22nd Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 1 1 a.m., and read prayers.
– I address a question to .the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Will he ask the Minister whether the department can indicate the activities or industries from which those registered as unemployed by the department were dismissed, or in which they last ceased work? if that information is obtainable, will he make it available to the Senate? If it is not available, will he arrange for statistics of this kind to be kept in future and published? Will he convey my view to the Minister for Labour and National Service that such statistics may be of use in assessing the possible impact of a recent overseas trade agreement upon the Australian economy?
– I certainly will convey to my colleague the view that is expressed by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. I add to that the information that the Department of Labour and National Service believes that, from a close scrutiny of the unemployment benefit figures and the registration of vacancies figures it is able to define, not only the areas of trade but also the geographical districts where spots of unemployment occur. The department thinks, however, that it would be extremely difficult to produce statistics which it could make, as it were, public documents. It has the numbers unemployed in certain industries such as light engineering industries, heavy industries and so on, but this is not a comprehensive list covering all industries. I think the Leader of the Opposition can rest assured that the department has as close a touch with the situation as can be had. I say this without consultation with my colleague, but I shall ask him whether he holds the view of his department that it is difficult to make the figures public, and whether he will be prepared to refer to them in the comprehensive statements he makes each month, as he releases them. The honorable senator will admit that the important factor is not only the figures but also the interpretation placed upon them.
– Can the Minister for Shipping and Transport indicate what improvements and reconstructions to Commonwealth railways in South Australia are proceeding at the moment or are contemplated? Are any surveys contemplated in connexion with the conversion to standard gauge of any railways in that State? If there are, can he inform the Senate what they are?
– Commonwealth railway works currently being undertaken in South Australia include the ballasting of the new 4-ft. 8£-in. gauge line to Marree. The line reached Marree late in lune, but it is unballasted, and currently the work of ballasting the line is being pushed forward, in addition to that, maintenance and ballasting work in some cases will be performed on the narrow-gauge line between Marree and Alice Springs. Further, the line south from Marree to Hawker will be dismantled. Much of the material taken from that line will be used elsewhere. Any survey undertaken with a view to standardization would be on the South Australia line, I should imagine, between Broken Hill and Port Augusta, and that would be the responsibility of the South Australian Government. Over .a long period certain estimates of the cost .of completion of that line have been made. My understanding is that .those estimates have been based on the construction of a line to follow the track of the present line and that no complete survey has been made by the South Australian Railways Department. I am not aware that that department has it in mind to conduct a survey.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. Has the Minister appointed any military authority to take charge of our civil defence against atomic attack? If so, what progress has been made? Is it not a fact that Australia is well behind other countries in civil defence? What steps does the Government propose to take in all States in relation to civil defence against atomic attack?
– I shall inquire of my colleague, the Minister for Defence, and, if I am in a position to do so, I shall give an answer to the honorable senator.
– Has the Minister for National Development noted a statement by the New South Wales Minister for Housing, Mr. Landa, that New South Wales is burdened with the obligation to use 5 per cent, of its allocation of moneys under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement to provide accommodation for defence personnel and their families? Is it not a fact that this complaint is unreal, in view of the provision in the agreement for this purpose?
– The statement made by Mr. Landa, if it is correctly reported in the newspapers this morning, is quite unfair, because the arrangement is that, to the limit of 10 per cent., or 5 per cent, from each party, the amount of money expended by the State on providing houses for the defence forces is matched £1 for £1 by an advance from the Commonwealth Government. If Mr. Landa says that 5 per cent, of the housing allocation is for the defence forces, in truth his defence allocation has been increased by 5 per cent., because the Commonwealth provides another 5 per cent. I think it is rather a mean attitude to adopt, because members of the defence forces are citizens of New South Wales no less than are people who are not members of the forces. Members of the defence forces are just as much entitled as are employees of, say, the Postal Department or private business to fair arrangements in regard to State housing facilities, in respect of which the money is provided at concessional rates by the Commonwealth.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for National Development, relates to a very important report that was presented recently by a committee of the Australian Academy of Science on the condition of the high mountain catchments of New South Wales and Victoria. It deals with the serious erosion that is occurring in that area, in which the Commonwealth now has substantial financial commitments. An allocation of £18,000,000 is proposed for the next finan cial year, and the aggregation of commitments will be some hundreds of millions of pounds. With your permission, Mr. President, may I add that I think this matter is of such importance that it could well have been raised during a debate on a motion for the adjournment of the Senate, but in view of the imminence of the debate on the Appropriation Bill 1957-58 it might well be discussed on that occasion. I ask the Minister whether his attention has been directed to the report of that committee on the condition of the high mountain catchments of New South Wales and Victoria, which was published in May of this year. In view of the obvious concern of the distinguished scientists who made the report, the urgency of the problem, and the immense and accumulating investment of the Commonwealth in the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric project, will the Minister make a statement to the Senate, at its resumption, regarding the matters raised in the report, or seek an opportunity during the debate on the Appropriation Bill 1957-58 to give to honorable senators the views of the Government on the recommendation of the committee?
– The honorable senator has raised a matter which is of such importance and complexity that it is extraordinarily difficult for me to deal with it without notice. I have seen the report that was published by the Academy of Science. To me, it is the latest of a number of reports. I am the president of the River Murray Waters Commission, and that organization has made an investigation of these conditions. The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority has also made an investigation, and has its ideas. Each organization has advanced to the governments of New South Wales and Victoria the proposals that it thinks are best suited for coping with the situation. I should like to refrain from stating those proposals now, not on any ground of secrecy or reservation, but because they are important and I wish to be accurate. I promise the honorable senator that, when I have completed the agreement with the States regarding the Snowy Mountains project, I shall make a statement to the Senate on the question of erosion if in the opinion of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority it is desirable for that course to be followed.
– I ask the Minister representing the Treasurer the following questions: - What is the total amount of capital representing surplus revenue from investments or otherwise in the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve Trust Fund? What are the amounts of capital representing surplus revenue in other trust funds? ls it a fact that the cash proceeds, which totalled £93,205,000,’ of the £100,000,000 special cash and conversion loan that was raised in June, 1956, were subscribed by the Commonwealth from trust funds which represented surplus revenue provided by the taxpayers of Australia? Is it a fact that loans to the States for housing over the past two years have been provided from surplus revenue, and that the taxpayers are paying to the Commonwealth interest rates of from 3 per cent, to 4 per cent, on surplus revenue that they themselves have provided?
– The honorable senator has raised basic questions relating to Commonwealth and State financial arrangements. The trust fund to which he has referred is the basis of the method under which moneys that are obtained from taxation to maintain the works programmes of the States are segregated. The money is supplied to the States by the present Commonwealth Government from taxes to an unprecedented extent by contrast with the performances of past governments. If that money was not provided, the States’ works programmes could not be continued. As to the other trust funds and trust balances, a business of the size of the Commonwealth Government must, of necessity, have obligations under trust arrangements in various connexions. When money is specifically obtained for certain purposes, it must be placed in trust funds to ensure that the money is used in the manner that has been customary throughout the history of Australian government.
– My question to the Minister representing the Treasurer is related to the announcement in the budget that a tax of ls. a gallon on diesel fuel will be imposed on vehicles that use roads. Some of the large mines in Western Aus tralia have, in comparatively recent years, converted their ore transport systems to diesel vehicles. These vehicles are used to haul ore from the shafts to the treatment plants, which might be some miles distant. Some of those transport systems go across; private roads, but some also use public highways. Will the Minister inform the Senate whether, in those circumstances, the Government proposes to grant exemptions or rebates in respect of this tax? The amount of money involved in the case of some mining companies would be very large.
– The matter to which the honorable senator has referred comes within the province of the Department of Customs and Excise because that department will collect the revenue. The question raises a complex problem because it is in two parts. The honorable senator has referred to transport over private roads and public highways. Provision has not been made for any exemption from the proposed charge of ls. a gallon on diesel fuel when used for road haulage purposes. Cases where transport passes over private roads will have to be investigated further. I cannot give a definite answer offhand, but at present I do not think that diesel oil used in haulage of the kind to which the honorable senator has referred will be exempt from the charge.
– My question to the Minister for National Development is related to a statement in the AuditorGeneral’s report on the operations of the mica pool. Very little is known about this government activity. I have questioned other honorable senators and have been able to obtain very little information. Will the Minister give the Senate some information on the operations of the mica pool and the reasons for its establishment?
– I regret that I have not seen the Auditor-General’s report and dc not know what he stated in it about the mica pool. Briefly, the mica pool is an organization which buys and holds the stocks of the mica gougers. Most of them operate in the middle of central Australia, and they are unable to market the product of their activities. The pool has continued its activities from the war-time years when mica was needed for defence purposes. It is still wanted for defence:. This: pool, which* I! am sure was. established during, the war. years,, still: operates in order, that we: may- retain’, the. mica fields in. central Australia’, so- that the men will not desert thefields and thus> halo the mining of mica.
– I preface a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate by stating that the front page of a recent issue of the “Australian Peace Review “, which is the mouthpiece of the Australian Peace Council and is published in Melbourne; carries the headline- “ More Atomic Tests in Australia^ - They Must Be Stopped - Now!” The article- condemns the tests proposed to be held’ in Australia later this year. Can the Minister say whether or not the Australian Peace Council is equally insistent1 that such tests, including nuclear tests; which are regularly conducted- in the Union- of Soviet Socialist Republics, must also be discontinued?1 If he believes that the Australian Peace- Council1 is not so interested’ in the Russian tests, would be agree wim me’ that it would’ be highly desirable,, and at least, consistent, for the council1 to direct its campaign in that direction?’
– It is; rather remarkable, as has been indicated by. the honorable senator, that the peace movements, so-called, are- directing their attention to us instead, of to the. Communists, who are really the only people that are threatening the peace of the world!’ It is probably only the fact that we possess very satisfactory retaliatory weapons that is responsible for the state of. peace we have at present in the world. Were we not in a. position to retaliate effectively,, I. have no doubt that Communist, aggression would still rear its head* I agree with. Senator Pearson that it is. remarkable that these requests and’ petitions are made to us and to other peace-loving peoples of the free world rather than: to the disturbers- of the peace- of the’ world1 - the Communist bloc.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service’ inform- the Senate whether it would; be practicable to- arrange for a regular supply of statistics relating to unemployed immigrants at. immigration holding centres, who do not register for work in accordance with the normal procedure, in addition to the statistics that are at present furnished by the department in relation to unemployed persons who are registered for employment?
– I am- sure that the number involved would be so small that the work involved would not be justified;
– I preface a question to the Minister- for National Development by pointing, out that an article that- appeared frit the Western Australian press on 28th June, 1955, stated- that the Ord. River area would- one day be occupied by 20,000 people,, who would be supported by the sugar and. rice industries as well as- by a wide variety of other tropical crops that this fertile area would grow. Will the Minister inform the Senate whether he has received recently any official reports’ from the Kimberley Research Station; in relation to the progress that has been made in the production of rice and- sugar cane in the- Ord River area for commercial purposes?
– Both the Western Australian Government and the Commonwealth^ Government, which are- joint partners in the Kimberley Research Station, receive: reports, regularly. As the- honorable senator- is; interested in the matter, I shall send, him a copy of one of the recent reports.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing in this chamber the Minister for the Interior. It has been reported that the tenants of a three-story building known as Adelaide House, and situated at Adelaide and Wharf streets, Brisbane - some of whom are of twenty years’ standing - have been given one month’s notice, terminating on 30th September, to vacate the premises so that they may be- demolished and replaced by a Commonwealth building of eleven stories, to cost £1,500,000. In view of the difficulty of obtaining: other premises, does the Government realize the inadequate length of notice- which has been given? As tenders for the new building have apparently not yet been called; why is it so urgent that the tenants, of Adelaide House should be evicted? Will the Government consider extending the period of notice?
– This matter comes within the. orbit of my colleague, the: Minister for the Interior, whom I represent in this chamber. I do not think that the honorable senator is quite right in saying, that the tenants have received, very short notice. The Public Works Committee dealt with this matter two or three years ago, and the tenants have been fully aware of. what was happening: for a considerably, longer period than he has suggested. The committee recommended’ that the construction of the new. building be undertaken immediately because a. number of Commonwealth departments were occupying premises belonging to private enterprise, and to other non-Commonwealth. bodies. However, I shall ascertain the: facts relating to the tenancy and pass- them to the. honorable senator.
Senator- TOOHEY. - In view of the reply given by the Minister for. National Development to Senator Sandford’s question on. the. numbers of unemployed at migrant centres, are we to take it that he refuses to give the information sought?’
– It is not my habit to refuse to give information. I am afraid that I do not remember precisely what was asked. I regarded, the. question as somewhat frivolous and gave a somewhat frivolous answer.
– Will the Minister for Shipping and Transport give an assurance that before action is taken to construct a broad-gauge railway between Port Augusta and Broken Hill, as part of a scheme to connect the capital cities, the Senate will be given an opportunity to discuss the. matter?
– The honorable senator’s question dips somewhat- into the future. Cabinet is at present examining rail and other forms of transport, and. the link to which the honorable senator refers will certainly receive due consideration. The honorable senator will be aware that there is in existence, an agreement between, the Government of South Australia and the. Commonwealth Government relating to the conversion of railways in that State to. standard gauge. One of its terms is that the- order and timing, of any conversion works undertaken in the State shall be a» matter for agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the South) Australian Government. I cannot give’ the’ specific, assurance that the honorable senator seeks, but I shall, keep his request in. mind.
asked the Minister representing the Minister1 for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The Minister for Labour and National Service has supplied the following answers: -
Who has made any payments and in what circumstances have not yet been established.. The Australian Council of Trades Unions is conducting, some, investigations of. the part played. in this by the. maritime unions. I. am. continuing to follow this whole matter, closely.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Navy has supplied the following answer: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Primary Industry has supplied the following information: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The Minister for Health has now furnished the following reply: -
– On 28th August, Senator Anderson asked the following question: -
Will the Minister representing the Minister for Health inform the Senate whether it is a fact that poliomyelitis experts from the leading countries of the world, including Australia, the United Kingdom and European countries, North American countries, including the United States of America and the Soviet Union, met at a recent conference of the World Health Organization at Geneva? Is it a fact that those experts agreed that there is a new live-virus vaccine which can be taken by mouth and which may well eventually completely eliminate all virulent forms of poliomyelitis in a much more spectacular and dramatic manner than has the Salk vaccine which is a dead-virus vaccine? Will the Minister inform the Senate what action is being taken in Australia towards the development of this new type of live-virus vaccine?
I have now been furnished with the following reply: -
The World Health Organization Expert Committee on poliomyelitis which includes amongst its members representatives from the countries named by the honorable senator, met in Geneva during July this year and amongst other things, considered the development of an attenuated livevirus vaccine for the prevention of poliomyelitis.
Eminent virologists of world standing who were not present at the World Health Organization Committee meeting, have, at different times, expressed doubts as to the safety of such a vaccine. In tests so far conducted it has been reported that’ the virus has reverted to virulence after a few passages through man.
The World Health Organization Committee so far has done no more than recommend that the new vaccine be tested under the most stringent precautions. The Committee recommends that until its complete harmlessness is proved it should be given only to a limited number of selected groups of persons. Meantime, the properties of the strains of virus used should be studied in a number of different laboratories throughout the world.
The Commonwealth Serum Laboratories at present are busy with the production of Salk vaccine and it is not proposed to impede the rate of production of this vaccine by undertaking the study or production of an attenuated virus vaccine until and unless the value of such a vaccine is demonstrated to justify this course.
– On 28th August, Senator Wardlaw asked the following question: -
I direct a question to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. In view of the great number of new telephone services being installed daily throughout Australia, amounting to many thousands annually, and in view of the buoyancy of telephone revenue, will the Minister consider printing supplementary telephone lists in each State at six-monthly periods, dating from the annual issue, which is available for distribution in August each year? This will not only give an improved service to subscribers, but may result in considerable saving to the Department.
The Postmaster-General has now furnished me with the following information in reply: -
Although the Post Office has reviewed from time to time the question of issuing supplementary telephone lists, the conclusion has been reached on each occasion that any benefits which might be gained would not be justified by the substantial expenditure which would be incurred. Experience gained some years ago with supplementary lists, showed that the supplements were rarely consulted by telephone callers and that in many instances subscribers did not bother to retain them.
The main telephone directories in most overseas countries are issued once a year without supplements.
– I have to inform the Senate that I have received a letter from Senator Byrne resigning his position as a member of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee.
Motion (by Senator O’sullivan) - by leave - agreed to -
That Senator Byrne be discharged from further attendance on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances.
– I have to inform the Senate that I have received a letter from Senator McKenna nominating Senator Toohey to fill the vacancy on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances caused by the resign* tion of Senator Byrne.
Motion (by Senator O’sullivan) - by leave - agreed to -
That Senator Toohey, having been duly nominated in accordance with Standing Order No. 36a, be appointed to fill the vacancy now existing on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Paltridge) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to amend the Wine Grapes Charges Act 1929-1954 by increasing the maximum rates of levy on grapes delivered to wineries and distilleries. The levies or “ charges “ made on fresh and dried grapes used in the wine industry have applied since 1929 and are designed to finance the activities of the Australian Wine Board, that is, its administrative costs and contributions to research and trade promotion. The rates of levy are varied from time to time after consideration of reports or recommendations of the board.
The act at present provides for maximum levies of 10s. per ton on fresh .”grapes. Where dried grapes are used for distillation the rate of levy is 30s. per ton, that is, three times the rate on fresh grapes. ProVision is made in the act for regulations to prescribe rates below the maximum if lower rates are desired. However, the present operative ‘rates are at the maximum, namely, 10s. and 30s. per ton. Since the annual wine grape crop is about 150,000 tons, this ‘levy yields an annual revenue of around £75,000. The act was last amended in 1 954. when .the ‘maximum rate for fresh grapes .was raised from 5s. to 10s. per ton. At the same’ time the board was authorized to use its funds for publicity in the Australian domestic market -as well as overseas. Honorable senators may wish -to know why a further .’amendment is now necessary.
The facts are that the ‘board has found that its publicity activities in Australia and the United Kingdom are producing such good results that it wishes to extend them. Publicity is costly and as a result of light vintages in 1955 and 1956 adversely affecting the board’s income, together with increased commitments for publicity in the United Kingdom, the board was obliged to suspend its Australian publicity campaign in 1956 ‘for lack of funds. This gap in the programme caused considerableconcern in the industry and led to the board’s request to the Government for an amendment of the act to increase the maximum rate of levy.
The Australian Wine Board, which comprises leading representatives of both winemakers ‘and growers, is doing excellent work in trade -promotion and in building a high reputation for our wines and brandies. It is working closely with the newly formed Wine Research Institute and contributes to the funds of the institute. Wine-making in Australia is one of our oldest primary industries, lt has been estimated that the capital investment involved in vineyards and wineries is of the order of £70,000,000. The return to the industry from sales of wine and brandy exceeds £8,000,000 a year. Directly and indirectly many thousands of people, including returned servicemen, are dependent on grapegrowing and wine-making for their employment. tEhe charge imposed on wine grapes is, in effect, .a tax levied by the industry upon itself, for its own -welfare. The money is collected by the Commonwealth and handed over -to - the Australian Wine Board. The increase now .proposed in the maximum levy from 10s. to 15s. per ton on fresh grapes and from 30s. to 45s. per ton on dried grapes is supported by the Wine Board and also by the principal industry organizations, namely, the Federal Grapegrowers Council, the South Australian Cooperative Winemakers Association and the -Federal Viticultural Council of Australia.
The passage of this bill will -enable the board to recommend new levy rates to apply to the 1958 .grape crop and future crops, having in mind the publicity and other activities of the board in Australia and overseas. The new rate could ‘be the ‘maximum or any ‘figure -below the ‘maximum prescribed in the act. If the maximum rate should be decided upon, then, on a vintage of 150,000 tons, the amount collected by way of levy for Australian Wine Board purposes would be £112,500. After providing for its administrative costs the board would be free to use the balance of this money as it thought fit for any purpose calculated to improve the quality or promote the sale in Australia or elsewhere of wine and brandy. The amounts that would be allocated to sales promotional activities within Australia and overseas respectively would be a matter for the board to determine on its own judgment.
The proposal is fully supported by the Government as well as by the industry itself. I commend the bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Willesee) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator O’sullivan) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The main; purpose of the bill is to provide increased salaries to the holders of certain statutory offices as specified in the first schedule, namely, the- Auditor-General, Commonwealth Railways- Commissioner! the Commissioners of the Public Service Board, Public. Service Arbitrator, and Commissioner and Second Commissioner of Taxation. Provision is also made under section 182 of the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act for an increase in the bulk sum from which the salaries and’ expenses of chairmen and members of the taxation boards of review are provided.
Following a general increase in Public Service salaries, in December, 1954, the salaries of statutory. office-holders. were similarly increased as from 1st January, 1955, by Act No. 18 of 1955. As a result of subsequent arbitration, action involving appeal by the Public Service Board to the Commonwealth Court, of Conciliation and Arbitration against an award of the PublicService Arbitrator, a- substantial further increase in Public Service salaries was awarded by the court with retrospective effect to December, 1954.
The Government did not, at that, time, take steps to provide for equivalent increases in the salaries of statutory office-holders, and this has led to a shrinking of’ marginal salary, which the Government now considers should’ be restored with effect: from 1st July, 1957. The. increase, is. £500 in. each case. The additional provision under section 182 of the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act is designed, to cover increased- salaries and. travelling allowance for the chairmen, and members of taxation boards of review. The individual salary increase will be £750, and the new level of remuneration will be £4,500. per annum for the chairmen and £4,000 for the members. There are three chairmen and six members of these, boards. The second schedule lists the various acts which will be amended by this bill. h commend: the bill to the Senate.
Senator McKENNA (Tasmania - Leader has no. particular enthusiasm for the measure, but will not oppose it. We recognize that there is a necessity to preserve the margins of our top executives. We recognize, too, that it is essential to pay them well in order to prevent their defection to private industry, but we query whether, under proper government administration, there> should be a necessity for very substantial: increases of this kind on top of the much, higher ones that have been granted in recent years. Pursuant- to this measure, increases* of- £750 and £500 are to be granted- and-, made somewhat retrospective. It is an; indication; I suggest, of how miserably the Government has failed to control inflationin this country that the rises that have taken, place and those, that are now proposed should be necessary. However, I- have- indicated that it is., not the intention of the: Opposition to vote against the measure, and I do not propose to take up- the- time of the chamber, with further comment upon it.
, - I wish to refer to the terms of the bilL In the first place, I regret what I consider to be an irresponsible attitude on the part of the Opposition to the bill. The actual money involved is not great, but- the officesthat are referred to are. of great importance, not only intrinsically, but also as an- index-, of the trend in other high offices of the Public Service. One of the chief defects of the bill is that it. refers only to statutory.offices but does not, on the face of it, show that there goes step by step with it an executive act which raises the salaries of the holders of probably twice the number of offices that are referred to in the measure.
– I do not quite follow the honorable senator.
– I shall make the point quite clear. Through the infinite courtesy of the Public Service Board and of my leader, I have been furnished with a statement showing the salaries of- permanent, heads of Commonwealth* departments from’ 1st July, 1947, to 1st July, 1957.. With the concurrence of honorable senators;. L shall have the statement incorporated- in “ Hansard “. It is as- follows: -
lt must be remembered that, accompanying the increases for which statutory provision is made, there will be an increase for the secretary of the Department of Air from £4,500 to £5,000 and for the secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department from £5,500 to £6,000.
– Would they not be shown in the Estimates and budget-papers that were before the Senate earlier in the week?
– Yes. In my despairing struggle to understand that mountain of figures, my simple mind gets relief by isolating these significant increases into separate terms on a day other than that on which we consider the budget. If it is suggested by my very valued colleague, Senator Byrne, that everything that goes into the budget-papers receives adequate attention during the truncated budget procedures of this legislature, the outlook is dismal, because he has a much keener perception of the significance of these things than have most people. He has come from the recent attempt at the destruction of parliamentary government in Queensland, of which he was a victim, and that I say, with no lack of sympathy whatever, is a cruel reminder of the way in which the parliamentary authority that I am striving to maintain by my advocacy on this bill is being submerged, surrendered and betrayed.
The fact is that the Executive has decided to increase the salaries of a large number of important office-holders in addition to those for which provision is made in the bill. I have referred to the proposed increases for the secretary of the Department of Air and the secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department. All the other heads of departments are listed, and salary increases of £500 from £4,500 to £5,000 and from £5,500 to £6,000 are shown. In a state of liberal government, which, has as its fundamental creed the belief that the independence of the individual is best secured by the right of ownership of a modicum of private property and, against executive and parliamentary act, by the independence of judicial institutions, it is a sobering reminder that those people who, by virtue of executive act and pursuant to the terms of this bill if it is agreed to, will receive an increase from £4,000 to £5,000 a year will suffer a deduction of £505 from that £1,000 for income tax purposes. Those whose salaries rise from £5,000 to £6,000 will suffer a deduction for income tax purposes of £550.
It will be noted that, following the effect of inflation buoying the smaller brackets up into the shearing scales of income tax, which has been maintained steadily during a period of inflation, we are, in fact, offering an illusory increase of remuneration to men of responsibility. To do so is completely destructive, because proper remuneration to men of responsibility in private enterprise and in public office is one of the very things for which every member of the community, particularly the proletariat, should strive.
I am protesting against the waste that is involved in illusory increases of this sort which destroy, as they do, our economy vis-a-vis our trade with other countries. I say these things more in compassion than in anger; but the situation is that the AttorneyGeneral (Senator O’sullivan), who introduced the measure, and those who sit with him adopt an attitude towards it only of regret, because the fact is that all this stems from the control, over which the Government has no power, that is exercised by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission over wage levels. Because of the silly statistical system that is used to measure the cost of living, the thing went haywire between 1950 and 1953 without being arrested. The Public Service Arbitrator, who has been given jurisdiction over the field of service in which the Commonwealth Government has absolute, .unqualified power, has felt completely impotent to do anything but to follow in the wake of the arbitration machinery. It will be remembered that when -the arbitrator awarded the twoandahalf times margin to make allowance for skills within the Public Service, an appeal was .taken to -the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. .The .court reduced :the arbitrator’s allowance to bring the increases more -in line with the ideas of the Public Service Board. As an indication of what happened, in December, 1954, the Public Service Board fixed certain salaries .at £4,400 after the court had decided, following the appeal from the decision of the .arbitrator, that the office-holders concerned .should get £4,750. Under the decision of - the .arbitrator, they would have received about £5,500. I .mention these matters because they display the ineffectual attempt that. has been made to grapple with the situation, first by the Public Service Board, .and then :by the Government, which has authorized the introduction of this bill. What I am pointing out is that, not only:this Parliament but also this Government has lost control of these significant matters.
The next point I want to make is that this is ‘a particularly important factor affecting the mutual relationships between the -State services and the Commonwealth. If honorable -senators consider -an authority such as the -Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority, for which T have-had an abiding enthusiasm from its very inception, they .will .find there .salaries that .are >allied to those of .persons who .live .near .this extravagant .bakery and the Commonwealth budget and, therefore, get the best bread. The rates .paid simply make the salaries offered by the State electricity commissions look silly. ‘If we. compare salaries paid by the States with, those paid by .the Commonwealth, we find this .comparison of salaries paid to the.Solicitor-General in. each case -
I invite honorable senators to compare the salaries -.paid -to the -public service commissioners in the various States. They rs - -That is a -good indication of the relative salaries paid to the public service com- -missioner in each State. We propose to advance the salary df the chairman o’f the
Commonwealth Public Service .Board from £5,500 to £6;000. In my view, this disparity arises from the imbalance that exists between the revenues that are .available to the States and those that are arrogated to itself .by the Commonwealth Government, irrespective of its party complexion. .That is producing a disparity -of remuneration which, of course, will have its effect upon a sense of responsibility. Its effect is to dwarf and starve the State services and create an overwhelming growth in the Commonwealth Public -Service.
– Does not the honorable senator .think .that the ratio is fairly reasonable?
– I certainly do not. If I had the -time to go through other categories of the -Public Service, a similar trend would be found.
The next thing J want, to .say by way of criticism .of .this -bill ,is .not intended :to be an adverse reference to other officers. I am amazed that the. Auditor-General of the Commonwealth is classified for .a salary of only £5,000 when .the chairman of the Commonwealth Public Service Board is to be classified at £6,000. I regard .the Auditor-General as the special authority trusted by. the Parliament to .scrutinize and criticize all government accounts. .It is a tribute to the succession of AuditorsGeneral that we have had, at any -rate since I have been in* this chamber, independent criticism -stemming ‘from ‘the -pen of the Auditor-General year ‘by year. ‘On some occasions, ‘I have -noticed that -he -has reported certain matters for the sixteenth time - faint but pursuing. That we should permit this pseudo state df affairs to continue is a matter not for mirth “but for mellow introspection. However, the Auditor-General perseveres with independent criticism as is ‘his duty. That is- an independence that should be assured, not only by ‘security of tenure, but also by an emolument of office next only to the judiciary. I protest against a classification of the office of ‘the Auditor-General on that inferior status.
I want to say that it .is unfortunate that the bill presents to us the claims for members of ‘the taxation boards of review in the rather half-expressed way that it does. As I understand it, ian .increase is -to be made in a bloc vote. The provision is difficult ito find quickly with any exactitude because it is contained in -clause 3 (2.), which conveys the intention .to us innocently in [these words - (2.) ‘Section one hundred and eighty-two of the income Tax and Social ‘Services -Contribution -Assessment Act 1936-1956 is amended by omitting the ‘words “ Thirty-five thousand pounds “ and inserting in their stead the words “ Forty-three thousand pounds “.
The Minister’s second-reading speech explains that that means that the chairmen and .all members of the boards will be granted an increase of £750. I suppose that those two boards have impressed every section of the community with which they have .come in contact with their judicial independence .and their [complete competence. They are mot judicial ‘boards ‘in the strict sense, but they are so in their ‘factual performance -of ‘authority. 4 am amazed that officers discharging the responsibility imposed on ‘members of these boards are *o be remunerated at the ‘level of :£4,’500 at a time when ‘the ‘Chairman of the Public Service Board is :to :be advanced to £6,000.
As the Opposition ‘is .not opposing the measure, it is useless :for me to move the amendment I Should ;have ‘desired. My attitude could be .crystallized in the statement that -I believe that all the changes proposed ‘in the schedule of the bill, except those that relate -to the Auditor-General and the Commissioner of Taxation, should be .expunged. .As to the others, without singling :them out and without making a personal reference .of any kind, having regard to State levels -of salary, the cost structure -of the nation and the need for somebody to take -the responsibility to stabilize, not merely taxation concessions in ‘budgets “but also the .cost of government: I believe that the proposed increases are unwarranted.
.I had intended to express a .point of view on -the same lines as those voiced toy Senator Wright, but with a slightly different conclusion. I -have been concerned for a considerable time by the relative imbalance in the salary levels between Commonwealth public servants and those of the States. A bill of this character, which brings clearly before our consideration an increase in salary (levels of high executive officers, highlights the position which, in my opinion, is :now -developing ,in Australia, and could be -of very considerable and dangerous significance. A comparison between the to.p executives in .the Commonwealth Administration and similar .executives in the State administrations -does -not necessarily delineate ‘the ‘picture to .the best and .clearest effect. It is when ‘-you go down the line, and you see officers of the Commonwealth Public Service holding positions of .considerably less status and importance and involving the assumption of considerably less responsibility than officers in the State public administrations, but being paid the same or a .greater salary, that the real .position begins “to be disclosed.
We are living in a federation with a -new social order in which the intrusion of governments,, irrespective -of political complexion, .is .becoming .greater from year to year. Because of this .increased intrusion of governments into -the ordinary affairs and lives ,of .individuals, ,-the impact, .importance and effect of public ‘administration <is becoming increasingly great. If that is so, .the position will arise ‘in our ‘federation where the ‘States will no ‘longer be able to compete in .the auction for competent, efficient and skilled officers, and will be unable to obtain the necessary complement of competent and skilled public .administrators to keep them going.
Very .easily .the position .could .develop - I -think .it has developed .to-day - wher.e .the Commonwealth ,is .being swamped -by available ability, ‘with .the corresponding and consequent ^effect ,of a denuding ,of the State -public services ,OI -the ability which they should command, to a fair and. comparative .level, with <the central government. When, jas .a -young man, I joined ‘the Queensland Public Service, having passed the junior public examination, it was .a highly ^competitive field of entry. -Boys nominated for entry, and only those in the first 60, 70, or 100, had much chance of appointment. The chances of appointment of the remainder were very remote.
But, to-day, if we were to ask the secretary of a public service union, or a public service commissioner himself, about the position, we would be informed that the State public service is going down to the 500th or 600th applicant in order to obtain the complement of reasonably competent junior officers each year. I do not think that academic or examination qualifications are necessarily the best test of what a man’s capacity will be in any job, particularly in the Public Service, but that is the only test available, and I think we consider it is fair and reasonable. If that is the process which has been developed over the years, the standard of the State public services inevitably must fall, tremendously to the detriment of State administrations, and with a tremendous threat to our system of federation with independent sovereign States.
– Have increased functions necessitated the employment of greater numbers?
– I suppose that would be a factor. I should say that, if there was an intake of 70 boys twenty years ago, the number now required would not be 150. But the Public Service has not increased in that ratio. Where it was necessary to go down to position No. 70 in 1925, it is now necessary to go much lower.
– Would the honorable senator argue that because the States cannot pay their public servants enough, the Federal Government should bring its public servants back to the field?
– I am not arguing that; I am saying that a disparity is manifest in the levels of salary offered in State and Federal spheres. It is a very significant factor. I do not suggest that the Commonwealth rates of salary should be lowered, but I go back to the point that was made by Senator Wright, who drew his conclusion purely at the financial level, involving the financial relations between the Commonwealth and the States. If you are to preserve the States, you must also give them the sinews of preservation, whether by direct grants or for the purposes of government to enabling them efficiently to carry on and discharge the responsibilities which are imposed on and required of them by the Australian Constitution.
After all, the salaries which are offering in the Commonwealth sphere not only at the top level but, as I have said, much further down are much more attractive than those payable to occupants of highly responsible executive offices in the States. Other attractions that are available in the Commonwealth Public Service should also be kept in mind. For example, the Commonwealth Public Service superannuation scheme is very much more attractive than most State superannuation schemes, again mostly because of financial considerations. Furthermore, overseas appointments in the Department of Trade or the Department of External Affairs give young officers an opportunity to see the world. All these things are attractions which are not now available in the States to any appreciable extent, and such opportunities as do exist for State officers are becoming fewer each year.
I have had the opportunity of meeting many of the top administrators of the Commonwealth Public Service. They are men who have come from universities. They are highly qualified academically, and they definitely have particular skills and particular abilities, which are being adequately recognized and adequately remunerated in the Commonwealth Public Service. I know that an encouraging proportion of Queensland public servants is attending evening classes at universities at their own expense after normal working hours in order to qualify themselves academically in law, commerce and sometimes in science. A certain number is studying part time in agriculture and some aspects of engineering. Their services go into the general pool of ability that is available to State administrations, but I think the point which manifests itself in a bill of this character and the line of submission by Senator Wright bring acutely to our mind the disparity that is now developing, with all the consequences that could follow it, between the Commonwealth Public Service and the public services of the States.
Ultimately the position must come where governments, State or Federal, will assume more responsibility in the social field and will depend, therefore, to an increasing extent on the advice and support of their public administrators. The State governments will find themselves at a position of considerable technical disadvantage and will ultimately not be able to hold their place against the skilled and expert pressure of the Central Government. If it is the intent of the Commonwealth that we should have a central government and the gradual destruction of the States, then the process is being worked out. But if we decide to maintain federation, money must be made available from the tremendous financial resources of the Commonwealth to the States to enable them to maintain the standard of their public administration and so preserve in the only manner I can see possible the integrity of their sovereignty as was contemplated at federation.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator O’sullivan) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time. i This bill makes provision for the Governor-
General to determine the remuneration and allowances of the Commissioners of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. In the course of a general review of salaries and allowances the Government considered whether it should continue the present provision for increasing remuneration by amendment to the act, or follow the modern trend in legislation - for these matters to be determined by the Governor-General. It has been decided that the act should be amended so that the salaries and allowances shall be determined by the GovernorGeneral. This decision was made in the knowledge that - (1) it is a common procedure for the remuneration of members of similar bodies to be fixed or amended by the Executive; (2) remuneration is considered at the time of the Appropriation Bill, and from Parliament’s own point of view it is unnecessary to have to consider a. bill to amend the act for a change in remuneration; (3) it is a cumbersome and out-of-date method for Parliament to have to consider these questions’, and (4) the trend in legislation is to provide that remuneration will be fixed by the Governor-General. The exceptions dealt with in the Salaries (Statutory Offices) Adjustment Bill - the Auditor-General, the Commissioner of Taxation, the Public Service Board Commissioners and so on - are responsible to Parliament, and only Parliament can remove them from office, lt is, therefore, consistent that Parliament should fix their remuneration.
When the bill is amended the chairman and members of the Commission will receive remuneration increases in line with the increases approved for the holders of other statutory offices, including those covered by the preceding Bill. I commend the measure to the Senate.
– The Opposition offers no objection to the passage of the measure.
– I wish to address the Senate on this matter, and to invite the attention of honorable senators - irrespective of party - especially those from the smaller States of Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia to a number of considerations which I believe to be important. I was rather surprised that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), who comes from Tasmania, should allow the measure to pass without speaking to it. It was a very famous Tasmanian, the late Right Honorable Joseph Lyons, who translated into legislative form the principles embodied in the parent act which the Government now desires to amend.
The House of Representatives has transmitted this bill to us, and I feel that we should examine it very closely. The introduction of this legislation on 19th May, 1933, by Mr. Lyons as Prime Minister and Treasurer, produced a very interesting debate in which some famous men took part. Some of them, I am pleased to say, still grace this Parliament. Mr. Lyons was followed by Mr. Makin, the honorable member for Bonython, and then such men as the former Chief Justice, Sir John Latham, then Mr. Latham, Mr. Prowse of
Western Australia and the late Mr. Rosevear, who was formerly Speaker of the House of Representatives. I invite the attention of the Senate to the remarks of Mr. Lyons,, which are recorded at page 1570, Volume 1.3,9-, of: “Hansard”. said -
The measure is simple. It provides- that a commission o£ five members shall be set up which will conduct its investigations and make its reports entirely free from political or governmental interference.
The act. has. since been amended only twice. Its general, structure has never been amended. That is quite understandable; for this amazing commission has a record which is possibly unique in Australian history. It comprised non-judicial people, whose sincerity or skill has never really been questioned. The. chairman in 1933’ received £300 a year and each member £200, with an allowance of £5 5s. a day for time actually spent in deliberation. In 1951 those figures- were virtually, doubled, the chairman being given £600. and the members £400; and the allowance of the chairman and members being increased to £6 6s. and £5 5s. respectively.. Therefore, for well over a quarter of a century the commission has functioned with but slight alteration, and that only in regard to remuneration.
To-day, we have before, us a fundamental alteration which should not pass the: Senate; without receiving the deepest consideration. If the bill is passed,, the. remuneration of the commissioners will-, depend on-, the wishnot of Parliament but of- the. ministry of the day. It is. very wrong-, in principle for an authority that- is almost a judicial body to depend upon the ministry of the day for pay and- rations.. Mr. Lyons’s seemingly prophetic words - that the commis-sion would- be entirely, tree of political and governmental interference - will no longer apply. Parliament has controlled this aspect of the commission ever since it was created, but if the bill is passed it will do so no longer.
The Leader of the Government (Senator O’sullivan); has referred, to the remuneration of members of- similar; bodies, but no’ body is, similar to the commission. It was, I should imagine, first conceived away back in 19-1.2, when* the High Court denied; the validity, of the. Interstate Commission- and: it became necessary, to do. something- foc what we shall, call, the weaker States. It was the function of the Public Accounts Committee of the day - and at another time of specially appointed commissioners - to make recommendations. The: late Mr. Lyons, put the whole matter on. a firm, basis,, which has. remained firm until, the present - when this bill- has. been put before us. That is why I am stressing that it is- very important that this magnificent structure be not eroded by the: intrusion of the government of the day into the question of pay and allowances for the commissioners. I cannot stress that too much,. This is another attempt to filch power from- the Parliament by relegating it to the- ministry. It is of tremendous importance to- the financial integrity of the States, particularly South Australia,, Western Australia and Tasmania,, that there shall be no alteration of the structure of the act which created this commission.. That is why I am so surprised that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), who comes from Tasmania, is willing to allow this bill to go through without further examination.
– It does not interfere with the structure of the grants commission; it interferes only- with the wages to be paid to the commissioners.
– rt means that instead of the Parliament applying its mind to the. remuneration, of the- commissioners, that task is now in the hands of the. GovernorGeneral or the ministry of the day. I do not agree with that, whatever the political colour of the ministry concerned may be. Let us examine- more closely some of the: comments made by the Minister inexplaining the. bilk I have already- dealt with the first comment - that it is a1 common: procedure for the remuneration 0members of similar bodies to be fixed- or amended by the Executive.. There is- nc body in Australia similar to this commission charged,, as it is, with such, responsibilities.
– The Minister probably meant similarly appointed.
– The appointment of the- commission: is only one factor. Mr. Lyons, in- the- initial speech on this matter.,, emphasized- the importance of the commission being: entirely free- from political! or governmental interference: The next point made by the.- Minister was that remuneration! is considered, at the time of the: Appropriation! Bill’,, and- from.’ Parliament’s own point of view it is not necessary to- have to consider a. bill to. amend the act for achange in remuneration. I. will agree that, tucked away in the volumes of the Estimates that: will come before, us quite soon, there will be something about this commission, but by that time what is- proposed, for it will be an accomplished fact,, because, it is well known that, without- endangering the Government, the Parliament cannot alter a line or a figure of the Estimates. Thai is the position under our system of parliamentary government. Therefore, I think it, is right and. proper, that this important question of remuneration should’ continue to be dealt with by. legislation, as in thepast.
The third point the Minister made was that it is a cumbersome and out-of-date method for the Parliament, to have to consider these questions. 1 cannot see that in the past the Parliament has worked up any. sweat over this matter. Only one. amendment has been made, in 195.1, so it has not proved to-be cumbersome in the past. The. fourth point made, by the. Minister was: -
The trend! in: legislation is to provide that remuneration; will- be fixed by- the. Governor-General. The exceptions dealt with in. the. Salaries. (Status tory Offices) Adjustment Bill - the AuditorGeneral! the Commissioner of- Taxation and thePuBlic Service Board.’ Commissioners, and so on: - are- responsible tot Parliament; and- only Parlia<ment. can remove, them from office. lu is, there=fore, consistent that Parliament should fix their remuneration.
Why should we relegate these States-, grants, commissioners- to- a- lower stratum; when,, only a few minutes ago* we. dealt with, other- officers; oni the- top- stratum? 1 say that these, commissioners should not; berelegated to- a. lower stratum-.. I> think- thereis an’ analogy between- these commissioners: and one- of the officers- with whomwe dealt’ in’ the last. bill, namely,, thePublic Service- Arbitrator. The Parliament says that: his salary- must be. fixed by legislation. Surely these commissioners are. not less- important-, than the: Public- Service Arbitrator. They arbitrate im matters of finance between the- States and, the Com.monwealth. lt. is most important that these gentlemen who have served” us so faithfully on this commission shall not be treated, as if they were one whit lower in status, than the Public Service Arbitrator when- it comes to the method of fixing, remuneration.
So I ask the Senate to reject this bill and I ask. the Minister immediately to bring in a- further amendment to section 5, which, in black and white, in words and. figures which we can all read, will give effect to the very- fine sentiments expressed in the latter part of the Minister’s speech, when he. said: -
When the- bill- is amended) the chairman and. members, of the commission will receive remuneration, increases; in line, with the increases approved for the holders of other statutory- offices, including those covered by the preceding bill.
By. all. means, carry, out the commendableidea of remunerating these men in line, withthose other- people, but let it be.- done by this Parliament, of which, the Senate is a most: important part, rather than by a ministry, at the’ other end: of . the. passage. Let if be: done. by. this- Parliament. In this Parliament are 30 senators from the three States affected, whereas at the other, end of. the - passage there are possibly not more than four or. five: Ministers from< those* States. We- owe. iti to- the States that” this’ Parliament- shall deal: with; the salaries - of the members of this important commission: I- regret’ that- 1’ cannot support’ the bill awd that V must vote against it-.
,. - It. is a Happy moment for me to> find such a: lead given to; the: Senate: by. Senator. Laught! on a principle- which I- believe- tobe of: fundamental: importance- to. the Parliament. I think iti is a> cause for. great misery on the: part! of Liberal, party members’ of the Senate that: they have: had preseated! to- them this- bill. The importanceof) this’ commission; should’ nob be - assessed” on the- basis; that: the: commissioners are only part-time officers- The– nature, quality audi importance’ of their, functions should determine; the- security with which we. surround’ them:
The observation about the Public Service Arbitrator is most telling, It. is because’ of the quasi-judiciaL nature of’ his functions that we do not permit him. to be accessible to either the kicks or the kisses of1 the Executive. We do not permit a glass of wine taken late, at night with some Minister to be the means of an. arrangement something^ like this: ‘“Don’t you think these fellows ought to get a. bit of an increase?”.. “Yes, Joe.” “What are you doing, about it? “, and so on. All things that are done by executive arrangement are open to abuse unless the Parliament insists that executive acts be presented to it for its scrutiny.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– I submit that this bill involves a constitutional principle of special importance to the Senate. It has to be remembered that when the Commonwealth Grants Commission was set up it had the very important function of adjusting financial relations as between the less populous and the more populous States. The establishment of the commission was the sequel to twenty years’ dissatisfaction because these matters had been adjusted from year to year on no particular principle. As Senator Laught said this morning, the appointment of the commission was due to the fact that Mr. Lyons, who was then Prime Minister, had a particular dislike for the way in which the smaller States were becoming impoverished. He had experience of that when he was Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928. He was able to bring his particular ability to bear upon the matter and he introduced a bill to regularize an institution and import into our Constitution an agency - the Commonwealth Grants Commission - whose function it was to adjust each year the financial relations as between the States. It was not a function of the commission to adjust industrial disputes as between the public servants and their employers nor to adjust industrial disputes as between employer and employee. I mention those two matters because the Public Service Arbitrator and the Conciliation Commissioners have their independence secured in that their salary is fixed by act of Parliament, not by the Executive Council. This Commonwealth Grants Commission had the very important responsibility of adjusting the finances of, and the equity of finance, as between the States.
We should realize that this commission had to approach the task of formulating principles, as it has done to the entire satisfaction of both sides of politics, not only before uniform taxation but also during the unprecedented experience of uniform taxation. It behoves us, then, to give some time to reflection upon the unique importance of the duties this commission discharges in recommending, as it does, the adjustment of governmental expenditure for the purpose of giving to the smaller States those subventions which are necessary to maintain them as fit and proper economic units of a partnership federation. The mere fact that they are part-time commissioners does not detract from the need for surrounding them with the independence that is necessary.
In a federal sphere, when an agency appointed by a government has to undertake the responsibility of recommending adjustments of governmental finance, it is particularly important to isolate the members, during their term of office, from such influence as might at all times be exerted by changes in remuneration. It is obvious that men are motivated by self-interest, whether they be members of governments, members of commissions, or mere men. Ever since the dawn of parliamentary government, it has been recognized, therefore, as one of the contributions to the independence of those agencies, that the remuneration of their members be guaranteed by act of Parliament. Then, any decision made by the Executive Council is subject to the fresh air of debate. That debate occurs not only in one House of Parliament, because one has now for a long time, according to constitutional convention, developed into simply a supporter of the government, and the executive act has to pass the scrutiny of two houses of parliament. The Senate is specially constituted so as to give all the States equal representation in it. Inasmuch as this grants commission is the arbitrator as between the States and the Commonwealth at a time of crisis in Federal-State financial relations, and inasmuch as this Senate has a peculiar responsibility to watch, too, the balance of equities as between the States and the Commonwealth, it seems to me that this is a unique occasion for the Senate to alert itself to the significance of this measure and take a thoughtful decision on whether the fixation of the salaries, travelling expenses and remuneration of the members of this commission should become the subject of executive decision.
The commission, as I think Senator Laught suggested briefly in passing this morning, has its genesis, as it were, in the ashes of a safeguard which was written into the Constitution. I refer to the Interstate Commission. It is simply a political accident that that commission never worked according to the true intention of the Constitution. The extension of a commission such as that is receiving the consideration of people both in Parliament and outside it at this very time, because many of the maladjustments that occurred between the States and the Commonwealth may probably have stemmed from the fact that this Interstate Commission never functioned. Its duty was to supervise the federal legislation to see that there was no undue, unreasonable or unjust discrimination between any States in relation to railways or interstate commerce. One has only to mention road transport and the almost pathetic display of lack of statesmanship in that field over the last six or seven years as an instance of a sphere in which such an agency as the Interstate Commission may have worked most fruitfully.
It was written into the Constitution that the Interstate Commission should be appointed by the Governor-General, and that it should hold office for seven years, and section 103 (3.) provided that its members should receive such remuneration as Parliament might fix. It would be an insult to the people who so thoughtfully compiled that Constitution to suggest that they did not regard that provision as a fundamental guarantee of the independence of that commission, which was designed to adjust between States the equities arising out of interstate trade. But the Commonwealth Grants Commission has the responsibility for moving in matters of finance, at a time when finance is one of the overwhelming problems militating against the development of this Commonwealth.
So one can pass on to an examination of the reasons which the Minister has presented to persuade us to pass the bill. I ask the Senate to give one statement by the Minister most anxious consideration as a reflection on its constitutional outlook. If the Senate accepts his proposition, it will write itself off and become an agency of complete futility, which has surrendered the birthright given it by the Constitution. The first reason, according to the Minister, why the Senate should leave to the Executive the fixing of these salaries and why it should not maintain the Parliament’s right to fix them, is -
It is a common procedure for the remuneration of members of similar bodies to be fixed or amended by the Executive.
I should like the Minister to say what he had in mind when he referred to “ similar bodies “. I would suggest that in a federation this body is almost unique. It has no parallel in Australia. I should like to know what bodies in the constitutional set-up are referred to in the first of this series of apologies for reasons. The second reason advanced by the Minister was -
Remuneration is considered at the time of the Appropriation Bill and from Parliament’s own point of view it is unnecessary to have to consider a bill to amend the act for a change in remuneration.
The framers of the Constitution wished to establish an effective and purposeful Senate, so by section 55 of the Constitution the House of Representatives was prohibited from tacking to taxation legislation obnoxious provisions, which, isolated as a separate act of parliament, would be rejected by the Upper House. As an inevitable growth of responsible government, an Upper House that takes its duties seriously hesitates, even though it disagrees with particular items in a finance bill, to reject the whole bill. Realists that we are, we preserve the parliamentary institutions which are the fundamental feature that distinguishes the free world from the unfree world.
– In addition, it may be a bill that the Senate is not able to amend.
– Quite so. I am coming to that. The Upper House exercises the greatest restraint as to rejection of the whole of an appropriation bill. Therefore, the Constitution prohibits the tacking of obnoxious provisions to such a bill. I am obliged to Senator Byrne again for reminding me that we can amend only bills which do not appropriate moneys for the ordinary annual services of the Government. This item might well come within that category, in which case we would not have the constitutional power to amend, so that, if we wished to disagree, rejection of the whole of the appropriation bill would be involved. Mr. Chairman - or, rather, Mr. President, although you should be called “ Mr. Chairman “ if this bill went through - fancy any Minister suggesting that I have, while the appropriation bill is under consideration by the Parliament, an opportunity of voicing disagreement with a measure of this sort, which is equal, in effect, to the opportunity which we have to-day! The third apology is -
It is a cumbersome and out-of-date method for Parliament to have to consider these questions.
I do not think a Minister penned this phrase. Let us be quite frank about it. It is, most probably, .from the pen of a public servant. That is what the Parliament is coming to. We are told that it is a cumbersome and out-of-date .method for the Parliament to have to consider this remuneration. If so, the criticism applies equally to the fixing of the salaries and emoluments of ‘the other independent agencies of . government, for the independence of some of -whom civil war was fought. The independence df the judiciary in most British countries is based :upon the very fact that removal is required to be assented to by both Houses of Parliament. We have - thank God and our foundation fathers! - an additional safeguard in this country. An effort recently to undermine it in the appeal to the Privy Council in the Boilermakers’ case was ineffectual, ‘I 5am thankful to say. Then we have other agencies, such as the AuditorGeneral and the arbitration commissioners, who have to discharge independent, critical functions, as you, Mr. President, and I do as a matter of duty; if we have faith in this chamber as a place where the people who voted for us -may have -their -views expressed. .It .is -suggested that, to occupy ourselves, as I hope we shall, for two or three hours in the “discussion of this bill - it was ‘thought that it might occupy us for only three or four minutes - is :a cumbersome and out-of-date ‘method of “reminding ourselves and - if the press still has any effect - the country of ‘the principles that are enshrined in parliamentary government. It. is of no use to develop atomic armaments to defend ourselves from: the unfree world, if we surrender the inherent parliamentary rights by which our people .are represented here.
We are told, fourthly -
The trend in legislation is to provide that remuneration ‘will be fixed by the GovernorGeneral.
It is only about 25 years since Lord Hewart, then the Lord Chief Justice of England, referred to this trend. ‘Even then, when it was simply :a matter ‘of stepping down from an act of parliament to a regulation, he referred to it as “ the new despotism “. -Professor :Keaton,. in his book “ The Passing of Parliament which was written in 1953, 1954 or 1955 - certainly recently- points out how it is possible for a disaffected -executive to assume office and, if there is only one -house -of parliament, to pass an act giving to it absolute legislative powers and so overturn .the constitution by an echo of .constitutional means, which Moscow aims to do by revolution.
We are guardians of <these ‘inherited, traditional privileges and, speaking ‘particularly for myself, we are deeply affronted by a statement that the legislative trend is ‘to :provide that remuneration shall be fixed by the ‘Governor-General. “I am reminded of the ^expression facilis decensu Averno - easy is the descent :to Hell. The .’first, step downwards was from :act ;of parliament to regulation. Each ,House of the Parliament maintained, with a spirit appropriate to it, the right to disallow a regulation. But the next device .is not regulation but determination, which needs no publication in the “ Commonwealth Gazette””, which is not subject to the vote df .either House on the question df disallowance, and which becomes operative simply by Executive Council minute. I understand that the Executive Council may be constituted by a meeting of two “Ministers and a secretary.
If .that is the status we are prepared to -accord to the Commonwealth Grants Commission, and if we are willing to put it in the position of being an unimportant functionary of the Executive Council, I deplore the-future-.of this. federation. As at present constituted, the ‘Grants -Commission has been the arbitrator whose recommendations have been accepted by every government since it was originally formed. It has evolved a system of principle which it has steadfastly maintained against all government pressures, including not only executives .in Canberra but also executives in .the State capitals. It has done a work over .a period df years which, for a sense .of responsibility from the viewpoint of fiscal insight and appreciation of .the .purpose of federation, has been tremendously creditable.
I ask the Senate, with its peculiar responsibility to .represent .the States and their proper State interests, not to allow the members of this interstate commission to have their salaries .fixed simply by the Commonwealth executive of the day, whatever its complexion may be.
-I,too,find myself inconsiderable difficultyin regardtothisbill. It isbecause of that difficulty thatI inform theSenate that I cannot cast a silent vote. To do so would not befairtothe Attorney-General (Senator O’Sullivan), who has introduced themeasure, to theGovernment,or to the people who have sent me to this place . I ask theMinister not to push the bill through to-day, becauseIwantan opportunity, whichI have not had thusfar, to sort out my own views on the matter. If the bill must be passed to-day,I must vote against themotionforthesecondreading. Imust dothatbecauseof the difficulty which I have on a matter of principle.
Ihavelistened very carefully to what has been said by earlier speakers who have outlined the circumstances surrounding the work of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, and I agree with most of their comments.The matter of principle which exercises my mind at themoment goes beyond the matter as it affects the Grants Commission which, as has been said,was constitutedtoperform a specialized task. I donotattack the measuresimply because itis perhaps ofimportance tothethree smallerStates, inrelationto which much argument hasbeen advanced. That argument,of course, is quite valid.
I express my sincere regret at the fact that the Minister, in introducing the measure, , has seenfit tojustify it because of what he describes as the modern trend in such matters. If this is themodern trend in relation to such matters, then, aswith a lot of other modern trends,I am oldfashioned enough to believe that we should not slavishly follow it. It is saidthat to do otherwiseis a cumbersome andout-of-date method for proceeding inthese matters,I ask:What is cumbersome about the procedure wehaveso oftenfollowed inthe past of introducing a bill tofix salaries, remuneration andother matters dealing with specificpersons?Usually, the Executive makes up its own mindasto what would befairtreatment for such people and submits its recommendation, in the form of a bill, to the Parliament. Iwould be thelast to delay the passage of such a measure, and I think we all wouldgive it a speedypassage if it were a good piece of legislation.
I do not wish to takeup the time of the Senate unduly, but I dowish toraisethe principle of vesting theauthority to do thesethings simply in the Executive which, asSenator Wright pointed out, so often is constituted by a handfulof persons. Why should not the Government introduce specific measures to deal with these matters? Why should we be asked to waive our rights asmembers ofthe Parliament to examine the salaries and conditionsthat are proposed for any setof people who are doing specific work? It is all very well to say that these matters are before the Parliament when the Appropriation Bill is being considered;but, as Senator Wright again pointed out, I think quite adequately, what opportunityhasthe Senate to amend or to disagree with any specific item, such as the one which is now before us, when we are consideringthe Appropriation Bill?
At the moment, I cannot accept the Government’s approach to this matter, and Iask that we be given further time to consider it. Irepeat that at present Ifeel sostronglyaboutthe matter, as one of principle, that I must vote against the motion for the second reading if it is put at thisstage. I do not like matters that should be properly considered and voted upon by honorable senators to be left in the hands of the Executive without the Senate having an opportunity to discuss them, let aloneto vote against them.
Senator Dame ANNABELLE RANKIN (Queensland) [2.44]. -I propose to discuss the bill, but ask forleave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Debate resumed from 4th September (videpage 141.), on motion by Senator Spooner -
That the bill benowread a second time.
SenatorKENNELLY (Victoria) [2.-45].- The Opposition supports the bill. We are pleasedthat atlastthe position of the national service trainee who is anapprentice is to receive consideration. Theprovisions ofthismeasuremeanthatthenational servicetrainee in such circumstanceswill notlosethe time that hespendsundergoing trainingin camp.It willbecredited tohim automaticallyattheend of hisservice.
I am pleased that the Government has introduced the bill. It was thought that the position had been covered by section 19 of the National Service Act 1957 but apparently it had not. After consultation between the Australian Council of Trades Unions and the Department of Labour and National Service, an agreement was reached. It is reflected in this bill. There is only one other body of trainees whom I would like the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) to consider during the parliamentary recess. I refer to young lads who attend commercial classes at technical and other schools at night.
The Government has arranged now to meet the needs of two classes of young men. In this bill, the Government has provided for apprentices. It has already met the needs of university students as is shown by a list of the dates of training camps that the department was good enough to supply to me to-day. The two last camps for 1957 are to extend from 8th July to 23rd September, and 2nd October to 21st December. In the first part of next year, the first camp will start on 20th January and finish on 7th April. The second camp will begin on 28th April and finish on 14th July.
That arrangement will fit in with the needs of the university students as they are permitted to go into camp at a certain time. Their camp will be held between 1st January and 24th March. The university term will begin on 17th March, so that the most time the university students can miss on national service training is one week. If that is the week when they act the fool in the streets of Melbourne they will not miss much of their education.
I am concerned with the position of other young men. I have some personal knowledge of one case which I shall cite in order to illustrate my point. A young man who is very dear to me lost two years of his studies because of his military training. I agree that he should do his training just as every one else does, but his experience upset me greatly. He went into camp when the training extended over three months. Therefore, he had to give one year away more or less. When he came out of camp, he had to do training at nights. The officer in charge of the unit was good enough to allow his men to agree among themselves, by a majority vote, on which night they would train. The lad to whom I have referred was a bit unlucky because they picked a night on which he had to go to school. That meant that he missed two years of his night schooling.
Many youths who are attending technical schools and classes in accountancy, business administration and commercial subjects generally are in a difficult position. Their terms for the second half of 1957 are: From 27th May to 31st August, and from 9th September to 19th December. In 1958, their terms will be from 10th February to 17th May, and from 26th May to 30th August. I am not asking for special treatment for these lads or for relief from training even under the selective system. I agree that they benefit physically and learn discipline during their military training, and it is good for them in this modern age to be subject to discipline.
I suggest, however, that, as long as the Department of Labour and National Service is satisfied that the lads are attending schools, they should be permitted to defer their training until they have completed their education. I have considered the dates for the camps and for the school terms, and ascertained that these boys cannot fit into the arrangements without a loss of eight weeks’ schooling. I do not believe that any government or any honorable senator wants to penalize these young fellows who will become excellent citizens. They have to learn the hard way by working all day and attending classes at night. We want skilled persons in Australia. A person who is skilled in a trade or profession is much more useful to the nation than is an unskilled person.
I am not asking that these young men be relieved of their training. They might be lucky in the ballot, but I shall not go into that. The Government has made provision for every one else. The university students will not lose more than one week and the needs of the apprentices have been met. Only one class of young men will suffer a disability. I ask that at least consideration be given to this matter, so that these boys will not lose eight weeks’ schooling while they are in camp. I suggest that, on production of a report from the school he is attending, the studies of a lad whose name is pulled out of the ballot - he is forced by law to register - ought to be suspended until the completion of his course, even if that takes three or four years. I realize that it is too late for this matter to be remedied in this bill, but I should like to receive an assurance from the Minister that he will take up with the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) the question of removing the cause of the grievance to which I have referred.
, - in reply - As I understood Senator Kennelly, he made a plea on behalf of those lads whose progress is marked very largely by the passing of examinations at various -stages. An apprentice has to reach a certain stage of proficiency; the efficiency of a university student is measured almost -entirely by the examinations he passes; and certain students do additional technical courses. Without having detailed knowledge of the subject, I think that there was considerable merit in the case that was made out by the honorable senator. This bill protects the position of the apprentice in that the time he spends in camp is taken as being part of the period of his indenture.
The next point made by the honorable -senator was that events are so arranged for university students that they enter camp for national service training during the vacations, that is, at a time when they will not miss lectures. Therefore, if a university student subsequently fails in his examinations, he cannot claim that his failure was due to his absence from lectures through being in camp.
The third category, I believe, deserves at the very least as much sympathetic consideration as the other two, because the lads in that category are going over the track the hard way. I refer to those lads who are pursuing technical college or other trade courses. If a technical student misses lectures because he is in camp, his chances of passing the examination at the end of the year are to that extent weakened. I cannot give an answer to a proposition like that. I imagine that it must have received consideration in some way or another. I can only give an assurance that T will have a talk with the Minister about it.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed (vide page 176).
– This bill is probably not regarded as being as important as other bills that we have discussed during the last few days, but to me any industry which in some way or other will build up overseas credits for Australia is one which is of some importance - in fact, a great deal of importance - because it is trite to say that the great weakness of Australia’s trade position is the fact that it is confined to a few commodities. When we exclude wool, we get really alarmed regarding the few industries the products of which can be sold on overseas markets. Some of our large secondary industries are open to criticism because, despite the help that they received in the early days of their struggles, they are to-day not putting back sufficient into the country that helped them so much.
Coming to the matter of wine, and looking through the reports over the last few years, I think such matters as the trends in the export of wine, the rise and fall in the home consumption rate, the amount taken out of bond in the London market, and the way we can compete not only on the Canadian market but on the London market become almost confusing. This is very difficult to determine from reading the reports that have been published. I feel that a great deal more explanation and clarification could be put into the Australian Wine Board’s reports. It is only natural when you get a senior officer reporting on a subordinate officer; I have suffered from this in the past, and can appreciate the position. You can read more in a report from London than in the chairman’s reports to the Minister. Let me balance that statement by saying at least a word of praise for the publicity in London. I think I have produced a hardy annual, in criticizing the Wine Board, since I first directed my attention to this matter about 1950. Looking at the board’s report for 1952-53, I find this comment -
Recommendations have been made to the in-> dustry that certain alterations of our marketing methods should be considered, and these are now under consideration.
Of course, we know that the mills of God grind slowly, and I thought that was long enough when I read it, but I notice that in the latest report- that for 195.5-56 - we seem to be getting, some value for our money spent on the London market. I refer to- the- report’ from London- of Mr:. Mackay,, the overseas representative of- the Wine. Board; hu which he gives some details. He points out that at. least, the board has moved out into.- a lar.gen area of. publicity. In one of the licensed, stores- where: a wine-tasting’ display was provided;. and where people could leave, their orders, the; sales of: Australian wine amounted to: £900: during the. ten days of the tasting display. This was. more than the store had, previously sold in< a year. It is* the: first case in which I have been,able to trace whether or not there has been a direct response to this type of advertising. I pay full. tribute to those who haveworked hard te achieve that success, and Ihope that’ if will continue.
The- 1952 report - another that I have been unable to follow through to any con. elusion - contains a complaint concerning the disadvantageous rates operating against the wine trade in London because* of thedifferential treatment afforded by Gatt. I- would like the Minister to say whether it was possible to do- anything about this matter in- the recent amendments to Gatt.
The report, dealing, with the decline in trade in both the United Kingdom, and- on the home market,, had this to say -
This fall. in. trade, cannot, be attributed, to any decline in quality of our, products, but results-, from economic factors beyond the control of the industry..
My impression Kas always been that where; because of Higher excise rates, there is a decrease in the home consumption of beer, there is a greater demand for wine. 1 have always thought that; in this land of free enterprise, one man’s loss was another man’s gain, and that this would’ have been, a matter, not for complaint, but for- exploitation, by the Australian Wine Board. As tha Minister can. see,. Lam.searching. after know.ledge, for it is very hard to, follow these reports through to their logical conclusion-, and I shall be very grateful if he can say. why the wine industry did not. benefit in the: way I have suggested.
The- question of the duty imposed overseas is a hardy annual in these reports. Successive Ministers have tried’ to- Have it reduced; but’ no one has ever explained whySouth African: wines, though subject to the same, amount: of duty, leave us- for dead,, if I. may. use a graphic phrase, in- the* London1 market: In London one always: finds- that South African wines- are readily obtainable; but’ often when, one asks- for Australian wines, people appear never tohave heard” of them. I realize that animport duty of about 40s. a gallon issevere but; I repeat, it applies to the South African product also.- Sometimes we are told- that South Africa takes advantage of cheaper labour.
– Is there- much differences between- the prices1 of. South- African and Australian- wines?
-. - I understand that quite apart from the matter of better advertising, there is a substantial difference in price also. I think that, by distributing, wines through fewer importers, South Africa obtained a quicker and better result than did. Australia-. On the other, hand, a survey of the. Canadian, market reveals that, there we compete very successfully with. the. South. African, product-. Perhaps, the Minister, can explain. why this is-so. The important point about, the Canadian market is- that there France seems to be overhauling us rapidly, but an examination of her exports to London reveal that she is not such a serious competitor on the English market. I am somewhat bewildered by the lack of comment on the reports, and as. to the reasons for all these things.. In the 1953-54 report, Mr. Hardy, the. chairman of the Australian Wine Board, made this comment -
The high quality of all. wines, and: brandy for export has been maintained, as indicated by reports received from the board’s inspectors, regarding? the - quality; of all samples examined by them-.
That is a very comforting observation, but when one turns to- the1 statement of Mr. C R. Mackay, the overseas representative of the Australian’ Wine- Board, one finds that he makes three main suggestions, the second of which is: that’ we- should ship special consignments of High quality wines in order to foster prestige: That would seem to suggest that- Mr. MacKay feels that, if we are to compete on the London market, we should” send away Better quality wines.
I am interested in another, matter, on which I commented some time ago, but which later- I’ noticed, or thought, was covered by regulations. If- 1 remember- correctly, a few years ago< we- were marketing our wines under about 500 different brands; and reticulating them through about 200 importers. In 1 954, under Statutory Rule No. 88, a rather elaborate set of regulations was brought down, No. 5 of which read -
The export of wine isprohibited -
except by licensees; . . .
I assumed that that was an attempt to limit the number of exporters and ensure that our wine, brandy and sherry would not get a bad name as a result of inferior shipments. I cannot find anything in the reports to indicate to what degree those regulations were successful or, indeed, applied. I welcomed them at the time, and I should be very interested to know now whether they had any beneficial result.
The reports refer frequently to inspectors examining export wines. I ask the Minister: What is the extent of the power of inspectors? I notice that they existed before the1954 regulations, and werenot appointed by them. Do the inspectors look for an improvement in our wines? Have they the power to recommend to the board that certain wines arenot of sufficiently high standard to warrant their being exported, or do they constitute merely a sort of advisory body which keeps tag on the type and quality of wines shipped abroad?
I do not oppose the bill because, as the Minister has truly pointed out, this tax is imposed at the request of the industry, which realizes thatsomething must be spent on the task ofkeeping its product before the public eye. I notice that the question of the datum line is raised in the earlier, but not in the later, reports. We were told that there was to be anapproach to the British House of Commons for an alteration of the datum point in wines from 27 per cent. to 25 per cent. Frankly, I know very little about it, but if it was of such importance as to warrant approaching the British House of Commons the Minister may be able to tell us why it was done, and what was the result.
– I believe it has something to do with the point of maturation.
– I think that that is so. However, the Minister has an expert adviser, and I must rely upon the help of the honorable senator, so perhaps the Minister will not mind my asking him questions about the technicalities of wines, which I am afraid I do not yet understand fully. I might end by making two com ments. I notice that in thelatestreport, that of 30th August,1956,Mr. Mackay says this -
The whole trend of wine drinking in Great Britain is.changing; table wines are becoming more popular, mainly because of the price factor. . . .
I understand that quite clearly. Then he says -
Sherry isbeing drunk in preference toport simply because it is more fashionable to do so.
I do not doubt Mr. Mackay’s word, but there seems to be a sort of snobbery that creeps into wine drinking that I just cannot understand.
I havebeen critical of some of these things, but I now end on a happy note. I ram happier this year about the whole picture, but a suggestionImake to the Minister is that onthenext occasion when this wine report isbrought down it might be timely to make a ministerialreport that would gather together all of the stray ends and givethe Senatea much clearer picture of the world export market. It is rather confusing to see one country beating us on the London market while, at the same time, we are ina so much better position on the Canadian market. It is also confusing to see a decline in certain exportswith no reason for it, especially as it. does not seem that any other country is marketing the type of wine thatwe areable to offer.
The wine industry is helping to build up our overseas reserves, and the Minister would do a real service if he were to make a ministerial statement - it hasnot been done for many years - which drew on a broad canvas a picture of the set-up of the industryI wish the Wine Board well and I close on the note on whichMr.Mackay closed when he said -
Thereis every reasonto expect that theconsumptionof Australian wines in the UnitedKingdom will be doubled in three years if the industry can continue to support the overseas trade publicity campaign and the valuable work they are doing.
If this bill, and the increase in wine duties, will help Mr. Mackay to give effect tothat optimistic hope, then everybody in the Senate wishes itwell.
– in reply-I am gratified that the bill has received the support of the Opposition. I rise merely to attempt to answer some of the queries posed by Senator Willesee, who
I know has an interest in this industry. I have heard him on one or two occasions take the opportunity to address the Senate when the bill before it has dealt with wine and wine exports. He expressed some concern because Australian wines were not making the impact on the London market that they might make. I think that in the past we have probably not been served as well as we might have been served in our marketing, but in recent years results achieved on the London market have been more encouraging.
Senator Willesee referred to the prominent position occupied on the London market by South African wines, compared with our own. I am advised that that position is slowly being improved and that the sale of Australian wines year by year is showing encouraging progress, compared with South African wines. I am further informed that one reason why South Africa enjoys such success on the London market is that, as Senator Willesee mentioned in his speech, certain wines are fashionable. South Africa produces a certain type of sherry which is very popular both in England and on the Continent. Because it produces that particularly attractive wine, it finds a more ready sale for wines of that class than does Australia. Nevertheless, I repeat that sales of Australian wines are slowly but gradually improving. Last year 1,300,000 gallons were sold on the London market, a slight increase on the previous year.
Representations for a reduction of the British duty have been made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer each year since 1949, but so far without success. The provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, to which Senator Willesee referred, prohibit the extension of the 10s. preference which Australian wines enjoy over other wines. The new United Kingdom trade agreement binds that preference at 10s. per gallon. The Australian Wine Board is continuing its efforts to see that Australian wines are bottled and packaged as attractively as possible. The results there, too, are showing a gradual improvement.
I note the request made by Senator Willesee that a ministerial report be made available to the Parliament and to those people interested in wine production and export, and I shall give consideration to that request.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– Has the Minister any details of the Wine Industry Assistance Account? I understand a sum of money has been held in that account for some time and the problem is what to do with it. I think at one stage there was talk of granting scholarships and that type of thing. If the Minister could give me some information, I would appreciate it.
– I am informed that the money in the account referred to by Senator Willesee has already been released by act of Parliament to establish the Australian Wine Research Institute, £100,000 having been made available for capital expenditure and £400,000 to finance the activities of the institute. That is now going forward.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without requests; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
In committee: Consideration resumed from 4th September (vide page 147).
– I refer to clause 25, which reads - (1.) There shall be a National Capital Planning Committee to advise the Commission as to the planning, development and construction of the City of Canberra. (2.) The Committee shall consist of -
I move -
In sub-clause (2.) (b) leave out all words after “ architects “, first occurring, and insert: - “, who may be selected from a list of architects submitted to the Minister by The Royal Australian Institute of Architects; “.
In sub-clause (2.) (c) leave out all words after “ engineers “, first occurring, and insert: - “ who may be selected from a list of engineers submitted to the Minister by The Institution of Engineers, Australia; “
In sub-clause (2.) (d) leave out all words after “ planners,” first occurring, and insert: - “, who may be selected from a list of town planners submitted to the Minister by The Town Planning Institute of Australia; and “.
The effect of those amendments would be that instead of its being mandatory upon the Minister or the commissioner to select architects, engineers or town planners only from the list of four names submitted to him by the relevant institution, he would be able, should he so desire, to call upon the services of an architect, engineer, or town planner whose name did not happen to have been submitted to him by those particular institutions.
– Do you still intend it to be compulsory for them to consult the Royal Australian Institute of Architects for the supplying of a list?
– Not necessarily. The wording I have suggested is -
Two architects who may be selected from a list of architects submitted to the Minister by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.
– The governing words of the clause are, “ the committee shall consist “. That insists upon the submission of a list.
– That is all right with me. The only objection I have to the clause as at present framed is that it appears to me to be mandatory for the Minister or the commissioner to choose only from a list of four names. I certainly do think that the Minister or the commissioner should consult the relevant institutes, but I consider that he should also have the power to go outside the list so submitted should he desire to do so.
The object of deleting the word “ four “ is merely that it occurs to me that the Royal Australian Institute of Architects itself, or the other relevant institutions, may on occasion find it difficult to confine the list to four names, and may desire to put in either fewer or more than four, and I think the relevant institutions should have the right to decide for themselves in that particular case. The effect of my suggestion is merely to give the institutes more freedom of action in choosing a list and to allow the Minister or commissioner to go outside that list, should he so desire, because circumstances may arise in which some very eminent architect may not be persona grata with a particular institute. I do not say that would happen often, but I point out, for instance, that in America one of the world’s best-known architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, was, for many years - indeed, I think, for most of his life - at loggerheads with his particular institute. Should that occur, it is desirable that the Minister’s field should not be restricted, as it would be if the clause were allowed to stand as at present drafted.
– I second the amendments. I do not propose to repeat the reasons that have prompted Senator Gorton to endeavour to obtain the acceptance of these amendments. Briefly, he has suggested them in order to give greater flexibility to the composition of the committee, and I am in full accord with that proposition. But I think there is a second reason which Senator Gorton has not mentioned but which, I feel, is perhaps more important. It is the reason why I support the amendment.
As the bill stands, it is mandatory for the Minister to take two of the architects, engineers and town planners respectively submitted by the governing bodies of those professions. He has no discretion, nor has he an option. As the bill is framed, he must take them, irrespective of whether he likes it. I suggest that cuts right across the important principle of ministerial responsibility. I feel that in certain circumstances the Minister would be tempted, in the case of some criticism, to say, in effect, “ I had no option. I was forced in the circumstances to accept these men, upon advice, and I disclaim responsibility “. I suggest that is altogether repugnant to the principles of ministerial responsibility. about which we heard in a learned speech by Senator Wright. I feel that in the ultimate the Minister must be entitled to sufficient power so;- that ministerial, responsibility can be; laid fairly and squarely at his door, and I suggest that cannot be done if. the bill stands in -the -rather rigid manner in: which, it. is now before. us. I, therefore, have much pleasure, in .seconding the amend. ments, and.-, trust the: Senate, will, agree -with them-. The: matter has been discussed -with the. Minister, and: 1 understand, he is in. accord.,with. our -views. .
– I was not in the. Senate when we began,. the. committee discussion, but I gather we are taking, the .bill as a whole. I wish to make some reference, to the. remarks made, by the- Minister for. Customs . and Excise. (Senator. Henty) when closing the second-reading. debate last night. I shall attempt, by referring -to. clauses to. keep; myremarks relevant so. that I. shall not. incur: the displeasure of the Chair If L fail , in, that attempt;. I shall have recourse, to. the. motion: for- the-, third reading-.
Quite, frankly, I. was amazed- at some -of the remarks made.last.night.by.the-Minister. What I- am -about to say. I propose to link up with clause 11(2.). In my view, the most amazing statement- made by- the. Minister was,that in which he suggested that. the. time of the commissioner surely should, not he.- taken up in carrying . out certain, con:struction works,, on the job. He; said, in effect, that the commissioner should not be occupied in considering the. location. of sewer and water pipes, gutters, and so. on. It is extraordinary that those are among the very matters to arrange which the commission is to be appointed. Clause 11 (2.) reads-
For that purpose,, the. Commission is empowered to provide, or arrange for the provision of, within the Australian Capital Territory, buildings, roads, bridges, works for the supply of water or electricity, sewerage or drainage works and other matters and- things for, or incidental to, that purpose.
Quite frankly, I was amazed at that statement: by the Minister. I’ must join issue with him also on his views on town plan. ning.- On one aspect of town planning, he voiced his disagreement, and said, in: effect, “ That is my idea, and I stick to it “. If we accepted the principles that he enunciated, we should have a little grocer’s shop on any corner where any person wanted to erect one. That would be a complete and’ utter negation of every principle of town planning. It was most unfortunate that the Minister should have made that statement.
Senator Wood, very properly, made, the point that we must have a plan. In a city of over 35;000 people, we cannot have sprawled development, or development which is not in- accordance- with some recognized principle or plan. It is rather interesting to note that one clause provides that the commission must conform to the plan, for Canberra. In essence, there, cannot be any deviation. Clause 11 (5.) provides -
The1 Commission- shall not depart from, or do anything- inconsistent with, the plan of lay-out of the City- of Canberra and its environs published in the “Gazette” …
It -should ‘be remembered that that is a- plan in broad outline only, not such a plan as is essential for- the development- of a-city of this*- kind of; indeed, for- the development of any municipality, or suburb of any consequence. There is, for instance, no specific provision for- green belt or- open: space areas; industrial areas or expressways.Quite clearly, there should be a plan within’ the framework of the broad outline plan. To that extent, I agree- with Senator Wood. It. is. not wise, in politics to make predictions,., but. I. think this, is one that I can make with certainty. One of the first jobs that will have to. be undertaken by the commission will be to ensure that there is a proper, plan within the framework of the broad outline plan; otherwise the develops ment, of Canberra, will not proceed in an orderly fashion and there will be an arrangement such as the Minister wants, with people: making application to build little stores at every corner, a, conflict in types of- buildings, with timber-framed cottages in brick areas, a swimming: pool opposite a church and all sorts of other absurdities.
Clause 7 provides that the Minister may grant leave of absence to the commissioner. Clause 13 (1.) reads -
The Minister of State for the Interior or the Minister of State for Works . . .
It so- happens that at present those two portfolios are held by one Minister, but that may not always be so. I suggest that the definition clause,, clause 2, should .clearly define the meaning of the words “ the Minister “ where they appear in* this legislation.
Flitting! as it were, from clause to clause, 1 come to clause 12’ (2.)) which B suggest is somewhat redundant. It relates- to the determination’ of policy, and- reads -
In the event of a difference of- opinion between the Minister and: the Commission as to the policywhich should be followed by the. Commission in relation- to any matter, the Minister and the Commission shall endeavour to- reach agreement.
There is a- classic expression- relating to teaching one’s grandmother to suck eggs. Here the Minister- is being told his business. He is told* that he- has to try- to reach agreement!
– Is that not the same type of provision as the Government inserted in the Commonwealth Bank” Bill’ on the establishment of the bank?’
– L do not know about that. To me, that provision seems to be quite unnecessary in a bill of this nature. Clause 25; which- relates to- the formation of a National’ Capital’ Planning Committee; contains no reference to associate- or junior commissioners. I- understand that they will come onto the committee only upon delegation by the commissioner. Unless there, is such a delegation, there is apparently no intention that, they should sit, although they are to be associate commissioners. Apart from the commissioner,, the committee is to consist of two architect’s to be selected from a list of four, two engineers to be selected from a list of four,, two town planners, to be selected from a list of four and’ two other persons’ with special knowledge and experience in- artistic or cultural matters. It was rather interesting- to hear Senator Gorton, or Senator Vincent, refer a moment ago to appointees from a panel in each profession. It was- suggested’ that the circumstance could’ arise where an eminent architect, shall we say, was at variance with his own profession and therefore could be appointed. I, shudder when T think about that possibility.
– Not “ therefore “.
– To my mind, a committee which included two representatives from each group of people who are probably the most independently minded people it is possible, to find,, would be completely unworkable.
– At one stage, Burley Griffin himself was. persona, non grata, with his. own profession.
– Yes; but it is now suggested that the circumstance could arise where one architect was persona non grata with the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and the other architect appointee was persona grata with the institute; where one engineer appointee could- be persona grata with the- Institution of Engineers, Australia, and the other not; where one town planner appointee was a member of the. Town Planning Institute, of Australia^ and- the other not. Then* to make a thoroughly good job of it, it is. proposed that two other persons with special knowledge and experience in artistic or cultural matters- shall be appointed to the.- planning committee. L suppose it would be possible to appoint a. rock-‘n-roller, and also- a literary- person who has, read’ all the books but who has- not’ had an, ounce of practical experience. The proposed commissioner will- have, to- contend- with all those persons on, what is, in- effect, an. advisory committee’.
I suggest- to the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator, Henty), who- sponsored the bill, in, the: Senate, that, if it: is: desired to have an; advisory committee; there, should not: be. appointed to it: two. persons, from each: group-. To -get two town planners- who wilt think, the same, is not conceivable. The very.- nature’ of town’ planning is: such, that it. is unlikely, that we- could get: two planners who- thought the same.
Senator Wood, and I think Senator Vincent, referred to the lack of provision for local government in the National Capital, but I point out that, it is intended to retain the Australian. Capital Territory Advisory Council. The Minister has stated that the National Capital Development Commission and the Advisory Council will not come into conflict- because one is a constructing authority and the other is an administrative body. On both sides of this chamber are men who have served a long time in. local government, including the Minister for Customs and Excise, who I understand at one time was the mayor of a city. Those men know in their own hearts that the point will be reached where it will be impossible to separate the functions of these two bodies. It is within the realm of possibility, and is indeed likely, that there will be a collision between the Advisory Council, on the one hand, which is the administrative authority, and the National Capital Planning Committee, which will advise the commission on constructional matters. Then we have the commissioner and the two associate commissioners and, in the event of conflict, we come back to the Minister.
– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I wish to refer to several clauses, but first I should like the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) to give to the committee a little more information about the associate commissioners. After I had finished speaking earlier, some one said that my speech went to prove that they were unnecessary. I certainly did not intend to convey that impression. I think it is a good thing that the commission should consist of more than one man. Even though that one man has all the authority, it is a good thing that he should be compelled to bring matters before others in order to obtain approval.
I now refer to sub-clause 1 1 (5.). I wish to make a suggestion which I hope the Minister will convey to his colleague, the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Fairhall). I do not intend to propose an amendment >of this measure, because I think the matter I am about to mention can be remedied by an amendment of the regulations dealing with the Australian Capital Territory Committee, which is a joint committee of “both Houses. I do not think that the -regulations should provide that the committee can consider only those matters that :are referred to it by the Minister for the Interior. Senator Vincent referred to this matter during his speech at the second- reading stage.
– Clause 1 1 has nothing to do with the Australian Capital Territory Committee.
– I am referring to sub-clause 11 (5.) which reads -
The Commission shall not depart from, or do -anything inconsistent with, the plan of lay-out of the City of Canberra and its environs published in the Gazette on the nineteenth day of November, One thousand nine’ hundred and twenty-five, as modified or varied, whether before or after the commencement of this Act; in accordance with law.
Let me explain to the committee the effect of that sub-clause. As the law stands at present, if there is any departure we must be notified, but only in such a general way - I think by notification in the “ Commonwealth Gazette “ - that it may easily escape the attention of any honorable senator, as has happened in the past. I feel sure that it would not escape the attention of the present senators, because enough of us are sufficiently interested to bring the matter before the Senate; but it would be better if all these matters were referred automatically to the joint committee on the Australian Capital Territory. I should like the Minister to ask his colleague, the Minister for the Interior, not to amend this measure but to amend the authority under which the joint committee acts so that it shall be able to act as soon as such a matter is gazetted. It would mean that the secretary of the committee would be notified and he would have power to call the committee together.
– The honorable senator is not referring to the Select Committee on Canberra?
– No. I am referring to the joint committee of the two Houses. 1 refer now to clause 25, which deals with the appointment of a National Capital Planning Committee. I have given a lot of consideration to this matter. It is not in accord with the recommendations of the Senate Select Committee, but I think it will work. Objections have been raised to the possible composition of such a body. I think that the Minister for Customs and Excise should listen to the suggestion that has been made, I think by Senator Gorton, that the Minister for the Interior should have a perfectly free hand and should not be compelled to select from a list of four groups.
– An amendment relating to this matter has been moved.
– I am speaking to clause 25, amendments to which have been moved. I think the matter could quite easily be left to the Minister. I can visualize circumstances in which he may not get suitable people, although I do not think that situation will arise. I think this clause has been well devised, and is likely to work.
I cannot see how in any way it would alter the spirit of the measure, or the function of the Cabinet, if the Minister were given a completely free hand in the matter.
I do not think there is anything in the point that was raised by Senator Anderson in regard to the Minister, other than this: The bill appears to assume that the Minister for the Interior or the Minister for Works will always be the Minister who is responsible for the development of Canberra. The Senate Select Committee recommended in its report that there should be a separate Minister to administer Canberra. I understand that the Government is examining the functions of all departments, and there may be some re-arrangement. I ask the Minister for Customs and Excise to consider seriously whether, in the event of the administration of Canberra being placed under the control of some other Minister, in the terms of this measure the proposed commission would perhaps be in an illegal position. The relevant provision in the bill refers to “ the Minister of State for the Interior or the Minister of State for Works “. Apparently the assumption is that one of those Ministers will always be responsible for Canberra. The Government might re-allocate the functions of the Ministers of State, and Canberra could be placed under the administration of another Minister. What would happen then?
– We would amend the act.
– I do not suppose the point is of any great importance, but I thought I should direct attention to it.
– I was interested in the amendment that has been moved by Senator Gorton. The National Capital Planning Committee is to include two architects from a list submitted by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and two engineers selected from a list submitted by the Institution of Engineers of Australia. Is there any bar to qualified persons joining those organizations? Can an ordinary Bachelor of Engineering join the latter institution? Do members have to have some basic qualifications? Does an architect, for example, have to be qualified in some special way? Will the Minister inform the Senate whether a person who is retired from actual practice automatically ceases to be a member of these organizations? Would an architect employed in the Public Service, who was retired on reaching the age of 65 years, be automatically excluded from membership of the institute? If any such obstacles operate, that would only strengthen the case made by Senator Gorton.
– One of the beauties of Canberra has been the segregation of the shopping centres, in my opinion. Each centre serves a certain district. In enlightened cities to-day, including Brisbane, where this matter of planning has been left very late, new districts are being built and each has a small shopping centre which is nicely arranged. They are getting away from the wretched little shop on the corner seen in the older cities. Last night, the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) said that he was in favour of the little shop on the corner. Is such a change contemplated in Canberra, or was the Minister merely expressing a personal opinion?
.- I should like to take Senator Willesee’s inquiry a little farther. I understand that the Royal Australian Institute of Architects actually confers a technical qualification so that a person who belongs to it can get a practising certificate or become an associate. There are some persons who qualify as architects with a diploma from the Brisbane Technical College. That permits them to practise under State law. They are also entitled to practise if they become a Bachelor of Architecture of the University of Queensland.
Senator Willesee’s inquiry was whether membership of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects conferred similar benefits to those of membership of the British Medical Association without which a doctor cannot practise at all. Does membership of the institute give a person the right to practise, or any technical qualification? I believe there are many technically qualified men who might not be members of the institute, who are not entitled to membership or are not interested in it. I was interested in the question that has been asked by Senator Willesee and would like to have further information.
– I was in full flight when my timeexpired earlier and as I did not want to- end -my remarks there, T ta’ke this opportunity of rising again. I was -referring to the National Capital Planning Committee. I do not want any one to think that because I was critical of the composition of the committee I opposed the principle of such a committee functioning. Municipal councils throughout Australia have town planning committees. The members of the committees are not members of the local council but are persons with specialized knowledge drawn from the community. Those who select the members are -careful to avoid the likelihood of head-on collisions between persons in certain -fields.
In Canberra, an advisory committee is to continue to function and, .from time .to time, the commissioner will need to have extraordinary patience on -the one hand and to be strictly dictatorial on the other in order ‘to discharge .his true functions. An effort should be made as early as possible to give Canberra some sort of local government. That would obviate the need for many of the proposals in this bill. I propose -to support the bill and the amendment -that ‘has been moved by Senator Gorton.
I believe also that it is absolutely essential that we should have a master plan for Canberra as early as possible, within the framework of the Burley Griffin plan. In other cities, the people know exactly what is proposed. A master plan can be seen in the municipal council chambers of any municipality in New South Wales and there is also a local plan which is co-ordinated with the master plan. An examination of the plan shows exactly what the zoning will be and whether areas are to be allotted to industries, housing or shopping. That cannot be done in ‘Canberra at present. A person might build a house opposite a park and then wake up to find that the Postmaster-General has built an iron structure opposite. These things have happened in -Canberra, so we must have a plan urgently.
The tragedy of Sydney has been the topsy-turvy development there. Reference has been made to .the creation of a city without a soul. I did not quite follow the intent of that remark. I know this, that if a city is allowed to develop without a proper plan as a basis, there will be narrow streets and traffic congestion, and inevitably, in years to come, it will be necessary to spend millions of pounds to correct the mistakes that are made. I say that the first requirement to .make this bill a success is to have a proper administration within the Burley Griffin plan.
The only other point I wish ‘to raise is the one that was mentioned by Senator McCallum in relation to the Minister. The only alternative to the present provision is to remove the reference to the Minister for Works and the Minister for the Interior. By so doing, we should be completely safe and not have to worry about future amendments.
– I shall endeavour to -reply to certain questions that have been asked during the debate. For Senator Anderson’s information, “ the Minister “ -means the Minister who is administering “the act at the time, whoever he may be. I am referring specifically to clause 13. I should say that, when I addressed myself to this subject last night, I was quite aware of the provisions of clause 11 (2.). Apparently the honorable senator did not hear what I said. I said that I hoped the next step to be taken would be the appointment .of a council, which could take over sewerage and drainage works and ‘the like. At present, there is to be only a commission, and no other body is available to take over those functions. Of course, the committee did in fact recommend -the establishment of a council, and when such a body comes into existence it will be able ‘to take that kind of work off the commission’s hands. At present, it is necessary for the commission to do it because no other body is available.
Clause 14 (3.) provides -
When the management or use of any land that has been placed under the control of the commission is no longer required by the commission, the commission shall, by instrument under its seal, surrender the .control of the land to the Commonwealth. -In other words, this provision enables land to be used by -the commission until a project is completed; it can then be handed over to the administration. Therefore, I can see no substance in “the point that was raised by the honorable senator.
Senator McCallum raised a number of matters that are worthy of consideration. At the earliest opportunity, 1 shall take them up with the Minister for the Interior.
An interesting point was raised by Senator Willesee and Senator Byrne, who said that although a man may be qualified as an architect he need not necessarily be a member of an architects’ institute. However, the fact that a man is admitted to an institute signifies that he possesses the necessary qualifications for admission. 1 think the difficulty that was mentioned is cleared up by the amendment, which the Government is prepared to accept.
Senator Kendall referred to the appointment of a commissioner and a town planner and so on. 1 should not be surprised if the town planner’s ideas do not coincide with mine. I consider that small shopping centres should be established at convenient locations. The old idea of the people having to travel long distances to a shopping centre ignores reality.
.- 1 am grateful to the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) for his reference to Senator Gorton’s amendment. However, I remind the Minister that the amendment still requires the commissioner to consult the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. I do not consider that this institute should have a monopoly in relation to qualified men. I see no reason why it should be picked out and a statutory compulsion imposed on the commissioner. The institute could be asked to submit a list of names, from which a selection could be made. I wonder whether Senator Gorton still has it in mind that, the commissioner shall consult with this institute?
– To which clause is the honorable senator referring?
– I am referring to clause 25.
– Where is the compulsion in that clause?
– Clause 25 (2.) provides that the committee shall consist of certain persons. It imposes a compulsion that this institute be consulted; the whole of the provisions are governed by the compulsion. That was the basis of a remark which I directed to Senator Gorton when he submitted his amendment. Additional point was added by the Minister’s reply. Therefore, I suggest there should be an option as to the bodies to be consulted and the appointments that the commissioner shall make from names brought before him by any means.
– The matter raised by Senator Byrne is not quite in line with the amendment, which gives complete discretion to the Minister to select architects or other professional men either from the bodies referred to in the bill or from any other unauthorized body or from individual members themselves.
– I am not denying that. The Minister is not required to consult anybody else.
– The amendment does not require the Minister to consult these bodies. The word “ may “ was deliberately put in the amendment to give the Minister absolute discretion. It is merely a procedural clause for the guidance of the Minister.
– 1 suggest that the Temporary Chairman read out the amendment.
– The amendment moved by Senator Gorton refers to Clause 25 (2.) (b). It reads as follows: -
Leave out all words after “ architects “ first occurring, and insert: - “ who may be selected from a list of architects submitted to the Minister by The Royal Australian Institute of Architects “.
.-1 do not want to press the point unduly, but it seems to me that the option given to the Minister goes only to the matter of appointment, not to the point of consultation. I shall not press my view, if opinions are held to the contrary. But 1 emphasize that 1 do not want any particular institute to have a monopoly of the right to submit names under any compulsion imposed on the commission. The names of other qualified persons, who may not be members of particular institutes, should be available for submission, and the matter should not be dealt with in a casual manner.
– As I see the amendment, the only compulsion operating is that the committee “ shall “ consist of two architects, two engineers and two town planners. Everything else is clearly left to the Minister.
.- I sought the call merely to say what has now been said - that the Minister may select some one from a list submitted by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, but that no other institute is prevented from also submitting a list. Consequently, I should much prefer to leave the amendment as it stands.
.- I think that perhaps something could be done to meet the point raised by Senator Byrne. The compulsion does exist in the first part of clause 25 (2.) which reads -
The committee shall consist of -
two architects selected from a list of four architects. . . .
two engineers selected from a list of four engineers. . . .
No opportunity is given for selection from lists submitted by institutes not named in the bill.
– The honorable senator does not understand the purpose of the amendment.
– As I understand it, the institutes named are the only bodies which may submit nominees.
– That is not so.
– That is the point that Senator Byrne is making and perhaps it might be clarified.
.- The Minister has very competent advice on the matter of interpretation, and in the event of his not agreeing with me I should be glad to accept what he says. I merely sought to avoid a position which the mover of the amendment did not want. I think that Senator O’Byrne would also accept the Minister’s technical advice on this matter.
– I cannot see anything in the amendment that prevents the Minister from having perfect freedom to choose from lists submitted by any associations or individuals.
– He does not now have to consult any one?
– That is so.
Amendments agreed to.
.- I should like to move the following amendment, which is consequential on the amendments just agreed to. I move -
That clause 25 (6.) be left out.
– I second the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
.- Clause 4 reads: -
I move -
That clause 4 be left out.
I do so because, as I said last night, I cannot understand the necessity for a commissioner and also two associate commissioners, merely to administer the city of Canberra. This proposal is likely to create a bevy of topline civil servants for the administration of this city. If that happens it will not be long before they have under them many more employees than any municipality would consider necessary for the administration of a much larger city. It might be said that the associate commissioners would operate as a check upon the commissioner, but the bill gives no hint of this. Subclause (2.) reads -
An Associate Commissioner shall give such advice to the Commissioner as the Commissioner requires and shall perform such duties as the Commissioner directs.
I cannot press the point too strongly. We should have administration that is not only effective but also economical. The present proposal can result only in building up a band of administrators far larger than is needed in a city the size of Canberra. Honorable senators who have served in local government will realize that such a proposal would never be made in any other community, and we should not blindly accept it merely because the Minister has proposed it. If anyone can tell me how a commissioner and two associate commissioners could be fully occupied in this centre, I should be happy to hear what he has to say.
I well remember that when the Senate select committee was studying the plan for the future Canberra, the Melbourne “ Herald “ pointed out the extensive nature. of the duties performed by a certain commissioner in South Africa. These were so numerous as to dazzle anyone who studied them. By comparison, a commissioner would have very little to do here. Honorable senators should consider just how much administration is carried out by a town clerk, who is, in some ways, comparable to a commissioner of the kind proposed. It is useless to say that there will be a great deal of work for these assistant commissioners to perform, because we have been assured that the necessary technical staff will be provided from the departments. Here again, the town clerk is in a similar position, for he can call upon the services of engineers, health officers and so on from the civic administration. Amazingly enough, honorable senators are quite content to accept this proposal without even knowing how much the assistant commissioners are to be paid. When everything is totalled up, there may be a very long list of large salaries to pay for the administration of Canberra.
– If they are good men, they should be paid well.
– I am one who believes that a good man should be paid well, but I cannot see why we should pay more men than are required. If one man can run the City of Canberra, he should be given the opportunity to do so. From my knowledge of local government, I have no hesitation in saying that there would be no difficulty in running this city with a single commissioner, mayor or whatever we might call him. Indeed, a full-time commissioner would have a lot of time to spare.
It would be easy to persuade ourselves that these will be complex jobs and that the people occupying the positions will have a vast amount of work to do, but if one takes a trip around a city, how many jobs do we see going on at the one time that would occupy much of the time of a commissioner in deciding whether they should be proceeded with?
Once a decision was made, the matter would be ended for the commissioner. It would then be in the hands of his technical officers. I am sure that if a man who knows how to run a city properly is chosen, it will be found that one commissioner can do the job without the assistance of two associate commissioners.
I stand on the policy on which this Go;vernment came into office, and about which, we feel very strongly - efficiency in thePublic Service, with procedures streamlined; to the utmost. What municipalities throughout Australia can do, we can do here. I feel that the organization proposed in the; clause as it stands would be too expensive: and too cumbersome. I also feel that if only one man were appointed, and he were theright type of man he could work more quickly and arrive at more effective decisions than would be the case if there were also two associate commissioners. Theappointment of the associate commissioners, would mean that the commissioner would) delegate his work to them, with the result that he would have a soft and easy job iri the city of Canberra. As I have said; before, the people of Canberra are a lot: better off than are many of the people wholive elsewhere, and I do not think we should, create any more cushy jobs for top hats ia, this city.
– I must oppose the amendment: moved by Senator Wood. In doing so, T do not wish to disparage in any way the great experience that Senator Wood has. of local government. We appreciate that,, because of his experience, the City of Mackay has blossomed as no other city of its type has blossomed. With the greatest respect to Senator Wood, whose reference: to local government was probably correct,, this is not a local government problem at all. It is as far removed from the problems of local government as chalk is from cheese, or as Senator Wood is now removed? from this problem.
I appreciate the knowledge and experiencethat Senator Wood has, but, quite frankly, ! do not think he appreciates the problem.. This is a problem of planning and constructing the National Capital of Australia. Local government, as Senator Wood knows, it - as a matter of fact, I happen to knowit too - is a very minor element of the problem. It would not warrant the appointment of a commissioner, associate commissioner,, or even a commissioner’s office boy. That work could be done in an honorary capacityby a local mayor or corporation. Wewould not want a commissioner for local government work in this National Capital,, but we are, I hope, planning and constructing one of the finest cities in the world.
It is a momentous and gigantic task, which presents tremendous problems that have no relation to local government. Sewerage and drainage can be done by any technician, but this job calls for great brains, and it would be impossible for only one man to cope with it.
The very essence of this bill is that the work falls into two important divisions, planning and construction. They are two quite distinct functions. What more logical and proper division of responsibility could there be than that the commissioner should be assisted by two commissioners - I assume this is what will happen - one in ^charge of planning, and the other in charge of construction? I suggest that those three .gentlemen will have more than full-time jobs. Civic problems, artistic problems, cultural problems, as well as problems associated with education, sociology, industry and commerce - all of which are outside the field of local government - will form the great bulk of the work of these three men.
While Senator Wood is prefectly correct in saying that the local government of Canberra would not require very much time or effort, the problem of building our National Capital will. In relation to cost and expense, personally I hope that the -Government will appoint the very best three men available and that their salaries and emoluments will be a relatively minor consideration. We should endeavour to obtain -the best possible men, if necessary from outside Australia, and I hope that their salaries and emoluments will be commensurate with the great task they will have to do. I very firmly oppose Senator Wood’s amendment, because I do not think the -worthy senator really understands the problems that will beset this commission.
– I, too, oppose the amendment. I think it would be an affront to the people -who have carefully considered this bill to alter it in this major way. While I may have invited an amendment such as this by saying that I should like the duties of the associate commissioners to be somewhat more defined, I am quite satisfied with the words, “ such duties as the commissioner shall ask them to do “. There is one most important thing to remember. A part of the functions of the commission is to do everything that is necessary for the trans fer of public servants to this city, to provide not only offices for them but also housing, schools and all amenities. Those are functions that local government does not normally undertake.
Furthermore, in local government one wants his town to be a little bit better than a neighbouring town of a comparable size in the State, but here we are building a city that will be compared with Washington or the other great capitals of the world. I hope it will never reach the size of these capitals, but so far as the civic building is concerned it is comparable to them. I hope the amendment will be rejected.
– The Government is not prepared to accept the amendment.
.- Speaking again to the amendment, I must reply to my colleague, Senator Vincent, who was a member of the Senate Select Committee, and the chairman of that committee, Senator McCallum. I should like to analyse a statement made by Senator Vincent. He has said that the development of Canberra cannot be compared with the development of a city under local government. I desire to refute that statement. There is no difference between the building of this city and the building of any other city.
– Except that in the States there is a State government.
– I do not know what a State government does.
– It builds a lot of things in a State.
– I do not know what a State government does so far as a city is concerned, particularly in Queensland. Senator Vincent said that the building of Canberra was entirely different. When we speak of the National Capital, we are inclined to look at problems such as this through rose-tinted glasses. In saying that, I do not want it to be thought that I am not concerned to see the National Capital built up; I am, but my concern is that it be built up in the best, most suitable and most economical way. I do not want money to be wasted upon the erection of some building which would not be as effective to the development of this city as perhaps some other type would be.
The organization that is being set up under this bill will be. responsible, for roads, sewerage,, drainage and all the other, things which- are recognized, as local government functions. It has. to. he remembered also that this is a national capital, and that this authority will also be responsible for government- buildings and housing, both of which are not local government responsibilities. This, question, must not be considered from a purely local government point of view. Local government functions vary as between- States-.. All States, which have tried to establish- uniformity up to date have been unsuccessful: In’ England, for’ instance, the local governing body is responsible- for- housing and schools, while in some of the European- countries- it is responsible even for the police- force; but here it has te be remembered that the proposed commission will have an overall control in building up the area.
I submit that if we aim at simplicity of thought, and action the development of Canberra, will, be an easy matter. It will be as simple as- learning the ABC provided a proper master plan is drawn up. I have already pointed out that the original plan for Canberra was drawn up years ago before we had such complexities relating to transport; social development and public requirements as we have to-day. It is essential that we re-orientate- our thoughts on town-planning and if the Government will stop fooling about with the matter and draw up a proper master plan, then whoever is to be responsible for development will have a simple task in following what is laid down in that. plan.
The commissioners will not need to be highly paid. If we have a proper master plan we shall avoid all this silly nonsense of establishing an expensive structure to look after the development of the city. I say that because of my experience not only in local government activities but also in the preparation of town plans. A proper master plan is essential. With that, it would not matter how many government buildings were being erected. It would even set out how allotments were to be subdivided in residential areas. With a proper master plan, I cannot understand how any one could argue that a matter such as that would be difficult. We, as senators, must-, get- away- from; this, fanciful thinking because we: are : discussing, the: development of the. National. Capital.
: - I am- amazed at what has- been taking place on the Government side’ with one member of the Government trying to convince another that something- is rights I have- been, wondering- who- is trying to convince whom- on the Government side: I understood- that* the Government had everything arranged. I- understood,’ for- instance, that Senator Wood was contented about the proposal, that Honorable senators on- the Government side- generally were agreed as to what should be done, but, lb’-and-beHold!’- we- find them- trying- to convince one another what is right and’ what is wrong at this late stage-.
I should like to know how many supporters Senator Wood: has. If he has enough, we may be able to embarrass the Government on this bill. It is amazing that after the Government brings down a bill some of its- supporters- should be moving amendments and the. Minister should be saying quite, nicely, ‘’ We are . prepared to accept the amendments “. He does so in order to save further argument amongst honorable* senators on the Government side. Now, after, the bill is introduced, we hear all this argument on the Government, side as to whether this work should: be con? trolled by a local governing body, by one commissioner, or by. one commissioner with- people helping him, and so on. We also have arguments on the Government side as to whether those charged with responsibility for the development of Canberra should carry out their work voluntarily or whether they should1 be paid: And all this after the bill is presumed to have been considered in the Government’s “ caucus “ and agreed to! I hope it was considered properly by the Government parties. It would seem, from what has developed on the. Government side, to-day, that its members, do not know where they are. I suggest that if Senator Wood has three or four supporters perhaps we can send this bill back to the Government for further consideration.
– I should like to make a few remarks, to- restore the atmosphere that I think should exist when we are considering: this bill. I’ do not think Senator 0’Flaherty has contributed anything to the debate. All those who have read the committee’s report will know that Senator Wood presented a minority report. The dissension is not something that has developed only to-day. Senator Wood drew up his own report. He did not sign the majority report. The Government has based this bill very largely upon the majority report of the Senate select committee, and there is no dissension among honorable senators on this side. We believe that the Senate is the place where amendments should be discussed. Far from resenting the amendments, I think honorable senators ought to welcome them because they show that the Senate is carrying out its proper function.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from 4th September (vide page 167) on motion by Senator O’FIaherty -
The the following paper be printed: -
Agreement on Commerce between the Commonwealth of Australia and Japan.
Upon which Senator McKenna had moved by way of amendment -
That the following words be added to the motion: - “ and the Senate expresses its disapproval of the Agreement on Commerce between the Commonwealth of Australia and Japan “.
And upon the following amendment moved by Senator Cole to Senator McKenna’s proposed amendment -
Leave out all words after “ Senate “, insert: - “ requests the Government, under the terms of the Agreement, immediately to restrict Japanese imports to goods the entry of which will not cause unemployment in Australian industries “.
.- Prior to the adjournment last night I had mentioned the number of textile mills in Australia, the number of persons employed, and the value of their production. In order to keep my remarks in some sort of sequence, I repeat that there are 164 mills, which employ directly 25,000 persons and have an annual production valued at £70,000,000. I know the mill of Bruck Mills (Aust.) Ltd. at Wangaratta, the Returned Soldiers’ Woollen Mill and other mills in Geelong, which is a big textile centre, and the mill at Warrnambool. Both Warrnambool and Wangaratta are remote from wool-selling centres, and therefore to their costs they have to add the cost of transport of raw material. If the Returned Soldiers’ Woollen Mill is adversely affected, as it must be, by competition from the Japanese, how ironical it will be!
The Government has said that these undertakings will not be affected. But Japanese shirts are selling here at 13s. 6d. each. A shirt of, let us hope, the same material and as good workmanship from Australian factories sells at £2 or more. What hope have the manufacturers of getting orders for shirts that must be sold m shops at £2 or more when a comparable article may be obtained for 13s. 6d.? It is just foolish to say that they will not be affected by the treaty. To prove my point, I quote a despatch from Tokyo by Australian Associated Press, which appeared in the Melbourne “ Herald “ of 21st June, 1957. It is headed “ Japanese traders prepare to send textiles “, and reads -
The Japanese textile industry and traders are preparing to take full advantage of the JapaneseAustralian trade agreement to be signed here next month.
This is the most significant part -
Exports of cotton goods to Australia in the first four months of 1957 totalled 15,198,000 square yards. This was good progress.
The report continues, in bold type -
But an alarming situation was developing. Contracts for export to Australia, concluded in May alone, amounted to 15 million square yards.
The treaty came into operation at the beginning of this financial year. That report shows that when the treaty was about to be signed, in the month of May, exports of one commodity alone, cotton goods, were as high as they were in the preceding four months. To think that the Government will persist in this arrangement shocks me. Just as the agreement will affect the production of cotton, rayon, worsted and other textiles, so must it affect toys, glassware, light machinery and crockery.
I direct attention to what my leader said last night. Prior to his speech, a telephone call came from Melbourne. I did not know the caller by name, but he told me what happened in one of the biggest retail stores, Foy’s, in the heart of Melbourne. Certainly the people will buy Japanese goods, but eventually we will find that many of the persons who rely on wages from industries that will be affected will have no money to spend. The Government talks about safeguards. Of what value are the safeguards in the light of what I have read about the quantities of goods that were coming from Japan to this country in May?
If any further evidence is needed, let us look at what happened to Canada, which negotiated a trade pact with Japan in 1954. She received the same familiar assurances that Japan did not intend to export goods which would damage Canadian industry. Japanese trade officials went further and indicated that the Japanese sales target in Canada would be merely to restore the prewar trade ratio of six to one in Canada’s favour. They conceded that a balanced trade, while desirable, was not practicable so far as Canada was concerned. I repeat that the treaty was negotiated in 1954. Early this year the trade relationship was less than two to one in Canada’s favour, and it is expected that by the end of the year a balanced trade will have been reached. Does the Senate think that we will not receive the same treatment as Canada has received?
– Canada has not any import licensing.
– Under Article 2 of this agreement, how will the Government impose import licensing? Let the Minister explain later how Japanese goods will be singled out for import licensing, in the face of Article 2 of the agreement. That is the Minister’s job, and I leave it to him.
– Our problem is to get import licensing off.
– Is not that a remarkable interjection? The Minister has left himself wide open, as he knows. He said that Canada is in this position because she has no import licensing, then he said, “ Our job is to lift import licensing “. He is an old and very capable politician, and I did not think he would come in as easily as that.
We are told that the agreement will not affect employment in this country, but it has already done so. I do not quote now from the “ Herald “ or from any other newspaper which, 99 times out of 100, is in the
Government’s corner, but from a Department of Labour and National Service news release, dated 20th August, 1957. It stresses that the main reductions in employment were in textile, knitted goods and footwear firms - in the main, the same industries that will be affected following the conclusion of this agreement.
I repeat that the agreement extends no consideration to the British textile industry. Japanese production in 1929, partly as the result of British financial interests putting money into Japan, was the cause of Lancashire cotton workers having to walk the streets. The Government talks about the extra wool that Australia will sell. If we sell extra wool to Japan and we purchase Japanese goods that are made from that wool, naturally we will not be able to buy goods from Britain which have been manufactured from wool that she has bought from us. We cannot have it both ways. The Government’s memory is very short. I would not buy one shilling’s worth of Japanese goods if I could buy British goods. As I shall prove later, the Government has been told to conclude this agreement.
– Would the honorable senator buy West German goods?
– I would much prefer to buy West German goods than to buy Japanese goods. By entering into this agreement, Japan has managed to get in the thin edge of the wedge for her admission to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Once Japan is admitted, virtually all protection against her goods will be removed.
Why was the agreement concluded? I honestly believe that it was for one of two reasons - the cold war or because Australia was told to enter into it. I refer the Senate to an article which appeared in the Melbourne “ Sun - News Pictorial “ of 1st August last under the heading “ ‘ Japan Could Go Red ‘ - P.M.”, and in which the Prime Minister is reported as saying that Japan should be economically sound. We do not mind Japan being economically sound, as long as she pays decent wages and her manufacturing costs are not onesixth of our costs. And may I add my own little bit - as long as the Japanese are a little human, too? The Prime Minister is reported as having said of Japan -
If she were economically embarrassed she might even fall into the Soviet axis.
I do not want that ito happen any .more than does any one .else.
– How will we keep Japan out of ‘the ‘Soviet axis?
– We shall not keep her out by making Australian textile workers walk the streets of our great cities. It must be remembered that since 1939 there have not been really large numbers of unemployed in Australia, and therefore the ‘Communist party :in ‘this country has gone down and still further down. I am -just as pleased as are Government supporters that that is the situation. Let it be remembered ‘that the economy of “this country is based largely on hire-purchase finance. What I am about to say would not ‘include honorable senators, ‘because we are fairly we’ll looked after and are not forced into hire-purchase finance; but practically every family in Australia to-day is buying something on ‘hire purchase. I repeat that a release from the .Department of Labour and National Service shows that already there is unemployment in the textile industry. .1 have no desire to see our people out of work, with the suffering that follows.
I said earlier that the agreement was concluded either because of ‘the cold war or because Australia was ‘told to enter into it. Let us not think that we are not told to do .a lot <of things when foreign policy is involved.
– We aTe -told ‘by whom? -Senator KENNELLY.- By our .friends in the United States of America. We are pawns to that country regarding foreign policy. Let me quote what the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) has said.
– From what book is the honorable senator quoting?
– I am quoting a statement that was made -by the Minister for Trade. He said - the Australian -Government, having carefully examined the advantages and disadvantages of a trade agreement with Japan (and wider considerations than commercial matters were taken into account)
– Of course, they were.
– That is right. It does not matter to the Government what our people suffer; it is a case of our being told to do it or of our being frightened of Japan leaving the Western bloc and joining the Asian bloc. We will never keep Japan out of the Asian bloc if we are not prepared to .let her trade with Asian countries. The records show that before the last war 42 -per cent, of Japan’s exports went -to China, whereas to-day less than 5 per cent, go to that country. Because certain Western Powers have great influence in Japan, partly because their troops are spending money there, Japan is not allowed to trade with China, and we must suffer. It is foolish for one nation to tell another not to trade with a certain other nation. We do not affect the politics of a nation if we trade with her. We have not to swallow the politics of China. I am just as much opposed to the politics Of China as is any one ‘else, if those politics mean materialistic communism. Every one knows where Japan’s trade “has gone.
I can visualize the Japanese employers saying to their employees, “ Work harder, we must gain markets “, and our workers here being told to work harder or Japanese goods will “flood Australia. So we have the Japanese workers on the one hand, and our workers on the other hand, competing against each other. It will indeed be cold comfort to the thousands who become unemployed to know that they were human sacrifices offered to the sacred cow of anti-communism.
I regret that the Government has submitted this agreement. It has been telling us continually ;how ‘much the country has progressed while it has been in office. Everybody admits that it has .progressed, but if .would have done so if any government with the welfare of the nation at heart had been ‘in office. I am amazed that the Government should persist with this trade agreement when it knows that the agreement can mean only disaster for many industries in Australia and win bring suffering and unemployment to a great number of Australians.
– On a serious commercial matter such as the trade agreement with Japan that is before us, one feels that the vehemence of Senator Kennelly, who has just resumed his seat, is somewhat misplaced and has served to obscure a clear understanding of the considerations ‘that should govern our decision. In what I am about to say, I will attempt to be brief, for me. My contribution to the debate will be specialized along the lines of the actual mechanics of this agreement rather than an offering to the Senate of immature commercial -or political judgment. I -feel -that I am entitled to ‘take that course because, in matters commercial, I have unqualified .confidence in, .and .admiration for, the judgment of the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen). As to some of the mechanisms that are being used to control trade, such as import restrictions, it is well known here and elsewhere that I am bitterly opposed to them. However, I think that a man would -be very presumptuous indeed to offer criticism, on the evidence before us, of the policy of the Minister for Trade and the government which is responsible for it. Neither would I criticize John McEwen’s judgment on these matters or his ability to take a comprehensive view of the commercial considerations affecting Australia.
Surely it is obvious that in Australia we have built up an expanding economy that is still predominantly agricultural although there is an encouraging increase in secondary production. If we are to take a positive view of the nation’s requirements, we will not be satisfied to fold our arms, reduce the working week, and play two-up or sit back for the remainder of our time with our goloshes at the fender. John McEwen believes that we -have to sell our goods to get their value .back into the pockets of the people. .In a predominantly primary producing country, obviously the first thing to do is to secure, stabilize and expand our markets for primary products, especially when the heat of our internal economic difficulties and errors ‘is being .turned significantly on the primary industries. In marked contrast to .the superficial prosperity of the secondary industries, they have been ailing over the past four or .five years.
It is a tribute to the success of the administration of the Minister for Trade that, while we are securing and expanding our markets for primary -products abroad, our potential markets -for secondary products are expanding. -It is more remarkable still that our secondary products are being sold with economic advantage to .Australia as well as to the purchaser. I speak of such things as the products of our engineering skills which are being exported to countries in South-East Asia and to New Zealand with success which is really arresting. Despite our handicap of a high-cost structure, for which politicians are partly and, indeed, significantly responsible, an expan sion is taking place in the sales overseas of our secondary products. That does great credit to Australia and offers great promise. -Senator Hendrickson. - What does that trade amount to now?
– I hope the honorable senator will excuse .me for -not being immersed .in the .details of our trade with any particular country.. I suggest that we examine that .matter another .time. So much for .my preliminary remarks on this matter.
In view of the speech .that was made by the Leader of the ‘Opposition (Senator McKenna) last night, I think it would be helpful -to the Senate ‘to focus attention clearly upon the exact decision that we are debating in this chamber. We are debating whether -or not the Senate should agree to the printing of a paper and, thereby, give its -approval to the policy that -is expressed in the paper. ‘This is a paper expressing an agreement -between two governments. It simply expresses an agreement upon mutual trade .policy for a period of three years and thereafter. The agreement does not apply in either instance to trade organized on the -basis of government ownership or governmentcontrolled trade. It would be a different proposition altogether if the goods (hat were to be exchanged between the two countries ‘-belonged to their governments. That is not the -system in either country. Therefore, the agreement with which ‘we are dealing is simply a ‘declaration of trading principles. The governments concerned undertake, one to -another, to honour those principles on a government level. They will adhere to those principles.
I am thankful that I can .still say, with some reservations, that the law which affects the -individual trader in Australia is still made .by the two Houses of this Parliament. Until we .pass statutes affecting .the entitlement of our traders :to .exchange, or to apply tariffs or import controls, our traders will .not be subject to any .different trading .conditions as a .result of this treaty.
It is a matter of fundamental importance that the law still governs the rights of a trader in Australia. Those rights are affected only when we alter the law by act of Parliament or by an authorized delegated authority under an act of Parliament, such as has been done to an unprecedented degree in the case of the iniquitous import regulations, which have been authorized by this Parliament up to this stage, lt is only in respect of alterations along those lines that the rights of traders can be affected. And so it is not useful. I hope my kindnesses are not misunderstood, but I use the moderate term that it is not useful to submit arguments to us, as Senator McKenna did last night, to the effect that you have a declaration of intention that one party intends to adopt a certain policy, which he says were not words of agreement. It is not useful to enlarge upon the indefiniteness of phrases to the effect that the Japanese Government would use its best endeavours within its constitutional authority to see that exports were conducted in such a way as to avoid damage. Why? Because this agreement between the heads of governments simply indicates their agreement upon principles of mutual trade. When we come to exactitude that fixes contractual obligations, we go to the law of the country, the law which we have the privilege of making and re-making as the entitlement of the trader to exchange, to tariff, and to import control.
Last night, I heard the honorable senator discuss the matter of undue parleying with regard to the disintegration of the agreement due to the dissatisfaction of either party with it. I heard also his novel suggestion that, if the parties differed and Australia decided to go ahead alone, Japan would be free to enter our courts and ask for an injunction against the suspension of the agreement by the Government and there would be more months of delay and arguing. I then interjected, being in search of new knowledge, “ From where do you get the idea that this agreement would be justiciable in the Australian courts? “ I go to the evidence of Mr. Owen Dixon, as he then was - he is now the distinguished Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia - when he was giving evidence before the Royal Commission on the Australian Constitution in 1929. I find that at page 785 of the evidence he made these two statements, which summarize the position in a nutshell -
Under a British system the executive cannot by making a treaty regulate the rights of subjects.
And then I omit certain words - for brevity only -
If a treaty is adopted by the legislature and its terms are converted by statute, it is the statute and not the treaty which affects the rights and duties of persons.
I would not trouble the Senate by restating that position if it had not been for the arguments submitted by the Leader of the Opposition last night that otherwise might induce some misconceived idea into the debate.
Next, may I address myself to the terms of this treaty. One cannot disguise the fact that value comes out of a debate like this from the obviously sincere and apprehensive views expressed by Senator McKenna, Senator Kennelly and other members of the Opposition, as well as Government senators. 1 have indicated that we are naturally concerned with the preservation of our secondary industries. They must be maintained so that we shall continue to enjoy the standard of living that has already been won for our workers and which, by thoughtful policy of the Labour party might be greatly improved, and also because we need, as the result of a tremendous immigration programme - no less than is necessary for the defence of the country - to market our products abroad so that we may get some foreign money with which to buy the wherewithal wanted for our workers in secondary industry. A positive impetus must be given to exports which alone can enable us to finance our imports.
When we realize, too, that some 90,000,000 people are herded together on a few islands in the north Pacific, a very small proportion of whom engage in agriculture, it is obvious, surely, that we should participate in such a market for primary products. And so, far from being overawed by the idea that we have accepted the dictation of Uncle Sam that we should edge our way into this market, it seems to me that we have made this agreement primarily to prevent the increasingly adverse effects that the dumping of surplus products by American export into Japan might have on our market in Japan.
Nobody resents more bitterly than I do the conditions of the Pacific war, in which we were subjected to savage treatment by the Japanese, but we cannot remain at war indefinitely. Now that peace has been restored, do not let us delude ourselves. The Japanese are skilful negotiators. I think that you have to be very shrewd in watching their next move. But China having been lost to the Communist cause, it would create a terrific imbalance in the politics of the Pacific if Japan were to go under the same domination. It has been part of the policy of the free world, in a political sense, to isolate Japan from Communist involvement and to place her on a proper trading basis in order to allow her such social and commercial prosperity as she can gain by the earnings of her working people in proper trade with us. I mention that because I have some anxiety about the impact of the treaty on our textile industry, and in a moment I shall give the reasons that have induced me to accept the proposed arrangement. However, the textile industry has presented its case so widely that there would be no point in my dwelling upon it now.
For the benefit of my Tasmanian colleagues in particular, and of honorable senators in general, I shall mention a little industry in Hobart about which I have some concern. I refer to the manufacture of optical instruments which, through the genius of one Waterworth, and Professor McAulay, was established in that centre during World War II. after the Japanese had attacked, and which grew during the war to the stage where it was supplying the Army with telescopes. Since the war the industry has been established on a commercial basis, largely to produce a projector which, I understand, is standard equipment in the Air Force and the Navy. The optical industry is very nervous about the effect of the proposed treaty. Several other industries, which are not as strong as the textile industry, are in similar case. I mention this to show that my consideration of the whole matter has not neglected the legitimate rights of such industries to exist, or their economic right to expand. More particularly, 1 have been concerned about the possible effect on our security and the way in which the treaty might dissipate the technical skills that we would need in any third conflict. These people made a magnificent contribution to the war effort - as any artillerymen who had to use the old sights of 1940-42 will know.
– Senator Wright did not develop his point about Tasmanian industry. What is to happen to it?
– I have merely pointed out that all these aspects have engaged my attention.
– What conclusion did you reach?
– I ask the honorable senator to permit me to develop my speech in an orderly manner. I have, I think, given an explanation of my view of the treaty, and of its purpose. I want now to give a few facts and then to devote myself to stating the safeguards in the treaty for the protection of these industries. I should like to cite some figures, supplied to me by the Department of Trade, which have not previously been cited in the debate. I do so, particularly, because Senator McKenna adduced the argument that the trade balance between Australia and Japan had been so manoeuvred as to set the stage, from Japan’s point of view, for the negotiation of this treaty. He said that this explained the disparity last year between imports and exports. In 1953-54, our exports to Japan amounted to £55,690.000. Our imports from Japan amounted to £6,500,000. The relevant figures for previous years were: 1954-55, exports. £58,600.000, imports, £18,400,000; 1955-56, exports, £86,500,000, imports, £22.200,000. For the year which has just ended the figures were: exports, £139,000,000, and imports, £12,800,000.
– My argument was directed particularly to wool. Would the honorable senator read the figures for the last few years in relation to that commodity?
– I shall willingly oblige. The value of wool exported to Japan is recent years has been as follows: -
I want now to cite some very interesting figures which I have taken from the speech made in another place by my colleague, the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen). For purposes of clarity I shall select only one year - 1954-55. The figures show that we have been maintaining trade with other low-wage countries whose exports are just as disadvantageous, as our trade with Japan has been advantageous, to our trade balance. During 1954-55 imports from the Arabian States amounted to £27,000,000 and exports to £2,000,000.
The relevant figures for other low-wage countries are -
Of course, one recognizes that sometimes trade with’ other countries: is disadvantageous because we must buy certain essential - I emphasize the word “ essential “ - raw materials where we can get them, but only a bankrupt would think of maintaining that attitude in relation to the whole pattern of his external trade-. Any one who thought along those lines would be nothing better than an addicted Micawber.
Briefly, first, the trade treaty removes discrimination against Japanese goods, so that these will now come, not under the general column, but under that relating to most-favoured nations. At the same time, we shall maintain the existing British preference in. relation to tariffs. Secondly, we undertake, in our exchange control, not to discriminate against Japanese goods, reserving: the right - essential to the preservation of national sovereignty - to curtail external exchange if the balanceofpayments position becomes menacing-. Thirdly, we undertake to maintain no discriminatory treatment against Japan on the score of import control - which I was. pleased to hear the Minister say we are striving to remove.
In view of the great interest in British trade which we have witnessed in the ranks of the Opposition, I may be pardoned for emphasizing that British preference is to be maintained completely. I know full well that, within the limits of the agreement, there are certain instances in Which the combined skills of Japan and Australia can produce better goods at better prices, and that, to a certain extent, Lancashire will have to put on its socks and pull them up. That is all a. question of endeavour. It is simply a. statement that we intend to remove any discrimination against Japanese goods, any discrimination that is not applicable to nations other than units of the British. Commonwealth. The tariff has. been the chiefprotector of our secondary industries and has been maintained, since the very first years of federation, as a. national policy by both sides of politics. It is a. recognition of the importance of expanding secondary industry.
As to tariff control, we did not wait for this agreement, but in the last sessional period: the Parliament, passed specific legislation to equip the Executive with control over tariffs.
– Ha, ha!
– I do not appreciate that innane guffaw. If the honorable senator listens to me, he will learn something - on this occasion, at least. If honorable senators examine the Customs Tariff (Industries Preservation) Acts that have been, passed since 1921, they will see that they have been designed to equip the Executive with the right to take immediate antidumping measures in the form of the. imposition of dumping duties, dumping below-cost duties, dumping freight duties, and duties to counter any sudden alterations or depreciations in exchange. Our barriers against all of those non-commercial inroads into our tariff protection are, in the interests of Australian industrial preservation, safeguarded by giving the Minister the right to impose an immediate duty to bring imported goods, notwithstanding subsidies, depreciated currencies and- ballast freights, to a proper parity with Australian goods. But the point is that the Minister is entitled to act and impose a duty only if he is satisfied, after inquiry and report by the Tariff Board–
– In two years’ time.
– Just excuse me. In each case where an anti-dumping duty can be. imposed by the Minister’s executive act, is can be imposed only after inquiry and report by the Tariff Board. When the Parliament passed an amendment to the legislation on 15th November, 1956, a marked distinction was drawn between the procedure authorized by the amending measure and that authorized by preceding measures. It was a tribute to the prudence with which the measure was framed. It did not go unnoticed. The bill went through with little debate, but not with little consideration. Under its provisions, if the Minister is satisfied that any goods produced or manufactured in a particular country are being exported to Australia under such conditions as to cause or threaten serious injury to producers in Australia, he may, by notice in the “ Gazette “ specifying the goods, say that he is so satisfied.
– He had better do it now, because it is on already.
– Just pardon me. You will notice, sir, that no particular commercial consideration is involved. The Minister -has .to be satisfied that goods produced or manufactured in a particular country are causing or threatening to cause damage to Australian producers. ‘Notice also that he may take action where damage is threatened.
– “Serious” damage.
– I am obliged for that correction
– -Who defines “.serious “?
– The important thing, in view of the fears of the textile industry - I am not complaining about the representations the industry ‘has made; I am paying them the respect of giving my considered answer for the industry’s information, as well as my own - is that it is not required that there shall be any reference to the Tariff Board or report before the Minister can operate the special provisions of this act. That is an act of the Parliament which affects the rights of traders in the country to engage in contracts to buy and sell goods. It was a prudent measure which equipped the Department of Customs and Excise and the Minister with authority, delegated to him by this Parliament, to act ‘in the case of any serious injury threatened, not by ballast freight, not by goods coming :here as a result of dumping, not ‘by goods coming here because of a depreciation in exchange, but by reason of goods being produced or manufactured in any particular country. That represents such a departure from the trend of the previous anti-dumping legislation that those who consider it in the proper -perspective will ‘be assured that the legislature has provided the ‘means whereby any improper intrusion into legitimate trade by a deluge of goods from any particular country can be dealt with.
The next thing is that although the agreement is for three years, there ls provision for its suspension. However, I welcome the Minister’s statement that that power will be exercised only in good faith and that we will not give the slightest opportunity to the Japanese to say that Australia is an ingenious and cunning trader. We will trade on British principles of good faith.
Sitting suspended ‘from 5.45 to 8 pun.
– The next safeguard in this agreement to which I refer is the provision for the dissolution of the agreement ‘by the most diplomatic procedures. For a proper statement of it, I can1 only ask honorable senators to read for themselves the language, which I think could not be , improved, in Article V. of the agreement and in Part C. of the minutes. “I only wish to observe that my understanding .of it is .that although the agreement is expressed to be a threeyear agreement, it does contain, by reason of ‘those provisions, -terms whereby, if dissatisfaction -arises as to ‘the actual operation ‘of ‘the agreement, :it may be suspended either generally or in relation to any particular product or ‘line. Then, !if dissatisfaction becomes greater, it may be terminated. “Furthermore, these processes may be committed to action immediately, .not without prior written notice from one .government to the other, .and not without such consultation . as is practicable in the circumstances. ‘But when we remind ourselves that suspension of .the agreement may be ordered unilaterally, according to the very terms to which “both parties have agreed, by action pursuant to written notice, after such consultation as is practicable in the circumstances, it is immediately obvious that, within the terms of the agreement itself, ;the Minister retains power to protect the Australian trade by his own administrative action -from any serious damage that is -threatened or being -caused to it. Being caused to what? It is not damage :being caused to Australian industry, but damage being caused to domestic producers. :both secondary and primary.
I place particular importance upon the term which individualizes the person who may be .injured. An .entirely different conception is conveyed by that .term from the conception which would be conveyed if those who drafted this agreement had blundered into the expression, “ damage to Australian industry “, for, by use of the generic term, an impact on industry is required. Some of the individual units within industry are very small from the standpoint of national commerce. It is possible, according to the agreed terms of the agreement, to suspend its operation in relation to a particular line as expressed In sub-paragraph (c) of paragraph 3 of Part C. of the minutes, where the term “ any product “ is used. That, taken in conjunction with the expression “ domestic producers “, individualizes the man who may be suffering serious damage or who may be threatened with serious injury. In those circumstances, the Minister has authority, under this agreement, and consistent with its very terms, to act after giving written notice, and after such consultation only as is practicable in the circumstances, always, of course, implementing the provisions of the agreement in thoroughly good faith.
To illustrate how our negotiators placed good faith as the discrimen at the base of these provisions for the dissolution of the agreement, I point out that particular emphasis is placed upon maintaining an effective liaison and constant exchange of statistical information between the two governments during its operation. It is obvious that this is done because disagreement is less likely between well-informed parties than between ill-informed parties. If, after that liaison, exchange of statistical information, consultation and good faith, an agreement cannot be arrived at to arrest goods that are damaging to an Australian producer in any particular line, or in respect of any particular product, we seek a renegotiation. If the governments are satisfied that re-negotiation is not likely to produce a further fruitful agreement, this agreement terminates.
– Is the honorable senator suggesting that it would be within the spirit of this agreement if only one domestic producer was seriously threatened?
– If that domestic producer were the producer of an isolated line such as I mentioned by way of illustration in my opening remarks - and I now make the point that Senator Hendrickson, who is absent at the moment, invited me then to make - I feel sure, after giving great consideration to the agreement, that the agreement, by its express terms, enables the
Minister, if he acts in good faith, to take action to protect the Australian producer, whether he be primary or secondary, big or insignificant. I submit that if we summon to our armoury the safeguards I have mentioned, the tariff, the arresting provisions and the arbitrary and discriminatory import restrictions, the Minister has ample power to preserve the stability of the Australian economy. For those reasons, I ask the Senate to give its approval to this agreement.
– At the outset, let me restate what I believe is the feeling of the Opposition. It is that there is no hostility to a trade pact with Japan or any other country with which mutually favorable arrangements may be made in order to stimulate the free movement of trade and commerce between the countries. After all, Australia, proportionately to population, is one of the great trading nations of the world. Although our population is under 10,000,000, our consumption has been a surprise to other nations, primarily because of our high standards of living. I can remember looking at figures relating to British textile exports to Australia some years ago. Those figures revealed the amazing fact that about 1952 Australia was absorbing and using 42 per cent, of all Great Britain’s textile exports. That is an indication of the tremendous absorptive capacity of the Australian buying public. Australians have a high standard of living, and when they have money to spend they seem to desire to spend it. So I approach this matter with no objection at all to the trade treaty insofar as it is a measure which is designed to bring closer trade relations between two nations.
The problem that we of the Opposition face is: What is to be the cost of this trade treaty to the Australian public and the Australian manufacturers? Before I develop that thought, I want to say that I object very strongly to the manner in which this matter came before the House of Representatives and the Senate. Perhaps I am naive, but I thought the proper thing to do would be to ratify this agreement by act of Parliament, not to present it, as it was presented in the other House, as a paper and to move for the printing of the paper. The procedure was even worse in this chamber, because the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner), having read the paper, did not even move that it be printed. An agreement as important as this should be ratified by an act of this Parliament.
Senator Wright, in one of the less effective speeches that he has made in this chamber, if I may say so, made some interesting references with which I shall deal. When the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) was speaking on this matter last night, he referred to the delaying tactics that might be adopted by Japanese exporters who felt that some action by this Government was unfair to them. Senator McKenna said that, under section 75 of the Commonwealth Constitution, they could approach the High Court of Australia. The High Court, according to the Constitution, has original jurisdiction in all matters arising under any treaty. Senator Wright, having by interjection queried that jurisdiction, stalked, not majestically - that is ona term that we could never apply to him - but angrily from the chamber, and apparently found a part of the Constitution that he had overlooked. In his speech this afternoon, he told the Senate that no agreement existed. He said that all that had happened was that two countries had got together and that all we were discussing to-day was a paper expressing statements of policy and trading principles agreed between the two countries. The only explanation of that rather futile effort by Senator Wright is that it was made in order to cover up the fact that he had spoken quite inaccurately last night and had realized afterwards that the treaty was an agreement and that people did have rights under the agreement to apply to the High Court for an. injunction.
– Who could apply? How would it come before the High Court?
– An individual or the Japanese Government could apply, i do not think that we could argue that there is not an agreement. Senator Spooner, in his opening remarks said -
Agreed minutes which are also annexed set out specific treatment which has been agreed for major Australian exports on entry into Japan.
Later he said -
These commodities will now receive reasonable access to the Japanese market as a matter of contractual right.
I do not think we can argue reasonably that there is not an agreement between Australia and Japan in this matter.
– Under which law?
– The common law, the law of contracts, with appeal to the Privy Council under our own Constitution, which the honorable senator, as a legal man, has doubtless skimmed from time to time.
This is the way in which the Government has presented this paper, in letters so large that even those who run may read. I was very interested in Senator Wright’s development of an argument in relation to the admittedly small but very important optical industry developed in Tasmania since the early years of the war. Senator Wright opened his speech by being complimentary to the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), as is his right. I will not detract from those compliments. I think that the Minister for Trade is trying with all his capacity to do a good job. He is working very hard at it, but I would not, in my praise of him, go as far as Senator Wright went, because in my opinion certain things could be done for the trade of this country that have not been done. If Senator Wright decides to be complimentary in his references to the Minister, that is all very well, but the admiration he has for the Minister is not a sufficient safeguard for the Australian manufacturers, who face very serious trouble just around the corner.
What is to happen to this optical industry in Tasmania? Who will say whether it is a worthwhile industry? Will it be the Minister? Only a handful of trained men are involved in the industry. Their loss might pass without a sigh except from those persons seised with the importance of the optical industry, the men involved and their families. Who is to decide whether it is a worthwhile industry?
– Would it not have a defence aspect?
– Of course, it would.
– Would that not be taken into consideration?
– I do not know. That is the Government’s problem. The Government has to decide which industries are worth while. I want to know whether Senator Wright would stand aside and. let. that industry die. In his opinion itmay be a worthwhile industry, but in the Government’s opinion it may not be. After all, if there is one industry that the Japanese have developed to the highest possible pitch, it is. the optical industry.
Despite the great range of development by the Germans, who originated this, industry 60 or 70 years ago, in my opinion the Japanese have outstripped them in knowledge and technical advancement. Evidence of that can be seen in their cameras, which are not only relatively cheap, but also excellent. The Nikon camera is standard equipment for the great American photographic magazine “ Life “. That shows the quality of Japanese production. The- days when the Japanese dumped’ rubbish in Australia have gone. What we will get from Japan will be not only cheap, but also good, and, price for price, it may even be better than what comes from some of the countries of Europe to which we have looked in the past and which have a name for producing quality materials. We must never underestimate the Japanese in any field. That is my- opinion, formed after having been in that country. The Japaneseare men- of great capacity, ingenuity, industrial ability,, and energy. In addition, they have an industrial organization in which they pay the workers a pittance, compared’ with- what we have to pay to Australian workers. I’ still pose the question: what is going to happen to the optical industry in Tasmania?.
To- my mind, there is- a great point that the Government has overlooked: This is more- than a problem between the Australian Government and the Japanese Government. The important problem that this- Government will- have to contend with, once the agreement goes racing along, is- the cupidity of the Australian importer, the man who is licensed to import goods from overseas-. If those licences, are free of contractual obligations to the United Kingdom and Europe, he will place them in Japan. We read in this morning’s “ Canberra Times “ about the rush at Foy and Gibson in Melbourne for woollen twin, sets which were, retailing at 51s. against the Australian article at’ 67 s.
-*- They were bought long; before the agreement was. in- existence.
– I am giving the- Senate an idea of the problems that will have to be faced.. Let- me say, under the protection of the Senate, that the mark-up on those twin sets sold by Foy and Gibson would be nothing like the normal mark-up, but would be at least twice as great. The profit that is being made on these goods from Japan, because of the lower import price, is terrific. This kind’ of thing appeals, to the cupidity of men in business. I am not being unduly, critical, because I know they are in business in order to. live and that, as soon as one importer imports a line which is. sent to a retail store, another retail store around the corner has to fit into the picture or become bankrupt. It is as simple as that; it is a question of selfprotection. Once this kind’ of thing starts,, it cannot be stopped.
What I have- said is true not only of textiles but of any other manufactured goods. Let us consider the position in relation to aluminium ware for- the kitchen. The Australian aluminium ware industry has developed- to such a degree that it can handle all our requirements. But if importers in Pitt-street or Swanston-street want to bring in aluminium ware and sell it at half the price of the Australian product, will’ they worry if 50 or 60 men are dismissed at an aluminium factory? They will not worry-. There are retailers andwholesalers in- this country who have built up- their businesses by importing- cheap foreign equipment. Let’ us take as an example–
– Noi The honorable senator could not have been, more wrong in mentioning Woolworths,, and. I take advantage of this opportunity to say so-. However, let us consider Woolworths. Their normal business is to import approximately 85 per cent, of what they sell if they can obtain access to overseas markets. We cannot keep Woolworths out of the Japanese trade. They are in if already, and they will” remain in it to the extent of whatever licences are- available. Let us consider, on the other hand, a firm like Coles, which commenced- business- by selling goods that cost no more than 2s. 6d-. Coles is a great Australian firm which, over- the years, has, adopted the constant policy of purchasing nearly- the same percentage of Australian goods as Woolworths have imported. Coles- will, give an. Australian- manufacturer as much as 10 per cent, or 1.5 per. cent, more for his product than the price at which they can buy overseas, because they know that in the long run they will build up the prosperity of the people who come into their stores. But there are others in the community who are not so long-sighted, who see the profits of today and hope that tomorrow will be all right.
The only safeguard against the possible effects of the agreement was to fix quantitative levels. As the agreement stands, how can we stop the flood of Japanese goods once they start to come in?’ It. has been the policy of this Government to import as much as possible; it says that to do so is deflationary. An important matter to remember is that £1 spent in Japan buys sometimes more than- double the quantity that can be bought on the European markets. We cannot compete with Japan unless we safeguard our own. industries. Senator Wright complimented the Minister for Trade, but I do not think I could be more critical of him than I am. I think he has done the job as would a fifteen-year-old schoolboy.
What d’o the Japanese want?’ They want a bigger- share- of our- money. They did not want parity; they knew they had no chanceof getting it. 1 repeat that all- they wanted’ was a further share of the money that we had- available to spend, overseas-. What, we should have done was to tell Japan that her export of certain commodities to Australia would be fixed at certain levels because similar- commodities- were- being- producedin Australia.
The Government says that to import, goods is deflationary, but that is how it got. into trouble in 1952. It. got into trouble because,, in its, pursuit of a conscious policy of deflation, it allowed- in too many goods. The Government does not seem to be taking, into account- the large number of people who are. already unemployed. It is estimated that. 60,000 people are unemployed, although.- it. is very difficult- to obtain a correct figure.
It does not take even a flood’ of imports, to affect local’ industries. I’ am not speaking now of well-established businesses that have been operating in Australia for 50 or. 60. years and. which have tremendous reserves; I am speaking particularly about. textile industries, that have been in operation for ten, fifteen or twenty years, and which, have not had- time to- accumulatetremendous reserves. Those businessescannot take too; large a shock. That is apparent from- a lot of’ the balancesheetsthat have been published during the lasttwelve months. Many of those businesses are having a difficult time. The edge on which they balance is not as secure, as many people who do not: study these, matters, think.. There are honorable, senators, opposite.-, including Ministers,, who are or have, been in business,, and. who will be the first, to admit that, things do not need to go toofar wrong before the situation becomes critical;. Some. of. these- Australian industries, need only a. little knock to place them, in. serious, trouble.
What the Minister should have done was. to- examine, closely the list of commoditiesthat are not made, in Australia and to spend another £10,000,000, £12,000,000 or £15,000,000 with, japan in order to obtain them. In. my opinion, Japan would have, been completely satisfied if we had done, so, because she is concerned not with what she sends out of the country, but with the actual’ money that she gets. After all is said, and done, when Japan does send madeup material’ to Australia, is the result so wonderful’ for the Japanese worker? No, it is not!’ The labour content of the price of textiles- produced in Japan. would beabout 1-5 per cent., whereas the- labour content of the price of similar goods produced in Australia would be well over 60- per cent. It will be noted that the benefit to the Japanese worker is not very great. He will still receive his. 15 cents an hour. Somebody, has suggested he receives ls. an. hour, but a report from the United States, of America states that his wages are equal to 15 cents an hour. We cannot compete, freely and fairly if the Japanese are given that kind of start.
I do not know whether it is too late, but I- appeal to the Government to examine thesafeguards in- the agreement. I- do not know what can be done once these goods start to come in, because they will soon gain momentum. It is easy to start, the flood, but it is exceedingly difficult to stop it. What really opened the. way for the agreement was Japan’s tremendous purchase: of wool. But has any one closely examined: the tremendous purchase of wool by Australian manufacturers? Australian millers and fabricators attend auctions and buy wool against the rest of the world at whatever price is paid. Last year, the United Kingdom bought 910,000 bales of greasy wool. Japan bought 652,000 bales, France bought 650,000 and Australia bought 601,000 bales.
What happens to the wool that is bought by Australian manufacturers? lt goes into Australian industries, where it is fabricated by Australian workers. The Government is concerned with sustaining Japan in the world market, but if it knocks out Australian bidders, what will happen to the wool market? The Australians are bidding almost all the time so that their activities have an effect on prices even if they do not actually buy the wool. The 601,000 bales that are bought by Australians go into the scouring houses and the worsted mills and into other factories to make goods that are wanted in Australia. It would not take a great deal of unfair competition to cause unemployment in those industries. Once the factories cannot sell what they make in competition with cheaper Japanese goods, we know what will happen. Unemployed persons will start to move out of the factories, and, in present conditions, their re-absorption is becoming difficult.
– There has been no restriction on the importation of woollen materials from Japan in the past two years, ft has made no impact on the Australian market.
– If the Minister for National Development is speaking seriously, it is no wonder that we are in trouble. Is that the type of brain that we have to govern us?
– Licences for imports from Great Britain and Japan have been transferable since 1954.
– The Government will see what will happen when this agreement comes into operation.
– Why should something undesirable happen in the future when it has not happened in the past?
– Ministers should be worried. If they had the interests of Australia at heart, they would have worried more before this agreement came before the Senate. That would be better than worrying afterwards.
– That is a very glib statement.
– It is not a question of whether it is or is not a glib statement, lt is a true one.
– Why is it going to happen in the future when it has not happened in the past two years?
– Because it takes time for the effects of agreements like this to be felt. The Minister will find that much greater quantities of goods will be imported from Japan.
– On what grounds does the honorable senator base that statement?
– The grounds are obvious. The history of trade with Japan in every country that has participated has been the same once the Japanese established themselves.
– They have not done so in the past two years.
– The honorable senator must know the pattern of what has happened everywhere else. What happened, for example, when the Japanese moved into Nigeria?
– We are concerned with Australia.
– We are concerned also with what happened in Canada, the United States of America and every country that has done business with Japan. We have to study what has happened in those countries to see what will happen to us. Japan had 15 per cent, of the market in Nigeria in 1953, and in 1956 she had 91 per cent. Great Britain had 31 per cent, of the Nigerian market in 1953, and now she has 1 per cent. These things do happen. In Sierra Leone, Japan had captured 66 per cent, of the market in 1956, yet in 1953 it was only just starting there.
– The Japanese must have met great competition from the manufacturers of Sierra Leone. What did they have - a spinning wheel?
– The Japanese put the British out of the market there.
They knocked out the British manufacturers, not the spinning wheels of the poor natives of Sierra Leone.
– We are talking about Australia.
– But you are not thinking about Australia. What happened in the United States and Canada? President Eisenhower had to take action against imported woollen worsted fabrics. Imports from Japan rose from 200,000 square yards in 1951 to 6,000,000 square yards in 1956. President Eisenhower ordered a duty to be placed on imports in excess of 14,000,000 square yards to protect local industries.
– That restriction was not imposed solely against Japan.
– That does not matter. We have to protect Australian industries. If we can persuade the Government to do that, we will be doing a good job. The Americans are protecting their own industries, and that is the fundamental task of this Government. What did it do to develop an export trade in butter with the United States? It agreed that after we had exported 25,000,000 lb. to the United States, the tariff should be raised from 7 cents to 14 cents per lb. That was done simply for the protection of the American industry.
What protection will we have here when this flood of Japanese goods begins to flow into Australia? Honorable senators have been told what happened in Canada in similar circumstances. Those countries were faced with the same situation, and they are much stronger economically than we are. When the Japanese opened negotiations with the Canadians, the Japanese trade officials set the Canadian sales target at a level high enough to restore pre-war trade. The ratio of trade was then six to one in Canada’s favour. The trade agreement with Canada was negotiated in 1954. The ratio has now gone to two to one, and balanced trade should be reached in 1957.
Nobody can stand against this flood of Japanese goods. It is not as though the Japanese products were rubbish. If they were, they could be ignored, but the Japanese are making goods of top quality equal to those produced anywhere in the world.
– What about steel? Are the Japanese producing steel cheaper than ours?
– As a matter of fact, they are not. I have an interesting letter here on Japanese competition in the United States. It is from the “ American Ceramic Industry Journal “. This is an extract from the letter -
Members of the United States Potters’ Association, who make close to 90 per cent, of all the semi-vitreous dinner ware made in this country, produced 27,466,000 dozen of pieces in 1948. There has been a steady decrease each year since then, with the exception of 1950, until in 1956, the total shipment of domestic potteries amounted to 17,721,000 dozen.
Earnings in 1948 for these same plants were 4,150,350 dollars after taxes. This figure rapidly decreased until, in 1954, there was a net loss for all plants of 1,107,882 dollars. The net loss was slightly less for 1955, and no improvement is expected to be shown when 1956 figures are in. .
What has all this accomplished? If the motives behind .your program are to help the Japanese, you have not even succeeded in doing this. Seventy-five per cent, of the cost of making American pottery is in labour; Japanese labour costs are barely one-tenth those in this country. Therefore, as far as the Japanese themselves are concerned, their pottery could be sold in this country at far lower prices than it is and still be profitable.
Is this fair? The Japanese labourer, whom we are apparently committed to uplift, is still working for next to nothing; the American importer is making a huge profit at the expense of the Japanese, and the American pottery industry is dying a horrible death.
That is why this must be stopped. The importers will make a fortune. Referring to the ceramics, the letter continued -
The Japanese worker can’t get much less than 15 cents an hour; the importer might have to settle for a smaller but perfectly reasonable profit, and may be the American pottery industry can turn some of its multi-million dollar losses into a small profit before it is totally extinct.
Canada’s experience, as I have said, was somewhat similar. We should learn from the mistakes of others. I say to honorable senators opposite: Do not mistake the Opposition; we are not critical of the trade with Japan.
– I have noticed that.
– We are not critical of it so long as it will not destroy Australian industry. If ever I made a protection speech, I am making one now for the protection of Australian industry.
The Government is committing itself to an intake of 115,000 immigrants next year. Arc they to bc put into immigrant holding camps, or will they be available to build Australia’s secondary industries, which are capable of employing most of “thins? To-day, nearly one-third of Australia’s work force is employed in the manufacturing industries. At least 1,100,000 people are continually employed in secondary industry in this country, which is more than double the number engaged in primary production. Although there are 52,000 factories in Australia, they have not the strength to stand too much buffeting. Our job is to see that they do not get a buffeting. Unless the Minister follows developments closely .and acts at the right time, they might be seriously hurt. However, J do not want to develop this theme because it was dealt with adequately last night by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), and Senator Wright’s statements on the provision of safeguards were .completely inocuous
T wish to make a ‘final plea, but 1 am at a loss to know to whom I should make it. lt is no -good making it to the Government, because, “figuratively speaking, ‘the dagger is already plunged into the body .and it is starting to bleed. To whom should one talk in this country and ask for adequate protection for Australian industries, which are under a tremendous strain? Government senators themselves must realize that this is so when they note the price differentials on almost everything that is imported. The importers will make the most of the contractual obligations overseas in order to import merchandise.
– Would the honorable senator stop the sale of wool to Japan?
– I would not even stop the sale of pearl shell to Japan. We have an adverse balance of trade with certain countries, including Ceylon, India and Indonesia. Senator Wright has referred to this aspect. Of course, we need the raw material that we import from those countries; we must buy from them. We obtain jute, linseed oil, and similar commodities from India. We need those raw materials. But look at our trade -balances with Italy and ^France! They are ten to one in our favour, because it is a ‘fundamental part of their policy to fabricate wool into garments, of which they export a considerable number. This forms a tremendous part of their economy, without which they would be in trouble. The garments that I mentioned .as advertised in a newspaper this morning comprised a lady’s woollen twin-set. I have seen these garments. They are made of Australian wool, and are of good quality. These garments can be sold to the.Australian public at about half of the price of the locally made .garments. “Senator -Gorton-. - What a shocking thing for the consumers.
– What is more, that is exactly what is happening, as 1 think Senator Gorton knows. He has personal knowledge -of the prices .at which such garments can be bought in other countries, and he knows how much it costs to bring them into Australia. They can be imported at prices so much lower than the Australian cost of .manufacture that it should be obvious to the Government that Australian industries will not be able to continue to develop if they receive much of a buffeting from imports.
The Minister for National Development is continually making surveys of Australian industries. He knows -the industries which are strong, and -those which are not strong. No one should -know better -than the Minister himself .how much of a .buffeting our industries can withstand. Already, the textile workers have been .affected. The first impact of this agreement was felt in the textile industry when retailers stopped ordering “from the manufacturers. I instance ‘the case of women’s sweaters. When a .sample arrived from Japan, a substantial order for women’s sweaters with an Australian factory was cancelled, because of the .difference in price. Furthermore, the manufacturer was told not to .cater for the requirements of the retailer next year. This indicates the avalanche that we can expect.
I assure the Government that the picture that ‘has -been painted by the Opposition has not been exaggerated. When it becomes apparent .that too much of this stuff is coming in, to the detriment of Australian industry, the Government may take cold judicial action quickly, although I doubt very much whether the safeguards that have been provided will prove adequate. But I suppose we will have to suffer the position for two or three years before the Government sees fit to terminate the agreement in order to protect ‘the men and -women employed in industry in Australia, as well as the industries as a whole.
– ^Before dealing with the Japanese Trade Agreement, I should like “to make one or . two .comments on the rather vigorous speech that we have -heard from Senator Armstrong. He -devoted the whole of his time to the alleged plight of certain manufacturing industries in Australia. 1 am afraid that the honorable senator’s memory is ‘not very -good about these .things, because the arguments he advanced to-night in support .of certain manufacturing industries differed somewhat from arguments that he advanced in this Senate not very long ago. 1 have a distinct recollection of the worthy senator very strongly advocating the shifting of Australian industry from Australia to Asian .countries.
– And woollen mills, too.
– Yes. I do not know how he got .on with his party .after he made that statement. It is .rather unusual for some one of Senator Armstrong’s ability to .make a statement like that and later make another that is quite opposed to it in principle. The honorable senator was speaking on behalf of the Opposition - indeed he said so - when he said that honorable senators opposite were unanimous in wanting to trade with Japan. Last night Senator Kennelly, who happens to be the Deputy Leader of this unanimous Opposition, devoted most of a speech that was completely audible on .this side of the chamber to violent objecting to trade with the Japanese - because he did not agree with our buying goods .produced by slave labour. I ask honorable senators which of these gentlemen correctly expressed the viewpoint of the Opposition.
– ^Senator Kenelly said that .he was stating his personal opinion. Surely he is entitled to do that?
– He is also Deputy Leader of the Opposition and, when he addresses the Senate, is deemed to be speaking responsibly. Senator Armstrong also said that he was amazed - though T .do not believe it - that the agreement had not been .formally ratified. He knows perfectly well that trade arrangements, agreements or treaties of this nature are never formally ratified by statute. I can recall two such agreements, neither of which was formally ratified, in my lifetime in this Parliament. I am sure that the honorable senator can recall many others. Indeed, a much more important trade agreement than the one that is before us was not ratified; nor was the agreement with New Zealand. The somewhat unctuous tone that is adopted by honorable senators opposite in complaining that the Government has not ratified the agreement will impress no one, for ratification is neither necessary nor usual.
Senator Armstrong then became involved in a legal problem, and was audibly assisted in its solution by Senator McKenna. He referred to -section 75 of ‘the Constitution and re-asserted Senator McKenna’s proposition, which I thought had been .effectively dealt with by .Senator Wright. Apparently the honorable senator’s explanation was -not understood by Senator Armstrong for ‘he insisted that some individual, >either inside or outside of Australia, could -in some -mysterious -way approach the High Court and obtain an injunction tin pursuance -of the terms of the agreement. Since Senator Armstrong has -apparently mot understood the rather explicit language of Senator Wright, I shall also attempt, in terms that may not perhaps be so precise, to explain the position to him. lt is simply this: No individual, either within Australia or outside of it, obtains any .rights, or incurs any obligations, that are enforceable in any Australian court, :as a result of this -agreement. Therefore, /it “is -sheer ‘nonsense for any honorable senator- rand especially one “who has la profound knowledge of the law - to put forward .such a proposition.
– Could Senator Vincent develop that explanation a little further? -Senator ‘VINCENT* - It does not need further development. No manufacturer, consumer or- other person gains any enforceable .rights, or incurs ;any enforceable obligations, under this agreement, for it is not .a law of this .country. ‘One -cannot go to a court .and obtain an injunction in respect of something that is not enforceable under a law of the land.
Finally, Senator Armstrong repeated the assertion of his leader in another place - that there should be a quantitative level of Japanese goods permitted to be imported. Indeed, that has been the parrot cry of various members of the Opposition ever since the debate began. It is, however, a fair suggestion, so let us examine it and see how far we get. The Government is asked to state that it will admit x million pounds worth of Japanese goods per month, or per annum.
– And no more!
– The honorable senator says, “ And no more “. The fixing of a specific quantum could create serious hardship for Australian manufacturers. Surely members of the Opposition understand some of the basic principles of trade finance. A quantitative figure would have to be varied from day to day - it might have to be doubled or halved. Upon analysis, the contention of honorable senators opposite is seen to be unrealistic. It would have exactly the reverse effect to what, according to the able and eloquent arguments of these gentlemen, is considered desirable. It has no virtue, and is completely illogical. The quantum chosen would be variable from day to day, and therefore not worth the paper on which it was written.
I should like now to make some remarks about the trade agreement itself. Let me say, right at the outset, that the more I study it - and I have spent some time upon it - and consider its possible advantages and disadvantages, the more I am convinced that it is a “ must “ for Australia. Most treaties are, of course, two-way affairs. I propose to make some observations concerning the effect of the agreement upon Australia’s exports to, and imports from, Japan, and then say a little about its advantages and disadvantages.
Briefly, as everyone knows, the agreement ensures that Japan will continue to purchase large quantities of Australian wool and will, henceforth, buy increased quantities of certain other primary products. In common with most trade agreements, it is a two-way treaty, and therefore Australia will reduce somewhat the present tariff barrier - the highest that could possibly be raised against Japanese trade with this country.
Some of the provisions which relate to our export trade should be emphasized. They may perhaps already have been mentioned, but they will bear repetition. The most important, I feel, are those which affect our wool exports. I might remind the Senate that the agreement contains three very important provisions. The first states that Japan agrees not to levy any import duty upon our wool. Then, Japan will not restrict currency for the purpose of purchasing our wool unless for other reasons her exchange is in short supply. A more important provision still is that Japan now agrees to buy 90 per cent, of its wool requirements from Australia, and as wool is the third largest import of Japan, I think that provision is worthy of comment.
The remaining provisions of which I remind the Senate concern our primary production. From now on Australia will be able to compete in relation to wheat, barley and other primary products. Whereas heretofore Japan has bought those products at cheaper rates by agreement with the United States of America - in other words by buying surplus American stocks - now it has agreed not to do that, and in fact we have already sold Japan a large parcel of soft wheat. Sir John Teasdale is all smiles because of the operation of this treaty so far as our export market is concerned.
With regard to imports, we must realize that Australia imposes three sets of tariff barriers against three different groups of nations. The lowest tariff barrier, very properly, is against the British group of nations and the highest is against certain Communist countries and Asian countries, again very properly, I suggest. Then there is the most-favoured-nation group, in respect of which the tariff rate is somewhere between the highest and the lowest rates. It is important to remember that until now Australia has confined Japan to the highest tariff category. Not only that, but we have used our export control machinery to make it exceedingly difficult for Japan to export goods to Australia. Now we are proposing, as everybody knows, to reduce the tariff rate against Japan from the highest to what is known as - it is a misnomer in Australia - the most-favoured-nation rate.
Nobody will deny - I emphasize this proposition - that, without restrictions, a lower tariff could cause a flood of cheap Japanese goods to come into Australia. Opposition senators have suggested that that is the purpose of the treaty, but the treaty itself - I think every third-form schoolboy knows this - has adequately covered that. No one can deny that Australian manufacturers of glassware, rayon textiles and other clothing, electrical equipment, household hardware and so on would be seriously affected if an unrestricted Japan were able unrestrictedly to export goods to Australia. We have not been on all-fours in this debate because some of our friends of the Opposition are quite calmly saying that the obvious consequence of this treaty will be an unrestricted flow of Japanese goods to Australia. Let me emphasize once more that the treaty does not envisage an unrestricted or excessive flow of goods.
– How is the Government going to restrict the flow?
– There are two main provisions to protect the Australian producer, and I wish to remind the Senate of them. The first is that Japan itself has agreed to control its exports to Australia so as not to occasion serious injury to Australian producers. If our friends in Opposition think that that is rather an unusual arrangement, let me remind them that this is a treaty based entirely on good faith. It requires a great deal more conscience, shall I say, than is sometimes exhibited by my friends opposite.
If my friends do not like that safeguard, there is a far more important one, which I am afraid, Opposition senators have not read. In a nutshell, it means that, if all else fails, Australia can unilaterally take action overnight to stop the introduction of any class or any particular consignment of Japanese goods. The Australian Government has that right. The whole gist of the agreement, therefore, is that the Australian Government - not the Japanese Government, not the Australian Government in association with the Japanese Government - has the exclusive right to stop the importation of Japanese goods which might seriously damage Australian producers. That summarizes the treaty. It is a proper safeguard, and I am afraid that, in their arguments, honorable senators opposite have not taken it into consideration.
There is another aspect of Japanese imports to which I wish to refer. The remarks of some speakers for the Australian Labour party would indicate that all Japanese imports to Australia would be harmful. Of course, that- is not so. Our manufacturers have to import, considerable quantities of raw products from other countries. We manufacture no cotton-piece goods, velvet, velveteens or linens. All these piece goods have to be imported before our manufacturers can start work on them. They will be imported much more cheaply in pursuance of this arrangement. So our manufacturers, perhaps, in some respects, are not going to be ill-treated by the dreadful ogre envisaged by the Opposition.
I now desire to make some observations on certain advantages which will accrue to Australia from this treaty. The first and most important is what I may call, for want of a better expression, the international factor. Since the war, as I have mentioned before, we have placed Japan, so far as trade is concerned, in the highest category for tariff barriers and import licensing; we have treated her as an alien enemy. We have sold Japan as much as we can but have refused to import goods in return. I ask my friends in Opposition: for how long do they think that sort of treatment can continue? For every £1 worth of Japanese goods that we have imported we have been selling to Japan goods worth £6. That is not something that the Japanese will stand indefinitely. They are not altogether fools. Senator Kennelly, in a very vigorous speech last night, objected to this agreement because Japanese exports to Australia will be made with what he calls slave labour. I think I would be right in saying that he objected very emphatically to that possibility, and if I may digress for a moment, I should like to analyse his objection.
If Senator Kennelly or anybody else objects to buying goods from those people whose standards are so low that he classifies them as slave labourers, how does he expect those downtrodden nations ever to rise and get better standards of living, something like our own? I invite Senator Kennelly and all others who support that proposition to tell us either during this debate or afterwards, where they stand on that point.
Let me revert now to the international problem associated with the agreement. I remind the Senate that a trade barrier similar to tH one we have heretofore imposed upon Japan was. imposed by. the allied nations against Germany after World War. I. In short,, in those days the allied, nations sought to. sell Germany as. much as possible but refused to buy anything, in return. They did so for the same, reasons, as have been advanced by the Opposition here during this debate. That went on for a few years, and everybody knows now that it was the biggest single factor, giving rise to militant socialism., in Germany. Nobody can deny that. It was also. the. biggest single cause of World War II-. Are we,, as an. enlightened- and.- important- democracy, going to proceed along: the same tragic, course as the allies, took after World War I.? Are we to deliberately force the Japanese to trade where they can? Believe me, they intend to do that. They will not sit back and take indefinitely a ratio of six to one in imports as against exports. They are going to trade with somebody, and that somebody, unless it is Australia, will be the Communist world. Are we to sit back and’ allow that to happen? Are we to set up such circumstances as will make an outbreak of World War HI., even more probable? I should like the Opposition to give this matter due consideration and say something about it during the. debate.
We are the eighth largest trading nation in the world to-day. We have attained that position through the. effects of our trade and by- strenuous work. We must- accept some, responsibility commensurate with that place. I submit, in. all seriousness that we cannot any longer, ignore the reasonable demands, of. the Japanese, in connexion, with trade. We must, accept the responsibilities, of a. democracy in, the same way as- all theother democracies have accepted- them- andagree to trade, within reason, with- Japan, while at the same, time protecting, our own producers as far. as is. practicable.
– Does the honorablesenator, think we should develop our ownsecondary industries?
– Yes. I come now to the second reason why I think this- agreement is. an absolute must. It is an- economic reason. I do not propose to labour the point, because I think everybody knows it. Irrespective of whether we like it, irrespective of whether we think it. is wise, no one can deny that our economy is substantiallydependent upon the export, of- our primary products. I shall, quote some comparative figures to. illustrate, the point.. In the financial year, just closed, the. total value of our exports of primary products was £-818,000,000, in round figures.. That represents 83 per. cent, of our total exports. Our exports of the: products of secondary industries amounted to £156;000,000, or not quite. 16 per cent, of our total exports. Those figures exclude gold,, because I do not regard gold as a. commodity; it is too valuable. But even if: we do include- it, the: comparison becomes even worse. Those figures do demonstrate, without any- further emphasis,, the fact, that our- prosperity, depends: almost: entirely - I use that word, advisedly - upon the export, of our primary products.
Our very high- level of employment has. been maintained almost entirely because of the fact: that we- have been able to export this large volume of primary produce. We should never have been able to enjoy having so- much money for- public and’ private investment and’ for- development that has- never been- seen in- the history of- the- English-speaking- world; with thepossible exception of some- parts- of America, but for- this enormous overseas trade of ours. The- boasted’ high standard of living of every Australian worker is directly dependent upon our primary products and their export, and everybody knows it. The factory worker in Richmond,, the railway work at Eveleigh workshops in-. Sydney, even honorable senators who sit opposite, all have a vested interest in the prices of wool, wheat and other primary products, and the amount of those products we can sell overseas. As I have, said; we are the eighth largest trading nation, and we have attained’ that position because of our primary, products. The economic factor that I” have mentioned is. an absolute must where this agreement is concerned.
Another, factor to which I. should like to. refer, relates, to our prospects of prosperity in future. As everybody knows, there is the: possibility that Great Britain will eventually join the. Western Europe free-trade, pact. She. has explored the possibility already. Iti is as plain as a pikestaff to. me. that, once that happens; Great Britain, whether she likes it or not, will be forced, to buy much larger quantities- of foodstuffs from. Western Europe.. I- know she; has, stated that if- she- does join- the pact, she will maintain the status, quo in, her trade relations in foodstuffs with some of her dominions, but she is not in this pact yet, and I believe that once she is she will be forced to buy a larger proportion of her food from the Western European nations. That is a factor of the future that we cannot possibly ignore because it means, in the hard realities of trade, that we shall be selling her less of our foodstuff!
We- must not. forget a further possibility of the future which, cannot be denied, by. honorable: senators opposite. History has always shown, that with the lessening of world tension there is always a corresponding drop in the prices of world commodities. That has always happened in this world, and 1 think it is reasonable to assume - I emphasize that I am talking ofthe future - that in due course world tensions will decrease. There are signs of italready, and there are corresponding signs of a drop in world commodity prices. The price of lead has dropped, and the prices of scheelite, rutile and copper are dropping. lt is not beyond the bounds of possibility that when the now rather alarming- possibility of World. War III. has gone, the price of wool may drop. We must not overlook that fact. We must look a little to the future, and- who- would be so dogmatic as to- assert that the price of wool will be maintained indefinitely.. Our economy, whether we like it or. not, is linked not only to wool, but to the high price of wool. Surely we will be wise to take out an insurance policy on our overseas, trade; surely we have to do it..
The third factor in relation to the futureis that- we must reconcile ourselves, whether or not we like it or would, change it, to- theinescapable truth that we shall have the greatest difficulty im altering our- economic structure to- enable the- Australian manufacturer to play a more predominant part in our export market. Our economy is linked to a- high wages- level, with, which I have no quarrel; and’ to a very high standard of living, of which I entirely approve. Having, regard, to those facts, and to other, factors which- 1 shalL not canvass; it is perfectly, obvious to me - and I hope to. everybody else - that, at least in our time and perhaps for many generations ahead, we must accept the truth that our economy is linked not’ to the export of manufactured goods but to a continuance of the export of a, very, high level of primary produce. Those aspects, of our future economy, 1 think, are worthy, of consideration. They all’ point, together with the other matters L have referred, to, to the fact that we must confirm this agreement with Japan.
I want to make some reference to the case against this treaty: Senator McKenna opposed’ the provisions of the agreement and endeavoured by his arguments to show that its provisions permitted a state of affairs to- arise- whereby Australian manufacturers would be- seriously injured. I join, issue with the honorable- senator on that point. Article 5 makes perfectly clear that the Australian Government can- take unilateral action even if a particular producer is only threatened with serious damage. In other words, there need not be the importation of one additional” Japanese shirt. If the Australian Government,, in its discretion, comes to the conclusion that a particular manufacturer will- be seriously damaged, the Government can take unilateral action to prevent the importation of that shirt.
– Yes, but will it?
– I shall” deal with that, because I concede that there is a potential weakness in- the administration of the agreement. I do not think that it will occur, but I’ shall make brief mention of How I think the Government’ might act in relation- to the- administration’ of the provisions relating to- this aspect of serious damage. I think I- would Be right in saying that that aspect of the agreement wouldbe looked’ after By the Department of Trade, and that the- machinery used would’ be the import licensing control machinery. I mustadmit’ that up to- date I am- not quite sure that1 that machinery has worked as efficiently as it should work. I think that improvements could’ be made in it and I shall, with great- respect, suggest some to the Minister.
I’ suggest that although the present licensing machinery has succeeded in its- broad task of maintaining our overseas balances, it has- brought to- light many instances of individual injustice. Also, the machinery has been, too- slow in working. There are other objections, including the fact that it is: administered- to far too great an extent by the civil” service- of this country: I suggest that a much more efficient instrument is- necessary- to- give- proper effect to the provisions of the agreement. I do not, for one moment, admit that those provisions are not all that is claimed for them by the Government; they are, and I am perfectly satisfied with them, but that is not the whole story. What is to happen when an Australian manufacturer claims that he might be injured? 1 suggest for the Government’s consideration that some different form of machinery is desirable in the circumstances, because we are now departing from a very interesting part of the policy of this Government in relation to import control. Heretofore, import control has been used, as I understand it, exclusively for the purposes of maintaining overseas balances. Now it is to be used - I think I am right in saying - for the purpose of protection.
– It cannot be.
– I hope not.
– That is my reading of the agreement. If I am wrong, I will stand corrected. I suggest that an impartial body should be appointed to make decisions in relation to the agreement.
– It cannot be done.
– I think it can be clone. Both the industrialist and the Department of Trade should appear before this tribunal and the decision should be made as quickly as possible. There should be absolutely no delay. Both sides should be entitled to know the other’s case. The decision should be final and binding unless it is altered by Cabinet itself. Finally, if a manufacturer has made a bona fide application which, for example, is endorsed by the Chamber of Manufactures, I suggest that the Japanese goods concerned should not be admitted until the case is disposed of. That is quite a reasonable suggestion. If those elements were incorporated in the import licensing control machinery the manufacturer would not only get justice but he would feel that he was getting justice, which is just as important.
I offer those remarks to the Minister for his consideration because cases of individual injustice have been brought to my notice, and we do not want a recurrence of them. So far as the treaty is concerned, I repeat that it could not give better protection, as a document, to any section of the community. I think I have advanced sufficient reasons - they are perfectly satisfying to me and I trust that they will be accepted by the Senate - why this agreement should be accepted.
In conclusion, I wish to congratulate the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) on the completion of what must have been a most difficult task and a most complicated series of negotiations. 1 think he did a magnificent job for his country. I believe that the critics, apart from one or two in the Opposition but most certainly those critics who come from our manufacturing industries, will before long with us acclaim this agreement as a very statesmanlike act. I have very much pleasure in supporting it.
.- I desire to support Senator Cole’s amendment, which appears to me to represent a constructive and commonsense attempt to deal with a situation which, whether we like it or not, has now become an accomplished fact. For that reason, I prefer Senator Cole’s amendment to that of Senator McKenna, which seems to me to be purely of a negative character. In our amendment, we have endeavoured to crystallize the attitude towards the agreement of the Australian Textile Workers Union, which is one of the parties vitally concerned and the members of which are most likely to suffer from any unemployment that may result from the agreement. In a letter which I received, and which no doubt other honorable senators received, from the union, appear these words -
We desire that our attitude should be fully understood. We do not oppose imports of goods from overseas, Japan or any other country. This must be part of the policy of any Government, in the interests of international trade and a balanced economy. But the welfare and protection of Australian secondary industry is also in the interests of a balanced economy, much more so in fact, than that of overseas countries. Therefore we say, as we have always said, “ Those goods which are manufactured in quality and quantity by local industry to meet the requirements of the local market and keep our workers in constant and profitable employment should not be imported from overseas countries”. Imports, in our view, should be confined to goods and raw materials which cannot be procured locally, and there is surely a sufficiently wide field here to satisfy even the rapaciousness of the importing community.
That is the view of the union, and I compliment it upon having adopted a very fair attitude towards the problem. As I said earlier, the party that I represent has endeavoured, in the amendment, to place before the Senate a crystallization of the union’s views.
It is interesting to note, by the way, that much the same thing has been said during the past week by the representative of the other side of industry, the Chamber of Manufactures in Melbourne. That representative, in a public statement, urged the Government to compile a list of those goods which could be imported from Japan without undue competition against goods made in Australia. In view of the fact that the unions and the employers seem to be as one on this matter, I urge the Government to give every consideration to their suggestion. 1 congratulate the union upon its fairminded approach, because, too, in some quarters attempts have been made to prejudice people against trade with Japan on racial grounds or by raking over once again the embers of the atrocities that were committed upon our soldiers during the last war. We all deplore those atrocities, but wc cannot keep them in mind for ever. We must bear in mind that, if we continually bring up those atrocities, the Japanese may say that they are balanced by the fact that Japan has been the only country so far to have suffered the horrors of atomic warfare. Just as we bear in mind the atrocities that were committed on our troops in Burma, so the average Japanese bears in mind the fact that not only Japanese troops but also thousands of non-combatants, including women and children, died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in circumstances of inconceivable horror. Therefore, I suggest that we should not continue to bring up these old, unhappy far-off things.
Certain facts must be borne in mind. We must remember that the Japanese must live, that to live they must eat, that to eat they must have food, that they must be able to pay for that food, and that they cannot pay for it unless they are able to export their manufactures. The Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) has pointed out that over the past five years Japan has bought £425,000,000 worth of goods from Australia and that we in return bought £65,000,000 worth from Japan - a ratio of more than six to one in our favour. He further said -
In fact, because of our import restrictions and because of our specially severe restrictions against Japan alone, imports from Japan were only £A.12,900,000 in the trading year ended 30th June last. In the same year, our exports to Japan were £139,000,000, so the ratio in our favour this last year was about eleven to one.
Any one who has the instinct of reasonable fair play will have to admit that such a situation could not be expected to continue and that an agreement to take up some of the lag between imports and exports was necessary in the interests not only of Japan but also of Australia.
I have heard Ministers say - they would not be human if they did not do so - that the prosperity that we have enjoyed during the last few years has been due to their own good government.
– Surely the honorable senator does not believe that.
– I do not believe it. I believe that one of the biggest factors in the prosperity that we have enjoyed in recent years has been the fact that we have been favoured with amazingly good luck in the wonderful prices we have received for our wool. Therefore, I suggest that we must consider what would happen if nothing were done to help Japan and if eventually she reached a condition of bankruptcy in which she was unable to buy our wool, our wheat, or even our sugar. If that happened, and if Japan withdrew from the wool sales, the effect upon the prices would be catastrophic, and the effect on our national economy would be the same. Will any one say that, if Japan were forced by bankruptcy or near-bankruptcy to withdraw from the wool sales, the drop in our national income would not result in substantial unemployment?
We must also consider the fact that, if Japan found that she was unable to carry on reasonable trade with the democracies, obviously she would be forced into the orbit of the iron curtain countries. It is not necessary for me to point out how dangers to this country would increase from the addition to the already swollen populations of those countries by another 100,000,000 people from Japan.
It has been suggested that one of the reasons for Japan’s troubles is that she no longer has access to the red China market. “That -may be ‘true, but ‘I also point out that, if we force Japan away from the democracies and back onto the red China market, the people to whom she will have to go for that trade will drive a much harder bargain than is being driven by other people. You know as well as I know that the condition of opening that trade to Japan in .quantities which would be >of any real use to her would be Japan’s practical integration into .the iron ,curtain scheme of things. In those circumstances, I think it is perfectly logical and right, and also fair and just - as well as in our own interests - that we should go as far as we can to assist Japan to remain within the .circle of the democratic States. ;i believe, of course, that that would be a big ,factor for .peace. All of us know that one of the principal causes of the great wars of the past has been the economic factor. In an attempt -to break her economic bonds, Japan has previously gone to war.
– And she will try “it again. -Senator McMANUS. - I -agree. I have no doubt .that it we refuse to give Japan reasonable access to the world’s markets, she will be .forced .to try to obtain a place in the sun «by force of .arms. The other point I wish to make is the standard of ‘ living in .Japan. The standards there are .low, but if we refuse to trade with Japan they will .go lower still. The people who will suffer if Japan is cut off from the world’s -markets will be those who are .the workers. We have heard a lot about the workers in this country and-others, but those who are true -socialists would readily recognize that -the Japanese who works in the .coal mines, on the docks and in the factories ;is, in the view »of socialism, just as much a worker as the -man who carries out his employment in .Australia, Great Britain and other countries. Therefore, if we want to raise the standard of living in ‘Japan, we have to .give her access to the world’s markets so that her national income can .be maintained, and so that she can buy food which is one of the most essential factors in the standard of living.
Therefore, .the party I support believes that we have to admit the right of Japan to a reasonable share in trade with Australia, but we say that we should concentrate that trade on those goods which can he imported and which will not compete unduly with Australian industry. We believe that the Government should direct its attention to -compiling lists of those goods and, if possible, give special facilities, for their importation. Senator Cole set out a number of types of goods which he believed would come within this category. I support the .point of view that Senator Cole put forward to the effect that if we did that we would be able to increase our trade with Japan without undue effect upon the employment of our own people.
As I have referred to the remarks of Senator Cole, I trust I will be pardoned a brief reference to a suggestion made by Senator Kennelly that I would feel uncomfortable under the leadership of Senator Cole because of some remarks that he made. I should have thought that, of all the days in .the ‘year, yesterday was the most inappropriate for a member of the Opposition ‘to raise the question of members of this Parliament being uncomfortable under their leadership. As the question has been raised, I will say that, as the rank and file of our party in this Senate, I have no intention of moving a vote -of no confidence in Senator Cole, and I am prepared to say that even at the risk of revealing the secrets of our -caucus. I am in entire agreement with Senator Toohey that, as happened yesterday, .for obvious reasons if I .did propose such a ‘motion, I would have grave difficulty in finding .a seconder.
I want to conclude by saying that I am quite happy with Senator Cole’s leadership. He does not write to Molotov and he is not interested ‘in Petrov. I find him courageous, and he ‘has a quality ‘that I appreciate^ - -he sticks to his mates. In those circumstances, ! am quite happy to be with him. I am quite ‘happy to support the amendment ‘that he moved and which, as I have stressed earlier, crystallizes the views on this important matter .of the union most likely to be affected.
.- The ‘Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Kennelly) this afternoon glumly forecast blue ruin and the most dreadful calamities for our manufacturing industries. His object, of course, was not to analyse the trade agreement between Australia and Japan on its merits, but to stir up panic among the workers in our .manufacturing industries. That dog will, not ‘bank with .the Australian people. The Leader of the
Opposition (Senator McKenna) has. submitted, an amendment which proposes to add to the motion for the printing of the paper the following words: -
And’ the Senate expresses its disapproval of the Agreement on Commerce between the Commonwealth of Australia and Japan. 1 oppose that amendment absolutely. To be logical and consistent, Senator McKenna should have added these words to his amendment -
And calls for the continuance of trade, discrimination against. Japan.
His proposed addition to the motion would then- read -
And- the Senate- expresses its disapproval of the Agreement on. Commerce between the Commonwealth of’ Austalia- and-. Japan, and calls for the continuance: of trade discrimination against Japan.
Does Senator McKenna want it. that way? Does he; want. Japan- one; of our- best customers, a. near neighbour, and a: great Pacific trading- power - to- remain completely isolated? Will anybody speak, up. for him in his: absence and1 declare where the Opposition stands on that important, point?. Does the Leader of the Opposition want Japan to be deprived of equal trading rights with all: other/ foreign, nations? The very nature of. his- amendment suggests that Senator McKenna nob only disapproves- of the agreement between- Australia and Japan, but wants to deprive Japan of equal trading rights with other foreign nations and wants to continue the discrimination that has been exercised against Japan- over the past two years. The Leader of the Opposition should declare to this– Senate where he stands, orelse the- Deputy Leader of the Opposition, or somebody competent to speak for the Opposition; should- say where they standon this point.
Let me say to the Opposition, and to the manufacturing interests of this country and all who oppose this agreement, that once discrimination against Japan is lifted, Japan will- be raised in the schedule under the heading, of the most favoured nation. That is, it will, put Japan on an equal footing with other, foreign countries in respect of access to the Australian market and that, I think, is the only fair, and proper, thing, to do. Therefore, I. say that, the need for this agreement between Australia and. Japan is imperative. Without the- agreement, we could not express the safeguards- for our manufacturing industries.. That is. the point for. the Opposition to consider..
Honorable senators opposite are supporting their- Leader’s amendment, which disapproves of the agreement. If the. amendment, were carded) the safeguarding provisions of the agreement would: disappear;, and: our. manufacturing industries would not. have those protective measures. Think that one over!. I warn honorable senators opposite that their Leader has runthem into a pitfall in this important matter. The. whole inference to be drawn fromSenator McKenna’s amendment is that it favours the: maintenance of discriminatory trading against Japan. If the amendment were carried, it would mean that a mortal: blow had; been- struck against- Australian manufacturing industries. That is why I oppose the amendment so-strongly.
Last evening, Senator Kennelly, in a dis? play of wordy pyrotechnics, was loudly critical of the- Japanese Trade Agreement because of the cheap=-labour aspect of the matter; For some time past, honorable, senators opposite have been very vocal in their advocacy of trade with Communist China. If is- all very nice to trade with Communist China, but all wrong to trade with Japan!- As far as I can gather, the promotion of trade between- Australia and Communist China- was- one of the maim reasons why an Australian Labour party delegation, led’ by Mr. Leslie Haylen, M.P., recently went on to Communist China. It was- a trade mission. It- went to look at ways and means of establishing- reciprocal trading between Communist China and’ Australia-. I say that Senator Kennelly is guilty of hollow inconsistency if he- supports- reciprocaltrade between Australia and- red China while strongly condemning - as he did last’ night - the importation into Australia of merchandise from Japan, because there is very little difference between the wage; standards of the two countries. The Opposition cannot have it both ways. Honorable senators opposite cannot advocate reciprocal trading with Communist China and. at the same time strongly condemn similar trading, with Japan..
Senator Hendrickson said last evening that ladies’ twin-sets manufactured in Japan, were being vended, yesterday, by Messrs. Foy and. Gibson- of Melbourne at such low. prices that their shop was rushed by eager buyers. He claimed that these garments had been imported as the result of this trade agreement. But in this morning’s issue of the “ Canberra Times “ there appears a telegraphic message from Melbourne which quotes the firm of Foy and Gibson as having stated that the garments were imported from Japan long before the present trade agreement was negotiated. The firm also stated that the twin-sets were selling for £5 5s. each, compared with the price of £5 7s. for similar garments manufactured in Great Britain. The margin between the prices for the Japanese and British articles was not very great, and it could be accounted for by factors of quality and design. These statements on behalf of Messrs. Foy and Gibson shatter completely the specious argument that was developed by Senator Hendrickson in this chamber last evening.
I contend that the trade agreement between Australia and Japan, which has been negotiated with great skill by the Minister for Trade is a most important move. If it promotes a big expansion of trade between the two countries, it will contribute materially to their prosperity.
I can understand the fears and doubts of the Australian manufacturing interests which may have to encounter Japanese competition. They would be well advised, however, to analyse carefully the facts and the whole background of this agreement before declaring themselves too critically against it. I am of the opinion, after studying the agreement carefully and looking at the whole background of trade between Australia and Japan, that the Australian economy will be able to absorb the imports from Japan without very much damage to such Australian industries as are especially sensitive to competition from Japan.
– Then the honorable senator admits that some damage will be caused?
– It is inevitable that there will be keen competition. I cannot at the moment assess what the extent of the competition will amount to, and whether or not there will be damage, but I do know the safeguards that exist to take care of any serious and damaging competition. A study of the agreement will show that Australian industries will have four definite protections against any suggestion of unfair competition. There is the Tariff Act itself, under which a manufacturer who considers that the preference rate for a particular item is not adequate can make an approach tothe Tariff Board. Secondly, there is the amendment to the Australian Industries. Preservation Act - this is a highly important safeguard - which was passed less than eighteen months ago. It gives instantaneousemergency tariff protection to Australian* industries. Under this amendment, the Australian Government can without delay, and quite arbitrarily, take safeguarding, action without reference to the Tariff Board, at all. Indeed, the Minister for Trade has given this definite assurance to representatives of the manufacturing industries who« have interviewed him from time to time since this agreement first came into thepublic news. Thirdly, with the object of avoiding the use of emergency powers, the: Australian Government stressed throughout the negotiations the desirability of the Japanese Government and the Japanesetraders exercising a restraint on the export, of items which could embarrass Australian industry. Fourthly, the Japanese! - both> Government and exporters - recognize Australia’s right to impose special import quotasif such a course ever becomes necessary. These represent four very important safeguards for Australian manufacturing; industries.
Still further protection is provided; for example, merchandise can be brought here only if ordered by an Australian holder of an import licence. This removes the risk of dumping, and the flooding of the market. In addition there are, of course, the restraints to which I have already referred. The Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) said upon his return from Japan, where he met industrial leaders and important representatives of the Government, that the necessity for restraints was thoroughly understood by every one with whom he had spoken. Therefore, I stress that these restraints are much more important than appears at first sight. Japanese exporters have world-wide trade connexions. No one better appreciates the fact that nothing is gained by flooding a market to the point where it collapses. That is why I feel that the restraints imposed are more important than is at first apparent.
The Minister for Trade has called on Australian importers also to exercise restraint. He has been most insistent that in placing orders restraint should be exercised. Australia must be prepared to enter fully into the spirit of the agreement in which is designed to promote profitable trade between Australia and Japan. Our aim should be to make it work. The safeguards are there, but they should be to make it work. The safeguards are there, but they should be employed in emergency conditions only - not resorted to in any flippant or foolish way.
Honorable senators are well acquainted with the figures of trading between Japan and Australia. Some reference has been made to them by Senator Vincent, who preceded me, and by other speakers from this side, but I should like to place on record the great disparity that exists between the value of the goods which we buy from Japan, and the value of those which that country buys from us. I do so because Opposition speakers have carefully neglected to refer to the credit side of the agreement. In seeking to hammer home to all the calamities that could occur, they have failed to say what the agreement really means to the Australian economy.
During the last five years Japan has enriched this country by purchasing our products to the tune of £425,000,000. This great inflow of money has benefited primary industry and has created further employment opportunities. During the same period we purchased from Japan goods to the value of £65,000,000. Trade can exist only on a two-way basis. Moreover, there is evidence that Australian imports from Japan have actually been declining. Two years ago our imports amounted to £23,000,000 annually, but last year they declined to £12,900,000. During the corresponding year Japan purchased from us goods to the value of £140,000,000. The disparity between the two sets of figures is altogether too great. Japan offers a vast and expanding market for Australian produce and therefore I say, for all Australians to hear, that the Japanese are entitled to a better share of our market.
Any failure on our part to reach agreement on these matters would leave the way open to Japanese retaliation, which could have a very serious effect on our economy. Japan, if denied reasonable access to Australian markets, could heavily curtail her buying of our produce. It has happened before and it could happen again.
This could only have the effect of seriously upsetting the balance of payments position to our disadvantage. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) will recall the trouble that we had with Japan in 1935. The Government then suggested that Japan should voluntarily curtail exports to Australia of artificial silk and cotton, so that we could increase our imports of United Kingdom textiles. When Japan refused to co-operate, Australia imposed higher duties upon Japanese textiles. Japan, in turn, prohibited imports of Australian wool, wheat and flour, and imposed a 50 per cent, surcharge on our hides and skins, tallow, meat, butter, condensed milk and casein. Retaliatory acts of that kind naturally breed further retaliatory acts, and Australia applied restrictions which affected, in all, about 38 per cent, of Japan’s exports to this country. Subsequent negotiations led, on 26th December, 1936, to a settlement of the dispute, both countries agreeing to cancel the penalties previously imposed. A system of regulating at agreed levels the inflow of commodities in dispute was adopted. During the dispute between the two countries Australia’s earnings in Japan declined severely, and our favourable trade balance fell by more than half. Because of the straight-out Japanese prohibition on the export of our wool, wheat and flour, our exports to Japan for the financial year 1935-36 fell from £17,700,000 to £4,900,000.
It is quite foolish for any honorable senator to harbour the belief that Japan cannot and would not retaliate under conditions that it regarded as prejudicial or unfair to its trading interests. It is useless for Opposition senators to put up Aunt Sallies just to knock them down. The hard facts are that Japan has retaliated against Australia before, and if we provoke her sufficiently again it is possible that history will repeat itself.
– Why has not
Japan taken action up to the present time?
– There is no need. We have been getting along very well with Japan, which has shown a ready willingness to buy our goods, even when discrimination was practised against her. This discrimination has been practised against Japan right up to the time when this agreement was negotiated. We have treated the Japanese in our trading operations less favorably than other foreign nations. If we were to carny this amendment, we would ‘be per.petuation that discrimination. For howlong would Japan stand for ‘that? ‘It would retaliate again. The -Opposition is skating on very ‘thin ice when -it submits an amendment of ‘this kind.
Pursuing my argument, I point out that the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), when speaking on this matter, said it was estimated that 75 per cent, of the entire imports into Australia in recent years ‘had gone directly or indirectly into Australian manufactures, lt can be seen, therefore, that if Australia’s export values fell substantially, our manufacturing industries would be hit very hard. If it is so important to maintain our overseas trade balance, surely we should seek every means for the promotion df trade with Japan, which offers to us such a large and expanding market. We could use the money earned by our exports to enrich our economy and establish overseas credits to ena’ble us to buy the .plant and equipment so essential to the success of our secondary industries and necessary to .give employment to so many of our people. .Let .us not lose sight of that important point.
Our manufacturing industries would suffer in two .important ways if our export values were to fall -substantially. If we failed to operate this agreement or did something whereby Japan turned its back on us and refused to compete for out products in our auctions and -markets, the Australian manufacturing industries would be severely handicapped by the consequential reduction of the imports .which are so essential to our manufacturing processes.
– What would happen to Japan if she did not buy our wool?
– Japan does not have to buy our wool. She has done without it before. She ‘has searched the markets of South Africa, Argentine, Brazil and other countries where wool is grown. She has made do with what she could buy in those markets. I have been led away from my main point, which is that our manufacturing interests would .be severely handicapped if there were a heavy fall of imports. Australia needs overseas credits. That is why this agreement with Japan is so essential, not only to the general economy of the country, but to the whole of our people and to the maintenance of the stability df our -manufacturing industries.
Secondly, a heavy fall in our exports would .gravely weaken the whole Australian economy and injure, -not .only manufacturing interests, ‘but .every .section of .the community. The greater is the volume of our export wealth, the greater will be .the amount of .money that we can .accumulate overseas and the greater will be the prosperity of Australia. First and foremost, as an economic advantage .to this country, we must expand .our export trade. That is of paramount importance. The expansion of our trade with .Japan will increase our national prosperity and will help us to maintain the present .flow >of immigrants -to this .country. Each immigrant ;has a cash value. Immigration creates a greater demand for .the products of our -secondary industries.
Our woollen manufacturers have been very concerned about the impact of the Japanese Trade Agreement on their local market. -I was informed before the session commenced ‘by Queensland woollen manufacturers that the Australian woollen mills ranked fourth in the purchase of -wool at the Australian wool auctions held from year to year. This is good, and I am sure that nothing will happen in terms df this agreement -to retard the. progress of this important Australian manufacturing ‘industry. There is abundant ^evidence that it has little to fear ‘from this agreement. The Minister for for Trade ;has stated that since ‘1954 there has been no licensing discrimination against woollen goods from Japan. The signing of ‘the treaty has not altered the status quo of the -past three years in any important particular. There ‘has been no importation of ‘wool tops from Japan. -Senator McCallum. - What ,are they?
– I am not an expert in the manufacturing processes of wool. As a matter of fact, although I .have been growing wool for many years, I still find that even those in the grazing industry have much to learn about this miracle fabric, wool. .As in life itself, one is never too old to learn. As far as I understand it, wool tops represent the first stage in making worsted yarns and worsted piece goods. Two distinct products of wool manufacturers - worsteds and woollens - are covered. They are the higher types df fabrics, so that when we speak of wool tops I think it can be fairly said that we are referring to the top quality of the wool which is utilized for the best types of fabrics. There are other divisions like woollen yarn, which is a rough thread compared with the wool tops. Then there are woollen piece goods, which are used largely for overcoats and outer garments. They are frequently blended .with cotton and other fabrics to make up an article which can be sold at a cheaper rate to meet a wide demand. My .answer to Senator McCallum, then, “is that wool tops, as -I understand the industry, would represent the top line of wool for manufacture into the valuable fabrics.
There has been no .importation of wool tops from Japan whatsoever since 1949. Woollen yarns are in ‘much the same position as wool tops. There has been no importation from Japan in recent years, and there .is no basic tariff change under this agreement. As to blankets, there has been no discrimination against ‘Japan for the past three years but the importation of blankets from that country during that period was infinitesimal. Last year, the total importation of blankets from all over the world represented “only 3 per cent, of the Australian .market, and the value of Japan’s .share -of the blanket trade in this country was only £342.
Now let us look at woollen piece goods. This item includes all piece goods, even those with a wool content of as little as 2 per cent. ‘Over the last three years, with no discrimination whatsoever against Japan, the value of total importation df woollen piece goods into Australia from all sources was £5,000,000 of which Japan’s share amounted to only £2,000.
To emphasize the position, let me say that last year the value of the total importation of woollen piece goods by Australia was £1,000,000. Of that sum, only £500 worth came from Japan. There was no licensing discrimination against Japan during that period.
The matter can be considered in another way. Over the last three years, the total Australian market for woollen piece goods was 94,000,000 square yards. Of that total, only 6,000,000 square yards was imported from the whole wide world, thus leaving 88,000,000 square yards to the Australian woollen industry. Japan’s share of the 6;000,000 square yards was very small indeed.
One important reason why I think our woollen manufacturing industries will -not be seriously affected is .that Japan buys Australia’s ‘wool -mainly to -meet the needs of the local or domestic Japanese market; that ‘.is to say, to .meet the needs of the Japanese people. On past -.performances, Japan has not exported woollen fabrics to any great extent, and that is why I say that our Australian woollen industry has very little ‘to fear from Japanese competition. I ‘ask for ‘leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– J lay on the table the following paper - tariff. Board .Act- ^Annual report .of .the Tariff
Board for year 1956-57, together with summary o’f recommendations.
Copies of the report are not yet available for distribution to honorable senators. However, I expect copies to be available in roneo-ed form later this evening.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– During the recent parliamentary adjournment the Acting Prime Minister advised the honorable senator by letter as follows: - 1 and 2. Nine persons employed at government aircraft factories who had eight years’ service and were thus entitled if retrenched to furlough payments were given notice of reduction in classification. They refused to accept this and submitted instead their resignations. Employees who are not retrenched within the meaning of the act are eligible for the grant of furlough upon resignation, and subject to the other provision of the act, only if they have completed at least fifteen years’ service with the Commonwealth or, after age 60, a period of eight years’ service. 3 and 4. The decisions will be referred to the law officers of the Crown for advice of their effect upon the administration of the act.
The Prime Minister has now informed me that the decisions have in fact been referred to the Crown law officers for their advice.
asked the Minister representing the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, upon notice) -
– The following reply has been furnished: -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The following replies have been furnished: - 1 to 5. A deputation representing all parties in the Western Australian Parliament waited on the Prime Minister and other members of the Government in June, 1955, to put forward a number of detailed poposals for the development of the north-west of Western Australia. The Commonwealth Government has acted on two of these proposals. It joined with the State in subsidizing the operations of the blue asbestos mine at Wittenoom and more recently provided additional taxation concession for persons living in remote areas. No final decision has been taken on the remaining proposals, but there have been exchanges with the Western Australian Government. During the recent visit of the Premier to Canberra, the position was discussed with the Treasurer, who indicated that further consideration would be given to the matter after the Prime Minister’s return from overseas. That is now being done. I would remind honorable senators that, although it is some time since these proposals were put forward, the Commonwealth has not been unmindful of the needs of Western Australia. In the meantime, it has provided £2,000,000 by way of special assistance to that State’s loan programme, and recently has offered to increase its contribution to the comprehensive water supply scheme by £1,000,000, and to increase the rate at which the Commonwealth’s contribution is to be made available. I see no reason for tabling the papers in the Senate.
– On 3rd September, Senator O’Byrne asked a question without notice concerning the use of government-owned ships by Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and by the Japanese Government. I am now in a position to furnish the following answer: -
There are no Commonwealth-owned vessels used exclusively for the purposes associated with the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited. Nineteen of the ships operated by the Australian National Line, consisting of twelve river class, three lake class, two “ T “ class and two “ I “ class, carry B.H.P. cargoes such as iron ore and steel products in the course of their normal trading operations. These ships also carry other cargoes not associated with the operations of B.H.P. such as coal, wheat, &c. I have already indicated that no Commonwealth-owned ships are on loan to the Japanese Government. It does occur to me, however, that the honorable gentleman was seeking information on charter. Two ships, “ Bulwarra “ and “ Baralga “, are on six months’ charter to Japanese firms and in the course of their employment by the Japanese have engaged in the carriage of scrap iron and nickel ores from New Caledonia to Japan.
asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– I have referred the question to the Minister for Trade who has informed’ me as follows: -
Motion (by Senator O’sullivan) agreed to-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until! Tuesday, 1st October, at 3 p.m., unless sooner called together by the President by telegram or letter.
Senate adjourned at 10.28 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 5 September 1957, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1957/19570905_senate_22_s11/>.