21st Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. A; Jil. McMullin took the chair at 3 p.m. sud read prayers.
– I ask the following questions of the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture : -
– It has been the policy of the Government to protect the interests of those connected with the Australian rice industry. Indeed, I have received many letters of thanks for the action taken by the Government in this field. The honorable senator’s question raises so many points that, in order that I may give a considered reply to them, I ask him to place it cm- the notice-paper.
– Last week, in reply to my inquiry relative to the claim of Private Loxton for compensation for invalidity occasioned during trainee service at the Woodside Camp, in South Australia, the Minister informed me that the delegate of the Commissioner for Employees Compensation had decided that onus of proof had not been discharged, and that, accordingly, the claim had been disallowed. Will the Minister tell the Senate the name of the delegate who disallowed Private Luxton’s compensation claim? What were the methods, duties, requirements and standards employed in his interpretation that onus of proof had not been discharged in Private Luxton’s compensation claim? Did the claimant -have the representation to which he was entitled at procedural investigations? What are the’ qualification, experience, service employment and official appointment of this delegate? Will the Minister lay upon the table . of the Senate all papers and the file relating to Private Luxton’s compensation claim for invalidity occasioned during his service as a trainee at the Woodside camp in South Australia?
– I ask the honorable senator to put his question on the notice-paper, but I doubt very much whether the Minister for the Army will agree to answer it in its present form, because .it is in the nature of a criticism of, if not an attack upon, an officer who is carrying out what may be regarded as judicial duties. When a person is charged with judicial authority, or is exercising powers of discretion, I doubt the wisdom of criticism being made of the use of that discretion and of the circumstances of the matter being made the subject of debate in the Parliament. However, I shall consult the Minister for the Army, and let the honorable senator have a reply.
– I understand that the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, in replying to a question- by Senator Ryan, stated that the Minister for the Army would probably hesitate to make available the information relating to the case that was instanced by Senator Ryan. When the
Minister’ conveys Senator Ryan’s question to the Minister for’ the Army, will he also inform the Minister of the dissatisfaction that exists in South Australia in view of the fact that the trainee concerned, who was taken seriously ill while fulfilling, without complaint, his duties as a national service trainee in South Australia, remained for eighty-eight days in Dawse Hoad hospital after the expiration of the camp and has not so far received a penny compensation?
– It is all very well for Senator Critchley to make an impassioned appeal. The point that I wanted to make was that somebody has been charged with a judicial function in connexion with this matter. Therefore, [ hesitated to give an assurance that the Minister would, in effect, put that person in a position in which he would become a subject for public debate. If Senator Ryan does not agree with the finding that has been made, the usual -parliamentary procedure would be for him to make the Minister, not the official, the subject of an attack.
– Has the Minister for National Development yet received from the Western Australian Government a request for assistance to develop certain projects in the northwest and Kimberley areas of that State, pursuant to a resolution agreed to by all parties in the Western Australian Parliament last year? If so, can the Minister say whether the request has been considered by the Government, and can he indicate the nature of the reply given to the Western Australian Government?
– To my knowledge, no .such representations have yet been made to the Commonwealth. I understand the position to be that the two Houses of the Western Australian Parliament have agreed to resolutions requesting that such representations be made. I have been told that a case has been prepared, but I have no knowledge of the details of that case. The last I heard was that the Western Australian people felt that they should present their case personally to the Prime Minister, but. I do not know whether that has been done: Of course, representations could have been made to the Prime Minister without my knowledge, but I know that none has been made to my department. We have no information about the intentions of the Western Australian people in this- regard.
– Has the Minister for Repatriation received any correspondence from Mrs. G. A. Vasey, president of the Victorian branch of the War Widows Guild of Australia? Will the Minister consider allegations that have been made about the inadequate allowances now being paid to war widows, and particularly to those mentioned in the correspondence from Mrs. Vasey? I presume that he has received a copy of a letter which many senators on this side of the chamber have received. Attention was drawn particularly to the case of a war widow, 45 years of age, with two children, thirteen and eleven years of age respectively, whose income is £8 Ils. a week. Will the Minister give consideration to the inadequate allowances that are being paid to war widows, and ensure for them a better deal in the future ?
– 1” have received from Mrs. Vasey a copy of the roneoed communication to which Senator Ashley has referred. I attended the annual federal conference of the War Widows Guild (Australia), at which Mrs. Vasey was present, and I had discussions with her and other members of the guild. I assure the honorable senator that the Government will consider carefully the resolutions of that conference, as well as the petitions which emanated therefrom.
– Has the Minister for Shipping and Transport seen a statement attributed to the secretary of the Tasmanian Potato Marketing Board, published in a Tasmanian newspaper, to the effect that there are good prospects for the sale of Tasmanian potatoes in Newcastle, Sydney and Brisbane, provided that regular and controlled consignments cam. be maintained to those markets up to November? In these circumstances, will the Minister ensure that regular and adequate shipping services shall be provided from the Tasmanian north-west coast ports of Devonport, Ulverstone, Burnie, and Stanley, up to, and including, next November? “Will he make available for regular service from the north-west coast ports, including Ulverstone, an “ E “ boat or the new vessel Noongah^
– The report was brought to my notice. For some time, the question of the orderly marketing of Tasmanian potatoes, particularly in Newcastle, Sydney, and Brisbane has been under active consideration. Recently, the Tasmanian Government appointed Mr. Suderick Moore chairman of a potato committee. It will be his responsibility to arrange shipments, and inform the growers of the quantities of potatoes that can be shipped from time to time. I understand that Mr. Moore has already discussed this matter with the shipping people, and I have received an assurance from the Australian Shipping Board that, provided the supply of potatoes for shipment from Ulverstone warrants, an “ E “ boat will provide service from that port. A responsibility now rests on Mr. Moore to see that the quantities allocated are such that orderly marketing can be maintained in the markets mentioned. I assure Senator Wardlaw that, provided the potatoes are available, adequate shipping will be provided.
– Soon after his return to Australia after a long absence abroad, the Minister for Shipping and Transport announced that a contract had been placed in the United .States of America for the supply of a passenger ship to the order of the West Australian State Shipping Service. Will the Minister inform the Senate what quotations were received for the contract ? How near was the best Australian price to the successful bid or tender? In view of the loss to the Treasury of taxation because of business placed abroad, is the Minister prepared to impose an amount equivalent to the taxation on the cost of the ship?
– Permission was #iven to the Government of Western
Australia, at its request, to place an order for a passenger vessel for the north-west service of that State. Careful inquiries were made as to the cost of the vessel and the time of delivery. Quotations were obtained from the United Kingdom as well as from Australian shipbuilders. It is important that the ship shall be available when the old vessel is laid up for survey. Not only was the British price considerably lower than the Australian quotations, even after making provision for a 25 per cent, bounty on Australian-built ships, but, in. addition, the time of delivery was much earlier than if the vessel were built in Australia. In those circumstances, and using my own judgment, I decided in. favour of the request of the Western. Australian Government.
– Can the Minister for Shipping and Transport say whether it is true that the full charter of the Danish ship Kista Dan for the Australian Antarctic Territory will be taken upnext year and that this will round off its third engagement? Will he also inform the Senate of the accumulated cost of these charters? Was an officer sent to Canada and the United States of America in recent years to prepare plans for an ice vessel, presumably to be built, in Australia, and is it a fact that the plans were completed, but that it now appears that they have been filed indefinitely by the Department of External Affair? ? Will he state the Government’s intentions concerning these plans ?
– I shall make inquiries as to the exact position in relation to the vessel referred to by the honorable senator and shall let him have a reply in detail in due course.
– Is the AttorneyGeneral aware that the Australian Government has decided to . construct new premises in Melbourne for the permanent accommodation of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration? Will he consider their erection, instead, in Canberra, our National Capital?
– As the principal registry of the Arbitration Court is located in Melbourne, I would have thought that the convenience of the members of the public who have business with the court would be met by having the new premises in either Melbourne or Sydney. The court has been in Melbourne since it was established and a great part of its work has been performed in that city. The facilities that have been available to the court in Melbourne have been atrociously inadequate for many years. It is for the purpose of meeting the needs of the court in Melbourne that the new building is being erected.
– Is the Minister for National Development aware of complaints that there has been an increase of soil erosion in the Snowy Mountains area? Some of these complaints indicate that the erosion is due to the practice of graziers in burning off pasture at the end of each grazing season; other complaints indicate that the erosion is due to the construction of many miles of access roads and similar work by the Snowy Mountains Authority. Is the Snowy Mountains Authority taking any steps to control soil erosion? If so, what are they?
– I have heard the complaints that the honorable senator has mentioned. I think that I would correctly express the view of the Snowy Mountains Authority by saying that any increase of soil erosion in the Snowy Mountains area is not in any way due to the works construction programme of the Snowy Mountains Authority. The Authority believes that the increase of erosion is the cumulative effect of the operation of the areas that are leased for use by stock including the lighting of fires in those areas for the purpose of increasing growth in subsequent seasons. The Snowy Mountains Authority holds the view that what is happening is not due to its activity. However, it has adopted some procedures in order to reduce the damage. I cannot describe the exact nature of the work that the Authority lias carried out for this purpose.
– Is the Minister for National Development aware that a most valuable discovery of uranium has been made in Tasmania by a remarkable new Australian named Vladimir Pitulej, an explorer and geologist who has done some excellent work in mineral prospecting in Tasmania ? Is the Minister also aware that tills deposit is said to be equal in scope to the famous Mary Kathleen deposits in Queensland? “Will the Minister inform me whether the reward for the discovery of uranium in Tasmania is available to this discoverer? Has the department any facilities for assisting the development of uranium-fields such as this one which has been newly discovered ?
– In general terms, the reward that is available for the discovery of uranium applies to Tasmania, as elsewhere. As to whether this particular discovery qualifies for that reward, I am sorry I cannot answer offhand. I suggest that the honorable senator place his question on the noticepaper. We shall then see what are the facts concerning the discovery and whether or not it becomes eligible for the reward.
– Can the Minister representing the Postmaster-General inform me why no steps are being taken to locate and construct the permanent head-quarters of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in Canberra, the national capital?
– I assure the honorable senator that I shall bring his question to the notice of the PostmasterGeneral and obtain an early reply to it.
– During the last sessional period of the Parliament I raised the question of the standardization of railway gauges, and the Minister for Shipping and Transport told me at that time that a conference of railway commissioners was to be held and that, after that conference, he would make a reply. Has the Minister any information to give me concerning the decisions reached by the commissioners at that conference?
– The only standardization work that has been authorized is that from Port Augusta to Marree. The breaks between Broken Hill and Port Pirie, and between Kalgoorlie and Perth, have been under consideration for some time, but no decision has been made, one of the main reasons being that we are short of men, materials and money. The Commonwealth Railways Commissioner has informed me that, at the present time, he is short of no fewer than 400 men on the work that he is now doing.
– In view of representations which have been made to me by interested parties, can the Minister representing the Minister in charge of war service land settlement advise me when the rentals of the soldier settlement blocks in the Tumby Bay area of South Australia will be finally fixed? The Minister will know, of course, that at present these rentals are on a tentative basis only, and those concerned are naturally keen to have their commitments finally established as soon as posssible
– I know that the matter of finalizing the amount of rent to .be paid is under active consideration by the Department of the Interior, but the question concerns a matter of very far-reaching importance and I suggest that the honorable senator place it on the notice-paper. I shall then obtain a considered reply from my colleague, the Minister for the Interior, and supply t?he information as soon as posssible
– Is the- Minister representing the Minister for Social Services aware of the increasingly desperate plight of civilian widows, who, because of the rising costs of essential commodities, are unable to feed, clothe and house their families adequately on the pension of £3 10s. a week? In view of these circumstances, will the Minister gree some consideration to an increase of the pension by the addition of a domestic allowance for widows with dependent children under the age of sixteen years, as a first step towards an increase of such pensions to, at least, the female basic wage ?
– The honorable senator’s suggestion will receive consideration when the budget is being prepared.
– I hope.
-On the 20th April. Senator Hannaford asked the following question : -
I desire to direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Health, with reference to the importation of monkeys for the preparation of poliomyelitis vaccine. According to a recent press report, both England and America import monkeys by air. However, the Australian quarantine author ties insist on their importation by sea, because they are delicate animals and there might be a risk of the introduction of disease to this country if infected monkeys were brought here by air. As this difficulty has been apparently overcome by the British and American authorities, will the Government consider modifying our quarantine requirements in connexion with monkeys in order to obviate the considerable wastage that takes place in sea transport, and thus reduce the ultimate cost to the authorities of the preparation of anti-poliomyelitis vaccine?
The Minister for Health has now supplied the following information in reply to the honorable senator : -
The prohibition on importation of animals by air is imposed for a number of reasons including the following: -
As compared with sea travel, air transport reduces the time factor so much, that it no longer embraces the normal incubation periods of the common exotic disease.
Animals travelling by sea may be detained on a ship for examination before landing and, if prohibited or affected with disease, may be confined on the vessel pending appropriate action. On the other hand, animals on aircraft must be unloaded on arrival.
The presence of animals in overseas planes attracts insects, and this increases the risk of accidental introduction of exotic pests and insect vectors of disease. Disinsectation of planes carrying animals and their bedding is unsatisfactory.
Our requirement for monkeys can be foreseen well in advance .and there is, therefore, no reason to break down our established policy and so deprive Australia of the quarantine advantage of her sea boundaries. If properly fed and cared for on board a sea vessel there is no reason why there should be any appreciable mortality if the animals are healthy in the first place. There is, therefore, no reason to depart from our present policy.
– Is the Minister for Trade and Customs aware of the shortage of hog casings in Tasmania? “Will he ascertain if the quantity of hog casings made available under the existing quota system is being received by traders in Tasmania? Should his investigations reveal that some of the Tasmanian quota is being sold in mainland States, will he take immediate steps to remedy the 1 situation ?
– I am not aware of the precise position existing in Tasmania in relation to hog casings, but T believe, on reliable information, that there is not an overall shortage of hog casings in Australia. Recently, as the honorable senator will remember, there was a Tariff Board report on this subject, and in the light of the recommendations made by that body, the Government decided to allow the importation of such quantities of hog casings as, combined with local production, would meet local requirements. As to the distribution of this commodity, I shall be happy to have the matter thoroughly examined, if the honorable senator will supply me with details.
– Is the Minister representing the Prime Minister aware of the savings in expenditure and man-power in the Commonwealth Public- Service- as a result of the activities of the organization and methods unit in the Public Service, a reference to which appeared in the recently published report of the Public Service Board?. Will the Government give consideration to increasing, the staff of this unit and extending the scope of its activities- in. order to effect greater savings?
– I understand that, as indicated by the honorable senator, excellent work has been done by the units mentioned’ by him. As this1 matter comes under the- jurisdiction of the Prime Minister, I ask the honorable senator to place Ms question on the notice-paper, when- I shall refer it to the Prime Minister for a reply.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs been drawn to a recent statement in the Australian press, said to have emanated from Burma, to the effect that an overwhelming percentage of the obscene literature and comics in circulation in that country was printed in, and imported from, Australia. If so, has he taken, any steps to inquire into the correctness or otherwise of the report? If thai has been done, and there is truth in the report, will he say what action the Government proposes to take in thi* matter ?
– My attention has not been directed to the newspaper paragraph referred to by the honorable senator, but I assure him that there is not the slightest foundation for the report. I shall have inquiries made a* to the source of the report, but I assure the honorable senator that the statement is false.
– Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to a report from England that most of the objectionable comics in circulation in that country are printed in Australia? According to the report, the objection taken is not so much to the morality of the publication? as to the poor quality of the printing and illustrations. Can .the Minister say whether the Government has done anything in regard to the standard of books and so-called horror comics exported from Australia?
– I am not familiar with the details of the controls exercised over the exportation of literature, but if the honorable senator will write- to me- on this matter I shall give her- a considered reply.
REPORT qf Public- WORKS Committee.
– I present the report of the Public Works Committee on the following subject: -
Proposed, erection of automatic telephone exchange building at’ Redfern, New South Wales.
Report of Public WORKS Committee.
Senn tor O’BYRNE. - I present the report of the Public “Works Committee on the following subject: -
Proposed erection of new studios for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, at Forbes-street. Sydney, New South Wales.
Order of the day No. 4 - International affairs - Ministerial statement, dated 2nd November, 1954: - Resumption of debate - discharged. .
Motions (by Senator Annabelle Rankin) - by leave - agreed to -
That leave of absence for two months be granted to Senator Anderson on account of absence overseas.
That leave of absence for one month be granted to Senator Reid on account of ill health.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator SPICER read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The clauses of the bill now before the Senate are chiefly aimed at removing unnecessary obstacles in the way of the achievement of Australian citizenship by new settlers in this country. As the Senate is well aware, nearly 1,000,000 migrants have come here since the war. It has been the aim of this Government, as it was that of our predecessors in office, to encourage our new settlers to become true Australians as soon as they possibly can, both in fact ‘ and in law. With this aim in view and having in mind that great numbers of our now settlers are becoming eligible for naturalization, the fifth Australian Citizenship Convention, which met in Canberra last year, was asked to consider at length the existing requirements for the grant, of citizenship, both to British migrants through the process of registration, and to aliens through naturalization. The convention made a number of recommendations for alteration of the requirements. Certain further proposals arose from a further review of the requirements by the Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council and by the department. All of the proposals that could be adopted have been combined in this bill, which also makes some other minor amendments of a drafting nature.
The major alterations proposed, to the requirements for citizenship, may be summarized as follows: -
It is first of all proposed that the “Declaration of Intention to Apply for Naturalization”, which at present; must be made at least two years before the final application for naturalization is lodged with the department, should no longer be compulsory, but voluntary only.
It is then proposed that another procedure, less troublesome to applicants and more effective administratively, should be adopted to serve the purposes which the compulsory declaration of intention served. The new procedure will permit applications for naturalization to be lodged six months before the new settler completes his residence qualification, which is usually five years; the complement of this is a provision that, generally, applicants will not be granted their certificate of naturalization until at least six months after they lodge their applications for naturalization.
For the explanation of these changes, it is necessary to recall the original purposes of the compulsory declaration of intention. As Parliament was told, when the original Nationality and Citizenship Act was being considered, the purpose of the compulsory declaration was threefold : first, to discourage aliens from seeking citizenship at short notice for purely business reasons, without any appreciation of its deeper implications; secondly, to facilitate the instruction of candidates in the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship during the compulsory two-year interval between the declaration and the final application; and, thirdly, to allow thorough inquiries regarding suitability for citizenship to be made before final applications were lodged.
It is now considered that for the achievement of these purposes a period of six months, instead of two years, will be as effective and in some ways more suitable. It will, therefore, suffice if, instead of requiring two steps in the process of naturalization, that is, declaration of intention first, and application two years later, we require only the application itself, but permit it to be made six months before the normal date of eligibility, and postpone the grant of naturalization, as a general rule, until six months after the application is made. It will still be possible for new settlers to make declarations of intention to apply for naturalization after one year’s residence in Australia, if they wish. It is not desired to eliminate the declaration of intention altogether because, first, it affords new settlers an early opportunity to demonstrate their readiness to become citizens and, secondly, it is desired to avoid disturbing certain arrangements which have grown up, for example, the Army’s rule that aliens may enlist if they have declared their intention to become citizens. The changes which I have so far described are effected by clause 5 and clause 6 (b) of the bill.
The next proposed amendment to the requirements for citizenship is that it should be possible for certain very limited classes of people to acquire or re-acquire Australian citizenship without necessarily having had any specific period of residence here before applying. At the present time, the Minister’s discretionary power to waive all residence requirements is confined to minors. It is now proposed that he should have such a discretion in respect of the husbands and wives of Australians, and also people who at some time previously have been Australians but lost their citizenship by becoming citizens of other countries. The explanation of these proposals is simple, and is related to the basic purpose of the normal residence requirement. That purpose is primarily to ensure that new settlers have an opportunity to be assimilated into the community, to learn our language, customs, laws and so on. The need for such a period is much less, and often non-existent in the cases for which this bill provides. It is frequently the case, as might be expected, that new settlers who marry Australians are already very well assimilated. And, of course, the other class of people in mind - those who were formerly Australian citizens - can usually resume life in our community without any prolonged period of adjustment. The changes in respect of this matter are embodied in clauses 4 (b) and 6 (b) of the bill.
The third proposed alteration to citizenship procedure is that all minors over sixteen years of age should receive certificates of citizenship of their own. Until now, it has been the custom, when a man is granted citizenship, to include the names of all his minor children in his certificate, even though they may be nearly 21 years of age. It is considered that young people over sixteen years could more suitably be given their own certificates. In the case of certificates of naturalization, this would also mean that the young people concerned would appear at the normal impressive naturalization ceremonies, to take the oath of allegiance with their parents, and receive their own certificates. At such ceremonies, as most honorable senators know, newly naturalized citizens receive a suitable welcome, as well as advice about their new rights and duties, and it is important that young people of an age to understand such proceedings should be present at them. These changes will be effected by the new sections 12 (3) and 15 (6) which will be inserted in the act by clauses 4 (b) and 6 (b), respectively, of the bill.
The final proposed amendment, so far as the requirements for citizenship are concerned, is that it should no longer be necessary for intending applicants for naturalization to advertise in the newspapers their intention so to apply. Since 1917, when this requirement came into force, it has been shown to be unnecessary; it merely adds to the expense of becoming a citizen. The idea implicit in the requirement is that members of the public should know of applications being lodged, and be .able to protest against the grant of citizenship to people they regard as undesirable. In nearly 40 years, very few such protests have been made. Apart from that fact, the department does not, of course, rely on such protests in order to satisfy itself as to the good character of applicants, but makes its own independent inquiries. Clauses 10 and 11 of the bill are designed to eliminate that requirement.
The other provisions of the bill are of a varied nature. Clause 3 proposes to delete “Newfoundland” from section 7 of the act. Section 7 is that which names the countries whose citizens are to be deemed British subjects under the act. Newfoundland is no longer an independent nation of the British Commonwealth, but has become a part of Canada. Its citizens are, of course, now Canadian citizens, and as such entitled to recognition as British subjects. Clause 7 effects a drafting amendment, made necessary by the proposal which I have described, to give the Minister discretionary power in the matter of waiving residence requirements for certain limited classes of people. Clause 8 seeks to confer British nationality upon a certain limited category of women who had always previously been regarded as British but who, as a result of recent legal opinion, cannot now be so regarded. The women in question are those who were alien by birth but married men naturalized in Australia prior to 1920. It had been thought that the Nationality Act 1920 effectively conferred British nationality upon .such women, but it is considered that a flaw in the 1920 act requires remedial action now if we are to continue to accept such women as British subjects. The necessary amendment will be achieved by clause 8. Clause 9 repeals section 31 of the act, which no longer has any force or effect, since it concerned only applications lodged before or within two years after the 26th January, 1949. Clauses 12 and 13 arise from the very great increase that has taken place in the number of applicants for naturalization. It has mow become esssential for the Minister of the day to delegate his routine functions to a greater extent than before, and to have certificates of citizenship signed on his behalf by authorized officers. The two final clauses of the bill are designed to authorize .such delegation of routine functions.
In addition to the legislative changes embodied in this bill, honorable senators will be interested to know that some other alterations have also been made in those requirements for naturalization which are not prescribed by statute. These additional changes, like the amendments to be made by this bill, are designed to remove unnecessary obstacles in the way of new settlers who wish to join ri in Australian citizenship. The most important of the .changes in question is the reduction of the maximum fee for a certificate of naturalization from £5 to £1. Inquiries showed that a good many of the new settlers who were putting off applying for naturalization, were doing so because of financial considerations. It is the Government’s view that worthy people should not be debarred from citizenship for such a reason, and that citizenship was something that should be earned and not bought. Another minor change is the extension of the categories of people who may give character references in favor of intending applicants. For example, executive officers of good neighbour councils and new settler’s leagues, that is, the voluntary bodies who are doing so much to help our new settlers become assimilated, can now give these references. The form of certificate of naturalization, which has hitherto been a very plain document, is also being made more impressive, in keeping with its importance to the grantee. The conduct of naturalization ceremonies, which has already been very greatly improved, will be further assisted by the production of a comprehensive handbook on the details -of how they should be held. In all these ways, we are seeking to make the process -of becoming an Australian citizen a dignified one, which does not offer any unnecessary obstacles to people who have come here from other lands and who are ready to share with us the privileges and duties of Australian citizenship.
Honorable senators will, I am sure, be the more satisfied with this bill by reason of the fact that its chief provisions are the result of most careful thought by two truly representative bodies - the Australian Citizenship Conjvention and the Commonwealth Immigra-tion Advisory Council - which are specially qualified to offer advice on citizenship matters. I commend the bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Armstrong) adjourned.
COMMONWEALTH AND STATE »,’ HOUSING AGREEMENT BILL 1955.p “‘Motion (by Senator Spooner) agreed.’*8 to- ,
That leave be given to bring in a bill for ~ _, an act to approve an agreement for the varia-““> tion of the agreement entered into between ~ the Commonwealth and the States in rela-‘’ tion to housing, and for other purposes.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Standing Orders suspended.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to approve an agreement between the Commonwealth and the States to vary the original Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement. The variation provides for sales on terms to tenants of houses built under the agreement.
The Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement was executed in November, 1945. The parties included the Commonwealth and all States but, in August, 1950, the State of Tasmania withdrew from the scheme. South Australia, although an original signatory, did not commence to operate under the scheme until 1st July, 1953. The original agreement provided that houses could be sold, but it was primarily a rental housing scheme and it made no provision for sales on terms. The Commonwealth has loaned to the States, under the agreement, almost £200,000,000 for the building of houses. About 81,000 dwellings have been built, but only about 3,800 or about 5 per cent, of the houses built have been sold.
Broadly, the Government’s policy on housing is to encourage home ownership in a way that will leave ample oppor- tunity both financial and otherwise for the work of building co-operative societies and private building. This bill deals with only one aspect of that policy. It applies only to houses built under the agreement or which may be built before the present agreement expires in 1955-56.
The terms upon which houses will be sold to tenants are as set out in the schedule to the bill. They are as follows : -
Minimum deposit of 5 per cent, of the first £2,000 of the sale price and 10 per cent, of the balance;
The principal repayments included in the rent previously paid by the tenant may be credited to him and may form part of the deposit, provided not less than 5 per cent, of the sale price is in cash;
Maximum advance of £2,750;
Maximum period of repayment of 45 years;
Rate of interest to be 4£ per cent, pei” annum.
Where the purchaser is eligible under the War Service Homes Act, the sales terms available under that act may be extended to him, giving him the benefit of the lower interest rate of 3f per cent.
To quote an example of the application of these terms of sale, a tenant-purchaser would have to find a deposit of £150 on a house that he was buying for £2,500. If the tenant-purchaser had been paying rent for, say, five years, he might be entitled to a credit of up to £100, depending on the cost of building the house. A credit of this order would reduce hia debt to £2,400 and his cash deposit to the minimum level of 5 per cent, of the purchase price, namely £125. After paying this deposit he would owe £2,275 which he would pay off by regular instalments with interest at 4 per cent, per annum. The repayments on a debt of £2,275 repayable over 45 years at 4J per cent, interest would be about £2 5s. Sd. per week. If the purchaser paid the outstanding debt over a shorter period, his weekly repayment would be greater, but his total interest bill over the years would be less. Provision is also made for cash sales, but it is expected that most purchases will be made on terms.
The whole of the money that hasbeen used for the erection of homes under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement has already been raised by the Commonwealth and lent to the States. This legislation provides for a different method of repayment of these moneys by the States. It will not, therefore, reduce the funds available for home purchase through normal home financing institutions. It is merely a rearrangement of the financial arrangements between the governments which will give to tenants of houses an opportunity to buy their homes on favorable terms which were not previously available to them.
When a house is sold on terms the State will pay to the Commonwealth the deposit received from the purchaser and repay the balance of the State debt on the home over 45 years at the rate of interest applying to Commonwealth advances used for building those homes. At present the State is required to pay the whole amount in cash. For the future it will only be required to account to the Commonwealth for the deposit and have 45 years to repay the balance. “When the house is sold for cash, the State will pay to the Commonwealth an amount equal to the State’s outstanding capital debt to the Commonwealth on the house sold.
For sales through the “War Service Homes Division there will be no cash adjustment between the division and the State concerned. The State’s debt to the Commonwealth will simply be credited with the sale price of the house sold.
The States will have freedom of administrative action. They will determine the purchase price for the houses. The States themselves own the houses and the practice of valuation in each State differs so much that there is no reason for the Commonwealth to enter into the question of fixing the price. The States themselves will keep all profits and carry any losses arising from sales over the whole period of the agreement.
It is estimated that approximately 60 per cent of the tenants of houses built under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement are ex-servicemen. The majority of these tenants are eligible persons within the meaning of the War Service Homes Act, and will be eligible to purchase their homes on the terms provided in that act. After they make their purchase they will pay their instalments to the War Service Homes Division and conduct all their transactions with the division. Other purchasers will pay their instalments to the State government concerned.
The Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement has resulted in the States becoming landlords on a grand scale. The proposals contained in this bill will present an opportunity to the States to retrace their steps from this position and will offer to many people the opportunity for homeownership which would not otherwise have been possible for them. The Premiers of the States concerned have all signed the agreement and the Prime Minister has executed it on behalf of the Commonwealth. The agreement will not have legal effect, however, until approved by the Parliaments of the Commonwealth and the respective States. Complementary legislation has already been passed by the Parliaments of the States of South Australia and Queensland and will be introduced into the Parliaments of the three remaining States in due course. I commend the bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Armstrong) adjourned.
Debate resumed from the 20th April (vide page 21), on motion by Senator Spicer -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– The bill now before the chamber consolidates the law in force in relation to trade marks up to the present time and proposes some very important changes. The matter of trade marks is of great importance, in two ways, to the Australian community. Firstly, it is very important to the buying public that they should have, per medium of a trade mark, some kind of certificate as to the quality or standard of the goods they are buying. As everybody knows, one becomes familiar with buying a particular article that is sold under some well-known trade name. Secondly, it is very important in the life of trade and commerce, in the business sector of the community, because goodwill is built around trade marks, and becomes an important factor in the disposition of a business.
I congratulate the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) on being the sponsor of this measure which revises and clarifies the law relating to trade marks. As honorable senators will have noticed, it is a very comprehensive and technical bill. It covers, in all, some 48 pages and a total of 147 clauses. It is not a matter that has been considered lightly because, as the Attorney-General pointed out in his second-reading speech, the matter was first considered by a committee presided over by Sir George Knowles, back in 193S. That committee prepared a report and a draft bill, and did excellent work. The intervention of the war prevented the bill from being passed into legislation, but during the term of office of the present Attorney-General, a fresh committee has been appointed under the presidency of Mr. Justice Arthur Dean, of Victoria, who was a member of the Knowles committee, in his capacity as a private barrister with . a very large practice in industrial law. I join with the Attorney-General in paying tribute to the excellence of the service rendered by his honour. I would like to add, also, that I agree with the report that the committee was fortunate in having with it the Parliamentary Draftsman, Mr. John Ewens. I think it right, after having named two members, to mention the names of all those who served so well on this committee. In addition to those I have named, there were Mr. James Colwell, a former Deputy Registrar of Trade Marks; two patent attorneys in Mr. J. B. Hack and Mr. W. H. Hooworth ; and, finally, the Registrar of Trade Marks. I think the country is indebted to all these men for the excellent work that they have done in preparing a voluminous and most comprehensive report and, indeed, in preparing what is . the precursor of the bill now before us. In fact, the bill prepared by the committee is incorporated, almost in toto in the bill we are now considering.
This is one of the relatively rare occasions when a model presentation of a matter has been made to the Senate. There has been ample time for consideration, because both the Knowles Committee report and the Dean Committee report were printed, along with the draft bill recommendation of the latter body, and were circulated in this Parliament at the end of last year. That, of course, gave ample opportunity for consideration, not only by the members of the Parliament, but also by those outside who are interested in this important field of trade marks. I think I might properly say, too, that the speech of the AttorneyGeneral itself was a model. It drew particular attention to the many important changes proposed, it reviewed the matters that were being considered by the committee but were not incorporated in the bill, and set out briefly and plainly the reasons for that action.
The Opposition supports the measure. It recognizes that there are some peculiar difficulties associated with legislation relating to trade marks. When one looks at the head of power under the Constitution in this matter, one finds, in the relative placitum, that trade marks are set out as a complete concept, and one would naturally expect that there would be no question about the plenary nature of that power. One would expect, too, that the High Court of this country would bring to an interpretation of the power what it has been so often pleased to call a dynamic approach and not a static one. By that, the High Court, on many occasions, has meant that the Constitution is a living document, that it moves with the times and is capable of natural expansion with the development of our society, the growth of new concepts and the expansion of existing ones. So we find, with something of a shock, that in 1908, in a very important case concerning the brewery employees of New South Wales, a case in which the AttorneyGeneral of that State figured, the High Court held that there was a fixity about the concept of trade marks under the Constitution and that it was to be interpreted in the light of the meaning that that term, had when the Constitution was written.
That decision has led to very great difficulties. For instance, it has made uncertain, to a degree, the position with regard to what are now called certification marks under this bill. Hitherto, they have been known as standardization marks. They are familiar to everybody who knows of the Standards Association of Australia and the excellent service that that body renders in certifying as to quality, the nature and conditions of construction, and other aspects of goods. When the imprimatur of that body is endorsed upon goods, one has a very clear indication of the quality and standard of the articles that one is buying. But standardization marks do not bear the relation to goods that is contemplated in the term “ trade marks “. That term is generally taken, as being in favour of a manufacturer in relation to goods which are manufactured by him. If that test is sought to be applied to standardization marks, it is found that the certifying authority, certifying as to standard, is not much concerned with the production of goods or their manufacture, but is concerned merely with a certificate as to the quality of goods which, I would say in every case, were manufactured by somebody other than the certifying authority. There is, unfortunately, some real constitutional doubt about our power, as a Federal Parliament, to legislate in that particular field.
The Opposition cordially supports this measure, but I think it fitting that I should say at least a few words upon the very interesting new aspects introduced by the bill. The first is the new basis of the Register of Trade Marks. Hitherto, there has been only one register, and trade marks were either written into that, by way of registration following an application, or were rejected. Now, as I understand the measure, there are to be four parts of the register. The first is called Part A, and it will include all those trade marks which are registered at present. lt will also include in futuro new trade marks, registration of which is granted by reason, of their distinctiveness, a test applied in determining registration. Such distinctiveness may be either inherent or acquired by reason, of user. Those trade marks will be entitled to registration.
Part B of the register will include trade marks that are not distinctive, either inherently or by user, at the time they are “u t in the register. Accordingly, registration in Part B does not confer any particular Australian rights but, as the Attorney-General has explained in his second-reading speech, the purpose of this provision is to give to Australians who wish to secure registration of trade marks abroad, an opportunity to have their trade marks appear on an Australian register. Apparently, in many foreign countries it is a condition of registration there that there should be prior registration in Australia. The new provision, of course, will be a convenience to many Australian business people who wish to trade abroad and secure registration of trade marks in other countries.
Part C of the register will deal with what have hitherto been known as standardization marks. In future, they will be known as certification, marks. Part D concerns one of the most interesting aspects of the measure because in it will be recorded defensive trade marks. A trade mark can be registered now only in’ regard to particular defined goods. They cannot be registered in grades or at large, but the provision of Part D of the register seems to get around that difficulty. It adverts to the need for protection of a trade name or a trade mark that has become universally recognized. A good example is provided, by the trade mark “ Kodak “. That name is known throughout Australia in connexion with photographic apparatus. It is so very well known that if somebody else were to secure registration of it in relation to goods of a different character entirely, there would, I think, be a general belief on the part of the purchasers of those goods that they were dealing with the original proprietors of the Kodak trade mark when that, in fact, would not be the case. Therefore, not relying upon the ordinary common law of passing-off, the Government proposes to put in the register specially,, under Part D, a provision to protect any proprietor of a name that is given very wide use. That appears to be the chief element required, because the relevant portions of the bill, clause 93, states -
Where a trade mark registered in Part A of the Register has been used to such an extent in relation to all or any of the goods in respect of which it is registered that the use of the trade mark in relation to other goods would be likely to be taken as indicating a connexion between those other goods and the registered proprietor, the trade mark may, upon the application of the registered proprietor of the trade mark, be registered as a defensive trade mark in Part D of the Register . . .
Altogether, it is a most interesting development and an interesting experiment. I.t grants protection to a proprietor, who has a trade mark registered against unfair purloining of his trade mark or trade name. It will he interesting to see j just what names come into that particular section. The other interesting aspect of the bill to which I wish to refer is that, where trade marks generally can be deregistered because of non-user of the mark in relation to any particular goods, that provision will not apply so far as trade marks registered in the defensive Part D are concerned.
There are other new aspects of this matter upon which I wish to say only a few words. In connexion with appeals from the decision of the registrar, hitherto anybody concerned about a refusal to register, cancellation of a registration or rejection of opposition to an application could appeal to a person termed, “the law officer “. I am referring to the existing law. In it, the law officer is defined as the Attorney-General or the Crown Solicitor. It struck me as rather odd that, in such a purely administrative matter, the ministerial head could be drawn in as an appeal authority, or even that the Crown Solicitor should be drawn in. I am not aware how far that power has been invoked to date, or by what classes of person it has been invoked. A+ all events, under this codification of the measure, the proposal is that that form nf appeal will be abolished. There will be an appeal to a single judge of the High Court of Australia, whereas, under the existing legislation, the appeal had to be to the Full Court of the High Court of Australia. The new measure also will permit the setting up of a case, or the reservation of a case, by the trial judge for the Full Court. Apart from that, there will also be a right to apply to the Full Court for leave to appeal from an order of the single judge. These provi sions excite no opposition from honorable senators on this side of the chamber. They are interesting, and I think they are adequate and complete. I do not know what the Attorney-General might say on this particular subject, but I have no reason particularly to mourn the passing of the appellate jurisdiction of either the Attorney-General or the Crown Solicitor. I imagine there would be no honour or reward in that matter for either of those officers, and certainly no fees.
One more interesting provision that brings this measure into line with the Patents Act itself is that portion relating to agents. They are those who act for others in preparing applications for. registration of trade marks or opposition to such applications, or who contest matters of cancellation of registration. There are many people usefully and fruitfully employed in that field at the present time, and I presume they do not act without adequate compensation, but as the law stands, anybody may engage in it, whether qualified or not. It is proposed now to ensure that only qualified persons may act. Those who will be entitled to do so in future will be legal practitioners, patent attorneys, actual applicants or the opponents of an application or anybody in their employ acting with their authority. In addition, there will be a new class altogether which includes those who have, in fact, been practising largely or almost wholly in that field for at least two consecutive years prior to the 1st January this year, and who make application for registration within a year. The new provisions are good, and they will make for more efficient service to those who seek registration in matters related to trade marks.
There are many changes in the procedural provisions relating to registration, opposition and cancellation. I must confess that I claim no special knowledge in the field of trade marks law, but having read the reports of the two committees, and also having studied the bill, somewhat hurriedly I confess, I see nothing in it to object to or to comment upon, particularly in relation to those procedural provisions. With those remarks I am happy, on behalf of the Opposition, to support the bill.
– I support the bill most heartily and congratulate the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) on their most erudite explanations and comments concerning the measure. This is a further extension of the policy of the Government to freshen and bring up to date very important branches of the law which are non-contentious from the party political point of view. Trade marks legislation has been in existence in the Commonwealth since 1905, and, as both the Attorney-General and the Leader of the Opposition have pointed out, a valiant attempt was made in 1938, or thereabouts, to alter the law. However, war intervened, and it has not been possible since then to do anything in this matter.
The importance of trade marks law is twofold; first, the general public must be protected by legislation ensuring that the goods they buy are the goods for which they have asked; and secondly, it is important to the trading community, because, as both previous speakers have pointed out, a trade mark is an asset of considerable value. In an enlightened community a registration system should be sufficient to ensure that this valuable asset can be held and usefully employed, and that the people who have properly acquired it shall be protected. Honorable senators will realize the importance of the legislation now before them. I also join in praise of the work of the committee, presided over by Mr. Justice Dean, and I compliment the Government on the way that it has handled this subject. Honorable senators will recall that before the Senate adjourned, towards the end of last year, we were in possession of the full report of the committee and the bill which it suggested should be brought before the Parliament. Therefore, it was possible for those of us who wished to do so, to examine the report, and if we so desired, circulate it among interested sections of the community. It was my privilege to approach the South Australian Chamber of Manufactures and the Adelaide Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Law Society of South Australia in this connexion. I have since received most favorable comments from two of those bodies, and a telegram from the third body indicating its approval of the measure. I hope that what has been done in connexion with this bill is a forerunner of similar action in respect of legislation which is non-contentious from the party political point of view and that, in future, copies of proposed legislation will be made available to honorable senators in advance for the information of the business community and others who ave prepared to study it, so that honorable senators who wish to do so may discuss it with them before the legislation is brought forward in the Parliament. We are legislators entrusted with the duty of making laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Common wealth, and if we have the time and opportunity to study proposed legislation and consult with those whom it more directly affects, it will be all to the good. I hope that the action taken on thi? occasion is a pattern of things to come, especially in respect of some forms of important amendments to the taxation law. I refer particularly to amendment? relating to administrative matters.
Having examined the bill, I was interested in the new form of register which is to be set up, particularly the register which will enable Australian traders to obtain rights in other countries. At the present time I understand that other countries will not register a trade mark from this country because, at the moment, no protection is given to them in Australia. This bill will remedy that situation and in this respect it follows the pattern of trade marks law in the United Kingdom. It is particularly important to Australia at this juncture because we believe that there will be opportunities for the exportation of Australian manufactured goods. However, before an exporter can safely export a commodity he wishes to be sure that its tra.de name, or trade mark, can be registered in that foreign country. I, therefore, invite the attention of honorable senators to the importance of this legislation from a national point of view and in the hope that Australia will before long become a manufacturing country with a bigexport trade. Honorable senators may be interested to know that in some of the Asian countries Australian manufacturers are making progress with the sale of their goods. I understand that in Saigon and in the Philippines, Australian manufacturers are making some headway. I know that manufacturers in the United States of America are being invited to interest themselves in the possibilities of trade with those awakening countries which wish their inhabitants to be employed usefully in up-to-date manufactures. For these reasons I look upon this bill as an interesting milestone in the progress of the Australian export of manufactured goods to other countries, particularly those to the north of Australia.
I shall conclude with some comments relating to the rights of persons to practise as trade marks agents. As the Attorney-General and the Leader of the Opposition have pointed out, a change of law is now proposed. I understand that hitherto any person could become a trade marks agent without any registration qualifications, but that now the pattern is being altered to follow the lines of the legislation that came before the Senate two or three years ago in relation to patents. Under the law relating to patents, there is a strict and rather exclusive system in operation. As the Leader of the Opposition pointed out, those who will now be entitled to practise will be limited to legal practitioners, registered patents attorneys, and persons practising as agents. I draw attention to the fact that the second group is extremely limited because, I understand, it includes only one person in Western Australia, one in South Australia, and about fifteen or twenty in Victoria and New South Wales. There are no registered patent attorneys in either Tasmania or Queensland. It will be seen, therefore, that in a field in which previously any one could operate the number of persons entitled to do so in future will be small. I entirely agree that there should be some form of registration, but in this intricate field I am of the opinion that persons and companies should be entitled to engage some assistance. Paragraph (h) of clause 135 of the bill reads - a person who, within one year after the commencement of this Act has satisfied the Registrar that, for a continuous period of two years immediately before the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred and fifty-five, he was practising as a trade marks agent in Australia.
As I see it, there is a large field of likely recruitment for trade marks agents, but the matter to which I invite attention is that the existing trade marks agents who are now not qualified to practise must satisfy the registrar. It will be seen that under this bill we have delegated to one person, no doubt a man of great integrity and ability, the right to register trade marks agents. All honorable senators will agree with me when I express the hope that the gentleman in question will exercise that discretion wisely, so that all the States will be given adequate representation. I do not wish the list of persons to be registered to be limited to existing patent attorneys.
– The bill provides also for the appointment of legal practitioners as agents.
– With some knowledge of the situation, I reply to that interjection by saying that the average legal practitioner knows very little about this most exclusive branch of the law. I suggest, therefore, that the AttorneyGeneral and the Senate should be watchful of this exclusive right of appointment’, as it were, and make sure that States other than New South Wales and Victoria will have practising within their borders a sufficient number of registered trade, marks agents. I am not critical of the provision as drawn, but as a senator from one of the smaller States, I invite attention to this matter. Accordingly, I give the measure my unqualified endorsement.
– I rise to support the measure and to agree completely with what the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) has said about it. I compliment the honorable senator upon his review of the bill which is, in fact, a consolidating measure. There has been an increase of trade mark problems down the years since our first legislation was introduced in 1905, and these problems are becoming more important to the community every day. We hope that this consolidating legislation will bring our trade marks law right up to date with -similar legislation operating in other parts of the world. I trust that there will -be no repetition of what happened in 1905. As I have said, our original trade marks measure was introduced in that year, but then we found that amending legislation introduced in 1912 only brought us to the stage that the United Kingdom legislation of 1905 had achieved in that country. Lagging behind other countries in this way is most undesirable. I mention that matter merely as a word of warning to the Government. We have to accept the word of the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Spicer) that this bill will bring our trade marks law up to date, because few members of this chamber are able to say whether this bill will bring our legislation into line with that of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, or any other country with which we work closely in such matters. I take it that the Attorney-General has satisfied himself on that point, and has acted on the best advice available to him.
The importance of trade marks in industry is growing. By sheer force of an advertising campaign, a product can become favoured by the public although its ingredients are also the main constituents of many other similar products. A big public demand for a commodity can be fostered merely by a national or international advertising campaign. That is particularly true of patent medicines. One medicine may have a basic ingredient which is common to many other similar preparations, but because its name has become widely known through an advertising campaign, people ask for it particularly. I realize that this does not apply only to medicines, and that very little can be done about it. Many articles of clothing may be made from the same textile, but, merely because one particular make has been advertised far more than have any of the others, it has a much more ready sale. On the other hand, commodities are developed which may well be the very best in their field. They are advertised well, and find wide public favour. It is important that the equity acquired by the manufacturer in his trade mark should be protected.
A trade mark which has been developed over the years by means of a great adver- tising campaign, and is backed by an honorable reputation and first-quality goods, has a great value because people to-day are educated to buy according to name. They have been educated to buy goods in which they have developed confidence and trust, first, through advertising, and, secondly, through satisfactory use. It is important that fly-by-night manufacturers should not be able to hoodwink the public by using a name which is likely to be confused with that of a reputable product. The law, of course, is the only protection, and I compliment the Government upon its desire to keep up to date the legislation by which control is exercised in the field of trade marks. t
I should like the Attorney-General, in his reply, to tell us something about the international aspect of trade marks law. Is there any reciprocity between Australia and other countries on the control of trade marks? Has this matter been the subject of any international conventions ? These are important questions. We try to work closely with legislation in force in Canada, the United States of America and Great Britain, but I do not know just how far this reciprocity extends. The natural desire is that it should extend as far as possible throughout the world, because only in this way can we eliminate the objectionable practices which have become so rife in one country at least. I refer to Japan. There, the shopper can buy a pen that is almost indistinguishable from the Parker pen of the United States of America. It has the word “ Parker “ written on it, but when it is examined through a glass, one finds a full stop between the “ P “ and the “A”. So, instead of being a “ Parker “ pen, it is a “ P. Arker “ pen. However, if the Japanese imitation is taken apart and its components mixed with those of a genuine Parker pen, it is very difficult to tell which belongs to the real product and which to the imitation. To the casual observer, the Japanese pen i3 sold under the name of a reputable American firm. Thus, the name of a good quality product is being used to foist an inferior article on the public.
I am reminded of something that indicates the importance of a name. When I was at Hong Kong, I found that, on the border of Communist China, when there are few people around, the Communist guards on the Chinese side, and the pro-Western Chinese police on the Hong Kong side indulge in wordy battles with one another. The favourite gibe of the Communist guards is- to accuse their opponents of being running dogs for the Americans. The come-back from the Hong Kong side is “We are better off than you are. We have better food and clothing. And look, we have Parker pens”. There the Parker pen of the Chinese policeman is evidence to the world that he is doing very well indeed. That shows the importance of a trade name and the need to protect it. Another product that seems to be manufactured in huge numbers in Japan is the “ Ronson “ cigarette lighter.
– And “ Hennessey’s” brandy.
– Yes, “ Hennessy’s “ brandy and “ Scotch “ whisky are being made in Japan, and undoubtedly the imitations are good. The result is that when one buys goods on the stalls in Tokyo, Hong Kong, or other places in the East, one is led to believe that the products he is purchasing are those of the United States of America and the United Kingdom, whereas they are really made in Hong Kong or Japan. If reciprocal agreements on the use of trade marks were extended throughout the world, the result would be international recognition of trade marks, and this could play an important part in fostering international trade and even in encouraging international friendship, because misrepresentation of the origin and quality of commodities is one of the reasons for the distrust of certain countries. Perhaps the most famous instance of misrepresentation was the establishment in Japan of a city, which was named “ USA “. Goods produced in this city were then labelled, “ Made in USA “.
I wish to refer also to the proposed restrictions on persons who will be eligible to handle trade marks problems in the courts. Senator Laught dealt with this matter as did the Leader of the Opposition.
– Not in the courts ; in making applications.
– That is so, and it is all the more reason why I should refer to the matter. At present, any person who, by virtue of his occupation and experience over the years, has become expert in this field, may handle such applications. In future, with the exception of trade marks agents who have practised for a specified period, only persons who hold certain technical qualifications will be eligible to practise.
– There are very few others now.
– All the more reason why, if more want to come along, they should not be stopped. As Senator Laught has said, the field is not big. I admit that the approach to the problem made in this legislation is fairly generous. A lawyer or an attorney, or an employee of either, may appear for the plaintiff or the defendant in a trade mark suit. That, as I have conceded, is a wide field. But I do not know why we should impose a restriction at this point. Encouragement should be given to those outside the law to make trade marks their career, without actually becoming lawyers or patent attorneys. I realize that the Attorney-General has given a lot of thought to this matter, but I do not think the proposed restriction is absolutely necessary. I am sure that there would have been many complaints in the past if the system had not been working satisfactorily.
The Attorney-General gave some very interesting background information in his second-reading speech. He said, for instance, that whereas the Knowles Report had recommended that the Government should sanction the fixing of minimum prices for goods covered by trade marks, the report of the Dean Committee, which, almost exclusively, has been the basis for this legislation, had not recommended the adoption of that proposal. The Commonwealth, of course, has no control over prices and the necessary legislation would be a matter for the States. But my own view is that it would be a step in the wrong direction to give power to fix minimum .prices merely because goods bear a trade mark. Developments in the United States of America indicate that attempts to fix prices for commodities bearing trade marks have been unsuccessful, and the breaking down of this system has been to the benefit of the great mass of the people of that country. Within the last three or four years, large “ discount houses “ have been established throughout the United States and they are selling top-grade electrical appliance?, bearing the best-known names in the trade, such as Westinghouse,’ at from 15 to 20 per cent, less tha.n list price. These organizations operate usually in old warehouses where they have no shopfront expenses, and no service is given with the commodities they sell. Apparently the manufacturers have given up trying to insist upon the minimum prices fixed by the trade. They are selling direct to the “ discount houses “ knowing that the minimum prices that they have been seeking to establish throughout retail organizations will be disregarded. I believe it would be bad to try to establish minimum prices just because goods are covered by trade marks. I am glad that the Government has not attempted to do it, either itself or through the agency of State governmental prices control. After all, the pressure on prices should be such that minimum prices should be the prices for the time being only, and will be forced down as opportunity presents. The Opposition commends the bill.
– It is not very often that we receive the approbation of the Opposition of a Government measure, but in this instance the Opposition has unstintingly congratulated the Government. I should like to congratulate the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Spicer) on the success that he has made of the measure, to the preparation of which he has devoted much time. I have studied, not only the clauses of the bill, many of which are intricate, but also the Minister’s second-reading speech, which was fairly technical.
As previous speakers have pointed out, it is important for the Commonwealth to have a modern trade marks code. It is necessary to ensure that goods sold to the consumers shall be true to label, and that the people who sell them are protected by law. As the ownership of a trade mark is a very great asset, the relevant legislation must provide for adequate protection of the people who sell the goods. Trade marks law should be subject to periodic review in order to ensure that it conforms to modern business practice. The original legislation of 1905 was amended in 1943 and again in 194S. Sir George Knowles’s comprehensive report of 193S was not acted upon, due to the outbreak of war in the following year, but I cannot understand, why it was not. implemented after the cessation of hostilities - say in 1946. There appears to be no good reason why it was not acted upon then, and the trade marks law brought up to date. The report of Mr. Justice Dean, which was the basis of the measure before us, was very carefully compiled. There have been very few critics of it and I believe it met with general approval by the business people of Australia. The Government acted promptly, after its receipt in October last, and is to be commended for introducing this new measure.
I am. concerned, not sn much with the technical aspects of the bill as with the practical application of its provisions to the manufacturing industries and the business community generally, and the quality of the service that the Patent. Trade Marks, Designs and Copyright Offices render to the public. I recently investigated an application that was made by the Potato Marketing Board of Tasmania for the registration of a trade mark. The application was submitted about two and a half years ago, but its receipt was not acknowledged for a lengthy period and, up to the time of my taking up the matter, it had not been attended to. That application was for the registration of a trade mark in order to distinguish Chef Brownell potatoes on the Sydney and Brisbane markets. The board was very eager to have the trade mark registered in order to protect this Taasmanian product, I should say that the departmental officers received me very courteously when I took up the matter with them. and dealt with it efficiently. When I informed the Potato Marketing Board of Tasmania that the department was attending to the matter, the board decided that it would not cancel its application - as it had intended to do - but would allow it to stand, on the assurance that the matter would be finalized promptly.
I understand that the trade marks section has been seriously understaffed, and that, until about six months ago, only two examiners were available to deal with the great mass of applications being received - about 3,000 a year - as well as to endeavour to overtake the tremendous arrears from the war years. I am informed that the war-time arrears are of staggering proportions and that, with the limited staff available, the section is unable to cope with even the. current work. That is a very sorry state of affairs. With respect, I urge the Attorney-General to re-organize the section and ensure that adequate staff is employed to give prompt service to the business community. I understand that it takes longer to receive a decision from the trade marks section than to obtain a legal opinion. Applications should be acknowledged promptly - at least within seven days of receipt - and I think that it would be satisfactory to the average businessman if he were informed within another 30 days whether or not his application had been granted. I consider that new industries should be given adequate protection in connexion with the placing of’ their products on the market. In the absence of such an incentive, new industries will be discouraged from spending large amounts of money on the production of commodities, which would result in a considerable loss of revenue to the Government.
Senator Laught stated that probably the reason for the understaffing of the trade marks section was the fact that relatively few people understand patents and trade marks law. Of course, we must remember that expanding departments, such as the Department of Labour and National Service and the Department of the Interior, have absorbed many public servants, at the expense of other departments. I am convinced, from my inquiries, that many government departments are faced with an accumulation of arrears of work. But the time has arrived when the work of the trade marks section should be streamlined, and brought into conformity with ordinary business practice. If sufficient qualified personnel are not available, consideration should be given to increasing the Public Service working week to 40 hours, the standard working week which is observed throughout the business world and in manufacturing industries in Australia. This bill is certainly a credit to the Minister, and, with respect, I urge him to pay to the suggested re-organization of the section the same amount of attention as he has given to the measure. It might even be necessary to recruit a small staff of business executives to ensure that prompt and efficient service shall be given to the public. I support the bill.
– in reply - I shall first make one or two comments on the matters that have been raised by Senator Wardlaw. It is true that there have been rather long delays in the office which deals with trade marks applications. I assure the honorable senator that that state of affairs has given me concern since I have occupied my present portfolio. However, I do not think that that condition is confined to the trade marks offices in Australia. It would probably have its counterpart in every trade mark office in the Western world since the end of the war. There has been a tremendous increase of the number of applications. In 1946, for example, there were 3,982 applications, compared with 4,504 in 1954. Additional work was thrown on to the section by the amendment of the trade marks law, in 1948.
It has always been difficult to get competent staff to carry out this work, and the tendency for staff changes from time to time has added to the difficulties. However, considerable attention has been given to overcoming the problem. The trade marks office has been substantially re-organized, and the method of examination of applications has been altered. Improvements effected in staff conditions and in relation to opportunities for promotion, have resulted in an increased output which, it is expected, will be maintained. I am informed that, unless the staff position presents new problems, it is expected that the work of the office will be quite up to date within the next twelve months. There is one aspect of this matter that is often overlooked by applicants. The fact that a trade mark has not been registered, does not prevent an applicant from using it. Many applicants have believed that they could not use their trade marks unless they were registered. Of course, if a trade mark is not registered, the applicant for its registration has to concern himself whether the use of the trade mark that he seeks to employ would infringe another registered trade mark. Facilities are available in all of the sub-offices of the trade marks office in the capital cities, with the exception of Hobart, whereby the registered trade marks can be ascertained, and a person, before proceeding to use a trade mark, can satisfy himself that the same or a similar mark is not already on the register. As I have said, these search facilities are available in all capital cities with the exception of Hobart where, apparently, there was not sufficient demand for the service and it was discontinued. A consolidated volume of registered trade marks is in course of preparation. I expect that it will be complete at the end of the year and that, also, will be available for the convenience pf intending applicants who will be able to ascertain the state of the register from it.
I wish to thank honorable senators, particularly my friend the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) for the support that they have extended to this measure. The Leader of the Opposition referred, amongst other things, to the provision concerning appeals. He mentioned that the bill eliminates the present provision for appeal to the law officer aud restricts appeals to what is described as the Appeals Tribunal who, in fact, i3 a judge of the High Court. The appeal to the law officer is being eliminated with some regret as far as I am concerned because, although there is not a great volume of this kind of work, which brings no profit to the law officer, it was an undertaking which I found very interesting. Perhaps that is an indication that, despite the fact that I have come into politics, my first love is my real love. I think that that is true of many lawyers who come into this Parliament. But the appeal to the law officer, who may be the
Attorney-General or his delegate, the Solicitor-General, or the Crown Solicitor, is something of an anachronism. It is an historical development which is quite inconsistent with our general application of the law that an appeal, particularly in matters in which legal problems are involved, should lie from the responsible administrative officer to the political head of the department. As in the case of the Patents Bill, the committee recommend that that course should no longer be followed as it involves some mixture of administrative function with the judicial function. It seems desirable that an appellant should apply directly to the bodies that are charged with judicial functions for a decision.
Senator McKenna also made some comment regarding what are now called “ standardization marks “ and which the committee recommend should in future be called “ certification marks “. He queried the constitutionality of provisions for the registration of a mark of thi.* kind. He commented that it is perhaps unfortunate that the High Court, in the earliest years of its existence, adopted a very strict interpretation of the word “ trade mark “ under the Constitution.. In substance, the High Court decided that the Parliament could not provide for the registration as trade marks of marks which were not understood to be trade marks at the time that the Constitution came into operation. On that ground,, the High Court held that provision for the registration of a mark which would indicate that goods were produced by union labour was not possible because that type of mark was not a trade mark as the term was understood in 1900. The certification marks existed before 1900, a fae to which reference is made in the committee’s report. In paragraph 10 of the Dean committee’s report, reference i= made to the constitutional position, regarding standardization marks. Having referred to . the Union Label case, the report says -
This decision imposes a serious handicap upon any reform of the law. Indeed, it might render invalid, for like reasons, the provisions of the existing act relating to standardization trade marks. These marks,, however, were recognized in legislation prior to the Constitution.
L think that that statement justifies the continuance of this provision which has been in the act since its commencement. Lt has never been challenged and its validity could be maintained on grounds which would be consistent with the principles applied by the High Court in the Union Label case.
Senator Laught referred to provisions of the bill under which persons who represented those who wished to apply for trade marks will in future constitute a limited class comprising legal practitioners, patent attorneys, and trade union agents who have been operating as such agents in the two years prior to 1955. .1 am informed that the number of persons in the last-mentioned category is very limited indeed. It has been suggested to me that in the whole of Australia there are not more than two or three such persons, so there does not seem to be a very great risk in leaving to the registrar the task of determining who, among the limited number of people entitled to make this claim, should be permitted to continue that type of work which they have been doing in the past. The purpose of the provision is not to exclude from this work persons who have carried it on, bona fide, for a reasonable period. If we were redrafting this legislation entirely we should probably say that it would be sufficient for this type of work to be performed by legal practitioners and patent attorneys; but, as there is a very limited number of persons who have been doing this class of work, it does not appear to be fair to deprive them, by a new law, of an occupation which they commenced quite legally and properly and which they have probably carried on, bona fide, for a number of years.
asked whether the bill made provision for reciprocity in international conventions. The answer to that question is, No. There is no mere reciprocal registration of trade marks. International conventions are provided for in sections 108 and 109 of the bill, whereby a party who is registered in one of the convention countries may, by following the appropriate procedure, receive the advantage of registration in this country as from the date when he became registered in the convention country.
That is the kind of provision that is contained in the international conventions.
I think that I have covered most of the matters that honorable senators have raised. I again thank them for the consideration that they have given to the bill. If honorable senators wish to raise any other matters, they can be dealt with in committee.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– Clause 31 of the bill reads as follows : - (1.) A trade mark shall be registered in respect of any or all of the goods comprised in a prescribed class of goods. (2.) If a question arises as to the class in which goods are comprised, that question shall ho decided by the Registrar and the decision of the Registrar is not subject to appeal and shall not be called in question in an appeal or other proceeding under this act.
That is rather contradictory to the appeal provisions that are later set out in the bill. It may be that the subject-matter of the clause is not of vast importance, but I should like the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) to indicate why the right of appeal in that connexion is so expressly negatived.
– The reason for the provision to which the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) has invited attention is that classification is primarily a matter of convenience in administration. Classification facilitates search. The fact that a person’s goods are not in one class but in another, as long as the registration covers his goods, does not affect the validity of the trade mark. Consequently, it seems to be a suitable matter to leave to the registrar to determine in a case of difficulty or doubt whether the particular goods should go into one class rather than another. The matter is dealt with in the Knowles report, at paragraph 27, which reads as follows : -
In clause 16 of the bill we have provided for an amendment of section 23 of the existing act so as to make it clear that a. trade mark must be registered in respect of goods within a class and not in respect of classes of goods.
In other words, it is not sufficient that the trade mark should bc registered for a class - it must be registered for particular goods or particular descriptions of goods within a class 01 classes.
We have also included in clause 10 a provision that any question arising as to the class within which any goods fall shall be determined by the Registrar, whose decision shall be final. A similar provision to this is at the present time contained in the Trade Marks Regulations, but we think it desirable that it should be included in the act.
There is nothing new in this proposal. The fact that goods are included in one class rather than another does not seriously affect the applicant, if it affects him at all, as may be observed by reference to a work such as Kerly on Trade Marks, from which the notes that I have been referring to have been drawn.
– I thank the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) for that explanation, and 1 accept his suggestion that the matter is largely one of administration. However, I refer him to clause 40 of the bill, subclause (3.) of which states -
An application shall not be made in respect of goods comprised in more than one class.
Apparently, the application must be confined to some of the goods in. a particular prescribed class. I take that to be the case. An argument could develop between an applicant and the registrar as to whether the goods in question were in one class or another. The question is raised whether the applicant must lodge two applications or merely one. Am I right in putting it that way?
– Yes. There would be a separate application for each class.
– I suggest, then, that it might be important to an applicant to have determined the question whether the goods are in a particular class or not, in order to save him expense and the bother of making two applications.
– There would not be much in it from the point of view of expense, at that stage, I should think.
– No, I should not imagine there would be a great, deal of expense, and perhaps the fight of appeal to a court, if it were provided, might be more expensive.
– I refer now to clause 96, in Part XII., which deals with defensive trade marks. The clause deals with the rights given by registration under Part D of the register. It reads -
Subject to this Act, the registration of a defensive trade mark in Part D of the Register, if valid, gives to the registered proprietor of the mark the right to obtain relief in respect of infringement of the mark in the manner provided by this Act.
My mind is interested by the use of the words “ if valid “. I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether the use of those words in that context implies some doubt in the mind of the Government concerning the validity of that section of the register which deals with defensive trade marks, or. whether the words simply relate to some matter connected with the registration itself.
– Those words were in the act of 1905, and they have been followed through. They are not confined to the particular clause to which the honorable senator has referred. Exactly the same thing is to be found in clause 58 of the bill, for instance. That clause deals with the effect of registration in Part A or Part B of the register. The point of the words is that it is a recognition of the fact that registration of a trade mark does not establish conclusively its validity. Certain trade marks can be registered and recorded in the register, and it is a great convenience to the public, from the point of view of trading and so on, to have them there, but the fact that the registrar has accepted a trade mark for registration does not establish its validity, which may be attacked by another trader. He may object and may say that this trade mark never should have been registered and should not appear on the register. The Parliamentary Draftsman recognizes that position in each of these clauses by saying that the registration of the trade mark, if valid, shall confer certain rights, and it is only for that purpose that those words are there.
Senator ARMSTRONG (New South Wales) [5.35 J. -I should like to know whether there is any world convention of trade marks, or whether there is a convention that exists between the countries that are so closely associated in regard to legislation, such as Canada, the United States of America, Great Britain and Australia. I should also like to know the degree of reciprocity, if any, that exists. If there is none, can the Attorney-General inform me of the prospects of developing conventions by recording trade marks ?
– There are no conventions which establish reciprocity, and it is a little difficult to imagine how that could be arranged, because after all is said and done, the right of registration of a trade mark depends upon the use of the mark in relation to particular goods in a particular locality. But there are international conventions which facilitate registration and give some advantages to a person who registers in one country which is subject to the convention and then seeks to register the same trade mark in another country. The provisions which enable the Governor-General to enter into such conventions are found in clauses 108 and 109 of the bill. If the honorable senator looks at clause 109 he will see the kind of advantage which accrues to a person who, having registered in one convention country, then seeks to register in another. For instance, clause 109 (1.) provides that -
Where a. person has made an application for the registration of a trade mark in a Convention country and that person, or his legal representative oi’ assignee, makes an application for the registration of the trade mark within six months after the date on which the application was made in the Convention country, the trade mark shall, if registered,-
And that may depend upon other conditions in this country - be registered as of the date on which the application was made in the Convention country . . .
In other words if he has registered he gets the same advantages as if he made his original application for registration in this country on the date on which he made it in the other country.
– I refer the Attorney-General to the part of the bill which deals with certification marks. I think it is the part which covers clauses 83 to 92. I also refer him to section 22 of the existing legislation and ask him to compare that with clause 83 of the bill now before the chamber. Section 22 of the act states - (1.) Where any Commonwealth or State authority, or any association or person, undertakes the examination of any goods in respect of origin, material, mode or conditions of manufacture-
They are the words to which I should like the Attorney-General particularly to advert - quality, accuracy, or other characteristic, and certifies the result of such examination by a mark used upon or in connexion with such goods, the Minister may, if he judges it to be to the public advantage, permit the authority, association or person to register the mark as n trade mark in respect of such goods, whether the authority, association or person is or is not a trader, or is or is not possessed of a goodwill in connexion with such examination and certifying.
I next refer the Attorney-General to sub-section (3.) of that section, which states - (‘i.) This section shall as to conditions of manufacture apply to Commonwealth and State authorities only.
In other words, if there is to be a trade mark to certify as to conditions of manufacture, only a Commonwealth or State authority may have a trade mark registered for the purpose of certification in that field. When I refer to clause 83 of this measure, I find no particular reference to the Commonwealth or a State, and I think I am right in saying that the words “ conditions of manufacture “ have been deleted from the new provision in clause 83. Would the Attorney-General comment on that and say whether I have correctly interpreted the position?
– The Lender of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) was good enough to give me a hint that he was going to raise this matter, and I am rather glad be did so, because I have since found out that it is rather a curly one, in this sense, that when I put it to the Parliamentary Draftsman, for the first time in my experience of him he was not able to tell me the answer. However, we shall make some further i inquiries, and we may be able to throw some light on it. I have a theory about it myself, and I put it to the Leader of the Opposition.
I may be quite wrong, but thinking the matter over, I have come to the conclusion that this was probably not unassociated, in 1905, with the union trade mark. The words “ conditions of manufacture” were inserted in this section, although they are not to be found in the British legislation. They were inserted in this section when a bill which provided for a union label was being passed and it may be that manufacture by union labour was a condition of manufacture in relation to which only the State or Commonwealth authorities were to be able to make use of a standardization mark. That is a theory I have evolved since the query arose, and at this stage I cannot do much better than that. I assure the Leader of the Opposition that the clause, as drawn, is in line with the British act, and having regard to the possible constitutional difficulties to which we referred earlier, there is a lot to be said for keeping it in line with the British act, because there was a standardization mark in 1900, and the closer we keep to the conception of the standardization mark at that time, the greater the possibility of maintaining its validity. I shall cause further inquiries to be made into this matter. I compliment the Leader of the Opposition upon digging it out. If anything should transpire between now and when the bill is finally dealt with in the House of Representatives to indicate that the committee or people associated with it have missed something, I assure the honorable senator that I shall direct his attention to it.
– In the course of the second-reading speech of the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Spicer), he referred to standardization marks and pointed out that they are not trade marks in the usual sense, but are used by certifying authorities as, for example, the Standards Association of Australia. Can the Minister inform me whether the Australian Government has anything to do with that association?
– Not as far as I know.
– Does it not subsidize the association.
– I think the association is promoted by private people. I know of no association between it and the Government. I am afraid I cannot answer the question offhand, apart from saying that I should be surprised to discover that there was some association.
– When the Australian Labour party was in office in 1948 and 1949, I know that a lot was done by top public servants to stimulate such work, and I was wondering about the degree of association now.
– I think the organization is recognized by all governments as a worthy body which should be helped and encouraged, but it is not in any sense an official body.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Sitting suspended from 5.£6 to 8 p.m.
Debate resumed from the 20th April (vide page 21), on motion by Senator Spicer -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– The measure that is before the Senate amends the code in connexion with patents that was put before the Senate in 1952. That code came into operation by proclamation on the 1st May, 1954. Already, in practice it has been found that a few machinery provisions are necessary to provide for the carry-over from the repeal of the old legislation to the new system set up under the Patents Act 1952. In his second-reading speech, the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) effectively summarized the provisions of the bill. They deal with three main matters, and all other provisions are ancillary or supplemental to those three provisions.
One difficulty arose over what is termed cognate applications for patents. It transpires that cases have arisen where an application for a patent made under the repealed acts was sought to be combined with an application made under the new modified act, and there is no present provision whereby the two may be amalgamated in the one application. This bill proposes to legitimate that kind of thing and make consequential alterations out of what is drafted into the bill. The second case relates to what are known as divisional applications. There it is a matter of determining the proper priorities as to the date of divided applications. The third main provision concerns the priority in Australia of applications lodged here, based either upon applications for patents lodged abroad, or patents that were granted abroad. The provision in the final clause of the bill, clause 9, makes necessary provisions as to the date of priority of such applications in this country. I believe I have effectively summarized the main provisions. The ancillary ones are of no great consequence, and the Opposition has pleasure in supporting the bill. It expresses surprise that so few variations were required on a comprehensive bill that was very difficult to draft originally. The Opposition supports the bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time., and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from the 20th April (vide page 21), on motion by Senator O’SULLIVAN -
That the following paper be printed: -
Foreign Affairs and Defence Statement made by the Eight Honorable, the Prime Minister in the House of Representatives on the 20th April, 1955.
– I approach this very important matter by protesting at being obliged to enter upon a discussion of this nature at a time when the Leader of the Australian Labour party in another place, the honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) is putting the view of the party to the nation. This Senate had an opportunity of hearing the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) deal with the subject in person and I believe that nearly all honorable senators paid him the compliment of listening to him. It would have been right and proper had this Senate adjourned to hear the speech of Dr. Evatt. I regret very much that our. request in the matter to the Government has not been met. However, accepting the position that we must proceed, I say at once that it is the duty, not only of the Government, but also of the Opposition in this Parliament to attend to the safety and security of Australia. In other words, it is the first duty of the Government and the Opposition to ensure the survival of the nation. I do not believe there is anybody in this Parliament who is not genuinely concerned with that great need and aim. It has the first priority, because, without it, we have nothing else. If that is common ground between the Government and the Opposition, then we may recognize that we differ as to the methods by which that great aim is best to be secured, and we can do that without bitterness or imputations of wrong motives to each other.
Let us accept that we have a common purpose. Let us accept the fact that, in certain principles, we differ about the best methods to adopt, and then let us do what we ask the nations of the world to do approach those differences sanely and with temperance and understanding. I hope that whatever criticisms I level against the approach of the Government to international affairs, as outlined in the Prime Minister’s speech, will be tempered by those thoughts. That, at least, will be my aim, and if I fall short, kindly put it down not to ill will, but to lack of ability to perform in accordance with my ideals.
The Prime Minister’s statement began with a series of principles and objectives set out in almost impeccable form. One might query the wording in one or two of them, but I believe it is correct, as the right honorable gentleman said, that those principles and objectives will find a ready acceptance anywhere in the free world. The mere statement of principles and objectives, however, does not make any fundamental practical approach to all the great problems that are facing the world to-day. Principles and theories are all very well, but the real test comes when it is a matter of their practical applications to the troubles in hand. Right at the outset, the Prime Minister indicated that his Government supported the structure and the proceedings of the United Nations organization. I believe I put it accurately when I say that he threw up his hands in helplessness in the face of the veto in the Security Council operating under the United Nations organization.
In making what he obviously recognized to be a most important statement in relation to foreign affairs, the Prime Minister missed a great opportunity and, I suggest, overlooked the fact that the United Nations Charter is due for review this year. It is due for review ten years after its establishment, and I express my great disappointment that the Government has announced no policy for that review. As the greatest agency in the world to-day for the promotion of peace, we must look to the United Nations organization for the cessation of hostilities where they occur. We may give that organization credit for many things. We also have observed its workings and know that there are many difficulties in its organization, and in the way it conducts its affairs. I would expect the Government to regard the question of its policy as to the future of the United Nations organization as one of the major problems in external affairs this year. I repeat that all the Prime Minister has done is to affirm complete support in the structure and working of the United Nations organization as though there were nothing wrong with it and to adopt merely a helpless attitude to the veto in the Security Council. I think a far more practical approach should have been made to the problem by the Government on this great occasion.
What is the policy of the Government regarding the future behaviour of the United Nations organization? What does it propose should be done to cure the defects of that organization? They are questions that should be uppermost in the minds of the Government. Just as the United Nations organization was the first matter the Prime Minister mentioned, the question of its future ought to have been the second. I should like some Minister, on behalf of the Government, to tell the Senate personally just what is the policy of the Government in that matter. I suggest that the very first objective should be an attempt to secure some amelioration of the veto in the Security Council. To me it is no answer to say that Russia or any one of the five major powers might veto that very proposal, because it is true that already the great nations have reached a measure of agreement among themselves in relation to various matters, although the veto applies to almost everything that comes before the Security Council. They have agreed, for instance, that the veto should not be applied to procedural matters or to the placing of matters on an agenda. They have agreed also that it should not apply so as to forbid the discussion of items that have reached the agenda. Although that measure of agreement was reached eight years ago, there is no reason why that principle and area of agreement may not be extended. I say that it is the plain duty of the Government to move in that direction, and to announce that now to the people of Australia. Some success might be achieved in presenting the view put forward by Australia under a Labour government when the United Nations organization was formed. That was that the exercise of the veto should be restricted solely to the application of force by the United Nations or to the imposition of sanctions. If that could be done, a vast area would be left open without the operation of the veto, which has stultified procedure after procedure and settlement after settlement within the United Nations. Then the veto could not be exercised by any one of the great powers on any attempt at the peaceful settlement of a dispute under consideration by the United Nations. That ought to be the great objective.
– The veto cannot be used now on attempts for peace.
– It can, and has been applied repeatedly in the United Nations organization on every conceivable kind of matter. It may be applied to interrupt action for the peaceful settlement of disputes. I say emplatically that that is one area of United Nations activities that should be placed beyond the touch of the veto. I believe that that should be one of the first major points in the external affairs policy of Australia. It is true, too, that the Security Council, although it has the duty to make arrangements with member nations to make forces and facilities available to the United Nations organization, has never attempted to make an agreement with one single member country. What does Australia propose to do about that important matter? Does it propose to let it rest there, or will it press the Security Council of the United Nations to see that that is done? To use a popular phrase, will it ensure that the United Nations organization is given teeth and an opportunity for effective action? One of the great needs of the United Nations is a complete removal of the veto by any of the great nations upon the admission of new members. The United Nations is a world organization, yet membership of the United Nations is denied to many nations deserving of it. That refusal is in conflict with the title of the organization itself, because it is intended to bc a world organization. It cannot be classed as such when countries of importance arc not allowed to be members of it.
– Which nations have been left out?
– There are many of them. The nations not yet members include Portugal, Austria, China, Ireland and Italy. Altogether, there are thirteen or fourteen of them, and I think all honorable senators will agree that many of them ought to be admitted as members. It is true that many of them were kept out by the veto of one nation, but it is also true that many others were kept out by the Western powers in retaliation. They refrained from voting, and thus did not provide the necessary number to authorize their admittance. There have been cut-throat differences in the Security Council. It is a shame that the question of membership should be subject to the veto of any one power. I am now inviting the Australian Government to press that view. I hope that before the present debate closes the Government will address its mind to the problem that will face it at the next meeting of the United Nations, when the whole charter comes up for review.
As his second point, the Prime Minister made a plea for greater co-operation between the British Commonwealth of Nations and the United States. With that plea, I heartily concur. The future of the free world lies largely in the degree of co-operation between the United Kingdom and the United States. Those nations already share their knowledge of atomic power, they are the greatest industrial powers in the world, and to their aid can be brought great man-power and physical resources. Under this heading, the Prime Minister dealt with the situation in Formosa ; and a most explosive situation it is. But what does he propose to do in relation to it? If my memory serves me right, he suggested - and I agree with him - that there should be a peaceful approach to the question. I shall quote the right honorable gentleman’s own words -
Our attitude has been and is that the problem of Formosa ought to be resolved by peaceful means, and that it ought not to be resolved by arms.
He went on to say that the Australian view-point on the matter had been put, but that, at the moment, he was not prepared to disclose it. He thought it was a matter that should be kept private. There may be good reasons for that attitude, but it is most disappointing to all Australians not to know what is happening. On behalf of my party, I put the proposition that this problem ought to be referred immediately to the United Nations organization. If necessary, the Australian Government could initiate a move in that direction. Australia has previously, when a Labour government was in office, initiated a reference on a major dispute to the United Nations. On one occasion the United States joined with Australia, but the fact remains that Australia initiated the move. I suggest, for the consideration of the Government, that there ought to be that reference. Australia should press for a cease-fire and it should be directed not only to “ Red “ China but also to Chang Kai Shek, who is in control of Formosa, and to the United States. I think that Australia should press also for the setting up by the United Nations of a trusteeship, under the United Nations, for Formosa, with self-government for the people of that island - not domination from any source. That would be positive action, and I should like to hear the views of the Government in regard to the proposal. There seems to me to be no reason why the merits of such an approach should not be considered and debated. Is there any reason why Australia, even if it will not initiate such a move, should not ask other countries to move together in that matter? The Opposition submits that proposal for the consideration of the Government.
The Prime Minister, on the next page of his printed speech, dealt with the problems of the off-shore islands. Again, it was disappointing but, perhaps there was a reason for his statement. The right honorable gentleman said -
The “ off-shore islands “ present an even more difficult case. They are intensely difficult to defend. They are within artillery range of the mainland. They are defended by Chinese Nationalist troops. The United States has given no clear pledge to defend them as it has in the case of Formosa. But it has always made it clear that the defence of Formosa involves the defence of any zones or areas which would be used for an attack on Formosa.
The Prime Minister admitted that he did not know what would happen. His exact words were - “I do not profess to know what will happen in spite of all the discussions I have had “. One could understand that the United States, which, has intervened in that area, cannot very well disclose its policy in relation to those islands. Here again, the Opposition is somewhat sympathetic towards an attitude that is not prepared to be quite frank. It is, however, always interesting to try to satisfy people who are curious. The ‘Opposition and the people of Australia are curious ; they want to know what goes on in that area, and what the Australian Government proposes to do there.
– Does the honorable gentleman think that that curiosity is a sufficient justification for disclosure?
– No. But the Government should recognize the great and vital interest on the part of the people of Australia in Formosa and the off-shore islands. It should announce that as soon as possible it will take the people into its confidence and make a public announcement on the subject.
– That has already been done.
– On the 11th August I had an assurance from the Minister representing the Prime Minister in this chamber (Senator O’Sullivan), that the Prime Minister would make an early announcement about our commitments in Malaya, but it was April of this year before we heard anything officially on the subject. Incidentally, we read a great deal about it in the press for many months before it became known to us officially. However, I do not want to bp diverted to Malaya at the moment.
– We can understand that.
– I assure the honorable senator that I shall return to the subject of Malaya. Indeed, I shall do so now.
– Why does not the honorable gentleman state the views of the Opposition in relation to Formosa?
– I have already done so. If the honorable senator had been listening to me, he would know what I said. However, I shall repeat it for his benefit. I recommended the immediate reference of the matter to the United Nations. I said that the Government should press for a cease-fire, directed to the three parties concerned in the area. I also advocated a trusteeship for Formosa with self-government for its people, such trusteeship to be under the United Nations organization. I have now stated those proposals twice. Let me deal for a moment with Malaya. The Prime Minister has announced, at last, what is contemplated there. Apparently, he proposes to send Australian troops to Malaya. Again, I shall quote his words -
I have already publicly announced our decision to contribute to a strategic reserve to be stationed in Malaya, our contribution being two destroyers or frigates, an aircraft carrier on an annual visit, additional ships in an emergency; an infantry battalion, with supporting arms and reinforcements in Australia; a fighter air wing of two squadrons, a bomber wing of one squadron, and an air-field construction squadron.
He has also indicated that should a “ hot “ war break out in. the area Australia will be committed to something of the order of two further divisions. The Opposition desires to know, first, who requested Australia to send troops to Malaya, and by whose arrangement it was agreed to do so. A country does not send its troops into another country without prior discussion. The matter could not have been discussed with Malaya, because the people of Malaya do not govern the country. It appears clear that the matter was discussed with the Government of the United Kingdom. If so, why?
– I hope it was.
– Did the Australian Government receive a request for assistance from the United Kingdom Government, or was the request made by Australia ? It is important that we should know the answer to those questions.
– I want to know if there was such a request I repeat that no such request could have come from the Malayan people- Yet the Prime Minister said that Australia would send troops to Malaya. I repeat that I want to know why. Has the Australian Government asked for permission to send them, or has it been invited to do so? It is important that we should know how the matter arose. I do not mind if some one differs from my view, but I regard the matter as important.
– The honorable senator is interested in Britain’s attitude?
– Why should Britain make a request ? If it is said that Britain needs either military or financial help, I would say that I could not accept the second proposition, namely, that Britain is in financial difficulties, because I have read that the budget recently introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to grant taxation relief to the people of Great Britain amounting to about £200,000,000 per annum. I shall take a lot of convincing that financial pressure forced Great Britain to send to Australia for help. I shall also take some convincing that the United Kingdom needs physical help, in the light of the present conditions in Malaya. Let us look at the facts. There are about 5,000 terrorists or brigands causing trouble in Malaya.
– -They are Communist led.
– I agree. Arrayed against those terrorists are 50,000 British troops, and- 300,000 police, home guards and others, a total of about one-third of a million men. If the problem is the terrorist menace in. Malaya - I do not say that that is the whole problem - I can see no reason why the United Kingdom would seek assistance from Australia to deal with it. The Prime Minister is uncertain about whether these troops of ours who will go to Malaya will be used against the bandits. Surely the Government might have made up its mind about what it is going to do. When asked whether Australian troops would be used against terrorists or bandits in Malaya, the Prime Minister said that the matter would be considered. Apparently, it has not yet been considered by the Australian Government. If’ that is the position, why should we send troops to Malaya?
– Doe3 the honorable senator think that there is no risk of Communist infiltration and subversion ?
– I have stated the position as I see it. I want the Government to give the reason for ite decision. The Prime Minister ha3 not done so. As Leader of the Opposition, I am entitled to ask what they are going there for, and at whose invitation. I hope those questions will be answered. I realize that in that area there is a problem of Communist aggression or subversion with which one must be concerned. I also recognize that the force that we are about to send will be purely a token force. Nobody would expect great things from a force of the size that the Prime Minister intends- to send. A grave error has been made by the Australian Government in this matter - a very grave error.
– The Opposition supported the Manila treaty. This is a logical development of it.
– No. I thank the honorable senator for that reminder. If he will keep quiet for a moment, I will talk about Seato. The Opposition joined with the Government in supporting that treaty wholeheartedly. We recognized that if we wanted friends, we had to be prepared to help. We have entered into definite commitments with countries of Asia and with the United Kingdom and the United States of America, in a- very important regional treaty. But does anybody suggest that forces are to be sent to Malaya from Australia to-day pursuant to the Seato arrangements? They are being sent or committed to Malaya in advance even of any discussions by the Seato powers about the commitments that are to be accepted by them.
– The risks are there.
– Will ,the honorable senator listen to my point? Our troops are not to be sent to Malaya pursuant to any agreement entered into at Manila. That is obvious because reports appearing in the press suggest that the Seato military authorities should meet to determine the scope of the resources in man-power and armed forces that the various nations will be able to provide. I still want to know how we come to be going into Malaya and I say again that we are not going there pursuant to any contract we have made as a member of Seato. There has been a grave political error, apart from any other consideration. Not long ago, Mr. Malcolm McDonald pointed out, that, in the last ten years, all the countries that had been under subjugation in this area - all except Siam, wore colonized under imperial powers - had been freed, except British Borneo and Malaya. Mr. McDonald took the view, quite correctly, that there was a tide of nationalism that nothing could have stopped. He gave great praise to Great Britain for freeing India, Pakistan, Ceylon and Burma, to the Dutch in connexion with Indonesia, and to the Americans for their attitude to the Philippines. He pointed out that the granting of self-government to these peoples was the one factor that had stopped communism running riot in that area and he urged that Britain should press on with the granting of independence to Malaya.
– While there is Communist insurrection there, as the honorable senator himself admits?
– Let us recognize them for what they are. They are called terrorists and bandits. There is a group of 5,000 which, regardless of how many are killed, never seems to grow less. It seems to be hydra-headed communism. One must regard the activity of these 5,000 guerrillas, now deep in the jungle owing to the attacks that have been made upon them, as calling for police action rather than international action involving external troops.
Let us look at the whole Asian position. We have been in a very happy position with Asian countries. We have never been a colonial power in Asia. We are a homogeneous people in Asia with the Asians. They do not resent us. We have no racial problems within our continent. We are people of one kind. We have no racial conflict with Asians such as that which exists in South Africa. There is no real conflict between Australia and Asia. We are the one great link between Asia and the West. Asian people are friendly towards us and, I believe, we are friendly disposed towards them. Their students come to this country. A whole vista of trade, friendship, and intercourse with Asia opens up before this country. But we must recognize the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 1 of the declaration states -
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 21 provides -
We in Australia should develop a positive policy towards Asians. We should announce that we believe that they should be free; that they should be equal with us; that they are individuals like ourselves, each of the same importance to himself as each one of us is to himself. We must make it clear that we do not seek only to give lip service to that attitude towards
Asia. We must be really sincere about it because Asians will detect insincerity immediately. There is a vast basis for the establishment of friendly feeling between us and the Asian people, and I say again that this Government made a political mistake, a howler of the worst kind, when, under present-day conditions - and I emphasize those words - it decided to send Australian troops into a colonized area on the verge of getting its independence. Look at the propaganda that the Communists will be able to use against us! Australia a colonial power barging into Asia ! The Government is giving a powerful argument to the Communists and undoubtedly it will be used to the detriment of Australia. It is a great pity that such a position should arise.
– Does the honorable senator agree that Malaya should be defended ?
– It should be, unquestionably. We are already under both contractual and moral obligations to defend Malaya as a member of Seato should Malaya be attacked by violence or subversion. Anything I say about Malaya is not to be taken as indicating that I would throw overboard our obligations to the United Nations, to Seato, or under the Anzus pact.
– Let us worry about Australia being attacked, not Malaya.
– I shall take the Attorney-General up on that point, too. Let us imagine that Australia is going to be attacked and that Malaya is also under threat of attack as it no doubt would be. Supposing the enemy, whether it be China, Japan, or Russia, or any two or three of those powers in combination, made a feint attack at Malaya. Two divisions of Australian troops would be sent to help Malaya, but then the enemy might by-pass Malaya and come directly to Australia lest this country be used as a spring-board for a counter attack as was done in the last war. I put it to the Senate that it is stupid for the Australian Government to move Australian forces into Asia at this time. It is stupid for the Australian Government, in advance, to commit itself to send two divisions to Malaya should a “hot” war occur. The Government does not know what the circumstances in Malaya will be, and it does not know what the circumstances of a “ hot “ war will be.
– We have had men of the Royal Australian Air Force in Malaya for a long time, but honorable senators opposite have not protested against that.
– That is true, and I was horrified when I heard in a broadcast recently that they had gone into action for the first time against the terrorists. I thought it was a pity for Australia that it should happen. It can be used as propaganda against this country.
– Leave the defence of Malaya to Great Britain?
– No. If any honorable senator opposite will tell me why Australian forces are to go to Malaya I will be able to answer Senator Marriott. Did Great Britain ask us to go, or did we foolishly muscle our way in? Our great friend the United States is definitely not prepared to station troops in Malaya. It will not commit itself in Asia.
– Malaya is British territory.
– With all due respect to Great Britain, and all our thanks to the Homeland for what it has done in the past, it will not be able to help us very much in future in this area should war come. In such an eventuality Britain would be too heavily committed in other areas much nearer home, and we should have to do what we did in World War II., and look very largely to America. I 3ee no future for this country except with American support and backing in the Pacific. We must have it. I am one of those Australians who pay a great tribute to the United States of America for what it did in the last war, particularly in the Australian theatre, and I hope Americans would act similarly in future should the need arise.
– They will if we play our part in the cold war.
– I have no doubt about Australia playing its part in any war. I am not canvassing that. I am arguing the foolishness of this action by the Government which will mount .Asian opinion against us unnecessarily. To test the feeling of the Senate on the matter, at a later stage, one of my colleagues will move an amendment to the motion now before the chamber indicating our disapproval of the Government’s proposal that troops should be sent to Malaya now and that, in the event of war, Australia should be committed to send two divisions to that area.
I pass now to another subject in the hope that Government supporters will not be quite so disturbed by my remarks. I shall refer briefly to the Afro-Asian conference that recently took place in Bandung. I deplore the fact that although this conference was one of the most notable events in recent history, it was allowed to pass without one single comment upon it by the Prime Minister in his speech on foreign affairs last week. “Who will deny that the conference is not a major development in the world to-day ? Those nations, consisting mostly of coloured peoples, met together in conference for the first time, in a state of jubilation and excitement. Many of them are enjoying self-government for the first time in their history, and are begininng to feel their power ; yet the Prime Minister ignored the conference completely. The Government made a bad error in not seeking, first, to have representation at the conference as an Asian power. If it could not get that, it should have sought the right for Australians to be present as observers. Failing that, it could have invited most 01 the delegates to the conference to visit Australia as our guests. Because finally, in differences with other nations, as the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) stated in his recent book, Friends and Neighbours, we have got to get down to personal discussion. That is where it must end. It is completely silly differing from people and keeping at arm’s length from them. It is quite silly to not play speaks with nations. The only hope of reaching agreement or understanding is by meeting and talking over the problems. The Minister for External Affairs, in his chapter on Diplomacy in that book, makes the most eloquent plea for such discusions that I have ever read.
– The Minister has travelled widely in South-East Asian countries.
– I congratulate him. He is the better for that. Nobody has ever heard from me a criticism of any Minister for travelling abroad to widen his sphere of knowledge and widen Australian contacts.
– And promote good relationships.
– Yes, of course,, that is his job. I hope that more and more Australians will follow his lead. I am talking about non-official as well as. official visits in connexion with sport, art, literature and everything else. I think it is excellent that we spread our ideasand sit down and talk. There is nothing revolutionary in Labour’s proposal. It is plain common sense. There should be a great deal of talking with peoplein Asia. What kind of knowledge have honorable senators of the ambitions of people in South-East Asia? We have no contacts. We have to take so much on trust. In the end, whether for good or evil, it is the minds of individuals - probably very few men - which will makedecisions. The important thing is to keep our top-level men talking all the time. For that’ reason, I have never complained about the visits of Ministers abroad. I have encouraged them and approved them. I hope I shall continue to do that.
What happened at Bandung? There was very healthy difference of opinion. There was discussion, which was excellent. I favour that all the time. Some good came out of it in resolving nationality problems for Chinese in different parts of the world. An approach to the Formosa dispute, whether genuine or not, accepted or not, came out of the Bandung conference, and that is good. I hope that representatives of red China and of the United States will sit down and discuss the problem of Formosa and the offshore islands. There is always hope while people keep talking. When they stop talking, with their hands on triggers, guns are liable to go off. Great Britain did not hesitate to send toRussia a parliamentary delegation, under a Conservative member of Parliament, to learn aboutRussia. The important thing is for them to learn about us. Probably our very best advocates in SouthEast Asia today are the students who come over here. They do not feel any racial distinction when they come here. I have talked with many of them. What they complain about particularly is that when they qualify and go back to Malaya there is no place for men with their training and qualifications in the Public Service of that country. They want to play a part in the development of their country, and the one way that they can do it is to enter the Public Service of Malaya, but they cannot get in; British technicians are always appointed. That is a sore point with the Malayans in this country. I have seen it reported, and I believe it to be true, that of the whole Public Service of Malaya only 67 are Malayans.
– That is not true.
– If it is not true, I shall be interested to hear the facts. If it is true, it is unfortunate, because it was found necessary in India and other countries, for. the introduction of selfgovernment, to work the local inhabitants into the administration as speedily as possible.
– That has been done in Malaya, too.
– If the tempo is as has been suggested, I hope it will be rapidly increased.
– The Malayans have to be educated gradually to take hold of those jobs.
– I would not argue that it must be gradual, but the important thing is the tempo. If there is a real will to give self-government, it should be done very quickly.
– India has found it necessary to retain Britishers.
– In the limited time available to me now, I should like to refer, very briefly, to West New Guinea. Why should not an effort be made by the Australian Government to form a regional pact in that area between the Dutch, the Indonesians, and ourselves? We have common interests, and may be we have a common difference. But it is never going to be solved if we stand off from discussions and do not get together if we stay at arms length.Regional pacts are completely in accord with the policy of the United Nations. Let us seek a pact with the Dutch and the Indonesians. Let us establish a forum, where we can argue the matters that might arise in connexion with differences between us. Let us be bound by agreement to seek peaceful settlements of disputes. War, after all is said and done, should be the last resort. It is the last resort and probably the next war might be the last of everything.Rival nations, using nuclear weapons, atomic weapons, hydrogen bombs and the rest might well wipe out the earth. It is not fantastic to suggest that. The great thing to aim at is not so much important as it is the banning of atomic weapons and all the horrible weapons of destruction, but the banning of war itself. Never mind so much about banning one of the horrible instruments of war ; the great problem is to outlaw war in the world. I realize the difficulty of it because, from the earliest times, the old Cain and Abel conflict has gone on down the centuries between man and man, clan and clan, tribe and tribe, and nation and nation until eventually all mankind was involved. It is perhaps pessimistic to put it that way, but when one sees the threat of conflict running through history one realizes the magnitude of the task one has got when he seeks to halt war. The horrible thought is that man never learns. In the last 3,000 years, I think there have been 3,000 wars and about 2,000 revolutions, and we are going on towards bigger wars and bigger and better revolutions. Man is an animal which never really learns. The great problem at the moment is to address our minds to the utter outlawry of war. I should like to incorporate in Hansard a document containing Labour’s policy towards international affairs and world peace.
– Why not read it?
– I am glad to learn that the honorable senator wants to hear it. I have not the slightest objection to reading the document. It is in an abbreviated form, and covers about two pages. After listening to me for so long, I thought that some Government senators might wish to address the chamber. The document reads as follows: -
Having regard to the present state of international tension and the resulting threat to world peace, this conference declares as follows : -
Australia is, and must always remain, an integral part of the British Commonwealth of Nations as well as of the United Nations organization.
Co-operation with the United States in the Pacific is of crucial importance arid must be maintained and extended in accordance with the spirit of this declaration.
Australia must give greater practical support to the United Nations for the purpose of carrying out the principles of the United Nations’ Charter and in particular for their whole-hearted application in the Pacific and South-East Asia areas. These principles cover both collective action to repel military aggression and also - a factor which is usually forgotten - continuous action by way of conciliation and peaceful intervention for the purpose of preventing war and of bringing all armed conflict to an end.
The Australian Government has not sufficiently availed itself of the machinery of the United Nations. A convincing illustration of this is the case of Indo-China where the Federal Parliamentary Labour party consistently advocated intervention by the United Nations to stop the fighting and negotiate a just settlement. The Federal Government took no action in this regard and in the end - five years later - the Indo-China conflict had to be settled by negotiation. The result was a settlement which was infinitely worse than would have been the case had United Nations intervention taken place in a prompt and timely manner. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of precious lives were lost.
Indo-China is typical of those cases when inexcusable delay in recognizing a genuine Nationalist anti-colonial movement in A.si;i resulted in communism gradually capturing the Nationalist movement. The result was that democratic nationalism suffered a severe set back.
The Labour party advocates generous assistance by Australia to Asian peoples suffering from poverty, disease and lack of educational facilities. This is only part of our task. Asian peoples also demand - in accordance with the United Nations Charter - the end of colonialism whenever and wherever the people are fit for self-government. Even more, Asia rightly demands recognition of the dignity and self-respect of Asian nations and peoples. Unless all these principles are fully acknowledged, Western Nations will find it impossible to achieve that real co-operation with Asia which is basic to the maintenance of peace.
The Australian Labour party is satisfied that the use of Australian Armed Forces in
Malaya will gravely injure Australian relations with our Asian neighbours while in no way contributing to the prevention of aggression. The “geurilla” operations in Malaya ha vo lasted five years. They will eventually be ended by some form of agreement or amnesty Action towards this end should begin now.
Labour policy is to oppose the use of armed forces in Malaya.
This Conference is firmly of the opinion that there is a grossly inadequate understanding of Asian problems in Australia and of Australian problems in Asia. Therefore it establishes the policy of encouraging exchanges of official and unofficial visits between our countries. In particular, the Australian Labour movement itself should seek direct contact with Asian countries. In this connexion no Asian country should be excluded from such exchanges.
The Australian Labour party should sock the appointment of observers at the forthcoming Afric-Asian conference in Indonesia. Delegate? representing Labour should be arranged between the Federal’ Executive of the Australian Labour party and’ the Federal Parliamentary Labour party.
– That is why the Australian Labour party sent Dr. Burton.
– Dr. Burton did not go under the auspices of the Australian Labour party any more than he went under the auspices of the Government. The declaration continued as follows : -
Ki. Nations now awaiting admission to the United Nations include Austria, Bulgaria, Ceylon, China, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Korea, Libya, Portugal and Rumania.
– What about Spain?
– Spain may also be awaiting admission. My list is not exhaustive. The declaration continues -
On the one hand the admission of all applicants would not even disturb balance of opinion in the General Assembly. On the other hand, the admission of all these applicant nations to membership would be in accordance with the general nature of the United Nations as a genuine -world organization. Moreover, from a practical point of view, opening the door to membership would add greatly to the stature and strength of the organization as a truly representative world society.
Our defence depends upon the rapid development and peopling of Australia and its territories. The A.L.P. pledges itself to an adequate plan of national defence with special attention to the northern areas of Australia and its territories.
Mr. President, I am quite sure that the government supporters are now infinitely better informed. They will now have an opportunity of considering a live, progressive external affairs policy and I heartily commend it to them.
– I welcome the statement of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) that the survival of the nation is the basis of the Government’s policy and I welcome his agreement with that policy. But what he considers to be a difference of method is a difference of fundamental principle. I do not presume to judge the motives of anybody. I presume that the Opposition is approaching this matter with a genuine regard for the interests of the nation. But on the real matter before us, as distinct from the general principles on which we all agree,
I think that the Opposition is making the greatest mistake in the whole history of its existence. In its early days, the Australian Labour party was the Australian Nationalist party. Nobody can take that away from them. I remember well, during World War I., that in the height of the conflict the Labour party was returned to power because it had adopted such a firm policy with regard to compulsory training and with regard to naval and military defence. I remember the cartoons of the day which urged people not to swap horses while crossing a stream. The people deliberately changed horses crossing a stream. But in 191G came the great test. Labour split completely and it has never recovered from that disaster. Now, facing another crisis, when the Leader of the Opposition in another place and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate have the opportunity of putting Labour again where it should be, they are failing. The declaration of policy which the Leader of the Opposition has just read will be, I think, the death knell of the Opposition; because it is not a question of whether we co-operate with Great Britain or the United Nations or the United States of America or any other country. That is not for us to decide. It is settled. We can do nothing else unless we fold our hands and let the enemy walk over us. The fundamental question now is whether we shall throw overboard for ever the old fetish of no service outside Australia and proclaim for all time that Australia is in the team., whatever the consequences.
I wish to follow the whole speech of the Leader of the Opposition as closely as I can because I wish to do him full justice. The Prime Minister’s (Mr. Menzies) statement was necessarily a very generalized statement which did not contain all that the Prime Minister wanted to sa.y nor all that we wanted him to say. It had to be uttered with the knowledge that the whole world was listening and that one false word might commit Australia to such a degree that our whole future would be compromised. The Leader of the Opposition, in referring to the statement of the Prime Minister, did not give us the idea that he was discussing a statement that had been made in that light. He spoke as though he could pick it to pieces as he could pick to pieces the irresponsible speech of a back bencher. The Prime Minister’s statement must be considered in the light that he could not say anything that would commit us or our great allies. He had to consider how every syllable would he received in London and Washington. I am afraid that the Opposition has not approached the great’ debate in that light.
The words that were uttered by the Leader of the Opposition, as cautious as they were, will not be well received in London or Washington nor in other parts of the free world except insofar as he expressed those general principles with which we all agree. He suggested that one of the important objectives for the present was to alter the power of veto. Let us consider realities. It is not a problem of altering words. It is a problem of altering the hearts of the people who control the great Powers. The important factor about the veto is that it is exercised by Soviet Russia and we know that the people of Soviet Russia have no power whatever. The word that goes out as the word of Soviet Russia is the word of a dictator. Much as the dictatorship has seemed to be altered since the death of Stalin, the evidence now suggests that there is a more ruthless dictator in Russia than ever before. China is the great ally of Russia and China is an enigma. I hope that the latest gesture of Chou-En-lai is significant. But we do not know what it means at the moment. We only know the policy of Soviet Russia. The United Nations organization is an institution. It is a form, but the breath of life has not yet been breathed into it. As the Leader of the Opposition suggested, it can deal with all kinds of matters in a peaceful way, but the two measures that he seemed to brush aside - sanctions and force - are the two realities. Until the United Nations can determine when sanctions can be imposed and when force shall be employed it will not be anything approaching a world government or even an advisory council. The veto is the reality. The Powers that count are Great Britain, the European powers, the United States of America and Soviet
Russia. As long as Soviet Russia preserves the attitude that it has maintained ever since the United Nations organization came into its existence there will be two camps. Therefore we must examine the position of our own camp.
Whenever the question of what new nations should be admitted to the United Nations organization arises there is a division of the Powers into two camps. Soviet Russia will agree to the admission of no nation unless one of its allies is admitted. The Western Powers will agree to the admission of no nation if that will result in our being overshadowed by Soviet power. The Soviet will not agree to the admission of nations hostile to itself. That is the reality of the situation. We should do ail we can to change that state of affairs. We should have all the talks and conferences that offer possibility of improvement but that is the basic reality. The world is in two camps and we do nothing good for our country by pretending that it is not. .
I admit the correctness of the statement of the Leader of the Opposition that the United States of America is the greatest material power from which we may expect to receive support. We must consider the attitude of the people and the Government of the United States of America before we make any decisions ourselves. Public opinion in the United States of America is probably more flexible, more liable to influence and change than that of any other great nation. Within the last year considerable changes of opinion have taken place there. Since the beginning of the last war the changes of opinion in the United States of America have been enormous. From being isolationist, the United States of America became fully co-operative with the Western Powers. For a time, it was so strongly attached to Russia that it seemed blind to the dangers that could arise from that quarter. Then, in my opinion, it became a little too apprehensive of the dangers that threatened from Soviet Russia. Now, opinion seems to be veering away from that. We have to watch all those changes of opinion. Thus, merely to make a pronouncement to show our independence is absurd. We can state our attitude clearly and in a manly way, but we know perfectly well the conditions on which our decisions must be made. We shall deceive ourselves and the people of Australia if we pretend that they are anything else.
With regard to Formosa, the honorable senator regretted that the statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) was a trifle ambiguous and that it did not clearly say what we will do on every matter. The statements of the leaders of all nations are a little ambiguous, but on one thing there is no ambiguity - that Formosa will not be sacrificed to Red China. Formosa will be defended, but as to the means of defence, whether we hold this policy or that one, is a matter of detail. It is also a matter of constant consultation. There is nothing decided or definite about it. We would be. foolish if we said that we would defend or would not defend this particular off-shore island. We simply say that wo will co-operate with the people we trust, and that if it is necessary to defend a particular island for the defence of Formosa, well and good, but if it is to be defended for some other purpose, I do not think we will be a party to it. The honorable senator said that we should press for a cease-fire. How does he know that we are not doing that ? I think that communications are going on constantly, day by day, between us and the people of the United States and Great Britain, but to come out publicly and say “ Cease-fire “, if that would mean that the Americans could not defend the Formosans, would be utter foolishness. All that we can do about that is to decide whether we are going to slink away or whether we are going to co-operate with our great allies.
The thing that matters most, I think, in the whole statement of the Prime Minister is that we are committed to the defence of Malaya. The people of Malaya are not struggling to be free against a European colonial power. Today, there is only one great colonial power, and that is Soviet Russia. The people of Malaya are a mixture of races. In Singapore, the Malays comprise less than a quarter of the total inhabitants.
I think that 800,000 of the approximate population of 1,000,000 are Chinese, consisting of some old Chinese settlers and some new Chinese immigrants.
– The Malays are in a minority in their own country.
– They are. in addition to that, there are Ceylonese and Indians. The only way in which selfgovernment can come to Malaya is from the great power that is built up by Great Britain standing there and holding the ring. What are the powers in Asia today that have the greatest future and the greatest possibility for ordered, settled government? They are India, Pakistan, Ceylon and Burma. That is so because the British Government was there and because it built up a public service and a tradition of law and order, and because it stood firm against the outlaws. That is what Britain is doing in Malaya. There is no nationalist movement behind the bandits and the Communists whom we are going to fight or, at any rate, whom we are to be ready to fight. The national movement of Malaya is behind the orderly people who accept British rule for the present. Let there be no mistake about it. The whole tradition of the British Empire it quite clear. When the British promise self-government they give it. They gave it to us, to Canada, to New Zealand, to India, and to Pakistan. They have given it or are preparing to give it to every country that they have governed. In some cases, it has been given a little too soon, but the only chance for Malaya, or for any other country in Asia, is for it to have law and order held firmly until the people are ready to govern themselves. If we yield to the bandits and Communists there, we shall make it impossible for the people of Malaya ever to govern themselves, because the alternative is that the Communists will swoop down and take control.
With regard to being friendly with the people of Asia, how do we become friendly with other people? I suggest that it is by stating our own opinions, by being upright, and by fair dealing and not cringing to them. The suggestion made by the honorable senator simply amounted to this : That we should go to the Asians and say, “We are not like these other
Europeans. We are not the bad colonial boys. We will come in with you and be a part of Asia “. Does any honorable senator seriously think that we want to be a part of Asia? We do not. We are Europeans. We have the European tradition and we intend to maintain it. Honorable senators opposite are just as inflexible as we are regarding certain elements of our policy. In fact, in relation to our immigration policy I have heard it said by some members of the Opposition, in a highly provocative form in which it should not be said, that on general principles this remains a country where the traditions are European, where the people are, in the main, descended from Europeans, and. where we all stand as one man. We will not deceive the Asians if we go to them and say, “ We are not a colonial power. We want to come to your conference “. They know us, and are too sensible to read anything into that at all.
With regard to this Bandung conference, the statements made by the Prime Minister, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) and others representing the country were friendly. We sent a message saying “Hearty good wishes from your brethren in the south “. We could do no more, and we would be very foolish to go along gate-crashing, or standing at the door, as a couple of Australians did, to be snubbed. They did not want us. We knew perfectly well what their attitude was. They said, plainly, “ This is an association of Asians and Africans “. If those people want to unite for their purposes, they ‘have a perfect right to do so. We do not deny them that right, but we are not going to stand outside like beggars asking to be let in. We give them hearty good wishes and no more.
The honorable senator said that this action of the Government was not in accordance with the Manila treaty. Candidly, before I could dispute that, I would have to read the treaty again and look at all the details, but what does it matter? It is a part of the common defence against communism, and also a part of the defence of the free world. It is a committal to our allies to show that we do not intend to cringe and allow other people to defend us, but to defend our- selves. Whether it squares exactly with the Manila pact or some other minor pact which, after all, are only subsidiary pacts under the United Nations organization, does not matter one straw.
I wish to make a point about the general talk of war, the banning of war and the horrible weapons that face us now. I know that these are matters thai should be discussed in the proper place, but I do not think we do any good to the country by discussing them when the issue is a clear matter of policy. We cannot avoid war by saying how horrible it is. We cannot get rid of the most terrible weapons simply by saying “ Ban them”. As far as I can see, the possibility of these weapons being used will be there for the whole future of mankind. If Ave could get a world government that would ban them, and which would inspect every place where such weapons could be made, I believe even then there would be the danger of some little bandit power getting possession of something and using it to the disadvantage of law-abiding people. But at the moment, all that we can do is stand by the great organization of free nations - the British Commonwealth, the European powers, the United States, and the other free nations of the world. We can do nothing better. To say that we should ban the horror weapons and do nothing else is the surest way of bringing about war. I have heard the argument again and again that nothing must be done because war itself is so horrible that everything else is worse. That argument has always existed. Any one who has seen bloodshed or who has even looked on at one minor engagement in any war knows perfectly well that, to a person going to it from the decent life we live ordinarily, the impression is so horrible that, for a moment, he is inclined to say, “ Anything would be better than having this “. But that is not true. We know perfectly well that if men give way to the fear of death they give up all hope of a better life. We know, also, that progress only comes because people stand firm on certain principles and say, “ We are going to abide by those principle? whatever the consequences “.
We have to face the future. I doubt whether any one in this chamber will ever be quite clear of the horror of it.
We have to face a future in which these terrible things may happen, but we must not for a moment let the thought of them blind us or make us feel that we should give up our high hopes for the future. As I think I have stated before in this chamber, Talleyrand replied to the statement, “Let us abolish capital punishment “ by saying, “ Let the murderers begin “. That, I think, is the attitude we must take. If the aggressors who have tremendous might will not yield, and if they will not make a deal with us, we must retain all the most terrible weapons we have in order to deter them. I am quite, sure that if we stand firm and say, “We will not give way”, and if we say that we are ready to occupy positions any where in the free world - in actual practice, we know that that will be fairly dose to Australia - then I think we can a vert war.
Of course, honorable senators who belong to the Opposition are the best judges of their own policy, but I would say to them that there is nothing in the greatest traditions of the Australian Labour party that is against this proposal of the Government. I said earlier that, before World War I. Labour bad a magnificent foreign policy and a magnificent defence policy. I said, too, that those policies had declined, but after all, during the last war there was some recovery. The late John Curtin did send troops overseas, and the whole Labour movement approved of that. I think the Australian Labour party should stand committed, because of that precedent, to the sending of troops or other fighting forces overseas if it i3 necessary for our defence and that of the free nations and the members of the United Nations. I find in the policy enunciated to-night by the honorable senator an attempt to get back to the old days - may I say, to the old colonial days - when Australia was not a nation. Of course, we could sit back then and say, “ We do not need to send troops overseas unless there is a special emergency”. That period ended when H.M.S. Repulse was sunk off the coast of Malaya. It ended when the British Navy was no longer the invincible guardian of this country. For the future, we cannot bind ourselves by any limitations at all.
– Would the honorable senator conscript men to go overseas?
– The question of conscription has not arisen, and I never jump a hurdle until I come to it. But there is no such thing as limited liability when the defence of your country is concerned. Whatever is necessary for the defence of this country I am prepared to support. The essence of the whole statement is the commitment to defend Malaya which the two Houses of the Parliament and the nation will support. It puts behind us forever the old days when we thought we had only a limited liability. I am reminded of some lines of Kipling when I hear people mumbling about the things that they opposed at the Hobart conference. Kipling wrote in “ The Old Men ‘’-
We shall peek out and discuss and dissect, and evert and extrude to our mind, the flaccid tissues of long-dead issues offensive to God and mankind (precisely like vultures over an ox that the army has left behind ) .
Australia is now a nation in association with other free nations, and it cannot limit its liabilities. It cannot say that we will shrink back and let other people fight for us. We must defend this country as a heritage for our children. Wherever the demand comes, we must meet it. We are partners of the United States of America, the British Commonwealth of Nations and all the free nations of the world. We stand with them, as members of a team, and by approving of the Prime Minister’s statement we say unhesitatingly that we will never falter, we will never go back. We will go onward until there is no need for any kind of offensive action whatever.
– I feel extraordinarily humble after listening to the homily that a one-time member of the Australian Labour party has given to the Senate to-night. I was a member of the party in the days when Senator McCallum was a member also. I remember the fights just as well as he does, but I am still in the Australian Labour party and he is outside, fighting for all the things that the Australian Labour party fought against in those days and is still fighting. It is extraordinary that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), in the course of his speech, could not go into all the details of foreign affairs. He warned his listeners in the House of Representatives at that time about listening to other people’s statements. He told his listeners to remember that statements of policy were made by the head of a government or the head of a people. To-night, Senator McCallum has given us information about the policy and the creeds that the Prime Minister could not give us. Honorable senators have been warned, so they cannot take any notice of what Senator McCallum has said.
It is extraordinary to hear an honorable senator deliver a homily that goes back to some old principles that the Australian Labour party had to fight in the early days. Senator McCallum started by telling the Senate, not in precise words, but the meaning was clear, that Ave had to be specific and defend Australia in depth. He mentioned Malaya. If supporters of the Government propose to make Malaya the defence line, why not go to the North Pole ? Why pick Malaya?
– China is south of the North Pole.
– Why not pick China, then? Why go to Malaya? Senator McCallum said that we had to do everything to keep the esteem of the world and hold that line. What does he mean? He means that Australia must follow the example of other countries and conscript its men to send them out of the country. He amplified that statement by saying that a Labour Prime Minister in war-time, Mr. Curtin, did it to defend other places outside Australia. Mr. Curtin did so, only to defend a part of Australia. At that time we had a mandate over New Guinea, and Australian men were conscripted and sent there. New Guinea was part and parcel of Australia. Mr. Curtin did not conscript men to send them to Malaya, China or the North Pole. The whole text of Senator McCallum’s speech was that we have to have conscription in Australia to send our men to Malaya because it is feared that the required voluntary response for service will not be forthcoming. The Government will not get a voluntary response. The Army is short of men now’. The Government’s talk of sending Australians to defend Malaya, it is only a subterfuge. The Government is merely seeking to apply old principles.
Senator McCallum told the Senate what those principles were. He said that the Malayans could not be given selfgovernment unless a great power was watching that they did not go beyond some point that it had determined. That is the position in Australia to-day. We are supposed to have self-government in Australia, but is there self -govern ment in South Australia ? Eleven men rule South Australia. There is a dictatorship there of eleven members of the Legislative Council because the great mass of the people have not the right to vote for representation in that chamber. Supporters of the Government want to see the same principle applied in Malaya. Self-government has been established in Singapore, but to the astonishment of supporters of the Government, when an election was held there, a Labour government was returned to office. However, there are restrictions. The Labour Government in Singapore will not be able to do what it wants to do unless the great power in control (in this case, Great Britain) allows it to do so. A nominee chamber is the main factor in the Government of Singapore, just as it is in the Northern Territory. Some members are elected and some are nominated by the Government. The elected members cannot do anything without the consent of the nominees, and that means without the consent of the Government which is the controlling power. That is not self-government. That is what is happening in Singapore to-day.
Neither Great Britain, nor any other colonial power, has established selfgovernment in a colony without some pressure from the people who live in that area. The Americans gained selfgovernment for themselves by the War of Independence, and they formed the United States of America. Canada obtained selfgovernment because of disaffection. British dominions near Australia obtained self-government by pressure. The Australian colonies built up the Commonwealth of Australia by working for federation but, again, they had to obtain the consent of Great Britain before federation became an established fact. That is the position in Malaya. One honorable senator said there were about 800,000- Chinese in Malaya and only about 25 per cent, of the population were Malays. All the people of the United States are called Americans. They include Germans, Italians, Poles, Czechs and other nationalities. In recent times, Australia has had a tremendous influx of people who are not of British descent, but when they have been here a while, they become Australians. The same principle applies to Malaya. The Chinese went there, established their own businesses and gradually multiplied, and they are now Malayans. They do not want to go back to China. I believe from statements thai I have heard and read that the greatest agitation for self - government in Malaya is .coming from the Chinese.
– They are still Chinese citizens.
– If that is so, why should we worry about defending them at all? Why should we send Australian forces there to defend citizens of China? That is what the Government proposes to do. I do not believe the statement that Senator George Rankin has made, by way of interjection, is correct. There is an affinity between the Chinese and China wherever they live. 1 have a similar affinity to Ireland because, at some period, my family came from that country. There may be an affinity between the Chinese in Malaya arid China, but they are asking for selfgovernment for Malaya. Some young Malayans are receiving technical education in Australia under the Colombo plan. According, to a pamphlet issued by the Department of External Affairs, one of the ideas behind the Colombo plan is to train those people in self-government, but after they have returned to their own countries, they cannot get a job, particularly in the administration. In Australia there is a Malayan Association composed of students who are being educated here. They issue a journal from time to time and I have a copy of an issue that was published in 1954.
– Perhaps it was written, by Chou En-lai. «- m
– Surely the honorable senator is not trying to say that these people are Communists when they are being educated in Australia and taught our way of life ? Is he implying that simply because they speak their minds occasionally? This publication contains articles by Malayans and by other writers. They point out that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) addressed the Malayan students and said, in effect, “Let us know just what it is you require and we will see if it is possible for us to help you in any way”. What do we find? I shall read what some one in Malaya has written -
Under the proposed South-East Asian Treaty organization, Australia is going to send her three forces - Army, Navy and Air Force - to garrison Malaya. For this purpose, a £100,000,000 increase to the present £200,000,000 defence budget is now being considered.
Mr. R. Gr. Casey, Minister at External Affairs, in his contribution to our magazine last year, asked us to be frank and tell the Australians things we do not like. This sending of troops to Malaya is one of the things we do not like!
Why must Australia garrison Malayan Seato says to prevent Communist aggression. From within or from without, we ask? As far as we are concerned, we cannot see any outside danger. As for within, we see no danger from communism - we see only the oppression by foreign rulers, therefore we shout, we resist and we fight. This to you is communism, we regret
– What does Mr. Casey 3ay to that ?
– The writer of those words has accepted Mr. Casey’s proposal, and is pointing out the things that the people of Malaya do not like. The article goes on to say -
Another question is for how long will Australian troops garrison Malaya? At present, the Malayan people have little say even in their domestic affairs. We want this freedom, but the presence of foreign troops on our soil will not help in this matter. We are suspicious that they may even be used to suppress this very freedom which they are supposed to defend.
Wherever troops have been sent, they have been used to suppress freedom.
– The writer continues in the same strain, but I shall not read his remarks further. The publication, which is issued by a university group in Melbourne, is available to honorable senators. The article concludes with the words, “ Leave us alone “. I agree with the writer. If these people are left alone they will find a way to govern themselves. They have had many years of tuition under British administration, but, unfortunately, they have not yet reached the stage of being granted selfgovernment. The British administration still is in control. The people of Malaya know that, and want it changed.
– What has that to do with us ?
– That is what I want to know. Why are we to send troops to Malaya ? If the honorable senator sticks to his present opinion he will vote against sending troops to Malaya. He asks what this has to do with us. I know how he feels and how other military “ Johnnies “ feel about it. They are looking for a place to carve out a career. Fighting has ceased in Korea, so now they turn to Malaya as a place to achieve their ambition. The Government is making provision there for barracks where they can take their wives and families. That is the idea of the military people, but things will not work out that way.
– The Government’s action will help the “ Comms “.
– That aspect of the subject has already been dealt with by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) and I shall not repeat what he has said. I am greatly concerned about the situation in Malaya.
My thoughts bring me now to IndoChina. Are we to send troops abroad to defend the corrupt system that is in operation in Indo-China to-day? Are we to send troops there in order to make sure that the people will not be able to govern themselves and work out their own system of government? Are we to enforce on them, not freedom, but slavery, under the system that they are trying to get rid of? That is what is happening in IndoChina. The people there have been held in subjection for about five years by armed force. Are we to send our armed forces to protect the interests that are exploiting that country and other countries? It is wrong to do so. We should keep out. We should say to these people, “ If we can intercede for you in any way in order to bring about a peaceful settlement we shall do so “, but we should not send an armed force to impose on them something that they do not want. We are now told that China is an ally of Russia, and that, therefore, .China must not be recognized as a nation. Good heavens ! We recognize Russia and we trade with Russia, and indeed, we are trading in some way with China, although it may be through indirect channels. What is wrong with coming out into the open and trading with these people? Honorable senators opposite say that because China is allied with Russia its people are Communists. They are Chinese, and I do not think that many in this chamber know much about the Chinese people. China is a country which has been controlled by outside interests all my life, and during that period its people have been exploited by outsiders. From my reading of history I have learned that they were exploited centuries ago, but I take what I read in our history books with a grain of salt. One must do so. If we take the history of Great Britain we find the same thing. Many of the historical records presented to us are not accurate and must he taken with a grain of salt. The same is true of China, and we must adopt a similar attitude to what we are told about that country and its people. The things that we read, day by day, and from year to year, about the Chinese and the Russian people i3 only so much propaganda to make the people of Australia believe that they must do something to protect the interests of exploiting countries; and in saying that I do not confine the term to countries with colonial possessions. It is not merely a matter of colonialism. People can be exploited by the granting of concessions here and there by corrupt governments. That is true of countries like Persia. I was a member of the Senate during the period of the war of 1939-45. I remember that at that time many American journals were high in their praise of the Chinese people. They were then fighting against the Japanese, and so they were described as being a wonderful people. The United States authorities issued a series of booklets which they sent to their armed forces. All of the American “ G.Ps.” were supplied with those booklets, which were sent to them free. That official publication was issued so that America’s fighting men would know what their Chinese allies were doing. I have here one of these booklets, which refers to a Chinese “ G.I.” named Bing. The article tells how Chinese people hurled their bodies in front of the Japanese in order to delay the enemy, and so grant the Allies more time in which to act in their defence. The Chinese were splendid fellows then. Now, we suddenly find what nasty fellows they are, merely because they want selfgovernment without interefence by foreigners. Because they desire selfgovernment they are called Communists. I” would not care if they were described as Calithumpians If they want to govern themselves without my aid or that of any one else they should be allowed to do so. Indeed, that is one of the precepts of the Charter of the United Nations. Why should we say that we shall not recognize them? This same booklet contains a pictorial record showing some of the things that the Russian people did during the war. It contains references to the “ miracle of Moscow “. The record shows a great number of things that were done in the defence of Moscow, and how the people there turned the tide of the European war. By hurling their bodies against the enemy they defeated the greatest military power that this world has seen - the mighty German army. The invaders were turned back. The story is told in .this booklet issued by the Americans to members of their own fighting forces. Honorable senators opposite will argue that we cannot have anything to do with the Russians to-day because they are under a dictatorship. But they were under a dictatorship when they were our allies in World War II. They were under the great Stalin. Tributes to Stalin have been paid by some of the leaders of the free countries. Any man who loads his country must have a great mind and I believe that the tributes paid to Stalin were justified. Although he was a dictator, the men and women of Russia had no hestitation in coming from their homes to fight the enemy of their country. Russia lost many millions of soldiers in battle. If the Russians were good enough to fight on our side then, even although they were Communists, I see no reason why we should continue to pick on them to-day merely because we do not agree with their form of government. Although Australia is supposed to be a free country, any one who sees any good at all in Russia is liable to be termed a Communist sympathizer or a fellow traveller. The Russians have a right to govern themselves in their own way just as we have a right to choose our form of government. The people of Australia decided at the polls that Mr. Menzies should be the’ leader of this country, and I would certainly challenge the right of any outsider to come here and say, “ Your leader should not be Mr. Menzies but Dr. Evatt”.
Government supporters interjecting.
– That is the kind of behaviour that goes on all the time. Honorable senators opposite select an individual opponent and hammer out their propaganda about them. Then they are surprised when he beats them at their own game. That happens also in the international sphere. Our ears are filled with propaganda. We could well follow the example set by the British Government and send some members of this Parliament to other countries to see for themselves what is going on. Just because a person visits another country i t does not mean that he necessarily agrees with everything that is being done there. I do not necessarily side with the bosses when I inspect a workshop.. In fact, I have no hesitation in chiding the bosses if T do not agree with some of the practices that are being followed. But having seen what is going on I am in a far better position than I would otherwise be to discuss the problems that arise. In recent years, the people of Australia have been subjected to travel restrictions. We have been told that we cannot go here and cannot go there. Before one can go overseas one must have a passport. The mere fact that Hitler or some one else governed his country in that way does not mean that it is right. It is wrong, unquestionably. I am told that I am. free, yet I have to get the permission of a Minister before I can leave the country !
– A person1 may leave without a passport if he so desires. A passport is for his benefit.
– He cannot go to certain other countries without a passport or a permit. When I was overseas. I visited quite a number of countries, but I was not allowed to go to Russia or to East Germany. Why was that restriction imposed? It was imposed because, according to the propagandists, the people of those countries are “ coram os “ or something like that. But they are fighting for freedom to govern themselves in their own way. The mere fact that their form of government differs from ours does not entitle us to endeavour to force our way of life upon them. A free interchange of information between countries, and perhaps an exchange of students as is done under the Colombo plan, would enable us to learn more about how other people live, and would give us an opportunity to tell others of our method of government. If visitors to this country were satisfied that our system of government was better than theirs, they could go home and advocate a change if they so desired. But if other people do not like our form of government we should not force it on them. That is my view in relation to the sending of our military forces to Malaya. The Prime Minister made a very general statement and refrained from giving any details of his proposal, but Senator McCallum has told us, in effect, that we must conscript Australians to fight in Malaya. Already Australian troops are undergoing jungle training in this country. Is it intended to use them in the jungles of Malaya? Why should Australian forces fight in Malaya? Is it the intention to protect the interests of the Chinese business people in Malaya ? Is the intention to protect the interests of the big financial and industrial concerns that have money invested there? Nothing has been said about that in the Prime Minister’s speech. He did not mention conscription. But Senator McCallum has said that we must go all the way because that is the only solution.
It was regrettable indeed to find in the Prime Minister’s speech certain statements which can only be regarded as half truths. Surely no Prime Minister should stoop to that kind of thing. The right honorable gentleman mentioned Article 7 of the Charter of the United Nations which, he said, provided for the use of force. But the right honorable gentleman did not quote all of Article 7. He only quoted part of it. That was a very wrong thing to do. He did not refer either to clause 6 of the Charter, the substance of which is that the United Nations shall at all times seek by negotiation to prevent war. I have been advocating that all my life. I have always believed that armed conflict can be prevented by negotiation. I have found in the industrial field that as long as two parties can be kept talking in an effort to hammer out their difficulties, an upheaval can be prevented. It is only when negotiations break down completely that the real danger arises. Armed conflicts occur in the same way. If negotiations can be continued between two disputing factions resort to arms can be prevented. That is a fundamental principle of the United Nations Charter. Article 7 does provide that armed forces may be used, but only as a last resort, and after all avenues of negotiation have been exhausted.
What negotiations have we seen under the United Nations? There was no negotiation in connexion with Korea. The present Australian Government has not suggested negotiations to avoid armed conflict although we are in duty bound by the United Nations Charter to do our best to prevent war. In that respect this Government has fallen down on its job. Somebody may say, “ Labour was in office for a number of years; what did it do in this field?” The answer is that, between 1945 and 1949, the Chifley Government played a great part in negotiations to prevent armed conflict and some of those negotiations were very successful indeed. Further warfare was prevented in Indonesia and, from memory, also in Israel. Our then Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt) initiated discussions with a view to opening negotiations between the hostile nations, and in both cases agreement was reached. It is true that those agreements have not been honoured in their entirety, but at least the nations did come to some agreement. Nothing of that kind has been done since by this Government. Apparently the possibility of preventing warfare by negotiations has been lost sight of. This Government seems to favour a show of armed .strength. Its attitude is, “We cannot talk with those people until we have huge forces at our disposal, so that they may be compelled to see things our way”. I object to that attitude and I shall continue to object to it. When one belongs to an organization one is obliged to abide by its rules. We are a member of the United Nations and there is an obligation on us to observe the principles of the United Nations Charter. But our military might is being built up. It can be used as a threat against anybody. It is absolutely foolish to talk that way. There are nearly three times as many people outside the Western nations as there are in those nations. Let us consider the things that have been done and the things that have not been done. We have negotiated agreements, such as the Seato pact, providing for armed forces, and so have driven all the coloured peoples into other camps. There are millions more people in Asia and South-East Asia than in the Western countries. Before long, the Asian people will be able to do exactly as the Western people have done, if the necessity arises; that is, they will be able to arm themselves. They have all the necessary materials to do so. Indeed, we are getting the major portion of materials we need for arms from some of those countries. It is true that they lack the know-how, but they might be able to obtain that from Russia, with the assistance of some of the Mongolian States; if they do, Lord help the Western Nations! The proper way to go about this matter is to put into operation the Charter of the United Nations and, by negotiating war out of existence, prevent armed conflicts. It is remarkable that the people who played such a major part in the establishment of the United Nations are those who have the right of veto. Senator McCallum has referred to that fact. The right of veto has been exercised not only by Russia but also by other countries. Since the Menzies Government has been in office, no attempt has been made to get the “ Big Five “ powers together, despite the fact that the Charter of the United Nations provides for such meetings. If they were got together, they could discuss matters without using the veto and probably reach an agreement to prevent war. As a result of the propaganda that has been indulged in, there is suspicion from one end of the world to the other. One man will say of another, “ He is a Communist or a fellow-traveller”. The only way that I can see of overcoming the present state of affairs is to arrange a meeting of the “ Big Five “ powers of the United Nations to try to reach an agreement to prevent war in the future. The stationing here and there of armed forces will cause war, not stop it occurring. Down the ages, many armed conflicts have arisen as a result of establishing armed forces-, whether garrison troop3 or otherwise. It is time that the Menzies Government and its adherents forced the issue by negotiating to prevent war in the future.
– I shall begin on the note on which Senator O’Flaherty ended, by posing a question: How in the name of fortune can Australia, or any other country, bring .about a conference of the “ Big Five “ powers when -ons of those powers will not participate? Over the years attempts have been made to get Russia to attend such conferences, and to refrain from exercising its power of veto in the Security Council. I have never heard such nonsense as was spoken by Senator O’Flaherty. On each occasion that he has addressed the Senate since I have been a member, his hatred of Great Britain has been plainly evident. Why does r.c’ the honorable senator return to Ireland?
– I am an Australian.
– During the five years that I have been a member of the Senate, according to Senator O’Flaherty, everything that Great Britain has done has been wrong. I was very interested in the reasoned and interesting speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), but I did not agree with some of his contentions. Senator McCallum, also, made a reasoned speech. The Leader of the Opposition stated that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) had not said why Australian troops were going to Malaya. He did not believe that they were going there without the consent of the people of the Federated States of Malaya. I suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that it is a neighbourly act, akin to a man taking a hose to assist to quell the flames when a neighbour’s house catches fire.
Let us consider the history of Malaya. I shall ignore the days of the East Indian Company, when the Straits Settlements of Singapore, Malang and Malacca were formed, and commence with the position that existed in the 1870’s. Four southern States in the Malayan Peninsula asked for the protection of Great Britain, which was granted. About fifteen years later Johore, which was then a sultanate, was also granted protection. ‘ In 1895 the four northern States in Malaya, which were under the protectorate of Siam - now Thailand - asked if , they could join the union of what is now called the Federated Malay States. Things went along very nicely until Malaya was invaded by the Japanese during World War II. However, in 1946 - coming right up to date, the then Labour Government of Great Britain introduced something that was of the very essence of colonialism, to which Senator O’Flaherty has referred. Conditions were so bad that the Malayan people themselves requested their leaders to have another look at the arrangement. In 1948, after eighteen months of delay, there were introduced the articles now used by the Federated States of Malaya, under which there is a legislative system similar to the Australian system. There are legislative councils in each State, and a Federal Legislative Council, composed of fourteen official members. 50 elected or non-official members, and. a Speaker. Senator O’Flaherty said that the Legislative Councils merely reflected the moneyed powers of the federation. I do not agree with that, contention, because the fourteen nominated members could be easily out-voted voted by the 50 elected members. The Federal Legislative Council performs functions connected with defence, post? and telegraphs, foreign affairs, and other functions which are federal in character. The natural objective in Malaya, as in other countries that- we have looked after in the past, is eventual self-government. The area of the countries in the federation is about twice that of Tasmania. Over the years they have been working gradually towards self-government. In Malaya to-day, there are more than 4,200 government schools, 30,000 teachers, and more than 750,000 pupils. There are about 6,000 miles of well-made roads, compared with about 2,000 miles of wellmade roads in Tasmania. There are about 1,200 miles of railway in Malaya, compared with about 613 miles in Tasmania. On balance, Malaya is a little better off for roads and railways than is Tasmania. Provision is made in the education system for scholarships, tenable at Oxford and Cambridge universities. It is evident, therefore, that we are not trying to keep down the Malayans but are leading them towards selfgovernment; we are training them for it. The population of Malaya comprises about 2,500,000 Malays, 2,000,000 Chinese, 750,000 Indians, and about 10,000 Europeans. Senator O’Flaherty stated that Asian students who have studied in Australia under the Colombo plan are unable to gain appointments to the Public Service of Ms . It is true that there are not many . . /ailable in the Public Service of Maiaya, which may not be a very bad thing, but there arc other jobs available in the government service, for which they are fitted by reason of their training here.
The PEESIDENT.- Order ! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Australian National University Act - Statutes -
No. 16 - Board of Graduate Studies
Amendment No. 2. No. 17 - Academic Dress.
No. 18 - Convocation Amendment No. 3. No.- 1!) - University Bouse (Sale of Liquor).
Coal Industry Act - -Joint Coal Board - Seventh Annual Report, and AuditorGeneral’s report on accounts, for year 1953-54.
Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act - Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Board - Sixth Annual -Report, for year 1953-54.
Judiciary Act - Rule of Court, dated 23rd March, 1955 (Statutory Rules 1955, No. 25).
Lands Acquisition Act - Land, Ac, acquired for Department of Civil Aviation purposes - Essendon, Victoria.
Land disposed of under Section 63 - Return showing manner of disposal.
Norfolk Is’and Act - Ordinances - 1955 - No. 2 - Boarding-houses. No. 3 - Customs.
Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -
Civil Aviation - H. R. Sneazwell.
External Affairs - C. H. Ashwin, A. D. Campbell, A. F. Dingle, K. I. Gates, I. E. Nicholson, J. A. D. Piper. Supply - J. A, B. Cartinel, F. E. Ellis. Public Service Arbitration Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, Sx - 1954-
No. 44 - Repatriation Department Medical Officers’ Association.
Nos. 51 and 52 - Association of Officers of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization ,- and Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service. ‘
No. 53 - Amalgamated Engineering Union ; and Others.
No. 54 - Amalgamated Engineering Union; and Others.
No. 55 - Federated Ironworkers’ Association of Australia.
No. 56 - Amalgamated Engineering Union: and Others.
No. 57 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.
No. 58 - Commonwealth Legal Professional Officers’ Association.
No. 59 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association. 1955-^
No. 1 - Transport Workers’ Union of Australia. ‘
No. 2 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.
No. 4 - Transport Workers’ Union of Australia.
No. 5- - Postal Telecommunication Technicians’ Association, (Australia) .
No. 6 - Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service. No. 7 - Commonwealth Telephone and
Phonogram Officers’Association. No. 8 - Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginenien; and Others. No. 9 - Commonwealth Storemen and
Packers’ Union of Australia.
No. 10 - Australian Workers’ Union and Association of Railway Professional Officers of Australia. No. 1 1 - Commonwealth Public Service ‘
No. 12 - Amalgamated Engineering Union; and Others. Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Power Act - ‘Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority - Fifth Annual Report, for year 1953-54.
Wool Use Promotion Act - Australian Wool Bureau - First Annual Report, for year 1953-54.
Senate adjourned at 10.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 April 1955, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1955/19550427_senate_21_s5/>.