24th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMulIin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– by leave - I wish to inform the Senate that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) is now on a visit to North America and Europe for important discussions on Australian trade matters and on developments in the European Economic Community as they effect Australia, Mr. McEwen will visit Washington and Ottawa before going to the United Kingdom and Europe. In addition to the Common Market questions, he will be taking up other major international commodity problems. During Mr. McEwen’s absence, Senator Henty will act as Minister for Trade.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government. When a Commonwealth public servant transfers to a position in a State public service, is that person automatically entitled to carry with him his long service leave entitlement and other entitlements?
– I shall have to ask for the question to be put on the noticepaper, because it covers a rather intricate subject. As 1 understand the situation, when a State public servant transfers to the Commonwealth Public Service he carries certain of his privileges with him. The arrangements that are to be made when the reverse process takes place are set out in State legislation. If Senator Ormonde will put his question on the notice-paper, I will obtain some advice from the Public Service Board.
– I address my question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. As the subjectmatter of the question affects the Minister in his capacities both as the Minister for
Health and as the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, I do not mind in which capacity he answers the question. Is the Minister aware of a press ‘ article dealing with Bruce Rock, one of the leading country towns in the agricultural areas of Western Australia, and headed “ Bruce Rock wins its fight against flies “ ? Does he know that Mr. Jim Carr, the executive officer of the Health Educational Council, stated that Bruce Rock would easily have the most effective fly control programme in Australia? Is he aware that this effective control did not cost anything, but was achieved by a complete co-operative effort of the local community? Will the Minister obtain from the Bruce Rock shire council information about the methods adopted in this campaign, with a view to implementing a similar campaign in Canberra in the hope of eradicating these nauseating pests, which are so bad here at present?
– I am indebted to Senator Branson who, in his question, has implied that the flies of Canberra are the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for the Interior. As Minister for Health, I do not challenge his right to that somewhat doubtful honour. Whilst I applaud the efforts of the people of Bruce Rock, I do not concede that flies are more prevalent in Canberra than in any other city of comparable size. I am prepared to go further and say, with great respect to Bruce Rock, that no worthwhile conclusions can be drawn from a comparison of the two towns. Bruce Rock, as I know it, is a little town of some 2,000 inhabitants, nestling in a rural area, whilst Canberra is one of the most rapidly developing cities in the Commonwealth. There is no need for me to detail to honorable senators the difficulties that are encountered when efforts are made to mitigate the fly menace.
If I may don my other hat now, Mr. President, may I say that, like Bruce Rock, every city, town and hamlet in Australia can make a very worthwhile contribution to the eradication of this menace. The steps to be taken are fundamental. Garbage is one of the breeding grounds of the fly. The maintenance of a tight system of garbage holding and collection would make a really great impact on this menace. There are other things that the householder can do. I suggest that anything that is done by individuals to get rid of the fly menace will be a worthwhile contribution to national health.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Air, is prompted by a letter that I read with interest in the Adelaide “ Advertiser “ of Tuesday last. The letter detailed a report which was published in the “ Advertiser “ of 26th February, 1962, and which mentioned that the first three of twelve P2V-7 anti-submarine aircraft will be delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force shortly. I believe the twelve aircraft will cost in the vicinity of £10,000,000. The letter also mentioned that in the “ Illustrated London News “ there was a photograph of a later type of aircraft and a comparison of the new and the old aircraft. I have since confirmed that fact by looking up the “ Illustrated London News “. It shows that the Lockheed P3V-1, which is a turbo-prop aircraft is an adaptation of the Electra. It is a much more modern and efficient aircraft. The writer of the letter went on to ask whether the Government would continue to purchase obsolete aircraft which have been in production for about sixteen years, and whether the newer type of aircraft would have been available. I ask the Minister: Are the P2V-7 aircraft the obsolete aircraft that were mentioned in the letter? If they are, why has the obsolete type of aircraft been purchased in preference to the more modern P3V-1 turbo-prop aircraft of the same make?
– The first consignment of the P2V-7 Neptune aircraft ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force is due to arrive in Townsville on Saturday of this week. I am amazed to hear Senator Hannaford suggest that in a daily newspaper a correspondent claimed that these aircraft are obsolete. In fact, they are the most modern aircraft of their kind in the world. I can assure the honorable senator that the most extensive inquiries and tests were made before these aircraft were ordered. It is very simple for a layman to compare photographs of aircraft and say that one is a very fine, modern-looking aircraft; but he may well lose sight of the purposes for which the aircraft are required. We in Australia, with tropical and sub-tropical areas to man, have to consider all those exacting factors associated with the manufacture of aircraft. I assure Senator Hannaford that when these twelve aircraft have been delivered they will prove a splendid acquisition to our already efficient fleet.
– Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us whether the Minister for Trade, during his visit to the United States of America, will discuss with the appropriate authorities the effect of the American tariff on Australian exports to that country?
– Without . disclosing any secrets, I can assure Senator McCallum that that is one of the purposes of the visit.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation, relates to the accident involving a Boeing jet aircraft at New York airport on Thursday last, 1st March. Because the Australian airline, Qantas Empire Airways Limited, also is equipped with Boeing aircraft, can the Minister inform the Senate of any developments that have occurred in the investigation of the accident?
– Immediately this accident happened, both my department and Qantas Empire Airways Limited were informed by their American representatives of the relevant details. The Qantas technical representative in San Francisco left immediately for New York, where he has been in very close liaison with the United States authorities responsible for investigating the accident. This officer, and the department’s civil air attache in Washington, have kept both Qantas and the department continuously informed of all important developments. The latest of these is that the Federal Aviation Agency has imposed certain operational restrictions on Boeing aircraft. These are of a purely precautionary nature, since it has not been established that there is a definite connexion between the operational procedures concerned and the accident. The department, in collaboration with Qantas, has already taken action to apply these restrictions to Australian Boeing aircraft. At this stage, no evidence has been obtained which should cause any uneasiness in the public mind about the airworthiness of the Boeing aircraft.
After consultation with the DirectorGeneral of Civil Aviation on this matter, I have approved of two experts from the Department of Civil Aviation, one a pilot and the other an engineer, going to the United States of America to-day to review on the spot the progress of the investigations to date. These officers will work in close liaison with the United States authorities, the Boeing aircraft company and representatives of Qantas already on the spot. The Senate may be assured that when accidents of this nature occur, every possible step is taken by the operator of the aircraft and my department to become fully informed of all relevant developments, and in particular to ensure that any directions issued by the responsible overseas authority are applied immediately to Australian aircraft of the same type as that involved in the accident.
– I address the following questions to the Minister representing the Treasurer: Has the Treasurer noted a recent decision of the United Kingdom Government which was calculated to enable British manufacturers to obtain medium-term and long-term financial assistance for exports? Has the Treasurer seen the text of a statement made by Mr. Selwyn Lloyd, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the House of Commons on 23rd January last, dealing with this far-reaching decision? Has the Treasurer noted also that the Bank of England and other London clearing banks and Scottish banks, pursuant to this agreement, have agreed to provide at a fixed interest rate for terms of between three and five years finance for export contracts which are covered by a direct bank guarantee given by the Export Credits Guarantee Department? Having regard to Australia’s need for more export markets, and to the financial limitations of some Australian companies in competing against such longterm arrangements as the United Kingdom plan envisages, will the Treasurer endeavour to make a similar arrangement for Australian exporters who hold the necessary cover from the Australian Export Payments Insurance Corporation?
– The honorable senator suggests in the latter part of his question that the Commonwealth Government should set up export credit facilities similar to those described in the body of the question. Obviously, that is a matter of policy which I would not be prepared to discuss in the form of question and answer. However, I do appreciate that the whole matter raised by Senator Anderson is one of great importance and great interest. I shall certainly bring the question to the notice of the Treasurer and ask him to make whatever comment he thinks is appropriate.
– Does the Minister for Health remember the conference of State Ministers for Health which was held in Perth in January, at which the Ministers asked for an increase of the Commonwealth payment to State hospitals from 8s. to 28s. per bed? At that conference the State Ministers unanimously directed the attention of the Commonwealth Government to the parlous condition of hospital finances. Is the Minister for Health now in a position to indicate to the State Ministers the Commonwealth’s attitude to this proposal?
– The conference of State Ministers for Health to which Senator Ormonde referred was held in Adelaide. I am aware of the conclusions arrived at by the Ministers. The honorable senator has asked me whether I can inform the Senate what steps are being taken by this Government to consider the submissions of the State Ministers. I can tell him that, in the first instance, we are at this stage arranging a conference at the officer level to obtain from the States the detailed information that they wish to place before this Government.
I remind the Senate that it has always been the policy of this Government to assist the individual. We have always contended that any contribution that is made from Commonwealth funds should go to the individuals concerned or to the hospitals via the individuals. I believe all thinking people will agree that that is a sound policy. It is interesting to record that the cost of hospital treatment in private and intermediate wards throughout the Commonwealth is approximately £90,000,000 a year, and that at the present level of contribution the Commonwealth Government is paying almost one-third of that sum. I point out that the ordinary benefit of 8s. a day costs the Government £9,600,000 a year, the additional benefit of 12s. a day costs approximately £11,000,000, pharmaceutical benefits paid to hospitals cost approximately £3,400,000, and that the Commonwealth contributes £4,000,000 to the anti-tuberculosis campaign. When I remind honorable senators that in 1946 the total Commonwealth contribution, plus benefit fund contributions, amounted to £1,800,000, it will readily be conceded that in a short period Commonwealth contributions for hospital treatment have risen to a very high figure. When we consider a renewal of the agreement with the States that expires in August of this year, very serious consideration must be given to all the implications of extending the service. We shall all do our best, but I remind the Senate that there are limits beyond which we may not go.
– Can the Minister for Health categorically say whether or not the unfortunate woman passenger on an overseas liner who recently died in a quarantine hospital under the control of the Department of Health was a sufferer from cholera prior to her death?
– This matter is of such public interest that I asked the department for an authoritative statement on it. For the sake of the accuracy of the record, I should like to quote it. The statement reads -
The recent death of the passenger from the “ Strathmore “ has been proved not to have been due to cholera. She had a long-standing chronic illness, aggravated by circulatory disturbance of the liver, associated with heart disease and severe intercurrent bowel infection.
I might add, Mr. President, that that conclusion was drawn only recently. In the meantime, every effort was made by my department to take all the precautions which were necessary to protect the Australian people in the event that the patient was suffering from cholera. Whilst expressing our sympathy with those who mourn her loss, we say that we are grateful that she was not suffering from cholera.
– Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate become acquainted with a report made by the United States Secretary for Defence to the effect that in a war fought with nuclear weapons 160,000,000 people in the United States of America, 200,000,000 in the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, and everybody in Great Britain and western Europe would be killed? Is the Government failing to understand that continued nuclear tests can do nothing but bring the day of nuclear war closer and that each series of tests on either side is a preparation for nuclear war? Are the Australian Government and the Australian people to become accomplices in the immense wickedness of the tiggytouchwood of nuclear tests, in which national pride, face saving, and, incidentally, ‘he pursuit of profit are the dominating influences, and which will be followed only by further tests on both sides, with further fall-out of strontium 90 and carbon 14 in the atmosphere?
– I am quite certain that Australia and all the other democracies wish that they could avoid these tests and a nuclear war, but the decision does not rest with us. While our opponents continue these tests, we have a responsibility, in the interests of the protection of our own citizens, to do what is necessary to ensure that we shall be able to match our opponents if the circumstances, unfortunately, so require. It is all very well for honorable senators opposite, who do not have the responsibility of governing, to ask questions of this kind. Such questions throw doubt on the actions of the governments of the democracies which, on their record, are far more peaceloving than is the Soviet Union. The present situation is not of our making.
– I preface my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Air by stating that press reports yesterday claimed that a Hustler B58 jet bomber, in an historic flight in the United States of America, left behind it a 40-mile swathe of damage and terror. The reports suggest that this aircraft is being considered as a replacement for the Canberra bombers now in service with the Royal Australian Air
Force. Will the Minister say whether the Government has reached a decision in respect of the replacement of the Canberra bomber? If the Government is considering the Hustler BS8 as a replacement for the Canberra, will the Minister obtain a factual statement from the appropriate government department in the United States about the extent of the damage caused by these aircraft so that the Australian people may know what to expect, and may be conditioned to the use of the aircraft in this country?
– Senator Branson’s question raises a matter of policy on which I am very loath to comment. I think I can say that for some considerable time past the Royal Australian Air Force has been seeking a bomber aircraft that will adequately meet Australia’s peculiar needs. I stress the reference to the peculiar needs of this country. Conditions of operation, range and allied matters have a very great bearing on the type of aircraft that we need. So far as I know, it has not yet been decided whether the Hustler B58 will be used as a replacement for the Canberra. However, the R.A.A.F. is continually examining aircraft and prototypes of aircraft in an endeavour to find an aircraft that will best meet our needs, but no firm decision has yet been reached.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether he has noted comments made by Mr. Warren McDonald, who has recently returned to Australia after leading a trade mission to Asia and the Middle East. Mr. McDonald stressed the grave necessity for Australia to have adequate and efficient shipping services in order fully to exploit potential overseas markets. Is the Government aware of Mr. McDonald’s views on this subject, and has it noted the remarks of the Opposition over the last three years in regard to this matter? Has the Government any plan to remedy the real disability that Australia now suffers in this regard?
– I do not remember reading Mr. Warren McDonald’s remarks to which Senator Cooke has referred. I do not doubt that the remarks were made. The provision of shipping services is an essen tial requirement for the development of export trade. We start on that basis. The Government is aware of this fact. It has shown its awareness, for instance, in the arrangements that it has made, culminating in the establishment of a new shipping service to South America. I am sure that Mr. McDonald’s remarks will be considered carefully by my colleague, the Minister for Trade. I do not say that any suggestions made by Mr. McDonald will be adopted, but I am sure that a good deal of thought will be given to them because the important thing is to get the goods to the markets to which we are directing our attention.
-I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. In view of the great importance that tobacco growers, especially in the southwest of Western Australia and in other parts of the State and of the Commonwealth attach to their industry, can the Minister say what is the minimum percentage of local leaf that the Government requires manufacturers to blend with imported leaf before they may obtain a reduction of customs duty on imported tobacco?
– The Government is very much aware of the value of the Western Australian tobacco industry to both that State and to Australia generally. I understand that the new figure that has been set for the blend of Australian tobacco is 43 per cent. If this is not so I shall advise the honorable senator.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– My colleague, the Minister for the Interior, has furnished the following replies: -
– Senator KENNELLY asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
Has the Government taken any steps and, if so, with what result, in regard to securing wool selling dates for the 1962-63 wool selling season at Portland, Victoria?
Is it a fact that the Minister for Trade promised a five-man deputation of wool-growers at Warracknabeal, Victoria, on or about 16th November, 1961, that he would personally attempt to arrange a conference between wool-growers, Mr. Gale, as chairman of the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers, and other interested bodies in regard to wool sales at Portland?
Has the Minister been able to arrange the conference; if not, has he informed the deputation of the results of his endeavours?
– The Minister for Trade has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The following answers have been supplied: -
– On 27th February, Senator Robertson asked if the Commonwealth Government would contact the owners of the Liberian tanker “ Bridgewater “ which recently broke in two in the Indian Ocean and seek permission to sink the bow section of the vessel which is still adrift. The honorable senator referred to the danger to shipping on the Colombo to Fremantle run.
I am informed that on 4th March this derelict was 730 miles south of Cocos Islands and 1,070 miles north-west of Fremantle and is drifting further away from the Colombo to Fremantle route. As the derelict has never been in Australian waters, and the ship was not registered in Australia, it would not be appropriate for the Commonwealth Government to initiate action to sink the wreck. However, Commonwealth authorities have issued daily radio warnings to shipping since the casualty occurred on 30th January, and have written to other countries bordering the Indian Ocean informing them of the present position of the derelict and warning them of the possibility of its entering their waters.
Motions (by Senator Spooner) - by leave - agreed to -
That a Printing Committee be appointed, to consist of Senators Buttfield, Cooke, Marriott, Ormonde, Robertson, Sandford and Scott, with power to confer or sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.
That a Standing Orders Committee be appointed to consist of the President, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Chairman of Committees and Senators Cooke, Kendall, Nicholls, O’Byrne, Vincent and Wright, with power to act during recess, and to confer wilh a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.
Debate resumed from 6th March (vide page 366), on motion by Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan-
That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General be agreed to: -
Mav It Please Your Excellency:
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
– On this occasion I rise somewhat hesitantly and lothfully, but not slothfully. I am hesitant and lothful for a particular reason. As you, Sir, and other honorable senators realize, I am not particularly anxious to start an argument, nor am I anxious to continue one, but no one will ever say that I am frightened to engage in an argument if I think it is necessary to do so. As recently as last Thursday night I posed a simple question to the Leader of the Government (Senator Spooner). It was a question about a matter which concerned not me alone. It had incensed not only myself, but many senators on both sides of the chamber. Not only have members of the Opposition made representations on this matter, but, on the word of the Leader of the Government himself, members of his own party, as recently as last Wednesday, submitted propositions to him.
The net result of my posing that simple question was what most honorable senators regarded as a prolonged exhibition of vicious vindictiveness, rarely paralleled in this chamber. Actually, for some reason, the Leader of the Government was ranting and raving. His face was convulsed and his mind seemed possessed. What was at the back of it, no one seems to know. To him, no epithet seemed too vile, no phrase too offensive and no word too low. The only measure of limitation imposed on the Leader of the Government was the limitation of his vocabulary.
– I rise to order, Mr. President. I ask the honorable senator to withdraw his remarks. I regard them as offensive to me.
– Offensive and rude?
– The remarks I made were made only in an endeavour to persuade the honorable senator to adopt more seemly conduct in the Senate.
– Order! Senator Dittmer, you will withdraw the remarks.
– In deference to you, Mr. President, your authority, efficiency and co-operation on all occasions, I withdraw them. Now I propose to persist. Senator Spooner said that people must have told me how rude and offensive I was. Actually, no one, with the exception of the Leader of the Government, has ever said that about me. I have been informed that thousands of people have said what a nice kid I was and what a nice man I grew into - courteous and considerate on all occasions, as I was on the occasion to which I am referring.
The point has been suggested to me that the speeches were made on Thursday night which was very close to the eve of the New South Wales and South Australian elections. Some one found in that, perhaps, justification for the attitude of the honorable senator. People said, in their charity - and I agree with them - that perhaps Senator Spooner had been in touch with Ash-street, and the Liberal Party organizers had told him that the party was going down the drain in New South Wales and it appeared inevitable that Sir Thomas Playford’s Government would be defeated in South Australia irrespective of the Playfordization in respect of the South Australian electoral boundaries, which has meant that the Labour Party is not certain of attaining office although it polled 56 per cent, of the total votes. On the other hand, I carefully analysed the whole position and I thought that Senator Spooner might have taken some offence at the remarks I made about the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton). I did say that the Prime Minister was slothful and that he exhibited a sense of political irresponsibility. If the words “ political irresponsibility” are offensive, I will substitute the words “ political incompetency “ gladly and willingly, in order to avoid an argument. Apparently, many people are saying similar things because the headlines in many of the newspapers have said that the Prime Minister must get out. Those. . are not my words; they are the words of the newspapers.
Let me spend a few moments in justification of my own approach to this problem. The Leader of the Government has been held up as one of the great, powerful, suave, placid and pleasant members of the Liberal Party. But, despite his former prestige and power, if he cares to read a recent leading article in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ he will find that his stocks have slumped considerably in Liberal circles. In justification of my approach to the Prime Minister and my assessment of him, let me refer briefly to some correspondence. I believe that I am entitled to do this in view of the vicious and vindictive approach that has been adopted by the Leader of the Government in the Senate. On 13th December, 1961, I received a letter from Mr. Cox, the Director of Social Services in Queensland. In concluding that letter, he said -
I have communicated the decision in this case to Mr. B. McD. Wight, M.P.-
Incidentally, he was not a member of Parliament at that time-
On 14th December I replied -
Dear Mr. Cox,
I am in receipt of this letter dated 13th December and appreciate your interest in the matter.
Just notice how rude and offensive I can be, according to the Leader of the Government. I continued -
I was indeed surprised to be informed that you had furnished Mr. B. Wight with the decision. I thought after I had remonstrated to a Department some time ago that this pernicious practice regarding the representation of Senators had ceased.
I realize that this is a practice which would not be instituted by the departmental heads, but. would almost certainly be brought about by the authorization of the Minister in charge of any particular department.
It should be realized that if this practice is to persist, the practice by which Members of the House of Representatives are notified regarding contents of Senators’ representations, then there must be established a system of reciprocity, and as Senators represent the whole of the State, they would be entitled to receive notification of the decisions made as affecting all citizens of this State.
It might not occur to the Minister that people see a particular Senator rather than a particular Member because they do not wish to see the Member.
In my modesty, I added -
The reverse could be the case.
If the Minister has issued instructions that this practice of furnishing Members of the House of Representatives with the results following correspondence of Senators, then I think the action is high handed and colossally impudent.
I am forwarding a copy of this letter to the Prime Minister and making representation to him in an endeavour to bring about the cessation of this impertinence.
As regards the particular case mentioned in your letter, it does appear as though the parliamentary salary of Mr. Wight may have ceased as from the 9th December. If this is so, then not only is the action grossly impertinent, but it appears financially unfair to hand on to Mr. Wight something concerning which he knows nothing and for which he is receiving no parliamentary salary.
On 14th December I forwarded a copy of that letter to the Prime Minister with the following letter: -
My dear Prime Minister,
I made representation concerning a particular citizen and was subsequently advised that the decision made by the department had been conveyed to Mr. Wight.
For your information I enclose a copy of the letter received. 1 also enclose a copy of my reply.
Realizing that you would know the possibilities for evil in such action, irrespective of the party in control, I submit (hat you would be of the opinion that such action by departmental heads who are authorized by any particular Minister could seriously prejudice and undermine the relationship between citizens and their political representatives.
I should appreciate it if you would take action to see that the practice is not continued.
Kind regards and wishing you the compliments of the season. 1 suppose that the concluding paragraph of that letter is rude and offensive, according to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. On 22nd December, 1961, I received the following reply: -
My dear Senator,
I refer to your letter of 14th December, dealing with the general question of representations between Senators and Commonwealth Departments being disclosed to the Federal Members for the electorates in which the person, on whose behalf the representations are being made, resides.
As a result of a question in the Senate earlier this year-
That is, last year; and the question was asked much earlier in the year -
I indicated that I would examine the principles involved in this practice to see whether any changes should be suggested. I am aware that there are general instructions in the Department of Social Services and the Postmaster-General’s Department designed to ensure that Federal Members are kept aware of developments within their electorates. I am equally aware, of course, that it is possible to take objection to the practice of disclosing the nature of representations, and you have indicated your own views on the particular case instanced in your letter.
As a preliminary to taking any decision on this, the practice in all Departments is being examined, and the reasons for it questioned. When this is completed, I shall, as I have indicated, examine the question to see whether changes ought to be suggested.
Yours sincerely, (signed) ROBERT MENZIES.
I did say that the Prime Minister was sloth ful. On his own admission in that letter, he has had a matter in his hands for months. Although that matter has incensed senators, he has done nothing about it; at least, they have not been informed that he has done anything. I cannot say definitely that he has done nothing about it, but there is no tangible evidence that he has really taken any interest in it or done anything about it. So, I say that I am justified in saying that the Prime Minister is slothful in his approach to this particular problem.
As regards his political irresponsibility or incompetency, the electors of Queensland gave an indication of their attitude to him and their assessment of him on 9th December. In the whole of Australia 317,000 more electors voted for the Australian Labour Party than for the Liberal Party and Australian Country Party combined. Apparently, some hundreds of thousands of people in Australia agree with my assessment of the Prime Minister in his approach to Australia’s problems and the destiny of this nation. Perhaps the Minister also took exception to my description of the Minister for Social Services as the greatest humbug that came out of Scotland. Out of a sense of fairness, I inserted the rider that I meant no offence to the Scots or Scotland. I had always had a high opinion of the Minister for Social Services. I thought he was one who recognized that that which was proper should be done, but in relation to the particular actions of which I was speaking, I found not only a reason but also a justification for a re-assessment. I could not reconcile his actions with a sense of propriety. With my limited vocabulary, the only word I could find to use was “ humbug “, and I used it.
– Order! Senator Dittmer, you have continually used the word “ humbug “, and I ask you to withdraw it.
– With deference to you, Sir, having used it and had it inserted in “ Hansard “ on two previous occasions, I withdraw it.
– I also rise to order, Mr. President. I suggest that the withdrawal should be ah unconditional one.
– Senator Dittmer, you will withdraw the word unconditionally, and not out of deference to me.
– Yes, Sir, I withdraw it unconditionally.
– On a point of order, Mr. President, I want to know whether you have ruled that the word “ humbug “ is unparliamentary. I have heard it used in the Senate on many occasions, but I have never known an honorable senator to claim that it was an unparliamentary term. I suggest that on this occasion the claim that it is unparliamentary has been made simply to harass the honorable senator who is trying to deliver a speech. With due regard to the privileges of senators, I suggest that the word should not be held to be unparliamentary.
– On previous occasions it has been ruled that the word is unparliamentary. Senator Dittmer may proceed.
– That unpleasant episode having been concluded, I shall now continue my remarks.
In the light of the representations that have been made by the Government parties and by individual members of the Opposition to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Prime Minister and the appropriate Ministers - do not think that mine was an isolated protest - I hope that some definite action will be taken. I gave this matter very serious consideration and had thought of tabling a formal motion so that the Senate could discuss it, realizing that the procedure was so improper. Also realizing that the Leader of the Government in the Senate, with the rare exception of one occasion, is so inherently decent, so anxious to preserve the privileges and rights of senators, as well as the prestige of the Senate, I thought that a simple remonstration or protest would have been sufficient to convince him of the impropriety of the practice adopted by various Ministers. However, the matter rests there for the present, although it may not rest entirely unless some definite action is taken. It is unfortunate that, with so many momentous issues to be discussed, I have had to spend so much time on this matter.
We have a real responsibility, during the life of this Twenty-fourth Parliament, to ascertain where Australia is going. We know of the stop and go policies of the present Menzies Government. I hope that what I am about to say will not be regarded as offensive and rude. Peculiarly enough, since 9th December last honorable senators opposite seem to have become very touchy. 1 realize that these are difficult days for a government which has a practical majority of only one in the other chamber. I also realize that after 1st July it will have no majority in this chamber unless it can cajole the two independents into seeing the Government’s point of view on all occasions’. Difficulties arise and tempers are apt to become a little frayed. There is no need, however, to become offensive to people simply because they are making contributions. I heard some one refer to the Prime Minister as a sergeant-major who knew only two orders - “ Quick march! “ and “ Halt! “ In other words, one day he has the country advancing precipitately and almost overnight he calls a halt, with the ruination of many people, cries of despair in business circles and a denial of the rights of the people.
For some years now we have heard the Governor-General stating in his Speech that “ My Government “, or “ My AttorneyGeneral “ proposes to deal with the question of monopolies and restrictive trade practices. Yet, these practices continue, as they have continued over the years. They are more prevalent now than ever before. We have seen them in relation to the ordinary commercial sections of the community. They have been evident in regard lo softgoods, groceries and heavy industry, and now we are seeing them in the primary industries. We have seen Dalgety and Company Limited and the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Limited amalgamate. Elder Smith and Company Limited and Goldsbrough Mort and Company Limited are now discussing terms of amalgamation. No one would quarrel with the establishment of these large combines if they represented, in addition to a contribution to increased efficiency, greater protection for the people who deal with them. But that is not the case. More and more people are being placed in the manipulative hands of fewer and fewer interests. That process is now apparently taking place in the drug trade of Australia. This matter has been under consideration for some time in the United States of America. It was also being considered in the United Kingdom, and many pernicious practices were revealed.
When we think in terms of the ever increasing cost to the Government of pharmaceutical benefits, irrespective of the advantages that they confer on the nation, on industry in general, and on productivity, we realize that they increase still more the financial returns of the drug houses of Australia. When I use the term “ drug houses of Australia “ I do not refer to a particular company that is known by that name. I refer to the drug manufacturing and retailing companies in general. It is evident that, before many years have passed, pharmaceutical benefits will cost the Government of Australia more than £30,000,000. So, I think it is the responsibility of the Government to look into this matter.
As honorable senators may know, some considerable time ago these companies, which have a large amount of capital and which employ, I think, about 10,000 or 12,000 people, established an organization which they called the Australian Association of Ethical Pharmaceutical Industries. They were not content to do that to improve their products, to streamline their merchandizing methods, or to confer benefits on the Government or the people, or both; they had then to establish a public relations organization. I think that -that body was established some two years ago.
Its purpose was to convey to the people of Australia an idea of the tremendous amounts involved in research, a purpose which has not been achieved. Honorable senators may recall admissions in this respect that were made to an inquiry established by the United States Government. If time permits, I will deal with this matter in greater detail.
The companies sought to advance their point of view in the press and by means of radio and television broadcasts. Of course, there is nothing wrong about doing that, provided those concerned do not attempt to delude the people. In their determination to establish a public relations organization, they even set aside a certain sum of money to provide dinners for parliamentarians and public servants. Surely if their products were worth while and were of first-class quality they would not have needed to provide free meals for parliamentarians and public servants. Only as recently as last year they advertised for a new director of their public relations organization at a salary of £4,000 a year. They stipulated that applicants should have a degree in arts or economics, but more particularly that they should have the capacity to approach people in high places. That suggests that there was no basic sincerity in their approach to the appointment.
The United Kingdom has faced up to this problem. An inquiry that was conducted in the United States of America revealed the power of the propaganda that was employed. It was so powerful that on occasions it influenced even the policies of the press and the American drug association. So it is time that this Government had a look at the problem which exists in Australia. The form of merchandizing to which I have referred results in the public being charged high prices and a multiplicity of brands being used for the same product. Many doctors have been subjected to intensive propaganda which has been based on inefficient or insufficient research. In many cases overseas, it has been found that the propaganda used was misleading. There is no reason to assume that there is any very great variation in the difference between manufacturing costs and the purchase price to the consumer in Australia as against America. In a particular case in America - it was not an isolated instance - the cost of the product to the consumer was 4,000 times as great as the cost of production. It was found in relation to one contract entered into by the United States Government that the Government was able to purchase the drug at one-eightieth of the cost to a patient who bought it on a doctor’s prescription.
– Headache powders?
– No, it was not a headache powder. The drug was quite a good one; it has been proved over a number of years. That illustrates just how callous is the approach of these merchandisers. I do not wish to select an isolated case, but I can think of the Merck, Seymour and Upjohn organizations, British Drug Houses (Australia) Proprietary Limited, and many similar companies which have their own establishments here and some of which manufacture their own drugs.
A practice has grown up whereby one firm which elaborates a particular drug sells the product to another firm and that other so-called reputable firm merchandises the product under its own name at fifteen times the price which it paid originally. One can say quite definitely that in Australia, as in other countries, from the time a drug passes into the hands of the wholesaler until it gets into the hands of a patient the cost has increased by 100 to 200 per cent. Of course, that takes into account, bottling, labelling and so forth. This Government was crying out about two years ago when it imposed a charge of 5s. for pharmaceutical benefit prescriptions, but it still has not done a tremendous amount to control the price of the drugs which it permits to be prescribed under its pharmaceutical benefits legislation. The Government should approach this problem as a matter of urgency. The people generally and small business people in every field of commercial endeavour are crying out for protection.
It is all very well for the AttorneyGeneral (Sir Garfield Barwick), as the representative of the Menzies Government, to say that he is attending to the matter, for the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) to say that it is being examined, and for the Governor-General to read a speech in which he stated that the matter will be given attention. The practice to which I have referred has been going on for some years. I know there have been meetings of the Attorneys-General of the States, but so far nothing concrete has been done and it seems that nothing is likely to be done. It is quite apparent that this Government has no desire to do anything. If it wants to do anything really worthwhile, it should act on an Australia-wide basis and ask for the necessary authority to be given to it. I have no doubt that if a referendum were held to obtain that power, it would be carried.
Rectification of the situation lies in the hands of the Government. It depends largely upon the integrity of the drug houses, which should not pressurize the doctors and should not spend tens of thousands of pounds upon propaganda, which very often is false. Instead of adopting complicated names for the products which they sell, the drug houses should adopt the simple, generic names. Many drugs have been sold for years under their original names, and they are ever so much cheaper than are the so-called specialist brands. For example, penicillin, on which no royalty is payable, costs shillings whereas other antibiotics elaborated by certain firms cost pounds. The Government has a responsibility to look into the whole position.
In the few minutes that are still available to me, I should like to refer again to the economic state of Australia generally and Queensland in particular. It is time we saw an end of the pernicious stop-go, quick-march-halt policy of this Government. Australia, and Queensland in particular, cannot progress unless we have a degree of long-range planning. There must be a greater utilization of the resources that are available for primary industry. In Queensland there are 20,000,000 acres of brigalow country which could be opened up for much closer settlement. All that is needed is government assistance. People are available and willing to take up this land. Even supporters of the anti-Labour parties in Queensland have referred to the need to utilize our resources. Irrespective of the fact that, possibly with the exception of New South Wales, Queensland has the greatest deposits of coking and fuel coal and irrespective of the fact that we have the greatest mineral deposits in this country, as well as the fact that Queensland seems to have the first commercial oil deposit in Australia, successive Menzies Governments have done nothing to assist the development of that State. Even though this Government received an electoral slap in the face on 9th December last, it seems that it intends to do very little to assist Queensland.
– I support the motion proposed by Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan and seconded by Senator Agnes Robertson, and with them express loyalty to our most gracious Sovereign and thank His Excellency for the Speech which he was pleased to deliver to the Parliament. When moving the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan delivered one of the best speeches to which honorable senators have been privileged to listen during a debate on a motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. Senator Robertson, too, made an excellent contribution, particularly in her plea for the preservation of our historical records and buildings. Although we are living so close in time to our pioneering days, we are quickly forgetting our grandparents’ oral accounts of the early problems of settlement. Before it is too late, let us try to preserve in our archives the documents and letters written by the early settlers, so that posterity may know of the heroic efforts which the ordinary man and woman accepted as commonplace in the work of settlement.
The Governor-General’s Speech has placed special emphasis on three main issues. The first is the effort being made to place in employment every person willing and able to work. The second is the need to safeguard the security of Australia in international affairs by continuing to support the United Nations, by upholding the principles of its charter, and . by the peaceful settlement of international disputes on a just basis. The third issue is the allout effort that is being made to expand our internal and external trade.
The Government has announced reductions of both income tax and sales tax. The Opposition has opposed the reduction of income tax. It has suggested that it would be better to reduce sales tax to a greater degree and to allow income tax rates to stand as at present. The debate could range far and wide over this field without any true conclusion being reached. We all agree that we must have taxation. Income tax last year brought £608,659,842 into General and Consolidated Revenue. It cost £7,500,000 to collect that sum. Sales tax brought in £148,616,616, and the collection cost was only .411 per cent., because private industry did the bulk of the work associated with the collection. Pay-roll tax brought in £49,618,891, which cost £182,000 to collect.
The latest report of the Commissioner for Taxation shows that the gross national product was £6,197,000,000 and that Commonwealth taxation revenue was £1,126,118,788. In other words, taxation took 18.2 per cent, of our gross national product. When we add to Commonwealth taxes the individual State taxes, we see how great is the drain on national productivity. It is rather interesting to note that in the drive to increase exports, over £300,000 of pay-roll tax has been remitted. We do not hear a word about that from the Opposition, which has opposed any reduction of income tax.
– Frequently during this debate, in this chamber. As private enterprise must provide three of every four jobs for the increasing work force, we should recognize the part that private enterprise must play in absorbing people into useful employment. This has a very important bearing on some of Labour’s proposals and on the statements of some of its leaders. They are against private enterprise, and would not have a bar of it. Yet if they look at the figures they must agree that private enterprise has to provide three of every four available jobs. I leave it at that for the time being.
It is the dedicated aim of this Government to see that every person able and willing to work is profitably and usefully employed. An immediate increase in the take-home pay of people on all income levels is most desirable. That is one of the reasons why I support the reduction of income tax. I believe that income tax reductions are more valuable than reductions of indirect taxes, particularly when hire purchase is available to raise the level of consumer demand. Income tax schedules have an important effect upon incentive to work. Moreover, they determine the amount of capital that industry can use to expand - and we want our industries to expand.
Personal income tax limits the amount of capital for expansion available to small traders, partners in business and private companies. Small businesses provide 90 per cent, of the jobs of all workers. Income tax also plays an important part in primary production. High taxation rates bar the way to a higher standard of living and reduce personal savings. They also increase the number of people who become dependent on government social services. How often do we hear it said - I have heard it said by the Opposition in this chamber - that it does not pay to earn any more, because each extra £1 earned increases the rate of taxation. Progressive rates hit very hard in this field. Working men are now moving into the affluent class. What did they take home out of the recent 12s. increase in the federal basic wage, if we are to believe Opposition senators? The steep progression of taxes means increasing pressure for wage increases.
A study of the latest available report of the Commissioner of Taxation shows that, in 1958-59, 3,974,321 persons paid income tax. Persons lodging returns on incomes which were not taxable numbered 705,814, making a total of 4,680,135 returns. With the concurrence of honorable senators, I incorporate in “ Hansard “ the Commissioner’s table showing a dissection of income and tax statistics. It is as follows: -
I have often heard honorable senators opposite claim that a great many people in this country earn incomes in excess of £5,000, and even £10,000, a year.
Let me go back to the first three income groups to which I referred- £105 to £499, £500 to £999 and £1,000 to £1,999. I do not think anybody will suggest that an income of £1,999 is excessive. In those three groups are almost 4,000,000 taxpayers. They pay £214,000,000 in income tax. In the £2,000 to £4,999 income group are 178,000 taxpayers, who pay £88,500,000 in income tax. The £5,000 to £10,000 income group embraces 21,000 taxpayers who pay £43,000,000 in income tax. Only 4,000 taxpayers earn in excess of £10,000 a year. They pay £29,100,000 in income tax.
The figures that I have cited show that 25,000 people have incomes in excess of £5,000 a year. Their present total earnings amount to £195,500,000, on which they pay almost £73,000,000 in income tax. That leaves them with almost £123,000,000. If we allow each of those persons to retain only £4,000 after taxation, they would have £100,000,000 amongst them, leaving £22,700,000 to be divided amongst the community. Let us see how that sum would be allotted. There are 2,520,000 taxpayers earning between £105 and £999 a year. Divide £22,700,000 amongst them and you find that each taxpayer would receive £9 0s. 2d. a year or 3s. 5id. a week. If we include the 705,000 people who submit taxation returns, but who are not called upon to pay income tax, we find that the distribution would amount to £7 0s. 9d. a year or 2s. &id. a week each. Honorable senators can work out for themselves how long it would take a taxpayer to earn 2s. 8id. or 3s. 5*d.
Let me take this matter a little further. If incomes were restricted to £4,000 a year the 2,520,000 taxpayers who earn up to £999 a year would have to find an additional £72,000,000 in income tax. That is, they would have to find £28 17s. 9d. a year each or lis. a week. Let the Labour Party tell those 2,520,000 taxpayers that if it got into power it would tax them an extra lis. a week. The figures that I have cited are available to anybody.
The Opposition does not have any real sympathy with the unemployed - not a bit. It blames the Government for the present unemployment situation. I do not concede that the Government is to blame but if it is, it must be given credit for the 97 per cent, of employment that exists in Australia to-day. Workers to-day have the best conditions imaginable. Their hours, wages and long-service leave entitlements are the best that it is possible to obtain. We do not hear credit being given to the Government for the amount of profitable employment that exists in the country.
What does Labour say? It says, “ Plan, plan, plan! “. But never once has the Opposition put forward a concrete proposal to utilize the work potential of the people. Over the past fifteen months the Opposition has said that the Government was forced to bring down unpopular legislation. The only measure that the Opposition really opposed was the lifting of import controls. While import controls were in existence great hardship was experienced by many reputable traders, and particularly by ex-servicemen of the Second World War who were trying to rehabilitate themselves.
On Tuesday last in this Senate, Senator Hendrickson said that Sir Frank Meere had no right to say what is to come into this country and what is to go out of it. Senator Hendrickson said that Sir Frank Meere had no right to say who was to progress in business and who was to go under. What a wealth of meaning lies in those words! I suggest that Senator Hendrickson has a pretty fair knowledge of import controls and of who would go under.
I have already said that Labour has no practical plans for getting men back to work. Why do I say that? I say it because the first principle of Labour’s philosophy and planning is the nationalization of the means of production, distribution and exchange or, as it was referred to the other night, planned economy. Honorable senators opposite have stated that they are avowed socialists. That is true. They have stood in this chamber and been counted as avowed socialists. If they are to get men back to work they must have the power of direction. That would be labour conscription. We live in a cold, hard world. Let the people face the fact that Labour would carry out its policy of nationalization and labour conscription. Mr. Chifley said that men might have to work where they were directed. It is nonsense for honorable senators opposite to say that they would shelve their nationalization plans for three years. Why would they jettison the very keystone of their platform? Their only reason would be that they want to regain the treasury bench. Having regained the treasury bench they would give effect to their platform. They are entitled to implement their platform, but they should do so openly. Their platform is so clear that he who runs may read it. Let him who reads it run. That is my advice to good Australians.
It is interesting to note that Senator McKenna did not refer to foreign affairs - not one word. The Leader of the Opposition in another place, Mr. Calwell, has made many statements recently about West New Guinea. I think many of his supporters disagreed with his statements. Mr. Calwell’s policy, if implemented, would bring us to the brink of war with Indonesia. In 1955, the Labour Party conference in Hobart decided that not even one man should be sent outside Australia for defence purposes. That decision was re-affirmed at the Brisbane conference in 1958. To my knowledge it has never been repealed. That means that no sailor, soldier or airman would be used or could be used outside Australia. No wonder Labour is split over its leader’s recent statements on foreign policy - statements that could bring us to the brink of war with Indonesia!
I hope that this Parliament will forge a united policy to prove to our neighbours that we are a friendly race, that we have fought wars to uphold the freedom of the individual, and that these costly efforts in human life make us believe that tolerance and forbearance will achieve the settlement of disputes in a way mutually satisfactory to the parties involved, whereas recourse to arms often leaves bitterness and uneasiness.
Senator Ormonde gave us a graphic and factual description of the chaotic situation here in 1945 under a Labour government. He said that Lord Mountbatten had come to Australia to try to have moved shipping that was tied up by strikes. Lord Mountbatten appealed to newspaper editors because the Labour Government had relinquished control to the Communist Party. Ships carrying urgently needed Red Cross and medical supplies to our troops and allies were tied up in port. Men and women, anxiously awaiting return to this country after defeating the enemy, could not be transported home as a result of these shipping strikes. Honorable senators have been told how succour was refused to our Dutch allies who sought aid in our ports. Vital repairs to battle-scarred ships were refused. Worse than that, fresh water was not available to the sailors on board those ships. That was under a Labour rule in 1945.
Those are facts that the younger generation of Australia should know. To-day the public of Australia must be assured by Mr. Calwell and his party that the foreign policy enunciated by Labour will be carried out. The public must be assured that Labour, if it ever comes to power, will itself govern and that it will not delegate its powers to the Communist Party. The party must prove that Labour will not be a quizling party that will hand over this country to the Communists. Senator Drake-Brockman mentioned that adults still under 34 years of age had never experienced living as electors, under a federal Labour government. The Labour Party called the period from 1945 to 1949 the Golden Age of Labour. It was a period of planning and direction. You were told how much meat you might eat and how much tea you might drink. You were told whether you could drink beer or whisky, and how much sugar you could eat. You were told whether you could use a motor car. Strikes and shipping hold-ups were common. Trains and other forms of transport were held up for lack of fuel. Men could not get to work, and those who did had no electric power when they reached their factories or offices.
– And there was no Santa Claus.
– That is so. On 9th December last the Government was elected with a majority. It still controls the Senate and after 30th June it will have 30 members against Labour’s 28 members. Good government is assured. We have a majority and the sound and progressive legislation to be introduced by the Government will not be denied passage through this chamber by any fair-minded Australian. I visualize that South Australia will receive assistance to improve the beef road, or the traditional stock route from Birdsville to Marree. The South Australian Government has done useful work on this track, but we urgently need more money to do a worthwhile job. The conservation of water in Australia is an ever-pressing need, particularly for South Australia, whose future development is definitely limited by the amount of water we can harvest. That State has only the River Murray as a permanent river. She has used all her available catchment areas for water conservation. The Chowilla Dam, with a storage of over 4,000,000 acre feet, is a must, and with the national outlook of New South Wales and Victoria, we in South Australia will receive that urgently needed water that Chowilla will impound.
On numerous occasions I have advocated an all-out effort by Federal and State governments to proceed with rail standardization. Work on the line from Albury to Melbourne is practically completed. Plans have been made and capital provided to convert the Kalgoorlie to Perth section to standard gauge. The linking of Port Pirie to Broken Hill is an urgent necessity. I deprecate the necessity for a State to go to court to get a ruling on this matter. In the name of common sense and for the future welfare of Australians, let us proceed now with this work. Men, money and material are available. What are we waiting for?
In recent months men have circled the earth through outer space. New channels of communication have been revealed. Let not Russia and America gain complete monopoly of these channels. May this Government co-operate with Great Britain to safeguard our future rights in these communication fields. Perhaps the Blue Streak could play a vital part in this matter. I reaffirm that this’ Government has a majority and that it will not delegate its power to any one but that it will give every Australian an opportunity to earn a good living, to save money and to own property. I support the motion.
.- I join with other honorable senators in their loyal sentiments to Her Majesty the Queen and in the welcome that they have extended to our new GovernorGeneral. I also compliment Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan and Senator Agnes Robertson upon the able manner in which they moved and seconded the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply.
In this debate a good number of references have been made to the recent federal elections, and I therefore seize the opportunity, to give some publicity to a fact that some interests appear at present to obscure - that in the recent elections for the Senate there was a considerable increase in the vote cast for the Australian Democratic Labour Party. People who were opposed to our party, while suggesting that we should conduct our politics from the highest possible level, have not hesitated to say that they do not propose to refer to the Australian Democratic Labour Party in any other way than as a splinter party. Indeed, one prominent personality appears to have found it necessary upon every occasion to say that it is “ withering on the vine.” In lower houses of parliament seats are sometimes not contested; therefore it is in Senate elections that one gets a fair cross-section of the vote cast because every party gets its full vote. In the recent Senate elections, the Australian Democratic Labour Party showed a considerable . increase in votes cast in every State except Tasmania. In 1958 our party obtained 387,792 votes, and last December our votes totalled 472,379. With the concurrence of honorable senators, I shall incorporate the breakdown of votes in each State in “ Hansard “. The figures are as follows: -
Thus, last December, one Australian in eleven voted for the Australian Democratic Labour Party. Therefore, if representation in the Parliament had been according to the votes in a lower house of 122 members, we would have obtained eleven places in the House of Representatives and three in the Senate. On the basis of a Senate election every three years, we should now have six representatives in this chamber. I have heard nobody point to the. fundamental unfairness of an electoral system which denies representation to. a party that can poll one-eleventh of all the votes cast in Australia. I have heard a lot of talkabout gerrymandering. It has been said that in South Australia the seats do not correspond with the votes.
– That is an understatement.
– Senator Toohey agrees that that is an understatement. But what of the system of election to the Senate? The Democratic Labour Party in Victoria polled 191,000 votes, yet it will not have one senator. In the new Senate, ten senators from Tasmania will represent 170,000 voters.
– Hear, hear!
– Senator O’Byrne approves of that system in relation to the Senate, but he disapproves of it in South Australia. I do not disapprove of it in the case of the Senate. If the small StatesQueensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia - ever allow themselves to be deprived of their equal representation in this House, it will be an ill day for them. Anybody who believes in even distribution, decentralization and progress throughout Australia recognizes that you must have a system by which the smaller States can be defended against the power and influence of the larger States. But I feel 1 am entitled to point out the deficiencies of an electoral system which leaves 500,000 electors in this country entirely without representation.
When the press, as it often does, and when the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), as he so often does, refer to the D.L.P. as a splinter party and make slighting references to its lack of representation in the Parliament, they should attack, not the D.L.P., but an electoral system which does not give even-handed justice so far as parliamentary seats are concerned. But .in spite of that lack of justice in our electoral system, there is no prospect of the D.L.P. withering on the vine. It has all the staying power in the world and it will contest, I hope, every seat at the next federal election.
The support that the D.L.P. received would possibly have been greater if it had contested the election upon purely popular issues. In the circumstances of the last election, the thing to do was to contest the election upon matters such as unemployment and social services and to make considerable promises the main feature of your policy;
The D.L.P. did present policies on unemployment, social services and such matters, but it did not make those policies the main feature of the general policy that it put before the Australian people. We preferred to highlight policies which were not so popular, but which we considered were so vital that they ought to be stressed to the electors.
The first was Australia’s future security. A couple of years ago I attended an Australian Citizenship Convention and listened to a number of delegates say that because there were problems of unemployment and housing in Australia, immigration should be stopped. I came out of the building alongside the late Sir Horace Robertson, who had a distinguished career in the Australian military forces. I said to him: “ That, to me, seemed unreal. Are we in such a situation that we can populate and develop this country at our convenience? “ He replied, “ Certainly not “. I said, “As a military man, how long’ would you say we have in Australia before we shall have to face very serious problems in regard to our security? “ He answered, “At the most, we have ten to fifteen years.” I asked him, “ Then should not we get to work to fill this country as rapidly as possible? “ He said: “ It is too late now. In my view, if we can rapidly increase our population to about 20,000,000, and concentrate it in the more developed areas, we will have a chance of holding those areas, but I see no possibility of Australia holding the empty and undeveloped areas in the world of the future.” What he said has been confirmed by a number of distinguished overseas visitors, who have expressed amazement at the apathy of the Australian people in the face of what is happening in Asia. This is a vast continent, with only 11,000,000 people. Surely the Australian people should have realized in 1949, when 800,000,000 Chinese came under Communist rule, that nothing could ever be the same again for Australia.
Because of this, at the election the Democratic Labour Party tried to highlight the urgency of ensuring our security. We said that the defence forces of this country should be doubled within the next three years. We were violently attacked in the press, and it was said that Australia could not afford to do that. Nobody seemed to wonder whether Australia could afford not to do it. I am interested to find that the Australian Labour Party, which, like the Government parties, had decided during the course of the election that the biggest issues were domestic issues, now appears to believe that external issues are very serious and is blaming the Government for paying no attention to them. Yet is it not a fact that perhaps the only issue on which the Opposition agreed with the Government was that nothing should be done to improve our defences? Is it not a fact that the Government accepted the contention of the Opposition that the battleground of the election should be domestic and economic policies? Is it not a fact that the Government, by and large, agreed with the Opposition that matters of foreign policy, of the country’s security and defence, should be pushed into the background? Is it not true to say that, to a great extent, the disaster suffered by the Government sprang from the fact that it allowed itself to be persuaded to ignore the two Achilles’ heels of the Australian Labour Party - communism in the trade unions and the future security of Australia? With singular confidence, the Government decided that it would fight the battle on ground that was most advantageous to the Opposition. By doing so, it brought about, to a big extent, the disasters which it suffered.
The other important’ issue that the D.L.P. put forward during the election, to a greater extent than any other party, was the European Common Market. We did not, as some other parties did, merely prophesy doom. We suggested what ought to be done about the problem. We said, first of all, that we should endeavour, in view of a possible loss of markets in Europe, to establish good trading relations with countries in the Pacific area. That suggestion drew down on our heads the ire of the press and of the manufacturing interests, which stated, completely without foundation, that we were proposing just as tight a common market in the Pacific as there is in Europe. We know, as everybody else does, that you could not have as strong, or as tight, a common market in the Pacific as there is in Europe, because of the considerable differences between the countries of the Pacific. But we could make a start by establishing better economic relations with countries such as New Zealand. The day will come when we will have to do that. Our party was accused of wanting to open the barriers to cheap goods from Japan and other countries. The manufacturing interests, in particular, were most hostile to our approach, and a completely untrue version of what we proposed was placed before the electors to our disadvantage. We went further. We said that instead of talking the Government ought to institute committees with producer representation on them to consider changes in our patterns of production which may be necessitated. We also said that a fund should be established to compensate the producers who were forced to change their patterns of production. I was interested to see that the Australian Labour Party thought that last proposal was such a good one that that party adopted it in its policy speech.
Those were the main issues on which we contested the election. Admittedly, they “ were not vote-catching issues. Australians are not interested in their future security, except on rare occasions such as recently when the New Guinea issue for the first time threatened Australia with having a common boundary with an Asian country. Normally, Australians do not like to be worried about such things. They do not like to be worried about the big problems; they are more interested in domestic issues. We put forward policies that we knew had to be brought to the notice of the Australian people and we took the risk of their being unpopular.
Before leaving this matter, may I say that in the present state of politics, when gamesmanship appears to some people to be more important than the country’s real interests, I have no hope that anything can be done to bring the Government and the Opposition together upon issues such as our security, foreign policy and the European Common Market. If ever there was a time when we ought to get a bipartisan approach to certain issues, this is the time. Without hope, I make this appeal: Surely in Australia it ought to be possible to get a bipartisan approach to foreign policy in - the same way as they have it in Great Britain. Surely the European Common
Market issue is so serious in its implications that it ought to be possible for both sides to get together on it. If the European Common Market brings disaster, it will be no advantage to the Opposition party, if and when it becomes the government, to face the kind of situation that it faced when it became the government in 1929 or 1930.
Nothing will be achieved if we have merely a period of brawling and squabbling with a view to forcing an election. An election for the lower House would solve nothing because after 1st July next there will be 30 on each side of the Senate. Even if the Australian Labour Party were elected to office in the lower House, it could be thwarted in the upper House and its only remedy would be a double dissolution. If we try to solve the urgent questions of our security and the European Common Market in that kind of atmosphere, the right decisions will not be arrived at. I leave that matter with the thought that it might be possible for both sides to get together on those two big issues because they are such that we should try to have a single, united approach to them.
I want to refer- to certain suggestions that were made by Senator Ormonde in his speech in this debate. The issues that he raised are much discussed at the present time in Labour circles, at any rate. The honorable senator echoed a previous contention of his leader in another place, Mr. Calwell, when he suggested that, in his view, Australia was a country for a twoparty system of government and there should be no third parties or, as he phrased it, splinter parties. If Senator Ormonde would think back - I know that he is a student of Labour history - he would realize that there never would have been a Labour Party in Australia if that proposition had been held valid. In a lecture that Mr. Calwell gave some years ago he said this -
In its infancy, the Labour Party, being the third force, and generally the weakest force, in the legislatures of the Colonies, sought to play one capitalist group off against another. It used the tactics then being successfully employed by the Irish Nationalists in the House of Commons under the leadership of Charles Stewart Parnell.
That statement, of course, is perfectly true. The Australian Labour Party began as a small party, a splinter party. In order to obtain improvements in Australia’s industrial legislation, it achieved the balance of power and used its situation to get what it wanted. So, when Senator Ormonde says that he is opposed to that proposition - he said that he was very strongly opposed to it - I can only say that he now has a point of view which would have resulted only in there being no Labour Party in Australia if the proposition had held valid years ago.
I do not suppose that he suggests that the Democratic Labour Party has no right to exist. After all, the Australian Labour Party, in a referendum held about ten years ago, fought a successful campaign for the right of the Communist Party to exist. It used the most eloquent arguments in favour of the right of the Communist Party to exist and it persuaded the Australian people that that party had the right to exist as a political body. In those circumstances, I regret that so much stress is laid on the fact that the Democratic Labour Party ought not to exist. The suggestion that third parties are not permissible does not come well in a chamber where it would embarrass so many former Langites. I deny the proposition that I must support either Mr. Menzies or Mr. Calwell. I do not agree with either of them and, therefore, I havea perfect right to try to form and support a political party that expresses a third point of view. There is an unpleasant tang of this proposition in what is happening in industry and business, where we have take-overs and the attempt to say that one can travel only by Trans-Australia Airlines or Ansett-A.N.A. and the small airlines have to be crushed out of existence. Just as the small organi zations in business and social affairs are entitled to exist, the small political parties are entitled to exist and no politician is entitled to say that they cannot exist. That decision is one for the people to make. Therefore, I repeat that I deny completely the proposition that there is room for only two parties in this country. If one says that, it is not very far to say that there is room for only one party.
Senator Ormonde also made some remarks about the donkey vote. He seemed to suggest that the donkey vote advantaged the Democratic Labour Party. I know that Senator Ormonde is fair- minded enough to admit that our party would have won one Senate seat in Victoria and one Senate seat in Queensland, but it was deprived of those two seats because another party received the donkey vote. However, if he wants to raise this question, I say that it is rather strange for it to be raised by the political party which has in its history what are known as the four A’s. On one occasion a political party with which Senator Ormonde is not unacquainted decided that it would get the No. 1 position on the Senate ballot-paper by choosing’ four people whose surnames started with the letter A. I shall not continue with that subject because I do not want to embarrass him, but let us not be hypocrites. I shall not use the term “ humbugs “, because it is unparliamentary. Senator Ormonde knows all that there is to know about political gamesmanship. He has been in the game a long time. If he can gain a political advantage he goes flat out for it. If he can get something out of it, he gets it.
We had a by-election in Bendigo twelve or eighteen months ago, and the Labour Party faced a difficult task in winning the seat. The D.L.P. announced a candidate whose name started with the letter D, and the Liberal Party announced onewhose name started with F. The A.L.P. waited until the names of those candidates had been announced before it announced a candidate whose name started with B. When it did so, I did not rush into print and accuse it of selecting a candidate for the sole reason that his name commenced with the letter B. I was prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt.
Similarly, in Maribrynong, the electorate in which I live, the Labour Party knew that that was a seat which it had most hope of winning. The party had a candidate whose name started with T. It was desperate to win the seat because it was faring better in the other States than it had in previous general elections. The Victorian executive of the Australian Labour Party was under fire, and it felt that it must produce results. I regret to say that Mr. Tilley, the Labour candidate, had to withdraw because of ill health. I do not doubt at all the statement that he was ill, and I am not going to suggest that the A.L.P. had a look at the initials of the D.L.P. and Liberal Party candidates before it chose a new candidate, lt was just a coincidence that it chose Mr. Armour. But unfortunately Mr. Armour, although he was a good candidate and fought the good fight, lost by a greater margin than had been the case at the election three years . before. I do not suggest that those things were done deliberately, and if I can be so kind to Senator Ormonde’s party, I hope he will be equally kind to mine.
Senator Ormonde referred to industrial groups, and said that he had predicted years ago that they would help communism. In my opinion, that statement is extremely exaggerated. Industrial groups destroyed the Communist Party influence in trade unions for five or six years, and they might still be doing so. The Communist Party would have been practically eliminated as a force in trade unionism if certain people had not set tq work to wreck the industrial groups and produce an entirely different situation. Of course, to a large extent, the failure of the A.L.P. in Victoria has been due to the action that was taken against the industrial groups in that State.
Although the A.L.P. polled well in every State except Victoria at the recent general election, in Victoria it lost a seat in the Senate. That was the only seat lost by the A.L.P. throughout Australia. That happened, despite the attempt of a considerable section of the press to create an image of the A.L.P. as a body fighting communism in the unions. We were told that Mr. Fitzgibbon was an example of an A.L.P. man fighting communism. When Mr. Fitzgibbon was nominated, he said that he was not standing as a political candidate, that he was standing on his trade union record. When he came to Melbourne, nine members of the Waterside Workers Federation who were on the executive, and who got on it through a unity ticket, all of them being members of the A.L.P., arranged with Mr. Wyndham, the secretary of the party, to send out a letter, which they published all over the waterfront. The letter states that the A.L.P.- . . is strictly forbidden, by rules of the Federal Conference of 19SS and subsequent years, from participating or interfering in Union affairs. Accordingly, this Branch has never given permission for the name of the party to be used in any Union, nor can it do so, since the Federal Conference decisions referred to above, strictly forbid this.
What happened was that members of the Labour Party and the union executive supported the Communist candidate. Mr. Fitzgibbon won because of his industrial record, but the day that he won the press made him out to be the A.L.P. candidate. It did so for electoral purposes.
I recall an election iri the Building Workers Industrial Union of Australia. There was a row between those who had been Communists and those who still were Communists. The result was portrayed in the press, just before the election, as another win for the A.L.P. I read that Mr. Geoff McDonald was one of the A.L.P. candidates. Mr: McDonald would regard it as an insult to suggest that he was not a Communist. He is such a determined Communist that he is fighting to-day in the Communist Party on behalf of those who say they should do what Khrushchev tells them and against those who say they should do what Mao Tse-tung tells them. But again, the press - I think it was the victim of clever public relations work by the A.L.P. - portrayed Mr. McDonald as an A.L.P. candidate who had successfully fought communism.
I shall not refer at length to the Amalgamated Engneering Union. Mr. Shearer won the election in New South Wales on his industrial record, but A.L.P. public relations men have given the impression that he is a member of the Labour Party. He is not. Mr. Calwell said that Mr. McDowell won in Queensland because of the statement that Mr. Calwell had issued saying that unionists should vote for him. In a public statement, Mr. McDowell said he paid a tribute to Mr. Godding, the secretary of his own branch of the A.L.P., but as far as the official A.L.P. was concerned he was most disappointed by its failure to do anything to discipline leading members of the party who had supported the Communist candidate.
I do not enjoy traversing what may be described as old, unhappy, far-off things and battles of long ago, but if other people raise these issues I have to answer them. I say to those who attack the D.L.P. supporters in Victoria that those supporters have better Labour records than have the present members of the executive in that State. If some of the honorable senators on the Labour side in this chamber could speak, I think they would say “ Hear, hear! “ to that. Let me say that when we, the people who were thrown out in 1954, were in charge from 1949 to 1954, we raised the Labour vote in Victoria from 46.3 per cent, for the House of Representatives in 1949 to 49.1 per cent, in 1951, and to 54 per cent, in 1954. We achieved a majority in every Senate election in the period we were there. When we came into office in 1949 the Labour Party had sixteen members in the Victorian lower House, but by the time we were thrown out in 1954 it had 37 members, and there was in power the first Labour government in the history of the State. When you consider that record, Mr. President, and the fact that we also achieved manhood suffrage for the upper House and equal electoral districts for the lower House, and when you compare our record with that of the people who pose as Labour leaders on the executive in Victoria to-day, you can come to only one conclusion, which is that when the D.L.P. supporters in Victoria affirmed their previous decision in last December’s election, they did so because they knew the state of the A.L.P. in Victoria.
Senator Sir WALTER COOPER (Queensland) [5.14]. - I join previous speakers in expressing my loyalty to Her Gracious Majesty the Queen, and I also join those who have already tendered to our new Governor-General expressions of goodwill. I congratulate Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan on the fine speech he delivered in moving the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. I also extend congratulations to Senator Robertson, who seconded the motion and, in my opinion, gave a very well thought out and interesting speech. Both honorable senators will be retiring at the end of June. We were very fortunate indeed to be able to listen to two such good speeches. I, and I think Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin, feel that with the retirement of Sir Neil the team comprising what we may call the three musketeers will be broken up. We three were the only members of the antiLabour parties in this place from 1946 to 1949.
– That was when Queensland held the fort.
– Yes, Queensland held the fort, and she held it very well. Each member of this team of three has been successful on each occasion since then upon which he or she has stood for re-election. After July only two of us will be left, but I think we shall be able to carry on - with the good work that has been done in the past by the three. A good third will come to join us.
I turn now to the Governor-General’s Speech. His Excellency said -
My advisers believe that the security of Australia depends upon reliance on three central principles of international policy.
The first is that we should be faithful and contributing members of the United Nations, upholding the principles of the Charter. Australia’s voice will always be raised in support of the peaceful settlement, on a just basis, of international disputes.
The second is that we should cultivate, and maintain, friendly and helpful relations with our neighbours, seeking wherever we can to help in the peaceful removal of avoidable causes of difference; and encouraging wherever possible the development of free institutions of government in those many nations which have recently achieved political independence.
His Excellency continued, and this is very important -
The third is that, to guard against resort to war by those who reject these principles, Australia should have powerful and friendly mutual association with those nations which are best equipped to defend a free peace.
I believe I can say with all certainty that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) especially, and the members of his Government, have always endeavoured to remain on friendly terms with the people who live in our part of the world. By our participation in the Colombo Plan we have shown that we desire friendship with the Asian nations. Many students have come to this country under the Colombo Plan and have visited not only the universities to which they have gone for instruction but also the homes of many of our people. If we desire to be on friendly terms with our overseas neighbours, we must demonstrate the fact by inviting these people to our homes and allowing them to mix with our families. Such visits are greatly appreciated by them.
Australia’s adherence to the policy of maintaining a powerful and friendly mutual association with the more powerful nations is demonstrated by the fact that this Government, largely through the efforts of the Prime Minister, has been able to enter into defence agreements not only with members of the British Commonwealth but also the
United States of America, which we must look upon nowadays as the most powerful nation in the world. The treaty into which we have entered with America will be of great benefit to Australia should we be attacked or find it necessary at any time to seek help to defend this country. America has discovered to its satisfaction that Australia is a vigorous and independent country which is willing to look after itself within the limits imposed by its population and resources.
In considering the Australian economy, we must not look at the position as it exists to-day but at conditions which have obtained over a period of time. The period I wish to take is that which commenced when this Government assumed office. No member of the Opposition would say that Australia has not prospered to a very large degree since December, 1949. As many of us can recall, at that time controls were in vogue and raw materials were in short supply. Admittedly, that was only four and a half years after the end of the 1939-45 war. But when this Government assumed office it faced the very difficult task of increasing the production and population of the country. It was essential to increase our population as quickly as possible, because without a much greater population we cannot say that this country is secure.
– Migrants would be fools to come here to unemployment.
– The honorable senator should not take one period of eight or twelve months. He should consider the whole of the period during which this Government has been in office, when progress and prosperity have been greater than at any other period in Australia’s history. We are bound to have ups and downs, or, as the Opposition says, stops and starts; that is essential in a growing economy. But the Government’s guiding principles over the years have been to ensure military security and to ensure economic security. Military security has been established, as far as possible, by defence treaties with America, with other Commonwealth countries and with Asian countries. Quite a lot of money has been expended on defence, with very good results. This is the first occasion in peace-time when we have had a body of men who could be put into action immediately. Senator O’Byrne will know as well as I do that after the outbreak of the two world wars we had to train soldiers for six months or more before they could be sent into action. Our present forces may not be very large, but they are well trained and they are ready, with all the ancillary services, to go into action within half an hour of being called upon. That is a great step forward, and I give the Government great credit for looking after our defences to such an extent. With military security and economic security, Australia has real, not fictitious, security. We have made provision both for the defence of our country and for its economic security.
It is quite true that in maintaining this real security the Government has had to change course from time to time. I think everybody will recognize that a government cannot merely state principles and then sit down and carry on in accordance with those principles. There has to be elasticity. Principles may have to be stretched to one side or another or withdrawn and remodelled. Nobody would insist that an aircraft travelling from Sydney to Honolulu should maintain a set course. An aircraft does not do that. If it runs into bad weather, it is diverted to some other course to go round the bad patch, but eventually it arrives at the place for which it was aiming when it left Australia. The Government has to act in a similar way. If it sees bad patches, of which we have had quite a number, it does what is necessary to overcome the difficulties they cause.
The Government has had for its goals greater development, greater prosperity, a migration intake of about 125,000 a year, full employment, the overcoming of inflationary pressures, and the maintenance of Australia’s trading account in reasonable balance. Although variations might be made from time to time, those are the objectives at which the Government has been aiming, and it has done a remarkably good job. At one period, overseas balances were declining further and further and the Government was worried, but that trend was arrested and now our balances are higher than they have ever been before. We have had some difficult periods and some difficult problems. With a migration flow of 125,000 people and with great numbers of young persons leaving schools and universities, employment has to be found each year for an immense number of people. The migration target of 125,000 has not been reached every year, but the Government still aims at that flow. I am quite sure that we shall have again 125,000 migrants a year. It has been a very difficult job to absorb into employment the tremendous inflow of migrants as well as our own school-leavers. It is a task that must be planned quite a number of months, or even years, ahead. This Government has always endeavoured to increase the productivity, not only of primary industries, but of secondary industries also. I think everybody will agree that the secondary industries are our main avenue of employment. The employment potential of the primary industries is not great, but indirectly the primary industries create employment outside their own field. For instance, the transport industry relies heavily on the primary industries. The shearing of wool and its sale mean employment for many people. In many other ways the primary industries create employment. But it is the secondary industries that directly employ large numbers of people.
This Government has encouraged overseas investment in Australia. Honorable senators opposite do not approve the inflow of capital into this country from overseas. But if overseas investment in this country had been curtailed our present rate of production would have been much lower than it . is. Between 1949 and 1961, the inflow of capital from overseas amounted to about £900,000,000. That is a high figure. The bulk of that capital went into industry and into oil search programmes. It has created employment for many people. The inflow of private capital in 1959-60 was £188,000,000, including £67,000,000 which represented profits ploughed back into industry. That is an indication that many people” are anxious to invest their money in Australian ventures. More than ever before the man in the street is to-day investing in shares. At ohe time the share market was regarded as the preserve of the wealthy, but to-day the man in the street invests his money in Australian enterprises. That state of affairs is reassuring for the future.
The value of secondary production in Australia has increased from £1,425,000,000 in 1949 to £5,017,000,000 in 1960. I realize that costs to-day are much higher than they were in 1949. The number of factories in production has increased by more than 40 per cent, in the last twelve years. Secondary industries play a very important part in providing employment. In the last twelve years about 700,000 jobs have been found in factories and in service industries in Australia.
At one time the primary industries thought that the secondary industries should stand on their own feet. . Many of us hold that view to-day. But the secondary industries need assistance to reach the stage where they can reduce costs and employ more people. The primary industries must earn the overseas credits to enable the secondary industries to import raw materials for use in the factories. The two spheres of industry in a sense support each other. The best market for our primary industries is the home market. The more prosperous our secondary industries become the greater is the power of “the people to buy the goods produced by the primary industries. The secondary industries are our greatest importers. They are responsible for 50 per cent, of Australia’s imports. Most of those imports are raw materials. Approximately 30 per cent, of our overseas earnings is required to pay for the needs of the transport industries. Those needs include oil and special equipment. Only 20 per cent, of our overseas earnings is used to pay for consumer goods. It would be impossible for one set of industries1 to continue without assistance from other industries. The secondary industries are “dependent on the export of wool, wheat, sugar, butter, meat and metals to provide overseas funds to pay for the goods that they import. I complete my remarks by saying that I support what has been said by others before me on this side of the chamber. I feel that the Government now has another period ahead when it can get on with the job of continuing the good “government that it has given in the past.
– Mr. Acting Deputy President, I understand that the Minister for Customs and Excise wishes to table a Tariff Board report. Accordingly, I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later hour.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– I lay on the table of the Senate a report by a deputy chairman of the Tariff Board on the question of whether temporary duties should be imposed on peanut oil and substitute oils.
I also lay on the table of the Senate the reports of the Tariff Board on the following subjects: -
Ballpoint pens and pencils.
Gelatine and animal glues.
Polythene resins and moulding compounds.
Sitting suspended from 5.47 to 8 p.m.
– First, let me say that we members of the Opposition join with other honorable senators in the expressions of loyalty to the Throne and to Viscount and Viscountess De L’Isle, the representatives of Her Majesty. We know that a long record of achievement and service to the Crown lies behind their very noted family. We can expect them, in the high positions which they occupy here, to add to the achievements of their family and to further the welfare of the British Commonwealth of Nations, of which Australia is such an important and integral part.
Secondly, I say to Senator Sir Neil O’Sullivan and Senator Agnes Robertson that we regret very much that they are retiring. I say that purely on a personal basis, not on a party political basis. I congratulate them on the way in which they moved and seconded, respectively, the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply. In common with all honorable senators, I wish them many happy years of retirement.I do not think that “ retirement “ is the right word to use in the case of Senator Robertson, because I do not think she would know how to retire. I know that she will occupy the coming years in giving service to the community, as she has done so notably in the past.
As from 9th December last, there has been a complete change in the political climate of Australia. On that day, the electors showed in no uncertain way their dissatisfaction with and dismay at the manner in which the Government had carried out its task of governing during the previous three years. I heard Senator McManus discussing this afternoon the fact that a large proportion of the voters in Victoria, who supported one political party, will have no representation in either House of the Parliament. That opens up the whole subject of Senate elections. A great deal is said and written about the number of informal votes cast for Senate candidates. After each election there is the usual postmortem, but I doubt whether anything has come out of those discussions over the years.
Under the present system, as 1 said three years ago, Senate candidates face a doublebarrelled lottery. First of all, of course, they must obtain the endorsement of their party, but that is not a lottery. After being endorsed, the first lottery they face is that which determines their position on the ballot-paper.
– You did not do so badly this year.
– This is the first time I have been lucky in the six or seven elections that I have contested. Secondly, after the leading candidates of the leading teams have reached their quotas, a number of votes cast for them, equal to those quotas, is taken at random from the ballot boxes. Those people who voted for the two leading candidates play no further part in the election. I may be quite wrong mathematically, but it seems to me that about one-third of the electors have no say in the election of the remaining senators. Their votes are exhausted in the election of the first candidates of the two leading teams. Those who vote for independent candidates, or for candidates who are not in any group, may have effective votes right down to the last preference, but in the case of at least one-third of the electors in all States only one of their preferences counts. It seems to me to be highly unfair that some people can have up to twenty bites at the cherry, whereas others can have only one.
I think we should get together in an effort to find a solution to the problem of informal votes at Senate elections. I think it could be found by simplifying the system of election. I realize that there is no perfect system, because even when there are only two candidates, a certain number of informal votes is cast. That cannot be blamed on a complicated system. However, many people cannot understand the system of voting for the Senate. Therefore, they vote for five or six people whom they know, and after that it is purely and simply a matter of chance how they vote. The function of the Senate, and of the Federal Parliament, is much too important for the election of members to be left to chance in two lotteries. 1 suggest that if the Government can find the time, it should institute some kind of scientific inquiry to ascertain why people vote informally. The inquiry would have to be carried out on a proper basis, but I think the subject is well worth study. I know that studies have been made of the election figures but, as far as I know, no specific study has been made of the various types of informal votes that are cast at Senate elections.
In any case, Mr. President, the result of the Senate election, and of the election generally, was, in a measure, very gratifying to the Labour Party. In another sense, of course, it was very disappointing, not merely from the point of view of party politics, but from the point of view of thousands of men and women who were hoping that, with a change of government, they would have an opportunity to return to full employment. During the election campaign, on the political platforms of both sides, we heard a great deal said about unemployment. We were naturally concerned for the 100,000 or more people who at that time were out of work. Taking into account the dependants of these people, there were, as we said, at least 250,000 people dependent for their livelihood on social services. Government supporters spoke in terms of the percentage of the work force that was unemployed.
I suppose that is all right if you want to talk in terms of percentages and to give vital statistics in that way, but the only individuals who seem to be interested in vital statistics are film actresses like Marilyn Monroe. It may be important to them to be a vital statistic, but unemployed persons do not get much consolation from being told that they are included in a certain percentage. Their problems are very real to them. We should get away from this statistical approach to this matter and get down to the deeply human and personal problems involved.
This subject was dealt with very fully when the bill to increase unemployment and sickness benefits was before the Senate, so 1 will not deal with it at any length to-night, except to say that, in common with all members of the Senate, I deeply sympathize with those who have been put out of employment because of the illstarred policies of the Government. The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) said that the number of unemployed was greater than the Government had wished for. Surely to Heaven nobody would wish for any unemployment at all. Although that may have been only a slip of the tongue, the present unemployment is the outcome of Government policy. I do not think for one minute that the Government set out deliberately to create unemployment, but when it found that the effect of its policies was to increase the number of unemployed, it should have done something, before it was forced to do so, to restore to those people their natural right - the status of being fully employed. The crisis is not yet past. Only last week I was informed of one large department store in Perth which had retrenched up to 50 members of its staff. The tragedy of most of these retrenchments is that the persons dismissed are men and women who have passed the first blush of youth and will find it very difficult to be re-employed. Employers have yet to realize that the best workman they can get is somebody in his forties who has family responsibilities and realizes that once he loses a job the hope of getting another one recedes a great deal. The accident rate among workers in that age group is less than among younger people; there is not the desire to chop and change jobs; and absenteeism is not as great. People who have investigated this problem in other countries and in Australia recognize, as our common sense knowledge of this problem tells us, that the workman who gives the best return is generally found in the older age group. Yet workmen in that category are the ones who are being told that they are too old. That seems to me to be quite ridiculous and quite wrong. Those of us who are interested in bringing the greatest possible measure of social justice to the community regret that at the present time those are the people who are being forced into the ranks of the unemployed.
At the other end of the scale there are the children who are leaving school. Perhaps they have gone on to obtain higher certificates with great hope, but they find that they are unable to be employed, whereas had they left school a couple of years earlier, without receiving that higher education, they could have been readily absorbed. They regard their period of higher education as two wasted years. That is particularly so in the case of children in my own State who have qualified for the Leaving Certificate in the hope of becoming teachers. 1 understand that more than 100 students applied for entrance to Western Australian teacher training colleges. They have the necessary qualifications, having obtained their Leaving Certificates, but they have not been admitted to the colleges because there is no room for them. Although, in the present state of our education system, we could do with more teachers, we have not the facilities to train them. So, at the age of 17 or 18 years these youngsters are finding it difficult to obtain employment in the types of work to which they are suited, because positions in those fields can be filled equally as well by boys and girls of 15 years. For those school-leavers in the 17 and 18 years age group and for older people, unemployment becomes not just a matter of statistics but a matter of tragedy because they cannot be absorbed into employment.
It may be easy to talk about giving people employment in the north west of Western Australia. I heard Senator Scott talking about developmental works in the north, such as iron ore plants, needing workers. We know that that is so. Everybody who goes to that part of the country to work earns every penny that he gets because of the hard conditions of employment there. Some of the unemployed people could not be sent to that area because of their age, their physical condition or their family commitments. There might be 500 or 600 jobs available there, but that does not mean that 500 or 600 men chosen at random would be able to fill those jobs. This problem of unemployment has to be investigated from different angles. In a community such as this there should be no unemployment.
Our sister dominion of New Zealand has problems similar to ours. It is faced with difficulties equal to those that confront Australia in respect of the European Common Market. It has not the same amount of secondary industry that Australia has. Yet the number of unemployed in New Zealand is only 320. Allowing for the difference between the populations of New Zealand and Australia, our unemployment problem is ten or eleven times worse than that of New Zealand. Only last week I saw in the Sydney press advertisements by New Zealand employers trying to get Australian workmen and girls to go to that country. Those employers were offering not only fares to New Zealand but also return fares to Australia at the end of a period of twelve months for people who would go to New Zealand to take up employment. We should emulate the example of New Zealand. We should see how it has coped with the situation which was pretty grim a little while ago. In the main, that country has overcome its unemployment problem and at the same time has retained a much higher standard of social services than we have in Australia.
The Governor-General’s Speech was very disappointing in regard to social services. Very little mention was made of them. The only social services that were mentioned were the unemployment and sickness benefit, which already has been increased, and age pensions. No mention was made of child endowment, maternity allowances or pensioner funeral benefit. Those benefits have remained static for very many years. Some of them have never been altered since they were introduced by a Labour government in 1944. Because of the inflated value of money and the various periods of inflation through which we have passed in the last eighteen years, there should have been some increase in those payments in order to maintain their relationship with the purchasing power of money; but nothing has been done in that regard. I hope that when the Government brings down the Budget - if this Government does bring down the Budget this year - these matters will be rectified. 1 wish to refer to one very important problem with which I believe most honorable senators are fully conversant. That is the problem of housing for disabled and invalid people. I believe that during the recess all of us received a copy of a very fine submission by various bodies in connexion with housing for physically handicapped people. This problem has been very close to my heart for a -long time, lt is three or four years since 1 raised the matter in the Senate in an endeavour to get a proportion of the State housing commission homes set apart for paraplegics and other people who are physically handicapped. The people who were responsible for this submission, particularly Mrs. Bedwin, the secretary of the physically handicapped people’s association, had done an excellent job in presenting to the Government a case that simply cannot be refuted.
One of the greatest tragedies I have seen - only just recently - was that of a man of about nineteen years who was physically handicapped, but not mentally handicapped to any great degree. Because his sole remaining parent had died, there was no institution for him to go to other than a mental hospital. It is a great indictment of our modern society that so many physically handicapped people have to be placed in mental hospitals because there are no hostels where they can be accommodated and where they can learn to become worthwhile citizens by getting back their self-respect through doing some kind of work. That is not impossible; it can be done. The Government should give some assistance to hostels that cater for physically handicapped people, although they are young people. The maintenance cost of such hostels is very small compared with what the Government has to pay - out in respect of mental hospitals and other institutions. All the relevant figures are -included in the submission that these bodies made to the Government. Once young men or women are placed in a mental hospital, their life becomes to them a living death. Very little is done to rehabilitate them. If they go to a hostel where they can be rehabilitated, treated and taught to help themselves and gradually become worthwhile citizens, their own self-esteem is bolstered up. That would save the country a great deal of money in invalid pensions and other forms of social service payments. This has been done for some people, but the trouble is that there are not sufficient hostels for the number of people needing them. I earnestly ask the Government to consider this matter. I am giving it plenty of time, so that if it remains as the Government until the next Budget is presented to the Parliament I hope something will have been done to extend the provisions of the Aged Persons Homes Act to include physically handicapped people.
Because of the great number of road accidents that occur these days many young people who are mentally agile are becoming paraplegics. Their mental alertness is still most marked. We have at our Perth hospital a very fine annexe which is available for paraplegics. We have there doctors who are dedicated to the task of making paraplegics self-reliant and selfsupporting, and of restoring them to a decent way of life. I put to the Senate some years ago what I thought was a very simple and sound request. It was that a certain number of the houses that are constructed, partially at least, with funds from the Commonwealth Government under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, should be set aside for paraplegics. It would be necessary, of course, to deviate a little from ordinary plans of home construction. The doors would have to be- a little wider. There would need to be ramps instead of steps, built-in beds with pulleys so that the occupants could get from their wheelchairs to their beds, work benches at a certain height in the kitchens, and so on. In these days when we speak of conquering space, and when people go round the world three times in the time that we have been sitting in this chamber to-day, surely it is not beyond the ability of our architects in government departments and elsewhere to design homes that meet the requirements of those who are less fortunately placed than we are. Moreover, it would not be something for nothing, because the houses would be returning rent to the Government. With the rents, a fund could be accumulated with which to build more homes.
It is as important for the Government to help with the housing of the physically handicapped as it is to help with the housing of the aged. Many of the physically handicapped are just on the threshold of life, Their lives will never be as full as those of the rest of us, but nevertheless, we can do a great deal to make them much more satisfying than they can possibly be under the present conditions. Many of the parents of handicapped children think to themselves: “ It is all right while we are here, but after we are gone what is going to happen? Will our children finish up in a mental asylum? “ So, I put it to the Government that, without any big stretch of the imagination or of budgeting, it should be possible to extend the provisions of the Aged Persons Homes Act to include the physically handicapped as well.
I have taken a great interest in homes for aged people. I do not propose to niggle the Government on the subject. I think a very fine step was taken when the legislation was originally introduced, but it couldbe extended to include local government and State government bodies. Recently, we had a very severe heat-wave in our city of lights. In one week, I understand that fifteen inmates of a home for the aged died, and that number might well have doubled during the whole period of the heat-wave. A suggestion was made that the homes should be air-conditioned, but the State Government said that it did not have the money to do that. At the same time, I was interested to listen to the following news item broadcast by the Australian BroadcastingCommission on 13th February last: -
Stud rams at a merino stud at Warren, in the north-west of New South Wales, have no cares about the inland heat. At the Egelabra stud of H. E. Kater and Son, the rams now live in an air-conditioned shed. Day after day theoutside temperature is around the century, but for the rams the temperature is a comfortable 70 degrees. A spokesman for the stud said to-day that the rams were valued at up to 1,000 guineas each.
That may be where the difference lies -
In high temperatures they were inclined to go off their feed and their fertility could be affected.
The Government of Western Australia cannot afford the money to provide airconditioning in homes for aged people. Despite the lack of air-conditioning, there is a waiting period of three years for admission to the Mount Henry home for women. Recently, it was necessary for me to approach the department concerned with a view to getting a couple of elderly women into the Mount Henry home. The officials told me that the waiting period was about three years. That struck me as somewhat ironical when, on the same day that the deaths due to the heat-wave conditions were reported, I saw an advertisement for a home for the aged which a religious body contemplated building - I think it has since been built - which stated that if an applicant had £850 he could immediately obtain one of the flats being built partly at the expense of the Commonwealth Government. In addition to the £850 key money, or whatever we like to call it, the applicant was also required to pay a weekly rent. Some people are under the impression that when a lump sum is paid by an applicant for one of these homes for the aged, the financial responsibility of the applicant ends. It does not. He still has to pay , a weekly rent, maintenance, rates, the cost of electric light, and so on.
Side by side with a home that was opened recently in Western Australia is a home which is not run by a church body. The position is causing quite a lot of concern. I think that the church bodies and the social welfare organizations which build these homes are to be commended. They are building homes for people who have £650, £850, or £2,000, which is the required amount in one instance. If the Government continues to give them a subsidy, they are very fortunate, but I want to take up the cudgels on behalf of the people who have not £650, £850 or £2,000, the people who are living in small back rooms on a pension, and who will never have as much money as that. They are the people for whom this Government should be most concerned. It should also be concerned with those who are living in sub-standard accommodation in some of the State homes. I am interested in the groups of people who have joined together for the purpose of building homes for the aged and attracting the Government subsidy, although nobody seems- to know very much about their organizations, if they are organizations. The” whole matter of this government subsidy for homes should be investigated. I am very glad that the Government is providing money for homes for aged people, but I would like to see it provided in a more equitable way. 1 would particularly like to see the provisions of the act include those who are not aged in the sense of physical age, but who are definitely aged through suffering and are handicapped by reason of physical or mental disabilities.
In the recess we received a notification from the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) regarding the placing of customs duty on imported penicillin and streptomycin. In this House last year we had a very lively, but very short, debate on the future of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. We were amazed to find, in the course of our deliberations, that the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories had ceased to produce penicillin, although it was first in that field. The notification which we received from the Minister for Trade earlier this year shows that our fears were not groundless. Because of the dumping of cheap penicillin from overseas, not only the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, but also the Glaxo laboratories, were forced to cut production of penicillin. Fortunately, the scientific work force employed by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories has not been disbanded, and the Government has at last reluctantly been forced to re-impose duties on imported streptomycin and penicillin. With the re-imposition of duties on those two commodities it is hoped that the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories and other private medical laboratories will be able to continue to produce penicillin in Australia. If honorable senators have not read the submissions that were placed before the Tariff Board in relation to this matter, it would be a very good exercise for them to do so. Those submissions bear out our contention that Australia was being flooded with drugs from overseas whereas our needs could have been met by drugs made in Australia which were better suited to Australian conditions and which could have been made available at a much lower cost.
I should like to compliment the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council for the preparations it is making to celebrate Canberra Day. This celebration is being held to commemorate the day upon which Canberra was established as the National Capital. However, more could be done to publicize Canberra Day in the schools and in other agencies throughout the Commonwealth. It is interesting to note that the amalgamation of the Australian National University with the Canberra University College, about which we were a little worried some twelve months ago, has proved to be so successful that now a record number of 1,250 students are enrolled at the School of General Studies. They are in addition to the number of persons who are enrolled at the Institute of Advanced Studies. That shows that in Canberra there can be a successful wedding of parties which at one time were deemed to be incompatible, lt is interesting to note that an announcement to this effect has been made on the eve of Canberra Day. As I said a little earlier, I hope more publicity will be given to Canberra Day in other parts of the Commonwealth. Not so long ago the day passed quite unnoticed even in this place. Members of the Advisory Council have done an excellent job in sponsoring certain celebrations. I hope the celebrations will prove to be worth while and will be in keeping with the importance of the day.
In conclusion we regret that the Government has not put forward satisfactory plans for a solution of the economic problems which confront us and that the Parliament was not called together earlier to discuss the difficulties that became apparent when Britain indicated her intention to apply for membership of the European Common Market, a possibility which has been brought to the notice of the Senate consistently over the last five years by my colleague, Senator Hendrickson. We on this side of the chamber believe that if all parties in the Parliament had been brought together in conference earlier, some solution or partial solution of our difficulties may have been found. We hope that even at this late hour the Minister for Trade will achieve some success during his mission abroad. We assure the Government and the people of Australia that no matter what is the outcome of his mission the economic welfare of the people of Australia will definitely remain the main concern of members of Her Majesty’s Opposition.
– Mr. Acting Deputy President, I hasten to associate myself with the expressions of loyalty to the Throne which honorable senators on both sides of the chamber have expressed through the Governor-General. Having done that, 1 hasten to dissociate myself from all the criticisms which we have heard epitomized in the last few words uttered by Senator Tangney. Those criticisms from the Opposition have been designed generally to show that the Government has no1 managed the Australian economy properly over the last two or three years and that it is not now submitting proposals and taking action which will correct the one major thing that is wrong with the economy at the present moment.
As the charge which has been levelled against the Government is that it did in 1960 things which should not have been done and that they are not ‘being corrected, I should like to remind the Senate what the position was in those days, what the problem was which this country had to face, and what it had to look forward to if proper measures were not taken at that time. In spite of warnings that had been given by the Government, and in spite of requests, made during the Budget speech that credit be curtailed by the banks, the economy was running into a classic boom. I wish to give a few illustrations of what was happening at that time. Let me turn, first, to the field of building, which is the balance-wheel of any economy. The construction of new houses had increased from a rate of 85,000 units per year in 1960 to 96,000 for 1961. The value of building construction, apart from new houses and flats, jumped in one calendar year from £207,000,000 to’ £255,000,000. The value of all construction rose from £474,000,000 to £596,000,000 in one calendar year.
Let me turn now to the motor cai industry. Registrations of motor cars were running at the rate of 357,000 a year.
– Do you mean new cars?
– Yes, new cars - new registrations. There was an increase of 26 per cent, in the rate of construction and registration of new motor cars in the ohe calendar year. The number of employees in that industry rose by 9 per cent, in the one calendar year, compared with an average of 4 per cent, in other industries for the same time. Credit was so freely available that it was being used, as we all know, through the medium of bank overdrafts to trade on the stock exchange, thereby forcing the prices of company shares to heights which had no relation whatever to their net asset backing. Credit was used so freely in the development of new housing areas that the prices which people were charged were rising without any limitation whatever.
They are three illustrations, taken from three industries, of the general picture at that time. Nothing would have pleased this Government or any other government more than to see that rate of expansion, that confidence and that development continue if it had been possible to do so on a reasonable cost basis. It was plain to any observer, not only that it was not possible for this activity to be continued on a reasonable cost basis, but also that it was not possible for it to be continued at all. Forget about money. There just were not in this country the resources and the man-power to allow the rate of development to continue over the field of our economy at that time.
The results of attempted expansion without the ability to achieve it were apparent on every side. In the building industry, we saw penalty rates being paid, because of the great shortage of labour, for work on Saturdays and Sundays, with holidays being taken in the middle of the week. We saw building contractors holding their work-forces together - because once they let them dissolve they could not build them up again - by bidding for unprofitable contracts. We saw construction after construction held up, with men sitting idle round the sites, because of lack of ability to deliver the materials that these men needed to finish the job. This all added to the final cost of what was eventually constructed.
Not only was there activity in the building industry at a rate that could not be continued because the materials were not there, but also, at the same lime, to compound the difficulties of that industry and other industries, there was great competition for labour to make the television sets, the kitchen utensils and all the other equipment necessitated by this new rate of construction. Men were being drawn off directly into the motor industry, to which I have already referred, and indirectly into all the ancillary industries which were making things for the motor industry. Production was proceeding at a rate that could not be continued, because the market of Australia could not continue to accept new cars in those numbers.
– Are not all these troubles you are speaking about characteristic of private enterprise?
Sena or GORTON. - I am not speaking of troubles. I am speaking of the position in I960. I gather’ that the honorable senator agrees that that was the position. That is fine. That was the position, as is agreed on both sides of the chamber. At least, it is agreed to by the Opposition Whip. If other Opposition senators disagree, let them fight among themselves; I do not want to get into it.
That was the situation that faced us in 1960. I am positive that had it been allowed to continue without any check whatever - if the old conventional type of boom in which we were” then had remained uncontrolled - it would have led to the old conventional type of crash, which has always followed an uncontrolled private enterprise boom. The actions we took then to check and rectify the situation I have outlined hurt some people - as they were bound to do - who did not in any way deserve to be hurt, but I am certain that if those actions had not been taken a great many more people would have been hurt. In a crash there would have been mass unemployment, and a hurt spreading through every section of our economy, as we saw in the bad days of the past. So action, opposed at the time by the Opposition, was taken to rectify the situation and tq prevent the boom from being followed by the sort of crash that we as a Government will not tolerate.
Over a period, this action has had a considerable beneficial effect upon the economy. The growth of our secondary industry depends on our overseas funds, because only with those funds can we bring into the country the raw materials which secondary industry must have if it is to continue to expand. We have seen those funds grow from £376,000,000 in December, 1960 - before which they were running down- to £602,000,000 in December, 1961. That reserve is an insurance for the employment of every man working in a factory in Australia. We have seen, in the same period, our exports rise from £418,000,000 to £532,000,000 and our imports drop from £560,000,000 to £421,000,000. But these are not the only effects, important as they are, that have flowed from the actions taken in 1960. Since then, we have seen a stability in the price and cost structure which has endured for longer than at any period in the past decade. In some States we have seen a fall in the cost of living, as shown by the Commonwealth Statistician’s consumer price index. With wages kept at the existing level, that fall is equivalent to a rise in real wages. With wages steady and a drop in prices there is some real benefit - quite different from the illusory benefit resulting from a rise in wages followed by a rise in prices.
The action taken at that time did not lead, as it has been alleged they led, to any lack of development or expansion. During the period since they were taken we have seen the progress of the scheme for throwing across Australia from east to west a bridge of steel - a railway line of uniform gauge - so that we may really be one country. We have seen completed the standard-gauge railway between Sydney and Melbourne. That will have the effect of reducing transport costs, and benefits to the economy will flow from those reductions. We have seen the beginning of the building of beef roads in Queensland, and the beginning of an immense dam on the river Murray, so that South Australia may get the water on which - its senators tell us - its life depends.
– You were a bit tardy in your approach to Queensland,, were you not?
– Over the years money has been expended on Queensland by both the Commonwealth and the State governments. In relation to population, it was more than was expended on the States in the south.
– You cannot get away with a superficial answer like that.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McKellar).- Order!
– I am sorry.
– It is all right, Mr. Acting Deputy President. I expect these small noises from that quarter, particularly in an attempt to prevent my placing before the Senate the factual story of the development that has gone on in Australia since 1960 and is still continuing. That development has led to an expenditure in the Northern Territory during this Government’s term of office of well over £18,000,000 compared to about £800,000 spent by -Labour when it was in government. However, I do not want to become involved in the type of gutter politics into which my friend, Senator Dittmer, would seek to lead me. I wish to continue with the story that I am developing.
– I rise to order. I seek the protection of the Chair. Did the Minister say that I indulged in gutter politics?
– I said that I did not want to be led into gutter politics. If my friend thinks that he will not lead me into gutter politics, why does he object to my words?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! I think the Minister should withdraw the words to which Senator Dittmer objects.
– What words do you want me to withdraw, Mr. Acting Deputy President?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - The suggestion that Senator Dittmer may lead you into gutter politics.
– I did not make the suggestion, but if you think that I did, 1 will withdraw whatever words that led you, Sir, to -think. that I may have made it.
Before the interruption, I was stating that the financial measures -adopted by the Government had not. had any detrimental effect on the development of Australia but that that development had proceeded at a faster rate than ever before in the nation’s history. I freely admit that the Government did not foresee that so many people would be registered for employment, and that the unemployment situation would endure for this length of time. The situation is being remedied now. It is not being remedied, as has been claused, by the adoption of Labour’s policy. The policy put forward by Labour at the elections involved not only budgeting for a deficit of £100,000,000; it involved, on Labour’s own figures, the provision of £93,000,000 for one of its propositions, £30,000,000 for another, £10,000,000 for another and £14,500,000 for another. I have taken those figures from Labour’s policy speech.
– The Prime Minister thought that the cost would be higher.
– In addition, Labour’s policy involved the abandonment of revenue to an extent that 1 could not find’ calculated in the policy speech. I can quote only the figures contained in Labour’s policy speech. Senator Dittmer has reminded me that the Prime Minister’s advisers in’ the Public Service calculated that to give effect to Labour’s policy it would cost £300,000,000. I do not accept that as being the correct figure, but I do think that the propositions submitted by Labour would have cost at least £200,000,000.
– At the most, they would have cost £240,000,000.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! Senator Dittmer must cease interjecting.
– The cost of the measures being adopted by the Government to counter unemployment does not remotely approach the cost of the inflationary programme submitted by the Labour Party at the elections. The Government’s measures will lead to a deficit of perhaps £40,000,000 during the year - a deficit well worth incurring in order to ensure that work is available for all those who are able and willing to work. I am confident that the Government’s measures will lead to full employment. I believe that the February figures of persons registered for employment will show-
– How can you-
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT.-
Order! Senator Dittmer, I warned you previously. I now name Senator Dittmer, and call on the Minister in charge of the Senate to take the necessary action.
– Do I get an opportunity to express regret?
– I call on Senator Dittmer under Standing Order No. 440 to make an explanation to the Senate.
– I am sorry if I have offended. I was simply seeking information. I had no desire to be offensive.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT.-
Order! Is the honorable senator prepared to apologize?
– Yes, I express myregret.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT- 1 accept the apology.
– I am most gratified by Senator Dittmer’s apology. I was saying that the Government’s measures will quickly lead to a reduction in the number of persons registered for employment. It is essential that the measures have that effect. Australia must expand at the greatest rate possible in keeping with the manpower, materials and capital at its disposal. But while that expansion is proceeding we must not lose sight of the importance of stability in the economy. Without stability the country cannot expand properly. In the future the Government will make sufficient money available to provide work for every man who is willing to work and to provide all the materials necessary for this country’s expansion. But if we were to follow the programme that has been suggested by the Opposition, we would overtax our resources. That would not lead to proper expansion but to the fools’ gold of an illusory expansion, which would lead to boom and bust. That we will not do. In the future, as in the past, there will be recurring, unforeseen problems.
– The people of New South Wales and South Australia did not believe you, and you are now trying to kid us.
– I am telling the Senate what I believe. I do not care whether honorable senators opposite believe me or not. But please allow me to say in this Senate what I believe. Do not try to gag me as you have gagged Senator McManus, stopping him from telling us what he believes. As I was saying before I was interrupted, we shall have, in the future, recurring problems that are not .under our control. We cannot forecast the volume of primary production. We cannot be sure of the prices that we shall receive on overseas markets for the produce of our farms. Nor can we be assured that markets will be left open to them following political action in oversea countries. These things must fluctuate. Because they are basic and vital in their effects upon what happens inside Australia, as they fluctuate, so must the policies adopted by Australia fluctuate - at times speeding up when they are permitted by these variables to do so, and at other times slowing down in a sort of Keynesian approach to the problem. These problems cannot be forecast, but as they arise they will be tackled with one continuing central theme in mind - continued expansion of Australia and the use of all men and material for a better life for all Australians.
– I begin by associating myself with the expressions of loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen. Perhaps in this debate that might be the only ground of agreement between members on this side of the chamber and Government supporters.
We have just listened to the most extraordinary speech in this debate. The Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) indulged in a considerable amount of mock heroics, and we saw the Acting Deputy President appear to be most sensitive about interjections from this side of the House - more sensitive, perhaps, than I have noticed before in my experience here. That might indicate a frame of mind on the part of the Government for which, perhaps, its members might have some excuse.
– On a point of order, Mr. President. I suggest that that is a grave reflection upon the Chair, and I ask that the honorable senator be required to withdraw it.
– It is an observation.
– If I may elaborate. Senator Toohey has suggested that the Acting Deputy President was influenced by the debate in his ruling from the chair. That is a grave reflection upon the Chair.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuIIin). - The point of order is upheld. The honorable senator will withdraw the reflection on the Chair.
– 1 shall withdraw; but before I do so, I should like to know what I have to withdraw.
– The honorable senator will withdraw.
– I withdraw. I come now to Senator Gorton’s contribution to this debate, about which I shall have a considerable amount to say. Senator Gorton raised the standard or banner of the Government in justification of the economic measures taken in November, 1960, and on other occasions by this Government. One thing that one can, perhaps, admire about the senator is that whatever doubts we may have about his discretion we cannot doubt his consistency. To-night he was plugging the line from which his colleagues here and in another place have long since retreated, and, indeed, in complete opposition to his colleagues. Perhaps it could be said that the Minister is acting in the characteristic fashion of the department that he represents - he is prepared to do down with his ship. Some of his colleagues are not similarly disposed.
The Governor-General’s Speech referred to the defence of this country in these words -
A substantial proportion of all equipment is produced in Australia in both Government factories and private industry.
I do not agree with that contention. I believe that in the production of weapons for the defence of this country we are not taking advantage of the skills and ability of our workmen and the raw materials that we have available. I am mindful of the fact that within the last six or seven weeks a statement was made by the Minister for Supply (Mr. Fairhall) that aircraft work in South Australia would cease in the very near future, despite the fact that the former Minister for Supply gave to a deputation, of which I was a member, an assurance that the work would continue until the end of 1962 and for some part of 1963. This is a matter that can have serious consequences in the whole field of national defence.
Honorable senators on both sides of the chamber will know that the work associated with the repair and the building of. aircraft is highly skilled, and an occupation requiring tremendous knowledge. In South Australia men have been trained in hundreds for this work, but they are now to be thrown on the labour market to be taken up in other fields of occupation. When the time comes for some enlightened government to ensure that the skills of Australian workmen shall be utilized for the benefit of our .defence, we will have to train these men, as has been said repeatedly by us on every possible occasion. The cessation of this aircraft work in South Australia is a retrograde step and not consistent with the statement in the Speech of the Governor-General that we are taking full advantage of local raw materials or local skills in the construction of this defence equipment. It is interesting to note that the former Playford Government in South Australia-
– Have you heard of the resignation?
– No. I am talking only in terms of the people’s will and expression as exemplified by the recent election in that State. The people of South Australia have indicated quite clearly that they prefer the Labour Party to the Liberal Party, and I think that I was accurate in referring to the former Playford Government, because at this moment its future is most uncertain. If it continues in government, it will do so as the minority party. I do not want to be misunderstood on this point, and I do not think I am saying anything incorrect. Before I was interrupted I was about to say that the former Playford Government in South Australia had made preparations for locomotives to be built in Japan for the South Australian railways. Actions of that character bypass the skills of Australian workers and give to another country the benefit of contracts that we could well undertake with our own workmen in our own country. That is a most important aspect of the position.
In this debate much has been said by Government supporters about development. Senator Gorton talked about the £18,000,000 that this Government was allegedly spending in the north of Australia. Everybody knows - and I think Senator Gorton knows as well as anybody -that the £18,000,000 to which he refers is doing nothing more than scratching the surface in the development of northern Australia - a huge area of land occupied by only 4 per cent, of the total population of this country, lt will be remembered that the Labour Party had a practical solution of this great and challenging problem confronting us - the development of our north. We promised in our policy speech that if returned to government we would appoint a Minister for Northern Development - a challenging step on the part of the Labour Party, and one which, I believe, would have done much toward the development of northern Australia. I do not want to go into the question of whether this Government, or the Labour Government before it’, or other governments in the past, have dealt adequately with the problem of the development of the northern part of Australia; but I think we should all be turning our thought towards this vital part of this great continent. We should be thinking in terms of what the northern areas can produce, how we can bring a life-giving flow of water to them, and how they can be associated with the general advancement of this country. I do not bow the knee to the Government when it talks of its activities in this field, because I believe that the programme advanced by the Labour Party at the last federal election was a practical and imaginative one which, if the party had been given an opportunity to put it into effect, would have brought great benefits to this country.
While I am speaking of development, I want to deal with the question of oil, which is of current interest. I remind the Senate that yesterday I asked the Minister for National Development whether the Government intended to do anything about foreign investment in and foreign ownership of the oil wells which have already been discovered and which may be discovered in this country. The Minister said that he was not prepared to table a statement in the Senate which could be debated. I think that is regrettable. Sooner or later, we will have to face up to the problem of who is to own the oil in Australia. I would say, as an Australian, that if any millionaires are to be created as a result of the discovery of oil in Australia, I want them to be Australians, not foreigners. It was interesting to read an article in the financial pages of the “ Daily Mirror “ on Monday of this week. The article stated -
The Queensland oil strikes have aroused tremendous activities, not only in the stock market, but also among owners of leases bordering the Moonie area.
Three of the leases are owned by Americanbased companies, in which the Australian public has no interest.
The companies are:
Phillips Petroleum, of Oklahoma, which is drilling a well at Thargomindah, west of Moonie.
Seneca Oil, of Oklahoma, which is doing exploratory work east of Moonie and which plans a well in May.
Magellan Petroleum Corporation, which has done little work on its lease north-west of the Moonie area.
It seems obvious from that, Mr. President, that a considerable number of good leases adjacent to the scene of this successful strike - I use the word “ successful “ advisedly - are owned by companies outside Australia. Sooner or later, if the interests of this country are to be preserved, consideration must be given to the ownership of these leases, and to the extent to which outside interests are going to control the output and the general working of the oil industry in Australia. I know that it can be argued that this is not exclusively a federal matter and that the States have some rights and responsibilities. However, let us at least accept our share of the responsibility. We do not want in Australia a situation such as exists in Canada, where the inflow of capital has created a grave problem. The people of Canada have at last awakened to the fact that about 70 per cent, of their industry is controlled by outside interests.
There is, of course, a limit to the extent to which foreign investment can be permitted to interfere with the economy of a country. We do not want to find ourselves in the position in which the Canadians find themselves. That creates ill-feeling with other countries. The people of Canada have become perturbed because they no longer own the basic industries of their own country. One can understand that the Canadians feel bitter in such circumstances. Let us ensure, at this very early stage, that we make some preparations to preserve our great natural resources. I do not say that they should necessarily be preserved exclusively for the people of Australia. Some foreign investment certainly should be permitted, but let us see that our resources are controlled in general for the welfare and the benefit of the people of Australia. Unless some action is taken along these lines by the Government, I can see no hope for the future. By way of passing reference I would suggest that if the situation that exists at the moment is allowed to continue, the sheikdoms of the Middle East - backward as they are - will be getting more out of their oil than we will get out of our oil, if it becomes a commercial venture - and there is every indication that it will.
I come now to the matters which were dealt with by Senator Gorton in his speech. He made it quite obvious that he was completely unrepentant for his part in the disastrous credit squeeze adopted by the Menzies , Government. He said, without equivocation, that as far as he was concerned the action of the Government was completely right, and that the charges made by the Opposition that the Government had interfered with the economy had no validity. I admire the honorable senator at least for his courage and consistency. Those of us who recall the drama of the debates that took place on the measures of November, 1960, will remember that the Government parties themselves were not united on the issues that were raised at that time. Two honorable senators, in particular, violently disagreed with the Government’s economic policy. One of them had the perception to know that the Government was wrong, but not the courage to vote against it. The other one had the perception to know that it was wrong and also the courage to vote against it.
Perhaps there would be nothing wrong in looking back and considering some of the statements that were made by prominent people on that occasion. I refer, first, to a statement made by the Minister for Labour and National Service, Mr. McMahon, when he was making his contribution to a debate in another place. He said -
A second point, and one which I think 1 should make particularly for the benefit of honorable members on my own side of the House, is that there is no reason in the world why any one should be hurt as the result of these measures. If people are wise they can avoid suffering any hurt from them.
That was the view advanced by Senator Gorton to-night. His attitude is that there was no need for people to be hurt. Mr. McMahon said that the only people who would be hurt by the measures were those who were unwise. It seems that a number of people were unwise, and they were not all people who work for a living. I shall have something more to say about that in a moment or two. I come now to a statement made by Senator Spooner, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, during a similar debate on the Australian economy. He said -
I thought that one of the most pathetic efforts of the Leader of the Opposition was his attempt to try to convince the Senate that there had been unemployment in Australia as the result of the policies that had been pursued by the Government. It is almost incredible that the Leader of the Opposition should attempt to establish that there has been unemployment in recent years and that the Government’s present proposals will lead to further unemployment.
I wonder what Senator Gorton has to jay about that? I wonder whether he is still prepared to say that everybody is out of step except himself and a few other members of the Menzies Government.
Honorable senators will recall that among the measures taken by the Government in 1960 were the panic measures which increased the sales tax on motor vehicles from 30 per cent, to 40 per cent., and the measures which, for the first time in the history of Australia, compelled insurance companies to invest 30 per cent, of their holdings in government or semigovernmental securities. Widespread unemployment was created as a result of the Government’s measures. Now the Government brings down a proposal to reduce the rate of sales tax from 30 per cent, to 221 per cent. Obviously, it agrees that the Australian Labour Party was right in its contention at the time the rate was increased.
– I thought you gave your approval to the insurance proposal.
– I was not canvassing the merits or demerits of that proposal.
– You said that that was one of the causes of the widespread unemployment.
– I said that it was one of the panic measures taken by the Government. I was not canvassing that particular proposal. I did not say whether I approved or disapproved of it. I do not want to be sidetracked, because I wish to say a few other things.
To-night, Senator Gorton sought to give the impression that the only people who had expressed dissatisfaction with the Government’s policies were members of the Labour Opposition, and that now that certain action had been taken by the Government the people, in a few months’ time, would be unaware that anything had happened. That is the kind of thinking that was expressed by Mr. McMahon in another place, and Senator Spooner in this chamber, in November, 1960. Mr. McMahon said, without equivocation -
All I can say is that there have been many unwise people in Australia in the last twelve months, because many people have been hurt.
Let us see what someone who is probably closer to the Government than we are has to say about the present situation. His statement does not agree with what Senator Gorton said. I have here an extract from an address to the annual meeting of Haliburton Investments Limited by the chairman, Mr. Staniforth Ricketson, on 26th February, 1962. Everybody knows that Mr. Staniforth Ricketson is a person of some consequence in this country, and one who does not have a very close liaison with senators on this side of the chamber. He had something to say about the Government’s policy. Under a heading, “ ‘ Stop and Go ‘ or ‘Go and Stop ‘? “, this statement appears -
At the same time, many people will be asking whether the policy elaborated by the Prime Minister, Mr. Menzies, on 6th February will prove to be only another phase of what has often been referred to as the “ Stop and Go “ principles on which the Government has operated almost throughout the whole of its eleven years of office, but which could more appropriately be termed “ Go and Stop!”
He went on to say -
The new Government measures-
They are the measures that are currently before this and another place - . . which follow largely along the lines elaborated by the Leader of the Labour Opposition, Mr. Calwell, in his policy speech and attracted strong support from the electors, fall into two categories.
He went on to analyse the measures taken. Of course, those statements support the contention that we on this side of the Senate have made repeatedly. I do not suggest, Mr. President, that members of the Australian Labour Party have a monopoly of all the brains in this country. It would be futile and stupid for me to say that. I do not suggest that senators on this side of the chamber have not made, and do not make, mistakes. But 1 do say that in our attitude to the credit squeeze and our opposition to the economic policies that have been applied by this Government in the last three or four years we have been completely right and the Government has been completely wrong.
The Government would be expecting far too much if it thought that we .would be silent about these matters; that we would fail to criticize where criticism was warranted; or that we would not take whatever political advantage might accrue from the situation. That, of course, is politics. It is no good the Government grizzling about the situation into which only its own folly has got it. If a Labour government, by its legislative actions, created a similar situation, we would have to accept responsibility for it.
Despite Senator Gorton’s smokescreen, and the arguments that have been advanced by senators on the Government side, the inescapable fact remains that this Government is now seeking to put into effect the very policy that Labour advocated prior to 9th December, and which Mr. Menzies said just could not be implemented. There is no doubt about that; and, of course, supporters of the Government are properly silent when I make that statement.
I will conclude on this note: Since the Government initiated these policies we have seen reactions from various sections of the Australian public. We have seen the reaction of Mr. Staniforth Ricketson, who plays a not inconsequential part in the financial affairs of Australia. We have seen what has happened in two States on a very recent date when the people expressed their views at the polls. Before I conclude I must make this point: In the Governor-General’s Speech I see that the Torres Strait islanders have been granted the franchise. 1 agree wholeheartedly with that. My only concern is that the people of South Australia are not given the same privilege. Under the Playford Government, which happily has been defeated after years of gerrymandered office-
– And miserable gerrymandering.
– Yes, I do not think that term is intemperate. The people of South Australia have not been extended the same privilege which this Government has now seen fit to give the Torres Strait islanders. I hope the day will come when the people of South Australia will demand for themselves the same privileges as the Torres Strait islanders are about to enjoy; namely, the right to a free vote for the election of their upper House.
In conclusion, Mr. President, I say that I have not come here to-night to praise the Government. I believe that by what I have said I have made that perfectly obvious. I tried to keep the criticism that I levelled against the Government within the bounds of temperance and accuracy. I do not think any supporter of the Government can say that I have contravened either of those two points. In regard to the present political situation in Australia, I say that with the slender hold that the Government has on the political affections of the people there is nothing that it can do to rehabilitate itself. It should get out and make way for a new and fresh government. The trend which has become stridently evident in New South Wales and South Australia in the last few days is sufficient indication that the people want a change.
– Mr. President, first of all I should like to associate myself with the expressions of loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen that are set out in the motion, and to join in the felicitations to their Excellencies, Lord and Lady De L’Isle. In common with all other honorable senators, I was very pleased to see them here. I believe we all respond to the references that His Excellency made to his association with the Parliament. It is fitting and fine to see His Excellency in Canberra.
He is here at a time when great development is taking place in the National
Capital. All of us have watched with 9 considerable amount, of. interest the de*velopment that is taking place under the National Capital Development Commission. We are looking forward to the day when the plans that we now see in progress will be implemented, and the lake will be a thing of very great beauty that we all can admire. I hope that as time goes on Canberra, as the National Capital, will have sufficient amenities to make it a city that will attract all manner of people, including people who will come here for conferences so that the organizations to which they belong can acquire a truly national spirit.
I also hope that when the new Parliament House takes its place in Canberra, whilst being of contemporary design, it will be of sufficient grace and attraction to last for very many years as a thing of very great beauty. His Excellency, speaking to us in this chamber on 20th February, indicated that he brought a very strong sense of public duty to his office. We in South Australia are looking forward to seeing him in Adelaide very soon when he comes to open our Festival of Arts.
I also wish to associate myself with tha congratulations that have been offered ta Senator Sir Neil ©”Sullivan and Senator Robertson for their speeches in connexion with the motion before the Senate. Speaking personally, I am also one of those who, by reason of circumstances, must take a temporary leave of this place from 30th June next. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve for a further short period, although I wish very much that Senator Buttfield were serving in this place for the full term of six years. I am constrained to say something about this matter, because the whole sequence emphasizes the fact that the complicated machinery necessary in these cases has a very real part to play. I, with others, have explained the involvements of this matter many times and I have received, as others have, pleas that the processes should be simplified. But this is one of those instances when everything that could happen has happened. All the clauses have had to be invoked. This raises the whole matter of simplification, but I think that those who drafted the clauses many long years ago probably w«e very wise. After all, it must be remembered that they were concerned with a House, half of whose members retired every three years, and which had a numerical strength that had a definite relation to that of the other place. Added !to all ‘ those factors was the fact that the term commenced on 1st July. There were many things to be taken into account, and a simplified process was not an easy one to resolve.
The machinery of this House must be kept’ in a state of continuity, and provision must be made for the Government of the day to have the benefit of its just representation for the whole of the period to which it is entitled. Provision must also be made for the people to have an adequate say when a vacancy or a gap occurs. Maybe the only victim of the process is the person who gets caught up in the complex. I have been described as the one Who comes and goes and comes again. All in all, taking one consideration with another, with all its disadvantages I believe the present system has quite a deal to commend it.
Mention has been made already to-night in this debate of the system of placing candidates on the ballot-paper for the Senate. I shared with others the misfortune to draw what I call an unfortunate place on the ballot-paper. How often the phrase has been repeated, even in the course of this debate, that it all depends on the draw. If that is so, it is unfortunate, and it does not reflect very creditably on the intelligence of the people who vote. Various schemes have been put forward to try to overcome the difficulty. Those schemes range from plans to place numbers in varying system to circular ballot-papers so that nobody will be first and nobody last. It is the duty of Parliament to protect the people and the community from abuses and false practices and, I suppose, from time to time we are called upon to try to protect the people from themselves. The proportion of votes that reflects merely -the sequence of names on the ballot-paper is very well named the donkey vote.
While we may regret the large number of informal votes and wish that there were ways and means by which it could be overcome, I do not think we dare at any price interfere with the people’s freedom.
We can take the people to the ballot-box, but having led them to it, they must decide for themselves just what they will do with the ballot-paper We must provide for absolute fairness for all involved and we must also provide for complete freedom of the constituent.
His Excellency referred, right at the outset of his Address, to the United Nations. It is proper that there should be an expression of Australia’s support for this international institution. It suffers, of course, from all the frustrations that composite bodies have in common. It consists of people, big and small, who have an equality of power. It consists of people old and young who have the same duties. It consists of the mature and the enthusiastic, and they have the same responsibilities. The changing pattern of national groups will continue, but in spite of all, the United Nations calls upon the older and more powerful groups to entrust others with responsibility,” even at a risk. So we support it because in general and broad ways we take our place in being educated and in educating. This kind of legislature of the world is, by its Very nature, in a difficult position. I have seen it described as a place in which there are neither hosts nor guests, where every one is equally away from home. But the lines of the Charter run on the highest level. In a world beset by revisions, an organization which is trying to solve world, tensions is bound to suffer from imperfections. We are plagued with world organizations which have become necessary at this point in world history. His Excellency’s Speech is a reminder of our indebtedness to and our responsibilities for the specialized agencies, related to the United Nations that seek in a score of ways to bring a note of positive thinking to a somewhat negative world.
His Excellency also referred to the Commonwealth of Nations. He mentioned our membership of and support for the Commonwealth of Nations. He said, honorable senators, may remember, . that this membership gives a special character to our role in world affairs, it becomes a central principle. We are, as honorable senators know, participants to-day in the evolution of a modern Commonwealth. The phrases describing all this are familiar to us, but this is a time in the life of a Parliament to recount its value to us as a people. The old ways may have disappeared. Independence has been granted to more than 600,000,000 people. The former outposts of empire stand in a different kind of isolation to-day, but in a world where patterns change rapidly, it is not without some merit to belong to a family the membership of which runs a little deeper than most other associations.
One of the features of world movements throughout history has been the processes by means of which empires and commonwealths have been formed. We need to remind ourselves that the British ‘ Empire grew up in a total world situation, just as the Commonwealth to-day is finding a new stability in a total world situation. The Empire grew in a situation that was peculiarly related to trade. It was a desire for trade, a desire for national development and for international growth, for national wealth and prosperity, that sent the British traders round the world in search of goods, new commodities, new markets, and so on. It was out of this trade that the Empire grew. In to-day’s enlightened thinking, it may have left many things to be desired, but by the standards of the day it grew and it gave people an opportunity. It enabled them to test their sense of adventure and enterprise. It was natural in the new scheme of things and the circuit of time and history that maturity should develop and independence emerge.
Now, the circle is complete and the former Empire has served its time. Once more it may well be that the same searching for trade, the same sense of adventure in seeking for new commodities and new markets, will build’ what I shall call a new Commonwealth. The United Kingdom is faced with a situation that can be described as serious for her own people and for her place in the scheme of things. She has to look at the changed situation. We are involved in the influence of the European Common Market. Trade becomes the key again. It is trade that still affects standards of living in the United Kingdom and the growth of political associations. It is trade which determines the new life in this new Commonwealth. Trade becomes the key for Australia at this point of history. Trade becomes the key, too, for the Australian
Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), who is on the way overseas to plead Australia’s cause. After all, the British market is still a good one for us. London is still central for so much of our economic life. Great Britain’s entry into the Common Market will provide one of the most exacting tasks for the Minister in his career as a negotiator. He is now on his way to do this work. We wish him well, knowing full well that his forthrightness and vast knowledge will enable him to do well for Australia, lt should be pointed out to the Senate that the Government is certainly showing courage in meeting whatever situation may arise rather than just standing helplessly by. Australia wants to participate in this kind of negotiation. So the Minister has gone overseas. He has a tough job ahead of him and is working for time.
The Department of Trade has been very active in searching for new markets. I do not think it would hurt to direct the attention of honorable senators to the various trade missions that have gone to the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean on behalf of the Commonwealth. Those missions have moved into new spheres, new markets, altogether. That is evidence of the Government’s enterprise and initiative in meeting what might be a new situation. At present Australia’s sales to this area are worth approximately £15,000,000 annually. It is expected that as a result of the visit of the trade mission that amount will be doubled. A trade mission has been sent also to the southwest Asian ports. A programme of promotion and public relations in support of Australian exports has been undertaken in many places in that area.
Perhaps we have been interested to read of a lesser but nevertheless quite significant effort in the issuing of the “ Australian Trade Journal “. This journal is issued in a number of languages. It is now being issued in the Spanish language for distribution throughout Latin America as a prelude to the establishment of the new shipping service and trade missions to that part of the world. They are two or three instances of effort which reflect something of the widespread pattern that the Government is following in an endeavour to initiate and foster new developments and new avenues of trade.
I believe it can be said that Australian exporters, with the encouragement of the Government, can now get into a number of new areas - for example, South-East Asia - and persuade people there to buy our goods because they are well made, are of good quality, and are available at competitive prices. We should not overlook the forthcoming trade fair which is to be held at Osaka in Japan in April. I read a report which stated that more than 100 Australian firms will be taking their place in the Australian pavilion there. That may not seem to be very many, but we must bear in mind that it represents a 100 per cent, increase on the number that attended last year’s international trade fair in Japan. In the previous year there were approximately 21 Australian exhibitors. To this exhibition come buyers from the Americas, Europe, South-East Asia and, of course, Japan. The Minister for Trade pointed out recently that the response to this fair showed that more and more industries were taking advantage of the taxation concessions offered by the Government for export trade development. He said that expenditure involved in exhibiting at an overseas fair, or advertising in associated newspaper supplements, was eligible as a market development allowance for deduction as assessable income.
I should now like to direct the attention of honorable senators to the reference in the Governor-General’s Speech to social services. The statement was in general terms, but no doubt it reflected something of the Government’s fine programme over the years for the establishment of homes for the aged, to which reference has already been made to-night. Part of my duties in other places has been related to this very work, and I have seen something of the value to our society of this very fine scheme. An amount of more than fi 2,000,000 has been paid since the inception of the scheme by way of subsidy on the basis of £1 for £1 or £2 for £1. Approvals have been made at the rate of approximately 100 a year. Senator Tangney, when referring to the programme, directed attention to the long waiting lists. Unfortunately there are long waiting lists at most homes, but we must remember that there are now more older people in our community and there is now a changed outlook on the whole pattern of life. Private institutions, including churches and other charitable organizations, are doing their best to keep up with the demand for space in their homes.
There is very real value in developing such homes. Those who want to establish them are encouraged to get busy and to use their own initiative. What could be better than to have a subsidy made available on the basis of £2 for every £1 raised by those responsible for establishing the institution? Around such homes there is a group of friends and people who are interested much more than are those associated with the ordinary kind of institution. Therefore, the Government’s programme merits not only our praise and approval but also our encouragement.
One line in the Governor-General’s Speech referred to the establishment of an institute of aboriginal studies. The whole matter of aboriginal development, integration and citizenship is very involved. Large numbers of people are engaged in constructive service on behalf of the aboriginal people. I have in mind State agencies, missions and other organizations. The statement in the Speech merely indicates that this group will pursue scientific studies into the life and culture of the aboriginal race and will endeavour to preserve our knowledge of them. We have been informed that already an interim council has been formed. I understand that this council consists of most of the leading anthropologists of Australia. The council, which was formed as a result of a series of meetings held last year, includes representatives from all States. A significant feature is that, whilst a lot of work on behalf of aborigines springs from what I shall call a kind of social service at a very high level, this institute brings together people who are experts in the fields of anthropology, science, fine arts and history. So it introduces another facet altogether to our concern for the aboriginal people of this country. The council meets under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University. Already systems of procedure have been worked out, and it is hoped that the organization will be another of the national institutions that will eventually find their home here in the National Capital. Already advisory panels have been set up, and these will study various aspects of the aboriginal problem. The institute will eventually move into the preparation of a storehouse of information and, on the other hand, will foster research. While this is not the last word on this subject, the establishment of this institute indicates something of the Government’s widespread concern for all sections of the Australian community.
His Excellency referred also to immigration. I was glad to hear him do so and to speak in terms of reaffirmation concerning the programme, because there exists in Australia a number of circumstances which sometimes lead to the immigration programme being severely criticized. The Government should be complimented upon being prepared to move forward courageously, with plans well in hand for the renewing of assisted-passage agreements with a number of countries.
It is to be complimented upon having put its immigration programme into effect with determination and imagination. There has been some fluctuation in the number of migrants arriving, and some have returned. But I direct the attention of honorable senators to news items such as one which we read only recently concerning a migrant family which returned to Europe, but which immediately set about the task of raising money to return to Australia. The making of arrangements for members of migrant families to join their people here is a good move. During the recent World Refugee Year, Australia’s action in taking a number of needy and handicapped people was part of a gesture which brought a note of understanding into a policy that is geared mainly to help in the material development of this country.
During my short term as a senator I have had the privilege, as have other honorable senators, of representing the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) at naturalization ceremonies. Those ceremonies are very fine indeed; they are very solemn. I should like to pay tribute to the presiding officers of local governing bodies - the mayors of our cities and towns and the chairmen of our district councils - for the trouble they take not only to make the ceremony impressive but also to make the new citizens welcome. These ceremonies make quite an emotional impact on me as I hear new Australians renounce all former allegiance to their native land. I have often wondered whether I would be prepared to do the same thing. It is essential, of course, to have their undivided loyalty, but I have wondered whether ways and means of modifying this step might be examined. Perhaps there might be provision for the taking of an optional oath. After all, there are those who come here, who are striking out and are glad to break the old ties. But there are others who have been driven from their homeland and have reached the decision in the attitude that they have not anything much else to do anyway. In whatever way they come, they are enriching the fabric of our life and culture and they will certainly make the new Australia in the second half of the twentieth century.
There have been one or two references to-night to oil, and concern was expressed by Senator Toohey lest there be a departure from this country of vast sums of money. He was concerned at the involvement of foreign capital in oil development. He knows, as we all know, that for the great programme of oil development and research there has not been a sufficient quantity of local capital. It is a reflection of credit upon the Government that there has been such a spirit of confidence within the nation that outside investors can be persuaded to come here and assist in the development of a new country. After all, if this money had not come, surely there would have been no development at all in relation to oil. Australian local interests are well protected by the terms of the leases and the Government has adequate power to keep the situation well in hand so that the things about which the honorable senator is concerned will -not take place.
Senator Tangney, referring to the unemployment situation, rather suggested that members of the Government just shrugged their shoulders and said, “ There is a bit of unemployment. That is too bad.” It should be repeated again and again that members of the Government have not adopted that attitude. We all realize that the situation is serious. Indeed, only last night the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) directed attention in another place to the fact that the Government’s measures had already given very great promise of a return to a better condition of employment. For the last word on the subject, I have statements from the Adelaide press of to-day’s date. They are as follows: -
The President of the South Australian Chamber of Manufactures (Mr. R. V. Allison) said, “There is already evidence of a returning confidence in the community, notably in the level of purchases or1 units of smaller value . . .”.
The secretary of the South Australian Employers’ Federation (Mr. G. E. Pryke) said, “ There has been an upsurge of confidence by employers generally, and this is reflected in the turnover in the retail trade and increased registration of vehicles. The workforce, must have benefited already by the latest economic measures taken by the Federal Government . . .**
The President of the South Australian Master Builders’ Association (Mr. R. A. O’Neill) said, “ Building is definitely on the upgrade . . . There has been an increase of at least 7 per cent, in home building since Christmas, compared with the similar period last year. Unemployment in the building industry will probably have disappeared by the end of the financial year and the industry should then be back on an even keel.”
There has been quite a call for expressions of confidence, and here from three sections of our society and trade there is this note of a return to confidence.
As I close, I submit that the GovernorGeneral’s Speech is one of realism, with a note of positiveness about it. The word “ confidence “ which has been echoed by the Government has already brought a substantial response. I am glad to take my place with other honorable senators in supporting the motion.
– First, I join with other senators in expressing loyalty to Her Majesty and in conveying good wishes to the GovernorGeneral and his family. I hope that their stay in Australia will be peaceful and happy. Having said that, it is necessary to examine the position in Australia as we on this side of the chamber view it. One cannot ignore the happenings of the past two years. It is only just over two years ago that the Government started the implementation of measures that were designed to bring about the conditions that we find to-day. Senator Gorton had something to say about this matter. He said that he wanted to go back a little in time to talk about the conditions that had created the need for the Government to take certain action. In my opinion, he did not go back far enough. He went back to the credit squeeze of November 1960, instead of going back to the position that was created in February, 1960, and to the measures that the Government proposed to take then but did not complete.
I suppose the measure that has contributed more than any other to the present position was the lifting of import controls. From it flowed the reduction in the manufacturing capacity of Australian industry and it created the impetus for the large amount of unemployment existing to-day. I take no notice of the statement made last night by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon), to which Senator Davidson referred, because on so many occasions the Minister has expressed a confidence in the ability of the economy to absorb the unemployed and on almost every occasion unemployment has increased.
I am not satisfied with the statements which Senator Davidson read from the Adelaide “ Advertiser “ to the effect that there is confidence in the business world that the unemployment position will improve. I select the best barometer, and I look at what happened on Saturday. I ask the honorable senator whether that was an expression of confidence in Government policy. Was it an expression of confidence when a political party, put in the position of having to obtain at least 56 per cent, of votes in order to form a government, was able to obtain that 56 per cent, and have the greatest number of representatives in the South Australian House of Assembly? If that is the sort of confidence for which Senator Davidson is looking, it will not be very long before there are Labour governments in every State.
The Government has said on several occasions that it will never return to a policy of import licensing, but again we find the Government in a twist. It now proposes to use the Tariff Board as a recommending authority for quantitative restrictions and to set up an advisory authority to recommend such restrictions. Yet during the recent federal election campaign, when Labour proposed that we have not import licensing as we knew it but selective import control, we were told that it was bad policy. Now, because the Government has had a rap over the knuckles it proposes to have quantitative import restrictions. When the Opposition proposed amendments to the import licensing system honorable senators opposite refused to support it. Now they support a policy that will impose quantitative controls on imports. One wonders how much Government supporters honestly believe in the policies that are put forward in this chamber and in another place. They speak with one voice to-day and another voice to-morrow.
I listened attentively to Senator Scott, who is fond of delving into history provided it is the history of the Australian Labour Party. He referred to John Curtin’s remarks about Australia’s war effort under the Menzies Government. 1 have no doubt that John Curtin was forced to make his remarks because the Prime Minister of this country would not lightly decry our war effort at a time when we were involved in an armed conflict. The Menzies Government has a wonderful war record! Just before the elections I had the privilege of seeing in Western Australia a television programme titled “ The Menzies Profile “. It showed many facets of the Prime Minister’s life, from his school days, through his university days, through his days in the Victorian Parliament and up to his time in the Commonwealth Parliament. There were several scenes of his performances during the war. I suppose his greatest performance while he was Prime Minister from 1939 to 1941 was the creation of the broomstick army. That was his war effort. Under the Menzies Government the troops who had to go overseas to fight were forced to train with broomsticks. That is not a very proud record. The Menzies Government’s record was so poor that the Government lost the confidence of- the House of Representatives. What other reason can be given for the two independent members giving their support to the Opposition?. That is what happened when John Curtin was called upon to form a government.
If we want to delve into history, let us do so properly: I suppose that at some time the history of Australia will ‘be written by somebody trained’ in ‘these’ matters, and we shall then get the facts. Senator Scott is not so trained, lt is dangerous for people to refer to isolated instances with a view to making political capital of them.
Senator Scott agreed that the flat 5 per cent, rebate of income tax would benefit the man with the large income much more than it would benefit the man with a small income. All honorable senators opposite must agree that that is so. While we collect taxes on a sliding scale and reduce taxes on a flat rate basis, obviously the greater benefit must flow to the person on the larger income. Proof of my contention may be had by comparing the value of the dependants’ allowances to a man paying 13s. 4d. in the £1 tax with the value of those allowances to a man paying 2s. 6d. in the £1 tax. Senator Scott was quite bewildered. He knew of no way to reduce taxes other than by a flat rate reduction. It would be quite easy, I suggest, to arrange taxpayers into, for example, six groups. Their rates of taxation could be reduced by varying percentages. The lower the income, the higher the percentage reduction. You could commence with a reduction of 21 per cent., increasing to 15 per cent, for the. people on low incomes. As. the Government wishes to compress into one-third of the year this benefit that it took away from the people not long ago, the percentage applying to each group could be trebled. That would be a much more equitable way of reducing taxation than a flat rate reduction.
The. Labour Party has been accused of having no regard for the unemployed. Government supporters claim that they are the only ones who worry about the unemployed. They have created something to worry about. They created unemployment and now they are worried about it. Senator Scott alleged that we on this side of the chamber are not worried about unemployment. He said that the Government was not adopting its present measures because it received a rap over the knuckles at the elections but because it was concerned for the people who were out of work. Let us look at that statement again. When the Prime Minister on 7th February announced his measures to deal with unemployment, the number of persons registered for employment was 115,000. At that stage the January figures had not been released.
But, strangely, in July of last year 113,500 persons were unemployed. With that number of persons out of work the Government introduced its Budget. At budget times measures to correct the ills in the economy are brought forward. But apparently 113,500 persons unemployed in’ July did not move the Government. An election was necessary to move the Government. Or are we on this side of the chamber mistaken? Is it correct to say that in August, when it brought down its Budget, the Government had no regard for the unemployed? Was the Government satisfied that it could ignore the number of persons unemployed because it could count on the Australian Democratic Labour Party collecting 500,000 votes from the Labour Party? Has the Government now realized that it must do something to appease the unemployed because the Labour Party has shown that it can win an election without the support of the Democratic Labour Party? I want to say that the Australian Labour Party is as much concerned about unemployment as are members on the Government side. We are not like Senator Scott - satisfied with 60,000 unemployed. We are satisfied only with a figure that is produced when all workers who are ready, willing and fit to work are able to get a job.
Senator Scott said that as a result of Government policy there had been a period of stability and that there had been no increase in wages. One historic fact that he did not mention is the increase of 12s. in the basic wage. This increase was rather high because on the previous occasion, the Commonwealth Government had seen fit for the first time in the history of Commonwealth governments in Canberra to go to the Arbitration Court and to oppose an increase in the basic wage. On that occasion the Government made five points, and we are still waiting for them to materialize. The Governor-General in his Speech refers to the methods of controlling monopolies and restrictive trade practices. For two years we have been waiting for that legislation, but we have not yet got it. I want to know when the Attorney-General will finish his inquiries and when we are likely to get some action on that matter.
Senator Scott referred also to the great development work going on throughout
Australia to-day, and said that these projects would create opportunities for employment during the next twelve, months. However, he referred to only two industries in particular. He referred first to the finding of oil at Moonie, which I hope will turn out to be a commercial field, and he referred to the expenditure of £100,000,000. The Government has given the electorate a solemn promise that it will solve the unemployment position within twelve months. If it is relying on the oil industry - even though Moonie might turn out to be the best commercial field in the world - it had better have another look at the problem. Before that field can be developed, at least a dozen holes will have to be drilled And they will not be drilled for at least twelve months. Though, in the long run, Moonie might be the means of creating a lot of employment in this country if it is a successful field, it is not something that will fit into the short-term measures of the Government.
Then Senator Scott referred to the development of iron ore exports as another means of taking up some of the slack in employment. It is almost eighteen months since the Government announced its policy of lifting the embargo on the export of iron ore, but except for experimental purposes, not one shovel of iron ore has yet left this country. The most promising field of export deposits is Mount Goldsworthy near Port Hedland, to which Senator Scott referred. I also read the report of the Western Australian Premier on this subject, and it will be three and one-half years before one shovel of iron ore is shipped from Depuch Island. If that is one of the shortterm measures to relieve unemployment, this Government is going to incur a large deficit in the provision of unemployment relief. So much for what Senator Scott had to say.
I listened with interest a few nights ago to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) replying to a censure motion moved against the Government in another place. In his usual high-handed manner he treated the censure motion much as a joke. He implied that the Labour Party had never been right, and that the proposals of the party would not be of benefit to Australia. One should study the Prime Minister rather critically and wonder how many times he has been right. He certainly was not right in 1941, for he lost the confidence of the House. He certainly was not right in 1952 when a position similar to the present one resulted from the economic policy of the Government. Nor was he right in 1956 when he introduced a horror budget. And it is frankly admitted by the Government that it was not right in 1960 for it now has to take measures to correct the mistakes then made. Two-thirds of the speech of the Prime Minister in reply to the censure motion was devoted to a bitter attack upon the “ Sydney Morning Herald “. Why was this attack made? Because the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ was capable of seeing the condition into which the conservative Government was leading Australia, and actively campaigned against the Government. It was the only metropolitan newspaper in Australia that did campaign against the Government. The Prime Minister is not satisfied with having 99 per cent. of the media of public information in his favour. He is not satisfied to allow the Labour Party to have the remaining 1 per cent. in its favour. He complains that his party should have had that, too, and that the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ should not have -supported the Labour Party. However, the same newspaper supported the Askin Liberal Party in New South Wales right up till last Saturday, and we all know the result of the elections in that State.
I have said in this chamber before that the Government, when it went to the International Monetary Fund in a frantic effort to correct Australia’s overseas balance of payments, sold or surrendered Australia’s right to control completely its own economy. That claim has not been denied. I want to quote for the information of honorable senators a reply given by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) that has not been made public. The question asked was whether Australia could now re-impose import restrictions or introduce exchange control only with the prior approval of the International Monetary Fund. The Treasurer’s reply was as follows: -
The first point to be made on this is that only instructions which fall within the jurisdiction of the Fund are restrictions on payments for current international transactions. Quantitative restrictions applied to imports are not restrictions on payments as such and they fall within the jurisdiction of the G.A.T.T.
Under Article XII of the G.A.T.T. any contracting party may impose import restrictions to safeguard its external financial position but such restrictions must not exceed those necessary:
to forestall the imminent threat of, or to stop, a serious decline in its monetary reserves; or
in the case of a contracting party with very low monetary reserves, to achieve a reasonable rate of increase in its reserves.
G.A.T.T. members imposing new import restrictions, or substantially intensifying existing restrictions are required to consult the G.A.T.T. Contracting Parties concerning them and the International Monetary Fund is required to be brought into these consultations. The G.A.T.T. Articles require the Contracting Paries to accept the Fund’s findings on the facts of the consulting country’s financial position but any decisions relating to import restrictions rest with the G.A.T.T. Contracting Parties, not with the Fund.
If the G.A.T.T. Contracting Parties consider a country is imposing more severe import restrictions than its external financial position warrants, or is applying them in a way unnecessarily damaging to the trade of other contracting parties, the consultation procedures may be used to seek an appropriate modification of the restrictions. Moreover, if following a complaint by a member country whose trade is affected, the G.A.T.T. Contracting Parties find that import restrictions in force are inconsistent with the G.A.T.T. provisions, they may recommend the withdrawal or modification of such restrictions. If the restrictions are not then withdrawn or modified, the country that lodged the complaint may be released from some or all of its G.A.T.T. obligations towards the country imposing the restrictions.
I would sum them up by saying that, if Australia wished to re-impose import restrictions, it is not prevented by either the Fund Agreement or the G.A.T.T. from doing so: but it would be under an obligation to consult the G.A.T.T. promptly after the restrictions were imposed and, if it were unable to convince the G.A.T.T. Contracting Parties that the restrictions were consistent with the provisions of the G.A.T.T. it could be exposed to retaliatory action if other contracting parties were given release from some or all of their G.A.T.T. obligations towards Australia.
It will be seen that before the Government can impose restrictions it has to consult the Gatt countries. If the Government has to consult an outside party before it can deal with the internal position in Australia, it has lost a measure of control. Yet the Government has constantly denied that that position exists. The reply continued -
As to the restrictions on current payments, as distinct from quantitative import restrictions, these are directly a matter for the International Monetary Fund. When Australia joined the Fund, it, in common with most other Fund members, availed itself of the provisions of the Fund Article XIV. Under that Article Fund members which at that time imposed restrictions on payments and transfers for current international transactions retained the right during “ the post-war transitional period “ to maintain such restrictions and to adapt them to changing circumstances.
However, once a Fund member removes all restrictions on current international payments, it can no longer avail itself of the provisions of Article XIV. If it then wishes to re-impose such restrictions it is required to seek the prior approval of the Fund under Article VIII. This is the case even for Fund members who have not taken the formal step of notifying the fund that they accept the full obligations of Article VIII, e.g. in relation to the convertibility of their currencies.
Australia has now reached this position because, although we still maintain a system of exchange control we no longer restrict payments for current international transactions. The control is now maintained only to regulate transfers of capital and control of capita] movements does not require Fund approval.
Accordingly, if we now wished to reintroduce restrictions on current payments, it would be necessary in order to comply with obligations we accepted when we joined the Fund to seek the prior approval of the Fund.
So it becomes clear that the Government, in its frantic efforts to lift import controls, and to borrow money from the Internationa] Monetary Fund, had to sell out Australia’s right to manage its own affairs.
My time is running out, and I wish to deal with another matter. I think that Senator Spooner became somewhat rattled during his speech on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply to the Governor-General’s Speech. He accused the Australian Labour Party, as other honorable senators opposite have done, of abandoning its policy during the recent general election. I think it is important to examine, and try to understand, exactly what was said at that time. Mr. Calwell said that the Labour Party, if elected, would, not raise the question of nationalization during the three years it was in office. What did he mean when he said that we would not raise the question of nationalization? Honorable senators on both sides of the chamber know exactly what Mr. Calwell meant, because they know the constitutional position in respect of nationalization. Before “any proposition for nationalization can be considered, a referendum must take place on a proposal to amend the Constitution. It was that to which Mr. Calwell referred. He said that he would not place a referendum before the people to obtain power to nationalize anything during the three-year term of a Labour Government. Senator
Spooner would do better if he examined the performances of his own Government.
– They are all right.
– They have got us into the present mess, with 131,000 unemployed. In 1949, Mr. Menzies- knowing he was> putting a confidence trick over on the people at the time - said -
We will introduce a bill to amend the Constitution making it impossible for such socialist legislation to be passed in the future without your approval given at a referendum.
He was speaking about bank nationalization, knowing full well at the time that nationalization of banking was impossible without a referendum of the people. That is what happened.
– That is not what Eddie Ward said.
– We are not concerned with what Eddie Ward said. What is the position of the banks to-day? The Labour Party is accused of being a party which would nationalize the banks, but when we look at the banking structure of Australia to-day we find that the Government controls the banks to the extent that it dictates their policy through the Reserve Bank of Australia. In justification for the credit squeeze, Mr. McEwen told the people that the Government was withdrawing the £100,000,000 previously injected into the economy by deficit budgeting. My time has run. out, so I will not continue.
– - 1 enthusiastically associate myself with the expressions of loyalty that invariably occur on the occasion of a speech in the Address-in-Reply debate. I join with other honorable senators in extending to His Excellency and his family our best wishes for a happy, fruitful and peaceful period of office in Australia. I should like to compliment the mover and seconder of the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply, Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan and Senator Agnes Robertson. In this Parliament one has little opportunity to express his personal feelings; but on this occasion I trust that the Senate will bear with me while I extend to Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan and Senator Robertson my personal thanks for my association with them during the last ten years. 1 well remember the kindness and help extended to me by Senator Sir Neil O’sullivan when I was a newcomer to this Parliament. I also recall with pleasure and gratitude my first election campaign in 1951, when 1 had the pleasure of standing with Senator Robertson in a team that she led to victory.
Senator Cant made very many inaccurate and provocative statements. One is almost tempted to give up one’s entire time to answering those inaccuracies. I resist that temptation, but one or two of his statements shall not go unchallenged. In the first place, the honorable senator said that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) had treated the censure motion that was moved in another place with contempt. No one making any objective statement on this matter could have permitted himself so to describe the Prime Minister’s attitude. The plain fact is that the censure motion that was moved in another place was received by the Prime Minister, on behalf of the Government and the Government parties, in the correct parliamentary way. He followed all parliamentary forms and practices by cancelling all other business, including questions, so that the debate could proceed in due and proper form. It is completely wrong and misleading to say that the Prime Minister treated that motion with contempt. Indeed, statements such as that made by “ Senator Cant make one wonder whether the motion should not have been treated with contempt.
Senator Cant spent a good deal of his time talking about import controls. It is not difficult to understand why he should do that. He is a member of a party that believes in a certain fixed, rigid and inflexible dogma. The policy of the Australian Labour Party on import controls was formulated and laid down in 1947 in a White Paper on unemployment, which made it quite clear that in certain economic circumstances there should be rigid and inflexible import controls. That was formulated in 1947, and I put it to the Senate that since that time the Labour Party has not had a new thought about this matter.
Senator Cant said that this Government, the Menzies Government, reversed its own policy recently when it announced the new arrangements’ in respect’ of the Tariff Board and certain quantitative restrictions that might be introduced. He is not aware of the facts. . Had he done us the courtesy of reading the Prime Minister’s policy speech, he would have found this illuminating passage at page 13 -
The Government will of course continue its policy of protecting economic and efficient Australian industry through the Australian Tariff Board.
However, we do not regard the present tariff system as static. During 1960 the Government created means for providing temporary tariffs for industries which might otherwise be seriously damaged pending normal review and report by the Tariff Board. lt will also examine possible ways of overcoming the particular difficulties of certain Australian industries where production efficiency and a reasonable cost level require the maintenance of a continuing high volume of output.
Therefore, in the policy speech the Government forecast that, when re-elected, it would consider the position of particular industries. That is precisely what we have done.
It is not surprising that the Opposition, in seeking to censure the Government, has seized a brief moment in the history of this country and has sought to invest that moment with permanence. It has sought to attribute to that moment a certain fixed and unaltering state of unemployment. Over and over again, the Opposition has- said that we have 131,000 people registered for employment, and that that represents the final achievement of the Government. An objective judgment of the record and policy of this Government gives the lie direct to that statement. What are the constant and unchanging objectives of this Government and what is its record? If I may answer my own question briefly, I say that the constant and unchanging objectives of this Government are growth and expansion with economic stability.
If I may go into more detail, I say that we have aimed at, and have achieved; a rapid increase of the population by a realistic policy of immigration. Under this Government there has been a marked increase in the production and diversity of primary produce. There has been a dramatic increase in the output and diversity of production in secondary industries. There lias been a resurgence of mining and the production of mineral wealth. We have improved production techniques in every field. The constant endeavour of this Government, in times which have been found difficult throughout the world, has been to contain costs, hold inflation, improve our living standards and pay a higher scale of social services, but a scale commensurate with our economic strength; and with all of that, Mr. President, to maintain stability within the economy.
I emphasize national growth and stability because there is a belief abroad to-day that a little inflation is not too bad, anyway. In some other quarters it is believed that we cannot have growth and stability at the same time, or expansion and stability at the same time. I emphasize that stability does not mean stagnation. Nor does it mean that the economy has to be brought to a dead stop. Properly seen, stability itself is a component of real progress. Without it, real progress is a mirage that will disappear in the heat mists of inflation. Inflation, of course, has been a constant and pressing danger for Australia and every other country since the War. The plain fact is that if you do not control inflation you cancel out the benefits that you should receive from expansion. As you expand, inflation if uncontrolled immediately devours the benefits that you have produced.
I have mentioned one or two of our basic objectives, Mr. President. I have referred to an increase in population. It is well to appreciate the importance of people in an expanding economy. If we are to expand, to generate strength and to hold this country secure from any potential enemy, we must have people. They are the basis of our security. They are also the basis of our production, our progress and our prosperity. Therefore, we have to maintain a flow of suitable migrants, and to do this it is necessary to have an expanding manufacturing section, with expanding service industries and an expanding commerce attached to the manufacturing industries. Manufacturing and its associated commence are the one employing medium that can give, quickly enough, employment to an expanding population. But expansion is not costless. It has to be paid for. The point, that is so frequently overlooked is that much of the payment has to be made overseas. To make our overseas payments, to finance our expansion, we must have an adequacy of overseas funds at all times.
The subject of overseas funds brings me back to the basis of our economy, our land industries, the traditional export earners of this country. If we are to have overseas funds, those important and traditional basic industries must be able to compete in the markets of the world. It is essential, therefore, that our internal costs should be kept to a minimum, so that we do not price out of the overseas markets those goods which provide us with overseas funds, and at the same time we must maintain an expanding manufacturing wing to give employment to an increasing population.
– That is just what the Government has not done.
– If the honorable senator will possess himself in patience he will see that that brings me to the first result of the measures taken by the Government last year. What were our fears then? Senator Cooke says that the Government has not maintained an expanding manufacturing wing to give employment to an increasing population. I ask the Senate to recall what were our great fears last year. They were inflation on the one hand and the collapse of overseas funds on the other.
Who will deny that in respect of those two most important matters the Government’s measures have been effective? Who will deny that the cost inflation has not been stopped? Did we not see, only a week or two ago, that the consumer price index, as reported to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, had shown no change at all over a period of twelve months? Inflation had been halted during that time. Unfortunately, that was an incident which did not, to my mind, receive the publicity that it should have received, because that was not merely a passing incident; it was a signal achievement within the economy. It was the establishment of a trig, point from which the Government of the country could survey the future and lay its plans, knowing that for the preceding twelve months behind it no rise in costs had occurred, as reflected in the consumer price index.
So, in respect of inflation the Government’s plans were successful. What of our overseas funds, the other matter that was causing this Government and the people of Australia so much apprehension? To-day, our funds stand at some £600,000,000 with another £131,000,000 available through the International Monetary Fund. The
Government’s critics will say, “ Oh yes, but you have achieved this only at the cost of creating unemployment “. 1, as much as any one else, dislike treating unemployment as a statistic, but it is pertinent to have in mind that the number registered for employment in this country approximates 3 per cent, of the work force. There have been occasions when I have heard members of the Opposition rise in their places and speak in laudatory terms of the great political social writers of England in recent times, of Keynes and of Beveridge, ls it not odd that both of those social writers referred to the fact that a 3 per cent, unemployment -rate was to be expected in any economy in the post-war era, especially when expansion was occurring. 1 take the 3 per cent, of Keynes and Beveridge. I put beside it the 5 per cent, of the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), who in the post-war era, as a supporter of the Labour Government in another place, in looking out on the development of Australia for a few years forward, said that 5 per cent, of the work force was a fair and reasonable thing in the circumstances of the post-war period. 1 have said that action has been taken. We have already heard reports of the increases in employment which are occurring in the motor car manufacturing units in this country, in respect of both the Holden and Ford1 motor cars. Within the last day or two the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) has stated that the February employment figures will show a marked improvement, a. marked down-turn in unemployment. This, Sir, to the chagrin of the Opposition, is a result which is gratifying to almost every one in Australia. It means that the Australian economy is swinging back to normal again. No period of economic adjustment can be gone through without there being some disruption and without some people suffering hardship. But the fact now is that the economy is coming back, and it is coming back in response to the measures taken by this Government.
It has been said that the measures that are being taken either will not be effective or will not be effective quickly enough. It is worth while, as this debate reaches its conclusion,, to re-state those measures.
First, there are the non-repayable grants of £10,000,000 to the States to stimulate State works. There is an increase in the borrowing entitlements of local government and semi-government authorities. There is an increase in the war services homes advance; there is provision for increased housing loans through the savings banks; there is an intensified Commonwealth works programme; there are more flexible tariff arrangements; and there is provision for quantitative restrictions of imports in special cases. In addition, there is the income tax rebate of 5 per cent, for a full year; there is a reduction of the sales tax on motor cars; and there is the increase in the unemployment benefit. Last but not least, there are two major concessions- an investment allowance to encourage the replacement of plant and to reduce manufacturing costs, and the provision of increased capital for the Commonwealth Development Bank to assist in rural pursuits. The last two concessions are of particular importance. These are not necessarily short-term measures; their effect may well be felt throughout the economy for many years to come.
It has been stated by the Opposition; in its search for some basis of criticism, that the measures we have announced are short-term measures and can be withdrawn at any time. Mr. President, that is a strange criticism to come from a party which could be the alternative government. Would the alternative government deny itself the use of short-term measures to correct some disruption which may occur in the economy for a short time? Does it suggest that this Government should not have these short-term measures available to it? This, of course, is another exposure of the fact that the Australian Labour Party is a victim of its own dogma, and is unable to think of anything which is outside the book of rules.
We have been told that we have a stopandgo policy, that we have imposed restrictions, and that we have produced within the economy a series of stops and starts.
– With more stops than starts.
– I ask the honorable senator to look back over the last ten years to see what progress has been made. Let him examine what has happened in Australia within the last decade, during which this Government has consistently pursued one policy and has sought to attain the objectives to which I referred earlier in my speech.
– What about the three horror budgets? Were they consistent?
– The honorable senator completely fails to realize that, despite what he refers to as the three horror budgets, the last ten years, looked at as a whole, represent an era of progress in Australia which he never thought would have been possible.
We have said during the last few years that our export trade would be of crucial importance in the years to come. We have said quite publicly and plainly that our export difficulties would be intensified should Great Britain join the European Common Market. Our critics in the Labour Party ask, “What have you done to meet that possibility? “
– We asked that question five years ago.
– Indeed, you did, and you will be saying it from the Opposition benches for another fifteen years. What we have done in the last few years constitutes a most impressive story. Our activities in the field of export promotion have been quite remarkable. We have established new trade commissioner posts in sixteen countries, have established the -Export Development Council, have set up the Export Payments Insurance Corporation, have conducted trade fairs in various parts of the world, and have granted pay-roll and company tax concessions as an incentive to increase exports. I was reminded this afternoon by my friend, Senator Mattner, that the cost of that last concession since its inception some months ago has been no less than £300,000.
This Government has lifted the ban on the export of iron ore; it has actively encouraged the export of this commodity. As a Western Australian, T share with my colleagues from Western Australia the satisfaction of knowing that only a few days ago an agreement for the export of iron ore to the value of £12,000,000, involving the construction of a port on the north-west coast of Western Australia at Depuch Island, has been completed. This Government has encouraged shipping companies to commence a service to South America. More recently, as I said earlier, we introduced the investment allowance to encourage plant replacement and a reduction of costs.
Possibly the greatest single achievement of this Government in the pursuit of export markets has been its activities in Japan. When I mention that, does not every member of the Labour Party feel ashamed of the discreditable performance the Opposition turned on in regard to the Japanese Trade Agreement? Without the Japanese market where would our critics be to-day? I was interested to read in his policy speech Mr. Calwell’s comments about this important matter of exports and export market development. I looked in vain for any new idea in the section entitled “ European Common Market”. The only idea that honorable senators opposite have produced is the sorry one they have dished up over the years - the establishment of a governmentowned overseas shipping line. That is their contribution to the development of export markets for Australia.
This Government’s policy, which has been pursued in the face of innumerable difficulties, wars, threats of war, disturbances, economic upsurges and disruption of markets, has, over a period of ten years, enabled us to support a magnificent immigration programme, to increase remarkably our standard of living, and to maintain a rate of progress upon which we as Australians may look with satisfaction. The alternative policy advanced by our friends opposite is the old one which is set out in an official document entitled, “ The Federal Platform, Constitution and Rules of the Australian Labour Party “. It is the tattered and time-worn objective of the socialization of the means of production, distribution and exchange.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the negative.
– For the special benefit of my friend, Senator Cant, let me say that boldly set out are the following objectives of the Labour Party’s policy: -
The nationalization of banking, credit and insurance, of monopolies, of shipping, of public health, of radio services, of television-
And, for the particular benefit of Queenslanders - of sugar refining.
This is the alternative policy. The Labour Party is at the moment somewhat elevated by what it regards as an electoral success or a near electoral success. Let me say this to honorable senators opposite: If they interpret the vote on 9th December last as a vote for socialism, again they are making one of the biggest mistakes they have made since the Labour Party came into existence.
– I wish to associate myself with the message of loyalty to Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen. The Opposition extends good wishes to the GovernorGeneral and thanks him for having presented the advice of his Ministers to the Senate.
We have heard from the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge) an address which is certainly gratifying to the Opposition. We contrast the indifference and incompetence shown by the Government prior to going to the polls with its anxious attitude now in adopting the policy which Labour submitted to the nation for the correction of our economic disabilities. It must give heart to the people, as well as to us, to see our objective attained, even though we are not in government. The Minister said that the Government had been returned and, in effect, that the people did not endorse the policy of the Australian Labour Party. There was a lot of loose talk, but very few facts from the Minister. At the election on 9th December 2,217,476 votes were cast for the combined Liberal , and Australian Country parties, which for the Government, and 2,534,680 for the Labour Party, or 317,204 more than were cast for the Government parties. Over 250,000 more Australians voted for our policy. The Government regained office by the preferences - undoubtedly a small number - of the Australian Democratic Labour Party and the’ Communist Party of Australia. Otherwise, it would not be occupying the treasury bench.
– That is not true about the Communist Party.
– That is the fact in relation to this matter. The Government is again vacillating in regard to what it said were its standard policies. The conclusions to be drawn from the Federal election have been borne out at two State elections. The Government has failed miserably in its appeal to the people of Australia. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) said -
Australia has never had it so well. I will make no promises. I have given good government and you will accept that.
There was no policy at all, as against a comprehensive policy put forward by Labour on every facet of the Australian economy, with a concentration on unemployment. How futile and hypocritical it is for the Minister to say that in an expanding economy we need population, a large work force, and all those things that lead to inflation, when more than a quarter of a million people in our community are suffering from the effects of unemployment. In an expanding economy what an indictment that is of the Government, which was so lethargic and indifferent before the election that it denied that there was any serious unemployment and lampooned the Opposition when we put the position seriously. The answer of the Australian people has been pretty clear.
The Government has failed miserably. Last year, when it applied its stop-and-go methods, with the credit squeeze and higher sales tax on motor cars causing unemployment in every State, the Minister said that the Government’s fear was cost inflation, which had been increasing viciously since the Government took office, particularly over the most recent period. He said the Government was frightened of the collapse of overseas funds, yet control over imports was lifted entirely and within three months this caused a collapse of overseas funds. The Government then tried hastily to reimpose restrictions but in such a manner as to give privileges to certain big business interests in the country which took full advantage of the privileges. When the Government tried to impose some regulation, it was too late and the damage had been done. The Government was in fear of a debacle in overseas reserves but when it introduced these measures it showed bad, inefficient administration, influenced by people outside the Government. The Australian people have realized that fact.
The Government has neglected to maintain continuous full employment. It talks about comparative figures and is very careful to quote Mr. Haylen’s remarks. I do not agree with Mr. Haylen, nor does the Australian Council of Trade Unions, which puts the maximum permissible unemployment at 1.5 per cent., and then only when seasonal employment is not available. That includes people who do not want to be shifted in order to obtain employment. The Government failed miserably, and all States suffered severely. Western Australia lost to eastern States and New Zealand many tradesmen whom it could ill afford to lose. My two sons left their trades, which had become too poor. One went east and did quite well. Ultimately they got out of their trades altogether. There are hundreds of similar examples. Now the authorities are crying for an increase in apprenticeships. The tragedy of unemployment is that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) assured young people that they would be absorbed upon leaving school after being educated to Leaving Certificate standard. When they left school, in New South Wales and Victoria there were pleas for them to go back. Western Australia said that it might be possible to absorb them.
The fact is that unrecorded in the unemployment statistics are thousands of good young Australian citizens, well educated at the expense of their parents, who have made sacrifices to keep them at school longer than child endowment would permit them to do so. They are looking for work. If they find it, it will not be compatible with their standard of education. That is a disgraceful state of affairs in a country as undeveloped as Australia. We are crying out for teachers, but in Western Australia 100 teachers cannot be absorbed. The Government left the manufacturing industries without adequate protection. The business world has lost confidence in the Government. In the last twelve months the number of bankruptcies has increased. The number is higher now than it was in the depression years. The credit squeeze and take-over bids are sending the small business man to the wall. We have heard a lot about the small business man. This Government has crushed him and almost put him out of existence.
– He still provides 90 per cent, of all employment in Australia.
– Please do not talk rot. The small business man has suffered severely under this Government. Bankruptcies are becoming more and more the order of the day. The small business man is going out of existence. Before the elections, the Government denied that the manufacturing industries needed assistance, but it has now decided to impose quantitative import restrictions. The Government has appointed special officers to handle quantitative restrictions as a matter of urgency. Industry does not know where it stands. The Government’s stop-and-go policy has bewildered industry. The Government’s measures have to a certain degree given impetus to the motor industry, which will lead to the employment of additional people; but the industry will be a long time getting back to the stage at which it was when the credit squeeze was applied. Because of the credit squeeze the plight of the motor industry was parlous.
In the view of the Government everything was running smoothly prior to 9th December, but since the elections it has commenced to accept Labour’s policies. The Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) boasted of the increase in the funds available to the Commonwealth Development Bank. Some time ago, the Opposition in this Senate advocated that the funds of the bank should be increased, but at that stage the Government denied that any increase was warranted. Now it has hastened to increase the bank’s capital.
The Minister said that our primary industries must be strong, and that our overseas exports must run at a high level. Our primary industries have done a remarkably good job. They have carried the Government on their backs until they have become saddle-galled. The primary industries have boosted our overseas balances, and have enabled the Government to indulge in its policy of borrow, boom and bust. But the net result, as far as the primary industries are concerned, has not been good. Although their incomes are high, primary producers are not in the relatively comfortable position they were in before this Government applied its credit squeeze. The people are waking up. The Labour Party in New South Wales has had an excellent victory. In South Australia, with 37 per cent, of votes cast in its favour, the Liberal and Country League is attempting to hold power, but it will not be able to do so. It has been defeated. A vote of 56 per cent, of the electors was necessary to dislodge the Government in South Australia, but it has been dislodged.
The same thing will happen in Western Australia as surely as night follows day. While it has been in, office the Western Australian Government has done a great deal of damage to the economy of the State. It has destroyed the confidence of traders. It has delayed progress in the State. The Government has written many contracts and given many concessions to big companies, but nothing has been done to get projects under way. In Queensland, between 5 per cent, and 6 per cent, of the work force is unemployed. Western Australia has not been hit as badly as that. The Premier of Western Australia recently made a very significant statement. He referred to the contracts that had been signed with big combines, and he said that they would stop Western Australian tradesmen from leaving the State to seek employment elsewhere. The Premier of Western Australia is now screaming for apprentices, but the apprenticeship system has broken down because the status of tradesmen has been reduced. The Government of Western Australia has a lot to answer for.
Now I come to the Government’s quick move, unexpected at election time, to reduce income tax by a flat 5 per cent. What happens-
– You get 5 per cent, off your income tax. That is what happens.
– That is right. Only about 500,000 people will receive any substantial benefit from this provision. In the main, those are people without responsibilities. This is another example of the Government’s lack of consideration for the family man. A single man without responsibilities, earning £40 a week, will save 21s. a week. But a man with dependent wife and two dependent children, receiving the same income, will save 4s. less. A single man earning about £15 a week will save 3s. 9d., but a man on the same income and with dependent wife and two dependent children will save only ls. 3d. It is the same old story: Hit the family man hard in the face.
The Government has done nothing about child endowment. The man on £15 a week, with dependent wife and two dependent children, will pay no income tax if he has deductions for life insurance payments. He, therefore, will not receive any relief from the Government. Once again the Government has failed to realize that the basis of the community is the worker and his family. A married man without any children, but whose wife also works, is doubly blessed by this Government. But what about the man with a wife and five children? He will get nothing. Government supporters sneer at the idea of increasing child endowment, but it has legislated to increase the unemployment benefit. Why should the Government deny relief to the man whose wife works in the home to look after their five children? After all, the Australian child is our best immigrant. The Government has done nothing to assist the family man by increasing child endowment, which has become a component of our living standards in the last ten years. At the same time, the Government boasts that it has discontinued automatic quarterly adjustments of the basic wage. How? By putting 250,000 Australians on the dole and reducing their purchasing power to a sub-standard level so that goods are not being sold. The Government argued that when the demand drops by that amount, prices of ordinary commodities and necessities of life become static. That is a great thing to boast about. The Government should take a second look at things. It has “done “ and cheated the family man - the Australian elector - and he has voted accordingly.
Let us come to another matter about which the Government has hastily sought to do something. The War Service Homes Bill was passed through this Senate last night. In this chamber last August the Government flatly rejected, and Senator Spooner ridiculed, a proposal of the Australian Labour Party in precisely the same terms as the bill that was passed yesterday. Assistance necessary to enable an exserviceman to get a home of his own is equally necessary for every good Australian citizen who wants a home. All should receive the same consideration. Many men who are not eligible for government assistance under the war service homes scheme were manpowered into various positions where they did a mighty job on behalf of the nation. The Government is failing to give them any consideration. It merely rushes in to grab the policy that we put forward.
The proposal for the reduction by ten years of the residential period of migrants to qualify for social services came from the Labour Party, but was opposed by the Liberal Government. At the recent election Government supporters said that everything in the garden was rosy, but they saw an advantage in this proposal. They could have taken action before the elections. But they marked it down as Liberal policy for the new Parliament. It is sheer reversal of form. Though it is most necessary that the Government should spur itself into action to solve these problems, the fact is that it proposes only temporary expedients, which are not conceived in the interests of the nation, but are designed to revive the fortunes of the Liberal and Country parties. If taxation were to be reduced, every thinking person in the community would agree that the man with the greatest family responsibility and the least ability to pay should receive some relief. If the spending potential of consumers must be increased, the concession should be granted not to the single man without dependants but to the family man who will spend all he gets on his children, with ultimate benefit to the nation. It is sheer hypocrisy for the Government to do what it is doing. With the concurrence of honorable senators, I shall incorporate in “ Hansard “ a newspaper extract showing the benefit of taxation reductions granted by this Government The extract is as follows: -
The figures shown in the “Reduction” column of these tables show the additional amount you will collect in your pay envelope from March 1.
An analysis of these figures discloses that the reductions are most unfair to the family man. Once again, the Government has decided upon a temporary expedient.
To test the Government’s sincerity I asked the Minister in charge of the War Service Homes Bill whether the total allocation for the scheme was to be increased or whether the Government simply intended to, cheat ex-servicemen, having regard to -,the fact that whilst the maximum loan had been increased, the field would be decreased. No assurances were forthcoming from the Minister. There is no positiveness in any of its policies. All its tariff measures to protect our economy are short-term and temporary. So the Government will go on in its muddling, stop-and-go manner, being spurred into extraordinary generosity to survive the period when its fortunes have fallen so low until it can again try to deceive the Australian people. This shortterm palliative has been forced on the Government by the Labour Opposition and by the Australian people at the polls. I do not think that the people will stand for the Government’s deception again. They will not be deceived a second time. They have had a full measure of deceit from this Government.
The only thing that makes me happy about the Governor-General’s Speech, which is prepared for him by his ministerial advisers, is the fact that it is so innocuous. The Government did not dare to incorporate in it the deceits that it has practised in its administration. This document gives little hope to the Australian people. At last the Government has been forced to admit what it continually denied before the elections - that the Australian economy was in bad shape, that unemployment was bringing misery to thousands of young Australians and had to be corrected immediately, and that children were leaving school without any prospect of employment and were developing a depression complex. All these factors have made their mark. Better methods are available than those the Government is now employing to effect a quick recovery of employment in our industries. All the assistance that was denied to the Labour Government of Western Australia were quickly given to the anti-Labour Government in that State. This Federal Government should have given the same consideration to the submissions of the Hawke Labour Government as it has given to the present Government in Western Australia.
This Government has had its run of deceit. The people have woken up to it. That fact is evidenced in the 300,000 majority polled by the Labour Party at the recent election. The recent New South Wales general election also has shown beyond doubt that the people now see
through the hypocrisy of the Liberal Party. In another State an anti-Labour government that remained in office for so many years by gerrymandering the electoral boundaries now faces defeat. In my own State of Western Australia we will again have as Premier the man who did more than anybody else to raise the standards of our workmen. His administration produced more tradesmen, more building and more business. There was more prosperity in the general community under the Hawke Government than under any preceding government. Now, with a change of government, the debacle has come in that State, which is short of tradesmen. Building has fallen into the doldrums, although private enterprise is trying to carry on. The great Chevron Hilton project in Western Australia will be a dud.
Now Japan is demanding the export of iron ore from Western Australia. Nothing definite has been fixed about this matter. I asked a question in the Senate about it but my question was too pertinent to evoke a proper reply. I believe that some big contracts for the removal of iron ore have recently been completed by big combines inside and outside Australia. But the matter is by no means completely guaranteed. Nothing definite has been settled about the iron ore industry in Australia. I am pleased to see that at least the Opposition has spurred the Government into doing something about unemployment and about the other matters it ignored before the elections. Much more stability would be given to the country if the Government would implement long-term plans. Previously, under a Labour government, those engaged in primary industry were able to approach the Commonwealth Bank and obtain long-term loans. They did not have to sow a crop, financed by a loan which had to be repaid very soon. Under that system, they are in a position of financial stringency each year.
If the people who are trying to develop this country are not given some hope of a continuing and stable government policy, we will have continued unemployment, and bankruptcies will continue to occur at the present rate. The country will not make progress. Given the opportunity, the people of Australia will vote even more heavily for Labour, and return a Labour government to office again.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Presentation of Address in-RepIy.
Motion (by Senator Spooner) agreed to -
That the Address-in-Reply be presented to His Excellency the Governor-General by the President and such honorable senators as may desire to accompany him.
– I have ascertained that His Excellency the Governor-General will be pleased to receive the AddressinReply to his Speech at Government House on Tuesday next at 4.30 p.m. I extend an invitation to all honorable senators to accompany me on the occasion of its presentation.
Messages received from the House of Representatives intimating that the honorable members named had been appointed to serve with the following committees: -
Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting. - Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir John McLeay), Mr. Chaney, Mr. Falkinder, Mr. Fulton, Mr. Fuller and Mr. Turnbull.
Public Accounts - Mr. Allan, Mr. Cope, Mr. Costa, Mr. Davis, Mr. Kelly, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Whittorn.
Senate adjourned at 11.33 pan.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 7 March 1962, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1962/19620307_senate_24_s21/>.