24th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Will the Minister for National Development comment on the statement attributed yesterday to Mr. R. C. Sprigg, chairman of the Australian Petroleum Association, calling for a change of attitude by the Commonwealth Government in relation to oil search, and claiming that the Government should develop oil exploration without allowing the control of oil to slip out of Australian hands? What steps has the Government taken to secure the protection sought by Mr. Sprigg?
– I have been told of Mr Sprigg’s statement. It was on somewhat different lines from the press cutting which Senator McKenna has just handed across the table. I am sorry to say that I have not seen this particular statement. It must have been another statement to which my attention was directed. I do not understand what actuated Mr. Sprigg when he spoke about a change of attitude being required by the Commonwealth Government and suggested that the Government should be doing -what it is not doing now. All arrangements in relation to the search for oil are based upon the work that has been done by the Bureau of Mineral Resources, upon the very generous taxation allowances - the full benefit of which goes to Australian companies rather than to overseas companies - and upon our subsidy arrangements as well. I discussed this matter in some detail at a conference with the State Ministers of Mines. I think I would be correct in saying that State Ministers of Mines were unanimous that the arrangements being carried out at the present time were advantageous to Australia in that they increased the tempo of the search for oil.
The Government has no proposals in mind other than those relating to the subsidy arrangements which have been announced already. It does not propose to alter the present policy because that policy is yielding very good results. Aus tralian companies are taking an increasingly active part in the search for oil, and have been able to raise capital on the Australian stock exchanges. As all honorable senators would know there has been a very great increase in the number of companies formed, an increase in the amount of capital raised in Australia and a substantial improvement in the arrangements which Australian companies have made with overseas companies, arrangements under which the Australian companies are retaining their interest in the search for oil in tenements throughout Australia. I have not any figures in front of me, but I should think that Australian capital and Australian shareholders have benefited quite substantially from the Government’s policy and are playing a greater part, and taking a greater interest, in the search for oil in Australia than was the case six, twelve or eighteen months ago.
– I ask the Minister for Health: What action, if any, is being taken to ensure the complete banning of the manufacture and sale of the drug distaval, which has been proved to cause women who have taken the drug to give birth to deformed babies? Will the Minister take action to ensure that all stocks of the drug now in Australia are acquired and destroyed, and will he confer with the Minister for Customs and Excise with a view to ensuring the imposition of a complete ban on the! importation of this drug, by whatever name it may be labelled in an effort to defeat the ban?
– In spite of the fact that the side effects of distaval have caused great suffering in many countries, the Commonwealth Government has no constitutional authority to ban it, or for that matter any other drug, in the several States. That is a matter which lies wholly and solely within the jurisdiction of the States. Before I answer specifically the other two points raised by Senator Marriott, may I remind the Senate that Australia was the first country in which distaval was withdrawn from sale. That action was due, to a large extent, to the efforts of Dr. McBride, a Sydney gynaecologist, and I think it fair to say here that that is a tribute to the Australian medical profession. It is also true to say that distaval was never included in the list of drugs available under the free pharmaceutical benefits scheme. I suggest that that fact is a tribute to our Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations on these matters.
The honorable senator asked me whether I would take action to acquire and destroy all remaining supplies of distaval in Australia. I repeat that the Commonwealth Government has no authority to confiscate and destroy drugs held in the various States. That again is the responsibility of the State governments. On the subject of importation of distaval, I want to say that whilst the manufacturers have withdrawn the drug from world markets, we in this country are not prepared to see it rear its ugly head in any form again, and I shall be very happy to confer with my colleague, the Minister for Customs and Excise, to make quite sure that it is kept out of this country.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. Is it a fact that the migration target for 1961-62 was 125,000? Is it a fact that the Commonwealth Statistician’s figures show that in that year 85,807 settlers arrived, 9,241 settlers departed, and 7,139 Australians left permanently, leaving a net migration gain of 69,407, almost 55,000 below the migration target announced for the year? Are there any signs to suggest that this figure will be improved upon this year? If there are, what are those signs and what is the expected increase? If there are not, why does the Government set a migrant intake target of 125,000, which it has no expectation of reaching?
– The latest figures that I have from the Minister for Immigration disclose that for 1959-60, under the system of assessment now used, there were 105,887 arrivals and 6,305 departures. In 1960-61 there were 108,291 arrivals and 5,931 departures. In 1961-62 there were 85,808 arrivals and 9,241 departures. That is the figure that the honorable senator quoted.
– Plus the Australians that came back.
– Yes, plus the Australians that came back, of course. As for the prospects, I think that the best thing I can do is to ask the Minister for Immigra tion to give me his latest assessment. He is the Minister dealing with this matter. I shall obtain that information and give it to the honorable senator in due course.
– I ask the Minister for National Development whether he can report the result of consultations since the Senate last met among the governments of South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the Commonwealth over the projected Chowilla Dam on the River Murray near Renmark. Are all four governments agreed on the practicability and desirability of the scheme? Have any attempts been made to raise money outside Australia as was done, for example, for the Snowy Mountains Authority, when funds were raised through the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development? If so, with what result?
– Since the Parliament last met there has been a conference about the Chowilla Dam. At that conference all the States concerned agreed on the desirability of proceeding with the construction of the Chowilla Dam, and the Commonwealth Government indicated its willingness to provide 25 per cent, of the required money. The New South Wales Government said that although it agreed upon the need for the Chowilla Dam it would like, for financial reasons, to consider deferring construction of the dam for some period of time. It put forward the proposal that in the interim period South Australia and the areas served by the River Murray generally could have the use of the waters in the Menindee Lakes storage, which at present is a New South Wales storage only. The New South Wales Government proposed that the use of the Menindee waters should be made the subject of an investigation by the River Murray Commission. I would not suggest that South Australia and Victoria showed any enthusiasm about this proposal, but they did agree that in view of the magnitude of the proposal the River Murray Commission should investigate the possibility of using Menindee water for some interim period. The River Murray Commission is at present engaged in that investigation.
– What about the International Bank?
– On the question of obtaining overseas capital, I have no knowledge of any inquiries overseas for that purpose. I would not think that it is altogether pertinent. If money could be raised overseas it could be put to a variety of uses. I have not heard it suggested that the Chowilla Dam should be made the subject of a special application.
– My question is addressed to the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. I ask the Minister whether it is a fact that some of the activities now undertaken at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization research station, “ Glen Lossie “, in Western Australia, are to be discontinued. If it is a fact, will the Minister say what changes are envisaged in the future activities of this station?
– Yes, it is a fact that approximately half of the property known as “ Glen Lossie “ at Kojonup, in Western Australia, is to be disposed of by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. This property was bought by the C.S.l.R.O. out of moneys provided from wool funds, and research was carried on there at the expense of those funds. At the beginning, research was undertaken into the infertility of clover in that and adjacent areas in Western Australia, and from that, the research developed into general pasture research for that area of the State.
The work included examinations of the best methods of manuring, pasture management, and so on. Those researches have now reached a point where they should be applied widely throughout Western Australia by the State Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for extension services and for the application of the results of basic research done by the C.S.l.R.O., and I understand that that department is undertaking this work.
So far as the property itself is concerned, further research is now required into the actual connexion between the pasture and the grazing animal using the pasture, more in relation to the effects on the animal of the work that has been done in the’ pasture field. More attention must be paid to the animal, and, for this purpose, an area is needed closer to Perth and to tha scientific laboratories established in Perth. Therefore, the C.S.l.R.O. is selling roughly half of “ Glen Lossie “ and buying a property at Baker’s Hill on which to carry on that phase of research. I have had many representations from Western Australians about this matter. Quite apart from the question of whether I would have the power to prevent the C.S.l.R.O. from selling a property here or there - I think it is extremely doubtful - honorable senators might consider whether it would be proper for a Minister to dictate to agricultural scientists the nature of th-s experiments they should carry out, or the areas in which the experiments should be undertaken.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affair . Has the Government had any diplomatic communications with Indonesia, Holland or the United States of America concerning the rape of West New Guinea? If it has, could the Government’s attitude to this sorry affair be debated ki the Senate at an appropriate time?
– The Government has been in constant touch, and so has the Minister for External Affairs, with representatives of the Governments of Indonesia, Holland, the United States of America and other nations in regard to the matter referred to by Senator Cole in such picturesque language. I h: ve no doubt at all that in the course of time there will be a general debate on foreign affairs based on a statement issued by the Minister for External Affairs, and that full opportunity for discussion of this matter will oe presented to the Parliament.
– My question to the Minister for National Development has as its background the Government’s decision, announced in the Budget speech last night, to increase the amount to be made available for oil search and exploration in Australia and the Territories from £3,700,000 to £6,600,000 this financial year. Will the Minister comment on a press report of statements attributed to a Professor Rudd who, I understand, is Professor of Economic Geology at the University of Adelaide, when he was speaking at the annual conference of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy on Monday last? I should like to know whether the Minister has noticed that the professor is reported to have said, arnogst many other things, that -
Papua offered an extreme case of major companies holding a large area for an extensive period and not conducting an adequate campaign to explore the geology.
Has the Minister also noted that Professor Rudd went on to say that he believed Australians would have heard very little about New Guinea oil but for the fact that the Puri well blew itself unexpectedly? Finally, would the Minister care to comment on what I consider the most deplorable statement by the professor, when he made reference to corruption?
– I have Professor Rudd’s statement. This question of the search for oil in New Guinea is a very vexed and very difficult one. To my knowledge, Professor Rudd is an expert on that terrain in New Guinea, and he is always keen to see New Guinea exploration stepped up.
Oil Search Limited, which is, I should think, the largest Australian company searching for oil, has predominantly the right to search for oil in New Guinea, where already, as honorable senators will recall, some £30,000,000 has been spent without success. It is all very well to say that this is a case of a company having a very large area. I think the concensus of opinion among State ministers is that the existing large areas should be reduced because the rate of search is increasing, and it is now no longer necessary to allot areas as large as those that were leased out a few years ago, when it was very difficult indeed to induce people to take an interest in the search for oil. However, we should consider carefully before suddenly or drastically reducing the area available to a company which is so preponderantly an Australian company, and which, together with the department, has invested so much money without success in the search for oil. This company is now embarking upon a new programme, and has in contemplation the drilling of another hole in the Fly River area. I think that is as good a reply as I can give.
I did notice and read without any great pleasure Professor Rudd’s statement that, next to politics, oil was the most corrupt business in the world. I have been in politics for a long while, and I have not seen evidence of this alleged corruption. I do not think politics is any more corrupt than any other profession.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services whether he is aware that some sixteenyearold girls in Brisbane, who had been trained at private business colleges to type and operate ledger and adding machines, found it very difficult this year to obtain jobs in the classes of work for which they had been trained. Also, is the Minister aware that the business colleges where the girls were coached had a clientele that included businesses which obtained typists and clerks from them? Is the Minister aware that his department denied these girls, sixteen years of age and over, who were attending the training colleges, the right to receive unemployment benefit on the ground that they were attending the business college on a full-time basis? Having regard to the fact that the girls could not obtain jobs by. their own efforts or through the Commonwealth employment offices, and wisely continued attending the business colleges which, by directly assisting to obtain jobs for their trained students, are in fact employment agencies, will the Minister have the question of paying unemployment benefit to the girls investigated?
– I suggest that Senator Benn might assist these girls, if they need assistance, by himself making some inquiries at the office of the Department of Labour and National Service in Brisbane. I have no doubt that, even in the most prosperous times and in times of over-full employment, it can happen from time to time that girls who go through training colleges and business colleges are not able immediately tq obtain positions. I do not know what the circumstances of this case are, nor do I know how many girls are involved, but I should think that the best way to lend them a helping hand, if it is a helping hand they need; would be for Senator Benn to make some representations to the officer concerned who, I have no doubt, will do the best he can to deal with the situation.
– Has the Minister for National Development been notified since the last sitting of the Senate of any discoveries of large additional quantities of iron ore in the north-west of Western Australia? Can he give the Senate an idea of the tonnages, value and grade of the ore that has been found in that area? If there are large tonnages additional to Australia’s requirements, will the Minister consider lifting some of the restrictions that are. imposed on the export of iron ore? I refer to restrictions such as the stipulation that only 50 per cent of a deposit may be exported and that only 1,000,000 tons of ore from a deposit may be exported each year. The effect of the lifting of the restrictions would be that people who discovered large additional quantities of iron ore in Australia and were committed to the expenditure of many millions of pounds on the provision of railways and port facilities for the export of that iron ore would be able to find the necessary capital and then export more than 1,000,000 tons a year.
- Senator Scott has asked a question which has so many ramifications that I could not even ask him to put it on the notice-paper and I doubt very much my ability to answer it in the way it deserves to be answered. We have had a series’ of reports of new discoveries ot iron ore in the north of Western Australia. We began with the assumption that these deposits were enormous; but, as time goes on and as more reports come in, all the additional information shows that the deposits are larger than was expected originally. We are receiving requests to alter, the conditions under which iron ore may be exported.. .1 will not give an answer, about that matter; nor will I express any snap opinions because this matter is very important to Australia. .We have this tremendous natural resource and we want to make the best possible national use of it.
I am. speaking in the most general terms because this question relates to a- vast area. and tremendous iron ore deposits. This is where matters stand at present in general terms: The Western Australian Government has given certain rights to various companies. Those companies are drilling to find out what they have in the areas they hold. I do not think any of them have finished a drilling programme. It will be some considerable time before the areas are properly drilled. What we have to do is, first, to get a clear picture of the extent of the deposits in particular areas, and then determine the quality of the deposits and the best way to use them to the national advantage. We have to discuss the matter with the Western Australian Government, which has the primary interest in it. We also have to discuss it with the companies concerned.
That is my general approach, but a general approach has to be moulded to particular circumstances. If any company has a particular proposition to put to the Western Australian Government and the Commonwealth Government, which represents some variation of the original proposal, we will be happy to discuss it with the company; but I hesitate to give decisions before I know the quantity of ore in the particular deposit and whether the company concerned has actually found a market for the ore. I hesitate to give companies an indication that if they do something the Government will do something else. I believe it is better for them to find out whether they have a market for their iron ore and in what condition it has to be - whether it is iron ore as mined, bene.ficiated ore, or ore treated in some way. Of course, the more treatment there is here the better it is for Australia. This is too big a matter to be dealt with in general terms. Let us look at each case on its merits.
– I address my question to the Leader of the Government. During the last sessional period I directed his attention to the fact that the Minister for Social Services was violating the confidence of honorable senators and their constituents by divulging to members of another place the contents of certain correspondence. The’ Leader of the Government promised that he would do his best to have this practice discontinued. As I have another example of it which has occurred since the Parliament last rose I am wondering whether the Minister has been able to induce his colleague not to continue the practice.
– I well remember Senator Arnold’s previous question. As I told him at the time, similar representations had been made to me by a number of Government senators. I propose to make a statement on the matter in the Senate tomorrow, a statement that will, I believe, be satisfactory to honorable senators on both sides of the chamber.
– Has the Minister for Civil Aviation yet determined the date upon which the terminal building at Perth airport will be opened? If so, what is the date? Contemporaneously with the opening of the terminal building will the extension of the runways to cope with jet aircraft be completed? What is the position of the two major operating companies in Australia in relation to their re-equipment with jet aircraft?
– I am pleased to be able to tell Senator Vincent that the Perth airport terminal building will be opened on Saturday, 13th October. The runways have been taking jet aircraft for some months now. As the honorable senator probably recalls, Qantas has been operating its Boeings through Perth for the past five or six months, and probably other airlines will seek permits to operate through that airport. It is expected that at the time of the Commonwealth Games in Perth the airport will be called upon to handle an unusual amount of air traffic.
As to the re-equipment of the domestic airlines in Australia, under the most recently enacted relevant legislation the operators now are permitted to order aircraft which will come into service within Australia in either October or November, 1964. Both airlines have been actively surveying the market for some time. The honorable senator may know that the British air pageant at Farnborough takes place in September. Both airlines will be sending representatives to that exhibition to view the very latest British developments in airliners. Of course, they will be interested also in seeing what other markets are offering. I expect that they will reach a decision as to re-equipment late this year and probably will be taking delivery of aircraft late in 1964.
– I preface my question to the Leader of the Government by saying that I realize that the Government has been very busy with the Bury affair, the Broadmeadows by-election, the results of its decision not to contest the Batman by-election and its failure to make any headway in the Common Market negotiations.
Ministers may have missed seeing an important statement by the President of the United States. My question therefore is: Is the Minister aware that the President of the United States delivered a most important address on 4th July appealing for a new union between the United States and Europe to form a concrete Atlantic partnership? If the Minister is aware that such a statement was made, can he say whether it has been studied by the Prime Minister and his advisers? If so, will the Minister make a considered statement to the Senate setting out how Australia would be affected if the President’s suggestion were acted upon? The matter is particularly important because of the many obstacles confronting Australia in relation to trade with Europe and the United States during the coming decade.
– I thank Senator Hendrickson for his support of the Government in the matters that he outlined. I read the statement of the President of the United States with a great deal of interest. I am not prepared to comment because Senator Hendrickson might recollect that the Prime Minister is to make a comprehensive statement on the Common Market - no one can cover all its ramifications - to-morrow evening, and I hope that we shall have the statement before us in the Senate. I would think that the matter raised by Senator Hendrickson will be dealt with, even though not directly mentioned.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. As the Minister is well aware, over the last four years I hae been constantly pressing the PostmasterGeneral to provide translator television services to the country areas of Western Australia. I now ask: Does the Minister know that there were no applicants for the two country television licences covering Northam-York and Katanning-Albany areas in Western Australia? Is it a fact that this is the first time that an offer of commercial television licences has been rejected in Australia? Does the Minister consider that this is a setback to the Government’s planned programme for television expansion to country areas? ls it a fact that there are insufficient potential viewers in these areas to support economically conventional commercial initiating stations? If this is the case will the Minister give urgent and serious consideration to my repeated requests to provide a service for these worthy country people by either translator or repeater service? If the department continues stubbornly to refuse to use translators, how does it intend to “give an adequate television coverage to these people? What are the department’s objections to the use of translators? If the Minister is not in a position to reply to these questions, will he treat the matter as urgent and obtain a reply from his colleague as soon as possible?
– I am aware that no applications were received for television licences in the Katanning-Albany and Northam-York areas as I was in Perth when the announcement was made. I know of the consternation felt by Government supporters and members of the Opposition who have an interest in seeing television services extended to rural areas. Senator Branson has asked me a series of questions, and I may not be able to answer them all, but I shall obtain for him a written reply to those questions which I fail to answer now. I understand that this was the first time that no applications were received for commercial television licences, but 1 can assure the honorable senator that it is not necessarily a setback to our television programme. It is the intention of the Postmaster-General to establish national television stations in both of those areas. In view of . Senator Branson’s repeated requests for translator services I “give him an assurance that the Postmaster-
General is examining ways and means to meet the situation that has arisen in these areas, and which may well arise in other areas.
– I desire to bring a question to the notice of the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. In view of the increasing interest in Western Australia in the early establishment of a naval base on the west coast of Australia, as evidenced by the resolutions passed once again at the annual conferences of the Returned Servicemen’s League and other ex-servicemen’s organizations, can the Minister inform the Senate whether any investigation has ever been made of the cost of building such a naval base? If not, could such an investigation be made? Was the building of a base discussed at the Premiers’ Conference held recently in Canberra? If so, what was the result? In view of tho altered position when the Malaysia federation comes into being next year, does the Minister consider that Singapore will have any value as a substitute for a Western Australian base in the overall scheme of Australia’s defence?
– I commend Senator Tangney for her pertinacity on this subject. Nothing I can cay will add to what I have said previously. I can answer thu question only in general terms. This matter has been the subject of review from time to time by Australian defence authorities. They have not supported the proposal for a naval base in Western Australia of the kind that Senator Tangney mentions. I have no recollection of the matter coming before a Premiers’ Conference. The subject was well considered at the time that proposals for the Malaysia federation were under review, but without alteration to the point of view of the governments of Australia and the United Kingdom.
– My question to the Minister for Health relates to a reply given by the Minister to Senator Marriott a little earlier this afternoon to his question about the harmful effects of certain drugs and the tests made of their uses. Has the attention of the Minister been directed to a publicized statement that Australia possesses approximately five pharmacologists qualified to test the effects of all drugs? If this statement is correct, will the Minister investigate the position with a view to encouraging sufficient pharmacologists from overseas to undertake some comprehensive method of testing agreed upon by the Commonwealth and State Departments of Health?
Semite WADE. - I have no knowledge of the number of pharmacologists available for the testing of drugs in this country, but I would be amazed if the number were not more than five. I know that this is a matter of great interest to the Senate, and I asked the Director-General to give me some information concerning the Government’s responsibility and policy in the testing of drugs. It might be of interest to honorable senators. I have been advised that the Commonwealth, under the Therapeutic Substances Act, four years ago established the National Biological Standards Laboratory, mainly for the purpose of ensuring that drugs and anti-biotics included in the national health scheme conformed to the standards set by such authorities as the British Pharmacopoeia. I emphasize that the laboratory has been established in the main to make quite sure that the drugs and anti-biotics in our national health scheme meet the required standards.
The laboratory has not entered the field of clinical trials generally or the determination of side-effects of new drugs. Determination of side-effects is a difficult and complex task, and generally is a matter for the judgment of the medical profession. The World Health Organization, of which Australia is a member, is now taking a very lively interest in this most important matter of the testing of new drugs. Finally, I will obtain for Senator Wedgwood, if it is possible, the number of pharmacologists we have in Australia available for this important work.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Senate. Is the honorable gentleman concerned about the sudden fall in coal exports to Japan as reported and admitted by the Joint Coal Board last week?
– There has been some decrease in the export of coal to Japan, due primarily to the fact that the Japanese steel industry has not expanded to the extent expected. In other words, there has been a bit of a credit squeeze in Japan, which has steadied down operations there. I think the long-term view remains the same: There is a big and increasing market for coal in Japan. Of course, representations are being currently made to reduce as far as possible the fall in trade that may occur.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration been directed to the recent arrest for deportation of a Chinese named Mak Kung in a Melbourne suburb? Is it a fact that the free Chinese ambassador to Australia, Dr. Chen, has stated that his country will take any responsible Chinese citizen who has to be deported from Australia? Without in any way condoning illegal entry into Australia, will the Minister, in view of the fact that this man has escaped from red China and will face the normal penalties if returned to that country in the event of deportation, ensure that Mak Kung is given the option of going to free China if he so wishes?
– I understood from a statement that the Minister made recently that it had been agreed with the Minister for Taiwan in Australia that if deportees wished to go to Taiwan - Formosa - this could be arranged. I shall obtain the facts from the Minister and give them to the honorable senator as soon as I have them.
– Does the Minister representing the Treasurer recollect that in June, 1961, I submitted to the Treasurer a request that relief be given to school teachers, civil servants and seasonal workers who are transferred into that area of the northwest of Western Australia which forms part of zone A and zone B for the purposes of taxation remissions under section 79a of the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act? Is the Minister aware that I had strong support on that occasion, because he also had approached the Treasurer to have the anomaly corrected, and that the answer 1 received to my submission was the same as the answer sent to him. The letters addressed to him and me read, in part -
In view of these and other considerations, the Government has so far not seen its way clear to alter the present conditions of the zone allowance. The matter is, however, being kept in view in conjunction with other requests concerning the zone provisions generally, and I have arranged for your representations to be borne in mind when the subject is again under consideration. ls the Minister in a position to inform the Senate of what the Government has done about correcting the anomalies affecting persons working in zone A and zone B under the conditions we both described, and of what alteration will take place as a result of our submissions?
– 1 well recall that Senator Cooke has had an interest in this matter for some time. I must confess that until to-day I did not know that he and I had been joined in the representations, and 1 have been set to wondering whether I was so joined as a result of some inspiration by himself. However, I am aware of the nature of the reply that has been received by Senator Cooke. I know that the matter has been resubmitted quite recently by the teachers’ union, but I am not aware of any decision that has been reached subsequent to the resubmission of the case. I shall ask the Treasurer whether further information is available and will advise the honorable senator of the result of my inquiries.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs tell me what arrangements are made for meeting Colombo Plan students on their initial arrival in Australia? Who is charged with the responsibility of welcoming them and making arrangements for their accommodation? Are any hostel or reception centres established for them to stay at during their settling-in period? Is there any organization that looks after their interests while they are in this country?
– Colombo Plan students are met, on their arrival in this country, by an officer of the Commonwealth Office of Education, which in this field acts as agent for the Department of External
Affairs. They are conducted to the accommodation which, before their arrival, has been provided for them. They are given a clothing allowance of approximately £50 and they are paid a fortnight’s living allowance - 1 cannot quite remember the sum - in advance. They are then given a course which is designed to provide them with initial ideas of Australian living conditions. They are told about Australian customs, coinage, postage, and things of that kind. They are taken shopping and advised what clothes to buy. After that, they are conducted to the training centre where they are to do their work. From then on, an official of the Commonwealth Office of Education, acting on behalf of the Department of External Affairs, is available to them for advice on any troubles which they encounter. 1 know of no hostels set up for their accommodation while they are in Australia. I trust that what I have said provides the answer to the honorable senator’s question.
– I direct a question to the Minister in charge of war service homes. Is it a fact that a recent decision of the Government prevents a recipient of war service homes finance from using that money to liquidate the cost of providing street construction required for any homes purchased by them? If this is so, does the Minister agree that it will force these people to seek financial accommodation elsewhere at a much higher rate of interest, thereby causing widespread and great injustice to many thousands of people? If that decision has been made, will the Minister take the second aspect of my question into consideration and see whether the decision can be reversed or the matter adjusted to the satisfaction of recipients of war service homes finance?
- Senator Sandford’s information is not quite correct. The position he has described applies only to Victoria and not to any other State. It applies only to roads constructed before 1956 - I am not quite certain of the year, but I think that is right - or to subdivision plans that were approved prior to 1956. It does not apply to work done or approved subsequent to 1956. The home-owner has the option of paying the amount involved in cash or on terms over ten years to the council. Most people pick the ten-year term instead of a cash payment. Naturally, those who are paying on terms would like the benefit of war service homes finance, instead of paying interest at the rate of 6 per cent, to the council, but I stopped it, because such substantial funds would be likely to go out on road construction to the detriment of people who did not have homes and were applying for war service homes.
– Has the Minister for Health studied the report that states that tablets and powders containing the pain-killing drug phenacetin can be very dangerous to the health of persons who take them often, and can cause addiction to the drug? Will the Minister prepare for the Senate a statement setting out the trade names of powders and tablets now on sale containing this dangerous drug? Can regulations be issued that all bottles or packages of powders or tablets containing phenacetin be labelled as either dangerous or poisonous?
– I did see the report referred to by Senator Marriott, and because of the everyday use of phenacetin I sought the advice of the Director-General of Health on the matter. I have been advised that the National Health and Medical Research Council has not as yet made any recommendations concerning phenacetin. This drug is an example of the difficulties to be faced. It has been in world-wide use for 60 years or more and only recently have doubts arisen as to the wisdom of its use. It is a component of a number of pain-killing powders and as such has been accepted as being of real therapeutic value. Recent overseas evidence has suggested that there might be side effects that would out-weigh the benefits gained by the use of the drug. The evidence has been collected and I understand that this will be considered by the National Health and Medical Research Council at later meetings. Might I emphasize that phenacetin, like so many other drugs, is generally safe if used as prescribed. The danger lies in excess.
– I ask the
Minister for Health a question without notice. I preface my question by saying that I have received correspondence from the Mental Hospital Auxiliaries of Victoria pointing out that the grant of £10,000,000 by the Commonwealth in 1955 for capital works in mental hospitals on a £l-for-£2 basis has already been spent and that the absence of any new provision is delaying work necessary for the treatment of retarded children and the mentally ill. Will the Minister examine this matter and see whether a further grant can be made available to assist these people whose need is so great?
– It is true that in 1955, as a result of the Stoller report, the Government made a grant of £10,000,000 available to the States, on a population basis, for the construction of buildings at mental hospitals. It is also true that Victoria and Tasmania have expended their proportion of that grant, but some other States have fairly substantial balances as yet unspent. That is all that I can say on this matter now, for the very good reason that it is under consideration by the Victorian Minister for Health, the Tasmanian Minister for Health and the Commonwealth Government. The honorable senator will appreciate the position that arises.
– I direct a question without notice to the Minister representing the Treasurer. To clear any doubt in the Minister’s mind I preface it by saying that a submission was made jointly by him and me in respect of relief under Section 79a of the Income Tax Assessment Act to persons living in the north-west of Australia. I quote a letter, dated 7th July, from the Treasurer, and ask the Minister whether I have been correctly informed therein. The letter reads: -
I have also had similar representations from the Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator the Honorable Shane Paltridge, and I am enclosing for your information a copy of the reply which I have forwarded to him on the subject.
The letter also states that personal representations were made on lines similar to mine. I do not wish to imply that I brought the Minister into this matter. I should like to know whether the information is correct, and I should like the Minister, as the Treasurer’s representative in the Senate, to follow up the matter vigorously.
– I am very sure that the senator has been correctly informed in connexion with this matter. I think from his second question that some confusion may arise - there is some confusion in my mind - about the particular representation. I shall certainly have another look at it.
– I direct my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and preface it by asking him whether he recalls that some twelve months ago the Prime Minister, when speaking about unemployment, said -
In about twelve months’ time we will ail be wondering what we have been worried about.
Can the Minister tell me whether the Prime Minister has varied his views in that regard?
– I find it impossible to answer that question until Senator Ormonde tells me what he is worrying about.
– I wish to address my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Air. Is he aware that a Cessna aircraft was recently stolen from Maylands aerodrome in Western Australia and flown a distance of approximately 700 miles before it crashed? Is it a fact that its whereabouts remained unknown for some weeks, although the theft was known within an hour or so of its occurrence? Is the Minister aware that no assistance in the air search was given by the Royal Australian Air Force? Whether or not such assistance was sought, would it not have been an appropriate exercise for airmen, who must share the satisfaction of all members of the community that the aircraft at large was not an enemy plane? Does not this incident highlight the inadequacy of air defence in Western Australia and the methods of tracking, monitoring and recording aircraft in flight?
– I did read a report about the aircraft which was stolen from Maylands, Western Australia. I am informed by the honorable senator that the Air Force offered no assistance in the search.
– T do not know whether it was asked for assistance.
– That is the point I want to make. I emphasize, as strongly as I can, that the Royal Australian Air Force has a magnificent record of search and rescue in this country. I think it is true to say that no genuine call for assistance has ever been refused.
– That is correct.
– It could well be argued that this was a matter for the police. It was a civil aircraft and not part of the Air Force. The honorable senator asks whether this does not highlight the inadequacy of air defence in Australia. The answer is, “ No “. I say again, without fear of contradiction, that for the size of our Air Force - and it is comparable with air forces of other countries with greater populations than ours - our air defence is second to none.
– I wish to address a question without notice to the appropriate Minister, whether he be the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization or the Minister for Health. My question refers to the sirex wasp. I ask the appropriate Minister, to give the Senate up-to-date information about the assessment made by scientists as to the extent of its presence at the present time and its importance as a menace to the forestry industry of Australia. Will he give some information on the programme being undertaken to combat its spread?
– The sirex wasp is being investigated by a committee set up by the Commonwealth and State Governments in the wasp’s latest habitat in Victoria. Speaking in general terms, infestations have proved more widespread than was originally believed. They extend from east of Melbourne almost into Gippsland in isolated places. The Victorian Forestry Commission is the spearhead of the attack in locating areas of infestation. How wide the infestation is is by no means clear. I shall reduce to writing a report on this matter so that Senator Wright will have more detailed information than I can give him now.
– Senator Wright has fired’ off a shot-gun question which con.cerns more than one Minister. I should like to reply to the last part of the question, regarding the work being done by scientists to combat the pest, as opposed to the areas in which it is found. I understand that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization is carrying out scientific research into the eradication of sirex wasp in Tasmania. Senator Wade is responsible for the declaration of areas and for what is done in that connexion, and I am responsible for other aspects.
– My question, which is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, relates to the recent election of Chairman of Committees in this chamber. The Minister will remember that the Opposition vote was somewhat split. Can he say whether the split vote indicates that the Australian Labour Party is becoming more democratic in its attitude towards politics, or that there is still an ideological cleavage in the ranks of that party?
– I answer the question with a question. Did Senator Vincent ask whether the Australian Labour Party was becoming more democratic or more demoralized?
– Can the Minister for Civil Aviation state either the exact or the approximate date on which the runway at Launceston airport will be closed to aircraft of the Viscount type? For how long will the runway be closed while it is being reconstructed to enable it to take Electra-type aircraft? Have drawings and plans for the proposed modern airport terminal been completed?
– Answering the last part of the question first, I inform the honorable senator that the plans and designs are now in preparation. It is expected that the whole project will be referred to the Public Works Committee towards the end of this year. I am afraid I cannot inform the honorable senator at this early stage of approximate dates within which the runway will be closed to heavy aircraft. It will not, however, be for any great length of time. Naturally, the Department of Civil Aviation will be concerned to see that the airport is available for use by heavy aircraft as much as is possible. I put it to the honorable senator that the temporary closure of Launceston airport to heavy-type aircraft is necessary so that, in the end, Launceston may have one of the finest airports in Australia.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– My colleague, the Minister for Immigration, has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– 1 and 2. I regret that I was unable to furnish a reply to these questions prior to the end of the session because of the investigations necessary to obtain the information sought by the honorable senator. However, 1 am now in a position to advise him that it is somewhat difficult to arrive at a precise cost of keeping aircraft circling at a particular point because of the varying factors which apply. I would think it reasonable, however, to assess the cost involved on this occasion at a little in excess of £1,000, attributable to the circling time involved. Neither operator was involved in any additional cost in taking services on to Sydney and returning to Canberra as passengers on the aircraft which were unable to land were transported back from Sydney on normal regular services.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The Minister for Labour and National Service has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
How much was paid by each Commonwealth Government department and each Commonwealth authority to (a) Trans-Australia Airlines, (b) Ansett-A.N.A., (c) Airlines of South Australia, (d) Airlines of New South Wales, (e) Queensland Air lines, and (f) Ansett-Mandated Airlines, in respect of passengers travelling by air on Commonwealth Government warrants during the financial year 1960-61?
– I regret not having been able to convey this information to Senator Marriott prior to the Senate going into recess. I did reply to him by letter but, for the purposes of the record, I read the following answer: -
It would be an administrative task of some magnitude to provide the detailed information you seek. As you are aware the account classification adopted by Commonwealth departments provides for expenditure to be shown under functional headings such as “ Travel “ - “ Allowances “, &c. A physical check of all warrants would be necessary to show distribution between main airlines and this would be a lengthy process as a number of State offices would be involved. Similarly the airlines themselves do not readily have available such consolidated information as accounts with various departments, &c, are handled on a regional basis. I do require my department to keep a check on total Commonwealth expenditure as between the two major airlines and the airlines have administrative machinery established to produce these total figures but not the break up as between various departments and agencies. In respect of 1960-61 the volume of Commonwealth business gained by each group was -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers: - 1 and 2. In answer to the honorable senator’s questions I refer her to the statement made by the Minister for External Affairs in the House of Representatives and by Senator Gorton in the Senate on 17th May, 1962, on developments in Laos and certain Seato activities.
Reports on Items.
– I lay on the table of the Senate the reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects: -
Bonded Fibre Fabrics and Interim Report under the General Textile Reference on Bonded Fibre Fabrics,
General Textile Reference - Interim Report on Yarns, Woollen or Containing Wool,
General Textile Reference - Interim Report on
Discontinuous Man-made Fibre Yarns (not containing wool),
Citric Acid, Tartaric Acid and Cream of Tartar,
Pneumatic Rubber Tyres and Tubes,
Sensitive Balances, and
I also lay on the table of the Senate reports by the Special Advisory Authority on: -
Automotive Electrical Components,
Paper, Paper Boards and Paper Felt,
Conveyor Belts and Belting,
Air-cooled Internal Combustion Engines,
Weedicides and Insecticides,
Wrought Iron and Steel Chain,
Towels and Towelling,
Polyvinyl Chloride Products,
Compressors and Allied Equipment for use in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Equipment, and
Penicillin and Streptomycin.
I am also tabling three other reports by the Special Advisory Authority on -
Trichlorethylene, which do not call for any legislative action.
Debate resumed from 16th May (vide page 1433), on motion by Senator Spooner -
That the following paper: -
Disarmament and Nuclear Tests - Statement by the Minister for External Affairs, dated 5th April, 1962- be printed.
.- The debate on this subject originated some time ago from a statement delivered by the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) in another place, and by Senator Spooner, in this place, outlining the efforts that had been made up to that time by the Western world to enter into an agreement, first to ban nuclear testing and, if that were agreed to, then to enter upon nuclear disarmament. After what the world went through between 1914 and 1918, and between 1939 and 1945, we realize that a third war would be more devastating than ever before in history, and taking into consideration the people with whom we are dealing, it is vital that we make every attempt to enter into an agreement providing for adequate means of inspection and control of nuclear testing and nuclear armaments. Failing such an agreement, the Western world is faced with two alternatives. The first is to run the risk of nuclear war and proceed with nuclear testing and the perfecting of its nuclear armaments. In other words, it must keep pace with Soviet Russia, and I agree entirely with the action taken by the United States of America, because I believe that country had no alternative. The second is to disarm unilaterally, or unilaterally cease testing nuclear armaments. This, of course, could mean that we would not be keeping our nuclear armaments up to the standard of those of the Soviet Union, and if that alternative were adopted we would certainly invite world domination by the Communists. Surely no one. not even Professor Bertrand Russell, is so naive as to believe that the Soviet Union would not take advantage of theopportunity to achieve world domination by the Communists if the Western world were to curtail the testing and perfection of nuclear arms. The Western world is fully aliveto the fact that if Soviet Russia achieved superiority in nuclear armaments it would follow the pattern adopted by all oligarchic governments which have attained superiority in any direction.
During the debate in this chamber a few weeks ago, the Australian Labour Party proposed that the provisions relating to the Antarctic be extended to apply to the whole of the southern hemisphere. In my view, Senator Gorton dealt most effectively with that proposal.I feel certain now that, after hearing the criticism levelled at that suggestion by some honorable senators on this side, the Australian Labour Party must be feeling very sorry for ever having submitted it. Senator Gorton referred to the fact that the Antarctic region is uninhabited and said that it was basically unsound to compare that region with the heavily populated regions in the southern hemisphere. He went on to refer to the absurd position that would be created in Africa with a nuclearfree zone south of the equator and north of the equator a zone in which people could make atomic armaments, go in for nuclear testing and do whatever they liked. The same position would exist in South America.
The most absurd position of all would exist in Indonesia, a country which lately has shown considerable aggression just north of Australia. The equator runs through Indonesia, so in the northern part of the country, in the islands north of the equator, the Indonesians could manufacture nuclear weapons and test them, but south of the equator they would not be able to do so, provided this absurd agreement was effectively policed and carried out, should it ever eventuate. In this world we have reached a stage where disarmament must be universal.
The statement to which I have referred details the many attempts that have been made since the end of the Second World War to achieve disarmament. We can go back further than that. After the 1914-18 war many disarmament conferences were held at times when the threat of war of the dimensions of an atomic war was not present. All those conferences failed. Since the Second World War ended a series of conferences has been held to try to bring about a situation in which the people of the world could live without this awful threat constantly hanging over them. To date those conferences have failed.
This is a most difficult proposition. Surely one of the greatest breaches of faith in history - I do not think I am exaggerating for one moment when I say this - occurred while a conference was taking place at which the Soviet Union was represented and after it had entered into an agreement under which nuclear testing was banned for three years. The Soviet Union broke that agreement and exploded the largest bomb that has been exploded in the history of the world. I believe, Mr. Deputy President, that that was one of the most shameful and callous breaches of faith in history. Then, when President Kennedy, after a good deal of consideration and after the Western world had been forced to keep pace or lose the race, decided that for the sake of the free world the United States of America had to resume testing and it exploded a bomb, the Soviet Union held up its hands in horror and its Foreign Minister made a statement deploring the awful thing that the United States had done and saying that the United States was holding an awful threat over the rest of the world.
In my opinion the difficulty in the proposition is that we are dealing with people who have thrown away the book of rules and do not display what is regarded as normal, reasonable and logical conduct by people who try to reach agreement and go into conferences with some sincerity and with an object in view. We are dealing with people who have reversed that process. Very often they try to enter into these agreements merely as a subterfuge and with the intention of gaining some advantage over their
Opponents. In my opinion, that constitutes a very great difficulty in entering into an agreement on atomic disarmament and the abandonment of nuclear testing with people who have one object in view, namely, so to propagate their dogma that eventually it must dominate the whole world. They believe that if the breaking of an agreement into which they enter means that their “ ism “ is further advanced, that is good. That is what will be done unless and until an agreement is entered into and unless an effective method is put into operation under which disarmament and the abandonment of nuclear testing can be policed effectively and under which agreements can be carried out and not broken with immunity.
Bad as the position is, I often remind myself that despite all the faults that we find in our own system of government - those faults do not rest so much with the system itself as with those who operate it - the Soviet system is based on suppression and” repression. If the Soviet Union had an effective opposition which was free to place the facts before the people and cause the government to justify itself; if the Soviet Union had a news service that was free from government control and domination; and if the Soviet Union had some of the other free institutions that we have, the truth would go out to the people and they would realize the situation.
I recall that Sumner Welles paid a visit to Nazi Germany, and afterwards he said that he had had some conception of what a newspaper under the Nazis was like, but he had never dreamt for one moment that it was such an atrocity as he found it to be. He said that the news it contained was not only false but unbelievably so. His visit opened his eyes to just what could be achieved by a government that controlled the dissemination of news and was able to paint the picture as it thought fit to the people over whom it had jurisdiction. That position pertains in the Soviet Union. The government is able to make most of the people believe what it wants them to believe. The facts do not go down to the people and the people have no say in the election of the government of the country. All those things are difficulties - almost insurmountable difficulties, I believe - which surround the signing of an agreement on nuclear disarmament. But there is another side to the story. Mr. Adlai Stevenson - a man of some consequence in international affairs - made a statement, which was published in the “ New York Times “, relating to his visit to Russia in 1958. He said -
One day I asked a high official, “ How about the production of babies in China? “ adding that if the population of China continued to expand at the present rate the Soviet Union would one day look to its neighbour like the largest emptiest land in the world. “ Ah, that’s the trouble “, he replied unhesitatingly. And whenever I remarked, as I often did, that a United Nations commission estimated the population of China in the year 2000 at 1,600,000,000, the look of consternation was invariable. Nor was I surprised when on a couple of occasions Soviet officials quickly raised their vodka glasses and replied, “ Which is another reason for better Soviet-American relations “.
Wedged in as the Soviet Union is between two fronts, should it find itself threatened by an overwhelmingly powerful China will it not be compelled through self-preservation to substitute for ils corrosive policy of peaceful co-existence a defensive alliance with the West?
That last paragraph of the statement seems to be getting very far ahead of reality, although it has been admitted by China’s Foreign Minister that differences do exist. But I suppose that that does not amount to a great deal. I expect that differences exist between all- countries, in some form or another; but when you consider that China has four times the population of Russia in about one-half of Russia’s area, and that sooner or later it will be a matter of absolute necessity for China to expand in some direction, and having regard to the comparatively empty spaces in Siberia adjacent to the mainland of China, it seems feasible that as time goes on there may be - probably it is too much to hope for - a softening in the Soviet attitude towards the Western world.
I commend the statement which has emanated from the Minister for External Affairs. I support entirely the action taken by the United States of America. As I said at the commencement of my remarks, I believe that it is a choice between running the risk of atomic war or accepting the certainty of world communism. Of the two, I believe that the latter is the least desirable.
.- Senator Lillico’s speech on this very important matter of disarmament and nuclear tests seemed to me to be a conservative, but negative and stubborn, approach to the crisis which faces mankind at present. Apparently we are represented at some of the conferences, which continually are bogged down in a mire of prejudice and lack of understanding of the nature of the threat of thermo-nuclear war, by diplomats of Senator Lillico’s calibre. Let me remind the honorable senator that early in August, 1945 two comparatively peasized bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the purpose of ending the Second World War. At the dropping of the first bomb mankind entered this new era of mass destruction, annihilation and disintegration, and experienced the five or six phases of the one act - the explosion, the blast, the fire storm, the tornado, the mushroom cloud, the immediate fall-out and the eventual residual fall-out. All these things were involved in those explosions in Japan in 1945. Using those bombs as prototypes our scientists have developed 50-megaton bombs, and bombs of greater power, which make the effect of the bombs dropped in 1945 seem minute by comparison. These new weapons are being tested in our time.
T should like to remind Senator Lillico - I hope he will remember my remarks when he is applying himself to this subject-
– Why can you not put your remarks on an impersonal basis?
– 1 want Senator Lillico to learn from this debate something which apparently he has not known before, which is that we should bring to this very important problem dealt with by the Minister for External Affairs that degree of tolerance which is necessary if we are to achieve a peaceful solution. Apparently Senator Lillico takes the view of all or nothing at all. To me that is a negative and stubborn attitude to adopt.
– But he put his remarks on a lofty and impersonal basis and we ask you, as a senator, to do the same.
– I shall continue with my speech at my leisure and ignore rude interruptions from the honorable senator. Senator Lillico made a personal attack on members of the Australian Labour Party when he said that we were sorry we brought forward the proposition
– Not a personal attack.
– It was a personal attack on every senator on this side of the chamber and on members of the Australian Labour Party generally. The honorable senator raised this aspect and I intend to answer it in my own way. He said that we were sorry that we had advanced the proposition of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere. Let me read for his benefit a declaration on this subject of disarmament and nuclear tests which was made on 4th July, 1962 - a little over one month ago - by the Federal Executive of the Australian Labour Party. It is in these terms -
This Federal Executive, being acutely aware of the intense anxiety being felt by all peoples in respect to the possibility of a third world war based on the use of nuclear weapons, wilh all its terrifying consequences, endorses the speech on this subject made by the Federal Leader, Hon. A. A. Calwell, in the Parliament on 15th May, 1962.
We further state that the various propositions considered by the Parliamentary Executive were, by and large, embraced by policy approved by succeeding conferences since 19SS.
I might say by way of an aside that those propositions were outlined by Mr. Calwell in his speech, and I will enlarge on them later. The resolution continues -
As a consequence, we inform the Parliamentary Labour Party that the documents which received its consideration could have been combined in the following form: - “The Australian Labour Party declares that the hope of mankind lies in agreement through the United Nations for total world disarmament. It supports the view of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers in March, 1961, that every effort should be made to secure rapid agreement to the permanent banning of nuclear weapons tests by all nations and to arrangements for verifying the observance of the Agreement. “It deplores the breach of the three years moratorium on nuclear tests and the resumption of tests without any end in sight. “ It declares its opposition to nuclear tests at any time by any nation and believes that the Australian Government should take all necessary steps to initiate a Conference of the Antarctic Treaty Powers, China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma, Malaya, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and all countries in Africa and South America, directed towards making the Southern Hemisphere a nuclearfree zone. “The Government should assure the United Nations that Australia, in its submissions to the conference to make the Southern Hemisphere a nuclear-free zone, would declare that it would agree not to manufacture, acquire or receive nuclear weapons. “ The Labour Party shares the fears expressed by President Kennedy concerning the possible spread of nuclear arms to those nations not now possessing them. President Kennedy said on May 17th 1962 -
We do not believe in a series of national deterrents. We believe that a Nato deterrent, to which the United States has committed itself heavily, can provide adequate protection. An increasingly dangerous situation will result if nation after nation feels that its expression of independence requires it to build up its own nuclear deterrent.’ “
– Do you believe we should abandon our nuclear deterrent?
– I have just completed reading a declaration by the Federal Executive of the Australian Labour Party made on 4th July, 1962, on disarmament and nuclear tests. That is an official document. I shall now enlarge on these points along the lines adopted by our leader, Mr. Calwell, whose speech was endorsed by this resolution of the Federal Executive, and is in accord with the consistent attitude of the Australian Labour Party on these matters. The Labour Party has always contended that any nuclear arms ban must be part of a general programme of total disarmament made through, and backed by, the authority of the United Nations, and containing adequate safeguards. At the same time, the Australian Labour Party has always recognized that Australia has its part to play in a Western alliance, which includes our duty to defend ourselves in the event of war by the means that circumstances may dictate. As a member of an alliance Australia has the right to make its views known within the councils of the alliance, and within the councils of the world generally.
The determination of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere is a matter of great importance to me, and I believe also to people throughout the world.
II is interesting to observe what has taken place over a period of time in the United Nations. The Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) said that most proposals for the establishment of nuclear-free zones and the banning of nuclear weapons would give the Soviet an advantage since it is only the Western nuclear deterrent which holds in check the Soviet bloc’s undoubted superiority in conventional forces. That is to be found at page 6 of the Minister’s statement.
Several proposals have been made. At the last session of the United Nations the Polish Foreign Minister advocated a nuclearfree zone in Central Europe. The Swedish Foreign Minister also presented a proposal for an agreement not to manufacture nuclear weapons. He suggested that if a group of nations were to reach such an agreement they could then form a nuclearfree zone. At the same session of the United Nations a proposal was put forward that the continent of Africa be regarded as a nuclear-free zone, and there was a further proposal to declare the use of nuclear weapons to be a crime against humanity and a direct violation of the charter of the United Nations.
In addition to the resolutions to which I have just referred, four other draft resolutions were put forward at this session of the Assembly. The first, sponsored by a number of African nations, proposed that all nations should observe the continent of Africa as a nuclear-free zone. The draft was adopted on 20th November by 55 votes in favour, none in opposition and 44 abstentions, including Australia. On 24th November the General Assembly adopted a draft resolution sponsored by African and Asian nations which declared the use of nuclear weapons to be a crime against humanity and a direct violation of the charter of the United Nations. This resolution was adopted by 55 votes, twenty nations - including Australia - voting against it, with 26 abstentions. A draft resolution put forward by Sweden and five other nations requested the United Nations Secretariat to survey the conditions under which states would be prepared to enter into an agreement not to manufacture, acquire or receive, on behalf of other countries, nuclear weapons. This draft was adopted by the General Assembly on 4th December by 58 votes to 10, with 23 abstentions, including Australia.
We have evidence here that on the one hand the great masses of people, including those in this country who realize the implications of a thermo-nuclear war, are finding that delegates to the United Nations are consistently supporting the policy that has been outlined by President Kennedy and by leaders of the Australian Labour Party, in trying to restrict the field in which thermo-nuclear weapons shall be tested and manufactured, whereas, on the other hand, the Australian Government is supporting a policy that opens up possibilities for continued testing. It is my personal view that the reason for the breaking of the moratorium was the decision by France to test her weapons. That commenced this vicious circle which has resulted in the testing of bombs up to 50 megatons.
– Was not the moratorium broken before France did her testing?
– The moratorium did not affect France. She was not a party to it. The moratorium has been broken twice - by Russia first and by the United States next.
– There is no moratorium once it is broken.
– The moratorium has to be kept by both sides, and only one nation can be the last to explode a bomb. In any case, the position is that the Labour Party is putting forward a proposition that an agreement should be entered into similar to that contained in the Antarctic Treaty. Under that treaty a nuclear-free zone has been established, and the signatories to that treaty were quite prepared to enter into it. There is no desire at the present time for war in Antarctica, nor for nuclear weapons to be manufactured ox stored there. Complete agreement has been reached by the signatory powers. Antarctica has the good fortune not to have lots of people there who could have a vested interest, but surely the agreement that has been reached in relation to that area could be extended to other zones? Man is faced with a challenge to his very existence if he is unable to reach some compromise on the matter. We must expand this sphere of influence beyond Antarctica. We should incorporate Indonesia, as some one interjected a little earlier, in a nuclearfree zone in this hemisphere. From all the remarks that were made in a recent debate in the Senate, we would have thought that there never could bc any agreement between Holland and Indonesia, and that it would be a shocking thing if Indonesia became our neighbour in New Guinea. But without any effort on our part, we are presented with a fait accompli. Indonesia is our next door neighbour, and if we have any common sense at all, we shall follow in Mr. Townley’s footsteps and the footsteps of those sportsmen who are in Indonesia at the moment, and get on with the job of making friends with the Indonesians, because they will be our neighbours for a Jong time. They are in the same position as we are, and just as vulnerable to the effects of thermo-nuclear fall-out.
After all, the cold war is on. The obvious sequel to the testing of these bombs, despite the fact that we get trumpedup figures from various sources, is an accumulation of fall-out which must be of great danger to the water supply, milk supply, the bones of babies, the general health of unborn babies, and mankind generally. The thermo-nuclear war is virtually on, as long as these weapon tests continue. I am quite certain that some honorable senators opposite do not realize that the war is on. Because we cannot see the piles of bodies, it is difficult to visualize a war being fought in that way. In my view, the collective effects of fall-out and the death-roll over a period as a result of the present tests and, if we do not come to an agreement, succeeding tests, will make the death-roll of the last world war pale into insignificance.
The Australian Labour Party is not alone in advocating ultimate complete and total disarmament, because prime ministers have agreed on that objective. The President of the United States of America also has agreed on that objective. The Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs himself has stated that the Australian Government has that as its aim. That is one field of agreement. Certain points have been agreed upon by the ten nations discussing disarmament in Geneva. Progress has been made. I am very pleased that areas of agreement are being found. Let us support this action. Let us hope that these areas of agreement will eventually lead to success in solving this great problem.
We have been accused of being afraid to bring forward this proposal for a nuclearfree zone in the southern hemisphere. Groups of people throughout the world must have the courage to raise their voices and show that they are not satisfied with the progress being made and the diplomatic skulduggery going on, with the old, outdated diplomatic practices being used, where a little common-sense activity could overcome many of the minor problems and satisfy a want in the hearts and minds of people generally.
A debate such as this affords an excellent opportunity for people to acquaint themselves of the great threat that overhangs mankind. As I see it, this is the overriding issue. No planning for the future can take place - there can be no certainty that there will be any future for mankind - until this great issue is settled. Moves at present in train towards a settlement should have the fullest support of everyone on either side of the political camp, whatever his ideology. It is of no use to have an ideology if you are dead. It is better to be alive and to settle your problems in a common-sense way. We support practically all that has been said in the ministerial statement. We believe that Australia can do a lot more as a nation in giving a lead to the smaller nations, as she has done traditionally in the United Nations. The smaller nations can show the larger nations that our voices have the weight and convictions of decent people trying to reach a solution of these problems. In my view, any area of agreement, any area which can be made nuclear free, is a gain towards solving the great problem facing as.
.- I think the most outstanding feature- of
Senator O’Byrne’s speech is the indication that the Australian Labour Party’s foreign policy, so far as it relates to nuclear testing, is so incompetent and inept that he is compelled to misrepresent President Kennedy in order to justify the party’s approach to what passes for a policy. He said that Kennedy agreed to total and unconditional disarmament. The truth of the matter is that the President did not agree to that. He was prepared to enter, with Russia, into a genuine disarmament agreement which provided for adequate and proper inspection, to which, of course, the Communist leader would never agree. As a consequence, the President was compelled, most reluctantly, to resume the testing of nuclear weapons, which, at the moment, represents one bastion for the protection of the free world. It is grossly dishonest of the Labour Party so to misrepresent the President and to attempt to hide behind his shield.
– How do you know what the President said?
– Certainly the President did not say what the honorable senator said he said. It is abundantly clear that modern strategy suffered a complete revolution after the dropping of the bomb at Hiroshima. . Two bombs ended a war. At Hiroshima, 58,000 persons were killed, countless thousands were burned or injured, thousands of homes were destroyed, and the entire landscape was laid waste by one terrible explosion. The same thing happened at Nagasaki. On the other hand - it is no part of my thesis to justify this proposition at the moment, although that could be the subject of debate at another time - perhaps 1,000,000 to 1,250,000 allied lives, which would have been lost in the invasion of Japan, were saved. War, privation, hunger and suffering for very many people were shortened, and perhaps for generations we will debate the fateful decision of President Truman to drop the bomb. I think it was perhaps the most important decision that has been taken this century - perhaps in the whole course of history.
– It certainly started something.
– As Senator Ormonde says, it started something. It is history now. Atom bombs, hydrogen bombs and improved thermo-nuclear devices are capable of creating undreamed horror in a few minutes. I have no hesitation in saying that it is my belief that while the Western nations had a monopoly of atomic power there was not much danger of its being used for aggressive purposes. But, as on so many occasions since 1917 and 1921, the West has failed to reckon with traitors. British traitors such as Nunn-May, Fuchs and Pontecorvo, and the American traitors, the Rosenbergs, gave tremendously valuable information to our only conceivable future energy They gave great assistance to Russian nuclear research, and in the course of time the Communist empire was able to make its own nuclear bombs. Sometimes I wonder at the responsibility that must be carried by those traitors to the West who placed the world in such jeopardy. I do not think that any one in this Parliament would seriously contend that possession by the United States of America of monopoly nuclear power placed any one anywhere in jeopardy.
After the end of World War II. the Americans disarmed in conventional weapons. It is true to say that the nuclear deterrent has protected the West in this troubled period since 1946. In conventional forces the Russians are overwhelmingly superior. Had it not been for the possession by the West of nuclear armaments, and the unequivocal statement by America that the Western powers proposed to remain in Berlin and retain their rights in Europe, the red tide would have swept the whole of continental Europe.
It is true in 1962 to say that terror deterrents are now acting on each side. By the concentration of enormous economic power and scientific forces the Soviet scientists were able to gain and maintain a most effective lead in the field of rocketry. In this field they were undoubtedly assisted by their kidnapping of West German scientists. It was in 1957 that the first Russian Sputnik astounded the world. This might have been regarded as an unmitigated good thing were it not for the accompanying slogans from the chairman of the Praesidium of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that Russia’s purpose was to bury us. The West was understandably alarmed at this outstanding lead in rocketry possessed by Russia.
Before Russia had developed its nuclear weapons all the Communist front organization in this country and throughout the world - and all the Communist parties throughout the world - were urging the abolition of nuclear testing and nuclear devices. Since Russia developed nuclear devices the same organizations have been urging abolition of nuclear tests and nuclear experiments, but of course their objections are now limited to tests and experiments conducted by the United States of America. The tests that President Kennedy resumed with such reluctance have been depicted as a threat to world peace. We are reminded in the publications of these organizations of the dreadful effects of nuclear fallout upon bone structure, upon unborn children, and all the rest of it. No one denied those awful effects, but it is strange that these people - and, unfortunately, so many members of the Australian Labour Party - seem to be so selective. It seems that only American bombs create this menace for the world, and that Russian tests do not do so.
– The Australian Labour Party does not say that at all.
– If Senator Ormonde will bear with me I shall make specific reference to what the Australian Labour Party does say. The Americans have obtained much useful information from their recent nuclear testing and earlier nuclear tests, and have discovered many important peaceful uses for atomic and nuclear energy. They have already assisted to construct a harbour, by the use of nuclear power to remove cliffs and level foreshores and are at present experimenting with the use of nuclear explosives in the search for oil.
Although it is only obliquely related to nuclear tests, I think it right and proper that we in this country, which is linked to the United States by the Anzus Treaty - and I ask honorable senators to remember that - should applaud the magnificent achievement of the Americans ten days ago when they succeeded in producing an anti-missile missile with which they destroyed a missile at a range of 4,500 miles. To that degree, I breathe a little more freely.
In its approach to nuclear testing the Australian Government has been entirely consistent. It has regretted - and reference to Sir Garfield Barwick’s statement will bear this out - all nuclear testing, but it will not accept unilateral surrender, and says that while Russia refuses inspection facilities for the policing of a nuclear weapons agreement Western testing must go on.
The Minister has rightly said to the United Nations committee that Australia reserves the right to manufacture and to acquire nuclear weapons. It rejects the proposal for a so-called nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere as arrant nonsense. It knows that while we require assistance from our allies, if we adopted such a policy it would be impossible for those allies to assist us with the best means in their power. In any event, it is believed that red China is making atomic weapons with Russian help, and that country certainly would not respect any agreement that it suited it to break.
Dealing again with the resumption of tests, it is regrettable that the Australian Labour Party is in complete chaos on this question. I have always believed that in a democratic community it is highly desirable that on fundamental points of foreign policy the two major parties should not be in disagreement. It is a source of considerable worry to the Australian electorate that that position does not obtain in Australia.
I refer to a report in the Melbourne “Age” of 5th May, headed “Labour Divided Over Nuclear Tests. Leaders Vote Seven to Six”. The report goes on to say that a major dispute over policy on nuclear weapons is looming in the federal Parliamentary Labour Party. A little later, the federal executive met, and by ten votes to two, rejected the idea of an unconditional ban, but unfortunately it added such wholly incompatible riders or conditions to the decision that it virtually reverts to agreement to an unconditional ban.
I would not like to embarrass the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator McKenna) or the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Kennelly) by saying anything good about them, but if I may say so, I thought the speeches delivered in this chamber on this subject by those two gentlemen were magnificent.
– I do not want to be damned by faint praise from you.
– I do not often agree with what Senator Kennelly says, for the reason that he is usually wrong, but on the last occasion on which he addressed the Senate on this subject there were vast areas of his speech with which I could find myself in agreement, and I think that most of the Australian electorate would also find itself in agreement with them.
– Do you really?
– 1 know that that is a sharp break with the traditions of the Labour Party. I should like to direct attention to the hopelessly divided approach which the Labour Party, the party which invites the people of this nation to regard it as the alternative government, has adopted. Let us have a look at the propositions which the party has put forward on nuclear testing. 1 ask you, Mr. Acting Deputy President, to examine the real implications.
I am tempted to glance at the “ Bulletin ‘: of 12th May last and to read a short extract dealing with the Labour Party’s decision, taken by the federal caucus by seven votes to six, whereby the leader and the deputy leader of the party supported the ban-the-bombers. By an amazing vote, the Labour Party decided to walk out on responsibility, to throw up its hands and to say, “ We cannot attempt to defend Australia “. The “ Bulletin “ article, with which I am in agreement, states -
It is elementary that our best hope of survival in this century is by a firm alliance with the United States.
I remind the Senate that this Government has brought about a substantial alliance with that powerful ally which has once already in this century rescued us from occupation by the enemy.
– Who did that job?
– I concede the great job done by Curtin at the time, but do not let us get sidetracked. We are dealing with the Americans now. The “ Bulletin “ article continues -
However, the United States is only likely to regard us an ally worth preserving if we are prepared to pull our weight. The Labour Party has now told the United Slates that they should no longer bother about preserving us.
There is danger enough that the United Stales may at crucial times ignore our vital interests or even find us expendable. To withdraw, in effect from the Western ‘ Alliance is merely to intensify these attitudes in our closest ally.
Not the least curious aspect of the business is that Mr. Calwell decided to throw his weight in with the Leftists on the Executive. The vote was six in favour of the ban-the-bomb resolution and six against. Mr. Calwell’s was the casting vole. No one is surprised that Mr. Haylen should urge a suicidal policy, that he should ignore our selfinterest, the reaction of America and Britain, the impact this decision will have on the ANZUS conference or its effect on overseas investors. But for the leader of the alternative government to do so is an act either of extraordinary weakness or of dangerous folly.
I think it is almost impossible to improve upon the “ Bulletin’s “ description of the position.
The nuclear test ban has been one of the favourite hunting grounds for so many of the common front organizations, the peace organizations and the like, which have been proscribed by the Australian Labour Party and to which members of the party are forbidden to belong. Let us have a look at the Communist “ Guardian “ of 2nd August, 1962. I am not really on the mailing list of this publication, but there is in it an interesting little article from Mr. Sam Goldbloom. It states -
Scores of cars and two special trains - one from Melbourne and one from Sydney - will take the “ Peace and the People’s Needs “ contingent to Canberra.
The article proceeds with a couple of columns of the usual clap-trap associated with this type of organization. I cannot say what this has to do with the Australian Labour Party, but Mr. Goldbloom was the endorsed Labour Party candidate against Mr. Casey at the last federal election in which he was a candidate, and to the best of my knowledge - I am not absolutely certain of this - he is still a member of the Australian Labour Party. Also in the “ Guardian “ there is an article headed “ Calwell to Present Petition “. It states -
The Federal Opposition Leader (Mr. A. A. Calwell) will officially receive the national peace petition from the 1,000 strong “Peace and the People’s Needs” deputation to Canberra on Wednesday, August 15.
– The newspaper will have to withdraw that now.
– I take it that Mr. Calwell’s unfortunate illness will make it impossible, but that was an arrangement made before he became ill. 1 wish to go. on and refer to. some of the points which this peace organization makes in its petition. They are drawn from the resolutions of the Federal Executive of the Labour Party. The petition which the signatories wanted Mr. Calwell to present to the Parliament called for a nuclear-free southern hemisphere, a nuclear test ban treaty, and opposition to the manufacturing, testing, stationing or acquisition of nuclear weapons or bases on Australian territory. The “ Guardian “ article states -
In announcing this, the Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament stated that it had consistently demanded the ending of all tests by all nations- 1 shall return to the phrase “ all tests by all nations” in a moment - and added (hat the announcement of the proposed new Soviet tests immediately on top of the U.S. tests showed the urgency for redoubling efforts to force this issue.
From the use of the words “ all tests by all nations “, one might think that those concerned took an equally dim view of Soviet tests. On Sunday last, in my city of Melbourne, this same organization organized Hiroshima Day, and a march through the streets of Melbourne. At the end of the marchers were four young men from the University Labour Party. They carried a placard which, according to the telecast ] saw, rather suggested that there might be something wrong with Soviet nuclear testing as well as American testing. When one of the young men was interviewed he made it quite clear that his little group of four people took objection to nuclear testing, whether American or Russian. So the little group got to the Olympic Swimming Pool where this demonstration of 5,000 people was to finish. After their arrival at the swimming pool, and after a good deal of nonsense was talked by the reverend gentleman who led the demonstration, and by Mr. Goldbloom, about the iniquity of the American tests, these four boys kept asking the question, “ What about Soviet testing? Does not that do any harm? “ Finally, the peace organization had to threaten the four boys with physical violence in order to quieten them because there was no answer to the point they had raised, and they were given no opportunity to put their point of view.
– How do you know all this?
– Never you mind how I know. I get about. It is distressing to find such a divided Opposition on this tremendously important question. There are people, of course, who are deceived. They believe that peace is a good thing, as we all do, and they find themselves snared or trapped into joining some of these phony organizations that are nothing more nor less than the agents of a foreign power in this community.
– What is that?
– Listen again. Some of these people are snared or deluded into joining organizations which are nothing more nor less than the agents of a foreign power in this country. Senator Ormonde should know this because of what his party said about some of these organizations. Or is it inconvenient for him to remember? After one of these marches some of the people who have taken part had occasion to speak to a distinguished Labour Party leader and complain to him about the iniquity of American nuclear testing. He said -
Get on your way to the Kremlin and see what happens to you. Go and march with the goosestepping Nazis in East Germany. Go and see what it is like to deal with Soviet police and Soviet tanks like the Hungarian people. Perhaps you will learn something about the Soviet empire and Communist dictatorship.
I ask you, Mr. Deputy President, does that sound like the utterance of an Australian Labour leader? Unfortunately it is a rhetorical question. That was the utterance of Hugh Gaitskell, the British Labour leader who has never let himself be deluded by this Communist propaganda or by the associated nonsense which is peddled in some instances by sincere people who are deluded, and in other instances by people who are traitors to this country and traitors to the West. I wholeheartedly approve the statement which the Minister for External Affairs has placed before the Parliament, and I trust that upon mature inquiry, and consideration of the irrefutable truths contained in it the Federal Executive of the Australian Labour Party may come to the same conclusion.
.- Mr. .Deputy . President, there are some things that I want to say to-day on the ministerial statement which relates to the subject of disarmament and nuclear tests. Some excellent contributions were made to this debate earlier in the year by honorable senators on the Government side and a notable speech was made by Senator McKenna, the Leader of the Opposition. I have not seen any better basis for an approach to the problem of general and complete disarmament than the statement of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers at their conference which was held in London in March, 1961. The Commonwealth Prime Ministers saw no point in disarmament unless it was subject to effective inspection and control. Despite the urgency of this problem of genera] and complete disarmament, no progress has been made, and eighteen months have elapsed since the statement of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers was issued in London.
I am unable to work up any enthusiasm about the complicated processes of achieving general and complete disarmament until the easiest and simplest first step towards this great objective has been agreed to. That objective is the cessation of nuclear tests. That is where we must start, and it is a simple enough conclusion for anybody to reach if he has sincerity in his heart and is concerned with the welfare of the people of the world.
Whilst peace lovers enthuse about disarmament I wish to direct attention to the remarkable paradox that the most destructive weapon of all time, the nuclear bomb, has been the means of maintaining peace throughout the whole post-war period. The existence of such a devastating bomb has brought about a remarkable truce in national and ideological antagonisms over the whole post-war period. It has, beyond all doubt, stopped the Soviet Union from unleashing a savage war and attempting to overrun the whole of western Europe with conventional weapons in pursuit of its avowed aim of world domination. It has also cooled off the enthusiasm of Communist China for a massive attack on Taiwan, and the establishment of a land bridge from Peking to Singapore, and has slowed down the tempo of what the Chinese Communist leaders hail as the inevitability of a third world war. Absurdly unreal as it appears to be, it is very true nevertheless, that the deadly nuclear weapons have kept the peace. This terrible bomb has kept the peace for fifteen years in the face of fearful provocation to the free world, and the heady wine of world power for the Communist countries.
Why has the nuclear bomb kept the peace? It is because people all over the world, not only the leaders of countries but the majority of people in the countries, have realized that a nuclear war cannot be won by anybody. There is no incentive to drop the bomb. I ask this question of thoughtful honorable senators: Would general and complete disarmament give peace to the troubled world? With the population of the world in its present frame of mind, the wish would be the father to the thought, and the answer would undeniably be, “yes”. But many people who are competent to judge are not so sure. People who think that way argue that if all the ordinary materials of war were put aside people would fight with whatever weapons were at hand. This might be primitive, but the course of history has been changed down the ages with very primitive weapons. I believe honorable senators might agree with me when I say that a war often springs from a state of mind. History shows that popular wars have not been uncommon. A few months prior to the outbreak of World War I. in 1914, a noted French socialist, who was a member of the Chamber of Deputies in Paris, toured Europe in a desperate lastminute effort to win the workers of Europe over to peace and to stop the war that was then imminent. He failed in his mission, and despairingly declared in Paris that all classes in Europe wanted war.
Many thoughtful observers believe that if all weapons of war, nuclear and conventional, were eliminated but the state of mind of the would-be dictators and the would-be tyrants remained the same, aggression and the imposition of slavery would be expressed by whatever other means were available. In other words, Sir, the mere absence of all kinds of military hardware would not of itself lead to peace. We all may regret that, but it makes sense all the same.
At a meeting of the United Nations in 1960 no fewer than 82 member countries of that organization co-sponsored a draft resolution which expressed the conviction that the question of general and complete disarmament was the most important thing facing the world to-day and called upon governments to achieve a solution of this tremendous problem. That resolution was adopted unanimously - an almost unprecedented happening in the United Nations. ] am sure that the great majority of United Nations delegates, in common with the people of every country, honestly believe that universal peace would flow from general and complete disarmament, but these worthy delegates and people of all nations, lovers of humanity, could well be the victims of a grand illusion. lt has often happened in the human story that some people who shout the loudest in support of a popular cause, people who make the most spectacular verbal contributions, cannot be relied upon when the time for action comes. A Red Indian chief, used to tribal treachery and human perfidy, said -
All the nations of the earth smoke the pipe of peace but very few of them inhale.
Enormous progress is being made in nuclear physics, chemistry, science and technology, and Australia is participating in these advanced studies and developments. The supreme task of all nations is to ensure that the new scientific discoveries are employed in the service of man and not in his destruction.
The need to achieve international understanding and agreement in this field of disarmament is the most urgent requirement of our time. The threat of death to millions of people of all races and the threat of de-fertilization of the earth’s surface and destruction on a scale never known before in the history of mankind confront all States and peoples. Modern defence involves the development and use of incredibly expensive weapons including long-range missiles, atomic devices, fighter aeroplanes that travel at the speed of sound, rockets, ships and vehicles of war capable of countering the world’s most powerful arms. It is not difficult for us all to gauge the enormous impost on the budgets of all nations in their struggle to keep going in the armaments race. The wealth of nations is being squandered in powder and shot, or their equivalent in the modern lethal implements of war, when there is so much scope for its profitable and productive use for the benefit of all mankind.
Nobody has improved on the suggestion made by a former President of the United States of America, Dwight Eisenhower, that all nations should devote a substantial percentage of their savings brought about by disarmament to a fund for world aid and reconstruction. A new era of world betterment could result from the diversion of money from war and defence towards the creation of such a fund and the advancement of the less-developed nations, particularly the Asian and African States that are now emerging.
Many problems have to be overcome, and they must be tackled if the world is to be saved from a frightful holocaust. War’s have been proceeding in many parts of the world during the post-World War II. period. That shows that man’s fighting instincts are deeply rooted and lends support to many people who believe that general and complete disarmament will never come to pass. Many level-headed people of great international goodwill distrust the Soviet Union on disarmament and the cessation of nuclear tests. Much showmanship and innumerable conferences in Geneva and at United Nations head-quarters in New York have occurred, but some evil spirit seems to brood over these talks on peace, disarmament and nuclear tests. It is usually the Russians who promote the discord and break up the discussions by walking out of the conference room or otherwise wrecking the conference, as happened at the United Nations in 1960 when the Russian Premier, Mr. Khrushchev, took off his shoe and hammered the conference table with it. Actions speak louder than words in this as in all other matters.
It may take a considerable time to reach final accord on disarmament and patience is needed in this field. The Soviet Union, however, could demonstrate its good faith before the world by immediately making an agreement with the United States to call off all nuclear tests. We cannot overlook the fact that on the eve of the renewal of the Geneva talks on 9th September, 1961 the Soviet Union exploded a number of nuclear bombs over a period of approximately 90 days, including one gigantic bomb of 50 megatons, which is the equivalent of 50,000,000 tons of T.N.T. Those explosions created alarm throughout the world, even in all the countries professing the Communistic ideology outside Soviet Russia. The alarm was heightened by the cynicism of the Russians in launching the explosions right on the eve of the talks on disarmament and peace at Geneva.
Naturally enough, the Government of the United States conducted further nuclear tests in order to keep pace with the Russian moves. Now the Russians have retaliated. The United States Atomic Energy Commission announced on Saturday last, 5th August, that Russia had resumed testing of nuclear devices in the megaton range. So there it goes. The Russian Premier appears on the stage and sings to the United States his theme song, “ Anything you can do I can do better “, while all mankind stands on the brink of destruction. Surely it is possible, in the interests of world peace and security, for the United States and Russia to call a truce by each agreeing to stop these nuclear tests once and for all, irrespective of who tested first or who tested last.
I have read in the press that the White House and the Kremlin have been or are about to be connected by direct telephone so that at the last minute a destructive war could be saved by a talk between the leaders of those two great countries. If 1 stood in the shoes of President Kennedy, I would pick up that hot telephone and say, “ Mr. Khrushchev, I will call off all projected nuclear tests from this moment if you do the same “. That is easy enough. If agreement on such a simple and uncomplicated matter cannot be reached by these two powerful countries, the chances of general and complete disarmament can surely be written off altogether.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting I was referring to a report which appeared in the daily newspapers in recent weeks to the effect that there had been talk in the United States about installing what was termed a “ hot “ telephone connecting the White House in Washington to the Kremlin in Moscow. I said also that if I stood in the shoes of the distinguished President of the United States of America I would pick up the hot telephone and say to Mr. Khrushchev, “ I will call off all projected nuclear tests from this moment if you will do the same “.
That would really put the Russian Premier on the spot. That would be a direct approach, and the world would know where it stood after the Russian Premier had replied.
If agreement cannot be reached by these two powerful countries on such a simple and uncomplicated matter as calling off nuclear tests, then in my judgment the chances of general and complete disarmament can be written off altogether. We can forget about it. The great armament race will continue, but we will have in our favour that for fifteen years the peace has been maintained because of the existence of the devastating bomb.
Despite all the disappointments, the frustrations and the delays which have occurred, together with the obstacles which have arisen, it is our duty as Australians to join with all other nations so inclined in striving to win, through disarmament, an era of peace, goodwill and understanding so that we shall make a better world for the children of all nations who look for something better than death and desolation as their earthly legacy.
– This debate has stemmed from a paper which was presented by the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) relating to disarmament and nuclear tests. The brief contribution that I want to make to the debate will be confined to that aspect which deals with nuclear tests. Every one in this world - every sensible, sane person and every person with the ability to think for himself - no doubt supports the principle of nuclear disarmament. Some of us in this place have experienced the tragedy of conventional warfare and, perhaps more than most people, we are aware of the horror and stark cruelty of war. It is beyond man’s comprehension to understand the result of a thermo-nuclear explosion of 50 megatons, which is the equivalent of the explosion of 50,000,000 tons of T.N.T., but we have had reports of the explosion of bombs of that magnitude by the Soviet.
It is interesting to note that whilst the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima prior to the end of the last war set off this dreadful race for nuclear arms, and although thousands of lives were lost and an immeasurable amount of human suffering was caused, in the ultimate the dropping of that bomb and the second one on Nagasaki a few days later probably saved 500,000 lives. I was one of those who had the bitter experience of being in a prisonerofwar camp. We had a secret wireless set, and the men who built and operated that set took their lives in their hands every moment of the day and night when they listened for news of what was going on in the world. I well remember one of our own lads telling us of this extraordinary bomb which had been dropped on Japan. On that secret wireless on subsequent days and weeks we learned the effects that it was having upon the morale of the Imperial Japanese Army and the Japanese Government, and of the Japanese suing for peace. We were very conscious of the fact that we would come out of that camp alive only by an organized negotiated surrender. We had no illusions about the fact that the Japanese Government decided to sue for peace only because it was conscious of the terrible consequences of a war with atomic weapons.
Let me also mention in passing that there was speculation in the camp about a landing by British forces in northern Malaya. AH kinds of rumours were flying around at that time. We were told by our Korean guards that if an invasion force landed on Malaya, the officers, non-commissioned officers and men would be separated and that we would meet the same fate as our comrades in Borneo had met. I mention that aspect only as a matter of interest because I believe that there are two sides to the atomic bomb - one representing tragedy, cruelty and horror and the other representing a desire for peace.
Dreadful as were the effects of the atomic bomb on Japan, they should never obscure the fact that infinitely greater damage was done to that country by the use of conventional weapons. The records show that before the first atomic bomb was dropped the American Air Force and Navy had destroyed 2,200,000 houses and had killed and wounded hundreds of thousands of people in Japan. The Japanese Government has stated that some 10,000,000 Japanese suffered either in property or in person as a result of the attacks upon Japan by conventional weapons.
I seek now only to place on record a brief history relating to the moratorium on the discontinuance of nuclear tests. All honorable senators know that in August, 1958, the United States of America offered the moratorium to the United Kingdom and the Soviet. By August, 1959, the parties had agreed not to test. I think it should be placed on record that there was no written agreement - there were no signatories to an agreement. There was just a simple announcement.
We all know that in August last Russia broke the moratorium. Having given notice that she proposed to break it she proceeded, on 1st September, to explode a bomb. For some two and a half months thereafter she continued to explode nuclear warheads culminating in the 50 megaton bomb to which I have already referred. It is an historic fact that after the breach of the moratorium by Russia the United States Government felt constrained, in the circumstances, to continue nuclear testing. To have done otherwise would have been to risk the whole of our way of life and the freedom of the fred world. The governments of the United States and the United Kingdom have made1 it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are prepared to agree to multilateral banning of nuclear warheads with safeguards such as inspections and controls. Russia has not been prepared to agree to that proposition.
Many conferences have been held, notably in Geneva, in an effort to get the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to enter into an agreement, but without success. All sorts of propositions have been made about inspections, and all sorts of difficulties have been found to bar the way to reaching an agreement for the discontinuance of nuclear testing. I say quite dispassionately that there can never be unilateral disarmament in relation to nuclear warheads. The lessons of history, of Europe and of our own British Commonwealth should teach us that our national safety over the centuries has been based on the principle of balance of power. I do not need to develop that argument in this place, because I know that everybody here recognizes and understands it. Terrible as the nuclear threat is, and fearful as its effect upon human life and property may be, we cannot allow Russia to have complete freedom to develop nuclear power, dedicated as she is to destroying our democratic way of life. We cannot, as it were, live in the clouds and enter into unilateral disarmament. To do that would be to deny all that our forebears have striven for throughout our magnificent history.
From the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Calwell, and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator McKenna) it is fair to say that, by and large, the Opposition has a bi-partisan policy with the Government on this issue. Subject to the proposition for a free nuclear area in the Southern hemisphere, and the fact that a few members of the Opposition want to speak on peace platforms - I shall refer to these matters in a moment - we in this Parliament have a bi-partisan policy in relation to nuclear disarmament. That is a very good thing, and very healthy for our way of life and the democratic institutions in this land.
I wish to refer to the side issues I mentioned. Some reference has been made to-day and in a previous debate to these matters. Before commenting on these side issues let me say that the changing circumstances in world affairs, particularly in the Pacific and the Far East - what can be regarded as our Near North - and particularly in view of the changing circumstances of Holland and Indonesia, the need for unity of purpose and thought on foreign policy becomes even greater and more urgent.
As far as I am concerned the “banthebomb “ campaign is phony. It is phony because of the character of a considerable number of people who associate with it. I do not disallow the fact that a proportion of misguided, stupid people - pacifists - who live in a world of books, dreams and make-believe, are being led by the nose by those with Communist tendencies. Consequently, they do a grave disservice to this great country of ours and to the unity of foreign policy which I have indicated is so Important for our future. These people fail to see that the Communist countries Could not be conceded a monopoly of nuclear arms. They cannot see that disarmament must be universal or it is not worth anything at all. Just in passing, I am sure we were all amused to read about a great peace meeting in Brisbane over the week-end where those present fought for 90 minutes. I suppose that is a fair indication of their irresponsible thinking.
– It was a peace rally.
– A peace rally, was it? I turn now to a more serious aspect of the line of division between the Government and the Opposition on this issue. As late as this afternoon Senator O’Byrne advocated again that the present Antarctic Treaty arrangements be extended to the southern hemisphere for the purpose of creating an atomic-free southern hemisphere. As Senator Gorton has said, the analogy between Antarctica and the southern hemisphere is a very poor basis on which to submit the proposition that the Opposition has put forward. We all realize that Antarctica has no people and that there are, in truth, no territories in it in the possession of individual nations. That is the fundamental point for us to remember in regard to Antarctica. The southern hemisphere has vast populations, vast industrial resources, and vast mineral and pastoral wealth. More particularly, it has national frontiers and ideals. Populations and resources, of course, become targets in any conflict. They are not present in Antarctica.
The Labour Party advocates, willy-nilly, the declaration of the southern hemisphere as an area without nuclear weapons. Let us recall our recent experiences, known to all of us including our children, of sputniks and space flights, of Russian and American space vehicles launched in the northern hemisphere so accurately as to pass, for example, over the City of Perth, the people of that city having been asked in advance to turn on their lights so that they could be seen. I should have thought that against that background any talk of a nuclear-free hemisphere would show a lack of appreciation of what is happening in this world to-day. We have read of the new missiles. Space vehicles containing, first, dogs and then human beings, have travelled twice and thrice around the earth, across the southern part of our own continent, having been launched in the northern hemisphere and then brought back with phenomenal accuracy to base in that hemisphere. To talk still in terms of a nuclear-free southern hemisphere is ridiculous. Somebody should tell the Opposition the facts of life and what is going on to-day. Surely honorable senators opposite realize that in such a situation there is no significance in a separation of southern and northern hemispheres. We all know of the intercontinental ballistic missiles. We have read of the atomic-powered submarines that circumnavigate the world. Surely the Opposition realizes the significance - the terrible significance, if you like - of these things in relation to its proposition.
In these circumstances we must not have regard to hemispheres. Let us examine the proposition more closely. The land masses in the southern hemisphere consist of Australasia - the whole of Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea - but only part of Africa, only part of South America and, Significantly, only part of Indonesia. Is it seriously suggested that we should be party to a proposition that would, on the face of it, leave South America, Africa or Indonesia, free to conduct nuclear tests north of the imaginary line of the equator? Surely the Opposition cannot seriously sustain that proposition. I do not think that in the ultimate the Opposition will persist “with it.
I rose only to direct attention to those matters. I conclude by saying that we are a young nation with a tremendous potential but a small population, founded on democratic principles to which all parties adhere. We cannot afford the luxury of a cleavage in respect of our foreign policy. Party politics being what they are, we have room to manoeuvre, to express different points of view on many matters. This is a good, healthy situation. But in relation to the security of our nation there is no room foi movement. We know where we stand in relation to the protection and defence of this land of ours. Let no man imagine for a moment that we can survive in a world in which we, by unilateral action, remove our means of defending ourselves, while allowing the enemies of our way of life and our democratic principles to arm to the teeth against the day when they will covet what we possess here. It is a good thing for Australia that we have, on the face of it, a bi-partisan foreign policy. I hope and pray that this will continue during the years ahead, in which Australia will have to make its mark in a difficult world.
.- I rise, having listened to a speech by a man on this side of the chamber who brings to this debate thought which has behind it the experience, in all its horror, of the last world war. As we know, Senator Anderson served with the army in Malaya and was a captive of Japan. I say that at the beginning of my speech because there are those in the country, in Parliament even, who say that those who advocate strong defences and effective disarmament by all nations overlook the passions of the ordinary people and their families. None of us neglects those human sentiments and nothing which I propose to say neglects to take them into full account.
I rise full of resolution in this debate because it is an opportunity to show that the Senate is not merely a party propaganda shop. Although since the debate commenced at 4 o’clock this afternoon, only one speaker from the Labour Opposition” has risen, that does not relieve any individual on this side of his duty to speak on a matter the importance of which transcends national and international considerations and deals with the paramount passion of every democracy and every people on the globe’s surface for peace.
This debate is not on any party basis. It should attract objective scrutiny by every one of us, according to his judgment, in the interests of the security of this country in the present circumstances of the world and the ultimate conclusion of peaceful arrangements that will ensure a permanence of world peace. I should think that every man who had been elected to a seat in this chamber, with the opportunities to speak freely, would embrace the opportunity to declare his heart on such a subject. The opportunity is afforded by a statement made in Parliament in April of this year by Sir Garfield Barwick, the mere reading of which fills one with dismay. The material is so complex and intricate that continuous study of it is a task. It deals with the Australian Government’s policy in relation to two subjects - disarmament and nuclear tests. This frightening subject of nuclear tests is one which, I believe, imposes upon us a duty to examine our situation. The horror of it is such as to induce us in a superficial moment to ask why the nations of the world do not forget about their differences and live in peace, embracing the simple spirit of Robert Burns when he wrote -
It’s coming yet, for a’ that
And man to man the world o’er
Will brithers be for a’ that.
Despite the amount of study required we should resolve to grasp the opportunity to study this problem and to speak according to our judgment. This is the time to make our contribution to ensure our security and to prevent our being involved in another world war in our time and our children’s time.
I hope, as Sir Garfield Barwick fervently hoped when making his statement, that by that time man would be capable of yielding to the world an agreement on general disarmament - a subject so complex that it will have to be achieved in stages by a patience and conviction of purpose that none of us should desert. Nuclear tests are so frightening and enormous in their repercussions that they have converted our world into one completely and essentially different from that existing before the discovery of this tremendously destructive force. The scientists of the world by the penetration of the fields of knowledge and their combining of their discoveries into the techniques of nuclear physics have created a complete mystery to us ordinary persons.
My colleagues this afternoon have mentioned that nuclear explosions were first used not to persecute the world but to save life. We would all agree that the fateful decision of the leaders of the United States and the Allies, including Sir Winston Churchill, though tremendously destructive in effect resulted in the quicker termination Of the Second World War. Let us all remember that if this force is properly handled and sanity is returned in the counsels of the world, tremendous advantages in the production of energy will accrue to mankind. Its industrial potential is terrific, and our task is to evaluate its employment both as a weapon of war and as a deterrent of war.
I wish to advance the proposition in that respect as objectively as I may, and I should despise myself if in a matter of this sort the slightest party element entered into my remarks. This force can destroy our planet, either suddenly or by stages.
Those who survive almost total destruction will possibly, because of the condition in which the planet would be left, be incapable of reproducing the human race. That does not lead to a conclusion instinctively to say that we on our side will put an implicit and disarmed faith in the human nature of our enemies and deny to our security this deterrent force. On the contrary it means that we should recruit to ourselves all the study and wisdom of which we are capable if we are properly to regulate this force so that peace may be maintained until disarmament is achieved.
I speak in that sense because we had the situation where the two great champions of the ideas that captivate man to-day - the United States on the one side and Communist Russia on the other - were able to agree to a temporary ban on nuclear tests. Their agreement did not extend to the destruction of resources or to a resolve that if war came these weapons would not be employed; the agreement involved only a ban against further tests. Russia, on the eve of the commencement of a new conference to consider disarmament, without warning exploded nuclear devices in the Pacific, revealing that she had been preparing for further tests on a vastly magnified scale during the period of the ban. Any objective examination would be sufficient to convince one that the Communist Government, as heretofore, was determined to use deception as part of its approach to this matter.
That does not prove much that we have not known for the past 30 years. The thing that these tests did prove was not simply that Russia would use nuclear weapons as part of its policy of bluff and intimidation in world affairs; it revealed also that Russian science, by achieving such a degree of knowledge in the field of planetary and space exploration and in the application of this knowledge to war-time weapons, had made it imperative for governments of the West, unless they were to expose their democracies to an assault by these highly important nuclear artifices of the Communists, to engage in tests to ascertain whether or not the knowledge of the abstract, theoretical scientific theories evolved in the United States was adequate to counter the achievements of the Russian scientists us demonstrated in that Pacific test. President Kennedy declared to the world in his speech on 2nd March, 1962, that he had to decide whether to expose 160,000,000 American people to invasion or aggression by Russia, or to order his scientists and defence forces to conduct nuclear tests in the Pacific. His sense of responsibility to his country demanded that his government should know whether or not the Russian achievements in the tests by their scientists could be met, so far as reduced weight load of the atomic bomb or a projectile was concerned, and whether it would be effective as a depth charge with improved mechanisms under certain conditions. More important still, it was necessary to know, in evolving effective methods of defensive warfare, whether the calculations of the American scientists with regard to antimissile defence could be relied upon for the destruction of missiles before they reached their target. Hence, we have the American experiments in the upper atmosphere.
If we give only superficial consideration to those matters we are apt to say that American money is being used to protect Americans and that the Americans are heedless of the health and the spirit of more ordinary men in the Pacific, in Asia and in Australia, where fall-out may occur. That prompts me to say that we have lived through many revolutions. Perhaps one of the most outstanding revolutions is the reorientation of the American mind to democratic responsibilities. Honorable senators will recall the speech which Churchill had to make, through the primitive radio of the time, to appeal to a complacent, mercenary American mind. Thanks to the goodwill of Roosevelt, that appeal did not fall on stony ground. It resulted in an alliance which made a wonderful contribution to the destruction of Nazism, which was then imposing tyranny on a large part of the world.
More significant is the fact that after the war was finished, the Americans found themselves in the forefront of the defence of the ordinary man. They did not desert that opportunity or revert to the elements of the old Monroe doctrine. Now, they are contributing to the economic strength of under-developed countries. They are also contributing to defensive strength whereby the very security of the homes of all people outside the Communist orbit may be protected. The American people are contribut ing a proportion of their wealth that would make us stagger if we were to attempt to bear it, first, for the external defence of their own country, and secondly, because they know they live in a world in which oldtime national boundaries are completely outmoded. They therefore have embraced the Anzus Pact and the Seato Pact. They say to Australia and New Zealand, not on a bargaining basis but on a common basis of democratic purpose and humanity, “ We will stand by you without qualification “. The country which had the honour of standing alone against the Nazi forces when they had spread all over Europe and even into Africa, was bled white to such a degree that her present defence potential does not enable her to contribute one-sixth of the contribution of the United States.
If Australia is a party to the Anzus Pact and the Seato Pact with that guarantee to her security by the United States, surely nobody of honour in this Parliament would contend that we should live under the protection of that association and at the same time declare for a policy that refused to allow America, if it were proper for the purposes that I have tried to express, to establish nuclear resources in this country. I trust that I am sufficiently explicit. In my submission, Mr. President, it would be a gross mistake for any individual or any section of the Parliament to seek to establish for Australia a policy that would deny, in circumstances of necessity, emergency and American requirement, a base in Australia for nuclear resources, if we are to stand four-square, shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States, not for purposes of aggression but in acceptance of the benefits of Anzus. If we neglect our responsibilities we do so to the peril of our families and of American families, too.
As the first duty of any government is to ensure that the security of the country is intact, it seems to me that we are bound, in honouring our obligations to our allies and our own people, to see to it that America is supported in her experiments with the nuclear forces that are required to match those which the clever, ingenious Russian scientists have evolved. I make that submission after having rid my mind of tremendous misgivings that I have had on this subject ever since these tests were announced, first, by Russia, and later by the United States. I live in an age which has witnessed the Suez incident and the Cuba incident. Every man has a duty to scrutinize the governmental policy of Anthony Eden and of President Kennedy. I do not blindly agree with what they say because we do see scientists giving voice to the expression that nuclear tests involve the decimation of our people in peace time. No member of Parliament should neglect to take note of those expressions, and I have been worried about what might be the possible effects of fallout from these tests upon the civilian population.
– You are worried about the black death in England, too - biological warfare.
– That was an interjection from Senator Justin O’Byrne. I was directing the minds of honorable senators to the report of the National Radiation Advisory Committee for June, 1962. If I must, I will name the members of that committee in the hope that even Senator Justin O’Byrne will pay some deference to its report. The committee is headed by Professor Sydney Sunderland. The other members are Professor Sir Edward Ford, Professor J. P. Baxter, Professor A. N. Clark, Mr. D. A. Gill, Dr. W. P. Holman, Professor E. S. J. King, Professor Sir Leslie Martin, Mr. D. J. Stevens, Professor E. W. Titterton, and Mr. J. R. Moroney of the Department of Supply. I would say that this committee is indisputedly independent. I would say that it is unquestionably recruited from the cream of Australia’s scientific skill. It is charged with the continuing duty of keeping the Government advised of any development in world affairs which may make inroads upon safety to the health of the people of Australia. In its report for June of this year, the committee has added to my peace of mind by reminding us that in its report for 1959 it said -
Even on this most pessimistic estimate, possible biological consequences to the Australian population, if any, are insignificant in comparison with the normal hazards of everyday life.
– Is that referring to fall-out?
– It is referring to the effects of fall-out, of nuclear radiation, and its findings cover all the warlike tests that are known to have occurred in the world. And that was its conclusion in 1959 based on the figures. Now the committee has issued us with a report dated June, 1962, which brings up to date its assessment of experience since 1959 and up to the date of publication of that report. Having made in 1959 the pronouncement that I have quoted, the committee says this to-day -
Fall-out from all weapon tests to September, 1961, contributes only a small addition to the average natural background radiation to which man has always been exposed. The Committee, therefore, re-emphasizes strongly the conclusion reached in its earlier reports that the risks to the health of the Australian population from, fallout from all nuclear weapon tests prior to September, 1961, are insignificant
It sets out in scientific terms a table, as to which I have taken the liberty to make some approximation. It is a comparison of the degree of menace of nuclear test fallout and natural radiation. The menace of nuclear test fall-out represents 1/ 390th part of the risk of natural radiation to the gonad. As to the bone, bone marrow and other susceptible parts of the human anatomy, the risk of nuclear fall-out represents 2/ 800ths and 3/ 800ths respectively of the risk of natural radiation.
I mention these scientific facts which, I have no doubt, are assessed as a matter of anxious judgment and calculation by a committee charged with an enormous responsibility because I believe they will give to us in the Senate some degree of reassurance. In taking this matter into one’s thinking, and realizing the duty to persist with experimentation, it gives us some satisfaction to know that every phase of the problem is being watched, and to have the assurance of a committee on this plane that the degree of menace from fallout to the people of Australia is insignificant in the terms that I have mentioned.
I have referred to nuclear tests. Let me proceed, because that question governs the security measures that we are resolved to maintain pending the achievement of total world disarmament. That is the objective declared by Sir Garfield Barwick. It is the policy of this Government. It is also the policy of the British Commonwealth, and I am pleased to see that it is also the policy of the Australian Labour Party, which espouses it as vehemently as we do. Do not let us despair. We may think that the disarmament talks have been going on fruitlessly for years and, to the ordinary frustrated observer, they must seem to have been completely futile, but the development of the world in which we live, and the capacity for statesmanship that Europe has displayed, have been such that national boundaries are now ceasing to be the significant containment of the human race that they once were. Immediately after the war, we had the treaty of Brussels. Then, in 1951, we had the Convention of Paris. Then we developed further to the European Business Community, then the Western European Union, then the Economic Community of Steel and Coal in which the two arch enemies in Europe during our life time - Germany and France - found themselves capable of subordinating their authority to one super-national authority, working and grinding out coal and steel successfully together.
– What for?
– To fire the furnaces of industry and to keep the families of Europe warm. Then let Senator Hendrickson remind himself that in the Western European union they agreed to assume obligations whereby Great Britain’s contribution to the defence expenditure of Europe would not depend wholly on the British Parliament, German re-armament would never be in the hands of the German Parliament, and the purposes of Europe would be internationalized. That is going on, if we are only vigilant enough to perceive it.
– Where is it now?
– Senator Hendrickson seeks to make a point of the fact that the Brussels negotiations last week were temporarily suspended, displomatically suspended, so that the present stage of achievement and frustration can be assessed by those people who will think and re-think; but in September the negotiations will re-commence and they will continue next year. Inevitably, by the spirit of purpose in Europe, we will see a unity in Europe that will give strength that will degrade the importance of this bickering about national armaments, and we will see three great world communities - Communism, the United States of Europe and the United States of America. Then there will not be a number of national states in which nuclear destructive force can be bred under irresponsibility. It may not be overoptimistic to say that in fifteen years the councils of the world, despite the complexity of the situation, will be able to achieve an agreement on disarmament.
I regret that time does not permit me to develop a theme that I wanted to develop on the realities of this disarmament problem. Do not neglect the fact that neither side that distrusts and fears the other will resolve to weaken its defences without safeguards for its security. The problem of starting disarmament is immense; but with the growth towards human understanding, with the subjugation of national importance and the creation of a brotherhood of man, as expressed in a federation of the European states, and with three entities to engage in this discussion I believe that the hopes for nuclear disarmament and then general disarmament will become realities within the time that I have mentioned.
Those are the views that I espouse. Being a member of this Parliament, I take this opportunity to express them for understanding and further discussion by any honorable senator who will challenge them or accept them.
– Mr. President, I have come into this debate at rather short notice because I am fed up with the emotional nonsense that is talked about the ban-the-bomb slogan, hear a good deal about putting the woman’s point of view in Parliament. I have never spoken from that angle before, but I think this is one occasion when it might be advisable to express my point of view as a woman. Over the years that I have been in this Parliament I have gone to a good deal of trouble to study the subject of atomic energy and its dangers to human life by being a member of the Government members committee which has set about doing its own study and also hearing lectures from all the leading atomic scientists that we can find in Australia and some visiting scientists from other countries.
Senator Wright has referred to the report of the National Radiation Advisory Committee that most of us received to-day. It is significant that the last time we considered this subject we were debating a similar report from the committee. That was in 1959. To-day we have received from that committee another report which endorses the findings of the committee in 1959 and says that, if anything, the committee’s present findings are more optimistic than they were three years ago and that to-day there is no need for the fear of the dangers of radiation and radio-active fallout that some people are led to believe exist. I do not blame them for believing that, but they do not understand the subject. They are led astray by ignorant or insufficiently informed people.
I am rather appalled that to-day only one member of the Opposition has had the courage to declare what he thinks about this subject. I can only hope that the complete and utter silence of members of the Opposition means that they are changing their views on this subject and that they have come to realize that their previous panicky fear should not be propagated or perpetuated. I hope that they have come to realize that the views they expressed when we debated this subject in 1959 were not realistic and that they can afford to sit back and begin to change their views.
I say at the outset that bomb testing is abhorrent. Of course, none of us wants to think that bombs have to be tested as implements of war. Such tests are unpleasant, disruptive and dangerous. Recently I was in the Pacific area when bomb tests were being conducted. To see the amount of disruption that is caused there makes one realize the impact. Aeroplane flights were cancelled; the tourist industry that had been built up in the area was stopped completely; hotels were empty; and the aeroplanes that were running were empty. That is just one aspect of the disruption that is caused by these bomb tests. They are certainly dangerous; but as long as we are careful and have committees such as the National Radiation Advisory Committee examining the effects of fall-out I believe that we can say that not all the results of bomb testing are bad. If there is to be a banning of bombs, there certainly must be adequate control and inspection. We must remember that that is the one point to which the Soviet Union will not agree.
I believe that when people get behind this ban-the-bomb slogan they are not being realistic and they are not understanding what the Communists are aiming at. Any one who studies Communism at all understands that the Communists have said over and over again that they want world domination. If they can get us to disarm or to retreat they will have an advantage over us. They are concentrated in one area with a tight core of satellite countries surrounding them; but the Western world, the free world, is spread all over the globe. Obviously, if our defences ai.d our power to negotiate with them are weakened they will have every advantage.
The Communist party spreads the propaganda which so many people are falling for, such as the ban-the-bomb slogan that I have mentioned. When I was in Russia I was very interested to find that in Moscow there are about 6,000 schools engaged in the full-time training of about 375,000 propaganda agents who will work not only in Russia and the other Communist countries but also in other countries, spreading the propaganda that the Communist party dictates to them and which it wants the people of the world to accept. They do not understand that it is Communist but by hearing the propaganda over and over again they begin to repeat it.
I am afraid I have to say that some members of the Opposition are led into that sort of propaganda, although not consciously. I do not believe that members of the Opposition consciously are Communists; but by taking up this propaganda and reiterating it they are doing exactly what the Communists intend them to do, namely, spread Communist propaganda and lead to their domination of the world. The Communists have complete power over the press. They tell the people exactly what they want the people to know. The Russian people do not understand what bomb tests mean. When I was in Russia I spoke to some members of the Supreme Soviet. They asked me why we did not come into line and have complete disarmament. They wanted to know why we did not trust them. They said that we should not wait for world agreement on control and inspection but that we should agree on disarmament as such. That is a wonderfully idealistic theory, but the Russians have not proved that they intend to carry out honestly any form of disarmament which would be to our mutual advantage. They want everything to be to their advantage.
They talk about wanting peace. 1 think that the people of Russia want peace just as the people of Australia and the people of every other country want peace; but the Communist party does not want peace. Although it preaches peace and peaceful co-existence it really wants time - time to develop Russian military strength, time to build up the Russian economy, time to build up the Russian standard of living. Meanwhile, they continue to disrupt and subvert the democratic world.
The Communists are taking a long-term view. They do not want world domination to-day or to-morrow. They are looking a long way ahead and are working steadily towards their objective. We must also adopt a long-term view. The Russians want to create tensions which cause confusion because confusion means weakness and the Communists exploit weakness. If we allow tensions to build up behind this emotionalism about banning bombs we shall play into their hands. We must be realistic, not emotional. What frightens these people who cry this ban-the-bomb slogan? Do they believe that the testing of bombs will lead to war? The evidence is all against that. While we have been testing these bombs and building up our strength we have been able to avert a war. We must maintain our defences in a strong condition. If the bomb is to be banned there must be proper controls and safeguards. 1 wonder whether these people are afraid of what will happen to future generations. In the reports which the committee has published we have been assured that as far as can be gauged - I admit that we have not yet gone very far in this - future generations will have not much more radiation to fear than the background radiation that we have lived with all our lives.
– The Japanese fishermen suffered from the effects of radiation.
– They did, but only temporarily. A great many of the effects which they suffered were overcome. For instance, when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima people thought that those who were in the vicinity would be rendered sterile. That has been ruled out. Very soon afterwards it was found that any temporary sterility had been overcome. The effects of these bombs so far have been proved to be not as terrifying as many of us thought they would be. But I wonder whether people are really frightened of progress and change. We must face up to those things. If we are to progress we must take risks. So far as the testing of bombs is concerned, we are progressing in spite of the risks.
People opposed the Industrial Revolution. They did not want looms to be built because they were afraid of losing their jobs, but nevertheless progress continued. We in this day and age are still experiencing an industrial revolution, and progress must go on.
– Do you not think that our bombs are big enough and bright enough now to suit both sides? Have we not reached saturation point? Is there any need to proceed further?
– At the beginning of my remarks I said that I would like all tests to be discontinued, but while there is insufficient control and inspection we must maintain our strength so that we can negotiate in the hope of maintaining peace in the world through strength. We must not allow the opposing forces to get ahead of us. I think that is the answer to the honorable senator’s interjection. We do not want bomb tests, but we must remember that some good has come from the risks which undoubtedly have been taken in testing these bombs.
– Such as what?
– There have been improvements in the production of radio isotopes which have been the direct result of nuclear experiments. Nearly all the modern advances in the production, storage and manufacture of foods, as well as certain advances in the medical field, have come from nuclear tests.
– There have been advances in agriculture.
– That is right. The standard of living has been improved directly simply because we have learned more about the benefits to be derived from nuclear power. In the medical sphere, health generally, and methods of diagnosis in particular, have been improved.
– That has not been a result of bomb tests.
– It has. If we had not tested the bombs we would not have learned of the benefits to be derived from nuclear power. There have been improvements in industry as well. I have mentioned tourism. Everyone would like to be able to travel abroad. Nuclear power is making cheaper and faster travel possible, so more people will be able to go abroad. In many ways nuclear power has raised our standard of living. I do not think it will be very long before we have little reactors in our houses to give us cheap power. Certainly national development will depend upon nuclear power. Mention has. been made in the debate already of cheaper ways of storing water and creating harbours. All these things are the direct result of knowledge gained from bomb tests.
– Do you not think that we have gone far enough in the bomb business when we can produce a bomb with a force of 50 megatons?
– I repeat that no one wants to see bigger and better bombs, but we must be realistic. If we cannot get world agreement on the supervision of bomb tests we must continue our tests to maintain our strength, not only from the defence point of view but also from the point of view of negotiations for peace.
– Do you think that these tests should be stopped?
– Certainly. If we can get world agreement it would be to our advantage to stop them. I have said that repeatedly. I am being realistic about this. We shall proceed much further if the people of the world will unite and agree on methods of controlling this tremendous force which man has devised. If we are to maintain the peace there must be effective controls.
Wc must be positive in our attitude. It is no good being negative and thinking only of the dangers. Of course there are dangers, but there are dangers in every form of progress. We must face up to them. We must train an increasing number of scientists. We must encourage them, give them the opportunities that they need and pay them sufficient to keep them in this country, because we shall be thrown increasingly on our own resources when the necessity arises to defend ourselves. We need our scientists in Australia. Let us give them the opportunities that they need to experiment in this form of science so that they can give us the power to negotiate. We must be broadminded, optimistic and positive. We must view the matter broadly. We must not be narrow minded and allow ourselves to slip behind other world powers. We must not say, “ Let us not have these things “.
– Yes. We must not slip behind the field. This is an exciting era, and there will be more excitement to come if we face up to the fact that we can use nuclear power for our own advantage. I admit that we must be wary and careful. The Government created the National Radiation Advisory Committee to guide the country. I am convinced that while we have responsible Ministers and responsible scientists they will see that as a people we are guided aright and kept safe during this exciting and progressive era. I am not frightened. I think we can face up to these new inventions with confidence.
I repeat that I am putting forward a woman’s point of view. I want security for myself, my family and children. I want them to be healthy and happy. I believe that they are. I think that a great many of the improvements that have occurred in the world are due directly to the use of nuclear power. It is helping us to do miraculous things. I am suspicious of peace rallies and those who wish to ban the bomb regardless. The conception of peace at any price is a most horrifying thing to me. It is unrealistic emotional and God’s gift to the Communists. They get behind such ideas. They encourage people to be emotional and speak without realistic thinking. I hope I am being realistic and not emotional in these things. I would like to be emotional and say that I want nothing better than peace, happiness and security for my family, my children and their children.
– This is a subject on which 1 should have liked to make much more preparation than I have been able to give to the few remarks I propose to make to-night. We all desire peace. We are all united in that hope and endeavour. During the last sixteen years we have had peace, although sometimes it could be described as a somewhat uneasy and fearful peace. But, after all, it has been peace and we have been able to avoid the horrors and rigours of war.
Those who are under eighteen or twenty years of age cannot possibly envisage the horrors of World War II. and World War I. We all sincerely hope, naturally, that in their lifetimes they will never experience such horrors. We in Australia were among the fortunate people who escaped the rigours of both world wars. It is up to us to do our utmost to see that these young people whom I have just mentioned, along with the rest of our population, continue to escape world wars in the future. I know that it is all very well to make such a statement, but how is this to be achieved? These horrors cannot be avoided by joining with people in ban-the-bomb processions, no matter how well-intentioned those people may be, and no matter bow well-meaning they are. In nine cases out of ten they are only the unwitting tools of our enemies.
In spite of all that is written about man’s goodwill towards man, there will always be a need for armaments. In many cases, unfortunately, the great deterrent to war will be the strength of the nation. It has been said on many occasions that once a nation becomes strong in armaments, sooner or later it will become arrogant and will tend to browbeat weaker nations. That may have been true in the past, but I do not think it is true to-day, with one possible exception.
We have seen what disarmament did to us in the past. Those who are older will have a vivid recollection of what happened prior to World War II. Great Britain disarmed to a point which led almost to her destruction. She was imbued with the idea of setting an example, in the hope of getting the rest of the world to follow her, thereby bringing about, as was said then, peace in our time. We recognize how very close to destruction that policy brought Great Britain, and I am sure that if such a policy were adopted by the Western nations to-day it would have a similar unfortunate result. Whether we like it or not, we must have armaments. We must be strong. We must have strong allies. We must have these things, not because we are setting out on a policy of aggression, but as a deterrent to those who might have that object in view, and of whom we could well be the victims.
The statement which initiated the debate which is taking place this evening, as was mentioned earlier, was tabled by Sir Garfield Barwick, the Minister for External Affairs. I wish to quote a few passages from the statement. On page 2 he said -
Sixteen years of patient negotiation and persistent effort by the Western powers have so far yielded agreement between the major powers only on a limited number of general principles, but with nothing to show, unfortunately, in the field of practical application.
He went on to say that he would table a review of some important developments in disarmament. A little further on, dealing with the problems of disarmament and related measures, he said -
There is in the first place mutual distrust and the clash of interests. These are basic; they give rise to the great anxiety throughout the world about the level of armaments and the spiralling arms race. These factors have their origin, of course, in the cold war, in the unremitting pressure from the Soviet Union, its allies and satellites to extend the Communist system throughout the world. There are, of course, sharp and deeply significant disagreements between the Soviet leaders and the leaders of Communist China upon the means towards their objectives; but upon their objectives there is no disagreement.
None of us will dispute the truth of that statement. I pass to page 6. Speaking about the proposal for the establishment of nuclear-free zones or banning nuclear weapons he said -
Most proposals for establishing nuclear-free zones or banning nuclear weapons would give the Soviet an advantage since it is only the Western nuclear deterrent which holds in check the Soviet bloc’s undoubted superiority in conventional forces.
He continued -
There have been a number of such proposals. The Polish Foreign Minister has advocated a plan for a nuclear-free zone in central Europe. At the last session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Swedish Foreign Minister presented proposals whereby countries would eventually undertake not to manufacture nuclear weapons, acquire them or station nuclear weapons for another country on their territory. A group of nations making such declarations, he suggested, could then form a nuclear-free zone. At the same session of the United Nations, there was a proposal that the continent of Africa be regarded as a nuclear-free zone and a further proposal which declared the use of nuclear weapons to be a crime against humanity and a direct violation of the United Nations Charter.
All these proposals would weaken or neutralize the nuclear deterrent without reducing Communist strength in conventional weapons. That is why the Australian delegation to the last General Assembly, along with a great many others, was not able to support the proposals. That is why the Soviet and Communist front in this and other countries from time to time concentrate on attempts to ban nuclear weapons whilst leaving conventional weapons untouched. Too often well-meaning unsuspecting people of goodwill take the same line.
I do not think that those of us who have given any thought to this question will find themselves in disagreement with the passages that I have just read. We know that there is great danger in the tests that have been carried out and that are still, unfortunately, being carried out. One of the dangers in the high altitude tests is that of fall-out. About two years ago I read a novel entitled “ Chain Reaction “ which gave what I thought was a very vivid description of what could well happen in the event of an accident at testing stations. It is a book which would appeal to any honorable senator who had an opportunity to read it.
Earlier to-night Senator Wright quoted from the recently released report of the National Radiation Advisory Committee, which makes a detailed assessment of fallout in Australia. I think it will not be amiss if I quote a few other passages from this report in order to give an idea of the danger involved in these tests and in the use of only a few nuclear weapons. Most of us have heard quite a good deal about strontium 90 in the past few years. The report states that this has a half-life of 28 years, and a half-life in the body of sixteen to eighteen years. It notes that -
The half-life of a radioisotope in the body is dependent on both its radioactive decay and the rate at which it is eliminated from the tissues of the body by biological processes; the elimination of strontium proceeds very slowly, while that of caesium, iodine and carbon, is rapid.
The report continues -
In the disintegration of strontium 90, beta-rays are emitted which can penetrate tissue for about one quarter of an inch, and as a consequence:
its effects are confined to the bones and the bone marrow,
its presence in the body can be measured only by examining bone tissues,
it has no effect on man or animals until after it is ingested.
Later, the report deals with the biological effects of ionizing radiation. In relation to the somatic effects, it states -
These include the induction of leukaemia and tumours, and an acceleration of the process of ageing. Embryonic tissues, in general, appear to be more sensitive to irradiation than adult tissues; minor somatic damage to an embryo during development may give rise to serious abnormality as the foetus becomes older.
The degree of somatic damage depends on the amount of the body irradiated, the organ affected, the total radiation dose and the rate at which it is delivered.
I turn now to the hereditary effects. Senator Buttfield made some mention of the injuries suffered by some Japanese fishermen. The report states -
Although observations of the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have indicated the nature and amount of some of the somatic damage caused by irradiation, they have failed to reveal any evidence of a significant increase in the frequency of malformation or early death in the first generation children of irradiated parents. Investigation has shown, however, that in the progeny of irradiated mothers, there is a significant excess of females over males.
The excess of females may be attributed to the occurrence of radiation induced sex-linked mutations which would reduce the number of male children born of these mothers. Observations on the progeny of irradiated fathers indicate a similar but more complex situation.
– Do you think that that is a good thing?
– I will not be drawn into that subject at this stage. Later, the report states -
No short-lived radioactivity from the series of Soviet tests, September-November, 1961, has been detected in Australia. The United States weapon tests in the Pacific area are still in progress and final conclusions as regards short-lived radioactivity cannot yet be drawn for this series.
The content of long-lived radioisotopes of the stratosphere over the northern hemisphere was substantially increased as a result of the Soviet weapon tests in late 1961. Most of this debris will be deposited in the northern hemisphere but, as in the past, a fraction of it will eventually come down through the southern mid-latitudinal break in the tropopause and some will find its way into the Australian diet. Some strontium 90 from the United States weapon tests over the Pacific Ocean will also reach Australia.
The United States weapon tests over the Pacific Ocean, commenced in April, 1962, are still in progress, and final conclusions as regards fall-out over Australia cannot yet be drawn for this series.
The present programme for monitoring fall-out over Australia is adequate; it is comparable in scope to those being carried out in the United Kingdom and the United States. Indeed, the Australian data have contributed very significantly to world knowledge on fall-out levels.
I suppose that we may draw some degree of comfort from certain aspects of that report. Possibly the greatest comfort that we may draw is in relation to our monitoring system, but if the amount of radiation in the atmosphere is too great for human beings, it will be very cold’ comfort that the monitoring system will let us know, because, unfortunately, we will be very soon aware of it in a far more painful way.
I have read extracts from this report to show the dangers that may arise from the testing of nuclear weapons, but it does us no good to hide our heads in the sand in matters of this kind. We must accept the responsibility of testing what can only be called dreadful weapons of war. Being fully aware of the danger, we must take whatever steps we can to ensure that harm is not caused not only to our people but also to others. It is all very well to say that because of the dangers involved we should stop testing these weapons. I think it is perfectly obvious that the nations that stopped testing would very soon be placed at a serious disadvantage in relation to those nations which continued to test. Whether we like it or not, if we cannot get nuclear disarmament on a world-wide basis, the only thing to do, in spite of the danger, is to go on testing in order that the weapons at our disposal may be equal to, or perhaps a little better than, those that may be used against us.
– It is folly for us to cease if the Russians intend to proceed.
– That is very true. I mentioned earlier that well-meaning people unwittingly fostered the aims of Communists by joining processions and gatherings which in many cases were instigated by those persons who could only be regarded as our enemies. It is unfortunate, I believe, that those people whose desire for peace is, perhaps, no greater than our own, should feel that the only way to get it is to adopt the means that they have been using. I join with Senator Buttfield in emphasizing that the Communist aim is eventual world domination. I am not suggesting that the Communists are looking for world domination within two, three or five years. It may be in 50 or 100 years, but that is the aim which they are steadily working to consummate. That is something that we must keep in mind all the time. We have been very fortunate in our allies and in the fact that our prospective enemies have not been strong enough to exercise the dominaton over us that they would like. There are other means that they will adopt to accomplish their desire for world domination. Their objectives are advanced in various ways, such as disruption of trade by transport strikes and waterfront disputes, which upset the economy of our country. It is indeed unfortunate that so many decent Australians cannot see the wood for the trees and appreciate what really does lie behind the trouble-mongering.
We have before us a very great problem in achieving world disarmament and ensuring that the peace we have enjoyed over the past sixteen years is extended for 20, 50 or 100 years, or even longer. The fact that it is a big problem need not deter us from making every effort to put all that we have into trying to bring about the desired1 goal. That will not be easy; it will require great perseverance and great patience, as Senator Maher mentioned, and indeed, I believe, great strength.
One of the grave dangers confronting the world to-day is the possibility that, as a result of some misunderstanding or accident, atomic weapons - perhaps just one atomic weapon - may be fired against a country not friendly to us. To-day there must be many people all over the world with the power to fire an atomic weapon, and there is a possibility that any one of them might unwittingly trigger off a world disaster. This is a problem that must be a grave source of worry to those entrusted with the task of defending the Western world. I know that all the precautions that the human mind can devise are being taken, but despite all a man’s endeavour, how often do we see his plans upset by some far more powerful agency? It is something to which considerable thought must be given, and I have no doubt that the greatest care is being exercised. Nevertheless, I feel that the danger of such an accident is grave.
I agree with Senator Buttfield that nuclear power, when harnessed for peaceful purposes, has tremendous potentialities for the advancement of all countries. She referred to the construction of harbours and so on. Already several submarines are running on nuclear power, and it is only a -matter of time before trains will be running on atomic power. Just where it goes from there one does not know. Again, I agree with her when she says that if the tests had not been conducted many of these advances would not be possible. . This is a serious subject, and I am glad that it has not been debated to-night on a party political basis. We are all Australians; we are all endeavouring to see that Australia faces a peaceful future. Let us all hope that such a future will be not only for us in our lifetime but also for our descendants for generations to come.
– I did not intend to enter this debate. The Labour position in this matter has been made abundantly clear by the four leaders of the party, Mr. Calwell and Mr. Whitlam in another place, and Senator McKenna and Senator Kennelly in the Senate. There would seem to be no point to reiterating a point of view which I think is held by most Australians. I should like to endorse the concluding remarks of Senator McKellar which expressed the sentiments of all right-thinking Australians, irrespective of party politics. The only thing that brought me to my feet was the repeated statement made to-night by senators on the Government side which seemed to indicate that any one who dared to advocate the banning of nuclear testing was a Communist or Communist sympathiser. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Labour Party’s policy on this matter has been stated and published as follows: -
The Australian Labor Party declares that the hope of mankind lies in agreement through the United Nations for total world disarmament. It supports the view of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers in March, 1961, that every effort should be made to secure rapid agreement to the permanent banning of nuclear weapons tests by all nations and to arrangements for verifying the observance of the Agreement.
I do not think many people would disagree with that. It is rather strange that to-night this debate is taking place on the 16th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, which was the first revelation to the world of the terrible power that lies behind nuclear weapons. Although it has been said that there is not very much lasting damage from atomic explosions to many people except, of course, those who are killed, we know that in Japan to-day there are still victims of those terrifying days who will continue to suffer until death releases them. We also know that though the dropping of the bomb, with consequent tremendous loss of life, was tragic, it did save perhaps thousands of lives by bringing the war to. a more speedy termination. At the same time, every deep-thinking citizen still regrets that such an action was found necessary in the concluding days of the war. All of us hope and pray most earnestly that the world will never have to face a full-scale nuclear war.
In 1928 King George V, speaking at a disarmament conference in Great Britain, said, “ If you prepare for war, then war you shall have.” Nothing could be more applicable to the present situation than these words of a very wise man. I regret with all senators that various organizations, doubtful in origin and in name, seize upon the banning of the bomb in an attempt to further their own political interests. During the last session we had processions of people here advocating the banning of the bomb and deploring the effect of the fallout from the latest American bomb. I came face to face with some of these people in the procession. One woman put a sound case to me. She was a doctor who discussed with me the effect of fall-out on pregnant mothers and unborn children. I said to her, “ You are only asking us to record a protest against the American testing “. I said, “ Can you give me proof that the results of Russian testing are not equally as grave in their effect upon pregnant ing “. I said, “ Can YOU give me proof that is the crux of the whole matter.
Instead of people wanting to bring about world-wide understanding that would result in elimination of the need to test bombs, they are trying to make a political situation and to play off one country against another. That is the very kind of situation which could bring about the third world war which they say they are trying to prevent. Therefore, I think that the decision which was made by the Australian Labour Party at its recent conference, in line with the decision of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers, in March, 1961, will be applauded and supported by all members of the Parliament. The Labour Party shares the fears expressed by President Kennedy, when he stated on 17th May this year -
We do not believe in a series of national deterrents. We believe that the Nato deterrent to which the United States has committed itself heavily, can provide adequate protection. An increasingly dangerous situation will result if nation after nation feels that its expression of independence requires it to build up its own nuclear deterrent.
In other words, an increasingly dangerous situation will result if the newly emerging nations think that, in order to prove to the world that they have attained full nationhood, they must possess atomic bombs. That is like going round in circles. Where will it end? I think that the Labour Party has put up a practical proposition. It is very easy for Senator Gorton to try to pull that proposition down by saying that one part of Indonesia is north of the equator and another part south of it, and so on, but that is just begging the question.
– But is that not true?
– It is quite true, but we are trying to make a start, such as that which the Antarctic Treaty powers have made. Would it not be worth while if we could get agreement in this matter?
All that we in the Labour Party are trying to do is to make a start in the matter and to arrange for nuclear-free areas. There is so much that nuclear power could do for the community. Some years ago, at Cambridge University, I watched experiments being carried out in the application of atomic energy to the treatment of cancer. I thought, even though the vast developments that have since been made in atomic power were not then apparent, that atomic energy offered a tremendous force for good in the community. I should like to know how many of the peaceful uses of atomic energy have not yet been fully exploited because of the much greater expenditure that has been made in using atomic energy for warlike purposes. Senator Buttfield said that many of our houses will have atomic power in the future, and she mentioned the uses to which atomic power could be put in our homes. That does not cut very much ice with the people who to-day are homeless and who can see nothing in the future except doubt and the possibility of a war which could have the same effect as did the atomic warfare in the concluding stages of World War II., about sixteen years ago.
The more that the people really know of the horrors of atomic warfare, the greater the deterrent effect. They will be more likely to decide that never again shall the nations of the world enter into a conflict the result of which could mean the wiping out of civilization as we know it. Because there is this great international tension and distrust of one power by another, we as a nation must try to build up international understanding. I often think that if we could only get some of the Russian women to sit down with Australian and American women over a cup of tea and discuss their problems, they would be able to make a start towards international understanding. All the negotiations are conducted on such a high level that nothing is accomplished. It is necessary to get down to the ordinary people to achieve results. I am certain that the ordinary people in Russia do not want atomic war any more than we do.
In war it is always the common people, the ordinary people, who pay the price, although the decision to make war lies quite beyond them. We do not seem to be doing very much in Australia to break down the suspicion and distrust that exist between nations. Instead, we are fostering them. Only recently, when a Russian ballet group came to Western Australia, I was amazed to read in the press letters saying that some of those great exponents of the art of ballet could be Communist spies. Did you ever hear of anything so ridiculous, Mr. Acting Deputy President? Surely, if the hand of friendship is extended to us by the Americans, the Russians, the French or any of the other nations which are interested in atomic warface, we should grasp it and show that we at least have nothing to hide. We should come out into the open Once we have established international understanding on other levels, international understanding on this much higher plane of nuclear disarmament will follow. If we continue to foster suspicion and hate in other spheres we cannot expect that they will not be apparent in higher realms. Every member of this chamber joins with you, Sir, in the concluding sentences of your speech this evening, when you said that all Australians are keen to see a peaceful world.
It is a strange thing that the word “ peace “ has come to be associated by most people with trouble. The peace movements in the various parts of the world have been prostituted by Communists in many ways, it is true, but that does not make any less real the fact that peace is desirable. It is up to those who do not subscribe to the Communist ideologies once again to bring peace into its true perspective and to give the word its full meaning. It is our duty to try to bring to the world, which has seen some of the terrors and horrors of nuclear warfare, hope that peace will prevail. We do not want peace inspired by the Communists, or peace on one side and not on the other. We want peace for the whole of the world. That can be achieved if the really Christian way of life becomes much more generally accepted. We should remember that the greatest commandment that was given to us was to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
To the ordinary man in the street, all the scientific talk about strontium 90 and so on conveys very little. All he knows is that if the gun goes off one of these days, he and his family, his home and everything else, will go. We know that there is always the danger that a great conflagration could be set going by a thoughtless action, or even an accident, in this world of doubt and tension. As leaders of the community we have a duty to try to dispel misunderstanding and tension by showing, even among ourselves in this Commonwealth Parliament, greater trust and mutual goodwill than are sometimes apparent.
– I think I speak for every member of the Senate and for all the mature people in Australia to-day when I say that war is an abominable thing. Every rightthinking person abhors war.. I say that because I had six years’ service in the last war. It produces only horror, destruction and degradation. It cuts across all the Christian principles that we believe in because, although one of the commandments is, “ Thou shalt not kill “, we submit the excuse that when killing is impartial man can break that commandment and get away with it. I have killed men, just as every ex-serviceman has probably done but, because the persons killed could not be identified, it is supposed not to matter.
I think that every one will agree that war is a terrible thing in itself, yet, strangely enough, it holds a strong fascination for young men. Perhaps our young men are born with this trait. Perhaps it is a throwback to man’s original need to fight for survival, but war does hold a fascination for young men. Perhaps the attraction is the excitement offered, or the shedding of responsibility and having their lives run for them by an organization. Perhaps the attraction is excitement at the thought that they might see the world. But I am afraid all these considerations do not apply now, and that is all to the good, because the concept of war to-day is not the concept of wars as we have known them. Nuclear warfare is entirely different and, therefore, the factors I have mentioned perhaps do not exist now.
I think we can avoid wars only if we are strong. I do not think any nation would be foolish enough to go into a war unless it had the knowledge or the confidence that it would win. History has borne that out, and I think that the future will show that a nation must be sure in its own mind that it will win before it will start a war. For that reason, strength is of paramount importance. I think that we would have had another major war since 1945 but for the nuclear bomb. I am quite convinced that we would have had war on a far greater scale than the Korean War if we had not had the nuclear bomb.
I should say that the origination of this debate dates back to the time when the Acting Secretary-General of the United Nations contacted the various nations seeking their views as to the conditions under which countries not possessing nuclear weapons might be willing to enter into specific undertakings to refrain from manufacturing or otherwise acquiring such weapons and to refuse to receive in the future nuclear weapons on their territories on behalf of other countries. That request was sent to all countries that did not possess nuclear weapons. Our Government was asked to express an opinion, and the Minister for External Affairs replied outlining Australia’s attitude, in these terms -
Australia recognizes the right of the nuclear powers to conclude agreements for the stationing of their nuclear weapons wherever military necessity requires. Furthermore, as was also stated publicly by the Prime Minister in September, 1957, Australia cannot undertake that under no circumstances will Australian forces in the future be armed with nuclear weapons.
I agree entirely with that. As a nation, we cannot afford to sit on the fence in this matter. The Minister for External Affairs concluded his reply to the Acting SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations Organization with these words -
The Australian Government does not see its way to giving any undertaking in the terms contemplated in Resolution 1664 (XVI). It is prevented from doing so by its belief that nations must be free to look to their own security in accordance with Article SI of the Charter; and by its belief that declaratory undertakings of the sort envisaged are of little practical value without an agreement for general and complete disarmament under adequate controls.
I suggest that emphasis must be laid on the words “ adequate controls “. Indeed, I would go further and add the words, “ and adequate inspection “. We believe that testing should cease. The Government has gone on record as having said that. When he attended the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference in London our Prime Minister agreed with the unanimous decision of the conference which reads -
Every effort should be made to secure rapid agreement to the permanent banning of nuclear weapons tests by all nations and to arrangements for verifying the observance of the agreement.
An agreement would be hopeless without such an arrangement. We all realize that in the world of to-day, a nation’s word is not good enough. There must be inspections of some type to ensure than an agreement is being observed. The Commonwealth Prime Ministers also stated -
Such an agreement is urgent, since otherwise other countries may soon become nuclear powers, which would increase the danger of war and further complicate the problem of disarmament. Moreover, an agreement on nuclear tests, apart from its direct advantages, would provide a powerful psychological impetus to agreement over the wider field of disarmament.
I emphasize that this was a statement by all the Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth. But what happened? Within a few months after that the Russians, who, I remind the Senate, had undertaken to conduct no further tests pending an agreement on abolition of testing, broke up the negotiations that were taking place between the various powers at a meeting held in Geneva to discuss not only the general principle of abolishing tests, but also the essential factor relating to inspection. They simply walked out and, within 48 hours of walking out, began a series of at least 30 nuclear tests. It was obvious that preparations for those tests must have been taking place over a period of months and during the time when negotiations were still in train.
It must be borne in mind that not all testing is of offensive weapons. A good deal of testing is carried out with respect to anti-missile missiles. In other words, I think there is upon us a responsibility to protect the lives of some millions of helpless citizens by developing defensive weapons, and it must be remembered that in any decision to ban testing completely, not only offensive weapons but also defensive weapons are affected.
I come now to the points raised by Senator Tangney regarding a nuclear-free zone. I cannot agree that this could work. I cannot agree that Australia should be party to such a proposal. Are we prepared to say, “ Come war, or come peace, nobody shall bring a nuclear weapon into Australia and no nuclear weapons shall be discharged in our own defence “? Here let me quote the words of our Prime Minister, who said -
Have we in Australia reached the very ecstasy of suicide?
Are we prepared to say that we will not permit nuclear weapons to be used in our own defence? Are we to stand out from the rest of the world and say, “ You are not permitted to do those things here “? I wonder how we would feel if every country in the western world to-day said, “ No, you cannot use nuclear weapons in our territory “. It reminds me of an expression often used in the army, and although I do not propose to quote it I know that all those who have been members of the services will recognize it when I mention the name “ Jack “. I wonder how those people to the north of us in Asia who are opposed to communism and who are friendly with us would feel if we adopted the policy supported by the Opposition. I remind the Senate that the Philippines has about 20,000,000 people; the new state of Malaysia will have about 10,000,000 people; and Formosa has about 11,000,000 people. The Philippines and Formosa are spending large amounts of money on defence. Formosa is spending 60 per cent, of its national budget on defence. The equivalent of that in Australia would be about £900,000,000. I wonder how people in those countries would feel about their efforts to fight communism if we said that we would have no nuclear weapons in Australia. If we want those people to remain our friends and if we want their respect, as I am sure we do, we must be prepared to play our part.
Australia has a very wonderful and glorious record of accepting its responsibilities in four wars - the South African war, World War I., World War II. and the Korean war. We have always faced up to our responsibilities; we have never shirked them. We have fought for the freedom of mankind. We cannot afford to let down the very great and grand traditions that have been built up, by dissociating ourselves from our responsibilities. In time of need we will have to look to forces that are far stronger than those that we can mobilize in Australia in order to maintain our existence. Are we now to say to other countries, “We will want your help, but you are not allowed to bring nuclear weapons into Australia for testing, stockpiling, use in our defence or any other purpose “? I do not think so. I believe that we can say only what the Government has said to U Thant, namely, that at this time we are not prepared to go along with the recommendations in the resolution and we will keep ourselves in this position: If it becomes necessary we will permit the use of nuclear weapons in Australia. I support the motion.
– To-night we have listened to a rather one-sided debate on nuclear weapons, the developments in our area, the position of Australia and our beliefs in this matter. It is interesting to note that the Opposition has not provided a speaker to place its point of view before the Australian people. Only two members of the Opposition have spoken to-night and placed their points of view before the people.
Of course, no one would believe for a minute that the people of the world want other than a complete ban on nuclear testing and nuclear war; but I believe that the Australian people expect the Australian Government to be realistic, to take events as they have happened, to judge events as they have happened and to take the necessary steps and precautions to ensure that the people are given the protection that they will need if one of the two great world powers fails to live up to any undertaking that it gives.
The Government has stated its case clearly. For sixteen years we have striven for an agreement on the banning of the manufacture and testing of nuclear weapons.
– That is the Opposition’s objective.
– That is the objective of the Opposition, is it? Senator Cooke is prepared to interject but he is not prepared to speak, apparently. For sixteen years we have laid down the right to inspect as a condition.
– We have?
– We have no right to do that. We are not a nuclear power.
– Our side of the world has laid that down. I am speaking of those who will protect us if we get into a war. Although we will depend on them for protection, the Labour Party does not wish to give them any right to stock-pile or test nuclear weapons in Australia for our protection if that becomes necessary. The Labour Party says: “ No, we are not prepared to let you do that. You can come and protect us in time of trouble, of course, because you are a nuclear power; but you must not in any circumstances come to Australia and make preparations for Australia’s protection.” What a policy!
The Government has supported at all times the cessation of the manufacture and testing of nuclear weapons on the condition that we have the right to inspect in the nuclear countries. That is the great difference between us. The Opposition is prepared to throw the Australian people to “the wolves. It is not prepared to safeguard the Australian people by insisting on the right for which we have fought for so long, namely, entry into a country for inspection and detection within that country to make sure that it is playing the game and keeping its commitments.
I do not know how the Opposition can maintain that position after the most recent example of breach of faith that we have had. After almost a three-year moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union broke that moratorium and carried out a series of 30 tests. During the whole of that time Russian spokesmen had been preaching and talking about the cessation of testing and also preparing for the tests. In fact, the tests were carried out less than four weeks after the Soviet Union broke the moratorium. In this world, we have to be realistic. After having had those examples of bad faith, how can any one still maintain that we should refuse to those upon whom we shall depend - we admit that quite frankly - the right to place and to test, if necessary, on our shores those weapons which will be used for our protection?
I rather liked the expression which was used to-night by an honorable senator to the effect that the crux of this matter is whether eventually we become one world under the sterile system of communism or whether eventually we become one world under the advancing and developing system now in operation in the free nations. I do not think it will do us any harm to hear again the remarks of the American Secretary for State, Mr. Dean Rusk, who spoke to us in this building when he was in Australia recently. I have read and re-read with great comfort the closing paragraphs of his speech. They are worth recording in “ Hansard “ so that those who read “ Hansard “ will know what was said on that occasion. Mr. Dean Rusk stated -
I wonder if I might close with a personal comment. There are millions of Americans who have shared with many of you in this room the experience of having been bom in what we would now call an under-developed society; pre-scientific, pre.technical. prc-medical care, pre-public health, preeducation. We have seen in our own lifetimes the transformation of the lives of peoples under free institutions. When we say to our friends in the developing countries that we know the Communists have not found a magic formula for rapid development it is because we have seen fantastic and rapid development under freedom while you and we have been alive.
Let us not concede this notion that it takes two or three hundred years to develop just because, almost as a truism, all of us have had two or three hundred years of history behind us. Because this development has occurred in the most recent times. In 1920 only 1 per cent, of the farms of the United States had electricity. To-day 98 per cent, of them have electricity. You could multiply those examples and figures many times in your own personal experience. What I am saying is that we have reason for a confidence in the capacity of free societies to deal with these great yearnings for economic and social development that wc must transfer to those who are giving these aspirations highest priority in their own situations, and that we dare not pretend, we dare not concede that those who are now responsible for what is happening all the way from East Germany to North Viet Nam have found any answer even to the central problem to which they say they have addressed themselves, namely, the problem of economic and social satisfaction.
Second, you and we come out of a great political tradition. We received it from the same source. It was passed on to us as a part of a discourse about the political consequences of the nature of man which has been going on for more than 2,000 years. Out of that experience and that tradition came some very simple ideas. Our people articulated them at the end of the 18th century with the very simple expression “ that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed “. And in the great constitutional history of Anglo-Saxon peoples it has found other means of expression. These ideas are deeply rooted in human nature; but they are also the most explosive and powerful revolutionary forces in the world to-day. It is the notion of freedom that is causing the people to move; it is the notion of individual dignity and the improvement in the lot of man that is causing people to move to-day. It is not for us to fear these great winds of change. They are part of the unfinished business which is a part of our story. And those who came to some notions in the middle of the 19th century under other circumstances and for other conditions are finding that these notions are running dry because they obviously do not fit these basic aspirations of man.
We don’t have to argue with people in other parts of the world about what we are really after and what they are really after. Have you ever found anybody who would rather be ignorant than educated? Or sick than healthy? Or who is not interested in that knock on the door at midnight which means terror? These simple human notions, central to your society and to ours, are derived from the great power of the human spirit. They are the things which bind us together. But let me tell you that they are the things which give us allies, spoken or silent, allies among men and women in every corner of the earth. This is the basis of our confidence. This is the scope of our task. But this is the story of freedom, and history says this story cannot fail.
The great fight in the world to-day is to see whether we shall develop and eventually become one world enjoying the great freedoms of Western democracy with all the advantages that they have brought and will bring, or whether we shall submit to the sterile doctrine of communism which derives its inspiration from a philosophy of the Middle Ages and which is designed not to increase the lot of man to the highest degree but to reduce the highest to a lower degree.
There is no difference between mankind in one part of the world and mankind in another part of the world in its abhorrence of a nuclear war. The main reason why a nuclear war has been averted for so long is because both sides are prepared. Had we been prepared in 1914 and in 1939 to the degree to which we are prepared to-day those two great conflagrations might have been averted; but because we allowed one side to become so strong that it believed itself to be unconquerable we brought on ourselves two world wars. To-day both great powers are prepared for war and are matching each other in their development of nuclear weapons. While the present position exists and while there is no agreement on the control of nuclear weapons we must rely on our strong right arm to protect us from the horrible possibility of a great nuclear conflagration.
I listened with interest to Senator Tangney who spoke jUS. recently on behalf of the Opposition. She propounded great Labour philosophies, but did not go very far because she did not want to. Then she became quite emotional about peace. All the peoples of the world want peace. No one side wants peace more than another. The difference between the philosophies of political parties in this country is clear and denned. The Government has fought and worked for an effective agreement which will protect the peoples of the world, but we will not get this protection unless both sides agree to proper inspection and a proper system of protection. Unless these things are agreed upon the people of Australia will be thrown to the wolves. I agree with Senator Branson who said just now that a great many people fail to think for themselves and are used by organizations who do not wish them well. These organizations are only using these people whom they get to sign petitions and to do certain things. Only this week in Brisbane two of these organizations were fighting one another. They were both peace organizations but they got into holts because they could not agree.
Once we get an agreement on the use of nuclear weapons which will protect both sides in the world we will have no further worries; but we must have that protection. The people of Australia will demand it. Before they agree to lay down their arms they want to know that the other side will do likewise, and they want the means of knowing whether the other side does so. That is the crux of the whole matter. Nobody will disagree with many of the sentiments contained in the policy of the Opposition which has now been propounded. Nobody will argue against these things if they are practicable and attainable. They are sentiments which are shared by all the world. But at this juncture we are not prepared to place ourselves in the position of trusting solely the United Nations which, after all, has no force of its own to ensure that these things shall be done. Are we to abandon the position we are in at the moment when peace is maintained because we are prepared to defend ourselves? Until such time as we attain a concrete, foolproof agreement whereby we can know the very day when those who oppose us start to develop these arms so that we can commence to do so ourselves, we must demand that there be inspections.
A great deal of emotionalism is displayed by many who speak about peace. It is something which every person in the world wishes to attain. But we can sacrifice the lives of our people if we try to attain this objective by leaving ourselves defenceless and at the mercy of our enemies. I believe that the policy which the Australian Government and the Western world has followed is sound and practical and will lead eventually to an agreement. Our great hope is that the development of methods of protection will bring about an agreement which will be water-tight and worth while to the Western world.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 9th May (vide page 1218), on the following paper tabled by Senator Spooner: -
Report of the Committee on Teaching Costs of Medical Hospitals to the Australian Universities Commission, dated 6th October, 1961.
And on the motion by Senator Anderson -
That the paper be printed.
.- On 9th May the report of the Committee on Teaching Costs of Medical Hospitals to the Australian Universities Commission was tabled. As the business paper indicates, I took the adjournment of that debate. By an odd circumstance much of this document has been debated already in the Senate. In its report the committee made certain recommendations to the Government. Those recommendations were in two parts, the first part relating to capital expenditure and the second to recurrent expenditure. The Government in its wisdom decided to implement without delay that part of the recommendations dealing with capital costs of teaching hospitals. Consequently, we had brought down in this chamber on 16th May the States Grants (Universities) Bill 1962 which provided the financial grants to which I have referred already.
A number of honorable senators spoke on these recommendations and in some instances referred to the document we are discussing at present. Consequently we are in the situation to-night of dealing with a subject that has been dealt with in the Senate in part, if not wholly, during the current session. However, for what it is worth I wish to make some reference to the report. I crave the indulgence of the Chair to read from it in substantive form because I feel that that is the only effective way to put on record some aspects of it.
The committee originated from discussions held in Canberra on 9th April, 1959, between State and Commonwealth Ministers for Health. At that meeting the Ministers sought financial assistance from the Commonwealth for teaching hospitals on the ground that hospitals providing facilities for clinical instruction were involved in greater expense than those con cerned only with the care of patients. It was affirmed that the teaching of clinical students in hospitals was an activity within the universities and not one relative to Commonwealth-State hospital relations. The report reads -
The committee enquired into the recurrent and capital costs incurred by teaching hospitals, which are directly attributable to the instruction of clinical students. The present report deals solely with costs directly attributable to clinical teaching as a university responsibility for the 1961-63 triennium, and excludes any reference to the costs of research and postgraduate training. Consideration of the costs of postgraduate training might be a task for the Committee in the future. The costs of research in teaching hospitals fall largely within the area of responsibility of the National Health and Medical Research Council, whose Chairman is also Director-General of the Commonwealth Department of Health.
The Committee found that, while clinical instruction in our teaching hospitals has always been of high standard, clinical teaching facilities generally have been inadequate. The Commission believes that acceptance of the recommendations in the Report will go a long way towards remedying a situation which is becoming grave.
As I have already indicated, the Government did not take a good deal of time, because on 16th May a bill was introduced into this place to put into legislative form the substantive part of the recommendations of the committee. The constitution of the committee should be placed on record. Under the chairmanship of the Chairman of the Australian Universities Commission, Sir Leslie Martin, C.B.E., F.R.S., it comprised -
Professor D. P. Derham, M.B.E., B.A., LL.M.
Those are all eminent medical and university authorities.
One of the significant items in the report to which I want to make reference relates to the intake of medical students. I wish to refer particularly to the position in New South Wales, of which I have a fairly intimate knowledge. The committee reported -
The medical school of the University of Sydney, established in 1863, is the largest in Australia. In 1961, 2182 students were enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine of whom 681 were in the clinical years. The pre-clinical departments are situated on the university campus.
Because of serious overcrowding in medicine, the Senate of the University recently decided to introduce a quota of 365 first year students in 1962, and of 300 thereafter. The years up to 1965 will present the University with great difficulty in providing sufficient teaching material in hospitals for the numbers of clinical students offering. After 1965 the effect of the quota system will be felt and the demand for teaching space in hospitals will diminish. Attention has been given, therefore, to the pressing needs of the immediate future as well as to the long term needs of the University in the teaching hospitals.
It is regrettably true - I speak as a chairman of directors of one of the larger Sydney public hospitals - that there is an acute shortage of junior resident doctors. Almost every hospital, other than the teaching hospitals, has great difficulties in obtaining such officers. One must view with some concern the prospect of a restricted intake to the medical faculty of the University of Sydney. It is true that the University of New South Wales has come into the medical field. Despite that, there is a critical shortage which is the cause of acute embarrassment to hospital administrators and has a very serious effect upon the efficiency of hospitals. The human frame being what it is, men and women can work effectively for only a certain number of hours a day. It is often tragic to note the shortages in this field. lt is, of course, a fact that a third university for New South Wales is projected. There is some doubt as to where the government will put it.
– That is true. The claims of the Newcastle area have been canvassed and also those of the North Ryde area. Speaking as one with some sense of responsibility, I say that the authorities at our hospital are hoping that the university will be in the North Ryde area, for the very good and sufficient reason that inherent in the committee’s report is the prospect that in that event the Ryde District Soldiers Memorial Hospital will become, naturally, an ancillary teaching hospital and will qualify - we hope - for additional equipment. All teaching hospitals have had large amounts of money made available to bring them to standards which will enable medicine to be taught effectively.
One of the recurrent problems is to try, in an old hospital, to provide modern conditions. Let me digress for a moment to describe the sort of thing that happens. Let us imagine a 50-bed hospital. The district develops to a degree at which the demand is such that the powers-that-be decide to provide another couple of wards, perhaps a general ward and a new midwifery block or children’s block. The same set of conditions has to prevail. The kitchens that provided for 50 now have to provide for 100. The same applies to laundry services. The administrative block, built for the original 50 beds, is overstretched and consequently you get a hospital that is completely out of balance, leading to the sort of inefficiency that bedevils administrators, doctors and nurses. A considerable amount of trouble arises. That is inherent in this report. You get a situation where hospitals have been established for many years and are then made in part teaching hospitals in relation to a certain aspect of medicine, perhaps in midwifery, pediatrics or surgery. It is a case of trying to put something new into something old, and the two will not merge. When they do merge it is merely a merger of convenience and is not a good arrangement. That is the kind of thing wilh which this report has had to deal.
That was the kind of problem that arose and prompted the appeal in the first place from the Universities Commission for government aid. It is to the glory and credit of this Government that it took only about a fortnight after the papers were available before bringing down a bill to deal with the capital aspect of this real problem. It is true that a degree in Australian medicine is a good one and that medical practice and standards in our hospitals are high. There is a background history of great men and women in medicine in this country who have given leadership and knowledge to the world. The Government, recognizing that and apreciating that we as a nation deserve the best that financial help can give, was prompted to bring in this States Grants (Universities) Bill 1962.
There is another aspect relating to recurrent expenditure. The Government has been more cautious in this regard in saying UP to a point, at any rate, “Let us have a look at it.” My reading of this document has been sandwiched between reading for the debate on nuclear weapons. When the commission asked the teaching hospitals to give it the picture, the teaching hospitals, if I might use a colloquialism, went for the doctor. I am sure honorable senators will appreciate what I mean by that. They all said, “ Here it is; let us really give it the works and ask for the whole treatment.” There is no doubt that the commission had to go back to the teaching hospitals and say, “ Wait a moment. Our terms of reference are fairly restricted and we have only to make a report relating to the direct needs of teaching hospitals. Therefore we would like you to revise your submissions.” The commission had to get a recasting of views to bring them into line with reality. As a hospital administrator I do not blame the teaching hospitals for doing what they did.
– They always had the example of a Premiers’ Conference.
– That is right. It is just like going to arbitration, or to a Premiers’ Conference, and counting your blessing when you get what you can. The Government has had some caution in relation to recurrent costs. There are sixteen headings in the document dealing with recurrent costs. As I read through them I had some misgivings about some of the items. Perhaps I might put some of those sixteen items on record. The report is headed -
Questionnaire on Recurrent Hospital Costs Directly Attributable to the Teaching of Undergraduate Medical Students.
It deals with the various items as follows: - j
All these are very interesting. Then a percentage of nursing costs is given. Interestingly enough it is shown as 1 per cent, of the total cost of the salary bill. One could have an interesting debate on that 1 per cent. - whether it is just a figure. I might come back to that. It must always be remembered that most of the big hospitals in the capital cities are training hospitals for nurses as well as teaching hospitals. It is possible to have a situation where some hospitals are not training schools for nurses and others are. All sorts of variations come into that.
The report next deals with anaesthetics, which are shown as accounting for 15 per cent, of costs. That seems to be a fairly high figure. If people enter hospital they will not be having an anaesthetic for the fun of it or to allow someone to have a little practice. I take it that the anaesthetists’ work goes on in the ordinary routine for people who need it. I should be interested to hear some of my medical friends comment on that. It does seem to me that this percentage is rather high. Radiology is shown as accounting for 5 per cent, of costs. This is one of the things where you are getting down to fundamentals. Medical library is shown as accounting for 50 per cent, of cost up to a maximum of £1,000 per annum. There again, a good medical hospital would need a good medical library.
The next item deals with medical records with a figure of 25 per cent, of costs. The hospital with which I am associated is spending a lot of money in setting up a medical record system, but it is not a teaching hospital; I wish it were. It seems to me that the Government, in exercising some caution about recurrent costs, will probably have its advisers examine some of these percentages. All these things are matters of some importance. The report deals with cleaners and attendants for clinical teaching units where paid by the hospital. “ Meal services for resident students and university staff” is the next item. I want to get these on record before we adjourn. These costs have been taken out for the various States and they vary from State to State. The report states -
The mean value of the costs other than in Western Australia is £600 with a departure from the mean of about 4 per cent.; including Western Australia, the mean is £725 . . .
The Committee, after reference to the costs of different disciplines in universities overseas and in Australia, recommends £625 as a reasonable annual figure for the training of a clinical student in Australian teaching hospitals. This figure, some 4 per cent. greater than the mean, makes some concession to the higher costs estimated in Western Australia.
It is that part of the recommendation that the Government is still considering. What ever the Government’s decision, there can be no doubt that there is a strong case, as this report, which merits the reading of every sentence, makes abundantly clear, for giving to the teaching hospitals an annual grant of somewhere in the vicinity of £625, shall we say, for each student to compensate them for the costs to which they are committed in this connexion. Might I conclude by saying that in my view the story of this report is one of government understanding. It is a story of recognition of its responsibility to the Australian people.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 8 August 1962, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1962/19620808_senate_24_s22/>.