23rd Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuIiin) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to direct a few questions without notice to the Minister . for Customs and Excise.
– Just ask one for a start.
– I am not like you.
– Order! 1 will not allow interjections.
– We cannot prevent stupidity, even in the Senate! My first question is: Is it a fact that the Department of Customs and Excise still holds the Cadillac car that was sold-
– 1 rise to a point of order. This matter has already been discussed in this chamber, and I have stated that it is sub judice. I take the point that, under the Standing Orders, a matter that is sub judice should not be discussed in this chamber.
– I uphold the point of order.
– My question has nothing to do with the matter being sub judice. It arises out of litigation. I want to know whether the Minister will receive a deputation from Mr. Stan McCallum and his lawyers regarding this car, which is unjustly held. May I ask the question?
– No, the honorable senator may not ask the question. The matter is sub judice.
– I cannot ask a question?
– The honorable senator may not ask the question. The matter is sub judice.
– I want to ask the Minister whether he will let these people come down here, listen to them, and settle the case out of court so that the matter will not be further delayed-
– And without too much cost-
– And without too much cost being attached to the business, lt is ridiculous trying to stop me, anyway.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. I note that two types of aircraft are to come to Australia in the very near future. They are the Lockheed Electra and a faster version of the Viscount. When does the Minister expect that they will arrive in Australia and, in view of their faster speed, can he give us some information about whether they will be immediately put on the east-west run?
– The Lockheed Electra aircraft will begin to arrive in March. Speaking from memory, I think they are due to arrive in March and April, and then in June and July. The Viscounts will also begin to arrive in March. It is the intention of the operators to schedule some of these planes on the east-west run, but they will not be placed on that run immediately, because it is considered that the east coast run is the best run on which pilots can become familiar with the aircraft and the machines themselves be run in. if that is the expression that is in use.
– I ask my question, which is directed to the Minister for Customs and Excise, because of allegations that were made to me during a recent tour of a wool-growing area in Victoria. In view of the repeated statements made in Victorian wool-growing areas in recent weeks to the effect that large quantities of synthetic fabrics have been imported freely into Australia from the United States of America, while that country maintains barriers against the importation of products of Australia’s wool industry, will the Minister, if necessary after consultation with the Minister for Trade, issue a statement indicating the truth or otherwise of these reports?
– The matter of the importation of synthetic fibres into Australia would be dealt with by the Minister for Trade who is responsible for Australia’s policy on the granting of import licences.
If the honorable senator will place his question on the notice-paper I shall confer with my colleague, the Minister for Trade, and then take whatever steps are necessary.
– I think that this matter was raised originally by the Premier of Queensland. As a result of his request and of representations made by honorable senators from that State, it was found possible so to arrange the programme of H.M.A.S. “Melbourne” as to provide for that ship to arrive in Brisbane in time to take part in the centenary celebrations, and the ship, her complement and her aircraft will be available for that purpose.
– Has the attention of the Minister for National Development been directed to the statement appearing in a leading newspaper this morning to the effect that the Japanese iron and steel federation expects Australia to become a stable supplier of coal to Japan over a long period of time, but that Australia first will have to modernize its mines and cut the cost of transport to the port of shipment? The statement also says that generally speaking the efficiency of Australian miners, who produce 2 or 3 tons per day as compared with 8 or 10 tons per day in the United States of America, is at a low level. Will the Minister state what is being done to modernize the production of the coalfields of Australia, and whether any plans have been made to maintain and step up coal supplies to Japan on a permanent basis?
– The honorable senator’s question goes right to the heart of the problems that are at present confronting the New South Wales coal-mining industry. The displacement of men from mines, which is causing us concern, is the direct result of the improvement and modernization that is taking place in New South Wales -coal mines. I had some figures given to me recently which show that the output per man-shift in 1952 was 3 tons but at the present time the output has increased to 4.67 tons, in other words, by over 54 per cent. One of the reasons why displacements are occurring on the coal-fields at Cessnock in particular is that the improvement at Cessnock is so much less than in other parts of the fields. At Cessnock, the output is still only 3.4 tons per man-shift, the improvement since 1952 being 34-i per cent., whereas, over the fields as a whole, the increase has been over 54 per cent. That improvement in output is, of course, resulting in coal being produced more economically, thus giving us the opportunity to cater for this export trade.
Special arrangements have been made within ithe Joint Coal Board to set up groups of people with expert knowledge of the facilities available and the problems that have to be faced. The Chairman of the Joint Coal Board recently went to Japan with the trade promotion ship “ Delos “ and we are very hopeful of being able not only to maintain but to increase our coal trade with Japan. I hasten to say that I would not subscribe to the suggestion in the newspaper report which, if I remember correctly, contemplates that Japan will be able to buy coal from Australia at approximately 50 per cent, of the present selling price. I do not think there is need for Australia to reduce coal prices to that extent to meet world parity. I am sure that coal of the quality of our south coast coking coals cannot be bought elsewhere at prices as low as that. I hope that all will subscribe to the efforts now being made in the industry to modernize and improve it, and to win that overseas trade.
– I preface a question to the Leader of the Government by saying that yesterday, by way of interjection - which was disorderly, of course - I mentioned reports issued in connexion with drilling for oil. As an interjection such as that does not convey what one has in mind, I direct a question to the Leader of the
Government seeking information about the subsidy paid for drilling in connexion -with oil exploration. Is it the intention of the Government to issue a report containing detailed graphs showing the strata from which cores are being taken in these oil drilling bores, similar to the information issued Ln connexion with exploration carried out by the Mines Department of South Australia?
– What happens in each case is this: The act of Parliament under which the subsidies are paid provides that the Minister, upon recommendation, may approve certain transactions. That is followed through by agreements between the Minister and the mining companies concerned. My recollection is that all the agreements with the mining companies provide that the information that is obtained from subsidized drilling for oil becomes public knowledge, but with a reservation that such information is not to be published for a period of, I think, some months, although I forget the exact time. In other words, if the mining company is providing 50 per cent, of the cost, it has a prior right to use any information gained before its competitors have the opportunity to use it. I point out, however, that all this information goes on the national records, and indeed samples of the cores are kept and filed in the department so that all may see and examine them.
– I should think that the honorable senator knows, from his long parliamentary experience, that action -is taken in these matters in accordance with a fairly well established pattern. I do not know the details of the pattern, but I remember quite clearly that the arrangement is that in a time of national disaster such as this the Commonwealth subscribes on an equal basis, or on some equitable basis, with the State Government concerned. T am sure that the position will be that the Queensland Govern ment will say that it proposes to make some special arrangements and that the Commonwealth will then become a partner with the State Government in those arrangements.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Civil Aviation. I preface my question by referring to the correspondence, circulated to honorable senators, which has taken place between himself and certain residents of Victoria on the question of the new jet airport at Tullamarine. Will he, because of the differences of opinion which exist, confer with the Minister for the Interior and with the Treasurer, to see whether it would be possible, first, for the Treasurer to refer to the Public Accounts Committee for examination the question of expenditure on the acquisition of land for a jet airport at Tullamarine, and, secondly, for the Minister for the Interior to refer the question to the Public Works Committee, so as to use machinery of this Parliament - committees set up by the Parliament - to advise the Minister and the Government, and also to give residents of Tullamarine an opportunity to present their evidence?
– The question of the establishment of a new jet airport for Melbourne has received considerable notoriety in the last few months. I take the opportunity of informing the Senate that an examination of possible sites for a Melbourne jet airport was undertaken by a widely representative committee comprising members of the Department of Civil Aviation and of other interested departments, including the Department of Works and, I think, the Department of the Interior, together with various State authorities that were affected. A recommendation has been made. The final decision as to where the jet airport will be placed will, of course, be one for governmental decision. The matters to which Senator Willesee referred - the likelihood of a reference to the Public Works Committee and the Public Accounts Committee - will no doubt .receive the consideration of the Government. I emphasize, however, that this is a matter on which the Government will not decide lightly. I may say that already I have given considerable attention to the matter, in addition to the quite large investigation which. was undertaken by the committee to which I have referred. The matter will be thoroughly examined from every standpoint before any decision is made.
– 1 wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior a question without notice. Has the Minister received official information to the effect that Queensland this week experienced its worst cyclone for 41 years? Has he been informed that in the wake of the cyclone there are thousands of roofless residences, shattered industrial premises, ruined cane crops and destroyed communication facilities? Will the Minister direct officers of his department to proceed to the towns of Home Hill, Ayr, Bowen and Proserpine to ascertain what relief is most urgently required by the residents of those towns? If reports are received that roofing materials are urgently needed, will the Minister arrange that the materials be transported to the towns mentioned speedily, together with sufficient carpenters, plumbers and other tradesmen, so that partly destroyed residences can be repaired?
– I am quite sure that the Minister for the Interior is aware of the great damage that has been done in north Queensland by the recent cyclone. I shall bring to his notice the part of the honorable senator’s question concerning material and labour, &c, that may be needed to repair the damage caused by the cyclone.
– In view of the importance of the Empire Games to be held in Perth in 1962, will the Minister representing the Postmaster-General ask his colleague to consider issuing a special stamp to mark the occasion? If the Postmaster-General is agreeable to doing so, will the design of such stamp be the subject of open competition, so that a stamp will be issued worthy of such an historic event in the leading sunshine State of Australia?
– I can quite understand the honorable senator’s request, and I think that her suggestion that a special stamp be issued to mark the occasion of the holding of the Empire
Games in Western Australia is a good one. I assure her that I shall direct the attention of the Postmaster-General to her request and ask him to consider it.
– Has the Minister for Shipping and Transport been made aware of allegations that on a Commonwealth reserve on Gabo Island, fairy penguins, which I think are protected, are being killed at an alarming rate? Will he inquire into this matter and, if necessary, take steps to protect these harmless creatures?
– I happen to know something about this matter because some little time ago there was a report that fairy penguins were being killed on the Commonwealth reserve on which is situated the lighthouse at Gabo Island. Actually, the Deputy Director of Lighthouses and Navigation read the report and immediately took up the matter with the relevant State department, because the staff of the lighthouse had prided themselves on the fact that they had co-operated in this sort of matter and had, in fact, maintained a close liaison with the relevant bird societies and the like. The staff at Gabo have promised the State department that they will try to locate anyone who is killing these birds on the island.
– I should like to ask the Leader of the Government a question arising out of the damage caused by the cyclone at Bowen on the east coast of Queensland. Yesterday, Senator Benn eloquently referred to this matter and asked whether the Government had lately considered establishing a national insurance fund to compensate those who suffer loss in such circumstances. If the Government has not done so, will the Minister assure the Senate that he personally, or another Minister, will bring the matter before the Cabinet with a view to introducing legislation for that purpose?
– From time to time over the years there have been various proposals for the establishment of a national insurance fund to cope with major disasters. I have never seen one which, in the final analysis, appeared likely to receive general support. The disasters against which insurance is sought are so vast, and occur in such widely differing circumstances, that I do not think such a fund would be a practical proposition.
– Could not such a fund be based on the war damage insurance scheme?
– That proposal also has been examined; indeed, there have been three or four variations of it. I hesitate to speak off the cuff but I have a very clear recollection that, for various reasons, all of the suggestions have proved either impracticable or unacceptable, and that the only course to adopt is to deal with each disaster as and when it arises.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry whether his attention has been drawn to headline newspaper reports in recent weeks of determined rioting by starving farmers in the drought-stricken areas of northeastern Brazil? Has any effort been made to sell to Brazil some of this season’s surplus Australian wheat or flour, for distribution among the unfortunates who are the victims of famine conditions and are said to be starving?
– I noticed some time ago headlines about riots in Brazil and also, I think, about marches on the State capital by people from affected areas. The Department of Trade, under the Minister, is at all times, and in all parts of the world, conducting a campaign to sell as much Australian produce, including wheat and flour, as possible. I do not know whether any specific endeavours, over and above those which are already being made, have been made in the case of Brazil, but I shall make inquiries and will answer the honorable senator’s question in more detail later.
– Is the Minister for Shipping and Transport aware of the recent success of the trade mission in the ship “ Delos “ to countries in the near north? Could the Minister discuss with the Minister for Trade the possibility of fitting out, as a permanent trade mission ship, a vessel obtained from surplus tonnage under his control? I believe that a voyage with Australian trade exhibits to the United States of America and to South America would be of great advantage to this country.
– I agree that the recent trade mission ship “ Delos “ proved to be a great success. However, as to the possibility of fitting out one of the ships of the Australian National Line, at present laid up, for that purpose, I express very grave doubts indeed. The ships laid up are old “ River “ ships built seventeen years ago, during the war, for the specific purpose of carrying cargo. To fit out such a vessel to participate in a trade mission would, I think, hardly be practicable or justified. However, as I am extremely interested both in the use of the Australian National Line ships and, of course, the general question of developing Australian trade, at the honorable senator’s suggestion I shall be pleased to have talks with my colleague, the Minister for Trade, in this respect.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Defence seen reports that germs which could destroy all human and animal life on earth, and which can be mass produced cheaply by even the smallest nations, have been developed for germ warfare as a part of the defence policy of certain overseas countries? Is the Minister able to say whether these reports are correct? Will he have prepared, for the information of honorable senators, a report on the developments in this field?
– I am sorry to say that I did not see the newspaper report to which Senator Kennelly refers. The developments in this direction are, of course, known, but I think that, lacking detailed knowledge of the matter, it would be as well for me to ask that the honorable senator place his question on the noticepaper. If he does so, I shall see what information I can obtain.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Trade advise me whether there will be an Australian pavilion at the international trade fairs to be held at Djakarta during June and July and at Medan during August and September? Is his department giving special consideration to these fairs because of their geographical importance?
– I have heard of no proposal that Australia should be represented at these trade fairs. I shall make inquiries, and if there has been such a proposal I shall let the honorable senator know.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. In dealing with matters arising from the seizure of cars by the Government where litigation has been projected, in his experience have there ever been cases in which he or a past Minister has met representatives of men who have had their cars seized and has dealt with the cases out of court? I should like to know that, because, if so, it may mean that I shall endeavour to settle a case through his goodwill and common sense as Minister, without going to court - by trying to stop certain people from going to court. But if there is no precedent whatsoever, and if the Minister under no circumstances will meet any gentleman or lady who has been unjustly treated by his department, then it would be of no use for me to give advice in that way.
– Order! The honorable senator is making his question rather long and difficult to follow. Will he ask a more direct question?
– This is the first time I have been told that, Mr. President, and I resent it. I hope that I have the right, as an Australian citizen and a senator, to ask questions in my own way. My wife often tells me that I am prolix, but I have sat here time and time again and heard longwinded questions. I thought that my question was direct, but I shall put it again. Is there any precedent in the Department of Customs and Excise, in a case in which litigation has been projected, for the department or the Minister to settle the matter out of court? Is that plain or is it not?
– I suggest that probably there have been instances where Ministers who have administered this portfolio have done the very thing that the honorable senator suggests. I do not know of such instances, but I suggest that they have occurred. I suggest also that Ministers have made it possible for discussions to take place, without prejudice, between the various parties and that those discussions have sometimes been successful and sometimes unsuccessful. I suggest that, when they have not been successful, the Minister would have adopted the attitude that no good purpose could be served by proceeding further. In my case, if such discussions were unsuccessful, that would be the attitude I would adopt.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Trade let me know how many new licences have been issued for the importation of goods from Japan since the signing of the Japanese Trade Agreement and the persons to whom those new licences have been issued?
– I shall see whether I can obtain that information for the honorable senator. My recollection of the arrangement is that licences are issued in certain categories and that they may be used to obtain imports from various countries and not specifically from any one country. However, I shall make some inquiries and let the honorable senator know the result.
– I lay on the table the following paper: -
Public Service Recruitment - Report of Committee of Inquiry.
.- I move-
That the paper be printed.
I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Spooner) - by leave - agreed to -
That, during the unavoidable absence of the Deputy President, the President be authorized to call upon any one of the Temporary Chairmen of Committees to relieve him temporarily in the chair, without any formal communication to the Senate.
Motions (by Senator Spooner) - by leave - agreed to -
That a Standing Orders Committee be appointed, to consist of the President, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Chairman of Committees, and Senators Cooke, Kendall, Nicholls, O’Byrne, Vincent and Wright, with power to act during recess, and to confer with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.
That ii House Committee be appointed, to consist of the President and Senators Amour, Aylett, Marriott, Sandford, Wade and Wordsworth, with power, to act during recess, and to confer or sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.
That a Printing Committee be appointed, to consist of Senators Benn, Buttfield, Cooke, Hannaford, Robertson, Sandford and Scott, with power to confer or sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Spooner) - by leave - agreed to -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Act 1946, the following senators be appointed members of the Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings, viz. - the President of the Senate, and Senators Arnold and Marriott.
Motion (by Senator Spooner) - by leave - agreed to -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Accounts Committee Act 1951, the following senators be appointed members of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, viz. - Senators Benn, Wade and Wedgwood.
Motion (by Senator Spooner) - by leave - agreed to -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1953, the following senators be appointed members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, viz. - Senators Anderson, Maher and O’Byrne.
Motion (by Senator Spooner) - by leave - proposed -
That a Library Committee be appointed, to consist of the President and Senators Arnold, Kendall, Mccallum, Robertson, Sheehan and Tangney, with power to act during recess, and to confer or sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.
The Senators to serve on a Select Committee shall be nominated by the Mover; but if one Senator so demand, they shall be so selected by ballot.
You will note, Mr. President, that it applies specifically to a select committee. If there is virtue in the request of the honorable senator under the Standing Orders, he must rely, in relation to the Library Committee, upon Standing Order 37a, which appears in chapter V. under the heading “ Standing Committees “. The Library Committee, of course is one of the standing committees. Standing Order 37a reads -
The procedure to be adopted in the proceedings of Standing Committees shall be the same as that of Select Committees unless the Senate otherwise orders.
The point I make is that there can be no proceedings of a standing committee until such time as that committee is appointed.
I submit that you, Mr. President, have a duty and an obligation to the Senate to give effect to the intention expressed in the Standing Orders. I repeat that it is perfectly clear that there can be no proceedings of a standing committee until that committee has been appointed. Therefore, the particular rule which imports some of the provisions relating to select committees into the proceedings of a standing committee does not import anything relating to the election of that standing committee. You should hold that Standing Order 37a has reference, not to the election of a standing committee but only to its proceedings after it has been constituted. To hold that it has reference to the election of a standing committee would be to negate the plain, true and only reasonable meaning of Standing Order 37a. If the Senate had decided that elections to standing committees should be on the same basis as elections to select committees, it is certain that Standing Order 37a would have read -
The procedure to be adopted in the election and proceedings of Standing Committees shall be the same as that of Select Committees unless the Senate otherwise orders.
But that does not appear. The Standing Orders are completely silent about ballots for election to standing committees. 1 direct your attention, Mr. President, to page 102 of “ Australian Senate Practice “ which deals with the matter of ballots. The author points out that although the Public Works Committee and the Joint Committee of Public Accounts are not select committees, a ballot for election to those committees is provided, not by the Standing Orders, but by statute to the effect that election shall be on the basis adopted for election to select committees. The author, in his next paragraph, supports the view I have expressed. He states -
The Standing Orders are silent as to whether Senators to serve on a Standing Committee or a Joint Committee may be selected by ballot.
He then proceeds with this comment-
However, Standing Order No. 37a provides that the procedure of Standing Committees shall be the same as that of Select Committees unless the Senate otherwise orders, and it is reasonable to assume that it should follow that the mode of appointment, insofar as the ballot is concerned, should be the same . . .
I accept the learned author’s first proposition that the Standing Orders are silent. However, with very great respect to the author, I am not prepared to make the assumption that he makes. To do that would be to import into Standing Order 37a something that in fact is not there.
Although this situation arose on 12th March, 1958, in relation to this same committee, it arose suddenly. The demand was made for a ballot; no argument followed; no point of order was taken and the decision was not canvassed; but I put to you, Mr. President, that the decision then made was erroneous. The point should have been taken and argued. Having due regard to precedents that have been established I think that you, Mr. President, will acknowledge that this procedure has not hardened into a rule of practice. I have no doubt that, recognizing the decision to be erroneous and not argued at the time it was made, you will not hesitate to correct it. At the time the decision was made your attention was not directed to the full circumstances of the matter.
The Senate now has before it a motion proposed by the Leader of the Government in this chamber for the appointment of the standing committee mentioned. That motion, like any question that comes before the Senate, is open to amendment. If I remember correctly, the relevant standing order is Standing Order 137, which gives to any honorable senator the right to move an amendment to a question before the Senate. If, as 1 assume. Senator Cole wishes to submit the name of another honorable senator for appointment to the standing committee, on the basis of the procedure adopted in March last year, it is completely competent for him, if he wishes, to seek to amend Senator Spooner’s motion by deleting one name and substituting another. If you, Mr. President, upheld my submission that a ballot is not applicable in this case, the honorable senator is not disadvantaged in that he may move an amendment to the motion. If he decides to do that, I suggest that he considers proposing the deletion of the name of a Government senator and not the name of an Opposition senator. In making that suggestion to Senator Cole, I point out that if he takes a contrary course of action the Opposition will have only two members on. the committee, both of them senators representing one-thirtieth of the Senate but having only one-seventh of the representation on the committee irrespective of whether Senator Cole’s nominee displaces a Government member or an Opposition member.
If the Government wishes to have the nominee of the Australian Democratic Labour party on the committee, it should be prepared to make room for him because the Government enjoys its present majority as a result of the support it received from the D..L.P. which, while having no association with the Australian Labour party, has a very intimate association with the Government. To my mind the Government is very lucky to have received the support of the D.L.P.
I direct the attention of honorable senators to the announcement made in this chamber on Tuesday by Senator Cole of the leader and deputy leader of his party. That announcement was made in a humorous vein and 1 think the Senate enjoyed the joke. Now I am asking the Senate not to perpetuate that joke and make a farce of the committee in according representation to a minority group of such low proportions, not only in this chamber but in the Parliament as a whole. 1 am afraid that 1 have digressed slightly from my course, Mr. President, and 1 readdress myself to the point of order. Although the proposed procedure was followed on 12th March last year and was not questioned, it is not a rule, lt is obviously wrong, and I invite you now to correct the position.
I feel that the remarks made by Senator McKenna in connexion with the representation of this party were uncalled for and out of accord .with the principles which, in my experience, were always followed in the Labour party in the old days. In those days, when Labour was represented in Legislative Councils by small numbers of people because of the accident of the representation system, every man of true Labour principles said that you should have regard to the number of electors who voted for a party and that you should pay no regard to the small number who. because of the accident of representation, might have attained positions in parliament. It is true that the party to which 1 belong has only two representatives in this chamber but, if it were represented according to the percentage of votes that it polled, it would have an infinitely greater number. When Senator McKenna advances the suggestion that we should be regarded from the standpoint of our small representation here, he supports the view that was put forward years ago by the tories of the community and turns his back upon the principle of one man, one vote, which was always a principle of the Labour movement in the old days.
I regret the suggestion has been made. After all, I do not think we have asked for too much. There are some 30 to 40 positions on committees. There are three members in the Senate who represent parties not associated with the Government, or the Opposition, and, behind this submission is, apparently, the belief that those three should have no representation at all, the belief that minorities are not entitled to be heard. Once again, I say that if there was one thing that the old Labour party stood for and which apparently the present Labour party does not support, it was the principle that minorities were entitled to at least some representation. Is the Opposition adopting the attitude that it, with 27 members, is entitled to the whole 40 positions on committees and we are entitled to none? If that is the attitude of the Opposition, let its members say so! 1 am not impressed with the suggestion that an amendment can be moved to delete one name from the motion proposed by Senator Spooner. That is not the kind of thing that the Labour party stood for in the old days. In those days, it stood for secret ballots, not this kind of thing. I resume my seat saying that I regard the attitude and state of mind behind this particular move as mean, contemptible and out of accord with the principles for which the party with which T was associated in the old days always stood.
Again I submit that under our Standing: Orders a motion can be altered only by an amendment moved by an honorablesenator.
The author of “ Australian Senate Practice”, who is regarded as one of the most eminent authorities in this field, as the Leader of the Opposition himself has admitted1, has drawn the inference, out of his long experience, that the holding of a secret ballot is right and proper in circumstances such as those which have arisen now. Not only is that authority with our side, but the Senate itself has previously accepted that authority and held a secret ballot under conditions such as have arisen now, and I cannot see that any reasons have been advanced to alter that decision. I can only say that it did become abundantly clear, when the Leader of the Opposition was nearing the end of his speech, that he was actuated by political dislike of people who he thinks might win a secret ballot. Surely one cannot reasonably object to the holding of a secret ballot merely because one thinks one might not win it! I suggest, Mr. President, that as this is the only real reason advanced, it should carry no weight with you in this matter.
The Leader of the Government in the
Senate shall, within four sitting days after the commencement of the Session, nominate, in writing, addressed to the President, four Senators to be members of the Committee.
The Leader of the Opposition in the
Senate shall, within four sitting days after the commencement of the Session, nominate, in writing, addressed to the. President, three Senators to be members of the Committee.
Any vacancy arising in the Committee shall be tilled after the Leader of the Government or the Leader of the Opposition, as the case may be, has nominated, in writing addressed to the President, some Senator to fill the vacancy.
Any departure from that procedure will affect the whole of the committee structure of the Senate. 1 should like you, Sir, to give very close consideration to the point of order that was raised by the Leader of the Opposition, seeking to protect the procedure set out in Standing Order 36a and to meet the situation that has arisen as the result of certain people winning election to the Senate as supporters of the Opposition whereas, in fact, they are flat-out supporters of the Government. If this situation is not met, there will need to be a re-writing of the practices for the selection of members of these committees. The Senate will run a very grave risk of our non-participation in committees at some future time if technical points of this nature, raised for the purposes of political expediency, are tolerated. I support the views expressed by Senator McKenna in objecting to the taking of a ballot.
The procedure to be adopted in the proceedings of Standing Committees shall be the same as that of Select Committees unless the Senate otherwise orders.
Senator McKenna’s argument that Standing Order 137 governs the interpretation of the standing order to which I have referred, if adopted, would result in a complete negation or denial of the purposes of the whole of this section of the Standing Orders. In other words, the selection of a select committee could become completely abortive if Senator McKenna’s suggestion were carried out. Senator McKenna suggests that an amendment to the motion can be proposed by any honorable senator. I assume that, following the proposal of the amendment, a vote would be taken. That would give the right to any senator to move another amendment, and to continue to move amendments, in relation to the election of a committee. In that way, the election of a committee might never take place, because as soon as one name was accepted another senator could rise and move that some other name be substituted, and so on ad infinitum.
All committees which are not committees of the whole Senate are select committees. They may be standing committees or committees appointed to inquire into a bill, but they are selected. A committee of the whole Senate is not selected because it consists of every senator. Any committee which is selected out of the Senate is a select committee.
Then on page 181 of the same volume-
As pointed out in the definition of a select committee (see p. 171), a standing committee is, technically, a select committee.
In view of the ruling which was given, I suggest that Standing Order 290 has application to a standing committee and that it is competent for any one senator to demand a ballot.
I repeat that I think it was rather a despicable thing for Senator McKenna to attack the Australian Democratic Labour party through the Standing Orders. As I have said, if he wants to do that, he can get up in his place at the appropriate time and we will listen to him for as long as he likes. He should not, I submit, have treated this occasion as an opportunity to attack us. I was awaiting a ruling from the Chair, with which I would have agreed if there had been substance in Senator McKenna’s remarks. As far as I could see, however, there was no substance in them.
– Order! To my mind, the original procedure was commonsense procedure, and I do not intend to depart from it. The point of order is not upheld.
– I have only demanded that a ballot be taken. I now wish to nominate a candidate for appointment to the committee.
– That is in order.
– I nominate Senator McManus to be a member of the Library Committee.
– There being no further nominations, a ballot will be taken. Ring the bells. (The bells having been rung, the Clerk read the names of the candidates and the distribution of the ballot-papers proceeded) -
– I direct attention to the fact that ballot-sheets that had previously been prepared are being distributed. It is usual for ballot-papers to be initialled by the returning officer or some other officer connected with the conduct of a ballot, but that has not been done in this instance. The initialling of ballot-sheets is the procedure that is adopted in the Labour party, and I think that the ballot-papers being distributed to us should be identified in that way.
– The clerks at the table having handed out the ballot-papers, honorable senators will now vote by striking out the name of one nominee whom they do not wish to serve on the committee.
– How many ballotpapers have been issued?
– As the supporters of the Government wanted a ballot to be taken, they should not argue against the ballot-papers being initialled, as is normally done by a returning officer.
– You cannot argue against the numbers, either.
– May I direct your attention, Mr. President, to Standing Order 357, which seemingly places upon me the responsibility of scrutinizing the ballot. With your permission I will proceed to make certain that the clerks conduct the ballot as it should be conducted.
– Will we get a report from the scrutineer?
– Mr. President, I understand that you were asked a question on that subject by Senator Kennelly in March last. You were asked whether the figures would be disclosed, and you gave an undertaking that you would consider the matter and advise the result later. I do not think that advice has yet been furnished, Sir.
– Both my decision, and the figures, have been given.
– Would you consider giving the figures in this matter also?
– The figures will be supplied. (A ballot having been taken) -
– I declare that the following senators have been chosen to serve on the Library Committee: - Senators Arnold, Kendall, McCallum, McManus, Robertson and Tangney. The voting figures were: - Senator Arnold, 50; Senator Kendall, 50; Senator McCallum, 50; Senator Tangney, 49; Senator Robertson, 48; Senator McManus, 35; and Senator Sheehan, 18.
The question is -
That a Library Committee be appointed, to consist of the President and Senators Arnold, Kendall, McCallum, McManus, Robertson and Tangney, with power to act during recess, and to confer or sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I have to inform the Senate that I have received letters from the Leader of the Government in the Senate nominating Senators Laught, McKellar, Wood and Wright, and from the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate nominating Senators Arnold, Cooke and Willesee to be members of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances.
Motion (by Senator Spooner) - by leave - agreed to -
Thai a Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances be appointed, to consist of Senators Arnold, Cooke, Laught, McKellar, Willesee, Wood and Wright, such senators having been duly nominated in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 36a.
Debate resumed from 18th February (vide page 78), on motion by Senator Branson -
That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General be agreed to: -
May it Please Your Excellency:
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth ot Australia in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
– In resuming the debate, I wish to compliment Senators Branson and McKellar on the maiden speeches which they made in moving and seconding the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply. Their speeches were thoughtful and well presented. It was a pleasure to hear newcomers to the Senate make constructive and well-thought-out speeches, with no taint of party inhibitions, and with the idea that they had entered the Senate to give public service. I hope that that approach and the attitude which they adopted will continue. I trust that their high aspirations will not be frustrated, as have those of many honorable senators on both sides of the chamber. Honorable senators on the Government side, over the years, have found that all their high hopes have had to bow to considerations of party policy, and that the welfare of Australia has been the least of the considerations affecting that policy.
As I said prior to the adjournment of the Senate last night, the Governor-General’s Speech gives very little hope. Much more worthwhile material was contained in the addresses that were given by our two new senators. While that statement may appear critical of the Governor-General, it is not meant to be so, because whatever the Governor-General has to say to the Senate is said on the advice of his Ministers. His Speech presents a very barren story, one which I contend vindicates my statement that the two maiden speeches to which we listened recently evinced much more imagination, a much greater desire to advance Australia, and a more urgent plea for the development of our backward and neglected areas than does the whole of the Speech of His Excellency. The Speech contains nothing of which we have not already had pre-knowledge, either through the press or from Government statements. It is lamentable that a National Parliament should open with all the pomp and ceremony and all the buttons and bows, so to speak, only to hear a re-hash of statements which had been issued to the press by Ministers before the Parliament met.
Under our system of democratic government, we expect the Governor-General’s Address, to which we are asked to reply, to contain information that has been specifically reserved for the occasion, instead of a re-hash of items that we have read in the press from time to time, placed before us belatedly and uninspiringly. We expect an address that would be of advantage to the Government and do courtesy to the Opposition. Therefore, I say that the Senate will have to re-orient its actions if we are to serve a useful purpose in planning for the development of this great nation, of which we have the responsibility of being the directors.
I compliment the Ministers who have been chosen to form the Ministry, because they have a high and responsible office. I hope that their endeavours will be directed towards developing Australia as a nation and that they will not allow Australia to tag along, as it has done during the last decade, with a policy that is more influenced by outside pressure groups than by the wishes and the needs of this nation. However, having regard to what the Government has put before us as its proposed policy, we have no hope for improvement during the forthcoming period of parliamentary government.
– The banking legislation is there.
– It has been there for nearly nine years, a stalking horse for the honorable senator’s political party. The Government was clearly told, before the recent general election campaign, that if it did not make a certainty of certain measures which pressure groups had told it they must have, it would not again be financed into office. That is putting the matter very clearly. As a result, we find that men who had been very high in public life in Australia are now out of it. For instance,. Sir Arthur Fadden, who said that only over, his dead body would the 1945 Banking Act be interfered with or radically’ altered, because it gave such hope to the farmers of Australia and to the people who wanted long-term loans for development, is no longer in office. Such a position perhaps does not get the press publicity that it demands. Nevertheless, it is a fact that Sir Arthur Fadden, who was not spent by any means, has left public life. Sir Philip McBride, a man who made certain statements about banking, also has gone, not because he was spent as a political force in Australia, and not because he lacked experience of high administrative rank both inside and outside the Parliament. The Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) also has expressed himself adequately and has often stated his attitude in regard to what the Government is trying to do to that great national banking structure, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Senator Wade interjected just now. That interjection should not come proudly from the Government side of the chamber, because it cannot be denied that the people to whom I have referred have gone from public life.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– Mr. Deputy President, before the suspension of the sitting I was speaking about the fact - and to some degree proving it - that the Government had been influenced by pressure groups outside the Parliament. Senator Wade assisted me by referring to the banking legislation as a classical example. There was a double dissolution of the Parliament because of the urgency, apparently, of the need for a reconstruction of the banking system at a time when the records showed that the Commonwealth Bank had rendered excellent and sterling service to the nation. The 1945 banking legislation provided for a vast improvement in our banking system.
Following the double dissolution to which 1 have adverted, this Government not only was returned to office but obtained full control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. But apparently the urgency departed from the need to reconstruct the banking system. Pressure on the Government did not cease, but there were within the ranks of the Government those who had the national interest at heart and who prevented it from proceeding with the legislation. There was tremendous hostility from certain sections of the Australian Country party, and in the following three years nothing was done. Even though the Government had the opportunity six or more years ago to introduce legislation to alter the banking system, it never got to the point then of introducing it.
Then the Government lost its majority in the Senate. But now, having regained control of the Senate and after a long delay, the Government has indicated that it proposes to submit banking legislation to the Parliament, even though it knows full well that Labour has pledged itself to defend the national banking structure and the 1945 legislation, which, when challenged, was shown to be thoroughly constitutional. I say advisedly that, if the Government really considered the national interests of Australia, it would not deem it fit to interfere with the present structure of the Commonwealth Bank. The bank could be used administratively to do everything that the Government required it to do, and more. It could enter vigorously into competition with those who are charging the people extortionate interest rates as a result of the policy of the Government, which has been to put a brake on the Commonwealth Bank and leave a lucrative field of exploitation open to private investors and private banks. It is quite obvious that in that field there has been pressure upon the Government from outside. However, I had not intended to proceed along those lines. As the matter was introduced so favorably, I thought it was worth analysis.
There is one aspect of the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General which causes me a good deal of sorrow. His Excellency’s Speech indicates a continuation of that smugness and complacency about economic conditions within Australia which has been displayed by the Government over the last six years. From time to time in this chamber reference has been made to the frightening prospect of unemployment in this young, undeveloped country, which is screaming out for development and in which every unit of man-power should be fully utilized. 1 can recall the occasions when the Leader of the Government in this place (Senator Spooner), as Minister for National Development, has risen and said that we had no unemployment problem. It was said that the volume of unemployment was only one-half of one per cent, and that there was no problem. We on this side of the chamber said that even that percentage was too high, and that unemployment was a real terror to those who were willing and able to work but who could not obtain employment. So, right up to the time of the last election percentages were quoted as a measure of unemployment. Speaking about unemployment has never won elections, because there is always the fear on the part of the vast majority of people who are fortunate to be earning a living that if they over-play the situation they themselves will become members of the pool of unemployed.
His Excellency, after painting a rather sorry picture, said -
My advisers inform me that production and demand in Australia continue to rise and that our economy has done better than most others in maintaining expansion. During 19S8 employment opportunities continued to increase. There are some problems affecting particular localities, but employment generally is at a high level.
At the time of the last election the official pronouncement of the Australian Labour party was that there were 60,000 unemployed persons in Australia. We said that, if a conservative estimate were made of the number of people who relied upon those unemployed for their sustenance and shelter, it would be noted that at least another 100,000 people would be suffering. That suggestion was refuled by the Government.
But the news release of the Department of Labour and National Service of 16th February contains this passage -
The number of persons registered rose by 17,223 from 64,678 at 24th December to 81,901 at 30th January. This compares with a total of 74,765 at the comparable date a year ago. The numbers registered increased in all States and the increase was greatest in Queensland and New South Wales which together accounted for 10,626 of the total increase.
How could any one say that he was satisfied with the employment situation? The figures quoted there are the minimum. They refer to persons who are registered for the dole, not those who are unemployed. It is disgraceful that the unemployment situation should be presented to us as being satisfactory.
The department’s bulletin further states -
The number of vacancies registered with the Commonwealth Employment Service increased from 25,721 at 24th December to 27,355 at 30th January. The seasonal demand for fruit-pickers in Victoria was responsible. The main reductions were in vacancies for young people as schoolleavers entered employment.
Now we note the seriousness of the situation. It is stated that the rise in the number of vacancies registered was the result of seasonal demand for fruit-pickers. There is no permanency about it! But there has been a reduction in the opportunities for employment for young people leaving school who are about to go into adulthood and earn their own living. These teenagers, who have probably reached the junior standard in school, are not registered for employment. They cannot be. They should be readily absorbable and should be welcomed into the community, but the Government does not mention a word about them. As far as the Government is concerned, everything is satisfactory. In considering the unemployment situation we should not overlook the fact that a worker has an employable period from the time he commences work until he reaches the age of 40 or 45. At that age the market becomes overloaded, and in too many instances he finds that there is no room in industry for him. We often see the case of a man 40 or 42 years of age, quite employable, who has lived a good honorable life but is unable to find a place in industry because younger men are available, men better educated than he who are waiting for vacancies to occur.
I appeal to the Government to show a more humane approach to this matter and not simply snatch a figure of one-half per cent, out of the air and say, “ We have nothing to worry about “. The position must be examined in the light of the fact that at the present time 82,000 people are registered for the dole and at least 20 per cent, more are engaged in intermittent employment which prevents them being registered to receive the dole. I cannot be convinced that this country has not enough work, not enough development in hand, not enough wealth and not enough potential to afford every man, capable and willing to work, the opportunity to work at basic wage rates and to live at a decent living standard. Any government that does not provide that wage and that standard of living for the people falls down on its job.
– If there was another war there would be plenty of employment for everybody.
– That is beyond doubt. Ample opportunities exist for our work force to be well and fully occupied during peace time. During the election campaign we heard the figure of one-half per cent, unemployment used on many occasions.. What is the position to-day? In New South Wales the figure is 2.1 per cent.; in Victoria it is 1.3 per cent. - the key to these statistics indicates that figure to ‘be so low because of seasonal occupations such as fruit picking. In Queensland the figure is 3.5 per cent. - to my mind a very high percentage - and in South Australia it is 1.3 per cent., again kept low due to fruit picking. In Western Australia the figure is 2.6 per cent. - a most unsatisfactory figure having regard to the comparative size of the State and the population - and in the small State of Tasmania the figure is 2 per cent. I am most disheartened, as I am sure other members of the Opposition must be, when I hear the Governor-General, the representative of Her Majesty the Queen, on the advice of her Government, describing that position as satisfactory.
As I have said, many statements have been published in the press and issued by Ministers regarding the matter of trade, but in the Governor-General’s Speech we find this most important subject summarized in this rather astounding fashion -
When I last addressed you. there had been an interruption to the growth of trade and production in some countries overseas and particularly in the United States of America. In this situation, Australia had experienced a substantial fall in prices for many of her exports. More recently, economic activity in the United States has risen and elsewhere prospects for expansion, at least later this year, appear good. The prices of a number of our exports have risen but the price of wool, which is of the greatest importance for Australia, has remained at a relatively low level. Australia’s exports in the six months ended December, 1958. were £75.000.000 lower than in the corresponding six months of 1957. However, Australia’s international reserves fell by only £25,000,000 between June and December, 1958, and at the end of the year stood at £500,000,000.
Only £75,000,000 down in our earnings in six months - a happy position! The Speech continues -
The relatively small fall in reserves was in part the result of Government borrowing in London and New York; but an important sustaining influence has been the continued substantial inflow of private capital. Overseas investors have shown in this tangible way their confidence in the basic soundness of the Australian economy and its ability to weather temporary difficulties caused by fluctuations in world commodity markets.
Have honorable senators ever heard such balderdash! Our overseas balances have not been denuded to the point of desperation because we have been able to borrow in Great Britain and in the United States of America. We have been able to weather the difficulties caused by a temporary fluctuation in world markets by our overseas borrowings. We have had one experience of boom and burst by borrowing overseas associated with a decline in exports while the country was producing bountifully but at a time when no one was looking after our interests on the world markets. In effect, we have built up world parity by borrowing from Great Britain and the United States of America.
The Governor-General said that the continued substantial inflow of private capital showed the great confidence of overseas investors in Australia. With the potential wealth of Australia and the low selling price of our properties, it is amazing that any overseas investor should be able to buy so much value with so little money. I am sure that position does not obtain in any other country; as a matter of fact, no other country sells its assets as cheaply as this Government is selling Australia’s assets. The amount of overseas capital coming to Australia is a sign not of confidence in the Government but of the cheap rate at which Australia’s assets are being sold. This is one of the richest, most bountiful and most beautiful countries God ever created, and when it may be bought at bargain prices, who would not invest money in such a purchase? Who would not invest money in such a country, in such a potential, while, as a result of our fiscal policy, young Australians wishing to establish themselves in their own country are unable to do so?
No present-day farmer, unless he has been eminently successful and able to plough back a tremendous amount of money into his property, will be able to establish his son on the property with any degree of ease. The position is much worse for the farmers of a generation ago who developed this country with a small amount of capital but with a large amount of hard work, sweat and blood. Their position is impossible. Only those fortunate enough to obtain land through the soldier settlement scheme have been able to survive and grow slowly. We should not have the spectacle of investors from America buying 500,000 acres of rich arable land at 2s. 6d. an acre. That has happened only because the Government will not make money available to our own people to develop thai country. What do the Americans possess that Australians do not possess? Only one thing, dollars! The Australian people should be given the opportunity to develop their own country, but they are prevented from doing so by the financial policy of this Government. The Labour party tried to pull the shackles from the money purse to allow Australia to develop with Australian capital. Australian initiative and Australian flesh and blood, but we were unsuccessful. The Governor-General’s Speech contains nothing more than a boast that Australian assets, at bargain prices, have drawn buyers from overseas. The heritage of our young men who lived in this country, fought for it and raised families in it has been sold at bargain prices. Only one in 500 has a hope of establishing himself and becoming an owner of property in his own right, ls that anything to boast about?
When the Labour party was in office we were faced with the problem of rehabilitating our returned servicemen who had fought in a desperate war although, in some ways, we were fortunate. Our overseas reserves were at a high level and we were not borrowing money in Great Britain and the United States of America for the purpose of maintaining our financial equilibrium. Why, we gave Great Britain £75,000,000 to help her out of such a situation. 1 emphasize that we gave the money to her, that we did not lend it to her. In those circumstances, is the Government justified in feeling pleased to find that, in the terms of the Governor-General’s Speech,, the only reason why our overseas balances are good is that we have been able to borrow money at high rates in the United States of America and in the United Kingdom? Our production has been so bountiful that we should not have had any difficulty in this direction.
Admittedly, while our wool clip has been increasing prices have been fluctuating; but, after declining to some extent, they have now steadied somewhat. By adopting inflationary methods, the Government has been able to keep up with world parity, but we must not forget that production costs have risen beyond world parity, and that is not good for Australia. There is nothing in the Governor-General’s Speech to indicate that the Government proposes to take steps to cure this evil. It seems that the Government is living in the hope that nature will continue to be as kind to us as she has been during this Government’s regime, that production of wool will continue to increase and that with still further inflated wool prices we shall be able to struggle along. That can happen, but it will be due solely to the kindness of nature, not to any good administration on the part of the Government.
We have been suffering greatly during what has actually been a good period in Australia’s economic history. Instead of taking every advantage of bountiful seasons, Australia has been borrowing more and more and getting further into pawn. I submit that this Government should be giving much more serious consideration to ways of halting the drift so that the Australian citizen will be given an opportunity to obtain a stake in and develop his own country. There should be an alteration of the policy under which outsiders are readily able to buy into Australia while the young Australian who wishes to obtain a footing with financial aid from our banking system finds it almost impossible to get a start.
Recently, 1 made a very interesting trip through the north-west of Western Australia, through that part of the country north of the 26th parallel. This area has been discussed in the Senate on other occasions, and it is pleasing to know that at last the Government has made some move towards helping the development of the north-west of Western Australia. The first step was to offer the sum of £2,500,000. When the Government discovered that this amount was a mere bagatelle compared with what was needed to develop that part of Australia, it decided, just at election time, to increase the grant to £5,000,000. That was really a political move, designed to lull the people into believing that this Government was not forgetful of the needs of the north-west of Western Australia. That money will be used for the establishment of ports, the development of the Ord River water conservation and irrigation scheme, and other essential works, but more than this is needed. Power, water conservation and good roads are certainly essential, but more urgent than anything else is the need to rehabilitate what were once great lush pastoral leases but which, because of exploitation and neglect, have been eaten out to the point where agricultural advisers despair of their restoration to a productive state. Areas that once carried cattle, or three and four sheep to the acre were eaten out until they were as bare as the palm of one’s hand, until they became claypans on which not even seeds were left. If that area had been husbanded properly it could have continued as highly productive country and would not now be in need of revitalizing.
I should like now to read an extract from a publication called “ Pastoral Research “ issued by W. M. Nunn, Bachelor of Science and Agricultural Adviser in charge of the North-West Branch of the Western Australian Department of Agriculture. It appears in Bulletin No. 3256, and reads as follows: -
When a programme of research was put in hand at Abydos Research Station in 1951, it was generally thought that an almost impossible task was being undertaken - that of demonstrating that sheep might still be carried profitably on country which had been abandoned after years of occupation as commercial sheep stations.
Some half-dozen stations, comprising about 3,000,000 acres, had been abandoned in the early 1940’s after flocks of 15,000 and 20,000 sheep had dwindled to mobs of a few thousand or less.
Why had the carrying capacity decreased so alarmingly, and could the trend be reversed to enable the country lo be occupied once again?
These were the questions as they were asked in 1946 when the then Premier (Mr. F. J. S. Wise) directed that the Abydos and Woodstock leases be vested in the Department of Agriculture for development as a Pastoral Research Centre.
The task was rather a frightening one, especially as at that time the Department of Agriculture had no staff trained for pastoral area investigations, and no advisory personnel in the lease-hold regions.
It is not to be wondered that subsequent governments baulked a little at embarking on a research programme, and turned hopefully to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization for consultation. C.S.I.R.O. declined even more firmly. Here was a field where lengthy and costly research could go on for years and still produce nothing. Agricultural graduates were hard to obtain for positions much easier to fill than that of research worker at such an isolated post as Abydos
And so, for a few more years, the region remained neglected, and the leases were simply maintained in working condition against the time when research might become a practical possibility.
That is indeed a sad story, and this Commonwealth Government, which claims to be so concerned about the development of the north-west, contributes only £5,000,000 for the rehabilitation of an area which, from the time the approach was made to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization until now, could have contributed at least £20,000,000 to Australia’s revenue. I do not criticize the C.S.I.R.O. for its failure to go into the area - I know it does excellent work - but I do criticize this Government for not having had any interest in that part of Australia. If the Government had told the C.S.I.R.O. to go into that part of Australia, a great service would have been done for this nation; but the Government was not interested.
When research was conducted in the area, it was necessary to sow seed to it according to a draught-board pattern. The country had deteriorated to such an extent that small areas of about one acre had to be enclosed and sown to seed and it has been necessary to wait years for the development of seed in an area that was once lush and capable of carrying heavy numbers of cattle and from three to four sheep to the acre. The Government has now accepted some responsibility in the matter and has made a grant of £5,000,000 for the development of ports, roads, water conservation along the Ord River and similar work, but that is not the answer to the problem. At the moment about one-third of Australia is supporting a white population of 16,000 in the Northern Territory, 9,000 in the north-west of Western Australia north of the 26th parallel, 18,000 in the area stretching across Queensland to Cape Melville and 8,970,000 along the coast and down in the south. The development of the north-west of Western Australia has been retarded to a considerable extent. People find it impossible to live there under present conditions. The cost of living is far too high and amenities are few. Instead of encouraging pastoral companies from overseas to come in and exploit the territory, the Government should be doing its utmost to evolve some scheme by which that country can be made available to young Australian people and by which those young Australians will be given assistance such as a reasonable cost of living and facilities for educating their children. The North Australian Development Committee put up a proposal for certain taxation concessions, but that has not been considered. At any rate, nothing has been done about it. I say advisedly that when the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) went through the north-west shortly before we did, he was impressed. Nobody can help but be impressed with the great potential of that country. He made an assessment of its potential and he made a lot of promises. The upshot was the granting of £5,000,000 for certain essential development.
If we are going to do anything with this part of the country, there will have to be eventually a combined effort by the State and the Commonwealth to make the place livable. I spoke to one station-owner living in this territory. I would say he was a wealthy man, although his liquid assets may not have been so good. He has three children of school age, and he told me that it cost him £1,500 a year for their education, as he had to send them down to Perth. His position is really no different from that of the worker who goes up there and wants to settle in the area. The worker may not be a station-owner, but his position is much the same. He is prepared to work and stay there, but when his family reaches school age he usually has no alternative but to get out, unless he wants to become an economic slave of the area. That is a very bad feature of the north-west. The population has gradually drifted from there to places where living conditions are better, to places where the Government takes more cognizance of the residents as citizens of the nation.
I think it is very necessary for this area to be examined. We have heard a lot of talk about New Guinea and the development of that country. We have heard a lot about the quarrel over whether the Indonesians or the Dutch will occupy a stretch of barren territory inhabited by probably the most backward natives you will find in any part of the world. That territory is the subject of much talk and great expenditure. A special administration has been set up in our own section of New Guinea to determine how it will be developed, yet we have huge territories in Australia north of the 26th parallel which are thoroughly neglected and deserted. Great wealth is to be won there, yet there is no administration to enable that to be done. There is great public interest but no real government interest in tackling the challenge of the northwest. I am not laying the blame at the feet of any government. This has been going on for too long. I hope there will come a time when the government in power will put first and foremost the interests of national advancement and will work to solve this national problem rather than follow a party political line dictated by pressure groups which are strong enough to influence the making and unmaking of governments.
From a national point of view, the development of this part of Australia is probably one of the most urgent matters to which we should pay attention. It is far more urgent than defence outside Australia. The development of this territory will pay for itself. It is not right that we should hold such potentially rich territory and not develop it. It has an enormous potential for the production of cattle, sugar, pineapples, cotton and metals of every conceivable type. Uranium is to be found there, also copper, lead and zinc in payable quantities. There is asbestos there. The big asbestos works now add millions and millions of pounds to our export income. Victor Johnson in the other House and myself in the Senate had to fight to get some sort of government recognition of these asbestos works. The asbestos deposits are not measly deposits; spread over 9 to 12 miles there are large quantities of thick well-bedded asbestos. You do not have to go underground, but straight into the hills, in order to get it out. The asbestos in the north-west is more than comparable with anything offering in the world as far as quantity and quality are concerned. Those working in the industry there are struggling along in undeveloped territory, but they are doing a mighty job. This is only one instance of the results of persistent advocacy and of people going into the area prepared to develop it. It is one indication of what the potential of the north-west is. Senator Scott will agree with me when I say that the asbestos industry in the north-west is something of which we can well be proud. The establishment of this industry is only a start. Australia should be right up to its neck in the job of developing this territory.
As we go up the coast, we find the same unhappy story. People up there are probably doing fairly well if they are in industry as principals, but there is no great outlook for the workers. They, unless they want to be economic prisoners, have to get out because of family pressure. There are not the facilities there that Australia, as an advancing nation, should be able to give them. To develop the area, there will have to be more co-operation between the Commonwealth and the State. That cooperation will have to be more closely knit than it is at the present time. Mind you, there was a time when the Commonwealth did make an offer to take over the north, but the State objected. Nobody seemed to be too anxious to accept the responsibility for developing this Territory.
– There was a time when the State wanted to break free.
– Yes, there was a time when it seemed that the State wanted to break free from federation. I do not know whether in fact the State wanted to do that, but there were a few cranky people who led a deputation, went to the Privy Council and ultimately satisfied themselves, after a very nice run at government expense, that that could not be done. I think that if a ballot had been taken, no sane person would have voted in favour of splitting up the Commonwealth of Australia. Western Australia was no more sincere in that attempt than were the persons who advocated it. probably for the advancement of some of their own affairs. Anyhow, the people promptly forgot all about it. One of the leaders of the Legislative Council of Western Australia laughs about the move as being one of the biggest jokes of the century. The Labour Premier at the time said to those involved, “ If you think you can do any good1, go over to the Privy Council and I will support you “. He did that just to crush them for all time. Western Australians are just as loyal as other Australians and have a national outlook, lt is unfortunate that our geographical position in Western Australia makes it necessary for us to have Commonwealth assistance. We are a claimant State, but we have not been a drag on Australia by any means. As a matter of fact, there was a time when our gold production saved the nation.
There is a lot to be done in the northwest. I regret that over a period of many years - at least a decade - the uniform gauge proposition that was put up by Sir Harold Clapp for the Western Australian railways has not been carried out. It was thought when Labour went out of office that if £7,000,000 were spent the necessary work could be completed. If ever we are involved in war again and experience the same tangle in transport between the east and the west because of the break of gauge, we will deserve all the trouble we get, I am sorry to say.. The Government has not proceeded with that proposition,, but I think it should do so. No mention of it was made in the Governor-General’s Speech, although from time to time the Government does say that it is its intention at some stage to deal with the matter. From time to time, the Government, states that it will deal with the matter in due course. Of course, attention is being given to this matter in the more populous States, but I think that the standardization of the railway gauge in Western Australia should be undertaken in order to relieve unemployment. Although both the Government members transport committee and the Opposition transport committee have recommended that this work be placed in hand, there is no indication in the Governor-General’s Speech that this will be done1 in the near future.
I come now to the matter of social services. Last year the Government granted a rental, allowance of. 10s. a week to certain age pensioners who do not own their own homes. I think that that was a most in- equitable method of relieving the plight .of the pensioners. 1 do not for a moment say that some relief should not have been granted to age pensioners who were being hard pressed by landlords but I point out that it costs many age pensioners who own their homes more in rates, taxes and maintenance than other age pensioners pay in many instances for a room, although it is admitted that most of them can afford o rent only sub-standard accommodation. Frequently, aged people who have raised families are as hard pressed financially as a pensioner who rents a room, lt costs at least £1 a week for rates and taxes and the upkeep of a home, if it is maintained in reasonable repair. Therefore, I consider that the Government should take early steps to rectify this anomaly.
There is another aspect of social services which seems to have been pushed into the background. From time to time, the Government has promised the people that it will gradually eliminate the means test, but little has been done in that direction. If the Governor-General’s Speech was a full statement of government policy, it does not appear that any action to ameliorate the means test, is contemplated during the current session. It has been suggested- that national insurance should be introduced to meet the situation. However, this Government has become complacent as a result of having been in office for a lengthy period. Supporters of the Government sit smugly in their places and do not seem to be concerned about implementing promises that they made before they were returned to office years ago.
– The people are delighted with, our administration.
– That interjection confirms what I have said about the complacency of this Government. As I said a minute or so ago, the Government has failed to eliminate the means test in relation to social services. It has likewise failed to take any steps towards the introduction of a national insurance scheme. Yet Senator Marriott says that the people are delighted with this Government’s Administration. They do not like it any more than I do. Furthermore this Government, despite the fact that there have been bountiful seasons since it came to office, has failed to curb inflation. These things should not be forgotten. There is no indication in the Governor-General’s Speech that they will be done during this session, although his Excellency’s advisers have told him over the years that they will be done. There used to be a system in the government service whereby uncompleted projects and unfulfilled promises were carried forward so that the current position could be readily seen. If that had been done in this Speech, it would carry more weight, but I do not suppose there is much we can do about it. Senator Marriott said that the people are pleased with this Government.
– Does the honorable senator think that it is a case of the lesser of two evils?
– Senator Kendall may put it that way if he likes, but I am not peddling party politics. The people, by their votes, returned this Government to office. The point I am trying to make is that the Government, in its turn, should do the things that it promised to do. The document before us does not show that the Government has any intention of doing many of the things it has promised to do.
I come now to another matter. The following article appeared in the “West Australian “ of 22nd January -
SOVIET MAY REOPEN EMBASSY AT CANBERRA.
Australia and the U.S.S.R. are expected to agree within the next month or six weeks on an exchange of diplomats. Restrictions on Russian diplomats similar to those imposed on Western diplomats in Moscow may be considered by the Commonwealth Government.
The concluding paragraph reads -
Politically, with the election just behind it, the Australian Government is able to meet Russian approaches without any danger of domestic embarrassment such as might have occurred late last year.
This is current news -
One of the early results will be the return of Russian buyers to Australian wool auctions.
I should be very pleased to hear Government senators say whether this forecast is soundly based. I believe it is quite possible that although there is now no Russian Embassy in Australia, trade is still being conducted with Russia. I should like to know the present position in this matter. I believe that Australia should trade freely with any nation that is not at war with us and which is willing to trade with us on friendly terms. I know that candidates argued during the election campaign about whether we should trade with this, that, or some other country, but the fact remains that we are trading with certain countries although that fact is not officially acknowledged. In some instances we sell to agents of other countries or through intermediaries.
In Europe a trade arrangement has been made that is satisfactory geographically to Great Britain, Denmark, France and certain other countries, but it is affecting Australia’s trade. Quite a lot of Australian products are being sent there in bulk for marketing. But we have done nothing towards establishing our own geographical trade set-up. We should trade with the people who are prepared to trade with us, and we should actively promote that trade. We should take steps to establish trading agreements with countries in the Near East, where there are many opportunities to market our goods.
It has been said that heavy industries in Western Australia are experiencing a decline. The cost of production of heavy poods coming off the assembly line is relatively cheap, and is certainly comparable with the cost of production in other countries of goods that are marketed in India, Africa. China and Indonesia. But there are also shipping freights and invisible costs.
By the time you get the product there and on the market it cannot compete with the product of countries where subsidies are paid on freight, and export is more generally assisted. Perhaps it is Government policy not to attend to these matters, but Holland and other countries are following a positive course in order to absorb their unemployed. The Government should display more imagination and examine this matter more fully. I have placed a question on the subject on the notice-paper and shall have more to say about it when I receive a reply.
At this stage I will content myself with expressing the hope that when the banking legislation comes before this chamber it will be fully debated, and that a really Australian and national outlook will be adopted by the Government, and that the Government will consider the points raised by the Opposition, as being necessary for the development of Australia and the protection of our great financial organization - the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. That institution has seen us safely through wars and depressions. This country could not have survived economically if the bank had been restricted, hamstrung or interfered with in any way.
.- I do not propose to be drawn from my chosen field in this debate on the AddressinReply, which is timely, and which invites the expression of many points of view. However, I am amazed that Senator Cooke, a man endowed by nature with a personality and physique which causes him literally to bubble with optimism and happiness should, upon speaking in this chamber, always find it necessary to sound a note of disaster. It is almost as if Senator Cooke hoped for a depression. If he could only view national affairs in the light of his sunny personality we should be better able to enjoy his remarks, long and often though they are.
I join with the proposer and seconder of the motion for the adoption of the AcfdressinRepIy to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General in re-affirming loyalty to the Throne of the British Commonwealth. I am also pleased to say how glad I am that Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra of Kent will be coming to Australia for the specific purpose of attending the centenary celebrations in Queensland. Tasmania celebrated her centenary some few years ago, but we are always glad to congratulate our younger brothers - or sisters, as the case might be. We are glad that Queensland is to be so honoured and are sincerely sorry that the royal visitor will not be able to come to Tasmania also. We are hopeful that this omission, which is understandable, will be remembered by the Government in the future because our marvellous Royal Family is honouring the people of the Commonwealth by visiting more often than ever before. As a representative of Tasmania, I hope that the Government will not forget that we are, on this occasion, being denied the great joy of welcoming the Princess to our State.
I turn now to more mundane, but equally important, matters, and begin by referring to the recent election. In that election the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) led the two Government parties to the people with the announcement that we were part and parcel of the future of “ Australia Unlimited “ We were decried by Opposition speakers, who always speak of disaster, a la Senatot
Cooke. The election was won in” brilliant fashion by the Prime Minister. 1 think that it might have surprised some of those who realize that the public sometimes feel that a government has been in office for too long, or may not be doing its duty. It was especially gratifying to see the Government returned so well after ten years in office. That reflects wonderful credit on the Prime Minister. It was indeed a glorious victory.
I do not think that anyone will contradict me when I say that no Opposition has ever won an election. A government wins an election or loses it. If the Opposition is bedraggled and inefficient the greater will be the victory of the Government; but if a government has been slipshod, lazy, dishonest or inefficient to any great degree the people will remove it from office and return the Opposition, regardless of leadership or personnel. For that reason, the Government deserves great credit for its victory. At the same time, it must accept great responsibilities. The responsibility for Australia’s continued welfare and development rests, first, on the Parliament, secondly., on the Government and, thirdly, on the people. In the Australia of to-day, with its great opportunities for development, there is no room for complacency or stagnation. Such problems as will undoubtedly arise must be met resolutely and speedily. We have been presented with many chances to improve the lot of our people and to strengthen, economically and otherwise, this vast island continent of ours. In looking to the future, we must realize that no benefit is derived from looking back :o the 1946-49 era and seeking to draw comparisons with the present. It is tantamount to comparing the 19th century with the 20th century. The year 1949 was the beginning of a new era in Australian development, and when I say that I do not claim credit for the Government alone. We have every opportunity to continue along that path, but the Parliament, the Executive and the weople must do everything that they can to helD. Tt could be said that in the last tenyear period our national pitch has been rolled. This country, and possibly this Government also, could enjoy a second tenyear inninas - at the end of which Australia wovild be an even greater nation than it is to-dav.
It is appropriate to say at the beginning of a new session - and especially in this
States’ house of review - that the Parliament should strive to improve its reputation with the people. It has to strengthen its administrative ability. 1 have been priviliged to be in the Senate for only six years, but in that time 1 have become disappointed at the failure of the Parliament to take a greater part in the administrative side of Australian public life. Parliament has a duty to see that the Executive and the Public Service carry out the will of the Parliament with efficiency and speed, lt is of no use this Parliament coming to a decision and instructing the Executive to take certain action if the Executive and/ or the Public Service delays that action because it does not want the decision to be hurried into effect. The responsibility to see that such decisions are given effect rests on the shoulders of Opposition and Government senators alike in this States’ house, this house of review. I am not able, nor do I desire, to criticize another place, but I say that the Government has a terrific majority there, opposed only by an unhappy and divided Opposition. In the Senate, we are, by the will of the people, fairly evenly divided. If we carry out our job properly, we have some loyalties that are greater than loyalties to a party machine. We have loyalties to the people of the States whom we ask to send us here. They say “ Yes “ by their votes, and they send us here.
Therefore, I believe that responsibility for bringing the Parliament to a higher pitch and improving its prestige so that it may do more good for the people can be taken in great measure by the Senate. We have seen that, as a result of the last general election, the Senate has been improved. All of us who heard the moving and seconding of the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply in this chamber recently must have realized that the debating strength, and also the thinking strength, of the Senate has been improved. That was obvious from the very good addresses that were delivered by my colleagues, Senators Branson and McKellar. I understand that we shall have some other new members after 30th June next. In passing, I want to say that, although we have gained new strength, on 30th June I believe we shall lose two people who would grace any parliament in the British Commonwealth of Nations. Their work for their parties, in ti”* committees of the Parliament, and whenever they have taken part in the debates of this Senate, has always given something of value and contributed something to the matter under consideration. I personally regret that, for certain reasons which I do not say reflect the will of the people, Senator Wordsworth will not be with us after 30th June, nor will Senator Condon Byrne, another very good member of the Australian Senate.
I do not intend to preach, but I believe that we should make a better review of the legislation that comes before us. Our main task is to review, not to initiate. Yet, time and again we see bill after bill go through like paper through a printing machine. On occasion, after we have thoroughly studied legislation, we have sent it back to another place to be properly improved. That is our duty. In regard to the timing of the sittings of this chamber, the co-operation and liaison with another place should be such as to enable the Senate to be better informed on legislation and to have more time and opportunity to review it, both at the second-reading stage and in committee. In that respect, 1 have a suggestion to make. 1 believe that we senators would be far better informed about legislation and of the views of our parties if we held separate meetings from those of our colleagues in another place. I think that the senators of the Australian Labour party, the Liberal party and the Australian Country party should hold meetings rather than waste their time in going to meetings with the people of another place, at which so many things of no importance to the work of the Senate take up the time, at any rate in the case of the Liberal and Australian Country parties, of large groups of brilliant people. The leaders of both sides of the Parliament should think about this suggestion. If it were adopted, honorable senators could meet in their respective parties and study the legislation to come before them in the next few days and consider what they were going to do to improve it.
I am of the opinion that all honorable senators should study the Senate election results - the votes from the hamlets and villages that have been cast for us. If they do so they will find that we come here not merely representing a particular community, but that all of us receive some votes from communities all over the States that we represent. So, when we express opinions and help to make decisions that affect the lives of all the people, we should realize that we are not here because of some party executive. We are here because we have gained sufficient votes from many and varied communities within the boundaries of the Australian States.
The work of the Senate could be made more effective and more helpful to the country if we had more committees, as is the case in the United States of America. I am not quite sure who it is who inspires this feeling or spirit that is abroad of fear to set up committees of the Senate to deal with questions of national importance, or matters of particular importance to any one State. It is up to us, during this Parliament, to consider whether or not certain suggested legislation, or certain questions of national policy, should not be referred by the Senate to a committee of the Senate. It is seldom that there is great need to hurry legislation through this place, and the sooner we insist on the appointment of committees, the sooner we will find that urgent matters are sent to us much earlier than has been the case in the past. We have to be zealous of the rights that we possess under the Standing Orders, as private members of the Senate. If more than the time allotted to us is required to be used by us, I think that we should demand our right to have that time made available.
From the Parliament I move to the Government and the Executive, because I believe that they are second in importance in the welfare and development of this country, insofar as government, by either guidance or administration, has effect. I trust that the Cabinet does not look on this ensuing period of three years as merely a continuance of office and as an opportunity to maintain the status quo. Because of the sincere belief of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) in “ Australia Unlimited “, I think that the Government will regard this threeyear period as a time during which it has the authority and the responsibility to get new and better things done for the people.
I do not intend to deal, in this discussion, with any particular government department. There are quite a few that I propose to bring under my scrutiny in the near future, but that can be done during the debates on the Supplementary Estimates, or when suitable legislation comes before the Senate. I am of the opinion that the Government and the Commonwealth Public Service has to look at things in the light of Australia as it is to-day. I am becoming sick and tired of having it said to me, “ This has been government policy for 50 years “ or “ We cannot allow that, because this has always been our system “. Bother old systems and old policies! We need to take a new look at systems and policies and to bring them up to date with the requirements of the people and not relate them to the requirements of the government or the Public Service. I said that we need a new look - not the “ sack “ look that the Australian Labour party had in 1949.
Big business, on which some of our friends opposite frown but in which they like to hold shares, is only big business because it is efficient. It is efficient only because throughout its period of operations its executives and staffs have sought to improve efficiency, cut costs, avoid waste, and provide for its clients what they want at the price they are prepared to pay. Likewise, big government departments can remain efficient only if they continually examine their administration, policies and regulations, and bring them more into keeping with the period in which we live and not let them remain in keeping with the period in which they were framed, which possibly was before World War I.
Ministerial responsibility is very heavy. Sitting in the chamber at the present time is a Minister who, within a short time of taking over the administration of his portfolio, investigated the running of his department. I refer to the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty). Week after week there were presented to the public facts which indicated that this Minister had had the department look at its inner machinery, its systems and rules and regulations. There are many hundreds, indeed thousands, of people throughout Australia who are glad that the Department of Customs and Excise has been given a nevv look. A lazy Minister can soon cause a previously efficient department to become lazy, wasteful and top heavy; but an efficient Minister can soon straighten up a lazy, inefficient department.
I know that our Ministers are busy men, but I think it is essential that Commonwealth Ministers should keep in touch with
State Ministers. To my mind, Ministers should endeavour to move around Australia as much as possible. Except for the two who, happily, live in Tasmania, we do not often see Commonwealth Ministers in that State unless they are over there for too short a visit, sometimes stupidly too short and therefore over-costly. I know they cannot be everywhere all the time, but we in Tasmania would like to see some of them. They all have responsibilities in that State, and it would be well for them to see how those responsibilities are being discharged. They should see whether there are properties that could be sold for the good of the town in which they exist and for the good of the public revenue, or whether public servants are working in conditions unfitted for public servants and which, if they existed in a factory, would lead to the factory owner being prosecuted. They are matters that Ministers should keep an eye on, I know that the people of Tasmania would always be pleased to welcome Ministers of any political colour who came over to Tasmania to see how their departments were being administered.
The responsibility for the continuance of this glorious era to which I have referred must also fall upon the people - the small businessman, the big businessman, the companies that have merged, and all others who are producing, selling or exporting. The primary consideration of those people should be the provision of decent working conditions and wages, because no country will ever prosper if the so-called working people, the wage earners, are not properly cared for. The existence of an under-privileged working class breeds our greatest enemy - communism. But communism will never gain a hold or spread- if private enterprise and governments provide adequate and decent working conditions and wages.
The existence of goodwill and happiness in a country is dependent upon honest dealings with the public and the selling of goods to consumers at a fair price. For Australia’s good in the export field, it is the bounden duty of all who prepare goods for export, not only to produce first grade commodities and to pack them well, but also tq display them properly on their arrival on the world’s markets. In recent years, our overseas markets have been greatlv expanded. Although I had doubts when it was first announced that the Department of
Trade would seek to expand our overseas markets, 1 believe that the department is doing an amazing amount of good for Australian industries in that field. Nowadays, particularly in Australia, it seems that not many leaders in political life are remembered long after they pass from the scene, but I say with all the sincerity that I can muster that I believe that, when the history of this period is written, the Right Honorable John McEwen will be regarded as being the architect of a very greatly expanded Australian overseas trade.
A lot of our problems would be solved if oil were discovered in our country. The Government will always be commended by people of sense and goodwill for its attitude towards the encouragement of the exploration for oil. Private enterprise has spent many millions of pounds on the search for oil, and it will continue to do so while the government of the day shows a willingness to share the burden of very high initial costs. Even in the short period that I have been a member of the Senate, we have heard the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) express opinions and make forecasts on matters of national importance. His opinions and forecasts have been proved to be fairly correct, and I hope that his optimism about the possibility of finding oil in Australia will prove not to have been misplaced.
I should now like to refer to the subject of unemployment. There is not a member of the Parliament who likes to see or to hear about unemployment. Nor is there a member of the Parliament who does not realize that amongst a population of 10,000,000 in a country with such diverse climates and seasons there must at times be unemployment, that in some months the level of that unemployment will rise and in others drop, and that in some States it will rise while in others it declines. Like this Government, every government should be endowed with the sense of responsibility to do all in its power to keep the number of unemployed at the absolute minimum and so work for a prosperous Australia.
The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) has told us that the number of registered unemployed at the end of January, 1959, was 81,901. No honorable senator who approaches the matter sincerely and honestly will say that on any one day in January 81,901 people in Australia were unemployed. Surely the only way to obtain the true figure of unemployed is to ascertain the number receiving the unemployment benefit on a particular date. That figure is 31,486 - too large in such .a great country as Australia. I shall not join with the Labour party in moaning and decrying the Government for its actions and talking depression and fear because that helps unemployment. I ask the sincere members of the Opposition to join me in saying to the Prime Minister, “ Go ahead. Do what you can to solve this difficult problem. You have done a good job so far. Do not let up in your efforts to reduce the number of unemployed.” If one wishes to bring party politics into the discussion, one has only to look at the number of registered unemployed in the various States. In Victoria, which has a Liberal party government, the figure is 1.3 per cent. In South Australia, which has a Liberal-Country party government shortly to face the electors, the figure is 1.3 per cent. However, New South Wales, which has a Labour government, has a figure of 2.1 per cent, registered unemployed. Western Australia has 2.6 per cent., and Tasmania 2 per cent. The governments of these latter three States will be facing the electors this year, the New South Wales and Western Australia Governments on 21st March and the Tasmanian Government, if it can hang together that long, in October. It is quite evident, therefore, that with the exception of Queensland, which has been so long restrained - I might almost use the word molested - by a Labour government, the States in which Labour governments are in power have the greatest figure of unemployed. Although a Liberal-Country party government is in power in Queensland now, it has not had time to straighten up the State which has almost been ruined by a Labour government. Due to seasonal conditions, Queensland has a figure of unemployment of 3.5 per cent.
Although a great responsibility rests upon the Commonwealth to solve the problem of unemployment, the States, which receive loan funds and tax grants from the Commonwealth, also have a great responsibility to clear up their own small pockets of unemployment. I hope that the governments of the States, and the Commonwealth Government, will do everything possible to reduce the number of people receiving the unemployment benefit.
Finally, I shall deal briefly with tourism. The tourist industry could provide a rich harvest for Australia if it were properly developed. Every tourist who visits Australia from abroad helps our economy by reducing our balance of payments. In addition, satisfied tourists bring more tourists the following year. Because of the glorious summer that we have in Tasmania and because of some of the excellent sporting events that we conducted during the recent season, I believe that we shall have a greater number of tourists next year. I am sure that every visitor to Tasmania was well satisfied with the prospects of a thoroughly enjoyable holiday in a lovely State. The same remarks apply to all States of the Commonwealth. If tourists are satisfied, they will tell other tourists and so the number of visitors will grow.
Last year Senator Buttfield proposed that a Senate committee be set up to inquire into certain aspects of the tourist industry and to see whether the Senate, comprising representatives from all States, could not, after adducing evidence, present to the Government a plan by which the Commonwealth could help, guide and co-ordinate the States in the formulation of a national tourist policy. For reasons completely unknown to me Senator Buttfield’s motion died with the last Parliament. I hope that instead of being discouraged she will take action to restore her proposal to the noticepaper. I believe Australia would benefit immensely if a uniform Commonwealth tourist policy were drawn up and sufficient money were allocated to develop adequately the tourist attractions and facilities in this country. I do not have any official information on this point but it may be that the Commonwealth Government has a responsibility to provide greater sums towards the development of Australia’s tourist industry. T am sure the money expended by the Commonwealth would be amolv repaid. In the sincere belief that a rich harvest is waiting to be gathered from the tourists that will benefit Australia and Australians. I have nleasure in supporting the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply.
– The Governor-General’s Speech commenced with loyal sentiments with which we on this side of the chamber agree. As is customary when a motion is proposed by honorable senators entering this place for the first time, the congratulatory remarks that were made were quite appropriate, and I should like to congratulate Senator Branson and Senator McKellar for the way in which they carried out the task of making their maiden speeches on the motion for the Address-in-Reply. That is as far as I can go in that vein.
I should like now to comment on the speech made by Senator Marriott. In degree of piffle it can be matched only by some of the Government’s ideas of a blueprint for the nation as expressed in the Speech presented to us by the GovernorGeneral on behalf of the Government. In speaking of the recent election, Senator Marriott referred to “ Australia Unlimited “ and mentioned the glorious victory of his party at the poll. It is interesting to hear those remarks because, not only in his own State of Tasmania but also throughout the Commonwealth a new influence entered federal politics - a group of people who, perhaps, for the good of Australia, could well remain out of politics. That group was responsible indirectly for the defeat of the Australian Labour party and a continuation of the maladministration, complacency and inertia shown by the Menzies Government over its period of office. According to the Governor-General’s Speech, almost certainly that state of affairs will continue because we receive from the Speech no hope for the future.
Senator Marriott spoke of “ Australia Unlimited “, and of the great things that are in store for Australia. He quoted figures published by the Department of Labour and National Service, but any man who has close contact with the electors, any man who daily has people coming into his office to explain the great difficulties they experience in obtaining employment, any man who has spoken to the officers of the Department of Labour and National Service, knows very well that these documents published monthly by that department are nothing but mere eye-wash.
The figures are obtained from the capital cities and from the larger cities of the States. They relate only to some of the people who are applying for employment and to others who are fortunate enough to obtain unemployment relief. They do not give the full picture of .unemployment in Australia; in fact, they are only about 60 per cent, or 70 per cent, accurate. The simple reason for that is that it is impossible to register the vast numbers who are at present suffering from the fiercest of economic pressures, those members of the farming community whose incomes have been drastically reduced by the fall in prices for primary products. Once again we have the spectacle of men living on the river banks because of their inability to obtain employment. Many people are finding their opportunities for employment so restricted that, in order to live as economically as possible, they must discontinue paying rent or board and go out and live in tents or shacks along the road.
Senator Marriott said that we must not hark back to the past, but I point out that we do get a fair indication of the position from certain trends operating throughout the country to-day. I go so far as to say that instead of its being a question of Australia Unlimited it is one of Australia’s entering a very limited economic phase in which restrictions and contractions cannot fail to be the order of the day.
We have heard from many quarters about the great windfall of overseas investments that has assisted our balance of payments position. The .Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the members of his Cabinet speak with great pride about being able to reduce the deficit considerably because of foreign investment in Australia. When we examine this foreign investment closely, however, we find that it is going into secondary industries, industries which have become established here already, industries which are more or less monopolistic in their set-up, industries which, in the long run, can have a very grave influence on the economy of Australia. It is all very fine for members of the Government to say that this money is developing Australia, but I submit that it is being invested .here only because investment must be more attractive here than in the countries from which .the money comes. The bulk of the money available from private sources in Australia is being invested where it will return a minimum of 10 per cent. I foresee the investment of foreign capital extracting from Australia a return of 10 per cent., 15 per cent, or even higher in interest or dividends each year. That must impose a tremendous burden upon our overseas balances. So, while we may take the short term view that our overseas balances perhaps have not decreased as much as one would have expected from the fall in commodity prices, I submit that in the long run it will be to the great disadvantage of Australia to over-encourage the investment here of this foreign capital unless action is taken to curb the tendency to invest where the highest rate of interest or the greatest amount of profit can be extracted.
This process has been carried out in a very subtle way, and it would be most interesting to learn to what extent American capital is being invested in some of our electronic industries, in our radio and subsidiary industries, in automobile manufacturing, in the manufacture of heavy agricultural equipment, in the steel industry, in the exploitation of bauxite and other mineral resources such as Broken Hill, Mount Lyell and other key industries in the country. Although this investment of overseas capital in Australia might be looked upon as something good, it is also an indication that this Government prefers to have private enterprise coming in and enjoying great concessions in buying up the great natural resources of Australia and tying them up for many years to come. That may be the easy way out at a time such as this when there is a great challenge to our economic system, but T warn the Government that it will be a most costly policy in the long run. Senator Marriott spoke of the pitch being rolled, but I warn the Government that we must be careful to ensure that the cricket pitch does not become a baseball pitch, that the players do not become Americans instead of Australians.
Before dealing with oil concessions, I suggest that if honorable senators have a look at the Governor-General’s Speech they will find page after page about the committees that are to be set up. On page 4 we read1 -
My Government considers that there is a pressing need to review the present financial relations between the Commonwealth and State Governments.
Then the Governor-General goes on to say -
A meeting has already been held with representatives of the State Governments and local authorites and various bodies concerned with roads to discuss the general nature of the roads problem.
My Government will set up a competent and independent public investigation of Commonwealth taxation laws.
This section of the Governor-General’s Speech relates only to talk and contains no reference to action at all. The Government is going to set up many committees. We read further -
A committee of inquiry will also be formed to consider the provisions of the Bills of Exchange Act . . .
We participated in the negotiations for a new international sugar agreement and will, this year, be closely associated with negotiations for a new jnternational wheat agreement and with discussions on the problem of world trade in lead and zinc.
We find a similar thing again -
My Government is discussing a similar research scheme with the beef industry . .
My Government proposes very shortly, in association with the States, to appoint an impartial committee of inquiry to investigate and report on the complex problems of the dairy industry.
And so on. The whole of the GovernorGeneral’s Speech is occupied with talk about setting up committees, while the primary industries of this country, despite the claim of unlimited prosperity made by Senator Marriott, the Prime Minister and other Government members, are in a parlous state.
The wool industry has reached the stage that its costs are such that very few growers will be able to pay their way during the current year and will become involved in the old process of being tied to the woolfinancing companies and to the banks. Implicit in that is a very serious matter for the development of Australia as a primary producing country. On wool-grazing properties plans for further improvements such as pasture development and water conservation will have to be scrapped. People are not going to borrow money from the wool houses and the banks at a high rate of interest - if they can get it at all - to do things such as that. We will see the recommencement of a phase that was at its height during the last depression in wool prices, when fencing, buildings and equipment began to deteriorate and the industry started to run down. With the price of wool to-day at an average of 48d. per lb., it is safe to say that 80 per cent, of the people growing wool cannot keep up their interest repayments. What is to be done?
It is all very fine to talk about “ Australia Unlimited “: How much money is coming from overseas sources to finance and assist the development of the land in Australia? The money coming from overseas sources is being used mainly to assist our secondary industries. The tendency is for a concentration of labour in the cities. The people in the cities have created demands which have brought about a measure of prosperity, but, as I see it, the man on the land is being placed in a position where he is becoming entirely dependent on, and in an inferior position to, the people engaged in secondary industries.
The investment in secondary industries taking place to-day creates employment for so long as we can find local markets for our secondary products, but it does not stabilize the position and does not guarantee the future development of the land in Australia, which is our most important asset. We are producing secondary commodities which are heavily protected. From the point of view of employment, of course, that is a part of the policy of the Goverment and of the party that I represent, but the customs duties and other charges imposed on commodities coming into Australia are keeping the cost structure up within this country.
Because of the inflation that has gone on over the last nine years, costs of production have been gradually mounting. Woolgrowers, of course, have had many boom years, but they have had to pay high rates of taxation and there were certain limits to the amounts they could plough back into their land. Generally speaking, the field in which they could profitably reinvest the results of those high prices has been much less limited than has been the case in the cities, where secondary industries are being established and where the high cost of production is increasing the cost of commodities to the consumer and so reducing the ordinary citizens’ capacity to buy the commodities produced.
The position then, as I see it, is that an inequality is growing up. First, the wageearner is affected. He has had his basic wage and margins pegged by various means and has not been able to share fully in the prosperity of the so-called “ Australia Unlimited “. His ability to share in this prosperity has been confined to his ability to obtain goods on hire purchase and pay for them over a period1 of years at a high rate of interest. The improvement of his standard of living in the home has been purchased very dearly by means of hire purchase. We witness the spectacle to-day of the arbitration court, which was set up for the purpose of protecting the employee and’ seeing that he got his fair share of theresults of his labour, being turned, by various amendments, into an instrument through which the employee feels that he is suffering a continual injustice. Instead of the worker looking upon the court as a place where he will get justice, the tendency is for him, through the trade union movement, to seek alternative methods. I think that that is a great pity because the system of arbitration and conciliation has been part and parcel of the industrial set-up in this country for the last 50 years. Out of sheer necessity, the annual conferences of individual unions are coming to look upon direct negotiation rather than an application! to the court as the only way in which they can get wage justice. This is a very serious state of affairs, and it has been brought about by the continual interference by this. Government with the machinery of arbitration and conciliation.
By introducing legislation to inflict penalties and otherwise to intimidate the trade unions and their executives, this Government has brought about a situation whereby the arbitration court is losing favour, and the process that has gone on in America for a number of years, of direct negotiation between employees and employers, is becoming the order of the day. It is a great pity to see that process in train. It means that resources that rightly belong to the people of this country have actually been handed over for a consideration to big concerns such as, in the steel industry, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and its subsidiaries. Governments, both State and Federal, had no right to sell the concessions to a private company. The expectation of profit of a combine of that kind would be such as to enable it to enter into wage agreements with its employees on a higher level perhaps than other concerns, could offer. By offering higher wages, it would be able to exercise a choice in the employment of labour and thus gain an advantage over other concerns. I see in this process the gradual disintegration of the old system of arbitration and wage justice. At times, I think that the process has been introduced in an attempt to dissipate the strength of the combined trade unions and of the individual working man. A very bitter harvest will be reaped as a result of the breaking up of the arbitration system that has existed in Australia for many years.
This Government has also failed to make adequate provision for defence. More than a page of His Excellency’s Speech was devoted to pointing out various things that the Government intends to do in relation to the defence of Australia. One of the very important things that the GovernorGeneral spoke about was the devising of ways and means of encouraging international co-operation in the peaceful uses of outer space. When, in opening a new parliament, the Government has to resort to mentioning the desirability of international co-operation in the peaceful uses of outer space, it is either deliberately putting out something for public consumption or endeavouring to divert attention from more important things. The fact that the Government has directed its attention to the uses of outer space while failing to grapple with problems that are much closer to the people of this country, is indicative of its attitude, which is to do as little as possible, to say as much as possible, and to extract as much as it can in taxes from wage and salary earners, but to consolidate the situation for those who have a vested interest in the continuance of the Government in office - big monopolies, the private banks and the private investors. So I say that the speech prepared for His Excellency contains many empty words and does not give us a positive account of the Government’s plans.
We have been told that the Navy and the Army and the Air Force are to have various additions, but they are so infinitesimal that they will not even restore the respective strengths to the levels that were formerly maintained in those services. It was all very well for His Excellency to refer to the proposed addition of new aircraft and new naval ships, but I believe that if trouble were to crop up Australia’s lamentable unpreparedness would manifest itself.
During the last couple of days we have had under consideration our relationships with Indonesia, which is our nearest neighbour to the north. I believe, bearing in mind our state of unpreparedness, that our best and surest policy is to remain on the closest and most friendly relations possible with the Indonesian people. The present poor state of our defences reflects no credit at all on this Government, particularly when we remember that since it has been in power about £1,000,000,000 has been voted for defence.
Turning to the question of our defences in the future, I think it would be advisable to have defence factories, naval dockyards, and aircraft factories working at a level that would enable quick mobilization, if that were needed. But in the last year or so there have been dismissals from defence factories and from naval dockyards - places like Mort’s Dock.
– That is not a naval dockyard.
– No, but it is an important aspect of our maritime installations and general defence pattern. Over the years it has contributed more than its share to our security. It is a reflection on the Government that it should have been closed down.
– Who closed it down?
– It closed itself. The investors saw more profit in such avenues as hire purchase. The reduced numbers engaged in aircraft production are a further condemnation of the Government. Australia is a land of great distances, and aircraft are badly needed to make up for the limited strength of the Army and the Navy.
– The honorable senator must disagree with other members of his party, who complain that too much is spent on defence.
– The Government’s defence policy is contradictory. It says, for public consumption, that Australia has strong defences. In reality, it is dismissing people from aircraft factories, from the Navy, from shipbuilding industries and from other sections of the defence forces. This is proof that the Speech which was. prepared for His Excellency the GovernorGeneral was for public consumption only, and contained more froth and bubble than substance.
Reference was also made by His Excellency to housing, in these terms -
This financial year a record amount of approximately £80,000,000 is being provided by my Government for housing. This will enable the normal current demand to be met and, in addition, will permit a substantial reduction in the already diminished arrears.
That rather contradicts a statement attributed recently to the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, that the release of special account money by the bank would assist the financing of housing. The Governor of the bank also directed attention to the fact that the number of houses and flats under construction during the last quarter has been the lowest for seven years. -It is interesting to see how the number of houses under construction has steadily decreased. In 1951-52 there were 81,800 houses under construction. In 1952-53 that number was reduced to 66,000, then to 60,000. In the two following years, 1956-57 and 1957-58, there was a slight increase. In the last quarter of 1958 the number of houses under construction was down by 3,000. At the same time, the number of persons coming into this country increased by 1 per cent, annually and natural increase was also proceeding apace. In the face of this, the housing problem is not being tackled. The old excuse of the Government is that housing is a matter for the States. To expect the States to handle all the problems which flow from the Federal Government’s immigration policy is to display a complete lack of understanding of those problems.
Immigration provides ever greater demands upon State education. After all. only a very small proportion of immigrants go to the Northern Territory, Jervis Bay, or Canberra. The remainder are dispersed throughout the States. Their first thought on arriving is to obtain accommodation. The tendency towards overcrowding is becoming more and more obvious in many of the larger cities. Standards hitherto unknown in this country are being created. Several families will club together either to rent or buy a house. As many as six or eight people sleep in one room. They have a roof over their head so they are recorded - in the cold, hard statistics published by the Government - as being housed. A great responsibility rests upon the Government to try to reverse this trend towards the lowering of previously accepted standards. We have always believed that a family should have sufficient room to permit it to live comfortably, but that principle is being broken down by the European idea that people are suitably housed as long as they can be packed into a room like sardines in a tin.
As soon as immigrants obtain accommodation, even of the kind which I have described, their children have to be sent to school. That is another way in which tremendous burdens are being placed on the States. Their funds are simply inadequate to meet the problem. The present migration policy is resulting in cramped and congested housing. Children from such homes go to school and mix with Australian children. The overcrowded conditions which they accept may very well have a bad influence on Australian children also. The matter should be watched closely.
Senator Marriott said that the Government had had a great election victory. He did not mention that during the election year the Government did certain things which helped it a great deal. I refer, for example, to the release of special account money to give the economy a temporary shot in the arm. Its effect lasted long enough to reduce unemployment figures and, in other ways, to achieve a very happy state of affairs during the election campaign. It is typical of the hand-to-mouth policy of expediency adopted by the Government. That policy is revealed by an examination of trade trends. Immediate action will have to be taken to maintain living standards and trade levels. During the last few months I have spoken to numbers of people in business, and it is obvious that the shopkeepers, the grocers and others associated with the retail side of business, are finding business difficult. The number of people who are unable to meet their commitments is growing and the number who are able to do cash business is decreasing.
I noticed, on the first day of business of this new Parliament, that it was stated that provision was being made for a review of bankruptcy procedures. It is rather an interesting thing that whenever a Liberal government, or whatever other name it goes under, is in power, bankruptcy goes into the ascendancy and the number of bankrupts rises. It is also interesting that the present Leader of the Government in the Senate had a very wide experience of a period of numerous bankruptcies. Now he has assumed the position of Leader of the Government in this chamber. Perhaps that is in anticipation of another critical period of bankruptcies.
– What do you mean by that?
– I mean that many business places which have been operating with a small margin of working capital have found, through the inability of their clients to meet their commitments, that they will either have to take action through debtcollecting agencies, or through the courts, to obtain their justly owed money, and that the tendency towards bankruptcy will become much greater in the very near future. That is what I mean.
– Yes, but you linked that with the appointment of Senator Spooner to the leadership of this chamber.
– I linked it with the economic policy of this Government. During the recession, the time of the moratorium provisions, the present Leader of the Government in the Senate was closely associated with the administration of those legal processes, or with the laws associated with the moratorium provisions. It could be a coincidence, but, having been appointed Leader of the Government in the Senate at this time, perhaps we shall see another spate of bankruptcies such as the moratorium provisions were brought in to offset.
The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) yesterday made a statement to the Parliament on Indonesia and the recent negotiations and discussions between the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), himself and Dr. Subandrio. It may be a useful exercise for us to try to get behind the minds of the Indonesian people when they approach us as their nearest friendly neighbours with a view to coming to an agreement. When we get right down to the essentials of the matter, it is in Australia’s best interests to be on friendly relations with her nearest neighbour. West New Guinea, or West Irian as the Indonesians choose to call it, has been under Dutch rule for more than 300 years, and it is a great reflection on the Dutch people that after that long period of occupation there is so little to testify to the beneficial effects of their administration. As a matter of fact, the monuments that stand to the long period of administration of Indonesia by the Dutch are very limited. In my opinion, one of the ways in which we can judge the stewardship of a colonial power is according to the level of education and citizenship that it leaves to the people. It is interesting that in 1940 the rate of illiteracy in Indonesia, including western New Guinea, was 93 per cent. That is to say, after 300 years of Dutch administration, 93 per cent, of the people were illiterate. I think that that proportion can only be equalled, in Western or European countries, by Russia prior to the revolution.
In the same way that illiteracy was the seed bed of violent revolution in Russia, so the conditions in Indonesia could quite easily have been the seed bed of something entirely different from the growth that we have seen in the territory of our nearest neighbour during the last thirteen or fourteen years. So I should say that the task that the Indonesian Government has been set, of educating its own people, is an enormous one. It is interesting to note that in 1940 there were in Indonesia 18,000 primary schools, with 2,000,000 pupils attending them. At the present time there are 30,000 primary schools with 7,000,000 children attending them. The number of junior secondary schools has increased from 114 to 1,600, while the number of students has increased from 21,000 to 430,000. In relation to the senior secondary schools we have seen a corresponding increase. There were no universities at all there when the Dutch evacuated Indonesia, but now there are seven State universities and several private universities.
So I think that, in relation to all our negotiations with the Indonesians, we must bear in mind that the Indonesian Government has a tremendous internal task ahead of it, one that can only be carried out with the confidence of the Indonesian people. The same comment applies to West Irian or western New Guinea. The people of that area must have confidence that, whoever their administrator is, they will be offered the same opportunities for education and so on as are available in our own portion of New Guinea and in Indonesia. lt is my personal opinion that the Dutch people, as colonial administrators, have in our day and age come to be known as failures. In South Africa, they are building up a legacy of hatred that could do great disservice to the white people of the world. In these critical times, when the tendency is towards greater understanding between East and West, and between white people and1 the various people of the world who have pigments in their skin, the negative approach of the descendants of the Dutch in South Africa causes me great regret. They have enclosed themselves in a cocoon of complacency, feeling that the way in which they administer South Africa and the implementation of a policy of apartheid, with all its explosive content, is their own business. They are living in a fools’ paradise. Not only can such an attitude react against the descendants of the Dutch who live in South Africa, but also indirectly it can have a very bad effect on the people of Holland and the other white people of the world.
The claim of the Dutch Government to western New Guinea is based on very flimsy ground. It has been, said, “ By their deeds ye shall know them “. These people have had a long opportunity to do something with this area to our near north, but their actions have shown that they have not honoured the trust that has been reposed in them. We must approach the whole Indonesian question with very great caution. If the Indonesians are our friends, they can be our first line of defence; but if they are not our friends, they can be our greatest source of concern and fear. rule. The only alternative to the present set-up in Indonesia, which I believe is described as being a guided democracy, would be a government with which it would be much more difficult to negotiate. This is a critical period. Although the Dutch in their own country are highly respected, thiy do not seem to have the happy knack of being successful in their colonies. Possibly their colonial system has been a great source of revenue to them over the years, but they have not to live in close proximity to the effect of their colonial policy as have we in Australia.
I sincerely hope that the outcome of the negotiations will be a common trusteeship of the area under the United Nations and that we shall do everything we can through the Colombo plan or any other avenue to remain on friendly terms with the Indonesian, people, to assist them in their plan for a guided democracy, and to help them to raise their standards of living.
I turn now to the question of land settlement. I should like to express a few thoughts on the matter of the termination of the war service land settlement scheme at the Commonwealth level and my disappointment at the fact that only slightly more than 8,000 settlers out of a total of 39,000 applicants will have been settled under the scheme. Another very important aspect of the scheme is the financing of settlers who have recently gone onto farms in expectation of higher prices for their commodities and who are confronted bv the economic blizzard that is commencinc to blow as a result of the decline of overseas nrices. Although the maioritv of wnr service land settlers in Tasmania are ensaeed in wool and fat lamb production, thev have not yet felt the effects of the blizzard, but they will certainly feel the blast during this coming year.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 February 1959, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1959/19590219_senate_23_s14/>.