23rd Parliament · 3rd Session
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– by leave - I inform the Senate that Her Majesty the Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the appointment of Viscount De L’Isle, V.C., as Governor-General of Australia. Viscount De L’Isle will come to Australia to take up his appointment as soon as possible.
– by leave - On behalf of the Opposition, 1 can say that we shall welcome and honour the new GovernorGeneral as the representative of the Queen in Australia as well as for his own distinguished qualities; but at the same time we deplore the fact that the Prime Minister of Australia did not see fit to recommend to the Queen for appointment to the high office one of many suitable and distinguished Australians. I have reason to add that I believe that the great majority of Australians hold this view with us.
– I ask the Minister for National Development whether he was correctly reported in the press as having) given, in the course of a television appearance in Brisbane on 26th March last, extensive details of the Government’s proposals for road development in the northern part of Australia. If he was correctly reported, will he take an early opportunity to make a statement to the Senate regarding these proposals?
– On 21st February the Prime Minister, in announcing development proposals, amongst other things said that the Commonwealth had under particular and sympathetic consideration road development in the north, including north and west Queensland, the Northern Territory and the north of Western Australia. During the course of a television interview in Brisbane, I was questioned about the Prime Minister’s announcement. In reply to questions, I said that a number and a variety of proposals had been advanced. I entered into some discussion about the various proposals and I said during the interview that arrangements were already in hand for those various proposals to be examined by Commonwealth and State officers for the purpose of making recommendations upon them to their respective governments.
Those discussions have been already held in part. There have been some discussions with officers of the Queensland Government and, I think, with officers of other governments. Those discussions will lead to recommendations to the governments concerned and then there will be discussions at the governmental level on the cost of the proposals and the manner in which the costs will be shared. I make it plain that no decisions have yet been reached upon particular road proposals. A large number of representations is being received in relation to certain roads but no decision has yet been made except that the Government has decided that it will take notice of the recommendations of the State governments concerned. Those governments will be defraying a part of the cost of the roads and they have a knowledge of the areas involved. The Government hopes to be able to concur with and adopt the recommendations of the State governments. In these circumstances, it would not be appropriate for any statement to be made now. No scheme has yet been evolved in detail and all that has happened is that the Prime Minister has stated the Government’s general intention to consider the proposals. Negotiations are in progress for the purpose of defining the various proposals and there will be further activity after that has been done. When that stage has been reached, it would be more appropriate to make an announcement.
– The Australian Wheat Board has negotiated the sale of 1,050,000 tons of wheat to mainland China over the last few months. That wheat has been sold f.o.b. Australian ports, with payment in hard currency. The price has not been made public for the very good reason that that would not be in the best interests of the Australian wheat-growers. Such a disclosure could very well start a price war which would react seriously against our growers, and I am confident that no one would advocate that type of publicity.
The honorable senator has asked whether the Australian Wheat Board intends to sell wheat to red China on a credit basis. I can tell him that recently there have been further discussions in the Far East between the general manager of the Australian Wheat Board and Chinese interests regarding the possibility of additional sales of Australian wheat to red China. No additional sales have been effected so far by the board. I am informed that the board at its meeting last week considered the report of the general manager on his discussions and that the chairman of the board has reported the position to the Minister for Primary Industry. Therefore, at this stage it is not possible for me to indicate what the board’s report contained or to state the Minister’s reaction to it.
– I wish to direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is he aware that the unemployment situation in central Queensland, which includes Rockhampton and Gladstone, has become worse during the past few weeks? Has the Minister for Labour and National Service been informed officially that some unemployed workers who were once classed as seasonal workers now have no prospect of employment and are, in fact, permanently unemployed? Will the Minister confer with the Treasurer and the Premier of Queensland to see whether action can be taken forthwith to eliminate the evil of unemployment in central Queensland?
– I ask the honorable senator to place that question on the noticepaper so that the Minister for Labour and National Service may reply to the points that have been raised. I content myself by saying I understand that, because of a late start of the sugar season and an early ending of the meat-killing season, there may be unusual circumstances in that area.
– I address to the Minister for National Development a question which flows from the answer he gave to the Leader of the Opposition a few moments ago and in which he said that no definite plans had been decided upon for the development of roads in the north. I believe the Minister also said that various States were being consulted. Will he inform the Senate which State governments are being consulted and whether the South Australian Government is participating in the discussions? Is the Minister aware that there is grave disquiet in South Australia about the possibility that the development of road’s through Queensland, to which reference has been made in the press, may draw the transports away from the Birdsville and Strzelecki tracks, which now bring the cattle down to the South Australian markets?
– I prefer to say that no definite plan has yet been evolved. But the general principle that cattle roads shall be constructed has been approved, subject to satisfactory negotiations with the State governments concerned. I know for certain that there have been negotiations with the Queensland Government. I may be wrong, but I have no recollection of there yet having been any negotiations with the Western Australian Government or the Northern Territory Administration. I have seen a letter from the Premier of South Australia to the Prime Minister in which the Premier advocates certain proposals on behalf of South Australia. I am sure that those proposals will be considered. However, I cannot foretell the result of that consideration, because this is a very big scheme which is aimed at encouraging the development of the beef industry so that we may increase our exports of beef. That is the purpose of the scheme and the formula which is being applied primarily to all the proposals that are coming forward. I may add that a great number of proposals is coming forward.
– I wish to address to the Minister representing the Treasurer a series of questions relating to the introduction of the decimal system of currency in Australia. Has his attention been directed to a statement by the Victorian Employers Federation to the effect that the backing and filling of the Federal Government in relation to decimal currency is causing confusion in industry, commerce and education? Is he aware that the Treasurer has said that the introduction of decimal currency is a complex matter which requires careful examination? Also is he aware that this matter has been discussed in other States and that they, too, are eager to know what the Government intends to do? I further ask the Minister: Has the Government considered the possible introduction of decimal currency in Australia? Have the Treasurer, Treasury officials or other advisers to the Government made the careful examination which Mr. Harold Holt has said is necessary and has a report been made to the Government? If so, what conclusions have been arrived at? Is it the intention of the Government to make a decision or a statement in relation to this matter? When can a decision be expected?
– I did see the statement to which the honorable senator refers and which was published in the press. As I recall it, that statement was made by the president of the Victorian Employers Federation. I think that he would be the first to agree that any hasty introduction of decimal currency, without mature thought, would bring in its train confusion much greater than that which he says now exists. Many complex problems associated with the introduction of decimal currency must be considered. Not all of them were referred to the committee that inquired into decimal currency. One such problem - one with which my colleague, Senator Cooks from Western Australia, would be as familiar as I am - concerns minting and arrangements for minting. We would need to know whether there are in Australia sufficient minting facilities available or whether additional minting facilities should be established. Another problem, which has particular relevance to commerce, is the cost of providing new accounting equipment or of converting existing equipment to cater for decimal currency and how that cost should be allocated to the various segments of industry in Australia. I can tell the honorable senator that already a good deal of consideration has been given to this highly complex problem by the Cabinet.
– There has been no backing and filling.
– There has been no backing and filling. I assure the honorable senator that the Government’s consideration of this matter has been realistic and I am confident that it will prove to be sound. I think most people will agree that this matter requires and should receive great and most careful consideration. The Treasurer hopes to be in a position to state the Government’s policy in relation to decimal currency in the reasonably near future, but I do not want the honorable senator to interpret my remarks as meaning within the next two or three months. I am sure that Senator Cooke will be the first to acknowledge that there are problems confronting the Government and the people of Australia to-day that take priority over the consideration of decimal currency, important as that matter is.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for National Development, is similar to others that have been asked of him to-day relating to the provision of developmental roads in the north of Australia. In answer to Senator Buttfield the Minister said that those roads were being planned for the purpose of improving the beef cattle industry. Is it also correct to say that consideration will be given in the planning of those roads to the immediate development of Ihe mining industry in those areas? Will the Minister state whether the funds that are to be made available for this huge project will affect in any way the present system of allocating money for roads to the States under the existing roads agreement? My third question relates to the important matter of decentralization. In view of the unfortunate effects of centralizing trade routes, including roads - this can be seen throughout Australia, particularly in the northern areas - will the Government, when planning these very important arterial roads, give serious consideration to avoiding the centralization of trade at a few points only in northern Australia?
– Since my television interview in Brisbane 1 have learned that there is no more controversial question than the provision of roads in country areas. I have received a constant stream of representations about the worth of particular projects. Answering Senator Vincent’s three questions as best I can, I say that these roads are primarily for the development of the beef cattle industry, but no road in the north of Australia could fail to improve the mining industry because that part of Australia is such a potentially rich mineral area. The roads will be primarily for the development of the beef cattle industry, but without doubt we shall keep mining opportunities in mind.
I prefer not to answer the second question - whether these roads will be covered by the Commonwealth-State roads agreement - because financial negotiations with the various governments concerned are needed. In reply to the third question about centralization, again I come back to the criterion that the roads are for the improvement of the beef cattle industry. By their very nature they must have a decentralizing effect; they must decentralize activities. That is a point that will be looked at in the examination.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade. Has a date yet been fixed for the resumption of talks on a further trade agreement with Japan? Meanwhile, do the provisions of the previous agreement, negotiations for the continuance of which broke down towards the end of 1960, still apply?
– No date has yet been fixed for the resumption of the trade talks with Japan. In the meantime, the provisions of the agreement which was concluded in 1957 continue automatically unless either of the parties to that agreement takes the appropriate course to terminate it. So; until a new agreement is concluded, the 1957 agreement continues to be operative.
– The negotiations have broken down, have they?
– No, I would not say that. I just say that no date has been fixed for the resumption of the talks.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. In part, it is consequent upon the question asked by Senator Sir Walter Cooper. I ask the Minister specifically whether his attention has been directed to fresh statements in the press last week to the effect that the Australian Treasury will be financing the sale of wheat to Communist China by making large quantities available on credit at China’s request. In view of the fact that this request conforms to the familiar pattern of Communist trade negotiations with other countries which were defrauded, such as Burma, Malaya, Japan and Ceylon - namely, promises, then some cash and then, some cajolery - will the Minister given an unqualified assurance that, irrespective of what the Australian Wheat Board thinks, no credit sale of wheat will be made to Communist China? In asking this question I exclude completely from consideration any straight-out gift made for humanitarian purposes.
– I have seen press statements suggesting that sales of wheat on credit by the Australian Wheat Board to China are imminent. I emphasize again, Sir, that the Australian Wheat Board is the properly constituted authority to make sales of wheat on behalf of the Australian wheat-growers. When those sales are made on commercial terms, the Government takes no part in them whatever. The honorable senator has asked me for a specific undertaking. I am not in a position to give that to him, but I can say that if any sales are contemplated other than on commercial terms the Government will very closely watch the transactions in the interests of the Australian wheat-growers and the Australian people generally.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. Does the
Antarctica Treaty, which was ratified by this Parliament last year, provide that there shall be a conference of the signatory nations within a specified time? What nations have yet to ratify the treaty? Is Australia to be the host nation for the conference? If so, is it likely that the discussions will be held here this year, perhaps in Canberra?
– It was intended (hat after all of the nations concerned had ratified the treaty a conference would be held. The intention was, and is, that the conference be held in Australia. I cannot say off-hand whether all of the nations have signed the treaty, but I have an idea that one South American nation has not done so.
– I would not name the nation without being sure. One nation, at least, has not yet signed, but the indications are that it will sign. It is hoped that the conference will take place soon after the treaty has been signed by al; the nations involved.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry aware that very many prominent woolgrowers and representatives of wool cooperatives and the National Farmers Union of Australia have expressed strong dissatisfaction with the present system of selling wool by auction, and that at least two have stated that that system does not give a free and honest reflection of the wool market and that the grower is not getting a reasonable return? Will the Government make a full review of the methods of marketing wool, studying the submissions made by woolgrowers’ associations in respect of an acquisition scheme or a reserve price scheme, to ensure that the producer will receive the intrinsic value of the article that he is submitting and that he will be protected by the best possible marketing conditions?
– I am aware that woolgrowers in all States of the Commonwealth have expressed dissatisfaction with the present wool-selling system. That does not mean to say that a majority of woolgrowers have so expressed themselves, because no method has been ascertained to define the percentage of growers in favour of the system and that opposed to it. I remind the honorable senator, who shows an interest in this problem, that the Government, at the request of growers’ organizations, has set up a committee to inquire into all the matters affecting the wool industry, with emphasis on marketing. The terms of reference of the committee have been drawn sufficiently widely to enable evidence to be given by individuals or organizations in the Commonwealth who have constructive suggestions to place before the committee. The honorable senator has asked whether the Government will inquire into wool-selling methods. The answer is: No, it will not do so until the committee of inquiry has completed its findings, and only then if the Government is requested by the growers to take certain action. This Government has always contended that the affairs of the primary industries should be predominantly in the hands of the growers, and it has no intention of deviating from that contention.
– Has the Minister for Civil Aviation any information regarding the construction of a civil aerodrome in the vicinity of the city of Albury, in New South Wales?
– Discussions between the Department of Civil Aviation and the local authorities at Albury have been going on for some time. As a result of those discussions it has now been decided that an aerodrome should be provided at Albury under the local-ownership plan. The cost of the aerodrome will be from £63,000 to £65,000,. 50 per cent, of which will be met by the Government and the remaining 50 per cent, by the municipality. The new work is to be on the site of the existing Albury aerodrome. If I remember correctly, there will be a gravel runway of 5,150 feet, with sealed ends, apron and taxi-way. A little land acquisition will be necessary before the work can begin, and I understand that negotiations are now taking place in that respect. Surveys are also being made. In addition, the department is examining the varieties of gravel that are available in the area. It is hoped - I think that “ anticipated “ would not be too strong a word - that the actual work will be put in hand before the end of the year.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is it a fact that the Australian Council of Trade Unions is sponsoring an equalpayforequalwork campaign this week? Does the Minister consider that this move is merely an insincere political stunt aimed to impress women and induce them to believe that the Labour Party would approve equal pay for women doing equal work with men, and that, in reality, the Labour Party is not making the genuine moves that arc open to it if such were really its desire? Is it a fact that the Minister for Labour and National Service met a deputation from the A.C.T.U. last year on this matter and that he suggested to the deputation that the proper place to press for equal pay for the job was in the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, the body that deals with all aspects of wage fixing? Did the Minister in fact suggest to the deputation that it apply to the court? Finally, has the A.C.T.U. made any such application to the court during the last ten years, showing that it has a genuine feeling in these matters?
– If the honorable senator will be good enough to place her question on the notice-paper, I shall get a precise reply for her from the Minister for Labour and National Service himself. I understand that for a considerable period of time the union body generally, the Australian Council of Trade Unions - I distinguish the union body from the. Labour Party for this particular purpose- -has not made applications to the court due, I think, to a division of opinion within the unions themselves as to whether such action might cause male members of the unions to lose their employment.
– You are guessing badly.
– I am only guessing at reasons, not at results, the result being that no application was made. The result and the reasons are lent a greater semblance of validity when one recalls that the Labour
Party - I distinguish it from the unions for this purpose - made it clear that it did not support the proposition.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry inform me whether the deferred payment on wheat of 2s. a bushel was made available on 1st April or is it being paid at the present time?
– It is true that when the Government recognized that the 1960- 61 wheat crop would be a record it decided to make the first advance in two payments - 9s. upon the processing of the wheat-grower’s claim and 2s. on 1st April. This Government met its undertaking on 1st April - it has always met its undertakings - and made the whole of the money available to cover the portion of the advance, namely, 2s. a bushel. The sum involved - I speak from memory - is £26,000,000. It was available for distribution on the day nominated. If any wheatgrower has not yet received payment of 2s. a bushel, I suggest that he lodge a claim with his banker without delay, because the money is available to be collected.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
– The Minister for Social Services has furnished the following replies: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
Gympie, Maryborough, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Ingham, Innisfail, Cairns, Warwick, Southport and Dalby?
– The Minister for Labour and National Service has supplied the following information: - 1 and 2. The numbers of persons registered for employment with the Commonwealth Employment Service in the District Employment Office areas of Brisbane, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Gympie, Maryborough, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Ma. kay, Townsville, Ingham, Innisfail, Cairns and Warwick, at 24th February, 1961, and the numbers receiving unemployment benefit in the same areas at 25th February, 1961, were as follows: -
The department does not have separate figures relating to Gladstone, Southport and Dalby. As will be observed in the notes below, the towns of Gladstone and Dalby are included in the District Employment Office areas of Rockhampton and Toowoomba respectively. Southport is in the Brisbane area.
NOTES: (i) These figures relate to persons who claimed when registering that they were not employed and who were recorded as unplaced at the date shown. The figures include persons who, since registering, had been referred to employers, but whose placement had not been confirmed at 24th February, 1961, those who, since registering, may have obtained employment without notifying the Commonwealth Employment Service and whose applications for employment had not been lapsed at 24th February, 1961, and persons receiving unemployment benefit, (ii) The District Employment Office areas comprise the following local government areas: -
Brisbane: The city of Brisbane and the Gold Coast, the town of Redcliffe, and the shires of Albert, Beaudesert, Caboolture, Kilcoy, Landsborough, Maroochy, Pine and Redland.
Toowoomba: The city of Toowoomba, the towns of Dalby and Roma, and the shires of Bendemere, Booringa, Bungil, Camboya, Chinchilla, Clifton, Crow’s Nest, Jondaryan, Millmerran, Murilla, Pittsworth, Rosalie, Tara, Taroom, Wambo and Warroo.
Ipswich: The city of Ipswich, and the shires of Boonah, Esk, Gatton, Laidley and Moreton.
Gympie: The city of Gympie, and the shires of Kilkivan, Kingaroy, Murgon, Nanango, Noosa, Widgee and Wondai.
Maryborough: The city of Maryborough, and the shires of Biggenden, Burrum, Eidsvold, Gayndah, Isis, Monto, Mundubbera, Tiaro and Woocoo.
Bundaberg: The city of Bundaberg, and the shires of Gooburrum, Kolan, Perry, Woongarra, and Miriam Vale.
Rockhampton: The city of Rockhampton, the town of Gladstone, the shires of Banana, Bauhinia, Belyando, Broadsound, Calliope, Duaringa, Emerald, Fitzroy, Livingstone, Mount Morgan and Peak Downs, and the Theodore irrigation area.
Mackay: The city of Mackay, and the shires of Mirani, Nebo, Pioneer, Sarina and Prosperine.
Townsville: The cities of Townsville and Charters Towers, the town of Hughenden, and the shires of Barkly Tableland, Cloncurry, Dalrymple, Flinders, McKinlay, Thuringowa and Richmond.
Ingham: The shires of Cardwell and Hinchinbrook.
Innisfail: The shire of Johnstone.
Cairns: The city of Cairns, the town of Thursday Island, and the shires of Cook, Douglas and Mulgrave.
Warwick: The city of Warwick, the town ot Goondiwindi, and the shires of Allora, Balonne, Glengallan, Inglewood, Rosenthal, Stanthorpe and Waggamba.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
– The Minister for Social Services has furnished the following replies: -
asked the Minister of Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice! -
– The Minister for Labour and National Service has supplied the following information: -
These figures include those referred to employers and whose placement had not been confirmed at the reporting date and those who may have obtained employment without notifying the Commonwealth Employment Service.
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. Plans have been announced for the building of three plants for the production of high- grade lubricating oils. The location of these plants, which are to be erected in conjunction with existing refineries, and their estimated cost are as follows: -
Lease of Airport Facilities
Senator WRIGHT (through Senator
Will the Minister inform the Senate of the general basis of the tender, the acceptance of which he announced on 5th March, for the lease for a period of three years of the airport facilities at the international terminal at Sydney (KingsfordSmith) airport by a company called Australian Airport Services Proprietary Limited?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is follows: -
The generalbasis of the tender which has been awarded to Australian Airport Services Proprietary Limited, to operate a buffet and cocktail lounge at Sydney airport is as follows: -
Buffet- £440 per month or 8.3 per cent of gross turnover whichever is the greater amount, and
Cocktail Lounge - £680 per month or 13.3 per cent of gross turnover whichever is the greater amount.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: - 1, 2, 3 and 4. The Government is aware of the advertisements to which the honorable senator refers. The position is that the last salary claim of the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association in respect of adult members was referred, at the request of the association, to the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and was determined by that authority in June, 1960. There are no salary claims by the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association in respect of junior or other members of the association awaiting hearing before the Public Service Arbitrator or the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.
It should also be noted that the advertisements ignore many factors which must be taken into account in analysing the comparative advantages to be found in employment in the Commonwealth Public Service. Properly analysed, the Commonwealth Public Service offers a more attractive career than other employment of a like nature. As compared with last year, there does not appear to be any falling off in the recruitment of clerks.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Primary Industry has furnished the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
These statistics show little change in the level of European butter exports to the United Kingdom in 1959 and 1960, but following good seasonal conditions during the most recent European winter there is every indication that supplies of butter to the United Kingdom market this year will be greater than in either of the past two years.
The obligations of the United Kingdom under the provisions of Gatt are relevant to the application by the United Kingdom Government of its dumping and subsidies legislation with respect to imports.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answers: -
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid). - I have received from Senator McManus an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the Senate for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely -
The increasing threat to the right of migrants from Communist governed states to live their lives in Australia, in security, under the rule of law.
.- I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till to-morrow at 3.15 p.m.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Is the motion supported? (More than the number of senators required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places) -
– I thank honorable senators on both sides of the chamber who have risen to ensure that this matter shall be discussed. This matter has not been raised solely because of a much publicized incident which occurred a few weeks ago when the Soviet Government sought the extradition of an Australian citizen of Estonian origin. On the contrary, I have been impelled to raise it by a train of circumstances extending over a number of years and of which the case of Ervin Viks was only one and in a sense a culmination.
As I have indicated, Ervin Viks is a naturalized Australian citizen of Estonian origin. The Soviet Government sought his extradition on the ground that he had been guilty of war crimes during the occupation of his country by the German forces, with which he was alleged to have co-operated. If he were guilty of the crimes alleged against him, and in particular of participation in mass murders, I would have no interest in his case other than in ensuring that he received a fair and just trial. But I point out that Viks has made a statement in which he has denied the charges and denied that he is the person referred to. No evidence at all accompanied the request of the Soviet Government for his extradition. It is the custom in this country to presume a person’s innocence, until he is proved to be guilty. Therefore, I presume the innocence of Mr. Viks.
The Government, very properly, examined the request of the Soviet Government, and I compliment the AttorneyGeneral (Sir Garfield Barwick) upon the statement he made when rejecting the application. The migrants in our community who come from behind the iron curtain appreciate the very clear statement of the situation that has been made by the Government. They appreciate, too, the refusal to extradite Viks as requested. But they are also impressed by the fact that the arm of Moscow was able to reach as far as Sydney and to drive this man through fear to leave his job and his home. When one notes that migrants are subjected, as they are to-day, to an increasing flood of propaganda from behind the iron curtain which is directed to their home addresses and which indicates to them that there exists a propaganda or police section that is designed to make available to the Communist authorities in the country of their origin their present place of abode, one can understand that they are concerned.
This kind of thing is happening not only in Australia. Just recently two applications to extradite to Estonia two persons who are living in Great Britain were rejected by the British Government on much the same grounds as was the request for the extradition of Ervin Viks. Last year, after a lapse of some eight years, a long legal battle ended when the Yugoslavian Government failed to obtain the extradition of Andrew Artukovic, a Croatian. But it is notable that, since the rejection by the British Government and the Australian Government of the attempts to obtain possession of three former Estonian citizens, the Soviet Government has proceeded to hold in Estonia much publicized trials of these and other persons in absentia. Not only have the authorities held these trials, but also they are taking steps to make propaganda giving their views of the trials available to people in this and other countries whose origin was in the places to which I have referred. Therefore, there seems to be something of a pattern about these cases which demands consideration.
This matter does not now come before the Senate for the first time. On 24th October, 1956, my colleague, Senator Cole, moved the adjournment of the Senate to enable it to consider the following matter of urgency: -
The threat to the peaceful assimilation of migrants in this country, which arises directly from the existence of present extradition treaties between Australia and the following countries: - Albania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Roumania, Yugoslavia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania . . .
Senator Cole took that action because of the Rancic case. In that case, the Government of Yugoslavia sought the extradition of a naturalized Australian named Rancic. The Australian Government took advantage of an escape clause in extradition treaties which gave it the discretion to refuse to surrender an Australian citizen. That ending of the incident was satisfactory. But the following comment was made by no less an authority than Sir John Latham, our former Chief Justice -
Although Rancic remains, there is no guarantee that similar cases will have such a happy ending.
There was a suggestion at the time that, if Rancic had not, by his good fortune, been an Australian citizen, the decision may - I emphasize the word “ may “ - have been, on the evidence, in another direction. Senator Cole declared that in his view it was necessary for the Government to review the law in these matters. He suggested that the Government should terminate extradition treaties with Communist countries and should examine the need for fundamental guarantees to be included in our own law, maintaining firmly the right of asylum. It is noteworthy that the Foreign Affairs Committee of this Parliament, which comprises members of the Liberal Party, the Australian Country Party, and the Australian Democratic Labour Party, on the same day made a pronouncement that in its opinion the Australian Government should renounce the extradition treaties that Australia had up to that time made with Communist countries. The leader of the Government at that time, Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan, in reply quoted from a statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on this very matter and promised that consideration would be given to the points that had been raised and to the recommendation of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan pointed out that the Government had refused to surrender this Australian citizen and he gave reasons for the Government’s decision. I regret that the Government did not, after considering the matter, renounce these extradition treaties with Communist countries - treaties in which I see the seeds of danger. I hope that the Government will give further consideration to the recommendation made on that occasion by the Foreign Affairs Committee.
On 22nd March last the AttorneyGeneral, Sir Garfield Barwick, made a statement to Parliament in connexion with the Soviet request for the surrender of Viks. I have already congratulated the AttorneyGeneral on that statement, and I do so again. In it Sir Garfield Barwick stated first that the instruments on which the Soviet Government relied for its demand did not apply in this case. Secondly, he pointed out that Estonia was not juridically conceded as Soviet territory - that is, that Australia did not recognize the Soviet government of Estonia nor in fact the governments of Latvia and Lithuania.
– Is that the vital point?
– That is only one of the vital points not the vital point. The Attorney-General declared that the Australian Government, in the case of Viks, had considered itself bound by the rule of law; that there was no extradition treaty affecting the law; and that in any case the Australian Government had a discretion where the surrender of an Australian citizen was sought. The Attorney-General pointed out that certainly that citizen would not be surrendered if the charge against him was of a political character.
During the course of his remarks the Attorney-General made a very important point - one which I think to some extent sums up the situation. He said -
It is the practice of Australia to refuse to surrender an Australian citizen, even if an extradition treaty exists. In the instant case, Mr. Viks is an Australian citizen, having been naturalized in the year 1957. I should also point out that extradition treaties to which Australia is a party contain a further limitation, namely that no surrender should be made if the crime alleged by the requesting country is a political crime in the international sense in which those words are used.
The Attorney-General’s next words are important. He said -
This limitation applies to Australian residents as well as to Australian citizens. 1 think that fact will give great comfort to Australian residents from behind the iron curtain who have not yet been able to obtain naturalization. The AttorneyGeneral continued -
Broadly speaking, crimes of a political character, for the purpose of the extradition system, include crimes committed in the course of conflict between contending political groups or organizations. Breaches of the laws of war committed by commanders in the field would scarcely come under this heading.
The Attorney-General’s next point is not so satisfactory. He said -
But the position of acts performed in the purported exercise of government authority is doubtful. There are cases in which it has been held that acts so done do not justify extradition under the ordinary treaties and statutes. Partly for this reason special international arrangements and recommendations were made during and at the conclusion of the World War with respect to the surrender and trial of war criminals.
I found the Attorney-General’s statement most interesting and in many respects most satisfactory. But I would like to be assured in regard to the latter point quoted by me that no loophole exists through which one of the refugees may perhaps be drawn. I would ask that everything be done that is necessary to ensure that we maintain in this country the right of asylum that has always been traditional, at least in countries of British origin. 1 believe that in matters such as this there should be no discretion. There should be fundamental guarantees. Those funda mental guarantees are essential because we adhere to the Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, three of the relevant articles of which I propose to quote. Article 10 states -
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Those, of us who have studied the Soviet legal system would have no difficulty in concluding that such a trial would not take place under that system. Article 13 states -
Every one has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
Article 14 states -
Every one has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
That article is qualified in the case of genuinely non-political crimes. I believe that we in Australia should have fundamental guarantees to preserve the things for which those articles stand.
The question may be asked: Is there a purpose behind the action that the Soviet is now taking in seeking the nationals of certain countries? Is there a purpose behind the moves the Soviet is making to accuse certain people and to seek to drag them into the Soviet legal net? In regard to the case of Viks, I propose to quote from a letter written to me by Mr. Aleksander Kutt, who is chairman of the Committee for a Free Estonia. That is a committee of Estonians and it functions in the United States. Its members look forward to the day when their country will once again be free. As an explanation by an Estonian body of the action taken by the Soviet in regard to Viks, Mr. Kutt states -
During the eighteen years of Soviet occupation of Estonia the Soviet regime has caused the destruction of about 90 thousand Estonians, or 8 per cent, of their pre-war number in Estonia. Certainly the judiciary of this regime cannot be considered a proper authority for establishing what may or may not have happened in Estonia either under the Soviet or Nazi occupation if justice should prevail.
The present Soviet extradition requests are aimed at terrorizing the refugees. Moreover, the present show trials in Estonia of which there are more to come in addition to a recent one this month are quite obviously designed to implant fear in the population of Estonia against any change of the present regime. These trials, at which a fantastic number (125,000) of persons is mentioned who allegedly have been executed by the “ bourgeois fascists “, with an implication that the majority of the victims were Estonians, clearly aim at a psuedo-explanation of the discrepancy between the pre-war and present total number of Estonians. The alternative explanation of this discrepancy, which became especially obvious after the 1959 Soviet census, are the massive terror acts of the Stalin era. This method of covering one’s own tracks so vividly resembles the method used in connexion with the Katyn tragedy.
In that tragedy thousands of Polish officers were murdered.
That is the specific explanation given by a representative Estonian for his country’s case, but the general explanation is that this campaign of terror is designed to prevent communism’s slaves from revolting. Stalin knew and the present leaders of world communism know that in every free country there is an organization of people from the captive nations keeping alight the torch of freedom. Last year in the United States of America there was a Captive Nations Week which aroused not only the particular ire of Mr. Khrushchev but also his fear because the Soviet leaders know that to-day the Achilles heel of their whole system lies in the opposition to their regime of large numbers of people in the captive countries. That is why to-day we hear so much talk of co-existence from the Soviet leaders. To them co-existence means that we will not interfere with those whom they hold in subjection, yet they will exercise the right to interfere in countries such as Laos, Viet Nam, African countries and every democratic country for the purpose of advancing their ends.
We hear much talk of the Communist bloc and we hear talk of the democratic bloc which includes Great Britain and the United States. We also hear talk of the neutral bloc which includes India and countries of that type. Let us hear more talk of the captive bloc, the people who live under communism but hate communism and who are prepared to be our allies in the fight against communism provided we indicate that we have not abandoned them. Therefore, I hope that we will answer what is happening to-day by attacking Soviet colonialism in the same way as the Russians seek to attack other forms of colonialism. I believe that we are too much on the defensive and that if we hope to combat world communism we must show more support for the people who are living under communism to-day and who are prepared to be on our side provided they believe that we have not abandoned them.
I have referred already to the attempts to frighten the migrants in this country by the propaganda which is posted to their home addresses from places in East Germany and other Communist-controlled areas. Obviously, the intention is to make those people feel that Big Brother has their names and addresses, that he is watching them and that his arm can still reach them. It is essential that we calm the fears that many migrants in Australia have to-day, which make many of them refuse to participate in trade unionism and political affairs simply because of their belief that somebody on the other side knows where they are and one day they may have to pay for their participation.
– Is there plenty of evidence of that?
– I think the evidence is available from the leaders of the new Australian national organizations. It was referred to in a television session in at least three Australian States in which representative members of new Australian organizations gave actual instances of the receipt of such intimidatory propaganda.
The only other matter to which I want to refer is an attack, if I may call it such, that was made on a reference that I made to this issue by Moscow Radio and also, I am honoured to say, in the columns of “ Pravda “. First, it was suggested that I and others who had supported the cause of Viks were defending Fascist criminals. Secondly, it was suggested that the Soviet had been our ally in World War II. and was entitled to special consideration on that ground. Let me say that I have never defended any Fascist criminal and I have no desire to do so, but no evidence has been presented by the Soviet leaders that this man was a Fascist criminal any more than they present evidence when somebody leaves their party and they immediately brand him as having embezzled party funds. That is a regular technique.
On the question of the Soviet being our ally, some very interesting evidence on the nature of the alliance has come to light recently as a result of the capture of the official German Nazi archives during the war. Let me give this description of the conduct of Stalin as our ally in 1940. He met Ribbentrop, Hitler’s chief lieutenant in foreign affairs, and they made an alliance to divide up Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Stalin proposed a toast to the Fuehrer. Molotov drank to Ribbentrop. Molotov and Stalin drank repeatedly to the non-agression pact, the new era of GermanRussian relations and to the German nation. The official German documents reveal that despite such warm exchanges Stalin appears to have had mental reservations about the Nazis keeping the pact. As Ribbentrop was leaving, he took him aside and said -
The Soviet Government take the new pact very seriously. I can guarantee on my word of honour that the Soviet Union will not betray its partner.
The official German military archives reveal that when the war broke out, early on the morning of the invasion of Poland by Hitler the Chief of the General Staff of the Air Force, General Hans Jeschonnek, rang up the German Embassy in Moscow to say that in order to give his pilots navigational aid in the bombing of Poland, he would appreciate it if the Russian radio station at Minsk would continually identify itself. By afternoon Ambassador von der Schulenburg was able to inform Berlin that the Soviet government was “ prepared to meet your wishes”. The Russians agreed to introduce a station identification as often as possible in the programmes over their transmitter and they even extended the broadcasting time of the Minsk station by two hours so as to aid the German fliers late at night.
Mr. Matsuoka, the Japanese Foreign Minister, visited Moscow for the purpose of making an agreement with Stalin and at the end of the visit Stalin went to the railway station to see Matsuoka off. The official documents recount how Stalin went out of his way to show a remarkably friendly manner not only to the Japanese but also to the Germans. At the railroad station, Stalin publicly asked for Schulenburg. the German Ambassador, and threw his arms around his shoulders, saying -
We must remain friends and you must now do everything to that end.
– What was the date of that meeting?
– The date was 13th April, 1941. Somewhat later, Stalin turned to the acting Germany Military Attach6,
Colonel Krebs, first made sure that he was a German, and then said to him, “ We will remain friends with you - through thick and thin “.
We are asked to give special consideration to the Soviet leaders on the ground that they were our allies. I give consideration and honour to the common people of Russia and the common soldiers of Russia who legitimately fought with us, but I am not prepared to give any honour or any credit to the present Communist government of Russia which, if it had had its choice, would have preferred to be on the side of the Nazis and came over to our side only because it was forced to do so when Hitler himself turned on it. What are we to think of the fact that right up to the time when Hitler attacked Russia, Russia was religiously - if I may use that term - making deliveries of war materials which it had promised to assist its allies. On the morning when the German soldiers were waiting to go over the border, Russian trucks were going through them, taking vital war supplies from Russia to Germany. General Thomas, who was the official quartermaster for the German forces, pointed out that the Russians did not fall short in one delivery in the period until they were attacked, that everything that they promised was brought, and that Russia, as a final concession, not long before it was attacked by Hitler, informed Hitler that in future Russia would transport the war materials to Germany free of charge. This means that the oil from the Caucasus which powered the German aeroplanes bombing London was carried from Stalin’s oil wells to Germany, free of charge, as a special gift from people who now claim special consideration on the grounds that they were later our allies.
I distinguish between the Russian people and the Russian leaders. The present Russian leaders are the last people who ought to attempt to try others for war crimes. We have all heard of the bodies of thousands of Polish officers being unearthed in the forest of Katyn. No proper investigation has ever been made of how they were murdered, because the Soviet authorities refused to permit a proper investigation. In Russia’s attack on Estonia, which, like Latvia and Lithuania, had signed a nonaggression pact with Russia and had never at any time done anything against Russian interests, some 8 per cent, of the people of that little country lost their lives. I suggest, therefore, that if anybody is to be tried for war crimes it should be the present leaders of the Soviet system.
I conclude by saying that while we, as Australians, may think that migrants from iron curtain countries are unnecessarily worried about this kind of pressure, we must realize that anybody who has lived under communism has ingrained in him something which prevents him from doing other than worry about this kind of thing. For the quieting of the minds of these new citizens of ours who have made such a great contribution to the progress of this country, we are entitled to examine the law and ensure that there are fundamental guarantees of the security which they came here to obtain.
– Senator McManus should be congratulated on bringing before the Senate a debate on this subject, arising as it does out of a statement made by the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick). There can be no doubt that all the countries behind the iron curtain are seeking constantly, either through direct threats or through threats of harming families, to bring pressure to bear upon and to inculcate fear in those who have fled from those countries to make a better life. It is, and always has been, of the very warp and woof of tyranny that a tyrant cannot possibly permit citizens to flee from him to freedom, because if they do they keep alive a spirit of hope, and therefore of rebellion, in the territory which the tyrant rules. So I have no doubt - indeed, I have evidence, as has the honorable senator - that fear is sought to be instilled into new Australians in this country by officials of the cou - tries whence they came. Any opportunity such as this to show that that fear is not soundly based must, I think, do good to this country and help to relieve the minds of people who are good citizens of it.
The first point I wish to make in regard to this fear of extradition - fear of being brought back, fear that Big Brother will reach out his arms - is that the- number of countries of this kind with which Australia has extradition- treaties is limited. T wish to make ifr clear that there is- no extradition treaty of any kind with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and that consequently no Russian citizen residing here, whether he come from the Ukraine or from any other part of Russia, need fear that action will be taken against him by Russia.
– That may be taken as an absolute proposition in law. Is that not so?
– That is an absolute proposition in law and in fact. I wish to extend that argument further. We do have extradition treaties, entered into long ago with governments long gone, with the countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, but we have never recognized, and we do not recognize, that those countries have been properly absorbed by the U.S.S.R. Therefore, we would not agree that the Government of the U.S.S.R. had any right whatever, or could in law take any action whatever, to recover citizens of these countries. Those people could be recovered only if those countries got back a free form of government of their own in the future.
– But a change of government here could change that.
– I do not want to make this a political matter. I am talking for this Government. If it is suggested that the Opposition would recognize the incorporation of Estonia,, Latvia and Lithuania into Russia, then there is some force in the honorable senator’s argument;, but I do not know whether that suggestion is made. Let me widen a little further the area in which I say that there need be, no fear by citizens who have come here from other countries. We have an extradition treaty with Hungary, but it specifically states that citizens of one country or the other are not to be handed over as a result of that extradition treaty. The only new Australians from behind the iron curtain who need, have any basis at all for fears are those from. Albania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Rumania and Yugoslavia.
– Why is that?
– Because we have extradition treaties with those countries. We do not have a treaty with any part of Russia, nor with the areas occupied bv Russia, “<jr with Hungary as regards, our own citizens. So people who have come from those countries need have no fear whatever. Indeed, nobody need have fear, but I am now moving on to citizens of Albania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Rumania and Yugoslavia, who have come to Australia. The first step that such citizens could take to be assured of freedom from interference would be, of course, to assume Australian citizenship. That is a course that we hope they will take, in any event. As the Attorney-General said in his statement, it is not our practice to surrender an Australian citizen, even if an extradition treaty exists.
A citizen who does not wish to take that course has the further protection referred to by Senator McManus, that under the extradition treaties no surrender is made for a political crime, even though the person concerned is not an Australian citizen. Such a person has the fourth and final protection, which meets the requirements of the United Nations resolutions that have been referred to, that under our system of law the surrender of a person to another country may take place only in accordance with oar law, and that any person sought to be extradited has the right to go before a court to have a hearing by a magistrate. Evidence may then be produced to establish whether he has committed a crime. In that case an impartial court - and courts in this country are impartial - would decide whether the extradition proceedings were proper proceedings in the sense that a crime such as murder, robbery or theft, had recently been committed, or whether they were merely proceedings to cloak the true design of seeking to punish for political belief.
I realize, as indeed Senator McManus realizes, because otherwise he would not have brought this subject forward for discussion, that what 1 have said, true though it is, may not calm all the fears of the new Australians in this country. I believe that it is the duty of all of us in this Parliament, and also of people in other places, constantly to point out to those who have come to us from: tyrannical rulers, four things. First, in the case of some of them, we must point out that they have nothing to fear because there are no extradition treaties: at all; secondly,, in the case of others, that they have nothing to fear because’ they have been, engulfed by Russia in a way which we do not recognize as legal; thirdly, that if they become Australian citizens, it is not our practice to hand them over; and fourthly, that if, at the very worst, an occasion ever arose of an approach being made for a person to be handed over, he would have all the protection that the laws and the courts of this country could give him to see that he was not being railroaded for a political action.
We on this side of the chamber agree completely, Sir, with the proposition that had the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics not been an ally of Nazi Germany at the beginning of the war she might have been able to prevent the war from starting. That is a matter of history and is not in dispute. It was during that very time, of which Senator McManus has spoken, that there was in this country Communist agitation against the war effort and against the Nazis, as we all so well remember. It was during that period that those who are now in government, in Australia put some of the agitators in gaol and those who are now in opposition let some of them out.
– That is hardly fair.
– It is true, but it is not germane to the immediate point, which is that the factual situation relating to extradition is as I have put it. The record of this Government shows that it has adhered to the principles I have stated and that it realizes that attempts are being made to terrorize some new Australians. We- have not handed over for political purposes, nor will we do so, anybody who has come to make a new life- in this country. That is an undertaking that I give on behalf of the Government without any reservations whatever, and it is an undertaking that I should like all new Australians to know had been given on behalf of the Government. In conclusion, Sir, I again congratulate Senator McManus for bringing the- matter forward for discussion.
– The Opposition readily supported the. proposal that this1 matter should be open to discussion. The subjects raised by Senator McManus are of great concern to many new Australians who have come to us from behind the iron, curtain and from the Communist countries. Whilst we cannot prevent threats to these’ people from being made, nor can we prevent attempts to intimidate them, we certainly can do a great deal to prevent the threats from becoming effective. We can give clear assurances to migrants to enable them to preserve their peace of mind, or to restore it if they have lost it. It may well be that there is more to the threats than has been made known. How far they go, I do not know. I suggest that the Government has the responsibility to ascertain the pattern of such threats, of which some evidence has been given in the course of this debate.
In my opinion, it behoves the Govern-‘ ment, as a part of its duty to new Australians, to ascertain exactly the scope of the threats and their likely effect. There is the possibility that the Communist countries may take the long-term view that in the event of war involving Australia and themselves, the fear that they exert on the minds of new Australians may be the very instrument to turn them into saboteurs or spies against our own country. Although that aspect has not been mentioned, I think it must not be overlooked. There may be a real and deep purpose behind the threats. Hence I think it behoves the Government to make an immediate inquiry as to the extent of the threats and the intimidation to which Senator McManus has referred. Accordingly, 1 do not agree with the suggestion of Senator Gorton, that those are the acts of a tyrant who resents the escape to freedom of anybody who had ever been under his domination. The matter may go very much deeper than that. I commend that thought to the Government for action in due course.
A matter similar to that which Senator McManus has raised was brought forward for discussion in the Senate on 24th October, 1956, at the instance of Senator Cole, regarding negotiations between the Government of Yugoslavia and our own Government in relation to one Rancic. The Australian Government refused extradition in that case although there was and still is an extradition treaty between Australia and Yugoslavia. I have very little to add to what I said when that matter was being discussed here. On that occasion I dealt at some length with the legal position of migrants and gave what assurance I felt it was possible to give to them to support the
Government’s wish to prevent them from being subjected to threats, intimidation, and the kind of action that we are now discussing. In the course of the debate on that occasion, Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan, who was then Attorney-General, laid on the table of the Senate a very important document - the report of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs relating to extradition. There was no opportunity to consider the report or to discuss it in the course of that debate; the document was merely tabled whilst the debate was proceeding. I have since taken the opportunity to peruse it, and I was interested to find that not only was Senator Cole a member of that joint committee and, of course, a supporter of the report, but also that Senator Gorton who has just spoken was a member of that committee. Senator Maher and Senator Pearson also were members of it. They reviewed very carefully the position concerning extradition. Senator Gorton and the others have made certain recommendations to the Government in that report. The first of those recommendations was that the treaties with the half dozen countries to which the Government has referred and which existed before they were taken over by the Communists and became incorporated either in Russia or as satellites on the western border of Russia be denounced. The recommendation of the committee was that all existing extradition treaties with Communist-controlled countries, namely, Albania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Rumania and Yugoslavia be denounced. Every one of those treaties is operative pursuant to the Extradition Act of 1870 of Great Britain which we merely adopted, and is terminable upon one year’s notice.
In the debate in 1956 I adverted to that matter and I directed attention to the fact that first in April, 1956, Mr. Harold Holt, who was then the Minister for Immigration, and the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and later, in October of 1956 the then Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) assured this Parliament that the renunciation of those treaties was under immediate consideration. As I said on 24th October, 1956, there had already been a delay of six and a half months in that consideration. Since then, a report of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs - Senator Gorton was a member and a signatory to the report - came before the Parliament, urging this Government to denounce those treaties. Now four and a half years have elapsed. The treaties have not been denounced, and we have not heard one word from Senator Gorton in the course of his remarks this afternoon on that subject!
I am asking the Government to inform me what is the result of its consideration of the first recommendation of the. Foreign Affairs Committee. Is the Government still considering the report, as it has been considering many other matters for years? What is stopping the Government from reaching a decision on the matter? Is the Government afraid that fugitives from justice in Australia may escape into the iron curtain countries and we shall not be able to get at them? Of course, that cannot be the reason because the fugitives could not get into the iron curtain countries. Lacking vises and other things, they would have no earthly hope of getting into those countries. So that cannot be the reason. What is it? Is it the usual lack of leadership, the usual vacillation and the usual delay? I am asking the Government to make up its mind.
– Are you agreeing with the report of the Foreign Affairs Committee to which you are referring?
– On that point, yes.
– That those treaties should be denounced?
– Yes. I am putting that. I am personally supporting that recommendation of the committee.
– Is that the Labour Party’s attitude?
– I am asking the Government to inform us what it has decided and I am urging it to act. I have already said quite specifically that I am urging it to act on that particular recommendation, and I am asking what is the reason for the delay. Senator Gorton was a member of that committee, he signed his name to the recommendation and supported it, and he is now a member of the Ministry. Why did he not advert to that matter in his significant contribution to this great subject? Let the Government tell us, before this debate, closes, what it is doing in the matter.
There was another recommendation from the Foreign Affairs Committee that I approved, namely, that legislation be enacted to provide certain things. I say that one of the real reasons for the existence of fear among new Australians in this country is the vagueness of Australian law upon the subject of extradition. What have we got? Look at the Extradition Act. lt merely adopts Great Britain’s Extradition Act of 1870 and1 the various amendments that have been made to it since. If we take up our own act, we find that it merely substitutes names of officers for those referred to in the imperial statute. A new Australian or an old Australian who picks up our Australian act would not have a clue as to what the law is on this subject.
The first element about any law is that it should be readily accessible to the people to whom it applies. One of the great defects of the present position and one of the causes of fear among new Australians is that we have not got a proper piece of legislation on our own statute-book. Yet a recommendation from a parliamentary committee was before us on 24th October, 1956. I ask: Where is the legislation resulting from that recommendation? It is not enough for the Minister to give to the new Australians all the assurances that he has given. I am glad to hear them as evidence of the outlook of the Government but there are things that the Government can do apart from talking and giving assurances. The first one I have already indicated, and I come now to the second one.
Let the Government act upon the second recommendation oi. the Foreign Affairs Committee. Let us have clear legislation. Under the present law, a person who has come to our country from another country and who is charged with an ordinary offence - one of those listed in the schedule to the Extradition Act - is compelled to prove that his extradition is not sought in respect of that crime - it may be quite a fictitious one - but for some political offence for which his accusers abroad want to get him and punish him. He has to prove affirmatively that he is wanted for a political offence. Where is his evidence? How could he ever prove it, with the onus of proof upon him? Particular attention is drawn to that point in the report of the
Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs. Paragraph 7 states in regard1 to people who are not Australian citizens - . . the Communist-controlled country would seem, under existing treaties, to have the right to demand extradition upon prima facie evidence, unless the crime alleged were of a political nature, or unless the accused proved to the Australian Court or to the Governor-General thai the charge was laid for the purpose of extraditing him with a view to trying or punishing him foi a political offence.
Why does the Government not address itself to that question? The report has been before it for years. I say that this situation portrays a lack of consideration for the disturbed state of mind of new Australians. Why has the Government not attended to a proper codification and setting up of the law in a readily accessible form for all the people of Australia? The Government can take positive action in those two respects and I am perfectly certain that if the matter were put on the statutebook in an unexceptionable form new Australians who might otherwise be adversely affected would derive great comfort.
– That is why they are swinging to us.
– Well, I do not know about that. A question was asked by interjection concerning our recognition of Estonia, Latvia and one other country and what Labour would do in the matter if it became the Government. I face the position that the United States still recognizes the governments in exile of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and in fact receives diplomats from them. The United Kingdom recognizes the de facto occupation of those three countries by Russia, but certainly does not concede Russia’s legal right to occupation. That is a common-sense outlook. The United Kingdom does not concede any legal rights to Russia in those countries but, just as it faces the fact that the sun rises, so it acknowledges that Russia is in control.
I resent any suggestion - whether it emanates from the Minister or from any one else - that Labour, if it were in office, would depart from the stand that has been taken by the United Kingdom Government. I recognize very clearly the colonialism of Russia in relation to these countries.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Pearson). - Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
.- Senator McManus is to be congratulated for raising this serious matter for discussion. It is refreshing to hear a Labour leader denouncing in such vigorous terms, not only the possibility, but the fact of the existence of ties with Communist countries by way of old extradition treaties. 1 sincerely hope that this will usher in a new era for the Labour Party in which vigorous and healthy opposition will be shown to communism wherever it raises its head.
The matter which we are discussing does not surprise those who have followed the course of the Russian revolution since 1917. This policy by the Soviet of intimidation of nationals who have gone abroad is no new thing. It follows the familiar pattern of cajolery and blackmail, and of the bribe and the bludgeon. I have known many new Australians who received the most glowing accounts of conditions back home. They have been told, “ Come home and all will be forgiven; you will be made a commissar “, or whatever it is that one is made in those places. In some instances - until the truth began to seep through - migrants to this country, mainly those from Czechoslovakia, were deceived and decided to return, but, to their distress, they found they were not allowed out again.
Very many migrants have come here largely for the purpose of escaping from Communist tyranny and control. Their lives were broken at home, in some instances, first by the tide of Nazi aggression and then by the even worse, if that were possible, tide of red aggression. To use an American expression, they voted with their feet against communism. They fled from it, and all they want now is to be allowed to set up their homes, build new lives and live happily with their families in a country where their human rights are protected by law.
Australia, with its broad and humane immigration policy, not only should protect its new citizens, but should go out of its way to make that protection abundantly clear and effective. I find it alarming that so much is known by Soviet agents of the addresses and activities of many of our new citizens. The fact that this information is possessed by the Soviet mailing authorities - I should say blackmailing authorities - should be enough to disillusion those people in our midst who believe we have nothing to fear in Australia from Soviet spying - those people who believe that it cannot happen here.
– Who said that?
– You did. There are people who, like my good and honorable friend, Senator Hendrickson, have said that fascism is the main enemy in this country.
– It is as bad as communism.
Hendrickson is one of those good people in this chamber who have said that in Australia communism is not the worry, but that fascism is the main enemy.
– When did 1 say that? I ask for a withdrawal. I have never said in this chamber that fascism is a worse enemy than communism.
– My recollection
– Mr. Acting Deputy President, I rise to order. I ask for a withdrawal of the statement made by Senator Hannan that I have said in this chamber that fascism is a greater menace to Australia than was communism.
– I rise to order. I submit that Senator Hendrickson is completely out of order in asking for a withdrawal at this stage. He could appeal for a withdrawal if the statement made by Senator Hannan were disorderly, but if he suggests that the statement is incorrect he should rise at the right time and make a personal explanation.
– I think I can shorten this matter because of my deep and profound respect for Senator Hendrickson.
– Mr. Acting Deputy President, Senator Hendrickson has asked for the withdrawal of a remark which he considers to be offensive. The Standing Orders provide that if an honorable senator considers a remark to be personally offensive to him he can ask that it be withdrawn. You, Sir, are the judge of that matter. With the greatest of respect, I submit that if you agree with the point raised by the honorable senator, you should request “Senator Hannan to withdraw the statement that has been made. Senator Hendrickson has said that Senator Hannan alluded to him as an individual, and has not merely made a general statement. Senator Hendrickson takes objection to the remark made by Senator Hannan and considers it to be offensive to him. I support his request that the remark be withdrawn.
– Such is my regard for Senator Hendrickson’s integrity that if he assures me that my recollection is wrong and that he did not, in a foreign affairs debate approximately two years ago, say that fascism was a greater enemy in Australia than communism, I am prepared to accept his assurance and withdraw my remark. Having disposed of that matter-
– Oh, no!
– Mr. Acting Deputy President, I am not prepared to allow Senator Kennelly or anybody else not in the Chair to take over control of this chamber.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! Senator Hannan has withdrawn his remark and no point of order is before the Chair.
– I had said that some good people - including those who control the federal executive of the Labour Party - should have their attention directed to the fact that the Soviet’s knowledge of the addresses and activities of Australian citizens is vaster than they would have us believe. Soviet spying in Australia is not a myth. Only a fortnight ago heavy sentences were imposed upon British subjects in England for spying for the Soviet in regard to naval secrets. We must get out of our heads the idea that this sort of thing cannot happen here. That is why when the Petrov commission found that the Soviet Embassy in Canberra was simply a spy-hole - I believe that it still is - I was opposed to the return of the directors of the spy ring to this country. I do not know why reference to the great benefit which the Western democracies received from the information that Petrov gave them seems to cause offence in Labour breasts. If there is one term which Labour men hate more than “ unity tickets “ it is the term “ Petrov commission “. Normally when one uses that term members of the Labour Party become incoherent and burst forth into a torrent of irrelevant abuse of the man himself and not of the information that he gave to the Western democracies.
This Government has an excellent record in the protection of migrants who have come to this country. In 1956 Mr. Casey, as he then was, in reply to a Labour member in another place - I wish to be quite fair; I believe it was Mr. Stewart - who had shown an interest in extradition treaties, gave an assurance that migrants would be thoroughly protected against phoney extradition proceedings which might be launched by Russia herself or any of her satellite governments.
– Was not Mr. Stewart a Labour man?
– I said that. In March, 1958, Czechoslovakia demanded from the Australian Government the return of a former citizen, but the request was refused. On 17th April, 1958, I myself addressed a question in this chamber to Senator O’sullivan, who was then the Leader of the Government in this place. On that occasion the honorable senator gave a very full and comforting answer to the many new Australians in our community. Part of his reply was as follows: -
I remind the honorable senator that on more than one occasion my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs, has made it abundantly clear that this country will not lightly hand over to a travesty of justice people who are claimed for political offences.
Nothing could be more repugnant to this Government, which lives by the rule of law and recognizes its importance, than handing over anybody for trial by a Soviet travesty of justice, as the then Leader of the Government in this place described it. It is unthinkable that a government such as ours which, as I have said, has always proceeded according to the rule of law, could be a party to a criminal code which enforces the death penalty simply for crossing Russian borders. Recently an Australian government wished to proceed against a man who had been charged with the foul crime of kidnapping and murder. It was necessary to make out a prima facie case in Ceylon before he could be brought back to New South Wales for trial. The Government of that State actually paid the expenses of witnesses for the defendant in order to ensure that he would be given a fair trial.
That is the kind of conduct which we have come to accept in British countries.
– Was that a Labour government?
– It was a Labour government. I thought I made that point clear when I referred to the Government of New South Wales. I do not hedge on these things. What happened in the case to which I have just referred is what we understand by the application of the rule of law.
The statement that was made by the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) in another place dealt with the case of Mr. Viks on two unassailable grounds. I shall not traverse the legal points which the Attorney-General raised; but I point out that he made it abundantly clear that the Australian Government could not extradite Viks. More important was the fact that he made it clear that the Government would not extradite him. Without in any way assuming the man to be guilty of any crime, the Attorney-General said that we must give the right of asylum to people who come to Australia from countries which do not understand the rule of law. He added -
In default of a binding obligation requiring Australia at this point of time to do otherwise, these, who have been allowed to make their homes here, must be able to live, in security, new lives under the rule of law.
In those four or five lines the AttorneyGeneral has given to all our new citizens a charter for their own protection.
There have been deliberate attempts by the Soviet authorities and their fifth column in this country to stir up discontent, worry, anxiety and neuroses amongst our new citizens by propagating stories about the opportunities they have left behind at home and stories about what may or may not happen to their parents, relatives, friends or associates who have not been able to make the journey to freedom with them. So I believe that, in dismissing the insolent Russian request in this matter, the Government not only- has relied on technicalities but also has shown that there is some incongruity between the British form of justice and the Communist form. Under Communist criminal law, in relation to many offences the defendant is not allowed to plead not guilty. The sole function of his lawyer in such cases is to plead for leniency and to ask, for example, for a sentence of not more than 33 years or, if the death penalty has been inflicted, that the forfeiture of property be not required. Such provisions make an absolute farce of what is supposed to be the administration of justice. That is the kind of law which would be applicable to Mr. Viks or any other people who came from the Soviet or countries behind the iron curtain if we should be so heartless, so brutal and so inhuman as to hand them over to the mockery of a trial in Moscow or in one of Russia’s satellites.
– Mr. Deputy President, I have noted that Government and Opposition senators have congratulated Senator McManus upon bringing this matter forward for discussion. The tenacity of Senator McManus and the Opposition in trying to get the Government to do something definite about such matters is commendable. But I point out that the attitude of the Government in the past has not been so commendable. Assurances couched in the best of terms have been given, but the Government has vacillated. On 24th October, 1956, a similar matter was raised by Senator Cole. On that occasion four members of the Labour Party rose in their places to enable the matter to be discussed. The Government admitted that it was desirable that the matter be discussed, and a debate ensued. Much greater thought was given then to the need to do something. The Leader of the Opposition, Senator McKenna, followed in the debate and his submissions included alf the points that have been made in this Senate to-day. He was not in the position, however, of being able to ask the Government what it had done about the matter. Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan spoke in the debate in 1956 and he admitted that the Government had a duty to do something about the matter. He gave certain assurances and I am sure that he gave them in the honest belief that the Government would take decisive action. He quoted the British law as enacted in the Imperial Extradition Act 1870-1932. He cited English precedents and the Prime Minister’s speech of 13th April, 1956, to show the kinds of assurance which the Government preferred to legal enactment. This Government claims to believe in the rule of law but it seems to prefer to rely upon statements made by various persons in various other places. The Government poses as the great white father determined to protect the people. Why is there not on the statute-book a clear law to say that the fundamental human rights enjoyed by every citizen in Australia, including those who have obtained asylum here, will not be disturbed? The Government’s view is that irrespective of whether a person living in Australia is an Australian citizen or one who has sought asylum in this country, it will exercise its discretion and will not grant an application for extradition unless it is thoroughly satisfied that extradition is not being sought for political purposes. On 13th April, 1956, the Prime Minister said -
The Extradition Treaties which Australia has with Eastern European countries date back for many years. They were entered into under entirely different circumstances and atmosphere from those which exist to-day.
Under present circumstances the Australian Government has to be convinced before agreeing to extradition that the application from Eastern European countries is bona fide and not a pretext to obtain custody of an individual for other purposes.
The Prime Minister clearly saw the danger, but he did not move to clarify the position. For years the Opposition has been urging that something more definite should be done about these matters. Doubts as to the legal position exist in the minds of many people. The Prime Minister gave an assurance that the Government would use its discretion and that it would rely on the escape clauses in the extradition treaties to protect the rights of our citizens and of persons who had obtained asylum in this country. But that is not good enough.
We find that a report of the Foreign Affairs Committee on this subject was tabled in this Senate in 1956. The presentation of such a report was rather unusual because although that committee has met for many years, rarely has one of its reports been tabled. Speaking in the debate that preceded the tabling of the report on 24th October, 1956, Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan said -
The question of reviewing these treaties is a complex matter and involves a study of the whole system of extradition, not merely in relation to the group of countries mentioned, but generally. Substantial consideration and many factors are involved. I am sure that honorable senators will agree with me, having regard to the consideration which the Government is at present giving to the problem, that it would be inappropriate to enter into a public discussion at this stage of any future formal steps in. respect of the treaties. In its examination of this subject the Government will take full cognizance of the report of the Foreign Affairs Committee. I have much pleasure in laying that report on the table of the Senate. The Government has given earnest and careful consideration to the subject-matter, of Senator Cole’s resolution.
That was a little more than an assurance that the Government would exercise its discretion and make use of the escape clauses in the extradition treaties. That was an assurance to Senator Cole, who had raised this matter, that the Government would do something to place the position of many of our own citizens beyond the realms of doubt, but the Government took no positive steps. Something should have been done then.
Later, on the same day, 24th October, 1956, Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan formally tabled the report of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Senator Cole, Senator Gorton, Senator Maher and Senator Pearson were signatories to that report. Five years have elapsed since that report was presented and still the Government has taken no action on it. The Government has relegated the report to the dust bin. The Foreign Affairs Committee should not be used as a device to circumvent the bringing before the Parliament of certain matters of vital importance to our citizens. The committee should make its reports direct to the Parliament and the Government should take action on them. The committee is a committee in name only. The manner in which its reports are ignored by the Government is indicative of the fundamental weaknesses of the Government’s administrative structure. The committee studies vital subjects relating to international affairs and it submits reports, but those reports never come before the Parliament for discussion. Having received the report, the Government relegates it to the dust bin. Nothing has been done about a report that was submitted five years ago and to which both the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General of the day referred. In view of the seriousness with- which this matter is being treated by the Australian Democratic Labour Party and the Australian Labour Party the Government should, amend the law in accordance with suggestions made by the Foreign Affairs Committee.
– Why does not the Australian Labour Party exercise its right to membership on the committee?
– The Labour Party as an Opposition would be as weak as Senator Maher’s colleagues are as a government if it supported a committee whose report the Government has failed to act on after five years. That report has been relegated to the dust bin. These matters should be discussed in the Senate and we should get some effective action on them. The committee is a puerile and futile body. It has never achieved anything. It is obvious that the Government takes no notice of the committee and that Mr. Menzies, who has occupied the dual portfolio of Minister for External Affairs and Prime Minister for some considerable time, goes his own way.
In its report of 24th October, 1956, the committee stated -
The Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, having examined relevant Acts and Treaties, feels that the present situation in regard to extradition from Australia to Communist-controlled countries has unsatisfactory features.
In such countries the normal safeguards of justice do not seem to apply, and the authorities there, on their own admission, have fabricated evidence in their own courts, have extorted false confessions, and have thereby condemned and even executed innocent men for political purposes.
We agree with that. All the preamble is quite good. We know what goes on in these matters. The report continues -
It used to be a settled axiom of our extradition policy that we should not conclude extradition treaties with countries in which the normal machinery of justice was not in operation; our present extradition arrangements with Communistcontrolled countries are mainly due to the adoption of old treaties concluded before Communist regimes were established there.
Then the committee went on to name six countries with which such treaties had been made, namely, Albania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Roumania and Yugoslavia. The committee also said -
Although, in our opinion, the existing law and treaties give considerable, discretion to the Australian authorities to refuse any particular extradition, this discretion is. not untrammelled. Furthermore, the committee believes that the resident in Australia, whether citizen or not, should have some sounder security against punitive extradition than can be provided by the exercise of arbitrary authority, however benevolent.
In regard to Australian citizens (and this term does not seem to include, in law, British citizens who are not Australian) the Extradition Acts and the Treaties with Communist-controlled countries give to the Governor-General the right to refuse all requests for extradition if he so sees fit.
Senator McKenna raised the matter of the onus of proof. If a man goes before a court to resist an application for his extradition he has to show that his return is sought for political reasons. The present position is very unsatisfactory. The report also says -
The Australian network of extradition treaties is by no means complete, and the abrogation of our treaties with Communist-controlled countries would not therefore occasion any significant change in our capacity to prevent Australian criminals from escaping punishment by flight abroad; and this is especially true insofar as we could scarcely expect such Communist-controlled countries to perform their reciprocal obligations in good faith, unless it suited their own particular purposes at the time.
The committee therefore recommends -
That all existing extradition treaties with Communist-controlled countries, viz., the treaties with Albania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Rumania, and Yugoslavia, be denounced,in accordance with the machinery provided in their texts and that no further extradition treaties be concluded with Communist-controlled countries.
That legislation thereafter be enacted to provide that no person shall be liable to extradition under any treaty made subsequently to the Act -
if the alleged offence is of a political character; or
if the alleged offence is not of a political character, unless it is proved to the satisfaction of the magistrate or court before whom the accused is brought on habeas corpus that the requisition for his surrender has in fact not been made with a view to try or punish him for an offence of a political character.
– That is exactly the Government’s policy now. I do not know what you are talking about.
– Well, why not express it?
– It has been expressed.
– It has been stated and we have had assurances, but the position has not altered one iota from the position that obtained five years ago. Senator Hannan is now interjecting. He has spoken in this debate and his interjection is evidence of very bad manners, even if he has no intelligence. Senator Hannan in the course of explaining his attitude to this situation, referred to the occasions when definite action has been taken by Parliament in relation to these matters. It is refreshing to find that on each occasion the action has been initiated by Labour. We have raised the matter and obtained an assurance from the Government.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid). - Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
.- This debate has got a little off the rails. The chief instigator of the diversion was my learned friend, the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), who spoke about extradition treaties and rather ingeniously related that matter directly to the questions at issue. Of course, they are related, but extradition treaties are not the real issue before the Senate to-day. The issue was very ably put by Senator McManus when he referred to the fear that exists in the hearts of people from overseas living in Australia as to the intentions of communism and the Communist countries, that is to say, Russia. We cannot deny that extradition treaties with certain satellite countries are in existence, but surely the issue is not whether those treaties should or should not be abolished or amended. I suggest that they should be amended only by agreement between both sides. Surely the position of people under those extradition treaties was very plainly expressed by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) in 1956, following the recommendations of the Foreign Affairs Committee. In 1956 the Prime Minister said-
– On what date?
– On 13 th April, 1956.
– That was long before the date of the committee’s report.
– The Prime Minister’s statement really confirmed the committee’s view because following it the committee made certain recommendations to the Prime Minister. He said -
The Government’s view is that whether or not a person living in Australia is an Australian citizen it will exercise its discretion under the Extradition Act and will not grant extradition unless it is thoroughly satisfied that such a move is not being sought for political purposes.
In that respect, the onus would be on the satellite country to show that it was not a political offence.
Let us get back to the real issue. It is not a matter of revoking these extradition treaties under which not one person has ever been extradited. The subject of the debate is the plans that Russia has in relation to people from overseas living in Australia and the fear that is being created by the Communist Party in Australia and the Communist Party in Russia by interfering with the rights of Australian citizens and other people living in Australia. Senator McManus brought the situation to the notice of the Senate in a very able way, and I think we should get back to a discussion of it. We cannot talk about this subject too much; nor should any of us fail to take up the onus that is on us to express the views of our respective parties and our own personal views on where we stand in relation to this problem.
I agree entirely with the opinion that the Senate could well formulate a resolution to re-assure these people who are beset with fears and who will continue to be beset with fears irrespective of what happens because their very past is associated with fears too terrible for us to imagine. This Senate could well pass a resolution, and reaffirm it from time to time, thar no person living in Australia, whether subject to the extradition laws or not - 1 emphasize that - will ever be in fear as a result of any charge made by any country in respect of a political offence. That is the real state of affairs and the Senate could well afford to pass a resolution along those lines so that the Leader of the Opposition and his supporters could indicate how they feel in regard to that policy. It is important that the Opposition should express its views in connexion with such matters. I shall expound that aspect of this question now.
As there is no extradition treaty with Russia, it follows as the night follows day that no Russian citizens in Australia, whether naturalized or not, can be interfered with in relation to a crime, whether political or not, which is the subject of a charge by Russia. That includes people who are citizens of the U.S.S.R. and Australian citizens who were formerly citizens of the U.S.S.R. But we come to another very important group of people, namely, the Germans. Under resolutions of the United
Nations organization, members of a group of German people were rendered subject to trial by international tribunals if they were charged by one of the allied countries with war crimes. That was not in pursuance of a treaty but in pursuance of United Nations resolutions. Australia accepted in principle, the propositions stated in those resolutions. But they related only to German nationals, being Nazis and being accused of a war crime of which there was prima facie evidence. That covers the Viks case. That is the class of person who is bound up in that type of problem. Let me remind the Senate that the case of Viks is related to United Nations resolutions, and that the United Nations can keep on passing resolutions in connexion with cases like this. So we must be very careful where we go from here.
This is a much bigger problem than the problem of extradition treaties. We must go further and ask whether we shall regard ourselves as bound by any future resolution of the United Nations relating to international crimes, or even political crimes. We have to be very clear on what our views are. Certainly in Australia we would insist on our sovereign rights and say that we would not enforce, but would repudiate, resolutions by the United Nations or any other body affecting political asylum in Australia. We must go that far. The Government indicated in 1956 that it would do so, and it would be a good thing if we discussed those matters again in the Senate, because it would give a chance to both the Government and the Opposition to say something and to vote on a proposition bound up with those matters. Let me be so bold as to say that we are getting down to the real problem now. It is not a matter of extradition laws under which there is not much chance of any one being extradited. It is a matter of what will happen in the future. If the United Nations, in which we have only one vote, were suddenly to go a little berserk and adopt a series of resolutions purporting to bind Australia with respect to political crimes, where would the Senate stand? These are questions that are worrying people who have come from central Europe and who are beset with fears which are still extant in central Europe.
– The United Nations has already declared that political offences are out.
– Quite so, and the United Nations could1 to-morrow upset that principle very simply. It would depend on how many people wanted to do it. It would depend on how many people constituted the Communist bloc. If we bring China and the Chinese states into the United Nations, who can say what will be the terms of United Nations resolutions in five years’ time? We must not just accept blindly a decision of the United Nations on these matters. We have sovereignty here and we must respect it. I pose that as a problem of the future which does affect the fears of people in this country.
So much for the class of citizens affected by the Viks case. There are others. There are the citizens of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Albania, and other nations with which extradition treaties are extant. I think that to discuss the existence of extradition treaties is a little redundant. They exist and we know it, but we have a clear statement of Government policy to the effect that not only will Australian citizens not be extradited under those treaties but also nationals of those countries will not be extradited if the offences alleged to have been committed relate to the politics of those countries. There is the answer in a nutshell to Opposition senators who are seeking to draw a red herring across the trail in this debate by relating this problem solely to those extradition treaties. I suggest that the brief answer is that no one in this country need fear extradition if the offence alleged smacks of politics. In effect, all nationals of the countries I have mentioned who chose to come here will have political asylum in this country, and we will welcome them.
Having said that, I can sum up by saying that both Government and Opposition senators should be given an opportunity to express their views con!cerning this problem, which was so aptly decribed by Senator McManus as a problem of fear. It is the fear of people from central Europe, who know what fear is. I suggest that any one who has not been there cannot appreciate the extent to which the minds of those people are in a state of horror because of the feeling of fear that is always with them. Anything that the Senate can do to alleviate that fear should be done. What better way is there in which to do it than by a resolution of the Senate, giving both Government and Opposition an opportunity to demonstrate to new Australians their support of the sentiments that have been stated on both sides of the chamber in this debate? It is quite clear that the Government and the Opposition, including Democratic Labour Party senators, are quite unanimous that political asylum is of the very essence of the policies that they endorse. Anything that we can do to alleviate the fears of our new citizens should be done, and I think that the proper way to debate this question would be to discuss how that could be done. For that reason, I very much commend the action of Senator McManus and I support his proposition.
– T congratulate Senator McManus upon bringing this matter forward and I fully support all that he has said. I think the debate has concentrated too much on the absence of extradition treaties. While I am very happy that there is no extradition treaty with Russia or certain other Communist countries, I do not think that that is a final safeguard. After all, what we have to rely on are our own due processes of law and our own executive action. If the people of this country are determined that any one who has come here for political asylum shall not be sacrificed to a Communist country or to any other country which has a tyrannical government, I think that we have given all the security that we can give.
I should like to develop the point that we should not rely too much on the absence of an extradition treaty. I can see no particular reason for denouncing the treaty with Yugoslavia. That is a Communist state, undoubtedly, but it is a Communist state with a difference. That difference may not be important internally, although I do not know enough about what is happening inside Yugoslavia to know whether that is so. But I think it is important in international affairs to-day that we should not surrender any advantage that we have. At the United Nations and other international gatherings, it is often very good to have some point of advantage with the person with whom you happen to be bargaining. I think that that goes for Yugoslavia.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting I had said that while I was very happy to find that we had no extradition treaties with Russia and some other Communist countries, I thought we should not rely too much on that fact; that we should rely on our own rules of law and our own procedures, whether executive or judicial. I was very interested to hear the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) cite a report of the Foreign Affairs Committee, on which his party is not represented, as though it should be considered as something authoritative and binding. I was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee for some years, and I am a member of it now, but at the time when that report was presented I believe that I was not a member of it. Therefore, I do not feel myself bound by a report that was made during my temporary, and possibly regrettable, absence.
The substance of that report apparently was that we had no extradition treaties with certain Communist countries and that we should cease to have such treaties with those Communist countries with which we have treaties. I do not see much point in dropping a treaty that we have with any other country, provided that our own procedures can prevent the treaty from getting us into trouble. I instanced Yugoslavia this afternoon. That is a Communist country but of a somewhat different type from other Communist countries, inasmuch as I think we have a little point of leverage with it. We can talk to the Yugoslavs in a way in which, possibly, we cannot talk to the people of other Communist countries. I should be prepared to leave that treaty in existence.
The real safeguard for people who come to this country as refugees, whether they come and remain as aliens or whether they become Australian citizens, is in our own procedures, in the British rule of law. I believe that the procedures are such that nobody accused of a political crime is likely to come to any harm. We should be prepared to guarantee that safeguard to people from Communist or any other countries - to people of any country which happens to have a tyrannical form of government. I agree with Senator McManus and other honorable senators who have spoken that communism is the one real enemy to-day, the one really tyrannical form of government. But it was not so twenty years ago. Then, some of us thought that the Nazis in Germany, and possibly also the Fascists in Italy, were equally dangerous. A time may come in the future when other countries will have a tyrannical form of government which will threaten our liberty, as well as that of their own citizens. I mention the case of Turkey, a country which communism apparently has- never even tainted. Recently, there was a revolution in Turkey. The gentlemen who were running the country and whom we regarded as sound anti-Communists and certainly as allies and as people on whom we could rely, were suddenly removed from office and put on trial. They became the enemies of the nation. That may also happen in other countries.
I think, therefore, that in the whole of this debate we should devote ourselves to advocating the real safeguards of liberty for ourselves and the people who come here, safeguards which rest on the traditions of the English law that we have inherited. English law is a very peculiar growth. I am, not a lawyer, but I know the history of it. English law has many procedures, and its proud boast is that it is much easier for a guilty man to escape punishment than for an innocent man to be convicted. I am all in favour of that. But after all, the object of law is not to let guilty men escape. Its object is to do justice and, if a man is guilty, to see that he is convicted. There is a question of international crime, quite apart from politics. With any country with which we can come to terms, I think there should be some kind of extradition treaty whereby a man who is really a criminal - not a political criminal, but a man who has offended against one of the laws that are designed to protect the ordinary person - may be tried and found guilty.
It happens, Sir, that I was the person who asked a question in the Senate about this citizen who comes from one of the Baltic states. Before I asked the question I had made a great many inquiries. I was deeply disquieted about the matter. I did not regard it as simply a case, necessarily, of Communist aggression. The charge was made that this man had assisted the Nazis against his own countrymen and that he was in the fullest sense of the term a war criminal. I had to make up my mind about that. I said: “ Well, I am certainly not going to take the word of the Communists for that. I am certainly not going to accept something that is put up to our country without evidence.” - and I believe no evidence was submitted - “ If that is all they have to say, I am prepared to contend that we do nothing about it, that we leave him alone, that we allow him to stay here “. I fully agree with Senator McManus that we should do the best we can to leave in peace all the people who have come to this country and found it in a political asylum. The glory of Great Britain during, I think, three centuries, was that nobody who went there as a refugee from persecution in a foreign country was ever handed back to the tyrannical government of the country from which he came. That is true of the United States of America, and it is also true of our own country.
The best of the migrants who came here in the nineteenth century, apart from our own British stock, were people of that description. I have a great respect and regard for the Germans who came to this country in the nineteenth century. I think that they were people - at any rate this is true of those who came here in the ‘forties, fifties and ‘sixties - who were fleeing from persecution. It was not the terrible kind of persecution from which recent migrants have had to flee, such as that in Hungary and other places, but nevertheless it was persecution. They were not allowed to worship as they wanted to worship. I have known some of them. I think we have in this chamber, amongst the honorable senators from South Australia, the descendants of some of them. Among my intimate friends and relations by marriage are such people who came to the Clarence River district. Those people, people who give up their country rather than give up their belief, are I think, the salt of the earth. Our country is all the richer for having them. For that reason, I am very strongly against anything that would result in their being handed over. But I want to emphasize that we cannot simply wipe our hands of any other country. We must rely on our procedures of law which, I think, the Minister’s statement and other statements have shown, have worked out very well.
As I understand it, under an extradition treaty there is no complete obligation on the part of our Government to hand over anybody whose return is demanded by a foreign government. Our own courts hear a case; a prima facie case must be made out. There must be the sort of case that we ourselves demand when a criminal escapes from this country to another country. If a case is made out and if the country is governed by a government we can trust, I think we should have an extradition treaty with it. I consider that we should be prepared, if there, is clearly proved criminality, to hand over the guilty person; we should be prepared to hand over an accused person to a country where a process exists to discover whether he is guilty or not.
I have no confidence in the processes in any of the Communist countries. After all, the terrible trials, so called, of the 1930’s in which hundreds of thousands of people, were simply killed without what we call the due process of law must satisfy us that we cannot trust most of the Communist countries. I think we should rely not on the absence of extradition treaties but simply on the attitude that our own, courts and our own Executive will take in every one of these cases. The AttorneyGeneral (Sir Garfield Barwick) has made a pretty full and straightforward statement on this matter. He said that what we did in that particular case where extradition was demanded and what we have done in general in the past is the policy on which we should rely.
I do not pay very much attention to the claim of the Leader of the Opposition that the Government has been dilatory, that it has failed to clean up this matter simply because it has not carried out a report furnished by the Foreign Affairs Committee. I think there might have been some substance in his statement that the extradition law we live under is an old one, that it was copied from a British act of the 1870’s, and that it may be necessary to alter it. But after all, this Government has done a great deal in tidying up old-fashioned legislation. Since I have been in this chamber we have taken quite a number of dusty old laws out of the pigeon-holes and changed them. I can remember sitting here and accepting in the main what the then Attorney-General and the Leader of the Opposition said about a patents measure, which was tidied up a great deal. I tried to understand what they said. 1 think if honorable senators will refer to the legislation that has been presented in each session by this Government they will find that a great deal has been done towards bringing the law up to date. We have tackled the difficult questions of marriage and divorce, which no previous government had the courage to do.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I have very much pleasure in supporting the remarks of Senator McManus concerning the increasing threat to the right of migrants from Communist-governed states to live their lives in Australia, in security, under the rule of law. I wish to join the speakers who have congratulated Senator McManus on bringing this very important matter before the Senate. It is very important to people who have come here to find sanctuary and to get away from so many of the ills that beset them in their native lands, to know that they can live here in the freedom and security that they have dreamed1 about as being most desirable but which was unobtainable in their own countries. As a member of a race of people who regard freedom and liberty as the undeniable right of our citizens, I have very much pleasure in supporting the remarks of the honorable senator.
Previous speakers have commented on certain statutory rules and have quoted the laws that apply to extradition. I propose to devote myself to a far more humble matter - the feelings of ordinary men and women who faced horrors and hardships in countries from which they have had to flee. It is very difficult for those of us who abhor the repressions that exist in those Communist-governed countries to-day to envisage what has happened in those areas. Let us consider for a moment the conditions with which people in those countries are confronted. First of all, in the countries that are controlled by the
Communists to-day the ruling bodies may not be criticized. Even though the people may feel that criticism of the rulers is justified, they dare not utter such criticism. If they have sufficient courage to utter such criticism to a person whom they trust they may find that their trust has been misplaced and that the context of their remarks has been passed on to the ruling auhorities Not only have such offenders been subjected to punishment but, what is far worse, their families also have been punished for what we would regard as harmless criticism of the rulers. There is no need for me to say that the Australian people indulge in criticism of their rulers to a very great degree. We also know that in the Communistcontrolled countries children are sometimes prevailed upon to spy upon their parents and report to the ruling authorities utterances such as I have mentioned. That is a fearful state of affairs to contemplate. Unhappily, there have been many incidents which prove that this has happened in Communist-controlled countries.
There is another unfortunate factor that I shall mention. We know that efforts have been made in Communist-controlled countries to stamp out what we regard as a normal family instinct. Children are being taught to divest themselves of their natural feelings of affection and respect for their parents in order that they may grow up to be machines - merely tools of the state. Owing to their unfortunate training, the only loyalty instilled in them is loyalty to the machine-controlled state, divested of natural human instincts which we feel mean so much to the ordinary way of life. Such children become devoid of decency, integrity and the normal affections.
We have heard that many people in Communist-controlled countries have been subjected to what is known as brainwashing, and we have seen the results of that treatment. What happens in the process is almost too dreadful to contemplate. Having given this brief recital of what can only be termed the horrors of life in the Communist-controlled countries, let me say to those who favour socialism that whilst every socialist may not be a Communist, every Communist is a socialist. Surely this is a sufficient reason for socialists to cast socialism out of their minds and revert to the Western way of life.
Although I have criticized the way of life in Communist-controlled countries, I recognize the right of the governments of those countries to legislate in the way that they see fit. They have a right to rule in their own way, and whilst we deplore the way they rule, nevertheless they are exercising their rights. But when they try to interfere with people who have sought the protection of this country, I think we should make the strongest possible protest on every occasion that the attempt is made. I think we owe a debt of gratitude to Senator McManus for giving us this opportunity, not only to express in this place our dissatisfaction with these doings, but also to let these people know, without any reservations, that such a course of conduct does not meet with our approval and will not be condoned by us.
Over the years a pattern has been established. If the authorities in Communist countries want those of their people who are living in countries such as ours to return, the first step appears to be to threaten reprisals on relatives who are still living in those Communist countries. If that is not successful then - sometimes this is done contemporaneously with the threat of reprisals - a charge of theft or maladministration is levelled against the person concerned, in the hope that a country such as ours will accept the accusation and bow to the will of the Communist-controlled country. In that way a Communist country tries to get a person back into its toils. This has become a familiar pattern. On almost every occasion when we read of a defection, as it is known, we look straight away for one of these charges to be made against the person who is seeking sanctuary with us. We had an instance of this in Australian only a few years ago in the Petrov case, and since that time several other instances have occurred overseas.
There can be no doubt that in Communistcontrolled countries thousands of people look with longing eyes to countries such as Australia where they would have the right to live in freedom, to speak as they wished to speak, to worship as they wished to worship and to vote as they wished to vote, without the threat of reprisals if they did not vote in a certain way. Surely there are thousands of people looking to a country such as ours where they could live the rest of their lives, enjoying the free doms that I have just mentioned. When we give such people the sanctuary that they are so anxious to obtain, the least we can do is to see that that sanctuary is not disturbed. Further than that, in a country such as ours children are encouraged to respect their parents and are given an opportunity to express their natural instinct for affection for their parents. In this way, we feel that we are building a race on the best of foundations. If we can do that, we will be doing a very good job for the whole of the world.
I feel that it may be of some comfort to these people if I refer briefly to the statement made a few weeks ago by our Attorney-General and Acting Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick). Amongst other things, the Minister said -
The Australian Government has no power or authority to arrest, detain, or surrender any person in Australia, whether or not an Australian citizen, except in accordance with the rule of law. There must exist some law authorizing such arrest, detention or surrender, and the Government must meticulously observe all the requirements of that law. The great writ of habeas corpus is always available to bring the executive government before the courts of the land to justify any detention of a person in Australia. Australia knows nothing of, and would not for a moment, I am sure, tolerate, any power in the executive government arbitrarily - that is to say, without the support of law - to detain persons. On the other hand some nations know nothing of the rule of law which protects the liberty of the people.
Under our system of law, the surrender of a person to another country takes place under and in accordance with the statutory law, usually in the form of extradition acts, which depend for their operation upon the existence of an extradition treaty with the country to which the surrender is made. Under such acts, there must first be a legal proceeding, in which the evidence against the person sought to be surrendered is closely examined by an impartial tribunal, and in which that person is given full opportunity to place evidence before and to address the tribunal in his own defence. The extradition may take place only if the tribunal is satisfied that a prima facie case of guilt is made out upon the evidence, and authorizes the surrender.
I should like to quote another brief paragraph before I conclude. It is as follows: -
In default of a binding obligation requiring Australia at this point of time to do otherwise, these, who have been allowed to make their homes here, must be able to live, in security, new lives under the rule of law.
That is where the Australian Government stands. No alteration has been made of the views expressed by the AttorneyGeneral. We give the assurance to people seeking our protection that that will continue to be the policy of the Australian Government.
– There appears to be very little left to say on this motion, and I do not propose to detain the Senate for very long. If one were to regard in isolation the wording of the subject-matter submitted for discussion by Senator McManus, without having had the privilege of hearing the honorable senator speak, one might be concerned about the choice of words. Senator McManus has submitted as a matter for urgent discussion the increasing threat to the right of migrants from Communist countries to live their lives in Australia in security under the rules of law. I had the privilege of hearing Senator McManus speak. He made it perfectly clear that he recognized the magnificent approach that the Government has made to the. question of extradition. He made it clear beyond doubt in his speech that there was no suggestion of giving way to threats so far as the Australian Government is concerned. However, I suggest with great respect that any one looking at the wording of his proposal in isolation, without having had a chance to read the report of the debate, might get a false impression.
The history of the practice and behaviour of the Australian Government in giving asylum to people from Europe is one that must warm the heart of every Christian man and woman. Regardless of limitations in terms of our economic development, Australians have accepted displaced persons and other persons from all over the world. Our immigration programme is probably one of the most successful in the history of the modern world. In implementing that programme we have taken from Europe people who have been the victims of the dreadful consequences of war. We have given to them security, employment and freedom. That has been readily acknowledged by senators of all parties who have spoken to-day.
But from time to time, unfortunately, people who have come here from behind the iron curtain have had demands made upon them by devious means to compel them to go back to their countries of origin, and in certain cases attempts have been made to have them extradited. It has been my great pleasure to be a member of an organization that is associated with the Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council. I have spoken to many of these people and have heard them express concern at the fact that through channels they had not thought of efforts have been made to persuade them to return to their countries of origin behind the iron curtain. Very often those persons have experienced serious concern for their near relatives back in Europe. Indeed, there have been cases in which it has been suggested that they should return in order to ensure the happiness of their parents and next-of-kin. All that is part of the Communist technique. But throughout assurances of freedom and protection in this country have been given.
Reference has been made here to-day to the attempt that was made in 1956 to have a person named Rancic extradited. The Australian Government dealt with that case very promptly and appropriately. Even though there was in existence an extradition treaty with the country in question, the Australian Government exercised its rights and refused extradition. Again in the case of Mr. Viks, which prompted Senator McManus to raise this matter for discussion, the Government dealt with the situation promptly and refused to have the person in question sent back to his country of origin. Just a few moments ago Senator McKellar read some extracts from the speech of the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick). If one were to read the speech, one would have very little left to say on this matter. The Minister’s speech was most comprehensive. I believe that we must emphasize to our migrant population the desirability of their becoming naturalized Australian citizens at the earliest possible opportunity. Whilst it is true that the Government of Australia has adequate safeguards to protect every person who comes to Australia, I suggest that the most effective way in which they may gain a greater feeling of security and comfort is to become Australian citizens. In that way they will be able to erect a barrier of security and comfort and enjoy the peace of mind to which they all are entitled.
A resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations passed in October, 1947, stated that if anything were to be done in relation to war criminals it should be done promptly and expeditiously. Fifteen or sixteen years have now elapsed since the war ended, lt seems to me to be a tragedy that after that lapse of time men and women who have come to this country to start a new life, having put behind them all the cruelty and suffering that they endured, should now be confronted with a trumped-up charge that is calculated not only to ruin their lives but also to make unhappy and restless all other persons who have come from the same country of origin. I believe that the most effective way in which we can help these people, in addition to what we are already doing as a nation, is to treat such requests for extradition with the contempt they deserve, to extend the hand of friendship, and to assure them as has been done here repeatedly to-day, that we will protect them and give them all the support that is humanly possible. At the same time, we should stress the desirability of their becoming Australian citizens as quickly as they can and of encouraging other members of their national groups to do likewise.
I conclude by again directing attention to the record of this Government in dealing with these incidents that should never have occurred but which have occurred from time to time and which are abhorrent to us as members of the free world. We give the assurance that we will protect our citizens. When I say that, I mean that we will protect our new citizens equally as well as we protect our older citizens.
Senator BRANSON (Western Australia) 18.381. - I join with other honorable senators who have spoken to-day in saying that we are indebted to Senator McManus for having brought this matter before the Senate. I desire to deal with an aspect of it that has not been dealt with so far, although Senator McKellar did touch upon it. I refer to the matter of brain washing. If some governments overseas want to have persons extradited, I do not believe that they will necessarily cease their efforts when their request for extradition is refused. There are other methods they can use and which we know are being used to-day. In other words, I do not think they will stop at anything.
Let us see what Bena said about brain washing when he addressed students of the Lenin University on psychopolitics.
Psyche-politics is the art or science of asserting and maintaining dominion over the thoughts and loyalties of individuals, officers, bureaux, and masses, and the effecting of the conquest of enemy nations through mental healing. Mental healing is another name for brain washing. Addressing the students of the Lenin University, Beria said -
By psychopolitics our chief goals are effectively carried forward. To produce a maximum of chaos in the culture of the enemy is our most important step. Our fruits are grown in chaos, distrust, economic depression and scientific turmoil. At least a weary populace can seek peace only in our offered Communist State, at last only Communism can resolve the problems of the masses.
A psychopolitician must work hard to produce the maximum chaos in the fields of “ mental healing “. He must recruit and use all the agencies and facilities of “ mental healing “. He must labor to increase the personnel and facilities of “ mental healing “ until at last the entire field of mental science is entirely dominated by Communist principles and desires.
Let us use the term brain washing instead of mental healing, because that is what it means. Beria continues -
You must labor until we have dominion over the minds and bodies of every important person in your nation. You must achieve such disrepute for the state of insanity and such authority over its pronouncement that not one statesman so labelled could again be given credence by his people. You must work until suicide arising from mental unbalance is common and calls forth no general investigation or remark.
These are not my words. This is what Beria said to the students of the Lenin University.
– Look what happened to Beria!
Senator BRANSON. Yes, remember what happened to Beria himself. I thank Senator Hannan for his interjection. Beria said-
Psychopolitics is a solemn charge. With it you can erase your enemies as insects.
That is what they think they are dealing with - insects. Beria continued-
You can cripple the efficiency of leaders by striking insanity into their families through the use of drugs.
A little later he stated that this was being done to tens of thousands of people.
– Is this an official publication?
– This is a publica-tion edited by Professor Stickley of New York City in 19,55.
– It is not published by Dale Carnegie, is it?
– No, I am quoting an extract from a Russian text-book on psychopolitics. In his address Beria said -
You can change their loyalties by psychopolitics. Given a short time with a psychopolitician you can alter for ever the loyalty of a soldier in our hands or a statesman or a leader in his own country, or you can destroy his mind.
He said that is what happens to a person who has been through the process of brainwashing. He said -
Use the courts, use the judges, use the constitution of the country, use its medical societies and its laws to further our ends. Do not stint in your labor in this direction. And when you have succeeded you will discover that you can now effect your own legislation at will and you can, by careful organization of healing societies, by constant campaign about the terrors of society, by pretence as to your effectiveness, make your capitalist himself-
He was referring to us, of course - by his own appropriations, finance a large portion of the quiet Communist conquest of the nation.
Beria closed on this note -
By psychopolitics create chaos. Leave a nation leaderless. Kill our enemies. And bring to earth, through communism, the greatest peace man has ever known.
How is brain-washing accomplished? I understand that some 200 miles north-east of Moscow there is the fairly large city of Kostroma where a school of indoctrination is established. It is interesting to note that in Europe, the United States and the British Commonwealth each year about 200,000 people disappear. Each year people of that number disappear for various reasons and within a matter of months about 150,000 of them return to their homes. Those 150,000 persons leave home for financial reasons, because of marital and other troubles, but they eventually return. Within the next six years some of the remaining 50,000 return home, but about 5 per cent, of them never return. A study has been made of this problem of disappearing people and it has been ascertained that the 5 per cent, of them who are never heard of again fall into the same peculiar category. All of them are single. None of them has family ties. In all cases their parents are deceased. None of them has left a note of departure, which, according to police authorities, is the usual thing. All of them are intelligent, fit and of good appearance.
The contention has been made by persons who have studied this problem that the school at Kostroma is brain-washing these people. A person who has been drugged and kidnapped undergoes regular periods of hypnotism during which he is fed information about himself and about communism. Microphones are attached to his head while he sleeps and information about himself is constantly fed to him. He is constantly told of the new personality that is being created by the brain-washing and the drugging. Surgery is sometimes resorted to if necessary to remove certain parts of the brain where the idea of capitalism may be too deeply implanted. The training may take as long as two years. The one risk which the instructors run is that they will overdo the Communist line. They run the risk that they may create a too rabid Communist. If they overdo the training they can rewash the brain and reimplant what they want into it.
The Russian text-book on brain-washing and psychopolitics, from which I quoted extracts of Beria’s address, states -
Communism could best succeed if at the side of every rich or influential man there could be placed a psychopolitical operator, an undoubted authority in the field of “ mental healing “ who could then by his advice or through the medium of a wife or daughter by his guided opinions direct the optimum policy to embroil or upset the economic policies of the country and, when the time comes, to do away forever with the rich or influential man, to administer the proper drug or treatment to bring about his complete demise in an institution as a patient or dead as a suicide.
– Do they actually advocate physical suicide?
– Yes. This is a shocking textbook. The way in which they intend to do these things is shocking. The textbook continues -
Any man who cannot be persuaded in the Communist rationale is, of course, to be regarded as somewhat less than sane, and it is therefore, completely justified -
That is, in the eyes of the Communists - to use the techniques of insanity upon the nonCommunist.
Later this statement appears -
However, regulated only by the importance of the subject, no great amount of time should be expended upon the individual, but emotional duress, or electric shock, or brain surgery should be resorted to, should Communist propaganda persuasion fail.
In other words, if you cannot get at him through propaganda, use duress, electric shock and brain-washing. The textbook also contains these words -
By the use of various drugs, it is, in this modern age, and well within the realm of psychopolitical reality, entirely too easy to bring about a state of severe neurosis or insanity in the wife or children, and thus pass them, with full consent of the important person, and the government in which he exists, or the bureau in which he is operating, into the hands of a psychopolitical operator, who then in his own laboratory, without restraint or fear of investigation or censor, can, with electric shock, surgery, sexual attack, drugs, or other useful means, degrade or entirely alter the personality of a family member.
These people do not play it lightly. They ask, “ How do you get at a person? What are a person’s loyalties? What do we love? What do we believe in? “ the book says -
The second loyalty is to his family unit, his parents and brothers and sisters. This is destroyed by making a family unit economically nondependent, by lessening the value of marriage-
The things that we hold dear and value - by making an easiness of divorce and by raising the children wherever possible by the State.
They even advocate the introduction of child delinquency and the fostering of it. The book says -
Under the saccharine guise-
I like the way they use those words - of assistance to them-
That is the teenagers - . . rigorous child labour laws are the best means to deny the child any right in the society. By refusing to let him earn, by forcing him into unwanted dependence upon a grudging parent, by making certain in other channels that the parent is never in other than economic stress, the child can be driven in his teens into revolt. Delinquency will ensue. By making readily available drugs of various kinds, by giving the teenager alcohol, by praising his wildness, by stimulating him with sex literature . . . the psychopolitical operator can create the necessary attitude of chaos, idleness and worthlessness into which can then be cast the solution which will give the teenager complete freedom everywhere - Communism.
The book goes on to say -
If it is to be used, the character of the girl or boy must be altered carefully into criminal channels and a control by blackmail or other means must be maintained, but where the leadership is not susceptible, where it resists all persuasions and might become dangerous to our cause (of communism), no pains must be spared to direct the attention of the authorities to that person and to harass him in one way or another until he can come into the hands of juvenile authorities. When this has been effected it can be hoped that a psychopolitical operator, by reason of child advisor status, can, in the security
A the gaol and cloaked by processes of law destroy the sanity of that person. Particularly brilliant scholars, athletes and youth group leaders must be handled in one of these two ways. 1 felt that the Senate should know what these people are up to. When one finds that Beria himself stated that they had already treated some tens of thousands by this process, it is not beyond-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid). - Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– 1 wish to congratulate Senator McManus on introducing for discussion as a matter of urgency the increasing threat to the right of migrants from Communistgoverned states to live their lives in Australia in security under the rule of law. I think that when the honorable senator introduced this matter of urgency he had at the back of his mind certain incidents which have taken place in Australia during the past few months with particular reference to a man by the name of Viks whom the Russian Government requested Australia to give up so that he could be treated according to the law of Russia.
On 24th February the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Menzies) received a communique from the Russians asking him to surrender Mr. Viks to the Soviet authorities on the ground that he had been involved in certain war crimes. Tt was claimed that those crimes were committed in Estonia in 1941, that he had killed quite a number of people during the war and that he should be extradited to Russia for trial. When Mr. Viks heard of this he was working on the waterfront in Sydney. He was amazed at the attitude of the Russians in approaching the Australian Government about nineteen years after the war crimes were allegedly committed to have him sent back to Russia for trial. Honorable senators must remember that on the waterfront in Sydney he was working with members of a Communist-dominated union. Because of his fear of the Communists, immediately upon hearing of the Soviet request, he gave up his job by walking off it. When the press heard about this request journalists went to interview him in his home, but he could not be found. These events took place in Australia! Not only did- he have to give up his job but he also had to give up his place of residence in Australia.
In this country we’ Have mar.y’ migrants who are living here” peacefully under our laws. Many of them have come from Communistdominated countries. As a’ free” nation, Australia has a responsibility to look after citizens while they are with us here. It is our responsibility to look after them not only after they are naturalized but also before they are naturalized. I was interested to hear the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) say that no person could be extradited from Australia unless he had committed an offence other than a political crime as long as he’ was a resident of Australia. He need not necessarily be a naturalized citizen. 1 am also interested in the fact that Russia has r.o claim to a resident of Australia because at the present time Australia has no extradition treaty with Russia and is not likely to have one, I hope. The fact remains that this Government has treaties with Communistcontrolled, satellite states of Russia. We should look into these treaties with a view to having them nullified as early as possible, because while they exist there are processes of law whereby migrants from these countries can be repatriated for trial. These countries were not under Communist control when the treaties were made.
The Minister’s statement on this subject was very clear. The Government is to be congratulated on its stand in relation to Mr. Viks. There are processes by which such persons can be given up. If they were given up, it would be a very heavy blow to the confidence of the migrants, numbering more1 than one million, who have come to Australia since the end of World War II. The Australian Government and the Australian people must guarantee their safety from Communist attacks while they are in Australia. What would have happened to the unfortunate Mr. Viks if he had kept his job on the Sydney waterfront, working as a member of a Communist union, which is probably controlled from outside Australia, the Australian Government having refused to make him available to Russia for trial for the crimes he is alleged to have committed? We have heard of many instances of what has happened to people who have not obeyed a Communist-controlled union of which they were members, particularly on the Tasmanian waterfront. How could’ Mr. Viks be expected to’ remain working as a member of the Waterside Workers’ Federation and have reasonable security? He would have to be watched continuously by the New South Wales police and possibly by Commonwealth security men, because evidently he was not- obeying the wish of the Communists and had acted against the Communist regime in Russia. What would prevent the sending of a note from Russia, telling the Waterside Workers’ Federation- the story of Mr. Viks? Would he then be safe from the Communists?
I was pleased to hear the Minister state quite clearly that no person coming from overseas to make his residence in’ Australiacan be taken away from- Australia without recourse to the- processes- of law.- He also said that under those processes the country seeking extradition must present a case to the satisfaction- of the tribunal established in Australia to decide whether or not extradition should be granted. The Government assures migrants m Australia,, whether naturalized or not, that they cannot be extradited to Russia, because we have no extradition treaty with Russia.
I was interested to hear Senator Vincent say that at some time in the future the United Nations might adopt a resolution requesting extradition treaties’ between all members and that it might then be’ difficult for Australia to go against it. He went on to say - this is the interesting point - that we should make quite clear where we stand, and say that if the General’ Assembly adopted such a resolution we would not have a bar of such treaties at any price. We should make quite clear to all the people coming to make their homes in Australia that, whether or not the United Nations adopts such a resolution, the Australian Government and the Australian people will protect them. We rely for our future development on our migration policy. More than one million migrants are now living iri Australia. They have the Government’s assurance of full protection against extradition for any political crime with which they may be charged.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
.- in reply - I rise as the proposer of the motion to sum up briefly and to express my appreciation of the manner in which the matter has been debated by all parties. Senator Scott made one of the important points of the debate when he stated that the migrant, Ervin Viks, to whom so many honorable senators have referred, has been accused and branded. A stigma has been placed on him which makes it impossible for him to work any longer at his job on the. waterfront. Almost inevitably, it will cause him to leave the neighbourhood in which he has lived. Yet this man has never been charged on the basis of evidence produced. All that has happened is that he has been branded for the rest of his life.
We can understand, therefore, the seriousness with which the average migrant regards the matter and his anxiety that the Australian Government should, as far as possible, take action to prevent this kind of thing from happening. Something that might help in that direction is, as has been suggested, the denunciation of treaties with Communist countries that were made, when those countries were not Communist. Senator McCallum has said that we should adopt a different attitude towards Yugoslavia because she does not see eye to eye with the other Communist nations. I do not agree with that suggestion. Yugoslavia is Communist in the same way as are other Communist countries. Marshal Tito, the dictator of Yugoslavia, possibly has been more active than the leader of any other Communist nation in trying to get hold of his political enemies in the other countries to which they may have happened to escape.
One valuable lesson to be gained from this debate is that every one is agreed that the greatest safeguard for a migrant is to become naturalized. I am sure that many migrants will appreciate that that is so. The object in proposing the motion has been achieved. One must admit with pleasure that every party has assured the Senate and the people of Australia that it will protect the rights, not only of Australian citizens but also of Australian residents, in this matter. I am sure that all our migrant citizens will welcome the knowledge that every party is at one in the defence of their rights. As the matter has been ventilated, and as all parties are agreed, it is unnecessary to force it to a vote. I therefore seek leave of the Senate to withdraw the motion.
Motion - by leave - withdrawn.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Paltridge) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill, in conjunction with the rates bills which will follow, is to reduce the rate of sales tax on passenger motor vehicles from 40 per cent, to 30 per cent., and the rate on motor cycles and motor scooters from 25 per cent, to 161 per cent. The increases in the rates of sales tax on these vehicles were among the economic measures adopted by the Government in November to abate the pressure of excessive demand in the domestic economy and to reduce the flow of imports from abroad.
Registrations of new motor vehicles had, by the September quarter, 1960, risen sharply to a rate in excess of 330,000 a year. In November, 1960 - the month in which the increased tax was applied - they were 23 per cent, higher than in November, 1959. The rapid expansion of activity in the motor vehicle industry to meet this inordinate demand had set up heavy pressures on man-power, on the many associated industries and on imports. Resources in excess of what we could afford, having regard to other requirements of the economy, were being swallowed by the industry. Imports of petroleum products and other items clearly attributable to the motor industry and motor transportation were running at an annual rate of £200,000,000 in the September quarter of 1960, compared with a rate of £152,000,000 in the September quarter of 1959.
Some immediate cut-back in demands in this area was obviously necessary. The general measures adopted were expected to moderate these demands but it was considered that supplementary action in the sales tax field would also be required to ensure quick results. Accordingly, we increased the sales tax. It was made clear at the time that we would review the rate as soon as the situation warranted it.
As intended, the measures had immediate effects. November registrations were at the all-time high of 31,865. In December, registrations came down to 22,368 and in January, when the seasonal low point is normally reached, they were 16,254. After examining the position in February, the Government was satisfied that the general measures would now be sufficient to keep the demands of the industry within reasonable bounds. In accordance with its public assurance the Government decided that the additional sales tax should be removed forthwith. The purpose of this bill is to give to that decision force of law as from 22nd February, the day following the announcement of the Government’s decision.
It has been suggested that the Government should refund the additional tax collected between 16th November, 1960, and 21st February, 1961. As has already been announced, the Government cannot agree to that suggestion. The fact is, of course, that on no occasion since sales tax was first imposed in 1930 has any Commonwealth Government made a refund of this kind. Whenever sales tax is increased some people gain an advantage and, when rates are reduced, some are put at a disadvantage. The consistent practice adopted by Commonwealth Governments has been to make no refund in cases of this kind. After full consideration of the position, the Government decided that no departure should be made from the established practice. I commend these measures to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
SALES TAX BILLS (Nos. 1 to 9) 1961.
Bills received from the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Paltridge) put -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the questions with regard to the several stages for the passage through the Senate of all or several of the Sales Tax Bills Nos. 1 to 9 being put in one motion, at each stage, and the consideration of all or several of such bills together in committee of the whole.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Honorable Sir Alister McMullin). - There being an absolute majority of the whole number of senators present, and no dissentient voice, I declare the question resolved in the affrmative.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bills (on motion by Senator Paltridge) read a first time.
[9.201. - I move -
That the bills be now read a second time.
These bills are machinery measures required solely to give effect to the proposal to reduce the tax on motor cars from 40 per cent, to 30 per cent. The Government’s proposals have already been explained in connexion with the complementary Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill 1961 which has just been introduced.
The effect of all these measures, taken in conjunction, is to reduce, on and from 22nd February, 1961, the tax on motor cars from 40 per cent, to 30 per cent., and the tax on motor cycles and motor scooters from 25 per cent, to 16J per cent.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 23rd March (vide page 374), on motion by Senator Gorton -
That the bill be now read a second time.
[9.221. - We are now resuming the debate on the second reading of the Marriage Bill 1961, and I say at once that after discussing some of the aspects of the subject upon which we have been engaged for the whole of the afternoon and most of the evening it is very refreshing to come to the very happy subject of marriage.
– You are not subscribing to Mr. Punch’s philosophy on marriage, are you, senator?
– No. I am not subscribing to anybody’s philosophy; 1 propose to develop my own. May I say at the outset that the Opposition has left every one of its members free to express his or her own opinion upon this measure. Accordingly, there is no party political approach to it. I understand that the Government itself, having sponsored the bill, is bound to vote for it, but that each Government supporter is free to accept or oppose it. I would like it to be understood that although I speak from the place of the Leader of the Opposition, I am speaking not in any official capacity but merely as a private senator.
The speech of the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) outlining the purposes of the bill and describing what it effectuates was, I thought, quite clear and complete. 1 feel, in the circumstances, that it is not necessary for me to repeat what he has said and to traverse the ground that he has covered, and in addressing myself to a bill of major importance, I shall be, for me, relatively brief. I do so all the more readily because I support the motion for the second reading of this measure.
I should like to take the opportunity to congratulate the draftsmen who have prepared this measure, lt was a mammoth task upon which they entered. Not only did they have considerations of State law and Territory law to worry about, but they had also to study the implications of private international law. I confess to a feeling of admiration for the work they have produced with enormous energy and with very great skill. I thought they had woven the implications of private international law as carefully as was possible in the circumstances into the subject of marriages that may be celebrated abroad; they will be regarded as valid in Australia if celebrated under authority that issues from this Parliament. So I pay a most generous tribute to those who were concerned with the drafting of the bill.
I have heard it said - facetiously, of course - from time to time that marriage is not a word but a sentence. Nevertheless, when I pick up this measure and find that it runs to 57 pages and covers 120 clauses, I think that the old saying will have to be revised and marriage will have to be called a book, lt does not surprise those who have had to deal in law with the intricacies of human relationships to find that a measure on such a simple subject as this runs to so many pages and has so very many complexities. I shall concern myself only with a few aspects of the measure at this stage. I shall be interested to touch upon some of the matters in committee.
The first thing to which I would like to refer is the constitutional basis for what the Federal Parliament proposes to do. lt has complete control over marriage. 1 am not punning when I indicate that the power over marriage is conferred in a single word, and the word “ marriage “ is put starkly into the Constitution. It is amongst the several matters over which this Parliament has power. Next to it is an unfortunate counterpart -
Divorce and matrimonial causes and in relation thereto, parental rights, and the custody and guardianship of infants.
Power over marriage is contained in placitum xxi. of section 51 of the Constitution. It carries with it the incidental power in placitum xxxix., which refers to -
Matters incidental to the execution of any power vested by this Constitution in the Parliament. . . .
– That is a nice proposition in relation to marriage.
– It is a problem with which I am concerned, and I shall come to it directly. I point out at once that marriage is a marital relationship, and I am concerned mildly and constitutionally about one aspect of this bill, namely, the legitimation of children. Hitherto, various States have dealt in differing ways with the subject in perfectly humane and proper legislation. It is unfortunate that the ways are varied and that the position may arise that a child bom out of wedlock, legitimated when the parents subsequently marry, may under the varying laws of the States be deemed to be illegitimate in another State. That is an undesirable position, which the bill cures. I welcome the provision but I express a doubt about our power to legislate in the field of the legitimation of children.
The subject-matter over which the Parliament exercises power is marriage, and in dealing with legitimation we are purporting to deal with a situation that is extramarital, that is, outside the marital relationship, and to regularize it under the power that we exercise over marriage. It may be that the particular provisions which I approve in principle and query only from the constitutional aspect would survive constitutional challenge. It may well be that they would not survive constitutional challenge. I think that the likelihood of constitutional challenge to them is real because the devolution of property on intestacy depends entirely in many cases upon the constitutionality of this provision; and it may well be that when sufficient funds are involved many persons in the community may be disposed to question these particular provisions. I say no more than that.
The States have co-operated splendidly with the Commonwealth in the drafting of this legislation, and in respect of the proposals that they make their officers available for the administration of the act. It is a co-operation that I welcome. It appears to have been a very ready cooperation. I am not attacking the bill, but it does surprise me - I say this quite mildly - that any doubt about the constitutionality of the legitimation provision, carrying with it important property devolution aspects, was not made the subject of supporting State legislation. I have no doubt that had it been presented to the States that there was a doubt in this matter, they would have undertaken readily to introduce supporting State legislation. I ask the Minister in charge of the bill, when he replies in due course, to say whether that aspect was considered and whether any approach was made to the States to introduce such legislation. I say, with great respect to the Government, that it is still rot too late to ask ‘he States to pass complementary legislation supporting the provision relating to the legitimation of children.
– You claim that it is ot dealt with sufficiently?
-I say that there is a real doubt, and that there should be no doubt at all.I support my argument withthis thought: If it is incidental to the marriage power to deal with the legitimation of offspring born outside marriage - that is the important consideration - surely it would also be incidental to marriage to deal with the important subject of the adoption of children, but I notice how carefully this bill avoids that. The bill does not deal with the matter, although one would regard adoption, looking at it rather superficially, as an incident of marriage. Normally adoption takes place on the part of married people. It is possible legally for the adoption of a child to be entrusted to a single person, but it does not happen often. It still can happen.
In support of the argument that I address to the Senate I point out how the references to children are expressed in the second placetum that I quoted. After the words “ Divorce and matrimonial causes “ there are the words - and in relation thereto, -
That is, only in relation to divorce and matrimonial causes - parental rights, and the custody and guardianship of infants.
The Constitution has been very careful to tie down parental rights and matters concerning the custody and guardianship of infants to divorce and matrimonial disputes.
– In other words, the provisions relating to adoption are not absolute in the Constitution.
– I am coming back to the question of legitimation. Where the Constitution wants to invest the Parliament with power over children, it does so in an express way, and it may be in an exclusive way. It says that this Parliament has power over the custody and guardianship of children only if the matters arise out of divorce and matrimonial disputes. When the Constitution deals with marriage there is no particular reference to parental rights - I should think that would be clearly incidental - or to the custody and guardianship of infants. Certainly there is no reference to the legitimation of offspring born outside of marriage. That is the basis of my argument for the proposition that there is an element of doubt.
I feel sure that the Government must have felt that there was some doubt, but decided to proceed, influenced by humane considerations and the great desirability of having uniformity in the matter throughout Australia. I address myself to that constitutional aspect solely to put very quietly to the Government the desirability of resolving any doubt by getting that part of the bill dealing with legitimation supported by complementary State legislation.
– Your suggestion would presuppose that every State is quite prepared to pass such complementary legislation?
– Of course. All I am saying at the moment is that the effort ought to be made, in view of the grave difficulties that will arise if this type of thing is later declared to be unconstitutional. I have shown how readily the legislation could be attacked when property devolution is involved.
– I agree with you, but your suggestion would require the consent of every State.
– It would require the consent of every State. I merely say this to the honorable senator: How can you possibly know whether you will get the States to agree until you make the approach?
– That would be required only if there were an element of doubt?
– That is so.
– I assume that the Attorney-General has already had a word about this with the States.
– I do not know whether an approach has been made. Is it conceded that there is an element of doubt? Would it be difficult to get State complementary legislation? If it could be done, it would be highly desirable to do so.
I refer now to a matter that is not covered by the bill, namely, the position in Australia of aboriginal marriages according to tribal customs. As I see the bill its provisions are Australia-wide. They bind everyone in Australia, including the aboriginals. The first point I make is that aboriginals are not excepted. In another place the Attorney-General was asked whether aboriginals were covered by the bill and about the position of tribal marriages. His answer did not carry me to the point where I felt satisfied with it. I refer to what the Attorney-General said on 22nd March, 1961, in the committee debate in another place. At page 489 of “ Hansard “ for that day he is reported as having said -
I considered for some time whether I would endeavour, in this bill, to make some special provision for aboriginal native customs as to marriage. I felt, in the long run, that I could not. The bill leaves the matter in this position: Natives who desire to have the full benefit of marriage under this legislation will need to go before an authorized celebrant - there will be plenty ‘ of those people - and then their marriage will be registered. But any .provision for the registration of their tribal arrangements or for the devolution of their property on marriage or for otherwise entering into their tribal customs is left apart from the bill.
I make my plea on this subject with a great deal of restraint. I shall not express myself as strongly as I feel. We have many thousands of aboriginals in this country. In my view, they are bound by the provisions of this bill, including the offence clauses. Many of these aboriginals are nomadic and many live according to tribal customs. Many of them have little or perhaps no association with civilization as we know it. The provisions of the bill are not likely to come to their notice, but the effect of any reference to them would be that this question would be still at large: Is a tribal marriage performed according to the customs of the tribe valid in this country? That is a question that arises immediately.
– You are not suggesting that this bill attempts to deal with that question, are you? s
– I would say that the bill does apply to aboriginals. It does not exempt them. Therefore, it applies to them. I believe that, particularly in the present international climate in relation to what may be termed dependent people, it behoves us to be exceedingly careful about this matter and not to leave a blind spot.
– But you are not suggesting that a tribal marriage is a marriage within the definition of the bill, are you?
– No, I have not said that. I say that the provisions of this bill will apply to aborigines as well as to the other residents of Australia.
– But only if they go before a proper celebrant of marriages as defined in the bill.
– The bill does not exclude their tribal marriages.
– It does not acknowledge them, either.
– It does not acknowledge them as lawful marriages.
– That is a serious statement. I am indicating that there exists here a vast problem which affects certain people. It is of no good to by-pass the problem or to ignore it. 1 do not know whether 1 interpret the Attorney-General rightly or wrongly when I take his words, which were to the effect that in the long run he could not do it, as meaning that he would delay the process of assimilation of the aborigines into our community if he did not apply the provisions of the bill to them fully - that he might perpetuate tribal customs instead of assimilating the aboriginal natives into our civilization.
– Does not the Constitution prevent us from making laws for aboriginal natives?
– No. I say to the honorable senator without doubt that the power over marriage would enable the Parliament to legislate in relation to the marriage of everybody in the country, including aborigines. I feel that we are confronted here with a real problem which could have international repercussions. Quite frankly, I do not know what the answer is, but I believe it would be quite wrong to leave a blind spot in the legislation, particularly when there are at least 26,000 aborigines in Australia.
– There are 80,000.
– I may be thinking of the number who are living under tribal conditions or something like that. So here are 80,000 people, probably the bulk of whom regulate their association in marriage according to their tribal customs. I believe that some tribes permit polygamy. There is one more problem.
– Most of our tribes do.
– I accept that statement from the honorable senator. I am not familiar with their customs at all. But I am very disturbed about the possible repercussions of ignoring the problem that is presented in relation to tribal marriages. In due course - I believe it is more appropriate to do so at the committee stage - I shall point to particular offences set out in the bill which will catch up with aborigines who have never heard of the law, who are nomadic and who make no contact with civilization. I merely come to the point of saying, as I have already indicated, that I am disturbed about the things that may happen under the bill, and that it is not good enough to be blind to the problem. Some attempt ought to be made by the Parliament to see that due regard is paid to the marriages of these people in some way or other.
– 1 do not see how they can offend. I shall be interested i” your argument as to how they can bs caught up in offences.
– I shall be interested in developing it. Perhaps I could do so now. As the Minister knows, marriage is not defined in the bill.
– lt has never been defined.
– It has never been defined. Accordingly, the bill can apply to what is termed a marriage by aborigines according to tribal customs.
– I say “may apply “.
– The marriage has to be monogamous.
– Even if I concede that it has to be monogamous, there are monogamous marriages amongst the aborigines, even though most of them, as you have said, are concerned in polygamy. But marriage is not defined. If I remember correctly, there are provisions against bigamy.
– Surely clause 46 expresses the intention.
– That refers only to a marriage before a registered celebrant. You cannot have bigamy unless the marriage is solemnized before a registered celebrant.
– I direct the attention of the Senate to clause 94 (4-X which deals with the subject of bigamy and reads -
A person shall not go through a form oi ceremony of marriage with a person who is married, knowing, or having reasonable grounds to believe, that the latter person is married.
The provision does not use the words “ the form or ceremony specified in the bill “. lt refers to a form or ceremony of marriage. Unquestionably what the aborigines will do according to their tribal custom will be to go through a form or ceremony of marriage, one of them knowing that the other is already married.
– Surely you are now basing your argument on the proposition that this is an offence only where the parties are already married according to law. An aboriginal is not married according to law, because the provisions in this bill relating to marriage do not apply to him.
– Marriage is not defined in this bill. But we are considering cases in which Australian citizens go through a form or ceremony of marriage. According to their concept of law, a proper marriage recognized amongst-
– You must add the second element of the offence - with a person who is married.
– Surely that means a person who is married in pursuance of the provisions of this bill. It does not mean a person who is married according to his tribal laws.
– The honorable senator is not justified in law in adding words and ideas that are not expressed in the clause.
– Are you suggesting that the expression “ with a person who is married “ means, for example, a member of the Arunta tribe in the Northern Territory who is married according to the customs of that tribe?
– I think it may well include him - that it means no more than that the one person knows that the latter person has gone through a form or ceremony of marriage. The honorable senator wants to incorporate in the provision the words “ married in accordance with this law “. If that be the intention the statute should include the words.
– But it provides that the marriage must be solemnized by an authorized celebrant.
– If the honorable senator reads the sub-clause to which I have referred, she will note that it does not say that a person “ shall not go through a form or ceremony of marriage prescribed by this act “. It uses the words “ through a form or ceremony of marriage with a person who is married “. The problem is there. I am claiming that the possibility of affixing a charge of bigamy to an aboriginal native where polygamy is practised exists under this offence provision. I am not dogmatic about the matter. I am arguing that the possibility is there. It is a situation that you would have to face up to.
– I think your argument might derive some strength from the Privy Council decisions in the Basutoland marriage cases.
– I am not familiar with them. I shall be happy to hear the honorable senator deal with them.
– The Privy Council said the parties were married.
– The gift of a cow or a couple of pigs to the parents of the bride was regarded as the form of a valid marriage.
– It was a tribal custom?
– It was held by the Privy Council to be a valid marriage.
– That is the point. I am not familiar with Basutoland marriages and the Privy Council decisions in relation to them, but the thoughts aroused in my mind by the interjections support the interpretation that I have placed on the form or ceremony of marriage, namely, that it could be such a form as is envisaged by the aboriginal tribes.
– That would make the second wife immediately a bigamist.
– That is the very danger that I foresee. Sufficient thought has probably not been given to the position of the aborigines. I think the bill is lacking in that it does not face up to these difficulties. They cannot be overcome by ignoring them. We must face up to them now.
– I shall do my best to destroy the arguments and thereby answer them.
– That is good. Let me refer now to clause 95. This is the clause dealing with the marrying of a person not of marriageable age. The clause reads - (1.) A person shall not go through a form or ceremony of marriage with a person who is not of marriageable age.
The penalty prescribed is imprisonment for five years. I would like somebody to tell me with certitude whether an aboriginal person not of marriageable age according to this bill who purports to go through a form or ceremony of marriage offends against clause 95 even if he or she is acting in complete compliance with tribal customs, remote from any contact with civilization. That is but one question of many that must be answered. The problems that exist cannot be ignored. I want clear answers to these questions, if I can get them. I want to know how far this law will extend to the aborigines. I want to know to what extent their tribal customs will be recognized. I want to know generally the position in relation to marriages entered into by aborigines. Do the offence clauses apply to them in relation to their tribal customs? I do not know. Perhaps Senator Vincent will help me by telling me whether they have an officiator, such as our clergyman. Is there somebody who officiates formally at tribal marriages? I do not know.
I direct attention to clause 101 of the bill, which states -
A person shall not solemnize a marriage, or purport to solemnize a marriage, at a place in Australia or under Part V. of this Act unless he is authorized by or under this Act to solemnize marriages at that place or under that Part, as the case may be.
If a person officiates at a marriage according to tribal custom, does he offend against that clause by solemnizing or purporting to solemnize a marriage? Is he liable to a fine of £250 or imprisonment for six months? I do not know and I seek information about these things. I concede that these matters are more appropriate for discussion at the committee stage, but the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) tempted me to embark on a more detailed discussion. I think it fair to give him some preview of the thoughts that I have on the subject. I hope that as a result he will be better armed to tell us more about the subject of aboriginal marriages.
One controversial aspect of the bill is the marriageable age, fixed at eighteen years for males and sixteen years for females, with the proviso that if one member only is under eighteen but over sixteen, if a male, and under sixteen but over fourteen, if a female, a court may give consentto marriage. I have no quarrel with that provision. I think there must be a degree of maturity, mentally as well as physically, in persons contemplating marriage. Marriage is a most sacred and important undertaking. I have no quarrel with the fact that the Government has selected the highest rather than the lowest of the standards set by the States in the matter of marriageable age.
One thing that gives me some concern - I give the Minister notice that I shall deal with it at the committee stage - is the provision in clause 34 of the bill whereby a minister of religion who has been struck off the register by the registrar for making money out of celebrating marriages or for other breaches, or who is said to be not a fit and proper person to celebrate marriages, may appeal to the AttorneyGeneral and the Attorney-General shall decide whether that person shall continue to be registered. It seems to me that that may well be a judicial function left to a court. After all, this is a very serious matter involving judicial action. First, it must be established whether the person concerned has done certain things. I am not at all happy with the provisions of clause 33 whereby a person may be removed from the register if the registrar is satisfied that he is not a fit and proper person to solemnize marriages. Such a person may be faced with almost anything and the final determiner of his fate, with all the tremendous consequences for a clergyman, is the Attorney-General.
– Your remarks would be apt in relation to clause 31 also.
– That may well be. At this stage I merely direct attention to those provisions and invite the Senate’s consideration of them later.
I am happy about clause 47, which does not impose any obligation upon a minister of religion to celebrate a particular marriage it for reasons connected with the religious convictions of his faith he feels that he should not do so. There is no prohibition on a church laying down times for notice and imposing conditions in relation to the celebration of marriage additional to those laid down in the bill. Ample opportunities exist for those people who .do not wish to comply with church requirements to seek a civil marriage before the Registrar.
When -this ‘bill becomes law and the Commonwealth Parliament has exercised its powers fully, Australia will be able to participate more readily in international conventions relating to marriage. For instance, the .19.56 provision for the enforcement of maintenance orders abroad could be important. It was not embarked .upon by Australia .for several reasons, one .of which was that maintenance was a matter dealt with by the States. I .welcome the idea that Australia .henceforth will be in a. much happier .position to enter into, if she wishes, these .international covenants and arrangei ments.
In dealing with this subject we are dealing with a matter that goes to the very foundation of society. Marriage is a most important association ‘from every angle. Very many people regard marriage as a religious sacrament. The very fact that most marriages are celebrated with some religious ceremony indicates an almost unanimous acceptance in our community that a religious sacrament is involved. The fact that we are .to have .proper uniformity under Australia-wide conditions ,is, <to my mind, one, more link in the. growth of Australian nationhood .and shows that we are maturing as a nation.
I have taken ‘less -time on a bill of ‘this importance than I normally would take, and I would have taken much less time still but for .the temptation that Government supporters offered to me as I proceeded. I am happy to say that I have real pleasure in supporting the motion for the second reading of the bill.
. -1 welcome this opportunity to congratulate the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) ;and .the officers .of -his department on -the preparation and presentation of this excellent .and long-awaited legislation. As the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) has said, .the bill is complementary to the ‘Matrimonial Causes Act and when passed by the Senate will provide uniform marriage laws for the six States of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and Norfolk Island.
Sir Garfield Barwick is :to be complimented on the skill and wisdom .he has shown in dealing .with ;these .two pieces of major legislation. He -did not rush them through the Parliament. At the time of the ‘introduction of each of them he said that they contained proposals which were fundamental to , tilt life of the people. Senator McKenna, who .has just completed his speech, said practically the same thing when he stated that they concern marriage, which is the very foundation -of society. In each case the Attorney-General introduced the bill, took it to -the -second-reading stage and then allowed an interval during which the Attorneys-General of the States and interested organizations and people were able to examine the proposals. As a result of that, the Attorney-General received representations ‘from many people and he dealt with them all most courteously. So, tonight we are debating the second -reading of this bill after the people -have ‘had every opportunity of -studying the proposals contained in it.
It is -true, as -the Attorney-General stated, that neither the Matrimonial Causes Bill nor the Marriage .Bill was to be regarded as a party measure and that members and senators were to be allowed to adopt their own attitudes tto -the measures and vote accordingly. I ‘believe that this bill meets with .widespread approval. Naturally, it has aroused a great deal of interest among people -who -are .concerned about the preservation of marriage, and more particularly people who are concerned about the welfare -of children. As a result of the precautions contained ,in it, ,1 believe that many of ‘the difficulties -and anomalies that existed .in State legislation will be .overcome. Furthermore, .as -the Attorney-General has said, it will .be the -means of ensuring that -young people -understand ,the sacred .obligations .and ,responsibilities qf marriage.
Many .of the provisions of the bill are largely procedural and I .intend to confine my remarks to those relating to uniformity, age of marriage, .consent to marriage and legitimation. In the past, the lack of uniformity in the marriage laws of the States has created .many problems. .A celebrant of marriage in one State was not recognized as a celebrant in another. The bill provides for the registration of ministers of religion in a Commonwealth register kept at State .and Territory level and also for the appointment of other celebrants. Inclusion in the register will entitled a minister of religion to solemnize a marriage in any part of the Commonwealth. Another very good feature is that in the future marriages may be solemnized at any place, at any time and on any day. That will be of great convenience to many of the people who come to Australia from Europe and prefer to be married at times very different from those that have been the accepted marriage hours in Australia.
In introducing the bill into the Senate, Senator Gorton said that women’s organizations had been pressing for an increase in the minimum marriage age. That is correct. A number of organizations to which I belong, including the Australian National Council of Women, have been advocating the raising of the age for years. The Minister went on to detail the very reasons for the stand that women have taken. In Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland the age at which a person can consent to and contract a marriage has been fourteen years for males and twelve years for females. In those States a marriage under this age has been voidable and void only where one of the parties was under seven years of age. In Tasmania, in 1942, the minimum marriage age was raised to eighteen years and sixteen years, but a marriage in contravention of that provision was not necessarily invalid. In Western Australia the age was raised to eighteen years and sixteen years in 1956, with special exceptions; but in that State a marriage in breach of the age provision is not void by reason only of the breach, though it may be a ground for dissolution. In South Australia, where the age was raised in 1957 to eighteen and sixteen, a marriage under that age is void. So, in the three eastern States the marriageable age, which was fixed at common law and not by statute, was fourteen years and twelve years; and in the other three States the age was raised to eighteen years and sixteen years. A marriage in breach of the age provision in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland was voidable; in one of the other States it was not necessarily invalid; in another State it was not necessarily void; and in the remaining State it was void.
I suggest that this lack of uniformity has created great confusion in the various
States. Senator McKenna adverted to the fact that under section 18(1.) of the Matrimonial Causes Act a marriage in contravention of the ages fixed, namely, eighteen years and sixteen years, will be void. As the minimum age is being raised, I would have preferred that a marriage in breach of the age provision should be voidable, and not void. However, I am prepared to accept the opinion of the Attorney-General on that point particularly as he has later, in his legitimation provisions, provided that a child of a void marriage, where one of the parties believed at the time of marriage that the marriage was a valid one, will be legitimated. If it had not been for that legitimation provision, I would have pressed more strongly that the marriages of persons under the ages of eighteen and sixteen years should be voidable and not void. We are indebted to Senator Gorton for a list compiled from a United Nations publication, which shows that most of the twenty countries listed are in favour of raising the marriageable age.
– In some of them, the ages are pretty low.
– Most of them have preferred to set the age at eighteen and sixteen years. I was very pleased to hear the Leader of the Opposition say that he did not object to the setting of a higher age. There has been considerable controversy in another place in relation to the ages of eighteen and sixteen years. Most of the argument there was generated by the report on the fourteenth session of the Economic and Social Council of the Commission on the Status of Women, which took place in Buenos Aires last year. I should like to correct a misstatement that was made about that conference. It was claimed that Australia had representation at the conference, but that is not so. Australia had no official delegate at Buenos Aires. Canada took the position that was formerly occupied by Australia on the commission. Australia regained that position and was represented at the conference this month at Geneva by a Victorian, Mrs. J. G. Norris. I have studied the report of the session at Buenos Aires and the recommendations contained in it. Such a study shows that most of the delegates felt that fifteen years was the age below which no marriage should take place in any country, but there was no evidence at all of a desire to influence those countries which wished to set an age above fifteen years. I should like to refer to that report, because there has been considerable controversy about it. It has been cited as an authority for retaining a minimum marriageable age of fifteen years for both males and females. So that the report and the recommendations might be put in proper perspective, I read from page 21 of the report under the heading “ Minimum age of Marriage, Consent to Marriage and Registration of Marriages “ -
Recognizing that, as stated in article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “ (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
Marriage shall be entered into only wilh the free and full consent of the intending spouses.”
This is the statement in the report which, I believe, clearly indicates that the people who drafted the report did not intend to cover Australian conditions -
Recalling that the General Assembly of the United Nations declared by resolution 843 (IX) of 17 December 1954 that certain customs, ancient laws and practices relating to marriage and the family were inconsistent with the principles set forth in the United Nations Charter and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and urged all States, including States which have or assume responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, to take all appropriate measures with a view to abolishing such customs, ancient laws and practices by ensuring, inter alia, complete freedom in the choice of a spouse, eliminating completely child marriages and the betrothal of young girls before the age of puberty, establishing appropriate penalties where necessary and establishing a civil or other register in which all marriages will be recorded.
The report goes on to state -
Recalling General Assembly resolution 843 (IX) of 17 December, 1954,
Recalling further article 2 of the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices similar to Slavery of 1956, which makes certain provisions concerning the age of marriage, consent to marriage and registration of marriages, . . .
I believe that that shows very clearly thai the women who were attending that conference were attempting to recommend a standard beneath which they believed the marriageable age should not fall. They were not attempting to ask countries which desired to set a higher minimum age than IS years not to do so. I believe that those women would be the last to wish to set back the clock in relation to the welfare of women and children.
I pass now to clauses 13 to 19 of Part II. These deal with consent to the marriage of minors, persons whose consent is needed, dispensation of consent, consent by a magistrate when a parent refuses consent, and right of appeal to a judge where consent it refused. I believe that the bill affords the maximum degree of opportunities to applicants who wish to obtain consent to marriage, where that consent is desirable. It is only limited by a consent being valid for three months and by a prevention of repeated appeals in that once refused by a judge six months must elapse before there can be a re-hearing. Some doubts have been expressed in another place and outside the Parliament, in relation to the granting to a magistrate of power to give consent where a parent refuses consent to the marriage of a minor. I see no difficulty in that at all, Sir. There is nothing in it that is a departure from the practice that has been in operation in my State of Victoria where magistrates, I believe, have always had such authority. Under the Victorian Marriage Act of 1915, the Supreme Court of Victoria may grant full authority to certain people to give consent to marriage in the event of such consent being required by a minor and also if the consent of the parent is refused.
– The Victorians are. coming on nicely.
– As a matter of fact, I have held such an authority since 1948. I know of no case in which the authority has not been used with the utmost discretion and sense of responsibility.
I wish to mention something that has been the cause of extreme disappointment and, in some cases, of permanent resentment. I refer to the necessity for parties contemplating marriage to produce a birth certificate just prior to the marriage.
– Only by the lady, surely.
– No, not by the lady alone. I very well recall the case in Victoria of a lad who learned for the first time, on the eve of his marriage, that he was illegitimate and had been adopted. I should say, on the eve of what was to have been his marriage, because so tragic were the results that the marriage did not take place. So, I believe that the Attorney-General has been very wise to provide that a celebrant may accept an extract from the official birth certificate, or accept a statutory declaration from a party to the marriage or the parent of a party, showing the place and date of birth. These matters may not appear to be nation-shattering -
– They are most important.
– Yes, they are very important. The removal of the necessity to produce a birth certificate will be most beneficial.
I commend the Attorney-General for extending the legitimation provisions and turn now to clause 91 which, as the Minister has said, introduces a new and necessary principle. AsI said earlier, it relates to the legitimation of the child of a void marriage where one of the parties believed at the time of the marriage that the marriage was a valid one. I think that that is a very good provision and protection. A few minutes ago, Senator Vincent implied that it was only the ladies who refused to give their age. I can think of some young people who desire to marry and who will not really understand or fully comprehend the consequences to the marriage of an incorrect statement of their age. Therefore, I believe that the legitimation provision in cases in which one of the parties believed that the marriage was a valid one, is a protection, at least to some children who otherwise would be without legitimation.
In conclusion, I again congratulate the Attorney-General, and also the SolicitorGeneral, Sir Kenneth Bailey, and all the officers of the department. I agree with Senator McKenna that this bill has entailed a tremendous amount of work. It really is a lawyer’s bill, one in which the lay member finds only the odd feature here and there with which he can deal adequately. It must be left to the lawyers to argue the finer point of detail. I should not attempt to debate the constitutional position or the power that the Government has to give effect to certain parts of the legislation, but I should like to say that the AttorneyGeneral and those who have helped him have now concluded a task that has been awaiting attention since federation.
That task is to provide for Australia a uniform law of divorce and marriage. As a matter of fact, one might have thought that the matters would have been dealt with the other way round. Nevertheless, Itistrue that this Government has done what previous governments and their advisers failed to do. On a number of occasions, other governments looked at the problem, but because they found it so difficult they turned their backs on it. The legislation will stand for all time to the credit of the Attorney-General. Although he Was new to politics, he was very skilled arid experienced in the law and was able to complete a task which, I believe, will earn for him the eternal gratitude of Australian women and a great many Australian children. Therefore, I heartily support the bill.
– Until a moment ago, I agreed with every word that Senator Wedgwood had uttered. It is not very often that I have that pleasure. However, in her final statements she said something that rather jarred on my sensibility. I refer to her statement that this is a lawyer’s bill. I am afraid that I do not agree with Senator Wedgwood in that respect, although, as I have said, I agreed with practically everything else she said during her thoughtful speech. This is not a lawyer’s bill but one that concerns all of us in the Senate as individuals, whether we are men or women, because marriage is a very personal matter.
– You do not suggest that lawyers don’t get married?
– No. I should like to see the bill discussed very fully in committee.
– I was referring to the constitutional points.
– I do not suggest that the bill, even on constitutional matters, concerns only lawyers. I think that every one should express his views on it because it involves sociological problems which, for the first time in Australia, have been covered by a uniform marriage bill.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid). - 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, 11 April 1961, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1961/19610411_senate_23_s19/>.