the same rate as other Social Security benefits,
  5. That the Commonwealth grant subsidies to state governments so that the unemployed can be granted transport concessions in order that they are not penalised in job seeking,
  6. That pharmaceutical and medical concessions be granted to the unemployed equivalent to those received by other Social Service beneficiaries.

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

Petition received.

Royal Commission on Human Relationships

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

That because the Report of the Royal Commission on Human Relationships and especially its Recommendations-

  1. Have been widely condemned for its support of unAustralian, anti-family, anti-child behaviour and morals such as incest, promiscuity, abortion, pornography, homosexuality, prostitution and brothels, etc. (Note: Refer quotations reverse side)
  2. Have been strongly criticised by the medical profession for the absence of any medical practitioner on the Commission or on its staff of 3 1 persons, and for the Commissioners action in rejecting or ignoring relevant medical evidence.
  3. Have been discredited as irresponsible in adopting a new definition of the family, i.e., ‘a varying range of people living together in relationships of commitment’, which has effectively confused the real meaning and intentions of the Report where it refers to the family’.

Therefore the Parliament has a responsibility to the families of Australia not to adopt this controversial Report and its Recommendations. Your petitioners therefore humbly pray: That the Australian Parliament will:-

  1. Simply receive the Report and not adopt its Recommendations,
  2. Set up a Select Parliamentary Committee along the lines of the New Zealand Select Committee to conduct a public inquiry into the ways and means of supporting and strengthening family life and providing adequate protection for children from physical and sexual abuse before as well as after birth in accordance with the U.N.O. Declaration of the Rights of the Child as pan of Australia’s support for the Year of the Child.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that your honourable House will take no measures concerning the Royal Commission on Human Relationships Report that will further undermine and weaken marriage, child-care or the family which is the basic unit of our society.

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

Petition received.

Metric System

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

That the plan to obliterate the traditional weights and measures of this country is causing and will cause widespread inconvenience, confusion, expense and distress.

That there is no certainty that any significant benefits or indeed any benefits at all will follow the use of the new weights and measures.

That the traditional weights and measures are eminently satisfactory.

Your petitioners therefore pray:

That the Metric Conversion Act be repealed, and that the Government take urgent steps to cause the traditional and familiar units to be restored to those areas where the greatest inconvenience and distress are occurring, that is to say, in meteorology, in road distances, in sport, in the building and allied trades, in the printing trade, and in retail trade.

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

Petition received.

Aboriginal Land Rights

To the Honourable the Speaker and Honourable Members of the House of Representatives. This petition of citizens of Australia respectfully showeth that:

  1. Australia’s Aboriginal and Islander peoples have not been compensated for the loss of their traditional land, social and cultural independence and self-respect.
  2. Australia lags behind other nations with white majorities in providing a Treaty of Commitment to its indigenous people giving them: a defined proportion of national income for a defined period freehold title to traditional land, waterways and seaboard control over related resources and over the introduction of alcoho and other alien cultural influences in their regions.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that your honourable House will take urgent steps to concur with the wishes of a majority of the electors at every polling place in Australia at the 1967 referendum by resumption from the States of the major traditional Aboriginal land areas and reserves and former reserves as at 31 March 1978, to become federal Crown land pending prompt determination of freehold title for Land Trusts and eventually for defined community co-operatives.

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

Petition received.

Marine Radio Licence Fees

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

That we oppose the increase in marine radio licence fees for the following reasons:

  1. 1 ) Radios are an essential part of safety equipment.
  2. Marine radio users save government millions of dollars in search and rescue.
  3. Increased licences will deter the boating fraternity from purchasing and using radios for their own safety.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the government will reconsider the increased licence fee and also consider a reduction for pensioners. by Mr West.

Petition received.

Pre-apprenticeship Training Schemes

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

That the decision to remove the tool allowance for apprentices taking part in the Pre Apprenticeship Training Schemes will have a disastrous effect on the ability of the scheme to produce the skilled tradesmen that we will need for the future.

It also places a further burden on the parents of these young people who have already made the sacrifice of not receiving as much money as they would receive if they were to remain on Unemployment Benefit. This must prove beyond all doubt their sincerity to achieve the skills this nation will need if we are to advance economically and socially.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that-

The Federal Government reconsider its decision and replace the tool allowance for pre apprentices as a matter of urgency.

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

Petition received.

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Notice of Motion


– I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move and the honourable member for St George (Mr Neil) shall second:

That the House notes the 40th Anniversary of the signing of the infamous Ribbentrop-Molotov Treaty in Moscow on the night of 23-24 August 1939 as a vital prelude to the commencement of World War II, and recalls with regret that notwithstanding the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 the Soviet Union continues to enjoy the rights guaranteed to it by the said Treaty, involving the enslavement of many independent nations and over 250 million citizens of Central and Eastern Europe.

Mr Charles Jones:

– Get out. You are a humbug and you know it.

Mr Hodgman:

– And you are a communist.


– Order! The honourable member for Denison will withdraw the comment he made.

Mr Hodgman:

- Mr Speaker, in deference to you I will -


– Order! The honourable member will withdraw the comment.

Mr Hodgman:

– I withdraw it, Mr Speaker.


-The honourable member for Newcastle with withdraw his remark.

Mr Charles Jones:

– That he is a humbug?


-The honourable member will withdraw his remark.

Mr Charles Jones:

– Is that what you want me to withdraw?


-The honourable gentleman will withdraw without prevarication or I will name him.

Mr Charles Jones:

- Mr Speaker, all I am asking is: What have I got to withdraw? That I said that the honourable member is a humbug?


– Order! The honourable member knows very well what he said.

Mr Charles Jones:

– If you want me to withdraw that he is a humbug, I will withdraw it.


-The honourable member will now withdraw without qualification.

Mr Charles Jones:

– I withdraw, Mr Speaker. I do not know what you are after, but I withdraw it.

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Prime Minister · Wannon · LP

- Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that Australia will be represented at the funeral of the late Earl Mountbatten of Burma by His Excellency the Governor-General, who will be accompanied by His Excellency the Governor of New South Wales because of some particular associations from the past, and by Senator the Hon. J. L. Carrick, Minister for Education and Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate. A representative of the Opposition, the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren), will also be accompanying the party to the United Kingdom for the funeral. It will be understood by the House that both in relation to the honourable member for Reid and Senator Carrick there are particular associations that make their representation on this occasion the most appropriate representation that this Parliament could possibly provide. In addition, Mr A. G. W. Keys, National President of the Returned Services League, will accompany the Australian party. The Australian High Commissioner in London, Sir Gordon Freeth, will attend. The funeral will take place in Westminster Abbey on Wednesday, 5 September. During the absence of the Governor-General and the Governor of New South Wales, in accordance with seniority and normal practice the Governor of Tasmania will be sworn in as Administrator.

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– I ask the Minister for Health: Does basic Medibank medical insurance in New South Wales cost $130 for a single person and $260 for a family in a year, allowing for the necessary 25 per cent patient contribution? Is it a fact that if average utilisation and cost rates, supplied by the Minister’s Department, for New South Wales for medical services were applied, the average single uninsured person would pay $104 and the average family $208 for medical services in the course of this year? Would this fall to $69 for the single rate and $ 138 for the family rate if allowance were made for a taxation rebate of health service costs? Therefore, is it a fact that as most Australians have good health and their average health care costs and utilisation rates are well below those given in the Minister’s departmental annual reports, and bearing in mind reasonable expectations of good health, they would be better off financially without any health insurance?

Minister for Health · GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · NCP/NP

– I will give some attention to the details of the question. The Leader of the Opposition will understand that insurance is provided o insure oneself against the possibility of loss or h *h cost. Most people insure their homes or cars, h ling that their homes are never burnt down or damaged and that their cars are never involved in a road accident. They insure themselves for health costs, hoping that they will never be so seriously ill as to recover their premiums. Most people insure themselves against the possibility of high cost. High costs can be occasioned by a chronic illness that might come upon one uninvited. Everyone can become a chronically ill person whether he wants to or not. So my advice to people generally is not to take too seriously the rather political invitations of the Opposition which are clearly designed to try to persuade people not to insure themselves privately so that when they become ill- I am sure this is what the Opposition hopes-they will take their anger out on the Government. Generally my advice to people is that as from I September they will no longer receive the 40 per cent benefit they receive now but they will be covered by the Government for all schedule medical fees over $20. Uninsured people could become involved in an episode of medical costs and could be up for quite a lot of expenditure.

Whether to insure for a doctor of choice in hospital is a very personal decision for people to take. If they are satisfied that they do not want a doctor of choice they are entitled free of charge to public hospital standard ward accommodation and treatment by a doctor engaged by the hospital. If people want their doctor of choice to treat them under the public hospital system in this country they would be wise either to maintain their present insurance status or to take out private insurance. Let me say that notwithstanding -

Mr Les Johnson:

– Put a bit of life into it.


– I am sorry if the honourable member does not like this answer. The honourable member can protest as much as he likes. Notwithstanding all the rumoured savage increases in health insurance, in all States but South Australia people will be able to obtain basic hospital and medical cover at a price lower than that which obtained prior to 1 November last. In South Australia it will be only 10c a week more expensive for a family. Last night the Leader of the Opposition once again tried to deceive the Australian people. He said that it would cost most people an extra $3 a week or more to cover themselves as a result of the health insurance changes. That is quite wrong. The truth of the matter is that in New South Wales, for instance, people will be able to obtain combined medical and hospital cover for $1.25 a week cheaper than they could have obtained it on 1 November last year. Can anybody tell me what else is cheaper now than it was as at 1 November last year?

Opposition membvs interjecting -


– Honourable members opposite do not like it but if they have ears they are going to listen to it.


-Order! The honourable gentleman will resume his seat. The proceedings will resume when the House comes to order. The Minister should be heard in silence.


– In Victoria as from 1 September a family will be able to obtain combined medical and hospital cover for 54c a week cheaper than it could almost 12 months ago. In Queensland, that sunny State of Queensland, that wonderful State of Queensland, it will be $1.23 a week cheaper than it was a year ago. There has been all this talk about increased costs. Of course health insurance is expensive; let us face it. But why is it expensive? We know why it is expensive. It is because of the great health cost explosion that occurred during the time of the former Labor

Government, when health costs in this country exploded out of all proportion.

Mr Keating:

– I raise a point of order.


– In three years they exploded by 154 per cent.


-The Minister will resume his seat.


-The Leader of the Opposition was the master of Medibank.


-The Minister will unwrap himself from his answer. The Minister will resume his seat. I call the honourable member for Blaxland on a point of order.

Mr Keating:

– My point of order, Mr Speaker, is that you should have asked the Minister to resume his seat five minutes ago. He has spoken over time. He is expatiating propaganda and is not answering the question. He should be relevant and brief.


– There is no point of order, but I ask the Minister to draw his answer to a conclusion.


- Mr Speaker, I will certainly defer to your advice, but could I finish by providing information on the two other important States, Western Australia and Tasmania. In Western Australia people will be able to obtain combined medical and hospital cover for 40c a week less than they could on 1 November last year. In Tasmania they will be able to obtain cover for themselves and their families for 70c a week less. In South Australia medical insurance will be just 10c a week dearer. The rates in that State were well below the rates of most States prior to 1 November last year.

In response to the Leader of the Opposition, my advice once again to the people of Australia is that they should not listen to all this academic nonsense about cents and dollars. The thing that people have to remember is that if they want the doctor of their choice they had better insure themselves for it. If they are going to be sick they should make sure that they have medical cover. I think that people will continue to show the common sense that they have shown in the past by choosing for themselves the type of insurance cover that suits them. They have a far better chance of doing that today than they had during the days of the old Medibank.

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– I address my question to the Treasurer. In his Budget Speech he drew attention, very aptly I thought, to the importance of international competitiveness to the prosperity of

Australia. Is he able to give some indication of how Australia’s international competitiveness has moved during recent years?


– There is no single economic matter which is more important to the future course of Australia, over the next 12 months in particular, than the extent to which we maintain the international competitiveness that we have gained over the past VA years. The single most important priority of economic policy ought to be directed to that end. It was for that reason that the Budget placed such great emphasis on fighting inflation, containing our domestic cost structure and preserving the competitive gains that we have made over the past 3’/z years.

To illustrate those gains let me remind the House- these statistics are sometimes forgotten in the welter of exchange over comparative economic statistics- that when this Government came to office the average inflation rate for countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development was 9.3 per cent. Yet our inflation rate to December 1975 was 14.1 per cent. In other words, we were amongst the bad boys of the OECD countries. Our inflation rate was demonstrably above the average rate. Over the past Vh years not only has our absolute level of inflation been dramatically reduced but also our comparative performance has been reduced to a position where we are just below the average inflation rate for OECD countries.

The challenge of economic policy is to do something about maintaining this competitive edge. The challenge of economic policy is to build upon the fact that last year there was a rise of 30 per cent in manufactured exports from Australia. The challenge of economic policy is to obtain more of what occurred last week when an Australian shipyard was able to bid competitively for a naval vessel without any special subsidy. A $70m shipbuilding contract was won for Australian shipyards. This was due in no small measure to the fact that the international competitiveness of this country through a combination of fighting inflation and managing the Australian exchange rate in a sensible pragmatic fashion has improved so much over the past Vh years.

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-Does the Minister for Foreign Affairs consider that Australia, as an exporter of natural uranium, should be concerned about the eventual disposal of nuclear fuel? What is the Government’s view of proposals for storage of spent nuclear fuel, or nuclear waste, in an international repository in a remote location such as a Pacific island? Has the United States invited Australian officials to discuss this matter at any time? Was the United States invitation declined? If so, why?

Minister for Foreign Affairs · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

-As usual there is a fair degree of confusion not merely in the assertions that are put forward but even in the nature of the questioning today. We have had discussions with American officials on this issue. We have not declined to discuss it further. Our attitude ought to be well known to those who are supposed to be following events in the area of foreign affairs. The honourable member will know that at the tenth meeting of the South Pacific Forum on 9-10 July, all South Pacific Forum countries, which, to elaborate further, include Australia, unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the use of the Pacific area as a place to dump nuclear waste. I reiterate that Australia supported the resolution which condemned such a move. So far as discussions with the United States are concerned, we have had discussions, and so have other countries in the Pacific area.

There has been misapprehension in the minds of some people that the United States is seeking to dump its own waste. It is, in fact, under its own non-proliferation programs, seeking to examine areas whereby it could assist other countries in finding locations for their waste. We are prepared to talk to them about it but it is on the premise of the attitude that we took generally in the South Pacific Forum. First, I reiterate that our position has not only been stated here- but our safeguards policies are well known and have been favourably commented upon as the honourable member knows; secondly we have voted in support of resolutions that condemn waste being placed in the Pacific, not only because of our own understanding of problems of waste, but also out of sympathy for the concerns of those countries nearby which are being looked at. Thirdly, so far as discussions with United States officials are concerned, they have taken place and will continue to take place. Fourthly, I would suggest that more research should be done before such questions are asked.

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-I direct my question to the Treasurer. In the recent Budget it was announced that a general exemption from sales tax is to apply to all articles designed and manufactured expressly for and used by blind and deaf persons. I ask: What is the position with respect to equipment designed and manufactured expressly for other handicapped persons? Can they also be covered by the same general exemption?


– It is my understanding that all or almost all equipment which would fall into the category of having been manufactured expressly for use by handicapped people is already covered by existing exemptions. But I will have a look at the matter, and to the extent that equipment is not already covered, I inform the honourable gentleman that when the legislation comes before the House the Government will see that it is.

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– I ask the Foreign Minister: Was the Diplomatic and Consular Missions Act passed by this House, and assented to on 24 August 1978, to prevent the establishment of bogus embassies and consulates? Has the Minister noted that last night in this House the honourable member for Chifley quoted ethnic and other Press reports which showed that on 6 March 1979 the so-called charge-d ‘affaires of the socalled Croatian embassy was given an official welcome by the Macquarie Federal Electorate Conference of the Liberal Party while standing next to a Croatian flag, and was entertained on an official basis by Liberal parliamentarians, including the present member for Macquarie, a former Liberal mayor of Penrith, and a former Liberal State member for Nepean? Is the Minister concerned about these actions? If so, has the Minister protested to his party colleagues about the infringement of the principles of the Act? If not, why not? How long will the Minister permit the charade of the Croatian ‘embassy’ to be upheld -


-Order! The honourable member is now suggesting an answer by using the word ‘charade’. The question so far is in order.


– I will rephrase that question. How long will the Minister permit the Croatian embassy’ to be upheld by responsible public figures in this way? What action, if any, does the Minister propose, under the terms of the Act, to close the purported Croatian ‘embassy’ immediately?


– Goodness gracious me, I do not know what sort of research occurs in this place when questions of that nature come forward. Of course I recall that that legislation went through. I recall it only too well because, as a consequence of the legislation going through this Parliament, the Attorney-General instituted proceedings. An action was brought in the Federal Court of Australia. A decision was brought down by Mr Justice Smithers, I think on 7 August, to grantthe relevant injunctions which the Attorney-General had sought against the selfstyled charge- d’affaires. That fact is well known and yet the honourable member for Melbourne Ports asks me what action we are taking. That order of the Federal Court required Mr Despoja to refrain from continuing the activities with which the Act that the Government put through the Parliament is concerned. Naturally, the decision was welcomed by the Government. As I recall, a warrant was issued authorising the removal of the signs, the flags and the insignia at the premises.

However, yesterday, as is his right under the law of this country, Mr Despoja lodged a notice of appeal against the judgment of Mr Justice Smithers. Under those circumstances, the Commonwealth naturally agreed to a stay of proceedings but on the condition that the appellant takes all possible steps to have the appeal heard by the Federal Court in the Canberra sittings commencing on 25 September. Therefore, so far as Australia’s relations with Yugoslavia are concerned, its recognition of Yugoslavia as a sovereign state and the actions that it will take under the Diplomatic and Consular Missions Act, there can be no doubt whatsoever of the determination of the Government. At the same time let it be said that the Government’s actions in the matter should not be regarded as a measure against the Croatian community in Australia. Honourable members will be aware that the legislation is not directed against any ethnic community or against its flying the flags of its homeland if it so chooses. What sort of a nation state does the honourable member desire? The Act is directed at false and misleading claims that particular persons have diplomatic or consular status or that particular premises house diplomatic or consular missions. That is the function of the Act. That is what is being executed and is at present being appealed against.

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– The Minister for National Development will be aware that there is a shortage of diesel fuel in north Queensland. He will be aware also that the sugar, mining, transport and fishing industries are all suffering from this shortage. What can the Government do to ensure that diesel supplies will be adequate? Further, can the Minister say also what is being done to ensure that fuel supplies are positioned in isolated areas in north Queensland before the beginning of the wet season?

Minister for National Development · BASS, TASMANIA · LP

– It is important that I preface my answer by describing what the complete outlook for oil supplies is now and what the history of oil supplies into Australia has been for the last six months. There were shortfalls in international supplies of oil and products following the Iranian problems earlier this year. It is not a fact, though, that Australia suffered acute cutbacks as a result of that Iranian situation. As I am advised, the facts are that, in the March quarter, Australia suffered a shortfall of something under four per cent in imports. In the June quarter, again it was under four per cent. Anticipated supplies for the September quarter show that oil imports should be up by 20 per cent and oil products up as much as 30 per cent. As well as that, it is anticipated that domestic production out of Bass Strait will be up by eight per cent. I give those figures to set a picture.

I am very much aware of the shortages that have occurred in automotive distillate in northern Queensland. I have been so aware of the fact that I have kept in constant contact with groups, individuals and people like the honourable member for Leichnardt and his colleagues who come from north Queensland. The problem in northern Queensland has concerned the Government very much. At the heart of the problem has been an abnormally high demand for distillate. I know that demand has been associated with the sugar harvest but there is no doubt that there has been a substantial amount of stock building.

The average demand for distillate in this country in the first six months of this year increased by about 13 per cent. In northern Queensland it increased by over 1 7 per cent. This unexpectedly high demand has made it difficult to assure supplies in all locations precisely when they are needed. The difficulties were compounded when a shipment failed to arrive in northern Queensland because of technical problems with the ship. I am advised that the oil industry has scheduled ships to carry distillate to northern Queensland ports. A total of about 35,000 tonnes is expected to arrive in Townsville and Cairns by the end of August. In addition, the Navy has released 1800 tonnes to the local market in Cairns pending the arrival of these shipments and my colleague, the Minister for Defence, has arranged for a further 500 tonnes to be made available on a standy-by emergency basis. I hope that these arrangements will ensure that no case of genuine need goes unanswered. Without doubt, the Government will continue to keep the matter under very close attention. I will make sure that the Oil Supplies Advisory Committee also treats that as a priority task.

page 703




– I refer the Prime Minister not to a newspaper interview but to his clear and unequivocal pledge to the Australian people in his 1975 policy speech, when he said:

Governments . . . will no longer be able to rely on the secret tax increase of inflation.

I ask: Is not the 15 per cent increase in the income tax bill of the average taxpayer for 1 979-80 a classic example of government relying on ‘the secret tax increase of inflation “!


– When this Government has increased taxes it has legislated for such increases and has done it very plainly. We made it perfectly plain at the time of the mini-Budget that the choice would be between tax indexation and the surcharge. We made it perfectly plain that it would not be possible to both remove the surcharge and re-establish full tax indexation during the course of this financial year. So there should be no surprise at that. Indeed, as the honourable gentleman knows and as the Treasurer pointed out last week, the Leader of the Opposition indicated that he also would have opted for removing the surcharge and not for the course of re-establishment of tax indexation. I think the honourable gentleman fails to understand that during the three years of the Labor administration taxes grew by 34 per cent, 41 per cent and 20 per cent. That takes away from the Australian Labor Party any right to criticise this Government for its record in relation to taxation reform and tax collections.

It ought to be remembered that during the last financial year the real value of taxes collected from incomes throughout Australia fell. The 1 5 per cent, therefore, has been judged against a very low base because in 1978-79, for the first time in 10 or more years, there was a real fall in income taxes collected from the taxpayers of Australia.

The people of Australia have certainly been warned about the attitudes of the Australian Labor Party. It has made it perfectly plain that it is a high tax party. I think it is worth noting that last night the Leader of the Opposition was not game to put a cost on any of the highly extravagant and costly proposals that he had in an alternative budget. They would certainly run into many hundreds of millions of dollars. He spoke plainly. He said: ‘Sure, the deficit will be larger’, but he was not prepared to say by how much the deficit would be larger because he knows quite well that to do what he claimed he would be able to do would not be possible within a responsible budget. The result of the proposals suggested by the Leader of the Opposition would be a resurgence of the kind of inflation that Labor unleashed once before on the people of Australia when, starting from a point well below the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average, the Australian Labor Party took Australia’s inflation many points above that average. Now, after a period of office of this Government, inflation is again below the OECD average. The Labor Party need have no fear. It will not be given an opportunity to reimpose its problems on the people of Australia.

page 703




-Is the Minister for Industrial Relations aware that continued bans and limitations imposed by operators at Caltex ‘s Kurnell refinery in Sydney are affecting production? Was not an arrangement made some time ago which involved these operators doing normal work while the question of their industrial regulation was being further examined?

Minister for Industrial Relations · CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA · LP

– I am aware of the intolerable situation at Kurnell. The House will be aware that over recent years the operators there have continued to resist being covered by Federal awards in their area of work. There was a crippling strike there in June which also involved operators at the Total refinery at Matraville. Arrangements worked out before the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to end that strike in June involved a three-month cooling-off period during which the Federal awards would be suspended and the terms of the Federal awards would be applied under orders issued by the New South Wales Government under that State ‘s Energy Authority Act. The operators ‘ acceptance of these arrangements in turn involved an undertaking to resume normal work. I have to tell the House that that has never happened. At no stage has normal work been resumed. A series of bans and limitations is still in force. Caltex has informed me that if these bans were not in force an extra 640,000 litres per day of products would be available from existing resources. That daily loss of production clearly makes nonsense of any claims that normal work is being done.

It is clear that the operators have repudiated the arrangements entered into in June. At no stage have they even made any attempt to act reasonably. They have rejected all efforts to seek co-operation. Their attitude has been utterly irresponsible and cannot be supported or condoned by anybody involved in the conduct of industrial relations. As I said a minute ago, under the present arrangements the operators are working under the New South Wales Energy Authority Act. The New South Wales Government has authority under that Act to direct that all bans be lifted. Indeed, under the June arrangements, it has a clear responsibility to do so. It wanted the settlement to include the use of its Act. It is up to that Government to use it to get bans and limitations lifted. I make it quite clear that any shortages which might emerge as a result of these bans being in force are clearly the responsibility of the New South Wales Government. I understand that the Prime Minister will be raising these issues immediately with the New South Wales Premier.

page 704




– I ask a question of the Prime Minister. I remind him of the exposure by Mr Eric Risstrom of the Taxpayers Association of the Budget tax proposals as a massive rip-off of Australian taxpayers.


– Order! The honourable gentleman should ask his question, not make a statement of that kind. A reasonable introduction to a question is permissible but to use that pejorative language is not appropriate.


– The Prime Minister will recall that when he was first confronted with Mr Risstrom ‘s challenge on an Australian Broadcasting Commission morning radio program he sought to defend himself by stating that it was too early in the morning to consider figures. In view of the fact that he has had exactly a week this morning in which to consider Mr Risstrom ‘s figures and allegations, and in the process has had the backing of the Department of the Treasury and the Taxation Office to assist him in this respect, and further, in view of the fact that he has sought to repudiate Mr Risstrom from various platforms in that intervening period in circumstances in which Mr Risstrom could not defend himself, is it the Prime Minister’s intention now to accept Mr Risstrom ‘s public challenge to debate the respective merits of their attitudes towards this matter on national television, or will he treat Mr Risstrom in the way in which he generally treats questions from this side of the House?


-Order! The honourable gentleman has asked his question.

He Mr MALCOLM FRASER-Thehonourable gentleman’s questions are always treated on their merits. Mr Risstrom ‘s questions and propositions will also be treated on their merits. My colleague the Treasurer had a debate with Mr Risstrom on PM. I am very surprised that Mr

Risstrom would want to return to that fray. Quite plainly, Mr Risstrom has uncovered the remarkable proposition that if one’s income increases through the course of a year one also pays tax on those additional dollars earned. There is nothing novel in that, there is nothing strange in that. A whole new chapter of history cannot be built upon that.

It also needs to be understood that as a result of the measures introduced by the Treasurer, as a result of the tax cuts that will come in on 1 December, on every dollar of income earned and on every additional dollar earned on which tax will be paid, a lower rate of tax will in fact be paid than would have been paid without those measures and without the abolition of the surcharge. Those simple facts cannot be hidden. The Leader of the Opposition cannot hide them, nor can Mr Risstrom.

page 704




– My question is directed to the Treasurer. It is further to his response to the honourable member for Deakin and concerns our international competitiveness. Is it a fact that there has been a general acceleration of inflation throughout the industrialised world in recent months? If so, what are the principal causes of this? How does it affect Australia? What is the appropriate response?


– It may not be apparent to the Opposition, in particular to the Leader of the Opposition, that there has been a general acceleration of inflation throughout the industrialised world in recent months.

Mr Cohen:

-Like it was in 1 973-74.


-Of course, like there was in -

Mr Cohen:

– Which you never admitted in those days.


-I am glad that the honourable member for Robertson has interjected.


-Order! I call upon the Treasurer not to thank any member for interjecting. The Treasurer will continue his answer, ignoring the interjection of the honourable member for Robertson.


– It was such a nice interjection that I could not ignore it. What it really highlights is the point that I was about to make, and that is that what is important is how a government responds to world wide inflationary pressures. In 1973 the Whitlam Government did precisely the wrong thing. Instead of adopting domestic economic policies to contain world wide inflationary pressures, it adopted domestic economic policies that stimulated them. It adopted domestic economic policies which sent expenditure through the roof, which allowed monetary policy to get out of control and which encouraged an explosion of real wages to the extent that in 1974 wages in the manufacturing sector increased by about 38 per cent. By contrast this Government, faced in 1979 with world wide rises in commodity prices, particularly in the price of oil, has adopted a Budget strategy and an economic strategy which are designed to respond to those world wide inflationary pressures.

Once again, what is the response of the Labor Party? Last night the Leader of the Opposition, on behalf of the alternative government of this country, gave us a speech for almost an hour which said virtually nothing about inflation. He devoted page after page to personal abuse of this side of the House, but barely a sentence of his speech was devoted to inflation. Near the end he could not contain himself. He said that he made no secret of the fact that he would settle for a much larger deficit. That was as far as he was prepared to go. He was not prepared to say how big the deficit would be. He was not prepared to admit that he was advocating an inflationary economic strategy.

So, once again we have a situation where in the face of a resurgence of inflationary pressure around the world, just as in 1973 the Labor Party wants to stimulate it by a domestic economic policy. If the Labor Party were again given the opportunity to govern this country it would repeat that error and again stimulate world inflation by its domestic economic policies.

page 705




-I direct a question to the Treasurer. I draw his attention to the fact that the appropriations for unemployment benefits in last year’s Budget were $126m underestimated. They went up from $784m appropriated to $9 10m which the Government required to spend. In reaching the figure of $998m for unemployment benefits this year, will he inform the House as to the advice he received in regard to the total number of people who will be registered as unemployed when unemployment peaks in the figures released in February 1980, and the number of people who will be beneficiaries of social security payments?


– The advice that I have received on this subject from my Department and the total number of people on which the figure is based are set out in the documents attached to the Budget. I inform the honourable member for Port Adelaide that according to my understanding, this is the first occasion for a number of years on which any set of Budget Papers has contained the number of people on which the calculation of unemployment benefits has been based.

I appreciate the interest of the honourable member in this question. It is an important question. I am conscious of the fact that last year the number of people on which the calculation was based was exceeded. This year the total number of people on which the calculation has been based is, from recollection- I will need to check the figure but I will correct it if I give the wrong figure to the House- of the order of 325,000. That is the figure on which it is based and it is set out in the Budget Papers. There is no deceit. There is no duplicity about it. I know that it is an important figure. It is an honestly arrived at figure; it is not a political figure, and it is that figure I was given by the Treasury.

page 705




-I ask the Treasurer Is the Government prepared to implement the policies on tax indexation advocated by the Leader of the Opposition?


-I would like to be able to answer that question. I would like to be able to say whether the Government was prepared to implement the policies of the Leader of the Opposition because, like the Prime Minister, I would like not only to treat the honourable gentleman’s questions on their merits, but also to treat his policies on their merits. In trying to answer that question, I ask myself: What is the policy of the Leader of the Opposition on tax indexation? To try to inform myself I have had to go back to the genesis of the debate on tax indexation. That occurred in 1975. The first authoritative word from the Leader of the Opposition came when he was Treasurer. At one stage in 1975 he said, in the context of discussing the various claims that are made on the national exchequer, that to expect increases in education, to expect increases in welfare, to expect greater health benefits and also to expect tax indexation was to ask for the impossible. A little later on that year he said -

Mr Hayden:

– That is why I do not tell any lies by promising. How do you justify lies?


-Just a moment. The honourable member’s memory is not as good as he thinks it is. A little later on that year he said that indexing of the new scale would thus be available as an option next year, in the next Budget. But do honourable members know how much later on that year it would be? It was about 10 minutes later on that year because those two statements were contained in the Budget Speech of 1975-76 delivered by the present Leader of the Opposition when he was Treasurer.

We all know that on 21 July 1979, about five weeks ago, the Leader of the Opposition was interviewed for the National Times and he said quite unequivocally: ‘Well, we rather like the idea of tax indexation. It’s an attractive policy, but really at the moment the people want tax cuts and that is what we’d give them if we were occupying the treasury bench’. Last night he contrived to create the impression that he is now in favour of tax indexation. Perhaps my honourable friend from Isaacs ought to ask me the same question next week because by then we might have an alternative stance from the Leader of the Opposition. The fact of the matter is that the Leader of the Opposition does not know where he stands on tax indexation any more than he knows where he stands on the size of the deficit or the appropriate alternative economic strategy.

page 706




-I ask the Minister for Transport whether it is a fact that the original tender documents for car rental concessions at Commonwealth airports provided that the third or local car rental concessionaire could not sell or assign his right to operate to another party. Were the terms and conditions of contracts changed after tenders had been accepted to enable the third operator to sell or assign with the approval of the Secretary of the Minister’s Department? Has this enabled Avis, which missed out as one of the national operators, to purchase from Elite and Thrifty rent-a-car firms their concessions at Hobart, Devonport, Wynyard, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Coolangatta, thus enabling Avis to link up with its own concessions as third operator and giving it rent-a-car concessions at 90 per cent of prime airport locations for a fraction of the price paid by Hertz and Budget? Who gave the authority for this action?

Mr Hayden:

– Scandalous.

Minister for Transport · GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · LP

– The Leader of the Opposition yells out ‘scandalous’. There is nothing scandalous yet. Just wait; be patient.

Mr Cohen:

– You are always telling us to wait. Now you are scandalous.


– Wait until I finish, if you do not mind. I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that there will be nothing scandalous about this matter by the time it is completed. It is a fact that in issuing the tender documents the Department of Transport left out the words in the first issue -

Mr Cohen:

– How convenient.


– Just be patient. Contain yourself. Sit back and relax and enjoy the day. The Department left out the words ‘without the approval of the Secretary’ in respect of any proposal to sell or change the tender situation of car rental arrangements. The matter has been drawn to my attention by a number of interested parties in the car rental field. The matter is presently before me for consideration. There are two options available: To recall tenders at those airports at which concessions were granted to Thrifty Rent a Car- I point out that that probably would involve a considerable loss of revenue for the Commonwealth- or to allow the normal commercial process to take place. Because questions of commercial equity are involved I am getting legal advice on the correct position before deciding the issue.

page 706




– I direct my question to the Minister for Trade and Resources. I refer to the announcement by Comalco Ltd that it intends to establish a very large aluminium smelter at Gladstone. I ask the Minister What are the implications of this announcement for the Australian economy?

Deputy Prime Minister · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · NCP/NP

-The announcement by Comalco Ltd in the last couple of days that it has finalised the financing arrangements for the smelter at Gladstone and also that it will double the capacity of the smelter is really great news for Queensland and very great news for Australia. Comalco already is involved with other companies in mining operations. The Weipa bauxite mine is the biggest such mine in the world and the alumina company at Gladstone is the biggest alumina company in the world. When this new smelter project is completed and with the doubling of the present program there will be about $ 1 ,000m invested. It will be one of the world’s largest smelters. All this development is part of an impressive and significant series of announcements that has been made this year by international aluminium companies of their intention to invest in Australia. They see Australia as a country with the basic resources and with supplies of cheap energy. Above all, they see Australia as a nation with a government that is demonstrating sound economic management and as a nation which is applying itself to controlling inflationary pressures. Australia is definitely a more attractive place in which to invest than many other pans of the world, and those companies are able to select the country they will invest in.

Let us look at what has happened in the last few days. Alcan Australia Ltd is going to expand its Kurri Kurri plant in New South Wales. Alcoa of Australia Ltd is going to expand the Port Henry development in Victoria. The Pechiney company is going to build a smelter in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. I do not hear the Australian Labor Party saying much about that project. The Alumax company is going to build a smelter near Newcastle. Also, Alcan and Nabalco Pty Ltd are studying the possibility of establishing other smelters. When all these projects are commenced about 5,000 more people will be given jobs during the construction stage, and when they are fully in operation about 3,000 people will have permanent employment. There will also be support industries and downstream activities which will mean jobs for thousands more people. This is vindicating the Government’s strategy of developing a sound, basic structure for the economy to attract investment both locally and from overseas so that we can give more employment opportunities to people in this country.

Our policies are succeeding. As I said, these aluminium smelters will give enormous benefits to Australia. Our present exports of aluminium are worth about $80m a year and that figure will rise to over $ 1,000m a year. We will be doing more processing, our balance of payments situation will be strengthening and there will be many more job opportunities.

In addition, there is great activity in the coal mining and electricity industries, which are responding to the requirements of the aluminium industry. The New South Wales Government, a Labor government, certainly has not been backward in seeking foreign investment for New South Wales. There certainly seems to be no guidelines for investment in that State. The State Government has given a preference to Pechiney over CSR Ltd, a well established Australian company, in the allocation of electricity. These members of the Labor Party who are squealing and complaining about the Government’s attitudes to foreign investment ought to look at what some of their friends are doing in New South Wales.

page 707


Leader of the Opposition · Oxley

– I claim to have been misrepresented at Question Time by the Treasurer (Mr Howard).


-Does the honourable gentleman wish to make a personal explanation?


– Yes.


– He may proceed.


– At Question Time, in response to a question, the Treasurer imputed a want of candour if not honesty to my motives in making statements in relation to tax indexation. For the sake of a consistent and accurate record, I point out that my statements have always been consistent. I pointed out in the 1975 Budget that there is a range of demands on the Government and they could not all be met at that time. Accordingly, indexation was one such demand that would not be met in that Budget. I also pointed out that it was an option that could be considered later, and indeed it could have been. There was no commitment; it would have been necessary to weigh it up in conjunction with other demands. Last night I pointed out again that we are committed to the principle of indexation but as a matter of integrity in public office I had to point out that one could not commit oneself, as the Government does compulsively and frequently, to a range of impossible obligations and that whilst we were committed to it other things had to be weighed up too. The point I sought to make in conclusion was that the Government had become trapped in its own dishonesty, a victim of its own political dissemblance.


-Order! I ask the honourable gentleman to cease using such terms as ‘dishonesty’. If the honourable gentleman claims -


– Come, Mr Speaker, you have ruled on occasions before -


-The honourable gentleman will resume his seat.


-Oh, you are inconsistent with your previous rulings.


-I ask the honourable gentleman to cease continually using such terms as ‘dishonesty’, ‘lies’ et cetera. If the honourable gentleman claims that what has been said is not a fact he can label it as false or mistaken but he is not to impute motive.

Mr Hayden:

- Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order on your ruling. My recollection is quite clear. On many occasions you have ruled, as have your predecessors, that certain imputations can be made against a collective entity such as the Government. Frequently they have been tolerated when they have been made against the Opposition. For instance, it has been suggested that the Opposition has been influenced by communists or that the Government has been influenced by fascists- of which there is substantial evidence- and you have ruled that that is acceptable but that one cannot make such an imputation against an individual. It seems to me that there is a process of evolutionary development of the Standing Orders, and the relationship is a direct one, according to the embarrassment and humiliation of the Government at a particular time.


-Order! The honourable gentleman will resume his seat.

Mr Hayden:

– I am suggesting to you that there is a want of consistency in your conduct.


-The honourable gentleman will resume his seat. I am very concerned that the standard of language in the House should be lifted. I think it is in the interests of the whole of the membership of the House on both sides that language of the kind which I am asking the Leader of the Opposition to cease using so be ceased. This is a national parliament and the language of political opposition can be used without recourse to those terms.


-I will conclude the point I was making in relation to the assertion of misrepresentation on the part of the Treasurer. It was a poorly put together and poorly argued brief. The fact is that my statements in relation to indexation have been consistent, candid and honest- an unusual quality for one to experience from the opposite side of the House. Let me put it in a clear context. It is the Government -

Mr Howard:

– I take a point of order. It is one thing for the Leader of the Opposition to take advantage of a personal explanation to wriggle out of his own inconsistencies. It is another thing for him to take advantage of the privilege extended to him by the House to attack the Government. He will bring forward a matter of public importance in a moment. If he contains himself a little longer he can take the opportunity then.

Mr Innes:

– You are a humbug. Sit down.


-The honourable member for Melbourne will withdraw and will cease interjecting.

Mr Innes:

– I withdraw.


-The Leader of the Opposition has gone as far as he can reasonably go with a personal explanation.

page 708


Ministerial Statement

Mr MACPHEE (Balaclava-Minister for

Productivity)- by leave- All Australians know that on 25 April 1915, Australian, New Zealand and British troops landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Since then, the word ‘Anzac’ has had a most important place in Australian history and culture- so much so that regulations have been in force since 1920 to protect the word ‘Anzac’ from commercial exploitation. Under the administrative arrangements I am the Minister responsible for administering these regulations. The regulations have been amended on several occasions, the most recent being on 18 July 1979, Statutory Rules 1979 No. 141.

This latest amendment relaxes the circumstances under which the word ‘Anzac’ may be used in relation to entertainments held on Anzac Day. Originally and understandably Anzac Day was a closed day, observed like a Sunday. No bars were open, places of entertainment were closed, no sporting events were held. In recent years in keeping with changes in community views on the manner in which holy days should be observed, Anzac Day, particularly after the morning commemorative activities are over, has become an occasion for the holding of sporting events and other entertainments. There has grown up the practice of use of the word ‘Anzac’ in the naming of such sporting events. There has been no community objection to the use of the word.

In consultation with the Returned Services League, the Government has decided to recognise this change in community attitudes and to relax the ways in which the word may be used in the naming of entertainments held on Anzac Day. The effect of the latest amendment to the regulations for the protection of the word Anzac’ is to remove the need to seek permission to use the words ‘Anzac Day’ to describe a function on 25 April or Anzac weekend. However, the traditional protections will continue to apply to individual events even though they be held during the Anzac holiday. For example, the new regulation allows a turf club to call a meeting The Anzac Day Races’ without seeking permission but permission will still be required and is unlikely to be given for a particular race to be called the ‘Anzac Stakes’ or something similarly specific.

Protective regulations under the War Precautions Repeal Act first came into effect on 3 1 December 1 920 and, as I have said, they have been amended on several occasions. Under the regulations it is an offence to use, without approval, the word ‘Anzac’, or any word resembling the word ‘Anzac’, in connection with any commercial purpose or in connection with any entertainment conducted for the purpose of raising money. Commercial purposes and entertainments are denned in the regulations.

When permission to use the word for any commercial purpose has been sought it has almost invariably been refused. Use of the word ‘Anzac’ in connection with a trade mark registered under the Trade Marks Act, or a design registered under the Designs Act, or in connection with the name of any firm or company registered under any State company Act is also prohibited. The word ‘Anzac’ may be still used, without permission, in the naming of a street, road or park in which or near which there is a public World War I or World War II memorial. Permission has usually been given, upon application, for the use of the word for significant thoroughfares or parks which then become a memorial in their own right, in the naming of war memorial halls, and in the naming of buildings occupied by servicemen’s clubs.

Mr Speaker, I draw these regulations to the attention of the House because in recent years a number of offences have been committed through ignorance of them. Except in the special case of the use of the combination ‘Anzac Day’ for functions held on an Anzac Day holiday the prohibition on the use of the word ‘Anzac’ for commercial purposes will continue. Similar protective regulations also continue in force in New Zealand and in Great Britain.


-by leave-The word ‘Anzac’ is a special one for Australians in the short history of this nation. The Anzac tradition, particularly as it relates to Gallipoli and the achievements of our fighting forces, not only in Gallipoli but also elsewhere and at other times, is important for most Australians, even the younger generation. I felt this most when I visited Gallipoli about eight years ago with a delegation from this Parliament. To be aware, for instance, that a couple of my great uncles were buried there, that my father fought there over 60 years ago and that thousands of Australians have visited that strange remote corner of the world was a moving experience and all part of our Australian experience in reaching nationhood.

I suppose that outwardly we are about the least patriotic group of people in the world. Along with that lack of patriotism we are less emotional than most other people about things such as the word ‘Anzac’. But it is a special Australian word. In spite of the change in the statutory rules to which the Minister for Productivity (Mr Macphee) drew attention in his statement it will continue to be a special word with a special meaning. Times change and the rules must change to fit those times. The slight alteration to the rules made by the Government seems to the Labor Opposition, as far as I can ascertain in the short period I have had to study the statement, to fit the changing times. I note that the Minister in his statement used the words ‘in consultation with the Returned Services League’. In my view the statement would have been even stronger if he had said that the change had been made ‘with the agreement of the Returned Services League’ and not just ‘in consultation with the Returned Services League’. However, I presume that this was so. The League has not been in touch with me to say that it was not so.

I make one last point on this subject. The word Anzac’ is also a special word for New Zealand. At a time when there is talk in the air of a closer union with our greatest friend across the Tasman it is well to remember how much we have in common with New Zealand. The special place of the word ‘Anzac’ is but one manifestation of this.

page 709


Discussion of Matter of Public Importance


-I have received a letter from the honourable the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) proposing that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely:

The decline in family standards of disposable income, security, food, housing and living quality since December 1975.

I call upon those members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in their places.

More than the number of members required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places-

Leader of the Opposition · Oxley

– Australian families are the victims of an unremitting assault against their living standards. The assault comes as a consequence of government economic policy. It is indisputable that this result is no accident and that the Government has consciously set about reducing the living standards of Australian families. The purpose of the Government is to reduce the living standards of Australian families so that it can reduce the wage structure in our community. It is indifferent to the sort of suffering, disadvantage and disruption to the social structure of family life in Australia that those policies bring about. There are some hard facts which are easily available to anyone to verify this assertion. Calculations by the Australian Council of Trade Unions show that the average income earner, in the period since 1975 to the conclusion of the last financial year, would have needed an increase in his wage of $17 a week, before tax, merely to hold the real living standard that he had enjoyed in 1975.

This Budget makes it clear that the average income earner would have to have an increase of $7.92 a week above the wage that the Government anticipates that he will earn over the course of this year merely to hold his living standard, in real terms, at the level which he enjoyed last year. Honourable members should bear in mind that last year represented an enormous and dramatic reduction in the living standard of the average income earner- $17 a week from that which he was enjoying in 1975. On top of that this Budget in the tax area alone, and making allowances for family allowances, disadvantaged him to the extent of a further $7.92. It makes no allowance for the added cost of health insurance, nor does it make an allowance for further cost increases in the price of petrol which will flow through Australia as a result of Government pricing policy. If we put those figures together they mean simply that in four Budgets, over four years of economic management on the part of the Government, the average income earner has experienced a reduction in his gross income in real terms of something in the order of $25 a week. By anyone’s description that is a dramatic and painful reduction in living standards. One can look to other statistics for verification in order to gain the contrast between the concern for the welfare of families in Australia under a Labor Government, and the brutal indifference of this Government.

In the 1975 Budget Speech I announced that in the preceding year there had been an increase of 7 per cent in real terms in the income of the average income earner, and if one made allowances for redistributional benefits in the fields of education, welfare, health and so on, the increase in real terms was 9.5 per cent. Those calculations were prepared for me by the Department of the Treasury. They are accurate and reliable. In those days calculations used to be consistently accurate and more reliable th:n the sort of Budget forecasts and results that we gather these days. The fact is that there was a conscious effort to improve living standards then. However, last year, average weekly earnings increased by about 7.9 per cent and the cost of living increased by about 8.2 per cent. On that score alone one can see very clearly the effect of the Government’s economic policy. This year the Government bluntly states that it proposes economic circumstances which will allow average earnings to increase by no more than 9 per cent, but inflation to increase over the year by at least 10 per cent. I put to one side the rather brutal tax claw-back for which the Government’s taxation policies in this Budget will be responsible in the course of this year. It will mean that a person on average earnings, or indeed any income earner in the modest to middle income group, will be set back enormously. I merely use that statistic. For a second year in a row it is the intention of the Government to bring about a result whepeople’s incomes, living standards, will fall far behind the rate of increase in the cost of living.

What is it all about? Why is the Government seeking to do this? We have heard a great deal from the Government that it is absolutely necessary to compress wages more and more so that our industry can remain competitive. Accordingly, there has been this unremitting campaign against wages which continues today. That cannot be justified on any of the objective criteria available. The hard fact is that the so-called wage overhang, inelegantly dubbed as such by a former Treasurer, Mr Lynch, as distinct from the real estate overhang, about which he knew a great deal, has virtually disappeared. More recently, on 1 8 August this year, we have the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) on record in the Weekend Australian as saying:

I suppose wages have been in a sense neutral in terms of their effect on inflation.

That is a significant confession from the Prime Minister. Of course wages have been neutral. Wages have been less than neutral for more than 12 months now. Families of wage earners have been enormously disadvantaged by the way in which the cost of living has eroded their living standards. The Prime Minister went on to say:

There’s been very little wage drift outside the commission’s determinations, much less than I think most people would believe.

All that that boils down to is that the Government’s sustained policy over the last 3Vi years, which has been perpetuated in this Budget has been successful. It will result in a substantial reduction not just in wages but also in the living standards of families, of men and women and of their children. That is what the Government is about. Why? There is a very clear tactic behind this. For some considerable time the Government has been discreetly responsible for a sustained devaluation of the Australian dollar. I recognise that more recently there has been a slight upward tilt of the dollar and I recognise that the Budget Papers forecast a possible revaluation. That is another case altogether. It is interesting to note that the Budget Papers can signal this sort of thing but members of the Opposition are not supposed to talk about it. Presumably Treasury documentation has no effect on the market place, but the Opposition has enormous influence on what the community does.

The implication of a sustained devaluation is as follows: Firstly, it is inflationary. Anyone who understands fundamental economics- which of course excludes the Treasurer (Mr Howard) whose success as a suburban solicitor is probably unexcelled, but whose knowledge of economics makes him a complete prisoner of Treasuryunderstands that by its nature, inevitably, unavoidably, devaluation is inflationary and it is among a number of other sources resulting from Government policy. In recent times we have the cause of the fresh outbreak of inflation. One of the measures that the textbooks will say are necessary to try to offset the effects of devaluation is to apply a sustained squeeze on the economy. So the Government has created the conditions which bring about inflation, which require it to maintain the sustained squeeze. Here we have some of the ingredients of the problem we are in at the moment.

Why is the Government so determinedsingleminded to destroy the living standards and the cohesion of Australian families? It wants to go about restructuring Australian industry in this brutal, albeit secret, way. It is seeking to destroy living standards in this community and to perpetuate devaluation by rather artificial means in order to make our export industries more competitive. I do not quibble about the need to make export industries more competitive, but there are other ways of going about it, such as using economic planning to ensure that efficiency of the manufacturing industry is brought about in circumstances which are understood and supported by the public. But the Government prefers to go about this task in a clandestine way, and in the course of so doing it transfers an enormous cost onto the Australian public. There are always some winners; these are the big businesses. But the losers are Australian families. How does a person exist on $ 1 60 a week? The bulk of income earners in Australia in the work force are earning between $160 and $180 a week. One must allow for tax, rent, hire purchase for furniture and for paying off a car which is absolutely essential for a young man with a wife and a couple of children; the running costs of the car in pursuit of, or in the engagement of, employment. If one puts those together one has a conservative outlay of $125 a week, which is pre-committed before any other commitments can be entered into. An amount of $125 out of $160 a week leaves $35 a week upon which a family of two adults and two youngsters has to live; $35 a week for food, recreation and clothing and other essentials to which any family should be entitled in a wealthy country like ours. It is scarcely the price of a good bottle of old red on Freebee One, the Prime Minister’s Boeing 707. That is what four people have to live on today in Australia. That is the consequence of the Government’s economic policies.

The cost squeeze which I have mentioned is coming from a number of sources and it is reducing the living standards of families because of petrol prices, health insurance and the Government’s incompetence in the way in which it has administered the money market. Let us look at the first two items. In the case of petrol, since this Government has come into office, the price has risen from 70c a gallon in November 1975 to $1.40 a gallon in August 1979; a doubling of the price. That is the sort of record of preserving living standards for Australian families that this Government has achieved. If one assumes 9 gallons of petrol a week as the average consumption a family, one is talking about a $6.30 a week cost of living addition for essential petrol usage as a result of the Government’s pricing policy. The Government’s oil pricing policy has nothing to do with the national energy policy. Let us get rid of that hypocrisy, that humbug, right away. Australia is more than 90 per cent self sufficient in motor spirit. Accordingly, the Government ought to be weighing up the inflationary costs against the other advantages which it rather mythically sees from increasing the price of petrol.

All that is achieved by increasing the price of petrol is to aggravate inflation, disadvantage Australian families and to force an enormous cost on to Australian motorists, most of whom are private motorists. This policy achieves nothing at all in terms of restricting consumption of petroleum. The fact is that the Government’s own forecasts for revenue from this source make it clear that it is anticipating a marked increase in consumption this year. That merely confirms empirical evidence produced by the Industries Assistance Commission and the Collins Royal Commission on Petroleum report. It was pointed out in both cases that the consumption of petroleum is price inelastic. In layman’s terms that means, very simply, that no matter how much the price goes up in the short term, within of course reasonable parameters, consumption will not go down. All this Government wanted to do was to increase the revenue that it clawed back from Australia’s household and families.

Similarly, in the case of health insurance, there has been a quite marked increase in costs. The shambles that we now have masquerading as private health insurance ought to be rejected by the great bulk of Australians. The only people who could seriously and sensibly consider any advantage in private health insurance today would be aged people, people with infants with a potential for serious illness or people with chronic illness. The great bulk of Australians enjoy good health; I pointed out at Question Time the figures in relation to that fact, using the Government’s own statistical sources. For the average family in this community, it is enormously cheaper to stay out of medical insurance than to be in it. Medical costs in New South Wales on average run at $69 a year for a single person and $138 for a family. Basic health and medical insurance costs $104 for a single person and $208 for a family. By not going into medical insurance a single person would save $35 a year and a family $70 a year, using average statistics. In fact, they would save a great deal more because the average statistics are inflated by the usage rates of people with chronic illnesses who are a small proportion of the community.

I serve notice on the Government that a health insurance scheme that will cost up to $759 a year for full cover is inappropriate and quite unacceptable for Australian families. The Opposition intends to replace it. A little later I will be announcing the first steps towards that objective. Let us look at some of the achievements of this Government in destroying household living standards. I seek leave to have a table incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The table read as follows-


– The table shows the following cost increases under this Government: Bread has gone up by 50 per cent, self-raising flour by 30 per cent, milk by some 40 per cent, steak by some 100 per cent, potatoes by 55 per cent, baby food by 56 per cent, and canned fruit by about 50 per cent. I move now to social security matters. Families dependent on those sources for their livelihood have suffered an enormous reduction in living standards if they have dependent children. That has happened since this Government came to office. If we look at unemployment benefits, we find that those unfortunate people- casualties in the Government’s economic policy- are cast well below the poverty line. The benefit for an unemployed married couple with 4 children is nearly $30 a week below the poverty line. This Government is an anti-family government.


Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.

Treasurer · Bennelong · LP

– The Opposition invites the Government to compare standards of disposable income, security, housing, food costs and the like of Australian families now with what they were in December 1975. 1 welcome the opportunity that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) has given the Government to debate this subject today. I make the observation at the outset that there is no better demonstration that somebody is struggling hard for a convincing argument than when that person resorts to the selective use of statistics and personal denigration. The Leader of the Opposition was a past master at that art in his speech today.

He said that he was concerned about the living standards of Australian families. I will accept that he may be concerned with the living standards of Australian families. I will accept that there are people in the Opposition who are genuinely concerned about the living standards of Australian families. If that is the case, we ought to ask ourselves, firstly, this very simple question: What is the greatest destroyer of living standards, job security, personal security and family security of Australians? It is nothing other than the level of inflation that this country has. If anybody in the Opposition does not believe that but believes instead that that is a theory which is reserved for the Government side of politics, let him ponder for a moment the words used by the Leader of the Opposition when he was in Government. Let Opposition members ponder what has been said by economists who normally support the Labor Party. The greatest threat to any Western society- that is, to a society such as Australia’s- is the level of inflation. Nothing so undermines the security of a family, the sense of wellbeing of a family and the sense of togetherness of a family and gives it a greater sense of desperation than a spiralling level of inflation. Yet, there was not a word about inflation in the speech by the Leader of the Opposition.

Once again, we have a trilogy. At the Adelaide Conference of the Australian Labor Party, there was deafening silence on inflation. We had in the Leader of the Opposition’s response last night, deafening silence on inflation. We have today the Leader of the Opposition worrying about the living standards of Australians, and deafening silence on inflation. The Leader of the Opposition would have us believe that all one needs to do to profess and to establish concern for the wellbeing of Australian families is to come into this House, to shout a few slogans, to quote a few selective statistics and to hurl a bit of personal abuse; in that way one establishes a credible economic alternative. The Australian people will not fall for that as an economic alternative. Unless the Leader of the Opposition is prepared to face the consequences of having an economic policy which is silent on inflation, unless he is prepared to say to the Australian people how big a Budget deficit is appropriate, unless he is prepared to come clean about his taxation policies, unless he is prepared to say how much his alternative health scheme will cost, unless he is prepared to cost his job creating schemes properly- in other words, unless he is prepared to match his rhetoric about economic responsibility to show us that he does have some interest in economics and that he can advance an alternative economic strategy, he is simply not going to be taken seriously by the Australian people. His speech so clearly demonstrates today one very serious, simple fact: The Opposition does not have an answer to inflation. It is totally silent on the subject of inflation. It has not learned anything, nor indeed has it forgotten anything, since it was last in government. In common with the Bourbons whom its former Leader was so fond of quoting, it has learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

But there are a few matters that the Government has not forgotten over the past Vh years. There are a few matters that the Australian people have not forgotten over the past Vh. years. There are a few factors that they will remember about their own living standards when next they go into the polling booths of this country. We hear much from the Opposition about the living standards of the Australian people. We hear a lot about the stability of the family. We do not hear anything -from the Opposition about the fact that in 1976 this Government introduced undeniably the most valuable social reform for the Australian family, namely, the family allowance. The Leader of the Opposition does not talk about that subject. He does not say anything about the enormous benefit that that reform was to the living standards of low income earners in the Australian community.

I wish to say a few words about the improvements that have occurred in the Australian economy in the past 3V4 years and, in particular, in the past 12 months. A debate like this about the living standards of Australian people ought to give us an opportunity to look at what has happened to the Australian economy during the past 12 months. It ought to give us an opportunity to look at some of the things that were said about the Australian economy and about the Government’s economic policy. I shall refer to a few spokesmen for the Opposition and, first of all, to the honourable member for Adelaide (Mr Hurford). He is not in the House but I will quote him faithfully. He is the Opposition spokesman on industry and commerce. On 1 1 October last year he had a few things to say about overseas borrowings- not ‘those’ overseas borrowings, but the overseas borrowings that this Government has quite properly resorted to over the past two years in defence of the Australian dollar.

We all know, of course, that when the Government embarked upon that overseas borrowing program, honourable members on the other side of the House, including the Leader of the Opposition, the honourable member for Gellibrand (Mr Willis) and the honourable member for Adelaide said that it was a hopeless cause and that the Government had embarked upon the wrong policy. They said that we were in a hopeless situation and that capital was never going to come into Australia because overseas investors had no confidence in the economic policies of this Government. On 11 October 1978 the honourable member for Adelaide asked a number of rhetorical questions. He said:

Is this why our reserves have been dropping? Is this why we have had to embark on this borrowing program, the latest announcement being made by the Treasurer only last Friday? Or is the crisis due to the Fraser Governmentpromoted stagnation in another way? Because our level of economic activity is so low, does this mean that overseas investors have no confidence in us? There is no capital coming in for real income and job producing programs.

The interesting thing about that proposition is that he totally miscalculated the attitude of overseas investors towards Australia but, more importantly, acknowledged by that very charge that capital coming into Australia is helpful in creating jobs. By his own words he acknowledged that an injection of private capital into this country is beneficial for employment creating purposes. We all know how wrong the honourable member for Adelaide was back in October 1978. We all know that when the honourable member for Gellibrand, the Leader of the Opposition and other people on that side of the House got up here and berated the Government for following a program of massive overseas borrowings, they were totally wrong. Over the past 12 months there has been a dramatic improvement not only in the competitiveness of this country but also in the perceptions of overseas investors as to our economic strength. Last year saw the highest level of private capital flow that we have seen since 1971-72. Is that the mark of stagnation? Is that the mark of lack of confidence? Is that the mark of people who believe that our economic policies are a failure? Rather, it is a mark of acknowledgment from people overseas that this Government has had the courage to follow the right economic policies and to stick to those policies. They have now voted with their dollars- their investments. They have given this Government’s policies an enormous vote of confidence. So I thank the honourable member for Adelaide for saying that overseas investment is helpful in creating jobs in Australia.

We should assess the impact of alternative economic policies on employment in this country. The Opposition says that we do not care about unemployment because we do not have job creating schemes. That is the only difference between us. That is the only real difference between what the Leader of the Opposition said last night and what we have been saying on unemployment. The great clarion cry of the Opposition is that we do not care about unemployment. The great hallmark of everything it says is that we are totally insensitive to unemployment. Yet when I read the speech that the Leader of the Opposition made last night- I read it very carefully-I found that he had devoted little more than a few lines to initiative so far as unemployment was concerned. He said that he would have a job creation scheme under which he would create 50,000 jobs at an annual expenditure of $85m to $100m. According to my mathematics- I know that the Leader of the Opposition will try to take some advantage of the fact that he reckons my mathematics - are no good- that works out at $40 a week. In other words, he reckons that he can run a job creation scheme by paying $40 a week to the individuals participating in it. What about the materials? What about average weekly earnings? What about the attitude of the trade union movement to that sort of scheme? All that the Opposition has been able to offer -

Mr Howe:

– What is the position of the pensioners who are suffering because of the policies of this Government? You do not help them. You would rather have them on the scrapheaps

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Millar)Order! The honourable member for Batman will remain silent. I ask the House to maintain silence.


-The fact of the matter is that when it comes to concern about unemployment, the Opposition’s statements are total rhetoric. It has not developed an alternative strategy for unemployment. All it does is mouth a few platitudes about job creation. It does not recognise that in the long run we cannot solve the problem of unemployment in this country unless we achieve sustainedly higher levels of economic activity. Any policy that pretends otherwise is totally misconceived and is a cruel deception of those people who are out of work. I repeat that there is only one way in which we can permanently solve the problem of unemployment in this country and that is by achieving sustainedly higher levels of economic activity. It was the destruction of those levels of economic activity in 1973 and 1974 which led to the levels of unemployment that we still suffer in this country. It will only be through the restoration of those levels of economic activity that this country will see a reduction in the level of unemployment that we now experience.

Mr Deputy Speaker, this debate started out with a protestation of concern by the Leader of the Opposition about the living standards of Australian families. I share with the Leader of the Opposition a concern about the living standards of Australian families but I disagree with both his understanding of their present living standards and his recipe for changing those living standards. If the Leader of the Opposition is concerned about the living standards of the 94 per cent of Australians who are in work at present, he will spare a few more thoughts for the level of inflation that his alternative economic policies would give this country. He would devote a little more time to inflation than did the Adelaide conference of his party or than he did in his response last night or in his speech today. But he is not likely to do that, for the very simple reason that when really pinned on the subject of inflation he does not have an answer. He knows very well this Government’s record on the level of inflation. He knows very well that in 1973 when this country faced world-wide inflationary pressures, the Government of which he was a senior member and of which he later became Treasurer, fuelled those inflationary pressures by following a totally permissive monetary policy, by allowing expenditure to go through the roof and by encouraging the level of real wages to get out of all hand and to sink the international competitiveness of the Australian economy.

We will never allow the Leader of the Opposition to forget the way in which his party responded to international inflation in 1973. That is why the Leader of the Opposition is squeamish about inflation and that is why, so long as the Leader of the Opposition comes into this House to debate inflation or the Australian economy, this side of the House will never allow him to forget that when it comes to making an economic statement he is deafeningly silent on inflation, which is the most important single determinant of the living standards of Australians and Australian families.


-This Treasurer (Mr Howard) will go down in history as the monomaniacal Treasurer of this country. This Treasurer is monomaniacally obsessed with inflation. Nobody at all disagrees with him that inflation is important. Everybody believes that the inflation rate in this country ought to come down. Everybody accepts that the inflation rate is an important determinant of the level of economic activity in this country. The problem is that this Government has allowed its ideological obsessions with this problem and with many others completely to obscure its view of the Australian community and its overall welfare. Unfortunately the greatest casualty has been the Australian family. The Australian family has got in the way of this Government ‘s economic ideological obsessions. This Government cares not a bit about the living standards of ordinary people, as was so patently displayed by the Treasurer here today. Having berated the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) for allegedly avoiding the argument about inflation, he then went on to talk about inflation in such abstract terms that he completely failed to acknowledge the consequences of his own policies on the ordinary people.

The Leader of the Opposition was at pains to point out that an ordinary family now would need an extra $17 a week just to stay where an ordinary family was in 1975. Its living standards have been eroded to the extent of $17 as the result of this man’s monomaniacal obsessions. When, of course, he ran out of steam on that question and was unable to substantiate the Leader of the Opposition’s alleged failure to address the real question that is before us, he returned to the tired old arguments about Australia five years ago like a gasp from the past. The Opposition and the people of Australia are interested in today’s Australia and the Australia of the next 10 years. We are not interested in simply looking backwards and bemoaning the dreadful record of this Government, and bemoaning what has gone wrong. We are interested in highlighting the problems of today and doing something about them.

The Treasurer so obscured the argument that he ended up talking about overseas borrowing. What that has to do with the Australian family I do not know, except that, as a result of this Government’s extravagant approach to overseas borrowing, the family of the future is to be landed with the debt which this Government has placed on its head in terms of the repayments of the loans which it has borrowed in the last couple of years. In fact, in 1975 that debt stood at about $ 100 per capita. The debt now stands at $360 per capita. In the years to come when we have to service that debt from the annual expenditure of the Budget, the additional annual expenditure which families in this country will have to fund, through their taxes, the amount will be of massive proportions.

Nobody denies that there are difficult economic circumstances. Nobody dismisses the possibility that if we are to overcome those difficult economic circumstances someone has to make some sacrifices. The Opposition diners from this Government in that the Opposition believes that the burden of the sacrifice has to be equally shared. This Government, year after year, for the last four years, has continued assiduously to attack the ordinary Australian family. It is the ordinary Australian family which is carrying the burden of this Government’s mismanagement, not the wealthy families. It has taken the Government four years to close a loophole which has been used as a tax avoidance measure by the wealthiest families in this country, namely, the family trust. Through the misuse of the family trust, the wealthiest families of this country have, in fact, made quite profitable use of the fact that they have a family. It is all right if someone belongs to a rich family; he can make money out of it. It is when someone belongs to a poor family, a low income family, that this Government decides to screw him to the wall. It is only in the last few months that this Government has belatedly got round to closing the loophole of the family trust. Mind you, of course, this was after the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) signalled that he was getting out of his family trust. The Government has now decided to close the loophole of the family trust; except, of course, for the wealthiest people in the country for whom it will still be profitable to order one’s family affairs around family trusts so as to avoid tax. So families are still profitable for the wealthiest families in the country but they are a distinct disadvantage for the rest of the people in this community.

There is nothing magic about the idea of the family as a means of social organisation. It is simply preferred by the majority. However, that is not to say that we should discourage other forms of social organisation. What the Opposition says is that the Government ought to get off the backs of ordinary Australian families. The Government ought to prevent extra traumas from being placed on the backs of ordinary Australians. Take one example. What has been the effect of the trauma on the ordinary Australian family resulting from unemployment? I suspect that there are over two million families in this country which are now touched by the horror of unemployment. What does the Government have to say about that? What does the Government have to say about the traumatic effects of having an unemployed child or about having an unemployed breadwinner? What does the Treasurer care about that? He is obsessed by inflation to the extent that he could not care two bits about the social deprivation which comes as a consequence of his quite deliberate policy of unemployment. In this House a week ago he was able to say quite boastfully that this year the purchasing power of the average Australian family will, in fact, decline. This is the man who is part of the Government which, a few years ago, held out great promise, which turned out to be fatuous, for the average Australian family. Yet, over the last four years, little by little this Government has eroded the capacity of families to survive. We can see so many of the attacks which have been made against the Australian family. The horrifying aspect is that the effect has been greatest on the poorest families, on the lowest income families.

One low income family which has been particularly singled out for treatment by the Government is the family of a student who has to survive on the tertiary education allowance. Of course, we know that the Liberals hate students. They hate anything to do with tertiary education. But they are supposed to like families. So what do they do when students alsé provide the family income? They forget their families and attack them for being students. A family of a student with a dependent spouse and two children is worse off to the extent of $2 1 a week now than he was in 1975-76. Students are families too, but the Treasurer has forgotten that.

Mr Martyr:

– His grandfather was John Septimus Roe.


– Great, great grandfather, to be precise. Everybody applauded family allowances when they were introduced. This side of the House too applauded the Government for the introduction of a family allowances, but we have seen, little by little, the value of the family allowance being eroded over the years. The failure of this Government to index family allowances has meant that the family allowance for one child has lost its value to the extent of nearly $3. The loss to a family with five children has been $7.50. That is an indication of this Government’s commitment to the family.

Let us just take a brief look at what this Government thinks about low income families in terms of its Budget of just a week ago. For families on just under $6,000 a year, the lowest income at which tax applies to families, there will be nearly a six-fold increase in the amount of tax paid this year. That is what this Government thinks about families. This Government thinks only about preserving the position of the rich families. It allows the rich still to make a profit out of having a family while it relentlessly assaults the living standards of ordinary families in this country.


-First of all I express my disappointment that the instigator of this so-called matter of public importance, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) has obviously felt that it was not worth while to stay in the House to listen to the remainder of this debate. Not only has he not listened to the debate at all, but also he has not given the second speaker from his side the courtesy of listening to him. In other words he insulted his own party, the Parliament and, I believe, the nation. Perhaps the reason for the rapid disappearance from the chamber of the Leader of the Opposition is that from what he said today, which was very much the same as what he said in his speech last night, it seems to be patently clear that either the Leader of the Opposition has not read the Budget or if he has read the Budget he has either deliberately or mistakenly misread it. Perhaps mistakenly I cherish would be the more appropriate term.

I think the editorial in today’s Australian Financial Review sums up his speech as a cynical, calculated political approach to the real economic problems of this nation. It states:

Mr Hayden ‘s approach is disingenuous and calculatingly so. He is playing to the basest emotions of the community at a time when a more responsible leader would be acknowledging the great difficulties facing the economy.

I will now refer to a few facts because we have not heard one from the other side of the House. Despite the working of the matter of public importance today, it is a fact that disposable income has risen each year since 1975. It is a fact that total revenue from personal income taxes has been more than $3,000m less since December 1975 than it would have been under the 1975 Budget introduced by the then Treasurer and now Leader of the Opposition. That reduction has arisen as a result of the responsible, positive and innovative measures of the present Government. As to this year’s Budget, it is a fact that from 1 December 1979 every income taxpayer in Australia will pay less tax than he now pays. The rate of taxation will fall by 2.57 per cent. As a proportion of the total income tax that he pays that figure is closer, I believe, to a fall of 7 per cent or more depending on his income. It is a fact that as from 1 December this year a person on average weekly earnings will be paying $16 a week less tax than a person on average weekly earnings would have been paying had the 1 975 Hayden tax scales still been in operation. Not only that, but also, half a million taxpayers who would have paid tax under the previous scales will be now not paying tax.

Let us look at what has happened in other areas as a result of the Budget. Six-monthly indexation of all pensions has been restored; extra income limits have been raised for pensioners entitled to pensioner health benefits; new benefits have been introduced for repatriation pensioners. In the private sector there has been a much needed relief for small businesses through an easing of Division seven. Income and employment generating incentives have been offered to the private sector. Why does not the Opposition mention some of those matters? Why does not the Opposition mention some of the other Budget announcements which in one way or another benefit millions of Australians? For example, there will be an additional 1 1 per cent spent on community health this year, an additional 16 per cent on the education program for unemployed youth, an easing of the means test for student assistance schemes, a 45 per cent increase in national drug education and a 29 per cent increase in additional funds for school dental schemes. They are just a few examples of what this Budget contains for the people of Australia.

We do have problems in this country and it would be stupid to deny that. They are problems which if not tackled will erode the living standards of all Australians. We too are concerned about that. The prime objective of this Government is to prevent an erosion of living standards. The question that ought to be asked is: What alternative policies would serve Australia’s interest better than those which this Government has persued? There are some very strong advocates for the Government’s present policy. The annual report of the Reserve Bank, which came out last week, very strongly endorsed the general thrust of the Government’s policy line. It pointed out that it could not think of any better alternatives either. I remind the House that a distinguished member of the Reserve Bank of Australia is the leader of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Mr Hawke.

Let us look at what Labor is proposing now and what it did when it was last in office. Firstly, let us look at what it did when last in office. We know what the end results were, but let us look at some of the details. Let us look at personal income tax collections in real terms payasyouearn tax collections, when Labor was in office, discounting for inflation. This year regrettably we are to have a 4.5 per cent rise in total payasyouearn tax collections. That means a rise of about $300m in 1974-75 tax dollars despite the fact that from 1 December every taxpayer will be paying less tax than he otherwise would pay. It is a rise which is perhaps unfortunate but obviously necessary. Have a look at what happened when Labor was in office. PA YE taxes, that is basically the taxes of the average worker in Australia, rose in real terms by 14.5 per cent in one of the years that Labor was in office. The facts are that in

1973- 74 -

Mr Howard:

– That is in nominal terms, isn’t it? Or is it in real terms?


-In real terms. Net real PA YE tax collections in 1974-75 rose by $1.1 billion. Members of the Opposition have expressed concern about rising health costs. We too expressed concern about the rising health costs. But let us look at the facts. The facts are that the spiral in health costs started while Labor was in office. The increase in health costs while Labor was in office was 126 per cent in a period of three years. During the last three years health costs have been still too high and have risen too quickly, but the rate of increase has been cut to 26 per cent. Labor has attempted to make much capital out of the question of tax avoidance schemes. Let me remind the House that when Labor was in office it introduced not one measure to block any tax loophole. The amount of work and dedicated effort that the present Treasurer and the present Government have put into the effort of blocking tax loopholes in the last three years is something to be commended by the whole of our nation.

What is Labor proposing now? It is proposing even higher oil levies. It is proposing retrospective taxation. It is proposing a capital gains tax. It is proposing a resources tax. It is also proposing more and more spending on government programs of the type which became, by bitter experience, so discredited when Labor was last in office. Worst of all it has produced not one costing to support its spending proposals. In other words, the deficit will blow out higher and higher. With Labor in office we would be back completely to the situation in which we were in 1974- 75, a situation which ruined this country, which produced record inflation, record increases in unemployment, record interest rates and record decreases in production in this country. The Labor Party may not be prepared to face facts, to be realistic, to take the Australian people into its confidence. The speech of the Leader of the Opposition today shows conclusively that Labor is not prepared to do these things. But let me assure him and the Australian people, Mr and Mrs Australia about whom he speaks, while in the same breath mouthing policies that will do great damage to them and their families, that this Government will not refuse to face the facts. This Government will not abrogate its responsibilities.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Millar)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired. The discussion is concluded.

page 718




Motion (by Mr Fife on behalf of Mr Sinclair) proposed:

That, unless otherwise ordered, government business take precedence of general business on each day of sitting until the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1979-80 and the Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1979-80 have passed all stages in the House.


-Can the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs (Mr Fife) tell me just what that motion means exactly. Does it mean that items such as matters of public importance will be removed from the Notice Paper?

Mr Fife:

– Can the Minister give the House any indication as to when he expects Appropriation Bills (No. 1) and (No. 2) to be passed through the House? During the Autumn sittings there was a suggestion that certain estimates committees would be set up. I understand that the Government has now changed its mind on this matter. Could we have some clarification as to what the Government’s plan is?

Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs · Farrer · LP

– in reply- On behalf of the Leader of the House (Mr Sinclair), I give an assurance that adequate time will be made available, as in the past, for the consideration of these Bills. With regard to the possibility of establishing estimates committees, the Government has not yet made a decision in relation to this matter. The Government will be giving consideration to this matter in the very near future. In the event of the Government’s deciding that it would be wise to establish these committees, of course discussions will be held with the Opposition.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 718


Reference to Public Works Committee

Minister for Housing and Construction · Braddon · LP

– I move:

The proposal is for the construction of the initial works associated with the proposed redevelopment of Brisbane Airport to the north-east of the existing airport, and comprises:

Reclamation of the site with sand filling dredged from Moreton Bay to accommodate the proposed new runway, taxiways, apron, building areas and roadways; the construction of a floodway channel to divert the floodwaters presently discharging across the site; construction of a 3,300 metre runway and associated taxiway system; and other associated engineering preparatory works.

The estimated cost of the proposal at July 1979 prices is $98m. I table plans of the proposed work.


-Not surprisingly, I would like to say one or two words in relation to this matter. The House has taken a very great interest in the Brisbane Airport for a number of years. The House would be aware, consequently, that there have been more motions on the Notice Paper concerning the redevelopment of Brisbane Airport than on any other item; and, naturally, that is as it ought to be. Therefore, the House would be beside itself with delight and quite ecstatic at the proposition put forward by the Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr Groom) that the proposed development be referred to the Public Works Committee. Phase 1 of this proposal is a very large development. It will bring enormous benefit not only to that part of Queensland but also to the whole State and, in so doing, will bring enormous development to Australia.

It is a fact of modern life that airports are the modern-day counterparts of seaports. Cities, states and nations have been built around seaports in the past. Modern day airports are the necessary accompaniment to that development. Brisbane and south-east Queensland have been disadvantaged for years in that they have had the worst capital city airport in Australia. To get the proposal to the stage that it has now reached- reference to the Public Works Committee- has required a lot of effort. The reports of various bodies, such as the Bureau of Transport Economics, have had to be put aside. The Bureau ‘s report was a poor report and an incorrect report. It was tabled in the middle of 1975.

Mr Hodgman:

– You have been fighting for it for many years.


– The honourable member for Denison has his usual sense of proportionate sagacity. He is quite correct. We have all been fighting for this for many years. I will give one example of its benefits to the area. During the 20 days embracing the Commonwealth Games- that is, those days on each side of the actual games participation period- that part of Queensland will lose between $4.5m and $6m merely because it has an inadequate international airport. That is big money over a short period.

In another way this reference by the Government is welcomed because it is a giant capital work. It is the first part of a capital work which embraces $170m and, as such, the economic effects in that region of such a capital work will be quite enormous. The effects will exist in terms of business activity, employment activity and all the ripple effects that flow from a beneficial infrastructure development. The ultimate nature of the airport, as we understand it, is that there will be three runways. I would not expect that the three runways would be constructed this side of the year 2000, and I am certainly not pressing that they be constructed. Environmental studies have been made on the three runway developments, that is, the two parallel runways and runway 16/34. Perhaps my friend the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Jull) can tell me whether that is correct.

Mr Jull:

– Yes, that is correct.


– The honourable member carries a computer-like mind, Mr Deputy Speaker, so he understands these matters.

Mr Donald Cameron:

– What about me?


-Of course the honourable member for Fadden does not carry a computer-like mind but he is always calculating things. Some people have said that he is subject to the disease called compoxitosis- an overindulgence in the use of computers. So it is that order of development which we are looking at ultimately, but certainly not between now and the middle 1980s.

The spin-off effects for that region of Queensland are enormous, not only economically but socially. There are spin-off effects in terms of the new floodway for Brisbane. In fact the flood runoff in the north of Brisbane will be improved by up to 30 per cent. The governments that had experience of what happened in 1974 when half the city was under water realise that flood runoff is extremely important. With the floodway development there will be the capacity to develop a new marina. That will be welcomed by people in the north of Brisbane. The capacity to develop a new forest area will also be welcomed.

So I welcome very much this reference to the Public Works Committee. I know that that Committee is composed of sensible men who want to get about their work in a quick and just manner.

The honourable member for Canning (Mr Bungey) is the Chairman of the Committee and the honourable member for Burke (Mr Keith Johnson) is the Deputy Chairman. I know that they are possessed completely of their responsibility in looking at this work. They are men of sense and of sensibility, and they know the work’s urgency. I know that they are aware of the absolutely overriding and complete national importance of such a work. I am delighted that the Minister has referred it to the Public Works Committee and I am delighted also to have had the support of all Queensland members and senators over the years in this regard. The honourable member for Bowman has been jumping to his feet on this matter for some time. The honourable member for Fadden also deserves to be mentioned. He carried on the battle for the airport over other years, as did the honourable member for Brisbane (Mr Peter Johnson).

Mr Roger Johnston:

– I’ll support it.


-A number of Victorian members even supported it. They are all beside themselves with delight at this proposal because they know how great it is. I congratulate the Minister and the Government. I am looking forward to the day on which both the Minister for Transport (Mr Nixon) and the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) will do two things: They will wield the first pick and perhaps one of them will drive the first bulldozer. I hope that they do not collide.


-I support the reference of this project to the Public Works Committee. I am indeed pleased that this was finally achieved when a new member for the seat of Griffith appeared on the scene. We now find that by 1979, that new member, who has been a member of this House for only just over a year, has been able to achieve this. It gives me even greater pleasure to support the reference of this work because I assume that this Government, and all governments for that matter, have only a limited amount of money to spend on airports each year. I am aware that expenditure on an alternative airport in my electorate has been suggested. The people in my electorate apparently are not nearly as keen about having an airport in their area as are the people in all the electorates in the Brisbane area to have one up there. I wish them luck. I hope that the Government is not niggardly in its expenditure on the proposed extensions. I can assure the Government that the people of Sydney are prepared to take a waiting position pending the conclusion of the Brisbane airport project, and possibly work on other airports around the country, before any extensions are made in Sydney.


-I would like to join the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) in congratulating the Government on this initiative and wishing the Public Works Committee all the very best in achieving a speedy conclusion to its inquiry. Of course the decision to go ahead with the Brisbane airport project comes at the end of a very long wait indeed. It has been a wait of more than 10 years. In 1972 the decision to go ahead with the work at Brisbane airport was made by the McMahon Government. It was unfortunate that in 1973 the then Labor Government decided to scrap the project. I was interested to hear the comments of the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman) when he congratulated the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Humphreys) for the part that he played in procuring the new Brisbane airport. The honourable member is a friend of mine but it is unfortunate that in the almost two years that he has been a member of this House he has not mentioned a word about the Brisbane airport.

In a debate last year the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) condemned the Brisbane airport project and treated it as rather a joke. But this Government in its wisdom has seen the full benefits that can be derived from the upgrading of the present Brisbane international airport to full international standards. The Government is aware of the tremendous benefits that can flow from it. The honourable member for Lilley stated this afternoon just some of those benefits. But the benefits are even wider than those he mentioned. I was interested to hear the comments of the honourable member for Prospect about Sydney airport. It is true that the new Brisbane airport will greatly benefit the situation in Sydney. One of the problems at the moment is that so much of Australia’s international traffic goes to Sydney and Sydney is a bottle-neck.

Brisbane has never been a viable alternative for international traffic. Due to the length and position of the present runway it is impossible at the moment for a fully-laden Boeing 747 aircraft to take off for any point outside Australia. This has been done only twice and that was in the depths of winter when the runway temperature was less than 16 degrees. Every passenger and every piece of luggage was weighed and we had to ensure that the weather outside Singapore was good so that the aircraft could land. That is what happened then and as a result a great deal of cost was added to airline operations. Both Qantas

Airways Ltd and British Airways, which are the two major operators out of Brisbane airport, have had to divert all their services via Sydney so that they could uplift enough fuel to get them to Singapore on their first stop.

Since the announcement that the Government intends to proceed with the new international airport other carriers have expressed a great deal of interest in operating into Brisbane. After all, Queensland is the leading tourist State in Australia and has a great deal to offer international tourists. But at the moment only about 11 per cent of international tourists come through Brisbane and only four per cent arrive in Brisbane on international aircraft. I have mentioned in the House before the interest expressed by Condor, the Lufthansa charter subsidiary. I understand that a major Asian carrier could well be operating into Queensland in April next year. I believe that its negotiations with the Department of Transport are almost concluded and it will operate at least one service a week into Queensland. Two other Asian carriers are also interested in making Queensland a destination, and rightly so.

We all know the tremendous benefits that flow from tourism, especially international tourism. The other night in the House the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr Lynch) in a statement following the Budget presentation the night before talked about the benefits of tourism. He said that the Bureau of Industry Economics has confirmed that for every extra 25,000 international tourists coming into this country another 1,400 jobs are created. The more international tourists that we can bring into these other States the greater the benefit will be in terms of employment and the health of the economy. It is not only the people of Brisbane who are congratulating the Government on the decision to go ahead with the new Brisbane international airport, but also the people on the Gold Coast. They also have suffered because of the lack of international access to a port in Queensland. The figures on international arrivals show that only 9 per cent of international visitors go to the Gold Coast. Surely with the opening of this extra gateway we will see an increase there too. The benefits of that will be absolutely tremendous. In these few brief moments I join in congratulating the honourable member for Lilley, the honourable member for Fadden (Mr Donald Cameron) and the other honourable members on the Government side -

Mr Burns:

– And the Victorians.


– And the Victorians who have supported us, in wishing a speedy conclusion to the inquiry of the Public Works Committee. I once again express my personal gratitude to the Government for finally making this decision to proceed with the new Brisbane international airport. I know that that will be welcomed by all Queenslanders and, indeed, will be an asset to all Australians.

Mr Donald Cameron:

– I am very pleased to be able to stand here today to acknowledge once again that the new Brisbane airport is on its way. I remember that in the late 1960s when I represented the seat of Griffith a select committee inquired into aircraft noise. I had heard stories from my constituents about how their houses shook, their crockery rattled and their television sets nickered as the giant aircraft skimmed over their homes. I went before that committee to state how my constituents were being affected. I said that something had to be done. The honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) and the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Jull) have given us an explanation of the advantages which will accrue as a result of this Government’s decision, but I wish to refer just briefly to humane aspects. I want to pay tribute to the new honourable member for Griffith (Mr Humphreys) because he has not had the audacity to stand in this House and claim any of the praise due for this Government’s decision. That is a stroke of rare honesty on his behalf.

The truth is that in 1972 the then McMahon Government had a program for the commencement of the new Brisbane airport. The Leader of the Australian Labor Party in those days, Mr Whitlam, regrettably for Australia, took over at the end of 1 972. Mr Whitiam, with many grandiose ideas in mind, set up Dr Coombs- Clipper Coombs- to look at all the programs that the previous McMahon Government had undertaken. Believe it or not, the Brisbane airport project got the chop. All those years of my hard work in this House were destroyed with one stroke of a pen. In more recent years since my party has been returned to office, with the assistance of the present honourable member for Bowman and my friend, the honourable member for Lilley, I have plugged on. At long last we have reached a stage where the airport project is under way again. I do not display sentimentality or nostalgia but I say to those people whom I formerly represented- they will remember me as I remember them- the people of Norman Park, Hawthorne, Balmoral, Bulimba, that in a few years time when their lives are more peaceful and they say thank you to Don Cameron for all his work when he was their member, I hope they will show their appreciation by voting Liberal because it will have been a Liberal government that has brought them that peace; not the Labor Party.

Mr MORRIS (Shortland) 4.34)-We have heard a great deal of cynical chest thumping this afternoon in respect of the Brisbane Airport project. A number of statements that have been made have prompted me to rise to respond to correct the record. Let us put the matter in proper perspective. The state of deterioration of Brisbane airport in 1972 was due to 23 years of administration by successive conservative governments. Brisbane, Queensland and the tourist industry in the State rated such a low priority with all those conservative governments that were in office for 23 years that something positive had to be done to improve the Airport at Brisbane if the people of Queensland were to get a fair access to transport services, domestically and internationally

Knowing the calibre of the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Jull) and the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns), I am rather surprised that they should be seeking to make such blatant propaganda advantage of a decision by the House, as I expect the decision will be, to refer this proposal to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for examination. One would think that the airport was already built and that it was to be opened next Sunday afternoon by the honourable member for Lilley. The fact is that the honourable member for Lilley was a Minister in the Government that did nothing about Brisbane Airport. He was a Minister in several governments and it has taken many years of agitation and promotion for the development of Brisbane Airport to get the conservatives moving.

What did happen? In 1972 a report on the Brisbane Airport was prepared for the McMahon Government. I heard the honourable member for Bowman say that the McMahon Government decided to go ahead with the airport, apparently, without the benefit of an examination by the Bureau of Transport Economics or an examination by the Public Works Committee. Apparently, it was another grab-bag in the 1972 election campaign, when the conservative parties in which the honourable member for Lilley was a senior Minister, were desperate to try to buy their way back into office. They failed.

The facts are that in 1973 in a responsible approach to public expenditure the matter of Brisbane Airport was referred to the Bureau of Transport Economics, the appropriate body and the body of which the Minister for Transport (Mr Nixon) in this Government is extremely proud and constantly refers to.

Mr Donald Cameron:

– Page -


– Just be patient, little man. It was referred to that body for inquiry and report. What happened then? The fact is that from then on, the then Labor Government started to spend the first dollars on the acquisition of land for the extension and development of Brisbane Airport. It was not the McMahon Government, not the other governments -

Mr Donald Cameron:

– That is not true. Be honest.


– We will hear about it if the honourable member can produce information to the contrary, but I know he cannot. The report by the Bureau of Transport Economics was completed at the end of 1975. It was sat upon by the Minister for Transport for four months. It was not tabled in this chamber in 1975, as was said earlier by a speaker opposite. It was tabled on 7 April 1976. Why the delay? That is all that honourable members and the people of Brisbane have to ask themselves because for 23 years Brisbane Airport languished. It was during the term of the Labor Government that the new international airport terminal was built at Brisbane. It was during the term of the Labor Government that the access road was improved and paid for. All that is happening today, which we support and which we think is a proper responsibility of a national parliament, is that the proposal in respect of the Brisbane Airport is to be referred to the Public Works Committee for proper examination and report back to this Parliament. In the light of that support, one would expect that the proposal would go ahead. Let us be clear about that.

I did not expect to hear the cynical chest thumping from the honourable member for Bowman or the honourable member for Lilley. If I may be brutal, the honourable member for Lilley, though he claims much, has a very shabby record in respect of Brisbane Airport going back to the time when he was a Minister. He is not a Minister now and it would seem from the remarks of his colleague that he can afford to be more of a spendthrift.

Mr Roger Johnston:

– Do not be so miserable.


– Let us stick to the facts, little man. The estimate for the construction of the new Brisbane international airport is $ 167m and the provision in this Budget is $3m. I repeat that the provision in the Budget is $3m. I think I can conclude on that note. That illustrates the worth of the Government’s commitment- $3 m out of a total of $ 167m. The Opposition is happy to see the proposal referred to the Public Works Committee for examination and report. The Opposition continues its support for the case of the people of Queensland and Brisbane that the new Brisbane international airport should be constructed and that the people of Brisbane should have access to proper international services.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 723


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 22 August, on motion by Mr Hunt:

That the Bill be now read a second time.


-This legislation is part of the Government’s Budget. The disbenefits apply immediately; the benefits apply very late. This legislation which imposes an extra 25c on the patient contribution for pharmaceutical benefit prescriptions is being rushed through this House today and will come into force this Saturday. I assume that the Government will try to rush it through the Senate tomorrow so that the extra money can be collected as soon as possible. Six-monthly indexation of pensions will be reintroduced in May 1980. For 10 months of this financial year the Government will benefit from the collection of this additional prescription charge as it will benefit from the abolition of the 40 per cent refund on medical fees and as it will benefit from the 25 per cent increase in hospital charges. The Government will get those benefits for 10 months of this financial year. But the restoration of benefits for people will come about next year. The restoration of sixmonthly indexation will take effect as from May 1980. So much for the honesty of this Government.

The Opposition will oppose this legislation. On behalf of the Opposition, I move:

We have been told that the Government wants this legislation passed very quickly, and only half an hour has been provided for debate on it. Normally that would mean I would be the only member of the Opposition who would have an opportunity to speak. However, we have arranged for three speakers from the Opposition side. Therefore, I will concentrate on just a couple of aspects of this legislation. I do, however, appeal to the Government that, as a large amount of money is involved in pharmaceutical benefits, it should at some stage allow a much longer debate on the whole purpose of pharmaceutical benefits, and the purpose in having a so-called free list. Of course there is no longer a free list because a prescription charge of $2.75 is to take effect from next Saturday. Clearly, those honourable members who have some views on this matter ought to be given an opportunity to indicate to the Minister for Health (Mr Hunt) and to the Government as a whole what their views are as to what kinds of items ought to be on the pharmaceutical benefits list, how extensive they should be, who should get the benefits et cetera. This is not possible today because, as I said earlier, my speaking time has been cut to 10 minutes.

The legislation includes more than just an increase in the patient contribution from $2.50 to $2.75. Those items which are at present costed at between $2.50 and $2.75 will be deleted from the list. I have seen a figure of, I think, 220 for these items. An item which now costs, let us say, $2.60 will no longer cost $2.60, because the method of charging by pharmacists will alter considerably when the item is removed from the pharmaceutical benefit list. There are special agreements between the Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia as to the method of pricing. I have referred to this matter previously. I draw the attention of the House to my contribution on page 3297 of Hansard during a similar debate on 8 June 1 978. 1 pointed out that it may well happen, because of the different method of charging once an item is removed from the benefits list, that an item which now costs the Government $2.60- that is a real cost of only 10c because, after all, the patient contributes $2.50- will increase in its cost to the patient from $2.50 to about $4. The dispensing fee will increase from $1.35 to $2. The mark-up will increase from 25 per cent to a higher amount varying from chemist to chemist.

It is also interesting to note in the Budget Speech- the Minister does not refer to this in his second reading speech on this Bill- that it is proposed to reduce the expenditure on pharmaceutical benefits by another $20m. There will be a reference to the Pharmaceutical Benefits

Advisory Committee asking it to remove prescribable items from the list of pharmaceutical benefits to save the Government $20m. An item in the Australian newspaper of 23 August contains a reference to Mr Kelly from the Australian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. I do not know how Mr Kelly would know but he said that another 700 items will probably be removed from the pharmaceutical benefits list. I do not know on what basis the Committee will remove these items. All I can say is that there will be many very disappointed people in the community who will no longer be able to get the medicines to which they have become used. The medicines will become expensive for a large number of people.

The increase from $2.50 to $2.75 could have been justified, I feel, if the Government had said that it would use the savings involved- the saving forecast for the next 10 months of this financial year is $5.1m, therefore the saving for a whole year works out to be about $6m- for the purpose of providing free prescriptions for disadvantaged persons in the community. It would have been possible to argue a sound case that those in the community who are reasonably well off ought to pay an extra 25c for their prescriptions on the basis of consumer price index increases, provided that the money is used for the benefit of those who really need it. Of course, that has not happened. That is the suggestion of the Opposition. It is not alone in the proposition. The Pharmacy Guild and other organisations have strongly supported it.

It is difficult to tell how many people are being bulk-billed at present for 75 per cent of their medical costs on the basis of their being disadvantaged. I have some figures which suggest that about 1 10,000 consultation items are being paid for each month by bulk billing. I have calculated that if those figures are correct and as the average number of prescriptions per consultation is approximately two, if we multiply the figure of 1 10,000 by $5.50-that will be the cost of two prescriptions at $2.75 each- by 12 to give a yearly total, the figure will be about $7m a year which corresponds with the saving to the Government by increasing the cost of a prescription by 25c.

I appeal to the Government and to the Minister to look at the problem of disadvantaged people. We do not propose a specific method of deciding who those disadvantaged people are. We know of the argument that if we introduced means tests or required the production of certificates a large administrative cost would be involved. The Minister will probably make that point. Whilst we do not support the proposition that the doctor ought to have the final say as to who is disadvantaged, we accept the existence of that scheme. As the doctor who bulk bills a patient has to provide one of the forms which he fills out in triplicate to that patient telling him that he has been bulk billed, what the charge was et cetera, it ought to be possible for the patient to take that form to the chemist and claim on the free list a prescription prescribed at that time.

It is very difficult at present for people who are on sickness benefits, for example. To obtain sickness benefits they have to have a weekly income of less than $6 a week. If a person on such a low income or any member of his family is sick, attends a doctor and obtains an average of two prescriptions per consultation, he will have to pay $5.50. The Government has accepted the proposition that such people are unable to pay for the consultation with the doctor. There is not much point in saying that a person can see a doctor for nothing and the Government will pick up the tab if the Government is not prepared to pick up the tab for the cost involved in carrying out the advice of the medical practitioner whom that person has seen. It seems self-evident to me that in the long run greater costs could be involved. More and more people will attempt to attend out-patients departments and casualty departments of public hospitals. In some cases they will not attend anywhere when they ought to see a medical practitioner or they will attend a medical practitioner, get prescriptions and when they are told by the pharmacist that the cost of the prescriptions will be $5.50 they will say: ‘I do not have the money. I will let it run. ‘ If only a small proportion of those people finish up as inpatients in a public hospital the Government will have lost all the benefit of the savings obtained by not providing free pharmaceutical benefits for disadvantaged persons.

My final point is that the Government set up the so-called Ralph committee sometime last year. I think it is due to report this week. I assume that the report will be tabled in this House. To put it mildly, it seems extremely discourteous and typical of the Government’s health policy that it should appoint a committee to make recommendations to it and then go ahead and change its pharmaceutical policy significantly a couple of days before that committee report has been received. As I pointed out at the beginning of my speech, the reason for my concluding my remarks so soon is not that there is not much to be said about the whole principle behind the pharmaceutical benefits scheme but that the Government in its aggressive stance of obtaining extra money from the Australian population from 1 September has indicated that all speakers on this side of the House will be given a total of only half an hour in which to speak.


-(Hon. Ian Robinson) - Is the amendment seconded?

Dr Blewett:

– I second the amendment.

Darling Downs

– I support the legislation of the Government and I am opposed to the amendment moved by the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman). I would take issue with his concluding remarks, wherein he stated that this legislation is just another example of the aggressiveness of the Government in getting money from the Australian people. This legislation is an example of a responsible government in action, which believes that the Australian taxpayer should have as much of his own dollar to spend as he sees fit, and consequently there is a responsibility upon him to pay for those goods that he needs, whether in the sense of keeping his home or in regard to his medical requirements. I suppose that is a fundamental difference in philosophical approach.

I would remind the honourable member for Prospect that this is a part of the Budget package of Bills. I was somewhat disappointed at the tone of his amendment because I had hoped that he would have read the Press release of the Minister for Health (Mr Hunt) the day after the Budget. I have been in this House for some years now and I have always been an admirer of the honourable member for Prospect. He stands apart from his party. He usually comes into the House and speaks with the knowledge of a whole depth of research based on a commonsense approach. Possibly on this occasion the honourable member for Prospect, like so many members of the Opposition, was like a stunned mullet after the best Budget ever delivered in this Parliament. Consequently they were not able to read the Press release which was put out by the Minister on the day after the Budget, wherein he stated that he had initiated discussions to do the very things which are sought by this amendment.

I would remind the honourable member for Prospect that in politics in particular there is no prize whatsoever for second best. One either wins or loses. I know that some of his party- and I excuse him from that- would have difficulty in appreciating that that is the No. 1 lesson to be learnt in politics. What the honourable member has sought to do in this amendment is merely to mimic the words of the Minister who, in his Press statement, did say that this is what he was going to do, and knowing his unrelenting application in the pursuit of achieving what is right and just, I look forward to his coming into this House in the very near future and being able to tell us that people who are disadvantaged are to receive pharmaceutical benefits free of charge. I think the point should be made that the Minister has indicated to the Australian nation- and obviously the Labor Party is apart from the Australian nation because it does not know anything about this-that discussions have been initiated to achieve this most desirable objective.

The legislation seeks to recover increases in the costs of dispensing pharmaceutical benefits et cetera in line with the general cost factors permeating the Australian community, and the sum involved is estimated to be $5.1m. I would have thought that in dealing with a matter of fundamental personal importance such as health, the Opposition would have been constructively honest and would have detailed the pluses of the Budget announcements in this legislation, insofar as the Government did extend the benefits to supporting parents and their dependants and to veterans of the allied forces from February 1980. This surely indicates that we are concerned with the disadvantaged people in society. That concern was further demonstrated by the fact that the amount of money that people can earn, and still retain fringe benefits with thenpensions, has been increased to $40 a week in the single person category and $68 in the married person category.

It is interesting to note that people who are disadvantaged will continue to be treated free by their doctors and the fringe benefits will apply to more Australians. The extra expenditure in the section of pharmaceutical services and benefits will be of the order of $2 9.5m this financial year. That must indicate to the Australian people that we are a government of compassion and concern because we are allowing more people to be covered, and we have allocated an extra $29. 5m in a very tight financial situation.

I did not hear any members of the Opposition complimenting the medical fraternity of Australia insofar as they make a contribution to disadvantaged people in society by accepting a lower fee. It is appropriate to do so. In this day and age when people seem more ready to criticise than to praise, let us just offer praise to the medical profession for what its members have done for disadvantaged people. I hope that the Minister will be able to have discussions with the drug companies in order to allow them to participate in helping disadvantaged people. In the area of the preservation of the National Estate we have overseas companies, and I know that it is a mortal sin, it is anathema to the Labor Party, to mention overseas companies. The Labor Party would rather have no overseas companies in Australia and would deny the Australian workers the opportunity of a job, During Question Time today we heard the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) espousing the cause of not having jobs for Australian workers and I would hope that people like the Utah Foundation in the National Estate -

Dr Klugman:

-I take a point of order. Mr Deputy Speaker, could you relate the reference to Utah to an increase in the pharmaceutical benefits charge from $2.50 to $2.75?


-I would suggest to the honourable member for Darling Downs that if he has been referring to Utah he might try to keep that part of the debate relevant.


– I was making the point in advancing the proposition that the Minister told the Australian nation a week ago that he was going to do the very thing that the Opposition, a week later, having recovered from being stunned mullets, decided should be done. I was making the point that the Minister should have discussions with overseas drug companies in line with the example given by the Utah company in giving funds towards the preservation of the National Estate. I think that is a valid comparison. The point should be made that the overseas drug companies which are making money out of the Australian nation should be encouraged to give some of their profits towards helping the disadvantaged people in society.

I would like to compliment the Minister on several initiatives he has undertaken in the area of miscellaneous health care, the special arrangements for people in hospitals, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Of course the Labor Party would not be interested in drugs being supplied to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The Labor Party’s responsibility to Australia begins and ends in the metropolitan areas. We are interested in the totality of Australia. The Labor Party did not mention the fact that part of the money being made available goes to people in the outback of Australia.

Mr Klugman:

– What money is being made available?


-In 1977-78 an amount of $9. 8m. The pharmacies in isolated areas of Australia benefit from the present Minister who brought to the attention of the people of Australia -


-The honourable member is straying very far from the subject. It is in order if he relates his remarks to the Bill before the House. If he is not doing so, the honourable member must get back to the point.


– We are dealing with changes in the pharmaceutical benefits scheme. I know that it is fairly difficult to educate people with specific learning difficulties and disabilities, but members of the Opposition do not realise that there are people who live in the outback of Australia. Mr Deputy Speaker, I think you are a very tolerant man and I have been impressed by your impartiality, but even you, notwithstanding your membership of the Labor Party, would appreciate the fact that people who live in Alice Springs and Darwin are still Australians. Surely you would agree with that? I am relating the fact that this Minister has been able to obtain advantages for those people to have pharmacies in isolated areas of Australia, through an allowance given under the isolated pharmacies allowance scheme. These are all terribly important matters when dealing with a scheme which has been brought in and then widened to cover more people in the fringe benefit area.

I refer to supporting parents and their dependants. The Opposition, during its three-year period of government, did not seek to give pharmaceutical benefits to this most deserving sector of the community. In this situation I would hope that the approach of offering congratulations to the Minister for Health would act as a further incentive to him to help to overcome what is a very serious problem indeed. The gist of the legislation is that there has been an increase in costs. In an endeavour to cover those costs, the Minister has sought to increase the amount of patient contribution by a further 25c. It is quite a reasonable increase. Above all, it is appropriate to remind the House that the total amount to be spent on the pharmaceutical services and benefits section this financial year will be $345. lm, an increase of $29.5m over expenditure for the previous year. I think the Government deserves congratulations on this legislation. I support the Bill and totally reject the amendment.


– I am told that the honourable member for Darling Downs (Mr McVeigh) was a member of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Specific Learning Difficulties. I can only presume that it was as a witness to that Committee that he appeared. I think it is typical of the attitude of this Government to this Parliament that the honourable member for Darling Downs should refer to the Press statement of the Minister for Health (Mr Hunt) rather than to that twoparagraph insult which the Minister gave us as his only defence in his second reading speech. I think it is typical that we are referred by honourable members to outside statements by the Minister rather than to the defence given in this House which constituted two paragraphs.

This Bill, like that speech, is, I think, reflective of what has become the hallmark of this Government ‘s provision for health services in this country, that is, the whole matter is once again marked by that muddle and incompetence which we are beginning constantly to associate with the Minister. Let me prove that statement. Let me suggest four things about this measure which support that argument quite clearly.

This is the second amendment to the national health legislation in three months. It is going to be rushed through this House today by the use of the gag in order that Australians will pay increased pharmaceutical bills from Saturday. Once again an amendment to the National Health Act is done in a rush. I ask the Minister: Are the Australian people to be constantly subjected to a dribble of health increases? Why was this charge not included in the general changes which were made three months ago? Is it a practice of this Government simply to soften up the people to various increases in the cost of health charges or did the Government not know in June that there was to be this extra increase? Is it simply a last minute deficit plugger? That whole attitude to finance is now typical of this Government.

No pensioner will gain anything from the twice-yearly indexation until May 1980, that is, until the election year. The index change will not come through in terms of real benefit until May 1980. No taxpayer of course will gain any benefit from the removal of the surcharge until December 1979, but the increase in patient contributions for pharmaceutical benefits and the health costs are of course immediate costs. The new health insurance rates will average between $2 or $3 extra a week apply from 1 September. The increase in the patient contribution which we are now debating under the restrictions that have been placed upon us will be paid from this Saturday, I September. We have a Budget which provides benefits towards election time but the costs must be paid immediately and in full as from now. That is not the end of the ministerial incompetence involved in this Bill. The Budget proposes, in addition, to limit the range of drugs available under the National Health Act. Surely that should be an inextricable part of a total package. On one side there are patient contributions and on the other side there is a range of drugs which the Government is determined to limit. It would be much better to look at the whole proposal rather than to examine the proposal in bits. The House should examine what drugs are now going to be cut off and what savings there will be- we are told $20m- and compare that with the costs which patients have to pay. Rather than dealing with it as a package, the Government is again dealing with it in an ad hoc manner.

Even that is not the end of the sorry tale because one year ago the Minister, in association with his colleague the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr Lynch)- those two make a fine pair- set up the Ralph committee a full scale inquiry into the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry and the pricing policies and practices of the pharmaceutical benefits scheme. I shall read the terms of reference of that Committee to the House because it seems to me that they are directly relevant to the problems we are now talking about. The reference states: the role of the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, including its role as suppliers of products to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), and the factors affecting its structure and viability; the relationship between industry viability and PBS pricing policies and practices; whether there is a need for any changes in related Government policies in order to sustain an efficient and viable pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in Australia while protecting community interests in obtaining an economic supply and distribution of pharmaceutical products; and whether there is a need for an independent prices determination system, and, if so, the form that such a system should take (including a system of arbitration to deal with any disagreements between the Government and the pharmaceutical industry on drug prices).

Thus we have a committee which is dealing with the problem on which we are now making another of these ad hoc decisions. The Ralph committee report is already overdue. The allegation around this House and elsewhere is that it will be reporting possibly within the next week. At least it will be reporting in the very near future. If we had a Minister who was competent, if we had a Minister who was responsible, if we had a Minister with a sense of vision and imagination about the health provisions in this country, he would have waited for that report- as I will show in a moment, there is no urgency to make these price increases- so that the payment contribution for pharmaceutical benefits could have been measured against the total pattern of need in this field. Unfortunately, we do not have that Minister and we do not have that attitude towards health care.

I think the second reading speech is fairly typical of my claim. Its two paragraphs say nothing about the equity of the proposal before us, nothing about the burden to the ill who require numerous prescriptions, nothing at all about the problems of disadvantaged patients, and nothing at all about the fact that this measure will again strike particularly at the single income family with a large number of dependent children. One may say that the two-paragraph speech said nothing, but that claim I think is a bit unfair to the Minister. There was one argument in the two paragraphs: The Minister said:

This small increase is expected to result in a saving of $5. 1 m to the Government in the financial year 1 979-80.

Every health measure introduced into this House by the Government has not been concerned with national health provisions in this country but has been concerned with the Government’s deficit. We could sum up the Minister’s policy over four years by saying that the national health provision of this country has been prostituted on the alter of the deficit.

Let me deal with the financial provisions. There is no justification in terms of cost for this rise now. Already, in two of the last three years, there has been a rise in the patient contribution for pharmaceutical benefits. Between 1975 and 1978, the average cost of a general pharmaceutical benefit item rose from $3.29 to $4.20, approximately a thirty per cent increase. But the patient contribution in that three year period- we do not consider the effect of the increase which will result from this legislationrose from $1.50 to $2.50, an increase of approximately 60 per cent, double the rate of increase in the general price for the pharmaceutical benefit item. So it is not justified on cost increase grounds. There is no urgency for this type of decision prior to the Ralph committee report coming in.

Secondly, it has been argued that somehow this is a kind of balancing act because of the generosity of the Government towards pensioners and supporting parents in terms of the pensioner health benefit card extension. I congratulate the Government on that change. As he well knows, it is a change for which we have fought over the last three years. We welcome it. According to the Budget Papers that extension will cost $ 15.5m. On the other hand, over the full year the increase in patient contribution for pharmaceutical benefits will save $7m and in addition the removal of a number of drugs from the pharmaceutical list will save $20m. That gives a total of $27m in savings. In a sense, that is a kind of Fraser economy. The Government gives $ 15.5m; the government takes away $27m. Of course, honourable members may say that that is a correct distribution, that we have to think about helping those who most need these kinds of resources, particularly the pensioners and supporting parents. They say that we should give that kind of support. However, I point out that even last year one of the Government’s own supporters, the honourable member for Petrie (Mr Hodges) was worried about the types of increases in patient contributions taking place then. He did not make a very strong statement but at least he went so far as to state: in relation to the general pharmaceutical benefits patient increase from $2 to $2.50, 1 believe that there could be some hardship for some people in our community.

Quite clearly the increase from $2.50 to $2.75 will also cause some hardship to some people in our community. Who are going to suffer? Who in terms of equity deserve to be thought about but are neglected in these changes? First of all the socially disadvantaged. The Government has recognised that these people should be treated free of charge by their doctors but, of course, they are to get no concessions in terms of pharmaceutical benefits. They will have to pay this extra cost even though the Government is prepared in a very loose and unsatisfactory way to recognise that such people do exist. Secondly, as I have pointed out, this system of making the user pay strikes particularly at families, for children constitute a high proportion of cost in this field. It cerainly will increase the burden particularly on single income families with a large number of dependent children. Thirdly, of course, those chronically ill, who are outside any of the protected categories, will also suffer as a result of these increases. I conclude by saying that there is no immediate reason for these charges in view of the cost increases which have occurred over the last three years compared with the increases in terms of patient contribution. A major report on the whole of this field is in the offing. It would have been a sensible and competent way of handling the problem to look at this issue in relation to that report. One sees that there is no reason whatsoever for these changes other than simply the deficit neurosis of this Government.


– I enter this debate to place in context the changes that are made in this very brief piece of legislation. We know that in the area of health, health insurance and health charges the Government has made a whole succession of changes during the period in which it has been in office. It has argued consistently that those changes are being made to shift the burden of the costs away from the community as a whole and on to the patient. If we look at the very brief second reading speech by the Minister for Health (Mr Hunt) we see that that is again the burden of his argument. He said:

Increasing the patient contribution is one of the means by which the Government can curtail the increasing expenditure on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme.

I guess that is clear. That is certainly the case. That is one of the kind of tautologies that we see being expressed more and more by members of the Government parties. Given that the Government has an inquiry in train and, once again that the results of that inquiry are to be released after the decisions have been taken, it indicates that the Government does not really understand and is not really prepared to come to grips with the fundamental causes of health costs. We have seen, in a succession of changes and amendments to the National Health Act, Australia move away from a system of health financing that ensured universal and equitable access to health care to a system in which the responsibility is shifted more and more on to the backs of the individual. The wealthy now have access and cover for all their medical needs while the less well off are, in effect, denied access to adequate levels of care. The extraordinary thing about this succession of changes that we have seen sponsored by this Government is that it bears no relationship to the issue on which the Government has placed the greatest emphasis, that is, not simply the cost of health to government, but also the cost of it to the community. Even in relation to the cost to government we find that after this Government has been in power for four years, health represents 10 per cent of the expenditures of the Government.

The reason that the Government has been unable effectively to restrain overall health costs is that it has been unable to persuade doctors to control the number of doctor-initiated services. We ought to be very clear about this. The reason that we have this particular increase, the reason that we are to have the removal of the 40 per cent Commonwealth contribution in May, is that the Government is not in control of the critical gatekeepers within the health system. Indeed, that was the burden of the Government’s discussion paper, commissioned in May of last year, concerning the reasons for rising health costs. All through that report it was suggested not that the basic cause of rising health costs was that people were going to the chemist or to the doctor for the fun of it but that it is the doctors who are responsible for rising health costs. It is those entrepreneurs who are so critically important to the health system, who as long as they are in charge of that system, will ensure that costs do not diminish. The paper quoted an international expert on that very point:

The insulation of the medical profession from concern about resource use seems to be the single most important problem in Australia’s health care scene.

That discussion paper emphasised that it is the doctors who are, and must be, the gatekeepers of the system. Incentives and cost controls should be aimed at their behaviour. The doctor, the paper suggests, acts as an entrepreneur not only selling his own services to the patient but also opening access to a range of increasingly expensive services which are under his control, including the use of drugs. He it is who without any real checks, orders revisits, referrals to specialists and laboratory and x-ray investigations; and who recommends hospital admissions, operations and length of stay in hospital. He it is who prescribes medication. John Deeble, in a review article on health expenditure, has pointed out that between 1962-63 and 1975-76 there was an increase of 20 per cent in the number of patient initiated general practitioner services, but that there was a 300 per cent increase in doctorinitiated diagnostic services and a 52 per cent increase in specialist referrals. It is those people with a vested interest in an expansion of services for the purpose of economic and financial gain who need to be controlled if we are to see some real restraining of health costs in the Australian community.

It is extraordinary and it reflects on the servile character of Ministers in this Government that despite his promise to introduce peer review in 1976, the Minister still has not been able to report to this House that even a moderate proposal such as this has been accepted and put into practice by the medical profession. In general terms doctors have not begun in any sense to reduce the excessive prescribing of drugs. They have not sought to find cheaper and more effective ways of administering health services. They have not sought to review the practice of ordering tests or to make greater use of other health care professionals within the health system. Nor has the Minister been able to exercise any restraint over doctors’ incomes. During the past four years substantial decreases have occurred in the salaries of ordinary wage and salary earners. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) earlier this afternoon placed tremendous emphasis on the way in which we have seen a real decline in the standard of living since the Fraser Government first came to power. However, for the medical profession, rises continue to occur regularly from an inflated base which it had established in opposition to the Labor Government’s policy in 1974-75.

Senator Peter Baume told the Forty Ninth Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science Congress in January this year that the incomes of doctors have almost doubled in the past three years- in the past three years, not during the Labor Government’s term of office. He quoted estimates which showed that general practitioners were earning on average $60,000 gross a year and specialists $80,000. That is an average. Many general practitioners have gross salaries that are considerably higher than that. We all know about the salaries of specialists. Senator Baume was quite clear as to the nature of the problem. It was not the demand of patients for more services but the Australian system which rewarded action rather than the result or value. He said:

Our medical men are paid more if they do more.

Those words come from Senator Peter Baume, who is a member of one of the Government parties.

A survey of the attitudes of samples of population conducted by the Melbourne Age and published in January showed that 61 per cent of people believe that doctors more than any other group are paid too much. It is this system based on a fee for service which rewards doctors for escalating health costs that must be broken. That is the fundamental problem. If we do not tackle this fundamental problem we will never effectively reduce health costs in this country. We may redistribute those costs from government, as we are currently in the process of doing, onto the backs of the patients, the sick, the old and the unemployed; but we will not do anything, fundamentally, to resolve the problems of health costs. So we have seen a series of changes by this Government, none of which have sought to deal with the central problem. All have sought to move costs out of the public sector onto the private sector. Bulk billing has been abolished for all but pensioners and the socially disadvantaged. Health insurance is no longer compulsory. Medibank and the levy have been abolished. People, and especially the low and moderate earners, have to pay considerably more in health costs as a result of this Government’s policies. Health costs remain 10 per cent of total Budget outlays but low income people, the sick and the chronically ill, families with high risk such as large families, will be paying a lot more for health coverage. That was decided in May, but we see the trail of it in the Bill which is before the House. The net effect of all these changes is that once again the poor, the low income earners, will be slugged.

What low income earner would go to his doctor and plead to be classified as socially disadvantaged or deal with his chemist on the basis that he has been classified by his doctor as socially disadvantaged, if that is what the Minister in his usual casual way of making changes gets round to doing? The evidence suggests very few people indeed are prepared to classify themselves in that way even if it means that they are to be paying a considerable proportion of their income in health insurance. Indeed, the Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier this year conducted a survey and found a very high proportion, about 30 per cent, of families below the poverty line were taking out some health insurance and about 27 per cent of those families were taking out full scale health insurance. So people are forced into the situation in which they are paying money for health insurance even though they are only earning $140 or $160 a week. That is what this Government is encouraging. That is what it is on about. It is on about shifting resources away from the lower income people of this community and reversing the redistribution of the Whitlam period to move funds back to the hands of the entrepreneurs, the wealthy and the affluent.

That is what this change is all about. It is a change which some people might say does not involve a great deal of money, only a 25c increase. Of course, we recognise that the Government has introduced this change because it is totally insensitive to what that kind of change means to a lower income family, a family with perhaps a number of children, a family in which there is. sickness from time to time and a great deal of use is made of pharmaceutical goods. Other speakers have indicated very clearly what the effect of this discriminatory change will be, particularly on these low income families. Once again there is the problem of the Government not quite knowing what to do. It is starting off with the social service beneficiaries and vaguely talking about extending the scheme to other people. The Opposition’s amendment is quite clear on this point.-

I want to conclude very quickly by suggesting that the approach to the health costs that the Government has taken is not the only one. There are other ways that are likely to result and will result in reduced health costs. I refer particularly to the.decision of the Labor Government to purchase the Fawnmac group of companies so as to produce drugs through a Government-owned enterprise. That involved an expenditure of approximately $8m. During the period when that company was being controlled by the Labor Government, it just about half paid for itself. It was making profits of more than Sim a year. That money was coming back into the company to enable it to develop services. It seems to me that rather than the Government being completely dominated by ideological blinkers, as the previous speaker, the honourable member for Bonython (Dr Blewett) suggested it is, it ought to have hung on to that company and to the benefits that it offered in getting insights into the whole area of drug pricing and therefore the costs of drugs.

I believe the drug industry does need investigation. I think it is unfortunate that the report that has been made was released after the major decisions had been taken. I am quite sure that that report will not have looked at critical issues which relate to the ownership and control of the drug industry. The matters ought to be pursued if we are really interested in controlling the cost of pharmaceuticals rather than shifting the burden of costs onto lower income people.

Minister for Health · Gwydir · NCP/NP

– I was not going to respond to this debate but I am afraid that the honourable member for Batman (Mr Howe) brings me to my feet because he spoke about the insensitivity of the Government. I suggest that he has a very high degree of insensitivity; otherwise he would not allude to health costs. They were not a problem in this country until a government of his political persuasion came to office for three years. It was during that government’s term of office that we saw the greatest explosion in health costs this country has ever witnessed. We saw health costs exploding at a rate of over 40 per cent in one year and we saw -

Mr Innes:

– Do you think people were jumping into bed for a holiday?


– The honourable member interjects but he knows it is only too true that the great explosion in health costs occurred while the former Labor Government was governing this country. We are paying a high price as a community for its indiscretions and the way it stuffed the doctors’ mouths with gold. That is precisely what it did. Following inquiries it increased doctors fees for benefit purposes by three times as much as the Fraser Government has during the three years that it has been in office. So I suggest that honourable members opposite not talk to this House or to the nation about health costs or talk in pious tones about what they think should be done to control the costs in this area. There is not a person in this country who is not paying a high price for the indiscretions and inefficiencies of the previous Labor Government and the way it ran the whole system. Health insurance premiums today reflect, to a large degree, the damage that the Labor Government occasioned during its three years of office. When I became Minister for Health, health costs in this nation were rising at the rate of 35 per cent per annum overall. It has been reduced now to about 10 per cent per annum. So, it is the community at large that is paying this tremendous price. Really and truly, to coin a phrase, as Minister for Health, it makes me sick to hear that sort of weak and limp argument, that pious sort of talk coming from a member of the Opposition which has done so much damage to the whole health insurance and health cost area in this country.

In regard to this legislation the Government has updated the patient contribution for the pharmaceutical benefits as indeed the former Government did when it was in office. The Opposition did that when it was in government. It did precisely that. In fact, on one occasion it increased it by 50 per cent. It is not unusual to find that there is a precedent for it. I am sorry that members of the Opposition are so sad about it. Their faces are red with fury because I am putting back into their own mouths the sorts of things that today they have been hurling at the Government from the comfort of their benches. However, the Government has been investigating certain methods. I say that to the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman) who led for the Opposition this afternoon and who expressed concern, quite rightly so, for the disadvantaged people. I issued a Press statement which is largely in accord with the amendment that the Opposition has moved, but an amendment which the Government rejects for the reasons that I will spell out in a moment. The Press statement that I issued states:

The Minister said he was hopeful that a scheme could be evolved which would give relief to disadvantaged people in relation to pharmaceutical benefits.

He said the Government was fully aware that the new increase, although small, could cause some further difficulty for disadvantaged people in the community, and his Department was currently examining possible ways in which assistance with pharmaceutical costs might be given to them.

Mr Hunt pointed out that considerable assistance with health costs was already available to disadvantaged people.

Under the medical benefits scheme, doctors are able to bulk-bill accounts for patients they classify as disadvantaged’, he said.

In addition, disadvantaged patients as a general rule are able to obtain their drugs free of charge at hospital outpatients ‘ departments. ‘

I share the Opposition’s concern about health costs. We are all human. If we did not have a sense of humanity about us, we would not deserve to be here. I think we have a very great responsibility to try to work out a scheme I believe we have the elements of a scheme which can be announced in the not too distant future. I have been reluctant to proceed with the scheme any further until the Ralph Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry Inquiry issues its report. I expect to receive that report towards the end of this week. I hope to table that report in this Parliament in the not too distant future.

I think there is clearly a great responsibility to take two sections of the community into account: Firstly, the disadvantaged and secondly the chronically ill.

I wrote to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee some time ago suggesting that it try to identify the diseases by the drugs that are prescribed for certain chronic conditions. I am pleased to say that the PBAC has responded very favourably and co-operatively to that request. A great number of drugs are being prescribed in larger quantities to cope with that situation. Clearly I think we need to do that. The medical position is, however, that there is some danger in prescribing enormous quantities of drugs for any one condition because it could encourage a patient not to go back for further tests. I am not a doctor and I would not like to pass any judgment on that statement, but so many members of the medical profession have told me that that is true.

I want to conclude my remarks by referring to peer review because I regard that as a very important objective. Great progress has been made. It has been very hard to move the profession in the direction in which I think it needs to be moved. It was an initiative of this Government. We have had great support from the leadership of the Australian Medical Association, but we are still in the process of actually pilot testing a number of projects in Australia. Our total cost in getting peer review off the ground has so far amounted to nearly $1m. I hope that in the not too distant future we can report progress to the Parliament on what has been achieved in what I think is a highly worthy objective of improving the quality of care extended by the medical profession. The Government does reject the amendment, but gives an assurance to the House that it is in the process of developing a scheme that will overcome the concern of the Opposition.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be omitted (Dr Klugman’s amendment) stand pan of the question.

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

AYES: 74

NOES: 31

Majority……. 43



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Original question put:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

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

AYES: 75

NOES: 33

Majority……. 42



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Third Reading

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

Motion (by Mr Hunt) proposed:

That the Bill be now read a third time.


-There are just two brief comments I would like to make on the outburst of the Minister for Health (Mr Hunt) at the end of the second reading stage. First of all, as to the allegations about increases to be paid by the patient on pharmaceutical benefits, in the four years of Labor rule there was one rise of 50c. In the four years of this Government’s rule, a rise of 50c occurred in 1976, a further rise of 50c in 1 978, and now there is a rise of 25c. As to the Minister’s inelegant phrase that we ‘stuffed the doctors’ mouths with gold’, I do not wish to comment on that other than to say that, unlike this Government and the doctors, it was not mutual.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a third time.

page 733


Second Reading (Budget Debate)

Debate resumed from 28 August, on motion by Mr Howard:

That the Bill be now read a second time.


-The Budget is no longer an annual Budget; it is an economic and political exercise. If one wishes to look at it purely as an economic document one needs to examine most closely Statement No. 2 of Budget Paper No. 1 and various other documents tabled on the night of the Budget Speech by the Treasurer (Mr Howard). Statement No. 2 is straightforward but necessarily is a Treasury view of the state of the economy and from it one can draw economic conclusions as to the reasons for and impact of the implicit Budget strategy on the economy in the year ahead. The Budget Papers present a clear exposition of the thinking behind the Budget inasmuch as the Treasuryand supposedly the Government- does not believe that short term fiscal and monetary measures are capable of having much effect on stimulating recovery and thereby increasing employment. Therefore, the Budget fails to provide an indication of how Australia might lift its real growth rate or how to reach a growth strategy other than by sitting on its hands and waiting for private business naturally or magically to expand sometime in the future, or by banking on capital inflow.

The Government simply believes that a cut in real incomes is necessary in order to accept the impact of oil price rises, the level of which the Government is foisting unfairly onto the motoring public. In the Treasury statement there is little mention of an economic scenario, other than within the narrow parameters of fiscal and monetary measures. For example, even in terms of fiscal and monetary matters, insufficient stress is placed on the coming impact of the dramatic increases in the prices of materials used in manufacturing. This will have a dramatically increased effect on inflation in the year ahead. Of course no stress is placed on some of the greater problems being posed to the economy by matters such as technological change or the restructuring of industry.

There are many aspects of this Budget that are clear and uncontestable. It is very deflationary and tough. Because the journalists found it boring does not mean that it is not tough. The cut in the domestic deficit from $2.3 billion last year to $0.9 billion in the coming year shows how tough it is. Outlays are to rise by 9. 1 per cent in a year when inflation is projected to rise by 10 per cent- it is predicted to rise by 1 1 per cent or 12 per cent by some experts- while receipts are projected to rise by 1 5.4 per cent.

It is revenue that this Government is after in this Budget. The crude oil duty is projected to raise $2.2 billion while income tax is projected to raise $15.1 billion- up by 18.2 per cent in nominal terms. Personal income taxes are expected to raise a higher proportion of total revenue in this year than in any other. This Budget contains the sharpest increases in real taxes since the present Government came into office. Total taxes and charges will rip off the public by $27,000m- a 54 per cent increase in revenue over the last four years. The Budget does nothing to stimulate consumption. It is a Budget negative in the extreme. There is no question that this Budget will not have a very deflationary effect on a very flat, under-employed economy. This Budget follows the May mini-Budget when a litany of broken promises were documented and authenticated. This Budget breaks the promise of tax indexation but also presages another mini-Budget next year particularly if the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) wishes to indulge his passionate desire for yet another early election.

The Budget can be said to be politically honest for this Government, but that says very little as the present Fraser Government has proved to be the most dishonest and insensitive in Australia’s history. So, by the Fraser Government’s low standards it is politically honest because it forthrightly shows its disregard for the Australian people. It shows its contempt. Penalties previously inflicted on pensioners and wage and salary earners will be removed. The system of yearly pension increases, which should never have been instituted, will revert to twice-yearly pension adjustments. The Government has taken millions of dollars out of the pockets of pensioners and now expects accolades for restoring adjustments that it perverted. The pensioners will not forget. The temporary tax surcharge, which somehow remained, will be removed but tax indexation will not be proceeded with. Yet again the Government expects accolades for the restoration of the old level of tax.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.


– The Government will make great play of the fact that the average weekly wage earner will receive about $4 a week more after 1 December but the point has to be made that 60 per cent to 70 per cent of our wage earners earn less than the statistical average weekly wage. More importantly, what has happened to indexation? In the words of the Prime Minister, this Government is now less than honest on this issue. The Prime Minister, then the honourable member for Wannon, in his 1975 policy speech said:

One of the most significant contributions to prosperity will be our personal income tax reforms. We will reduce the tax burden. This reform (tax indexation) will make government more honest with your money. They will no longer be able to rely on the secret tax increase of inflation.

Again in 1977 the Prime Minister in his election campaign proclaimed:

We have ended the big tax rip-off. This Government has given the Australian people the greatest tax reforms in our history. This Government has brought in the largest and fairest reforms ever made to Australia’s tax system. The Australian people will not accept a return to higher taxes. The Government will bring taxes down further- not increase them.

In the first statement, the Prime Minister is saying that without tax indexation there is a secret increase through inflation. In the second statement he is saying: ‘We will end the big rip-off. We are going to bring taxes down’. This Government increased taxes with the surcharge and it has now perpetuated the rip-off.

In 1977 the Government did introduce the tax cuts- cuts that heavily favoured the better offwhich were the Prime Minister’s central plank in the 1977 election campaign. Those tax cuts are still incorporated in the tax scales today but indexation is gone. This is the most devastating example of the Government’s priorities. Indexation was designed to protect people moving into a higher tax bracket simply because of inflation. No such protection exists now.

The Budget states that the inflation first strategy will prevail no matter what suffering is inflicted on those least able to defend themselves. Overtly it advantages business, disadvantages underprivileged groups and in particular the unemployed. The Government’s moves on income tax will secretly occasion an increase in taxes for the average family man. For all the Government’s much heralded tax reforms, it is accurate and objective to say that the average family man and middle income earners are marginally worse off than they were when this Government first, unscrupulously, came to power. Some lower income earners are better off but high income earners are much better off. I do not know why anyone on the Government side of the House should seek to deny this fact. It is consistent with the view that the Government has taken at every appearance before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, that is, to reduce real wages. In a curious submission to the indexation inquiry, the Government now proposes to net out the effects of government actions in wage hearings. Just as the honourable member for Gellibrand (Mr Willis) has exposed the Government’s tax hoax in this Budget, Mr Bob Hawke, the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, exposed the insanity of knocking another $7 a week off the average wage. The Government simply cannot have it both ways.

Of course, the greatest rise in indirect taxes the country has ever witnessed now takes place via the Government’s oil and fuel price policies. These can be characterised as a revenue grab. If inflation represented a secret tax increase, what does the petrol price increase represent?

Mr Jacobi:

– A rip-off.


– A rip-off. The price of petrol to fill up a Holden Kingswood has gone up from $ 10 to $ 1 6 since 1 978. Every petrol pump is now a taxation office for the Liberal Government. The impact of petrol price increases will feed through the economy, adding to inflation. The Government cannot deny what is fact. It is a government which favours people in the wealthier income groups and penalises people in the lower income groups. It is a government which does this overtly and covertly and, above all, divisively. Senior Ministers are constantly making divisive statements. For example, the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr Lynch) says that unemployment benefits are too high; the honourable member for Canberra (Mr

Haslem) says that no unemployment benefits should be paid at all; the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs (Mr Viner) harasses the unemployed; the Treasurer floats the prospect of no holiday bonus being paid; and some of the Liberal Party back bench members are urging more cuts in social security expenditure. All this is happening while an insensitive Prime Minister flits around the world in his two luxury Boeing 707s, Freebee One and Freebee Two. In 1975 this Government was prepared to use the dole bludger slogan as a means of gaining support and has done so since. That is, it is a government which picks on those least able to defend themselves.

In terms of the distribution of wealth in our society, we can objectively summarise what have been regressive and progressive measures by this Government in fair treatment of all our people. The regressive measures that this Government has introduced since it came to office include the personal income tax restructuring in 1978, a tax on social security benefits, the abolition of estate and gift duty, the excise duty increases in 1978-79, the customs duty increases in 1978-79, non-indexation of family allowances, the abolition of the property component in the means test, less frequent indexation of pensions, the freezing of unemployment benefits, the moves to payment in arrears, harassment of recipients, freezing of rates for juniors, non-indexation for those without dependants, the abolition of the maternity allowance, the cut in the Aboriginal programs, the complete destruction of Medibank, the composition of education funds, cuts in urban public transport funds, the reduction in the coal levy, oil pricing at import parity, the investment allowance, and the increase in the retention allowance. One could go on. Compare this list with the few examples of progressive measures. They include the raising of the tax threshold, the family allowances, the tax on lump sum leave payments, the departure tax, the technical and further education scheme and the training schemes, and the unemployment benefit for farmers. That is about the extent of them.

Above all, this Budget places on record the Government ‘s contempt for and its heartless attitude towards the unemployed. One has to look hard for any reference to unemployment, let alone the unemployed. However, according to the Budget documents, employment growth during 1979-80 should be a little above 0.75 percent or some 50,000 people. Annual net additions to the work force are about 1 10,000. Even if the Budget projection is reached, unemployment will be 50,000 to 60,000 higher this year. The allowance for unemployment benefits recognises this, but just as the estimates of the deficit have undershot for every year of this Government so too has the amount for the unemployment benefit been underestimated.

I would like to talk about unemployment in general. The Government’s neglect of and disregard for the unemployed indicates that it is not concerned about unemployment as a political issue. It asks how, if 92 per cent or 94 per cent of the work force is employed, 6 per cent or 8 per cent unemployed can be an issue. What is the percentage of hidden unemployed, or discouraged workers? The Liberal strategy has been to maximise the selfishness of those employed and to denigrate and stigmatise the unemployed. Perhaps the opinion polls are telling the Government that unemployment is not an issue. The Government seems to be aware that it has to smarten up but it is not aware that unemployment is an issue. I happen to believe otherwise. I believe that unemployment is a political issue and that no government, not even one as cynical and as cruel as this one, can ignore unemployment in the way it has and continue to do so.

On the latest figures available to me, my electorate has the fourth highest number of people receiving unemployment benefit in New South Wales. The electorate with the highest number is Sydney, Wentworth is the second and Richmond is the third. The latter two seats can expect little concern from their members. Most unemployed people live in the western suburbs of Sydney or the industrial areas in New South Wales. The electorates with well above average numbers of people currently receiving the unemployment benefit are Macarthur, Macquarie, Phillip, EdenMonaro, Calare and Canberra. These electorates are in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. If the honourable members opposite who represent those seats believe that unemployment is not a political issue, I invite them to wage another dole bludger campaign, as their party did in 1975, in the next election and to see how correct their political perception is.

In a couple of months the exodus from our schools starts again as another crop of young people fall into a saturated job market. In one part of my electorate where in April-May, half of last year’s school leavers were still unemployed, 1,400 young people will leave school. One advantage young people may have in gaining a job is to have family connections. When many people come from single parent families, which is all too common in the western suburbs of Sydney, they are doubly disadvantaged.

The Government has attempted to diminish the level and importance of unemployment by manipulation of figures and a range of measures. The Budget Papers state that large numbers of people have withdrawn from the work force. On page 61 of the Budget document the Government implicity acknowledges that it welcomes a declining trend in the participation rate, that is the number of people in or potentially composing the work force. Of course, we can easily isolate three groups- men over 55, married women and young people. All these three groups now have large components of people who are no longer registering for employment. The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research which is one of the few independent economic research organisations in Australia suggested in its first review for 1979 that about 800,000 Australians were out of work. The calculation then and now is that at least 300,000 people compose the hidden unemployed. Who is to blame for this? The culprits sit opposite me. For too long the Government has tried to divest itself of the responsibility by casting aspersions on the unemployed, on previous administrations or by telling lies.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Millar)Order! Mr Speaker indicated earlier in the day that he considers that the term which the honourable member has just used is unparliamentary. There are alternative expressions that achieve the same effect. I ask the honourable member to desist from the use of the word.


– I withdraw. The Government has tried to divest itself of the responsibility by casting aspersions on the unemployed, on previous administrations or by simply telling less than the truth. It is time that the triumvirate responsible for the economic mess this country finds itself in took credit for its deeds. The people concerned are the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and, if the Press is correct, Mr Stone, Secretary of the Treasury. In his book on unemployment Mr Keith Windschuttle said:

The Fraser Government’s actions towards unemployment must rank as one of the most disreputable campaigns ever undertaken by an Australian Government. It has ignored the advice of its own inquiries that its policies were ill-founded. It has argued publicly and introduced measures designed to make the unemployed objects of contempt to the rest of the community. It has blamed unemployment on the unemployed themselves and has made the poorest members of society bear the brunt of economic recession. The campaign can only be described as persecution.

This Budget continues that persecution. There is no sense in Government back benchers saying that they feel for the unemployed. It is they who back this Government and this Budget which, for example, has cut the Special Youth Employment Training Program from $83m to only $28m. The number of young people going through that program will drop by about 40,000 in the year to come. It is the Government back benchers who back a Budget which freezes the unemployment benefit at $36 and $51.45 for the single unemployed. The first rate, $36 has not been increased since 1 975. If we apply a factor to take account of inflation between then and now the amount is worth about $21 in 1975 values. This Budget retains the provision that people can earn only $6 a week before there is a reduction in their unemployment benefit. One of the ways of getting a few more people into the work force would be to raise that threshold.

This Budget perpetuates two levels of poverty. The vocal social welfare groups have made some gains. In particular, twice-yearly indexation of pensions has been restored, but that was something that should never have been taken away. The unemployed, people on sickness benefits and those receiving the rent allowance- the poorest social welfare recipients in this country who do not have a voice- have clearly lost. The Budget is clearly such a deflationary and negative one that it will do nothing to solve the economic problems of this country. It is a Budget which concentrates on a narrow monetarist interpretation of the economy. This Government shows no concern for the unemployed and a scant concern for those least able to defend themselves. For those reasons the Budget should be condemned.


-This much can be said about the speech from the honourable member for Werriwa (Mr Kerin): It is as well that he has finished it and, although still misguided, it was better than the speech last night by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden). That was the worst- let me put it quite plainly and unemotionally- the most inadequate speech that has ever been presented in this place by a Leader of the Opposition in response to the Budget. It was a speech that made no acknowledgement either of what has been achieved in restoring the fundamental health of the Australian economy or of the difficulties we are currently facing, particularly the upturn in inflation. The Leader of the Opposition barely mentioned the critical issue of inflation. It was a small minded speech, full of petty insults and abuse in place of reasoned argument. It was a knocker’s speech. It presented a dismal and untrue account of the current economic situation in Australia, as has the honourable member for Werriwa, and also painted an equally depressing picture of prospects in the years to come, and he said nothing sensible and believable about what should be done, even if his picture had been a correct one. When the chips are down the Australian people will not have a bar of this man or the petty pessimistic nonsense which has become his stock in trade.

The correct view of this Budget was expressed by the initial Budget editorial of the Australian Financial Review entitled ‘A clean bill of health’. It stated: the policies of the Budget provide the best possible environment for business . . .

That means the best possible environment for economic activity and jobs for Australians. That view has been so widely endorsed by responsible business and financial comment that I refrain from further quotation, other than to note that Mr P. P. McGuinness, among the ablest of Press economic commentators, in the National Times last weekend pointed to lower interest rates eventually as a consequence of the Budget policies. He stressed the particularly beneficial effect of this on most of the business judgments which make the economy tick. In short, the Budget will build on the return to fundamental economic strength which has already been achieved. That is what it is all about.

In the short time available to me I want to make four points. First, despite the knockersthe Leader of the Opposition is prince of knockers- the performance of the economy over the past 12 months has been pretty good, with comparatively strong growth of output and a broad fronted expansion of employment, including manufacturing. The second point I make is that, of course, the immediate outlook has its difficulties of which the upthrust in inflation is the principal one. But beyond the immediate outlook and despite the doomsayers, the long-term prospect for Australia is good, with our significant net energy advantage and great mineral reserves. If we add to this the capacity via this Budget and the Government’s economic policies to limit the upturn in the inflation rate to less than the inflation rate in major countries overseas there is a sound basis for businesses adopting an expansionist stance. They are doing so. The headline which appeared in the Age yesterday is the sort of headline of which the Australian people take note.

Mr Dobie:

– What did it say?


– It said ‘Australia to get $ 1,000m smelter.’ It referred to the investment of Comalco Ltd in aluminium in Gladstone. That is no less than the tenth such project about to take place in Australia. That is the stuff of economic development and progress and the provision of jobs for the Australian people. The long term prospects for Australia are unsurpassedprovided that we do not blow things now. That is what the Budget is all about- not blowing all that we have achieved. That brings me to my third point which is this: The Budget policy is intertwined with the achievement of a workable package in the incomes area. This is a major challenge that confronts us, to dampen any wage price round which could serve only to ratchet the price cost structure upwards, as occurred- for those with long memories- in 1951, or for those with more recent memories, in 1969, and 1 973-74. Such a price-cost round would be not only self-defeating but nationally damaging. In that connection I would stress that the Government has proposed new procedures for wage fixing designed to make the best of the current difficult situation, whilst recognising the practical realities of industrial relations. These proposals involve the automatic indexation of wages every 6 months to the consumer price index, adjusted for price changes resulting from Commonwealth Government policies. These proposals are logical and fair. They do not seem to have been received too well by Mr Hawke and some of his friends. That is a pity, because not to accept them is to prefer higher unemployment and disputation, to more jobs and stronger economic recovery.

Finally I want to stress that there are no short cuts to restoring sustainable economic growth and higher employment.

Mr Cadman:

– The Leader of the Opposition thinks so.


-Indeed members of the Opposition delude themselves and they would seek to delude the Australian people that there is an alternative, a quick way via increased government spending. We heard a lot about it from the Leader of the Opposition last night but he gave no details and no indication of what the deficit would be. The Opposition is wrong in this regard. If you try to force the pace you will run into cost and price problems, and balance of payments problems, which will undo what you are trying to achieve. The only feasible way is to be content with a moderate pace of recovery and growth- which is what we have had- and to continue to work at establishing the pre-conditions for sustainable growth, just as the Government is doing.

The reference to the growth that we have had is a point of departure. To return to my theme that the performance of the economy over the past 12 months has been pretty good. We have had a growth in output which is comparable to most of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries- about the same is the OECD average- and we have a level of national output and production at the moment which is running at a rate of some 12’/4 per cent up compared to the level in the trough of the recession in 1975. 1 stress that because there are so many knockers around who talk as if nothing had changed since 1975. In the investment field we have a veritable ferment of new investment. I have made reference to the new investment in aluminium, but that is just one of a host of projects, large and small investments, throughout the economy. Over the past 12 months, on the employment side, there has been a broad fronted expansion, including an upturn in employment in the manufacturing industry, the first since the downturn in 1974.

Mr Dobie:

– And what a dip it was.


-And what a dip it was, leading to the unemployment of a couple of hundred thousand over a period of not much more than 18 months. The Government is concerned- as is the Opposition, I recognise that- with the high social and economic cost of unemployment and especially the blight of the high level of youth unemployment. Yet in recent months the number of persons seeking full time work has been less than in the corresponding months a year ago, and in the 20s and over, significantly so, with unemployment for males in that group less than 4 per cent for the first time for some years. It is a complex and difficult issue, but at least there is that evidence of turnaround.

What that and these other factors reflect is the considerable return to fundamental strength of the Australian economy. There are a number of dimensions to this. I mention first the overcoming, to a significant extent, of the high labour cost structure which was the legacy of the massive jump in money wages in 1974, which touched an annual rate in the latter part of that year of nearly 40 per cent. This was aided and abetted by the then Labor Government, and it led to a massive increase in labour costs which we have only now begun to offset. There has been this legacy; the procedures involved in that offsetting have resulted in a major distortion within those costs in that the wages for the unskilled and the young, relatively speaking, remain too high. That is the principal cause of the unemployment difficulties in that area, and it is a legacy of those Labor policies. Subject to that, this fundamental setting for the economy has been significantly restored.

Next the international competitiveness of the Australian economy is now similar to what it was in the beginning of the decade, around 1972. International competitiveness means that Australian industry can produce in competition with imports, and can sell in overseas markets. As a result Australian manufactured exports have gone up in value by 30 per cent in the last year. This restoration of our international competitiveness is a critical consideration. It has meant a strengthened balance of payments. When that is combined with our net energy advantages and our mineral endowment we are a much more attractive location for foreign investment. As a result, last year the net capital inflow into this country of $3,025m was an all-time record which in turn means development and jobs for the Australian people. It is the potential resurgence of inflation which is the problem and the key to the Budget strategy.

Sure, we actually are a touch below the OECD average, that is the major industrial countries. That is a considerable achievement. In some of these countries inflation is moving way out in front of Australia. This has occurred in the United Kingdom and even in the United States. We have got to keep it that way and that is the essence of what this Budget is all about; the key thrust is to bear down on inflation. I make no apology for stressing that. With a cynical disregard for the reality of what we are dealing with, the Leader of the Opposition barely mentioned it in his speech last night.

Mr Dobie:

– He doesn’t understand it.


– He does not understand it; rather he does not want to. I think that is perhaps the most accurate representation. What this Budget sets out to do is to maintain a taut financial and monetary environment which includes the requirement that the deficit in the Budget should be of the order of about $2,200m. This is provided for by the Budget and it is provided for in an achievable and believable way. That is evident from the reception that the Budget has received in the financial community, and particularly the providing for a domestic deficit of only $875m. I stress that overall the Budget provides for an increase in expenditure of 9 per cent, that is, it roughly maintains expenditure in real terms; and along with States and local government spending, for the public sector as a whole there will be a real increase in spending of the order of two plus percentage points. I think that point is worthy of some emphasis. It means that the monetary and fiscal environment will be taut, bearing down on inflation, but not contractionary as alleged by the Leader of the Opposition. He said that it was the most contractionary budget in 1 8 years.

Mr Martin:

– It was, too.


-Balderdash! On the contrary, this Budget has set the stage and will provide the incentives for further private sector growth in the mining, manufacturing and service industries of this country, and hence provide more jobs -

Mr Scholes:

– The non Australian-owned sector.


– I will not take up that point. We are talking about activity and jobs in this country. I referred to the aluminium development which, in its construction phase, will provide approximately 5,000 jobs. Meanwhile, within the overall framework of the Budget, the Government has been able to restore important social welfare benefits. I stress the restoration of the twice-yearly adjustment of pensions; and has increased other benefits in the repatriation field in particular. In addition- this is a key thrust of the Budget- it has provided major incentives for Australian industry. That is the way to greater long term health for Australian manufacturing industry, through competitive, technology based, export oriented industry.

On the Budget tax measures, about which so much has been said, the Government has at no stage hidden the necessity for a significant tax impact this year. The message of 24 May was crystal clear, with the resurgence of inflation, if we were not to blow all that had been achieved, there had to be a pretty tough line and a determination to keep the deficit down, and believably down. The Government gave notice of that intention in May. But in the context of the inevitable greater tax impact, relief has been given by abolishing the tax surcharge from 1 December. The idea has been spread that somehow that tax relief is not real. It is very real, believe me. It amounts to an extra $4.45 per week in take home pay for the average wage and salary earner. It means even more take home pay to the skilled shearer referred to last night by the Minister for Defence (Mr Killen) and in the upshot it means that the level of taxation paid by the average taxpayer will be significantly lower than it would have been had the Hayden tax scales of 1975-76 still prevailed- indeed, some $ 1 6 a week lower.

Finally as I said previously, the Budget policy is intertwined with the implementing of a workable package on incomes. The Government has proposed a package in that area. What has to be recognised in this context is that the oil price increases were essential so that Australia does not isolate itself from the world wide movement in petroleum prices. Those price increases have to be seen as a temporary drain on the real incomes of Australians. In due course, with the increase in productivity, that reduction will be overcome. However, if those price increases are not recognised as being necessary and full compensation for the price rises are sought by all, it will cause a self defeating and nationally damaging round of income increases to occur. I appeal to the Australian people to appreciate this point and to adopt the proposals the Government has suggested.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jarman)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.


– I do not know whether the honourable member for Berowra (Dr Edwards) has any idea what he has just said in this House. The wage level which this Government believes some adult Australians should live on is $36 a week. It is an amount less than the tax concessions the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) will get from this Budget. Last Saturday night, and again at Sunday lunch time, there was a segment on Four Corners which I think highlights the speech we have just heard. The segment was concerned with Brazil. Brazil is described as the modern miracle. It has plenty of these $ 100m or $ 1,000m smelters.

Mr Cadman:

– How many did your Party secure for Australia?


– We never said that people had to starve so that other people could be rich and that is what you are saying. Brazil has much industrial capacity. A few Brazilians are making millions of dollars out of their new found riches. However, children are begging and stealing in the streets and wives are starving themselves to death because wage levels are so attractive to the foreign investors that you love so much. The people in that country cannot alford to eat. You have preached in this House, as has the Prime Minister, who recognises the Greek Athenian theory of citizenship in countries, namely, that there are those who are citizens who have all rights to share in the wealth, but that those who work are not citizens.

Recently in Queensland the fact was exposed that people were being dismissed from their jobs because they would not work for below award wages. They are people for whom the Government has legislative responsiblity but has abdicated this responsibility. It is easy for a Government to make Australia attractive to overseas investors. It is easy to sit here and glibly talk figures. Those pensioners to whom the Government has just returned their twice yearly cost of living increases -

Mr Bourchier:

– They appreciate it.


– I am sure they appreciate it. They did not appreciate the fact that the Government asked them to contribute $30m in a hidden form of tax by foregoing their income rises last year. The poorest, most disadvantaged major group in the community were required to contribute to the Government Budget whilst -

Mr Bourchier:

– Who introduced automatic indexation?


– We did.

Mr Bourchier:

– Oh, rats. Check the record.


-If you like to look at the record, the first -

Mr Bourchier:

– We introduced the first automatic indexation.


-Oh, look! Why don’t you grow up? God knows what the people of Bendigo are when they elect you. The fact is -

Mr Bourchier:

– Where have you been tonight, Gordon?


-Now, that is-

Mr Yates:

– I raise a point of order. I thought the word ‘you ‘ when used in this chamber meant the Chair’. I make this point of order: I understand that no member in the House may use the term ‘you’ unless it refers to the Speaker. A member must refer to the Opposition or to honourable members.


-I uphold the point of order of the honourable member for Holt. I suggest to the honourable member for Corio -


– It is a pretty biased ruling, if you ask me.


-Order! I ask for the withdrawal of that remark.


-I will withdraw that remark. But, Mr Deputy Speaker, I have limited time to speak in this chamber and if the -


-As it comes from a former Speaker of this House, the remark is all the more surprising.


-If the Chair is going to allow interruptions of that nature, I think -


-Order! The honourable member for Corio will resume his seat. A point of order was raised by an honourable member. As a former Speaker, the honourable member for Corio would be well aware of the fact that that action was in order. I upheld the point of order. I call the honourable member for Corio.


– The people in Australia who earn the lowest incomes are the ones who are paying the greatest penalty for the Government’s distorted and dishonest election policies. Those policies were put before them by the present Prime Minister. People would be entitled to expect that he is a person who would have enough self respect to want to tell the truth and to tell the truth to the electors. The Government, in its panic, spent taxpayer’s money to promote an illusion of tax cuts and other goodies during an election campaign. The Government and the Prime Minister engaged in what we have heard so often from the other side- false promises and distortions.

The honourable member for Berowra, although qualified in economics, suggested in this House tonight that taxation or the budgetary measures taken in 1975 would not have been altered by a future Government of the same political complexion. He knows and I know that that is rubbish. He may as well make a comparison with what the increase or decrease in taxes would have been if we were still applying the 1920 or 1930 rates. A statement based on such a comparison would be just as relevant. He talked about inflation. He understands economics. He knows that two things which the Government is doing are creating circumstances which require a converse restriction on other economic activity in this country. The first is a consistent devaluation of the Australian exchange rate which has been taking place surreptitiously for the last four years and which has devalued the Australian currency by about 20 per cent. It is an inflationary measure by any form of economic analysis for which internal constrictionary counterinflationary measures must be taken.

He is also fully aware that currently the Government collects 75c out of every dollar paid for petrol in this country. Petrol is the basis of most of the transport systems, and most of the conveyance of goods in this country and therefore is a recurring cost factor throughout the whole of the economy which must be met by increased costs to producers, to consumers and to all other sections of the community. It is an inflationary factor. It is assisting the Government’s policies. Last year the Government had a windfall of more than $800m over Budget returns from petrol taxes. It tells, or tries to tell, the Australian community consistently that that revenue is derived from increases in prices set by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Sometimetimes when it feels that that strategy is not working it suggests that this additional revenue is to be used to encourage investment in oil in this country. The fact is that the money is going into the Treasury; it is not going into oil companies except for a limited amount. Certainly, the increase in such revenue is not a direct result of OPEC prices. The effect of those rises is significantly less than the increases which are being passed onto the Australian community. This is a form of tax. Australians are paying 54 per cent more tax now than they were when this Government came into office. By selective use of figures the Government suggests that they are paying less tax. It has even been suggested in this House that they will pay less tax next year. It would surprise me if any person who works for the next 12 months in the position he occupies now did not actually pay more tax next year than he did this year, unless he finds some loophole which has not been plugged up.

Mr Dobie:

– He could just be earning more, you know.


-Because of that increase he will pay a greater proportion of his salary than he pays now. The only people in the community who are currently paying less tax relative to their current income than they were in 1975 are those people whose tax rates were over 60c in the dollar. The fact is that if the Budget estimates are correct, this year a family with two children will receive 9.3 per cent additional income and pay 16.3 per cent additional tax. If that is a gain, the economics confuse me. I am sure that the amount which people have to spend is the only figure that will matter. One cannot get 9.3 per cent extra income and pay 16.3 per cent extra tax and be a winner.

A number of other things have to be said about the policies of this Government. It has preached hate of those people who do not have jobs. We have heard tonight that the number of people seeking work has fallen, but what has happened, in fact, is that the Government has changed the method of assessing the figures. I remember when back in 1971 the then Prime Minister, who still sits in this House, quoted the seasonally adjusted figures at a time when they were lower than the actual registrations. He said then that any economist knows that adjustments for seasonal movements and changes in circumstances have to be made. I think that is true. He said that seasonally adjusted figures are the only correct figures. Three months later, the seasonally adjusted figures were wiped out- no longer published- and the Prime Minister said: We can rely only on the real figures’.

Mr Les Johnson:

– Who said that?


-A gentleman whom I do not want to name. He is still in the Parliament. The fact is that in the last 10 years every time a Liberal-National Country Party Government has disagreed with the unemployment figures it has changed the method by which the figures are assessed.

Mr Bourchier:

– But you used to do that, didn’t you?


-We never changed the method. We now have a situation in which the figures that are published are those resulting from a survey conducted by the Commonwealth Statistician. They exclude all people who worked for two hours in the week of the survey. Who would suggest that anyone who works for two hours is employed? Because the other figures are being withheld, the Government has taken away the opportunity for accurate comparison with similar figures in past years. Government policy is creating a situation where people who are unemployed and are genuinely seeking work are being forced to feel guilty for the fact that the community cannot provide them with employment. Consistently the line taken by the Government is that it is their fault that they cannot get jobs. Ever since it came to office, and even before then, it has poured out hatred of people who cannot work.

It has now carried out an attack on the sick. It suggests that the sick are a burden on the community which the community should not have to bear. By various methods it has taken away the concept of universal, equally shared health costs which has been established in Australia for a long period and it is now promoting a position whereby some can insure at a low rate and take a gamble on the level of health that they may enjoy. Those people who do not have that option, who are sick and who must face the reality of constant medical care, will pay higher insurance rates because others are allowed to opt out of the system. That is the position that the Government has adopted. It means another increase in the cost of health care to the average family in Australia. Today the Minister for Health (Mr Hunt) glibly said: ‘Well, the cost is lower than it was in 1978’. It is not lower than it was in 1975 when health care was paid for out of taxation. Immediately on coming to office, this Government, which promised to preserve

Medibank, applied a levy which when it was in Opposition it voted against in the Senate. It applied the levy because it said that cost recovery was necessary. That is a different argument from the one it used when it was in Opposition. The argument when it was in Opposition prevented revenue being raised in that form at a lower rate and instead forced expenditure on health care to come out of general taxation revenue. That is an argument to which the Government has now reverted because it finds that that strategy has an effect on the cost of living increase and reduces the published rate of inflation but does not reduce the cost to the taxpayer.

It is cooking the books. It has put up exactly the same proposition in respect of wage fixing. It says that it will give full indexation less those amounts of increases in the cost of living which are government initiated. The Government is taking 75c in every dollar spent on petrol. I presume that does not count because it is a tax measure in the cost of living index. When someone goes to the garage the person who serves him does not say: ‘Give me 25c and 1 will ask the Government for the other 75c’. He pays the whole dollar. Once upon a time when he went to the doctor the amounts paid for health insurance were a tax concession. They are not now but the rebate that a person gets for insuring himself against the cost of medical and hospital care is now taxable income under the formulas devised by this Government. If you pay a full rate of insurance of $500 or $600 a year, which is now the case, you get no tax concession for that. But if you get $100 back in rebates on that $500 cost during the year then you are taxed.

Mr Yates:

-Who is ‘you 7


– The person who is submitting the tax return. The person who gets the rebate and who pays $400 more than he has returned is taxed on the rebate. That is the system that has been introduced. It is one of the many hidden forms of taxes that are now built into our system. People who earn less than $200 a week are entitled to be considered as Australians. They are entitled to the same considerations by governments as anyone else. They are not entitled to be considered as grasping, grabbing people who are taking an unfair share of the wealth of Australia as the Government consistently seeks to portray them.

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony) is quite clearly of the opinion that if a person is not an Australian but is prepared to exploit Australian resources and contribute to the National Party he is good, holy and sacrosanct. If someone is an Australian who works for his wages and asks for a share of the profits he is an evildoer who is seeking to live off the wealth of this country. Is it any wonder that people are becoming disenchanted, that people .see little, future for themselves working in this country and that those who wish to work are sinking to a level of hopelessness. They have been told in this House tonight that they have no right or entitlement to expect that a government will do anything at all in order to create a situation in which they have some future hope of employment.

All we hear from the other side of this chamber is that we have to fight inflation first. Perhaps the Government might, do something about that too. Perhaps the Government might take some measures which would counteract inflation by removing some of the inflationary forms of taxation which it has applied to the carriage and production of basic commodities required for the ordinary living of Australians, thus forcing up consumer prices. People have to pay for those things. If the Government is to reduce their incomes continually, obviously their standards of living have to drop. There is no other way out if a person is dependent on a wage for his daily bread. If all he gets is what he receives in his pay packet on Thursday or Friday, all he can purchase is what the constrictions of that pay packet will allow.

The Government continually removes sections of that pay packet by hidden taxes, by forms of taxes which are felt more by low income earners, who are paying a disproportionately high amount of tax at the moment. The Government is consistently attacking the living standards of families. Remember the big story about the family allowances. Families are now much worse off than they were before. The Government has no compassion or concern for those people whom it lauded so greatly in 1976, those people who are the backbone of Australian society. Apparently now all the Government wants is to get a bigger boot so it can kick them harder.


-The Budget of 21 August 1979 is a workmanlike and realistic document. It is modest, and sensible, but above all it is humane. It lays down an economic framework to continue the task of restoring the economy of Australia from the ravages of three years we sustained when the greatest bunch of economic vandals ever to get hold of the treasury bench were in office in this country. It is in marked contrast to the incredible diatribe, the rhetorical outburst of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) in this House last night when, instead of putting forward any sort of alternative economic proposals, he engaged in one of the most scurrilous and unworthy abusive attacks that I have ever heard in Parliament. He made not one single constructive suggestion.

Before I deal with the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition may I take the time to remind the House of one of the pearls that fell from his lips when he was on his feet last night. I think the people of Australia will remember this for many years to come. The Leader of the Opposition said:

When I was much younger, my mother caught me walloping a donkey on the hind quarters just to see it keep braying and bucking. She warned me that one day it would come back to haunt me but I rind now that about 80 per cent of them have come back to haunt me.

That is the confession of the only publicly admitted donkey walloper in the Australian Parliament. Whilst I know something about the Tasmanian criminal code I am going to have a very good look at the Queensland criminal code to see under which section this self-confessed donkey walloper could be indicted. What an incredible statement for the alternative Prime Minister of Australia to put forward. I wonder how many people must have thought they were listening to the ‘Goon Show’ last night when Mr Hayden admitted that he was a donkey walloper. The more one thinks about it, the possibilities of donkey walloping, as is evidenced by the Leader of the Opposition, are absolutely incredible. We all know he has his funny little ways. We do not talk about them in this House very much but we all know of them. But never in my wildest dreams did I think that Mr Hayden ‘s favourite fetish, his prized perversion, was donkey walloping. What better way to practise donkey walloping than by joining the Australian Labor Party. In what better place could he really master the art of donkey walloping? The trouble is there do not seem to be enough of them for him to practise on. Certainly, his performance over the last few weeks has been incredible. I hope that somebody might draw to his attention the numerous services available free of charge under Medibank. Irrespective of whether such a practice may be classified as psychiatric or otherwise, I suggest that a selfconfessed donkey walloper is in need of help.

Might I now refer to one of the prime allegations the Leader of the Opposition made against the Budget and against this Government. He accused us of being a high tax government. That is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. He was the greatest tax bandit in Australia’s history when he was Treasurer under the Labor Government. The people of Australia will recall that, in three years, income tax collections in this country rose by over 46 per cent. That hit the hip pockets of every man and woman who works in this country.

Mr N A Brown:

– And in one year.


– Indeed, my honourable friend from Diamond Valley reminds me it was in one year. The figures are so stupendous when one thinks that under Labor unemployment went up by 140 per cent, inflation more than trebled and tax collections skyrocketed. My word, donkey walloping at its best. Does the Leader of the Opposition for one minute think that the people of Australia are going to have a donkey walloper as Prime Minister? Only two weeks ago my friend, the honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Young), rose in his place and said- and it is recorded in Hansard- that he was sorry for being an idiot. I can appreciate his frankness and honesty, but would one call him a donkey walloper? Never. The honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) is convicted out of his own mouth. I hope that donkey lovers around Australia will take note that the man who parades himself as an alternative Prime Minister is a self-confessed donkey walloper.

Having made those brief comments and without any malice aforethought, and despite the fact that I hope to be elected as a patron of a pet organisation in southern Tasmania with some members who care about donkeys, I am going to turn from the donkey walloper and from his performance last night. I am going to speak now on the Budget that this Government has brought down. The first and the most fundamental thing I must do as a Tasmanian, on behalf of my colleagues, the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Burr), the honourable member for Franklin (Mr Goodluck) and our two ministerial members, the honourable member for Bass (Mr Newman) and the honourable member for Braddon (Mr Groom), is to thank the Treasurer for bringing down the best Budget that Tasmania has ever received from any Federal Government in the history of this country. The miserable people on the other side of the House are jealous. They are the smart people who called the Budget the Tasmanian Budget. They ran around the traps here saying: ‘Did you get a bridge? Did you get a bridge?’ I just want to say, Mr Deputy Speaker, that what has been done for Tasmania by the present Federal Government exceeds by a mile anything that has been done for our State in 79 years of federation. It is not electoral bribery, it is a recognition of the just claims of Australia’s smallest and beautiful State.

I also want to say something about my friend the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Senate who had the gall to say that Tasmania had been short changed. I am not referring to next year’s Federal election contest for Denison which will make Denison the glamour electorate of Australia. It will be the key seat. He came out with figures that said that Tasmania had been short changed. That was wonderful until someone woke up to the fact that he had forgotten to mention freight equalisation. Do you know that Tasmanian industries have received over $62m in the last three years from this Government that has kept industry in business, has enabled expansion and has saved the jobs of thousands of thousands of Tasmanians. What did the Whitlam Government give Tasmania? It gave it a piddling- I hate using the word piddling but piddling it was- $5m one way. That is a good example of donkey walloping. It received $62m in three years from this Government. There is $25m budgeted for this year. But that is not all.

In my own humble electorate of Denison $6.3m will be spent on that magnificent Antarctic Base at Kingston. The Labor Party said that it promised that expenditure. I do not think that matters two hoots. I do not give a damn who promised it. We are building it. People who drive down the Channel Highway, as you have, Mr Deputy Speaker, can see this magnificent complex. I do not care how much the Labor Party said it promised. The fact is that it is our Government which is building it. It is our Government which is going to build the $32m bridge across the Derwent. I am not going to talk about what it is going to be called, about which there is a lot of discussion. Whatever it is to be called I simply say that that second crossing across the Derwent River is something that we in Tasmania have fought for. I believe that in the other place somebody said that all this was the result of the efforts of the State Labor Government. I cannot prove that, but my colleague the honourable member for Wilmot did a little bit of finding out- not espionage- and told me that.

I will say one thing about Labor Party members. They have a great habit of imitating each other. I stood in this House a week ago and in a question to the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) I asked whether Mr Lowe, the Premier of Tasmania, knew that the Federal Budget was going to be so good that he decided to call a snap election and get it out of the way before the Budget came down? Members of the Muppet Show on the other side laughed their heads off. What do we find today? In today’s Canberra Times there is an article. I invite members of the

Labor Party to listen to this. The article refers to the forthcoming South Australian election. What does it say? It says this:

Mr Corcoran believes the general economic climate in Australia will from now on get better for the Federal Government . . .

Mr Corcoran has gone on record as saying that he believes that the general economic climate in Australia will from now on get better for the Federal Government. The article continues: and probably in some areas at the expense of State Government like South Australia ‘s.

It is his calculated judgment that an especially favourable time for him will be the 13 weeks between 1 September and 1 December.

What is going to happen on 1 December? Every income earner in Australia will be paying less tax after 1 December. In the case of the average worker that means an extra $4 to $5 a week. I want to say something else. I pay tribute to my colleague the honourable member for Ballarat (Mr Short) who is an expert mathematician. Do you know what he worked out, Mr Deputy Speaker? I am going to go right round my electorate on 1 December and I am going to say to every worker I can: ‘Do you realise that you are $20 a week better off today?’ They will look at me as though I am mad, as though I am a donkey walloper like Mr Hayden. They will look at the Leader of the Opposition -

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jarman)Earlier I did not pull up the honourable member. Maybe I should have. When he refers to the Leader of the Opposition I suggest that he use the proper title.


– Yes, sir. I am sorry. He has admitted that he is a donkey walloper. I should have said that the Leader of the Opposition said that.

Mr Armitage:

– I raise a point of order.


– I am going to say why they are $20 a week better off. Here is a donkey walloper.


-The honourable member will resume his seat.

Mr Armitage:

– When the honourable member uses the phrase ‘donkey walloper’ I think he should keep his hand out of his pocket.


– I would not trifle with the honourable member. We all know him, do we not? Mr Deputy Speaker, every worker in Australia is going to be $20 a week better off as from 1 December. Why? I will say why. They will get a $4 tax cut from the Fraser Government. If the economic vandals who were on the treasury bench from 1972 to 1975 were still in power today, and if the Hayden tax scales had continued, every average worker in Australia today would be paying $16 a week more in tax than he is paying under our tax scales. That means that, with our $4 plus the $16 we have saved the average Australian worker, he will be $20 a week better off. What son of hypocritical attitude is it when the Leader of the Opposition calls our Government a high tax government? Let us look at what he put forward on 15 March this year at the National Press Club. He laid it down. He bared his chest. He said that he would wear his heart on his sleeve and tell the people of Australia what to expect from him if he became Prime Minister. One thing he proposed which did not get a lot of publicity, but which I now condemn as a recipe for revolution in this country, and liable to bring down parliamentary democracy- I put it as high as that- was that income earners in this country should be taxed up to a maximum marginal tax rate of 80c in the dollar. I do not believe that people in Australia would accept that.

Mr Burns:

– How much was that?


– It was 80c in the dollar. He proposes to take $200m more out of the top 2 per cent of wage earners in Australia. Mr Deputy Speaker, I would say that you and I, being simple and humble people, would have thought: ‘Well, that is not going to affect us’. The top 2 per cent of wage earners in Australia would be the millionaires. I made inquiries. Do you know who the top 2 per cent of income earners in Australia are? It is any man or woman in this country who earns more than $26,000 a year. To get $200m out of that sector of the community he would have to impose a maximum marginal tax rate of 75c to 80c in the dollar. Can you believe him when he says he will leave the standard rate at 32c in the dollar and the intermediate rate at 45c in the dollar? Can you believe him when he says he will leave them as they are? Of course not. The standard rate would jump to at least 40c in the dollar and the intermediate rate would be 55c to 60c in the dollar. He has the hide, the donkey walloping hide, to stand here and say that he is in favour of low taxes and that we are in favour of high taxes.

Mr Armitage:

- Mr Deputy Speaker-


-Now, Mr Deputy Speaker, his friend is back. Was the honourable member for Chifley the donkey he walloped?

Mr Armitage:

– I raise a point of order. Mr Deputy Speaker, you have already warned the honourable member once about using that type of obscene language. I ask you to enforce your ruling.


-! have not warned the honourable member about obscene language. I have not heard him use any.


– The honourable member has let the cat out of the bag. He was one of the ones who sneaked out of the chamber while the Leader of the Opposition was speaking last night before he chose to give his confessions about his fetish of donkey walloping. If he missed out on it then I suggest that he go and have a good talk with his leader. If I were in his shoes I would not be feeling too secure. I want to come back to the point on a serious note. That 80c in the dollar is the maximum rate, 60c in the dollar is the intermediate rate and 40c in the dollar is the standard rate. That is what the people of Australia can expect if that crowd on the other side ever get back in control of this country. I believe it would mean blood in the streets. I believe that the people of Australia would not accept it. It is a recipe for revolution and it would destroy parliamentary democracy in this country. Of course people have said of the Leader of the Opposition: ‘He would never get away with it’. Don’t you believe that! Look at his track record. In a beguiling way last night, the Leader of the Opposition modestly confessed that the domestic budget deficit might have to go out just a little. Let us just see what he stated. He said:

I make no apology for the fact that in committing ourselves to such a program we would support a larger domestic deficit to help fund it.

Mr N A Brown:

– How much larger?


-Yes, how much larger would it be? The honourable member for Diamond Valley, with his forensic skills, is spot on. How much? Let us look at the Leader of the Opposition’s track record. The 1975 Hayden horror Budget which robbed the pensioners and the low income earners of this country started off with a Budget deficit of about $2.5 billion. If we had not got back into power and rescued Australia, that budget deficit would have been $6 billion, $7 billion or $8 billion. If the Leader of the Opposition had been a solicitor, he would have been struck off the roll and given 10 years in gaol.

Mr Scholes:

-Mr Deputy Speaker, I take a point of order. The honourable member for Denison is deliberately misleading the House. The 1975 Budget was never passed while Mr Hayden was Treasurer.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jarman)There is no point of order. The honourable member for Corio will resume his seat. It is not for the Chair to judge matters such as that.


– I am not going to get onto the capital gains tax; I am not going to get onto the retrospective taxes- I am not going to get onto all the aspects in respect of which a Labor Government would engage in the greatest taxation bushrangery that this country has ever seen. A Labor Government would make Ned Kelly look like Little Orphan Annie. We notice how from 1972 to 1975 the Labor Government used the thief of inflation to bring about its evil tax-gathering. It let inflation run high because it knew that that was the quickest, the easiest and the most surreptitious way in which to get the money out of the pensioners and the low income earners. Modest though our humanitarian gestures in this Budget are, we will be relieving half a million Australian pensioners and low income earners of paying any taxation at all. We have increased the income level for fringe benefits by 21 per cent. Let Labor match that! You let it freeze at the 1974 levels for two years just as you froze the Tertiary Education Assistance scheme allowance; yet you have the effrontery to attack us. Well, let me tell you: We have eased the means test in relation to the TEAS allowance and we have at last demonstrated that we are prepared to see that justice is done in relation to students but that money is not squandered.

One thing that has galled me more than anything else is the absolute hypocrisy of the Labor Party with respect to pension indexation. I have to say this with complete and utter candour: If you had not carried on in the way in which you carried on in March this year, that decision might well have been reversed earlier. I make that point because you politicised an issue; you behaved with cheap political grandstanding tactics. You discredited and endeavoured to disgrace the honourable member for Franklin. You were far too interested in political point-scoring. The pensioners of Australia know that what I am saying is true and correct because there was never any doubt, in the light of the changed economic circumstances, that this Government would reverse that decision. When you go trotting along to the next pensioners’ afternoon party and you expect to be welcomed with open arms, brother, you are going to be disappointed because the people who have indexed pensions are the people on this side of the House, not you. You have used pensions as a political football.

I wish I had more time, but regrettably it is against me. I think it is about time that Australians stopped whingeing, belly-aching and grizzling. I am sick of psychopathic, schizophrenic, paranoid people whingeing and cringing in this House. Let Australia get up and get moving. We are the greatest country in the world. I have been to England and America and I can assure you that no matter what our problems are, those countries are a mile worse off than we are. Let us have a united attempt to get this country moving. We have the team; we have the leadership; and we have a fantastic back bench backing them up, Mr Deputy Speaker. There is more quality on this side of the House than you will ever get in a hundred years. The people of Australia are going to realise this because next year we will be re-elected and when we move into the 1980s it will be under a Liberal-National Country Party Government. Never again will you socialist economic vandals get hold of the Treasury benches from which you were so correctly dragged by the people of Australia in 1975.


-Order! Before I call the honourable member for Scullin, I remind the House of the point of order raised previously by the honourable member for Holt. Any remarks that are made during the speech of an honourable member must be made through the Chair. The habit which seems to have developed tonight of at all times referring to honourable members opposite as ‘you’, I think, should cease. I ask that future speeches by honourable members be directed through the Chair.


-The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) last night made his frank and honest confession of his donkeywalloping and how it was going to haunt him. It occurred to me, listening to the honourable member for Denison (Mr Hodgman), that it was only appropriate that the chief donkey in the House should make a complaint on their behalf. The honourable member commented that in this respect he would have to look at the Queensland law to see whether donkey walloping was a crime. I can assure the honourable member that the braying that was being complained about in Victoria would certainly offend against environmental protection legislation as far as noise levels are concerned.

Having said that, I must correct a couple of points that the honourable member for Denison mentioned. He misrepresented the Leader of the Opposition when he said that the Leader of the Opposition referred to retrospective taxation. What the Leader of the Opposition referred to was retrospective legislation against tax avoidance schemes. Tax avoidance schemes are robbing this country of something like $ 1,000m a year. That $ 1,000m a year has to be made up by the honest taxpayers of this country. I agree with the honourable member for Denison about his optimism on Australia. I think one of the most optimistic notes that was sounded was in the speech last night of my colleague, the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant). He spoke about Australia’s natural resources and its human resources and what could develop from them. Whilst agreeing with the honourable member for Denison, I also agree with the honourable member for Wills that the only way in which to develop resources is to get rid of the mob that is so ruinously handling those resources.

I find myself in a rather difficult position. I have always paid a great deal of attention to the problems of the people in my electorate. I will be absent from this House while I attend the United Nations in New York, so I will miss the Estimates debates. That will stop me from dealing with some of the more specific matters that I would have liked to have dealt with then. I suppose that the area I represent has a reasonable cross-section of middle class Australians. When we look at the housing there, we find a mixture of old, established housing and new estates of varying degrees of excellence. I wonder whether Government members realise what is happening in those newer housing estates. I wonder whether they realise that their failure to bring down interest rates by that promised 2 per cent, I believe it was, leads to many young couples who are purchasing new houses having to do what others did in the late 1920s and 1930s- just hand in the keys and let their houses go. That situation is becoming more obvious in areas such as mine.

Mr Scholes:

– One in 79 mortgages now fail. It was one in 1,000 when this Government came to office.


-I thank the honourable member for Corio for his statistics in that respect. I am finding this in my own area. Almost 50 per cent of the people in my electorate are of migrant origin. I am distressed that one of the niggardly measures that is embodied in this Budget is the charging of fees for various matters affecting migrants, such as visas. Even now, one of the greatest problems that we have is that migrants who were welcomed into the Australian work force, who have made a substantial contribution to Australia by working in our industries and developing production and who wish elderly relatives to join them, are going to be faced with relatively massive charges to bring them to Australia.

Mr Yates:

– Not massive charges.


-The honourable member for Holt says ‘not massive’. In certain circumstances charges of $150 to $200 could be involved and that is a pretty fair whack for people who are earning the normal wage, which is one well below average weekly earnings. I turn now to wage levels. My electorate is a working to middle class area. When we talk about average weekly earnings it sounds great, as though more than half the workers in the community earn that much. But that is unreal. Over 70 per cent of Australians earn less than average weekly earnings, and I represent such people in my electorate. These are the people who are hardest hit by the tax scales that are imposed by this Government and by its failure to index. There is a high proportion of young families involved. The family allowance, which was much mooted as a great aid to them, has had its value completely eroded. No stimulus whatsoever is provided by the Budget.

My electorate contains a fair industrial area. It is moribund and the Budget provides no stimulus to it whatsoever. My electorate also contains a large rural area which in the last year or so has shown some prosperity, not because of the actions of the Government but because of climatic conditions and prices on overseas markets. However, the rural people are disadvantaged by the fuel policy of this Government and by many other means. They are being ripped off. Worst of all the problems are those faced by the young unemployed. I have had some reservations about the Government’s unemployment committees that it asked us to set up in our areas. I have cooperated and two such committees have been set up in my area. The feedback from them reveals a deplorable situation.

Let us get this Budget in perspective for it cannot be looked at just on its own. We have to return to what was said in the 1 977 election campaign. In election campaigns we are used to local misrepresentation on all sorts of issues and that occurred again in 1977. But the biggest misrepresentation in that campaign was the offer of tax cuts from 1 February 1978. There were advertisements showing a handful of dollars. However, what was not revealed was that not long after that, in the 1978 Budget, a 1.5 per cent tax levy was to be put on for the 1978-79 financial year. That levy applied for an 8-month period at a level of about 2.57 per cent. A promise was given that it would apply only for that year but then there was a new attitude in Budget strategy.

So that it would not look so bad there was a miniBudget in May of this year. One of the announcements made then was that the levy was to continue-not at the 1.5 per cent rate but at the 2.57 per cent rate. Now in this Budget we are told that the levy is to be removed from 1 December. But even if it is removed, even if the promise that the levy would cease from 30 June is finally kept although some 5 months later, the levy on income for the 1979-80 financial year will still be over one per cent. There still will be an impost.

In addition, the promise regarding tax indexation has also been dishonoured. As my colleagues have mentioned time and time again the scales show that lower income earners are the worst hit by the failure to index taxation. It is obvious from the Budget that the Government plans to try to continue its policy of cutting the value of real wages and transferring a larger share- I think it was put this way in one of the newspapers- of the national cake to the corporate sector. This is considered responsible economic management but it is management that disregards the ordinary people. Their tough tax policies were introduced at a time of industrial trouble, when those involved in industrial labour were concerned about the way in which the economy was going. The tough tax policies have been industrially provocative, perhaps deliberately so as a defence mechanism. They certainly have stopped any hope of any sort of discussion or deal with the unions about wage restraint. The sort of dishonoured promises that we have had seem to be a way of life in the Government parties. The other day I was interested to see in an article in the Sun newspaper of Friday, 24 August that campaign posters and advertisements, allegedly rejected by the Liberal Party for this year’s Victorian State elections, won a major American creativity award. I was fascinated because the article referred to a State electorate inside my Federal electorate. In relation to one of the advertisements the article states:

One had a picture of a small girl about to be hit by a car with a heading:

One way to overcome the problem of Bundoora’s overcrowded classes.

That was to be Liberal propaganda in a State election campaign. It dealt with Bundoora’s overcrowded classes, the result of years of neglect by the Federal Government and its brothers in the Victorian Government. This is the standard of the promises of the Government. The article continues:

Another has a copy of a newspaper advertisement for an apprenticeship opportunity with the heading:

Forty per cent of the kids leaving school in Bundoora can ‘tread this.’

That is the sort of misrepresentation which occurred in an area for which the Liberal Party has been responsible since 1955. Out of the 24 years since then it has been financially responsible for 2 1 years. In the mini-Budget of May this year the Government said that it would cut capital works and major equipment grants for education, but this will only increase the problem of overcrowded classrooms. It seems that there is no limit to the techniques that the conservative parties will adopt to ensure their return to office. How can one accept their credibility? The honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) talked about the unemployment figures and the methods used to express unemployment. We all know that in areas such as mine usually there are many two-income families. They find that they need two incomes to be able to raise their families and to exist in a proper way. Here lie many hidden unemployed, because under those circumstances many wives cannot register as unemployed. This is where the system has gone down the drain.

The Government has been cutting training schemes for the young unemployed all the time. I refer to a table prepared by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library which refers to the National Employment and Training scheme. It sets out the number of persons in training at the end of each month from July 1978 to July 1979. It gives a total number of 50,487 people in training at the end of July 1978. At the end of July 1979 there was a total of 5,320 people in training. That is one-tenth of the number of people who had been in training in July 1978. I ask leave to incorporate this table in Hansard. When the Minister for Defence (Mr Killen) was at the table, I got his permission.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows-


-I thank the House for that courtesy. The other thing that annoys me is the continual use of the phrase ‘dole bludger’ when referring to the young unemployed.

Mr Ballieu;Who used it?


– The Liberal Party.

Mr Baillieu; Name one honourable member who has used it?


-I have heard the honourable member for La Trobe use it. I want to refer to an article in the Age of today’s date which refers to a conference at the La Trobe University. I will not go into the details but the report says that there is an unfortunate effect on young unemployed when this term is used. I refer to the paper delivered by Dr L. V. Defris and Dr J. V. Remenyi. For a start, they say that the dole bludger theory is not proven. Their statistical tests suggest that the Government’s emphasis on the level of unemployment benefits was misplaced if the aim was to get unemployment down.

Mr Howard:

- Mr Deputy Speaker, I take a point of order. The honourable member’s remarks misrepresent the approach taken by Government members and implies that they use an expression that they do not use.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jarman)There is no point of order.


- Dr Defris and Dr Remenyi say that raising benefit levels to reduce poverty among the unemployed would be a good policy, since it would be unlikely to cause many people to choose not to work. This is the very reverse of the theory that has been thumped at us on so many occasions. It is unfortunate that in this debate my time is restricted. I would like to have dealt with other aspects that are affected by the Budget. As I mentioned in my preliminary remarks, I have had to deal with rather more specific areas than I had intended, because I will not be here for the debate on the Estimates. I find it incredible that honourable members on the Government side of the House can praise the restoration of the twice-yearly adjustment in pensions. One would think that it was something that the Government had organised. It was only 12 months ago that it abolished the twice-yearly adjustment in pensions. What a big deal it is! Then one must consider the fringe benefits. I do not know about them. I am prepared to wait and see because I wonder whether the Government will get full co-operation from bodies like the Australian Medical Association from which it usually has had co-operation in any increase in medical fringe benefits. I would say that there is some doubt about co-operation being maintained unless there has been real discussion with the Association and a real setting of levels. It seems that the level is a very fuzzy one and there needs to be an equitable way of determining levels.

La Trobe

-I claim to have been misrepresented.


Does the honourable member wish to make a personal explanation?


– Yes. Mr Deputy Speaker, before you took the chair the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins) said that he was upset at the use of the term ‘dole bludger’ and he attributed that remark to Government members. When I challenged him to name a Government member who had used that term -

Mr Scholes:

– I wish to take a point of order. An honourable member cannot raise a point of order about a remark applied to the people collectively.


-Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. In making a personal explanation an honourable member must explain the manner in which he has been misrepresented. The honourable member has not yet done that.

Mr Baillieu; I wish to do that.


-Order! Will the honourable member please resume his seat.

Dr Jenkins:

– On the point of order, the honourable member for La Trobe challenged me and I did deliberately answer him. I said that I believed he had used the term ‘dole bludger’.


-If that is the case, the honourable member for La Trobe may proceed.


-Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. In response to my challenging the honourable member for Scullin to name a Government member who had used the term dole bludger’, the honourable member said he had heard me, the honourable member for La Trobe, use the term. I wish to state categorically that I have never used the term ‘dole bludger’ in respect of anybody and I have never heard any Government member use it.


-These are very difficult times for any nation and for a government responsible for chartering the course of the nation. This Budget has maintained the Government’s fundamental priority, to attack inflation, which we see as the essential root cause of many of the fundamental difficulties we are facing in the Australian economy at the present time. The Government’s policy has been vindicated by the improvement in our basic economic health over the last three and a half years. The experience of the major member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has demonstrated conclusively not only that are we on the right track, despite all the difficult decisions that have been taken and will yet have to be taken, but also that there is no viable alternative economic strategy.

The rhetoric of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden)- the self styled donkey walloper- on his so-called alternative Budget would in his own words mean ‘higher inflation and a further contraction in the living standards of ordinary people’. It was surely one of his many errors of judgment that in his entire speech last evening on the Budget the word ‘inflation’, to my knowledge, appeared but once and at no stage in his alternative strategy has he explained how it would reduce what still remains the most dangerous predator on the wages and the living standards of the Austraiian people. How can a man who as Treasurer of a Labor government which reached the dizzy heights of plus 17 per cent inflation come into this House and put to the Australian Parliament and through it to the Australian people a so-called strategy which offers nothing but more of what we had before. That Government was defeated by the Australian people in a historic manner. That defeat was repeated in a second election and it will be repeated in the same way next time.

The Government’s Budget has addressed itself to strengthening the economic health of the nation by giving stimulus to the private sector, in which the vast majority of new jobs must be found. Of course, we have heard from the Opposition the usual socialist diatribe about the role of the Government, the need to have Keynesian policies to act as pump primers, and the difficulties of considering monetaristic policies. The fact remains that whilst the Government has a part to play it does not have the role of creating jobs unless there is a demand within the economy for those jobs. Last year our manufacturing exports increased by some 30 per cent, and from that increase jobs were created. There is no reason to believe that at least that same figure cannot be achieved again in 1979-80. The future of Australian industry in terms of exports must be bright while we can continue to maintain our comparative cost advantage, which has been achieved by this Government because it has fought inflation more effectively than any other nation with which we are currently trading.

Let us look at the record in terms of Austraiian exports. We are selling swimming pools to Europe, Hills hoists to the Middle East and Europe, Australian air-conditioning units to Cairo hotels, Australian irrigation equipment in the Jordan valley, Australian iron sheds and fencing in Nigeria and Australian white goods to South East Asia. The story goes on. We were told by the Minister for Defence (Mr Killen) yesterday the wonderful news about a large project in the Newcastle shipyards for the construction of a ship- a major piece of defence equipment. That demonstrates again the capacity of Australian industry not only to compete overseas but also to win domestic markets from other foreign-based companies which previously expected to win those Australian contracts. In terms of our export potential we have nothing to fear but fear itself. The same principle applies today as it did in the United States when a very great American President used those words when introducing his New Deal’ to defeat the Great Depression. Private capital inflow into this country is now the highest for seven years. There has been a significant rise in the number of major investment projects to be initiated, all of which will, of course, create new jobs.

Let us look at the record. In terms of petroleum the recovery in exploration confidence under this Government is reflected in the number of exploration wells drilled in 1978 and proposed for 1979. In 1978 there were 52 wells drilled, more than the number drilled in each of the previous three years. This compares with the decline from 1 00 wells in 1 972 to only 1 9 wells in 1976 when the loss of confidence and the cessation of exploration planning was attributable to Labor policies. This year industry sources predict that between 83 and 143 exploration wells will be drilled. That demonstrates that foreign companies and Australian capital are prepared to put their money into this nation because they know that it is stable. They know that their money will be used to the benefit of this nation and to their own as investors. Based on the figures published by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, the body, incidentally, so often used by our colleagues on the opposite benches, the average annual rate of growth in real private investment, in mining and manufacturing which includes important parts of the energy industries will be 12.5 per cent between 1976 and 1980. The growth in the previous four years, 1972-76-the period affected by the Labor Government- was negative. It was an average of minus 8.5 per cent per annum. We are told by leading exponents of the socialist philosophy on the other side of the House that we do not want foreign investment or Australian domestic investment; all we need is a larger public sector; from that source alone new opportunities for employment are to be found. What absolute nonsense!

We have the development expenditure in the Bass Strait. We have the new Mackerel and Tuna fields for oil and gas. We have potential development of the North West Shelf. Thousands of millions of dollars are being invested in Australian productive capacity for the future. Australian industry, because it has a comparative cost advantage, based essentially on our access to cheap energy resources, will continue to be able to compete on overseas markets. If that were not the case, why is a company such as Comalco Ltd doubling its investment in alumina production? Why are industries throughout Australia looking for more power? Why did the State governments come to the Loan Council only a few months ago and obtain the complete support of the Federal Government to make significant investments in infrastructure for new industries with resulting new employment? These are achievements well beyond the capacity of the economic geniuses of the Opposition to understand.

An amount of $2 15m has been provided this year for export incentives- an increase of 1 37 per cent. Australian manufacturing industry has demonstrated in recent years the confidence placed in it by the Australian Government. There is no reason to believe that with activity in Australia and reasonable trade union cooperation we will not continue to expand the markets which are now developing. In the last three years expenditure on industrial research and development has increased from $14m to $32m. In a highly competitive market situation the Government recognises that it is essential for industry to develop its own techniques to maintain and increase its share in both the domestic market and world markets.

The tourist industry is an area in which the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen) is a self-confessed expert. I am sure that he will appreciate the fact that it is potentially very labour intensive. Thus, its development must create additional job opportunities. I am sure that he will be delighted to know that the Australian Government has made the decision to double the budget of the Australian Tourist Commission to $8. 2m. Major concessions have been allowed for the depreciation of certain new incomeproducing buildings, used for the accommodation of travellers, at the rate of 2’/4 per cent. To assist further small business the Government in 1976 eased the distribution requirements under Division 7 of the Income Tax Assessment Act and increased the retention allowance from 50 per cent to 60 per cent. The last Budget has now increased it to 70 per cent, giving $30m more into the hands of the private sector.

Let us turn to the problem of unemployment which is our so-called Achilles heel as far as the Opposition is concerned. Unemployment has reached the present stage because of the fundamental mistakes made by the present Opposition when it was the Government of this country for three disastrous years. The problems faced by us are traced directly back to that period. It will take time to work our way out. Despite the rhetoric, the Leader of the Opposition in his statement last night had surprisingly little to say about the major problems of unemployment, save to state once again the tired old formulas which proved demonstrably disastrous during the period of the Whitlam Government. We are told that the Government must face up to ‘new patterns of employment and accept the responsibility to create new jobs’. What nonsense! A few years ago the Labor Government’s grand job creation scheme known as the Regional Employment Development scheme, or, very appropriately the RED scheme, achieved so little at such great cost that it became the subject of amusement among local governments throughout this nation. Local governments had virtually an open cheque to sign what they liked for as much as they wanted. How many jobs of substance were created under this scheme? Why was there no effective financial control over the millions of dollars wasted during those years?

Now all we hear from the Opposition is an extension of the same exercise, dressed in new clothes. The Opposition has proposed the establishment of a so-called community service corps which basically will have the same problems as the RED scheme. What will it do? We are told by the ‘donkey walloper’ that it will create 50,000 jobs for young workers at junior award rates.


-I have noticed during the evening that this phrase has been used time and again. In Question Time this morning Mr Speaker ruled that these types of phrases and personal abuse should no longer be part of the Parliament otherwise a very bad precedent for the future will be created. I ask the honourable member to recall that ruling and to act accordingly.

Mr Neil:

-I take a point of order. Mr Deputy Speaker, I draw your attention to the Hansard record of this morning’s proceedings when it is available. The Speaker did not refer to that type of statement The Leader of the Opposition described himself with pride last night as a walloper of donkeys to keep them braying and kicking. Those were his own words about himself.

Mr Cohen:

– I take a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I suggest that you caution the honourable member for St George for taking frivolous points of order, interrupting and taking up the time of the honourable member for Bradfield who is trying to the best of his ability to make some sort of coherent speech.


-I do not think that either honourable member is completely pure in that regard.


-As I have said, the Leader of the Opposition talks about creating 50,000 jobs for young people, through his new community support corps. He estimates that the cost will be between $85m and $100m. This works out at approximately $40 per head. He talked about the creation of this program with the full support of the trade union movement in accordance with the existing junior award wages. My simple arithmetic leads me to believe that there is no possible award wage anywhere near $40 a week. That is well below any existing junior award rates. Nevertheless, this is an example of how the Leader of the Opposition has failed to do his basic homework. He has criticised the Federal Government for allegedly reducing its outlays on training programs.

The Government has emphasised that reductions under the Special Youth Employment Training Program- SYETP- do not reduce the numbers involved, but have been directed at ensuring that employers do not regard the scheme as a means for subsidising their normal employment requirements. Despite this experience the Opposition believes that it can employ people by using unemployment payments as a subsidy to employers and somehow create additional employment opportunities. It is true that some jobs at the margin will probably be found, but the cost to the community, and the overall viability of employment in Australia, will undoubtedly suffer. In some member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development similar programs have been tried. The tendency has been that for every person who has been given a job which is heavily subsidised, a non-subsidised person ultimately loses his job.

According to the Opposition this Government has not given priority to job training programs, yet we have, through our schemes, trained over 400,000 young people who are now fulfilling their role in the community. The Williams report, for example, demonstrated the need to strengthen technical skills in our population and consequently it has been in these areas that we are concentrating additional expenditure. A further $16.3 has been provided for technical and further education this financial year.

The Leader of the Opposition maintains that the Government has demonstrated a ‘strict determination to prevent any job opportunities being developed by government policy’. Our whole on-going program to strengthen and de- velop manufacturing industry, our assistance to the tourist industry, the increasing flow of foreign investment, the additional funds to the States, and the expansion of mining activity, demonstrate clearly that these areas of development must lead to new job opportunities being created. Whilst Australian industry is more competitive compared with many OECD countries we will continue to maintain our existing export markets and thereby strengthen our industrial base. The economic structure of Australia alone, by such strengthening, will ultimately generate expanding employment opportunities.

Let us turn now to income tax. The attacks made by the Opposition on the Government’s decision to lift the income tax surcharge must be seen for what they are- a cynical attempt to play on the alleged gullibility of the electorate once again; an electorate which has twice decisively thrown the Labor Party into the political wilderness for it knew that Labor’s promises of a Utopian future were but as blown leaves in the cold autumn wind. No Liberal government likes to increase taxation. We stand for lower taxes. No government since Federation has been more determined to reduce the size of government and reduce taxation. Nevertheless, the litany of the Opposition and other interest groups within the community, is always the same- ‘cut expenditure but don ‘t touch me ‘.

Despite this in the last four Budgets, the share of gross national product taken by the Government has fallen from 24 per cent under the Government of Sir William McMahon to a peak of 34.3 per cent under the Whitlam Government. It was then reduced to 28.6 per cent under the present administration, and we expect it to fall to 27.8 per cent this year. In other words, we have so far managed to cut almost half of the Whitlam big government’ rise of the past.

The Federal Public Service has also been reduced by about 3,000 positions fewer than in 1975 after rising by about 32,000 under the Whitlam administration. The only rise in the Public Services has been in the States where it is up some 80,000 since 1975. Through the benefits of the Federal Government’s new federalism policy, additional funds have been allocated to the States and regrettably they have used those funds in a manner which I personally believe could be put to the greater benefit of the States rather than simply increasing the size of their bureaucracies. But the fact of the matter is that we have reduced taxation well below the levels of the Hayden era and we will continue to do so. From 1 December, despite what the Opposition says, every single wage earner in Australia will pay less tax. The tax scales of the Hayden period should be seen in comparison. I ask permission to incorporate in Hansard the appropriate table.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows-


-I want to turn now to the question of pensions. The fundamental principle of Liberal philiosophy has always been that those most in need should receive maximum possible assistance from the Government. We have maintained our commitment to achieve social reform, and this Budget should be welcomed by all the 1.6 million Australians who are in receipt of the aged pension. Half-yearly indexation has been restored which is a major advance to pensioners. Many members of the Government parties, including myself, urged the Government to restore half-yearly indexation and we are delighted that it has done so. It is this Government which increased the percentage of pensions to 24 per cent of average weekly earnings, well above that achieved under Labor which called itself a government of ‘compassion and concern’. Our record will be further improved by the $4.70 per week pension rise in November this year. Total expenditure this financial year on the pensions will rise to $ 10,530m, about 40 per cent of the total welfare budget.

The Government’s decision to widen eligibility for pension entitlements, extension of the income limit for fringe benefits to $40 a week for single people and $68 a week for a married couple will result in an additional 25,000 pensioners qualifying for fringe benefits, which will increase the potential real income by some $500 a year. Other increased benefits to pensioners are the extended eligibility of pensioner health benefit cards to supporting parents and their dependants. Eligible pensioners will continue to receive pharmaceutical benefits free of charge and the Government has also allocated an additional $ 10.5m for aged persons accommodation. An examination of trends in government expenditure in recent years will prove beyond doubt that the Fraser Government has consistently maintained its undertaking in office that those sectors of the Australian community most in need are entitled to receive, and are receiving, the maximum possible assistance from the Government. I commend this Budget to the House.


-The 1979-80 Budget continues the trend which the Fraser Government has set; that is, the redistribution of wealth and power in the Australian economy. This redistribution is legitimised behind the rhetoric of lowering inflation, long term job creation and small government. In four years of this Government its promises have remained only rhetorical. It has broken many of its basic promises, claiming that its actions were necessary to fulfil other promises. The Government is showing itself to be either misinformed, or not in control, or perhaps both.

I want to refer briefly to past Budgets. In 1976-77 the Government brought down the now famous miners Budget, the first of its redistributive Budgets. In that Budget trading stock valuation adjustment for income tax purposes reduced government income by $700m in 1976-77; $360m in 1977-78; and $370m in 1978-79. Companies saved 25 per cent of their potential tax payments through this measure alone.

The coal export levy was reduced. This measure cost the Government $37m and favoured large scale exporters like Utah Australia Ltd. There was an acceleration of the rates of depreciation and expenditure on developing mining sites from 25 to 5 years. It was estimated that most mining companies will not pay tax until the greater part of their expenditure costs are recouped in profits. In effect the

Government agreed to pay 42 per cent of the cost of developing such sites. Finally, companies were permitted to deduct spending on petroleum exploration from any other taxable income.

The 1977, 1978 and 1979 Budgets saw import parity which, before this government expropriation, resulted in massive windfall profits for oil companies. In the period 1974 to 1978 direct concessions to companies through tax rose from $280m to $900m. While the Government was stimulating the private sector, cutbacks were occurring in health, education and welfare areas of the Budget. The cities program was almost eliminated. Community development and regional bodies had their funds cut. There were massive cuts in funds for housing. This reduced public housing to less than 5 per cent of the total housing stock, the lowest of any in the Western world. Health charges shifted costs towards individuals. Education showed a continual shift to the non-government schools, and in welfare there was a freezing of many of the extra benefits; for example, supplementary benefits which have been unchanged since this Government has been in power.

I want to refer to the effects of tax changes and I have a table which I have referred to the Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for the Capital Territory (Mr Ellicott). He has agreed that it can be incorporated in Hansard. I ask for leave for its incorporation.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows-


-If the 1978-79 tax scale is compared with that for 1975-76, for people on various levels of real income, including family allowances as a replacement on tax rates, the combined effect is regressive. Single persons on $6,000 and $10,000 suffered a decline in disposable income, whereas those on $30,000 enjoyed a strong increase. A married person with a dependent spouse and two children, earning $10,000, suffered a decline. Those in the same family position, but on $30,000, had the greatest improvement. The Government claimed to be restoring incentive. The other side now is regressive income tax. The 1978-79 Budget increased excise duty on beer, spirits and cigarettes by 12.5 per cent, compounding the regressive effects of direct taxation with indirect taxation. From 1 July 1979, Commonwealth estate and gift duties were abolished thus removing our last taxes on wealth and leaving us one of the only countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development with no taxes whatsoever on capital or wealth. As previously noted, this regressive redistribution of wealth has been justified by claims that the strategy would lower inflation, stimulate employment and restore the public sector. However, the results have been that we have reached a level of unemployment of more than 6 per cent with hidden unemployment of 8.8 per cent of the work force.

Inflation as at June 1979 was 8.8 per cent. Profitability was up to 3.6 per cent. Average weekly earnings rose by 7.7 per cent- not a great deal of gain for such a harsh treatment of wage and salaried persons, the unemployed and the pensioners. When one looks at the projections in this Budget, one sees that the Treasurer (Mr Howard) foresees a rise in inflation of a little above 10 per cent for this year. We do not expect to see unemployment improve in the year ahead. Why, one may ask, against a background of the continued erosion of the standard of living of the average Australian are we now confronted with the most pessimistic projections yet admitted to?

The Government has continued to be critical of big government, but two aspects must be noted. In respect of the overall public expenditure of 19 OECD nations over the last decade, only Spain and Japan have devoted a lower proportion of their gross domestic product than Australia to that purpose. The OECD average from 1974 to 1976 was 46 per cent. Australia’s average was 36 per cent for the same period. We have seen cuts in Federal outlay from 30.3 per cent of GDP in 1975-76, to 29.1 per cent of GDP in 1976-77, 29.7 per cent in 1977-78, 28.6 per cent in 1978-79 and 27.5 per cent in 1979-80. This is a significant reduction, but we notice there was a slight rise in 1977-78.

The contractionary factor in this Budget, though, is in the increase in revenue and the source of this revenue. Revenue is up 15.4 per cent. There is a mammoth 18 per cent lift in personal income tax compared with only 8 per cent last year- and this in a year of tax cuts. Personal income tax is to rise from 50.1 per cent to 51.3 per cent as a proportion of Budget receipts. Over the period from 1969-70 to 1978-79, this area of tax has comprised 54 per cent of the total increase of tax revenue.

Paddy McGuinness, in an article on the Budget, wrote:

Very effectively, although totally of course dishonestly, by the Government’s own declared standards, the burden of income tax has been bumped up to finance the irreducible le :ve of Goovernment spending.

One may ask why in the Budget there has been so much difficulty in cutting back the public sector. Of course there has been the massive increase in aid to industry which, to some extent, may be regarded as necessary in this period of change. They there has been simply the fact that the electorate looks very seriously at reductions, particularly at reductions in the welfare area. On the Government terms there has been little reduction in the public sector, rather a redistribution which has, in the first place, stimulated only small sectors of industry, hence the apparent contradiction between newspaper reports of massive profits and a general increase of profitability of only 3.6 per cent. Secondly, it has worked against the immediate and long term advantages of ordinary people. Finally, it has pushed most of the burden onto those who are least able to afford it.

In its description of the 1979-80 Budget, the Australian Financial Review had this heading on its front page:

Budget for Business.

This was because this Budget has been seen to give greater profit retention before tax. It has been seen to give concessions to on-shore exploration. There is depreciation for buildings for traveller accommodation and there is a cut in the coal export levy. It contains a 137 per cent increase in direct outlays to manufacturing. There is a 33 per cent increase in funding for research and development, and a 270 per cent increase in export incentives, building on that massive transfer of wealth to large scale industry that I have referred to in previous Budgets.

With respect to tax, the Government, and in fact most daily papers, propounded the view that wage and salary earners would be getting tax relief, but of course this has not proved to be the case. In fact, the hardest hit by the present tax system will be the wage earner on $ 10,000 a year or below. For a taxpayer, with dependants, on a salary of $6,540 tax will be up by a massive 155.9 per cent. A taxpayer, with dependants, on an income of $8,720, will have an increase in tax of 28.3 per cent. A taxpayer with dependants on an income of $10,000 will have an increase in tax of 18.7 per cent. As Eric Risstrom said:

I was staggered to find that a person would have to earn $162,335 or more to be as well off this year as last under the tax plan.

Alongside this increase in taxes, one has to recognise the compounding that is expected in a decline in wages and salaries. On Budget predictions, weekly earnings will rise by 9 per cent, but prices are expected to rise by over 10 per cent. This fall in real wages as a percentage of GDP continues the trend that has occurred under this Government. I seek leave to have a further table incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The table read as follows:

  1. Estimates of national income and expenditure are necessarily prepared from a wide range of statistical information some of which is available quickly and some only with a delay of several years. For this reason most figures should be regarded as subject to revision as more complete and more accurate information becomes available. Revisions will be of two main types- those made to the most recent quarters as firmer monthly or quarterly data come to hand and those which are a consequence of revisions to annual totals and are distributed to the quarters approximately in accordance with existing quarterly patterns.

Compiled at request by the Statistics Group of the Legislative Research Service.


-I turn to welfare. A 9.6 per cent increase on last year’s expenditure is proposed in terms of welfare expenditures with a 10 per cent inflation rate expected at least. Gains have been made by some in this area but it is instructive to see where economies have been made. Unemployment and sickness beneficiaries will still be allowed to earn only $6 a week before benefits are cut dollar for dollar- so much for a government that talks constantly about incentive. The under- 18 unemployment benefit has been frozen on $36 a week for the last four years. The single unemployment benefit has not been reviewed. There is no indexation of unemployment benefits and no fringe benefits for the unemployment or sickness beneficiaries.

I turn to housing. There is a decrease in Government spending of 6.1 per cent without taking account of inflation. The new Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement market related rents provide a situation in which the relatively poor support the absolute poor. We have seen a massive cut in welfare housing buildings with 93,000 families now on the waiting list. Only 6,000 houses will be built on 1978-79 estimates by State housing Ministers.

In health, where there has been a 10 per cent increase in expenditure, the changes occur in who actually bears the cost. Community health centres are $ 14m below the 1977-78 figure. Dental health is still receiving $500,000 less in this Budget than it received in 1977-78. In education there is a 3. 1 per cent increase. This is an effective decrease with 17 per cent to government schools and the figure is up 4 per cent for nongovernment schools, that is, for the private sector. We see that the worst attack has been made on employment activities, with a 1 7 per cent cut in the Government training programs. In the National Employment and Training scheme the bulk of the cut has been made particularly in the Special Youth Employment Training Program where the cut is of the order of 40 per cent. It is estimated that 40,000 more young people who cannot gain employment will not be getting any work experience through this particular scheme during the remainder of 1979. In the Australian Financial Review this week it was reported that the Commonwealth Employment Service figures show a rise in youth unemployment from 35.2 per cent in July last year to 36.7 per cent in July this year.

Whilst funding for the CRAFT scheme will increase by 60 per cent this year- the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs (Mr Viner) has made a great deal of that action- there are a number of points that must be made. The increase in the number of rebates from 56,000 to 85,000 is largely accounted for by the fact that the scheme now covers apprentices for more than one year. The CRAFT scheme appears to be doing nothing to produce more skilled workers. In June 1979 the number of new apprentices actually fell by 4 per cent. The losers in the new training arrangements will be the unskilled workers. According to the Budget unemployment estimates, employment growth during 1979-80 should be a little over .75 per cent or 50,000 people. Annual net additions to the work force are about 110,000, so on the basis of Budget projections the unemployment figure this year will be 50,000 to 60,000 higher than the figure for last year. The Budget estimates an increase of only 20,000 in the number of people receiving unemployment benefits.

The Budget also cynically refers to the discouraged worker. Whereas we had a participation rate in 1975-76 of 62.3 per cent, in 1978 that participation rate was reduced to 60.8 per cent. Dr Sheehan of the Applied Economic and Social Research Institute estimates that 350,000 people form the hidden unemployed, making an aggregate rate of unemployment of the order of 12.5 per cent. So once again we see the continuity implicit in the Government’s strategy. The general result of this strategy is a decrease in real wages, a decrease in the social wage, increases in taxation increases in prices, and a heavy burden borne by the unemployed. The transfer of resources to the wealth-creating sector of the economy is no guarantee of expanding investment, output and thus employment. Yet the present strategy appears to be founded on such a fatuous belief. Four years of waiting must surely promote some questioning.

World pressures of course are having an effect. Australia is the second most foreign-owned country in the Western world. Our motor vehicle production is 100 per cent foreign-owned, oil refining is 9 1 per cent foreign owned and basic metals are 78 per cent foreign owned. One could go on. We have to look at the whole question of the industrialisation of Asia and what that has meant in terms of the selected investment of largely multinational companies associated with free trade zones where conditions of employment exist that are totally unacceptable in free countries, wherever they might be located. We have seen that industries aided by government are often made profitable not by employing labour but by employing machines and at a time when we have the highest unemployment since the Great Depression. The Government argues that real wages must drop. I would argue that they have, but that that has done nothing to improve the employment situation.

Is it seriously the Government’s desire to further reduce living standards of Australians?

On the Government’s own admission its control over the domestic economy in the face of changes in the world economy is limited. It did not argue that in 1973-74. The Government argues that aid to private industry is to benefit the general community, but its approach to bringing this about appears to be wishful thinking. If public money is increasingly aiding private enterprise the public has a right to ensure that it benefits the nation directly. There is a need for planning agreements with firms to ensure that they will undertake investment and create employment. It is a scandal that nobody knows, nobody can say, just what the investment incentives provided by this Government have been worth in terms of either productivity or employment. To make meaningful policies, the Government requires information on corporate plans for investment, export and import dependence and location decisions. It needs to ensure that people can consume increased supply. There is also a need to ensure that the revenue gained by a government and companies is redistributed back to the general community.

As I move around my electorate of Batman I become more and more aware of the savage effects of the various Budgets of this Government. I see schools suffering from lack of maintenance. I see cutbacks in terms of staff involved in school programs. I see eight sites for mobile dental units that remain empty because nobody has funded the mobile units to move around the sites provided. I see dental chairs provided in community health centres but no dentists to use those chairs. I see piffling little unemployment relief programs such as community youth employment support schemes where very dedicated people work for the unemployed in an extremely serious manner but are just not getting the tools to work with or the resources which will enable them to get the kids either the training or jobs that they need. I see the conditions in which people are working in mental hospitals. The Plenty mental hospital is 28 staff members short. A ward in a hospital serving a community of 300,000 people has to be closed and people needing hospital care are retained in their homes. I see the hundreds of thousands of unemployed young people who are dependent on families receiving incomes of only $150 to $160 per week.

When I see all this, I realise what redistribution has meant under this Government. It is a scandal in my electorate. No Government Minister will appear in that electorate and defend Government policy because he knows that he will be run out of the electorate. People are angry and they grow angrier every day. They have every right to be angry because the policies of this Government have redistributed wealth in the most draconian way in the postwar history of this country. This is the first government since 1949 that has committed itself unashamedly to increasing unemployment. That scandalous situation will be deplored by the Australian people. This Government will be removed at the next election because people in electorates across Australia have had enough. It is time it went.


-Between Gunning and Gundagai, a distance of 150 kilometres, the Hume Highway runs through the electorate of Hume. For that reason the Hume Highway is of particular interest to me. Since the enactment of the National Roads Act 1974, the Hume Highway has been classified a national highway. Under the provisions of this Act all expenditure on the Hume is funded by the Federal Government. Prior to 1974 this highway, and other highways which are now national highways, were classified as rural arterial roads and were jointly funded by Federal and State Governments. Money was certainly spent on national highways prior to 1974 but since that date the Federal Government has expended about $196m for national highway construction and maintenance in New South Wales. Of this amount $150m has been allocated to the Hume Highway. By 1981 the investment in the Hume Highway will have exceeded $408m since the Federal Government took over total responsibility for that highway.

It is obvious that the nation has a massive investment in the Hume Highway, but it is proper that this should be so as the Hume is the main Sydney to Melbourne road link and is arguably the most important road in Australia. By comparison the Moomba-Sydney national gas pipeline cost $232m from start to finish. It spans a distance of 1,300 kilometres. The Hume Highway is 870 kilometres in length. Investment in the Hume will ultimately be many times larger than the investment in that natural gas pipeline, which is generally regarded as being a major national project in terms of scope and investment. Between Yass and Gundagai, which is a representative section of the Hume Highway, the average daily volume of traffic in both directions was 3,600 in 1974. By 1976 this flow of traffic had increased to 4,700 per day. The New South Wales Department of Main Roads estimates a continuing 4 per cent to 5 per cent annual rate of growth in the amount of traffic using the Hume Highway. A couple of years ago the Bureau of Roads forecast that the usage would rise to 7,700 vehicles a day by the year 2000. In 1974 a vehicle travelled on the Hume every 27 seconds, 24 hours a day. By the year 2000 a vehicle will travel on that highway every 11 seconds, 24 hours a day. If the heavy vehicle percentage remains the same as it was in 1974 a heavy vehicle will travel on the road every quarter of a minute in the year 2000.

The National Roads and Motorists Association has been extremely critical of the Hume Highway in regular surveys that it has carried out. In the two years between February 1 975 and February 1977, only 21.9 kilometres of additional divided road were opened to the public in New South Wales. At the time of the survey 79 per cent or 613 kilometres of the total length of the highway was not divided. In New South Wales 420 kilometres or 83 per cent of the New South Wales length was not divided. Even at the rate of 15 kilometres of new divided road per annum, it is going to take until the end of the century for the Hume Highway to be upgraded to dual carriageway. The Bureau of Transport Economics in its assessment of the Austraiian road system in 1979 says the Sydney-Melbourne stretch of the national highway is 93 per cent deficient in its length. Eighty-two per cent is geometrically deficient, that is, that the width of the seal is not satisfactory. Fifty-eight per cent is structurally deficient. In New South Wales 78 per cent of the highway is deficient and the Bureau estimates that between 1982 and 1984 an additional 8 per cent of the highway is expected to become deficient.

Over the next five or six years the maintenance costs in 1976-77 dollars is expected to be in the order of $7m per annum for the New South Wales section of the highway. In each of the last 5 or 6 years, approximately 1,000 casualty accidents have occurred on the New South Wales section of the Hume. The number of fatalities in each of those years has been in the seventies and the number of injuries has averaged over 1,400. In recent years trucks and semi-trailers have been involved in at least 20 per cent of the casualty accidents. A couple of years ago the Bureau of Transport Economics estimated that the construction of a four lane highway would save 200 to 250 lives between Goulburn and Albury alone over the next 30 years. A 60 kilometre an hour speed limit applies over 12 per cent of the Hume Highway. It passes through 17 separate zones which are classified as urban. There are seven level crossings on the New South Wales section. Overtaking is illegal on almost 20 per cent of the length of the Hume and there are 97 advisory speed signs indicating poor alignment or construction.

Design standards under the National Roads Act indicate that the design of roadworks construction or reconstruction is for 20 years after completion. In the case of bridges the design is for 30 years. What concerns me is that in 20 or 30 years time at the end of the century when the road should have reached a dual carriageway standard from Sydney to Melbourne, major reconstruction will be necessary because significant sections of it will have outlasted the life for which they were designed. At that time also, the volume of traffic will be close to double its present level. In view of the size of the investment in the Hume Highway it would seem appropriate to look at ways of extending the life of the Hume beyond this 20 year period. I believe the only logical way to achieve this objective is to reduce the rate of growth in the volume of traffic using the highway. Economic factors obviously influence the use which is made of anything. There is a relationship between air fares, bus fares, train fares and private vehicle use. There is also a relationship between air freight rates, rail freight rates and road transport rates. If the life and the economics of the Hume are to be improved there must be variations in the economic factors.

There are also State Government regulations which control to some extent the use of the highway. I believe it is simply a matter of enforcement of existing legislation or regulations in many cases. If a truck is overweight at a checking station it is my understanding that the driver may be booked, but unfortunately, his load is not reduced. Checking stations have become collectors of revenue rather than enforcers of the law, and even in this respect they are not particularly effective. For instance, the New South Wales Department of Main Roads convicted and fined only 18 offenders for highway overweight trucking from June 1977 to June 1978 and fines totalled $870. Two hundred and forty-one vehicles were fined for being of excess length; 63 vehicles were fined for being of excess width and 19 vehicles were fined for being of excess height. I believe the New South Wales Government should enforce the weight limits. If a truck is overloaded it should not be allowed to proceed until it conforms to the regulations. Similar comments apply to length. The commonly used 40-foot unit can conform to overall length requirements only if it is hitched to a small prime mover. Most are not and are therefore operating illegally. This is another regulation which could be enforced.

In Victoria a speed limit of 80 kilometres an hour applies to vehicles weighing 4Vi tons gross. In New South Wales a speed limit of 80 kilometres an hour applies to vehicles weighing over three tons. It is common knowledge to anyone using the highway that a large proportion of the heavy vehicles do not observe the 80 kilometres an hour speed limit. It is simply not enforced. It should be. Drivers of vehicles with an unladen weight of over two tons must have one half hour’s rest and refreshment after five consecutive hours of driving. It is prohibited to drive more than 12 hours in any 24 hours. Although it is perhaps technically possible to drive a truck within the speed limit between Sydney and Melbourne in 12 hours, it is only just possible. In actual experience I do not believe it can be achieved. The trip must take more than 12 hours. One major operator quotes 14 hours. For operators to be within the law, as I understand it, trucks must carry two drivers, arrange for change-overs or wait for long periods along the route. Some do, but many do not. If the time limit regulations were enforced the economics of many operators who operate single-driver trucks between Sydney and Melbourne would be altered adversely. The regulations should be enforced.

Speed and weight are both important factors in both the deterioration of the Hume and in the safety aspects of travel on the highway. Driver efficiency is no less important. The New South Wales State Government has at its disposal the means of controlling to a significant extent each of these factors. No new regulations or controls need to be introduced. They exist now and have done for some years. All that is required is for the State authorities to enforce the existing regulations. If nothing else were done I am of the view that the Hume would have a longer life, would be cheaper to maintain and would experience fewer accidents. But a lot more needs to be done. There needs to be a greater effort directed towards encouraging freight to be moved by rail. Obviously the railway has a major task in front of it in this respect but the challenge must be accepted.

Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd, a major transport group, already operates its own train and has done for over 10 years. This train operates on the Sydney-Melbourne run 6 days a week. TNT owns the rolling stock, handles its own loading and unloading, and the railway does the haulage and provides the engine. When the road costs to and from the rail head allied with the container lifting charges are considered, the cost of TNT rail service and TNT road service to the end consumer is similar, although the road service is a little faster. The significant feature of the train is that each trip it makes it carries a rninimum 450 tons of freight, the equivalent of about 1 8 trucks. The fact that the train operates at all keeps over 100 trucks a week off the Hume Highway. This train can carry 600 tons of freight each trip- that is equivalent to keeping 150 trucks a week off the Hume. If TNT can do it, and if Mayne Nickless Ltd, another company, can do it, others can do it and the railways ought to be encouraging this sort of operation. Not only does it improve the position of the railways; it improves conditions on the Hume.

If the road regulations are enforced or hardened, operators will have to look more at rail. Railway authorities should be looking towards leasing goods yards space to commercial transport operators who could handle their own loading or unloading. They should be looking towards reducing time delays which plague railway goods yards and shunting operations. They should be eliminating the damage caused to freight which seems far more prevalent on rail than on road. They should be making the use of rail far more effective.

Debate interrupted.

page 761


Mr Lyenko Urbanchich -Australia Post: Post Office Agencies- Car Rental Concessions- Religious Sects

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jarman)Order! It being 10.30 p.m., I propose the question:

That the House do now adjourn.

Mr John Brown:

– I want again to draw the attention of the House to the extraordinary machinations which senior members of the Liberal Party are indulging in over the matter of Mr Lyenko Urbanchich, the suspended President of the Ethnic Council of the Liberal Party in New South Wales. The basic facts of the Urbanchich case were set out in the House last night. But there has been an extraordinary response from those senior Liberal Party members who would be expected to be able to throw most light on this matter. We had the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) deliberately avoiding a parliamentary question which gave him the chance to establish his bona fides on the issue of the self styled Croatian ‘embassy’ in Canberra. As my colleague, the honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage) has pointed out, the doubts which have been cast upon the Government’s declared policy towards the Croatian ‘embassy’ are threatening to undermine it completely. Yet the Prime Minister dived for cover when given the chance to clear the air.

Prior to that we had the emotional intervention in the adjournment debate last night by the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Carlton) who is, of course, a former General Secretary of the New South Wales division of the Liberal Party. He appealed to us, in effect, to shut up about Mr Urbanchich and his pro-nazi, antiJewish background. He told us that Mr Urbanchich had the same rights as the six million Jews who were killed in Europe in World War II. I have no idea what he meant by that. The honourable member’s predecessor as New South Wales Secretary of the Liberal Party was Senator John Carrick, the Government Leader in the Senate. Yesterday in the other place Senator Carrick offered to make available to the Parliament a number of political documents bearing on the Urbanchich case. Today he violently resisted that course of action when it was proposed by us, claiming quite spurious legal reasons to excuse his change of heart. I assure him and everybody else interested in this case that the Opposition is fully conversant with the documents in question. We were more interested in seeing that others had access to them. Having been denied the logical and usual course, we will take other opportunities to make available access to them.

But I do not intend to mince words here, Mr Deputy Speaker. I put it to both the honourable member for Mackellar and the Government Leader in the Senate that they have an obligation to this Parliament and indeed to themselves to explain their roles in the Urbanchich affair, an affair which is seen by many as tantamount to an extreme right wing infiltration of the Liberal Party in New South Wales. The story is circulating freely and colourfully that Mr Urbanchich was recognised as an extremist by Senator Carrick when he ran the Liberal Party machine and that Mr Urbanchich was kept down in the party during that period. He nourished in the party, according to the story, during the stewardship of the honourable member for Mackellar. From there he began his meteoric rise to power which very nearly led to his takeover of the New South Wales Liberal Party machine. I do not feel it necessary to have to spell out to both honourable members of this Parliament why there is a need for them to explain their roles.

I regard as contemptible the sort of smokescreen that the Government Leader in the Senate attempted to lay tonight in his interview on the radio program P.M. He shrugged off the Urbanchich allegations with suggestions that there were probably dozens of similar embarrassments for us in the ranks of the Labor Party. He knows that is not true. If he has any evidence of it I invite him to bring it forward. The evidence against Urbanchich is extensive and tested. It ill becomes any responsible Liberal Party member to treat it so lightly. If Senator Carrick doubts the anti-Jewish propaganda for which Urbanchich was responsible I am prepared to quote him some examples. At the end of the War Urbanchich was editor of the official newspaper of the Nazi occupiers of Slovenia- a publication called Slovensko Domobranstvo. In April 1945 there appeared a signed article in that publication written by Urbanchich which stated:

Peace is what we are all yearning for.

There are those people who endlessly yearn for peace but say that it does not matter, who shall bring peace . . .

Skipping on just a sentence or two for brevity, it continued:

While they want peace regardless of what it shall bring, they do not see in the background the cynically and monstrously sneering face of the one who produced today’s bloody drama, in which our nation also plays its bloody role.

That is the one who is enjoying blood and ruins, tears and hatred, because he knows that from the blood-soaked earth shall spring the red seed that shall ripen into sheaves.

That is the face of the one who is cunningly and crudely convincing nations that nationalism is outlived, that religion is the affair of old women, and that the family is old-fashioned.

That is the face of the cynical Jew.

That is a sample of the writings of Lyenko Urbanchich. That is an example of why there is need for public reassurance that views of that sort have not become indelibly rooted in the New South Wales Liberal Party.


– I rise tonight to use one of the few avenues open to me as a member of the House of Representatives to bring before the Parliament a matter which is causing considerable concern to a number of my constituents and, needless to say, to me. I refer to the proposed closing by Australia Post of the unofficial post office in Stud Road shopping centre at Studfield. This unofficial post office has operated in that shoping centre for some 16 years. Several years ago a large regional shopping centre known as Knox City was opened some 900 metres away at the corner of Burwood Highway and Stud Road. In May of this year I received a letter signed by the Minister for Post and Telecommunications (Mr Staley), but obviously written by his department. It stated that a study of the Studfield area had been made by Australia Post and as a result of that review the

Studfield unofficial post office would be closed and replaced by an official post office in Knox city shopping centre. The letter also stated that before such action was taken, however, local members of Parliament, local government authorities and other interested parties would be made aware of details of the proposal, and that Australia Post would consider any objections.

The objections came hot and strong and with some force. A week or so ago I received a further letter saying that should Australia Post decide to close the Studfield unofficial post office the post box could still remain and that alternative arrangements would be made for the locals to purchase stamps. Big deal, Mr Deputy Speaker. Although these two shopping centres may be only 900 metres apart they serve a completely different type of clientele and are completely different in character. Knox City is a large regional shopping centre and its patrons come from as far afield as Sassafras, Ferntree Gully, Waverley, Burwood and many other areas. On the other hand, Studfield is a large and busy local shopping centre. The people who shop in Studfield come from local surrounding areas. Many would never visit Knox City. I know this from my knowledge of the area and from a number of friends who live in Studfield.

I have written to the Minister and have had a number of discussions with him strongly urging that the Studfield unofficial post office not be closed. I pointed out that I believed that facilities at Knox City should be upgraded but that I felt very strongly that the present postal facilities should remain at Studfield. The Minister gave me a most sympathetic hearing. He had visited both shopping centres and was well aware of the difficulties that would be caused if the Studfield unofficial post office were closed. He pointed out to me, however, that he had no power to direct Australia Post in this matter but would do all he could to see that Studfield shopping centre was not denied its present postal facilities.

I spent from 9 a.m. to 12 noon last Saturday outside the Studfield unofficial post office. Some 250 people used the post office in that time and some 1,000 people signed a petition protesting against the closure. Altogether 4,000 signatures were collected in three days. I spoke to literally hundreds of people on that day and everyone was most emphatic that they did not want the post office closed. Many pointed out that an official post office manned by public servants would not be open on a Saturday. Many older people and mothers with babies who did not have cars said it would be almost impossible for them to get to Knox City. I have made representations to the relevant senior officials of Australia Post and have been told that my views will be noted and that I will be informed when they make a decision in a month or so. I was told that the Studfield unofficial post office had become so busy that an official post office was warranted and that they believed this would be best established at Knox City. I would have thought that the fact that the Studfield Post Office had become so busy would have been sufficient proof that postal facilities should remain in Studfieldnot be taken away.

In the meantime my constituents are left up in the air and I, their elected representative, am left frustrated in that I am powerless to help them. So, too, apparently is the Minister. We often hear the cry: ‘Who runs the country?’ We are sometimes told that it is the unions. I venture to suggest that the bureaucrats have a pretty good claim to that title also. I realise that they have a job to do, but if officials of Australia Post close the Studfield post office then they will greatly inconvenience a vast number of people in this rapidly growing community.


-At Question Time today, I asked the Minister for Transport (Mr Nixon) a question regarding the letting of tenders to rent-a-car firms for airport concessions. I pointed out to the Minister that a most incredible and, I would suggest, scandalous situation had arisen whereby the original tender documents which were given to each of those who tendered were changed when the final contracts were provided to those who won the tenders. In this regard, I quote from Section 6 (Assignment of Rights), of the original tender document C3/79/10, contained in Appendix B (Terms and Conditions to be observed by Concessionaires) which states:

The concessionaire shall not assign or sell any privileges or rights arising under this authority or sub-let any part or parts of the business, except that he may appoint persons as his agents on franchise for the purpose of conducting the business at any of the airports. The concessionaire shall not permit any persons so approved to conduct the business otherwise than in the name of the concessionaire.

That is the full text. On that basis Avis, Budget and Hertz all tendered for the two national operator concessions and the one for the local operator.

Honourable members will be familiar with the fact that Hertz tendered the highest bid of $8.2m; Budget was second with $3.2m; and Avis offered $3.1m. They did it on the basis of what was in those tender documents. As honourable members know, Hertz won; Budget was second; and Avis missed out. Avis, however, received concessions at a number of airports, some 1 1 I think, as the third operator, that is, the local operator. In the original tender- I do not have the figures but I understand the amount was very low; some few thousands of dollars, but not much- Avis was able to obtain Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville, Launceston, Port Hedland, Alice Springs and Mount Isa. But of course quite clearly Avis was thrust out of its traditional role as the No. 1 operator and it was said that it was going to suffer severely.

When the contracts were delivered to the major winners- Hertz and Budget- the following change had been made in that section of the original tender document which I have just read out to honourable members:

The concessionaire shall not assign or sell any privileges or rights arising under this authority -

Then come the newly added words: without the approval of the Secretary.

That would be the Secretary to the Department of Transport. On that basis the Secretary then gave permission for the approval which was specifically denied in the original tender documents, to the companies known as Elite RentaCar and Thrifty Rent-a-Car to sell their third operator concession to Avis. Seven concessions were involved: Hobart, Devonport and Wynyard from Elite, and Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Coolangatta from Thrifty. What it meant, in effect, was that Avis now had 18 concessions and had managed to tie up all the major airports in Australia containing 90 per cent of the prime business, the prime operating airports. Avis got that for well under $2m. Better than that, Avis has been able to get 90 per cent of the business for which Hertz had paid $8m and Budget had paid $3.2m. And better than that, Avis did not have to operate all the little, nonprofitable airports like Thargomindah and Cunnamulla and all those places where a man and a dog appear.

Mr Young:

– At Gosford.


-Well, there is not an airport at Gosford. That is how profitable most of the concessions would be. So it is even worth more than that because the firms do not have to run all those at a loss.

I have been in this House for 10 years and this is one of the most scandalous things that I have ever seen. I have called for a public inquiry. I do not know whether the Cabinet has met on this question but it is one of the most serious charges that has ever been made. A tender document has been changed after the tenders have been proved. The Minister ought to resign or at least a public inquiry ought to be held immediately.


Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.


-There have been considerable newspaper articles over the past few weeks concerning the activity of a supposed religious sect, known as the ‘Moonies’, which uses the name the ‘Unification Church’. That sect is hellbent on destroying the Christian upbringing and family life of many young Australians. The Unification Church has been very active in attempting to enlist fine young school leavers in the lower Hunter region of the Paterson electorate, particularly in the city of Maitland, which I represent in this chamber. A 20-year-old lad from Maitland has been inveigled into this organisation and, of course, this has caused his parents great concern. This organisation is raising funds by the door-to-door selling of various goods. Members of the Moonie cult have succeeded in enticing fine young men and women from their family life and have brainwashed them in such a way that their parents no longer have any influence over them.

The head of the cult is a well known Korean millionaire who lives in America, Sun Myung Moon. He is an armament manufacturer and has factories in Korea in the pharmaceutical and tea production area. His goal is world government domination through the control of the wealth and institutions of key countries. He calls himself The Father’ or ‘The Master’ and claims that he is a reincarnation of God. His movement operates under scores of different identities and front organisations, but is best known as the Unification Church.

Some cultists in America have said that they are willing to kill for their beliefs. A young Sydney member of the cult, recruited in America, told his brother that he could kill his family if necessary. Others have given evidence of being instructed in methods of taking their own lives. Two members have died in Sydney. Ronald Hughes, who said he was trying to break free from the cult and hold onto his mind, hanged himself in the grounds of the North Ryde Psychiatric Centre last November. Other young people have killed themeselves after making pledges to do so. This cult parallels the mass suicide order obeyed by more than 900 members of an American mind control sect in Jonestown, Guyana last year, after their leaders murdered a United States Congressional investigator and a reporter. Indeed, Senator Don Jessop said in the Senate recently that the Moonie cult could be compared with the Jonestown sect.

There is no doubt that the cult is preparing to launch large scale operations in Australia. It has regional centres in Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth, and was recently reported to police to have become active in the Newcastle area and in the city of Brisbane. The cult operates here under some corporate names such as the Unification Church, the Universal Church of the Holy Spirit, One World Enterprise Pty Ltd, the Federation for World Peace and Unification Ltd and Freedom Leadership Foundation Ltd. The chief front organisation appears to be the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity Ltd. This company is registered in Victoria and I understand that it has failed to make company returns in that State.

This is an institution which should be banned in Australia. It is up to the Federal Government and the various State governments to take action to see that it is banned because it is an institution which is no good for Australia and is destroying the lives of our wonderful young people.


-This evening I would like to raise an issue that perhaps reflects on the policies of the Government that was virtually portrayed to the electorate as incompetent in the Budget Speech of the Treasurer (Mr Howard) the other evening. Just as an example, in regard to my area of responsibility I would like to bring to the attention of the House a stupid and bureaucratic anomaly in the treatment of a New South Wales country town by Australia Post and the Minister for Post and Telecommunications (Mr Staley). At first glance one would believe that in effect Telecom was an independent authority, but when we hear the General Manager of Telecom suggest that he was influenced by some individual to extend the areas covered by certain telephone charges to include areas within some of the seats which may swing in a future election we know that he was not influenced by Margaret Thatcher or Zazu Pitts. He was influenced by the Minister who represents the Government. We have seen an exercise in duplicity in respect of the document that the Minister for Post and Telecommunications presented during the course of the last two or three months. In it he announced changes which will not take effect until May of next year. That ministerial document is about as incompetent as one could possibly imagine.

I have here another example of such incompetence. I refer to the town of Lavington and the anomalies in regard to parcel post rates that residents and local businesses pay. This may at first impression seem a trifling matter compared with all the boo-boos that have been made by the Minister. Lavington, which is part of the AlburyWodonga growth centre, is being treated by Australia Post very differently from the remainder of the growth centre. This is of considerable importance to the residents of Lavington and also to the businesses and industries that have been established there. Large companies employing many people- companies such as Borg- Warner (Australia) Ltd, Battenfield Manufacturing Co. Pty Ltd and Twin Disc (Pacific) Pty Ltd- are very important companies to that area’s growth.

The anomaly is this: Recently Australia Post brought in parcel post concessions for twin border cities, the only two being AlburyWodonga and Tweed Heads-Coolangatta. This allowed residents of Albury to post parcels to towns in Victoria as though Victoria were their home State, and a similar arrangement applied in relation to Wodonga and New South Wales. This made for considerable savings as parcels posted across the borders normally came in for a substantial slug in postal rates. For example, a 5 kilogram parcel sent from Albury to a town in Victoria had a postage rate reduction from $3.25 to $ 1 . 1 5 whilst the postage rate for a 10 kilogram parcel dropped from $5.25 to $2. But when Australia Post brought in its wholly commendable scheme, by some apparent oversight this arrangement was restricted to the Albury post code zone and the Wodonga post code zone. One might say that this was all well and good, except that Lavington, with its own post code, is a tiny island within a veritable sea- the Albury post code area. So some ignoramus advising the Minister got hold of this concept for influencing people in those peripheral areas to vote Liberal. In fact, it will not help Cameron or any other individual in the electorate. It will decimate his chances just as it will decimate the chances of other individuals who are sitting on the Government back benches shuddering in their shoes.

Let me expand on this obvious anomally. The Albury post code zone extends, as the crow flies, 100 kilometres to the east. All these anomalies reflect on the competence of this Government.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr MillarOrder! The honourable member’s time has expired.


-Australia Post is getting star billing tonight. I too would like to talk about Australia Post and its current restructuring process with respect to its post office facilities throughout Australia. In this restructuring process the guidelines that Australia Post is applying are applicable throughout Australia. In my electorate of Tangney they have resulted in the closure of the Queens Park East non-official post office and the possible closure of two further post office agencies. As I understand it, in reaching a decision to close a non-official post office, Australia Post takes into account a variety of factors including, for example, the volume of business being presently transacted, the likely level of future business, the general trend of development in the area served by the agency and the capacity of the general postal network to take up the slack if the agency were closed.

In terms of the guidelines, I have no doubt that the restructuring process is being conducted fairly. Equally, I also accept that many post offices were originally established to cater for needs which no longer exist. For example, pensions were once paid at post offices but now they are paid by cheque or directly into a bank account. Telephones are now being used much more than letters or telegrams. General cheques are increasingly taking over from postal money orders and there are such things as private parcels and courier services. In an overall sense people are generally more mobile and not dependent on the local post office.

The point I want to make is that I am concerned that Autralia Post should be looking to close any non-official post office. In my view the closures are the result of the system of operation of the non-official post offices. Currently Australia Post pays a salary to non-official postmasters which includes components to cover such things as rent, heating, lighting and some telephone expenses and allowances to cover such factors as cleaning, penalty payments, holidays and so on. If the volume of business falls a point is obviously reached where Australia Post does not think it is getting its money’s worth. Agencies can run at a loss but Australia Post, in an effort to keep its costs at reasonable levels, seeks to close those agencies.

Banks, building societies and health insurance funds all have agencies in shops and these agencies are paid only on commission for business transacted. Instead of closing agencies, it is in the interests of the banks, the building societies and the health insurance funds to serve their customers as best they can and it is in their interests to have as many outlets as possible. When these agencies are paid on commission, costs are related to the volume of business transacted and are covered by the business transacted. In my view, if Australia Post were to adopt this type of system of payment for its agencies it also would be in its interests to have as many agencies as possible instead of closing agencies. Service to the public would be increased instead of withdrawn and centralised. Importantly, each agency would pay for itself. As I understand it, the present system of payment for the conduct of non-official post offices evolved over a long period. It was formalised as part of the NonOfficial Postmasters Award issued under the Public Service Inspector’s determination in 1942 and amended by subsequent determinations. I believe that the determination needs to be changed in the public interest. I have written to the Minister for Post and Telecommunications (Mr Staley) who, full credit to him, has advised me that Australia Post is closely examining the matter. I hope to receive a speedy and favourable reply.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 766


The following notice was given:

Mr Newman to present a Bill for an Act to amend the Atomic Energy Act 1 953.

House adjourned at 11 p.m.

page 767


The following answers to questions were circulated:

Intake of Migrants (Question No. 1736)

Dr Cass:

asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 16 August 1978:

What was the (a) net intake and (b) gross intake of migrants during (i) 1976-77 and (ii) 1977-78.

Mr MacKellar:
Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs · WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

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

There are various definitions of the terms gross migrant intake and net migrant intake now in use.

The most common definitions of the gross migrant intake are:

total arrivals of persons describing themselves as migrating to Australia;

total arrivals of persons holding migrant visas, together with persons arriving without visas under Australia’s bilateral arrangement with New Zealand and describing themselves as intending permanent residents;

total arrivals as in either (a) plus the number of persons who arrive as visitors but after arrival change their status by obtaining authority to remain as permanent residents;

total arrivals as in (b) plus the number of persons who arrive as visitors but after arrival change their status by obtaining authority to remain as permanent residents;

The calculations using definitions (c) and (d) are complicated for the year 1977-78 as precise change of status approval figures are unavailable due to deficiencies in the statistical recording system. However, approvals in that year are estimated at 12,000.

The figures for the four definitions are as follows (using the above estimate of 1 977-78 change of status approvals);

The net migrant intake is a function of movements into and out of Australia and its calculation also is dependent on the definitions adopted.

One definition is total migrant arrivals minus total departures of former migrants. (Any of the above four definitions can be used to calculate arrivals for this purpose). Such a definition fails to take account of the impact on the actual population of international movements of non-migrants, such as Australians emigrating permanently or for an indefinite absence or visitors who remain in Australia illegally. Using this definition the net intake can be calculated to be in the ranges of 55,469 to 68,932 in 1976-77 and 59, 1 99 to 73,760 in 1 977-78, depending on which definition of gross migrant intake is used.

Another approach is simply to deduct total departures from total arrivals. This has the advantage of avoiding the problems of applying arbitrary distinctions between the various categories of movement such as short-term, longterm and permanent. However, this definition is susceptible to distortions due to fluctuations in international tourist flows which have little to do with changes in the size of the actual population. Over the recent past, there have been substantial increases in tourist numbers and seasonal movement patterns have varied sharply with the introduction of various measures including special off-peak fares and new group tour arrangements. These factors have tended to make this definition less useful than previously as an indicator of the effect of international movements on the size of the population.

A third approach is to use the net gain on permanent and long term movements, adjusted to take account of other variables which affect the actual population gain but are not reflected in the official net permanent and long term gain figures. The official net permanent and long term gain was recorded as 43, 139 in 1976-77 and 56,137 in 1 977-78. These figures need to be adjusted to take account of:

  1. persons who entered Australia with migrant visas but who as a result of misunderstanding the questions on the Incoming Passenger Card or for other reasons, described their visit as short term.
  2. persons approved for change of status who were recorded statistically as short-term arrivals on entry to Australia.

For both these groups the statistics are not disaggregated to show the numbers who entered originally as short-term arrivals, but these are estimated to have represented about 80 per cent of the total in the two years in question. The estimated adjustments to the recorded figures for net permanent and long-term gain are thus:

On this basis, the net intakes for 1976-77 and 1977-78 would be 54,000 and 68,000 respectively.

International Energy Agency (Question No. 2985)

Mr Jacobi:

asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice, on 23 November 1978:

  1. 1 ) Further to his answer to question No. 59 (Hansard, 24 October 1978, page 2235) why did Australia not join the International Energy Agency in November 1974.
  2. When did the Government begin its review of this decision, who is making the review and when will it be completed.
Mr Newman:

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

  1. 1 ) The decision not to join the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 1974 was made by the previous Labor Government. I am unable to comment further on this matter.
  2. The Government had its position concerning membership of the IEA under scrutiny since 1 976. In December 1 978 the Government decided that a group of senior officials should have discussions on possible conditions of Australian membership at the headquarters of the IEA in Paris, and in the capitals of a number of member countries. On the basis of its consideration of the report prepared by the group, the Goverment decided to seek membership of the IEA. This was approved unanimously by IEA member countries on 1 March 1 979. For further details on this matter I refer the honourable member to my statement to Parliament on Australian membership of the International Energy Agency of 8 March 1979.

Administrative Services: Overseas Accommodation Costs (Question No. 3180)

Mr Les Johnson:

asked the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 21 February 1979:

What sums were paid for (a) hotel or other accommodation for him and his staff on official overseas trips and (b) the rent overseas of (i) official offices and (ii) domestic premises used by any member of his Department during the periods (A)11 November 1975 to 30 June 1976, (B) 1976-77,(C) 1977-78 and (D) 1 July 1978 to date.

Mr John McLeay:

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

I refer the honourable member to the Prime Minister’s answer to House of Representatives Question No. 3172 (Hansard, 7 June 1979, page 3 143).

Special Trade Representative: Overseas Accommodation Costs (Question No. 3181)

Mr Les Johnson:

asked the Minister for Special Trade Representations, upon notice, on 21 February 1979:

What sums were paid for (a) hotel or other accommodation for him and his staff on official overseas trips and (b) the rent overseas of (i) official offices and (ii) domestic premises used by any member of his Department during the periods (A) November 1975 to 30 June 1976, (B) 1976-77, (C) 1977-78 and (D) 1 July 1978 to date.

Mr Garland:
Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Resources · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

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

I refer the honourable member to the Prime Minister’s answer to Question No. 3172 (Hansard, 7 June 1979, page 3143).

Trade Practices Act: Government Commercial Activities (Question No. 3259)

Mr Chapman:

asked the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs, upon notice, on 27 February 1979:

  1. 1 ) Has his attention been drawn to a statement made by his predecessor (Hansard, 15 March 1977, page 178) that in principle the commercial activities of the Commonwealth Government ought to be subject to the same restraints as apply to the commercial activities of the private sector, with a number of national interest exceptions.
  2. If so, which commercial activities of Government instrumentalities are not currently subject to the Trade Practices Act.
  3. Are there plans to bring those instrumentalities under the Trade Practices Act; if not, why not.
Mr Fife:

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

  1. 1 ) Yes. The Commonwealth Government implemented this principle in section 2a of the Trade Practices Act 1974 which came into operation on 1 July 1977. The section provides that the Act (other than Part X- dealing with overseas cargo shipping) binds the Crown in right of the Commonwealth in so far as the Crown carries on a business, either directly or by an authority of the Commonwealth. The section also provides that Part IV of the Act (the restrictive trade practices provisions) does not apply in relation to the business carried on by the Commonwealth in developing and disposing of interests in land in the Australian Capital Territory. Part V (the consumer protection provisions) of the Act applies to all business activity of the Commonwealth and its instrumentalities, although the section provides that nothing in the Act renders the Crown in right of the Commonwealth liable to be prosecuted for an offence.
  2. 2) Apart from the business of developing and disposing of interests in land in the Australian Capital Territory, paragraph 172 (2) (c) of the Act allows for regulations to provide for the exemption of certain conduct engaged in the course of a business carried on by the Commonwealth or by a prescribed authority of the Commonwealth.

No regulations under this provision have been made. Subsection 5 1 ( 1 ) of the Act also exempts acts or things that are, or are of a kind specifically authorised or approved under Commonwealth or Territory laws. Therefore, to the extent that other Commonwealth and Territory laws specifically authorise business activities which might otherwise be in breach of Part (IV) of the Act, those activities are not covered by Part (IV).

  1. The Commonwealth and all of its instrumentalities are subject to the Trade Practices Act except to the extent that their business activities are excluded by operation of the provisions of the Act as outlined in (2).

International Energy Agency (Question No. 3430)

Mr Barry Jones to ask the Minister for National Development, upon notice, on 20 March 1979:

1 ) When was the International Energy Agency established.

Which countries have joined it; and when.

What other countries are eligible to join and have failed to do so.

Why did Australia not seek to join it earlier.

Mr Newman:

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

  1. 1 ) The International Energy Agency was established in November 1974.
  2. Membership of the IEA consists of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. Norway and New Zealand joined in February 1975, Greece in May 1976 and Australia in March 1979. All other countries joined at the establishment of the Agency.
  3. 3 ) OECD countries which are not members of the IEA include France, Portugal, Iceland and Finland.
  4. The decision not to join the IEA in 1974 was made by the previous Labor Government. I am unable to comment further on this matter.

Ranger Uranium Mine (Question No. 3439)

Mr Les Johnson:

asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice, on 21 March 1979:

Which of the penal provisions contained in the Atomic Energy Act and the Approved Defence Projects Protection Act will not apply to the proposed new Ranger Mine.

Mr Newman:

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

The Commonwealth has given consideration to concerns which have been expressed in relation to the Atomic Energy Act, including concerns at the possible application of penal provisions to commercial undertakings such as Ranger. The Government’s policy in this matter was made clear during the debate on the Atomic Energy Amendment Act 1978 in the Senate on 29 May 1978 and was repeated in my answer to Question No. 598 in the House of Representatives Hansard of 27 February 1979. Consistent with this policy, the Government has decided to amend section 60 of the Act to provide for prior notification of those ‘works’ of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission to which the provisions of the Approved Defence Projects Protection Act 1947 will apply, and to repeal sections 54 and 58 in Pan IV of the Act. The Commonwealth intends to introduce these amendments in the Budget Sittings of Parliament. The Commonwealth has also decided that it will further examine the other penal provisions of Pan IV of the Act, paying particular attention to their potential application to ordinary commercial undertakings such as Ranger.

Oversea Visits Committee (Question No. 3594)

Mr Les Johnson:

asked the Minister Assisting the Prime Minster, upon notice, on 28 March 1979:

  1. 1 ) How many applications for overseas visits by public servants have been made to the Oversea Visits Committee in each year from 1972 to 1978, for each Commonwealth Government Depanment and Commission.
  2. How many visits were (a) recommended and (b) rejected.
  3. 3 ) What were the most common reasons for the rejection of visits.
Mr Viner:
Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs · STIRLING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

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

  1. and (2) The Oversea Visits Committee has provided the information set out in the tables below.

Under revised procedures operating from 1 January 1 978, annual quotas are assessed by the Committee at the beginning of each financial year and submitted to the Government for approval. Within the limits approved departments and authorities have responsibility for setting and managing their own priorities and approving individual visits. Provision also exists under the current procedures for supplementary bids to be made to the Committee during the course of the year. In the absence of exceptional circumstances arising, however, departments and authorities are expected to remain within initial quotas.

  1. This information is not recorded. Having regard to the clerical work and costs involved I do not think it would be appropriate for me to authorise the considerable expenditure necessary to search out and re-examine each application made to the Oversea Visits Committee during the period concerned.

Oil Refineries (Question No. 3680)

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice on 1 May 1 979:

  1. 1 ) Did the Royal Commission on Petroleum in its 5th Report state that Australia must add an 1 1th refinery to the 10 refineries now operating.
  2. Will a new refinery of the productive capacity recommended by the Royal Commission cost between $800m and $ 1,000m as at 5 April 1979.
  3. ) It is a fact that this enormous cost discourages any one of the major petroleum companies from undertaking this sort of investment.
  4. Which of the alternative proposals recommended by the Royal Commission, and involving a different corporate structure to investment and control by a single corporation, does the Government favour and what steps has it taken so far in this matter.
Mr Newman:

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

  1. 1 ) The Royal Commission in its Fifth Report considered that an 1 1th refinery would be required in the coming decade.
  2. A detailed study would be necessary to provide an accurate estimate of the current cost of a new refinery project. To my knowledge no such study has been undertaken.
  3. and (4) The Government’s views in regard to the refining industry were outlined in my press statement of1 June 1 978 on the ‘Petroleum Refining Industry’.

Atomic Waste Deposits (Question No. 3704)

Mr John Brown:

asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice, on 1 May 1979:

  1. 1 ) Can he give positive assurances that no further atomic waste deposits exist in atomic test areas in this country other than the deposit found at Maralinga in South Australia.
  2. If other deposits do exist, can he guarantee that they are adequately secured against possible terrorist infiltration.
Mr Newman:

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

  1. 1 ) and (2) On the basis of official reports and recent inspections, I can say that following the repatriation to the United Kingdom of approximately half a kilogram of plutonium formerly buried at Maralinga there are no burials of nuclear waste at former atomic weapons test sites in Australia which constitute a potential terrorist threat.

Strontium 90 in Milk (Question No. 3879)

Mr Les Johnson:

asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice, on 8 May 1979:

  1. 1 ) On what dates since 1968 have strontium 90 readings in milk samples been collected at monitoring stations at Menai, Richmond and Campbelltown.
  2. ) What were the readings in each case.
  3. What are the reasons for not publishing in the Australian Atomic Energy Commission environmental survey reports that readings referred to in part ( 1 ).
  4. If the readings were not taken, why was the monitoring discontinued and will he issue instructions to cause the readings to be commenced forthwith.
Mr Newman:

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

  1. ) and (2) The dates and results of tests for strontium 90 at Menai and Richmond are given below. No samples were collected at Campbelltown.
  1. The readings were published in the AAEC environmental survey reports at the time. The relevant reports are Environmental Survey at the AAEC Research Establishment Lucas Heights Results for 1969 (AAEC/E151 Supplement No. 3) and Results for period January-July 1970 (AAEC/E246).
  2. I do not propose to instruct the AAEC to resume monitoring of strontium 90. The monitoring referred to in the table above was undertaken to obtain data on levels of strontium 90 in the environment from all sources. The results indicated that the strontium 90 measured was due to weapons test fallout. AAEC Research Establishment activities do not release strontium 90 to the atmosphere in quantities sufficient to be detectable against the weapons test fallout background.

A national program of monitoring levels of strontium 90 caused by past nuclear weapons tests has been, and continues to be carried out by the Australian Radiation Laboratory.

Wheat Crop Forecasting (Question No. 3881)

Mr Lloyd:

asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 8 May 1979:

  1. ) Further to his answer to Question No. 36 12 (Hansard, 1 May 1979, page 17 16) on monitoring the Australian wheat crop, is it a fact that the present problem with the money supply and the Reserve Bank advance to the wheat industry could have been alleviated by a more accurate crop forecasting system as he appears to have suggested in his recent speech to the Institute of Chartered Accountants?
  2. Was the independent monitoring of the Australian wheat crop by a United States of America satellite the reason for the earlier accurate forecasts by the US Department of Agriculture?
  3. As Australia will not be using Landsat until 1980, will information be obtained from the USDA satellite to more accurately predict the size of the 1 979 Australian crop?
Mr Sinclair:
Minister for Primary Industry · NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · NCP/NP

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

  1. ) It is a fact that early forecasts underestimated the size of the 1978-79 wheat crop. However, no crop forecasting system could provide reliable information at the time monetary supply projections are made for the Budget.

An improved system would provide better information which is a valuable resource to be used, along with advice from appropriate authorities, in deciding to modify the instruments of policy that affect money supply aggregates.

  1. The forecasts of the Australian wheat crop by the US Department of Agriculture did not utilise any information that may have been generated by the United States of America satellite.
  2. No. The information generated from satellite data is processed in the United States and is several months old before it is available to Australia. Such information is unsuitable for crop inventory work as real time imagery is required.

Nuclear Reactors (Question No. 3901)

Mr Les Johnson:

asked the Minister for

National Development, upon notice, on 9 May 1979:

  1. 1 ) How many nuclear reactors are currently in existence in Australia and what is the location of each.
  2. What is the operating status of each reactor.
  3. Are there a number of sites under consideration for the location of a new nuclear reactor in Australia; if so, what are these sites.
  4. Which sites are within a 3 mile radius of existing metropolitan residentail developments.
  5. 5 ) Which sites are within a 10 mile radius of metropolitan residential development as projected to 1990.
Mr Newman:

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

  1. There are two nuclear reactors in Australia, both located at the Australian Atomic Energy Commission (AAEC), Research Establishment, Lucas Heights.
  2. Both are operational.
  3. 3 ) The design cost study for a new reactor presently being undertaken by the AAEC is to include consideration of possible sites. At this stage the study has not addressed the siting aspect.
  4. and(5)See(3)above.

Commemorative Postage Stamps (Question No. 3934)

Mr Scholes:

asked the Minister for Post and Telecommunications, upon notice, on 10 May 1979:

  1. ) Is it a fact that commemorative postage stamps have been issued in respect of the 50th anniversary of a number of service clubs operating in Australia.
  2. ) Is it also a fact that commemorative stamps have been issued (a) twice concerning Rotary, firstly on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the international establishment and secondly on the 50th anniversary of Rotary ‘s establishment in Australia and (b) for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Lions in Australia.
  3. Is he able to state whether it is the 50th anniversary of Apex in 1981 and whether Apex is an Australian founded service club which has achieved international status; if so, why has this Anniversary been excluded from the projected stamp issues for 1 98 1 .
  4. Will he have this matter reviewed.
Mr Staley:
Minister for Post and Telecommunications · CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP

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

  1. Yes.
  2. (a) and (b) Yes.
  3. I am aware of the international standing of the Apex organisation. I am aware also that in 1981 the organisation will be holding its 50th anniversary convention in Geelong, the city in which it was founded.

Stamps issued in the past, featuring anniversaries of service clubs, were issued by the former Postmaster-General’s Department. Since the most recent issue of such a stamp, which was in 1973, there has been a change in the nature of subjects eligible to be featured on commemorative stamps.

The Australian Postal Commission now has the responsibility for the stamp issue program and the criteria currently applied in determining subjects for commemorative stamps take into consideration the very limited number of such issues which can be accommodated in any year, together with information on public preferences for stamp subjects. The criteria include the requirement that the occasion to be commemorated be of outstanding national importance or of special historical significance, and of general interest to a wide section of the community.

The Postal Commission gave careful consideration to the question of issuing a stamp to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of Apex but concluded that the occasion did not meet the relevant criteria.

  1. I have discussed this matter with the Chairman of the Australian Postal Commission and he has agreed to have the decision reviewed by the Commission.

Fortescue Oil Field (Question No. 4015)

Mr Jacobi:

asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice, on 28 May 1979: ( 1 )Further to his answer to my question without notice on 21 March 1979 (Hansard, page 948), has (a) the Bureau of Mineral Resources completed its evaluation and (b) his Department reached a decision on the Esso BHP claim, that Fortescue is a new field rather than an extension of the Halibut field.

  1. ) If Fortescue is found to be a new field, is he able to indicate what additional revenue will accrue to Esso/BHP from this decision.
  2. If a decision has not yet been reached, what is the reason for the delay and when may a decision be expected.
Mr Newman:

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

  1. (a)and(b)-No.
  2. See(1) above.
  3. 3 ) The evaluation by the Bureau of Minerial Resources to which I referred on 21 March 1979 has not been received. It is expected in the near future.

Angola (Question No. 4018)

Mr Dobie:

asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 28 May 1 979:

  1. 1 ) Can he state what general elections have taken place in the Republic of Angola since 1 963.
  2. If so, what percentage of the electorate voted and was there a genuine choice of candidates from differing political parties.
  3. ) When did Australia establish diplomatic relations with that country.
Mr Peacock:

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

  1. 1 ) Until independence in 1973, Angola was an ‘overseas province’ of Portugal. Elections for the Portuguese National Assembly were held in 1963, 1969 and 1973. Angola elected seven members to the 1 30 member Assembly.

There have been no general elections held in Angola since independence.

  1. No statistics or voting percentages for Angola for the Portuguese elections of 1965, 1969 and 1973 are available.

Information as to the participation in Angola in the elections of parties other than the ruling Uniao Nacional is not available.

  1. Australia has not established diplomatic relations with Angola.

Mozambique (Question No. 4019)

Mr Dobie:

asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 28 May 1 979:

  1. 1 ) Can he state what general elections have taken place in the Republic of Mozambique since 1 965.
  2. If so, what percentage of the electorate voted and was there a genuine choice of candidates from differing political parties.
  3. When did Australia establish diplomatic relations with that country.
Mr Peacock:

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

  1. Until independence in 1975, Mozambique was an overseas province’ of Portugal. Elections for the Portuguese National Assembly were held in 1965, 1969 and 1973. Mozambique elected seven members to the 130 member Assembly.

Since independence, general elections have been held in Mozambique on one occasion, December 1 977.

  1. No statistics or voting percentages for Mozambique for the Portuguese elections of 1965, 1969 and 1973, or for the 1977 election, are available.

Information as to the participation in Mozambique in the Portuguese elections of 1 965, 1 969 and 1 973 of parties other than the ruling Uniao Nacional is not available.

All candidates for the 1977 elections came from the country’s sole political party, FRELIMO.

  1. ) Australia has not established diplomatic relations with Mozambique.

Kenya (Question No. 4024)

Mr Dobie:

asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 28 May 1 979:

  1. 1 ) Can he state what general elections have taken place in the Republic of Kenya since its establishment as an independent country within the Commonwealth of Nations in 1963.
  2. If so, what percentage of the electorate voted and was there a genuine choice of candidates from differing political parties at each election.
  3. ) When did Australia establish diplomatic relations with that country.
Mr Peacock:

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

  1. 1 ) General elections were held in the Republic of Kenya in 1969 and 1974 and are scheduled to be held later in 1979. In 1966 ‘Little General Elections’ were held, consisting of byelections for 30 constituencies following the resignation from the Kenya African National Union of the then Deputy Leader of that party. Oginga Odinga.
  2. Forty-two per cent of the electorate voted in the 1969 elections, while the turnout in the 1974 elections reportedly varied, by constituency, from 40 to 65 per cent.

The 1966 ‘Little General Elections’ were contested by the Kenya African National Union and the Kenyan People’s Union. The 1969 and the 1974 elections were contested only by the Kenyan African National Union, the Kenyan People’s Union having been banned just prior to the 1969 elections.

  1. Australia established diplomatic relations with Kenya in 1965.

Lesotho (Question No. 4025)

Mr Dobie:

asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 28 May 1979:

  1. 1 ) Can he state what general elections have taken place in the Kingdom of Lesotho since its establishment as an independent country within the Commonwealth of Nations in 1966.
  2. If so, what percentage of the electorate voted and was there a genuine choice of candidates from differing political parties at each election.
  3. When did Australia establish diplomatic relations with that country.
Mr Peacock:

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

  1. A general election was held in the Kingdom of Lesotho in 1970. The election was declared null and void by the Lesotho Prime Minister, Chief Jonathan.
  2. The parties which contested the election were the Basotho National Party, Basotholand Congress Party, Marematlou Freedom Party and the United Democratic Party.
  3. Australia established diplomatic relations with Lesotho in 1973.

Coal Liquefaction (Question No. 4038)

Mr Jacobi:

asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice, on 29 May 1979:

  1. 1 ) Is it a Tact that on current indications there are only a Tew Australian coals ideally suited for conversion to liquid fuel, namely Greta coals in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales and coals like those at Millmerran in southern Queensland.
  2. ) If so, do both coals have a high content of exinite and a low content of inertinite.
  3. Are they of bituminous rank and do they have a comparatively high content of hydrogen and give a high yield of volatiles.
  4. Is he able to state which companies hold the leases within these areas; if not, will he undertake to obtain the information from the respective Ministers in New South Wales and Queensland.
Mr Newman:

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

  1. 1 ) Yes. The answer to this question was provided as part of my answer to question No. 939 (Hansard, 29 May 1978, page2714).
  2. These coals have high exinite content but are not always low in inertinite.
  3. Yes.
  4. Yes. The answer to this question was provided as part of my answer to question No. 1387 (Hansard, 10 October 1978, page 1664).

Galvanised Steel Roofing Tiles (Question No. 4137)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs, upon notice, on 4 June 1979:

Has his attention been drawn to complaints and/or questions relating to the quality and durability of a particular brand of coated galvanised steel roofing tiles; if so:

through which Division of his Department were the complaints and /or questions of durability raised;

when was the first complaint and /or question raised and how many more have been received as at 3 1 May 1979; and

what action has he taken in respect of the complaints and/or questions.

Mr Fife:

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

One such complaint has been drawn to my attention:

the complaint was addressed to the Trade Practices Commission;

b) the complaint was dated 29 May 1 979;

the complaint is being examined by the Trade Practices Commission.

Ben Lomond Uranium Deposit (Question No. 4237)

Mr Uren:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science and the Environment, upon notice, on 7 June 1979:

  1. Has a Federal environmental impact statement been called for on the proposed development of the Ben Lomond uranium deposit in the Herveys Range north-west of Townsville, Qld.
  2. Can the Minister say whether any Queensland State Department or Authority has commissioned any environmental impact statement or similar document on this proposed development.
  3. If so, can the Minister say whether this document has been made available to the public for comment.
  4. If it has not been made public, can the Minister say whether the Queensland Government has any intention of making it public.
Mr Groom:

-The Minister for Science and the Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

No Commonwealth Environmental impact statement has been directed in relation to the Ben Lomond uranium deposit because the Minister for Trade and Resources has not been asked to take any action in relation to this uranium deposit and has not designated a proponent within the terms of the Administrative Procedures under the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act.

I am unable to comment on Queensland Government requirements for an environmental impact statement.

Radioactive Material: Transportation (Question No. 3202)

Mr Les Johnson:

asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice, on 21 February 1979:

  1. 1 ) What independent checks are made in Australia by Federal Government Authorities or other Authorities to ensure that enriched fuel transported to the Australian Atomic Energy Commission at Lucas Heights, NSW, is in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency 1973 Regulations, as amended, for the safe transport of radioactive materials.
  2. Are State and Local Government Authorities notified in advance when radioactive material is transported by road through their respective areas of jurisdiction.
Mr Newman:

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

  1. When enriched fuel elements are transported to Australia from the United Kingdom, the responsibility for the packaging, transport and issuing of a certificate, in terms of the IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Materials, rests with the United Kingdom. The Australian Atomic Energy Commission checks to ensure that arrangements made by the United Kingdom comply with the appropriate regulations. The certificate and associated transport arrangements are approved by the Commonwealth Department of Transport, as the Australian competent authority for the transport of radioactive materials by air.
  2. See answer to Question No. 3201 (Hansard, page 3139,7June 1979).

Trans-Australia Airlines (Question No. 3737)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 2 May 1 979:

  1. 1 ) Has his attention been drawn to a report in the Canberra Times of 23 April 1979 that the Government is considering the possibility of selling TAA to private interests.
  2. If so, is he able to say (a) if there is any substance to thereports and (b) when the projected sale is likely to occur.
  3. Has any organisation orindividual(s) expressed to the Government an interest in the purchase, transfer, or amalgamation of TAA.
Mr Nixon:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. 2 ) ( a ) and ( b ) There is no substance to the report.

Discussions are proceeding with the two major operators with a view to entering into a revised Airlines Agreement governing the Two Airline Policy which is predicated on a privately owned and Government owned airline.

  1. Yes. However, these people have been informed there is no intention to sell or amalgamate TAA.

Fire in Mascot Drive (Question No. 3739)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 2 May 1 979:

  1. 1 ) Further to his reply to question No. 814 (Hansard, 2 May 1978, page 1676) is he now able to say if the more detailed Departmental study of the broader aspects of the fire in Mascot Drive on 15 October 1977 has been completed; if so, what (a) are the (i) specific findings of the study: (ii) recommendations of the study, and (b) action he has taken as a result of the study.
  2. ) If not, when will the study be completed.
Mr Nixon:

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

  1. Yes.

    1. (i) A contributing factor to the fuel tanker accident was the alignment of the road in that area. A project to realign a portion of Qantas Drive will be undertaken as soon as possible after the necessary property matters have been finalised.

The fire hazard that was created on the airport as a result of the accident was due to the following reasons.

The entry of fuel from the accident site into the airport area could not be prevented without fuel traps on the drainage line.

Without flame traps on the drainage line within the apron area, burning fuel was able to flow from the point of entry near Qantas Drive, through the apron area to the outlet in the nearby ponding area.

Fuel entering the drainage system became distributed on the top of retained water in the pipes, thereby affecting a large area of the airport.

The close proximity of some of the grated inlet pits (from which fire issued) on the drainage line, to airport facilities exacerbated the hazard, e.g. one grated inlet pit was situated inside a Qantas maintenance hangar.

  1. Because of the high costs involved in providing complete protection, the study recommended that only a limited level of protection should be provided and the remaining risk accepted.

This would involve a detailed investigation of each airport to determine:

  1. 1 ) the potential hazard that would be created by an accidental spillage of fuel in any area of the airport that is exposed to this type of incident (including access roads used by fuel tankers)
  2. likely probability of such an event based on, e.g. intensity of fuelling activity, number of fuel tanker movements, complexity of access road system, etc.

The results of this investigation could then be used to determine the degree of protection that should be provided at each airport. The installation of flame traps, fuel traps or any other necessary modifications to the drainage system could then proceed.

This option would not entirely eliminate the possibility of a repetition of a Sydney type incident but it would ensure that the potential hazard would be within acceptable limits when considered in relation to the costs involved.

  1. The Regional Offices of the Department are being made aware of the potential dangers that may be involved.

Investigations of aerodromes within each region are to be conducted to ascertain whether any shortcomings or fire hazards may exist in the drainage system in this respect.

Airport Planning staff of the Department have been made aware of the potential dangers and particular attention to this aspect will be paid when new drainage systems or additions are being designed.

  1. ) The Aerodrome Emergency Plan for each aerodrome is being revised to include details of the aerodrome drainage system showing any areas that may be susceptible to fire hazard by fuel spills in other areas (and would include any fuel spill ‘Contingency Plans’ that may be necessary for the aerodrome).

Airline Equipment (Loan Guarantee) Acts (Question No. 3742)

Mr Morris:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 2 May 1979:

  1. 1 ) What was the balance outstanding on loans obtained by (a) Ansett Transport Industries and its associates or subsidiaries and (b) TAA under the provisions of the various Airline Equipment (Loan Guarantee) Acts as at 30 June in each year since 1968.
  2. What were the foreign exchange losses or profits on those borrowings in each year since 1967-68 in respect of parts(1)(a)and(1)(b).
Mr Howard:

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

  1. (a) Details of the balance outstanding on loans obtained by Ansett Transport Industries and guaranteed by the Commonwealth under the provisions of the various Airline Equipment (Loan Guarantee) Acts, as at 31 December in each year since 1968, are set out below. Details as at 30 June in each of those years are not readily available to my Department.

    1. In the same period, TAA did not undertake any borrowings, on which a Commonwealth guarantee was provided, to finance the purchase of aircraft, but during the period some funds were borrowed by the Commonwealth and on-lent to TAA for aircraft financing.
  2. The Commonwealth does not maintain any records as to the foreign exchange profits or losses which have occurred on these borrowings.

Concessional Air Fares for Pensioners (Question No. 3809)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 3 May 1979:

In view of the Government’s decisions to abolish 6 monthly indexation of age and invalid pensions and to purchase 2 Boeing 707 airliners for Ministerial travel abroad, has he given consideration to the introduction of concessional domestic and international air fares for pensioners, if so, what decision has been reached.

Mr Nixon:

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

Decision on the granting of concessions on domestic carriers to selected groups is a matter for the commercial judgment of the airlines. It is not appropriate, in my view, for Governments to interfere in such matters. One of the major problems in providing special concessional fares to select groups is that other groups could justifiably claim discrimination if they were not similarly assisted. The Government has therefore pursued a policy of encouraging the development of a wide range of fares designed to satisfy the varied travelling needs of the whole community. Arrangements for both international and domestic air travel aim to avoid the development of practices that lead to discrimination concerning the price paid by selected groups of customers. Any reductions in domestic and international fare levels, where possible should be available to all.

You will be aware that I recently announced a major new domestic concessional air fares package with savings between 30 and 40 per cent of the domestic return economy fare. Both the new domestic concessional fares package and the new low international air fares combine the best features of scheduled air services. In the case of international services it still allows the airlines to meet the needs of passengers who want access to fares comparable to those that could be offered by charter operations. The domestic and international concessional fares, which are designed for people who are flexible in their travel arrangements, are of considerable benefit to pensioners.

Aviation: Internal Climate Control System (Question No. 3927)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 10 May 1979:

  1. What circumstances require the provision of an internal climate control system to hangar No. 4 annex as referred to on page 61 of the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette of 8 May 1979(G18).
  2. Was a similar system in operation previously.
  3. 3 ) Who were the unsuccessful tenderers for the contract.
Mr Nixon:

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

  1. 1 ) Hangar No. 4 annex, at Essendon, a two storey brick structure with concrete roof overlayed with iron, is used for general office accommodation and the design of the building is such that wide variations in temperature are experienced during the year.

On occasions staff have been sent home due to the temperature, being beyond the accepted limits for office accommodation. ‘

Alternatives such as individual heaters and fans and weatherwall’ type airconditioners have been considered but Department of Housing and Construction recommended a reverse cycle split unit system as being the most cost-effective method of controlling the interior climate. It is not full ducted air .conditioning.

Prior to Department of Transport occupancy, the area was used by Ansett Airlines, and some ‘weatherwall’ airconditioners were installed, but removed when that company relinquished the area. No climate control is at present installed in the area.

  1. No.
  2. ) The Department of Housing and Construction advises that the unsuccessful tenderers are Ansell and Fidian, 60 Southey Road, Boronia, Victoria and A.A. Electrics, 28 Douglas Street, Rosanna, Victoria.

Manning of Ships (Question No. 3949)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 22 May 1979:

  1. 1 ) What are the proficiency standards for (a) certificated and (b) non-certificated personnel serving on board ships registered in (i) Liberia, (ii) Panama, (iii) Bermuda, (iv) Hong Kong, (v) Singapore, (vi) the United States of America, (vii) Sweden and (viii) the United Kingdom that enter Australian waters.
  2. What are the minimum numbers of (a) certificated and (b) non-certificated personnel and the designations of these personnel required aboard seagoing vessels registered in the nations referred to in part ( 1 ).
  3. ) What are the requirements in respect of pans ( I ) and (2 ) for comparable vessels of Australian registration.
Mr Nixon:

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

  1. 1 ) and (2) Internationally it is primarily the responsibility of the flag state to determine proficiency standards for personnel serving on board its ships, wherever the ships may be. This is reflected in two International Conventions to which Australia and the other countries mentioned are parties:

Article 10 of the Geneva Convention on the High Seas 1958, which provides that every State shall take such measures for ships under its flag as are necessary to ensure safety at sea with regard inter aiia to the manning of ships. In taking such measures each State is required to conform to generally accepted international standards and to take any steps which may be necessary to ensure their observance.

Regulation 13 of Chapter V of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1960 (which is repeated in the 1974 Convention of the same name, due to come into force on 25.5.80) which provides that the Contracting Governments undertake, each for its national ships, to maintain, or, if it is necessary, to adopt, measures for the purpose of ensuring that, from the point of view of safety of life at sea, all ships shall be sufficiently and efficiently manned.

By reason of those provisions, Australia, in common with other maritime countries has not sought to regulate closely the manning or the proficiency of persons on board foreign ships entering Australian waters. Subject to the exception in the case of Commonwealth countries, supervision of the manning and proficiency standards of foreign ships in Australia is carried out by Consular officials of the flag state, which is the world wide practice. Where the Department of Transport receives a complaint or has reason to suspect that a particular ship is unseaworthy by reason of inadequate manning the matter is taken up with the flag State. In cases of serious crew deficiencies it would also be possible to detain the vessel under section 207 of the Navigation Act if the deficiencies either in relation to numbers or qualifications of the crew members were such that the vessel could be deemed to be unseaworthy

For the reasons mentioned above comprehensive information as to the proficiency standards and minimum numbers of personnel required aboard ships registered in Liberia, Panama, the United States of America, and Sweden is not available to the Depanment of Transport. Moreover, under the laws of some countries, for example, the United States of America, an individual determination as to the minimum number of certificated and non-certificated personnel is made for each ship, depending on factors such as the nature, trade and construction of the ship. A comprehensive answer cannot therefore be provided in relation to ships of those countries.

Different arrangements apply in the case of Commonwealth countries where, by mutual agreement, Australian mercantile marine officers perform functions similar to those carried out by the consular officials of foreign countries.

In this connection certain information is available and for the honourable member’s information set out below is the crew list in respect of two sister ships registered in Australia and the United Kingdom respectively when engaged in similar international voyages.

The international position in relation to officer training and the qualifications of persons comprising the watch of ships at sea will change in the not too distant future when the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978 comes into force. Under the Convention masters, watchkeeping officers and ratings on seagoing ships are required to possess minimum qualifications. In addition masters and watchkeeping officers are required to hold certificates of competency endorsed in accordance with the Convention and powers of inspection are conferred on coastal states to ensure that the required certificates are held.

The Government is actively pursuing the question of Australian signature of this Convention.

The international position in relation to the minimum numbers of persons to be carried by ships at sea is that a subcommittee of the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organisation is actively examining this question at the present time. The Australian Government is represented at these discussions. It is expected that these discussions will ultimately lead to an international convention laying down minimum crew numbers required for ships of countries that become parties to the convention concerned.

  1. The proficiency standards for certificated personnel serving on board Australian ships to which the Navigation Act applies are set out in the Navigation (Examination of Masters and Mates) Regulations and the Navigation (Examination of Engineers) Regulations. For non-certificated personnel the principal criterion is appropriate experience at sea.

The minimum manning requirements for Australian ships to which the Navigation Act applies are either (a) set out in the schedules to the Navigation Act, (b) determined by the Minister on the advice of manning committees for individual ships established under sections 1 4 or 43 of the Act or ( c ) determined by agreement between the shipowner and union concerned.

The Navigation Amendment Bill 1979 which is at present before the House proposes certain changes in respect of the manning requirements of the Navigation Act which are explained in the Explanatory Notes to the Bill, which have been circulated.

School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (Question No. 4062)

Mr Kerin:

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 30 May 1979:

  1. 1 ) What are the objects and activities of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
  2. How many persons are employed by the School, what are their qualifications, and what is each employee’s principal role in the School.
  3. 3 ) How is the School funded.
  4. Has the School, or its employees, received any remuneration from commerce or industry, including, for example, assistance to employees to attend conferences overseas or in Australia; if so, what are the details.
Mr Hunt:

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

  1. 1 ) The objectives of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine are as follows:

As a Resource Centre for the Nation

  1. To identify sources of information on health, on illness, and on health care systems in Australia and elsewhere;
  2. To collect, correlate, interpret and disseminate such information, and act as a reference centre for Australia in these areas:
  3. To promote health and a better understanding of health care throughout Australia and elsewhere;
  4. To provide a source of consultative expertise on the various aspects of knowledge in this field;
  5. By research, to improve knowledge in areas where it is deficient;
  6. To demonstrate ways in which the resources involved may be used more effectively and efficiently;
  7. To suggest innovatory programs which could be carried out on an experimental basis in order to advance understanding of health and health care systems.

As a Teaching Centre

To train undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled for degrees or diplomas at the University in accordance with the following aims:

  1. To teach the understanding of health care delivery systems and their more efficient management;
  2. To increase students’ awareness of the basic needs of the community for health, health promotion and health care delivery and how best they can be achieved within the limited resources of manpower, facilities and finance available within a nation;
  3. To educate individuals in specific skills within the competence of the institution.

The activities of the School are research and investigation, consultation and teaching in connection with health and health care systems as follows:

Research and Investigation

Research and investigation work covers a wide range of subjects relating to public health and tropical medicine, including studies of biochemistry, cell biology carcinogenesis, epidemiology and biostatistics, entomology, environmental and occupational health, occupational hygiene, health services planning and structures, parasitology, pathology and microbiology, preventive and social medicine. Field work has been undertaken throughout Australia, Norfolk Island, Nauru, Cocos Island, Heard Island and the Antarctic.


Consultative services provided by the sections of the School in their particular subjects are widely used by various Federal and State Departments and instrumentalities, the Armed Services, industry and private individuals. Consultancy assignments are also conducted for the World Health Organization and the Australian Development Assistance Bureau in relation to Health projects which form part of the Australian overseas aid program.


Post-graduate courses are held annually for the degree of Master of Public Health with options in Tropical Health, Occupational Health, and Public Health and for the Diploma in Tropical Public Health, and teaching is provided in various subjects for the Diplomas in Dentistry, Nutrition and Dietetics and Social Work.

Undergraduate courses are provided for students in the faculties of Medicine, Science, Architecture and Engineering. Classes are also held for various other groups including industrial medical officers, technical and managerial staff, nurses, teachers and tropical residents. Special training is arranged for departmental officers and personnel of the Armed Services. Overseas students, sponsored under Australian overseas aid programs or by World Health Organization also attend some of these courses.

  1. 101 persons are currently employed full time and 4 part-time. There are 44 academic and senior administrative staff and a list of these with their qualifications follows:

Professor and Principal of the School- Lindsay Alexander Gordon Davidson, MB ChB Edin., Md Birm., FRCP FRCPE FRACP;

Professor of Environmental Health- David Alexander Ferguson, MD BS FRACP;

Professor of Preventive and Social Medicine- Charles Baldwin Kerr, DPhil Oxf., MB BS FRACP MFCM;

Professor of Tropical Medicine- Robert Hughes Black. ED, DTM&HLiv., MD BS Dip Anthrop, FRACP;

Professor of Public Health Biology- Patrick Macartney de Burgh, MB BS FRCPA (seconded);

Visiting Professor of Epidemiology (part-time)- Walter Oswald Spitzer, MD MHA MPH CCFP(C).

Associate Professors- Grahame M. Budd, MD BS, FRACP (Environmental Health); David J. Lee, BSc (Medical Entomology); Robert MacLennan, MB BS Qld DTM&H DCH MS Tulane, MRCP (Epidemiology and Biostatistics); Bruce McMillan, MB BS, DTM&H DAP&E Lond., FRACP FRCPA (Medical Parasitology); Peter M. Moodie, MD BS, DTM&H (Tropical Public Health).

Senior Lecturers- Thomas K. Ng, MD BS Hong Kong LLB Lond., DPH DIH DPA FIS FHA FRSH MFCM (Occupational Health); Janice C. Reid, B.Sc Adel., MA Hawaii, PhD Stanford (Tropical Medicine); James A. Thorn, MB ChB Aberdeen MSc DTM&H DIH Lond., FRSM (Environmental Health).

Lecturers-Robert S. U. Baker, BSc (Hons) PhD W.A., MASM (Cell Biology); Jannette C. Brand, BSc (Hons) N.S.W., (Nutrition); Ian Darnton-Hill, MB BS Adel., DA Lond., Dip Nut & Diet Flinders (Nutrition); Gregory B. Goldstein, MB BS, FRACP (Preventive and Social Medicine); Colin C. Reid, MB BS (Occupational Health); Susan A. Treloar, BSoc Stud (Hons) (Preventive and Social Medicine); Wim Zylstra, MB BS DTM&H Lond., FRACP (Tropical Medicine).

Principal Tutors- Anthony W. Findlay, BSc N.S.W. (Occupational Health); Gordon J. Lincoln, BSc (Hons) (Environmental Health); Gershom Major, BSc Melb. (Occupational Hygiene); Michael F. O’Keeffe, ASTC (Microbiology); Richard C. Russell, MSc (Medical Entomolgy); John C. Walker, BSc (Medical Parasitology).

Senior Tutor-Susan Ash, MHP N.S.W., BSc Dip Nut & Diet (Nutrition).

Tutors-Barbara J. McPhee, Dip Phty MAPA (Occupational Physiotherapy); Alan J. Rogers, BSc N.S.W., MSc Lond. (Occupational Hygiene).

Other Academic Staff- Alison J. Bellamy, Dip Soc Stud (Social Sciences in Health); Simon F. Chapman, BA (Hons) N.S.W. (Health Education and Sociology); Vera G. Charnas, BA (Health Surveillance); Patricia M. Desmarchelier, BappSc QIT (Microbiology); Christian A. J. Dupressoir, BSc (Occupational Hygiene); William B. Hennessy, MB BS, DTM&H FRACP FRCP (Clinical Tropical Medicine); Kersi M. Meher-Homji, MSc Bombay (Virology); Denys C. Torpy, BA MB BS DTM&H Liv. (Biochemistry); Barbara Field, MB BS (Occupational Health); Airdrie A. Long, MB BS (Occupational Health); Barbara Edye, MB BS (Occupational Health).

Registrar(D.P.H.&T.M.)-Clifford C. Dyer(Acting).

Deputy Registrar (Academic Matters) (S.P.H.&T.M.)John C. Short, Dip Tech ( Mgt ) B Bus N.S. W.I.T., AM usA.

Librarian (S.P.H.&T.M. )-Shirley P. McGlynn, BA ALAALAA.

  1. The School is funded by the Commonwealth Government through the Department of Health.
  2. Neither the School nor its employees have received any direct remuneration from commerce or industry nor has any assistance from this source been given to employees to attend conferences overseas or in Australia. From time to time the School does perform advisory functions for individuals and for companies and, on occasions, such companies have made donations to the University of Sydney and these have been placed in a Research Fund to which the School has access.

Airline Annual Reports (Question No. 4123)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 4 June 1979:

  1. 1 ) When did (a) TAA and (b) Ansett Transport Industries Ltd lodge their annual reports on airline activities for (a) 1975-76,(b) 1976-77 and(c) 1977-78.
  2. ) On what date was each of the annual reports presented to Parliament.
  3. What were the reasons for any delay in presenting the reports to the Parliament in each case.
Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1)and(2)-

  1. The delays between the lodgement and presentation of Ansett ‘s Reports were caused by the Christmas Parliamentary recess. In addition presentation of the 1977-78 Report was delayed in order that it would be presented together with the TAA Report.

Air Fares (Question No. 4124)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 4 June 1979:

  1. Has his attention been drawn to an article in the Financial Review of 1 6 May 1 979 entitled ‘Industry Plan to Combat Rebating’; if so, is there any substance in the report.
  2. ) Are references to the submission mentioned accurate and what action has he taken in respect of the submission.
Mr Nixon:

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

  1. My attention has been drawn to the article in the Financial Review of 16 May 1979. I am advised that on or about 9 May this year a Mr Lonergan left with my Department an unsigned and undated document concerning regulation of air fares.
  2. I am advised the document concerns the possibility of airlines entering into an arrangement with a third party to adhere to approved air tariffs. This document, like any other suggestion from the public, is being considered by my Department.

Trans-Ausralia Airlines: Superannuation Funds (Question No. 4125)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 8 June 1 979:

  1. 1 ) Was it a practice for TAA to borrow from the superannuation funds of its flight staff in the course of its trading activities; if so, when did the practice cease and what were the circumstances that led to its cessation.
  2. Were complaints against the practice received from any source; if so, who were complainants.
  3. 3 ) Is he able to say if this practice is pursued by any other Government business undertakings.
Mr Nixon:

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

  1. 1 ) Yes. The practice is continuing.
  2. TAA advise that it has not received any complaints about the practice.
  3. Government business undertakings with flight staff superannuation funds are limited to TAA and Qantas. In Qantas’ case its Staff Superannuation Guaranteed Minimum Benefit Funds have been progressively invested outside the business with the Commonwealth Trading Bank as Trustee since 1 977. Provision exists in the Trust Deed for the Trustee to lend Qantas 70 per cent of the funds so invested. Since the funds were invested with the Trustee, Qantas has not availed itself of the borrow back provisions of the Trust Deed.

IPEC Aircraft (Question No. 4127)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 4 June 1 979:

  1. 1 ) Has his attention been drawn to an item in the Daily Commercial News of 31 May 1979 entitled ‘Support for Ipec’, if so, is it a fact, as stated by the President of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots, that the operation of DC3 aircraft was not in the best interests of efficiency and safety.
  2. Is the 4-engined Argosy aircraft, which IPEC is prohibited from using by him, safer than the 40 year old twin-engined DC3 aircraft.
  3. ) Is it also a fact that only 0. 1 per cent of total freight is carried by air in Australia compared with the world average of 2 percent.
Mr Nixon:

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

  1. 1 ) and (2) Yes, my attention has been drawn to an item in the Daily Commercial News entitled ‘Support for Ipec’. Both the DC3 and Argosy aircraft type meet the operational requirements prescribed for the type of operations proposed by IPEC.
  2. It is estimated by the Bureau of Transport Economics that in 1975-76 air freight consignments were 0.1 per cent by weight of total interregional movements. The Domestic Air

Transport Policy Review Committee noted that ‘This low percentage in terms of weight is fairly typical for most countries. In terms of the value of the goods the percentage of the freight task is much higher’.

Cushman Battery Electric Vehicles (Question No. 4158)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 5 June 1979:

  1. 1 ) Has his attention been drawn to reports in the Daily Commerical News of 30 May 1979 of a new range of Cushman battery electric vehicles to be released on the Australian market by Yorke-Yale Ltd of Adelaide.
  2. Are any Cushman battery electric vehicles at present operating in Australia; if so, where and in what capacity, and how successful have the vehicles in service been.
  3. Has his Department made any assessment of the new vehicles to be introduced; if so, what were the results of this assessment.
  4. Has he any plans to introduce, on a trial basis, electric vehicles from the Cushman range or from any other manufacturer, into the service of the Australian Government; if so, where and when will this be done.
  5. Is he able to state whether any action on battery electric vehicles is envisaged or being taken by State Governments.
Mr Nixon:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. Cushman golf cars have been operating in Australia since 1966 and Cushman industrial vehicles since 1968. Industrial vehicles are used for personnel and material transportation.

The industrial vehicles are used by many organisations, including:

Department of Defence


Ford Motor Company

Ansett Airlines

South Australian Education Department

Hospitals in South Australia and Western Australia

North Broken Hill Mines

I have not been advised that the vehicles have performed unsatisfactorily.

  1. The new range of Cushman industrial electric vehicles was released on the Australian market in April/May of this year. The Department of Transport has made no assessment of the new vehicles.
  2. I am not aware of any plans to introduce, on a trial basis, electric vehicles from the Cushman range, into the service of the Commonwealth Government apart from those already in use. Since the mid 1970 ‘s however, a number of electric vehicles have been tested and evaluated by several Commonwealth Government Departments, including:

Department of Administrative Services:

Enfield 8000 electric car

Battronic 10 passenger bus

Industrial electric vehicles

Department of Housing and Construction:

Otis P500 delivery van

Smith Cabox

Battronic Mini Van

Department of the Capital Territory:

Crompton Electricar

Australia Post:

Electrodrive battery electric scooters

Former Department of Manufacturing Industry:

Maximove electric industrial truck

  1. State Governments have undertaken research connected with the use of electric buses and cars, and have been assisted in this activity by the Commonwealth Government under the Transport (Planning and Research) Act In addition, consideration of electric vehicles is on the approved work program of the Australian Transport Advisory Council’s Energy Working Group which comprises Commonwealth, State and Territory representatives.

Airport Revenue and Expenditure (Question No. 4159)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 5 June 1 979:

  1. 1 ) What sums were received from each type of activity associated with the operation of major Commonwealth airports during the years (a) 1976-77 and (b) 1977-78 and the period (c) 1 July, 1978 to date.
  2. What expenditure was incurred relating to each of the activities referred to in part (1 ) and what other expenditure was incurred relating to the provisions of services at Commonwealth airports during the years (a) 1976-77 and (b) 1 977-78 and the period (c)1 July 1 978 to date.
Mr Nixon:

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

  1. 1 ) The major receipts in respect of the operation of the airways system including airports and airways facilities, meteorological costs, et cetera, stem from air navigation charges and aviation fuel tax. Air navigation charges are levied on a route or annual charge basis and neither these charges nor fuel tax are allocated to individual airports or facilities but are offset against total system costs.

Revenue from these two sources for the years in question were as follows:

Revenues which are specifically identified with individual airports are those relating to business concessions at airports, site and building rentals, car parking and a number of other miscellaneous charges.

Revenues of this nature received in respect of capital city airports during the financial years 1976-77 and 1977-78 are set out in the following table. Figures for 1 978-79 in respect of individual airports are not yet available.

  1. The Department’s accounting system records capital, maintenance, operating and administrative costs under a wide range of functional headings for each location.

Examples of these functional headings are Communication, Navigation, Building, Movement Areas, Fire Fighting, Air Traffic Control, et cetera.

These costs for financial years 1976-77 and 1977-78 are set out in some detail, in respect of a selection of major airports, at page 234 of the Annual Report of the Department of Transport for 1977-78.

Total annual operating costs for capital city airports for these years are set out in the following table. Airport data for 1978-79 is not yet available.

Lead in Petrol (Question No. 4178)

Mr Cohen:

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 5 June 1979:

  1. 1 ) What is the maximum level of lead in a human considered be a safe level by the Commonwealth Health Authority.
  2. What is the recommended maximum lead level for children in Australia.
  3. Has his attention been drawn to the study ‘Lead Burden of Sydney School Children’ which recommends that legislation be introduced to encourage the progressive elimination of lead from petrol in the near future.
  4. If so, is there any substance in this statement and will he recommend that lead in petrol be reduced and finally eliminated.
Mr Hunt:

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

  1. ) and (2) Until recently blood lead levels of around 100 micrograms per 100 mls and sometimes higher were generally accepted as representing the level at which lead poisoning would occur. In more vulnerable groups such as children, levels of SO micrograms per 100 mls of blood have been shown to produce signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children.

Recently, the validity of these levels has been questioned and research both in Australia and overseas is leading to a re-examination of such recommendations.

  1. and (4) I am aware of the study ‘Lead Burden of Sydney School Children ‘ which was, in fact, part funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. I have asked Council to review the subject as a matter of urgency and to advise me on desirable goals and appropriate guidelines designed to ensure the maintenance of proper health standards.

I expect this advice to be available in October.

Air Fare Discounting (Question No. 4196)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 6 June 1979:

  1. On what occasions since11 November 1975 has he made statements to the Parliament and elsewhere relating to the. exercise of his responsibilities under Air Navigation Regulation 106a and illegal air fare discounting.
  2. Which travel organisations or airlines have been mentioned by him in those statements and on what dates were they mentioned.
Mr Nixon:

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

  1. and (2) Statements I have made to the Parliament concerning Air Navigation Regulation 106a and illegal air fare discounting may be found in relevant copies of Hansard.

In addition, I have from time to time issued press releases on a number of subjects including the question of tariff enforcement. Copies of all such releases are freely available from my Department.

Air Fare Discounting (Question No. 4197)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 6 June 1979:

  1. ) Further to question No. 3 1 1 8 ( Hansard,1 May 1 979, page 1689) what are the specific reasons that led to his conclusion, provided in his answer, that public disclosure of the 7 travel organisations that have been visited by Commonwealth Police would adversely affect their operations.
  2. What are the differing factors between the much publicised raid by Commonwealth Police on ACTU Jetset Travel offices at the instigation of his Department and the Commonwealth Police visits to the 7 travel organisations whose names he has refused to reveal.
  3. Why did he mention ACTU Jetset Travel publicly in relation to the provisions of Air Navigation Regulation 1 06 a but not disclose the names of other travel organisations that had been visited.
  4. Did he consider that public mention of ACTU Jetset Travel in respect of AN R 1 06a provisions would not have an adverse effect on their operations.
  5. ) Will he now disclose the names of the 7 travel organisations referred to in his answer and the locations visited by Commonwealth Police.
Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1)I have stated previously that problems arise with evidence that is found to be of a hearsay nature and which, without further corroboration, does not justify legal proceedings. In this context therefore the naming of organisations that are under investigation would be inappropriate.

  1. and (3) Prior to this visit which was undertaken in a normal and proper manner following advice from the Crown Law Authorities, the ACTU Jetset organisation was mentioned by name in a question without notice in Parliament on 2 1 September 1978. In view of this, I thought it appropriate to confirm that the alleged travel scheme arrangements of that organisation were under investigation.
  2. I am not aware of any adverse effects as a result of my answer at the time.
  3. No.

Air Fare Discounting (Question No. 4278)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 7 June 1979:

  1. 1 ) Further to question No. 3 1 1 7 (Hansard, 6 June 1 979, page 3075), why has he refused to disclose the trading names and proprietors of the 59 travel organisations investigated by his Department in the exercise of his responsibilities and powers under Air Navigation Regulation 106a whereas he has made numerous public statements and appearances relating to similar actions he initiated against ACTU Jetset Travel.
  2. 2 ) What was the specific reasoning that led to his decision to publicise the actions taken by his Department against ACTU Jetset Travel in relation to ANR 106a.
  3. Has he instituted legal proceedings against ACTU Jetset Travel under the provisions of AN R 106a.
  4. How many organisations are currently under investigation under the provisions of AN R 106a.
  5. What are the trading names and proprietors of the organisations referred to in part (4).
  6. What is the current status of the investigations.
Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1)and (2) Refer to answers to question No. 4197.

  1. I am advised that my Department has not instituted legal proceedings.
  2. I am advised that the type and number of possible malpractice allegations which my Department pursues vary widely over time and it is difficult to give a representative figure. However during July/ August 1979 allegations in respect of some six separate organisations were investigated or are being considered.
  3. and (6) For the reasons which I have mentioned in answer to questions Nos 3 1 1 7 and 3 1 1 8 it would be inappropriate to disclose the names and proprietors of organisations under investigation and the current status of the investigations.

International Air Fares (Question No. 3874)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 8 May 1 979:

  1. ) What is the name, classification and Department of each Australian official negotiating reduced air fares between Australia and the ASEAN nations.
  2. What positions has each official held since1 January 1976.
  3. When did representatives of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs begin to participate in the talks.
  4. Is he able to say what is the name, classification and employing agency of each member of the ASEAN negotiating teams.
  5. On what dates and at what locations have talks been held with the representatives of the ASEAN nations.
Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1), (3) and (5) Negotiations on reduced air fares between Australia and the ASEAN nations, in the period since announcement of Australia’s revised international civil aviation policy on11 October, 1978 have been held with ASEAN as a group. Preceding the negotiations, discussions on Australia’s revised policy were held with the ASEAN countries individually and also with ASEAN as a group. Suggested reduced levels of air fares were tabled by Australia during the exploratory discussions with individual ASEAN countries. The Department of Foreign Affairs participated in all of the discussions and negotiations with ASEAN countries; the first of these being on 23-25 October 1978 in Jakarta. The Department of Foreign Affairs was also involved in inter-Departmental discussions leading up to negotiations with ASEAN and other countries on reduced air fares.

  1. Dates of and participants in the various exploratory discussions were as follows:

    1. Indonesia (Jakarta. 23-25 October 1978)

Australian delegation- Mr A. F. Rain bird (leader), Mr T. Brosnan. MrC. S. Heseltine.

Indonesian delegation- Mr G. Risakotta (leader). Mr Karnaen Somadinata, Mr Mochta Usman, Mr Achmad Kartohadiprodjo. MrSancha Bakhtiar, MrIsbandi.

  1. Thailand (Bangkok, 30 October-3 November 1978)

Australian delegation- Mr A. F. Rainbird (leader), Mr T. Brosnan, Mr C. S. Heseltine.

Thai delegation- Lt Cdr Aree Satayamana (leader), Air Vice Marshall Surayute Nivasabute, Dr Chitti Wacharasindhu. Dr Srisook Chanthrangeu, Mr Chuay Kannawat, Mr Surapong Poshyananda, Mr Nikorn Maneelert, Mr Vichit.

  1. Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, 6-11 November 1978)

Australian delegation- Mr A. F. Rainbird (leader), Mr T. Brosnan. Mr C. S. Heseltine.

Malaysian delegation- Mr M. Thilagadurai (leader), Mrs Zaharaah Shaari, Mr Adnan Shamsuddin, Mr Yusof Hashim, Mr Bernard Thomazios, Mr Bashir Ahmad.

  1. d ) Singapore (Singapore, 4-8 December 1 978 )

Australian delegation- Mr A. F. Rainbird (leader), Mr T. Brosnan, Mr C. S. Heseltine.

Singapore delegation- Mr Lim Hock San (leader), Mr Lim Liang Poh, Miss Leong Wai Leng, Mr Warren Khoo, Mr Thirunagaran, Miss Low Poh Gek, Miss Emily Nathan, M r Khong Teck Kim, Mr Goh Chin Ee, Mr Lim Chin Beng, MrSyn Chung Wah, Mr Mun Theam Kong.

  1. Philippines (Manila. 18-20 December 1978)

Australian delegation- Mr A. F. Rainbird (leader), Mr T. Brosnan, Mr C. S. Heseltine.

Philippines delegation- Mr Leon Tiansay (leader), Mr Nestor N. Gatbonton, Mr Pacifico V. Agcaoili.

Note: Several other officials together with representatives of Philippine Airlines whose names are not available also participated.


  1. Representatives of Qantas Airways Limited also participated in the discussions with the above countries.

    1. Canberra based Australian officials only are listed.
  2. Fourth ASEAN-Australia Forum (Canberra, 30-31 October 1978)

Australia’s revised international aviation policy was briefly discussed as part of a much broader agenda. The following participants in the Forum discussion also took pan in subsequent discussions between Australia and ASEAN on the policy and/or in negotiations with ASEAN on reduced air fares:

Australia- Mr A. R. Parsons, Mr J. H. Rowland, Mr E. R. Pocock, Mr D. A. Buckingham.


Malaysia- Mr Kassim Hussein, Mrs Hew Kuan Wai, Mr R.Gopal.

Indonesia- Mr Karnaen Somadinata, Mr D. R. I. Mardanus.

Philippines- Mrs Rosario G. Manalo, Mrs R. V. Tirana.

Singapore- Mr Tan Boon Seng, MrC. M.See.

  1. ASEAN-Australia Meeting of Aviation Experts (Canberra, 8-10 January 1979)

Australian delegation-Mr J. H. Rowland (leader), Mr A. F. Rainbird, Mr E. R. Pocock, Mr T. Brosnan, Mr C. S. Heseltine, Mr A. P. Godfrey-Smith.

Note: Representatives of Qantas Airways Limited also participated.

ASEAN delegation

Malaysia- Mr Mohammed Noor Hassan (leader), Mr Hamzah Abdul Majid, Mr Bahruddin Musa, Mr Zainal A. B. Mokhtar, Mr Adnan Shamsuddin, Mrs HewKuan Wai, Mr R. Gopal, Mr Bernard Thomazios, Mr Bashir Ahmad, Mr Michael Wong.

Indonesia- Mr Karnaen Somadinata (leader), Mr Soepari Tjokrohartono, Mr D. R. I. Mardanus, MrSoekro Poerwodipoero, Mr Udin Saifuddin.

Philippines- Mr Nestor N. Gatbonton (leader), Mrs R. V. Tirana, Mr Pacifico Agabin, Mr Romula G. Buhat.

Singapore- Mr Lim Hock San (leader), Mr Pek Hock Thiam, Mr Lee Chiong Giam, Mr Chew Choon Seng, Mr Stanley Kuppusamy, Mr Teh Ping Choon.

Thailand- Dr Chitti Wacharasindhu (leader), Mr Suttiswat Kridakon, Mr Bunthan Manklang, Mr Wichitr Wayurakul.

  1. h ) Indonesia (Jakarta, 7-8 June 1 979 )

Australian delegation- Mr A. F. Rainbird (leader), Mr W. E. Weemaes, MrT. G. Brosnan.


  1. Canberra based officials only are listed.

    1. Representatives of Qantas Airways Limited also participated.

Indonesian delegation- Mr Karno Barkah (leader), Mr G. Risakotta, Mr A. A. Gde Ohe Djelantik, Mr Karnaen Somadinata, Mr Haryono, Mr A. Kartohadipradjo.

  1. Dates of and officials participating in the negotiations with ASEAN on reduced air fares were as follows:

    1. ASEAN-Australia Ministerial Meeting on International Civil Aviation Policy (Jakarta, 20-2 1 March 1979)

Note: Australian and ASEAN Ministers who participated are not listed.

Australian officials- Mr C. C. Halton, Mr A. R. Parsons, Mr A. T. Griffith, Mr J. H. Rowland, Mr M. E. Lyon, Mr A. F. Rainbird, Mr W. E. Weemaes, Mr T. Brosnan, Mr T. Grant, Mr C. S. Heseltine, Mr D. A. Buckingham.


  1. Representatives of Qantas Airways Limited also participated.

    1. Canberra based officials only are listed. ASEAN officials

Malaysia- Mr Mohammed Noor Hassan, Mr A. Talalla, Mr Kassim Hussein, Mr Abdul M. Mohamed, Mr Mohamed Bin Haron, Mr Kamarudin Ahmad, Mrs Hew Kuan Wai, Mr Bernard Thomazios, Mr Michael Wong, Mr Samsudin Bin Marsop, Mr Mohd Rose Abd Rahman, Mr Harith Ibrahim.

Philippines- Mrs Rosario G. Manalo, Mrs R. V. Tirana, Mr Nestor N. Gatbonton, Mr Pacifico Agabin, Mr Fructuoso Calagui, Mr Saviniano M. Perez, Mr Julio M. Bacareza, Mr Rene Guerrero.

Singapore- Mr Sim Kee Boon, Mr Tan Boon Seng, Mr Tan Song Chuan, Mr Lee Chong Giam, Mr Barry Desker, Mr Lim Hock San, Mr Tan Guin Kheng, Mr Jack Choo Eng Kang, Mr Lim Chin Beng, Mr Stanley Kuppusamy, Mr Teh Ping Choon.

Thailand - Dr Chuay Kannawat, Dr Chitti Wacharasindhu, Mr Apinain Pavanarit, Lt Col Smaru Thamajaree, Mr Wichitr Wayurakul.

Indonesia- Mr Kardono, Mr Umarjadi Njtowijono, Dr Suhadi Mangkusewondo, Mr S. Naesoetion, Mr A. A. Gde Oke Djelantik, Mr Usodo Notodirdjo, Mr K. Algamar, Mr Saniuoso, Mr G. Risakotta, Miss Cri Murthi Adi, Dr Suhono Sumobaskoro, Mr Salman Hardani, Mr Sugita

Pradjanata, Mr Achmad Kartohadiprodjo, Mr J. Soekardjo, Mr Mochtar Usman, Mr Hassan Alaydrus.

  1. Meeting of ASEAN-Australia Officials on Australian International Civil Aviation Policy (Kuala Lumpur, 2-7 May 1979)

Australian delegation- Mr C. C. Halton (leader), Mr A. R. Parsons, Mr A. T. Griffith, Mr J. H. Rowland, Mr M. E. Lyon, Mr A. F. Rainbird, Mr W. E. Weemaes, Mr D. A. Buckingham, Mr T. Grant, Mr J. M. Weber, Mr C. S. Heseltine.


  1. Representatives of Qantas Airways Limited also participated.

    1. Canberra based officials only are listed.

ASEAN delegation

Malaysia- Mr Mohammed Noor Hassan (leader), Mr Hamzah Bin Abdul Majid, Mr Mohamed Haron, Mr Zaimal Lembang, Mr Yusof Hashim, Mrs Zaharah Shaari, Mr Adnan Shamsuddin, Mr Khairil Anuar Abdullah, Mr Bernard Thomazios, Mr Ng Choong Leong.

Indonesia- Mr G. Risakotta, Mr Mochtar Usman, Mr Sudarsana, Mr Sumantri Mochamad Usman, Mr Soerjanto, Mr Haringun, MrSugita Pradjanata.

Philippines- Mr Saviniano M. Perez, Mr Rolando S. Gregorio, Mr Victoriano Dungca, Mr Pacifico Agabin, Mr Jorge V. Arizabal, Mrs Leticia T. Villanueva, Mr Jose Ma Estrada, Mr Fernando A. Liwanag, Mrs Ianthe T. Aquino.

Singapore- Mr Sim Kee Boon, Mr Tan Boon Seng, Mr Lim Hock San, Mr M. Kishore, Mrs Cherry Tan, Mr Khong Teck Kim, Mr Lim Chin Beng, Mr Stanley Kuppusamy, MrMunTheam Kong, Mr Teh Ping Choon.

Thailand-Dr Chuay Kannavat, Dr Chitti Wacharasindhu, Mr Rovngroj Sriprasertsuk, Mr Apinan Pavauarit, Mr Wickitr Wayurakul, Mr Hans Henrik Lau, Mr Narathorn Wongviscs, Mr V. Bunyakstu.

  1. ) Mr C. C. Halton- Secretary, Department of Transport.

Mr A. R. Parsons First Assistant Secretary, South East Asia and PNG Division, Department of Foreign Affairs. Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr A. T. Griffith First Assistant Secretary, External Relations and Defence Division, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. First Assistant Secretary, International Security and Intelligence Division, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Special Advisor, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr J. H. Rowland First Assistant Secretary, Sea Transport Policy Division, Department of Transport. First Assistant Secretary, International Policy Division, Department of Transport.

Mr M. E. Lyon Assistant Secretary, PNG Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs, First Assistant Secretary, Defence Division, Department of Foreign Affairs. First Assistant Secretary, South East Asia and PNG Division, Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr A. F. Rainbird Assistant Secretary, Policy Division, Department of Science. Assistant Secretary, International Policy Division, Department of Transport.

Mr E. R. Pocock Minister Australian Embassy, Paris. Assistant Secretary, Economic Division, Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr W. Weemaes Counsellor, Australian Embassy, Brussels. Head Post Liaison and Guidance Section, Department of Foreign Affairs. Head, Transport and Resources Section, Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr A. P. Godfrey Smith; First Secretary, Australian High Commission, Kuala Lumpur. Foreign Affairs Officer 3, South East Asia and PNG Division, Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr C. S. Heseltine First Secretary, Australian Embassy, Madrid. Foreign Affairs Officer 3, Transport and Resources Section, Economic Division, Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr D. A. Buckingham Foreign Affairs Officer 2, Economic Research Section, Department of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs Officer 3, Special duties including secondment to Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Foreign Affairs Officer 3, ASEAN/Malaysia/Singapore Section, Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea Division, Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr T. Brosnan Clerk Class 6 (unattached), Department of Transport. Senior International Relations Officer (Class 8 ) International Policy Division, Department of Transport. Senior International Relations Officer (Class 9) International Policy Division, Department of Transport. Director (Class 1 1 ), International Policy Division, Department of Transport.

Mr T. Grant Senior Research Officer Grade 2, Bureau of Transport Economics. Executive Officer (Class 9) Strategic Planning and Resource Allocation Division, Department of Transport. Member ICAP Review Study Group. Director (Class 1 1 ) International Policy Division, Department of Transport.

Mr J. Weber Superintendent of Air Transport (Class 7), Air Transport Policy Branch, Queensland Region, Department of Transport. Senior International Relations Officer (Class 8), International Policy Division, Department of Transport. Senior International Relations Officer (Class 9), International Policy Division, Department of Transport. Acting Director (Class 10), International Policy Division, Department of Transport.

  1. Indonesia-

Mr Kardono; Director General of Air Communications, Ministry of Communications.

Mr Umarjadi Njotowijono Director General, ASEAN;Indonesia.

Dr Suhadi Mangkusuwondo; Director General of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives.

Mr S. Nasoetion Head, Research and Development Agency, Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives.

Mr A. A. Gde Oke Djelantik Director, Directorate of Economic Services, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Usodo Notodirdjo; Head, Bureau of Economic Affairs, ASEAN;Indonesia.

Mr K. Algamar Secretary, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives.

Mr Sanitioso Head, Bureau of Legal Affairs and Foreign Relations, Ministry of Communications.

Mr G. Risakotta Director of Air Transportation, Ministry of Communications.

Miss Cri Murthi Adi Director, Directorate of Tourism Marketing Development, Ministry of Communications.

Dr Suhono Sumobaskoro Director of the Board, Garuda Indonesian Airways.

Mr Salman Hardi Director, Garuda Indonesian Airways.

Mr Sugita Pradjauata; Head, Economic Bureau, Garuda Indonesian Airways.

Mr Achmad Kartohadiprodjo Head, Legal Bureau, Garuda Indonesian Airways.

Mr J. Soehardjo; Manager, International Relations, Garuda Indonesian Airways.

Mr Mochtar Usman Senior Official, Directorate General of Air Communication Ministry of Communications.

Mr Hassan Alaydrus Senior Official, Directorate of Asia and Pacific, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Karnaen Somadinata Chief of SubDirectorate, International Air Transport, Ministry of Communications.

Mr Sancha Bakhtiar Head, International Operations Division, Merpati Nusantara Airlines.

Mr lsbandi Merpati Nusantara Airlines.

Mr Soepari Tjokrohartono Minister, Indonesian Embassy, Canberra.

Mr D. R. I. Mardanus Minister Counsellor, Indonesian Embassy, Canberra.

Mr Soekro Poerwodipoero Second Secretary, Indonesian Embassy, Canberra.

Mr Udin Saifuddin Chief of the SubDirectorate of Marketing Analyses, Directorate of Marketing, Department of Communications.

Mr Sudarsana Senior Official, Bureau of Economics, ASEAN National Secretariat, Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Sumantri Mochamad Usman Communications Attache, Indonesian Embassy, Kuala Lumpur.

Mr Soerjanto Legal and Foreign Relation Bureau, Ministry of Communications.

Mr Haringiui Indonesian Embassy, Kuala Lumpur.

Mr Karno Barkah Directorate General of Air Communications, Department of Communications.

Mr Harjono; Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr A. Kartohaliprodjo; Garuda Indonesian Airways.


Mr Mohammed Noor Hassan; Secretary General, Ministry of Transport.

Mr A. Talalla Deputy Secretary General (Economics), Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Kassim Hussein Director General, ASEAN;Malaysia.

Mr Abdul Majid Mohamed Minister, Embassy of Malaysia, Jakarta.

Mr Mohamed Bin Haron UnderSecretary (Economics), Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Kamarudin Ahmad Deputy Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Mrs Hew Kuan Wai Principal Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Transport.

Mr Bernard Thomazios Director of Marketing, Malaysian Airline System.

Mr Michael Wong Tariffs Controller, Malaysian Airline System.

Mr Samsudin Bin Marsop Trade Attache, Embassy of Malaysia, Jakarta.

Mr Mohd Rose Abd Rahman Second Secretary, Embassy of Malaysia, Jakarta.

Mr Harith Ibrahim Special Assistant to Deputy Prime Minister.

Mr M. Thilagadurai Ministry of Transport.

Mrs Zaharaah Shaari Principal Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Transport.

Mr Adnan Shamsuddin Director of Air Transport, Department of Civil Aviation.

Mr Yusof Hashin Principal Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Bashir Ahmad Marketing Manager. Malaysian Airline System.

Mr Hamzah Abdul Majid Director General. Department of Civil Aviation.

Mr Baharuddin Musa Director General, Tourist Development Corporation.

Mr Zamal Abidin B. Mokhtar Deputy High Commissioner, Malaysian High Commission, Canberra.

Mr R. Gopal Second Secretary, Malaysian High Commission, Canberra.

Mr Zainal Lembaig ASEAN Malaysia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Khairil Anuar Abdullah Director (Econometrics), Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister’s Department.

Mr Ng Choong Leong Fleet Planning Manager, Malaysian Airline System.


Mrs Rosario G. Manalo ; Director General, ASEAN-Philippines.

Mr Marcellino Lilagan Charge d ‘Affairs, Embassy of the Philippines, Jakarta.

Mrs R. Tirana Counsellor, Embassy of the Philippines, Canberra.

Mr Nestor N. Gatbonton Senior Executive Assistant II, Civil Aeronautics Board.

Mr Pacifico Agabin Vice President for International Relations, Philippine Airlines.

Mr Fructuoso Calagui Second Secretary, Embassy of the Philippines.

Mr Saviniano M. Perez Special Technical Assistant to the Minister, Ministry of Public Works. Transportation and Communications.

Mr Julio M. Bacareza Commercial Attache, Embassy of the Philippines, Kuala Lumpur.

Mr Rene Guerrero Foreign Trade Analyst, Embassy of the Philippines, Jakarta.

Mr Leon Tiansay Member, Civil Aeronautics Board.

Mr Pacifico U. Agcaoili Executive Director, Civil Aeronautics Board.

Mr Romula C. Buhat ASEAN Philippines, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Rolando S. Gregorio Principal Assistant, ASEANPhilippines, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Victoriano Dungea Vice President (Marketing), Philippine Airlines.

Mr Jorge V. Arizabal Third Secretary, Philippine Embassy, Kuala Lumpur.

Mrs Leticia T. Villanueva Assistant Commercial Attache, Philippine Embassy, Kuala Lumpur.

Mr Jose Ma Estrada Director, Tariffs and Regulatory matters, Philippine Airlines.

Mr Fernando A. Luvanag Senior Tariffs Analyst, Philippine Airlines.

Mrs Iantha T. Aquino Market Planning Analyst, Philippine Airlines.


Mr Sim Kee Boon Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications.

Mr Tan Boon Seng Director General, ASEAN, Singapore.

Mr Tan Song Chuan Deputy Director, Department of Trade.

Mr Lee Chiong Giam Director, Regional and Economic Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Barry Desker Counsellor, Embassy of Singapore, Jakarta.

Mr Lim Hock San Deputy Director, Department of Civil Aviation.

Mr Tan Gim Kheng First Secretary, Embassy of Singapore, Jakarta.

Mr Jack Choo Eng Kang First Secretary, Embassy of Singapore, Jakarta.

Mr Lim Chin Beng Managing Director, Singapore Airlines.

Mr Stanley Kuppusamy International Relations Manager, Singapore Airlines.

Mr Teh Ping Choon Market Development Executive. Singapore Airlines.

Mr Lim Liang Poh Ministry of Communications.

Miss Leong Wai Long Ministry of Communications.

Mr Warren Khoo Attorney General ‘s Chambers.

MrThirimagaran- Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Miss Low Poh Gek Singapore Tourist Promotion Board.

Miss Emily Nathan Department of Civil Aviation.

Mr Goh Chin Ee Department of Civil Aviation.

Mr Syn Chung Wah Singapore Airlines.

Mr Mun Theam Kong International Relations Manager, Singapore Airlines.

Mr Pek Hock Thiam Director, Air Transport, Ministry of Communications.

Mr Chew Choon Seng Regional Director, Southwest Pacific, Singapore Airlines.

Mr M. Kishore Counsellor, Singapore High Commission, Kuala Lumpur.

Mrs Cherry Tan Assistant Director (Air Transport), Ministry of Communications.

Mr Khong Teck Kim Senior Operations Officer (Air Transport), Department of Civil Aviation.

Mr C. M. See Singapore High Commissioner to Australia, Canberra.


Dr Chuay Kannawat Director General, Economic Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Dr Chitti Wacharasindhu Deputy DirectorGeneral, Department of Aviation, Ministry of Communications.

Mr Apinan Pavanarit Chief, Social, Cultural and Information Division, ASEAN;Thailand.

Lt. Col. Simaru Thomojaree- Secretary to the Minister of Communications.

Mr Wichitr Wayurakul Director International Relations, Thai Airways International Ltd.

Lt. Commander Aree Satayamaua- Deputy UnderSecretary of State, Ministry of Communications.

Air Vice Marshall Surayute Nevasabute- Director, Royal Thai Air Force Directorate of Civil Aviation.

Dr Srisook Chanthrangai Chief, Transport and Committee Services Division, Ministry of Communications.

Mr Surapong Poshyananda Secretary, International Economic Division, Economic Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Nikorn Maneelert Vice President, Traffic Planning and Foreign Relations Department, Thai Airways International Limited.

Mr Vichet Director, International Relations Department, Thai Airways International Limited.

Mr Suttiswat Kridakon Counsellor, Royal Thai Embassy, Canberra.

Mr Bunthan Manklang Second Secretary, Royal Thai Embassy, Canberra.

Mr Roungroj Sriprasertsuk Director, of Air Transport Control Division, Department of Civil Aviation.

Mr Hans Henrik Lau Director of Sales, Thai Airways International Ltd.

Mr Narathorn Wongvises Market Research Department, Thai Airways International Limited.

Mr V. Bunyaketu International Relations Department, Thai Airways International Ltd.

Ships’ Ballast Water (Question No. 3891)

Mr Cohen:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science and the Environment, upon notice, on 21 March 1979:

  1. ) Is there any treatment of ships’ ballast water before it is discharged into Australian harbours.
  2. ) How many species of exotic marine fouling organisms, marine algae, invertebrates and fish have been introduced into Australian harbours and estuaries as the result of the dumping of ballast water by ships coming from foreign ports.
  3. Is it a fact that bulk ore carriers discharge up to 30,000 tonnes of ballast water directly into Sydney harbour even though the water may be contaminated with heavy metals or toxic chemicals, as long as there is no trace of oil present.
  4. Is the Minister able to to state what are the regulations concerning disposal of ship’s ballast water into harbours and coastal waters of (a) Japan, (b) Germany, (c) Canada, (d) the United States of America and (e)the United Kingdom.
  5. 5 ) Are chemical or biological analyses carried out on ballast water of ships arriving in Australian waters from foreign ports.
  6. Has the prawn population of northern Spencer Gulf increased since bulk ore carriers have been loading ore at Whyalla, SA, and dumping ballast water from the Hunter River, NSW.
  7. What precautions arc taken to prevent introduction of exotic marine life into Australian waters via ballast water discharge.
  8. Is there Commonwealth or State legislation in force or under consideration that would prevent contamination of harbours and estuaries by ships’ ballast water.
Mr Groom:

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

The Minister for Science and the Environment, in providing this answer to the honourable member’s question, has consulted with the Minister for Transport who is responsible for many of the matters raised.

) No.

An article in the Australian Marine Science Bulletin of January 1978 lists 20 apparently exotic species collected in Australian waters. The source of any exotic marine organism, however, is open to question. Natural migration, planned or malicious introduction as well as shipping activities including ballast water discharge have all been suggested as possible sources of new species in Australian waters. The exact number of species introduced by any one of these means is impossible to establish.

The discharge of ballast water in Sydney Harbour falls under the jurisdiction of the Maritime Services Board of NSW. Regulation 3 of the Navigable Waters (AntiPollution) Regulations of that State, as amended in 1972, specifically prohibits the discharge of any pollutant, including heavy metals and toxic substances, from vessels in Sydney Harbour.

I am further advised that the situation referred to in the honourable member’s question, that is the contamination of ballast water by heavy metals or toxic chemicals, is not one likely to occur in the operation of modern bulk carriers where ballast water is held independently of the cargo areas.

Japan, Germany, Canada, The United States of America, the United Kingdom and eleven other States (including Australia) are signatories to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1 973.

When it enters into force in June 1981, this Convention will, amongst other things, provide for the control of the discharge of a wide range of noxious materials into the sea from deballasting operations of national and foreign vessels.

Australia and the countries to which the honourable member refers are taking steps to enable them to ratify this important Convention as soon as possible.

There are no routine analyses carried out on ballast waters of ships arriving in Australian waters from foreign ports.

I am informed that since the commencement of the Spencer Gulf prawn fishery in 1968 there has been a slight overall decrease in the catch per trawl-hour.

The question of the introduction of exotic marine life into Australian waters via ballast water discharge is one of the matters being examined by the NSW State Fisheries in a study commissioned by the Commonwealth Government as part of an ongoing investigation of the environmental consequences of ballast water discharge by foreign vessels in Australian waters.

As I have already mentioned, State regulations are in force and the Commonwealth Government in co-operation with the States is taking steps to enable Australia to implement the provisions of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973.

Aerosol Sprays (Question No. 3987)

Mr Hodges:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science and the Environment, upon notice, on 23 May 1979:

  1. 1 ) Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to an article in the Sun of 16 May 1979, entitled ‘Aerosol Danger’.
  2. If so, what percentage of aerosol sprays sold in Australia contain fluorocarbons and what action has been taken to reduce this percentage.
  3. Are there economically viable alternatives to using fluorocarbons; if so, what are these alternatives.
Mr Groom:

-The Minister for Science and the Environment has provided the following answers to the honourable member’s questions:

  1. 1 ) I am aware of the article published in the Sun of 1 6 May 1979 reporting the view of the European Economic Commission that there should be a reduction in the use of aerosol sprays containing fluorocarbons.

My Department has been following closely developments overseas in scientific studies of possible effects of chlorofluorocarbons on ozone in the atmosphere. Australia was represented at the meeting of the United Nations Environment Program Co-ordinating Committee on the Ozone Layer (held on Bonn in November 1978) and the International Conference on Chlorofluoromethanes (held in Munich in December 1978). At both these meetings the impact of the release of fluorocarbon gases from aerosol sprays was considered.

  1. Approximately 30 per cent of aerosols sold in Australia use fluorocarbons as the sole propellant while a further 30 per cent use mixtures of chlorofluorocarbons and other propellants. Over recent years economic factors have provided considerable incentive for the substitution of fluorocarbon propellants by cheaper alternatives. It has been estimated that there has been a 32 percent decline in the use of chlorofluorocarbons in aerosols between 1974 and 1978.

A joint working group of experts from the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Environment Council ‘s National Advisory Committee on Chemicals, and other bodies, will shortly commence an examination of the environmental, health and economic effects of fluorocarbons and their substitutes.

  1. Economically viable alternatives to use of fluorocarbons in aerosol sprays exist for many products. However, the environmental, health and safety aspects of alternatives also need to be considered. Hydrocarbon propellants, such as butane, frequently provide an economic alternative. Compressed gases such as carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide can be used as a propellant in some products. In addition there is scope for varied packaging procedures, such as plunger-operated sprays or roll-on type cosmetics, which do not require the use of chemical propellants.

Elections to European Parliament (Question No. 4424)

Mr Young:

asked the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 22 August 1979:

Is he able to say what provisions were made to subsidise electoral expenses and control electoral donations in the elections to the European Parliament held in June 1 979.

Mr John McLeay:

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

On the basis of the information available to me I understand that agreement was reached between all member States of the European Community on 20 September 1976 that, subject to minor modifications, electoral procedures for the first direct elections should be governed by the national provisions of each member State.

The election to the European Parliament held_in June 1 979 was the first such election and therefore no specific provisions were made to subsidise electoral expenses and control electoral donations in these elections.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 August 1979, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.