25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I address to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence a question relating to the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund. Has the fund reserves of £20,000,000 which have been built up principally from servicemen’s contributions? Is it true that because of the buoyancy of the fund the Government is considering restricting its contributions? If these are facts, will the Government consider either increasing the servicemen’s benefits or reducing the contributions?
– I am not aware of the financial position of the fund. I only express the view that the defence forces retirement benefits scheme is generally acknowledged to be a very satisfactory and indeed generous scheme and is appreciated by those who benefit from it. I have heard of no proposal for an alteration of the present arrangements. I think that is where the matter rests.
– Has the Minister representing the Treasurer seen a report in yesterday’s “ Sydney Morning Herald “ that the Premier of Western Australia, Mr. Brand, has made a request to the Commonwealth Government for £19,300,000 to complete the Ord River irrigation project, as distinct from other requests? Is it correct to say that this project, when completed, will produce primary commodities worth approximately £17,000,000 annually? Would not this make a valuable contribution to Australia’s export earnings? Because of the importance of this project, can the Minister indicate when the Government will consider the Premier’s request? Does his plan, which involves the provision of £19,300,000 from Commonwealth sources, indicate how much the Government of Western Australia is prepared to contribute, or is the money lo be a straightout grant?
– I am aware that the subject matter of Premier Brand’s submission to the Commonwealth Government has received some publicity in the Western Australian press within the last day or so. I have not yet had an opportunity to see the statement in the press and I am not sure at what stage the actual submission from the Government of Western Australia to the Commonwealth Government is at present. I have no doubt that in due time it will be considered by this Government, as indeed are all requests from the State governments.
I am not aware of the details of the scheme that Senator Branson has mentioned. Of course, he and most other members of the Australian community are aware that the Commonwealth has extended very material help to the Government of Western Australia for that part of the Ord River scheme which has been developed so far. I do not doubt that further requests in relation to this project will receive consideration against the background of the sympathy, understanding, and indeed material help, that have been extended in the past. Of course it will have to receive the consideration .of the Government in due time.
– The Leader of the Government, when replying to a question I asked yesterday, requested me to repeat the question to-day. I shall now do so. Strictly speaking, perhaps, my question should be addressed to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, but as the subject of it, which has been discussed in this chamber for quite some time, concerns all departments, I prefer to address it to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Fairly recently, representations were made to me by a branch of the Australian Labour Party to obtain extra postal and telephone facilities in a particular area. Following my representations and investigations by the Postal Department, nearly all the thing3 sought were obtained. The reply I received from the Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs informed me of this, and at the end of the letter he stated -
The federal member for the district concerned has been made aware of the department’s actions.
The federal member for this area is a member of the Liberal Party. I think you will remember, Mr. President, that this matter has been discussed in this chamber quite often, and I understood that the final reply given by the Leader of the Government in the Senate was that the practice of informing the other federal member would be stopped. Does the practice still persist?
– I will repeat the statement on this matter that I made in the Senate on 9th August, 1962. It was in these terms -
Several honorable senators have criticized the practice which has been adopted by some Ministers and their departments of informing members of the House of Representatives, at the same time us senators, of decisions taken on behalf of particular persons. It has been decided that this practice will cease. In the future, copies of such correspondence with senators will not be sent to any one else.
Where an honorable senator or a member of the House of Representatives approaches a Minister or a department on an essentially personal matter affecting an elector, the decision will be conveyed only to the senator or member making the representations. It follows, of course, that where representations are made by more than one senator or member, advice of the decision will be sent to each of them. However, where the decision in an individual case involves some new general rule, there is clearly justification for this to be made public, though without disclosure of any information about the name or personal circumstances of an individual elector.
Applying that principle, I think the questions to be answered are these: Did a member of the House of Representatives make any representations concurrently with Senator Sandford? Was the decision to provide the postal facilities what might be termed a general decision rather than a particular one? If Senator Sandford will supply me with the relevant particulars, I shall take the matter up with the Postmaster-General.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. As there are conflicting views in the grazing industry on the subject, will the Minister inform the Senate of the percentage of the total Australian wool clip that is consumed in Australia?
– Speaking from memory, and subject to correction, I think that the local consumption of the Australian wool clip is less than 9 per cent, but I shall check that figure, and if it is not right I shall advise the honorable senator accordingly.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration whether the publicity campaign directed towards achieving increased applications for Australian citizenship from the 240,000 migrants eligible for naturalization has been successful. How many of this number have made application since the campaign commenced? Will the Government or its advisory body consider a suggestion that children of naturalized persons be awarded a separate certificate, reference or memento at the same time as the parents receive their certificates?
– As I have not yet read the last quarterly bulletin sent to me by the Department of Immigration I do not know the exact figure for which the honorable senator asks, but I understand the campaign has been reasonably successful. I shall discuss with the Minister for Immigration the suggestion that a certificate be awarded to the children, but, at a quick glance, I should think that the children would automatically become Australian citizens. However, I shall discuss that aspect with the Minister.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. As the Minister for the Interior, having seen on the notice-paper the notice of motion standing in my name relating to the position of the permanent Parliament House, proceeded to invite me to a consultation with members of the National Capital Development Commission, I should like his representative here to communicate to him my gratitude for that courtesy. I now ask: Will the Minister ascertain whether it is possible to comply with a request that architectural, engineering and planning reports obtained by the commission since, say, 1958 when a Cabinet decision was made with regard to the location of the permanent Parliament House, can be laid upon the table of this chamber, or placed in the Library for a reasonable period to enable members of this chamber to get such factual information as may bc gleaned from the documents for the purpose of discussing my motion?
– I am not sure whether I represent the Minister for the Interior or am at the moment the Minister for the Interior. My resignation is dated to-day but 1 do not know yet whether it has been accepted by the Governor-General. So soon as it is accepted I shall bring to the attention of the new Minister the sentiments expressed by Senator Wright and ask my colleague to discuss with the honorable senator the points raised by him relating to making architectural plans and other information available.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, lt relates to the Langwarrin military camp in Victoria which is not at present being used for Army activities but which the Minister’s predecessor in office has stated is under consideration for possible use by Regular Army units. I ask: Is the Minister aware that citizens residing close to the camp are seriously concerned at the possibility that the Army may take steps to acquire their land? In view of the uncertainty created by unofficial discussions with these residents, will the Minister state whether any decision has yet been made concerning the future use of the Langwarrin camp and whether it is contemplated that the camp area should be extended by the acquisition of further land? If no decision has yet been made to resume the use of the camp for Army activities, will the Minister undertake not to proceed with any acquisition plans until representations have been made on behalf of the adjacent landholders?
– I can quite understand that residents in the district naturally are anxious to know whether a decision has been made one way or another about the use to which the area will be put. The honorable senator will appreciate that I shall have to approach the Minister for the Army for information regarding the decision in this case. Therefore, if the honorable senator will put his question on the notice-paper I shall ask the Minister to supply an answer for him.
– Docs the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral recall my question to him last week about television licences for rented furnished premises? ls he aware that the PostmasterGeneral, when replying yesterday to a similar question asked in another place, stated that he was prepared to look into this matter and inform the honorable member of the result? In view of my interest in the matter, will the Minister see that a copy of the information supplied is made available to me?
– I remember the question asked by Senator Drake-Brockman concerning the prosecution of people living in rented premises in Perth who had failed to take out licences for the television sets in those premises. The honorable senator knows, of course, that variations of present policy are matters for the PostmasterGeneral. J shall bring to his notice the representations that the honorable senator has made, and 1 shall see that the information that the honorable senator requires is made available to him when a decision has been made.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. A Japanese delegation has been invited to inspect quarantine administration in Australia with a view to the revision or revocation of the ban, for quarantine reasons, on the entry to Japan of a wide variety of Australian products. Will the Minister ensure the earliest liaison with the States in order to facilitate arrangements for the success of the inspection?
– I have not heard of the conditions that the Japanese are laying down for the entry of our primary products into their country. In this country quarantine is the responsibility of the Department of Health, so I am very interested in the matter the honorable senator has raised. I shall make inquiries into the matter and advise the honorable senator of the result.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, relates to the recent decision of the Government to allow the importation of second-hand vessels for the carriage of fuel oil from one port to another in Australia, provided new vessels are built in Australia. Will the Minister advise me whether the Government has considered the freight rates that will be charged if Australian vessels are used? By how much is it expected that there will be a reduction in the cost of fuel to the motoring public of Australia?
– The honorable senator refers specifically to freight charges and the possible variations if Australian vessels are used. To my knowledge, that factor was very much in the mind of the Government when this decision was taken. I cannot give the honorable senator now precise details of the variations in freight rates, but I shall ask my colleague whether he will make them available to me so that I can let the honorable senator have them.
– Can the Minister for Civil Aviation inform the Senate of the stage that has been reached in negotiations with the New South Wales Government to have a garbage tip removed from the vicinity of Mascot aerodrome for the purpose of reducing the hazard of seagulls interfering with the taking-off and landing of aircraft at that aerodrome?
– The file on this matter has not been on my table during the last month or five weeks, but when I last looked at it I saw that certain correspondence had passed between the Prime Minister and the Premier of New South Wales. I am aware that the New South Wales Government has had discussions on this matter with local government authorities. I think that the best thing that I can do in order to answer the honorable senator’s question is to look at the file again and then give the honorable senator a precis of the position as it is at this stage.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service whether the Commonwealth Government conducted inquiries with a view to assisting to increase the number of persons who undergo apprentice ship training in Australia. Has this policy proved successful? Is the Minister examining the subject with a view to the Government’s giving further thought and, perhaps, monetary support, to the training of additional young people who apply for training as apprentices?
– The answer to the first part of the question is, “ Yes “. The Minister for Labour and National Service, some time ago, did address his mind to the problem of supplying to Australian industry sufficient highly trained technicians to fill the jobs vacant in highly skilled occupations and he called various conferences for that purpose. I understand that there has been a considerable advance in this field already and that if the promise already shown is fulfilled this will be a very good example of the sort of leadership which we often hear is required in that what will have taken place will have taken place as a result of the Minister’s initiative, as a result of the monetary assistance already given by the Commonwealth Government and as a result of working in with trade unions, employers’ organizations and various apprenticeship advisory bodies. Undoubtedly, the matter will be constantly in the mind of the Minister.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. In view of the 20 per cent, reduction recently announced by Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett-A.N.A. in freight rates between Victoria and Tasmania, will the Minister have an inquiry made by his department into the case for a similar reduction to be made between King Island and Victoria and between King Island and Tasmania and on the service between the two States mentioned and Flinders Island to which only Ansett-A.N.A. is operating regular schedules?
– Yes, I shall look at the situation, but I at once draw the attention of the honorable senator to the important difference between the service from Melbourne to the Tasmanian mainland and the service to the Bass Strait islands. The latter service, necessarily, is subsidized and that is an important aspect in the fixation of freight rates. None the less, I shall look at the matter and see what can be done.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. According to my recollection, the total statutory reserve deposits now required by the Reserve Bank of Australia from the trading banks is between £300,000,000 and £400,000,000. Will the Minister give me the accurate figure if he is able? The principal purpose of my question is to seek knowledge of the way in which such funds are utilized when they are subject to the direction of the Reserve Bank. It seems incomprehensible that they should yield only one-half of 1 per cent., which I understand is the return that the trading banks receive. Will the Minister state the way in which the funds are used for the purpose of increasing productivity, either by the Government or by some other agency? Are the funds, in effect, sterile?
– The question involves a number of rather weighty considerations, as I think the honorable senator will recognize. I should prefer to refer it to the Treasurer and to obtain something in the nature of a comprehensive answer te it.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. I ask the Minister whether he has seen a press report of recent date to the effect that funds held to the credit of Australia overseas amount to more than £700,000,000, which is an all-time record? Will he state whether the Treasury has made an estimate of the extent to which the funds will increase by the end of this financial year?
– I am, of course, aware of the very healthy condition of Australia’s overseas funds which are at present greater than they have ever been in our history. I am not aware that the Treasurer has made an estimate of the amount that the funds will reach by the end of the financial year, but I shall have a look at the matter and if there is any information which can bc made available to the honorable senator 1 shall let him have it.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, refers to the extraction of chemicals and fresh water from salt water, at low cost. I ask the Minister whether he has seen a report, which I think emanated from Japanese news sources, to the effect that a Japanese manufacturer claims that he has developed a new method by means of which a large amount of caustic soda, soda ash and magnesium carbonate, as well as fresh water, can be obtained inexpensively from salt water. The report also states that he is planning to utilize the method to mass produce such chemicals, and that his company has spent several years in studying, partly with the aid of government subsidies, the feasibility of extracting chemicals in this way. I ask the Minister about this matter because it is important to Australia to be able to obtain fresh water from salt water at low cost.
– I have not seen the particular report to which the honorable senator has referred. A great deal would depend on whether the manufacturer he has mentioned was concerned with obtaining cheap chemicals or cheap fresh water. So far as I am aware, and so far as I have been informed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization which is constantly in touch with this matter because of its importance to Australia, the extraction of fresh water from salt water cannot be done economically if the idea is to obtain fresh water for the purposes of irrigation and matters of that kind. If this new development should prove to be efficacious it would be of great benefit to Australia, but I can inform the honorable senator that the C.S.I.R.O. is in touch with new developments in this field all over the world. Its interest in the matter will depend on whether the process is designed primarily to obtain cheap chemicals, with fresh water as a by-product, or fresh water at low cost, which is what we want.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service.
Can he say whether there are figures available to the Department of Labour and National Service indicating the number of school leavers who have not yet been absorbed into industry? I refer, of course, to those who left school before Christmas of last year. Can he state the number of boys and girls in the fifteen to sixteen years and seventeen to nineteen years age groups who are registered for employment in the various States of the Commonwealth?
– I should be very glad to get those figures for the honorable senator because, as she will no doubt have noticed, there was at the end of the last school-leaving year no significant increase in the numbers registered for employment, as there had been in past years, which indicated that practically everybody leaving school had, in the present booming state of the economy, managed quickly to find employment. I shall get the figures for the specific age groups, if they are available to the Minister. I think it would be a good thing if that question were put on the notice-paper so that the figures could be presented to the honorable senator publicly.
– I direct a question to the Minister for National Development. Is it a fact that the Australian Water Resources Council, under the Minister’s chairmanship, met recently? Did the council decide on the number of extra stream-gauging stations that were required to ascertain the amount of water available from streams that are utilized? Was any consideration given by the council to assessing also the quantities of subterranean water available for use?
There was an interesting meeting of the Australian Water Resources Council at which a lot of progress was made. The council had before it what we believe to be the first national assessment of Australian water resources and decided to issue that information in the form of a publication. The council had before it also a programme for the measurement of all surface water in Australia.
– Stream water.
River water, as distinct from sub-surface water. The council had before it a programme for the measurement of Australia’s water resources over a period of years, assessments of the number of measuring stations that were needed, the cost involved, and the staff required. The council agreed upon the programme. It is necessary now to go back to the respective governments to have the financial arrangements approved by them. The council was told that a programme for the measurement of subsurface, artesian water, had not yet been finalized by the technical officers of the various governments. Arrangements were made to have a further meeting of the council in June of this year, by which time, we hope, that programme will be completed.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry ascertain the number of bushels of wheat and barley grown and available for export in the 1963-64 season in each State of the Commonwealth, the number of bushels of such wheat and barley that have already been exported and the countries to which they have bee* exported, and the quantities expected to be exported? What are the prospects of exporting, under favorable conditions, the balance of the 1963-64 harvests of wheat and barley? Can the Minister indicate to what countries it is expected that these exports will be made?
– The honorable senator will be aware that the 1963-64 harvests of wheat and barley were an all-time record. I believe that sales, too, would fall into that category. The Australian Wheat Board has, I think, sold almost all of the available wheat from the 1963-64 harvest. I shall obtain the figures sought by the honorable senator and let him have them by way of written reply.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Has passenger traffic at the international terminal at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport increased greatly in recent months? Has the Minister read public criticism to the effect that the facilities are inadequate and overtaxed? What does the Government intend to do about it?
– I believe that over the last few months passenger traffic being handled at the Sydney international airport has continued to increase steadily. I do not know whether within that period the increase has been greater than it was previously. I doubt it. The Commonwealth Government’s plans for the Sydney international airport have already been announced and have been given wide publicity. If Senator Murphy wants to know anything in addition to what has already been announced, I shall try to inform him accordingly.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy whether he has seen a report in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ which states, in part -
A veteran who took part in Australia’s first naval battle, served 10 years in the Navy, then worked 38 years for it, has mislaid his service medals. The Navy wants £2/3/11 to replace them.
If he has seen the statement, will he say whether it is correct? If it is correct, will something be done to remove this insult to the ex-serviceman concerned?
– I did see the article to which the honorable senator has referred. If medals are mislaid, it is the normal procedure in all the services not only to ask for a statutory declaration but also to demand a sum for the cost of replacement.
– It is a paltry sum.
– If the honorable senator will listen, I shall give him an answer. If he does not want to listen, I shall resume my seat and not waste his time and mine. In this case, the Navy has had no indication that the person concerned is unable to meet the cost. If he applies to the Navy for special consideration and states the condition in which he is placed at the moment, favorable consideration will be given to remedying the position.
– I direct to the Minister for National Development a question which arises from an answer that he gave earlier in the afternoon and in which he referred to the meeting between himself and the State Ministers in charge of water -conservation. My question, which relates to the problem of artesian water, is this: Was consideration given to the possibility of controlling water taken out of artesian basins where they cross State boundaries? I point out by way of illustration that the Great Victorian artesian basin is being tapped at its western boundary by South Australia at the present time.
– 1 do not think that the advisers to the Australian Water Resources Council have reached that point in their deliberations. As I understand the position, we did not receive from what we call the technical committee any report on artesian water resources, because members of the committee were not satisfied that they had reached final conclusions about what should be done. So I should say that up to this stage we have not had that problem examined. The technical officers have been directing their thoughts primarily to the proper method to adopt to measure our underground water resources. I know that when that stage is passed there will be a lot of consideration of and discussion upon the conservation and use of those resources.
– Pursuant to Standing Order No. 38 I hereby appoint the following senators to be the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications: - Senator H. G. J. Cant, Senator Sir Walter Cooper, Senator D. C. Hannaford, Senator P. J. Kennelly, Senator K. A. Laught, Senator A. E. D. Lillico and Senator L. K. Murphy.
– by leave - I wish to inform the Senate that the Honorable Sir Garfield Barwick, Senator the Honorable J. G. Gorton, and the Honorable A. J. Forbes have to-day tendered to the GovernorGeneral their resignations as AttorneyGeneral, Minister for the Interior and Minister for the Navy respectively. His Excellency has accepted their resignations and in their stead has sworn in the Honorable B. M. Snedden as Attorney-General, the Honorable J. D. Anthony as Minister, for the Interior and the Honorable F. C. Chaney as Minister for the Navy.
Motions (by Senator Sir William Spooner) - by leave - agreed to -
That a Standing Orders Committee be appointed, to consist of the President, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Chairman of Committees, and Senators Cavanagh, Cooke, Cormack, Hendrickson, Kendall and Vincent, with power to act during recess, and to confer with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.
That a Printing Committee be appointed, to consist of Senators Breen, Sir Walter Cooper, Marriott, Ormonde, Ridley, Sandford and Sherrington, with power to confer or sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.
That a Library Committee be appointed, to consul of the President and Senators Arnold, Bishop, Breen, Cant, Kendall and Maher, with power to act during recess, and to confer or sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.
That a House Committee be appointed, to consist of the President and Senators Arnold, DrakeBrockman, Hannaford, Hendrickson, Marriott and Sandford, with power to act during recess, and to confer or sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, the following senators be appointed members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, viz.: - Senators Anderson, Dittmer and Prowse.
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Accounts Committee Act 1951, the following senators be appointed members of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, viz.: - Senators Drake-Brockman, Fitzgerald and Wedgwood.
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliamentary Proceedings, viz.: - The President of 1960, the following senators be appointed members of the joint committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings, viz.: - The President of the Senate, and Senators Arnold and Hannan.
– I have to inform the Senate that I have received letters from the Leader of the Government in the Senate nominating Senators Cormack , Prowse,
Wood and Wright and from the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate nominating Senators Arnold, Cooke and Willesee to be members of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances.
Motion (by Senator Sir William Spooner) - by leave - agreed to -
That a Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances be appointed, to consist of Senators Arnold, Cooke, Cormack, Prowse, Willesee, Wood and Wright, such senators having been duly nominated in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No. 36a.
Debate resumed from 3rd March (vide page 158), on motion by Senator Morris -
That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General be agreed to: -
May It Please Your Excellency:
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
Senator Dame ANNABELLE RANKIN (Queensland) [3.49].- When the Senate adjourned last night, I was speaking of the development of our vast northern areas. I referred not only to the importance of the development of our primary production and mining resources but also to the vital need to make it possible, through our developmental plans, for families to live in those areas. I spoke of the importance of the security of these people and of the need to do everything possible to help women and their families so that children may grow up in areas with their parents and will want to continue living there. I spoke of the great work being done in Queensland by our expanded and very fine air services. I referred also to the tremendous work being done by light aircraft in our plan for development. I said I hoped there would be research into the best types of homes for use in the tropics and thatthe results would be available to those who wish to live there.
I believe roads are a major feature of the story of the development of these vast areas. Roads not only mean that we can bring out cattle and other produce from these areas but they also meanthat we can take into them the things necessary for the development of the areas. Roads mean contact between people who live in the more distant parts of Australia. They play an important part in relieving the loneliness of women and their families in this vast land. As has been recorded in the Governor-General’s Speech, the Government has a fine record of achievement in providing assistance for roads. I recall the Commonwealth aid roads legislation under which the Government will have paid £250,000,000 to the States for roads over the past five years. This agreement, we know, will expire on 30th June and legislation for a new scheme which will involve larger payments will be presented to the Parliament, following discussions with the State Premiers. Roads mean a great deal to the future of this vast area. They must be borne constantly in mind by those who are working in the great field of development. Anything in this connexion that is done in this northern area will affect the settlement of families and indeed the establishment of homes in the area.
I should like to congratulate the Government on its policy in the very important matter of housing. As you know, Mr. President, the Government has a very proud housing record. The Government has always believed that an important factor in the happiness of a family unit is the provision of adequate housing of a good standard. I wish to congratulate the Government and the Minister for Housing (Mr. Bury) on their very real appreciation of the housing problem. Since this Government was elected to office, its record in the construction of war service homes has been most spectacular. We have made available more war service homes than all other governments put together. We have a proud record in home ownership. Australia has the highest percentage of home ownership of any country in the world. This is of great importance and is something of which we as Australians should be tremendously proud.
The Government, with a very real appreciation of the needs of the people and of young people in particular, has now introduced a most imaginative scheme. I want to say how splendid is this new idea of housing assistance to young* people about to be married Special’ assistance is’ to be given by way of a subsidy on their savings, and this will greatly encourage home ownership. Moreover, this scheme will enable young people to get their homes much more quickly. You will remember, Mr. President, that in the days when we first came to office there were problems of shared homes and housing camps. We know all too well the disastrous effect these factors had on families. Homes were broken up because of the housing problem. This new proposal by the Government to assist young couples to save money and so buy their own homes must have a tremendous effect on their future happiness.
I also want to congratulate the Government on the further assistance that is to be given to families by an increase to 15s. a week of child endowment payments for third and subsequent children and by the grant of 15s. a week in respect of full-time students between sixteen and 21 years. This, I think, is tremendously important because assistance to students in the various fields of education is invaluable. In the modern age in which we live, education is of paramount importance. The young men and women of Australia must be trained and equipped to-day to cope with the marvellous developments that have taken place in the fields of science, pathology and indeed all kinds of things. I believe it is imperative that we should help the young people in every possible way, and that we should ensure that they are given the fullest advantage of whatever educational facilities we can provide for them. I consider, Sir, that this is essential for only in this way can we equip our young citizens of to-day to shoulder whatever responsibilities may rest upon them in the years that lie ahead.
In the last 50 years, the world has seen tremendous developments in all forms of science, medicine and other things. Why, we now talk about outer space as an everyday subject and I believe that we who are in this chamber and this Parliament to-day have a very great responsibility to ensure that those who will be citizens occupying responsible positions in a few years time are now given the very best standards of education so that they may be thoroughly equipped to accept the responsibility of seeing to it that the great discoveries that have been- made -.in the last, half century are used &r the*~ welfare’ ‘and benefit ‘‘of humanity.
I should like now to say a few words about our health measures. At the outset I congratulate the Government on once again showing a very real appreciation of the needs and problems of the citizens of Australia. I am indeed pleased to know that the Commonwealth medical benefits payments will be increased by 334 per cent., that the existing limit of £10,000,000 applying to grants to the States for the building or equipping of mental health treatment centres will not apply for the next three years, and that contributors to medical benefits insurance funds will be entitled to the increase in the Commonwealth medical benefits without being required to make ant increase in their weekly contributions to the funds. This, I think, is of very great importance and I do know it will help very many families to whom this problem has been a very great worry indeed.
But I should like to draw the attention of the Minister for Health (Senator Wade) to one or two services which I believe could still receive some assistance. I speak first about assistance for domiciliary nursing and the supplying of oxygen to patients. As supporters of the Government, we are proud indeed that the Government has a keen appreciation of the splendid work being done by the district nursing organizations and has demonstrated its appreciation by granting a considerable amount to them by way of subsidies. This assistance has been of great benefit to the district nurses, the blue nurses and members of other bodies engaged in similar work because it has enabled them to extend their work and to enlarge their staffs of nurses who do magnificent work in going into people’s homes and caring for sick and aged persons for an hour or two wherever they may be required. So, whilst I have a great appreciation of the work being done by the Minister and pay tribute to him for what he has done in this field, I would ask him to give consideration to assisting those people requiring a domiciliary nurse; that is, aid in those cases where the family is in need of the full-time help of a domiciliary nurse to care for some one in the home.
Here, as in the case of the district nurses, Sir, the great benefit resulting from the work is that it has been’ ‘ possible, to keep aged and ‘sick relatives ‘within the family circle. This, in its turn, dees much to reduce the overcrowding of hospitals and therefore the cost of hospital services. Very often, where members of the family go to work during the day the registered nurse working privately is required only for night duty so that families who make domestic arrangements for the patient by day are able to have a good night’s rest knowing that the patient is being cared for by a registered nurse. Such families need someone to care for the patient at night and a domiciliary nurse to do night duty is imperative. 1, therefore, feel that great benefit could accrue if some assistance could be given by way of Commonwealth benefit in these cases.
I point out that the person needing the care is faced with the cost of paying for the nurse and if such care is needed for a long period the cost becomes very expensive. If the Commonwealth would assist by making some benefit payment to those in need of domiciliary nurses in the home when they come out of hospital or who are being treated for some particular illness tremendous advantages would accrue in that patients would be enabled to leave hospital earlier thus making beds available for new cases. So I ask the Minister to give consideration to the suggestion that Commonwealth benefit payments be made for domiciliary nursing.
I come now to the need of many patients for oxygen. What a tremendously important thing oxygen is. I do know that following previous representations made on this subject a great deal of consideration was given and is being given by the Minister and the department, but I would ask that still further consideration be given to it. I remind the chamber that if a patient is accepted by the repatriation authorities as being eligible for treatment by the repatriation medical services the oxygen cylinders and all other necessary equipment are provided to the patient free of charge, whereas a person who is not a repatriation case receives no assistance from the Commonwealth. I know of cases in which the patient has required oxygen for a very considerable time. The supply of this equipment involves considerable cost to the patient and despite that cost, it.:must be provided because the -use of oxygen is ‘ imperative if the life of the patient is to be saved. So I stress those two points asking that consideration be given to the desirability of granting every assistance by way of Commonwealth benefit to such people for domiciliary nursing and also to those needing a supply of oxygen.
It will be remembered that some time ago I spoke in this chamber concerning the tragic problem of those children who are smitten with that very terrible disease known as cystic fibrosis, a disease which, unfortunately, greatly shortens the life of the suffering child. Indeed, in most cases, the children suffering from it die before attaining their teens. On that previous occasion, I asked the Government to consider the possibility of having a survey carried out by the National Health and Medical Research Council. It should be a nation-wide survey of the incidence of this dread disease known as cystic fibrosis, and I feel if such a survey could be organized by this highly specialized council, which is in the best possible position to get all statistical data from doctors, much would be done towards assisting these children. I believe it would certainly be of tremendous advantage not only in making people aware of this tragic ailment and the importance of diagnosing it early but also in giving an opportunity for more to be done to help these helpless little souls. It is really terribly tragic to know that children smitten with this dread disease have a very short span of life.
I also ask the Minister whether his department can assist parents to obtain mistogen machines and other breathing apparatus without which these children cannot to be kept alive. This is a great problem facing many parents in various parts of the country. I do know, Sir, that consideration has been and is being given to this matter but I sincerely hope that more real help will be made available so that these little sufferers may enjoy a happier and easier life while suffering from this illness. It would also considerably ease the burden of the parents who care for these children, who love them and who want them to have the greatest ease and comfort in their illness. The Senate might be interested to know that I have here a photostat copy of a letter headed “Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Welfare Aminis-. tration, Washington 25, D.C.” . This letter was written by a Dr. Kramm in connexion with child health studies, and is of interest to any person concerned with these matters. I was interested in one paragraph, which reads as follows: -
I am intrigued with the possibility of the Australian Health Ministry undertaking a survey of cystic fibrosis in their country.
Then the doctor goes on -
Findings of our current survey of the magnitude of this disease in the eastern United States will not be available for another year or two. The enclosed reprint of our pilot study in three New England States may be of interest and help to the Australian Association.
I have also a copy of the pilot survey. It is a very interesting document. I know that the Minister for Health will be interested to see it, and I shall be glad for him to study it. If we in Australia can join with other countries in this fight, these unfortunate children will be helped, their lives will be made easier and they will be given a greater expectation of life. If we do those things we shall have done something worthwhile. Knowing the tremendous interest of the Minister and his desire to assist in matters such as this, I ask him to give this matter further consideration.
In the Governor-General’s Speech we have a document which outlines many things that the Government will do in the present year. The Speech demonstrates to the people of Australia that the Government is very much aware of the needs of the community and the needs of Australia as a nation. As we start this new Parliament, very conscious of the part that Australia must play among the nations of the world and of her position in this part of the Pacific, we should be glad - and I believe the people of Australia are glad - that we have on the treasury bench a government which is very well aware of these matters. It is a Government with a forward-looking policy which, I believe, will make Australia a greater nation and a better country in which to live.
Each of us, representing our State as we do, has a great responsibility to ensure that the policy of the Government is brought into operation as rapidly as possible. As people vested with this responsibility, let us, as the Governor-General said in his Speech in this chamber, try in all our deliberations to remember the needs and the problems of the people, let us “ further the welfare of the people of the Commonwealth “ and let us do our utmost to strengthen Australia as a nation so that it may play its part among the nations of the world.
– I am happy to take part in this debate and to follow Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin, who has made a very humane appeal on matters that are close to her heart. I hope that in the very near future the Government will give consideration to the matters about which she has spoken. I join with other honorable senators in congratulating the GovernorGeneral on his very fine exposition to this Senate last Tuesday of the Government’s programme.
The Address-in-Reply debate, as it is called, gives honorable senators an opportunity not only to analyse the performance of the Government but also to ascertain its future programme. Before dealing with such matters may I offer my congratulations to Senator Morris on his maiden speech. A maiden speech is regarded as one of the most important events in a man’s political life. Most of us here are judged on the first speech that we deliver in the Senate. I appreciate fully the trials and tribulations involved in making a maiden speech, having made maiden speeches in both the House of Representatives and this chamber. I recall that Disraeli said that he would have preferred to lead a cavalry charge rather than to deliver his first speech in the House of Commons. He did not make such a great impression on that occasion, but later he rose to great heights, as every senator knows. Senator Morris put forward a claim on behalf of his State. It is a claim that has been put forward on numerous occasions by honorable senators on this side of the chamber. My colleagues Senator Benn, Senator Brown and Senator Dittmer, and, of course, some Government senators, have put forward similar claims, but nothing has been done. I hope that from time to time those who have control of these matters will give some consideration to the great State of Queensland.
Naturally, of course, the Government is happy with the result of the last general election, but it should not be allowed to put this country to the expense of premature elections in the way it did on that occasion. A careful analysis should be made of what has taken place in Australia in this field over the past fourteen years. A new government is supposed to be elected once every three years, but this is the seventh election that we have had in a period of fourteen years. The country ‘has just been put to great expense because of the desire of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) to have an early election, from which he believed that something could be gained.
I know it is said that he has problems in his own party and problems so far as members of this chamber are concerned, but we should not allow that sort of thing to continue. If the Prime Minister cannot retain control of the Parliament he should put in his resignation. I think something ought to be done in this matter. The last Parliament was elected in 1961 for a period of three years, but it lasted for only two years. The failure to hold a Senate election in conjunction with an election for the House of Representatives will cost this nation in the vicinity of £500,000. The early election we have just seen may be regarded as good party tactics, but it makes a farce of democracy. Queensland now has one more Liberal Party senator than was the case after the 1961 Senate election. Of the five Senate vacancies that then arose, four are now filled by members of the Government parties, although the Labour Party received a slight majority of the votes cast in 1961. That may be regarded as good politics and good tactics, but it is making government by the people a complete joke, and I believe we ought to do something about it.
I regret that there is no mention in the Governor-General’s Speech of the calling up of bank funds. What are the dangers of another credit squeeze? I remind the Senate that the last call-up of funds is the third call-up in seven weeks, making a total of £99,000,000. During the election the Australian Labour Party warned the people of a credit squeeze, but they did not believe us. We drew attention to the fact that a very important member of the Government parties advised the people late last year that unless action was taken to impose credit restrictions immediately, the nation would face a financial crash in the following year. I do not know where this call-up of funds will finish. I repeat that I regret that nothing was mentioned about this matter by the Governor-General in his Speech when he stated the Government’s policy. I say to government senators, who at the present moment appear to be very happy about the situation, “ Do not become too blase because bank lending is being cut”. I am in a position to know about this development because, during the last few days I have been approached on a war service homes matter by a person who had been promised a loan by the War Service Homes Division on an old home. However, he had to wait eighteen months for it. He had understood that he would be granted temporary finance for this period by the Commonwealth Bank. I believe that, is what is generally done. When this unfortunate man approached a branch of the Commonwealth Bank in the eastern suburbs of Sydney he was told that it was absurd to come to it because it could do nothing for him. He had to get private financial assistance for which he is paying interest at the rate of 9 per cent. That is a scandalous situation and even at this late hour the Government should intervene in the matter. I hope, when I go back to Sydney, to persuade the head office of the Commonwealth Bank to take over the loan for this man.
I advise honorable senators opposite not to be too complacent because their complacency almost lost the Government the general election in 1961. No doubt they feel confident that they have a term of three years to run. Experience indicates that that is not necessarily so. During the last fourteen years the average period for which the Government has held office without a general election has been between eighteen months and two years.
The smear of communism may win votes for the Government, but let us be realistic if we love Australia. Government senators have accused the Australian Labour Party, over a period of time, of being a Communist party. At the last general election, despite the debacle, Labour polled 45.1 per cent, of the votes throughout Australia. In New South Wales it polled 47.1 per cent, of the votes. The Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party, at the last general election, polled 46.7 per cent, of the votes throughout Australia and 46.6 per cent, of the votes in New South Wales. If the smear of Government senators is to be taken seriously, Australia must be the greatest Communist country outside Russia and China.
More important, if this smear is taken seriously by our allies it will endanger our standing with those to whom we look for protection and security and whose hatred of communism is well-known. The Government has been in office for almost fifteen years. Communism concerns the Government parties only in election years. Let us be honest in our approach to this matter. The Labour Party fights Communist propaganda in the unions and workshops every day of the year. It fights Communist control of the trade union movement. I shall give this warning: The Government is cultivating in this country Fascist and Nazi groups which, if not checked, will destroy everything that we hold dear and precious to our way of life. A statement appeared in a newspaper recently which estimated the membership of the Australian Communist Party at about 6,000 people. I am not in a position to know the membership of the groups to which I have referred which are being cultivated by the Government. I hope that government senators will get my message and take action in their own parties to suppress this menace which is arising in our midst.
I return to the Governor-General’s Speech. With senators on both sides of the chamber I endorse His Excellency’s statement deploring the assassination of the president of the United States. I agree also with the statement concerning the collision between two Australian warships which cost the lives of Australian sailors. I was shocked, as I said here yesterday, to read that, after the collision, the water was full of people who could not swim and were calling for help. I hope that the points which I raised in a question addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy and which he asked me to place on the notice-paper will be taken up. Apart from the question of the safety of future recruits, every person in the Navy to-day should be taught to swim because it is very important to their way of life.
I confess that I was somewhat pleased to read of the partial nuclear test ban treaty which was concluded in August, 1963, and which, more or less, met with the approval of the Government. I was amazed, during the recent election campaign, at the hostility shown by Government supporters towards suggestions by the Labour Party for the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere. We pointed out that if there were any objection from a country in this area to the establishment of such a zone it would not be practicable to put a ban into effect. I am glad that the Government has even adopted part of a point of view of the Australian Labour Party which also is very happy that this partial nuclear test ban may operate and thereby hold out some hope of relaxation in world tension.
T was pleased also to hear the statement which was made concerning Malaysia and the discussion which has taken place on foreign affairs in which reference has been made to the South-East Asia Treaty Organization and the Anzus treaty. I listened with great attention to the contributions of Senator O’Byrne and Senator Cormack to this debate. I read Senator Cormack’s statement concerning the Commonwealth Parliamentary conference at Kuala Lumpur and I was very pleased to note what he said regarding the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, whose party occupies a similar position in his country to that occupied by the Australian Labour Par:J in Australia. We have everything in common with him. It is pleasing that an honorable senator who represents a conservative point of view can recognize that people such as the Prime Minister of Singapore who hold a Labour viewpoint can take their stand against communism just as tha Prime Minister of Malaysia can take such a stand. With the sabre rattling which is going on in Indonesia the tension in the area to which I refer must be almost unbearable. It is a cause of concern, not only to the Australian Government, but to the people of Australia and the rest of the world. We cannot afford to be involved in a conflict which might lead ultimately to world war.
We have been informed that defence expenditure is to rise from £203,000,000 a year to over £260,000,000 for this financial year. That, in itself, is very good. But when we examine the situation that confronts the Royal Australian Navy and the Army at the present moment we realize that it will not be such a great contribution. I know that the present Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) was very happy with the exercise carried out by the Citizen Military Forces and the Australian Regular
Army at Tin Can Bay in Queensland in February of this year. The Minister mentioned the great work of the Centurion tanks. I shall not go into details about that matter but I did read press reports to the effect that the sixteen Centurion tanks which were transferred from Puckapunyal, Victoria, to the area of the exercise, which is about 1,500 miles from the border of Queensland, found themselves in a very desperate plight. I believe that no Government senator and no person associated with the Army regards the Centurion tanks as the answer to our problems in the defence of Australia. In view of the disaster that took place in the Navy recently and also in view of the overall picture in relation to defence, the additional money that has been voted will not go very far.
I think it is extremely good that another 10,000 British immigrants are to come to this country. However, I hope that problems of housing and unemployment will be reduced considerably so that people who are brought here do not meet the difficulties that have been the lot of many unfortunate migrants over a period of years. At the present time there are 85,809 unemployed persons, while 28,649 people are receiving unemployment benefit. I remind the Senate that persons over the age of 65 years are not included in those figures, nor are migrants who have not been employed for the first time after their arrival in Australia. In fact, therefore, the real number of unemployed is much greater than that stated by the Government.
His Excellency has referred to rural production, and I agree that it is a fine thing to aim at increasing such production. I note that red China is making a great bid for both our wheat and our wool. In to-day’s press there is reference to the fact that the Australian Wool Board has begun negotiations with a view to selling more wool to red China and teaching the Chinese how to process it. That is very interesting when we recall the campaign of vilification of the Opposition that was waged during recent times and particularly during the last general election campaign.
According to His Excellency’s Speech, flood mitigation is a matter of grave concern to the Government. I am happy to hear that that is so. I remind honorable senators that when Mr. Frank McGuren was ‘ the member for Cowper he continually advocated in the other chamber that levee banks and drainage works should be constructed on the Macleay, Clarence and Richmond rivers, and I would be happy if they were being constructed instead of waiting until the townships in the areas are devastated by floods, as they have been in the past.
Reference is made in the Speech to a proposal to reduce the price of petroleum products in country areas. In itself, that is a good thing, but I point out that the Australian Labour Party, whose policy is so often imitated by the Liberal Party, proposed during the election campaign that there should be a uniform price, to be based on city prices, for petroleum products. We said that if we were elected we would introduce uniform prices, in city and country areas, for petrol, diesel oil, power kerosene and lubricating oil, such prices to be based on existing city prices. I think it is a great pity that our proposals have not been given effect. This is one aspect of our policy which has not been stolen in its entirety by the Government parties. Of course, the sale of Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited by the Government placed Australia in a very awkward position. I was a member of the House of Representatives at the time when the sale was about to take place and I recall the words of the late William Morris Hughes. He warned the Government not to go on with the sale. He said, in effect: “ If you do this it will be a tragedy and will result in the ruin of this nation of ours. We will place ourselves completely under the control of the oil companies “. Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened.
– C.O.R. distilled less than 1 per cent, of Australia’s petrol requirements.
– It was a government instrumentality which the Government should never have sold. It had a stabilizing effect on its competitors. This effect could have had an important bearing on discussions with the oil companies or disputes with them. Australia is not the only country which is in difficulties with oil cartels and monopolies. The loss of C.O.R. has placed us in a very awkward position in bargaining with the oil companies or entering into negotiations with them.
The Government has claimed that the gross national product has increased by 5 per cent, per year. Like Senator Cant, I should like to know the year of commencement of the estimated increase. Was it 1961, when there was no increase at all? Perhaps an honorable senator opposite will state the period from which it is said to have commenced. I note in His Excellency’s Speech a reference to the statement that by 1966 television will be available to 90 per cent, of the Australian community. I hope that a request which I made recently to the Postmaster-General (Mr. Hulme) for the construction of a regional television station at Moree will be granted. The Moree branch of the Australian Labour Party is most interested in the project.
I note, too, that the foreshadowed restrictive trade practices legislation is likely to be shelved again. According to the Speech, the Government will introduce a bill and leave it open to public scrutiny for a reasonable time before it is debated. I think it is regrettable that Sir Garfield Barwick has been relieved of the portfolio of Attorney-General and that it has been given to a lesser light. There are rackets in many fields, and I think that if Sir Garfield Barwick had continued to hold the portfolio they may have been dealt with. There is a racket going on in the electrical industries. As we know, if a person wishes to purchase a refrigerator, a washing machine or other electrical appliances of that kind, and he has something to trade in, as much as £100 will be deducted from the price of the appliance merely as the result of a discussion with a salesman in a shop. I believe that something is radically wrong. Something very bad must be occurring in the industry if adjustments of that nature can be made.
I wish to refer to the tourist industry, of which Senator Wood spoke last week. His speech made a very fine impression, and I think his appeal on behalf of the industry should be considered by the Government. A conference of 800 delegates from overseas countries is at present being held in Sydney for the purpose of discussing world tourism. According to Senator Wood, the value of the industry to Australia is £26,000,000 a year. Our publicity in this field is not good. Most of the Australian publicity that we see overseas features aborigines and boomerangs. I have an idea that many people throughout the world think that all Australians throw boomerangs and that aborigines are running about all over the place. We should improve our publicity. Senator Wood referred to the great advantages that Queensland enjoys, but he did not mention our magnificent beaches. Some ten years ago 1 was in New Zealand attending a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference, where 1 met Mr. John Diefenbaker, who later became Prime Minister of Canada, and representatives of other Commonwealth countries. Some of them were coming on to Australia from New Zealand and without exception they wanted information about the great shark menace. They were under the impression that that was one of the real hazards of life in Australia.
In 1929 there was a Minister of State in New South Wales by the name of Eric Spooner. He was a brother of the present Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir William Spooner), and he was responsible for the introduction of shark meshing on some of the beaches in New South Wales. The erection of shark meshing on beaches between Newcastle and Wollongong has been going on for nearly 30 years, and during that period there has been no shark fatality on beaches where the meshing has been erected. I think this fact should be publicized throughout the world because, after all, there are no beaches that are comparable with the Australian beaches. The tourist industry is one of the great industries of the world and the Government should be concerned about attracting more tourists to Australia.
His Excellency made reference to an amendment of the Electoral Act. In the other place a good deal of discussion has taken place on the matter of gerrymandering. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) has said that no such thing as gerrymandering is contemplated. He claims that the redistribution will be effected with consideration being given to the same factors as have governed electoral redistributions previously and that the question of quotas will be closely examined. I wish :he Government would consider the matter of polling booths, particularly in country areas. In the divisions of Hume and Gwydir, two areas, in which I am tremendously interested, there!; arc. 165 or ,170 polling booths,, at many of which fewer than 25 votes are recorded. One of my colleagues, in a question upon notice, asked at how many polling booths throughout New South Wales fewer than 25 votes were recorded. He was told that there were 164, most of which were on private properties. It is suggested, of course, that on many occasions the votes recorded at those booths are not counted on the properties bat are brought to a central place for counting, so that there will be no suggestion of gerrymandering or of infringing the secrecy of the ballot. One can imagine the position of a person at a polling booth on a property for twelve hours on polling day, during which time 25 persons record votes. I do not think a voter could take his ballot-paper for completion some distance away without the property owner being suspicious of him. In this day and age with modern transport larger centres should be accessible to everybody. If voters cannot obtain transport, they should qualify for postal votes. This type of gerrymandering or controlled voting ought to be eliminated. I appeal to the Government to ensure that justice prevails by making certain that a person’s vote is sacred and secret to himself.
– There arc 138 polling booths on private properties throughout New South Wales.
– Yes, and 164 where fewer than 25 votes are recorded. I hope something is done in this regard. I am happy to have taken part in this debate. Although His Excellency may -101 fully realize it, the Australian people suffered a great disadvantage to themselves and their families in their failure .o elect a Labour Government in November last.
Senator MAHER (Queensland) 14.39].- I regret that my presence in Brisbane, attending the funeral of a very old and dear friend, Sir Josiah Francis, made it impossible for me to be present in the Senate when the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply was proposed by Senator Morris and seconded by my colleague, Senator Prowse. Senator Morris entered the Queensland Parliament in 1944 as member for Enoggera. I had the pleasure of sitting with him for five years until 1949 in the State House in Brisbane. Although I was .not here when he delivered his maiden speech in the Senate, the “ Hansard “ report of the speech, which I have perused, shows that he has not lost any of his old political punch. I congratulate him on his election to the Senate and on his maiden speech. I have read also the “ Hansard “ report of my friend Senator Prowse’s speech in seconding the motion. He is a great fighter for Western Australia and for the principles of the Australian Country Party. He is always worth listening to on any subject to which he chooses to address himself. I congratulate him on his contribution to the debate.
We were all looking forward with great interest to the arrival of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and learned with very sincere regret that illness had necessitated the cancellation of her visit. We are delighted to hear of her early recovery. All Australians entertain very deep affection for the Queen and the Royal Family, so it came as a great joy to hear that the popular young Princess Alexandra had given birth to a fine young son.
Since the Parliament last met, the people of this country were shocked by the assassination of President Kennedy. The whole world shares the sorrow of the American people. He was a good friend to Australia and, indeed, to all countries which stood for peace, goodwill and human understanding. He was a man of adventure, of youth, and of great courage, and the whole world is the poorer for his passing.
My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the families and relatives of the 79 gallant officers and men of the Royal Australian Navy who lost their lives, and also to those who suffered serious injury, when H.M.A.S. “ Voyager “ was sunk as a result of the disastrous collision with the aircraft carrier H.M.A.S. “ Melbourne “ during the month of February. No time should be lost in the replacement of this vessel, in view of the tensions which exist all around us to-day. 1 want to say a few words on a matter of very great interest to Queensland and, I am sure, to all Australians. On Wednesday, 26th February, I asked the Minister for National Development (Senator Sir William Spooner) whether agreement had been reached on the price to be paid by Australian oil refineries for crude oil from the Moonie field. The Minister replied -
There is no doubt that the oil will be purchased by Australian refineries and will be refined in Australia.
The question that I submit to the Senate is: When will this come to pass? Many close observers in Queensland believe that the Moonie oil interests are running into strong resistance . from the oil refineries. The Minister informed the Senate that the basic price to be paid was not at issue. The question rather was how the price would vary up or down should there be fluctuations in overseas crude oil prices in the future. From what I can gather, the Moonie oil people have asked the oil refineries for 2 dollars 85 cents, United States currency, which is equal to £1 5s. 1 d. Australian, a barrel for the oil. A barrel contains approximately 35 gallons. The Shell company, on my information, has agreed to pay this price, but for only 25 per cent, of the Moonie output, the price to be subject to review six months hence when the company will take into account the ruling price for oil now imported from Seria, Borneo. As the Shell company controls and possibly owns the Seria oilwells, it would be a simple exercise to direct oil prices up or down according to needs. It would seem to me that the Moonie people would wish to steer clear of any agreement involving contract prices here which were based on price determinations in Borneo. No doubt the Moonie people fear that a price agreement having that base could knock them stone cold.
The Caltex company has offered a lower price than that offered by the Shell company; it has offered a price of 2 dollars 45 cents per barrel in United States currency. To make the bargaining more difficult, the Caltex company is prepared to take only 23 per cent, of the Moonie output. According to press reports, the Queensland Government believes that a price of 2 dollars 85 cents per barrel is fair as between the vendors and the purchaser. Mr. Evans, the Minister for Mines in Queensland, has said in recent days that an expert from the Bureau of Mineral Resources - he would be an officer of the department administered by Senator Sir William Spooner - had agreed that the price asked by the Moonie oil people was quite reasonable, in accord with all the costs and circumstances, and within the power of the Australian oil refineries to pay. The close approximation of the values expressed by the parties bears out the correctness of Senator Sir William Spooner’s statement to -the Senate- that’ the price is not the basic issue in dispute in the current half year. However, it could be a crippling factor later on if the Borneo crude oil prices were reduced to a point where the Moonie oil producers could not compete because of Australian costs.
If differences about the price are resolved, the Moonie people have still to contend with the condition that the Shell company will take only 25 per cent, of their output and the Caltex company only 23 per cent. That is a total of 48 per cent, or less than half of the total Moonie oil production. Inferentially, the remaining oil refineries in Australia are not prepared to take any oil from Moonie. That is rather a serious situation.
– Is there an Ampol refinery in Brisbane?
– There is one in the process of erection, but two years might elapse before it is completed. Nobody is able to say at this point of time what Ampol’s attitude will be then. Being businessmen, the Ampol people, like the Shell company and the Caltex company, would want to buy the Moonie oil as cheaply as they could. It will be seen, Sir, that the offers which are the cause of the current negotiations will mean that only half of the Moonie production will be absorbed. That is a very serious aspect of the current negotiations. What is to become of the remaining half? Must production be cut back? Must the unsold oil remain in the wells and in the storage tanks?
The crude oil requirements of the Australian oil refineries amount to 300,000 barrels per day. In other words, 300,000 barrels of oil, distributed over the various oil refineries, is consumed daily in this country. The estimated production of oil from the Moonie field is between 7,000 and 10,000 barrels per day, which is equal to approximately 5 per cent, of the daily through-put of the refineries. That is not a very big proportion. Surely it is not beyond the resources of the Australian oil industry, with a capital investment of almost £500,000,000, to absorb the whole of the Moonie oil production on a just price basis pending the completion of the Ampol and Amoco refineries on the Brisbane River - as I said a little while ago, that is expected to occur within the next two years - and thereafter. Nobody knows at this juncture what will be the attitude of those two companies when they commence operations. In any case, they could take only a proportion of the total Moonie output and their purchases would not take up the balance of the production.
The Minister for National Development and Mr. Evans, the Queensland Minister for Mines, have made a splendid contribution to the search for oil. These disagreements, which affect the prompt disposition of the Moonie oil, must be disappointing and frustrating to them. Honorable senators will agree that the settlement of this matter is of prime importance not only to Queensland but also to the Commonwealth as a whole. Investors in oil exploration work could lose heart if all the oil already won and piped to the coast could not find an immediate market at equitable prices within our own country. It must not be forgotten that two years ago all the ministers in cha.ge of mines agreed that if a commercial field were found there should be full protection for the oil produced. That undertaking must be honoured at all hazards. Between 1957 and January, 1964, the Commonwealth Government approved the expenditure of £15,000,000 under the petroleum search subsidy legislation. Where is the common sense in spending millions of pounds to encourage the search for oil if, when we have the oil flowing through a pipe-line to the coast, we are unable to sell it at an equitable price? The Commonwealth Government’s record of encouragement of the search for oil can be classified almost as nonpareil, having regard to other calls on the Commonwealth Treasury. The total expenditure on the search for oil by the Government and companies for the years 1961, 1962 and 1963 approximates £50,000,000.
Time is moving on and Queenslanders arc becoming impatient. In Queensland there is a demand, which is gathering strength, for protection like that granted to the sugar industry and/ or the tobacco industry to be granted to the Australian oil industry. As I look at the just rights of the Moonie oil people - for these purposes they can bc regarded as being the people of Queensland - and those of the Australian oil refineries, it would seem to me that the granting of such protection is the only politically acceptable solution that is offering. If an agreement cannot be arrived at, something like what I have just mentioned must be done. It may be necessary for some government to take a stand in this matter. In my opinion, something like this must come unless the Australian oil refineries show a more co-operative spirit than now appears evident.
I do not think for one moment that the price asked for the Moonie oil is causing a hold-up in the negotiations. That is also the opinion of the Minister for National Development. The problem goes beyond price. There are other reasons why the oil refineries do not wish to come to the party. I do not wish to cover those reasons now. I hope that common sense and the facts of the situation will bring the oil refineries round to recognizing the dangers inherent in their present attitude, and that that will help to promote a satisfactory settlement.
If the oil companies remain adamant on the matter of a just price and also fail to lift the whole Moonie production, the situation will certainly provoke a head-on collision between some Australian governments and the oil companies and the weight of public opinion will most certainly swing heavily against the oil companies. This is something we should all strive to avoid. The various oil companies in Australia have done a mighty job in the creation of great industries, but it is imperative that they make provision for the purchase and distribution of the total production of Moonie oil. Failing that, the whole oil search programme in Australia, on which so many hopes are pinned, will collapse. No Australian Government can tolerate such a happening.
We should not overlook that Australia draws 23 per cent, of its bulk petroleum from Indonesia and 11 per cent, from British Borneo. That represents 34 per cent, of our bulk petroleum. If conditions should worsen in the Malaysian dispute, it might be difficult for us to draw supplies from that region. Australian oil refineries might be wise to take that factor into account.
Mr. Doyle T. Graves, resident manager in Australia for Union-Kern-A.O.G., said last week-end that the final hydro-static test on the 190-mile pipeline from the
Moonie oil-field had been successful. He said that oil would be delivered on schedule at the company’s storage terminal at Lytton, Brisbane, and would be available for sale in the first week of April. He also said that it would take 110,000 barrels to fill the pipeline and there were two storage tanks at Lytton, each with b. capacity of 140,000 barrels. The Minister for Mines in Queensland, Mr. Evans, said in a press statement a few days ago -
I will be turning on the tap myself to start the oil flowing on 25th March.
That is about three weeks from to-day. lt would seem that the Moonie oil wells, in almost the words of the old song, are “ ‘ oil ‘ dressed up and nowhere to go “. Who, then, is to buy our oil, not in the short term of six months named in the current offer, but in the long term, and at a just price so as to maintain the prosperity of this well and of the people who have invested their money to develop it? That is a question that must be answered pretty soon, as the oil is ready to flow.
The present situation cannot continue with profit to anybody. The people of Queensland look for the joint efforts of the Commonwealth and State governments and the co-operation of all Australian oil refineries to provide a prompt solution to the present impasse. That is all I have to say on the subject of oil. I hope that wise counsels will prevail and that the oil refineries will look over the situation very closely and come round to a settlement for the purchase of the oil.
Let me turn to another matter. Senator Ormonde, speaking last week in the debate on the Address-in-Reply, said this -
I have heard it suggested that something should be done to try to induce tobacco-growers in Australia to go out of the industry and transfer to growing other crops. I have always been struck by the fact that the tobacco industry is not really prosperous and has had to be helped along. What is wrong with the Commonwealth Government’s saying to tobacco-growers, “We will help you financially and subsidize you in any new crops that you might be prepared to grow “?
Senator Ormonde obviously has no knowledge whatever of the economy of the tobacco industry in Australia. The tobacco industry has never been more prosperous. In the financial year ended 30th June, 1963, in the district of Mareeba in north Queensland, the tobacco-growers received £6,000,000 for their leaf. That is a tremendous sum of money to go into one district. Years ago, the town of Innisfail was called “The Million Pounds Town” because the sugar grown in that district yielded £1,000,000. Of course, on the present price of sugar, it yields a great deal more to-day. But Mareeba alone received £6,000,000 last year for its tobacco leaf. From what I can hear, the tobacco industry is thriving in other parts of Australia also. Yesterday, the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) referred to the prosperity of the tobacco-growers at Myrtleford in Victoria when answering a question. If you look around Australia where tobacco is grown, you will find, Mr. President, that growers are receiving profitable prices and the industry is prospering.
– Not in
– Senator DrakeBrockman has said that that is not the position in Western Australia. I am not in a position to know of conditions there, and I exempt Western Australia from my statement. With tobacco growing, it is a matter of the right soil. That is where Senator Ormonde errs again. He suggested that tobacco-growers who are not doing well in any part of Australia should be subsidized to grow other crops. That might work in Western Australia but not in Queensland, where special soils are required for tobacco growing. Even in one district, you will find splendid tobacco crops on one side of a river or creek because the soil is suited to the production of tobacco. On the other side of the creek, you will find soil that appears to be the same but in point of fact is not suitable for tobacco growing. A man might put his money into growing tobacco on that soil and go bankrupt because it does not produce the ripe golden leaf desired by the buyers. Therefore, the situation cannot be solved by changing to other crops.
This Government has progressively brought the tobacco industry to a high state of prosperity, so far as I know, in the eastern States of Australia. I would advise Senator Ormonde also that no subsidy is paid by the -Government to the growers. The Government offers the manufacturers of tobacco products a rebate of duty on imported leaf if they use a prescribed percentage of Australian leaf. The higher the percentage of Australian leaf that goes into their product, the greater is the rebate they obtain. Of course, that is achieving an excellent result. Good leaf is being produced and, by degrees a palate is being promoted for Australian tobacco. In view of the report from the doctors in the United States of America about the effects of cigarette smoking and the possibility that it causes lung cancer, one grower at Ashford in New South Wales is growing an experimental crop of pipe tobacco in an effort to meet the market for the numbers of people who are changing from cigarette smoking to pipe smoking because pipe smoking is said to be not so damaging to the lungs. It is an experimental crop of Burley tobacco, and it is being grown because we import most of our pipe tobacco at the present time. What is being done at Ashford could eventually promote a big demand for pipe tobacco grown in Australia.
To date, the growers’ investment in the tobacco industry represents approximately £30,000,000, and there are about 3,800 growers and share farmers engaged in- the industry. In the 1963 season, the value of tobacco leaf produced reached the all-time record of almost £15,000,000. The Commonwealth Government’s contribution towards tobacco research and extension in the 1963-64 season is £60,000. I think that is about all that I have to say to Senator Ormonde to correct the statements he made in the Senate last week about the tobacco-growing industry in Australia.
As my time has almost expired, I take the opportunity of supporting the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply and of expressing regret that, because of the arrangement to curtail speeches on the days when proceedings of the Senate are broadcast, I am unable to deal with many other important subjects about which I have prepared notes.
– It is common knowledge that on 30th November, 1963, an election was held throughout Australia for the purpose of electing a new Commonwealth government. It is equally well known that the present Government parties - the Liberal Party arid the Australian Country Party - between them, were successful in obtaining a majority. Three months have now elapsed since that election was held and to-day we are discussing a motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply. This brings us to the question: What exactly is the Address-in-Reply? Mr. Deputy President, if you examine His Excellency’s Speech you will find that it contains opinions, seriously expressed, and notification of intentions by the Government to do certain things within certain periods.
The Menzies Government has had several very brief periods in office. I know that it governed during three parliaments which lasted for only two years, and I think the last Parliament lasted for only two years. To-day the Government enjoys a handsome majority in the House of Representatives and, for the first time for a long while, a majority in the Senate. So it is in a position to look ahead for three years. Ministers are now in a position to say, “ We can look ahead and proceed to do certain things which perhaps will take three years to achieve “. When we consider that fact together with all the other factors associated with the Government of a country we must say that the prospect would be particularly good for any government; but if we are to make a proper examination of the Government’s proposals, we must first cast our minds back to the end of 1961 to see what the state of the economy of Australia was then. We know that in 1961 an election WL: held and that during that election the present Government got the fright of its life. At that time, the Australian Labour Party missed the bus - I think that is a good term to use - because, had it gained only one or two more seats, Labour would have been in government. In view of that position, one might well ask, “ Why was the present Government so successful at the election held on 30th November last following its near defeat at the election held at the end of 1961?”. As I have said, if we are to ascertain the exact condition of the economy of Australia at the present time, we need to analyse the state of the economy as at 1961. If we make a full analysis in that way, we are able to appreciate just bow false or unstable the present economic position is.
I propose to make ray analysis in this way: At the end of 1961, the Government found itself with a very meagre majority and with the need to extricate itself, as it were, from that political situation. When the Labour Party was in office - in 1945, 1 think - it issued a White Paper relating to full employment. That document contained certain advice and information. At the beginning of 1962, this Government found itself in a sad predicament. It faced the possibility of an early election, it had no majority worth speaking about and it had to recoup its forces and recover support, as it were. The first thing it thought about as a means of achieving this improvement in its fortunes was public capital investment and it immediately made loans available to various authorities throughout the Commonwealth. State governments were granted loans on the condition that some of the money would be passed on to local authorities and semigovernmental authorities to enable them to carry out public capital works. The result was the construction of beef roads, the improvement of railway lines in Victoria and South Australia, and the construction of bridges, irrigation works and many other public capital works such as the erection of schools and public buildings throughout the Commonwealth. After a while, there was an improvement in the commercial life of the Commonwealth. Gradually, the Commonwealth Government made more funds available. The City of Brisbane was granted loan moneys to carry out sewerage works. I should say that there are at least 1,000 men engaged on sewerage construction work in the City of Brisbane at the present time. If this work is carried on at the present rate, the city will be completely sewered some day. It might take another 40 or 50 years, but the people there can live in hopes.
This type of thing went on throughout the Commonwealth and additional loan moneys were made available as those which had already been provided were diminishing. The Commonwealth also made grants available for the purpose of relieving unemployment, because, unfortunately, well over 100,000 people were unemployed throughout the Commonwealth at the end of 1961. Some of those people were absorbed in employment as a result of the< -spending «of the loan money that had been made available by the Commonwealth and they were spending the money that they were earning. For instance, they had to buy food, clothing, school books and other requisites and as a result of the increased expenditure the commercial life of the country slowly changed. Later the Commonwealth Government made non-repayable grants to the States. The States, in turn, made some of the money available to the various authorities within their borders. So the position, in fact, was that a great deal of the work being done in the community was being financed from loan funds. The spending of loan money is quite all right, but there is one sad feature associated with it. In most cases loans have to be repaid, and while you are spending the money you. have to pay interest on it. After two years of loan-money spending in the Commonwealth we find that we have a false economy, a glittering loan-money economy, and an economy that has deceived nearly every person who lacks a knowledge of economics.
– You must have loan money to develop a young country.
– I shall come to the development angle later. I will say at this stage that a certain amount of developmental work had to be done because of the accumulation of at least two years’ inactivity. Australia suffered under the credit squeeze for two solid years and its manufacturing industries were almost incapable of carrying on. Wholesalers could not purchase forward supplies. Retailers could not lay in stocks, and the stocks they did have were not being bought because there were no people with money to buy them. That is how a depression is caused. Goods cannot be taken off the market because of the lack of purchasing power by the people.
At the end of 1962 the Government injected loan money into the economy and certainly gave a lift to industry. Some industries were slow to get moving. The sawmilling industry in Queensland is still having a comparatively lean time. Other industries were perhaps in a flourishing condition because of their nature; some mines in Queensland were enjoying prosperity because there was a ready sale- for their products. However, in other cases industries were experiencing diminishing markets. Consider the dairying industry. Dairy farmers were leaving their farms and getting jobs on wages because of the low prices they were receiving for butter and other dairy products. Fortunately that position has been somewhat relieved. As every one knows, when there is a slight depression and the number of unemployed workers increases, the demand for margarine is greater. That, of course, seriously affects the dairying industry.
The Labour Government of 1945 laid down a policy of action in a white paper which it issued, entitled “ Public Capital Expenditure “. This Government followed that instruction slavishly. It had public capital expenditure carried out by the States and by itself. I can assure honorable senators that the Commonwealth is not a small contracting authority. One has only to look at the works programme of the PostmasterGenerals’ Department to see how large it is. From 1962 onwards there was more private capital expenditure because the Government relaxed the form of economic control known as the credit squeeze. It permitted the private trading banks and the Commonwealth Banking Corporation to make advances to people who required loans. Many of those who obtained this money used it to improve their properties. Farmers used the money to erect new fences, to buy new plant, windmills, irrigation machinery and the like, with the result that throughout the Commonwealth there was considerable private expenditure in 1962 and 1963. Of course, more labour was required. The employment situation certainly improved during the last six months of 1963 and there was a considerable increase in expenditure on private consumption. The increase was really remarkable; I think it was a record. To-day it was reported1 that for the December quarter of 1963 retail sales in the Commonwealth amounted to £790,800,000. That was almost a record. The Government had reached the very zenith of what it proposed to do with loan money.
But all good things come to an end. Loan money is now petering out. Whether the Government has more money hidden in the Reserve Bank or in the Treasury to make available to constructing authorities in the Commonwealth, I do not know; that is a matter for the Government. Industry has certainly been lifted as a result of the money that has been spent. If we were to establish what we might term an ideal economy, we would have the situation I have described prevailing in the community. We would have industries manufacturing their goods and the consumers taking them off the market. There would be a balance of production and consumption demand. Such a state of affairs, of course, is very fragile and easily upset. That was almost the condition that was operating at the end of 1963. Now we are entering another period altogether, but fortunately for the Government the price of wool has soared again.
We recall that we received a scare in Australia over the threatened entry of the United Kingdom into the European Common Market. We thought that the United Kingdom would enter the Common Market and that that would be the end of our European markets for certain surplus primary products, with ensuing dangers to the livelihood of every Australian. The sugar industry saw a dim future. The wool industry saw the threat of decreased sales. These threats, however, acted as a kick in the pants to Australia. Those associated with the sugar industry went abroad and obtained new markets. Experts in the wool industry went overseas to further the interests of that industry. News came to hand only the other day that a very serious attempt is being made to sell wool to red China. That was undreamed of only three or four years ago, but I feel sure that successful sales will be achieved within the next year or two. If wool were sold direct to red China and the Chinese manufactured it into woollen goods, even on a scale sufficient only to clothe every male Chinese with a pair of woollen panties, we would be able to sell record quantities of wool to China. At the same time we might be taking business away from some other country. Some other country may be purchasing raw wool from the Commonwealth, manufacturing it and selling it to red China at present. Japan at present is our greatest single buyer of wool.
The whole structure of the markets available to Australia has changed considerably.
A strong demand for Australian meat persists in the United States of America. It was only the other day that I read that one American town had objected to Australian meat entering the country. It declared the Australian meat black. However, these are little things that will occur. I feel sure that time will erase them and, later, something will be done to improve the situation. Another form of expenditure in Australia which we have enjoyed from time to time and which buttresses the employment situation for us is expenditure by people overseas. Because they buy Australian manufactured goods and raw materials, the money which they spend here creates more employment. We get the benefit of the additional spending money.
Another form of expenditure is public expenditure on current services. When the Government made a determined attempt to change the sad economic conditions which existed in 1961 it became very easy to have typewriters in Commonwealth offices replaced by new ones. In the federal members’ rooms in Brisbane the carpets were changed on several floors. So far the carpet on mine has not been changed. However, I feel sure that, later, I shall have a new carpet, too. That is the type of expenditure on current services to which I have referred - expenditure that recurs. After 1961, the Government wished to spend as much money as it possibly could to boost industry. Of course, it had an eye on the possibility of holding a general election at any time. As I have said before, Sir Robert is not one to be hemmed in and, if he could not escape such a situation, he would go to the polls at any time. I knew from the assessment I had mads of loan funds spent from 1961 to October, 1963, that we were certain to have a general election in 1963. I could not see the situation in any other light. People were in employment, the spending rate was high, and the conditions were favourable for any government that went to the polls. Already, the Government is afraid of inflation and is taking money out of circulation. It u exercising its control under the Banking Act to reduce advances by the private banks. That may be a good thing. Probably, it has been done on the expert advice of the Treasury. If it has, I do not dispute the wisdom of it for a moment.
From time to time, we hear people talking about northern development. Sometimes, just to be inquisitive when people mention northern development, I ask them where the north of Australia commences. Strange to say, they are always hazy about the southern border line of the north. They do not know where it commences and they are not sure where it ends. I think that, for practical purposes, we may regard all of Australia north of the Tropic of Capricorn as being the north. Again, when 1 ask people what form of development could be carried out in the north of Australia they are hazy. They are not sure. They think that the north can be developed in the same way, say, as the western district of Victoria or some of the dairy lands of New South Wales. There are really no small fertile spots in the north of Australia which can be devoted to closer settlement. There are very good grazing lands in north Australia. There are good sugar-growing lands. But the Cape York area of Queensland is cattle grazing country.
The Minister for National Development (Senator Sir William Spooner) is to have a sub-branch of his department established for the purpose of developing the north. But he will confine his activities to the search for minerals and metals. He does not propose to do anything else. If he doe? that effectively, it will be a very good thing because, at the moment, nobody knows whether there is zircon or rutile in the beach sands around Cape York. Nobody knows what can be found in the way of iron ore or bauxite. It is quite possible that there are undiscovered deposits of bauxite. If we make a thorough search of what we call northern Australian and find out what minerals are there and what can be economically harvested we shall be making a first step towards the development of the north of Australia. There is an association in the north of Queensland which has some such name as “ People the North “.
We did have a mine operating in north Queensland. It was known as the Mary Kathleen mine. About £2,000,000 must have been invested in the plant and housing facilities there. It is now closed. The uranium oxide that was treated there has been sold and for some reason or other there is now no market for uranium oxide. When the mine closed, some of those “who had been engaged at the undertaking obtained employment elsewhere but nobody settled on the land in the district. That would be out of the question. It would be an absolute impossibility. Present conditions are quite unlike those which existed during Australia’s early days. Then, when a mine ceased to operate, those who were working in it acquired land in the district and became farmers. I understand that the great bauxite supplies at Weipa are being developed by a company. I suppose that all the bauxite is being sold to a Tasmanian company and to interests elsewhere. As far as I know, none of it will have been processed in Queensland where we have the coal supplies to develop power for the purpose of converting the bauxite into alumina and into aluminium ingots if necessary. In Queensland, we are still the wood-and-water joeys of the world. We have the resources. We have the raw materials such as bauxite and coal. We have everything imaginable for the purpose of creating a finished article. But we do not have permission, as it were, to use them. Conditions are such that leases are granted to people who seek the greatest profit from the sale of the raw material overseas.
I listened with interest to what Senator Maher said about Moonie oil. I have been wondering whether we are to have the haggling that is going on at the present time on every occasion on which oil is discovered in Queensland. I want to assure the Senate that no political party in the Commonwealth would tolerate the established oil companies dictating to a company with crude oil to sell the price at which it will be sold. Let us look at this situation: At present, the oil companies import their oil and sell it here. They make their profits from those sales. When we get a trickle of crude oil from Moonie to Brisbane - a distance of 190 miles - we cannot sell it. No political party in Australia should tolerate such a situation. If the haggling continues the Commonwealth Government is entitled to use all the legal methods that are within its power to compel the oil companies to take the crude oil that is coming from the Moonie oil-field. We have customs duties, and there is a certain provision of the income tax law which could be used to the detriment of all the oil companies in ‘ the Commonwealth. ‘
I should like to see the Minister for National Development place a time limit on the oil companies. We might then see whether they would take a percentage of the crude oil from Moonie, or take all of it at a fair price. We should not tolerate the present position any longer. I admit that the quantity of oil that we shall obtain from the Moonie oil-field is but a small proportion of our requirements, but as a nation we would be foolish to accept what the oil companies are trying to do at present. We have discovered oil at Moonie, and the crude oil will be flowing to Brisbane this month. That is an achievement. In 1962, on drilling alone the Commonwealth spent £6,200,000. There are other operations in connexion with the search for oil, but that was the amount spent on drilling, and of that sum, £3,100,000 was spent in Queensland. The search for oil will go oh, but it is most discouraging to find that when a high-grade crude oil has been discovered and arrangements made to transport it to the city of Brisbane, the oil companies play about with the position as they are at the present time.
The Commonwealth has paid subsidies in respect of the search for oil, and I think that is a very good move. I should prefer to see the Government carrying out drilling operations on its own behalf, on the basis of advice from competent officers who probably would be available from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. If oil was discovered the Government would be able to use it for its own purposes. The subsidies paid in 1962 amounted to £2,900,000, of which £1,800.000 was paid in Queensland. The Commonwealth certainly has a big interest in the Moonie oil-field, and so has Queensland. In fact, every Australian has an interest in it. I am sure that the people of Australia will be very disappointed if there is not a ready sale for the oil, now that it has been discovered.
Earlier in my speech I referred to the fright which the Commonwealth Government received at the time when the United Kingdom proposed to enter the European Common Market. Some of the people associated closely with the sugar industry in Australia were successful in obtaining new markets for our sugar. So successful were they, in their endeavours that at the present time an additional 150,000 acres of land is being prepared for sugar growing. I should say that that is development on a major scale. It is worthwhile development. In 1962, which was a pretty good year for sugar growing, 1,800,000 tons of raw sugar was produced and it was sold for £89,000,000. Last year, the crop yielded only 1,700,000 tons of raw sugar, but because of fluctuating prices it was worth £105,000,000. This year the limit is off. That is to say, sugar growers may crop the whole of their assigned areas. It is expected that there will be for sale 2,000,000 tons of raw sugar and that this will be worth £130,000,000 to the industry. A committee of inquiry is trying to ascertain what the situation will be during the next five years. That is planning. The Government perhaps does not approve of planning, but that is a form of planning which is worth while.
I am sorry that my time has almost expired, Mr. President, because there are several other matters with which I wanted to deal. If the present state of affairs is called prosperity, and if that is the normal state of affairs in the Commonwealth and conditions are as easy as they appear to bc, so much the better. At the present lime, the employment level in the Commonweal’h is high. I am glad to say that there is very little unemployement at the present time. When there is unemployment I shall be on my feet asking questions about it. I have had a rest lately because of the employment situation in Australia.
.- I listened with a good deal of interest to Senator Benn’s speech, during which he traversed the economy. He referred to the use of loan money since 1961. While it is of the greatest importance that the amounts spent by governments and semigovernmental bodies all over Australia should have a direct bearing on the economy, I believe that the most important thing is to create the economic climate and conditions which are necessary to allow private enterprise to function at its very best. If we are able to do that we can provide for development and for expansion,, as well as for a high level of employment. A government which does so is doing the best it can for the Commonwealth. If it is not done, that fact is reflected in the loan market^ and in the amount of revenue that accrues to governmental and semi-governmental bodies, and has a direct bearing on our prosperity.
I congratulate the mover and seconder of the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply to the GovernorGeneral’s Speech. I noted that Senator Morris, like Senator Benn, had a good deal to say about the development of the northern part of Australia. It must be more than 30 years since I heard Mr. S. M. Bruce, who was then Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, stress the necessity for the maximum development of the north of Australia. I remember that he referred to the Atherton Tableland. I do not know how much development has occurred in that region since then, but it is certain that we have to press on with development and try to rectify the present position in which the great majority of the people of the Commonwealth live in areas south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Until we do that - and it is a most difficult task - we shall not be able to say that this country is safe in that it has an adequate population.
The Governor-General referred in several paragraphs of his Speech to the state of tension and unrest that exists to our north. Several honorable senators also have referred to this matter and have spoken of the tension that exists in regard to the Federation of Malaysia.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension I had referred to the tension existing to the north of Australia between the newly established Federation of Malaysia and Indonesia, which is, in all probability, of the most vital importance to the future security of this country. Only yesterday I read in the press that the Foreign Minister of Indonesia attributed that tension to what he termed imperialism and colonialism. He went on to say that Indonesia would not rest content until British bases were removed from Malaysian territory. That has been the theme ever since the friction between those two countries commenced. Not long ago I read a statement issued by the Indonesian Government which attributed the same cause to the tension that exists in that part of the world - this coming from a country which, by force or the threat of it, took over West New Guinea from the Dutch, one of its spokesmen stating at the time that Indonesia would bring down the natives out of the trees at the point of the bayonet and civilize them.
The charge of imperialism is levelled by a country that does that sort of thing at a nation which has set a high standard in the treatment of indigenous peoples.
It is a great pity that the United Nations is not so effective that it could convene a world court before which such nations could be brought to justify their motives and the statements that they make. In my opinion, the United Nations has been rendered ineffective very largely because a powerful part of it - I refer to the Soviet bloc - is itself bent on a policy of expansion, colonialism and imperialism worse than anything the world has ever seen. This has reduced the United Nations to an organism which is almost ineffective for the settlement of disputes between nations.
Adding to this tragedy is the fact that this dispute is taking place right in the path of the thrust of Communist China and other Communist powers down through South-East Asia. There is nothing new about what is happening. The pattern followed by Sukarno is the pattern that has been followed by dictatorships for centuries. Not long ago I read a list of the agreements and treaties entered into by Napoleon, very largely for the purpose of deceiving the countries with which he later came into conflict. Every one of those agreements and treaties was broken. Hitler followed the same pattern. So did Mussolini and, to a lesser extent, Nasser. Now we have to the north of Australia a man playing this game which is as old as the nations, a posturer concentrating on presenting to his people an image of a strong man who can badger and browbeat other nations. That is why appeasement in these cases is so completely useless. All that it does is stimulate the appetite for more.
In a statement published by the British Ministry for Information and circulated to honorable senators, it is stated that the United Kingdom’s only remaining dependency in South-East Asia is the protected state of Brunei, which participated in the negotiations for the formation of Malaysia but decided not to join the federation, at least for the present. So far as the United Kingdom is concerned, Brunei can join Malaysia whenever it wishes to- do so. Brunei is wedge.d. in between two areas of Malaysia on the island^ of )
Borneo - Sarawak and Sabah, formerly North Borneo - which have joined the Federation of Malaysia. It is perfectly obvious, even to a novice in these matters such as myself, that if a hostile power were to secure control of Brunei a wedge would be driven at once into this most important part of the new federation, which would probably result in its disintegration. Without doubt, that is why a campaign is being waged against this British protectorate which bears such an important relationship to the newly-established federation.
I agree with Senator Cormack’s statement to the effect that those powers, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, which believe in the freedom of nations, will gain nothing by appeasement and that the only common-sense thing to do is to call a halt to this sort of thing. That is why the people of the Commonwealth agree with the stand taken by the Commonwealth Government and the pledge that it has given to guarantee the territorial integrity of Malaysia.
It is interesting to note that the treaty entered into by the Federation of Malaysia and the United Kingdom, so far as it relates to mutual protection, bears only on the protectorate of Brunei. That is the only place in relation to which the mutual assistance provisions of the treaty come into operation. The Federation of Malaysia appreciates quite well the great importance of the protectorate. It is essential to the federation’s continuance that Brunei should be defended and shall remain a British protectorate until, of its own choice, it joins the Federation of Malaysia. I repeat that once upon a time encirclement was the grievance. It was said that 100,000,000 people were being encircled by 10,000,000. Now we have a charge of colonialism or imperialism coming from a country which perpetrated what one might almost describe as an act of naked aggression against a territory to which it has had no claim in history. Mr. President, in the main I rose to speak about something else.
– So far you have said nothing of importance.
– I think that what I have said has been worthwhile. If you cannot understand it, it is so much the worse . for you.
– What is the Government doing about the situation? The Government is two-faced about it. According to the Governor-General’s Speech, the Government wants friendship; but now you are war-mongering.
– I should say that the Australian Government does want friendship, but not on terms that are humiliating and dangerous to the people of Australia. I propose to refer to primary production. I note that the Governor-General referred to it in his Speech. He said1 -
Higher export prices for some of the more important commodities, together with increased production, should result in a record rise in the gross value of rural production in 1963-64. The value of exports of rural origin should also be a record, nearly 25 per cent, higher than last year.
I have no doubt however, that that statement is true. I believe that in some cases there has been increased prosperity or increased economic stability. The Governor-General said elsewhere -
The Government will continue its policy of supporting the stabilization of our primary industries.
Whilst it is true of some primary industries, I do not think that what His Excellency said is true of the economic position of many primary producers. Indeed, I should say that it cannot be taken as being true of the majority of primary producers in the Commonwealth.
Primary producers have been bedevilled by high costs which have been out of all proportion to the amount they receive for what they produce. I believe that they have been bedevilled, too by the Jack of competition amongst the firms that supply their requirements. I am speaking now of Tasmania where in the main the holdings are small, particularly along the north-east coast and the north-west coast. I should say that the average holding is between 70 acres and 150 acres in area, which is too small for beef or mutton production. The holders of such areas must concentrate on dairying. Until the last few years, the staple industry was potato production. The potato industry has been regarded, I think rightly, as the Cinderella primary industry of the Commonwealth. For some reason or other it seems to have been relegated to the position where people have given it up as being hopeless. Very little is said about the industry. Nevertheless, for 100 years farmers could and did turn to the production of potatoes, because in a normal year an area of up to 20 acres would grow a reasonable quantity of potatoes. Without doubt potatoes were the favorite cash crop in Tasmania.
Over the past few years there has been a drastic decline in the industry; indeed it has almost gone out of existence, because costs have increased tremendously. Freight costs between Tasmania and Sydney have increased from approximately 30s. a ton to more than £10 a ton, with a commensurate increase in other costs. We have reached the position to-day - I regard it as being a travesty - where, even with a reasonable season over most of the potatoproducing areas of the Commonwealth, the producer must accept less than the cost of production. In a glut year those who are engaged in the marketing, freighting and distribution of potatoes receive their fees; but the producers in many cases must and do receive less than the cost of production. Since the end of the last war many attempts have been made to introduce a Commonwealthwide potato marketing scheme. An attempt has been made to get the States to agree to pass identical legislation and, on a somewhat voluntary basis, to institute a potato-marketing scheme which would ensure a reasonable return to the producer.
– Have you ever heard of orderly marketing?
– Have you ever opposed the inclusion of orderly marketing powers in the Constitution?
– I shall come to that in a moment. But, in the opinion of many eminent legal men, a scheme such as I have mentioned would still stand under the menace of section 92 of the Constitution. Let me say in reply to what was said a little while ago by Senator O’Byrne or Senator Hendrickson that I believe no attempt has been made to obviate that difficulty since 1937 when the Lyons Government, by means of a referendum, moved to amend the Constitution so that an orderly marketing scheme could operate. The proposal was defeated very largely as a result of the activities of the Labour Party, which opposed it most strenuously.
– Tut, tutt
– It did. Then in 1944 a whole galaxy of powers was placed before the people of the Commonwealth at the instigation of an Australia-wide conference, but the proposal submitted to referendum referred merely to one head of power - the organized marketing of primary products. The then Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Menzies, as he was at the time, pointed out that the proposal was useless and valueless because it, too, stood under the menace of section 92 of the Australian Constitution. I speak as a layman, but it seems to me that until something along those lines is done it will be futile to attempt to introduce any worth-while Commonwealth-wide scheme of orderly marketing for the potato industry.
– One was proposed by the Constitutional Review Committee.
– That is correct. I am not unmindful of the fact that such control of marketing, agents and other factors would be needed for the overall operation of the scheme that any one might well stop to think before implementing it. Nevertheless, if it would ensure a reasonable return to the producers, it would be well worthy of every consideration. I believe the time has come when serious consideration should be given to something along the lines I have indicated. I am mindful of the fact that the majority of primary producers in Tasmania are not netting the basic wage. That is a fair statement.
– With a tory government in office?
– We have had a Labour government in Tasmania for many years and a Labour government was in office in Canberra before the present Government was elected. Only in the past few days I read this statement about the basic wage in “ Education “, the journal of the New South Wales Teachers’ Federation -
It is this very attitude that emphasises the importance of the basic wage in Australia’s economic and social structure. The average citizen recognizes it as the foundation on which all wages rest, and which ensures a minimum standard of comfort for the lowliest.
If it is fair to apply that principle to one section of the community, it is certainly fair to apply it to a section of the .community,’ the majority of whom have not shared in the increasing prosperity that has been evident in Australia since this Government was elected to office fourteen years ago.
– I wish to identify the Australian Democratic Labour Party with the loyalty to the Throne expressed in the AddressinReply. I also wish to express the sympathy of the Democratic Labour Party and myself to the families of those who were lost with the sinking of H.M.A.S. “ Voyager “. This debate gives honorable senators an opportunity to speak about the policies to be implemented in the current sessional period. 1 had hoped to do that, but unfortunately I have heard so much wailing and crying about the Democratic Labour Party and in both Houses of the Parliament so much abuse has been heaped on the party that I shall have to devote most of my time to answering the various poisonous insinuations that have been made. There has been wailing and crying.
– Also weeping and gnashing of teeth.
– Yes, there has been weeping and gnashing of teeth, too, since the elections for the House of Representatives in November. This was evident even at the declaration of the poll. Members of this Parliament have each spent 35 minutes and more abusing the Democratic Labour Party for its propaganda during the election campaign.
– It was vicious.
– That is one remark that has been heard. I want to put this on record: The Australian Democratic Labour Party makes no apologies for telling Australians the truth about communism and the association of the Australian Labour Party with the Australian Communists. It has been a peculiar experience to hear the abuse in the speeches that have been made in the House of Representatives about what the Democratic Labour Party did and what it did not do.
The “ Communist Review “ of February called on all party members to keep alive the Australian Labour Party statements that the Democratic Labour Party election propaganda was un-Australian and shock’ ing. That was in the “Communist Review “. Senator Ormonde, the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie), the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart), Senator Cavanagh and quite a number of others, either consciously or unconsciously, have lost no time in rallying to the call. In doing so, they dreamed up - or Senator Ormonde did - the fantastic figure of £250,000 as the cost of the D.L.P. election campaign. I should like to tell the honorable senator if he were in the chamber that the D.L.P. national television campaign which caused so much heartburning in the A.L.P. cost exactly £20,021 18s. 8d.
– That was £20,000 too much.
– It was too much as far as the Australian Labour Party was concerned. I will wager that this amount is only about half the Australian Labour Party’s unpaid television campaign bills in Victoria at this moment.
– Has not it paid its debts?
– Not yet. The Australian Labour Party claims that capitalist sources supply the Democratic Labour Party with election funds. Mr. Oliver, the president of the Australian Labour Party in New South Wales, only recently said at a conference that his party spent £80,000 on television, and complained that the unions kicked in only £15,000. Where did the other £65,000 come from? It came from capitalistic sources, as did the funds of the Liberal Party and the Country Party. Our funds came from the same source, too, but they came too late because a donation had already been made to the Labour Party. So do not say to us that our election funds came from the Liberal Party. They came from the same source as did the Labour Party’s funds. We know that on past occasions Mr. Calwell always visited Collins-street, in Melbourne, and took funds from capitalistic sources with both hands. But why worry about where tha funds came from? We know that the money comes from the capitalistic sources. It comes from big business because big business thinks maybe it will get something from you. That is why you got so much this time. Big business thought you had a chance of winning, but the people engaged in big business did not know that the D.L.P. was in the field.
I want to put on record what our national campaign programme was. The D.L.P.’s national campaign television programme consisted of three fifteen-minute spots on all commercial stations in Australia. If Senator Ormonde wants to check up on the cost he can do so quite easily by either working out the cost for himself or asking any of the advertising agencies. They will give him the figures.
– How many seats did you win?
– How many deposits did you lose?
– Quite a number; but we also made sure that Australia was safe.
– Was that your aim?
– It was, but I will come to that in a moment. Let me say now that I am prepared to go further and table in this Senate the D.L.P.’s accounts if Senator Ormonde will do the same with those of the A.L.P. Senator Ormonde said that our campaign was un-Australian. Is it unAustralian to warn the Australian people of the dangers of electing as the government of this country a party like the A.L.P. whose basic foreign policies are indistinguishable from the policies of the Communist Party? Is it un-Australian to produce documentary evidence to prove this? Is it un-Australian to publish pictures depicting A.L.P. men and Communists marching side by side in Communist demonstrations? If it is, then I suppose it is un-Australian to tell the truth. These are the facts. We documented everything that we had to say in our telecasts. More often than not, the words used in condemnation of A.L.P. practices were those of the A.L.P. leaders themselves, including the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). If what we had to say was untrue, then, surely, the A.L.P. would have shown where our statements were untrue. No attempt was ever made to do this. All we got was fanatical abuse.
I have said that no such attempt was made. Attempts were made to stop us. An approach was made to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to stop our telecasts. I believe that eminent Queen’s Counsellors inspected our telecasts to see whether something could be done. I believe that Senator Cohen was one of those eminent Q.C.’s.
– They were absolutely disgraceful telecasts.
– That is what I am coming to now. You could find nothing whatsoever that you could do anything about. You and several Q.C.’s and members of your organization inspected them and you had to give it away. Senator Ormonde, on whom I am focussing my remarks because he came in on this so strongly, apparently was aware of this weakness in his party’s case last Thursday night, because he said -
I shall cite an instance to show how low these people got with their propaganda. As a part of their campaign they printed pictures showing a Labour man walking in a union procession with a Communist, but they cut one body out from the picture. He happened to be the President of the Waterside Workers Federation in Melbourne, a member of the Democratic Labour Party.
We did not publish a picture of a man walking in a union procession with a Communist; we published pictures of groups of A.L.P. men marching with the Communists in the Communist Party’s May . Day procession in Sydney. Senator Ormonde well knows that the Communist Party’s May Day procession in Sydney is not a union procession. It is not a Labour procession of any description. It is purely and simply a Communist procession and every Labour leader in Australia knows that.
I have with me the pictures that were used. The first one shows the Communist president of the miners’ federation, Bill Parkinson, marching side by side with the A.L.P. general secretary of the union, Mr. Mahon.
– You are not suggesting Mahon is a Communist, are you? He is one of the finest Labour men in New South Wales.
– That is the point I am bringing forward. In commentary on it we said -
No A.L.P. man ever opposes the Communist Parkinson for his job; nor does any Communist oppose Mahon for his.
I am taking it that Mahon was the A.L.P. man walking with the Communist. This is commonly referred to in Communist journals as sharing the leadership. Then we showed Patrick Clancy, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party leading a building trades group with Michael McNamara, an A.L.P. member and secretary of the Builders’ Labourers Federation, sharing the front line with him. Thirdly we showed Mr. Charles Fitzgibbon, . a member of the New South Wales A.L.P. executive, leading a contingent from the Communist-dominated Waterside Workers Federation. That is the’ picture that the honorable senator said was doctored. Moreover, the president of the Melbourne branch of the D.L.P. had declared that he never at any time took part in the procession and was not even in Sydney. Senator Ormonde said that these pictures were fakes. Anyone who looks at them will easily recognize that they were taken in George-street, Sydney.
– Could they have been taken in a Labour Day procession?
– They were taken in a May Day procession.
– Mahon, Fitzgibbon and McNamara are very fine Australians.
– I am not saying they are not. That is the trouble with you people. They are marching with Communists. That is what we say your people were doing at the last election. The firm of Mick Simmons Limited can be clearly seen in the background of the pictures. I have here a transparency of a picture taken of the march. There is Fitzgibbon marching, and even wearing the red rosette.
– It is terrible. Let me briefly review what the Democratic Labour Party had to say in its telecast. Let me give honorable senators the documentation for what we said.. I have here the film of the D.L.P; .telecast. I am prepared tol’ screen it in the Senate club room and give Australian Labour Party senators, including Senator Ormonde, an opportunity to answer it if they so desire. Here it is. I should like to show it again.
– Why not show it in the Senate?
– That is what I would like to do. The D.L.P. is prepared to take half an hour on commercial stations to screen this film once again, and to give the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) the opportunity to face the Australian people and answer the charges that have been made. We are prepared to do that if the Australian Labour Party will meet half the cost. I think that is fair enough. We would be happy to meet the whole cost if we had only a quarter of the amount of money that Senator Ormonde said we have.
Now I wish to discuss the skulls which upset so many people in Senator Ormonde’s party. The photograph of these skulls was taken at a mass grave of Polish officers and men murdered whilst prisoners of the Soviet forces in Katyn Forest during the last war. Why does the Australian Labour Party always rush in in defence of Communists? Some have claimed that the picture was not in good taste and was rather shocking. I have never heard anybody complain that the pictures taken of atrocities in the Belsen camp were shocking. We superimposed the word “ Communist” on top of these skulls because we equate communism with death.
Some honorable senators say the picture was shocking and disgusting. What did the Labour Party do during the conscription issue? It wanted to equate conscription with death, and it did so very effectively. Men like the late John Curtin and the late John Cain were in the fight at that time. How did they get their story over? They equated conscription with death. Here is a copy of the pamphlet that they used. Labour supporters were not shocked by that in the great old days from 1916 onwards - the hey-day of the Labour Party. At that time the Labour Party did exactly the same as the D.L.P. did during the last general election. It equated conscription , with death and demonstrated it in a graphic way. We did the same thing because we say that communism must* be equated with death.
– The way you equated them was just dastardly.
– We did it because we wanted to bring home the truth to the Australian people.
– The Labour Party is not a Communist party and never will be. Anybody who says that Labour is a Communist party is, in good English, a liar.
– I agree with the honorable senator. I am not suggesting that the Labour Party is a Communist party. I am just saying that the Labour Party is going soft on communism. The D.L.P. says that the A.L.P. is playing it soft with the Communists and that the Australian voters need to be reminded of the real nature of communism.
We said that the Communist threat to Australia was based on two factors, first, the military and economic might of Communist China, and second, the penetration of the Australian Labour movement by the Communist Party in Australia. Since the Communist power was in the unions, we said that that power had to be smashed in die unions. In July of last year, when the Sino-Russian dispute split the Communist Party in two, we felt that the moment had arrived to destroy the Communist power in this country. At that time the A.L.P. was holding a conference in Perth, so we sent a telegram to Mr. Calwell reading as follows: -
The Communists are off balance through their division. This is a moment of opportunity. They can be beaten in the unions once and for all If all anti-Communists unite to beat them. It is true that the D.L.P. is poles apart from the A.L.P. on basic policy issues, but we are ready to encourage our members to join with the A.L.P. members to destroy the Communists in the unions before they regain their unity and consolidate their positions.
We told viewers that Mr. Calwell rejected our offer, saying that it was merely a sign of D.L.P. weakness. Will honorable senators believe me when I say that the Labour Party was going soft on communism?
At the last election we talked also about unity tickets. We said that by condoning the practice of A.L.P. -Communist unity tickets in union elections the A.L.P. was actually helping the Communist Party to maintain power, in the unions. Members of the A.L.P. -realize that- as. well as. I -do. We . produced unity tickets used in 1963 in the Australian Railways Union Victorian election where A.L.P. men united with the notorious Communist, J. J. Brown, and by this action helped to maintain his power in that union. We produced also a unity ticket that was circulated in the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union in Queensland, where the same thing was happening. Members of the A.L.P. and Communists were seeking election as a team on the same ticket, in the name of labour unity. We submitted as further proof of the existence of unity tickets the statements of Australian Labour Party leaders. We said that as far back as 1961 the Leader of the Opposition had said that unity tickets were building up the D.L.P. and would deprive the A.L.P. of victory in the coming federal elections. That statement was true. The Leader of the Opposition demonstrated his great powers of prophecy. We quoted the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Kennelly) who asked his colleagues, “How can you trust them?” He was referring to the members of the Australian Labour Party in Victoria when the unity tickets were being conducted. He said, “Let us try to kid others, if you like, but do not let us kid ourselves “. He realized the position, of course. We quoted an A.L.P. candidate in Victoria, Mr. H. J. Speed who, in withdrawing his nomination as a candidate, made a statement which was reported in the daily press as follows: - “To deny the existence of unity tickets was the height of political folly.” He said, “Every A.L.P. candidate is made to appear a fool, a liar, or both “.
We quoted the Honorable A. A. Calwell who said that unity tickets were just a gimmick -simply imaginary creations. When confronted with incontrovertible evidence of Victorian unity tickets he sympathized with representatives of th3 A.L.P. in the State who said that they had to have unity tickets with the Communists in order to defeat the Australian Democratic Labour Party. In view of conflicting statements by the leaders of Senator Ormonde’s party on the subject of unity tickets, I can understand his difficulty in recognizing the truth when it is presented to him.
We went on to say that there were Com- munistcontrolled Uunions. The Melbourne sv” Herald” .of>.< 18th. July, -1963, . reported
Mr. Calwell as saying to an American businessman in Washington, “There is not a Communist-controlled union in Australia “.
– That is correct, too.
– There is another man who says the same thing.
– I will second that.
– There are two of them. Either you are stupid or you do not know what you are talking about. We screened the report to which I have referred and said that if Mr. Calwell believed this, he was the only Labour leader in Australia who did. Now I have found a couple of back-benchers who believe it as well. We then listed the unions of Australia which were either Communist-controlled or heavily influenced by Communists. They included the waterside workers’ union, the seamen’s union, the tramways union in Victoria, the railways union of Victoria and of the Commonwealth, the metal workers, the miners’ federation, the boilermakers’ union, the blacksmiths’ union, the Amalgamated Engineering Union and the building workers’ union. I do not think that any Opposition senator will dispute that.
– No one would say it but you.
– I have heard your own Labour men say it. Now we come to the material that we used which caused considerable trouble for Opposition senators. There is an article with a heading, “ The 36 Faceless Men “. We screened a picture of the leader of the Australian Labour Party, Mr. Calwell, waiting in a hotel yard at night to be told what the result of a special conference would be. Senator Ormonde has provided a unique explanation of why Mr. Calwell was outside the hotel; it probably took him twelve months to think it out. In our broadcast we said that the bewilderment on Mr. Calwell’s face would be shared by many Australian voters who would wonder how they could be expected to elect as Prime Minister one who did not even get a vote when his own party was determining policy.
The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) referred to the men in the A.L.P. conference room as the 36 faceless men. We said that they should not remain faceless;!’ So we introduced some of them to the television viewers. Judging by the result of the general election it would seem that they were far from vote catchers.
This is how we introduced them: Mr. Keeffe, federal president, who wants to bring back our troops from Malaysia; Mr. Chamberlain - then the real boss of the A.L.P. - who said that the A.L.P. objective, socialism, was the same as the Communist Party objective but that the A.L.P. would attain it in a different way; Mr. Brebner, a notorious supporter of unity tickets; Mr. Stout, left-wing secretary of the Melbourne Trades Hall Council, who said he always gave his second vote to the Communists.
– I was present when he made his speech and he said nothing of the sort.
– Why did he not sue us, then? Everybody else wants to sue us. I said something during the election campaign before last and Mr. Chamberlain sued me for £20,000. Of course, he did not go on with the action. We were hoping that he would. If those men who think that they have been maligned had any intestinal fortitude they would go ahead and sue as Tom Uren has done. He has what it takes. These chaps did not come out.
– You support Tom Uren?
– He has something that you have not got. We also named the following people among the 36 faceless men: - Mr. Butler, who organized the campaign for Communist candidates for the Victorian Amalgamated Engineering Union election; Mr. Holt, who opposed in Parliament any interference in unity tickets with Communists and A.L.P. men; Mr. McSween, editor of a left-wing publication, “ Scope “ which defends unity tickets with A.L.P. men and Communists; Mr. F. Carey, another strong defender of unity tickets; Mr. McNolty whom Mr. Calwell described as a lovable character but who accepted the Stalin Silver Star; Mr. Taylor who was appointed delegate to the Communist World Federation of Trade Unions; Mr. Waters who, in the Warwick “ Daily News “, advocated an A.L.P. agreement with the Communist Party; Mr. Nolan who, in one of hi9 many trips to Russia,, was made an honorary member of the official Soviet Pioneers’ Movement; Mr. Cameron, parliamentary opponent of the W.A. radio base which, of course was vital to the allies and to ourselves.
– What did you say when you were a member of the Communist Party at Longford?
– What was that?
– Senator O’Byrne says that you were a member of the Communist Party.
– Did he now?
– Have you been a member of the Communist Party?
– I have never been and am never likely to be a member of the Communist Party. It is worth noting that not one of the men to whom I have referred has denied his associations as publicized in our telecasts. We went on to show where the Communist Party and the A.L.P. policies were identical. We listed on television the basic policy of the A.L.P. which was indistinguishable from that of the Communist Party. The Communist Party policy on red China provided that the Australian Government should recognize that country and that red China should be admitted to the United Nations. Similarly, the A.L.P. policy provided that red China should be recognized and admitted to the United Nations. It was the policy of the Communist Party that Australian troops should be withdrawn from Malaya, and that was also the policy of the A.L.P. The Communist Party advocated a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere, and so did the A.L.P. The Communist Party opposed the establishment of United States bases, and so did the A.L.P.
– That is not so.
– Yes, it is.
– Our policy implied conditions.
– It implied conditions which would have destroyed the whole concept of the United States base at North West Cape. In other words, the conditions were to be imposed through the back door, after the decision to support the establishment of the base had been adopted by nineteen votes to seventeen.
The Communist Party advocated the repeal of the penal clauses of the arbitration legislation, and that was also a plank of the Labour Party policy. The Communist Party policy included removal of the political and industrial sections of the Crimes Act, and so did the policy of the A.L.P. The leaders of the Labour Party offered plausible excuses for each of those policy matters. However, it was not the individual aspects of the policy with which we were concerned. Our concern was with the pattern of policy to which the Labour Party was committed, a pattern which favoured the extension of Communist power abroad and advancing the plans of the Communist Party in Australia. We said that every Communist in Australia was working and hoping for a Labour Party victory last November. To support our statement we screened extracts from Communist newspapers and election pamphlets. They included the following extract from the “ Tribune “:-
Where there are no Communist candidates we call for a No. 1 vote for the A.L.P. and we support the election of an A.L.P. government.
The following extract from the “ Guardian” newspaper also was screened: -
An A.L.P. government would be immensely superior to the Menzies Government; hence the Communist Party is fighting for the return of such a government.
We produced a Communist Party election pamphlet which posed the question: What does the Communist Party stand for? The answer given was: Return a Labour government.
Every one knows that the Labour Party has been conducting a series of election postmortems. The members of the party have concluded that it was the D.L.P. telecasts which brought about their defeat. However I was very pleased last night to hear Senator Cavanagh say that we had no effect on the result at all.
– You only harmed yourselves. We will bury you at the next election.
– I think we buried you people at the recent election, so we are one ahead. Most supporters of the Labour Party said that we were responsible for their defeat, but the Mosman branch of the party blamed corruption in the New South Wales Labour Government. The members of the Opposition should not blame the D.L.P. for their defeat. Our telecasts may have helped to defeat the Lr.bour Party, but the members and supporters of that party provided the ammunition, although they had no reason to do so. The D.L.P election campaign was designed basically to alert the electors, first, to the threat to Australia posed by Communist China, and secondly, to ensure that we had in Canberra a government that would maintain our alliance with the United States of America. That is very important, and it is in this respect that the Labour Party would have destroyed Australia. It would have destroyed the American alliance.
– That is utter and complete nonsense.
– It has been said by both the late President Kennedy and President Johnson that if Labour had won the election the Americans would have had to re-cast all their defence possibilities in this area.
– Where did you get that information?
– I have a lot of information about you and many other people in your party that I do not divulge.
– What nonsense!
– Senator O’Byrne enjoys interjecting, but of course he was dropped in Tasmania and does not lead the Senate team there any longer.
– That is another one of your lies.
– You are not at the top of the Senate team.
– You said I bad been dropped.
– Well, dropped from the top position. Of course, you are very lucky to get the second position.
– Why do you not tell the truth? You are just a distorter of the tru:h.
– I am telling the truth. You have been given only second position. However, with the Australian Country Party in the field I do not think you will make the grade.
The third basis of the D.L.P election campaign was designed to prove to the Labour Party that if it wished to become the government of Australia it would have to rid itself of its Communist associations and adopt a foreign policy that favoured our friends and not our enemies.
– Join the D.L.P. and save the world.
– No. Join the D.L.P. and save Australia. The D.L.P. was directly responsible for the return of seven Government supporters.
– D.L.P. - dirty little prawn.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order!
– 1 may deal with the honorable senator later. The D.L.P. preferences were directly responsible for the return of seven Government supporters in the doubtful seats of Ballaarat. Bruce, Corio, Maribyrnong, La Trobe, Swan and Franklin, and also, I should say, for the election of Senator Morris from Queensland. Senator Cavanagh wanted to know last night why we had gone to Queensland. I shall tell him.
– You got only five people in South Australia to attend your meeting.
– We usually get 7,000 in Melbourne.
– You bring them there.
– Of course. What else would you do? South Australia is not very important at the present time because the Liberal Party is doing very well there. I inform Senator Cavanagh that we went to Queensland for the simple reason that that was the only State in which a Senate election was being held. I think he said that I was afraid to open the campaign anywhere else. That was rather a peculiar thing to say. I have been in this Parliament for quite a long time and 1 do not think I have ever been accused of being afraid of anything in the political game.
– You are afraid of the next election.
– I do not need to be afraid. I have not a great deal of opposition. Senator O’Byrne is not much of an opponent. There is only Senator Lillico who can put up opposition to me. I am rather lucky because I shall not have Senator McKenna and Senator Wright against me. If the D.L.P. preferences in thirteen seats had gone to Labour Party candidates, they would have had majorities of from 1,500 to 8,000 votes. What I am asking members of the A.L.P. to do-
– Is to save you.
– I do not need to be saved. I am asking them to clean up their policies. We, as a democratic party, want to see Labour have a chance of winning. We do not want to see a LiberalCountry Party government on the treasury bench for another twenty or 30 years.
– I do.
– The Minister may, but I do not. I do not think it is right for one side to be in control of the Government benches without any fear of being defeated. In those circumstances it becomes autocratic and there is a dictatorship. I do not want to see that. I want to see an alternative government that really can be trusted not to give this country away to the Communists. That is why we fight elections. That is why the Liberal Party and the Country Party are in government to-day. They will remain there while the Australian Labour Party is stupid on the Communist issue and while it adopts a soft attitude towards something that will destroy it as well as the rest of Australia.
Mr. President, I have spent quite a lot of time telling what we did in our election campaign, because Labour supporters have been talking without knowing. I hope that they now understand. I have wasted quite a lot of time on that matter when I wanted to deal with something more important, namely the defence of this country.
– How many of your people are over in Malaya now?
– We get so many stupid remarks from Senator Sandford that the situation has become abhorrent. I was very pleased to read in the Governor-General’s Speech that we are to take a very firm attitude towards the defence of Malaysia. We must do that, but I want to know whether we have sufficient forces in the Army, Navy and Air Force to be of any value now. Although the Government has made pious promises as to what it will do, can these promises be carried out? I want to see the Government get down to business and obtain the soldiers that are required. We advocate the reintroduction of national service training as the only means by which we can obtain the numbers required to safeguard Australia when the testing time comes. We will not get them in any other way. We want national service training reintroduced as soon as possible. Then we shall have our younger men prepared if the testing time comes.
We must increase the size of our Navy and of our Air Force much more rapidly than is intended. I do not think the time when they will be greatly needed is very far away. I ask the Government to act quickly. I know that it is to expend more money on defence but I do not think it will be expended rapidly enough. We have already proposed certain incentives to build up our armed forces. Some of those, which we shall submit to the Parliament, relate to superannuation and housing conditions. Men who are about to leave the services should be given an incentive to re-enlist. This would result in the saving of a great deal of money. We suggest that men should be paid £100 as an incentive to re-enlist after their period of enlistment expires. The training of a man costs a lot of money. It is much better and cheaper to retain a trained man than to bring in a new man to train.
I should like to deal also with education grants to schools. Last night Senator Cavanagh said that there should not be any aid to non-governmental schools. We are supposed to be democratic people who like to see fair play, yet through the years we have not given justice in education to all Australian children. I was very pleased at the break-through in assistance to independent schools, which the Prime Minister announced in his policy speech. I hope that the deliberations now going on within the Labour Party executive will lead to a firm decision to support the Prime Minister’s proposal and to allow justice to the children who attend these schools. Let us hope that the executive, which is not stupid all the time, will support the Prime Minister in this respect. He promised only small amounts of money in comparison with what is needed, but they will be of some assistance I congratulate the Government on its announcement and hope that before long it will see fit to increase scholarships, grants, and interest-free loans for additions to schools. Such increases will be needed because of the tremendous increase in population. I know that State education needs the provision of a great amount of money, but there is no reason why both branches of education cannot be assisted. Speaking comparatively, we in Australia are not spending nearly as much on our children as is being spent on the children of England and America If we increase the amount that is spent already, we will not be doing any more than is being done overseas to educate children.
This debate will soon conclude. I hope that the Government will carry out one of its major proposals and will ensure that this country is properly defended. I hope it will maintain its treaties with countries that could help us in an hour of need.
Senator MARRIOTT (Tasmania) [9.2 lj. - Mr. Deputy President. I agree with the sentiments of loyalty that have been expressed by those who have participated in the debate. I want to approach my comparatively brief speech with a different attitude of mind from that of the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labour Party (Senator Cole). I felt that he made no real contribution to thought about the welfare of Australians. He took advantage of the opportunity presented to him to attack the party to which he once belonged. He took up quite a lot of time in doing so. I shall leave his speech there, because I do not think it is worth replying to.
The debate on the motion for the adoption for the Address-in-Reply should not be one in which party politics become the main theme. It should be one in which the members of the National Parliament submit to the Opposition or to the Government, as the case may be, proposals for the welfare of the people of Australia. This is one debate in which we may range over a wide field of subjects. It is possible that during such a debate one of us might be able to sow in the mind of the Opposition
K of the Government a seed that .will bring forth good for the people of Australia. We will have plenty of opportunities to talk about sales tax, income tax, pay-roll tax and social services; but this is one opportunity that we have to talk about the general welfare of Australians.
Later we will have an opportunity to discuss the Government’s announced policy to pay 15s. a week child endowment for full-time students over the age of sixteen years. 1 hope we all will take advantage of the opportunity to praise the Government for its proposal. We will have an opportunity to discuss whether the Government was right or wrong - 1 believe it was right - in announcing an increased number of Commonwealth scholarships for young people. In other words, we will have an opportunity either to criticize or to laud the Government’s policy generally, which is definitely set for the welfare of the youth of Australia. 1 shall laud that policy. We are living in a period in which the welfare of the youth of the country is very important. The youth of Australia will benefit from the legislation that the Government will later introduce.
I wish to digress for a moment to observe that there was a by-election in New South Wales on Saturday last. I noted that the present Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Heffron, in trying to explain away the terrific loss of votes that was suffered by the Labour Party, said that people usually Voted against a government at a by-election as a form of punishment. In Tasmania we recently had a by-election in unfortunate circumstances. A very outstanding young man retained the seat for the Liberal Party with a very good majority. The result in Tasmania rather proves Mr. Heffron to be wrong in his suggestion that people try to vote against a government at a by-election.
I wish to put forward two matters for consideration by the appropriate Ministers. Many honorable members and senators already have put up the first proposal to the Government. However, I think it is time that somebody on the Government side came out clearly in the open and urged the Government to consider the payment of pensions to patients in mental institutions. I have studied this subject and I know some of the difficulties involved, but 1 believe that sincere approach to the prob- lem could result momenta!-, defectives being given some relief. I should also like the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) to give serious thought to exempting blind civilians from the payment of sales tax. I know that blind ex-servicemen are exempted from the payment of sales tax when they purchase a car but that blind civilians cannot obtain exemption. There should not be any discrimination between these two classes of people.
My final point relates to tourism. I have been thrilled to note that over the last two or three years this Government has awakened to the great value to Australia of tourism. I believe that Senator Nancy Buttfield, who is sitting in front of me, has really driven this point home to the Government. The Government, through increased grants to the Australian National Travel Association and the appointment of dedicated people to promote tourism, has done a wonderful job for Australia. I believe the idea should be to get cooperation between the States. It is all very well for the Gold Coast or the holiday island of Tasmania to get tourists, but there should be co-operation between the States to get tourists to travel interstate, even if they go to Rottnest Island off the Western Australian coast. I sincerely believe that there should be more co-operation between State tourist departments. The Commonwealth Government has set an example and the tourist industry is flourishing. It is of great economic value to Australia.
– It could be our biggest industry.
– I quite agree with Senator Buttfield that tourism, properly handled, will become our greatest industry. Every person who comes to Australia as a tourist spends a lot of money. That promotes the construction of homes, shops and business premises and the effect goes right back into the woodlands where trees must be cut for timber.
I congratulate the Government on the appointment of Sir Garfield Barwick as Minister for External Affairs and commend the Government’s decision to relieve the Minister of other duties. It is evident that the Government has realized that we are a nation of great importance because of our : geographical position. It is important that * ‘ our external Affairs should be watched over by a brilliant and leading Australian and that he should have no other duties to take up his time. I am glad that the Government has separated the portfolios of External Affairs and Attorney-General. I believe that the work of Sir Garfield Barwick as Minister for External Affairs will be of great value to Australia.
I wish to deal with only one other matter and for once I intend to be party political. I think the people of Australia should wake up to what could happen if there were a change of government and the Australian Labour Party were returned to office. It is so easy to forget, because this Government has been in office since 1949. The people should realize what would be offered to them if they decided to change the government. Take our ordinary daily newspapers. I propose to quote from “Hansard” of 13th December, 1940, at page 1062. The present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) was reported then to have said -
I am no believer in the so-called liberty of tha press, which actually amounts to licence for certain newspaper proprietors, who assume the right to exploit the needs of the nation, and boost their own circulation. I have no faith in the loyalty of newspaper proprietors.
I put it to the people of Australia that that was a dangerous statement from one who could be the Prime Minister. He expressed those views and did not deny them later. Such a statement means that those views could be turned towards television and broadcasting. Australia would regret the day that the media of communication and publicity got into the control of a man who has said, “ I am no believer in the so-called liberty of the press “.
– I begin by referring to three matters which I think honorable senators would consider it a duty to mention. First, I want to associate myself with the expressions of loyalty to the Crown and to express my regret that Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was unable to visit Australia. I express my personal sympathy with those associated with the tragic loss of H.M.A.S. “Voyager”. I know that all honorable senators from every political party would join in such expressions with the utmost sincerity: Finally, I want to< congratulate Senator’ Morris on an outstanding maiden speech. Of course, it is recognized that Senator Morris has had very wide experience in the political field. Nevertheless, I think the contribution he made was a fine one and it would be churlish of me or any other honorable senator to fail to recognize it.
Having said that, I feel I must make a brief comment on the concluding remarks of Senator Marriott, who referred to an alleged statement made by a leading member of the Australian Labour Party.
– It is not alleged; it was in “ Hansard “.
– Senator Marriott referred to a statement he alleged was made by a leading member of the Australian Labour Party in 1940. He went on to say that if a Labour government were elected, certain things would happen. Need I remind Senator Marriott that, shortly after 1940, a Labour Government was elected to office. Need I remind him that the Labour Government of that day steered Australia through one of its most grave periods? Need I remind him that the Labour Government then undertook the difficult task of post-war reconstruction? The press survived, and would continue to survive under any Labour government because, regardless of what has been said and will continue to be said in this type of vilification to which we become accustomed, the Australian Labour Party does not believe in taking away basic freedoms. Rather, we believe in contributing towards them.
– Does the honorable senator deny what his leader said?
– I have stated the facts of history. There is no need to say more. I feel I must refer now to some of the statements made by the Leader of the Democratic Labour Party (Senator Cole), who spoke for an hour in the Senate to-night. Perhaps no great effort or any great eloquence on my part will be required to convince the people of Australia of the utter poverty of the policies of the Democratic Labour Party. Senator Cole practically admitted it himself, for only in the final stages of that hour did he cease to abuse the Australian Labour Party and start to deal in a very slight way with the
Address-in-Reply. I do not intend to devote anywhere near a fraction of the time Senator Cole consumed to reply to his statements. I want to make only two comments. The first was perhaps expressed more adequately and more briefly than I could express it as the opinion of a responsible body of people concerning the methods employed by the D.L.P. in the campaign leading up to the election day of 30th November last. I refer to the Adelaide “Advertiser” of 8th December, 1963, which, in turn, referred to an item in the “ Anglican “ which is the newspaper of the Church of England in Australia. The item read -
The Democratic Labour Party was a disgrace and a serious threat to democracy in Australia, the national Church of England newspaper, the “ Anglican “, said yesterday. In an editorial reviewing <he Federal election, the newspaper said: “The dirty fighting, despicable lies and misrepresentations in this campaign came solely from the D.L.P.”
I do not think there is any need for me to amplify that item. Perhaps it could be said that the statement was framed and decided upon with less prejudice-
– It is not a Church of England newspaper.
– I am quoting from the newspaper report.
– I know, but it is not a Church of England newspaper.
– Perhaps it can be said that this newspaper would deal with the position with less prejudice than I would and therefore I think I cannot do any better than quote it.
I want to make only one other reference to Senator Cole’s diatribe. He had a lot to say about the alleged 36 faceless men. Of course, this reference to 36 faceless men was a gimmick of the Liberal Party and the D.L.P. Apparently both groups are claiming credit for the brilliant idea. I understood that the Prime Minister claimed credit for it. To-night Senator Cole said his party originated it. To me, that indicates very close co-operation between the two parties. I happen to be one of the alleged 36 faceless men. I have represented the A.L.P. at every conference since 1947 and I know that at all of those conferences have been men whose names have loomed large in the political field in this country. I do not include myself in that category, and there is no need for me to enumerate them because the Democratic Labour Party as well as the Government is quite well aware that the scurrilous propaganda which was designed to give rise to the thought that there was some form of outside dictatorship guiding the destinies of the leaders of the Labour Party is utterly false.
Everybody knows how ridiculous the suggestion is, and if anything more were needed to make it even more ridiculous let me remind Senator Cole - and I regret very much that he is not now in the chamber - that I have with me a photograph of those attending the conference of the Australian Labour Party held in 1953. It is a photograph of the 36 men - comprised of six from each State - who at that time decided the policies of the Australian Labour Party. In addition to the photograph of the 36 faceless men who attended the conference in 1953, I have a copy of the official report of the conference proceedings. Depicted amongst the 36 men are Senator Cole, the former Senator McManus, the former Senator Condon Byrne, the Honorable V. C. Gair, who was at that time Premier of Queensland, the Honorable E. J. Walsh of Queensland and Mr. F. J. Riley, of Victoria. That photograph demonstrates just how stupid these references to the 36 faceless men are, because Senator Cole is identified as one of the alleged faceless men who at that time determined the Labour Party’s policy. I do not think that in the last 50 years there has been any change in the political structure of the Australian Labour Party. Therefore, Senator Cole has identified himself as a faceless man, and the whole thing becomes too silly for words.
During the Address-in-Reply debate somebody said - I think it was an honorable senator on this side of the chamber - that the Labour Party was displaying a certain amount of defeatism and a disheartened attitude at the result of the election that was held on 30th November last. Let me say at once that I am not one of those who feel defeated or disheartened. We all have our ideas as to the reasons for Labour’s defeat on 30th November last. Senator Cavanagh may have one- idea; I may have another idea and somebody else may have the right one and neither Senator Cavanagh nor I may be right after all. I do not claim to be an authority on what causes any political party to win an election or what causes any party to lose one, but I know - and the members of the Government know it as well as I do - that just prior to the election you could not have got any one on the Government side to wager an even £1 that the Government parties would be returned to office. I think, too, that that opinion was shared generally by the experts throughout Australia.
I am trying to be objective, and I think it is fair to say that whilst we are not quite sure about the factors which caused our defeat the Government itself is not quite sure about the good fortune which caused it to win. Therefore, I think that it is pointless to try to determine what factors entered into the matter. The plain fact is that the present Government was returned. We have to recognize that fact and I am not cavilling at it. I merely want to state my views as distinct from those of other people who hold the belief that there are grounds for the Labour Party’s being disheartened at the present political position in this country.
I think the people of Australia will recog- nize that, by taking the unusual course of making his policy speech before the Prime Minister made his, Mr. Calwell forced the pace of the election. There is no doubt whatever in my mind that he forced the Government into the position of having to give to the people of Australia substantial concessions that it had no intention of giving otherwise. For instance, I think it would be fair to say that the Government had no intention whatever of giving any increases in child endowment, that it had no intention whatever of giving any relief to young people endeavouring to find finance to build homes, that it had no intention whatever of doing many of the other things which the splendid policy put forward by the Labour Party forced it to do. I think that, until Mr. Calwell took the unusual step of making his policy speech before the Prime Minister made his speech, the Government intended to rely on the fact that it had been in office for a certain number of years, that it had done certain things and that as a consequence no particular measure that would benefit the people in tha future was to be placed before them. Therefore, I say that the Labour Party can take some credit for whatever benefits will be the subject of bills which I hope will be brought before this chamber before very long. I propose to elaborate why I am not disheartened before I complete my address this evening.
I notice in the Governor-General’s references to defence that we are in the process of purchasing 100 Mirage fighter aircraft. I do not quarrel with that purchase because I think this Government has delayed far too long in building up the air arm of Australia’s defences. But I do feel that perhaps in other fields sufficient thought is not being given to the defence of this country. I was extremely interested to read in yesterday’s Melbourne “ Sun News-Pictorial “ an article which said that Mr. J. B. Hayes, an American expert on army vehicles, had begun a tour of Australian Army establishments. The article stated that the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) said that the visit was related to standardization of equipment with the United States of America, Britain and Canada. If it is to be expected, as claimed by the Government, that defence measures which will be undertaken by this country in the foreseeable future will be undertaken in conjunction with the United States in the main, one is led to the thought that it is a wonder that the Government has not taken some heed before this of the desirability of some form of standardization of equipment instead of accepting the obsolete or out-of-date equipment which it has been in the habit of accepting from time to time from people all over the world who want to get rid of it.
In the brief time that 1 have at my disposal I want to deal with a number of items. The Governor-General referred to the extension of telephone facilities. As a South Australian, I am particularly interested in the suggestion to extend the coaxial cable. Already, of course, the capital cities of Victoria and New South Wales, Melbourne and Sydney, have the benefit of automatic telephone contact, but the capital cities of the Cinderella States, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia, do not as yet enjoy that amenity. I should like to know from the Minister, at the appropriate time, when it is intended that the very great benefit which flows from such easy telephone communication between capital cities will be extended to Adelaide.
– This applies to the transmission of television programmes also.
– As Senator Ridley so properly reminds me, this relates to television programmes also.
I wish to refer briefly to the Government’s proposals for a housing subsidy for young couples. There is a rather vague reference in the Governor-General’s Speech to the effect that machinery will have to be put into operation to put this scheme into effect. What I hope, and what I am sure everybody who will benefit from the scheme hopes, is that the Government will act as early as possible to enable people to obtain the benefit of the subsidy, and will announce the details of the scheme.
I come now to what I consider to be a most important matter. I am glad that Senator Hannan is in the chamber because I know that this is a matter which is dear to his heart. I refer to the fact that Australia has, within the last twelve months or so, negotiated substantial wheat deals with red China. I notice also that it is now in the process of negotiating a deal to send large quantities of Australian wool to red China.
– Why do you say this is dear to the heart of Senator Hannan?
– Senator Hannan has always been particularly interested in trade with China. As a matter of fact, I remember that, not too many years ago, when it was suggested by members on this side of the chamber that it was inevitable that some day we would trade with China because the necessity for trade would force that upon us, Senator Hannan was most upset and said that it was a Communist proposal. He said that anybody who supported such a contention must have Communist sympathies. I sympathize with the honorable senator now, because he finds himself associated with a government which is actively trading with red China and is obviously relishing it. This shows that the Government uses the Communist bogy when it considers that line of action to be suitable, and that when that bogy is no longer suitable the Government is prepared to discard it and to make use of Communists to take our products.- -I am not saying that there is anything wrong with this proposed deal. What I am saying is that it exposes the utter hypocrisy, not only of Senator Hannan, but also of the Government of which he is a member.
I should like to know whether there is any basis for the rumour that the Government has already decided to take the first
Steps towards recognizing red China’s claim for admission to the United Nations. That is being rumoured quite freely in the press, and many people believe there is some subStance in the rumour. I should like the Minister to give some information to the Senate on that matter.
– Would you support such a move?
– If the Government decides to make that move I shall state my attitude to it. I shall be prepared to state my attitude at any time the honorable senator is prepared to state his. I think I have made my position on this matter quite clear in the past and there is no need for me to re-state it now.
I come now to the proposed change in the Commonwealth Electoral Act, which was mentioned very briefly in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech. We on this side of the chamber make no secret of the fact that we fear that this change will lead to a gerrymander similar to that which exists in South Australia. That view is supported by people who do not belong to the Australian Labour Party. A member of the Liberal Party is recorded as having said publicly that this is a blatant gerrymander through the back door, and that he will vote and speak against it in the party room and in the Parliament. If a member of the governing parties takes that view of the proposal foreshadowed in the Governor-General’s Speech in relation to electoral matters, is it any wonder that we on this side entertain the gravest possible suspicions? I think we can say with certainty that the proposal arises from a desire on the part of the Australian Country Party to snatch from the Liberal Party the real responsibility for governing this country. If this move were made, that could easily come about.
We in South Australia, having suffered tinder a vicious electoral gerrymander for many years, are quite aware of all the troubles which can flow from electoral manipulation. There is no need for me to stress what is happening in South Australia at present. The State Government represents a minority of the people in the State and is clinging to office against the wishes of the majority of the people. Apparently this Government has learned something from that situation.
It is our hope that the Government will give consideration to a forgotten document when it comes to consider the changing of electoral boundaries. I refer to the report of the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review. The committee concluded its deliberations in 1959. Most of the matters decided by the committee were decided on a unanimous basis. The committee had this to say about representation in the House of Representatives and the Senate -
The Committee considers that a Senate comprising ten senators for each original State should always retain its prestige and standing. Dignity does not rest on numerical strength. Nevertheless, it is proposed that the present power of the Parliament to increase, at its discretion, the number of members of the House of Representatives should be made subject to a constitutional restriction which will prevent the number of members of the House of Representatives being increased arbitrarily at the expense of the Senate.
The committee went on to say that no electorate should contain more or less electors than a number in the vicinity of 46,000. The move foreshadowed in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech could endanger the very foundation of the Senate and could destroy the proper relationship between the Senate and the House of Representatives. Any honorable senator who agreed to such a move would, in my opinion, be a traitor not only to the Constitution but also to the chamber of which he is a member.
I said at the beginning that I was not one of those who were dismayed at the result of the election on 30th November. Although the Australian Labour Party lost some seats, and although the Government holds a majority of some fourteen or fifteen seats in the House of Representatives, the combined vote for the Liberal and Country parties only exceeded the total vote for the Australian Labour Party by some 32,000. The inescapable fact remains that even though Labour was defeated on a Commonwealth basis on 30th November, 1963, we are still the largest single political force in this country. That cannot be denied.
Coming nearer to home, I say that there is no need for the Labour Party in South Australia to be dismayed. At the moment, in this chamber there are six Labour senators and four Government senators from South Australia. In the House of Representatives, as a result of the general election on 30th November, 1963, there are six members of the Australian Labour Party and five Government supporters.
– Those figures will be maintained.
– Of course they will be maintained. It is known to honorable senators on both sides of the chamber that if there had been a Senate election on 30th November last, Labour would have won three out of the five Senate vacancies. Having said that, I shall leave the subject with the comment that the Australian Labour Party lives to fight again. Most of the legislation that has benefited the people who really need assistance has been introduced either by the Labour Party directly or as a result of Labour Party pressure on the Government which is reluctant to do anything.
– Mr. Deputy President, first of all I want to join with other speakers in supporting the expression of loyalty contained in the Address-in-Reply. With honorable senators on both sides of the chamber, I express the hope that the cancelled visit of the Queen Mother will be, in reality, a visit deferred. This debate which has been proceeding for some time is, perhaps, one of the quietest debates in which it has been my privilege to join. I have always thought it is the duty of the Opposition to criticize, in general terms, the proposals contained in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech. On the other hand, I realize that it has been the duty of honorable senators on this side of the chamber to support, in general terms, the Government’s proposals.
As I have said, this debate has been conducted very quietly, particularly by speakers on the Opposition side. Only one or two of them have tried to drag in the old red herrings, contending that the Government has no plan for development and that it has not done, this and has pot done that Therefore, I was very glad indeed to hear Senator Toohey’s remarks and to note that he has not given up hope. Last night Senator Cavanagh said that his party was very disappointed with the results of the general election and I felt that he and other Opposition senators had given the thing away for the time being.
The Governor-General’s Speech contained the following statement: -
It is the object of Government policy that the nation should achieve over the next five years a total increase of at least 25 per cent, in the gross national product expressed in terms of constant prices.
I think this is a very good objective but it is not new. It is the objective that the Government has had before it ever since it came to power in 1949. Let us say only that it is going to speed up its policy of development. It is very gratifying indeed to see the Government attacking the many problems before it in such a vigorous manner. The fact that the Government is attacking those problems vigorously is borne out by the long list of legislation affecting all sections of the community which the Government has before it for this session of Parliament. I should like to comment on many matters mentioned in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech such as health, housing, education and redistribution of electoral boundaries but time prohibits me from doing so. Consequently, I shall content myself to-night with speaking on on or two matters and, perhaps, at a later date when the legislation that I have mentioned comes before the chamber I shall be able to say something on it.
First, Mr. Deputy President, I think it augurs well for this first sessional period of the Twenty-fifth Parliament that we are commencing our deliberations in an economic climate that has an air of buoyancy because this will assist us to get on with the development that we want and to attain the objectives stated in the Governor-General’s Speech. I know that there may be a number of people on the Opposition side of the chamber and outside the Parliament who say that this Government has been lucky because during its term of office it has been blest with good seasons. To those people I want to point out that good seasons can often bring problems with them. We have seen this in the past. We have seen the problems in the dairy industry -> when we had more butter than we could sell on overseas markets. We have seen them in the wheat industry when, because of good seasons, we had wheat stored in bins throughout the country, and later when the market became dull the Commonwealth Government was forced to grant to the States a certain amount of money to provide emergency storage.
Last week, the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Maisey) in another place referred to people as Dismal Desmonds who had said that the wheat industry should issue quotas to growers and that the wheat acreage should be cut down. Think what would have happened if this had been done. Instead of that, the Government said to the Australian Wheat Board and the wheat growers as a whole, “ Go out and get more markets “. The Government sent its Ministers overseas to find markets. The Leader of the Australian Country Party, who is the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen), went out and negotiated the Japanese Trade Agreement. Such things do not just happen. They have resulted from the Government’s policy and planning over the years.
This season has generally been favourable to rural producers despite the fact that some places, particularly in Western Australia and New South Wales, have had setbacks due to floods. So good have conditions been that it is anticipated that the volume of rural production will exceed last year’s record output by 2i per cent. This result should cause the gross value of rural produce to rise to a new record of f 1.621,000,000. It will then be £143,000,000 above the figure of last year. Over half this expected increase is due to a rise of about £77,000,000 in the value of wool production. If this is the case, it means that the value of the wool clip this year will be about £471,000,000 and that it will be the best clip since the 1956-57 season. Furthermore, £23,000,000 of the increase mentioned has been estimated as due to the increased value of wheat production. The value of exports of rural origin is expected to rise to a new record level of £1,041,000,000. The value of the wheat crop is expected to increase by £58,000,000 over last year’s harvest. The value of meat production is expected to rise by £9,000,000 and that of sugar by £28,000,000 despite the fact that we have sold less sugar overseas. Those figures are fantastic when they are compared with the 1949 figures and perhaps those of the middle 1950’s. They show that the policies of this Government, which were planned in 1949 and put into effect over the years since then, with slight deviations because of ups and downs in our overseas funds, are bearing fruit.
We all know how dependent we are on our rural industries for overseas funds. It has been stated in this chamber time and again that when the returns to the primary industries are good the general economy of the country is in a healthy state. I said at the beginning of my remarks that our economy has a buoyant air. I believe that those who have helped to bring about this buoyancy are entitled to a share in the benefits of such an economic state. I have nothing against any members of the community who say, “ Things are pretty buoyant now. We believe we are entitled to a few more benefits.” If they state their case before the appropriate tribunal and the tribunal agrees to an increase of benefits, well and good, but I issue the warning that because our economy is buoyant at the present time, due mainly to our primary industries, it should not be thought that Christmas has arrived. I say that because I am a little concerned about a statement which was made during the recent basic wage hearing. An advocate^ in examining the position of the rural industries, stated that farm incomes had increased in the last two years by more than £202,000,000. That is a little different from a statement which I heard the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) make during, the last session of the previous Parliament. In the Budget debate he indicated the extent to which he thought that farm incomes had declined. The advocate before the tribunal went on to say that there had been a 45 per cent, increase in rural exports.
I remind honorable senators that there is a vast difference between gross income and net income. I have before me a publication of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics which deals with a survey of the Australian sheep industry in Western Australia between. 1957-58.- and 1959-60. I find that the rate of return on capital in the pastoral zone was 6.4 per cent, and in the higher rainfall zone 4 per cent. In New South Wales the return on capital in 1957-58 was 2.1 per cent., in 1958-59 again 2.1 per cent., and in 1959-60, 4.5 per cent. In Victoria, the return in 1957-58 was 1.67 per cent, and in 1959-60, .62 per cent. The primary industries may be experiencing buoyant conditions at the present time, but the picture is not as rosy as it might be. If honorable senators turn to page 77 of the publication “ Taxation Statistics 1961-62” they will see that the average actual income per taxpayer in the primary industries for that year was £1,425. The average taxable income per taxpayer was only £1,140. I think that I have indicated sufficiently the conditions that prevail in the primary industries to contradict the general impression that farmers are having a great time.
It is pleasing to note in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech that the Government is facing up to the need to apply as soon as possible the results of rural research, in order to increase productivity and efficiency. This is something that is badly needed. In my view, it takes too long for many of the results of the research that is carried out to be of benefit to farmers. Research in the primary industries pays dividends ultimately to all the taxpayers of Australia. To prove my point I have only to remind honorable senators of the results of the research that has been undertaken in the wheat industry. An intensive research programme has been carried out over the years. This year, we found that the yield divisor, which is used for the purposes of the wheat agreement, was seventeen bushels an acre, whereas in 1946, when the first agreement was made, it was twelve bushels an acre. The increase has been due to greater efficiency, better farm management and perhaps the use of more modern machinery. Because of the higher yield divisor, costs of production in the wheat industry were reduced by ls. 5d. a bushel. This reduction was passed on to the millers, but unfortunately they did not pass all of it on to the housewife. It was passed on to the pig feeders and the poultry farmers, and as a result the housewife was able to buy cheaper pork and cheaper eggs. I think that action similar to that taken in the wheat industry needs to be taken in the meat industry. , n/
I am happy to note in His Excellency’s Speech a statement to the effect that one of the most urgent steps towards greater efficiency in the meat industry is reorganization of the Australian Meat Board. It will be recalled that the two federal producer organizations in the industry have submitted proposals to the Government. One of the proposals relates to the establishment of a more compact board, with certain powers in relation to overseas trading which the board does not possess at present. There has been a request for a change in the application of the levy which is made at present, with a view to encouraging greater use of meat in Australia and the location of new markets overseas. In view of the recent developments in Washington and London, market diversification is urgently needed if our expanding meat industry is to continue to flourish. I was pleased to see the recent announcement of a new meat agreement with the United States of America. Now we have assured entry to the United States meat market. Although the quantity sold will be not as high this year as it was last year, the market will build up. The agreement cannot be broken without six months’ notice. This is something that we have not previously had.
I was very pleased to note recently a statement by the chairman of the Australian Meat Board that the board would soon appoint an Asian representative with headquarters in Tokyo to look after matters relating to meat in Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Malaysia. There is a great potential for Australian meat in those countries. We have seen what New Zealand has done in the past twelve months. I believe that Australia can do as much again in a very few years. It is interesting to note that Japanese consumption of meat has nearly trebled since the war and is continuing to rise. This is due to a rising standard of living. The average annual consumption of meat in Japan is about 1 2 to 15 lb. a head, which is very low. It is clear that there is an enormous potential for increased sales of meat in Japan, especially if the Japanese Government succeeds in its efforts to double national income by 1970. If it does succeed, there will be a very steep rise in meat consumption. But this is not the only market which offers opportunities for expansion. Meat consumption in western Europe is very low by comparison with the Australian level. Australians consume annually about 90 lb. of beef a head. In Western Europe, consumption ranges from about 30 lb. a head in Italy to about 70 lb. a head in France. I shall have more to say on meat when the bill for the reorganization of the Australian Meat Board comes before the Senate.
Discussion of meat leads me to a matter which is vitally connected with it, namely, the provision of beef roads. The Government has done a wonderful job. We have only to see the road development that has taken place in the north of Western Australia, in Queensland and in the Northern Territory, to understand its effect on the beef industry. During the election campaign the Prime Minister promised that the Government, if returned to office, would increase aid to the States for roads by at least £100,000,000. I stress the words “at least “.
– Over five years.
– Yes. I believe that the Government must do more than this. There is a great need for roads. I was very interested in the reference this afternoon by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin to the need for roads to take things into remote areas and to get the produce out, and also as a means of communication between isolated families. I, and no doubt my Western Australian colleagues, have had representations from many shire councils for support of a new Commonwealth aid roads scheme along the lines of the current agreement, with distribution on the basis of one-third as to population, onethird as to area, and one-third as to motor vehicle registrations, with at least 40 per cent, of State allocations to ‘ be expended in rural areas. As the representative of the Shire Councils Association in Western Australia, I have had forwarded to me a motion passed by the federal council of the Australian Council of Local Government Associations, which reads -
That this conference affirms that the development of local roads must keep pace with the development of the main roads system and that to effect this conference vigorously reaffirms its view that rural roads in sparsely populated areas should continue to receive at least 40 per cent, of grants made under the Commonwealth aid roads legislation and that the total grants should be increased by at least 50 per cent.
Lord mayors of Australian cities have said that if additional funds are not allocated, within five years traffic congestion and chaos lasting throughout the day will result. It is said that traffic volume in metropolitan areas will double within ten years. The lord mayors ask that a proportion of the grant be made available to them. Western Australia has approved of a road system in Perth which is estimated to cost from £35,000 to £40,000. Requirements for the next ten years will amount to £19,000,000. It is estimated that £226,000,000 will be required by the State for roads in the next ten years, £43,000,000 for the metropolitan area and £183,000,000 for the country. The State Government estimates that it will receive back £205,000,000 in revenue, which will leave a deficit of £21,000,000. The Lord Mayor of Perth has joined in the request for the provision of more Commonwealth money for roads.
I do not think that the Commonwealth aid roads grant is something that is just given to the States to be used for any purpose. They may obtain funds from the Loan Council. I believe that this money is intended for developmental purposes. That is why written into the agreement is a stipulation that at least 40 per cent, must be spent in country areas.
My time has expired. I had hoped to say something on a number of other subjects. I have much pleasure in supporting the motion.
.- I have much pleasure in taking part in this debate and in associating myself with the message of loyalty contained in the motion, with the expressions of regret at the inability of Her Majesty the Queen Mother to come to Australia as planned, at the untimely and shocking death by assassination of the distinguished President of the United States, Mr. Kennedy, and at the tragic sinking of the “ Voyager “, and with the expressions of sympathy for those left by the men who lost their valued lives. I associate myself fully with what has been said about all those matters.
I pause, if I may, to say that with the tragic assassination of President Kennedy a bright star in the firmament has been extinguished. Mr. Kennedy was a most remarkable man. He made articulate to many millions of people, especially young people, all the hopes and aspirations for a better world in the immediate future and long-term future. He was essentially a spokesman for the future. His vision was one of a great United States of America with new frontiers, with mankind seeking new areas of consciousness and enlightenment. He had a positive approach to the problems of the world. Both within and beyond the boundaries of his own country he will always be remembered for his dedication to the task of enlarging the areas of civil rights and for his opposition to racial discrimination at all levels. At the time of his death he was fully committed to pressing through the Congress of the United States an important civil rights bill. Those of us who watch with sympathy the aspirations of all men in all lands for emancipation will be confident that his distinguished successor, President Johnson, will bend his great talents and experience to pushing the frontiers out for those who have yet to have legislative protection for their claims to civic equality.
We lose in President Kennedy more than a mere figurehead. We lose a man of substance in the fight for the dreams of little people. In the international sphere President Kennedy did, I believe, make a positive contribution. During his short presidential term of two years and ten months he had at least one solid achievement - the partial nuclear test ban treaty which was concluded last August between Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union. That treaty may well turn out to be a monument to his endeavours and something with which his name will always be linked.
I do not intend to speak at length to-night about that treaty. I express satisfaction - I think it is proper and right to do so - with the action of the Commonwealth Government in adhering to it and in becoming one of the early signatories. That fact was mentioned in His Excellency’s Speech. I do not think the general significance of the treaty can be over-emphasized. We must be cautious about where it might eventually lead the world, but we would be lacking in judgment if we did not appreciate the immediate significance of it, which
I think is best summed up in the words of the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Rusk, who said -
If the promise of this treaty can be realized, if we can now take even this one step along a new course, then frail and fearful mankind may find another step and another, until confidence replaces terror and hope takes over from despair.
Those words are worth remembering, especially when we have in mind the contribution to this great goal that was made by the late President Kennedy.
Having given what I think is proper recognition to the Government for its early adherence to the treaty, I must also point out that over the years the Government’s efforts have fallen short of what is to be desired in the search for agreement about disarmament. Nobody would pretend that this is an easy task. Nobody would claim that there are not tremendous practical and ideological difficulties, difficulties of power and of balance of terror, which stand in the way of fruitful international agreements. But here in this country I have sensed, as have members of the Opposition and members of the public, a reluctance on the part of the Government to come to terms with reality in our own part of the world. The Government has tended to adopt the negative approach of continually criticizing the Opposition for advancing what have been described as dangerous, impracticable or idealistic schemes without itself taking any initiative in the great questions of war and peace.
Because of its determination to decry the efforts of the Opposition over recent years, the Government has become susceptible of being charged with some degree of hypocrisy and inconsistency over its attitude to international matters and disarmament. We need only to refer to the support that was given by Australia within recent months to the United Nations resolution for a denuclearized Latin American zone. That support was given when the federal election campaign was under way. At a time when the Government was concerned about belittling and berating the efforts of the Labour Party in supporting moves for international agreement and disarmament, the Government was issuing orders to its representatives at the United Nations to support the motion for the establishment of a nuclearfree zone in Latin America. 1 leave this subject with the conviction that we ought to press on from where we are now. We ought not to leave the matter on the basis that Australia is a signatory to the treaty and has no more positive role to fulfil Indeed, in our own area and in the councils of the world we have a responsibility, whether we are in government or opposition, to make plain the desire of Australians to be associated with practical measures for world disarmament.
I want to move from international matters to some domestic matters, particularly to the position in which this Government finds itself after being successful at the last general election. I want to make it as clear as possible - I know 1 speak for every senator on this side of the chamber and for many scores of thousands, indeed hundreds of thousands, of people who supported the Labour Party and voted for it - that we are not the slightest bit down-hearted over the results of the election. We were surprised that we did not do better, but our surprise was as nothing compared with the surprise of members on the Government side. We have nothing to apologize for. We had a policy that we all supported and believed in. We will continue to fight for that policy and to urge Australians to come with us in giving effect to Labour’s vision of a great Australia in the future. We will not be deterred by immediate setbacks nor dismayed by the apparent complacency and the smiles of supporters of the Government.
To-night we have had to listen to an extraordinary performance on the part of Senator Cole who is the solitary representative in this Parliament of what is called a party. He gave forth a mountain of venom against a party of which he was once a member.
– A minority party has rights and political aspirations.
– I do not say that it has no rights. I do not deny to any man the right to state his views fearlessly. I do not deny to people the right to organize themselves into political parties. But I do say that the propaganda of the Australian Democratic Labour Party during the last federal election campaign - I am choosing these words deliberately - reached an alltime low.
Some reference was made by Senator Cole to these television programmes and to what the A.L.P. tried to do about them in Victoria. Senator Cole suggested that, with all the assistance we had to look at the problem there, we could not do anything about it, as though to say: “ We were too clever for you. You could not do anything about it.” The fact is that we tried to do something about it in Victoria. We made a protest to the proper authority - the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. We told the board our view. We said this was not proper matter to be televised and that it went beyond the bounds of fair play in political elections. Having said that, we had to wait for weeks until we got an answer. We in the Labour Party in Victoria are not satisfied with the response that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board made to our protest.
– What was the answer when you got it?
– The answer was that this fantastic presentation of skulls, marching men, flags with “ Mao Tse-tung “ written on them and other flags with “A.L.P.” written on them was not a dramatization within the meaning of the Broadcasting and Television Act. I suppose that is a matter of opinion, but it did seem an extraordinary reply to get when what we wanted was a quick decision which would have permitted effective action to stop these broadcasts.
I do not want to spend any further time on the senator from Tasmania, who spoke on those lines and used every argument available to him in trying to defend what is impossible to defend. These television programmes were in the worst possible taste. In the programmes, loyal Australians were accused of failure to appreciate their duty to their country. That was bitterly resented by every member of the Australian Labour Party, not only in Victoria but all over Australia.
Now let me say something about the position in which the Government is left. To my mind, the Government cannot take the position that, having won the election decisively, it won on all issues and need’ no longer give consideration to the points that were raised by the Australian Labour Party during the course of the election campaign. The Government’s victory does not mean that all the policies advanced by Labour during the election campaign were rejected by the electorate. On the contrary, a great number of the policies advanced by the Labour Party have been adopted by the Government as its own policies and are now being put forward as though they had emanated from the Government’s own thinking. There is a great deal to be welcomed in the Governor-General’s Speech as an indication of what the Government means to do, but the fact of the matter is that much of what has come forward is the product of Labour thinking. It is the product of the situation that the Government, during the course of the election campaign, was forced into taking stock of its position, lt had then to make some positive proposals. Some of the proposals bear all the hall-marks of having been hastily devised to meet a deteriorating electoral situation.
It is no good saying one thing and meaning another. There was a complete turnabout of the Government’s attitude between the Budget debate of September of last year and November of last year, when the policy speech of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) was delivered. For years the Australian Labour Party, both in the Senate and in another place, advocated policies to which the Government turned a deaf ear. For how many years did the Labour Party ask that child endowment be rescued from the limbo of forgotten and discarded social services and be brought up to date so that it would have some meaning and some reality for the family of modern times? What sort of response did we get until that day in November when the Prime Minister delivered his promise on child endowment? He did not call it a promise; he called it a valuable item of policy. He promised to increase child endowment for third and subsequent children and to extend it to students up to 21 years of age. For how many years has the Labour Party, in opposition in this House and in another place, talked about the need for the Commonwealth to accept responsibility financially in the field of secondary and technical education? For how many years have we been spurned?
– Because your sincerity was doubted.
– I do not know that you can talk about the sincerity of the Government. If anybody’s sincerity is to be put to the test on this issue, it is that of the Prime Minister and those who follow him. In the right honorable gentleman’s policy speech of November last, we had a new departure. We had new “ valuable items of policy “ announced by the Prime Minister. The Commonwealth Government was no longer to ignore the fields of secondary and technical education. The Government was no longer to say, “These are essentially matters for the States”. Feeling that it was inescapable, that the people wanted the Commonwealth Government to accept this function, we were ushered into a new era in which the Commonwealth moves into new areas of responsibility.
It is the same with housing. Year after year the Labour Party has directed attention to the inadequacies of the Government’s housing programme. Supporters of the Government talk about a building rate of 100,000 homes a year, and on paper that is a good figure. I do not want to belittle the progress made. But who knows what are the needs in housing? This is what we have been talking about over the years. Who knows what Australia needs, whether in housing, education or social services? Where are the surveys? Have we not been asking almost for a decade - with the support of every responsible educator in the country - for a commission of inquiry into primary, secondary, tertiary and technical education? We know that the Commonwealth Government has done many good things in the field of tertiary education. But, beyond that, who knows what the needs are? Who has ever taken a survey? Who but the Commonwealth Government is in a position to take such a survey?
We have been promised some new and important additions by way of scholarships, technical education facilities and so on, but we have not been promised a survey. That is not the way the Government approaches these matters. From our point of view, we regard an overall assessment of the country’s future needs as the point from which to start to develop policies. The Government’s method is a series of fits and starts - to grant a few scholarships here and something else there and, after pressure, to do something in this field or in that field. But where is the national plan that should determine the part to be played by the Government in each field? Far from allowing the Government to rest on its laurels in this new Parliament, we will be testing the Government at every point to see that it carries out its obligations completely, not just on the surface. We shall see that it measures up to the new responsibilities it has been forced to undertake.
I want to mention another broad field of inquiry, and 1 repeat that the fact that we lost the election does not mean that our policies have been rejected. In the few minutes left to me, I want to refer to a very critical question facing Australia, on which I believe the overwhelming proportion of the Australian people support the policy of the Labour Party. I believe that we are quite correct in insisting that the Government take steps to guarantee that the control of major Australian industries will not slip completely out of Australian hands. We are not alone in this. I need not remind the Senate of the contributions to this vital question made by the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen), who is leader of the Australian Country Party. Late last year, he described what was happening to Australia as the selling of a little bit of the farm off each year to keep going.
– A wild statement!
– I believe that Mr. McEwen is a responsible leader and on this subject he was speaking as a man who understands something about Australia. He was completely as one with us in what he said. It was not a wild statement, but one made by an Australian, who had taken a broad view of what was happening to this country.
– That is what Senator Lillico said to-night.
– I did not have the privilege of hearing what Senator Lillico said. We have made it perfectly clear that we in the Labour Party do not object to what is broadly called foreign investment - foreign capital - provided it contributes to Australia’s growth and is not used simply to take over established Australian industries and to replace Australian control and direction with overseas control and direction. That is the simple fact of the matter. We welcome investment here, but we do not want to see develop a situation in which Australians no longer have control of the basic industries of the country.
Late last year, and since the Parliament was dissolved, a publication which I think even honorable senators on the Government side know of - the “ Australian Financial Review “, published in Sydney by the same interests as the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ - brought out a special compendium of overseas investments in listed companies. It showed the estimated equity capital holdings of overseas companies in a very large number of companies over a wide area, lt covered companies engaged in all sorts of industries - food processing, tobacco, mining, motor vehicles, agriculture, earth-moving equipment, petroleum refining, marketing and so on. lt covered companies dealing in electric wires, cables and other electrical equipment, companies engaged in the pharmaceutical industry, the textile industry, the clothing industry, the paper and paper products industry, the rubber industry, the chemicals industry and so on.
For anybody who doubts the extent to which this process has gone, the reading of this compendium in very great detail is a very salutary lesson because it shows that in some of these important areas the control by overseas interests amounts to 100 per cent. As I say, it is an eye-opener to see how far it has gone. I shall not take the time of the Senate to detail particular companies, although there are some very well known companies engaged in the various fields covered. To summarize the position in the way that this compendious document does, it surveys 22 food firms with overseas shareholders and points out that of those 22 firms fifteen had 100 per cent, overseas control and three had between 51 per cent, and 100 per cent, overseas control. In the field of minerals and metals, twelve firms were surveyed. Of the twelve, seven were found to have 100 per cent. overseas control and three to have between 51 per cent. and 100 per cent. overseas control. Of fourteen firms surveyed in the chemicals industry, eight had 100 per cent. overseas control. The control is sometimes American, sometimes British and sometimes European, but in the main, it is either American or British.
Of the fourteen chemical firms surveyed, six were found to have between 51 per cent. and 100 per cent. overseas control. Of thirteen pharmaceutical firms surveyed, twelve had 100 per cent. overseas control and one between 51 per cent. and 100 per cent. overseas control. In petroleum refining and marketing, of fifteen companies with overseas shareholders, eleven had 100 per cent. overseas control.I think some reference was made to the operations of some of the petroleum refineries by Senator Maher during the course of the debate this afternoon.
I commend that document to honorable senators, not for the purpose of a dreary recitation and multiplication of individual instances but because of the hard realities which it reveals. What the Labour Party put forward during the election campaign -and I believe it is still the wish of all Australians - was that there should be a compulsory minimum percentage of Australian shareholding in all these undertakings.
– If the shareholding capital is not available in Australia, what then?
– There is no evidence that it is not available in this country at the moment. Of course, we are not saying that we reject all overseas investment. I tried to make that clear. Our proposal was described during the election campaign, I think by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), as a crackpot idea. If it is a crackpot idea then it is one that is shared by such eminent gentlemen in the investment world as Mr. Staniforth Ricketson who specifically endorsed the proposals made by the leader of the Australian Labour Party, Mr. Calwell, that there should be a 30 per cent. to 40 per cent. Australian interest in every one of these companies.
This is the last matter to which I wish to refer. It is of very great importance not only industrially but also politically. Let us not deceive ourselves. Where you have a broad control of industry by overseas interests all these great industrial institutions and companies have a very real say in the economy of the country. And it is only one step beyond that to appreciate that, having a real influence in economic policies, they have a real influence on government. As citizens mindful of Australia’s interests and of the need to develop this country, we must watch and ensure that a proper balance is struck. But in the search for such balance, we have to see that we do not reach a situation where we do not any longer have control of the political economy of the country and ultimately the broad policy that is being pursued by the Government.
Mr. President, I conclude by saying that in this debate strengths and weaknesses have been exposed. I have read His Excellency’s Speech. I think it does contain matters for which we can give due credit to the Government but, overall, we have to see whether it is a proper response to the challenge which the Government faces following its election victory. This is not a time when fingers need be pointed at the Labour Party to see what it is going to do about this, that or the other thing. There is far too much nonsense talked about that particular subject. This is a time when the people of Australia will be looking to this Government to see whether, in the end, it justifies the confidence that has been reposed in it.
Assent to the following bills reported: -
Ministers of State Bill 1964.
Public Service Bill 1964.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that the following honorable members had been appointed members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, viz.: - Mr. Brimblecombe, Mr. Buchanan, Mr. Dean, Mr. Fulton, Mr. Griffiths, and Mr. O’Connor.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I should like to direct attention to the fact that yesterday, speaking at the committee stage of the Public Service Bill, I unwittingly misrepresented Senator McKenna. I said -
There is nothing in the paragraph dealing with education to indicate in any way that the Australian Labour Party proposed to set up a ministry of education if it were elected.
That was entirely wrong. Senator McKenna was perfectly right in the statement that he made, namely, that that was a part of the policy of the Australian Labour Party as disclosed in the policy speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). Therefore, I wish to go on record as saying that I withdraw that allegation.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.2 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 4 March 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1964/19640304_senate_25_s25/>.