23rd Parliament · 3rd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuIIin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Civil Aviation a question. In view of certain reports that have appeared in the press concerning an alleged offer to the New Zealand Government for its interest in Tasman Empire Airways Limited, can the Minister say whether or not an offer has been made for Australia’s interest in the same airline and, if so, by whom it has been made?
– Having anticipated that I would be asked a question of this nature, I have prepared some material which I think will be of interest to the Senate. I have read the newspaper reports to which the honorable senator has referred. Within the last few weeks, I have had discussions in Australia with Mr. McAlpine, the Minister in charge of Civil Aviation in New Zealand, on relations between Australia and New Zealand in respect of civil aviation. In those discussions, which were conducted in the friendly atmosphere which has always typified AustraliaNew Zealand civil aviation relations, the future of Tasman Empire Airways Limited was considered.
As honorable senators know, Tasman Empire Airways has operated air services on the Tasman for over twenty years. Originally, the airline was owned jointly by the Australian, New Zealand and United Kingdom governments. However, in 1954 these arrangements were changed and the Australian and New Zealand governments became joint owners of the airline, each with a 50 per cent, interest. The par value of the Australian Government’s interest in T.E.A.L. is £811,400 in New Zealand currency. At present, the airline’s main fleet consists of three Electra aircraft that were purchased in 1958 following agreement between the Australian and New Zealand governments. This purchase was financed by a loan of the order of 9,000,000 dollars obtained in New York, which the Australian Government, in association with the New Zealand Government, has guaranteed.
As Mr. McAlpine and I mentioned in a joint statement issued ki Canberra on 6th March last, the result of our discussions was an agreement to recommend certain action on the future ownership and operation of T.E.A.L. to our respective governments. We went on to say that the action recommended was, in our belief, in the best interests of both countries.
I am unable to inform the Senate at present about any of the details of these recommendations because they are under consideration by the Government, but in accordance with my usual practice I will give the Senate a full statement on this matter as soon as I am in a position to do so. This much I can say, however, that in respect of the future of T.E.A.L., our joint recommendations do not envisage the sale of the company to parties outside those which at present own it, and they fully protect the interests of Qantas. I have no knowledge whatever of Mr. Ansett’s reported offer to the New Zealand Government for the purchase of T.E.A.L. No offer has been made to the Australian Government.
– 1 preface a question to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General by explaining that in the past we have had pioneer men, statesmen, boy scouts, the Red Cross, the Bible, Christmas scenes, flowers and every known animal appearing on our stamps. Many people believe that our pioneer women should now be so honoured. Is it a fact that a new lid. stamp depicting a rabbit bandicoot is to be released in May of this year? Also, is it a fact that the printing of a ls. 2d. stamp depicting a Tasmanian tiger will complete the issue of fauna stamps by this Government? If the answers to those questions are in the affirmative, will the Postmaster-General consider the promises made to issue a series of stamps depicting pioneer women of Australia?
– It is a fact that the two stamps mentioned by the honorable senator are to be issued. I think it is fair to say that the Postmaster-General has endeavoured to choose subjects of significance for stamps. I shall be pleased to bring to his notice the suggestion made by the honorable senator that a stamp commemorating our pioneer women should be issued, but 1 suggest that it would be a most difficult task to choose who should be the pioneer woman depicted on that stamp.
-My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer, relates to the fact that because of mean, petty, official prejudice a multiple gold-medal swimmer of Olympic fame, still in superb condition, has been passed over for an international contest by an amateur swimming body. Has it been the practice of the Government to provide a grant to an amateur swimming body for the purpose of sending swimmers to compete in events overseas? Before any further sums are granted, will the Minister have inquiries made to ensure that the swimmers sent to compete will be the fastest available in Australia, consistent with swimming conditions?
– It is true that the Commonwealth Government made a grant to the Olympic Games Federation prior to the last Olympic Games, held in Rome.
– A grant of £10,000.
– A miserable amount, too.
– Contrary to those interjections, the grant was regarded by the federation as being most generous. If my memory is correct, it was much in excess of the £10,000 mentioned by Senator Benn. I am asked whether the Commonwealth Government will take any action to see that a sporting body will do this or that. The answer to that question is a definite “ No “. If the Commonwealth Government is prepared to support sporting bodies of this type, it is obvious that it has sufficient faith to believe that those bodies will carry out their duties in a proper manner.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, and is in two parts. Does the Minister know that in a broadcast made by the Premier of South Australia, Sir Thomas Playford, last Thurs day evening, a report of which was published the next day in the Adelaide “ Advertiser “, a subsidy on superphosphate, to be paid by the Federal Government, was advocated as a means of obtaining a short-term result in stimulating exports of primary products, thereby assisting in increasing our overseas balances? In the efforts directed to stimulating exports - mainly through incentives provided by taxation concessions to exporting industries - was a superphosphate subsidy also considered by the Government? What, if any, are the Government’s objections to assistance in this form?
– Sir Thomas Playford has not been the only advocate pf the payment of a subsidy on superphosphate. In the post-war years this Government did pay a subsidy on superphosphate for the very good reason that it had a responsibility to increase production to provide foodstuffs for nations that were starving as the result of war damage. To-day the Government is just as eager to increase production, but for the added reason that we need to increase our overseas balance of payments. For my part, I am not sure that subsidies are the complete answer to the problem. I am on safe ground when I say that the Government’s approach to this very real problem is to seek a lowering of the cost of production to the primary producer. In fact the Government’s present economic policy has been designed with that purpose in view. Should the measures adopted by the Government not be as effective as it wants them to be, I have no doubt that it will explore every other avenue to increase primary production.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration tell me what stage has been reached by the Department of Immigration in providing a migrant holding centre for Tasmania?
– I am not in a position to supply information about this matter, which is of great interest to Senator Cole. I am sure his interest would best be served if he were to place the question on the notice-paper. If he does so, I shall furnish him with up-to-date information.
– Did the Minister for Civil Aviation, in answer to a question asked by me in the Senate on Tuesday, 14th March, state that, instead of the expected increase in the number of passengers carried by the two major civil airlines last year, there had actually been a decrease of 3 per cent.? How does this statement compare with the following statement in the current press advertising campaign of TransAustralia Airlines: - “ No wonder more people are flying T.A.A. throughout Australia and Papua-New Guinea these days “ ? Which statement is correct?
– I can assure the honorable senator that my statement definitely was correct. I noticed this advertisement and I was a little puzzled, because at first glance it did seem that it conflicted with what I had said. However, a careful reading of the advertisement shows that the airline’s claim that it is now carrying more passengers than before may well be right without being in conflict with my own statement. The advertisement refers to Australia and Papua and New Guinea. Statistics relating to Papua and New Guinea have been included in air traffic figures only in quite recent times. Therefore, it is possible that the absolute figure is greater, but my own statement relating to traffic growth remains as it was - quite correct. I have no harsh criticism to offer. I believe that advertisers, like poets, claim and are accorded a little licence.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service the following questions: - Will he ascertain how many sawmills in each State have closed down during the period from the beginning of December to the present date and how many employees have lost their employment as a result? Can he offer any explanation of the cause of the closing down of those mills?
– I shall obtain the information and furnish it to the honorable senator.
– It is true that the Lincoln bombers are going out of service as each one reaches the 2,000-hours service limit that has been placed upon these aircraft. That limit is in keeping with R.A.A.F. standards. It is also true that the Neptune bombers that are to be supplied to No. 10 Squadron are not expected to be available until later this year. However, I am very happy to assure the honorable senator that in the interim the R.A.A.F. remains adequately equipped to undertake any work that may be required of it. As a matter of fact, a number of Lincoln bombers that have not as yet completed their 2,000 hours of service, and some Dakota aircraft, will be available at Townsville. Incidentally, it was a Dakota that found the Carpenter family, for whose safety so much concern was felt by many people. At present Neptune bombers are based at Richmond, New South Wales, and it would be an easy matter to direct them to any part of Australia within a matter of hours.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. I have received a number of complaints about the new telephone directory. For example, one complaint is that the town of Chiltern, in Victoria, is listed under the Wangaratta area, but other parts of the shire are excluded from that listing. Albury, Wodonga, Rutherglen, Yackandandah and other towns with which the ratepayers of that shire do business are excluded. Will the Minister endeavour to have the telephone directory revised in order to cater for community interests” instead of listing towns on a purely geographical basis?
– I know that the points raised by the honorable: senator have already been, placed before the PostmasterGeneral. As I have already said on another occasion, the new directory is an experiment. It was designed, after a great deal of careful thought, to give the best possible service. I agree with the honorable senator that community of interest is of real importance in the compilation of telephone directories and I am sure that the Postmaster-General, in view of his past interest in this matter, will examine all of the features of the new directory. If it can be improved, I am sure that he will take steps towards that end. If the honorable senator will place his question on the noticepaper I will bring it to the attention of the Postmaster-General.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Acting Minister for External Affairs. Has his attention been directed to a statement in to-day’s press, attributed to ViceAdmiral Dowling, wherein the viceadmiral comments on. the instant readiness of Australian forces in the event of trouble developing iri the areas to the north of Australia? Has the Minister any comments to make on the grave implications of such a statement?
– r noticed a statement in to-day’s press attributed to ViceAdmiral Dowling, who, in his present posting, is an employee of the Department of Defence and not of the Navy. ViceAdmiral Dowling is reported to have referred to the situation in Laos, which has been the cause of concern for some time. The only comment that I would care to make on the statement in question is that the Australian Government has always felt that the solution to the situation in Laos should be and can be found by political means. If Vice=Admiral Dowling has been reported correctly I can only assume that he meant that should assistance be required from any country - should a request for assistance be received by the South-East Asia Treaty Organization and should that request be agreed to - Australia could speedily supply assistance.
– Has the Minister representing the Acting: Prime Minister seen an advertisement, a copy of which I have in my hand, which was published in the Sydney press during the recent parliamentary recess and was declared to be authorized by the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association of the Commonwealth Public Service? If: he has seen the advertisement, has he noted that the statement therein says that salary rates in the Commonwealth Public Service are depressed through what it calls the Federal Government’s policy of poor wage standards? Has he noted that the advertisement quotes commencing salaries, adult minimum salaries and assured range maximum salaries for the Commonwealth Public Service, the State Public Service and the Commonwealth Bank; asserts that in each case the Commonwealth Public Service rate is the lowest; and asks young people to consider those figures before choosing the Commonwealth Public Service as a career? As these statements, if true, could adversely affect the standard of recruits entering the Commonwealth Public Service, can the Government take steps to expedite in future the hearing of salary claims for the Commonwealth Public Service, as delays appear to be occasioning this discontent?
– I saw the advertisement referred to by the honorable senator when it appeared in the press. I think it would be appropriate for me to ask the Acting Prime Minister to furnish a reply. If the question is put on the notice-paper, I will see that, that is done.
– Can the
Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry inform the Senate whether large quantities of Continental butter are being dumped in the United Kingdom and whether any protest has been made by the Australian Government against such dumping, which could have serious effects on the dairy industry in this country?
– That question is of such importance to the dairy industry that I think it should be placed on the noticepaper so’ that an appropriate reply can be given. Therefore, I ask the honorable senator to place her question on the noticepaper.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, relates to the split payment for wheat. I should like to preface my question by saying that in this chamber last week Senator Drake-Brockman asked the Minister whether the payments had been made. The reply given by the Minister, Senator Wade, was as follows: - ( have seen the newspaper report to which the honorable senator refers. If he were to peruse the reply I gave. Co Senator Tangney on 9th March he would find that T said that the first advance for the 1960-61 harvest was to be made in two payments, that the first payment of 9s. had already been made and that the second payment of 2s. would be made on 1st April.
I remind the Minister that some farmers have received the first amount of the split payment for one-third of their harvest, and that others have not; and none of them has been paid for the other two-thirds of his harvest. If the Minister has not the relevant information, I would like him not to mislead1 the Senate by making statements on matters of which he has no knowledge. Will he ascertain from the Minister for Primary Industry what the real position is in regard to the payments to wheat-growers under the arrangement that was made by this Government and the Australian Wheat Board?
– I have no personal knowledge of the payments for this harvest, as I had no wheat; but I do know - I repeat I do know - that history would prompt me to say that far and away the great majority of wheat-growers have received the first payment of 9s. a bushel before this date. If there are any carry-overs, I suggest that possibly the wheat-grower himself has some responsibility for that position. The relevant statistics reveal that over the years the average date for the payment of the first advance for wheat has been 26th January; It is now the middle of March, and I am quite sure that those wheatgrowers who have not been paid the 9s. a bushel up to date are a very, very small minority, if there are any. So that I can completely establish the point I make, I ask the honorable senator to place the question on notice. He will then be supplied with the official figures, which will, I am sure, reveal what I have said to be correct.
– Is the Minister representing the Acting Minister for External Affairs in a position to say whether there is any truth in the reported £177,000,000 arms deal between Indonesia and the Soviet Union? If there is any truth in the report, will this deal constitute a threat to West New Guinea and to Australia’s position in New Guinea?
– I understand that there has been an arrangement whereby arms of various kinds to the value mentioned by the honorable senator are to be supplied to the Indonesian Government by the Soviet Government. The Australian Government still believes that the Indonesian Government, as its Foreign Minister said in Australia, and as has been said since, will eschew the use of force in the prosecution of any aims it may have in the area to our north.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Trade been directed to an article published in the Melbourne “ Herald “ yesterday evening, which hinted at the sale of Australian wheat to red China on credit? How much wheat has in fact been shipped to red China under the recent sale agreement? Has the whole value of these shipments been paid in cash? In view of the appalling record of default and swindling by red China in its trade relations with Burma, Malaya, Thailand and Japan, will the Minister give an assurance that no sale of Australian wheat on credit, as distinct from a gift for Red Cross administration, will be made to red China? Has the Government considered the position that wheat sold on credit to red China would probably never be paid for and that it might be dumped on our other markets at cut prices, as happened to Burmese rice on Burmese markets? Has the Australian Government any evidence that the wheat already supplied is being used for the general alleviation of the terrible famine conditions in red China?
– All the wheat transactions between the Australian Wheat Board and China have been made on commercial terms, which have not involved the granting of any credit. The orders have been received and executed. I have heard no suggestion that the wheat was required for any purpose other than to meet the urgent need which, to everybody’s knowledge, exists in China at the present time.
– Has the Minister for Civil Aviation been informed that Ansett- A.N.A. has offered the New Zealand Government £2,000,000 sterling for Tasman Empire Airways Limited, in which the Australian Government holds 50 per cent, of the shares? If that information is correct, will the Minister, because of the apparent improvement of the financial position of Ansett-A.N.A., cause to be terminated the rationalization scheme operating in respect of Ansett-A.N.A. and Trans-Australia Airlines?
– In respect of the first part of the question, I gave quite a lengthy answer to a question which was asked earlier by Senator Kennelly, and I think that little purpose would be served by going over that ground again. As to the second part of the question, I point out to the honorable senator that rationalization has been the means of ensuring that both major airline operators in Australia now operate with reasonable commercial result. Both derive great benefits from rationalization, and each acknowledges that fact.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade. Can he say whether talks are proceeding, or whether an agreement has been arrived at, between Australia and America regarding the expanded programme for the disposal of surplus agricultural products? I point out that detailed proposals in this respect were submitted to President Kennedy a few weeks ago and that this is a matter in which Australia is profoundly interested.
– As Senator Wardlaw will recollect, there is an arrangement between the Australian Government and the United States Government for consultation before disposals of surplus agricultural products are made. Australia is given an opportunity to attempt to establish that such transactions would be prejudicial to its ordinary commercial outlets. As I understand it, the new American programme is an expansion of the existing programme. I should think that the arrangements that have operated to the present stage would continue to apply.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation. Can he say whether, in the adding to and remodelling of the Hobart Repatriation General Hospital, provision has been made for psychiatric wards for returned servicemen?
– I am not aware of the situation at the Hobart Repatriation Hospital, but I shall refer the honorable senator’s question to my colleague and obtain an answer for him.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport inform the Senate of the length of the berths in the quays at Sydney and Melbourne respectively?
– Senator McKellar was good enough to indicate that he intended to ask that question to-day and, as a result, I have been able to obtain the relevant information. The total length of commercial wharfage at present at the ports to which the honorable senator has referred is: Sydney, 73,060 feet, and Melbourne, 63,777 feet. He may also be interested to know that at Newcastle there is a total length of wharfage of 1 6,200 feet, and at Port Kembla, 8,595 feet.
– I wish to ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate a ‘ question which refers to the appointment of our future GovernorGeneral. I point out that an Australia-wide gallup poll has shown that two out of three people want an Australian to be our next Governor-General. As the Prime Minister is reported to be considering the matter, will consideration be given to according an eminent Australian the great honour of this assignment?
– I think I have made it clear on previous occasions that I am not prepared to answer questions on that matter.
– My question; which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, relates to red China. By way of preface, . remind the Minister that certain press reports have referred to opinions expressed at the recent Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference in London to the effect that international discussion of disarmament could not be effective without the participation of red China. Is it possible for adequate discussions on disarmament to be conducted without the admission of red China to the United Nations or without red China being duly accorded recognition by the nations of the free world?
– I can only say in answer to the honorable senator’s question that it has been found possible in the past - as it was, for instance, at the time when the Indo-Chinese war was being terminated - for red China and other nations concerned to meet together, as they did in Geneva, and discuss the settlement of a particular problem. I understand that for some considerable time meetings at Geneva have been going on between representatives of Communist China and representatives of the United States of America - the United States endeavouring to secure the release of some airmen who were illegally held by red China. To the honorable senator’s question whether it is possible for discussions to be held without red China being a member of the United Nations I would say that, on experience, the answer is, “Yes”.
– Is the Minister for Civil Aviation aware that the air service conducted between Newcastle and the rest of Australia is inferior to other services? Is he also aware that this service is at present being carried out with obsolete air craft - I think DC3’s, which are the only ones left to Trans-Australia Airlines? Does he know that there are continual breakdowns in the service causing passengers who use this service to be delayed, often for many hours? Will the Minister make inquiries to see whether T.A.A. can provide a better service between the city of Newcastle and the rest of Australia?
– I know that there are difficulties at Newcastle which arise not from an equipment shortage but from landing facilities there and from restrictions which are necessarily placed on the movement of civil aircraft on the Royal Australian Air Force airfield. This is the first time it has been represented to me that the service as such is inferior. I can tell the honorable senator that T.A.A. is equipped with adequate aircraft. I shall be pleased to take up this matter with the airline to see whether an improvement can be effected.
– My question is addressed to the. Minister for Civil Aviation. Can he supply any further information about when the installation of the new night landing facilities at the Port Lincoln aerodrome is likely to be completed?
– The runway lighting at Port Lincoln should be installed by the middle of this year. The honorable senator will know that a few months ago a non-directional beacon went into commission there, and it is considered that these two aids will mean that Port Lincoln will be suitable, for night operation and will make an important contribution to the air services of that district. The honorable senator may be interested to know that the Department of Civil Aviation has now been able to simplify the design of the runway lights and has employed new installation methods. Consequently, Port Lincoln will get the benefit of these valuable aids earlier than was anticipated some time ago.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. Is he aware that Garden Island, off the coast of Western Australia, has its magnificent tourist potential smothered by the fact that any lease granted for its development as a tourist resort is liable to immediate termination if the island is required for defence purposes? In view of this, will the Minister consider subsidizing the lessees of the island or the Western Australia tourist authorities to provide the necessary sanitary and other facilities imperative for the development of the island either for defence or tourist purposes?
– I do not know anything of the circumstances at Garden Island but I assume it is one of those areas in respect of which, in the opinion of our defence authorities, defence requirements have priority over any other consideration. I would not think that in those circumstances the defence authorities would encourage the use of the island for tourist activities.
– Is the Minister for Civil Aviation aware of a press announcement made by Mr. Dudley Dunn, managing director of Australian Airport Services Proprietary Limited, that children will be allowed in the new cocktail bar at Kingsford-Smith airport, Mascot, which will operate under a special Commonwealth licence? If his answer is in the affirmative, are we to understand that State licensing laws, which prohibit children from liquor bars, can be and are to be over-ridden by a special Commonwealth licence? If the Minister’s answers to these questions are in the affirmative, will he please note my emphatic protest?
– I did see the press announcement recently made by Mr. Dunn, who is the general manager of the firm which successfully tendered for the cocktail lounge facilities at the Sydney Kingsford-Smith airport. I do not think that the impression created by the report was in fact the correct one. The lounge at the Sydney airport is downstairs; the cocktail lounge is upstairs. There will be a notice at the foot of the stairs indicating that the cocktail lounge is upstairs. It is not a cocktail lounge or cocktail bar comparable with cocktail bars in hotels; it is part of a lounge and it should more fairly be compared with the lounge in a hotel to which parents who are living in the hotel may take their children while they themselves have a drink. The same sort of thing will apply at the Sydney airport.
I can very emphatically assure the honorable senator that none of the State laws will be over-ridden. When the relevant legislation was before the Senate last year, I was at pains to indicate that we were cooperating to the full with the State authorities. That has been done at Sydney. The supervision of this cocktail lounge, by arrangement, will be undertaken by the New South Wales Police, and I can assure the honorable senator that the cocktail lounges both at Sydney and elsewhere will be conducted with dignity and decorum and will be a creditable addition to the airport facilities of Australia.
– Recently, the Minister for Civil Aviation was good enough to promise to obtain a report relative to co-operation in air-sea rescue operations, with particular reference to the “ Lincoln Star “ tragedy in South Australian waters. Is he now in a position to supply further information to the Senate on that matter?
– Yes, the Department of Civil Aviation has now given me a report on search and rescue operations generally, with particular reference to the “ Lincoln Star “ tragedy. The honorable senator will remember that I mentioned in my reply the other day that it is the responsibility of the navigation section of the Marine Branch of the Department of Shipping and Transport to undertake searches for ships at sea. In this case, it was the responsibility of the police to initiate a search for what was in fact a small launch or close coastwise craft. There is a very clear understanding between all the authorities concerned on where their responsibilities lie.
There is also a very clear understanding as to who shall provide the primary and supplementary search media. For example, a missing service aircraft would be the primary responsibility of the Royal Australian Air Force, a ship at sea would be the primary responsibility of the Department of Shipping and Transport, and a civil aircraft would be the primary responsibility of the Department of Civil Aviation. In the instance of the “ Lincoln Star “, the South Australian fishing vessel, the State police, in conjunction with the Deputy
Director of Navigation in South Australia, co-ordinated the air search, calling upon the Royal Australian Air Force for the air-sea aspect of the search. It so happened that the regional authorities of the Department of Civil Aviation were in a position to offer an aircraft to those in charge of the search, but the aircraft was not required. I assure the honorable senator that this important matter of air search continually engages the attention of the officers of the Department of Civil Aviation and that any improvements that can be made from time to time will be made. In fact, the whole procedure was overhauled only a few months ago.
– My question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister relates to the famous, historical diary of Captain James Cook. The Minister may recollect that recently an auction sale was held in London at which this historical diary was offered for sale and purchased by an American. It is now forever lost to this country or to Great Britain. Was the Government aware, through its representatives in London, that this famous document, which is very important to Australia, was to be offered at auction? Were any instructions given to our London representatives in respect of the sale? Did Australia bid for the diary? If so, why was it not puchased for this country?
– I have a fairly good recollection of the circumstances, but I do not think that this is. a case in which I should rely on my recollection and risk giving an incorrect reply. I ask for the question to be put on notice.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answers: -
Reports on Items.
– I lay on the table of the Senate reports of the Tariff Board on the following subjects: -
Printing of cotton piece goods;
The board’s findings have in both instances been adopted by the Government. I also lay on the table of the Senate reports by a deputy chairman of the Tariff Board on the question whether temporary duties should be imposed on imports of the following items: -
Debate resumed from 16th March (vide page 255), on motion by Senator Mattner -
That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Administrator be agreed to: -
May it Please Your Excellency -
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of 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.
Upon which Senator Armstrong had moved, by way of amendment -
That the following words be added to the Addrass-in-Reply: - “ and the Senate deplores the faulty leadership of the Government in directing the Australian economy resulting in -
loss of overseas funds;
failure of the Public Loan Market;
retarded National development; CO injustice to wage earners;
inadequate social services and housing;
high interest rates; and
shortage of steel “.
– In resuming the debate on the amendment moved by the Opposition to the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply to the Administrator’s Speech, I should like to point out again that it has been clearly shown that since this Government took office it has increased its budgetary expenditure by more man £600,000,000, and is still spending without any restriction whatsoever. Nevertheless, it has issued instructions to the banks to restrict credit to home-builders and to those engaged in industry by an amount of £100,000,000, this restriction to become effective by about March of this year.
I referred last week to two economic blunders made by the Government. It imposed an additional sales tax on motor vehicles and proposed to compel insurance companies and superannuation funds to invest a percentage of their money in government bonds - in other words, a forced loan. The additional sales tax has been withdrawn, and the Government, acting under pressure, does not propose to proceed with the second proposal. These two measures were due entirely to bad judgment on the part of the Government.
The amendment refers to a loss of overseas funds, but there has been not so much a loss as a squandering of overseas funds, which has been made possible by the Government’s bad policy. Admittedly, if we could export more we could increase our overseas credits and that would go some way towards solving our present economic problems, but we are faced with the difficulty of high costs of production. At one time Australia was able to sell its primary products on the overseas markets at prices lower than those of any other nation in the world. We received a high price for our wool then, and the price is still high, comparatively speaking. Because of inflation, our costs of production have risen beyond all previous estimates. The position now is that world parity prices in many instances are lower than our costs of production.
The Government has suggested several ways of stimulating Australia’s export trade. It proposes to grant tax concessions to certain exporters who are able to increase the volume of their exports. I do not know whether that will solve the. problem. Even if some exporters do increase the volume of their exports as a result of concessions in pay-roll tax and other taxes, the Government will not achieve, through that means alone, its objective of increasing our credits to a sufficient degree as to offset the effects of the inordinate rate of inflation in this country. 1 ask the Government: Is it fair that an efficient Australian industry which is supplying our home requirements and which does not wish to enter the export field or cannot increase the quantity of goods it exports should have to pay sales tax or some other tax that the Government imposes upon it whereas another industry which is seeking to increase the quantity of its exports should enjoy an advantage in the form of taxation concessions and other incentives? Let us consider the case of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited. That organization has been exporting steel which could very well have been used in Australia. But we know, and the Government has told us, that there is a shortage of steel in Australia and that we are in fact importing that commodity. The Government should closely examine a situation of that kind. We are importing steel and at the same time are giving a concession to a company which could satisfy our own requirements but which is exporting this commodity to the detriment of our own economy.
National development has not proceeded at the rate at which it could have proceeded if the Government had utilized Australia’s full work force. Many industries that have been commenced in this country have progressed quite favorably but many others have fallen by the wayside because of the
Government’s policy of lifting import restrictions or because it has entered into trade agreements with other countries. 1 believe that the Government and the Opposition agree that it is essential that we should develop north Australia. The Government has proceeded to do so, but there is still a vast field to be attended to. I hope that in the very near future something will be done to develop ports and the great potential of that part of this continent.
Another matter to which the Government should have directed some attention is the position of pensioners, persons on fixed incomes and family units in this period of inflation. Social service payments to those classes of people have not risen to the same degree as that to which the Government has elected to increase its own expenditure. Those payments have not risen even in proportion to what the Government has acknowledged to be the rise in the level of inflation. There should be a review of pension rates and other social service benefits, particularly child endowment and sickness and unemployment benefits.
The Government vehemently denies that it has ever subscribed to the suggestion that a pool of unemployed is advantageous in the kind of economy it seeks to establish. The Government says that it was Professor Hytten who made a statement to that effect, that none of its supporters has ever done so. I am glad to hear the Government say that; apparently it has been accused wrongly. I do not believe that every supporter of the Government thinks there should be a pool of unemployed, but it is not uncommon to hear Ministers juggling with words. They say there is not a pool of unemployed, but for quite a time they have been very much afraid about over-full employment, whatever that may mean. The term suggests to me that they believe there shoud be in the community a number of persons who are not gainfully employed. There have been various assessments of the degree of unemployment in the community. I think the latest figures indicate that 79,000 persons are registered for unemployment relief. If we add to that number various members of the families affected. the number might well be greater than 100,000.
The fact is that, not only in the motor trade, but also in the building trade and the soft goods manufacturing industry, there is unemployment. In Victoria, one big manufacturer of stockings and ladies’ wear has put off 50 per cent, of his staff. He has said: “ It is not altogether because of the credit squeeze but because of unrestricted imports. I cannot afford to continue manufacturing at the former rate, because it would mean that I would be running at a loss.” He added, “ If the industry is to keep going, I will have to reduce production and put off staff “. He will exist, but members of the public will be the scapegoats for the Government’s errors and lack of judgment, which it has acknowledged by having retreated from the position it took up before the end of the last parliamentary session. As I have said, Australian workmen and the Australian public generally will be the scapegoats. The unemployment situation is much more serious than the Government is prepared to admit.
The Government has advanced the attainment of greater production as a means of solving the problem of our overseas balances. There is only one way in which to get maximum production and that is to ensure that every person who is able and willing to work is fully and gainfully employed. If we are to compete with other countries, our plant and our employees should be giving the best possible output. The Government will have to direct its attention to other matters, the most important being the cost of production. If our cost of production is as high as or higher than that in other countries, we will not be in the race in trying to sell our goods on overseas markets in quantities sufficiently large enough to restore our balance of payments.
The Government has said nothing about a revision of or an effort to reduce invisible charges. For years primary producers have pointed out that freight charges have almost put them out of business. Consequently, our export trade is suffering severely. Another matter that needs to be attended to is the high rate of interest on borrowed money. The most recent statement on the situation indicates that in Western Australia the supply of superphosphate to farmers is in arrears to the extent of 350,000 tons. The farmers have complained vocally and in the press that stock firms, which at one time would lend against stock for the purpose of enabling farmers to obtain superphosphate, have not made money available to them. The Government says that there is no pinch, that the farmers may go to the banks and should not be refused credit. But the farmer is being affected by the Government’s credit squeeze, operated by the banks. The Government also is refraining from paying the wheat-growers what they demand to be reasonable as a first payment, namely lis. a bushel, plus or minus any increase or decrease in the cost of production. The Government’s economic policy has seriously embarrassed Australia. The Government claims that it does not believe in the imposition of restrictions. It says that as few controls as possible should be imposed. But the Government has imposed restrictions. It has not taken responsibility on its own shoulders for implementing its credit policy but has told the banks that credit restrictions must be imposed to the amount of £100,000,000 over a period of six months. Controls have merely been transferred from the Government, against which there is a right of appeal, to the banks, against which there is no right of appeal. The present position is an unhappy one, and I am sure that the Government realizes that just as much as the Opposition does.
It has become obvious during recent debates that the Government is not taking the matter of civil defence seriously and is not encouraging the public to look upon civil defence seriously. The Government’s expenditure on civil defence, out of a total annual defence expenditure of about £200,000,000, has been niggardly. If a war, whether fought with conventional weapons or .atomic weapons, were, to break out, the general public would be in the front line. I would welcome a statement by a Minister or even a supporter of the Government that the Government is dealing with civil defence in a serious manner and is aware of its responsibilities to the public. Following a meeting of Commonwealth and State Ministers in June last year, the Melbourne “ Age “ reported -
Commonwealth and State Ministers are unable to agree about who should pay for a national civil defence corps proposed by the Commonwealth.
State representatives who attended a conference on civil defence to-day claimed the Commonwealth was “ backing away “ from an offer to pay for the scheme.
Most State governments are disappointed with the measures that have been taken by the Commonwealth in relation to this matter. The Commonwealth has neglected its responsibilities with regard to civil defence. I understand that the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Freeth) made a statement at the civil defence, conference last year, but I have been told that the statement is confidential and that a copy of it cannot be supplied to me. The statement should be tabled for the information of honorable senators. The Government should tell us what is the present position in relation to civil defence. Now is the time, when we are at peace, to make plans for civil defence.
The Treasurer has blamed everybody except the. Government for the situation that now exists in this country. He has said that the workers have not played their part. He has said that the bankers have not played their part. He has said that the press has been most critical of the Government’s actions! - that it has not assisted the Government and has commented very unfairly on the policies of the Government. The Government has placed the responsibility for the present situation on everybody but itself. It should give to the people of Australia a better explanation of the reasons for the present situation than that contained in the Administrator’s Speech. The Government should pay serious attention to the matters dealt with in the amendment moved by Senator Armstrong. Those matters are important, but they have been completely disregarded by the Government. I strongly support the amendment. I hope that some honorable senators opposite will reply to the matters that are raised in it - matters that are of real importance, to this country. Government supporters should not be satisfied with the innocuous statements of Government policy that are contained in the Administrator’s Speech.
– I wish to associate myself with the remarks of the mover and the seconder of the motion before the Senate. I also wish to express my regret at the passing of a great man - our late Governor-General.
The economic situation has been pretty well canvassed during this debate. During his Speech, His Excellency the Administrator referred to the jubilee ©f the Royal Australian Navy and in view of the fact that the economic situation has been well debated, I propose to spend some time in referring to the historical aspects associated with the establishment of the Royal Australian Navy. I shall deal also with its present importance to this country. Before doing so, however 1 would like to deal with one or two matters raised by the Opposition. I was distinctly surprised to hear Senator Armstrong say that it was a waste of time for the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) to go overseas at this present juncture. In my opinion never has it been more important for our Prime Minister to attend a Prime Ministers’ Conference. Reports in the newspapers have indicated that his attendance at the conference was very much to :be desired and I and my colleagues are very glad that he was able to attend the conference, although in some respects the circumstances of the conference were unhappy.
A great deal has been said from both sides of the Senate about strikes during the years following the cessation of the last war up to 1949. One factor that has been overlooked is that although there was not a great deal of unemployment at that: time, many strikes occurred. According to the Commonwealth Statistician those strikes resulted in the loss of work equivalent to 12,000,000 man-hours. It is nonsense for the Opposition to claim that there was full employment at that time in view of the fact that 12,000,000 man-hours were lost. The workers did not get paid for that lost time. The Opposition’s claim reminds me of a character created by Mark Twain, who, on reaching the age of 101 years, was asked by reporters to what, he attributed his longevity. He replied: “I put it down to the fact that I do not drink - that is, if you don’t count whisky.” The Opposition could just as easily claim that under a Labour government we had full employment, if we do not count strikes.
– That is a fallacious argument.
– I assure .the honorable senator that it is not a fallacious argument. I have been interested in the economic -situation as it affects the motor car industry. J remember that during the big depression of the early 1930’s Henry Ford had certain ideas for dealing with the depression. He reduced the price of his product and raised wages. Unfortunately even Henry Ford was not quite big enough to surmount the difficulties of those days. I have been wondering whether the Government has remembered Henry Ford and is attempting to put his ideas into effect as one means of correcting the rather unfortunate economic situation in which we find ourselves.
Senator Armstrong suggested that Australia should have its own line of ships running between Australia and overseas countries. Recently I received from the overseas shipping conference lines informal tion setting out the actual cost of running Australian ships compared with the cost of running ships under British articles. That made it quite plain to me that Senator Armstrong’s suggestion would be quite uneconomic. The Australian line would have to run its ships at a loss merely to satisfy .the requests of people, such as Senator Armstrong, who would like Australia to have an overseas shipping line irrespective of what it <costs the country. The Peninsular and Oriental and Orient lines are spending £28,000,000 on new tonnage this financial year. The Australian shipping companies do not have that kind of money to spend.
We have chased our very fine passenger ships off the coast. I say “ very fine “ because before the Second World War Australia had the finest coastal passenger ships and service in the world. But gradually, as those ships have come to their age of retirement, they have not been replaced and to-day all those old ships, such as the “ Kanimbla “, “ Duntroon “, “ Wanganella “ and “ Awatea “, have become just names.
I should like to congratulate the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Opperman) on the alteration he made recently to the procedure for the obtaining of permits for overseas passenger ships to trade on our coast. The overseas* companies are now allowed to obtain their permits six months ahead and they are allowed to advertise in Australian, newspapers three we’eks ahead. That will help not only the passengers who want to travel for business reasons but also the tourist industry of which we have heard so much from Senator Wood, Senator Buttfield and also Mr. Morris, the Deputy Premier of Queensland, who have worked very hard in the development of that industry.
I am sorry to see that the New South Wales Government still refrains from doing something to improve the port of Newcastle which to-day is in much the same condition as it was when I first called there in sailing ships in 1915. Nothing very much has been done since then. If the New South Wales Government would follow the example of those who are doing so much in the various Queensland ports, we might be able to increase our exports, particularly of coal and bulk cargoes, as Queensland intends to do by the export of coal from Kianga to Japan through Gladstone. Much work has been done in the smaller Queensland ports such as Gladstone, where to-day coal can be loaded at the rate of 6,000 tons in 24 hours, and the Queensland sugar ports which have gone in for bulk loading, where ships now turn round in 24 hours instead of ten days. Those are the only matters to which I wish to refer in connexion with the economic situation.
This year the Royal Australian Navy celebrates its 50th Anniversary. As I have said before, I feel that this occasion should not pass without some mention of it by at least one member of the Senate. Looking back in history, from the time when Australia was first settled in 1788 until the middle of the nineteenth century, T note that Australia’s naval requirements were looked after by the East Indies station of the Royal Navy. From about 1860 until the turn of the century, which included a large part of that period known as “ Pax Britannica “ which followed Trafalgar, the Royal Navy was able to provide a sure shield over Australia and Britain’s other colonies. Not a great deal was done to obtain naval vessels for New South Wales and Victoria until towards the turn of the century. Then the suggestion was made that there be a squadron of ships in Australian waters not connected in any way with the East Indies station; a separate station, but still under the Imperial Government and run by the Royal Navy.
With federation came the necessity for Australia to set up and look after its own defence forces. Various laws were passed, culminating in the defence laws passed in 1910. In 1909, as I have no doubt a member of the Opposition will tell me, the establishment of an- Australian navy was first mooted by the first Fisher Government. Before that proposal could be implemented, owing to the political scene at that time it was left to the Deakin Government to continue with it. In 1910 the second Fisher Government persisted with it.
Under the Defence Act passed during that period the division between permanent Australian Navy personnel and the reserves was set out quite plainly. The position is not quite the same as it is in the Royal Navy. Australia has Royal Australian naval personnel and the Royal Australian Naval Reserve, and an additional section, the Royal Australian ‘Naval Reserve, seagoing. That is shown by the letter “ S “ in brackets after R.A.N.R. We also have the volunteer reserve. In England there is no necessity for the Royal Naval Reserve to have the letter “ S “ for sea-going written after the letters R.N.R. because all Royal Naval Reserve personnel are sea-going. The reason for the alteration in the Australian Navy was that we had compulsory training and those who did compulsory training came under the Royal Australian Naval Reserve.
In 191.1 plans were commenced for a naval college to train future officers of the Royal Australian Navy. In 1913 the first cadet class was set up, strangely enough, at Osborne, near Geelong. I say “ strangely enough “ because the training college for Royal ‘Naval cadets in England was at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. It was a large mansion that was presented to the Royal Navy by Queen Victoria for the purpose of housing cadet midshipmen. In 1914, 80 per cent, of the personnel in the Royal Australian Navy were Australians and 20 per cent, were from the Royal Navy. At that time the Australian Navy had one battle cruiser, “ Australia “; three cruisers - “ Melbourne “, “ Sydney “ and “ Brisbane “; and half a dozen destroyers. As Herman Gill points out in his naval history of the Second World War, that has a very interesting parallel in the type of task-force that the Americans had in the Pacific. Whereas we had a battle cruiser with three cruisers, six destroyers and other smaller craft, the Americans had a large aircraft-carrier around which was built the task forces of 1943 and 1944.
In 1915 the Australian Naval College was moved from Osborne, near Geelong, to Jervis Bay, to which it has recently returned. In 1916 we had the passing out of the Royal Australian Navy’s first batch of cadets. It might be interesting to follow the careers of some of those first-term cadets. Among them was Cunningham. The reason why I include Cunningham is that he served with the Grand Fleet and was the only one of the first term who was killed in action during the First World War. His claim to being mentioned to-day is a tragic one. Then we had Esdaile, who reached the rank of captain and was in command of one of our cruisers. Long, who was affectionately known as Von Long, was a great colleague of mine during the last war. He reached the rank of commander at the. beginning of the war and was Director of Naval Intelligence right through the war. He died, I am sorry to say, about twelve months ago. He was a great man and he did invaluable work during the war.
Then we had Commander Feldt, who was also in the first term. . He left the Navy in 1927, after having served with the Grand Fleet in the First World War, and was employed in New Guinea. With the entry of Japan into the Second World War, he was placed in charge of the Coast Watchers in New Guinea. In this capacity he did a grand job. T remember that during the course of this service he went down with a coronary occlusion in the Solomon Islands and we had to fly him back to Brisbane in a Catalina, which could not fly at a height in excess of 1,000 feet. He is well and happy to-day, which is most remarkable after such heart trouble as he had.
Then we come to John Collins, whom we know to-day as Admiral Sir John Collins. He and Farncomb were the first two people in that first term to reach commander’s rank, the first to reach captain’s rank, and the first to reach flag rank. He came into great prominence, when in command of “ Sydney “, as a result of the sinking of “ Bartolomeo Colleoni “ in the Mediterranean. Farncomb. whose name is very well known to many of us, reached the rank of admiral.
After the war, he went to Washington as a naval attache. After his retirement from the Navy, he went through the University of Sydney, passed his law examinations, and is at present practising law in or around Sydney.
Hugh McKenzie was another first-term cadet. He had a remarkable run of good luck and then he had bad luck. He also left the Navy after the First World War and took up a plantation in New Guinea. During the Japanese war he spent eighteen months behind the Japanese lines, where he did invaluable work in notifying us when the Japanese bombers were coming over. In addition, he lived through two bouts of black water fever, one attack of which is fatal, as a rule. Then he came back to Sydney in 1944 and, going down towards the naval base, he tripped over a small concrete step, fell, struck his head and was dead in 30 seconds. It is really amazing to follow the extraordinary happenings and the bad luck of some people.
Then there was dear Frank Getting, who was captain of “ Canberra “ when she was lost. I was with him in the submarine service in England when, as a lieutenantcommander. he was training to bring out “Otway” and “Oxley” which, it will be remembered, were the two submarines that came out from England in the late 1920’s.
Finally, we come to Admiral Showers, as he is now. I remember a very funny incident that concerns him. I was with him in “ Australia “ when he got his brass hat - that is, his promotion from lieutenantcommander to commander. That is the first promotion that is by selection only, and about one in twelve used to get it in those days. Of course, he celebrated his promotion in a very familiar and well organized way, and next morning, after breakfast, Farncomb, who was commander of the ship, came into the wardroom and said, “ Gentlemen, the captain has expressed the wish that if rounds of drinks must be bought, they shall be small rounds “. I have always remembered Admiral Showers for that little happening.
In 1914, the Royal Australian Navy entered the war with a battle cruiser, three cruisers and about nine destroyers. We also had the submarines AE1 and AE2. These were two “ A “ class submarines, one of which, under the command of Commander Stalker, did such grand work in connexion with the landing at Anzac. The force included, of course, “ Sydney “, which sank “ Emden “.
I pass now from the First World War to the period between the wars, when the efficiency of the Royal Australian Navy was becoming very well known. I remember that in 1927 the cruiser “Australia” completely cleaned up the ships of the Royal Navy and of the other navies that were taking part in exercises in the Mediterranean. She was always a good1 gunnery ship and on that occasion she surpassed herself.
After the spell between the two wars, we ran into the 1939 war, with a very similar type of navy to the one we had before. We remember during the Second World War the loss of “Canberra” and the damage to “ Australia “ by a kamikaze suicide bomber, when Admiral Sir John Collins was very badly burned and Captain Dechaineux lost his life. We remember the loss of “ Canberra “ with Captain Frank Getting and we remember the fight between “Sydney” and “Bartolomeo Colleoni “. We remember also the battles of the Coral Sea, Leyte and Matapan. I was in England at the time of the battle of Matapan and I happened to be ashore for a couple of days. I was very interested in the methods of the newsboys. They were not allowed to use posters, because of the shortage of paper, so they used blackboards on which they printed in chalk the news headings from the papers. I remember that at the time of the battle of Matapan a newsboy in Southend printed “ Italians win boat race “, which I thought was quite a good way of putting it.
Since World War II. we have built up a fast, modern, well-balanced Navy. I should like to congratulate the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) on the increased number of ships being used to speed up survey work after such a long period when nothing was done. I join with Senator Laught in hoping that some day in the not far distant future something will be done about providing an Antarctic vessel of our own instead, of having, as now, a complete waste of money in chartering ships. As Senator Laught pointed out quite recently, our crews are having no training in Arctic or Antarctic conditions. I assure honorable senators that these conditions are very different in war-time from fine weather conditions. One little thing is that the breeches of the exposed guns are frozen, there are tons of ice all over the deck and it is necessary to get to know how to use steam hoses at the right time and in the right place in order to get the guns firing. All these things should be learned before a war starts, not during a war, as we had to do on the Kola run and the Murmansk run.
One other matter of a personal nature that I wish to mention is my regret at the death of Lieut.-Commander Michael Duffy. I remember him when he was a gunner’s mate at Flinders Naval Depot, when I was doing re-qualifying courses there. He was a grand chap. As a non-commissioned officer, he was the absolute backbone of the training of the young people in our group. The fact that he was eventually promoted from the lower deck to the rank of lieutenant and eventually to that of lieut. -commander shows how well thought-of he was. I regret his passing as a comparatively young man of 54 or 55 years of age.
His Excellency the Administrator referred in his Speech to the fact that the Royal Australian Navy was celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year. I congratulate the Navy and wish it well for the future. I am sure that whatever it is called upon to do it will carry on with the efficiency, the courage and the determination which we have found to be so characteristic of it in the past. I support the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply and oppose the amendment.
– I, too, wish to associate myself with the expressions of loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen that have been voiced by previous speakers. I also wish to express my regret at the passing of Lord Dunrossil. I join with other honorable senators in offering my sincere sympathy to Lady Dunrossil and her family in their recent sad loss.
There has been quite a lot of repetition during this debate, Mr. Acting Deputy President. We have heard statements repeated over and over again, and probably I shall make the same mistake and repeat things that have already been said. I support the amendment that was moved by
Senator Armstrong and wish to touch on one or two of the matters to which it refers. One of the most important subjects mentioned in it is the shortage of steel. Iron and coal are two of the most essential, commodities in our lives. They are the foundations on which modern industry has been built. They are basic to our modern civilization and to industrial and military power.
The expansion of Australia’s steel production is vital to the nation’s growth and also to its security and the preservation of our high standards of living. Before World War II., our steel production was just under one-quarter of a ton for every man, woman and child in Australia. At that time, Australia was self-sufficient in steel production and was also able to export steel, though not in great quantities, to New Zealand, Malaya, India, Ceylon, and the Netherlands East Indies. Between 1930 and 1942, we also received orders from Great Britain for steel to help speed up the defence programme of that country. Given favorable domestic conditions, there is no reason why Australia should not supply large overseas markets with steel, but in order to do that we would first need to expand our steel production.
In planning the expansion of Australian steel production, it is important to consider the possible future demands for steel in this country and also the demands of the Pacific area. The 1952 report of Mr. S. B. Dickinson, the South Australian Director of Mines and Government Geologist, indicates the estimated amount of steel required for Australia’s consumption up to 1960. Mr. Dickinson’s report is commendable, Sir, because it is very comprehensive. It should have been noted not only by the Playford Government in South Australia, but also by the Commonwealth Government. The report states, at page 23 -
Between 1940 and 1950 the overall consumption of steel rose to the record figure of 1,879,337 ingot tons, and the consumption per head of population to 0.23 tons. Even so these do not express the actual demand for steel in 1950, estimated at 2,830,000 ingot tons or 0.34 tons per head of population. In 1960 Australia is expected to have a population of at least 10,000,000 people, possibly more.
I understand that our present population exceeds that figure. The report continues -
If we assume that the annual steel requirements of this population will be at least 0.5 tons per person, the total steel requirement in 1960 will be 5,000,000 ingot tons. To produce this quantity of steel it would be desirable for the total capacity of Australian steel plants- to be at least 7,500,000 tons of ingot steel per annum. This objective in steel capacity is important because Australia has definite responsibilities to fulfil in relation to the development of her close neighbours in Asia, which would justify the expansion of her steel industries in excess of her own national needs. A capacity of 7,500,000 ingot tons in 1960 is twice that at present planned by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited. Whilst this estimate may seem high it must be borne in mind that Australia is just ‘beginning to consume metal on a large scale. Quite apart from the increased production of steel necessary to keep pace with her population growth, the rapid settlement and industrial expansion, now taking place, is making unprecedented demands on steel for all manner of new construction work.
– What is the date of that report?
– It was furnished in 1950.
– That was ten years ago.
– The position is even worse now than it was then.
– The report continues -
Australia has adequate resources to permit her to become a great industrial country. The achievement of this objective largely rests on her ability to expand her mineral output. Steel and coal come first.
Although the estimated consumption of steel in 1960 was 5,000,000 tons, the report suggested that the aim should be to produce 7,500,000 tons. As was pointed out in the report, this production, in addition to meeting our own demands, would enable a surplus to be exported, thereby helping our overseas balances.
Let us have a look at a statement that was made by Mr. Essington Lewis - he is now Sir Essington Lewis - concerning the export of steel. On 10th June, 1948, when delivering the Fisher Memorial Lecture at the University of Adelaide, he said -
There is little doubt that this export business will increase and flourish as the years go on, thus adding to the wealth of this country. It is not only in pig iron and steel products that this can be anticipated. The fact that Australian secondary industry can secure its requirements at favourable prices is a substantial factor in aiding the export of manufactured goods.
At the present time, there is an acute shortage of steel in this great country and we are importing vast quantities of the commodity. I recall that when the Sales
Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill (No. 2) 1960 was being debated in this chamber, a supporter of the Government said that one of the reasons for increasing the sales tax on motor cars by 10 per cent, was the greater impost would help to reduce imports. He said that the reasons why our overseas balances were being eaten into so rapidly was that excessive quantities of steel, rubber and oil were being imported. Yet as far back as 1948, the general manager of B.H.P. at that time stated that there was unlimited room for the production of steel in Australia and for its exportation to overseas countries. Mr. Dickinson warned both the South Australia Government and the Federal Government in 1950 about the position that was likely to develop and he continued to sound similar warnings until 1955. Each report was in the same strain; it urged the further development of the steel industry in Australia.
– But the appeals fell on deaf ears.
– Evidently they did fall on deaf ears.
– How much steel will be produced this year?
– Mr. Dickinson estimated in his report that in the year 1960 B.H.P. would produce about 3,000,000 tons of steel.
– That production was achieved.
– But it was estimated years before that 5,000,000 tons of steel would be required in Australia in 1960.
– About 5,000,000 tons of steel will be produced this year.
– I do not know about that. My colleague from South Australia has previously raised the question of the serious shortage of steel in this country, which is a vital matter.
– Who raised it?
– Senator Toohey. Senator Hannaford should remember that my colleague on this side explained how the B.H.P. monopoly was acting contrary to this nation’s interests. Let us have a look at what Mr. Dickinson has said about this monopoly. In his 1952 report, he stated -
Over the 30-year period the company developed sources of raw materials for its industries in all States of the Commonwealth and almost certainly the main reason for its low-cost steel production is the fact that it is able to assemble them at its steel works at relatively very low cost. Its success in producing low-priced steel depends essentially on this achievement. An approximate distribution of the costs in making steel is given in table 18. Whilst very general, they do illustrate some of the important features of the cost of making steel in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
In addition to its successful development of efficient steel-making plant and of sources of cheap raw materials, the company has successfully negotiated agreements with two State governments, those of South Australia and Western Australia, for exclusive rights over all the known high-grade iron ore resources in Australia. These agreements were ratified by State acts of parliament in 1938 (South Australia) and 1952 (Western Australia). These State acts virtually secured to the company for all times complete control of iron ore production in Australia. These agreements are responsible for the unique position which the company holds in Australia, namely the position of a privileged monopolist.
As a consequence of its unique position, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited has the power to exercise complete control over production and distribution of Australian steel, and if it wished to do so, the power to influence price policies.
In the United States of America enterprises much larger than the Broken Hill Proprietary Company function without any special Acts of Congress providing concessions or favours. In fact, current legislation in the United States is aimed at preventing monopoly practices and notably the Sherman Act declares that monopoly control of any industry is illegal in America. Similar legislation may well profit Australian development.
The fact that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited started expansion too late after the war to meet Australia’s post-war requirements and because the company cannot be expected to meet defence demands, raises the important, question as to how the Governments of the States or the Commonwealth, or both, can act to bring about an accelerated expansion of the industry.
The development of the steel industry in Australia is a problem of availability of capital and lnc exercise of adequate Government control of the industry. Both are necessary to safeguard the public interest in four main directions -
to prevent a recurrence of the serious steel shortages experienced in recent years; (2t to provide for all times adequate and low-priced steel for all Australia’s needs:
to provide ample steel capacity for coping with the defence need; and
to establish sufficient capacity for a continuous export trade in steel and steel products.
As far back as 1952, these warnings were sounded. As I said earlier, we are importing vast quantities of steel, to the detriment of our overseas balances, at a time when we have in this country everything that is necessary for the production of steel. Our known iron ore deposits will last about 50 or 60 years. The Government is trying to build up our export markets, and I believe that our steel industry could have a readymade export market if the industry were only put to proper use.
– It takes years to do mat.
– I remind Senator Mattner that the warnings I have read were sounded in 1952. It is now 1961. What has the Government done to encourage the production of steel in this country? We are to export iron ore to be manufactured into steel overseas, and probably we will import the finished article.
– What about our wool?
– I shall touch on wool in a moment.
– Tell me what kind of steel we import and what it would cost to produce it here.
– What I am saying appears to be touching honorable senators opposite on a raw spot, but the report from which I have read proves beyond doubt that the steel industry in Australia could have improved much faster than it has done over the past ten years.
I do not agree that steel production in
Australia should be controlled by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, but if control is to be placed in the hands of that company that control should be policed in order to see that steel production is pushed to its utmost. Why was this company given control of the iron ore deposits of Australia? In Canada there is more than one steel organization, and these organizations compete in the production of steel. The Canadian industry not only supplies all of Canada’s requirements, but also is filling orders from the United States of America. Mr. Dickinson also said -
In contrast to Canada, which enjoys the activities of a number of keenly competitive groups, the most striking economic aspect of the iron and steel industry in Australia is that it has become a powerful monopoly in the hands of one industrial group, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited. This monopoly has resulted from a systematic acquisition of the control of the developed and undeveloped high-grade iron ore deposits of the nation. In South Australia and Western Australia, where the most important deposits exist, this control was established by special State legislation which, in effect, transferred the control of these resources from public to private management.
During the early stages of industrial development in South Australia in the 1930’s, it was generally agreed that the South Australian legislation, namely, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company’s Indenture Act, 1937, would reward the company and, at the same time, serve well and adequately the public interest. At that time South Australia was still essentially an agricultural State, and was seeking the industrialization of her limited but extremely valuable mineral resources. There was reason to believe this Act could be depended upon to render mutual and commensurate advantages both to the State and the company. The Act stipulated that there would be certain developments in South Australia as a condition of the private title. Experience, however, has shown that there are strict limitations to the compatibility of private and publicmotives.
The facts clearly show that a company has never received so much for so little, for so long, from such a valuable natural resource, essentia] to social existence and well-being.
South Australia’s interests are concerned not merely with the revenue to be derived from a royalty on ore raised, but with the development of secondary industries based on the local production of iron and steel.
Thoughtful and reasonable people can now see the inflexible character of this legislation in the light of the variety of conditions which have prevailed from time to time since the Act became law. This criticism of the Indenture Act is not intended to condemn the principle of private enterprise exploiting publicly owned iron-ore resources, subject to leasing and royalty arrangements, or even free. The principal of production by private enterprise is sound as may be seen from the many successful mining operations throughout the Commonwealth.
The essential criticism is that the Act gives special privileges to a favoured party. No other mining company in Australia has sought or received special privileges of the type set out in the Broken Hill Proprietary Company’s Indenture Act. For example, the Act makes no provision for the exploitation of the iron ore being subject to control and to continuous adjustment to social convenience. It is the function of a Government, however, to effect regulations and procedures in accordance with the requirements of the time.
The ordinary Mining Acts of the .States are the instruments which permit of adjustment from time to time.
The Indenture Act, however, is the ratification of an inflexible agreement. It has taken the place of the Mining Act in so far as the iron ore resources are concerned. The company thus presently enjoys a monopoly which now makes possible, in any degree, an arbitrary control of production and market prices of iron and steel. In Western Australia it has been recently granted, by Act of Parliament, monopoly powers similar to those it enjoys in South Australia.
In the United States of America, legislation of this type became unconstitutional with the passing of the Sherman Anti-trust Aci. This Act went a long way towards ending the hoarding of natural resources which any proprietors withheld from development and the market - resources for which there was always a social need and a commercial demand. In the absence of this legislation in Australia the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, with its superior foresight, backed by .a well-planned and efficient legal and political strategy, is uniquely fitted for promoting and expanding its monopoly. The recent Western Australian Act is an excellent example. The continued unregulated control of the high-grade iron-ore resources - when considered in relation to the .rapidly increasing industrial and commercial growth of Australia - could make the Broken Hill Proprietary Company one of the most powerful natural monopolies which may possibly be conceived. The probability of any considerable net public benefit from such a development is not hopeful, least of all to South Australia, whose industrial future is very largely related to the efficient and greatest possible use within South Australia, of her iron ore resources.
It was not only in 1950 that these warnings were sounded. They were sounded right down to 1955.
Although the volume of steel production in Australia has risen, as one honorable senator said just a little while ago, to more than 3,000,000 tons - we must give B.H.P. some credit for it - it is still not sufficient for our needs. We have been told that with the standardization of the rail gauge between Kalgoorlie and the coast of Western Australia B.H.P. will build a steel mill in the west, but I think it was Senator Branson who said that ten years will elapse before that mill will be in production. I do not suppose any notice has been taken of the report from which I have just quoted, but twenty years will have elapsed from the time when the warnings were sounded in 1950 until the proposed new steel mill in Western Australia is in production.
The Government has said repeatedly that it is concerned about the problem of our exports. This commodity about which I have been speaking could be manufactured in Australia in quantities sufficient to satisfy our own needs and to help us gain overseas markets, particularly in South-East Asia. But it has taken this Government ten years to give some thought to an expansion of the Australian steel industry. I, and I am sure all my colleagues from South Australia in this chamber, hope that the Government will accept Senator Toohey’s suggestion that the Commonwealth and the State governments should confer about the steel shortage to see whether agreement can be reached on a means to increase sharply our production of steel. I do not know just how amicable a meeting between members- of this Government and representatives of the Government of South Australia would be, because at th* present time the relationship is slightly strained. Nevertheless, something should be attempted. Perhaps some fruit would be gathered from a meeting of that kind.
I referred to the standardization of the rail gauge in Western Australia. During the by-election, in South Australia late last year, for the State seat of Frome, Sir Thomas Playford told the people of Peterborough at a public meeting that within a very short time the standardization of the gauge of the Port Pirie to Broken Hill railway line would be commenced. He also told them that when the line was finished there would be employment in the town for about 800 persons in the servicing of diesel locomotives. It seems to me that either the people of Peterborough were being led up the garden path or that Sir Thomas Playford .has been led up the garden path by this Government, because he intimated that in the very near future-
– Immediately, he said.
– I would not go that far. I should say that he said that in the very near future this line would be started. Yet, after the election, Sir Thomas rushed off to Canberra to see what could be done about raising money for the project. In the South Australian press we were given an hour-to-hour description of Sir Thomas Playford’s movements. We were told that he waited from 10 o’clock to 11 o’clock, from 12 0’ck,Ck to 1 o’clock, and so on. before the Prime Minister saw fit to meet him. The result of the consultation was an announcement that South Australia would not have the benefit of having that section of line standardized within the near future as had been promised by Sir Thomas Playford.
The same thing has happened time and time again. Even in relation to water storage, we were told that different lakes schemes were being considered by the Government. I can recall that, during the debate on the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority legislation, when the lake at Renmark was referred to by honorable senators on both sides of the chamber, the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) said that the Government would give much thought to and assistance in the implementation of the scheme. Yet, after Sir Thomas came over ‘here to discuss the lake scheme, it was reported in the South Australian press that for the time being the project was being shelved. I shall now quote from a report in the Adelaide “ Advertiser “ of Saturday, 16th March, which is headed, “S.A.’9 Claims in Railway Writ Statement “. The relevant passage reads -
S.A. has broadened the South-Eastern gauge, for which the Commonwealth reimbursed the State £5., and on which work S.A. either spent or incurred a liability of about £1.2m., of which amount £lm. was still owing to the Commonwealth,
Except for the Port Augusta to Marree standardisation, the Commonwealth has refused to carry out, or persistently refrained from carrying out, any of the terms of the 1949 agreement as far as they relate to work to be done by the Commonwealth, the statement says.
S.A. has repeatedly made oral and written representations and requests to the Commonwealth that it should carry out its obligations, and that in particular the necessary steps should be taken to enable S.A. to begin work necessary for the conversion of the Port Pirie-Broken Hill line.
But the Commonwealth has always refused to take, or has persistently refrained from taking, any steps to enable further work to be done by S.A. or by the Commonwealth.
The statement says that both orally and in correspondence, the Commonwealth has adopted the attitude that it is under no legal contractual or other enforceable obligation, and that it can at will postpone indefinitely or refuse to do any of the works and that it may take into account circumstances extraneous to the agreements in deciding if and when it will take steps to carry out its part of the agreements.
The statement recalls that the Commonwealth and S.A. entered into the 1949 agreement.
Then it sets out quite a number of the clauses contained in the agreement.
It seems to me, Mr. Acting Deputy President, that South Australia has become the Cinderella State of the Commonwealth, that it has not been given a proper go. Water is vital to the existence of South Australia, yet when we ask for assistance to dam water for use in time of drought we are told that the projects are not to be undertaken. It is high time the Government realized that South Australia is part of the Commonwealth. More consideration should be given by the Government to the projects that are proposed for South Australia. If the present state of affairs exists with a Liberal Government in South Australia, it is hard to say what will happen after 1962 when Labour comes to power in that State. South Australia, under a Labour government, would get nothing from a LiberalCountry Party government in Canberra.
I wish to say something about housing. We all know that the present, credit squeeze has had a most detrimental effect on the building trade. In my opinion the only builders who have been affected by it are those engaged in the building of homes. The erection of large buildings in the capital cities is continuing merrily but the credit squeeze has definitely affected the building of homes. Honorable senators from South Australia may recall that about a fortnight ago the brickworks in South Australia advertised that ample supplies of bricks were available for home builders. I venture to suggest that such an advertisement as that has not appeared in South Australian newspapers for a good many years.
– There used to be a delay of about three months in the supply of bricks.
– That is true. You could not buy bricks in South Australia. The brick-works is working short time at the moment. That is a direct result of the Government’s credit squeeze.
Large sums of money are being spent on immigration in an effort to increase Australia’s population. I do not oppose immigration - I think it is good for the country. It is essential that we increase our population, but what better means could we have of increasing the population than by natural increase ? However, the population is not increasing in this way because of lack of housing. At a time when large sums of money are being spent to bring migrants to this country something should be done to enable young couples to purchase homes on low deposits and at low rates of interest.
I propose to read to the Senate a letter written to the editor of the Sydney “ Sun “ and published on 10th March last. This letter indicates the feelings of many young people in the community on the housing situation. The letter, which is headed “ Little Chance of Getting Homes “ reads -
Exorbitant rents, impossible interest rates and restricted credit make it hopeless for ordinary young couples to find decent homes.
The Housing Commission is, I suppose-
That would be the New South Wales Housing Commission - doing its best, but it appears one must wait at least four years before there is any possibility of getting accommodation through it. What to do in the meantime?
Not one whit of encouragement is offered to help young couples to raise their families.
Rather, the opportunists prey on them, making rich gains out of the youngsters’ desperation.
I do not agree with the next paragraph of the letter which complains of the millions of pounds that are being spent on immigration and aid to Asian countries. The letter then continues -
It is time that the old adage, “Charity begins at home,” was taken in earnest in Australia.
The letter is signed by Mrs. K. Jamieson, of Kingsgrove, New South Wales. The tone of that letter indicates the sense of frustration that is felt by many young couples in the community to-day. We know that there has been a land boom. We cannot expect to buy land to-day at the same prices we paid in 1938, but more money should be made available for housing, at low rates of interest in order to encourage young couples to obtain homes of their own and have families. After all, the best type of new citizen for this country is the Australian-born baby.
T propose to read an article that appeared in the Adelaide “ Advertiser “, on 19th March last. The article, which was headed “ ‘ Unwanted ‘ Children Leave Australia “, reads -
Two tiny New Australian girls flew home to Austria to-night, weeping because Sydney did not want them.
Anneliese, 4, and Sonja, ?, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Josef Nekrep, hugged their parents bravely then burst into tears as an air hostess took them aboard their aircraft.
Mr. Nekrep, near tears himself, said: “ We come here full of hope that we will find a good home for our little girls.
But I walk the streets, answering hundreds of advertisements for flats and houses.
Everywhere there is the same answer - ‘ no children ‘.”
Mr. Nekrep said that when he found flats which would allow children the rent was at least £10 a week - more than he could afford. “ I thought this country would like nice little girls as new citizens, but the answer was ‘No’,” he said.
That may be an isolated case, but I am sure that hundreds of people are paying exorbitant rents because they cannot find a landlord with accommodation to let at a reasonable rental who will permit children on his premises. I am sure that some landlords prefer dogs to children on their premises.
I think I have said enough about housing. I could deal with other aspects of Senator Armstrong’s amendment but I have selected only some of the main ones. I wholeheartedly support the amendment. As an honorable senator said recently in this chamber, the Government has governed over all these years not because it has given a good account of its stewardship of the country but because it has instilled in the minds of the people of Australia a fear that a change of government may foster the interests of communism. The Government has engaged in propaganda directed to poisoning the minds of the people against the Australian Labour Party. The Government has suggested that the Australian Labour Party follows the Communist line. In my opinion the only thing that has kept this Government in power since 1949 has been the fear of communism that it has instilled in the minds of the people. On election days South Australians have repeatedly refuted the propaganda that has been published against the Australian Labour Party. The Australian Labour Party commands a majority of the South Australian seats in the House of Representatives. Also, half the number of members of this chamber represent the Australian Labour Party. I believe that after the 1961 election our number in the House of Representatives will be greater than that of our opponents and we will have a six to four majority in the Senate.
Senator Dame ANNABELLE RANKIN (Queensland) [5.26]. - I rise to support the motion and oppose the amendment. First, I should like to congratulate the mover of the motion, Senator Mattner, and the seconder, Senator McKellar, for their moving and seconding of it. I always think that the Address-in-Reply debate is a very special occasion and 1 always hear the speeches of the mover and seconder with very great pleasure. Selection to propose and second the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply is an honour which the Parliament confers on its members. So, 1 say again that I have very much pleasure in supporting this motion so ably proposed and seconded by Senators Mattner and McKellar, respectively.
I should also like to take this opportunity, with other honorable senators, to re-affirm my loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen, remembering that very great occasion when she came to us and opened our Parliament and the tremendous service that she has given in all the intervening years. I hope that in the not too distant future we will once again have the honour of having her in Australia as our guest. I should also like to associate myself, Mr. Acting Deputy President, with our thanks to His Excellency, the Administrator, for making this Speech on the occasion of the opening of Parliament. I should also like to associate myself with the message of sympathy to Viscountess Dunrossil on the very sad occasion of the death of her husband, our late Governor-General. He was a very great man who served his country in peace and war and in public service, and who thought never of himself but always of what he might do for his Queen and for his country. He journeyed to this country to take the very high office of Governor-General and in a short time he had become known and loved throughout the Commonwealth. He had travelled and met Australians and seen something of our way of life. To all of us it was a very sad moment when we heard that he had passed on, that our Governor-General had died. For his widow and his family there will always be very real affection and very great sympathy, I believe, from every one in Australia.
The Address-in-Reply debate is always of very great interest because it covers a very great number of subjects. Honorable senators discuss very many matters in which they arc particularly interested. I might have known that my colleague from Queensland, Senator Kendall, would pay his tribute to this 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Australian Navy. I was pleased to hear him do so. I had already made a note of it myself. I should like to pay my tribute to that gallant service. Fifty years is not a long time in the history of men or in the history of nations; but 50 years in the history of Australia and in the history of the Australian Navy has, I believe, been a period of time in which that Service has covered itself with glory on very many occasions. Wars have come and wars have had to be fought. Wars have called for the protection of sea lanes and the protection of people, and the Navy has played1 its part. On this 50th anniversary, I, with many other Australians, have very great pleasure in saluting gallant men and gallant ships.
I should like to speak for a moment on a matter which was brought before the Senate this afternoon by Senator Drury. It is a subject in which he was obviously most interested, that is, the production of steel. I do feel that there are some points which it would be wise to put before the Senate and in which I am sure Senator Drury himself will be interested. I believe that over a period of time the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited has been coping with the position remarkably well. I quote from a report which reads as follows: -
The industry’s expansion programme, which has continued virtually without interruption and at a constantly accelerating pace for more than ten years, had brought ingot making capacity ahead of overall demand for most classes of steel in 1957-58, and this remained the position until the sudden acceleration of demand in late 1959 and during 1960.
I think those are very interesting points. The company can hardly be expected to meet all requirements for every kind of steel. I am sure that on occasions there must be surpluses of one kind and shortages of another. That seems to me to be a very likely situation in an industry such as this.
I do feel that the following figures would also be of interest to Senator Drury. The first figures I will give are for the period from 1st July to 30th June in the years 1956 to 1958. The value of steel imports was £49,500,000; the value of steel exports was £41,600,000; and the net balance in favour of imports was £7,900,000.
– What was the position in the last financial year.
– If I may continue, Senator, the next line of figures shows that in a similar period from 1958 to 1960 the value of steel imports was £41,800,000; the value of exports was £49,700,000; and the net balance in favour of exports was £7,900,000. ‘I think those are figures which are well worth recording in the Senate this afternoon. During the last two years Australia has exported more than it has imported.
I think that another paragraph in this report is of very great importance. We do appreciate the very good record, but because of the importance of steel to our country, of course, we do want greater and greater production. So, I read this with interest -
For the twelve months ending November, 1960, £36,000,000 was spent by B.H.P. and subsidiary companies on new capital works, £20,000,000 of which was outlaid during the six months to November last. Production of ingots over the twelve months period rose to 3,554,000 tons, lt having been 3,298,000 tons in the previous twelve months.
I think that those points,, which I am sure have been of interest to Senator Drury, are indeed very important ones, and ones which I believe it was important to place before the Senate this afternoon during a discussion of this matter.
As we go through the Speech of the Administrator, we must take note of the economic situation. I believe that almost every honorable senator has spoken on that matter. I shall touch upon it just briefly. The great point that we must appreciate is that very serious problems face this country at this point of time. As we have serious problems, we must take measures adequate to deal with them; no one can disagree with that. When persons or families overspend and have economic problems, they must face up to these problems and consider ways and means of adjusting their affairs. That, T believe, is also the position with countries. I say that the Opposition does the community a very great disservice by its calamity howling and panic mongering. Nothing can do a greater disservice to the future of this country or to the confidence of its people than the continuing panic mongering of the Opposition. That is something to which we must give very great thought. It is the task of every one of us, whether on this, side or on the other side of the chamber, to face up to these national problems in the interests of the future of Australia. If we deal with these problems accurately and courageously to-day, we shall ensure” a secure and prosperous future for thiscountry and for those who live within its. shores. Surely that is the real desire of every person in this chamber.
Of course, severe measures are never popular. I believe that it is a far better thing to belong to a government that has the courage to do the unpopular thing, if that is the right thing, than to belong to a government which does only the popular thing because that is the thing that people like and in that way fails in its responsibilities. It is never very nice to have to take unpleasant medicine, but we all know that it is usually very important to do that in order to cure the complaint. That, 1 think, is the story to-day. Listening to Opposition speeches, one would imagine that there was no good thing in the country to-day and that everything was in a most depressed, miserable and unhappy state, but that is not the picture in this country. I remind honorable senators that we have one of the highest, living standards in the world and we want to keep it so. That is the kind of thing that this Government wants.
Let us look at the problems. Of course, we are all disturbed about unemployment. That is a very worrying thing and I shall always be concerned when there is unemployment because of the very sad situation that it means for people. There are very specific problems in relation to housing, which is also a subject with which 1 shall always be very concerned. But, Mr. Acting Deputy President, I believe that this Government, with its faith in the future of the country, with its desire to have continuity of full employment, with its desire for development, growth and expansion, is watching these matters with very great concern. Indeed, it will watch them all the time, so that at the very earliest point of time whatever can be done to assist in these fields will be done.
But would it .not be fair - I say that it would most certainly be fair - to say that this Government has a record in housing that is second to none? However, we do not hear that in the Opposition’s comments. I remind honorable senators of the position when we came into power. There were housing camps, and shared houses were almost the order of the day. There was a tremendous lag in housing. This was one of the problems to which this Government faced up magnificently. It is fair to say that within ten years 1;000,000 homes have been built. Is that not a record of achievement which must give people faith and confidence.
– How many?
– One million. Are we not overcoming the lag? These figures are rather important. On 30th June, 1960, the total population was 10,280,742. The total number of dwellings was 2,815,135, and the average number of persons per dwelling was 3.65, which shows a very great improvement in the relationship of housing to population. This point cannot easily be brushed aside and forgotten. 1 also direct attention to the home ownership story. This country of ours has a record of home ownership of which many countries are envious, for 75 per cent, of all private dwellings are either owned or are in the process of being purchased by their occupiers. That is a very fine record. Look at the position in regard to war service homes. In the period of just over ten years, over £312,000,000 has been expended on war service homes and over 147,000 people have been assisted. This Government has a better record in relation to war service homes than have all previous governments put together. Look at what has been achieved in that field, which is part of the important general field of housing.
Then we have another field, which is not quite so large but which is also tremendously important. I refer to the provision of homes for the aged. This has come into the pattern of housing through this Commonwealth Government. The scheme was commenced by this Government with a subsidy of £1 for £1, which was later increased to £2 for £1. Figures up to this month show that since the commencement of the scheme £8,546,253 has been provided in subsidies, approvals have totalled 566, and accommodation has been provided for 9,489 people. This is added accommodation, for people who need more than anything else this ‘ special kind of accommodation. We should never forget the tragedy of people who have grown old and have not the right kind of accommodation, and who want to be where they can be cared for and looked after amongst - those of their own age and generation. Through this scheme we have made that accommodation possible for more than 9,000 additional people. That is surely another record of which this Government can be well proud. I ask those who have opposed us in this debate whether this is the record of a government failing in leadership and without regard for the people. Of course, it is not. This is surely the record of a government with real leadership and with a very real regard for the needs of the people. The whole picture of Australia, Mr. Acting Deputy President, in the past ten years has been one of development, expansion and growth. It has been a picture of a young country, growing and growing, a nation taking its place most splendidly amongst other nations, playing its part not only in its own domestic problems but, indeed, in those matters that affect other countries also.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Before the sitting was suspended for dinner, Mr. Deputy President, I had been speaking of the Government’s very fine record of achievement in the field of housing. I had referred to its achievements in respect of war service homes and of homes for the aged, and of its real appreciation of the importance and need for homes and of the opportunity for home ownership. I wish to direct the attention of the Senate to the fact that the whole picture of Australia over the last ten years has been one of development and growth. We have seen a developing and expanding country. We have seen a growing population with a sound and satisfactory immigration scheme. More and more people have been coming from overseas to live within these shores, people with other interests who have come to work with us in building and developing a great Australia.
The continuing immigration plan which has been carried out ever since the end of the war has been a great achievement. I remind the members of the Opposition, who have told us a very depressing story during this debate, that over the last ten years we have seen the gross national production increase by more than 50 per cent. I believe that that is a most important achievement. We have seen the volume of factory production increase by 90 per cent. What an important and spectacular increase that is! We have encouraged, and have received, investment of overseas capital. Why has that been so. It has been because people have had faith in this country and in this Government. I say again, as I said before dinner, that the greatest disservice that the Opposition can do the people of Australia is to attempt to destroy their faith in this country. Because of confidence and faith we have seen the development in the particular fields to which I have referred. The story of rural production is also one of increase, this time by 25 per cent. All those things add up to development and to an increase of production of commodities which are important in the life of Australia and Australians.
I again say to the Opposition that while those achievements have been occurring, the Government has at all times had a very real appreciation of the needs of the people themselves. Our social services story is a splendid one. It is a record of achievement of which I believe we all may well be proud. Tn the last Budget session we introduced new social service legislation which I believe provides for the most important improvement in the social service field for a very long time; indeed, I think it might be said that it is the most important improvement since the inception of social services in this country. I refer to the new merged means test. We know that, as a result of it, assistance will be given to many Australian people who, before its introduction, were outside the range of assistance in the pensions field. We will not be able to say, as we could before, that the thrifty, or the people who were careful, were being penalized. With the wider field, more and more men and women will receive benefits which I believe are of tremendous importance to their future security and happiness. I do not think that even at this moment we fully appreciate the tremendous effect and impact that this new social service legislation will have on the community.
Let us look at some of the other points of our record in the field of social services. We have a workable health scheme, which is a very important thing. We have a health scheme the advantages of which are recognized not only by the people of this country but also by those of other countries. We have free life-saving drugs. How important that is! There is nothing more important than health. The opportunity to receive treatment which may mean the saving of life is of the utmost benefit. This Government has acknowledged that fact and has made this service available. The Government has also realized the importance of the care of children. Because it has appreciated that the health of children should be safeguarded and built up, so that they may combat disease, we have the free milk scheme. Unfortunately for this country, the scourge of tuberculosis has been a problem and still claims its victims: but this Government has fought strenuously against this dread disease. The Government has made special allowances to sufferers from tuberculosis, thus removing an added worry from many a sufferer. The record of healing in the field of tuberculosis is one of which the Government may be proud. In addition, it has joined with the States in the wonderful X-ray services to detect the disease in its early stages. This means, of course, that cures can be made so much more effectively. That is something of which I think we should remind ourselves.
In the fight against the dread disease of poliomyelitis, the Salk vaccine has been made available, with the result that the disease can be opposed much more strenuously. We have in this chamber a man who, during his term of office as Minister for Repatriation, contributed more in the field of repatriation benefits and services than has any other Minister for Repatriation. I refer to Senator Sir Walter Cooper. When he laid down his office, he could look back and say, “ During my term of office my Government has given increased benefits to more men and women who served this country in time of need “. I believe that the ex-servicemen must be very pleased with his efforts. I know that he, as Minister for Repatriation, was delighted to be able to do what he did. So, Mr. Deputy President, do not let us forget those things which are all a part of the pattern of the Government’s services over a period of time.
I have spoken in the Senate on many occasions of the problems involved in the care of the aged. One of the things which I believe has helped considerably in improving the methods of caring for aged persons is the special subsidy which has been given by this Government to the district nurses associations throughout Australia. Because of that assistance to those home nursing services, men and women are able to have special nursing care in their own homes. No longer is it a problem, when they come back from hospital and still need care, because there may not be any one who can come and attend to them, or because they may not be able to afford the special nursing necessary for a period. Because of a very real appreciation of the fact that caring for aged persons is not only a matter of pension benefits but is very much more than that, this Government introduced the subsidy to district nurses, thereby providing one more service to those who need such care. I again say to the members of the Opposition that when they charge us with failing to consider the needs of individuals, they should remember the matters I have mentioned, which surely answer that charge.
While the Government has been striving to overcome the problems confronting the people of this great continent of Australia, it has not failed to be concerned for the people of Asia. His Excellency the Administrator referred in his Speech to the intention of the Government to continue to assist the Asian people through the Colombo Plan. I wonder whether we always realize the great extent and farreaching effect of this plan - a plan which first of all always means assistance to people and to countries; but much more than that, surely it means the cementing of friendship between the people of this country and the people of those Asian countries.
I think it is rather good at this time to remind ourselves of some of the things that are being done under the Colombo Plan. The figures which I must give you, because they are the latest ones that I have, are up to the end of June, 1960. I am quite certain that before long there will be more interesting ones coming out. Let us look at what this plan has meant to those countries. Up to 30th June last, Australia had contributed 3,076 awards for training in Australia, including 437 for engineering, 352 for education, 287 for public administration, 238 for nursing, 187 for agriculture and 177 for medicine and health. In addition, substantial numbers of persons were trained in accountancy, arts, economics, food technology, journalism, science, social studies and industry. The cost of this training programme was just under £4,400,000 up to that date. But one can never count in pounds, shillings and pence or in the columns of a notebook what this really means in the lives of other people.
The Colombo Plan has also apparently stimulated rather than diminished the interest of private Asian students in Australian schools, colleges and universities. In June, 1952, there were 2,307 private Asian students in Australia. By June, 1960. the number had grown to 7,918. Technical assistance has been given by Australia iri two ways - by the loan of experts for advisory and instructional assignments ranging from a few weeks to as long as she years, and by the supply of publications and equipment for research and teaching purposes. These, I think, are important things. They are important in the pattern of world friendship and in the pattern of international goodwill. By the training given to people from Asian countries in Australia and by the sending of our experts to them, it has been possible to bring what was once unproductive land into production, thus providing food for thousands of people who were short of food. It has enabled the fighting of dread disease which had meant in many cases not only a very short expectation of life but also the crippling and disabling of many thousands of people. Into those countries have gone our people trained in health, nursing care and scientific measures to save lives. From those countries have come to us people who could train and then go back and minister to the people of their own countries. I believe that this is so important that perhaps we in this generation will never fully appreciate its importance. 1 believe that it will mean for us and for generations to come a firming and a cementing of friendships, which is of tremendous value. 1 should like to move on to another point in the Administrator’s Speech. In my own State, Queensland, a short time ago I saw being built at Townsville a new university. At the time of my visit the project was a hive of industry as people worked to get ready for the great opening day. This was a great moment and a very important thing in the field of education in Queensland. His Excellency stated in his Speech with respect to education -
Acting on the advice of the Australian Universities Commission, my Government is proceeding with a three-year programme of Commonwealth and State aid to universities from 1961 to 1963 involving expenditure of the order of £100 million. The Universities Commission is now examining the most desirable pattern of development for tertiary education.
The next sentence is a very important one -
My advisers have increased the number of new Commonwealth university scholarships offered each year from 3,000 to 4,000.
Yet the Opposition says that this Government has no interest in the family! Surely every one of the points I have mentioned indicates otherwise. As I have said, this Government has a record of achievement of which Australia can well be proud.
So, Mr. Deputy President, I come to this point of time when we are facing up to real problems that we know are of importance to the future prosperity and condition of this country. At the present time we are experiencing development such as our ancestors did not dream of in their widest vision. I refer to the development at Weipa, Rum Jungle, Mary Kathleen and Mount Isa. Is the development at those places not such as to make all Australians feel proud? The search for oil is being continued and improvements in pastures are being effected in order that our great beef industry may be developed. In various areas, experiments are being conducted with different breeds of cattle. All of these things are, of course, tremendously important. I believe that we stand at a point in history looking back over a great record in this country and looking forward to a future greater perhaps than any of us have dreamed of. I believe that we can only ensure that future if we face up to the vast problems of to-day with courage, in the knowledge that their solution will make possible a better future for each and every one of us.
I think that all of us want for the people of this country full employment and continuity of employment, opportunity, the best possible living conditions, the best possible social services and the best possible care for every section of the community. I say to you, Mr. Deputy President, that this Government will continue to work for these particular things, believing that they will be all part of the very fine f uture which we want for this country. Please do not let us get to the stage of crying panic - with which I charged the Opposition earlier - but let us continue with a faith and a confidence in the future, meeting the problems as they arise and doing the courageous thing, not just the popular thing, because that does not overcome difficulties. By doing this we can ensure for Australia and its people a future in which there will be prosperity, stability, development, opportunity and absolute care for those who may need it and in whatever form they need it.
I have very great pleasure in supporting the motion which is before the Chair, and I oppose the amendent which has been moved by the Opposition.
– I desire to associate myself with the expressions of loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen contained in the Address-in-reply, and also with the condolences that have been expressed in respect to the lamented death of Viscount Dunrossil. Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin has painted a rosy picture of the position in Australia. Because the Opposition has had the temerity to criticize the Government measures that are at present operating in this country, we on this side of the chamber are accused of being calamity howlers. I believe that it is the duty of the Opposition at all time to point out the weaknesses in government policy, not to attempt to govern the country. The newspapers have stated that Labour has offered no alternatives to the Government’s measures. When Labour takes the reins of office it will announce alternative measures. At this stage, we are entitled to criticize the Government’s policy.
Senator Dame: Annabelle Rankin directed attention to the housing, position in Australia. It is well to note that the housing agreement that was introduced for the construction of homes for the people was initiated by a Labour government shortly after the war. I commend the Government for what it has done, but I condemn it for what it has not done. All that it did in the upshot was to carry on some of the policies that were enunciated by the Chifley Government. Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin took great credit for this Government for the social services that are operating to-day. She even went to the extent of taking credit for the special tuberculosis allowance. That was brought in under a bill passed in 1948 by the Chifley Labour Government. It was not brought in by the Menzies Government. She also took credit for the operation of the Colombo Plan - another baby of the Chifley Labour Government which this Government has carried on. It is to the credit of this Government that it has carried on these things, but it cannot take the credit for initiating them.
Senator Hannan said that bank nationalization frightened people with a few shillings. I direct attention briefly to the actions of the Government and the policy of the Government - which Senator Hannan supports - to socialize, at least in part, the insurance companies and the superannuation and provident funds. Who invests in these superannuation funds but the ordinary people who want to put a few shillings by to protect them when they retire? The Government’s proposal is a direct attack upon the savings of the people. There is no question about that.
Senator Hannan also said that it was unfair to quote - whether the quotation be right or wrong - what a man is supposed to have said or what he in fact said twelve years ago.
– Because there was no one here to defend him.
– I remind Senator Hannan that honorable senators opposite continually quote members of the Labour Party, whether they are here to defend themselves or not. They continually quote Marx, Engels and Stalin. Things that were said many years ago are brought up in this place. When the Crimes Bill was before this chamber Senator Hannan cited the Russian Crimes Act as a reason why there should be a crimes act on the statute-book of Australia. He suggested that just because there was a crimes act in some other country there should be one in this country. He has attacked Mr. Chamberlain, who is not here to defend himself. That is not the first time that Mr. Chamberlain has been attacked in this chamber.
– And it will not be the last
– 1 do not think it will be, but the honorable senator cannot claim immunity for his supporters if he attacks, ours.
I wish to direct attention to a few things that Senator Scott, said, particularly in, relation to Western Australia. He said -
I again invite honorable senators opposite - to examine the record of the Hawke Government over that period of six years and indicate oneworthwhile developmental project that it initiated. Honorable senators are asked to produce only one such project.
He also directed attention to several things that the Brand-Watts Government had: done. I ask Senator Scott, at any time ‘he speaks from the floor of this chamber, totell me of one positive thing that the BrandWatts Government has done. I shall tell him what it has done, but it is not to the credit of that Government.
Senator Scott talked about the paper mill that it is proposed to start at Spearwood in Western Australia, where the Australian Paper Manufacturers organization proposesto spend approximately £3,000,000, £2,500,000 of which - public money - is to be provided by the State Government, interest free for twenty years. He has the temerity to talk about what the Brand-Watts. Government is doing! He also talked about the export of iron ore, but he did not tell honorable senators that the BrandWatts Government gave the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited 208,000,000 tons, of the highest grade ore in the world, and that that Government has now given away about 1,000,000,000 tons of ore for a development project that is to be completed in 1978, if the Commonwealth Government is prepared to spend £35,000,000 to £40,000,000 on a standard-gauge railway line. Those things have not yet happened and I wait to see whether they will.
This Government has run two-thirds of its allotted span and it has done nothing up to date.
Let us compare those things with some of the projects that were completed by the Hawke Government. It raised the height of the Wellington weir by 50 feet in order to provide more water for irrigation. It constructed the Narrows Bridge, established an asbestos compound gasket industry at Fremantle at an estimated cost of £1,000,000, established a branch of Pope Industries in the State, converted to double capacity the charcoal iron industry, established a B.H.P. steel rolling mill, established an illmenite recovery industry, constructed and completed the first unit of the Bunbury power house, constructed the No. 10 berth at Fremantle, constructed a new berth at Bunbury, completed the Collie power house and constructed a second berth at Port Hedland. Senator Scott should know something about that because it was provided for him to ship his manganese. The Hawke Government also purchased two new ships to serve the north-west coast. Those are some of the things that were done. Those things are not only in the course of planning.
Senator Scott directed attention also to a strike at Collie and mentioned Mr. Latta. I want to tell the Senate that Mr. Latta - a confessed Communist - had nothing to do with the strike at Collie, which was conducted by the disputes committee of the Australian Labour Party and the Combined Unions Council at Collie. Mr. Latta is not on that Combined Unions Council. Let us consider what the strike at Collie was about. This Government is talking about development, and the Brand-Watts Government talks about development. The strike by the coal-miners at Collie was designed to prevent the destruction of a town. There is no question about that.
When the Brand-Watts Government said that it would establish an open-cut mine at Collie, it said that approximately 200 miners would be displaced. The fact is that up to the present about 500 miners have been displaced, and when the open cut gets into proper operation about 400 more miners will be displaced. This is a town where no other employment is available. The displaced men will have to shift somewhere else. The value of their homes has depreciated, and wherever they go to get other work they will have to pay a high price to buy new homes. That is the story of Collie, yet honorable senators opposite try to blame the strike on to a man who had no part in it at all.
The Government is on trial to-day because of the economic measures that it has introduced and which it said it brought down to cure inflation. This is the third time within twelve months that we have heard the catch-cry of curing inflation. Last year, in February, the Government introduced five measures which were designed to cure inflation. It completed only four of them, and we have yet to see whether the other one will be completed. A surplus of £15,000,000 was budgeted for by the Government, but we must wait to see whether that will be obtained. The measures taken in February, 1960, were designed to cure inflation, but the main thing that could have taken up the slack for the Government would have been control of monopolies and restrictive trade practices. We hear a lot about costs, but the main cause of rising costs lies in restrictive trade practices and price rings. The Government tells the people that it will do something about these practices, but nothing has been done and I do not believe that anything ever will be done about them. The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) has said that surveys have been conducted and that the Government is preparing legislation to deal with the matter, but I shall wait to see it when it is introduced, just as I shall wait to see whether measures will be introduced to deal with the investments of insurance companies and superannuation and provident funds. There has been a lot of playing with words. As I said a moment ago, the February, 1960, measures were designed to cure demand inflation.
The last Budget contained measures that were designed to draw off money from the public sector of the economy as a means of preventing further inflation. Of course, inflation is the godchild of this Government. In November last further measures, which we are now considering, were adopted. But again there was a playing with words, and it was said that those measures were designed to cure excessive goods inflation. We continue to hear about this problem of excessive expansion and prosperity, and the Government says that its measures are designed to dampen down that state of affairs. There is no doubt about the fact that in Australia inflation may be likened to a running sore in a body; it has now become malignant. This Government acts in fits and starts, and goes in all directions. For eleven years it has gradually been destroying our internal economy by a process of inflation, which it is unable to control. Now it has adopted measures which are designed to destroy our external resources. But I shall deal with that aspect of the matter as I proceed with my speech.
I cannot see anything in the measures that we are now considering which will remedy the external problem. Whether the Government likes it or not, the situation externally is serious. It is all very well to paint a rosy picture about the Australian economy, as honorable senators opposite have done. The state of our economy is set out in these documents which I have before me and which were used by the advocate for the Commonwealth in the basic wage case that was heard by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The story contained in those documents is vastly different from that which we have been told by honorable senators opposite to-day. Supporters of the Government would find them interesting to read. I asked the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton), who represents the Minister for Labour and National Service in this chamber, to table them so that honorable senators might look at them. But he did not do so.
– Whose documents are they?
– I am referring to the transcript of the submissions made to the commission by Mr. Frost on behalf of the Commonwealth Government. You would find them very interesting to read. They present a true picture of Australia’s economy. Either we accept that to be the case or we must come to the conclusion that Mr. Frost has been told by the Commonwealth Government to appear before the commission and mislead it.
The main problem confronting Australia to-day is that of its balance of payments.
Our balance of payments is gradually being allowed to run down because of the actions of this Government. The lifting of import licensing has encouraged a run-down of our external funds. We have heard the old catch-cry that all the Australian Labour Party can think about is controls, but the very measures that the Government itself has adopted are an admission that you cannot live in this world without a controlled economy. You must have a controlled economy. I do not think the Labour Party has ever said that import licensing should be re-imposed in relation to all kinds of goods. But I do say that, if the Labour Party had the reins of government, it would certainly impose selective import licensing to prevent the entry of some of the things that are coming into this country, or at least to ration them.
We produce some of the best citrus fruits in the world and can manufacture from them almost anything that can be made from them, yet if one walks into a store to-day one can buy imported one.ounce jars of marmalade jam which cost ls. We are expending our resources on all sorts of things. One can walk into a fancy goods store and see a little bit of rope made into the semblance of a man with a bar across his shoulders and a couple of pieces of flat board suspended on a piece of string. That article, made in Japan, is selling for 12s. 6d. That is the way in which we are expending our funds overseas. That is the kind of thing that this Government, by lifting import licensing holus-bolus, has allowed to happen. It has squandered our internal economic resources and now it sets out to squander our external resources.
Not only the Labour Party is saying that import licensing should be re-imposed. A report published in the “West Australian “ of 27th February stated that the Associated Chambers of Manufactures of Australia would suggest to the Commonwealth Government that selective import licensing control be re-introduced in an effort to gain full employment. I should not think that the Associated Chambers of Manufactures would be supporters of the Australian Labour Party. The man in the street is saying exactly the same as is that body. If the Government has the courage to face the electors before the end of this year, the people in the street will tell it exactly what is going on.
Now let us examine the export prices index. Australian export prices declined by 35 per cent, between 1953 and 1960. Let us compare that decline with the position in other countries. We find that in the United Kingdom there was an increase of 13 per cent., in the United States an increase of 8 per cent., in Germany an increase of 11 per cent., in France . an increase of 2 per cent, and in Japan an increase of 16 per cent. In Canada there was a decline of 3 per cent., in New Zealand a decline of 6 per cent, and in Latin America a decline of 17 per cent. Those figures illustrate the way in which this Government has allowed our cost structure to develop. No other country has suffered a decline as great as that which we have suffered. I ask any government senator who follows me in this debate to indicate which of the budgets that were presented in February, August and November, 1960, were designed to remedy that situation.
I know it is very difficult to raise a new argument in relation to the unemployment problem, but I point out that up to 18th February last 4,580 workers had been dismissed from the car manufacturing industry. Recently a Minister said that unemployment in Australia was not snowballing. I hope to be able to convince him that it is. The figure I have just quoted does not cover the position in subsidiary industries which feed the car manufacturing industry. But as soon as the manufacture of cars starts to fall off, there must also be a falling off of employment in those subsidiary industries. Those figures cover the entire motor car manufacturing industry. The Borg-Warner factory dismissed 170 men. The Volkswagen factory dismissed 190 men. The General Motors organization dismissed 2,630 men. The Ford company dismissed 813 men. The Rootes group dismissed 27.5 men. The British Motor Corporation dismissed 600 men. So honorable senators will see that the dismissals were widespread throughout the industry. I do not believe that those dismissals were brought about to any marked degree by the additional 10 per cent, sales tax on motor vehicles, which has now been lifted by the Government. I believe that the main reason for the dismissals was the tightening of credit. Credit became too dear and the people were unable to purchase goods.
The credit squeeze has had an effect on other sections of industry. Senator Dame Annabelle. Rankin directed attention to the home-building industry. What is happening in that industry to-day? On 10th February last an announcement was made that in Victoria during the preceding eight weeks 2,300 building workers had been dismissed and a further 1,000 faced dismissal in the following fortnight. That is the pattern in the building industry throughout Australia to-day. If anybody wants to build a home to-day let him try to get finance. Finance for home-building is just not available and young people who want to get married are unable to afford to build or buy homes. Young people who want to get married are entitled to a home and the Government should see that they are able to obtain one. The Government should not make homes so costly that they are beyond the reach of young married couples. Financial institutions and banks should not be forced to refuse to provide long-term loans.
The motor car industry does not employ a great many people in Western Australia. The industry has not developed in Western Australia, so the figures that I propose to cite will indicate that the unemployment situation is not related solely to the motor car industry. In Western Australia during January last the number of registered unemployed increased by 1,631 to 5,990 and the number of people in receipt of unemployment benefit rose by 257. If I remember correctly only about twelve persons employed in the motor car industry were dismissed in Western Australia during that period out of a total increase in unemployment of 1,631.
If we look at the plywood industry in Queensland, we find that since the credit squeeze was applied 900 people have been dismissed from that industry in the north of Queensland. Five hundred of that number have been dismissed since 3rd March last. The Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) has said that plenty of jobs exist for those people. He blandly said that although 73,078 people were unemployed, 44,000 jobs were ready for them to walk into. How many jobs are there in the north of Queensland to which these unemployed people could go? When the Minister refers to people out of work and jobs available to them he should compare like with like. He should not try to cover up by making bland statements of the kind he has made in this Senate. Hie Minister claims that unemployment is not snowballing, yet between November, 1960, and the end of January of this year - the first three months of the credit squeeze - the number of unemployed increased by 36,705. During the same period the number of jobs available decreased by 4,189. Those figures indicate how many jobs were available to persons capable of taking them. I do not believe that people who are out of work will not accept work if it is available. It is obvious that not many unemployed people are able to take the 44,000 jobs that are available. Between 31st January and 25th February this year the number of unemployed increased by 1,957. The total increase in unemployment between November and the end of February was 38,662. The Minister told us that a total of 73,078 people are unemployed. It will be seen, therefore, that during the four months, November to February, the number of people out of work has doubled. But still we are told that unemployment is not snowballing. Every newspaper carries articles dealing with dismissals of workers.
It is important to consider the effects of unemployment. I do not know whether many honorable senators opposite, or indeed any of them, have been unemployed. I assure them that for a man to have to go home on Friday night to his wife and family without, a pay packet is a most degrading experience. Nothing destroys the moral fibre of a man more than to see his children forced to go without the necessaries of life. Yet the Government’s economic measures are designed to deprive the people of their birthright - the right to have enough food to eat, enough clothes to wear and a bed in which to sleep.
– If Senator Laught, who is interjecting, does not believe that is the aim of the Government’s measures, -I can assure him that the Government has designed its measures to deprive 73,000 people of the rights to which I have referred. I dispute the figures that were produced by the Minister for the Navy.
– How many people do you say are unemployed?
– I could probably give to Senator Vincent the information that was given to the Senate by the Minister for the Navy. The Minister gave monthly figures relating to unemployment and claimed that the employment situation was good, but he admitted that the true figure in relation to unemployment could not be given without taking a census. I do not believe that the figure of 73,000 is correct.
Let us see what unemployment means to the economy of the country. Let us take a broad cross-section of workers in Australia - unskilled workers, semi-skilled workers, tradesmen’s assistants, skilled tradesmen and scientists. Those are the types of workers who are now out of work. Let -us look at an .organization like the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and the wealth it produces. Let us look also at the motor car manufacturing industry and the enormous wealth that it produces. Let us look at the oil refining industry, of which so many -honorable senators opposite are so proud. Consider the enormous wealth produced by that industry. The fact that to-day more workers are out of work than would be needed to man all of those industries is an indication of the enormous wealth that this Government is squandering by the creation of unemployment. In Perth in December last year the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Freeth), during a television interview, said that when the country reaches a stage of over-full employment the Government must take offensive measures to correct the situation. What did he mean by that? He meant that the Government must create unemployment.
– I think you do the unemployed a grave disservice by this nonsense.
– You may have your opinion, Senator, and I am entitled to mine. What did Mr. Harold Holt say to the unions on 21st February, 1961, the day before the Prime Minister .(Mr. Menzies) waved goodbye as he went overseas again? One newspaper .article was headed, “ Worse to come on jobs, Holt tells unions”. Yet, within a few hours of that, the Prime
Minister made a different statement. This Government tells us that it does not go in fits and starts. I ask the Government how industry can make forward plans to develop itself if the Government is changing its economic policy all the time. Nothing can be done. I say to the Senate that the 73,000 unemployed in Australia to-day could produce the wealth that is being produced by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, the car manufacturing industry and the oil refining industry and there would be sufficient left over for those who are unemployable. That is the economy that is being destroyed in Australia to-day by this Government that does not care.
Large numbers of workers, both single and married, do not register for unemployment benefit. There is a reason for that. Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin said that Australia’s social services were most generous. Yet when a single man is thrown out of employment by the economic actions of this Government he is entitled to £5 5s. a week, £2 of which he earns himself. He cannot get a job which would pay £2 a dayHe would earn more than that amount. The average wage in Australia to-day is closer to £4 a day. Therefore, it is better for him to get work for one day or one and a half days a week and stay off unemployment benefit.
The Government gives the munificent sum of £6 2s. 6d. a week to a married man with a wife and one child. That is the generous social service payment that the Government gives him! If he can get two days’ work a week it is no good his being on the unemployment benefit. That is why workers do not register for unemployment benefit. If the Government was faced with paying the basic wage to people whom it deliberately threw out of employment, it would be more careful in what it did. Of course, a person has to be unemployed seven days before he can claim the benefit.
It is significant that the Government brought down its economic measures in November, knowing full well that they would create a measure of unemployment and that in January and February there would be a large influx on to the labour market of children leaving school. They do not register for employment and there is little employment for them. There is only one Australian State in which it is com pulsory for children to attend school up to the age of sixteen years, the age at which they become eligible to receive unemployment benefit. In Western Australia the school leaving age is fourteen years, and rather than have the children running about the streets, parents send them back to school. So, they do not register for employment. Senator Vincent should have a look at that matter and see what is happening. The children do not register for employment; they overcrowd the schools.
This Government makes a very small contribution to the primary and secondary education of Australians. Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin spoke about scholarships for university students. I think scholarships are a good thing, but there is a large field of primary and secondary education, as a feeder to the universities, into which this Government should go. When the children who wish to leave school are unable to obtain employment during the holiday period, they are sent back to school by their parents. I believe that the Government’s measures were deliberately designed to create this unemployment in January and February, and the Government knew full well that children would be sent back to school and they would not register as unemployed.
It is also interesting to look at the balanceofpayments position and compare the imports and exports for an eight-months’ period in each of the years 1959-60 and 1960-61. Without going into the details of the monthly figures, I indicate that during eight months of 1959-60 imports amounted to £582,600,000 and exports amounted to £618,200,000, which meant that there was a favorable trade balance of £35,600,000. However, in the eight months of 1960-61 imports have amounted to £775,600,000, and exports to £573,400,000, which means that there has been an adverse trade balance of £182,200,000. But that does not tell the whole story. The actual fall for the eight months of 1960-61 is £217,800,000, compared with the eight months of 1959-60.
The Government is taking no offensive measures to cure that downward trend. It is relying on overseas investment, or the economic colonization of Australia. But will we get the inflow of capital into this country that we have had over the years?.
Of course, we will not! At the present time the Hilton Hotel Corporation is dropping out of a £32,000,000 hotel scheme. The Chevron-Hilton hotel group has stopped building one of Senator Scott’s very good projects in Western Australia. That company proposed to build a grand hotel there, but it has stopped building because of the economic squeeze. Another company in Western Australia, Key West, intended to develop the foreshore of South Perth but it is in financial difficulties and cannot go on with that project. The company is now starting to put out feelers in order to sell the land. Yet we are told about all the development of Western Australia by Brand, Watts and Court.
I have given the present Australian importexport picture. Those figures take no account of the invisibles which amount to quite a sum of money. When freights, insurance, interest on government loans paid overseas, dividends and so on are added to the expected fall of £300,000,000 in the balance of payments this year, the result is quite a large figure. It is estimated that the invisibles will amount to £250,000,000. Therefore, we have a run down of £550,000,000 in Australia’s external financial position. That is where the Government is driving this country at the present time. Yet honorable senators opposite have the temerity to be quite proud of that position which is being created. When we direct attention to it, we are accused of being calamity howlers. If that is the accusation, we intend to continue to be that way.
Australia’s balance-of-payments position has been profoundly affected, not only by the increased outlay for imports but also, by the declining export revenues, which in the first eight months of the current financial year fell by £45,000,000, or over 7 per cent. That gives some idea of the picture that is being painted of the economic scene to-day.
We also criticize the Government in our amendment for its attack upon the wages of the workers. A few days ago, in a question in this chamber, I asked whether the Commonwealth Government had instructed Mr. Frost to oppose the unions’ claims in the basic wage case, whether the instructions given to Mr. Frost would be tabled, and whether a transcript of the submissions made to the Arbitration Commission by Mr. Frost would be tabled in order that honorable senators might have a look at them. The answer given to me by Senator Gorton was that Mr. Frost was instructed neither to support nor to oppose the claim of the trade unions for an increased basic wage. It is true, of course, that Mr. Frost, in his opening remarks, did say that his instructions were neither to oppose nor to support the claim but to place the economic position of Australia before the commission for its consideration when bringing down a basic wage judgment. All the statistics in his submissions were prepared by government officers, on the instructions of the Government, for him to present to the Commission. Having made the broad statement that he neither opposed nor supported the claim by the unions for an increase, Mr. Frost later made several statements that were in direct opposition to the claims of the workers. He said -
As I have said, demand must be brought more into balance with supply and the rise in costs and prices must be brought to a stop so that exporters and those competing with imports are not squeezed further. Only in this manner can we achieve the necessary expansion of exports and a return to a more moderate rate of importing.
What is the substance of that remark? It is that costs are pricing us out of the export market and that we must contain costs. The costs that Mr. Frost was alluding to were wages costs. They were all that he was concerned about at that stage and he said that they must be halted. If the position has been correctly stated to me, and if he was instructed neither to oppose nor to support the claim, that statement was in direct opposition to his instructions. Later, he went on to say -
First, we must increase the volume and variety of goods that can be sold abroad. Secondly, we must maintain our costs at a level which enables those goods to be sold at remunerative prices.
Yet, with exceptions in the case of perhaps a few commodities, the costs of producing exportable commodities have been rising and that, in brief, is the essence of our export problem.
The costs of export industries are determined, like those of other industries, by wages. . . .
That was a statement by a legal man who was appearing before the commission in opposition to a just claim by the workers for a share in the prosperity of this country. Further, he said -
As I have said, we have discussed the economic situation ahead of us and the basic problems confronting the economy. We have emphasised thai’ a fundamental problem, is the- level of costs . for our export industries in particular, .
Again, we see- that his. submission was directed to costs in industry, and especially to wages costs, yet on the Minister’s statement Mr. Frost was instructed neither to> oppose nor to, support the claim.
Reading through this document, one finds that the blackest picture of the Australian economy has been painted in order that the workers shall- be denied a just wage. The basic wage was last increased, in 1959, yet costs have continued to rise to such an extent that the Government in 1960 directly opposed the claims of the workers. It- also brought down economic measures to contain the internal economy of the country. I accuse the Government outright of again opposing the workers’ claim for an increased basic wage.
When are the workers to get justice? It is to be remembered that quarterly adjustments to the basic wage were suspended in 1’953’. Although there was no increase in the basic wage, even by way of annual adjustment, for the three years from 1953 to 1956, there was a gradual increase in costs. The workers did not cause that increase, because the only increase in wages in that period, was in November, 1954, when margins were adjusted on the two and. a half times formula. That was the only wage increase during a four-year period, yet there was a continual increase in costs. It seems to me that the only attack that this Government can make is upon those people who are least, able to bear it.
I say that the Government stands condemned, for the way it has squandered the internal resources of Australia and for the way it is attempting to squander our external, resources, and I support the amendment moved by Senator Armstrong.
– I should like to associate myself with the expressions’ of loyalty contained, in the Address-in-Reply, the motion for the adoption of which was- so ably moved by Senator Mattner and so well supported by Senator McKellar, and also with the expressions of regret at the passing of Lord Dunrossil. I join, with all the other- speakers in this- debate in expressing; my deep sympathy to- his widow- and four sons in their- sad loss.
Senator Cant took Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin to task for painting a rosy picture of the economic situation. He then went on to say that it was the job of the Opposition to criticize. I can say that He certainly criticized”.
– Constructively, too.
– I could not have been listening to the constructive part. However, he said that it was not the- Opposition’s job to offer any constructive policy at this- stage and that the people would have to wait for that until such time as the Opposition- sat on’ the treasury bench. I believe that if the people have to wait until then, they will’ have to wait a long, time, because Labour has a forlorn hope of ever- again sitting on the Treasury bench.
Last night I listened to the secretary of the Australian Labour Party speaking on. television in Perth. The people interviewing: him asked what Labour would do if it was in power in the present, situation. Mr. Chamberlain’s reply was that it would, do exactly what members of the Opposition have- been advocating during the past two weeks - that is, introduce controls and. more controls. When asked, what else it would do, he said, “ That will, have to- wait till we have our conference some time next month.”. 1 believe that that is the true attitude of the Labour Party.
Senator Armstrong;, in opening the debate for the Opposition, moved an amendment which is virtually a motion of censure of the Government and’ its economic policy, despite the fact that during the period that this Government has been in office its policies have given1 us full’ employment and a standard of living second to none in the world.. Senator Armstrong painted a very gloomy picture of the present situation. He suggested that the only way to prevent, the disaster that he predicted for the country was. to resort to’ the old theme- song of the Australian. Labour Pasty, the reintroduction of import licensing and the introduction ofconstitutional controls-.. We have heard that suggestion time and again. It does not. matter what difficulty the Government may- get into; the Opposition comes up with’ this cure-all, this end-all policy that wil fix everything. 1 want to know where the Labour Party is going on import controls. Senator Benn, in the course of a speech in the Senate recently, said that the Government had declared that it would not reintroduce import controls, and he added, in effect, “ I am very glad’ about that because I am totally against import restrictions “. He is not the only one on the Labour side to hold such a view. The honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters),, when speaking of import licensing in the House of Representatives on 12th August, 1958, said that the most hideous control ever introduced in any country was the restriction of trade. He said that when it suited him, Mr. Deputy President, but last year, when the Government had removed the restrictions on imports, the same honorable member proposed for discussion in the House as a matter of urgency the damage likely to be caused to the Australian econmy by the Government’s decision to lift restrictions on imports. Where does he stand? Apparently he is prepared to use import restrictions as it suits him.
– You quoted words used by him out of their context.
– No, I did not. This Government has removed import restrictions. That is only one of the economic measures that it has taken.
Speakers on the Opposition side of the chamber, in discussing the economic measures, have taken individual measures and torn them to bits. It is necessary to consider the .measures as a whole, Mr. Deputy President, because they are designed to serve the particular purpose of preventing the continual rise of costs. I have- heard no one on the Opposition -side say anything about increasing costs and the difficulties that rising costs are providing for the exporting industries of this country, particularly the primary industries. It should not be forgotten, Sir, that the primary industries are responsible for earning 80 per cent, of the export income of Australia. Yet to-day, because of continually rising costs and falling prices on overseas markets, those industries are in a very serious position.
– They will have to change their political .alliances.
– God help them- if they -do! The great wool industry is now in a desperate position because it is being squeezed between falling prices and rising costs. Yet, it was not many years ago that the unions of this country were going to the Commonwealth Arbitration Court and citing the prosperity of the wool industry as justification for the granting of increased wages. Now that the industry is facing a difficult position, are the unions going to the court and saying, “ The wool industry is in difficulties. We think we should have our wages reduced “? No, Sir!
The Government’s economic measures were introduced for the purpose of trying to correct the speculative boom that was in evidence last November and in preceding months, as well as to prevent a serious running-down of our overseas reserves. If no Government action had been taken at the time, .it is certain that the country would have experienced an even greater boom and perhaps a bust. Where, then, would have been the policy of full employment? Where, .then, would have been our primary industries and our earnings from exports? The Government should be congratulated on its courage and determination in going ahead and trying to correct the economic position when it did. The Government has had to do many unpleasant things which, politically, it has .not liked doing. Nevertheless, it has done them, in the face of great unpopularity. To-day, Sir, I think it is becoming clear that what the Government has done is showing results. Every one of us must agree that the Government’s action was the right and the courageous action to take.
Most speakers on the Labour side of the chamber have taken the opportunity, during this -debate, to try to capitalize on the unpopularity of the measures that the Government has adopted during the last few months. My friend Senator McKellar reminds. me that honorable senators opposite have been unsuccessful in their attempt, and I agree with him. Their attempt to capitalize on the .unpopularity of the Government’s measures has been made in the hope that at the end of this year Labour will regain the treasury bench; but, -as I have said, if the .policy of the Opposition is one of controls and more controls, that is a forlorn hope..
Last week, Senator Dittmer stated in the Senate that the late Ben Chifley was a genius when it came to handling finance. That may be so, but let us have a look at some of the statements made by this financial genius. When speaking at the Prahran Town Hall on 16th April, 1951, during an election campaign, he said -
The return of a Labour government would not cure the inflationary evils. It would mean hard work, great political courage and perhaps fairly drastic measures, with the co-operation of the trade union -movement, to achieve that goal.
Before that, at Cairns, on 2nd April, 1951, he said -
To end inflation would need more than control of prices, and Labour, if elected, might have to do some unpopular things to arrest inflation.
Has not this Government done unpopular things to try to arrest inflation? We have persisted with our measures despite their unpopularity. If those who have passed on had the opportunity to come back here, what would they say? If Ben Chifley were to come into this chamber and hear the Opposition senators crying in the wilderness, he would wish that he had never been a member of the Labour Party.
During this debate, a great deal has been said about unemployment. I am sure that none of us wants to see unemployment. The policy of this Government over the last twelve years has been to provide jobs for all persons who were willing to work and wanted jobs. I believe that the Government has a good record in this field and that to-day the average worker is working under conditions that were undreamed of twelve years ago. This has been done despite the big intake of migrants over the last twelve years. Last year, we took in a total of 133,884 migrants, of whom 70,000 were workers. We found jobs for that number of men. Last year, also, there was an increase in the number of children leaving school of something like 7,000 compared with the previous year. They have been found jobs. At the present time, about 1.7 per cent, of the work-force is unemployed.
Let us go back to the late Mr. Chifley’s speech that I quoted earlier, in which he asked for the co-operation of the trade union movement. Senator McManus, when speaking during this debate last week, stated that if this country is to go ahead we must have the co-operation of the trade unions. I could not agree more with that assertion. To-day, Senator Cooke and Senator Cant referred to the loss of overseas funds and the present position of our overseas balances as being very serious. I want to direct the attention of honorable senators to the very serious position that arose in Western Australia a few months ago.
– Did it affect the overseas funds?
– Yes. The waterside workers in Western Australia walked off the job for fifteen days and the port of Fremantle came to a standstill. 1 think that the men have probably the best conditions of work in Australia. In this instance, the waterside workers did not strike for higher pay or better conditions. The union went on strike merely because of a disagreement it had with another union. Senator Cooke said that it was a dispute over demarcation. He may call it what he likes. I have other ideas about the matter, but I shall not propound them at the present time. Because of the strike, ships from overseas which carried goods to be unloaded at Fremantle, carried them on to Adelaide and Melbourne. Ships from Melbourne and Adelaide called at Fremantle and left again without picking up thousands and thousands of tons of goods to deliver to overseas destinations. This is where the balance-of-payments question comes into the matter.
I have obtained particulars of the tonnage of goods that was left behind by four ships that sailed out of Fremantle during the strike. The first ship left behind 100 tons of flour and 100 tons of fruit. The second ship left behind 100 tons of flour, 120 tons of frozen meat, 70 tons of oats, 100 tons of tallow and 25 tons of condensed milk. The third ship left behind 450 tons of wool, 175 tons of onions, 80 tons of bran, 50 tons of frozen cargo and 3 Holden cars. The fourth ship left behind 950 tons of flour, 33 tons of wool and 20 tons of other cargo. It is a serious thing to Western Australia when many ships sail out of Fremantle for the eastern States and overseas countries and leave behind cargoes such as those that I have mentioned.
I want to remind the Senate that not many years ago Western Australia had a flour trade with the islands to the north of something like 40,000 tons, which was 27 per cent, of the total tonnage of flour exported from this country.
– A year?
– Yes. In 1959, Western Australia lost its markets to more competitive producer countries and its exports of flour in that year were only 2,500 tons or 6 per cent, of the total tonnage of flour exported. When these figures were made public by the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) in reply to a question that he had been asked, Mr. Merry, president of the flour mill owners association of Western Australia, said that the tonnage that was exported in 1959 was even lower than that mentioned by the Minister. Flour mills in Western Australia were forced to close down and lay off men. That caused unemployment.
– Was not the Federal Government blamed for that?
– Yes. That is the reason I asked the question. Since that time the Minister for Trade, in co-operation with the Australian Wheat Board and the flour mill owners in Western Australia, obtained new markets for flour. But what happened? Because of a dispute between two unions, those markets have been thrown to the wind.
That is not all. Western Australia had built up a considerable trade in fresh fruit with the islands to the north of us. Because of this strike fruit was placed in cold storage or cool store. When there was no more cold storage space available, the growers had no alternative but to sell their fruit on the local market at depressed prices. This fruit was sent to the jam factories, and when they could not use any more the remainder was left on the trees to rot. As the growers could not sell their fruit, they had to put off the pickers - more unemployment! Because of the strike, the primary producers suffered a loss of income, and our overseas balances were affected. The Onion Board in Western Australia has just built up a new trade in onions. Because of the strike, onions had to be emptied out of the bags and kept in the dark in an endeavour to preserve them. If the strike had gone on for much longer, we probably would have lost the new trade we had built up.
The managing director of a firm which manufactures cases for apples told me that because of the strike timber for apple cases could not be unloaded at Fremantle but had to be carried on to Adelaide and offloaded there. It cost this firm £1,200 to bring that material back to Perth. Who paid for that? The cost was passed o.i to the grower. To-day Senator Scott and his friends at Bridgetown are complaining about the small returns they are getting tor their apple crops. In fact, some growers have been compelled to leave their crops to rot on the trees. These things have happened because of the action taken by certain people.
Men have been thrown out of work, our overseas balances have been reduced and our primary producers are receiving smaller returns for their products. The unions and their leaders should realize their responsibility in these things. They should try to co-operate so that we can get through this difficult period. I hope that, because of the criticism that this stoppage has received in Western Australia, and because of the losses suffered by primary producers in that State, and in the Commonwealth as a whole, the Minister will consider this matter and, if he thinks fit, introduce an amendment to the appropriate act so that the process of conciliation can be speeded up and a strike such as this brought to a conclusion much quicker.
– Without the big stick of a £1,000 fine.
– The unions should be willing to go to conciliation.
– This was not a fight against the boss!
– No, it was a demarcation fight between two unions.
Before sitting down I should like to say a little about the steel industry, which has been discussed by honorable senators on both sides of the chamber. The steel industry has worried Western Australian consumers for a number of years, and we hope that the Commonwealth Government will consider Western Australia’s request for a steel industry and a standard-gauge railway with a good deal of favour. Because of Western Australia’s huge area, its small population and rural background, we think that factories should be established in the: south so that we can increase our population there and at the same time build up a home-consumption market. If Western Australia were successful in obtaining a steel industry, that industry would attract other industries to the State. I hope that the Government will do everything possible to accede to the requests that have been submitted.
A good deal of criticism has been laid at the door of ibis Government in respect of the steel industry. Australia has always been an exporter of steel. It has had its traditional markets in New Zealand and Papua and New Guinea. At the same time, Australia has always been an importer of certain types of steel which we do not make here. Late in 1958 the demand for steel in Australia fell to such an extent that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited had to find other markets. Markets were offering in America and the organization immediately accepted them. However, towards the end of 1959 the demand for steel in Australia increased - so much so that the B.H.P. company was not able to cope with it. The company had to fulfil its overseas orders, but it tried to get out of its overseas commitments as quickly as possible and produce steel for the home market.
I believe that change in circumstances was brought about to a large extent by the fall in wool prices in 1958. During the 1958-59 wool-selling season prices fell to an average of 48d. per lb. The demand for wire, steel posts and other products made from iron rods fell off in Western Australia because the price of wool did not allow primary producers to carry out developments they would have like to carry out. However, with the opening of the 1959-60 woolselling season, prices rose by 20 per cent, and growers were then in a position to carry out developmental work. That change was responsible, to some extent anyhow, for the increased demand for steel products. When the demand for steel fell off, the distributors in Western Australia stored their products, but they eventually had to write to the Broken Hill company and cancel further orders. When the increased demand occurred later, the company could; not keep up with it.
Because of the policies of this Government and the action taken in November, the financial structure of this country is extremely sound, but we still face the problem of reducing internal costs so that we can produce on a competitive basis with the rest of the world and sell our commodities overseas. In the process of overcoming this problem the Government has had to make some adjustments to the Australian economy. I have great pleasure, in supporting the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply and in opposing the amendment that has been moved.
– I desire to associate myself with the loyal sentiments expressed in the speech of His Excellency, the Administrator. I also desire to associate myself with the expressions of regret at the death of our late GovernorGeneral, Lord Dunrossil. I now desire to speak to the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply to the Speech which was made to us by His Excellency. His Excellency mentioned that the Prime Ministers of the British Commonwealth would meet in London within the then very near future. We have heard of the result of that conference. It must cause all of us who think about these matters very deep concern. We have seen a new development. According to the decision which has been made, the right of each member of the British Commonwealth of Nations to govern its own affairs is open to question, criticism, or even direction, from such a gathering. To my mind, that is a very disturbing portent, because we as a very democratic nation have always reserved the right to run this country as we wish. What has happened to what will be the Republic of South Africa makes one concerned about what may be said about our policy in relation to such matters as immigration, New Guinea and our aborigines. I believe that the great majority of Australians would very much resent any other member of the British Commonwealth telling Australia what it should do. in relation to such matters.
What the South Africans do within South Africa is their business. Of course, we know there are human considerations to be thought of; but South Africa has the right to do as she pleases within her own borders. How she goes about it may be distasteful to many people; but when we start to interfere with the internal policies of members of the British Commonwealth of Nations we have reached a very serious stage. Because of the changed complexion of the British Commonwealth, I am considerably disturbed. It may be that the British Commonwealth will adopt a quite different outlook from that which it has adopted in the past. It may be that on occasions a majority of the nations within ihe Commonwealth will not ‘be prepared to stand up and assist countries such as Australia which have responded magnificently in their desire to retain the democratic way of life within their own frontiers and indeed throughout the world. That is happening in the United Nations. Countries which bear the brunt of responsibility when it comes to taking action that requires great sacrifice are often out-voted. Because of the change in complexion, the same kind of thing could happen in the British Commonwealth of Nations. That may have serious portents for us as Australians. In the long run it may lead to a breaking up of the British Commonwealth, unless more care is exercised than was exercised by many of its members during the recent conference.
I have noted the statements of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on this matter, and *o my way of thinking he is right on the ball. He has expressed a view which, in the nain, should arouse the thinking and have he very solid support of the people of Australia. I express these thoughts because the conference of British Commonwealth Prime Ministers was one of the matters referred to by the Administrator in his Speech.
Another important matter which comes before us for consideration is the trend in the Australian economy. This is something which has given rise to considerable debate, discussion and thought for some months, lt is pleasing to note that the Government has seen fit to change its views in certain respects. One change of view which pleases me very greatly is that which relates to insurance companies and superannuation funds. The principle that was enunciated originally cut right across Liberal principles. I am pleased to note that the Government, having thought about this matter more deeply, has now come forward with a scheme the details of which, as we know them at the moment, indicate that it is more to our way of political thinking and more in accord with our principles. The proposal may be teemed a tax incentive - an1 incentive to insurance companies and those who control superannuation funds to contribute to Commonwealth loams. On the surface it seems that the Government’s n?:.v proposal will be much more pleasing than was the original one. I believe that, in the main, it will remove a distasteful aspect of the original proposal.
We still have not the details of the Government’s proposal in relation to the non-deductibility of interest payments on notes raised by companies. This measure causes me concern, because I believe that it could arrest the development of the industrial sector of our economy. It will make money dearer for companies, and it sets up a new taxation principle. A temporary measure was adopted last year, but that is not of great concern to us. The final measure is the one that will count, and the Senate must look at it very closely.
– It could easily be quite different.
– That is so, and I am not committing myself until the proposal is placed before us clearly. I am not criticizing at the moment. I am just mentioning it as being one of the matters which we as senators should closely consider.
Australia has set its foot firmly upon the base of secondary industry development. I believe this Government can claim a great deal of credit for the assistance and encouragement that have been given to secondary industry. T must say in all fairness that the Labour Government, too, was very keen about the development of secondary industry. Therefore, we can say that the development of secondary industry has the approval of both of the major parties in the Parliament, and, I am sure, the small party, the Australian Democratic Labour Party, is of the same mind. As Australians, we should be very pleased to see the great progress that has been made in the development of. secondary industries. I hope that the arrested development of industry in certain respects because cif credit restrictions and so on will not be permanent. I am quite sure the Government regards it as being only temporary. I am not keen about very strong shocks to the development of industry, and I hope that members of the Cabinet who, in the main, guide this Parliament, will take the view that there should be continuous development without any severe shocks to the economy. 1 know that difficulties do arise. One is not foolish enough to suggest that they do not. But 1 believe that if the development of our economy can proceed at a fairly even rate without any severe setbacks or arrestings, it will be much better for everybody.
People in industry and business are entitled to assume that business will continue at a rate like that at which it has operated in the immediate past and even to hope that the rate will increase. I was in a retail business on one occasion. It was necessary to buy goods from nine to twelve months ahead because of the need to cater for seasonal requirements. It is fair and reasonable for such business people to expect a flow of business in keeping with the purchases that they make. However, due allowance must be made for ups and downs in trade due to seasonal requirements and the effect of the elements. Due regard must also be had for a slackening off of trade brought about by various circumstances, lt would be an ideal situation if the business and industry of the Commonwealth could be given a deal such as that under our economic measures. I hope that something like that will be done.
This country has a very great future. It has been said that we cannot expect to develop in the next ten years as much a» we have developed in the past ten years. I do not hold that view. There is a grand vista ahead of this country and a prospect of even greater prosperity in the next ten years than in the past ten years. If we continue to develop and if our population continues to increase this country will have a grand future. I have no fears about that. We in this country have a certain standard of living and a particular type of wage
Structure. These, I believe, will be maintained, and our primary and secondary industries will expand enormously in the years to come.
We owe a great debt to people who have invested in our primary and secondary industries. It is essential that those people be encouraged, as much as possible. It is regrettable that economic restrictions imposed to correct our economy may wreck people of great imagination. Some people are doing great things for this country and they should be encouraged to continue. Some will refer to them as big people who are making big profits. I have never looked askance at individuals or companies who are doing well. If an individual succeeds and is prosperous, my attitude is to wish him luck - he deserves it because individuals play a collective part in making this nation great.
Some imaginative men in industry and commerce are criticized by other people. My view is that if a person has imagination, drive and vision he is playing a part in developing this country. Consider a man like Mr. Korman, whose empire includes about 160 companies. If, because of restrictions, an organization such as his failed it would drag down with it a great number of people - employees and investors. Such a happening would shatter the vision and drive of a man who has indicated that he has a keen realization of the future prospects of this country. Mr. Korman’s organization covers many industries. One of them is the tourist industry, for which a number of large hotels have been built or are planned for construction. No fewer than 60,000 Australians have invested in his vast organization.
Another big concern is the L. J. Hooker organization, a New South Wales enterprise that has been doing magnificent things. I know what people say about land and real estate speculators but we know that while they are obtaining a return for their investment they are. helping to develop this country. Like the Korman organization, the L. J. Hooker enterprise is doing a great service to this nation. I think also of Mr. Dusseldorp, a Dutchman who came to Australia a few years ago. Like Mr. Korman, Mr. Dusseldorp probably came here as a migrant. He is associated with the Lend Lease Corporation. He has visualized great changes within the City of Sydney. His structures, when completed, will greatly improve that great capital city, and others, too. His efforts are an example to everybody in Australia. We should be glad to see our cities and towns improved. Sydney, endowed by nature with a magnificent harbour, could become one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Mr.
Dusseldorp, with his enthusiasm, drive and business knowledge, can do a lot for the City of Sydney and, for that matter, for other places throughout Australia.
I could refer to other people who are doing a lot to develop this country. They are the people we should encourage - people with vision, enterprise, drive and vigour. We talk about looking to the future and thinking big. The men to whom I have referred have been thinking big and they are entitled to believe that they and their organizations will be allowed to grow as Australia grows. I am concerned about them because if restrictions became too severe their organizations could be broken. I do not wish to indulge in carping criticism; I merely wish to offer some constructive suggestions because of the need to encourage people to think big. Like an individual who thinks big, a country that thinks big will grow big. If we think small we will remain small. The, future of Australia is a vision splendid for men of courage, initiative and enterprise. I have referred specifically to a few individuals but there are many others through the length and breadth of this Commonwealth, engaged in primary and secondary industries, who are playing their part in developing Australia.
I was very pleased to read in the Administrator’s Speech a reference to the Government’s intention to develop Australia’s mineral resources, particularly with a view to increasing our export earnings. I was particularly pleased to see the reference to iron ore. Honorable senators know that recently the Government modified its ban on the export of iron ore. I compliment the Government for that action. The situation with regard to iron ore has changed considerably in recent years. The Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) could state in greater detail than I can the changes that have, taken place in our knowledge of iron ore deposits. In Queensland we have deposits at Iron Range and Constance Range, one of low grade and the other of better grade ore. When more is known about those deposits in the northern regions of Queensland I am confident that the amount of iron ore available will be staggering and should convince all honorable senators and the general public that Australia has sufficiently ample stocks of iron ore to enable some of it to be exported. The export of this commodity will enable us to increase our earnings overseas. That is of the greatest importance to us at the present time. I commend the Government for its forward thinking and action in this regard. I know that ultimately iron ore will be very important to Queensland. I hope that the Government’s action will also help to facilitate the expansion of the Australian iron and steel industry.
The search for oil was mentioned in the Administrator’s Speech. The Government is also to be commended for the action it has taken in that respect. I remember that in the very early days of the present Government Senator Spooner was criticized on certain matters relating to the search for oil. I think it can be truly said that as Minister for National Development he has consistently fought for increased subsidies for the search for oil in Australia. We must also give due credit to the Mines Departments of the various States. I know that in my own State the Minister for Mines, Mr. Ernest Evans, is very keen in this regard. It is gratifying to know that the Government has shown imagination and a considerable spirit of adventure in assisting the search for oil. No doubt more can be done, but at present at least the Government has seen fit to give the assistance it has given, which has been of considerable help to the various companies drilling for oil. Some of the companies have said that still greater assistance could be given. No doubt the Government will consider that aspect because the finding of oil in Australia would be of very great benefit to us. If oil were found it would help overcome our shortage of overseas funds to a very considerable extent. As honorable senators know, at present we import more than £100,000,000 worth of oil a year. The finding of oil would mean that instead of importing huge quantities of oil we would have oil here for our own consumption and possibly also for export. That not only would save the spending of overseas funds, but also might bring in export earnings.
At present the search for oil is being carried out quite intensively in certain places. In the Roma and Tara areas of Queensland great hopes are held for the finding of oil. We1 know that the Australian Oil and1 Gas Company, in conjunction with an American company, is drilling at Tara. Unfortunately the flow of gas was so strong that the casing was damaged. For two or three months, efforts were made to repair it and now the operators are ready to go ahead. In the Roma area, which is not far from Tara, as honorable senators know, gas was discovered some time ago by Associated Freney Oil Fields and the Papuan Apinaipi Petroleum Company Limited, lt is interesting to note that either this week or next week the laying of pipe lines will begin from one of the wells in the area to supply the Roma town council with natural gas. Many Australians do not realize that natural gas can be just as valuable as oil. I understand that in America it is piped up to 3,000 miles and is a very cheap form of power for industry. About 7,000,000, or 8,000,000 cubic feet of gas a day is already available from the Roma well and that will be a very valuable asset. No doubt, with further .drilling that supply can be improved. There are methods of improving the output of gas from holes that already exist. The oil companies I have mentioned are now shifting to the same sedimentary basin as the Tara field is on, where Australian Oil and Gas is drilling. It is quite possible that they will have success on that sedimentary basin.
There are other areas in Australia which are being drilled, and I am quite sure that every one in this chamber and every true Australian hopes that it will not be long before oil is. found in: Australia. If it is found, members of this Government and future governments will be relieved of a lot of worry in the matter of overseas earnings. In addition, it will mean the enrichment of this country and will’ bring greater prosperity to Australians generally.
The reference to national development in the Administrator’s Speech strikes a very happy note. When we came into this Parliament as a government, in 1949,. we had a most imaginative programme of national development. However,, it has not unfolded as we said it would. Honorable senators will remember that we proposed to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on the promotion of national development. The portfolio of National’ Development, when- it was devised, was most imaginative; but in certain respects the keenness has died down over the years. Somehow or other, the Government seems have Jost the drive that it originally had in this matter.
– Oh, no!
– That is just my opinion. I am not saying that in a critical way; I am trying to give the facts. I am very glad that the Government has recaught that imagination of 1949, as evidenced in the- suggestions which are contained in the Administrator’s Speech.
– We may not have followed the exact lines, but we have carried out national development no less effectively.
– What has Queensland got out of it?
– I would like to know what Queensland has got out of it! Will you tell me?
– I did not say anything about Queensland.
– Somebody did. There is not much to say about development there. I am trying to compliment the Government on regaining that fire of enthusiasm and imagination that it had in 1949. There is no doubt that in recent times there has been a little bit of resistance to suggested places where the Commonwealth might do works. That trend had developed in people as individuals and in governments; but now the old 1949’ spirit is coming back. It is pleasing to find that return of spirit in a government which has been in office so long. Necessity is the mother of invention, and perhaps the seriousness of the times has made the Government realize that something has to be done and it has set about doing the job. The Government is to be commended: for doing so.
– The Government has only provided £1,000,000,000 for national development!
– I am talking about the type of national development which was spoken of when Mr. R. G. Casey, now Lord Casey, was Minister for National Development. Some of the Ministers are very touchy on these matters.
In his Speech the Administrator said -
I spoke earlier of the need to develop quickly this ‘Country’s .capacity to ‘export. National development has always been a major objective, and indeed an .achievement .of my advisers.
That is what his advisers say. The Speech continues -
As a further contribution to national growth and the .development of exports, the Government is considering some important specific development proposals, and will co-operate with the States concerned . . .
That is a very important feature - . . in detailed planning so that, as circumstances allow, actual construction may proceed without delay. The projects under particular and sympathetic consideration are road development in the north; improved port and loading facilities to assist the coal export trade; standardization of important railways in South Australia and Western Australia; and proposals to stimulate the search for oil and minerals ‘generally.
Although a Minister talks about the expenditure of £1,000,000,000 on national development, the great undertaking on which the Government has been spending most of the money provided for developmental work has been the Snowy Mountains scheme. Let us be quite frank about it. We did not start the scheme, but we have carried it on. That is to our credit because it is a work of very great imagination which will ultimately be of magnificent benefit to Australia.
– We have done the work on projects in Queensland, such as the Tully Falls hydro-electric scheme and the Tinaroo dam, all by ourselves.
– That, is right. My colleague from Queensland, Senator Kendall, has mentioned tine Tinaroo dam and the Tully Falls scheme. That work has been .done by the Queensland Govern-ment. Now the Commonwealth Government is coming forward and saying to the State governments, “ We are prepared to join with you in doing these works”,. There are schemes for roads in the Gulf country, at Weipa, in the Channel country and, in the west, through to New South Wales. Some of those Roads will be of great benefit to the cattle industry. Now that the Minister for National Development, has returned to the chamber, he will hear what J say on these matters. The Government is to be commended for coming in on these (projects,, which, will be of value, as the Administrator said in his Speech, not only to Australia’s national development but also as a means of increasing our export earnings. I have stressed in this chamber, ever since I came here in 1949, that the beef industry can play a very important part in earning export credits. It has many possibilities for expansion and. if the Government goes ahead with these schemes, a very real step forward will be taken to assist this industry, which will be of benefit .not only to Queensland but also to Australia, both internally and externally.
At Weipa there are vast underground -deposits of bauxite. The full extent of these has not yet been determined, because investigations are still proceeding. The deposits are of such immensity that they are thought to be easily the greatest in- the world. Ultimately alumina will be sent in small quantities to Bell Bay; unfortunately, most of it’ will go to New Zealand. However, this will bring aus :some external credits. It is very unfortunate that the smelting works proposed to be established in New Zealand is not to be established in Australia. I am not one of those who say “ Good luck “ to New Zealand in this matter because it is a neighbour of ours and deserves good fortime. I believe that our first consideration should be to look after our own people. In this instance, the availability of power was, apparently, the stumbling block. I understand that the establishment -of the smelter in New Zealand will earn that country from £35,000,000 to £40,000,000 in external credits, an amount which would have been of very great benefit to our balance of payments position. As the years go by, with scientific planning and investigation, cheaper power and methods of production might be evolved, and the time may come when we shall have a smelting works in Australia, ft is possible, in view of the growth of our population and the population of the world, that more than one aluminium smelting works will be kept going continuously by the bauxite deposits we have in this country.
Improved, port and loading facilities for our coal are very desirable. I know that Senator Spooner, who comes from New South Wales where the coal industry is a very big industry, has played an important part in. this direction. We in Queensland are very interested in coal exports. In recent, times, agreements have been signed for the export of Queensland coal from Kianga and another place nearby to Japan. It will also be of benefit to our export earnings to have better facilities available for handling coal at various Commonwealth ports. These items individually might earn us a few million pounds, but the collective effect on the overseas budget to the Commonwealth will be surprising.
I commend the Government upon its efforts to stimulate the manufacture of goods for export. This is to be done by granting a tax incentive. No doubt the matter is complicated in many ways, but we all hope that success will be achieved. It is unfortunate that we did not direct our minds more firmly to these matters earlier, because it will take some time for a response to come as a result of a tax incentive. The planning of overseas sales campaigns and the opening of markets take time. Therefore, the Government has the problem before’ it, but I hope that the incentive that the Commonwealth proposes will bring a ready response from manufacturers. For some considerable time, in Budget debate after Budget debate, I spoke in the hope of stimulating secondary production for export to meet the situation that would arise. The future about which I spoke has now arrived. Everything must be done, not only by the Government but also by the people, particularly by industrialists, to help the country protect itself by increasing overseas earnings.
Some years ago I spoke about the motor car industry, saying that it required a certain content of imported materials. There is a responsibility on such industries to help themselves and to help the Government to help them. They should strive to earn sufficient credits to buy the import content of their products. About five or six years ago I said that there was no reason why the motor car industry, and other industries, should not, in the chase for markets, sell overseas for less than the Australian price. I think one motor car manfacturer has been doing this for some time. They should sell even as low as cost price, if necessary, because it is essential for them to have sufficient credits overseas to pay for the imported content of their production. If this country cannot afford to import as much material as is required for our secondary industries, these industries will be detrimentally affected, and it is in their interests to assist in every possible way. Some people could not imagine secondary industries selling at cost in such circumstances. It can be done, and it should be done if it is necessary. By selling at cost, they might be able to raise production and produce goods more economically, with the result that the Australian price could be reduced and the overseas price which was originally the cost price, might well become profitable.
We must recognize that we are a country with a high standard of living. We have a high wage structure in comparison with that of many other countries, and we have not a large population. Therefore we have a low production. In order to compete with more densely populated countries with high production it is essential for our secondary industries to increase their production as much as possible. By doing that, we could achieve a more economic production. By chasing after markets and selling commodities at less than the Australian price, or even at cost, the industries could in the long run not only serve the nation well, but also serve themselves well, and certainly much better than some of them are doing at the present time. By that means industries could lift themselves to a basis of production and to standards where they would be much stronger and better able to compete on overseas markets than they are at present.
I was about to say a little earlier, Mr. President, that perhaps some people would contend that certain industries would not do that. While travelling to Canberra from Queensland a fortnight ago, I happened to be sitting alongside the manager of a manufacturing concern. There are in Australia four companies which manufacture the products produced by his organization. Those companies - different organizations - are now getting together and are formulating an overseas sales plan for the marketing of their products in other countries. That plan is on the very lines that I have been speaking about for years. They propose to sell their products overseas at cost, or even below cost. By stimulating production in their factories, instead of working 20 shifts they may work 24 - I use those figures for the sake of argument - and by more economic out-turn from their factories they will be able to make Australian sales at a much lower rate. Although they may be selling their products overseas below cost in some cases, the result could quite easily be a profitable one.
We in Australia have arrived at a stage where a degree of responsibility and national pride is called for, not only on the part of the Government but also on the part of people engaged in industry. By developing those qualities, industries can help the nation and, in turn, themselves. I believe that the suggestion I have made is a sound one. People do that kind of thing in time of war. It is just as necessary to do so when there is a period of stress in peace time. There may then be a reason for doing so which is just as urgent, nationally speaking, as in. war time. Not only the motor car industry, but also many other industries could do as I suggest.
Tn reference to the Government’s chase for overseas credits and the proposal to provide tax incentives, an industry that has been mentioned is the tourist industry. This is an industry of which I have spoken ever since I first came here, in 1949. Unfortunately, the Government has not seen fit to tackle the development of the tourist industry in a really big way until now. We have no details of its proposals, but I understand that the Government is really grappling with the problem. This industry has played a great part in the economy of a number of countries. Throughout the free world, the people of many countries spend huge sums on travel. Some years ago, I compared the value of the tourist industry with that of the wheat industry of the world. I remember pointing out that the amount of money spent in the tourist industry was greater than the value of the wheat industry.
Unfortunately, many people do not regard the tourist industry as a real industry. We hear the word “ tourism “ used. To me, that is distasteful. We should always speak of this industry as the tourist industry, because it provides work for many people and earns a considerable amount of income.
– I do not see how it is possible to make a comparison between the tourist industry and the wheat industry.
– The comparison was made on the basis of the amount of money expended on each industry. If we export wheat to China-
– The honorable senator is talking of exporting a bit of wheat. What about the thousands employed in the wheat industry?
– If we send wheat to China we get money back for it, and that is the same thing as bringing Americans here and getting them to drop their money in the till. When you bring tourists here, you provide employment for a great number of people. When tourists come to this country, it is not just a matter of their spending money on accommodation and a few trips here and there. The effect of the expenditure percolates through the community generally.
– The tourist industry does not produce any new wealth, though, does it?
– Of course it does. When we sell wheat, that is only an exchange of goods for wealth.
– No. You produce new wealth by growing wheat.
– The matter that I set out to discuss, Mr. President, was the Government’s drive for overseas credits. If there is anything wrong in people of other nations coming here and spending a few million pounds, the Government must be on the wrong track in encouraging them to do so. The point is that when you send products out of the country they are gone.
– But that has nothing to do with the tourist industry.
– I ask the honorable senator to listen to what I am saying. When you send wheat out of the country, money comes back in return. With the tourist industry, you sell your scenery. You have the money and you still have the scenery.
I compared the tourist industry with the wheat industry, Mr. President, to show the value of the tourist industry, knowing that in the minds of most people the wheat industry is regarded as of great value to the world. When I show that the tourist industry is of even greater value, people may be made to realize just how important it is.
At the present time, we in Australia are unfortunately in the position that the number of Australians who go overseas and spend money is greater than the number of visitors from overseas who come to this country. So, even if we only rectify that position it will be worth while. If we adopt a defeatist attitude and say that Australia cannot induce tourists to come here because we have not much to offer them, we shall not get very far. As one who knows the tourist industry, I can tell the Senate that we have in Australia scenic features that are unique. Most tourists travel in order to see different people and different things. 1 am confident that Australia could develop a great tourist industry. I do not say that we could outdo the United Kingdom, Italy and other such countries, but if the industry is handled in the right way, I believe that Australia, in conjunction with other areas of the Pacific, could become a great tourist centre.
I believe that Australia is becoming more popular with tourists from overseas, and I confident that if the Government handles this industry in the right way it can add greatly to our national income. Unfortunately, I shall not have time this evening to go into details. In Hawaii, where the matter has been examined scientifically and analytically, it is shown that money which is spent by tourists finds its way from the business houses and industries to the community generally. It is amazing how many people are affected. When the Chifley Government was in office, the Commonwealth and the States got together and agreed to designate the tourist business as the “ tourist industry “. To my way of thinking, that is a very good designation and one to which we should stick. The term “ tourist industry “ signifies something that can be of great value. The Commonwealth Government has now made up its mind to get right behind the industry. We must not think of Australia as a small nation, Mr. President. We shall need to spend £1,000,000 a. year.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order! In. conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question: -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 21 March 1961, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1961/19610321_senate_23_s19/>.