24th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator BRANSON presented petitions, praying that the Government provide television services and facilities, from 6,141 citizens in the eastern gold-fields area, 106 citizens in the shire of Menzies, 281 citizens in the shire of Leonora, 210 citizens in the shire of Dundas, 212 citizens in the shire of Coolgardie, 145 citizens in the shire of Irwin, 221 citizens in the shire of Mullewa, 368 citizens in the shire of Mingenew, 383 citizens in the shire of Northampton, 97 citizens in the shire of Chapman Valley, 38 citizens in the shire of Carnamah and 1,691 citizens in the town of Geraldton.
Petitions received and read.
Senator POKE presented a petition from 222 citizens of Tasmania praying that the Government increase pension rates to a level which will enable pensioners to raise their living standards.
Petition received and read.
– I preface a question to the Minister for Civil Aviation by offering him my congratulations on the wonderful terminal building he has constructed in his home city of Perth in Western Australia. I now ask the Minister: In the unlikely event that he is still Minister for Civil Aviation at the time the airport at Tullamarine in Victoria is constructed, will he take up temporary residence in Melbourne so that that city, with its much larger population, might be blessed with facilities at least equal to those which he has made available in Perth?
– I thank the Deputy Leader of the Opposition very warmly for the congratulations he has extended to me and to the Government on the construction of a very fine terminal at Perth airport. I am glad that he has discovered Western Australia. I hope he will visit that State frequently and get to know more of the many attractions we will be able to show him. The building of the airport terminal at Perth was delayed for many years, and it replaced a building which was thrown up rapidly at the end of the war from building material that had largely been recovered from New Guinea. As to the airport at Tullamarine, the announced plans of the Government will assure the honorable senator in advance that, with the completion of the airport, Victoria will have one of the finest terminal buildings in the world, and indeed, it will have that terminal, not by virtue of my residence in that delightful State. Delightful as it is, I still do not intend to change my address.
The flask evaporation method is well established, and when used in conjunction with waste heat provides a reliable and reasonably established method. No experiments are being made in Australia, but it is well known without experimentation that, where waste heat is available and where relatively small quantities of purified sea water are required, the use of that method is quite feasible.
– While I can congratulate the Treasurer on the general lifting of sales tax from food products, I address the following urgent questions to his representative in this chamber: - Have the Treasurer and the Federal Government clearly realized that the exemption of imported canned fish from the 12± per cent, sales tax will directly and immediately bring dire consequences to the fish canning industry throughout Australia? Are they aware that Australian canners of barracoota and salmon are defenceless against competition from imported products, although speedy action now, through the Tariff Board, could protect our tuna industry? I point out that Australian fish cutlets can be produced at 20s. per dozen cans, at which price they are sold to the retail trade, yet imported cutlets, have been marketed at 1 9s. per dozen cans including the 12i per cent, sales tax. Thus, Australian produced cutlets will be unable to compete with the imported products from which the 1 per cent, is to be removed under this Budget. Are our canneries to be forced out of business, thus causing unemployment? Is this thriving Australian industry to be conceded to international operators? Does the Treasurer realize that this sales tax exemption will cause the complete write-off of a new £60,000 fish cannery at Portland in Victoria unless something is done? Further, its the Treasurer aware that our Tasmanian canneries will be left with huge surpluses of tinned fish cutlets and without prospect of future orders unless effective, prompt remedies are found by the Government? Will the Minister see that effective steps are taken to preserve and protect the important Australian fish canning industry in which so many fishermen, fishing co-operatives and State governments have invested considerable sums?
– I think it should be said at once that sales tax has never been, and can never be regarded as a method of protecting an Australian industry. That is not the purpose of sales tax; its purpose is quite different from that. If the honorable senator believes, as he obviously does judging by the trouble he has taken to prepare this question, that the Australian fish canning industry will now find itself at the competitive disadvantage that he speaks of, then the appropriate step to take is to get the industry immediately to the Tariff Board for a hearing.
– That is no good; the tuna industry can and will do that, but not the Australian barracoota and salmon industries.
– T can only say that the Tariff Board is the body to approach.
– That will take nine months.
– The industry can approach the Special Advisory Authority, which has been set up for the purpose of emergency hearings. This procedure has been established to meet circumstances such as those described by the honorable senator. I suggest that if he confers with the industry he should recommend that this action be taken.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Can he indicate the nature of the works proposed for his department at Adelaide airport as set out in the civil works programme for 1963-64 brought down by the Treasurer last night and involving £64,000? When will these works commence and when is it expected that they will be completed? What major benefits will they bring to the Adelaide airport?
– The £64,000 to which the honorable member has referred has been allocated for work at the Adelaide airport in connexion with the extension of the apron so as to improve the handling of existing and future air traffic at the airport. It is expected that the work will commence early in 1964 and that it will be completed before the winter of that year. I suspect that the honorable senator also has in mind a query as to what is going to happen to the terminal building. He will no doubt recall that last year, in reply to a question, I advised the Senate that certain work had been proposed to enlarge the existing building. The plan then existing envisaged the carrying out of the glass wall in front of the main building, but further consideration revealed that that plan would not meet the needs of the Adelaide airport for any considerable length of time. As a result, further consideration was given to the nature of the extensions which would have to be carried out at Adelaide, and such planning is going forward. Consequent upon our second look at Adelaide’s requirements, although the provision of the final terminal will be somewhat delayed it will be much better as a result of the planning now being done.
– I ask the
Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs whether the United Nations Security Council has adopted the AfroAsian resolution calling for a ban on the supply of arms to South Africa. What is the view of the Australian Government in regard to this decision?
– Australia, of course, has never exported arms to South Africa. It exported some to Ghana on one occasion and has exported some to Tanganyika. I am not sure whether the Security Council or the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the motion to which the honorable senator referred. I do know that the General Assembly adopted other motions in the past to which Australia’s attitude was that they were ultra vires the powers of the General Assembly. If the honorable senator would like to put his question on notice, I shall obtain for him a reply in respect of the Security Council element in his question.
– I understand that during the recess the Minister for National Development visited Western Australia and inspected iron ore deposits in the northern area of that State. Can he advise me whether he was agreeably surprised at what he saw? In view of the fact that Conzinc
Riotinto of Australia Limited has agreed to an overall expenditure of about £78,000,000 to carry out further surveys and diamond drilling work, to build a railway and port facilities, and to establish, over a long term, steelworks in Western Australia, can the Minister say whether he has granted that company sufficient quotas for the exportation of iron ore to warrant this vast expenditure?
Senator Sir WILLIAM SPOONER Yes, I had the opportunity, while the Parliament was in recess, to see at least some of these iron ore deposits. I congratulate Western Australia upon its good fortune in having such deposits. These are tremendously big and important developments. So far, in my recollection, we have not had an actual application for export licences, but there will be no difficulty in granting them when the time is opportune.
– Has the Minister for Civil Aviation read a report which appeared on the front page of the Hobart “ Mercury “ of Tuesday, 13th August, announcing that the State Government had given approval to Trans-Australia Airlines to operate a vital intra-state air network in Tasmania in the near future? If so, did the Minister experience a glow of satisfaction, as I did, or did he resent the fact that in this isolated case, thanks to the Australian Labour Party, preference was not given to the competitor of T.A.A.?
– Yes, Mr. President, I read the article to which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has referred. Indeed, I do not think I shall be letting any secrets out of the bag when I say that he was so delighted with the report that this morning he saw me in the corridor and asked me to read it. I did so. Senator Kennelly has said that he got a glow of satisfaction from this item. I certainly felt no resentment that T.A.A. was given a licence to operate the particular service.
The background is this: Tasmania is one of the Australian States in which T.A.A. has rights to operate intra-state air services, and I recall very clearly the manner in which these rights were obtained during the passage of certain legislation through the Senate a year or two ago. Therefore,I understand precisely the satisfaction felt by the honorable senator. However, he should not attribute the success of T.A.A. in this instance to a single action taken by himself and his colleagues whereby they induced the Government of Tasmania to pass the necessary complementary legislation in quick time, because subsequent to this occurring I myself had discussions with the Premier of Tasmania and arranged for the construction of the west coast airports which are now to come into use. I suggest to Senator Kennelly that without the cooperation of the Commonwealth Government we would not be seeing the services he has mentioned commencing to operate in the near future. The new services will be available because this Government cooperated with the Tasmanian Government.
As to the application to operate the services, the fact is that the Tasmanian Transport Department called applications for a licence and T.A.A. applied. This was done by the department, under a Labour government, although I shudder to think of the Transport Department in Tasmania being under the dictation of the Labour Government, as suggested by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. As I understand the position, the T.A.A. organization was the only applicant, and after a conference with the Department of Civil Aviation a licence was granted to T.A.A. by Mr. Baird, the Tasmanian Commissioner for Transport. The services will be started at the end of next year and I wish T.A.A. every success in its operations. I am sure T.A.A. will apply to these services the same high standards that the airlines of Australia apply to the operation of air services throughout Australia, and I trust that the new services will be of great benefit to the residents of the west coast of Tasmania.
– I direct, from the snowline of the back benches, a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, and I do so in a rather frosty manner. In view of the legislation that was passed during the last sessional period of this Parliament designed to achieve a transfer of additional milk production from cheese factories to the condenseries, will the Minister inform the Senate of the reason for the continued production of low-grade cheese in increasing quantities from areas of high cost production and low-grade quality, with particular reference to Complex B, which I mentioned in my speech on the Processed Milk Products Bounty Bill?
– I well remember the contribution which the honorable senator made to the debate when this legislation was before the Senate. I am not in a position to answer specifically the matters he has raised. If he places his question on the notice-paper, I shall ask the Minister for Primary Industry to supply the information.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Health, relates to something I was told during my recent visit to Darwin and which has been borne out by a report in the local newspaper, the “Northern Territory News “, of 16th July, which states in part -
The Director-General of Health (Major-Genera] Refshauge) has confirmed that three Northern Territory doctors chose to return a £1000 bond rather than serve in the Territory.
I ask the Minister whether that report is correct. If it is correct, what is the nature of the complaints that have been made by these doctors? The complaints must be serious to induce them to forfeit a £1,000 bond. If the report is correct, what measures does the Minister propose to take to make the Northern Territory more attractive to members of the medical profession, where their services are so urgently needed?
– I agree that in general the report is correct. I am not certain of the number of doctors who were reported as having returned their bond, or of those who actually did leave the Territory. I am bound to say that there were several reasons why these young doctors left the Territory. That in itself has been a matter of some concern to my department, because we are very proud of the services that we are providing in the area. I understand that some domestic issues were raised.
Housing matters have exercised our attention since we heard of the complaint. We have not jurisdiction over housing in the Territory, but it must be said to the credit of the Northern Territory Administration that as soon as we placed our requirements before it to have the situation remedied, officials did everything possible to provide housing to the standard that we require for our medical men. I think it is fair to say, Mr. President, that the return of bonds by these gentlemen highlighted some of the difficulties which professional men face in this area. The department seized the opportunity to remedy anything that could be remedied and which would act against people occupying these positions in Darwin.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport any information that he can give to the Senate about the proposal of R. W. Miller and Company Proprietary Limited to build nine tankers to operate on the Australian coast? Assuming the scheme comes to fruition and these tankers are to be built in Australia, thus attracting a government subsidy of one-third of their cost, will he ensure that the construction is spread throughout Australia and that a proportion of the work will be made available to Whyalla in South Australia?
– There has been a good deal of activity in connexion with this matter in recent days. I must say at once that I doubt whether I am as up to date as I should like to be before attempting to answer the question. I think the best thing I can do is to confer with my colleague, the Minister for Shipping and Transport, and ask him whether he can make a comprehensive statement on the matter raised in the question. In regard to the disposition of orders among the Australian shipbuilding yards, I point out to the. honorable senator that it is usual for tenders to be called. The tender system will operate. I assume that, if Whyalla submits a satisfactory tender, the firm which is purchasing the tankers will give Whyalla an order. The. Government itself does not direct where ships shall be built.
– My question concerns men, their families, and their employment. Has the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service seen a press report concerning a statement made by the Mayor of Toowoomba, to the effect that 70 men engaged by the Toowoomba City Council on work financed by a nonrepayable grant made by the Commonwealth Government will soon be dismissed from their employment because of a shortage of funds? Will the Minister ascertain the true position, so that an additional nonrepayable sum may be made available to continue the employment of the 70 men until the alleged goodness of the Budget has percolated into the economy, which may then cope with unemployment more satisfactorily?
– I have not seen the particular report to which the honorable senator refers, but I gather from what he says that the employment of these men is financed through the State Government from funds provided specially by the Commonwealth Government some time ago to cope with pockets of unemployment. I point out that that State Government has had greatly increased revenues accruing to it since that time and that therefore it is really a matter for that Government to ensure that its revenues are so spent that this type of unemployment does not take place.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Civil Aviation. When will we know the type of aircraft to be purchased by Trans-Australia Airlines for intra-state services in Tasmania? How many are to be purchased? Will the Commonwealth Government provide the necessary finance for the Australian National Airlines Commission to purchase these aircraft and, if so, under what conditions? If T.A.A. is able to provide its own finance, is this not just another indication of the success and fairness of this Government’s airline policy?
– I am not aware of the particular type of aircraft that the airlines - T.A.A. particularly - intend to use on the Tasmanian air routes. A decision will be made quite soon and I expect that some publicity will be given to it then. The major domestic airlines have, of course, ordered Boeing 727 aircraft, and it is possible that there will be further orders later on to replace Viscount aircraft for the shorter-haul routes. No decision has yet been reached in this connexion. The financing of the acquisitions will have to be examined at the time. In the past, the Government has made available to T.A.A., when necessary, funds for the acquisition of aircraft and I shall be having discussions at the appropriate time on the financing of any further acquisitions. Whether or not the Government makes further capital available, I think it is increasingly evident now that the two-airline system is working extremely well and that T.A.A., under this Government, has become a very efficient and businesslike commercial organization.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs been directed to a resolution of the Trades and Labour Council of the Australian Capital Territory that, in view of the French Government’s attitude to the treaty to ban nuclear tests in the air, on land and under water, trade sanctions should be formulated against French countries? Will the Government direct that appropriate representations be made to General de Gaulle on the likelihood of Australian and international repercussions if he explodes a nuclear bomb in the Pacific and will the Government use its best efforts to persuade him to desist from carrying out this contumelious proposal?
– I saw the report in the “ Canberra Times “ to which the honorable senator has referred. I think that Australia’s attitude to the nuclear test ban is well illustrated by the fact that it was one of the first countries to sign the agreement. I do not believe that the conduct of foreign affairs, particularly in matters of such great moment as this, is something that should stem from a trades and labour council in. any particular place. It is a matter for the Australian people, as a whole, speaking through their government and their elected representatives. I have no doubt that such action as should be taken in these affairs will be taken by the Australian Government.
– I preface my question, which is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, by stating that the
Western Australian committee for the freedom from hunger campaign approached the Commonwealth Government asking for a special stamp to be issued to commemorate the campaign. Can the Minister advise me why this request to commemorate such an important appeal was refused?
– I have had correspondence ic various directions on this matter. A precis of the position is that a request was received from one of the agencies of the United Nations Organization in March. It was received too late to fit it into the programme, owing to commitments in connexion with the Royal Visit and arrangements for the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Canberra. A number of other representations was made, but none of them could be adopted because of the time-table. It takes the best part of twelve months to do all that is necessary in the issuing of a new stamp. Indeed, the request was not given high priority because so many requests are made for stamps to be issued in connexion with appeals for funds, both inside Australia and outside it, that the Government is hesitant to meet them.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Was the Minister correctly reported last week-end as saying that normal, healthy Australians would not be interested in the works of D. H. Lawrence and Henry Miller? Has he seen an editorial in a Sydney metropolitan daily newspaper which described his reported statement as superb arrogance and colossal conceit? Is it a fact that the works of these two authors arc regarded as being among the world’s bestsellers? Does the Minister appreciate that, because of statements such as those referred to, Australians generally are being regarded as literary hill-billies by the rest of the world? Does he consider that, because of such an attitude on his part, he is making it most difficult for Australian writers to obtain sales abroad for their literary works?
– I read the leading article in the Sydney “ Daily Mirror “ newspaper with great interest. I think that the comments I made during the programme to which the article referred were incorrectly reported. The question I was asked was entirely different from that reported in the press. Speaking off the cuff, the question I was asked was whether the people of Australia should be able to enjoy the same freedom to read books as was enjoyed at the present time in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. My answer to the question was that I understood there was a minor element of the people of Australia who showed concern in this matter and that the normal, healthy Australian had not shown any worry about it. May I say now that I stand by that opinion. The position is that I am advised in these matters by very competent people and boards before decisions are taken. I utilize that advice to the best of my ability.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation, ls it a fact that on Sunday, 1 1th August. 1963, Ansett-A.N.A.’s scheduled midnight flight out of Perth was delayed owing to engine trouble? Did the TransAustralia Airlines aircraft scheduled to leave Perth at approximately the same time load its passengers preparatory to leaving and then off-load them? Was the delay to the T.A.A. flight brought about by the policy of rationalization adopted by the two airlines which results in their chasing one another around Australia? Was the Minister aware of the implementation of this policy when he cancelled his passage in favour of leaving on the next scheduled flight? Were other passengers advised of the implementation of this policy of rationalization?
– I confess to feeling rather flattered by the suggestion that where I spent last Sunday night is a matter of public importance. 1 hope that the question has not been inspired by recent happenings elsewhere. I appreciated that there would be some interest in this quite unusual happening at Perth last Sunday night, and for the information of honorable senators 1 have received a report from my department which I should like to make available. Both airlines have told the department that the delays were caused by mechanical difficulties. In the case of
Ansett-A.N.A.. the company’s Electra aircraft developed trouble in the No. 2 engine during the flight from Melbourne to Perth. The engine was feathered and after the aircraft landed a check was made to determine the cause of the trouble. However, the problem proved somewhat complex and the company decided to ferry the aircraft, without passengers, back to its main maintenance base at Melbourne. 1 understand that the engine was then removed for overhaul. Some of the passengers were transferred to the Trans-Australia Airlines aircraft and the others were carried on a later Ansett-A.N.A. service.
In the case of T.A.A., a propeller change at Melbourne delayed the arrival of the company’s Electra in Perth by 1 15 minutes. Additionally, during the preparation for take-off from Perth, the aircraft’s No. 4 engine was found to be unserviceable. An examination revealed that the low-pressure regulator was faulty and it was changed. Some additional trouble was experienced with the starter motor. The total delay was 3 hours 40 minutes, but I am happy to say that the aircraft picked up 36 minutes by a fast flight to Melbourne.
Both airlines have written to me saying that they greatly regret any inconvenience to passengers. However, Mr. President. I should emphasize that this most unusual incident only points to the high maintenance and safety standards observed by our airlines, which do not fly aircraft unless they are certain the aircraft are in first-class mechanical order.
– My question concerns a matter that was raised by Senator Cole earlier to-day. In case the appropriate Minister has not received a copy of a telegram dealing with the matter, I should like to preface my question by reading it. It is as follows: -
Removal of sales tax on imported canned fish will wreck the Australian fish canning industries stop Present competing on slender margin which will disappear with the removal of sales tax stop We have quarter million investment and S.A. Goverment have at least half million in loan to industry stop This investment and tuna export trade in serious jeopardy if sales tax removed.
In view of the very great concern expressed by the South Australian fishing industry in respect of the proposal to remove the sales tax on imported canned fish, and having regard to the reply to Senator Cole’s question, will the Leader of the Government in the Senate ask the Government to support and facilitate representations which may be made to the Tariff Board by the Australian fishing industry?
– I give an answer that repeats what my colleague said earlier. There is a well-defined procedure which we think is working very satisfactorily. Those seeking relief have two methods of approach available to them. The first, short, quick and decisive method is to apply for a temporary tariff; the second is a long-term arrangement which can be achieved as a result of a normal Tariff Board hearing. In the present circumstances Senator Toohey might advise his inquirers to find out from the Department of Trade the procedures that are available to them. I repeat what was said earlier. In our governmental procedures sales tax has not been regarded as a means of protecting an industry.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Has the Government yet made a final decision on whether Australia’s new decimal currency unit is still to be called the “ royal “, or is the name to be changed? If it is to be changed, what name has been chosen?
– If there is to be any change in the names already announced, such change will be made known by the Prime Minister at the appropriate time.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Attorney-General. How long ago is it since the Attorney-General first promised to introduce the famous restrictive trade practices legislation? When may we expect the performance of this promise?
– I would not be prepared to state exactly how long ago it is since the Attorney-General first suggested this legislation, but it is perfectly true that it was quite a long time ago that the announcement was made. I would hope that the honorable senator and everybody else would understand that in a matter of such complexity as this, which affects vitally so many sections of the community, and on which such differing opinions can be held, it is not unreasonable that it should take a considerable length of time for the Attorney-General to consult, first, the State representatives who may well have an interest in this matter and, secondly, the legal profession, manufacturers, consumers and all who may well be affected by the Attorney-General’s proposal. It will be remembered that the Attorney-General, in fact, not a long time ago, indicated in the broad1 the sort of proposals which he had in mind so that they could be publicly discussed and criticized and suggestions made for their betterment by all those who are interested in the ultimate result. This process of allowing public discussion, newspaper criticism, and conferences between representative parties has been going on. I am sure the honorable senator will agree that if we are to reach a proper wellthoughtout conclusion - not criticism-free but which will be subject to as little criticism and be the cause of as little disruption as possible - it is better to take time to consult all interests rather than rush into some final decision.
Senator FITZGERALD__ Can the
Leader of the Government in the Senate advise whether in the history of the Commonwealth Parliament there, has ever been such a great discrepancy in Budget estimating as in the Budget of 1962-63? Expecting a deficit of £118,000,000 the Treasurer finished with a surplus of £16,000,000, being £134,000,000 out in his assessment. Has any reprimand been given to, or any action taken against, the Treasurer or any of his advisers for this shocking error? Can the Minister advise what benefits have been denied to the people, of Australia over the past twelve months as a result of this error by the Treasurer in miscalculating to the extent of £134,000,000, because with a correct assessment this money could have been available to ease the position of Australians and to develop this country?
Senator Fitzgerald suggests an entirely new approach to this matter. He suggests that when the Treasurer performs excellently he should be reprimanded. We have the instance of a Treasurer raising by loans infinitely more than any one in Australia thought he would raise. Instead of congratulating him we are asked to reprimand him. I think that the Treasurer did magnificently to make the loan raisings that he made last year, and it is a pessimistic Australian who does not feel satisfaction in the accomplishment. As was pointed out in the recent Budget speech, in the preparation of its Budget Australia adopts a procedure basically different from that adopted by other countries. Unlike the practice in most other countries, revenue and expenditure are contrasted and the balance left to be raised by loan raisings is thrown into clear relief. Other countries do not make the estimate that we make in Australia. Senator Fitzgerald might have put his question in a more appropriate way. Instead of asking whether an error to such an extent has happened in the past he might more properly have asked whether any Treasurer has ever put up a more magnificent performance in loan raising than was accomplished last year.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade. Does he remember that during the last sittings I asked him whether the Minister for Trade, who was then absent from the Commonwealth, would, after visiting New Zealand, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom and attending a Gatt conference in Europe, furnish a written report to the Parliament disclosing the subjects discussed at each place, the names of all parties engaged in the discussions and the decisions reached? Will the Minister now inform me whether such a report has been furnished to the Parliament, which authorized the cost of the visits, and where I may obtain a copy of the report?
– I am certain that the honorable senator will readily acknowledge that it would be impracticable, and of no use to the Parliament, to give a report in as much detail as he has suggested. I know that my colleague, the Minister for Trade, has in mind the desirability of making a statement on his recent visit to Japan and the completion of the new Japanese Trade Treaty, and I have little doubt that, if time and opportunity permitted, he would be more than willing to give a statement to the Parliament on his earlier trip.
(Question No. 7.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Primary Industry has supplied the following answers: -
The situation in the countries specified in the question is given below. As the last pool completed for Australian wheat is No. 24, relating to 1960-61 wheat, the comparisons of prices received refer to 1959-60 and 1960-61 Australian wheat and 1959 and 1960 wheat in the other countries.
For both 1959 and 1960 wheat, the minimum and maximum prices paid to producers in Region II. in the months of July and August for average quality wheat were 24s. per bushel and 25s. 2d. per bushel respectively.
Resulting from these marketing provisions there were four different levels of total payment to producers for 1959 wheat. These payments, after deduction of taxes, &c., were -
On deliveries - 1-184 bushels - 18s. per bushel. 185-735 bushels- 17s. 7d. per bushel. 736-2.205 bushels- 17s. 3d. per bushel.
Above 2,205 bushels - 16s. lld. per bushel.
For 1960 wheat, three levels of payment were made, i.e., on deliveries up to 551 bushels, 551-2,205 bushels, and above 2,205 bushels. A net effect of these payments was that growers who delivered up to 184 bushels of 1960 wheat received an average 19s. per bushel, whilst growers delivering in excess of 3,675 bushels received 17s.1d. per bushel. The payments were on the basis delivered to co-operatives or grain merchants.
In addition to the guaranteed price, which is on a selling point basis, the United Kingdom Government made substantial direct payments to farmers towards the cost of certain goods and services essential to producing wheat; for example, fertilizer and lime. No figures are available to show the effect of those additional subsidy payments on the basis of per bushel of wheat sold.
The principal United States wheats are hard red winter, soft red winter and hard red spring. The support prices per bushel for representative grades of those classes at main terminals were -
The prices actually received by growers who delivered those wheats to the terminals specified were slightly under these support rates after allowing for storage charges.
The seasonal average price received by producers for all classes and grades of 1959 wheat was 15s. 8½d. per bushel, and for all 1960 wheat 15s. 6½d. per bushel after allowing for average storage charges.
The total payments to growers for these two grades, per bushel bulk in store Fort William/Port Arthur or Vancouver, after deducting the one per cent. Prairie Farm Assistance Act levy, for 1959 and 1960 wheat amounted to -
In addition to the above payments, for 1959 wheat there was a special acreage payment at the rate of one Canadian dollar per acre to a maximum of 200 acres. It is not possible to calculate the per bushel value of this extra payment.
These payments include withdrawals made from the Stabilization Fund; they exclude the costs of freight from delivery point or farm to ports.
Growers of premium wheats in Queensland, Northern New South Wales, South Australia, &c, may have received extra payments in addition to the rates paid for f.a.q. wheat. Conversely, offgrade wheat below f.a.q. standard incurred dockages.
Wilh regard to the prices of wheat sold outside the International Wheat Agreement, it was only during the four years 1949-50 to 1952-53 that these differed from those for wheat sold under the agreement. In those years (August-July period) the average returns per bushel for sales within and outside the agreement were -
(Question No. 8.)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has furnished the following information: -
– That is a misprint; my question did not relate to television.
– I am reading what is before me. You will have an opportunity at a later date to seek further information. The answer continues- but overseas broadcasting stations are known to be occupying some frequencies within the band. In most cases the stations are difficult to identify because station identification announcements are seldom made, particularly in English.
(Question No. 10.)
asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The Minister for Labour and National Service has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator’s questions: -
On 6th February, I announced the terms of Commonwealth assistance to increase the number of apprentices in the engineering and electrical trades. One aspect of this assistance was a payment to employers to ensure that the new apprenticeship arrangements for seventeen to twenty year olds incorporated in the Federal Metal Trades award last December (and subsequently in the Federal Vehicle Industry award) would be given a fair trial and as an incentive to employers to increase (heir total intake of apprentices. The Commonwealth assistance is in respect of those apprentices an employer takes on under the new arrangements and who are additional to the employer’s normal apprenticeship intake. The amount of assistance is related to the extra costs employers have to bear because of the additional technical college training required to be done in employers’ time compared with that under normal apprenticeship arrangements. This difference is currently significant in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania and payments therefore apply in these States. The assistance is payable on completion of the twenty weeks’ continuous training; to date no course has been completed in any of the three States.
Since, moreover, the training under the new arrangements will, at least in the initial stages, have to be concentrated in capital cities and a limited number of major provincial centres, I also announced a living-away-from-home allowance to country apprentices attending technical college for the twenty weeks’ continuous training to enable them to have the same opportunity of participating as those resident in metropolitan areas. To date, no claims for allowance have been received from lads attending the continuous training courses.
The honorable senator will be interested to know that the Tasmanian Apprenticeship Regulations were recently amended to provide that the new apprenticeship arrangements for seventeen to twenty year olds in the engineering and elec trical trades apply generally, in that State. The extension of the Commonwealth financial assistance to this new area is under consideration.
(Question No. 11.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
(Question No. 15.)
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
(Question No. 13.)
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
(Question No. 16.)
Senator HENDRICKSON (through
Does the Minister still adhere to his view that the mighty air combines being built up in Europe and in the United States of America will not seriously affect Qantas?
Have the United Kingdom authorities told Pan American World Airways and Trans World Airlines that they must increase certain transAtlantic and trans-Pacific air fares and that if they fail to carry out this injuncton certain restrictions may be imposed on them so far as landing in the United Kingdom is concerned?
Have the United Kingdom authorities at any time issued an ultimatum to Qantas?
What would be the attitude of the Australian Government if such a fiat was issued to Qantas?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
(Question No. 20.)
Senator BROWN (through Senator
O’Byrne) asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
Has any progress, both mechanically and economically, been reported in the development of the process for the desalination of water?
Has any progress been reported in the use of modern explosives in flood areas to provide space in the ground for conserving waste waters for future use.
Are these developments being closely watched by the Minister’s officers or is there only a cursory interest taken in these matters?
(Question No. 21.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The Minister for Immigration has supplied the following answers: -
(Question No. 22.)
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– I have the following information in reply to the honorable senator: -
(Question No. 23.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
(Question No. 24.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
What are the advantages and the disadvantages, from the aspects of efficiency, economy and safety, in reducing generally throughout Australia the voltage at which electricity is supplied to consumers?
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator’s question: -
The responsibility for the supply of electricity to consumers in Australia, apart from those in the Commonwealth Territories, lies with the various State governments. It would not be appropriate for me, in reply to a parliamentary question, to enter into a discussion on this matter.
(Question No. 26.)
Senator ORMONDE (through Senator
O’Byrne) asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Why was Mr. R. Yeo not re-appointed to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board when his six-year term expired at the end of 1962?
Is Mr. Yeo now working as a consultant in the television field and has he been employed by Ansett-A.N.A. in that capacity? If so, when did he commence this work and when did he commence to be employed by Ansett-A.N.A.7
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers tothe honorable senator’s questions: -
Senator ORMONDE (through Senator
O’Byrne) asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
– I lay on the table of the Senate a report by the Tariff Board on the following subject: -
G.M.C. motor coaches.
– by leave - I am making this statement on behalf of my colleague, the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck). It is in the words of Mr. Hasluck, and is as follows: -
On 20th April, 1961, I presented to the House an outline of the work of the Native Welfare Conference held at Parliament House, Canberra, in January, 1961, and indicated that a further conference would take place in 1963. I now lay on the table of the House the reports of a conference held in Darwin on 11th and 12th July, under my chairmanship. It was attended by representatives of each State Government and I was assisted by two Federal Ministers - She Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) and the Minister for Health (Senator Wade).
The conference reaffirmed the policy of assimilation and the statement of methods of achieving it. As defined by the conference, the policy of assimilation aims at ensuring that “all aborigines and partaborigines will attain the same manner of living as other Australians and live as members of a single Australian community enjoying the same rights and privileges, accepting the same responsibilities, observing the same customs and influenced by the same beliefs, hopes and loyalties as other Australians “. Under this policy “ any special measures taken for aborigines and part-aborigines are regarded as temporary measures, not based on race, but intended to meet their need for special care and assistance, to protect them from any ill effects of sudden change and to assist them to make the transition from one stage to another in such a way as will be favourable to their social, economic and political advancement “.
It is obvious that if this policy of assimilation is to be achieved the co-operation and understanding of the whole Australian community are needed. For this reason the widespread public interest which is being taken in the welfare of the aborigines is welcomed. Ministers at the conference expressed concern, however, that this cooperation is being damaged by a campaign of misrepresentation that is being carried on throughout Australia and overseas on matters affecting aborigines. I do not wish to appear to cast any reflections on those devoted and sincere people throughout Australia who have done so much to advance the welfare of the aborigines; but all of those engaged in advancing the welfare of aborigines have to guard against the activities of those who are trying to worsen race relationships for political purposes and who are trying to disrupt efforts to bring the aborigines to full equality with all other Australians.
The Darwin conference noted the significant contributions made by voluntary, organizations with such objectives as assistance in education, including scholarships, and the development of pre-school and adult educational services; the provision of welfare services; and the sponsoring of holiday camps - and above all in promoting the acceptance by the community of the aborigines. It is believed that such organizations can increase the understanding of Government policy and programmes and can inform the community of what is being done by all agencies working in this field, thus assisting the community to make its own judgment on aboriginal affairs. Moreover, because of their close personal relationships and contacts with groups of aboriginal people, the members of such organizations are sometimes in a special position to exercise a beneficial influence on attitudes to assimilation. They can do much to assist the aborigines in facing the problems and accepting the responsibilities inseparable from full participation in the Australian community. Out of much first-hand knowledge and work on behalf of aborigines will come, too, the stimulus of searching and constructive criticism and the close and accurate analysis of policy.
The conference reviewed action taken to repeal legislation applying only to aborigines. I informed the conference that my department was engaged in reviewing the legislation of the Northern Territory to see to what extent the few remaining special provisions in Northern Territory ordinances which are either restrictive or protective can be removed. The trend throughout Australia is now clearly towards ending any special legislative provision for aborigines. It needs to be recognized, however, that some special legislation confers privileges or benefits which are still of value to aborigines in some parts of Australia. The Darwin conference was informed that in Victoria all restrictive legislation had been repealed some, years ago and that this had recently also been done in New South Wales. No provisions of this kind exist in Tasmanian legislation. Queensland and Western Australia, like the Northern Territory, are reviewing their special legislation.
This clear tendency to dispense with any special laws affecting aborigines only is directly relevant to the case that is sometimes urged for the amendment of the Constitution to enable the Commonwealth Parliament to pass special laws for the people of the aboriginal race. The train of our thought is that aborigines should not be made the subject of special laws and that consequently a power in this Parliament to pass laws concerning aborigines only would be largely unnecessary. Let them come within the laws made for all Australians.
The House will be aware that aborigines are now entitled to enrolment for voting at Commonwealth elections and that they receive social service benefits the same as other Australians.
The question of the supply of alcohol to aborigines was considered by the conference. It was noted that in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania there is no special legislation affecting the consumption of alcoholic liquor by aborigines; and that in Queensland, South Australia. Western Australia and the Northern Territory consideration is being given to reducing restrictions. It was recognized in regard to the four last-mentioned jurisdictions that there were wide differences in the circumstances under which various1’ groups of aborigines lived and that it might, be necessary during a transitional period to retain some restraints. It was agreed that in principle it would be preferable that any such restraints during a transitional period should be applied to areas and not to groups of people, and that such restraints should preferably have general application throughout such areas in respect of the manufacture and disposal of liquor. It was agreed that this was not a question of liquor reform in the usual sense of the term; it was essentially a question of removing discrimination against the aborigines.
Another matter discussed at the Darwin conference was the question of assumption by the Commonwealth of additional responsibilities in respect of the aborigines. It was agreed at the Darwin conference that, in view of the widely varying conditions in different States of the federation and of the, fact that so many aspects of aboriginal welfare come within State governmental responsibility in fields such as health, education, lands and settlement, it would not be in the best interest of the aborigines to have uniform Commonwealth legislation or uniform administration.
With regard to the question as to whether the Commonwealth should provide financial aid for aboriginal welfare the Ministers noted that the burden falls very unevenly on the different States and that the question of ensuring that adequate finance was available to all States might be referred to the Premiers’ Conference by any State which considered this desirable. Queensland stressed its special financial needs for housing and it was agreed that this would be an appropriate matter for Queensland to raise at the Premiers’ Conference.
Many questions of practical administration were also examined. In the discussions on housing it was apparent that notable advances had been made throughout Australia. In education there has been a general placement of part-aboriginal children in the customary State schools and increasing numbers are passing on to secondary and tertiary education. Progress is being made towards the objective of bringing every aboriginal child in the Northern Territory into school by the end of next year.
The conference was informed that a consultative committee of officers of the welfare authorities of South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory and the Department of Supply had met regularly since 1961 to consider the special problems of nomadic and semi- nomadic aborigines moving between the two States and the Northern Territory. The conference noted with satisfaction the cooperation which is taking place between the governments of South Australia, Western Australia and the Administration of the Northern Territory and the Department of Supply in respect of the central Australian reserves.
The Commonwealth Minister for Health reported on leprosy control. It was also reported that the National Health and Medical Research Council had accepted the proposal of the 1961 conference and had begun a series of fact-finding surveys into aboriginal health and nutrition.
In addition to the matters I have traversed, the conference of Ministers examined several other items of particular administrative concern.
The conference decided that the purposes of Commonwealth and State cooperation on aboriginal welfare matters would be met by a meeting every two years, as now, of the Ministers responsible for aboriginal welfare; an annual meeting of the Officers Standing Committee; and the establishment of subcommittees as may be deemed by the Ministers to be desirable. The conference accepted the invitation of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs for South Australia, the Honorable G. G. Pearson, to have the 1965 conference in Adelaide and agreed that the next meeting of the standing committee of officers would be in Canberra in 1964.
I lay on the table of the House for the information of honorable members the statement of policy approved by the conference and the text of the resolutions of the conference. In doing so, I should like to express appreciation of the ready cooperation of all governments in Australia in helping each other to achieve the high purpose we hold for the advancement of all these Australians of the aboriginal race.
I lay on the table the following papers: -
Aboriginal Welfare - Resolutions of Conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers held in Darwin on 11th and 12th July, 1963.
Statement by the Minister for Territories, dated 14th August, 1963; and Statement of Policy.
– I move -
That the papers be printed.
I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Honorable senators are requested to consider a bill now presented to amend the Customs Act 1901-1960. This bill deals with various aspects of customs and a number of its provisions are in the interests of work simplification. Specifically these are designed to simplify and tighten the administration of controls over the importation and safekeeping of narcotic drugs; to make provision for the acceptance of entries prior to the arrival of the carrying vessel; and to overcome difficulties associated with the taking of declarations under the Customs Act.
It provides that a replacement entry be regarded as having been made on the same day as the original entry; provides machinery for the acceptance of carnets issued under the provisions of international conventions covering the temporary importation of goods, and clarifies the place to where claims for seized goods should be made. All these provisions are designed to simply and modernize present departmental procedures and requirements. The monetary penalty for offences involving smuggling and the illegal importation and exportation of goods is increased and the limitation on the enforcement of costs awarded by courts in customs prosecutions will be removed.
In addition the bill proposes to give collectors of customs power to hold ships and aircraft at boarding stations; provides for the appointment of more than one boarding station at a port or airport and removes difficulties associated with the drafting of regulations in respect to aircraft stores to meet Australia’s obligations under international air agreements. The bill also makes a number of machinery amendments to the existing act mainly concerned with the revised Standing Orders of the House of Representatives.
First, I turn to those provisions which deal with the simplification of customs procedures. During recent years all procedures connected with the statutory requirement of the entry of goods have been critically examined with the view of speeding up the processing of entries by customs. One of the procedures which has assisted greatly in this direction is the “ check-to-arrive “ system. The advent of modern air services has resulted in importers receiving documents .necessary for the entry of goods some weeks before arrival of the ship carrying the goods.
To meet this position the Department of Customs and Excise has for a number of years permitted importers to lodge entries prior to the arrival of the vessel carrying the goods covered by the entry. These entries aire checked by the department and upon arrival of the vessel are regarded as having been “ made “ in terms of the Customs Act. This procedure of prior check has now become firmly established and has assisted greatly in the speedier delivery of cargo from the wharf. It has also greatly assisted the department in revelling the work-flow connected with the checking of documentation relating to the importation of goods. The system has stood the test of time and it is now considered desirable for specific provision to be made in the Customs Act for its continuance, this essentially being the removal of any doubt as to the legal position of the date of entry.
Another measure designed to assist administrative procedures is the provision that replacement entries be regarded as having been made on the same date as the original entry. This amendment will also provide safeguards against importers using the provisions for replacement entries to take advantage of reductions in duty. Under the new provisions the rate of duty payable will be that applicable on the day the original entry was made, regardless of the date of the replacement entry.
In respect of narcotic drugs, it is proposed to simplify procedures by dispensing with securities which are now required for compliance with conditions attached to the importation and safekeeping of narcotic drugs imported into Australia. I might add that Australia meets its obligations under the international narcotic drug conventions by controlling the importation of such drugs under the provisions of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations. These regulations lay down the conditions attached to approval of importation.
One of these conditions is that the importer shall furnish security to the customs for compliance with the Customs Act and with the requirements to which the licence is subject. A breach of the conditions or requirements of the licence or permission to import does not, under present provisions, make the importer liable to penalty. The only sanction would be enforcement of the security and forfeiture of the goods involved provided they can be located. The taking of securities for individual transactions and the subsequent policing and determination of such securities causes administrative difficulties both for the department and the public.
To overcome this state of affairs it has been decided to adopt a more positive method of enforcing Commonwealth requirements’ by inserting in the act a provision making a breach of the conditions or requirements to which a licence or permit is subject a punishable offence. This will simplify administration of and make more positive departmental controls over narcotic drugs and other goods to which conditions or requirements are imposed at time of importation but which must be complied with after importation.
The bill provides that declarations under the Customs Act may be made before any officer of customs. This provision will replace the previous provisions which, in practice, were found to be too restrictive. The provisions regarding the acceptance, for customs purposes, of carnets stem from international conventions. Carnets are documents designed to facilitate the temporary importation of goods into and subsequent exportation out of a country. These carnets take the place of national customs import and export documentation. The customs duty involved is guaranteed by security by some organization such as a motoring association or chamber of commerce, thus individual securities for each importation are avoided. With the increasing use of carnets particularly for tourists’ vehicles and for trade samples it has been found necessary to make specific provision in customs legislation for their acceptance.
Another amendment of. interest makes provision for claims for goods seized under the Customs Act to be made to the Principal Officer of Customs, at the place of seizure or to the Collector of Customs for the State in which seizure took place. Present provisions of the Customs Act require claims for seized goods to be made to the nearest port. These provisions cause administrative difficulties and confuse the public. For instance in the case of goods seized in Canberra claim must be made to Port Kembla, which is the nearest customs port to Canberra.
Penalties for offences involving smuggling and the illegal importation and exportation of goods are increased from £100 to £500. The penalty of £100 has remained unchanged since federation despite the decrease in money values since that date. The figure of £500 is more in line with present day money values and is in keeping with Australia’s obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs to provide for adequate penalties for offences involving narcotics.
Following the repeal of sections 258, 258a and 260 of the Customs Act in 1957, the recovery of penalties imposed under the Customs Act was left to the powers of enforcement provided by State legislation. However, certain State legislation in respect of recovery of costs has been found deficient, so much so that in several cases my department has been unable to recover costs awarded by the court. The bill contains provision to remove the limitation on the enforcement of an order for costs.
I mentioned earlier two amendments relating to boarding stations appointed under the provisions of the Customs Act for the boarding of ships and aircraft. The first amendment is designed to assist the Customs Department in its efforts to prevent the illegal importation and exportation of goods. The amendment gives to Collectors of customs power to hold ships and aircraft at a Boarding station appointed for the particular port or airport. The other amendment removes the present limitation of one boarding station only for each customs port or airport. In certain cases, for example, ships carrying hazardous cargo and aircraft carrying freight only it is desirable to have more than one boarding station.
In the negotiations of air agreements with other countries it is normal for provisions to be inserted in the agreement covering customs concessions in respect of aircraft operated by the other party. These concessions cover fuel and other stores necessary for the servicing of the aircraft when operating international flights over routes specified by the particular agreement.
Because of the restrictive wording of present section 129, difficulties are experienced by the Parliamentary Draftsman . in drafting regulations to meet each agreement, the terms of which vary greatly. Provision is contained in this hill to remove those difficulties.
When section 273ea was inserted in the Customs Act in 1960 it was proposed that the Minister for Customs and Excise be authorized when Parliament is not in session to sign notices of tariff proposals. Although “ Minister “ in section 273ea was intended to mean the Minister for Customs and Excise, he being the Minister responsible for the Customs Act, legal advice was given that the wording of the section debars a senator from signing the notice. In other words, the notice must be signed by a Minister from the House of Representatives acting for and on behalf of myself. During a Parliamentary recess, which is the very time when notices of tariff proposals are required, it often happens that there is not a Minister from the House of Representatives available in Canberra. In spite of the fact that I may be in Canberra I, nevertheless, have to make arrangements with another Minister at some other place to act on my behalf. Such situations do not give rise to efficient administration. The bill, therefore, makes provision to make it clear that the Minister for Customs and Excise is the Minister authorized to take action under the section.
The machinery amendments to which 1 referred bring the provisions of the Customs Act relating to the introduction in the Parliament of customs tariffs or customs tariff alterations into line with the revised
Standing Orders of the House of Representatives. They also bring the provisions relating to false statements on oath into line with the corresponding provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act. The provisions relating to the customs seal, its custody and use and to replicas of the seal have been reviewed and stated in a clearer form. The section relating to offences involving assaults upon customs officers has been reworded to remove conflicting interpretations of the section. In addition, an unnecessary provision relating to Queen’s warehouses and the requirement of duplicate copies of outward manifests are deleted from the act. I recommend the bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on. motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Honorable senators are requested to consider a bill now presented to amend the Excise Act 1901-1962. This bill contains amendments of a machinery nature which are complementary to amendments contained in the bill to amend the Customs Act upon which I have just spoken. These amendments are designed to bring the provisions of the Excise Act relating to the introduction into Parliament of Excise Tariffs and Excise Tariff alterations into line with the revised Standing Orders of the House of Representatives.
In making these amendments the opportunity has been taken to bring section 1 1 4 of the Excise Act into line with the corresponding provisions of the Customs Act by limiting the period of protection to officers to a maximum of six months from the time when the Excise Tariff alteration is proposed in the Parliament. The only other amendment contained in the bill removes the present limitation against imprisonment for enforcement of an order for costs made by a court in respect of excise prosecutions. I commend the bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
– I move -
That the introduction of summer daylight saving in Australia during the calendar months of Decern’ ber, January, February and March of each year would have substantial national benefits.
It may be wondered why we should discuss such a wide subject as daylight saving in the climate of the Budget debate. Of course, honorable senators will quickly appreciate that the conventions of the Parliament and, indeed, the Standing Orders of the Parliament, provide that after the Budget has been presented there should be a certain period of delay to afford members time to consider the Budget Papers before the Budget debate proceeds. I make that statement because it is pertinent to the situation in which we find ourselves to-day.
Simply stated, daylight saving is the process of putting the clock forward for the purpose of obtaining the use of sunlight which would otherwise be wasted. Perhaps the following simple rhyme will help to fix my proposition in the minds of honorable senators: -
When summer comes we cry “ Très bon! “
And put the clock an hour on.
When winter comes we cry “ Alack! “
And put the clock an hour back.
The proposal I put forward is to put the clock on one hour during the months I have mentioned and to put it back at the end of the period.
I propose to trace, briefly, the history of daylight saving and to state a case for its re-introduction in Australia. I hope I shall provoke honorable senators and the nation generally to examine this proposition. It should be appreciated that this is a broad subject which lends itself to pro and con. I do not necessarily assume that the debate will follow party lines. I am satisfied that such an examination as I suggest should be made, will ultimately convince governments to take action in response to an overwhelming public opinion in favour of my proposal. When we think of daylight saving, our thoughts turn to a starting point. In deciding on the starting point, we may remember the very first words of the Bible - “ In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth “ - and also the words. “ And God said, Let there be light: and there was light “.
Our world contains many physical wonders that function with a precision and perfection which mere mortal man can scarcely understand and can never hope to equal. In all these wonders, the sun and its influence are pre-eminent. We tend to forget, 1 think, that our earth is but a small planet revolving around the sun. We are but a minor star at the edge of the Milky Way which, in itself, is a multi-million star galaxy. We tend to forget, too, how the sun dominates the solar system, and its perfect control of the planets as they revolve in accurate and certain elliptical orbits. The wonders of our present age, such as the development of science by man, are puny and trivial when we contemplate that the earth, some 93,000,000 miles from the sun, is travelling at 66,000 miles an hour and takes exactly one year to complete its orbit. 1 have stated these matters because I wanted to induce a proper appreciation of day and night, the sun and the seasons, and the profound effect of the seasons upon the life and vegetation of the world. In all these things the sun is the pivot, the mainspring of everything on this earth. It is the sun which gives mere mortals the certainty of life and the joy of daylight. It is sufficient to say that daylight saving will give us more opportunities to use the daylight.
The Americans claim that an American, Benjamin Franklin, first suggested daylight saving during the war of American Independence. This claim, of course, is based upon an interpretation. I think that, in truth, the first real advocacy of daylight saving came from a man by the name of William Willetts a builder, who lived in Kent, in 1905. He calculated that every man, woman and child in Great Britain at that time wasted 154 hours of sunlight each year. Willett for a long time found great difficulty in getting anybody to listen to him. He campaigned, wrote letters to the press, wrote letters to parliamentarians, but finally got a real break-through only when the British Home Secretary became the president of the Daylight Saving League. The Home Secretary was a man destined to become the greatest world statesman of contemporary history - Sir Winston Churchill.
Germany introduced daylight saving as a wartime measure in 1916. Great Britain was quick to follow and introduced it in the same year and has continued it ever since. I suggest that the fact that Great Britain has continued daylight saving is a very strong argument in its favour. During World War II., as a matter of fact, Great Britain even had double daylight saving. Russia adopted the system in 1 930. The United States introduced it in 1942 and continues to operate it. Canada has daylight saving in operation in every Province except Alberta. New Zealand has permanent daylight saving of half an hour. In fact, as the late John Curtin, then Prime Minister, said in 1944 at a Premier’s Conference -
Australia is one of the few countries in the world that does not have daylight saving as a matter of regular practice.
That statement is just as true to-day as when it was made by Mr. Curtin in 1944.
Australia first introduced daylight saving on 1st January, 1917, and reverted to normal time in September of the same year. Daylight saving was again introduced in Australia as from 1st January, 1942, the clocks being advanced one hour at 2 a.m. on that day. On 29th March, at 2 a.m., the clocks were retarded one hour. On 27th September, 1942, clocks were again advanced one hour and were retarded on 28th March, 1943. On 3rd October, 1943, clocks were advanced one hour and on 26th March, 1944. were retarded one hour. At a conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers on 26th August, 1944. it was decided not to introduce daylight saving for the summer of 1944-45, and nothing has been done in relation to the proposal since that time. lt should be borne in mind that Australia’s experiences of daylight saving have been related only to wartime emergency. Its introduction was based on the war effort and not on any concern for the individual. Saving of daylight was a saving of coal and other fuel and of power and light. That was the pre-eminent consideration. As a part of the wartime effort it represented shift working man-hours which could be more usefully used in daylight; it was strictly associated with the war effort.
Despite all these pressures - which are not valid arguments for daylight saving in this day and age - it is significant that gallup polls taken in March. 1943. showed
Tasmania - 66 per cent. in favour. Western Australia - 65 per cent. in favour.
I have circulated a document whichI hope every honorable senator has found on his table. It sets out, for the months of December, January, February and March, the time that the sun rises and sets on the first and
I should like to give some examples. I have suggested that the clock should be put on one hour during the months of December, January, February and March. It is hardly necessary for me to explain that in some States an argument could be submitted for putting the clock on by more than one hour. This, of course, harks back to the wonders of the solar system. Without pursuing the argument, I direct attention to the phenomenon of the midnight sun in the northern hemisphere in association with the equinoxes. Sufficient to say that in this debate the proposition is to put the clock forward by one hour. [ should like honorable senators to consider the position in Brisbane on 1st December. If honorable senators follow the chart they will see that on 1st December in Brisbane the sun rises at 4 44 a.m. and sets at 6.29 p.m. That means, of course, that if a person gets out of bed at 6.44 a.m., he has spent the last two hours of his rest during the beautiful Brisbane early morning daylight. He has spent the time sleeping in daylight.
– The proper thing to be doing.
– If that person finished work at 5 p.m., he would have one hour and 29 minutes of daylight. Let me inform Senator Prowse that under the daylight saving scheme, the man would have been asleep for one hour in the morning daylight - and not two - and would have two hours 29 minutes of daylight to use at the end of the day after knocking off his employment.
Let us look at the other States. In New South Wales on 1st January, as honorable senators will see on the chart if they follow it through - that is why I produced it at some trouble, I might add - the sun rises at 4.46 a.m. and sets at 7.10 p.m. A man ns,ne at 6.45 a.m. wastes two hours of sunshine. A man who rises at 7.45 a.m. has slept through three hours of God’s glorious early morning sunshine. Under a daylight saving scheme the sun would rise at 5.46 am. and set at 8.10 p.m. Imagine the advantages to the family man or woman with daylight until 8.10 p.m. in our beautiful and glorious State of New South Wales.
In Melbourne on 1st February the sun rises at 5.33 a.m. and sets at 7.34 p.m. Under daylight saving the sun would rise at 6.33 a.m. and set at 8.34 p m. If 1 might speak a little on the lighter side; just imagine the joys of boating down the Yarra in the soft daylight at 8.30 in the evening! In South Australia the sun rises on 15th February at 5.50 a.m. and sets at 7.11 p.m. Substitute 6.50 a.m. and 8.11 p.m. under a daylight saving scheme. The hours of daylight saved would make the Adelaide home gardeners even more active than they are at present.
I refer now to Western Australia and relate my remarks to a fine booklet supplied to us some days ago referring to the joys and beauties of that State. I invite honorable senators to consider those attractions in terms of daylight saving. On the 1st of March, for instance, sunrise is at 6.05 a.m., and by then, of course, we are getting towards the end of the cycle of daylight saving. Sunset on that day is at 6.53 p.m. For those times substitute 7.05 a.m. and 7.53 p.m. respectively. If I may again make a remark in a lighter vein - think of all the beauty and enjoyment one could have in the magnificent waterways of Perth, and think of the opportunities daylight saving would provide for the marching girls to parade at the village green in the evening light until 7.53 p.m!
I should like now to talk about Hobart because the problem there becomes a little more difficult because of the distance from the equator. On 29th March, which is the day before we would revert to ordinary time, sunrise is at 6.23 a.m. and sunset is at 6.07 p.m. A substitution there would make sunrise at 7.23 a.m. and sunset at 7.07 p.m.
At this point I shall make a reference to which I shall return later if time permits. Daylight saving would enable the traffic to reach home and avoid the hazards of twilight driving, which as we all know are very real. I have given examples of the operation of daylight saving so that honorable senators will appreciate its implications and understand the chart that I have circulated. I invite honorable senators to study the chart, to apply it to their own localities and see for themselves the waste of sunlight in the months of December, January, February and March.
Many persons have numerous and good reasons for supporting summer daylight saving. In the time available I can deal with only a few of those reasons. The most obvious point, which is at the very heart of the issue, is increased working efficiency. I am convinced that this point has not only been proved in the past - for example, during the wars - but is well established. A cool working hour in the morning would take the place of a hot working hour in the afternoon. The last hour of sleep in the morning would be sounder and more beneficial because there would be less light. There would be more daylight working hours particularly for shift workers, and this would spell greater efficiency. Huge savings would result in the cost of industrial, commercial and domestic lighting. There would be better health standards, which would spell out better production and a better quality of workmanship. More leisure daylight home life spells out a more contented work force. Adequate and useful leisure time go hand in hand with efficiency. I postulate the unchallengeable proposition - it is a selfevident truth which needs no proof from me - that stamina, efficiency, skill, competence, craftsmanship, concentration and clarity of mind are the stock in trade of a person’s working hours, and the’y are at their peak when man or woman has health and leisure time for a diversity of interests. There is an opportunity to enjoy his or her own home, and there is the opportunity for restful sleeping hours.
I have claimed that daylight saving will give increased work efficiency and, for obvious reasons, I have linked it with man’s leisure time because I believe that the two things go together. Indeed, they are inseparable. But putting aside the vast industrial savings in fuel let me say something about light and power in relation to the ordinary citizen. I found it very difficult in the short time available to me to arrive at a mathematical appreciation of the saving that would ensue from daylight saving, but we do know that when the census was taken in 1961 Australia’s population was about 10,500,000, and that these people occupied 2,817,270 homes or units. To estimate accurately the saving in electricity would require a calculation of the amount of light or current used by each home unit, but it is true to say that with 120 days of daylight saving at the rate of one hour each day there would be a tremendous saving in kilowatt hours. I worked on this problem with a view to arriving at some figure, but I found that the factors were so involved that it was impossible for me to reach a fair appreciation to present to the Senate of the saving of fuel and power. However, I believe that the saving would be substantial.
On 18th July this year the Acting Premier of N.S.W., Mr Renshaw, suggested daylight saving as a possible solution to the city traffic tangle. I think that that suggestion has a validity which could well be stated as another reason for the favourable consideration of the introduction of summer daylight saving. The lengthening of the gap between the average work finishing time and sunset would ensure a better daylight flow of peak traffic. That is certain. The advantage of more daylight hours for driving would certainly be shown in the saving of many hundreds of lives that are now lost by accidents on the road. As honorable senators well know, a Senate select committee on road safety, in the course of its inquiry, did considerable research on the question of casualties on the road. Statistical evidence was given to suggest that the period between 4 o’clock in the afternoon and 8 o’clock at night was the worst period for accidents, fatal and otherwise. It may well be said that that is the time when the traffic is at its peak, but the volume of traffic returning from work at night is the same as the volume of traffic travelling to work in the morning yet the casualty rate is not so great in the morning as it is in the evening. So I suggest that there is a case to argue. I I cannot develop that argument any more at this time, but more daylight after working hours to enable the peak traffic to travel before dark is a real factor which would reduce the toll of the road. We all know as motorists that the greater danger is in the concentration of traffic at twilight just before complete darkness sets in. Ample statistics are available from the Australian Road Safety Council to prove that what I am saying is an established fact.
I want to put a proposition to parents: What will normal parents prefer for their children? Will they want to have children sitting before the television set, say at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m., or will they prefer to have them out playing healthy games in the late afternoon? Television films which are classed “ A “, being unsuitable for children, are shown in Sydney from 7.30 p.m. onwards. Honorable senators may see in the newspapers that that happens every week. Which is preferable - to have children watching that sort of thing or to have them out of the house in the sunlight, indulging in some healthy recreation?
The infant child, of course, sleeps in the daylight, anyhow. It is fallacious to suggest that if daylight saving were introduced, children would go to bed in daylight and have to get up in darkness in the morning. I can prove that, in the main, that is sheer nonsense. The majority of school-age children would not retire before 8.30 p.m. in the summer months. The infant child would be put to bed in daylight, in any case. So this argument has no application. I want to give a few examples to illustrate the position. Let us take Hobart on the 1st January in any year. There you get the absolute extreme for sunset. Under daylight saving, sunset in Hobart on 1st January would be at 8.53 p.m. For the most part, under daylight saving, sunset would be between 7.29 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. in all capital cities in Australia. A fair average time for sunset would be approximately 8.15 p.m. In N.S.W. sunset would occur no later than 8.10 p.m. So I suggest that the argument that the mass of children would be affected hardly applies. I repeat, which is preferable - to have children goggle-eyed in front of television or out in the sunshine or the cool of the late afternoon?
I think it is fair to say that the rural industries have always opposed daylight saving. I have no doubt that some honorable senators will bring this aspect forward; it is proper that they should do so. Opposition from the rural industries has been concentrated, perhaps, more in the dairy industry. I believe that the objections of those in the dairy industry have been founded on their experiences during the last war. At that time the industry lacked the mechanization and other advantages that it has to-day. Both Great Britain and New Zealand have big dairy industries and both countries practice summer daylight saving. If Senator Prowse, who is interjecting, argues that those countries are doing this against the wishes of the people, my reply is that they must have funny parliamentarians. Parliamentarians do not remain in Parliament for very long if they retain such a measure as daylight saving against the wishes of the people. England has practised daylight saving since 1917. The people of that country have double summer daylight saving. Democracy must work in a funny way there if daylight saving has been retained against the wishes of the people. The cows of those countries which have adopted daylight saving seem to have accommodated themselves to the change of routine. The United States, Canada, Egypt, Formosa, Lebanon, Russia, Norway and Poland all have dairy industries and they all practice summer daylight saving. In Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands there is a permanently adjusted time - one hour in advance of Greenwich mean time - in order to get the advantage of daylight saving.
As I indicated earlier, it has been suggested that, under daylight saving, people would have to rise in darkness and that terrible disadvantages would be inherent in that situation. Again, the chart that honorable senators have before them shows how false that argument is. For example, the adjusted time for sunrise on 1st December would be 5.37 a.m. in Sydney and 5.44 a.m. in Brisbane. In Melbourne, on 1st January, it would be 6.01 a.m. In Hobart, on 15th January, it would be 5.50 a.m. In Adelaide, it would be 6.35 a.m. on 1st February. In Perth, on 15th February, it would be 6.55 a.m. The argument that, under summer daylight saving, everybody would have to get up in darkness suggests that everybody now rises about 5 a.m. That, of course, is not true. An honorable senator interjects that one’s hour of rising depends on the hour one goes to work each morning. We know the times at which the great mass of workers in Australia go to work and knock ofl. We know that they work 40 hours a week, talking in broad terms. The argument that under summer daylight saving everybody would get up in darkness is groundless. In any case, some people have to get up in darkness in the winter months. So this argument which was put to me before I rose to speak is not valid.
Many important people and groups of people have spoken in favour of daylight saving in Australia. I have here photostat copies of a comment made by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) on 10th January, 1956, in which he said that he had never understood the argument against daylight saving. Of course, he said that there were constitutional difficulties as far as the Commonwealth was concerned. I shall refer to that aspect in a moment. I repeat that many people of importance in Australia, people with brains and intelligence, have said that they are in favour of summer daylight saving. I want to quote some of these opinions. As late as last month Sir Edward Hallstrom expressed himself in favour of daylight saving. Mr. Renshaw, the acting Premier of New South Wales, made a comment which might fairly be interpreted as being in favour of daylight saving. In fact, according to a report I have before me, when this matter was discussed by the New South Wales Cabinet no fewer than seven or eight members of the Cabinet were in favour of it. A woman who commented on the proposal said that anybody who opposed it was lazy - and I think that is fair comment.
Many gallup polls have been conducted to ascertain public opinion on this question. In 1950 one such poll showed 54 per cent. of those interviewed in favour of daylight saving, 37 per cent. opposed and 9 per cent. undecided. In 1956, 58 per cent. were in favour, 32 per cent. against and 10 per cent. undecided. The results of another poll were released in January and February, 1960, and I propose to give the figures for each State, as I believe this is important. Of those interviewed, the following opinions were expressed: -
In July last the Sydney “ Daily Mirror published several articles on this subject. The article published on 17th July carried the heading “ Daylight Saving call for Summer “, and stated -
Most people in Sydney want daylight saving in the summer, a “ Daily Mirror “ survey shows.
They see big savings in electricity costs, increased work efficiency and more time for sport.
Various groups were named as being in favour of daylight saving. They included Mr. J. B. Griffin of the Retail Traders Association, Mr. T. W. Meagher, President of the New South Wales Surf Association and Mr. Marsh, Assistant Secretary of the New South Wales Trades and Labour Council who stated -
Apart from savings in costs there would be extra leisure time.
The report in the Sydney “ Daily Mirror “ also stated -
Sports officials unanimously backed daylight saving.
Government members, including Cabinet members, were cautious but gave the impression that if a concrete proposal were put to the Government it would receive serious consideration.
The following day the “ Daily Mirror “ published another article under the heading “ Renshaw Likes Idea “, and stated -
The Acting Premier, Mr. Renshaw, suggested daylight saving as a possible solution for Sydney’s city traffic tangle.
The article also contained these comments -
Mr. R. W. Miller, chairman and managing director of R. W. Miller and Co. Pty. Ltd.: It’s a wonderful idea. Apart from the cost savings to industry everyone would have more leisure time.
Many parents spoke in favour of daylight saving at a meeting of the Beecroft Parents and Citizens Association.
The President, Mr. M. Brown, said he had found in England that daylight saving had benefited most people.
I could develop the argument to show that people and organizations favour daylight saving but I am content to say that by and large it is evident that a considerable proportion of the people in all States favour its introduction. The Prime Minister has said that the Commonwealth Government might face constitutional difficulties if it sought to introduce daylight saving. But I believe that if the Commonwealth Government gave leadership on this issue the States would be persuaded to act. I disagree with the Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Heffron, who said that if we had daylight saving, we would have to have it in every State. After all, we have three different times in Australia at present - eastern standard time, South Australian time and Western Australian time. The introduction of daylight saving might well reduce rather than increase the variation in time across the continent.
– It is primarily a matter for the States.
– There is no doubt about that. During the war years the introduction of daylight saving was determined at Premiers’ Conference level. I have not suggested - and I hope Senator Maher has not inferred - that I believe the Commonwealth Government has the responsibility in this matter. I have almost leant over backwards to say that it is not a function of the Commonwealth Government. But it is my prerogative as a senator - and nobody will deny it - to bring forward any matter that I believe to have national implications and that might benefit the Commonwealth generally. If I believe that by instituting a debate in this chamber or in another place I can stimulate the people’s interest and create an atmosphere in which the sovereign States might act I consider that by doing so I am doing a task that I have an obligation to do. I believe there is a case for summer daylight saving, and the people of Australia believe there is a case. It will be interesting to see whether those in government in Australia can become seised of the wishes of the people.
– Is the motion seconded?
– I second the motion.
Sitting suspended from 5.35 to 8 p.m.
– The Senate has before it a motion which was proposed by Senator Anderson prior to the suspension of the sitting for dinner and which reads -
That the introduction of summer daylight saving in Australia during the calendar months of December. January, February and March of each year would have substantial national benefits.
The motion was seconded by no less a person than the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I find myself in agreement with at least one statement which was made by Senator Anderson. I refer to his opening statement that honorable senators would be wondering why we were discussing this subject. I say to the Senate immediately that the Opposition is utterly amazed that the Government should consider proposing a subject of this kind as the first topic to be debated in this chamber after a recess of nearly three months.
In the first place, I believe this to be a matter which does not come within federal competence and that we are wasting our time in talking about it. Let me deal with that aspect of the matter. I searched the Constitution to find some possible head of power under which action might be taken. I came across placitum (viii) in section 51, which gives to the Commonwealth power over astronomical and meteorological observations. That placitum gives to the Commonwealth power to observe phenomena in those two fields; it certainly does not give the Commonwealth power to do anything else. To observe and to publish information would be the limit of its power in that sphere.
Some head of power might be found in the matter of overseas and interstate trade, because daylight saving would impinge upon activity in both those fields. But I think it would be more than exceedingly difficult to persuade the High Court that some outstanding economic end in one or other of those fields would justify Commonwealth intervention to institute daylight saving, which would of necessity have a great impact on a field that is altogether outside Commonwealth power - intra-state trade. I could not imagine for a moment any kind of argument that would persuade the High Court to hold that this Parliament had power to introduce daylight saving by virtue of its command over overseas and interstate trade. It is impossible to segregate intra-state trade from those two fields. Accordingly, any legislation that might be introduced would break off into a field where the Parliament had no power.
The one head of power to which resort has been had is the defence power. In war-time that power was used under the National Security Regulations to adopt daylight saving for a period of three years. That was a time when the winning of coal was one of the greatest difficulties which faced the Government of this country.
Coal was needed for power; it was the very base of the industrial potential that we needed to mount for purposes of war. Daylight saving was introduced, the argument advanced being that it was necessary to save coal and electricity. That was quite true at that time. But what is the position in relation to coal to-day? We have a surplus of it. We are embarrassed by the wealth of coal. We are complaining that sufficient of it is not used in this country, that it has been superseded by oil, and we are canvassing the world for markets for our coal. So the one great argument that justified daylight saving under the expanded defence power in war-time is clearly not available to-day.
I turn to the external affairs power. I searched for some kind of international treaty in relation to the fixing of time which might give to this Parliament the power, acting pursuant to the treaty, to deal with the subject in this country. I could find none, and I believe there is no such treaty. I submit that the fixing of time in Australia is both historically and constitutionally a matter for the States alone. The history of the matter reveals that prior to the 1890’s each of the eastern States of Australia - Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania - fixed its standard time on that of its own capital city. Of course, all the times varied. One can imagine the inconveniences which resulted from those differing times. Strangely enough, they were discussed by the four colonies, as they then were, at an intercolonial posts and telegraphs conference in 1891, and again in 1893.
In the 1890’s those four eastern States adopted the mean time of the 150th meridian of longitude east of Greenwich, which is ten hours in advance of Greenwich time, and legislated accordingly. Accordingly, right down the. important east coast of Australia there is no confusion and no differentiation. South Australia fixed her standard time in the Standard Time Act 1898, adopting the mean time of the 142nd meridian of longitude east of Greenwich. In 1895 Western Australia adopted the mean time of the 120th meridian of longitude east of Greenwich as the standard time throughout that State. So, the times that we have observed in Australia for approximately 70 years were fixed by the States. We get eastern standard time, cen tral standard time and western standard time direct from State legislation. If the time, the fixing of which is quite clearly within State competence and not Commonwealth competence, is to be changed it should be changed by the States alone, except perhaps in the grave emergency of war. That is the first point I make - that we are wasting our time in talking about it in this Parliament.
Senator Anderson did indicate that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) had expressed the opinion that the Commonwealth had no constitutional power to deal with this matter, or something to that effect; but he did not develop the theme or put the Prime Minister’s argument any further. Apparently the Prime Minister’s argument did not make a very firm impact upon the honorable senator, because in the course of his speech he said he hoped to persuade the Government to take action. It is clear that Senator Anderson had in mind the thought that pursuant to this motion the Government could be activated in the matter.
– I said “ governments “.
– I accept what the honorable senator says. I noted the point when I heard it, but I must have been mistaken. In that term he could include the Commonwealth Government only in the most limited way - in relation to the. Territories of Australia. The Commonwealth Government would have no real jurisdiction outside them.
The next point I want to make is that the selection of this subject, which has been proposed by a private government senator, as the first matter for discussion in this sessional period shows how utterly bankrupt of ideas the Government is and what little appreciation it has of the great problems that face the nation. I concede that it is mildly consoling to see the Government trying to save something, even if it is only an hour of daylight - or to save us from an hour of darkness each day. There is some consolation in that, because the Government’s record in saving is execrable, as I have had occasion to point out many times from my place here.
The Government failed to save us from inflation, although it pledged itself to do so. It failed to save us from chronic unemployment, from a housing shortage, from a shortage of education facilities, from a grave deficit in our international balance of payments on current account, from the take-over of Australian industries and resources by foreign companies, from restrictive trade practices - which, the Attorney-General now acknowledges, number hundreds - and from economic policies of stop and go which destroy business confidence. These are the great issues facing this country to-day, and the Government calmly bypasses them and asks us to talk about something in which we have no competence. So the Senate will understand my opening statement that I am utterly amazed that this matter should be brought on. as it has been, with the Government’s full consent. The Leader of the Government moved other business out of the way to facilitate this debate. There is one saving that the Government has certainly made. It has made a tremendous saving ever since 19S1 in child endowment, and it has done this at the expense of the mothers and children of this “country.
– Why will the Government not give an extra few shillings a week to the mothers?
– Order !
– The President has been indulgent in allowing me to make a quick passing reference to each of these matters and I would hesitate to embark on that dissertation with the honorable senator at the moment. The President might have something to say to me.
Let me say a word about daylight saving in Australia. Senator Anderson has referred to it. In World War 1 Germany initiated daylight saving in 1916. It was followed by the United Kingdom. We adopted daylight saving on 1st January, 1917, but we dropped it very smartly in September of that year. I am interested to note the terms in which Senator Millen introduced the repealing bill in this place. He said -
A very few sentences will be all that the circumstances and the nature of the bill demand from me at this juncture. I cannot recall any act which was received with such general approval, and earned in so short a space of time such general condemnation.
The Senate of that day supported by 22 votes to 4 the motion for the second reading of the bill to repeal daylight saving. Apparently ten senators were missing on that historic occasion. But that gives an idea of what the government of the day thought of daylight saving in this country after one brief experience of it.
Then we come to World War II. Daylight saving was observed under National Security Regulations from January to March, 1942, from September, 1942, to March, 1943, and from October, 1943, to March, 1944. In 1944, when both Houses of Parliament in Western Australia objected most strenuously to the continuance of daylight saving it was dropped in that State. Then we come to the Premiers’ Conference of August 1944, after three summers of daylight saving. Senator Anderson referred to this conference and indicated that Mr. Curtin, the then Prime Minister, directed attention to the fact that Australia was one of the few nations in which daylight saving was not practised. The honorable senator argued that one of the reasons for daylight saving was to add to production. Let us have a look at what Mr. Curtin said about the objectives that were sought to be achieved, and the coal and electricity that were to be saved. On 27th August, 1944, he said to the Premiers -
I have endeavoured to ascertain what saving of coal has resulted from the introduction of daylight saving. The latest advice is that the saving in New South Wales was about 400 tons a week; in South Australia about 40 tons a week; whilst the saving in Victoria was almost negligible, being not more than SOO tons in six months. No saving in electricity was effected in Tasmania, because in that State electricity is generated by hydro-electric power. Queensland supplied no information, and, as I have said, the scheme did not operate in Western Australia. The total saving of coal during the period of 22 weeks for the whole of Australia, excluding Queensland, was approximately 10.000 tons.
Even in those days of great coal shortage, that was a most insignificant amount, when one weighs it against all the complexities that are inevitably associated with daylight saving. The matter has been before the Tasmanian Parliament on a number of occasions in recent years and has always been rejected.
I want the Senate to look at Australia’s position. It is all very well for Senator Anderson to point to such nations as Holland, Belgium, Great Britain and New
Zealand, and say that they observe daylight saving. But they are all countries of very small proportions, with relative uniformity of sunlight and twilight. Let us come to Australia. This is a vast continent that runs from the sub-tropics down to subAntarctica. Twilight varies from minutes in the north to hours in the south. I noted that in the whole of the argument that Senator Anderson addressed to the Senate he referred to the hours of sunlight only - a most useful, happy statement - but completely ignored the vast and varying periods of twilight not only after sunset but also before sunrise. There are two elements there that give, in a spread of hours, a vast degree not of sunlight but of daylight to the people of Australia and a degree of light that other countries do not enjoy.
It is futile to make comparisons with countries of small proportions which have uniform sunlight and daylight from one end to the other, and try to develop from that an argument in respect of Australia. The conditions are entirely different. In Tasmania, we get a twilight of some hours. Looking at the document that Senator Anderson was good enough to circulate, which refers to sunlight alone and states nothing about the two elements of twilight. I note that on 1st December there are 14 hours 14 minutes of sunlight in Sydney, 13 hours 45 minutes in Brisbane, 14 hours 21 minutes in Canberra, 14 hours 34 minutes in Melbourne, 15 hours 5 minutes in Hobart, 14 hours 19 minutes in Adelaide, 12 hours 48 minutes in Darwin, and 14 hours 5 minutes in Perth. That is an enormous spread of daylight. But on a broad consideration of this problem, to that must be added all the varying elements of twilight throughout our country. Senator Anderson referred to the position in England. 1 have dealt with that. In New Zealand, where since 1946 half an hour has been added to standard time, the cows no longer get neurotic at having to operate their system of internal economy by the clock instead of by the sun. All the cows which contracted neurosis in 1946 have now passed on to their forebears, and the new cows know only the times laid down by man. They have settled down and a modest element of daylight saving runs continuously throughout the year. There is no chopping and changing in that little country.
It is true, as Senator Anderson said, that the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and France have daylight saving all the year round. I want to say a word or two about a country that is comparable to our own. I refer to the United States of America. In that country there is no federal law to impose daylight saving on a uniform basis. I wish to refer the Senate to a report on the subject made in the United States in 1919. Congress had appointed a committee to report upon a bill for the repeal of daylight saving and its report was made on 13th June, 1919. I propose to read one brief extract from it. because I think that what the committee then found is probably true to-day. The report stated -
The hearings disclose that there is almost universal complaint from the coal miners, truck gardeners, and farmers in eastern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The coal miner, as a rule, does not live in the mine mouth, but in a town or city some miles distant. He must get up before sunrise to get his breakfast, make his train, or car for the mine to start the day’s toil at one hour ahead of suntime. His wife must get up even earlier than he does to prepare his breakfast. He finishes his work while the sun is still high and returns home, but must go to bed while it is still light in order that he may secure sufficient sleep for his next day’s work. For men engaged in such dangerous and arduous work as coal mining, Congress should legislate to lighten their burdens, and their comfort and necessities should more strongly appeal to us than the pleasure and convenience of others.
There is one other example of that kind of thing in America to which I wish to refer. It is mentioned in an article in “ Business Week” of 14th June, 1952. The heading of the article is “ Why Traveling Businessmen Turn Grey “, and it describes the chaotic scene throughout the United States in these terms -
There is no federal law that says everybody has to go on DST in April; each state does what it pleases. Some states require it by law. Some states do it by a more or less unwritten agreement. Some states don’t. In some states that do, certain cities don’t. In some states that don’t, certain cities do. The result, for the traveling businessman, is utter chaos.
There we have an area comparable to our own, with great variations in one way or another in an astronomical and a time sense. One can understand why the businessmen go grey, if they move with any rapidity about their country.
The argument I am putting, Mr. President, is first, that you cannot have uniformity and common sense by making one law for daylight saving throughout Australia. You have to look at many different parts of the country and many different conditions. Secondly, you cannot possibly have diversity without the chaos to which I have just referred. If the Senate accepts that proposition, the only conclusion it can reach is that this matter should be left alone and that the position should be left exactly as it is at present. I should like to hear from Senator Anderson weighty arguments concerning the national advantages to which he refers in his motion. He said, I think, that there would be a saving in coal and electricity and that there would be increased production through increased efficiency. He did not state the industries in which the increased production would occur. He did not give to the Senate the faintest indication of the degree of additional production that might be expected. I should like to have - and I hope somebody on the Government side proposes to support him - some information in this respect, because surely the only justification for this proposition is improvement in the economy. How is it proposed to get more work done? Are men to work longer? Are they to be paid more if they do so? It must be borne in mind that in this country most people work from 8 o’clock in the morning until 4 o’clock in the afternoon, or thereabouts, on five days a week. I am speaking of the ordinary factory workers. Such a worker comes out of his factory by 4 o’clock or 4.30 o’clock in the afternoon.
Let me refer again to Senator Anderson’s data sheet. This time, I shall select for the purpose figures which he also selected - those in relation to 15th January, in the summertime. Suppose that a man finishes work at 4.30 p.m. Senator Anderson wants to get him home before darkness sets in. On the honorable senator’s own figures, the man will have from 4.30 p.m. until 7.10 p.m., on our present standard time. In Brisbane, he will have until 6.47 p.m. to get home; in Canberra, until 7.21 p.m.; in Melbourne, until 7.44 p.m.; in Hobart, until 7.50 p.m.; in Adelaide, until 7.32 p.m.; in Darwin, until 7.18 p.m.; and in Perth, until 7.26 p.m. Senator Anderson is concerned to get him home in sunlight. I am speaking of sunlight, not twilight. I could add twilight to all of those times.
I can guarantee that if a worker did not come home for his tea by the times that are at present indicated he would need more than a note. He would certainly have been bogged down on the road.
– He might have been having one for the road.
– 1 should think that might be. the answer. Where, then, is the problem from the viewpoint of travelling in the night-time and avoiding accidents in the twilight? Let us leave the twilight out of consideration. I ask Senator Anderson, or any other honorable senator who proposes to support him, whether such a worker would have any difficulty in getting home between 4.30 p.m. and 7.10 p.m. in some, at least, of the capital cities. Of course, he would not. The honorable senator wants to extend the time for another hour. He wants to make the time, for the worker to get home, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
– The average person finishes work at 5 p.m. to-day, does he not?
– Not in the major cities. Factory workers finish between 4 p.m. and 4.30 p.m., and office workers at 5 p.m. or 5.30 p.m. That is the general rule. I do not care whether we select 4.30 p.m. or 5.30 p.m. I say that the worker has ample daylight in which to get home. I feel that Senator Anderson, in putting that argument, did not carry conviction with it.
The honorable senator said, on the question of health, that it is better for people to get up earlier. Presumably, they may go for a row on the Yarra in the early morning, or play golf when they come home at night. I should like to hear what the housewife has to say about that. She has to look after the home all day, and the chances are, having regard to our present economic conditions, that she goes to work to help pay for the amenities the family needs. She comes home to prepare the evening meal. How happy will she be if she is left with the washing up while her husband goes off to play golf because of this grand leisure that has been provided for him? It is quite all right for him, but how long will his wife be able to stand up to those conditions? The housewives of this country have a bad enough time now. If they have, superimposed upon their present conditions, the obligation to get children to bed in the daylight they will have another real practical problem. Incidentally, this aspect of daylight saving was one of the reasons which caused Germany, at the end of the First World War, completely to discard for the time being the daylight saving it had initiated. I cannot find the relevant document immediately, but it indicates that one of the reasons which caused the Germans to abandon daylight saving in 1919, apart from the undue strain which it imposed on workers, was the harm that it caused to children who, it was found, were not getting sufficient sleep.
Daylight saving is a delightful thing. Personally, I like daylight saving, although it would not be good for me. Of course, most of the things we like are not good for us. Nevertheless, I still like. them. My habit, formed over many decades, is to work at my top and at my best from about 10 o’clock at night until about 2 o’clock in the morning. If we had daylight saving I would not get any sleep at all, because I could not reverse, the habit of life which I have formed over the years. I should certainly stay up in the daylight and like it, but I am afraid I would not get up in the morning. If I did, I would not be a very efficient functionary throughout the day.
– You would soon blow up.
– I would agree with the honorable senator.
Then we come to the people who are opposing this. The farming community almost to a man opposes it. The farmers think that they have a very good reason for doing so. It is not much good getting up in the dark to do anything if, as they have found, the place is covered in dew for a couple of hours; they just waste their time. They have found that the internal economy of the cow just cannot change in accordance with the clocks that we change, and production is grievously affected when animals are milked in the hottest part of the day. The whole animal kingdom, including poultry, becomes completely out of focus, and that is the very real basis upon which the farmers object.
While we think about the lovely leisure some people can have let us also think about the difficulties in medical and mental hospitals. Let us think about the problem of getting patients bedded down in full daylight and quietened before the night. Then consider the position in prisons - the problem of getting prisoners back into their cells in the heat of the day. These are real problems that the people who manage these institutions have to face. Daylight saving does not impress me when I think of a few of these things. Some people like myself might be able to have more pleasant leisure, but I do not think it is a question of leisure.
We have all heard in our youth the slogan, used as a strategy to get children to bed-
Early to bed, early to rise. Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
That is all right as a slogan for children, but I am prepared to say that the average Australian, even if he thought that he would get wealthy by getting up earlier or going to bed earlier, would not worry about either the health or the wisdom aspect of it. If there is any advantage in getting up any earlier than he gets up now, or in going to bed earlier, he is well aware of it, and whatever he does he does with full knowledge. I was very impressed when a small boy with that slogan, but nobody can impress me with it to-day.
One might have thought that Senator Anderson would have consulted the trade union movement. He said that workers would be healthier and that they would do better work. Did he take the trouble to find out what the trade union movement thinks? He did not say one word on that aspect. Surely we ought to hear something from that source. I find that the trade union movement of this country has simply not considered the matter since the postwar period when it opposed the continuance of daylight saving. It has not raised it since. The trade union movement is a highly efficient and up-to-date body on everything that affects its members, but it has made no request, nor does Senator Anderson claim that it has.
There was an occasion not very long ago when the Graziers Association of Queensland applied to the industrial tribunal in that State to be allowed, during winter time, to extend the work period for half an hour - a form of daylight saving - wherever it thought necessary. The Australian Workers Union opposed the claim most bitterly and pointed out that granting it would lead to industrial turmoil, and accordingly the claim was not granted. The evidence is that those in charge of the workers are not moving in this matter, and I would want to be assured that they were before I would consider it in any degree at all. lt was argued that if we had more sunlight it would be easier to stagger the density of traffic and enable people to get home more easily. I have surely exposed that argument. I have indicated that people have from 4.30 to 7.30 or 8 o’clock to get home, on existing time, in the vast majority of cases. There is no need for them to have any longer; they have hours to get home in daylight now, even ignoring twilight. I know that Senator Anderson referred only to the substantial national benefits that would flow from this proposal. He certainly did not particularize them in any detail. But he apparently did not see any of the defects. I feel like moving an amendment to add the words “ and defects “ to his motion to reduce it to complete futility. I will not do that to him. I merely tell him of the temptation that faces me and that I resist.
Although the matter is not. of supreme importance I have taken the opportunity to put these views before the Senate with undue brevity for me. I merely indicate the view that I take. We should not be wasting our time on this at all. In fact, it is a disgrace that we are doing such a thing. Even the facts that have been put before us do not even justify the matter being mentioned, however briefly. I have been unusually brief on this occasion, but I think that what I have said will make some difficulty for the honorable senator and his motion.
– After listening to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) and Senator Anderson, there is not a great deal one can say - certainly nothing original. I was rather surprised at the attitude taken by Senator McKenna. because he knows as well as we do the reason for this motion. lt is to try to find something to fill in time until work for the Senate comes forward from the other House. In any case, Senator Anderson should be congratulated on bringing the matter forward. It is a very interesting topic to which, as Senator McKenna said, there are two angles for disputation. It is something on which we would never let a large body of people agree.
I remember reading some time ago that when the various States were asked to give their opinions about double summertime Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales were in favour of it. South Australia and Western Australia were not, and Queensland sat on the fence and would say nothing at all. If we were going to bring it in I think there would be great difficulty, but this sort of debate places a lot of things on record. Even if I say only one worthwhile thing it will be on record. Some day it might be advisable to introduce double summertime, and that record could be used. The Commonwealth, although having no power, as the Leader of the Opposition said, would be in the position to convene a meeting of the States in order for the matter to be decided.
Daylight saving is, of course, a device whereby the clocks are advanced by a stated period of time, either one hour or two hours, whichever is decided, so that the sun appears to rise earlier in the morning and set later at night. That part of it is quite clear, but just what happens in the various industries is not so clear. From the historical point of view, in 1784 the first mention was made of daylight saving by Benjamin Franklin. He asked the people to accept daylight saving in order to conserve tallow which was one of their forms of lighting in those days. Coming to modern times, it was not until 1908 when William Willett reproduced the idea that Benjamin Franklin had had that the matter was raised again. Nothing came of it at that time. In 1909 a Mr Dobson introduced a bill in the Commons, but it did not get very far. The question was put into the hands of a select committee, a procedure which, as we in the Senate know, is more or less a means of killing a bill. Bills were introduced in 1911, 1912, 1913 and 1914, but each bill got only as far as the first reading. So again the proposal was nullified. In 1916 during World War
I., when everything possible was being done to conserve light, energy, stores, coal - or anything at all - daylight saving was brought in as single summer time in order to conserve fuel.
I have taken the opportunity to look into the reference files on this matter and I have noticed that a commission was appointed by the Government of the United Kingdom. I have jotted down a few headings from that commission’s report. One of the points considered by the commission was the health of the nation. It considered that the national health had been very greatly improved, partly because of the additional time for recreation, but far more because - this may sound strange in this chamber - the people had more time to work on their allotments. In England during the First World War, as I remember quite well, everybody had a little garden at the back of his home in which he would grow brussels sprouts, potatoes or anything else that could be grown. This in itself was a great saving of food and therefore of great help to the people. So the commission reported that by providing more opportunity for work on the allotments, daylight saving had improved the general health of the people.
The next point in the commission’s report related to the morals of people, particularly of children. In spite of what the Leader of the Opposition has said about getting children to bed, the commission found that the children were home before it was dark and had less chance of being mixed up with “ bodgie “ or “ widgie “ elements as we know them to-day. I emphasize that I am stating the commission’s views and not necessarily my own. I feel that I cannot express my own views because I have not had the opportunity to examine the matter sufficiently.
The commission stated further on in its report that it had taken evidence from a number of trade union representatives, and that in every case it appeared that the trade unions in England at that time were quite happy about daylight saving. The employers reported - again I am quoting from the commission’s report - that it had improved the value and vitality of the workers. Then another point was made about children. The commission said that the children had one more hour of schooling in the cool of the morning and one less in the heat of the afternoon. Honorable senators who have not beer- to England will perhaps be surprised to know that in July, August and September the afternoons can be quite hot. The commission then dealt with trade and industry, and in a short paragraph said that beyond any question trade and industry favoured the change.
Although neither Senator Anderson nor the Leader of the Opposition made any definite statement about the effect of daylight saving on the economy, the commission in the United Kingdom stated in its report that the saving of light and fuel brought about an economy of 20 per cent. It arrived at that conclusion after considerable research and the compilation of statistics.
Among the farmers there were conflicting opinions. Some were concerned that the cream or milk lorries would have to call one hour earlier, which would conflict with normal milking times. One does not need to be a farmer to understand that. One can understand that at the beginning this represented a big change, but apparently the dairy cows eventually settled down to the new system. Daylight saving resulted in longer hours for some shops and there was a great fuss about that, but the trouble was largely caused by a few not very reputable shopkeepers who kept their employees working after the prescribed working hours because it happened still to be daylight. Apparently not many did that.
In the United States, as in the United Kingdom, apparently a vast majority were in favour of daylight saving, but 1 rather fancy that this was brought about mainly by everybody’s desire to make a maximum effort in connexion with the war. In wartime, one excuses almost anything with the phrase, “ C’est la guerre “. I think it is probable that many people put up with daylight saving, although they did not like it. It is interesting to learn that, after World War I., the following countries adopted either one hour or two hours of daylight saving: - Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Poland, Portugal, South Africa and Turkey. Although I have little knowledge of this, it does appear that there must have been more than a passing advantage in the use of daylight saving if all those countries introduced it.
The commission said finally that most of the individual complaints of people who gave evidence apparently stemmed from the fact that they did not like rising in the dark and that it was difficult to sleep in the evening in broad daylight. I can vouch for that difficulty myself. It is very difficulty in England to sleep when it is broad daylight until 10 o’clock or 10.30 at night. You can play tennis until 10 p.m. in the north of Scotland.
– That would be so even without daylight saving, would it not? You still have a strong twilight at 9 or 10 o’clock at night.
– Yes, but you could not play tennis in the twilight. During the Second World War the United States advanced the clock one hour in 1942 and kept it advanced until September, 1945. The people of that country must have thought that daylight saving was worth while from the economic point of view. Otherwise they would not have adopted it. As I said before, they probably accepted it because it helped the war effort.
In Australia, as the Leader of the Opposition pointed out, we had daylight saving in 1942, 1943 and 1944. The main purpose of that was to save fuel. I was very interested to hear the Leader of the Opposition say that only 10,000 tons of coal had been saved. That seems to be a very small amount. I would have expected, because of the results achieved in England and other countries, that the saving would have been much greater. Although many countries have daylight saving at present, throughout Australia I believe it is favoured by three States, but not by the other two. The only purpose I can see for Commonwealth intervention in this matter would be to convene a meeting of the States if it were ever necessary to try to institute daylight saving again.
My personal view is that the matter should be left alone. It will be time enough to deal with it when there is another war. It is very doubtful whether it would be of any use under modern conditions in Australia at the present time. However, I think that it is worth while our discussing a matter such as this. I think it is worth our while to spend these few hours to consider the kind of information that Senator Anderson and the Leader of the?
Opposition have given us. I have learnt something from it. I do not know whether others have. Probably each of us has learnt something. I shall leave it at that.
– Mr. Deputy President, although the Commonwealth has no jurisdiction over the matter of daylight saving, the debate on this subject has been more or less interesting. We have all learnt a bit about it. I do not wish to gain a point over Senator Anderson in his absence but I think that, instead of being content with making assertions, he should have put forward some proof on which to base his case. I think he said that large industrial savings were to be made from daylight saving but I do not think that he supported that statement with facts to show the extent of gains that could be made. Personally, at the moment. I would support the proposition. I can remember when there was daylight saving in this country during the war years, 1942 and 1943, when my kiddies were young. I do not think there was one person in my home then who would not have supported daylight saving; because when women have young kiddies around them all day, the sooner they get to bed after their evening meal the better. I think that the objectors to daylight saving were the women with young children in cities and the farmers who said that it affected the cows and the hens. It would not affect the hens now because the poultry farmers light the hen coops now. That indicates how far industry has progressed, lt is a very interesting point.
I think that both Senator Kendall and Senator McKenna enumerated the countries that had adopted daylight saving. They mentioned New Zealand for instance, where the time is permanently adjusted by half an hour. If daylight saving affected the cows in Australia I do not see why it does not affect them in New Zealand unless that country has breeds different from our breeds. New Zealand, for its size, probably has more cows than Australia. Therefore, one wonders what proof there is for the statement that daylight saving would affect the cows. No doubt there are statistics related to this matter, but no one has yet cited them. I am waiting for an Australian Country Party senator to tell us how much less milk the farmers got from their cows during the war years when daylight saving was in operation.
– You mean it is hard to tell whether the cow likes daylight saving or not?
– It is hard to find out. More than one senator has mentioned that daylight saving was in operation in Australia for a few months during 1942 and 1943. I suppose that it was not continued in the summer of 1944-45 because there was a Premiers’ Conference at the time and the majority of Premiers seemed to be against it. I can quite understand why Victoria was against it because, at that time, the late Mr. Albert Dunstan was Premier of Victoria. He could never see any good in what Canberra did, in any circumstances. To be fair to a great friend of mine over many years, he did produce some statistics to show why he opposed daylight saving. He said that he had submitted the question to 71 shires in Victoria. Of that number, 61 were opposed to the principle of daylight saving, three favoured it and seven, for some unknown reason, had no opinions at all on the subject. Of course, that is not uncommon.
– Were those votes taken straight from the cows’ mouths?
– Of course, my friend from Western Australia seldom sees a cow in Kalgoorlie. Therefore, he would not know whether a cow mewed or talked. Whether or not he could understand one. I do not know.
When I wanted to find out something about this matter I went to the Parliamentary Library. I want to give the Library credit for having had a great file on it. I thought that somebody must have tipped off its officers that we were going to spend a bit of time on this subject. It seems that all the speeches we have had in this debate have been based on information from that file. Therefore, honorable senators will have to bear with me and, no doubt, with other speakers for their repetition.
It is true that da’ylight saving was introduced in Australia in order to save coal which, in the war years and the immediate post-war years, was an extremely scarce commodity in this nation. To-day, the posi tion is just the opposite. Very largely, crude oil has taken the place of coal. Two honorable senators have stated, and I repeat, that during the 22 weeks in which daylight saving was in operation, 10,000 tons of coal was saved. That does not seem much in view of the greatly increased production achieved in recent years in spite of maladministration. We are a really remarkable country. We can brush maladministrators aside and still make good. I had something to do with electricity undertakings in Victoria from 1945 to 1947 when power was tremendously scarce because we could not get fuel. In those days, 10,000 tons of coal was very valuable.
Senator Kendall referred to an English report and some of his references rather amused me. He said that with the introduction of daylight saving in England there was a great improvement in the morals of the people. Might I just remind the Senate that the report was written in 1917. If the report alluded particularly to young children. I admit that supervision over them can be more effective in daylight than after dark.
It is true, as Senator Kendall has said, that daylight saving in those days led to greater efficiency in industry. I do not know whether any figures in that connexion were produced. However, it is difficult to compare the results of such a development in 1917 with what might happen in industry in 1963. Efficiency in industry has been increased so much since 1917 as a result of scientific developments that one wonders whether there would be a comparable increase in industrial output in these days as a result of daylight saving.
It is true that leisure time would be increased. No one would object to that so long as people had an opportunity to use their leisure gainfully out of doors. As automation becomes more widespread in industry the use of leisure will become a vital question for National and State parliaments. I am not talking about additional jobs for workers but about the opportunity for them to indulge in healthy exercise.
Senator Anderson said that an officer of a road safety organization had produced figures before a committee of inquiry to show that many more traffic accidents occurred in twilight hours than after dark. That surprised me.
– There is a high incidence of accidents between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
– As I have said, that surprises me. I am not a television addict, but I look occasionally at programmes on GTV9. On Sunday nights, accidents are featured on that programme. Reporters go out from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and it is remarkable how many accidents they come upon in those hours. So, I was surprised to hear that the accident rate is higher between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. I understand that the witness who gave that evidence was Mr. Paterson, who, as the chief executive of a safety organization, should know the facts.
The report to which Senator Kendall referred mentioned that daylight saving gave more time for home duties. I do not know what that meant in 1917, or whether it applied to males. The report did not explain what it meant.
As I have said, the farmers provide a special case in any consideration of daylight saving. I admit that a cow would get a big shock the first day it was milked an hour early, but the change would not be noticed the second day. I should like to see figures to prove that production would be reduced to any extent.
I agree that daylight saving would present a problem for young mothers. I had some experience of that situation in 1942 with my own children. It is difficult to get children to go to sleep at the normal time without having daylight saving. No one has more ingenuity than a child in explaining why he or she should not go to bed. The mother of two or three young children would have strong feelings about daylight saving. On the other hand, if a gallup poll were taken throughout Australia I believe the majority of people would be shown to be in favour of daylight saving. Melbourne has a population of 2,000,000 and I doubt whether there are 2,750,000 in the whole of Victoria.
– They do not see any sun down there, so it does not matter.
– We would not want to have glare for the months that Kalgoorlie has it. Some of your people come over to Melbourne to play a certain sport in the winter. Unless we have grounds which consist of rock, those people do not know how to perform. To be serious, I think that the wishes of the mothers ought to be respected. If I had my own way, I would introduce daylight saving. I did not find it easy to assemble notes to speak in this debate, but I did discover that the increase, in the hours of daylight in the summer months is less the closer one gets to the equator. For example, the increase in the period of daylight between 30th September and 31st December is one hour nineteen minutes at Rockhampton, two hours nine minutes in Sydney and two hours twenty-nine minutes in Melbourne. The only deduction one can make from that fact is that daylight saving would be much more appropriate in Melbourne than in towns from Rockhampton northwards. I think a case can be made out for the introduction of daylight saving. I speak purely from a personal viewpoint when I say that I should like to see it reintroduced. If State authorities or local councils, or whoever is responsible, could provide suitable surroundings in which people could enjoy their extra leisure, daylight saving would not be such a bad thing.
Of course, the unions oppose the introduction of daylight saving. I often ask myself why. even though I do not believe that production would be increased very much. In Melbourne, for example, I do not think it is a great disadvantage to have to work between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. If the knock-off time were to be 3 p.m. or 3.30 p.m., in the heat of the day, men might fall into bad habits. That would be very upsetting to me. As I said earlier, a case can be presented for both sides of the argument. I hope that those who oppose the proposal will advance some real argument backed by proof. I favour the proposal possibly for a selfish reason, because there is nobody to put to bed early in my home. I have always envied the people of Queensland cities their very nice sunshine. If we can help people to enjoy such conditions, we ought to do so.
The Commonwealth has no jurisdiction in the matter, except in Canberra and its other Territories. Senator Anderson said that the Prime Minister had said that he did not know why daylight saving had not been adopted, or why it was discontinued. If the Prime Minister believes that daylight saving should be introduced, he certainly has not shown much enthusiasm about it. He could have had it in operation in the Australian Capital Territory for a great number of years. I point out that, if it were argued that such a system would mean that we would have to alter our watches when we came to Canberra, we already do so when we go to South Australia. When we go to the beautiful, farflung City of Perth, we have to alter them still further. So it would not cause any great inconvienience if daylight saving were adopted here. I agree with my leader and say that I would much prefer to be taking part in a debate on foreign investment in this country, but as Senator Anderson has brought this matter forward all of us will learn a little more about it than we knew prior to the meeting of the Senate yesterday.
.- My good friend and colleague, Senator Anderson, favours a return to the daylight saving scheme which caused so much violent controversy during both world wars. I do not agree with the honorable senator’s contentions, but nevertheless I must compliment him on his quite eloquent approach to this subject through the magnificent avenues of the solar system. I enjoyed very much indeed what he had to say in this respect, because we do not often hear in the Senate speeches which are interlaced with such good English and such fine thoughts. Senator Anderson treated us to a complete and very worthy presentation of his case.
The Daylight Saving Bill 1916 was introduced under the war-time powers of the Commonwealth and was entituled “ A bill to promote the earlier use of daylight in certain months yearly “. It became operative on 1st January, 1917. The Parliament and the people of Australia reacted very enthusiastically to the legislation. The arguments in its favour found ready acceptance. They included the greater use of the hours of daylight and the opportunity to save coal, which was in short supply during the war.
The idea of daylight saving was novel to Australian politics, although it was by no means an original Australian conception. Senator Anderson has reminded us that William Willett, an Englishman, was a pioneer in the field of daylight saving. In 1907 he published a pamphlet entitled “ The Waste of Daylight “. He said-
While daylight surrounds us, cheerfulness reigns, anxieties press less heavily, and courage is bred for the struggle of life.
Naturally enough, with this poetic approach Willett’s brochure attracted many supporters throughout Europe. In 1916, under conditions of war, Willett’s philosophy was warmly received by political leaders in most of the countries engaged in the great struggle. The early enthusiasm in this country, however, went quickly when daylight saving was tested in operation by the realities and needs of primary and secondary industries. So much was this so that the act was repealed in August, 1917. The bill for its repeal was carried in the Senate by 22 votes to four. It is hardly necessary to remind honorable senators that at that time the Senate comprised only 30 members.
As I have said, saving fuel by using more daylight in industry attracted widespread support when first advocated as part of the win-the-war programme. In theory, it was a winner, but like many other schemes thrown up from time to time in the hurlyburly of politics, it became a loser in practical operation. The act was repealed, I say, because the great majority of the Australian people did not wish continuance of daylight saving. Having experienced it, they did not want it.
Despite that experience, daylight saving was introduced again on 31st December, 1941, during World War II. Following a conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers of the day, the scheme was reintroduced during the summers of 1942 and 1943, by direction of the Commonwealth Government. Very severe criticism of the scheme developed, with the result that the Prime Minister of the day, Mr. Curtin, called for the views of State Governments on the subject. He found that New South Wales favoured continuation of the scheme, while Victoria and South Austalia were opposed to it. Queensland submitted the views of various responsible bodies, which were generally hostile, but the State Government itself made no submission to the Prime Minister. Tasmania had no serious objection. Western Australia at first was agreeable to the reintroduction of the scheme.
Later, however, the Premier informed the Commonwealth Government that both Houses of Parliament in Western Australia were opposed to it. The Victorian Premier, Mr. Dunstan, said that his Government had asked for the opinions of 71 municipalities in Victoria. Of these, only three favoured continuance or reintroduction of the scheme, 61 were opposed to it, and seven expressed no opinion.
The discussions between the Commonwealth and the States came to an end when the Premier of Southern Australia, Mr Playford, moved -
That it be a recommendation of this conference that daylight saving be not reintroduced.
Mr. Dunstan, of Victoria, seconded the motion, and it was agreed to. Mr. Curtin then said, “ The Commonwealth Government will give effect to that recommendation “. That decision, a very final one, was made by the State Premiers, who were leaders of the Liberal Party, Country Party, and Labour Party 20 years ago, while the war was still in progress.
If daylight saving was bad when we were at war, what has happened to make it any better now under peace-time conditions? At that time the Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin, said that the Country Milk Association had informed him that daylight saving had led to decreased production of milk. The dairy industry throughout Australia was up in arms because the milking apparatus of cows was conditioned by the sun. When the sun said 5 p.m., the legislation said 6 p.m. The cows, with typical bovine unconcern, ignored the legislation which, the Government found, was powerless to alter the instincts and nature of the animals.
In the New South Wales Parliament quite recently, Mr. E. D. Darby, M.L.A., gave notice of a private member’s motion in these terms -
That this House is of the opinion that the desirability of the introduction of daylight saving should be examined.
That motion is similar to the one proposed by Senator Anderson, which is now before the Senate. Commenting on the proposal, the General Secretary of the Primary Producers Union, Mr. R. K. Warne, said that if daylight saving were introduced -
The dairy farmer would have to adjust his milking to meet new milk lorry times. Cows are temperamental blighters and they don’t give as much milk when they are thrown out of their routine. In the afternoon they would have to be milked in the hottest part of the day, wilh adverse effects on the farmer, his cows and their milk. The farmer would also have to get up an hour earlier, but because this day’s work is attuned to the sun and not the clock it would not follow that he would get to bed any earlier.
Graziers also oppose daylight saving, because it is not possible to move cattle during the hot part of the day. It is necessary to spell them for three or four hours at the period of maximum heat. In midsummer, the late hours of the evening are most suitable for the movement of cattle and there is no chance of stockmen getting the benefit of any leisure hours at that time of day. The stockmen normally, in mid-summer, rise at 4 a.m. to muster cattle, so daylight saving would force them to rise an hour earlier. Because of the conditions imposed by nature, stockmen must continue with the handling of cattle, particularly in tick areas where dipping is necessary, very nearly until the hours of darkness.
Men engaged in dairy farming, grazing and many other sections of primary industry are obliged to rise very early indeed under normal sun time conditions. During daylight saving in Australia, such men complained that the strain of rising an hour earlier to start their chores made their day, in effect, an hour longer. As a result, they consistently complained of over-tiredness. Consequently, employers suffered because workers in those industries often lacked their usual energy. Early morning milk deliverers and carters were likewise affected. In my experience, in many agricultural districts in rural Queensland the requirement was not observed at all. This resulted in two different standards of time - sun time on farms and summertime in government establishments such as schools, post offices and railway stations. Much confusion was caused because there was a conflict of meal hours in ordinary homes. The children went to school by summer-time and the bread winner went to work by sun time. Meals had to be prepared for both sections at different hours, which meant much more work for Mum. This factor was clearly and correctly dealt with by Senator McKenna to-night.
In the past twenty years since daylight saving terminated, the Australian population has increased enormously by natural increase and a great wave of migration. This has resulted in the expansion of manufacturing industries in all capital cities, but especially in Sydney and Melbourne. As a result, many workers, because of the suddenly increased demand for their labour in factories and business enterprises, have to travel long distances from the remoteness of their homes to their places of employment. Recently, I was speaking to a man from Gosford, New South Wales, who informed me that he had very little social life and very little enjoyment because he spent most of his time travelling by train from Gosford to Sydney and back again, a distance of 100 miles. He said that after his day’s work he did not reach home until about 8 o’clock in the evening, and by the time he had had something to eat it was time for him to go to bed. So, it seemed to him that he did nothing but work in the factory, travel in the train, and sleep. He has that problem with the time which operates at present. If the clocks were advanced an hour, the lot of many workers in his category would not be a happy one. 1 am sure that all honorable senators realize fully that workmen who commence work too early in the morning and who leave work too early in the evening are working out of tune with natural conditions. During the period of daylight saving, workers in the mining industry lost efficiency through having to turn out at unnatural hours. I observed that to be so in the State electorate of West Moreton, which I represented in the Queensland Parliament. There were in the electorate a number of collieries, and I represented a number of miners and their families. They all complained that daylight saving was getting them down. Also, during that time, nursing sisters complained that children did not go to sleep readily in the hospitals, and mothers complained that children, when put to bed in the home one hour earlier than their accustomed time, found difficulty in going to sleep. I constantly met parents, during my State parliamentary representation, who informed me that the general health of the family was deteriorating under the conditions associated with daylight saving.
I do not want to see a repetition of a system which runs contrary to nature and to the laws of the solar system which were so pleasingly dealt with by Senator Anderson this afternoon. I am strongly opposed to the motion because I think it is not in the best interests of the hardworking and industrious people of Australia, and because daylight saving has more disadvantages than benefits to offer.
.- When it is suggested that a government should introduce something new which will have the effect of disturbing somewhat the Australian way of life it is necessary that’ sound and substantial reasons should be advanced for the innovation. So far, I have not heard put forward a substantial reason to convince the people that daylight saving would be worth while or that its introduction is essential. I should think that if a person were to be allotted the task of carrying out the necessary work associated with the introduction of daylight saving, he would first of all ascertain the saving that might be expected to result. He would want to know what the introduction of daylight saving would be worth to the country. We have not been told what the degree of saving would be. It has not been expressed in pounds, shillings and pence. We were told certain things b’y the mover of the motion that we are discussing. It was. stated that substantial benefits would accrue to the nation if daylight saving were introduced. When we examine that proposition to ascertain the benefits that might accrue to the economy from the introduction of daylight saving we find that many difficulties arise.
I know that if an innovation is worth implementing, many of the apparent difficulties associated with its introduction evaporate; but in this instance, the difficulties become more concrete the more one considers it. As I listened to the debate, if appeared to me that one or two honorable senators who spoke were under the impression that if daylight saving were to be introduced less coal would be used for the purpose of producing power. However, the fact is that, under daylight saving, just as much coal would be used for manufacturing purposes as is used at present. There would be no reduction whatever. The same manufacturing industries would be functioning and they would require as much power as they now require for their purposes.
Senator Maher outlined some of the difficulties which daylight saving would bring to the dairying industry. Of course, some of the other rural industries would experience no difficulties at all. For instance, wheat could still be sown at a certain period of the year. It would germinate, grow and ripen and be harvested in the ordinary way. It would not be affected by daylight saving at all. In the fishing industry, the fish would come in with the tide and go out with the tide throughout the whole period of daylight saving. In fact, many dairy farms would not be affected, either, because all dairy farmers do not have their milk or cream transported from their farms at the same times. I have been looking at this matter and several times have asked myself just how saving would be effected in industry. It seems to me that the saving would be effected only in lighting, which is merely one aspect of industry.
As we know, there are various kinds of lighting which are indispensible, such as lighting for security purposes, lighting in warehouses, factories and shops, and street lighting. The present degree of lighting for those purposes would have to be maintained under daylight saving. In some factories, where the walls are dark and the ventilation is bad, there is little natural light and artificial lighting is necessary, but such factories are not too numerous. So, the lighting that would be saved under daylight saving would be infinitesimal compared with the amount of electric power used for all purposes. At this time - in peacetime - one would find it very difficult indeed to convince the people of the Commonwealth that daylight saving was essential for any purpose, having regard to the fact that it would still be necessary to retain the present level of lighting for certain purposes, such as security and street lighting. My main submission is that it would be very difficult to convince the people that at this stage, in peace time, it is necessary to introduce daylight saving to effect the saving of any commodity, particularly coal. As every one knows, coal is now an exportable commodity. We have an excess of it. So nothing is to be gained by introducing daylight saving for the purpose of conserving coal.
Senator Anderson has done a service for the Commonwealth by moving the motion. He has enabled the matter to be discussed. He has enabled certain opinions to be expressed, and should the country find it necessary to introduce daylight saving they will be of value. It might be necessary in the future to give serious consideration to the introduction of daylight saving. You cannot foretell the economic situation in another five, ten or twenty years. At the moment we do not expect that it will be necessary to introduce daylight saving for the purpose of saving coal but, as I have pointed out, Senator Anderson has at least done some good by introducing the motion and so allowing opinions to be expressed. If it should become necessary to introduce daylight saving the Commonwealth will at least have to guide it the opinions that have been expressed here to-night.
Certain constitutional difficulties have been outlined. If we had a worthwhile cause for introducing the daylight saving system all of those constitutional problems could be solved. Similar difficulties were overcome during the last war when it was necessary to introduce daylight saving and they could be overcome again. First, you must get the co-operation of the States - and we have instances of the States cooperating with the Commonwealth in respect of certain legislation. We have now a uniform companies act operating throughout the Commonwealth. That came about only because the States themselves found it was essential to have a companies act of the nature proposed by the Commonwealth. I conclude by thanking Senator Anderson for having moved the motion.
.- I agree with Senator Benn that Senator Anderson deserves the gratitude of the Senate for moving this motion. I believe that honorable senators on both sides of the chamber who have directed their minds to the subject have done so with a complete absence of preconceived ideas and. as Senator Kennelly has said, we have gained something by the exchange of views and information, even though, as he pointed out, much of the information may have come from one source.
By way of passing reference to Senator Benn’s remarks I point out that he confined his attention almost entirely to the lack of advantage to the employer side of industry - the Jack of advantage which capitalists and capitalism would receive from the. introduction of daylight saving. I should have thought that he would have directed his mind more to the point of view of the workers who under this scheme would stand to gain at least an increased hour of leisure, lt is significant that on more than one occasion recently when the Australian Council of Trade Unions has been putting claims on behalf of the workers before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, it has seen fit to approach the commission more with the object of increasing leisure and recreational opportunities rather than in gaining an increase in wages.
Senator Anderson went to great trouble to point out the constitutional position and to show that he. as a member of this chamber, had no desire to attempt to usurp the prerogatives of the States. It is true that other speakers have already said that from the point of view of the Commonwealth the constitutional position is difficult. In my view the matter could be successfully implemented only by co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States, but such co-operation has been forthcoming on more than one occasion when it has been sought. In fairness to Senator Anderson I think I should point out, in relation to my earlier reference to labour, that he did direct his mind to the position of workers under the scheme when he quoted the remarks of Mr. R. Marsh, the assistant secretary of the New South Wales Trades and Labour Council who is reported as having said that apart from a saving in costs there would be extra leisure in time.
As to the constitutional position, although it is true that Australia’s international time fixation is not specifically set out in any of the Commonwealth powers it is true also that the Commonwealth has power to fix a time standard - be it ordinary sun time or daylight saving time - for the Australian Capital Territory. At the present time the sun time which all the eastern States of Australia follow is based on the 150th degree of longitude, which passes through Cape Howe. It might well be argued that without putting clocks backward or forward it would be open to the Commonwealth - so far as the fixing of time for Canberra is concerned, and in respect of international agreements to which the Commonwealth is a signatory, which affect our relations with external powers - to say that Australian time shall be based on, say the 135th degree of longitude which passes, I think, slightly to the west of Melbourne.
– It passes through Kangaroo Island.
- Senator Kendall informs me it passes through Kangaroo Island. This difference of 15 degrees is the equivalent of one hour in time.
My friend and colleague, Senator Maher, put the point of view of the countryman very well, but I do not quite agree with the rhetoric of his question when he asked: If this was bad when we were at war, how could it possibly be good while we are at peace? We come back to the increase in the standard of living of the average worker in the community and his desire for, and his right to have, greater leisure. Before leaving that point let me refer again to Senator Maher’s reference to some of the remarks of the late John Curtin in relation to the claim of the country milk associations that daylight saving had led to decreased production of milk. He said -
Various bodies have expressed doubts about or opposition to daylight saving. Some of them have, I think, exaggerated the effect.
This matter has raised its head from time to time in the State Parliament of New South Wales. I think the most recent indications are that most members of the New South Wales Cabinet favour the proposal.
I recall that in 1943 Mr. Frank Forde, the then Commonwealth Minister for the Army, said that the most important factors which moved the Government in coming to its decision to introduce daylight saving were the necessity to save coal and .electricity and the possibility of increased primary production. He added that daylight saving doubtless involved certain disabilities, but it was thought that most of them were capable of adjustment. It is true, too, as Mr. Curtin pointed out at the meeting of Premiers to which reference has already been made, that Australia was one of the few countries which had not adopted daylight saving as a regular scheme every summer. The president of the Australian Paint Manufacturers Federation, Mr. L. J. Pearson, said in September, 1961 -
If we assume there are 2,500,000 families in the Commonwealth, and that the saving through electric lights or kerosene lamps being turned on one hour later is, say, lid. a day per family, then the saving over six months would be about £2,000,000. And think of that extra hour in the garden, or doing the odd job about the house! Think of that evening swim, or a game of tennis or bowls after Work!
Then the secretary of the Retail Traders Association, Mr. J. B. Griffin, said -
If there is extra leisure people will need more leisure equipment. You could put a commercial slant on it somewhere along the line, I suppose. But the advantages to be gained are more than commercial. It is almost criminal to waste daylight the way we do now. The sun rises at 5 a.m. in mid-summer, and yet our waking habits are still attuned to winter.
The case against the introduction of daylight saving has been limited almost entirely to the dairying industry and to some possible difficulties in getting children to go to bed earlier. It does not seem to me that those difficulties are insuperable in this age of the jet, of satellites and electronic marvels. Surely it is possible for these two minor difficulties to be overcome by planning.
In regard to the principle of the matter, I think in this instance, as in so many other instances, we are indebted to careful thought and inquiry by committees of the House of Commons when investigating problems put before them. I do not propose to retrace the history of daylight saving, as that has already been done by Senator Maher, but I should say that it is not true - I do not put this forward as a refutation of what Senator Maher said - that this is an unimportant matter. The House of Commons had before it no fewer than three bills and appointed two select committees before daylight saving was finally brought into law on 17th May, 1917. It had previously been enacted for one year as a temporary measure, and the vote in the House of Commons, in 1916, when daylight saving was introduced as a war-time measure, was 170 votes to two. The measure was then introduced permanently in the following year as a result of the report of a committee, to whose deliberations I propose to make some reference. The committee, comprising eleven members of the House of Commons, was set up prior to the introduction of the 1917 bill, and ft made its inquiries chiefly in certain fields. It inquired of the municipal councils, educational authorities, police, organized labour and the trade unions, and industry and commerce. It checked the question of fuel conservation and dealt with the problems of agriculture. There had been some argument at the time of the inquiry that daylight saving had an adverse effect on the health of the children. The committee found that there was no evidence whatever to support this proposition; actually it found very much to the contrary. On the authority of Dr. Frederick Taylor, the president of the Royal College of Physicians, in dealing with the effect on the health of the nation and of children, the committee said -
The additional hour of sunlight or daylight in the case of those to whom this is granted by the alteration of the clock time must tend to improve their health from the well-known physiological effects of light upon the biological processes in both animals and plants.
Dr. Taylor was there dealing primarily with the health of the nation as a whole, but the committee made reference during its findings to its belief that his remark applied to children as well. It was clear that the public health had benefited.
The effect of the extra hour of daylight on public morals and behaviour was also investigated. Most of the information in regard to this came from the police authorities in Great Britain. The new law meant that the public houses were closing in daylight, and this, in itself, the police regarded as a help. There was a marked reduction in juvenile offences and a variable, but indeterminate, reduction in the number of traffic accidents. Since there were many factors other than daylight saving operating in regard to the traffic accidents the committee was unable to come to any precise finding. Of fourteen major trade unions circularized by the committee only nine answered, but all nine answers were favorable. From the social service settlements set up in Great Britain, where the welfare of the underprivileged was attended to by statutory bodies and charitable organizations, an example was given by the Robert Browning memorial home at Walworth where the head of tha centre decided to enforce the scheme. He said that it was like having a Saturday afternoon holiday added to each day.
The employers were, by and large, in favour of the proposition. Many employers gave evidence to the effect that they had observed increased vitality in the staff at work and, even more importantly since this was during wartime, the standard of work had improved. Mr. Hutton of Messrs. Vickers Limited said -
The Summer Time Act is one of the greatest boons conferred on the industrial classes of the greater towns and cities by recent legislation.
There were, the committee found, certain individual complaints. In summer time, certain workers complained, it was difficult to get to bed sufficiently early in order to make up for the hour earlier that they would be rising. This was conceded to be a definite disadvantage and an inconvenience. It was argued that the vitality of the human body was lower in the early hours of the morning and that for this reason the practice should not be introduced, but the committee found that there was no medical evidence to support this proposition. The committee reported, in the wonderfully archaic language of 1917 -
We are satisfied that the great bulk of the working classes are favourable to Summer Time, and we are convinced that they stand to profit by it as much as, and in many cases more than, any other section of the community. Such real inconveniences as have been experienced will, wc believe, be remedied with a little more experience of Summer Time conditions.
The educational authorities were of the opinion that the substitution of a cool hour in the morning for a hot hour in the afternoon improved the quality of the scholars’ work and that their study benefited. Strangely enough, it seems that one of the main purposes of the committee was not fulfilled because the findings in regard to savings of light and fuel were inconclusive. Of course, many factories were working three shifts because war-time production had to be maintained.
The results of the inquiry had to be divided into two parts. Dealing with gas, it was found that, in residential areas, there was a decrease of 15 per cent, in the amount of gas consumed compared with the amount consumed in the last year in which ordinary time had been observed. However, in industrial areas where the factories were working overtime there was actually an increase of 8 per cent, in gas consumption during the summer referred to.
For obvious reasons, the validity of this finding could not be maintained. In regard to electricity, the reductions were somewhat more substantial and the mean average seems to have been in the vicinity of 20 per cent.
The objection raised by the agricultural community in regard to the harvesting of corn crops was that these could not be gathered until the morning dews had left the fields and the farmers engaged in this pursuit observed sun time. Dairy farmers had difficulty in getting milking done in time for the delivery trains. The committee was of the opinion that appropriate organization could overcome these difficulties.
– The cows were not ready?
– I am dealing now with cold-blooded, sworn evidence before a committee of the House of Commons.
– The corn would be better gathered with the dew on it.
– Yes. The committee found that that was so. As Senator Maher has remarked, some dairy-farmers rebelled against the new order. In the first year in which the scheme was tried, there were two sets of time in agricultural areas - sun time and daylight saving time. As Senator Maher pointed out, this caused a good deal of confusion in the areas concerned.
The committee also found an unexpected difficulty in relation to the operations of the stock exchange. It was regarded as essential that the London Stock Exchange should be opened for at least one hour’s trading while the New York Stock Exchange was open. Because of the difference in time in England and America, advancing the time by an hour in England would have involved the closing of the London Stock Exchange before the New York Stock Exchange opened. That matter had to be adjusted. The meteorological bureau was also consulted and it gave evidence that there was no substantial difficulty in the permanent introduction of the new time. In conclusion, the committee reported -
We can unhesitatingly say that the vast preponderance of opinion throughout Great Britain is enthusiastically in favour of Summer Time and of its renewal - not only as a war measure, but as a permanent institution.
Accordingly, in 1917 the House of Commons enacted daylight saving time as a permanent measure. Between 1941 and 1947 the British Government adopted double summer time under which the clock was put forward two hours That measure was dropped in 1947, but current agitation in Great Britain appears to be for a reversion to it in future summers.
I think, Mr. Deputy President, that we should be grateful to Senator Anderson for giving us the opportunity to discuss what might sound a fairly dry subject but a subject which is of considerable significance, when examined, to this nation. It is even of significance to our relationships with other countries. One would never have thought, before the inquiry of the United Kingdom committee began, that the relationship between the London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange would have been affected by a variation of time. I think the proposition, Sir, has a great deal to commend it. 1 realize that certain people, because of their occupation, or industry, will not or cannot take kindly to the proposed change. But I believe, in these matters, that where there is a will there is a way, despite the admitted perversity of cows. I commend Senator Anderson for bringing this subject before us. I hope that there may be some discussion - because there can bc only discussion - between Federal and State authorities on this matter with the objective ultimately of producing the advantages for Australia which the United Kingdom committee found were available to the public in Great Britain.
. Mr. Deputy President, Senator Hannan referred to the application by the Australian Council of Trade Unions to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission for increased hours of leisure. I admit that the argument to which he referred was used by the A.C.T.U. and the metal trades unions in their claim before the commission. But it was used in connexion with an application for extended annual leave or for long service leave. The argument for increased leisure hours has never been used by the A.GT.U. or the metal trades unions in support of daylight saving. I am utterly opposed to the introduction of daylight saving. That is my personal view. But I am fortified by the knowledge that there is opposition to this proposal not only in the trade union movement but also in practically every walk of life. I have heard considerable opposition to it expressed by mothers of young children. I think that mothers represent a very important part of the community to which we must have due regard.
Only last week I attended a meeting of the Hobart Trades Hall Council. 1 do not suggest that it fully expresses the views of the trade union movement on this matter, but at least it is an important segment of the trade union movement. It represents a considerable number of affiliated unions and, consequently, a considerable union membership. The matter of daylight saving was raised at the council meeting, and I intend to read the motion which was carried in relation to the subject. The motion reads as follows: -
The Hobart Trades Hall Council at a meeting held on Thursday evening, August 8th, 1963, discussed the possibility of the introduction of a motion in the Federal Parliament to debate the advisability of the introduction of daylight saving throughout Australia during the months of December, January and February.
The Hobart Trades Hall Council, after lengthy deliberation on this matter, unanimously rejected the proposal by reason of the detrimental effect it would have on the community as a whole and, in particular, on members of the trade union movement.
The Hobart Trades Hall Council realises that daylight saving was introduced and operated during World War I. and World War II. Although accepted by the people of Australia on both occasions, it is factual to say that the inconvenience which was occasioned by the operation of daylight saving was tolerated only by reason of the all-out war effort which was then in operation in order to maintain and retain the freedom enjoyed by living in and the preservation of a democracy.
That puts the position clearly for the trade union movement in Tasmania, and I support those views fully. Senator Anderson did a service to the Parliament in bringing this matter forward, but he destroyed his own argument by failing to produce statistics to prove that savings could be effected by daylight saving. He referred to the number of home units occupied in Australia as shown by the census of 1961, but he failed to substantiate his argument that daylight saving would lead to economies in electric light and power. That is something we do not have to worry about in Tasmania, because we produce all our electricity with hydro power and do not need coal or other fuels for that purpose. Daylight saving would not mean any saving to Tasmania in that connexion.
The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) exploded all the arguments advanced in favour of daylight saving. I think we should remember that when daylight saving was in force in 1917 workers in industry were working a standard week of 48 hours compared with 40 hours now. Daylight saving would have more to commend it in those days than it would now. Working conditions were entirely different then. In those days also, modern accessories were not available to housewives and workers generally. Work was more arduous and a greater effort was needed to maintain production for the war effort.
I believe that it is desirable to give people more leisure, and this matter has been considered by the trade union movement in seeking better working conditions. If we want to give more leisure hours to the workers of Australia let us introduce a 35- hour working week. The workers would then have an extra hour of daylight each working day. They would not have to alter their clocks. People would rise at the normal hour and would still have an additional hour in the evening for recreation. These matters should be considered when any proposal for daylight saving comes before the Australian parliaments.
The people of Tasmania generally do not want daylight saving. This issue has been before the Parliament of Tasmania many times since World War II. and the proposal has been rejected each time. I think I am correct in saying that the question of daylight saving came before the Tasmanian Parliament only this year and it was again rejected. One of the main reasons why the people of Tasmania are not partial to daylight saving lies in the fact that in Tasmania we have a long twilight. About Christmas and New Year one can stay outside quite comfortably until about 9 o’clock. That being so, daylight saving does not offer much advantage to Tasmania.
All honorable senators who have spoken in this debate apparently put much thought into the preparation of their speeches and I think we have learned much from this exchange of views. However, I am completely opposed to daylight saving.
– I, too, would like to congratulate Senator Anderson upon the amount of time and work he has put into his proposal for daylight saving. My only regret is that he had to put so much energy into a case that was so hopeless. As a representative of Western Australia, I would be failing in my duty if I did not express my opposition to any suggestion for a return to the system of daylight saving to which the people of Western Australia objected so strongly during the two periods for which it was in operation that the Commonwealth agreed to exempt that State from its operation.
In a country like Australia the idea of daylight saving is fantastic. We have more daylight than probably any other civilized country. My own reaction as a person who spent many hours out in the sun was that there was too much sunlight, and I was very glad when the days became a little shorter. The whole idea of daylight saving seems to me to be in the nature of getting a sledge hammer to crack a nut. No substantial argument has been adduced to-night to show that in Australian conditions there has been any saving under such a system. Investigations into the effect of daylight saving in the past revealed an infinitesimal saving in the use of coal under war-time conditions. Statistically, the saving was not significant; it was less than 2 per cent. Other factors operated at the time which could have completely distorted the true picture. Other economies were put into effect which could completely upset any conclusion that the saving effected was the result of the daylight saving scheme. Any saving effected is quite conjectural and is used to bolster an argument which in reality is an argument for the greater use of the evening for leisure. That may well be a desirable end, but why mess around with the clock to achieve it?
The natural disposition of daylight is to have noon in the middle of the day. The proposal now before us is designed to make a lopsided day with a shorter morning and a longer afternoon. What is the purpose? It is to assist some workers to have a better afternoon. I suggest that, if workers wish to have more time in the afternoon, the logical thing is to go to work an hour earlier instead of messing around with the clock and fooling everybody that the sun is rising an hour later. Not all workers go to work at 9 a.m. So this proposal, if put into effect, would benefit the white collar worker to a much greater degree than the labourer or the man who is compelled to commence work at half-past seven or 8 a.m. In order to benefit the 9 o’clock worker, the half-past seven worker would be obliged to go to work at half-past six.
Senator Anderson referred to some of the effects on the working day of the suggested alteration in time. On the chart that he presented to us, it is suggested that in Adelaide on 29th March the sun would rise at 7.26 a.m. Many workers have to be on the job at half past seven. What would this entail in March? In many cases the wife would have to be up an hour and a half before sunrise to commence her day’s work. The proposal seems to me to be utterly selfish if we intend to bring about a condition that will benefit some workers to the disadvantage of others.
Another factor which has not been brought forward in this debate is that this arrangement of the time of sunrise varies with the position of the particular place one is considering. What might be appropriate for Sydney would not be appropriate as we proceed west into New South Wales and approach the vicinity of Broken Hill, where the people have elected to adopt South Australian time. As we get closer to Broken Hill still using Sydney time, the sun rises approximately an hour later. If daylight saving were to be applied to the whole of New South Wales, it would mean that an additional hour, which I submit is unwanted, would be inflicted on these people in the west.
The effect of the enforcement of this lopsided day upon the agricultural community would be appalling. Several speakers have referred jocularly to the temperamental habits of cows. I attribute such comments to ignorance of the dairying industry on the part of those speakers. Apparently they are not aware that to get the maximum production from a cow it is necessary to have as near as possible similar periods between the two milkings By compelling dairymen to milk an hour earlier, which they would have to do to catch morning milk deliveries, we would shorten the period before the morning milking by an hour. But the evening milking could not be done after a corresponding period of time. In the summertime it is quite impossible to bring cows in to milk during the heat of the day. As I have indicated, as a consequence the period of time between the evening milking and the morning milking would be very much shorter than the period between the morning and the evening milkings. Production would suffer, not because of any temperamental difficulties in the cow but for the reason I have just indicated. Periods between milkings need to be as nearly as possible equal.
The difficulties of families with children have been well brought out in the debate. As a parent, I endorse the criticisms of daylight saving on this score. When daylight saving was in operation I happened to have children in the country, who had to travel quite a long way to school by horse and sulky. In those days there was no bus. Where there are buses, I have seen children on the roadside at half -past seven in the morning. If there were daylight saving in March, that would be the hour of sunrise. Imagine young children on the roadside at sunrise! They might have to walk a mile or so to get to that point and they would have to be up an hour or so before daylight. They could not be put to bed in the heat of the day. Therefore, their night’s rest would be shortened. This is an important factor also with adults. I have never lived in Sydney, fortunately, so I cannot talk about conditions of living and sleeping in Sydney, but I can say something about conditions in Western Australia. During summer I am very glad of the extra hour or two of comparative coolness in the early morning. I would strongly resent losing the benefit of the coolest time of the day, perhaps the only time when comfortable sleep is possible.
Many arguments adduced have been based on experience in Great Britain and America. The arguments based on American conditions have not helped very much. Senator Hannan’s speech consisted almost entirely of quotations from the report of some committee of inquiry in Great Britain. The poverty of the arguments in favour of daylight saving in Australia is underlined when they consist largely of reports upon conditions that have no relation to Australia.
Daylight saving has been tried twice here. In the enthusiasm of wartime energy, the country was persuaded to adopt daylight saving, but on both occasions we got rid of it as quickly as possible. I have a list of references to daylight saving in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ between 1st January, 1942, and 7th December, 1944. They relate to such matters as protests by dairyfarmers on 1st September, 1942, refusal by coalminers to co-operate, on 21st September, 1942, opposition at Wagga, on 21st August, 1943, and State governments being asked for opinions. On 1st September, 1943, there was reference to opposition in Western Australia, on 2nd October, 1943, to miners ignoring the clock, and on 5th October, 1943, to miners losing time.
Daylight saving is of no benefit to the agricultural industry, the manual worker, or the miner. If Sydney wants daylight saving, and if support for it in the unions is so overwhelming, the co-operation of employers should be sought for the commencement of work an hour earlier. They will then have all the advantages of knocking off an hour earlier in the afternoon without imposing upon the rest of the community the stupidity and inconvenience of this so-called daylight saving.
– Senator Anderson’s motion reads -
That the introduction of summer daylight saving in Australia during the calendar months of December, January, February and March in each year would have substantial national benefits.
Like Senator McKenna, I am amazed that such an item should be discussed by the Senate at the commencement of a session, when so many important matters need the urgent consideration of the Government and the Opposition has tried on numerous occasions to have them debated.
It is agreed by both the Government and the Opposition that under the Constitution we have no competence to legislate for daylight saving except in the Australian Capital Territory and other territories. I would be agreeable to the introduction of daylight saving in the Australian Capital Territory if it led to the discussion in this Parliament of such matters as the continued search for employment by thousands of young people who left school at the end of last year. Mr. Anderson, who is an economic adviser to the Commonwealth, has stated that we should accept as reasonable the fact that 110,000 men may remain jobless in our community. We should by all means have daylight saving in the Australian Capital Territory if it would result in that vital matter receiving the urgent attention of the Government. Sir Garfield Barwick has promised the nation for five years that he will introduce legislation to stop improper trading practices. Big companies, with nationwide ramifications, have gone into liquidation and stockholders have lost millions of pounds, yet this Government stands by, bringing no pressure to bear, not raising the matter in the Parliament. Instead, it puts before us a proposal for daylight saving, in respect of which our constitutional power relates only to Commonwealth territories. By all means let us have daylight saving in the Australian Capital Territory, if it will make the Government appreciate its responsibility in respect of matters that need positive action, but let us not waste time discussing this matter. No positive approach has been made for anything to be done about daylight saving. Senator Anderson no doubt brought forward his motion in all good faith, and perhaps he was amazed that it was decided to discuss it, but I am not amazed because I am satisfied that the Government took this innocuous subject to its heart in order to prevent discussion of more important matters, such as the state of the economy, unemployment and education.
What is the attitude of the Government to important questions which have been submitted to it by members of the Opposition? In the Senate to-day, Senator Murphy raised a matter which has a great bearing on the economy. Admittedly, there may be doubt about the constitutional power of the Commonwealth to deal with it, but nevertheless Senator Sir William Spooner replied in the following terms: -
The responsibility for the supply of electricity to consumers in Australia, apart from those in the Commonwealth Territories, lies with the various State governments. It would not be appropriate for me, in reply to a parliamentary question, to enter into a discussion on this matter.
That illustrates the attitude of the Government to a matter that is of real economic importance to Australia. Yet, we can spend a day, at a time so close to the forthcoming B-.’d.-et debate, in discussing the subject of daylight saving.
Since we must discuss daylight saving, let us do so factually. Honorable senators who have spoken in favour of the introduction of daylight saving have presented arguments based on findings reached in 1917, some wilh a theoretical basis and some with a practical basis. At that time, the workers were working a six-day week. They worked for longer hours and were entitled to shorter leave periods than our present-day workers. The conditions gained over the years by the Labour movement and the trade unions have brought about a completely different picture in relation to leisure time. It is simply deception to argue that daylight saving gave the worker another hour of leisure. If daylight saving were introduced, the worker would continue to work the same number of hours, but he would work them at different times. For most workers, whether they were agricultural or industrial workers, probably they would be more inconvenient times than those which apply at present.
As a member of the Labour movement in Western Australia, I saw how daylight saving operated in that State. At that time, unionists stated, “We will suffer this - we will not enjoy it - for the purpose of getting the maximum production for the war effort “. Maximum production was achieved by effectively utilizing plant where that was possible and by working rotating shifts, which meant three shifts a day for the workers. Two shifts were worked in daylight and the other at night. That was done enthusiastically for twelve months. Medical evidence showed that disputes and stoppages in the workshops were the result of industrial nervous exhaustion and because men were working round the clock. Daylight saving at that time had the advantage that it enabled expensive plant to be used for almost 24 hours a day. Men worked in rotation to the limit of their physical capacity. There was greater production, but it was achieved at great expense to the working man. Difficulty was experienced in rural areas. As honorable senators know, many farmers work by the sun. They start by the sun and finish by it. If a farmer wishes to get his commodities to market so that they may be available to the public at a relatively early hour, he has to start his work at daylight. If the clock is advanced an hour he must start before daylight.
The argument that daylight saving would relieve pressure on transport in the capital cities is a fallacious one. Daylight saving would simply mean that the peak hours would occur an hour earlier. A sane solution would be to stagger working hours so that some workers commenced work at 7 o’clock in the morning, others at 8 o’clock and still others at 9 o’clock. The hours at which children went to school also could be staggered. However, when that suggestion has been put forward it has not been received with a great deal of enthusiasm. Naturally, no one wants to have his hours staggered so that he will start work an hour earlier than his fellow workers. Whenever the suggestion for staggering hours has been brought before the industrial courts it has been vigorously opposed by industrial workers.
In 1917. under the spread of shifts, workers were required to work from ten hours to sixteen hours a day. A worker might start work at 6 o’clock in the morning and not finish until 8 o’clock at night. As we know, that kind of thing has been stopped because of action by the Labour movement. It is not possible now to require a man to work such a shift. Therefore, that consideration may be disregarded. Those conditions will not occur again, if Labour has any say in the matter. Similarly, the rotating of shifts, so that two daylight shifts might be employed to keep a plant occupied, may be disregarded. Our problem these days is to occupy not plants but workers. We have 110,000 jobless members of the community, according to Mr. R. W. C. Anderson, who is one of the advisers of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon).
Mr. Anderson has said that unemployment is a more or less permanent disease which we will have to suffer. While unemployment continues to exist, our problem is not one of saving man-power but of employing man-power.
This Government, which professes to be sincere, throws the subject of daylight saving into the ring. I say, “ Let the Government tackle the ills that need positive attention “. The thousands of children who are leaving school do not want to look at the sun for an hour longer each day. They want jobs. They want to be taken into employment. Young people are being accused of delinquency. The newspapers have stopped saying so, but we find that the great majority of the boys who are brought before the courts these days are unemployed. If we speak to charitable workers or people connected with institutions we find that delinquency is springing from the ranks of the young unemployed. lt is springing from otherwise quite decent young citizens who may have been seeking work for nine or ten months, who have no money and who have nothing with which to occupy their time. Through sheer frustration, they come in conflict with the law. If suitable employment were available for them when they left school they would not associate with undesirable types. If daylight saving would correct that position, I would say, “For the love of God bring it in “.
Instead of discussing such a matter as daylight saving, we should be discussing ways and means to cure the ills I have mentioned.
– You always have your right, under the Standing Orders, to discuss them.
– And you make opportunities available, I must say. Last time-
– You may move for the adjournment of the Senate at any sitting, and if you have the courage you will do so.
– You need not worry about my courage. I will match it with yours, either inside the Parliament or outside it. You seconded this innocuous motion, Mr. Minister. You knew very well how futile it was-
– And I knew very well that there was business before the Senate which the Labour Party would not deal with.
– We will deal with the matters I have mentioned. As a matter of fact, when I asked a question about unemployed children I was told that we would not get an opportunity to debate the matter and that it was being properly handled. It will be raised again. If the Minister will provide latitude to allow such matters to be debated-
– It is not a matter of the Minister doing so. You have your rights under the Standing Orders, but you never use them.
– Notices of motion to discuss important matters have gone by the board and have never been discussed. Yet, a subject like daylight saving comes along, and because there is a desire to avoid debate on other matters, it is snapped up with both hands. It has been pretty obvious that we have been wasting time to-day in discussing it. It is true that we have had an enlightening discussion of a Sunday afternoon topic, but from the point of view of the national interest, of the economy and of the need to discuss ways and means of relieving unemployment, it has been absolutely futile. It has been a waste of time for the Senate. We will make the opportunities, when we can, to debate these matters. We will have some opportunity during the debate on the Budget speech if the chopper is not used by the Government to curtail our efforts as happened on the last occasion.
– You have the opportunity every day the Senate meets.
– I should like to be able to accept the Minister’s assurance.
– It is a long time since the Labour Party in the Senate has moved the adjournment to discuss a matter of urgency. It is not game to debate these matters.
– We will accept that as a challenge, Mr. Minister. The position will be regularized. Such matters have been brought up as matters of urgency. They have been discussed by the Senate, but it is futile to bring certain matters before a government when that government absolutely disregards them. Although this Government has given solemn and sincere assurances to the people of Australia that it will attend to such matters it has done nothing about them. That has happened in relation to companies in which » thousands of Australian shareholders have invested money with very little chance now of getting it back. We have had also an assurance that school children will be placed in employment, but the Government has done nothing about that either. As I have said already, we have been privileged to have one of the Government’s main advisers stating publicly in the press that we must accept the figure of 110,000 as the average pool of unemployment. Such a figure is not objectionable to the Government; it is regarded as quite all right. If that is the attitude of the Minister who is Leader of the Government in this chamber it is the responsibility of the Government to make its position clear.
Daylight saving has been tried. It was suffered by the workers of this country. If the Government wants to take advantage of daylight to assist movement of transport in peak hours it can fix working hours by means of an appropriate action before a proper industrial authority. The matter can be agreed upon between workers and employers or can be decided by the authority.
– A 35-hour week would fix it.
– That would fix it. It is futile to have what has been in the nature of a pleasant little afternoon talk when there are so many matters of real urgency to the people of Australia that should be discussed by the Parliament. I say definitely that a 35-hour week would give workers much more leisure than would daylight saving. The latter would only mean that the same hours would be worked at more inconvenient times. As the Minister has some other business to place before the Senate I shall conclude my remarks by again asking the Government to pay more serious attention to the really serious problems that confront Australia.
Debate (on motion by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) adjourned.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the amendments made by the Senate in this bill.
Reports on Items.
– I lay on the table of the Senate reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects: -
Iron and steel chain.
Narrow woven fabrics.
Penicillins and streptomycin.
Screens and sieves for ore processing machines.
Towels, towelling, &c, and interim report under the general textile reference on towels, towelling, &c.
Vinyl chloride polymers and copolymers (including copies of correspondence between the Minister for Trade and the Chairman of the Board).
I also lay on the table of the Senate reports by special advisory authorities on the following subjects: -
Plastic coated fibre-glass yarn.
Processed (thrown) polyamide and polyester yarns.
Motion (by Senator Sir William Spooner) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till Wednesday next, at 3 p.m.
Motion (by Senator Sir William Spooner) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I regret having to delay the Senate at this late stage, but I take the opportunity of the motion for the adjournment to bring to the notice of the Senate - and thereby, I hope, to the notice of the people of Australia - what appears to be a racket that is going on, certainly in New South Wales, and probably in other States, in the servicing of television sets. Apparently what is happening is that certain unscrupulous persons are forming television repair companies with a paid-up capital of a mere £2. After the company has been registered it then sets about canvassing people - particularly in the metropolitan area, and mainly aged pensionersfor their custom.
Apparently, whereas with reputable companies the annual premium for insurance on television sets is some £16 16s. or £17 17s., these confidence men - and I use the term deliberately - are going around telling people that they will be able to perform the same service for a fee of £10 10s. or £12 12s. The members of these companies set themselves exorbitant salaries and allowances and, by playing on the desire to economize, of age pensioners in particular, they attract a certain amount of custom. After they have attracted a considerable volume of custom they put the company into voluntary liquidation. In this way members of the public are being fleeced literally of thousands of pounds.
This matter was first brought to my attention by age pensioners who paid £12 12s. to a company in Sydney on 4th January last. The name of the company is Riley’s Television Service, 169 Concord-road, North Strathfield.
– Is that service purported to be for twelve months?
– The service is purported to be for twelve months. In this instance a fee of £12 12s. was paid. A pensioner told me that after he had taken out this insurance policy with the company he made a complaint to the company that his television set was not functioning properly. He received no word at all from the firm. I do not know whether Riley’s Television Service is one of the companies that has gone into liquidation, but the fact is that after paying a premium of £12 12s. on 4th January, and after having sought to have his set serviced by the company, nothing has been done. The only thing he was told by the company was that another firm - Mainline T.V. of West Ryde - was now handling the servicing work of Riley’s Television Service and that the work would be done by Mainline T.V. of West Ryde after payment by the pensioner of a sum of £16 16s. After these facts were brought to my attention I rang the office of the New South Wales Public Solicitor, Mr. Hawkins, and he told me that he did not know specifically about the firm of Riley’s Television Service, but that his office was receiving complaints of a similar nature all the time. He said that what is happening is that this type of individual is literally taking people’s money - mostly from pensioners - and then going into liquidation. He said that these firms! usually start out with a capital of about £2, and when they get a few pounds in they go into liquidation. He said that unfortunately all that the person who has lost his money can do is to write it down to experience. He added that this is happening all the time and that it would be no use referring my constituent to him because he could not do anything for him at all. Indeed, the New South Wales Public Solicitor told me that he had a case just recently of an old pensioner lady who had paid her last sixteen guineas to one of these fellows, and the very next day the company involved had gone into liquidation.
Apparently these people are taking advantage of some defect in the existing companies legislation, and by so doing are fleecing the public, especially the elderly citizens of the community, of thousands of pounds. I do not know what the remedy is, but I suggest that the matter should be brought to the notice of the Commonwealth Attorney-General and that he should be asked to convene a meeting of State Attorneys-General, because I understand from one of my colleagues that this practice is prevalent in another capital city. Something should be done to afford protection to members of the public who are being subjected to what is obviously fraudulent misrepresentation. That is one aspect that might be taken into consideration by the Government. I ask the responsible Minister to bring this to the notice of the AttorneyGeneral to see whether anything can be accomplished.
Two alternative remedies may lie within the province of the Commonwealth Government itself, and I bring the first to the notice of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. The PostmasterGeneral could consider compulsory registration with his department of television service companies. I suggest that one condition of such registration should be that the company concerned should deposit a substantial sum with the department as a surety. I understand that in a similar way members of the master builders’ organizations throughout Australia have for some considerable time been seeking compulsory registration of builders. Indeed, I understand that in some States such a requirement already exists. I understand that this is so in Western Australia and that, as a result, much fraudulent misrepresentation and racketeering has been removed from that industry. I suggest that the PostmasterGeneral consider compulsory registration of television service firms as a means of eliminating much of the racketeering that is now going on.
The last suggestion that I put forward is one that comes to me from my colleague, Senator Murphy. If the Government does not favour compulsory registration, perhaps the Postmaster-General’s Department will consider itself establishing a television maintenance section. I am told that this kind of misrepresentation by confidence men is widespread in Sydney and in at least one other capital city. Television is now expanding very rapidly to country areas and I believe that the people of Australia should be warned against being trapped so easily into losing their money to these hardhearted and unscrupulous businessmen. I hope that the Government will immediately take whatever steps are within its power to protect the savings of the elderly people who, generally speaking, are the victims of these confidence men. I believe that this is a matter that should be closely looked at and given immediate attention by the responsible Ministers.
.- I find it very difficult to provide an intelligent answer to the matters raised by Senator McClelland because, in the main, they involve matters of legality and I am not well informed on the points he has raised. However, I think it is fair to say that he may have served a useful purpose in bringing to the notice of the people generally the type of business that he alleges is flourishing in some capital cities. If his allegations are correct and this type of business is permitted to flourish, it is to be deplored.
The honorable senator went on to say that some unscrupulous persons in the community, in the guise of servicing television sets, are fleecing the public of, I think he said, millions of pounds.
– Thousands of pounds.
– Very well. The honorable senator also said that the actions of those persons were creating considerable hardship He ultimately described them as confidence men. We know that such men are anathema in the community because so many well-meaning people are their victims in whatever field they operate. The honorable senator emphasized some points that he thought may provide remedial action. He suggested that the Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson) should consider the advisability of requiring compulsory registration of firms which desire to service television sets. I speak without any prior knowledge and without any authority, but I doubt very much whether the Government has any authority to enter this field and to require those people to register. Even if there were authority, it would be well-nigh impossible to police such a requirement and to make adequate provision as to the bona fides of these people. On those grounds my immediate reaction to the proposition is that it is not feasible.
The second point made by the honorable senator was that the Postmaster-General might consider developing in his own department a section for the maintenance of privately-owned television sets. I can be more specific here and say without fear of equivocation that in the Government’s view this is not a solution to the problem. The Government cherishes very dearly the philosophy that free enterprise shall flourish in this community.
– It has a licence to flourish.
– It is not a licence because the law of supply and demand is a leveller in the community. To suggest that this Government, which has been responsible for such marked progress in the industrial fields in the last few years, should enter into open competition with private industry is unthinkable.
– What about Trans-Australia Airlines?
– There is no comparison whatever between T.A.A. and the suggestion you made. It is childish to make an analogy along those lines. There must be a remedy, and I believe that very strenuous efforts should be made to find it. I consider that this is a matter that should be faced up to by the Attorneys-General of the States, wherever they are concerned with this type of problem. There is a tendency to-day in this country to unload every problem in the community on to the Commonwealth Government. There are State governments which enjoy sovereign rights, and I suggest that they should accept their responsibility. This is a matter that affects specifically, the State Government. 1 suggest to the honorable senator who has brought this matter up that he make the strongest representations to the State Attorney-General concerned. However, I am so impressed by the points that he has made that I shall bring his remarks to the notice of the Commonwealth AttorneyGeneral (Sir Garfield Barwick). All of us, like himself, are concerned that these things flourish in the community. I shall ask the Attorney-General to examine the honorable senator’s submission and let me have his thinking on the subject for the honorable senator’s information.
– I know no more of this matter than I have heard in the course of the debate on the motion for the adjournment, but I should like the Minister for Health (Senator Wade) to consider this point: Many of these companies function as insurance companies. They insure the people who approach them against the loss of electrodes, cathode-ray tubes, valves or other parts. It may well be found that the companies to which reference has been made are insurance companies. If that is so, the Commonwealth has a clear jurisdiction in that field. I would invite the Minister to direct some attention to that aspect. It might well be found that the Commonwealth would have the right to intervene under that head.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.12 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 14 August 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1963/19630814_senate_24_s24/>.