25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service noticed a Press statement that pastoral employers have served a log of claims on the Australian Workers Union? Does the log of claims seek to vary the rates of pay and conditions of employment of pastoral workers? Do the claims seek to include as workers under the award in the States where it operates all natives except those in certain parts of Western Australia and South Australia? Can the Minister say whether the wage rates and working conditions proposed for native workers are the same as those proposed for non-natives? If not, will the Minister intervene in order to persuade the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to grant to native workers equal rights under the award?
– I have not seen the Press statement to which the honorable senator has referred. The bringing of Aborigines under awards is a matter for the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. That matter will be dealt with by the Commission, and no doubt any views which the Government has on it will be brought before that body.
– Yes, I did notice that the Queensland Press had voiced such criticism for the second time in four weeks. I had the pleasure recently of spending a weekend in that great State; I was a guest at the Mackay festival for three days. It was a very good festival. I think that in the Press there has been some misunderstanding of the report on the programme of airport development I made to the Senate. In making that report I said that a programme of expenditure of £30 million, approved during the regime of my predecessor for the development of airports at Melbourne and Sydney, had been revised because it had become apparent that the buildings planned on the basis of the statistics for the period of 10 years prior to 1962 would not be sufficient to carry the present and projected traffic during the coming 10 years.
We had to re-orientate our views and make plans to double the sizes of the buildings at the airports at Melbourne and Sydney. To do so will raise the cost of the programme from £30 million to about £47.5 million. I said in my report to the Senate that at this stage the Government had approved of the development of the Tullamarine and Sydney (KingsfordSmith) Airports and had referred the rest of the programme for consideration by an inter-departmental committee. It is hoped to have the results of the committee’s deliberations in time for preparation of the civil works programme to be included in the next Budget.
Press reports have stated, quite wrongly, that additional grants have been made to various States for airports. Nothing of the sort has occurred. The programme is planned to cover a five year period to 1969 because of the statistical background in relation to the development of passenger traffic at the international airport at Sydney, and the international and domestic airport at Melbourne. The information available shows that it will be necessary to double the sizes of the buildings at those airports. The Government has approved of the increased expenditure which will be incurred and the rest of the programme is in abeyance.
In the honorable senator’s question she referred to criticism in the Queensland Press which ducked the figures of the estimated cost of development of the Melbourne and
Sydney airports, lt referred only to proposed expenditure of £300,000 in Queensland. I shall tell honorable senators what work is proceeding at present in Queensland. Wc are providing £540,000 for a long range radar system; £185,000 for communications facilities to serve air traffic at Brisbane airport; a further £200,000 for the new operations centre; £50,000 to provide power for the operations centre; and £40,000 for roads and parking areas for the road traffic which is increasing at Brisbane airport. Without going any further, I point out to the Senate that the total expenditure on work in hand in Queensland at present is £1,077,000, in addition to the sum of £4,328,000 which the Commonwealth has already spend on Brisbane airport. During the last five years the Department of Civil Aviation has spent about £2 million on the development of Commonwealth owned airports in Queensland; £840,000 by way of grants to local authorities for the development of locallyowned aerodromes; and £1,110,000 for the development of navigational aids and control facilities. This expenditure totals nearly £4 million. Queensland has nine airports capable of handling Viscount aircraft, a greater number than any other State.
I have mentioned these things because I think the report I made to the Senate has been taken quite out of context by the Press and because in her question the honorable senator referred to Brisbane. Only two weeks ago in the Senate I congratulated the two domestic airlines on what they had done for the development of domestic airports, particularly at Brisbane. The airlines might not like the “ igloo “ type of terminal, but they have made the buildings most comfortable and have done a very good job in developing the facilities available. I should think it would be sufficient to deal with the traffic for three, four, five, or six years ahead; I am not tying myself down to a number. I have made no secret of the fact that I have been disappointed with the facilities at the international terminal. We are already spending money on refurnishing and bringing this section up to a better standard for international passengers. We have already acquired 200 acres to the south of the Brisbane airport. It is the intention of the Department, as soon as it gets the facilities and the cash in the new five-year programme, to develop an entirely new international terminal there. We cannot just start these things, doing part of a building here, part of a building there and part of a building somewhere else. Once we start to bring an airport up to date we have to do the work in its entirety. We are doing this at the moment in New South Wales. Victoria will share in the next five-year programme.
– Was I perhaps ill advised in not informing the Minister for Civil Aviation of the question 1 was to ask? I can understand Liberal senators adopting a limited approach-
– Order! The honorable senator will ask the question.
– I am proceeding to do so. The first part was a question as to whether I was perhaps ill advised. I can understand Liberal senators adopting a limited approach, as shown in a previous question and answer this day. As 1 had asked the previous Minister for Civil Aviation to give attention to Queensland air terminals, without receiving satisfactory answers, will the present Minister for Civil Aviation advise the Senate when it is intended to replace the outmoded international terminal in Brisbane, the unsafe one in Townsville and the miserable one at Mount Isa? I am not adopting a parochial approach as regards Brisbane alone; I represent Queensland.
– I suggest that the honorable senator should read closely the answer to the previous question. I think that it will give him all the information for which he asks.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs anything to add to what has appeared in the Press regarding the accusations that the Russians have been taking undersized whales from the seas off the Western Australian coast and that they are using inhumane methods of catching and killing? Are they acting contrary to the International Whaling Convention, to which Russia is a signatory?
– I have no information to add to what has previously been said or to what the honorable senator may have read in the newspapers.
– I preface my question, which I direct to the Minister representing the Treasurer, by saying that 1 hope that the Minister is as informative in replying to my question as he was to the question asked by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin. My question relates to the Treasurer’s statement in another place on the £6 million surplus in the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund and to my previous questions on this subject. Will the Minister state whether the Auditor-General failed to direct the attention of the Government to this colossal blunder on the part of the Actuary? What steps are being taken to prevent a recurrence of such a serious mistake? Will a further statement be made which will indicate clearly whether or not former contributors to the Fund will receive any moiety of the surplus? What was the point of difference between the members of the Board which is referred to in the Treasurer’s statement? Will a statement be prepared showing the total assets of the Fund in 1930, 1940, 1950 and 1960? Are the figures in the Commonwealth “Year Book “ correct in recording that the assets of the Fund rose from £14 million in 1945-46 to nearly £100 million in 1960? Doss this imply that during the 15 years contributors significantly were responsible for the huge surplus now disclosed? If former contributors are to participate, will the Government favourably consider increasing the widow’s rate from five-eighths to five-sixths, without effect upon any social service payments which widows might be receiving?
– Perhaps I should explain one or two things to the honorable senator. If his question referred to something which came within the administration of my own Department, naturally I would have greater knowledge of it than of something which came under the control of another Minister. I merely represent the Treasurer in this House. The honorable senator said that a colossal blunder had been made. The facts of the matter are that contributions to the Superannuation Fund were based on the earning power of the Fund at a certain rate of interest, but the Fund earned a higher rate of interest than was anticipated and a surplus was accumulated.
I can tell the honorable senator that there was no blunder. The contributions were based upon a certain assumption, but under the competent Government which administers it at the present time the Fund did a little better than was expected by the Actuary. If the honorable senator places the remainder of his question on the notice paper I will see that he receives a reply from the Treasurer.
– I am grateful to the honorable senator for giving me forewarning of his question. I am able to inform him that, generally speaking, migrants are recruited under various assisted passage schemes in accordance with requisitions received from the Department of Labour and National Service, defining the categories of workers required from time to time. We are aware of the need to ensure that sufficient suitable labour is available for our primary industries and to assist in decentralisation, but the honorable senator will recognise that the availability of suitable workers has become very limited in our migrant source countries. We welt understand the importance of primary industries to the Australian economy, and this has been kept in mind throughout the whole immigration programme.
The most practical suggestion I could make to the honorable senator would be that farmers requiring suitable migrant labour should make their needs known specifically to district employment officers of the Department of Labour and National Service. If that is done, all possible action will be taken to recruit the workers required.
– Will the Minister representing the Prime Minister ask the Prime Minister to increase the present number of Ministers by one and to make the additional Minister the Minister for Papua and New Guinea? I ask the Minister whether he will point out to the Prime Minister that, for the following reasons, it will be essential for the proposed Minister for Papua and New Guinea to reside in the Territory during the whole of the time the Commonwealth Parliament is not sitting: First, that in the financial year 1963-64 Commonwealth taxpayers provided £25,841,698 for the ordinary annual services of Papua, and New Guinea, that the sum voted for the current year was £28,496,000 and that the appropriation may be increased to something in excess of £30,000,000 in the next financial year. Secondly, that the practice of permitting such large sums of money to be spent annually without the close supervision of a Minister of this Parliament is not good government. Thirdly, that the investigations of United Nations visiting missions concerning native welfare intensify progressively and it is necessary, therefore, to have a Minister residing at Port Moresby or Rabaul so that he can give the Administration his personal attention.
– I can answer the question shortly. No, I will not ask the Prime Minister to appoint the additional Minister. In the ordinary course of events the honorable senator’s question will be directed to the attention of the Prime Minister, who will reply to it if he considers that a reply is necessary.
I take the opportunity of pointing out that the establishment of a Ministry is undertaken by a government having regard to the particular functions and administrations which have to be carried out. Having visited Papua and New Guinea and seen what has occurred there in recent years and having noted the progress which has been made, the increased expenditure which has been undertaken in the area, the increased political authority which has been granted to the local inhabitants and the better conditions that are enjoyed by all, I say to the honorable senator that there is no case for the appointment of a special Minister. What has been done by the Minister for Territories has, I believe, amply demonstrated that he is capable of handling the administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, together with his responsibilities in respect of other Australian Territories.
– My question is directed to the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research. Has the Minister seen a report in to-day’s “ Canberra Times “ of an article by Professor Broadbent, in which he points out that the Australian universities are shelving their television educational responsibilities? Does the Minister consider that the universities should be responsible for educational television? As America and Japan have taken such a lead in this form of telecasting, could the Minister indicate whether the personnel of the universities in those countries accept responsibility for educational television? As it is such a highly specialised technique, and as it is hoped that in the near future a channel will be established in Australia for educational television, has any thought been given to the establishment of an educational television school along the lines of the one in England under the sponsorship of the Nuffield Foundation?
– I have not heard of consideration being given to the establishment of a television school such as that to which the honorable senator has referred, nor am I in a position to tell her whether in the countries she has mentioned the universities play a part in the educational television activities. I do not know. I shall endeavour to find out for the honorable senator and give her an answer to her questions.
– My question is directed to either the Leader of the Government in the Senate or the Minister representing the Minister for Supply. Is the Minister aware of the complete feeling of frustration experienced by leading Australian businessmen following the conference with the Minister for Supply on future defence expenditure? To overcome this worry and concern, will he request the Minister for Supply or the Government to advise what defence contracts will be given to Australian industries and what amount of the increased defence expendtiure will be spent abroad?
– I reject out of hand the suggestion that there is a feeling of frustration within Australian industry concerning defence and defence expenditure. As I explained in answer to a question in the Senate recently, the holding of these industrial mobilisation courses, as they are termed, has been going on for a period of many years. Their purpose is to keep industry informed and to keep it up to date on what would be expected of it in the event of a serious challenge involving this country.
– Is that sufficient?
– I believe so. and, what is more important, despite what the honorable senator’s colleague says, industry believes so. As far as I know, industry greatly appreciates the opportunity which these industrial mobilisation courses afford. The honorable senator asks a question which I say with respect to him is foolish. He asks: Will the Government indicate what contracts will be made available to Australian industry? As a matter of practical business, he must know that such a question is impossible to answer.
– Will there be any contracts given to Australia, or will they all go to America?
– Certainly not. The honorable senator is being more foolish than he formerly was. He must know that Australian industry participates in Australian defence orders. He seeks to point to America because, no doubt, he thinks that purchases made in America of aircraft and ships exclude Australian industry from the supply of defence contracts. This is not so. These orders are lodged in America or elsewhere overseas for the simple reason that Australian industry cannot fulfil them at the price and in the time scale that is needed. Wherever it is possible for Australian industry to participate in defence orders, that participation occurs.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, arises as a result of an answer given by faim in reply to the question asked by Senator Branson. I ask: Is it not a fact that the taking of whales is governed by what is known as the Oslo whaling convention? Is it a fact that Russia has never subscribed to the Oslo convention? Also, is it a fact that Russia has always refused to carry an observer on any Russian whaling ship in accordance with the Oslo whaling convention and, therefore, there is no possibility of being able to police Russian depredations on the whaling scene?
– The honorable senator asks me whether certain matters are facts or not. Judging by the form in which he phrased a question, I would not be surprised to learn that they are facts. I myself do not know at this stage. I therefore request him to put the question on the notice paper and I will obtain an answer for him from the Department of External Affairs.
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It is to be assumed that all Government members are aware that vast sections of Australia are in the grip of a drought of major proportions which, if it continues, will be economically devastating on a national scale, with the accompanying great tragedy of dead and dying livestock and the loss which will be sustained by the pastoral industry and from which it will take years to recover. Will the Leader of the Government inform honorable senators whether the Government has ever had a scientific survey made of the cycle of droughts that periodically affect this country? Has the Minister seen a statement made by Mr. J. P. Abbott, an ex-member of the House of Representatives, who has made comprehensive studies of drought cycles in this country and who predicts that Australia is on the threshhold of a long, continuing drought? Has consideration been given to the setting up of a national fodder conservation scheme planned and organised by the Federal Government that would make it possible for subsistence rations which would be either subsidised or provided by long term low interest loans to be made available to stock owners for stock feed in times of drought? Finally, as each stock owner is unable to cope with the problem himself, is it not time that the problem of droughts be approached on a national scale and the necessary action be taken as for any other national emergency?
– I am not able to answer the honorable senator’s question as to what has been done by way of making a survey of drought cycles. I will refer the question to the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation or to the Minister for National Development, who may be able to gather some information from the State departments which are responsible for this sort of work. This is not a Commonwealth responsibility; it is a State responsibility. I have no doubt that within the records of the States there is some evidence of what the honorable senator refers to as drought cycles. If that information can be obtained, I will ask that it be given to him.
The honorable senator also asked about the possibility of what he termed a national fodder conservation scheme. Again, this is a responsibility of the State Governments. Whether any State Government has undertaken fodder conservation depends upon the quality of the Government concerned. I know that from time to time some State Governments have done so. I do not know whether anything in this regard has been done in New South Wales, but probably not.
– Now the Minister is playing State politics.
– The honorable senator realises that in the first hour of our daily meetings he, more than anyone else, attempts to play politics. I think that what I have said answers the question that has been asked.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry: Is it true that last week China completed the purchase of 1,200,000 tons of wheat from Australia and that the latest Soviet purchase from Australia - also arranged last week - was 800,000 tons? In view of these large sales of wheat to China and Russia, is there not a danger that Australia may be relying too heavily on these Communist countries for a market for Australian wheat?
– The facts regarding sales of wheat are as stated by the honorable senator. She has asked whether we may be relying too much on Communist countries for markets for our wheat. That is a matter for the Australian Wheat Board and the Commonwealth Government to consider conjointly. No doubt the position will be examined when they feel that the time is opportune.
– Has the
Minister for Civil Aviation seen a Press report of a suggestion by the Premier of New South Wales that the Commonwealth Government should agree to Airlines of New South Wales Pty. Ltd. operating the Dubbo route in conjunction with East- West Airlines Ltd. on a morning and afternoon basis? Will he agree that the suggestion put forward by the Premier of New South Wales is a reasonable and practicable one and should be implemented forthwith, pending a final settlement of the dispute?
– Yes, I noticed the Press comment. I do not know whether it can be relied upon entirely, but I was perturbed to note that it has been said that Mr. Renshaw has rejected the very reasonable proposal by the Federal Government that two experts should be appointed, one from each side, with power to appoint an umpire if they so wished. Apparently Mr. Renshaw has said that he would not be prepared to accept the umpire’s decision. 1 was rather perturbed by this report. T have noted the proposal for what could be an uneconomic arrangement. For one airline to run to Dubbo in the morning and for the other to run in the afternoon could be just as uneconomic as one airline running the service for one month and the other running it for the next month. We could have the staff of one airline playing golf in the morning while the staff of the other was working, arid then we would have the staff of the first airline working while the staff of the second went off somewhere else. 1 see no reason why there should bc that type of uneconomic service to Dubbo or to Tamworth.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health: Is it not a fact that it was announced recently that increased charges by medical benefit funds are in operation and that these will result in larger repayments of hospital and medical charges? Were.- these repayments based on current medical and hospital costs? What is the Minister’s view of the suggested increase in doctors’ charges since the increased medical and hospital benefits were announced?
– The increased charges came about because late in 1964 the medical benefit organisations informed the Government that they were running at a loss and requested approval for increased charges. The matter was referred to the Commonwealth Health Insurance Council and following the recommendations of that body, the new charges were approved. The honorable senator has asked what are the opinions of the Minister for Health on the suggestion that doctors’ fees might be increased. I am unable to answer that question but no doubt if the honorable senator approaches the Minister for Health, the Minister will express his views personally.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services. Does a war pension count as income in connection with the means test under the Social Services Act? Would a war pension of 80 per cent, or more deprive a person of a full service pension? Was this the position when the means test under the Social Services Act was last reviewed? Will the Minister give immediate consideration to exempting war pensions from income under the Social Services Act particularly insofar as a small war pension deprives the wife of a service pensioner of a pensioner medical card?
– There is no simple direct answer to the series of questions asked by the honorable senator because there are a number of variations in the provisions for social service benefits in relation to what he calls war pensions. That term itself leaves open the question of what he means exactly and the category of repatriation pensions to which he is referring. It would be more appropriate, therefore, if the honorable senator placed his questions on the notice paper so that the Minister can give a comprehensive reply.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. Is it a fact that nearly 50 per cent, of Italians who come to Australia as immigrants return within 10 years of their arrival in Australia to live permanently in Italy? Is it also a fact that over a period of six months last year - I think from July to December - although there was a turnover of 10,000 Italian immigrants, Australia gained only 1,500? In other words, 1,500 more stayed in Australia than went home. Having these statistics in mind, will the Minister make a full public statement on the profit and loss of Australia’s immigration programme?
– I am quite certain that any profit and loss statement in relation to migration to Australia would be overwhelmingly in favour of the great benefits Australia has received. Our expansion and development in the postwar years have been made possible only by the great contribution made by new settlers. I am sure the honorable senator will agree with that statement. As to his specific question relating to Italian migration and whether a great number of Italian immigrants choose to return to Italy, I shall direct the Minister’s attention to the question and ask for a suitable reply.
– I direct to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service a question arising from a comment he made in reply to an earlier question by Senator Cant. The Minister stated that the policy of the Government in respect of the differentiation of award rates for Aborigines was in the hands of the Commonweatlh Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. I ask: What is the datum line between the responsibility of the Government and that of the Commission in respect of a policy that is of supreme importance to the image of Australia in the eyes of every thinking person in the world?
– If the honorable senator casts his mind back, he will recall that what I said was that the granting of pastoral awards that would be applicable to Aborigines was the prerogative of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, before which the claims would be argued, and that no doubt the views of the Australian Government on these matters would be made available to the Commission.
– My question is addressed to the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. I refer to recent Press and magazine announcements about the medical and industrial uses already being made overseas of the relatively new scientific development known as laser. Is the Minister able to say whether the C.S.I.R.O. or any other Australian scientific body is conducting research on this subject in Australia? Is the Minister able to say whether the laser is in use in Australian medicine or industry? If no such research is being undertaken, are there any scientific or financial reasons for this state of affairs?
– To the best of my knowledge, at least the C.S.I.R.O. is studying the various uses of laser rays, which range from the most delicate eye surgery to the burning of holes in almost impermeable metals. I have not in my mind the details of the work that is being done, but I know that this development has by no means escaped the attention of C.S.I.R.O. scientists.
– I address a question to the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research. Has the Minister seen the report in yesterday’s “ Age “ of an address made on Saturday last by Sir Robert Blackwood, the Chancellor of Monash University, in which he stated that Monash University had not achieved its original growth objective because of lack of finance; that the University’s request for funds amounting to £9i million for the 1964-66 triennium was approved only to the extent of £5± million; that running expenses for the same period were approved to the extent of 70 per cent, of the requested amount; that, in particular, a complete lack of support for the second stage of the library and extensions to the Robert Menzies building to house the Law School would impose serious accommodation problems in 1967; and that, if the University’s 1959 plan had been adhered to, no qualified student would have been refused admittance to the two Victorian universities this year? Were the statements made by the Chancellor correct? Is it the practice of the Government to have before it the requests of the universities as well as the recommendations of the Australian Universities Commission when considering triennial grants to the universities? Was the Government aware, when it approved grants for the 1964-66 triennium, of the probable serious consequences of cutting down the Monash University’s requests?
– All the recommendations of the Australian Universities Commission in regard to the requirements of all the Australian universities for the 1964-66 triennium were made public in the report of the Commission which was tabled in this House, and they all were accepted by the Government and the Senate- I have seen the Press report to which the honorable senator has referred. I do not know whether it completely covers the statements of the Chancellor or whether the statements he made were entirely accurate. I should not be the least surprised if nearly all the Australian universities, in their dealings with the Australian Universities Commission, which was set up by this Parliament to assess and report upon their requirements, requested greater assistance than that which was recommended by the Commission. That is quite possible. But the Commission having been established to assess the requirements of universities for capital expenses and recurrent expenses and having been charged with the responsibility of consulting as well with the State Governments, which also have to contribute to meet both these costs, I think it would be extremely wrong and dangerous for any government - whether the present Government or a subsequent government - to start overthrowing those recommendations at the request of one vice-chancellor or another. I shall finish, as I began, by saying that the recommendations made by the Australian Universities Commission for grants to universities in this triennium were accepted by this Government and this Parliament.
– I ask the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research: Was not the Australian Universities Commission made securely independent so as to prevent the involvement of universities in politics? Is it not entirely mischievous to the academic independence claimed by universities for particular figures at an individual university to start local politics and not to put the case to the independent specialist Commission - the Australian Universities Commission?
– I think the honorable senator is quite right in his assessment pf the purpose for which the Australian Universities Commission was established and the independence it was given for that purpose. It is a matter of judgment for each member of the Senate to decide whether it is in the interests of the universities for a senator to attempt to make political capital of a matter relating to this or that university. In that field, my judgment is the same as that indicated by the honorable senator in his question.
– I preface my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Health by saying that I thought earlier today perhaps I had been too decent or ill advised in giving the Minister a copy of my question. Subsequently I realised when a question was asked of the Minister by another senator that I was too decent and ill advised. I ask: Has the Minister for Health approved of increased contributions to medical benefit funds as from 1st April? Was it with a peculiarly grim, grisly and sepulchral sense of humour that the Government perpetrated the greatest April Fool’s Day joke of all time on the people by giving approval to, in many cases, unjustified increases in medical benefit funds’ contributions?
– I am quite sure that if the honorable senator examines in the “ Hansard “ report the answer I gave to Senator Marriott earlier today he will find there the answer to his question.
– Before I address my question to the Minister for Civil Aviation I wish to refute the charge by Senator Dittmer. I had no thought of asking a question in relation to medical benefit funds before I came into the chamber and I did not discuss my question with the Minister representing the Minister for Health. I now ask: Have statements been made which imply that the Menzies Government has not voted sufficient money to modernise the Hobart and Launceston airports? Is such criticism based on the Minister’s report to the Senate last week in respect of airport development in Sydney and Melbourne which, rightfully I think, did not mention
Tasmanian airports? What moneys are currently being expended on the development of Hobart and Launceston airports to bring them up to the requirements of future air traffic?
– The honorable senator is quite right in assuming that the money being spent at present on the development of Launceston and Hobart airports was not included in the programme details of which I gave to the Senate last week. The reason is that tenders had been let for those works which are at present in hand. An amount of £1.8 million is to be expended on Launceston airport and a little over £500,000 is to be spent on the development of the runways at Hobart airport to enable it to handle Electra and Boeing 727 aircraft. The works proposed for Hobart airport have not yet been approved by the Public Works Committee. I understand that plans of those works are almost ready for submission to the Committee.
– I direct to the Leader of the Government in the Senate a question which relates to the discussions that took place between Ministers and industrial leaders recently in Sydney, to which the Minister referred in reply to a question by Senator Fitzgerald. Did the Ministers discover at those discussions with industrial leaders that technologically at any rate Australian industries had inadequate potential for development in a war situation, as suggested in some leading business journals?
– In order that the question may be answered quite fully, I should like the honorable senator to place it on the notice paper. My colleague, the Minister for Supply, who chaired the meeting of representatives of industry, may then inform the Senate of what was discussed and of any deficiencies that were found in Australian industry. I did notice that, at the conclusion of the conference, the Minister commented that with preparations at the rate now taking place Australian industry was equipped to do the job. An answer given by the Minister, however, will be much more complete and will give much greater satisfaction to Senator Ormonde and to the Senate.
(Question No. 374.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for External Affaire, upon notice -
– The Minister for External Affairs has furnished the following replies -
(Question No. 381.)
Senator HANNAN (through Senator
What percentage of Australia’s raw rubber requirements were grown in Papua and New Guinea in the financial year ended 30th June 1964?
What was the value of this crop?
What was the value in £(A) of crude rubber imported from other sources to Australia in the financial year ended 30th June 1964?
– The Minister for Territories has now supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 386.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The Minister for Territories has now supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 397.)
asked the Minis ter representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers -
Of these applications, 50,000 are in the process of being satisfied.
– I present the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works relating to the following proposed work -
I ask for leave to make a statement in connection with the report.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The recommendations and conclusions of the Committee are as follows -
Debate resumed from 1st April (vide page 244), on motion by Senator Anderson -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- The purpose of the Bill now under consideration is to bring the cotton bounty year into line with the harvesting and ginning periods. Cotton is grown in various parts of Queensland. It matures in a certain month; it is harvested and then it is ginned. If nothing is done to amend the existing Act, the bounty will not be payable during the last three months in which the Act will operate. It was found necessary to overcome the problem. That is why the Bill is before the Parliament.
The areas in which cotton is grown in Australia at the present time have increased considerably in the last few years. Until two or three years ago Queensland was, perhaps, the only State in which cotton was produced. Since then other areas have been opened up. It is now grown in the Narrabri district of New South Wales and along the River Murray in both New South Wales and Victoria. I have heard two or three honorable senators claim in the Senate that cotton has been produced in the Kimberleys region of Western Australia, somewhere near the Ord River.
– And at Wee Waa in
New South Wales.
– Yes. Of course, Queensland has been growing cotton for many years. In 1870 there were 14,674 acres devoted to cotton production. Subsequently, cotton was not the main crop and farmers did not rely solely upon it for their incomes. It was found that the cotton growing areas in Queensland were quite suitable for dairying purposes. It was not very long before the cotton growers commenced dairying and cotton growing became a side-line. In some cases it became a very profitable side-line, but in other cases it was not so profitable because cotton grows well only in a hot climate where there is a good rainfall. There was not always a good rainfall in the areas where cotton was grown in Queensland. There was no irrigation, and there is very little of it today to help cotton growing.
In Australia in the year 1962-63 - which is the latest year for which I could obtain reliable information - 37,689 acres were devoted to cotton growing, of which 35,300 acres were in Queensland. The main cotton growing area in Queensland is in the Callide Valley, which is adjacent to the Dawson Valley. Mention has been made in the Senate of a town called Moura in the Dawson Valley. A proposal has been advanced to construct a new railway line from Moura to Gladstone so that coal may be exported to Japan.
The bounty has helped fairly considerably the cotton growing industry in Queensland, which is the State that I represent in the Senate. In the year 1962-63, 15,762,000 lb. of unginned cotton was produced in the Commonwealth, of which 13,000,000 lb. was grown in Queensland. It is interesting to look at the business side of cotton growing, that is, the payment of the bounty and how it operates. I do not think I can do better in this regard than quote from the report of the AuditorGeneral, because the bounty is administered by the Department of Customs and Excise. The payments are made to the managers of the cotton ginneries, I suppose in order to expedite payment. The Auditor-General stated -
Under the Cotton Bounty Act 1951-1958 bounty was payable in respect of seed cotton harvested in Australia on or after 1st January 1951, delivered to a ginnery on or before 31st December 1963, and processed at a ginnery into raw cotton for sale for use in Australia.
Payments during 1963-64 amounted to £266,554 (£287,077 in 1962-63).
The Cotton Bounty Act 1951-1958 was repealed by the Raw Cotton Bounty Act 1963 which provides for a bounty to be payable in respect of raw colton of prescribed grades, processed at a registered ginnery from seed cotton harvested in Australia and delivered to the ginnery on or after 1st January 1964.
The provisions of the Act extend to 31st December 1968 and require that the raw cotton be sold by the producer for use in Australia.
The bounty is payable to the processor for distribution to the growers. The rate of bounty payable under the Act is 16id. per pound for middling white raw cotton of a staple length of one inch, and for other raw cotton at rates as specified by the Minister by notice published in the “ Gazette “.
The amount available for payment of bounty on raw cotton sold in any year in which bounty is payable is limited to £2,000,000. The Act defines a “year” as commencing 1st January and ending on the following 3 J st December.
Bounty paid under the Raw Cotton Bounty Act during 1963-64 amounted to £206,893.
The total of bounties paid (under the two Acts) during the year was £473,447, representing an increase of £186,370 over the previous year.
The Australian Labour Party does not offer any opposition to the amendments proposed in the Bill. It considers it necessary for the amendments to be passed.
Senator SCOTT (Western Australia) pleased to hear that the Australian Labour Party does not intend to oppose it. It is more or less a machinery measure to bring up to date the alterations that were proposed in 1963. In that year a bill was introduced which changed the system of paying the bounty from one of payment on seed cotton at a flat rate of 14d. per pound to the payment on raw cotton - which is the cotton that is produced after the seed cotton goes through the ginnery - at a rate of 16id. per pound. However, it did not give the producers time to process the cotton at the ginnery and deliver it to the manufacturers so that they could receive payment before 30th December, for which the Bill provided. So, the Government, on the recommendation of the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann), has decided to prolong the period of the operation of the bounty. The bounty year will be extended from 31st December to 28th February, on which date the growing year will end. The Bill will also prolong the period of five years during which the bounty operates. This period would have ended on 31st December 1968, but it is to be extended to 28th February 1969. Cotton growers will be able to obtain their final proceeds before the Act expires.
As Senator Benn has said, cotton growing in Queensland has been going on for many years. The industry has had its ups and downs, mostly downs. I noticed that someone, when speaking on the 1963 Bill, mentioned that the average production in Queensland, under conditions of nonirrigation, was about 125 lb. to 150 lb. of seed cotton per acre. In 1951, the Government decided to promote the growing of cotton throughout Australia by paying a bounty of 9id. per lb. on seed cotton. This amount was increased in 1953 to 14d. per lb. on seed cotton. That measure was renewed without increase until 1963 when an alteration was made. The Government, desirous of en-couraging the efficient production of cotton, decided to call on the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation to make a survey of cotton growing throughout Australia in order to find out just what potential there was for meeting the cotton requirement of Australia in the near future. It was mentioned in that year that the production of raw cotton at that time was between 3± and 4i million lb.
Approximately 45 million lb. of raw cotton was used in Australia. It is interesting to note that the value of imports of raw cotton in 1963-64 was approximately £3.5 million. If cotton piece goods and linen are included in that category, the total amount is approximately £30 million. That was for a period of seven months. So, Australia is required to draw on its overseas reserves for between £45 million and £50 million a year for its imports of cotton. We can see from those figures that there is great scope for the growing of cotton in Australia provided it can be grown economically.
With that objective in view, the Government went to its advisers, the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and the C.S.I.R.O., and asked them to make a report on the potential of cotton growing in Australia. In, a very significant report, those organisations stated that cotton growing in the future would be based, in the first place, largely on irrigated areas and, secondly, on having ginneries constructed near the areas on which the cotton would be grown. The report added that there would be problems of transport and that the development of the industry would depend upon the amount of research that could be carried out to help the industry. The report mentioned that the areas offering the best potential included the Namoi-Gwydir districts of New South Wales, the Dawson Valley in Queensland, and the Ord River in Western Australia. The organisation went on to say that, with cotton grown experimentally under irrigation, yields could be obtained amounting to approximately 2,000 lb. per acre. This yield per acre, I believe, had been achieved on the research station on the Ord River prior to 1963.
It is interesting to note that, last year, five farmers growing cotton at the Ord River project had a total average for every acre - some plantings were a total loss - approaching 1,400 lb. of seed cotton. This was the first year of cotton growing on a commercial basis by individual farmers who had the allocated areas.
– Are there Americans up there?
– There were some Americans and some Australians. This was the average per acre achieved by seven farmers. I cannot remember the number of Americans there, but I think there were two or three. After examining all the potential cotton growing areas in Australia, the Americans decided to settle on the Ord River.
– And also at Wee Waa and Narrabri in New South Wales.
– I did not hear that interjection. The honorable senator can tell us his side of the story. This account was printed in Western Australia. I did not see anything in any Queensland paper or any New South Wales paper about any areas in those States particularly the Namoi-Gwydir district. I read that, after examining all the areas in Australia, these Americans who, I think, came from Arizona decided to go to the Ord River area. It was stated in the Press that these Americans expected to be able to produce, within a very few years, in excess of 3,000 lb. of cotton per acre. They seem to think that they will be quite happy when they get settled there and additional research has been undertaken to find out just what is required by way of extra manures. They found in their first year that insufficient nitrogen was added to the soil. However, these people are quite confident that they will grow these increased quantities. Therefore, they believe that it will not be long before the people living on the Ord River will be able to get along without help of the bounty.
I heard Senator Benn say that the bounty is not to exceed £2 million a year. He gave figures which were very illuminating concerning the amounts that were paid out last year and this year by way of bounty. These amounts were still not up to £500,000 a year. The Minister expected that the level of £2 million probably would not be reached until the fourth year. It is the first year to which we are now coming. It was stated in the second reading speech that the reason for the limitation to £2 million a year was that when the growers were approaching a requirement of £2 million they would be more efficient and would not require much further assistance by way of subsidy. I believe this is true.
The Government is encouraging the cotton growers of Australia to become more efficient by encouraging them to grow higher quality cotton. I think honorable senators realise that until 1963 the legislation provided for a flat rate bounty of 14d. per lb. for seed cotton - good, bad or indifferent. Following the recommendations of its advisers, the Government decided that it would pay a high rate of bonus for the best quality cotton and lower rates for the bad grades, so that the cotton growers would be encouraged to grow better quality cotton. It is interesting to note that officers of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization all say that efficient growing of cotton in Australia will be done largely in irrigated areas. They mention that Australia’s cotton growing potential is tremendous. I believe that, with the incentives provided by this bounty and if schemes like that on the Ord River are proceeded with - we have 150,000 acres of irrigable country there in the first scheme, with another 75,000 or 100,000 acres which could be used - instead of spending in the vicinity of £45 million or £50 million a year to import cotton we will be in a position to produce the whole of our cotton requirements. I am glad to hear that the Opposition does not oppose the Bill. I support it wholeheartedly.
. I am grateful to Senator Benn and Senator Scott for their contributions to the debate on the second reading of the Bill. They spoke in general terms rather than about the specific purposes of the legislation. We all recognise that a bounty bill such as this is an example of the Government’s intention to encourage diversification of our primary industries. The basic purpose of this measure is to encourage cotton growing in Australia.
The Bill provides for £2 million to be paid as a cotton bounty. The bounty paid last year was of the order of £450,000, As Senator Scott indicated, there is ample provision for an expansion of bounty payments. J mention that because the measure extends the bounty period this year from December to February. It is well to observe that there will be ample money available this financial year for payment of the bounty during that extra period. The only other point of interest is that the expiration of the payment of the bounty will be postponed from 31st December 1968 until 28th February 1969.
It is the object and the hope of the Government that, with the assistance of the bounty, the industry will reach a point where it will no longer need Government assistance. A bounty is, in essence, an encouragement for the establishment of aa industry - in this case, a primary industry. I have every confidence that there is a great future in Australia for economic and sound development of cotton growing.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 1st April (vide page 245), on motion by Senator Paltridge -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- The Opposition has pleasure in supporting this Bill, which is designed to amend the measure passed in May 1960. The main purpose of the original measure was to ratify the international convention that had been entered into in 1954. The United Kingdom, being gravely concerned about the pollution of the North Sea, was the convening authority. Some 32 nations attended the conference and ultimately reached agreement upon the terms of a convention to be applied internationally. The convention was concerned with the pollution of the sea by oil, but not in all ways. As the preamble to the convention said, the Governments represented desired to take action, by common agreement, to prevent pollution of the sea by oil discharged from ships. The convention was narrowed to that one purpose. Article II stated -
The present convention shall apply to seagoing ships. . . .
Accordingly, pollution of the sea by oil from sources other than ships was not within the compass of the convention. The original arrangement, as set out in Article XV, provided that the convention should come into force 12 months after the date upon which not less than 10 governments had become parties to the convention, including five governments of countries which each had not less than half a million gross tons of tanker tonnage. So a very low standard was set for the operation of the convention.
Yet it took until 1957 to get the qualified ten to launch the agreement on a firm international basis. Accordingly, with the period of 12 months that elapsed, it was 1958 before the 1954 original Convention became really effective and it was not until two years later that Australia made its move. In 1960 the original measure to ratify the Convention was introduced. Then it took almost two years - until late in 1961 - for all the States of Australia to ratify the Convention under an application of the Convention to the territorial waters of Australia which came immediately within the competence of the States.
Australia’s acceptance of the Convention was not lodged until 1962. So from the time the 32 nations first agreed to the Convention, some eight years elapsed before there was formal ratification of it by Australia. We now have amendments to the Convention before us for consideration. These amendments were effected at a Convention held in London in 1962 but they have not come before us until 1965. Again, a fairly long period has elapsed. Under the procedure adopted by the Government we now have to wait for the six States to pass complementary legislation before the Commonwealth Government proceeds to a formal acceptance of the amendments.
– What is the reason for that?
– I think what I am about to say might explain that partially at least. The amendments are to come into force 12 months after two-thirds of the Convention members accept the Convention. Apparently, there are 30 members of the Convention now. Three years after the amendments were settled, only 13 to date have accepted and ratified them so the amendments are still not in operation internationally.
– What is the province of the Australian States in this regard?
– We still have the necessity for the States to ratify the amendments as we originally had the necessity for them to ratify the main agreement in 1954.
– I have difficulty in seeing the reason for the States to ratify the amendments.
– Because of the provisions in relation to territorial waters. I propose to say something about that later. At the moment I am dealing with the lapse of time since the amendments were effected at a Convention in 1962. We have not moved in this matter until 1965 and even if we had been the first to ratify them, the amendments still would not be in operation as agreement by the required twothirds of the members has not been achieved. Moreover, as the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge) has indicated, it does not seem likely that this agreement will be achieved in the immediately foreseeable future.
Australia, of course, is one of the chief beneficiaries under this Convention and its proposed amendments. We are an island continent with an island State of Tasmania. The whole of this country is surrounded by water and so we are grievously affected if there is pollution of the sea by oil. Our ports, harbours and beaches are likely to be affected by such pollution. Our fishing vessels and gear are likely to be affected by the smearing of oil. Our marine life and bird life are also affected. These are all immensely important and I suppose there is no country in the world where the type of protection offered by this Convention will be more acceptable than it is in Australia. In our case also we have the largest extension of the terms of the Convention from our shores. Vessels of the Convention members are prohibited by their own countries from discharging oil into the waters within 150 miles of our shores except in the north from about Cape York to Port Hedland where the limit is fixed at 50 miles because of the proximity of other land masses. This is a great and mostly very adequate protection for Australia. The broad objectives of the amendments were set out by the Minister quite accurately when he stated -
The general aim of the amendments of the Convention is to improve its effectiveness by such means as extension of the types and sizes of vessels to which it applies, extension of the prohibited zones, and a total prohibition of the discharge of persistent oil in respect of new ships of over 20,000 tons gross tonnage.
The idea is that as new ships of that size are constructed, the builders should go to the expense and the trouble of installing separators which will remove the oil from matter that otherwise would be discharged into the open sea. The rest of the amendments are of a relatively machinery nature. I notice that in 1960 at the time we ratified the Convention, only about 12 nations had ratified it. At that stage, there were notable absentees among the major shipping nations. The United States of America had not ratified the Convention nor had Russia, Japan, Greece, Italy and quite a number of other countries.
In the interim, the United States has come in. According to the Australian regulations and statutory rules which listed the nations who were signatories to the Convention in 1962, the United States has since ratified the Convention but I have no knowledge whether Russia, Japan, Greece and Italy have ratified it and these are all very large shipping nations. If the Minister has the information, I should be grateful if he would inform us at some stage of the proceedings whether those four countries in particular have yet ratified the Convention. The Minister might indicate also if he can whether any and if so what, nations other than the four I have mentioned who are in the major shipping category have still abstained from ratifying the Convention.
It is exceedingly important that as many shipping nations of the world as possible should be bound by such a Convention as this which offers protection to everybody. Even countries that are not adjacent to the sea or have no boundaries contiguous with the sea are involved in the preservation of fish life. The United Nations Economic Scientific and Cultural Organisation itself played a major part in the various conventions. It has been concerned about the non-contamination of food supplies and the protection of fish in the sea. So the countries of the world at large derive a benefit from this particular Convention if it is implemented whether they have a sea border or not.
I now come to the question raised by Senator Wright a little while ago as to what should be done in implementing this Convention. I addressed myself at length to this particular subject in 1960 and had something to say about the method that I suggested might have been adopted. 1 note that Senator Kendall participated in the same debate and gave us some very interesting information on some aspects of the Convention. At this stage I should like to read two passages from what I said in 1960, because they are still applicable today and, in the light of recent High Court cases, they may be of even tighter application than they were when I spoke in 1960. On that occasion I said -
It occurs to me that perhaps the external affairs powers of the Commonwealth might have been invoked to legislate for both territorial and extraterritorial waters. That power has not been adequately explored by judicial decision. In the case of R. V. Burgess ex parte Goya Henry various views were expressed by the court, but the majority of the Court suggested a number of tests which I think this Convention might well have survived. The majority of the Court suggested the application of tests such as these: Has the subject matter sufficient international significance? I think we can answer “ Yes “ to that one. Has the subject matter itself an external aspect? Nothing could be truer than that the sea has a definitely external aspect and an international aspect. Does the subject matter affect the external relations of the Commonwealth? Again I answer, “ Of course it does “. The pollution of the sea in the neighbourhood of any country must cause disruption of the relations between the country offended and the country offending. Finally, how many nations are concerned in the treaty? Even with the present limited subscription of twelve nations, I would say that the Convention had attained such a magnitude that our High Court might say it had sufficient prominence for this Parliament to invoke the external affairs power.
I then dealt with the other aspect to which I should now like to refer, and said -
It is interesting for me, as a member of the Constitutional Review Committee, to recall that the Committee unanimously recommended that there should be a power in the Federal Parliament over navigation and shipping concurrent with that of the States. In reaching that unanimous conclusion the Committee adverted to the difficulties that were being experienced in Australia in giving effect to International Labour Organisation conventions relating to shipping. There are some 20 of those conventions, and practically none of them has been applied in Australia, because it would be necessary for all six States to bring down legislation in each instance, and it is not easy at any time to persuade all the States to agree. Interestingly enough again, the Constitutional Review Committee in one lengthy paragraph referred to this particular Convention that we are talking about. It pointed to the delay that was being experienced in implementing such an important Convention, owing to the difficulty of getting six States to come into line on the matter.
The Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Freeth), in his second reading speech, raised the question as to whether the Commonwealth should have acted unilaterally in accepting the Convention without reference to the States. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition in another place proposed that the Commonwealth should have done so.
The Minister rejected the suggestion on the basis that there had been Teal accord between the Commonwealth and all States in regard to the acceptance and policing of the Convention and that moreover in harbours and ports throughout Australia the States are in charge of the facilities that are so freely used for the purpose of preventing oil pollution. He said that it was better to carry on with their concurrence.
On that point, I merely say that it would be easy enough to arrange with the States that are co-operative that their servants or agents should become the agents of the Commonwealth. There would be no difficulty about the Commonwealth legislating to provide that, when officers of that kind acted, they did so under Commonwealth power. There would be no necessity for the States then to legislate specifically for the implementation of the terms of this Convention within territorial waters under their jurisdiction. It may have been better to have embarked upon that course at the beginning. lt was not done, and the Minister for Shipping and Transport prefers to continue as he began - with State co-operation and State legislation.
In another place, The Deputy Leader of the Opposition drew attention to the fact that the States are not quite free agents in regard to shipping laws, that they are bound by the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, and that the validity of any legislation they pass which in any way varies the law depends upon the confirmation of the United Kingdom Parliament. I suggest to the Minister that that confirmation was not sought when the States concurred in the implementation of the 1960 legislation that we passed. If the Minister for Defence, who is in charge of the Bill in this place, is in a position to comment on that matter, I should like to have the benefit of the. Government’s thinking upon it. I should like to know whether it is proposed that, when the States pass legislation that is complementary to the legislation now before us, there will bc any obligation upon them to obtain confirmation from the United Kingdom.
– How would this legislation affect the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act?
– The Merchant Shipping Act applies to the registration of ships and their behaviour generally, and power is reserved to the United Kingdom to veto, if need be, any variation by the States of the laws that they have enacted. If the States vary their laws, they need that ratification. I invite the Minister for Defence to indicate whether that aspect of the matter has been considered. I put forward the argument that, if ratification by the United Kingdom is needed, it is infinitely better for the Commonwealth, if it has the power, to proceed alone.
I direct attention to the two recent civil aviation cases in which the High Court held that, relying upon the Paris Convention and I think the later Chicago Convention in relation to civil aviation, the Commonwealth has complete power in certain fields, including even intrastate activity. In other words, the Court has held very clearly that in relation to air safety the Commonwealth has complete power to legislate, irrespective of whether the traffic is intrastate, interstate or international. I should say that, in the view of the High Court, these two cases have extended the notion of the external affairs power to the point where, in a case like the one now before us - the prevention of the pollution of the sea by oil - the Commonwealth could act validly in relation to both territorial and extra-territorial waters. In my opinion, in the circumstances that is a very sound argument. It is only of relative academic interest at the moment, because the Government is seeking State cooperation. We are not opposing that procedure, with which the original Act was floated, but we draw attention to it in the belief that it is better, and of course quicker and easier, for the Commonwealth, if it is armed with power under the external affairs provision, to proceed alone. This opens up the possibility that we may well go ahead with very many other international conventions relating to shipping.
– How would the States view the suggestion?
– The Minister has indicated in his second reading speech that he has had the utmost co-operation from the States. I cannot imagine that the States would not be as concerned as the Commonwealth is about the cleanliness of the sea, or its non-pollution by oil. There need be no change in the physical conduct of the States if the Commonwealth said: “ We now have the power. It is simpler, quicker and more effective and instead of your passing legislation, would you act as our agents in using your facilities and policing this law in territorial waters? “ The whole thing could be done by an authority under Commonwealth power to the State instrumentalities to act.
– Mr. Renshaw would view that suggestion very favourably in relation to the Dubbo air service.
– As the honorable senator knows, I have a general feeling for more ample powers for the Commonwealth.
– I think it is the inopportune exertion of those powers that gets up the backs of the States.
– I do not think I can fly into the field of aviation in a debate on this Bill.
– My last interjection was not intended to be applied only to aviation.
– I do not intend to leave the sea and take to the air in a debate on this Bill.
– I think it unlikely that we would get the same measure of co-operation.
– It varies with the subject matter. We have a demonstration of, at least, no cohesion at present in the field of air services, but the reverse is true in the field of pollution of the sea by oil. The Minister had this to say -
Close collaboration between the Commonwealth and the State Governments has always existed in all matters relating to the pollution of the sea.
– And so it should.
– That is right. The Minister continued -
There has never been any difference of opinion between the States and the Commonwealth on the necessity for such legislation and the complementary nature of the legislation now enacted is of practical assistance in policing these measures because the States have much better facilities than the Commonwealth for preventing pollution within ports and harbours and within their own territorial waters.
As the Commonwealth and the States have the one common purpose, I cannot imagine that the close collaboration of the States with the Commonwealth would evaporate. If the Commonwealth, under a power which is upheld by the High Court, says: “You may proceed alone “, how can the States object to the proper exercise of Federal power, particularly when the existence of the power is now to a very high degree certified by the High Court? The analogy between safety in the air and non-pollution of the sea is, I think, very close.
– The States have a very direct interest in the cleanliness of their own beaches and harbours.
– Indeed they have. As I visualise the situation, I do not see that anything need to be taken out of the hands of State instrumentalities and officers. The legislation could be implemented without all the delays that are consequent upon State legislation and the need to wait until that is completed. There was a delay of almost two years after the Commonwealth passed the Pollution of the Sea by Oil Act in 1960 until all the States legislated. There is always that risk in these matters, as indeed we saw in the field of civil aviation where a State begins to diverge when different circumstances crop up in different States. An international agreement can be whittled away bit by bit. I cannot imagine a field in which there is a greater need for uniformity and for one clear authority than in the field of air safety. Although the need may not be quite so urgent in the matter of the policing of an international convention of the type we are discussing, I do see the desirability of eliminating the possibility of variation.
I shall close on the note on which I began: This Convention is concerned solely with the pollution of the sea by oil discharged from ships and, as this country and other countries are faced with the possibility of the discovery of oil in the sea, pollution may come from that quarter. I realise that I am getting outside the compass of the Convention we are discussing when I draw attention to that possibility, but the real evil to be guarded against is pollution of the sea by oil. Oil from the sea bed might be in a different category from fuel oils involved in this legislation. Different conditions may operate. A conference has been held between representatives of the Commonwealth and the States to discuss who will control oil wells discovered in the sea beyond territorial waters. I hope to be informed whether that conference addressed its mind to the question of pollution of the sea by oil coming from those wells. There may be no great problem involved. I do not know, and I am really seeking information.
If the Minister is in a position to proffer comment in that respect I certainly would be very interested to know whether that subject was discussed at the conference between the Commonwealth and the States and, if so, with what result. Is the evil at which the Convention aims likely to occur during oil search or oil discovery in the sea bed? With those comments I indicate that the Opposition quite cordially supports the Bill.
Senator O’BYRNE (Tasmania) [4.57J. - I enter this debate to make some observations which I. believe to be relevant to the important matter of pollution of the sea by oil, and also to offer my congratulations that this amending Bill has been brought forward to expand and extend the purposes of a very worthy international agreement. I have before me a resolution of the Final Act of the International Conference on Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil and of the Conference of Contracting Governments to the Convention signed at London on 12th May 1954. The resolution, which followed the original Convention at the International Conference on Prevention of the Sea by Oil, reads as follows -
The Conference have noted that the coasts and coastal waters of many countries arc seriously affected by oil pollution, the results of which include great damage to coasts and beaches and consequent hindrance to healthful recreation and interference with the tourist industry, the death and destruction of birds and other wild life, and probable adverse effects on fish and the marine organisms on which they feed. There is widespread public concern in many countries about the extent and growth of this problem.
I have quoted portion of the resolution because I believe we are breaking new ground by introducing in this legislation the view that there should be total prohibition of the discharge of persistent oil in respect of new ships of gross tonnage of over 20,000 tons built in Australia. It is my view that to prescribe 150 miles as the limit within which no oil should be drained into the sea goes part of the way towards protecting our own coastline; but to extend that idea to ships of over 20,000 tons is I think the long range objective of the Convention. It should be accepted as a rule that no oil is to be discharged on any pf the marine highways or in any of the seas of the world. After all, 150 miles is a relatively small part of the width of either the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific Ocean, yet we have read of bottles thrown from beaches or ships in one hemisphere which have drifted to and been recovered in another hemisphere. We have read of the amazing Kontiki drifting expedition and of the regularity of currents that flow across the oceans. We know that the prevailing winds which blow across the Indian Ocean to the Western Australian coast cause currents that move to the southern tip of South America and South Africa.
Eventually we may expect the various countries which are signatories to the Convention to pass legislation to prohibit the discharge of oil from ships into the sea. We know the damage that can be done when oil is deposited on water. It has been restated in the debates here and in another place. Oil and water will not emulsify. When oil is tipped into the sea, it will remain on the surface until it finds a place to which to cling, whether this be a beach, the side of a ship, or a rocky coastline. It will eventually find some place to rest, or it will float endlessly on the sea, but not necessarily 150 miles or 50 miles from the coastline. It is pleasing to see the establishment of a precedent by which Australia, as a country with wider vision on the subject, is prepared to prohibit the discharge of oil from any vessel of 20,000 tons gross tonnage built in Australia and flying the Australian flag. I understand that at present we have no ships of that tonnage. I hope that the time will come when we shall see an extension of this provision to cover all ships flying the Australian flag. This will help to show other countries the benefits that can accrue from making the discharge of oil from shipping an offence.
The use of oil as a fuel has increased tremendously in recent years. Industry would grind to a halt without oil. We have become almost completely dependent on it. Oil must be transported from places where it is plentiful to places where it is needed but where it does not occur naturally. The amount of oil being transported from place to place is also increasing. I understand that some ships under construction will be capable of carrying 150,000 tons of oil. Very close scrutiny and supervision should be maintained of the cleaning out of those ships as they visit this country. The safest way to ensure that oil will not be deposited in the sea will be the provision of some method of cleaning out the ships before they leave port after discharing cargoes. Surely it is not beyond the capacity of our scientists to find some method of cleaning out a vessel quickly to enable her to take on sea water ballast, get back to the port of loading, and discharge the sea water into the sea as clean as it was when it came out of the sea. I hope that this matter of providing a facility which will allow all vessels to observe this international code is in hand.
As a matter of courtesy, this legislation should be referred to the States in order to obtain their co-operation. I am sure that, for self-preservation and protection, the States would have no hesitation in ratifying this treaty. Everybody seems to be making a very leisurely approach. It is 11 years since the resolution was carried at the international conference. I think the original legislation was presented here in 1962. Now, three years later, we do not expect quick action on the part of the States but we expect to get their co-operation. If the States feel inclined to exercise their rights, there should be plenty of opportunity for them to decide at their leisure.
A new problem arises from the possibility of oil escaping from wells that are being drilled under the sea. Initiative should be taken by the Australian Government at some level - perhaps in relation to the oil drilling subsidy - to specify some emergency measure, such as the provision of the temporary boom around a rig, to handle a sudden gusher of oil from the sea.
– Gushers can be controlled these days. Oil does not escape, usually.
– The point has been made that pollution on a large scale could occur if an accident happened and normal precautions were not sufficient to cover the emergency. I have been reading the record of a hearing before the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Sub-Committee of the Committee on Commerce of the United States Senate on this subject. It is pointed out that the total damage caused by the enormous amount of oil released on the marine waters of the world can never be accurately assessed. The principal uses of salt water are listed as follows - The propagation and harvesting of finned fish, the propagation and harvesting of shellfish, the propagation and maintenance of other vertebrate and invertebrate marine life including water fowl, swimming, boating, sport, fishing, other forms of recreation and aesthetic enjoyment, navigation and commercial transportation, dilution and dispersion of wastes, domestic water supply in the future and industrial water supply in the near future.
The principle involved in this legislation affects all those various activities. If the release of oil were uncontrolled, even outside the 150-mile limit as far as Australia is concerned, or outside the 50-mile limit in the case of other signatories great damage could be caused to marine life in a world which needs more food. There is no need for this, and the matter should be approached in a commonsense way by all nations. I hope that the amendment now before us, which breaks new ground, will be extended so that the prohibition will apply to ships dispersing oil anywhere at sea, and that a new marine code will be drawn up.
Mention was made of the harm that can be done to marine bird life. Let me refer to the migratory habits of the sheerwater, a species of mutton bird, which travels all the way to Siberia but returns to nest on the islands of Bass Strait, particularly the Furneaux group and Flinders Island. It is one of the wonders of nature that these birds always return to these islands. Even though the annual harvest or take-
– That is true. Hundreds of thousands of birds are taken. The young birds which survive the annual harvest fly off after their parents have already left on their migration but are able to join up with them. The birds return the following year to their burrows to lay their eggs and to commence the cycle again. Vast numbers of these birds are affected by oil on the sea. In their migratory flights their habit is to fly by day and to sit on the sea and rest by night. If they happen to land in an area that has been polluted by oil, the simple fact is that they just cannot rise off the water.
– They cannot swim even. They lose their buoyancy.
– That is true. As a consequence, many thousands of these birds die and are washed up on the coasts. Their death can be directly attributed to the fact that they have had the misfortune to land on a part of the ocean that has been polluted. The other valuable commodities that are taken from the sea by fishermen must be considered. We have only to think of the tremendous amount of capital that is invested in oyster beds around the Sydney area. Oysters are a delicacy, particularly to Sydney people who have developed a taste for them. How unpleasant it would be to eat an oyster that has an oily taste - at 10s. or 12s. a dozen, too.
My colleagues and I give this measure our fullest support. I have made a few observations in the hope that the principle involved will be extended so that anyone who deposits oil on the sea, whether inside or outside the prescribed limit, will be breaking the marine code. I hope that every seafaring nation in the world, whether it has 1 million tons registered tonnage or less, will observe this very important principle. I have pleasure in supporting the Bill.
– in reply - It is a very pleasing experience to find the Opposition supporting this Bill. This is not surprising because on the last occasion this legislation was before the House the Opposition lent its support. I am sure that the measure, on its merits, attracts the support of all people who think reasonably on this problem of the pollution of the sea by oil.
Senator O’Byrne expressed the view that this prohibition should extend over the entire sea. For ships over 20,000 tons the Convention does apply over the entire sea. Clause 4 of the Bill will make that clear. It is true that for ships under that tonnage it applies only up to a limit of 150 miles, but as bigger ships are built, as they most certainly will be, the effect of this Convention will spread and will ultimately embrace the whole of the sea for all vessels. I am sure the honorable senator agrees with me that this is a very desirable end point.
asked me to name significant maritime nations which are not parties to the Convention. He mentioned four. I regret that of those four only Italy is a signatory to the Convention. Russia, Japan and Greece have not yet signed it.
– That is unfortunate.
Senator PALTRIDGE__ Yes. We can only hope that as the years go by all countries, particularly the big maritime nations, will become parties to the Convention.
– Some of them are very dependent on fish for their livelihood.
– That is very true. The other point raised by the honorable senator was one to which he referred at length in 1960 - the possibility of the Commonwealth exercising its authority under the external power to ratify this Convention without complementary legislation by the States. He referred to the fact that the second reading speech on this occasion, and indeed in 1960 as I remember, mentioned the co-operation which existed between the States on this very important matter. All States and the Commonwealth realise that it is to their mutual benefit to see that the oceans and territorial waters are kept clear of. pollution. I venture to suggest now, as I am sure 1 did in 1960, that the co-operation which has been achieved with the States flows from a mutual desire to keep the seas clean.
I express considerable doubt that, if for our part we did not practise this co-operation and attempted for any reason to take up this Convention by a single act of this Parliament, we could expect the same measure of co-operation from the States as we now enjoy. The States today are extremely jealous, as they always have been, of what they regard as their sovereign rights, and I feel certain that we would hear from them if we attempted to take up this Convention by a single enactment of the Commonwealth Parliament.
The States are moving in this matter. Reference was made to the length of time that it will take. In point of fact, the time factor, fortunately; is not important. As the Leader of he Opposition observed the Convention will not come into operation until some seven more signatories accept it. For the information of the Senate, I point out that action is being taken at the present time. A model Bill is being prepared in New South Wales. I have been told that it will be enacted quite soon by all the State Parliaments.
asked whether there was an obligation upon the States, flowing from the Merchant Shipping Act of 1884, to seek the confirmation of the United
Kingdom. As at present advised, the answer is “ No “. The legal advisers with whom I have been able to consult say that they are not aware of any such requirement. It would take a good deal of research. I shall let the honorable senator know if my presently stated opinion is shown to be wrong by subsequent advice.
The other interesting point referred to by both the Leader of the Opposition and Senator O’Byrne is, of course, as they both recognised, a matter which falls outside the Convention. It is the probability of the oceans being polluted by drilling for oil. I do not know the outcome of the recent conference in respect of the arrangements made between the Commonwealth and the States concerning this matter, but it is an interesting one. It is something which should be guarded against. I will inquire of my colleague, the Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn), whether it was discussed. I shall find out what preventive measures are either in existence or are contemplated to prevent this undesirable practice occurring.
Question resolved in the affiirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 1st April (vide page 246), on motion by Senator Paltridge -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The Opposition supports this Bill which might be termed a machinery measure. Its aim is to enable the Presiding Officers of the Parliament to carry out certain functions between the end of one Parliament and the beginning of another. In his second reading speech, the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge) said -
Certain statutory powers and functions are exercised by the Presiding Officers under the Public Service Act, the Audit Act, the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Act and the Commonwealth Electoral Act.
In the event of a dissolution of the Parliament, the Bill enables the Presiding Officers to carry out certain administrative actions until the positions are filled by the new Parliament. It also provides that, in the event of the death or sickness of the Presiding Officer, the Chairman of Committees of the House concerned shall carry out the duties. Such a provision has existed in the relevant English legislation since 1832. It seems strange that, after Federation, 65 years should have elapsed before somebody got around to introducing a provision which should have been there from the beginning.
– That was the occasion on which the salaries of the Parliamentary Officers were raised.
– I hesitated when I looked at the House of Commons (Speaker) Act of 1832. I am sure that in some way I have misread the amounts because they seem abnormally high when compared with the wage standards of today. I refrained from mentioning that matter because I did not quite understand the full purport of it.
There is only one other comment that I wish to make in passing. I hesitate to raise it because I know that every time I suggest that the Standing Orders should be amended in any way I tread on very tender corns. However, I shall place my views on record so that somebody may consider them. Only last week Standing Order No. 29 was invoked because of the temporary absence of the President. Standing Order No. 29 refers to the absence of the President and Officers and states that on each day the Clerk shall announce to the House that the Chairman of Committees shall for that day act in the capacity of President except if the Senate shall otherwise order. Perhaps the Standing Orders Committee might consider amending the Standing Orders so that the Chairman of Committees, as well as carrying out the functions of the President inside the Senate shall automatically take over his extramural duties. Perhaps for once we could effect an amendment of the Standing Orders.
As I have said, the object of the Bill is to introduce a provision that ought to have been in existence years ago. It is a sensible provision. We have very much pleasure in supporting the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– There are one or two aspects of the Bill upon which I desire some elucidation at the Committee stage. I regret that I have only perused it in the last half hour, and since the doubts arose in my mind I have not an opportunity to discuss them with the Minister or his advisers. I refer to clause 3 which states -
If the Presiding Officer of either House of the Parliament resigns his office or his seat, he shall, for the purposes of the exercise of any powers or functions by the Presiding Officer of that House under a law of the Commonwealth, be deemed to continue to bc the Presiding Officer of that House (whether or not that House is dissolved after he so resigns) until a Presiding Officer is chosen by thai House.
Let us examine the Constitution and, in doing so, confine our attention to our own House so that it cannot be said that we have reflected on another place. We find that section 17 of the Constitution provides -
The Senate shall, before proceeding to the despatch of any other business, choose a senator to be the President of the Senate; and as often as the office of President becomes vacant the Senate shall again choose a senator to be the President.
The section continues -
The President shall cease to hold his office if he ceases to be a senator . . .
The Constitution so provides, and with that singular lack of felicity that is the predominant characteristic of drafting here, clause 3 of the Bill contains the following words, whatever their force may be - under a law of the Commonwealth.
We have an expressed direction in this proposed statute that notwithstanding that the President has resigned his seat, he shall be deemed to continue to be the Presiding Officer. The solution of the whole problem may lie in the words “ under a law of the Commonwealth.” I should like to know whether this is an expression that is actually used so as to exclude the Constitution, but it would seem to me that we avail ourselves nothing in providing in clause 3 of this Bill that the President shall be deemed to continue in office if he resigns, when the Constitution says that the President shall cease to hold his office if he ceases to be a senator.
Then, if honorable senators look at clause 4 of the Bill they will find that it is provided -
If the President of the Senate ceases to be a senator by reason of the expiration of his term of service, he shall, for the purposes of the exercise of any power or functions by the President of the Senate under a law of the Commonwealth, be deemed to be the President of the Senate (whether or not the Senate is dissolved after he so ceases to be a senator) until a President is chosen by the Senate.
I ask the Minister for Defence and the Committee, to glance at section 19 of the Constitution which says -
A senator may, by writing addressed to the President, or to the Governor-General if there is no President or if the President is absent from the Commonwealth, resign his place which thereupon shall become vacant.
That is the provision in the Constitution. I ask the Minister: If I wish to resign my seat and the President of the Senate has also resigned, and there is no President, to whom do I address my resignation? Do I address it to the continuing President by virtue of this legislation or to the GovernorGeneral?
– I think you address it to the Presiding Officer.
– I am obliged to the honorable senator for his opinion. But I cannot give my concurrence with the same facility as the honorable senator expressed his opinion. I raise this matter because we have been chided for sleeping for many years since the House of Commons passed similar legislation. I have no doubt that the reconciliation of this Bill with these provisions of the Constitution has been made transparently plain somewhere, but at the present time, it does seem to me that there may be difficulties in reconciling the terms of the Bill with sections 17 and 19 of the Constitution. Clauses other than those I have just mentioned may be involved.
– In view of the comments made by Senator Wright and the fact that I am not advised on the points which have been raised - indeed, I anticipated that this Bill would go straight through the Committee - I move that progress be reported.
Debate resumed from 1st April (vide page 272), on motion by Senator Gorton -
Thai the Senate take note of the following paper - Foreign Affairs - Ministerial Statement, 23rd March 1965.
– Mr. President, on Thursday last when 1 had a few moments to discuss the matter before the Senate, I endeavoured to show the world that Australia’s aims and ideals were to live at peace with its neighbours, to be able to assist them in their desire for self-government and to improve their lot, as it were. We are, and always have been, a friendly nation which resorts to arms only in the last extremity. With these objectives in view, I again repeat to our near neighbours and to the world in genera] that Australia has no territorial ambition, and has no aims other than to see that each and every nation can be governed and ruled according to its own free choice.
Because of this, we view with great alarm what is happening in South Vietnam, which is one of our near neighbours. Actually, what is happening there is that South Vietnam is subjected to every kind of violence from the north. South Vietnam is fighting for its very existence, to determine its own way of rule or government. To the Australian people who apparently have no conception of what is actually happening in Vietnam and to the people who say: “ Go home, Yankee “, I make the suggestion that they go to South Vietnam and see for themselves the actual situation there. The aggression from the north against South Vietnam is not any sudden happening. It has been occurring since 1954. It has been increased to a great extent since 1962. It is true to say without any exaggeration that this aggression from the north by the Vietcong, or call it what you will, shatters the peace and prospect of peace for the whole of South East Asia.
Let us go back to 1954. We have heard a great deal about what should be done and about the negotiations that should be taking place. But in 1954 there were negotiations. These negotiations took place in Geneva at the end of the Indo-China War. Honorable senators will recall that the people from North Vietnam - call them Communists, conformists or whatever you wish - desired to take over all the former French territory in South East Asia. They made no secret of that fact. You can trust a Communist to try to carry out what he says he will do. Hanoi said: “ We will take over South Vietnam “. That is what the Communists are endeavouring to do. I tell all those people who, here in Australia, are sheltering and being protected by America that if America gets out of South Vietnam they will not sleep so soundly or lie so easily in their beds.
We know that Vietnam was partitioned and that the line of demarcation was drawn at the 17th parallel. On either side of that line there is a demilitarised zone. On one side of the river the Communist flag is flying and the loud speakers are blaring: - “Go home, Americans. Get out of here, you imperialists.” On the other side, you are in South Vietnam.
Let us look at the country in which these events are taking place. Events which perhaps have no parallel in the rest of the world are taking place, and have taken place, in Vietnam. We know that many of the people of South Vietnam fought with the Vietminh in the overthrow of French power. The French had 94,000 of their forces killed in defending their empire in this part of Asia. It so happened that when the Indo-China war ended in 1954 many of the South Vietnamese who had fought with the Vietminh were in North Vietnam and that thousands of selected Communist Party members were ordered to remain in South Vietnam to promote Hanoi’s cause. Let us get that fixed in our minds. It was by a deliberate act of Hanoi that those Communists stayed in South Vietnam.
One might ask why the Vietcong are able to terroise South Vietnam. It is simply because, due to the guidance and farsightedness of Hanoi - do not let us underestimate the power of Hanoi - these cells were left in South Vietnam. Their arms and ammunition were stored away to await the party’s call, and whenever the party in Hanoi called these people sprang to arms. Some of the party members rejoined their families, whilst others went into the jungles or mountain hideouts.
The great plain of the Mekong stretches from the coast to the mountains. It runs inland for various distances. It is the great rice bowl of South East Asia. The people living within that area are better fed, by their standards, than any of the other people of Vietnam. The mountains at the edge of the plain are ideal places for the hideouts of the Communists, of which they have taken full advantage. In 1954 Hanoi believed that both North and South Vietnam would fall under its sway. I have mentioned that just to the north of the 17th parallel you can hear the loudspeakers blaring: “ Go home Americans. Let us unite, under Communist control, the whole of Vietnam.” When people say that what is happening in South Vietnam has been caused by the Americans, that is just not true. We know that the Communists penetrated official and other agencies of South Vietnam in order to weaken the Government of South Vietnam. The people of South Vietnam wanted to choose their own way of life, and that is the sole cause of the struggle.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 till 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension I was speaking about the situation in Vietnam in 1955. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– I should like to reply to some questions raised by Senator Wright as to the constitutionality of the Bill. As I understand the honorable senator he is suggesting that the Bill conflicts with the Constitution in that it purports to continue a Presiding Officer in office after he has ceased to hold office. Senator Wright referred in particular to section 17 of the Constitution which specifies the circumstances under which the President of the Senate ceases to hold office.
I would like to assure honorable senators that the Bill does not in any way purport to continue a Presiding Officer in office after he has for any reason ceased to be a Presiding Officer. 1 draw the attention of honorable senators to the wording of, for example, clause 3 where there is no attempt to continue a Presiding Officer in office; the clause merely deems a Presiding Officer to continue in office for the purpose of exercising powers and functions under a law of the Commonwealth. It does not, and, of course, it could not, continue him in office in fact. In other words, the Bill does not continue him in office but merely gives him powers under certain laws of the Commonwealth as if he were the Presiding Officer.
A good example of the sort of power that will be covered by the Bill is the power of the President under the Public Service Act in relation to officers of the Senate. In fact, both in the case of this Bill and powers under other acts, there is no reason why the statutory powers need have been conferred on the President in the first instance and hence there is certainly no reason why they should not be conferred, for a limited time, on an ex-President.
.- The statement by the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge) may be clear to his satisfaction, and if the term “ a law of the Commonwealth “ as used in the Bill does not include the Constitution I am quite content to leave it, having alerted those responsible for its validity to the question that I posed. Having given full force and virtue to the Minister’s statement that the Bill does not purport to continue the President in office I simply want to express my amazement that the Parliamentary Draftsman has used language to the effect that it is for the purposes of a law of the Commonwealth. How simple it would be to couch this purpose of the statute in language which would say that if the President ceases to hold his office of President or ceases to hold his seat, he shall nevertheless continue to be capable of discharging all the functions and authorities conferred upon him by any law of the Commonwealth from the time of his cessation of office until the appointment of his successor. That would have been much simpler than providing that the President shall be continued in office for the purpose of a law of the Commonwealth.
– I wish to make one more comment to clarify the position further. As I understand Senator Wright, he is suggesting that the Constitution falls within the phrase “ a law of the Commonwealth “ as used in the Bill. I am advised that, particularly in the context of this Bill, that phrase cannot properly be construed to include the Constitution of the
Commonwealth. However, I would like to point out to honorable senators that even if Senator Wright’s proposition were accepted, there could be no question of the Bill overriding the Constitution. Indeed, specific provision is made in section j 5a of the Acts Interpretation Act under which any act purporting to exceed legislative power must be read down so as to be within power.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Paltridge) read a third time.
Debate resumed (vide page 297).
.- From 1954 to 1955, the South Vietnamese made steady progress in the economic field. Food production surpassed previous levels. As a matter of fact, it rose by 20 per cent. In 1963, it had increased by 30 per cent. This was accomplished in the face of Vietcong military attacks and terrorism. Contrast that with North Vietnam where food production fell and manufacturing industries also produced less. At that time 900,000 refugees from North Vietnam were successfully settled in the South. Because of these accomplishments and because South Vietnam was outstripping the North and winning the battle of peaceful competition, the Vietcong decided to use violence and terror to gain control of South Vietnam. I want the people of Australia to know that.
This flagrant aggression has gone on for years, ft is a new kind of war. One must visit the country to gain even a faint realisation of this fact. It is a war such as has never been waged before. All peaceful people must realise that the North Vietnamese are waging war against the South with one purpose alone and that is to prevent the South Vietnamese from deciding upon their own system of government. We do not hear anything about that. This horrible aggression has been forced upon an independent people who want to make their own way in peace and freedom. The Communist Government in North Vietnam has set out deliberately to conquer South Vietnam.
North Vietnam uses every resource and device to carry out this concealed aggression. This aggression is as real but more insidious than the actions of any invading army. Undisputed evidence proves that the infiltration of trained military personnel into South Vietnam is directed by the military high command in Hanoi. Weapons and supplies are provided by Hanoi. Let nobody run away with the idea that the North Vietnamese are using antiquated weapons. They are using some of the most up to date conventional weapons that we know of in the world. How can aircraft be shot down with what are supposed to be sawn off shotguns? Such a suggestion just does not make sense. Recently new types of weapons and ammunition have been supplied to the Vietcong by Communist China.
The Communists direct an elaborate system of espionage and subversion, their principal function being to create the false impression that aggression against South Vietnam is a rebellion against the established Government. All too often we read in the Press that what is happening in South Vietnam is a rebellion against the Government of that country. The International Control Commission held that North Vietnam had sent arms and men into South Vietnam to overthrow the legal Government. Does anybody doubt the integrity of the International Control Commission? There is indisputable evidence that these things are happening. The Commission found also that the authorities at Hanoi had violated at least four provisions of the Geneva Accord of 1954. Senator Cohen said that we should negotiate with these people. Does he deny that following negotiations a solid pact was signed in 1954?
– Certainly not.
– Does the honorable senator deny that the Communists have violated at least four provisions of that agreement? Does he deny what the International Control Commission has said?
– The Commission said that both sides had violated the treaty in important respects.
– Does the honorable senator admit that North Vietnam has violated the treaty?
– Yes, of course I do.
– This is the first time the honorable senator has said so. I am glad of that admission.
– It is not an admission.
– Senator Cohen cannot produce evidence that South Vietnam originated an attack against North Vietnam.
– Read the report of the Control Commission.
– Never mind about that. I had the pleasure of meeting the members of the International Control Commission. I do not suppose the honorable senator will deny that the membership of the Commission includes a delegate from India, who is the Chairman, and also delegates from Canada and Poland. It was the good fortune of members of the delegation from this Parliament to meet these people, to talk to them and to obtain their views about the situation. I repeat that the people of Australia should know what is happening in this neighbouring land. They should know how the trouble began. Does Senator Cohen deny that the Vietcong forces were the first people to commit acts of aggression in this area? He knows very well that they were the first to do so. Would he sit idly by and submit to this aggression? Would he turn the other cheek?
– Certainly not, but I would certainly try to get a basis for negotiation.
– The honorable senator has established the fact that the Vietcong forces were the first to attack South Vietnam. He must admit then that, if the South Vietnamese had taken steps to go into North Vietnam, they would have been justified in doing so. But he does not say that. All he says is that the South Vietnamese are responsible for what is happening.
– Who said that?
– The honorable senator did.
– I ask Senator Mattner to point to any word I uttered to that effect.
– Let the honorable senator read his speech. He will find that there was not one word in what he said that was in favour of the South Vietnamese or of the Americans.
– What nonsense.
– lt was nonsense on the honorable senator’s part, and I was grieved to hear it.
– The honorable senator ought to read the speech that I made in July last about the Control Commission.
– It was one of the most spurious speeches 1 have ever heard. The honorable senator had a shilling each way. I repeat that the people of Australia ought to know who started this conflict, why they started it, and what would befall Australia if the Vietcong forces gained control of South Vietnam. I ask Senator Cohen what he believes would happen if the North Vietnamese gained control of South Vietnam. Let us look at the map of this area. China and North Vietnam are neighbours. If South Vietnam falls to Communist aggression, then Laos, Thailand and Cambodia will suffer a similar fate. Nothing can be surer than that. China is breathing down the necks of those countries. Cambodia is endeavouring to be neutral.
Earlier I referred to infiltration from North Vietnam into South Vietnam. Vietnam is a long, narrow country with a very long coastline, its other boundaries being formed by China, Laos and Cambodia. The infiltrators are trained, in the main, by Hanoi. They move down to Vinh on the east coast and pass on to the staging areas in the Dong Hoi area. From there they usually go by truck to the Laos border, whence they proceed by secret trails into South Vietnam. This penetration is very difficult to stop, lt is known that some of the infiltrators have moved down the mountain trails and over the Cambodian border to take up positions near Saigon.
The mighty Mekong River, with its tributaries, also is very useful for infiltration purposes. This river is three miles wide and in many places is 70 feet deep. Maritime infiltration is prevalent. Recently a ship was seized after a bitter fight with the Vietcong forces. It was found that this, vessel, which came from North Vietnam, was carrying thousands of weapons and more than a million rounds of small arms ammunition. It was all of Communist origin, having come from China, Czechoslovakia and North Vietnam. At least 100 tons of military supplies were discovered near the ship. Included in the cargo were 1,000 stick grenades, 500 lb. of T.N.T. in prepared charges, 2,000 rounds of 82 mm. mortar ammunition, 500 anti-tank grenades, SOO rounds of 57 mm. recoilless rifle ammunition, 1,000 rounds of 75 mm. recoilless rifle ammunition, 200 heavy machine guns, 2,000 Mauser rifles, 1,000 sub-machine guns, 15 light machine guns, 500 rifles and medical supplies, all of which, as I said, bore labels showing that they came from China, North Vietnam, Czechoslovakia or East Germany. Would you call that peaceful penetration?
In the Mekong Delta area, which is the rice bowl of South East Asia, there are 460 miles of coastline and 2,500 miles of canals that are navigable to large craft. In addition, there are 2,200 miles of canals over which sampans move easily. When one sees the movement of these ships and the activity that is going on, one realises how easy infitration would be. Many of the infiltrators carry false identification papers and because they are of the same race it is very hard to distinguish friend from foe. The great, flat coastal strip used for rice production varies in width but is hemmed in by mountain ranges. These ranges are sparsely populated and provide ideal hideouts for the Vietcong invaders.
The internal political struggle in South Vietnam with its distractions gave the Vietcong a great opportunity to encourage disaffection within the people of South Vietnam and to consolidate its hold on the countryside. Vietcong troops struck at outposts and over-ran strategic hamlets set up for the protection of the local people, not as a means of offensive, but for defensive action. The Vietcong increased its campaign of sabotage and terror. On what did it concentrate its efforts? Schools are its favourite target. From people who say we should negotiate peace we never hear of the hundreds of schools in South Vietnam that have been over-run and destroyed by the Vietcong. We do not hear of the number of teachers who have been murdered. Vietcong troops have caused the closure of hundreds of schools and have ruined the education of tens of thousands of children. We do not hear a word spoken about those children or the ruination of their future by the Vietcong.
Hospitals and medical clinics are freely attacked and medical supplies are carried away. Village and town offices, police stations and agricultural research stations are high on the list of Vietcong targets for destruction. Australia supplied approximately 120 dairy cows to the South Vietnamese people in an attempt to give them an interest in dairying. We sent personnel to South Vietnam in an endeavour to teach the South Vietnamese people the principles of dairy farming. The Vietcong attacked the training centre. Over 40 cows were killed and 40 were driven away. Two of the attendants were killed and Mrs. Arthur, wife of the manager who had gone to South Vietnam from Gippsland, was wounded. That is the result of our attempt to establish a dairying project.
By 1964, 436 South Vietnamese chiefs and other officials had been killed 1,131 had been kidnapped. Bombs killed 1,350 civilians and 8,400 were kidnapped. It is true that Vietcong troops force their opinions down the throats of their opponents by means of rifle barrels. The South Vietnamese are resisting this aggression and it is at their request that the United States of America has assisted in the defence of South Vietnam. The United States seeks neither territory nor military bases. It does not seek to establish a favoured position. How I wish all Australians would recognise that fact. If peace can be restored in South Vietnam, the free nations of the world will at once reduce their military involvement. Thus they will be able to increase economic aid and assistance. The choice of peace or war is in the hands of the Communists. That nobody can deny.
– The honorable senator does not have much of an opinion of the nations of the Western world.
– The honorable senator and all members of this Parliament know that all that is necessary is for North Vietnam to show its goodwill and observe the Geneva Conference.
– Why should that be so? Why should we leave it to the Communists to choose whether there should be peace or war?
– For this reason. They have chosen warlike aggression in South Vietnam.
– They have chosen propaganda.
– They have chosen aggression and the honorable senator knows it as well as I do. He cannot point to any acts of aggression by the South Vietnamese upon the North. I challenge him to produce any such evidence. We can produce facts and figures to prove aggression by North Vietnam. I ask the honorable senator who interjects whether he is in favour of aggression by North Vietnam? I ask him to state his attitude. I repeat that peace or war depends on the Vietcong. The North Vietnamese could bring about peace tomorrow if they so chose simply by observing the Geneva Conference. Do honorable senators opposite say that the Geneva Conference was wrong? If that is so, what hope is there for agreement? The United States of America is trying to contain the Communists within North Vietnam. If the United States were to withdraw before a definite guarantee of the integrity and safety of South Vietnam were made by the United Nations, the future of the Australian mainland would be at stake.
Events in Malaysia give rise to serious misgivings as to the possible intentions of the Indonesians. Our sphere of influence in East New Guinea is affected by the ideologies of West Irian. We desire peace and goodwill with Indonesia. Indonesia won her independence some years ago and the great mass of Australian people asks why she wishes to deny to Malaysia the right of self-determination for which she successfully fought. We hear a great deal of psychological warfare - of winning the minds of men. The West is charged with a duty to understand and to win the minds of the East. But surely this is a two way traffic. My remarks are related also to Indonesia. Surely she knows that we want to be her friend. We want peace. Let the Indonesians make an attempt to win our minds and establish goodwill.
Every day articles appear in the Press advocating the withdrawal of the United States from South Vietnam. Do honorable senators opposite want the Americans to withdraw from South Vietnam? It is up to us to support the Americans and not to cry down and belittle their efforts. We do not hear very much said of what has happened to Rumania, Hungary, Austria, Poland and other countries that have been overthrown by imperialism on a great scale as waged by the Communists. That may be all right with some people, but it is not all right with me. Senator Cohen said that we should negotiate. I ask him: Negotiate with whom? It is said that the United States should surrender. Why should America get out of South Vietnam?
– Who said she should get out? We want her to be in there to win the peace - land reform, education and transformation of the country. That is what we want her to win.
– Exactly. That is the very purpose for which America is in there, and the honorable senator cannot deny it. Yet it is said that America must get out. Why should America withdraw? We must be a little realistic and have a look at this victory that we hope to get. I advise the honorable senator to go and have a jolly good look at the country. I guarantee that he would change his mind if he looked down the barrel of a rifle at an angry man. I guess his knees would shiver and shake. No-one in South Vietnam knows when he might be looking down the barrel of a rifle.
– You only see the bullet if you look down the barrel, not the man behind it.
– Perhaps some honorable senators opposite know what it is to look at an angry man. I leave it at that. I suggest that they should go and have a look at these places. Their whole conception of what war and aggression mean would be changed. No other war or engagement that I have ever seen, read about or heard about, is similar to this. One cannot form any opinion without seeing it. All one’s military ideas have to go by the board. With all the emphasis that I can command I invite honorable senators to have a look at it. They will see that something similar could easily happen to Australia. Honorable senators may think that is wrong. 1 hope that I never see it but in the long term, if the Americans get out of South Vietnam, in my opinion the safety of Australia will be in grave jeopardy. I repeat that America wishes only that South Vietnam decide its own future and by a free vote decide the form of government that it wants. Is there anything wrong with that? Have the Americans transgressed that conception? I say that they have not.
The greatest safeguard to Australia’s security is the presence of the forces of the United States in South Vietnam. Let those who advocate, “ Go home, Yankee “, visit this area and see for themselves how South Vietnam is being terrorised by the Vietcong forces. I have no quarrel with the political philosophy adopted by any country, whether it be Communist or not, so long as the people themselves have a free choice to determine their own future. Basically, that is why American forces are in South Vietnam. Let the Australian detractors ponder those facts.
The scene of American participation in South Vietnam is far removed from America. America herself is not threatened. No material gain for that nation is in view. Her safety would not be in any way endangered if she withdrew. But Australia’s safety is most definitely threatened. What do the American people say? The parents of Americans who are resisting Communist aggression in South Vietnam say, with a great deal of feeling, “ Why should our sons die in this cause to preserve Australia? “ Why should they do it, if Australia will not support the ideals of democracy? To whom can Australia turn if attacks are made on Australia, as is quite possible?
In Great Britain’s eyes, Australia was expendable in World War II, by force of circumstances. Let us not forget that. Lately, tribute has been paid to a great British statesman, the late Sir Winston Churchill. He it was who said that Australia was expendable in the circumstances that then existed. Think of the reactions of the Australian divisions, those volunteers who, I have heard it said from that side of the chamber, went overseas and left Australia undefended. They were the most wonderful divisions to fight in any war. They saved Egypt, they protected India and they kept Japan out of the war for years and made Australia secure. What was their reaction when Australia was expendable? Never since that time has the relationship with Great Britain, from a military point of view, been quite the same as it was before. A similar situation could occur in the near future. If it did, it would be impossible for Great Britain to come to our aid. As far as Great Britain was concerned, by force of circumstances we would be expendable. Therefore, we must lean very heavily on America’s arm.
We are greatly perturbed about what is happening in South East Asia. We know that there are casualties, but let us pause to think of the casualties that Great Britain is sustaining, in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and elsewhere. Those are far greater casualties than are being suffered by the Americans in South Vietnam. Great Britain is involved in a great struggle to preserve democracy. No mention was made of this in the speech of the Minister for External Affairs. 1 should like to pause for a moment to refer to the situation in Israel. I have said before and I say again that Israel is one of the great danger spots of the world. It is surrounded by people who are quite hostile to the establishment of the Israeli people in Israel. We read about the diversion of the waters of the River Jordan from the Sea of Galilee and we read about the United Arab Republic. We talk about Berlin being divided between East and West. Hideous as that may be, the division of Jerusalem is even more hideous. Israel has been starved of munitions. We have read of the pacts between East Germany and Czechoslovakia and the United Arab Republic. This situation, in my opinion, could quite easily start a horrible war. la those conditions Europe itself would be divided and Australia would have to lean very heavily on the arm of America because all aid from Europe could be cut off. Public opinion is easily fanned. We have heard it said that America should withdraw from South Vietnam. Consider the situation in which we would then be. This country could easily be attacked.
– By whom?
– Does the honorable senator not realise that this country could be easily attacked? The explosion of a nuclear bomb by China has altered the whole pattern of armament and aggression. The Communists told us they were going to take us over and I repeat that the Communists do not lie. I say to those people within Australia who today decry what America is doing in South Vietnam and elsewhere - she is pouring money into countries throughout the world, not for her own gain but in an endeavour to raise their standards of living - that since the Second World War she has been perhaps the greatest benefactor the world has seen. I see in the future a set of circumstances in which such people will implore America’s aid to save their own skins.
Australia’s reputation is high in South Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand because, like America, we do not support any particular government. I repeat that we do not support any particular government. We are in those countries only to help them to obtain for themselves the right of choice. We proclaim our aims to the world. They are peace and goodwill to our neighbours. We will assist any of our neighbours in their search for a way to govern themselves by the exercise of a free choice, but that does not mean that we must be blind to the consequences that face us. After having seen the infiltration of Communists into South Vietnam and the things that they do, I am more than ever worried about what might happen to Australia. We certainly have Communists infiltrating our trade unions.
– Do not bring that up.
– The honorable senator asks me not to bring that up. I fear what will happen within Australia if by any chance Communist China, assisted by Indonesia, carries out her threat to wage war against us. I cannot understand why we have in our great trade unions people who proclaim themselves openly and avowedly as Communists, people who are prepared to overthrow this country, people who do not profess allegiance to our ideals of life. To me, that is the greatest threat facing Australia. I support the Minister’s statement.
.- lt is 20 years ago since the Bretton Woods Agreement was formulated and put into operation. From that Agreement there evolved the International Monetary Fund and from that, as the affairs and business ramifications of the various nations which made use of that Fund increased, there evolved the World Bank.
It is easy for anyone to see the great works that have been carried out in backward countries for the benefit of the peoples there. It is very easy also for anyone to see how the under-industrialised countries have improved their standards of life. But as we review the whole scene - today we find something lacking. It is very hard for us ordinary people in Australia, removed as we are from the centre of operations of the United Nations, to see exactly what is wrong. Another means of helping various countries to improve their lot must be found. 1 have in mind the situation confronting India, a country with about 150 million people constantly at the point of starvation and 30 per cent, of her people constantly living in semi-starvation. What is to be done about that? It is easy to talk about Vietnam and the niggly war that North Vietnam is waging against South Vietnam. But what about the starving millions? Are we to talk about international affairs and give no consideration to the general poverty that exists in various countries? As I view the situation, the problems confronting the nations of the world today are economic problems. If this means granting financial assistance to some countries to enable them to improve their economic standards, by all means let us find some method by which that can be done. If it means the provision of an adequate supply of food, let us help these countries. Of course, this would mean making five grains of rice grow today where only one grew 15 or 20 years ago. The situation is a challenge to the world, particularly to the intelligent and highly developed countries.
I had the pleasure quite recently of examining the Snowy Mountains project. I have always held that the lakes and power stations there have been wrongly sited and that they all should be in Queensland. I suppose someone will say now that 1 am parochial. I am sure, Mr. Acting Deputy President, that you, too, would have been very interested had you been with mc to see in use machines which can bore seven miles through solid granite, machines which can make lakes and channels and build power stations. It came to my mind that if there was one way by which we could solve the problems of the world that I am speaking about it was to establish an international mobile construction authority which could go to India, Cambodia, Laos and other countries and do work similar to that which is being done in the Snowy Mountains. I believe that much of the money that has been made available to certain countries for the purpose of development has been wasted through their purchase of equipment without having the scientific knowledge to operate it and to do the engineering work that is so necessary. I have only a faint hope at this time. My suggestion probably will not be heard of again but I can still retain my thought. This is something that can be developed a good deal.
Senator Mattner made some very interesting comments about North Vietnam and South Vietnam, and anyone listening to him would quite seriously and properly deduce that a war is now being waged in Vietnam between the people of the north and the people of the south. One knows quite well that the United States is interested in the turmoil that exists there, and also that Australian troops are stationed in Vietnam. So, whichever way we look at it, Australia is at war with North Vietnam. Therefore, she must be on the side of the United States. One might ask: “ Why did we go there? What authority did we have to send our troops there? “ There was no declaration of war such as was made when we entered into the war against North Korea. There is, of course, the South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty that was made in 1954. The countries which signed the Treaty were Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. It is registered at the United Nations. If Australian troops are in South Vietnam, they have full authority to be there and to do what is expected of them by the United States, if they are working in association with that country. Do not let us have any quibble about the Australian troops being there at the present time.
Now I come to the very pertinent question that may be asked: Why should North Vietnam go to war or conduct a niggling war against South Vietnam? When one sees them together, one finds that the people- of North Vietnam and South Vietnam are indistinguishable. Vietnam stretches for a distance of 500 miles from the border of China in the north to the southernmost tip. As nearly as possible, it has been divided in half. When one examines information about the countries, one finds that they are very similar. North Vietnam has an area of 63,000 square miles and a population of 23 million. South Vietnam has an area of 66,000 square miles and a population of 17 million. So the question of territory does not arise. The 1954 Treaty divided the countries at the 17th parallel.
North Vietnam has almost the same area of land as South Vietnam.
If there is a conflict between the two countries and it has not a territorial basis, what is its basis? We have not been told precisely by any authority that there is a conflict. If there is one, we have not been told the cause of it. We have to examine the position as we see it in order to find out the cause of the conflict. I will give a reply to the question in a few minutes.
The rich delta of the Red River is in North Vietnam. The country through which the river flows has a population of 1,000 persons per square mile. It is rich agricultural country, and in good seasons there is no such thing as a shortage of food. The position is much the same in South Vietnam. The Mekong River passes through South Vietnam and 75 per cent, of the people are engaged in agricultural industries. Once again there is no such thing as famine or a shortage of food when the seasons are good.
I return to the question: Why is there a conflict? One must analyse the position slowly and quietly to discover the answer. The two countries have different constitutions. The constitution of North Vietnam differs from that of South Vietnam. In South Vietnam the constitution permits the people to elect a President and a House of Assembly, but, although the constitution has been in existence since 1954 due to the turbulence and the disturbance that have occurred since then, they have not conducted an election and they have not elected a President or a Parliament. In North Vietnam the constitution permits the people to have and enjoy the same form of government as Communist China has. Let us not have any doubts about that. The Governments of North Vietnam and Communist China are indistinguishable. That is the answer to the question I asked. The North Vietnam Government has made up its mind, or it has probably had its mind made up for it, that it will not permit 17 million people to go ahead and establish a government according to their opinion of how a government should be established and how it should function. The Government of North Vietnam will make up the people’s minds for them if it possibly can.
We saw a similar thing happen in Europe. We saw Poland, Hungary and other countries fall in the same way. The countries concerned formed a buffer area for Russia, which is protected by that situation today. The same thing has happened with China. Do not let us pretend to ourselves. We saw the Chinese go right across Tibet. We saw them go to India’s northern frontier and then hurriedly withdraw. I think that somebody whispered something in a general’s ear in China.
Senator Mattner used the word “ deterrent “. He said that nuclear power is controlled by the United States and Russia and that those two countries have the power to wage war against civilisation, if necessary, or if forced to do so, and to destroy all the people in the world in the matter of an hour or so. It is wellknown that the United Stales of America has been adept in improving its power to conduct a nuclear war. Gentlemen from other countries who have visited Canberra have, with the approval of the President of the Senate, lectured members of Parliament on these matters. I have not the slightest doubt that the President examined their credentials when they came here. They have told us some of the things that can be done by both Russia and the United States of America in conducting a nuclear war. Although the fact that they possess the means of conducting a nuclear war is a deterrent, it is not an absolute deterrent. The effect of using nuclear bombs is so diabolical that no nation could lift its head after it had engaged in a nuclear war in 1965. Nevertheless, there is the danger that a nuclear war could be commenced. The reason why China withdrew its troops from the northern frontiers of India was because it was afraid of nuclear bombs.
Senator Mattner mentioned the matter, but he did not explain anything about nuclear bombs. We remember that during the last war atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. That bomb was a mere marble compared with the nuclear bombs that can be dropped on countries today with greater ease than the ones which were dropped upon Japan during the last war. The bombs that were dropped on Japan killed approximately 100,000 persons. A nuclear bomb of the size that can be dropped today could kill millions of people.
I have found that some members of the Senate are not familiar with the sizes of nuclear bombs. The information that I am about to give can be checked with the records in the Library and the work of scientists. Firstly, a kiloton - that is, a 1 KT bomb- equals 1,000 tons of T.N.T. One megaton is equivalent to 1 million tons of T.N.T. It was only four years ago that Russia exploded a bomb of 57 megatons. A 10 megaton bomb can blast a circle 16 miles across and establish a fire circle 45 miles across. A 20 megaton bomb can establish a blast circle of 20 miles and a fire circle of 60 miles. A 50 megaton bomb can establish a blast circle of 26 miles and create a fire circle of 100 miles. A 100 megaton bomb can create a blast circle of 34 miles and a fire circle of 140 miles. Those are only a few particulars, indeed.
H-bombs kill and destroy in different ways depending on how high in the air they are exploded. Exploded near the ground, an H-bomb would scoop out a crater up to a mile wide, smash everything within several miles, and form a towering mushroom cloud of radio active dust and debris which would come down as deadly fall-out. Exploded higher up, a hydrogen bomb would cause wider destruction by blast and fire and also kill and injure by radiation from the fireball, but produce less fall-out. Exploded very high up where the air is thin and where more of the bomb’s energy would go into heat, an H-bomb would be mainly a fire weapon. A 10 megaton bomb exploded 30 miles up, says an American scientist, could send a searing wave of heat over an area of 5,000 square miles.
– I am not questioning the accuracy of the honorable senator’s figures, but I ask him to tell me the authority from which he is quoting?
– I have collected this information. I think the honorable senator was present when a lecturer gave us an address in the club room one night. The honorable senator can check this information with the records in the Library. I think he will find that the two agree. I want to assure Senator Branson that I would not quote anything in relation to the sizes of nuclear bombs unless I had some authority to support it.
– I said I was not questioning the accuracy of the honorable senator’s figures. I just wanted him to give me the authority for them.
– I will make this information available to the honorable senator later.
We have all read about the hot line between Russia and the United States of America. It is possible for the two countries to initiate a conversation in a very short period in order to avoid any risk of precipitating a nuclear war. Both countries are scared of having a nuclear war. Nevertheless we find that the United States of America is doing its best, of course, to win the war in Vietnam for the South Vietnamese. Nobody is going to question me as to why America should adopt that role. It is not for me to answer that question. I am looking at facts only. I know that America is doing its best to win the war there without killing as many millions of the civilian population as she can avoid killing.
There is the question of Malaysia. We are interested in Malaysia, too. Whether we are acting correctly or whether Malaysia should exist are matters for honorable senators themselves to decide. Let them express their own opinions upon the matter. I look at it this way: Malaysia was established according to the principles of the United Nations. If I accept the United Nations as the authority to deal with international matters, then I must accept any decision that was reached in respect of Malaysia. Australia has troops in Malaysia. In the population of that country there are not many white people. In the Federation of Malaysia, there are 3,400,000 Malayans. In Singapore there are 227,000 Malayans. In Sarawak, the Malayan population is 129,000. There are 47,000 Malayans in Brunei. This makes the total of Malayans in those countries 3,803,000. The total population of Singapore, Sarawak, North Borneo, Brunei and the Federation of Malaysia is 9,706,000. The Federation of Malaysia has a smaller population than the Commonwealth of Australia. What is going to happen there? I will leave that for other speakers to tell the Senate. That is a story to be told, perhaps, by others.
In conclusion, I want to point out that South East Asia is a trouble spot in the world at the present time. I will be very happy when it is cleared up. I will be happy indeed when somebody can assure me that the trouble now in existence there has been settled forever and that we can look forward to years of peace in South East Asia. That day may be a long way off. But I look forward to the day when somebody will give me that information.
.- I believe that never before in our time in the Senate have we approached a debate on foreign affairs with a greater cause for anxiety because of the gravity of the situation. When I read the statement presented by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) in which he says that there is a dual issue confronting the country - the first is its survival and the second is the establishment of decent principles of behaviour internationally - I believe that this Senate and this Parliament need a little alerting to their responsibility to the people of this country not merely in an oratorical but in a real sense. It seems to me that we should begin- one hears incoherent remarks upon this subject, the product of some weeks of anxious consideration - to acknowledge, first of all, the import of the statement of the Minister for External Affairs. I believe it showed a thoughtful understanding and an awareness of the many issues involved in the present situation. I am very grateful to the Minister for that statement, which he presented to the Parliament after a most impressive, visit to Europe, Asia and America.
The second thing I want to say in this debate is that I believe that on this occasion the political parties represented in the Parliament have come closer to a sense of national unity than on any previous occasion. For myself, I do not regard this debate as an opportunity in any sense to develop any argument of party political significance. I am particularly indebted to Senator Cavanagh for his speech of two weeks ago, when he put before us a most thoughtful thesis. I did not quite agree with some of his conclusions; nevertheless, I believe that there would be merit in. thinking along the lines he followed.
The Minister’s statement was divided into four compartments. He dealt first with the situation in Vietnam; secondly, with Australia’s relationships with Asia; and, thirdly, with the United Nations. I acknowledge most gratefully his treatment of the United Nations or, perhaps I should say, the analytical way in which he gave attention to that subject, but I must express some degree of disappointment with his treatment of the matter in the sense of indicating any action. I will return to that in a moment. In the fourth compartment of his speech he referred to world affairs.
I wish to deal rather briefly with four subjects, but with no sense that time presses in the Senate tonight. I will’ deal, first with Vietnam; secondly, with Indonesia; thirdly, with Che United Nations; and fourthly - as the appendix to the Minister’s speech most thoughtfully revealed to us- with the relevance of the subject of a united Europe. With regard to Vietnam, we have heard it stated that the division of this unhappy country - this primitive country, as I understand - had its origin in the Geneva treaty of 1954, when, to put an end to the war which was vexing France, an artificial line was drawn and governments were set up for the two countries north and south of that line. I am not qualified to speak about conditions in those countries, but my understanding is that the areas are primitive, economically backward and undeveloped. Very soon after the signing of that treaty there was contention and, from both the south and the north, came accusations of non-compliance with the treaty. The northern Communist Government was ready with the accusation that ‘ the south had allowed entry pf American arms and influence, contrary to a specific provision of the treaty.
If we examine the situation in North Vietnam we find there a government, as Senator Benn said, moulded on the dictatorial pattern of Communist China and undoubtedly espousing the Communist purpose. That immediately drives one to reflect upon whether or not the problem that these opposing forces present can find a solution in either war or peace. I think the situation confronts the most studious statesman and the most resolute protagonist of peace with a problem that is very difficult indeed. We start with the proposition that it is established - the Minister’s statement brings the matter right up to date - that the North Vietnamese have infiltrated South Vietnam with guerrilla bands of military personnel, that they hold in reserve great military forces and that they are steadily equipping their country, through the channels of communication that exist, with ammunition bases and supply lines.
That seems to suggest to any reasonable person that here we have the approach and the apparatus of a typical Communist front. When you have the situation that attacks by guerrilla bands whose organisation undoubtedly comes from north of the border are being made over the border I believe you must be convinced, by reason, that at the 17rh parallel today there is a line from which Communist attack and aggression is forging ahead. It is the unhappy conclusion of the Minister for External Affairs that not only here but also generally throughout the world - I will deal with this more regretfully in my reference to the United Nations - people must devote their attention to the realities of power politics until some other system is accepted by the great powers as well as by the multitudinous small powers. There we have a typical Communist approach. We must interpret it as Chamberlain should have interpreted Hitler through “ Mein Kampf”, but, unfortunately, he had never read that book. We must interpret this approach through the announcements of Chinese Communist policy which have been made. To me, the inescapable conclusion is that a concentration of force has been developed for the purpose of moving the Communist front forward by force. This is being done not by open declaration of war but by means more appropriate to propaganda through the guerrilla effort.
In this connection, some very thoughtful remarks fell from the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) in the course of the debate in another place. He reminded the Parliament that we should look to the various fronts that have been established for a reconciliation between the Communist countries and the Western World. The first one is in Berlin, and allied to that is the division between East and West Germany. Let me hasten to add that I see some justification for the Russian attitude in dividing Germany. I am very seised of the last contest that took place between these countries and I recall the formidable potential of the German nation for atrocity, horror and aggression which cannot be lightly removed. But the fact is that ever since that front was established with Communist Russia, there have been major incidents. First there was the Berlin blockade. Since then there has been the cold war with constant heat developing due to the fear that Communist aggression is exerting against its neighbour. Another artificial line has been established in Korea. Then there is the artificial line in Vietnam.
To me, the conclusions are inescapable, and here we are speaking of Vietnam: If we realise the purpose and programme of the Communists on this front, we have to be resolute, not only by means of war which will not solve this problem itself, but also by diplomacy and intelligence to use our maximum effort to reconcile these great forces at the peace table. But we have to be absolutely resolute to hold the front against aggression by force until the general body of world opinion will concentrate to force the combatants into a reasonable solution. Therefore I believe a great debt is owed to the United States, of America for providing, first, advice in economic aid, then advice in military strategy and finally military assistance, to enable the South Vietnamese to hold that front.
We should throw our minds back to American opinion of 25 years ago and consider how much American opinion has expanded relative to its responsibilities. Twentyfive years ago the United States was renouncing any responsibility for involvement in Europe. It took quite a long time to be persuaded that Hitler had his plans actually to attack the United States after the fall of France and Great Britain. Since that time, as the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) has stated, due to the greatness of the United States both in its outlook and strength, it now has the first responsibility for the containment of Communism. It is a matter for gratitude on the part of this nation that the United States has acknowledged that role and accepted it despite the fact, as Senator Cohen reminded us by interjection tonight, that there are many people in the United States - some of them very thoughtful and devoted people - who criticise the Administration for involvement in Vietnam.
We come now to the fact that since 7th February, according to authorised channels of communication, the United States has started more openly to attack the bases and forces north of the 17th parallel in Vietnam. I do not give any jingoistic support to that decision. I support it because the Minister for External Affairs has said it should be supported and I realise from the documents he has put before us that the Department of External Affairs is very comprehensively informed on these matters. I have confidence in the channels of communication between the Australian Government and the United States Government. But I want to criticise the Government I support for not taking purposeful action to advise the Australian people immediately this revolution in the American attitude took place.
The Australian Government should have told the people- just what activities the Americans were retaliating against. It should have kept Australia comprehensively informed from day to day on the attacks from North Vietnam against which we had to retaliate; on the concentration of troops and the military significance of bridges and roads that were the subject of attack. We live in a democracy and every thoughtful man in Australia is entitled to have these facts put before him. It is not as if this campaign depended in any sense for the success of its strategy on the concealment of any of these things. When certain news channels publicised the fact that America had resorted to the use of gas warfare, there was a natural revulsion in the mind of everybody who remembered what had happened in France and the discussions that occurred about the use of gas in the Russian campaign in the Second World War. The Government of this country had an imperative duty to ascertain the facts immediately and to ensure, having regard to the credit that can be attached to what is sometimes called propaganda but what I shall call news information, that we as a country are informed accordingly.
It was only after days of anxiety that I was satisfied upon reading a statement from the President of the United States of America and from the Embassy of the Republic of Vietnam to the effect that gas had been used on only three occasions during minor local military operations; that it was tear gas of a type which momentarily disabled the enemy, putting him out of combat, and was in no way lethal or noxious; that humanitarian considerations were the sole motives leading to the use of the gas, as the Vietcong have often resorted to barbarous methods, using innocent villagers as a protective screen on the battlefield and mingling with the peasants in villages to launch attacks on opposing troops; and that thus the use of non-lethal gas will spare the lives of innocent villagers in tactical situations where conventional weapons are not desirable.
– Does the honorable senator think that two wrongs make a right?
– I prefer to ignore that interjection. It is not on the level on which I wish to discuss this matter. That statement establishes in my mind the fact that not poison gas but a modified form of tear gas has been used. I mention this matter because I claim that we must be much more vigilant in ensuring that there is a proper understanding of the facts if we are to generate the united strength that this nation requires in such a predicament. Mr. President, I understand that it is desired to interpose other business. Regretfully, I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Gorton) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Mr. President, I do not pretend that the matter I propose to raise is of such importance that Senator Wright should have his speech interrupted. Possibly the honorable senator thought that other business was to be introduced, but I was under the impression that it was proposed that the Senate should adjourn at 9.30 p.m. I have taken advantage of the motion for the adjournment to raise a matter that I have raised in the Senate previously. I refer to the disease of arteriosclerosis. Honorable senators may recall that on 30th September last I asked the then Minister for Health whether he would consider inquiring into the method that had been adopted by Dr. Moller of Germany to provide relief from this disease. I received a reply from the late Senator
Wade in which he said that he could not see that any good purpose would be served by pursuing this inquiry. He said that he had received a report from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, which was of the opinion that no really satisfactory evidence of the value of Dr. Moller’s therapy was available. The report of the College further stated that a report from the Max Planck Institute might be helpful, as Dr. Moller stated that information regarding his treatment had been sent to the Institute for evaluation. The Minister said that he had accordingly asked the DirectorGeneral of Health to endeavour to obtain the views of the Institute on Dr. Moller’s methods.
Not being satisfied with that reply, I again raised the matter on the same day during the debate on the Estimates. I mentioned that, to my knowledge, people in Adelaide had been cured or apparently cured of this disease as a result of undergoing the treatment of Dr. Moller. I asked the Minister in a not unfriendly way to make a detailed examination of the cases that had been treated by Dr. Moller and to study their medical charts. In his reply, the Minister said -
I return very briefly to arteriosclerosis. Senator Cavanagh made a plea for further consideration of the treatent by Dr. Moller of people suffering from this complaint. I. think that the appropriate attitude that I should take in this matter would bc to say to the honorable senator’ that I will read his speech. I will discuss the matter with the officers of my Department rather than attempt an off the cuff analysis of the speech at this time. I would much prefer to have the opportunity of studying the points he made and of making a considered decision on his submissions.
Unfortunately, Senator Wade later passed away, and we do not know what stage he had reached in his investigations. Administration of the portfolio was taken over by Mr. Swartz, who has had an examination of the facts made. However, none of the medical colleges in Australia will advise the Department of Health that it would be justified in inviting Dr. Moller to Australia to demontrate his treatment or that it is advisable to send somebody to Germany to study it. The Minister has furnished a final reply in which he has said that he cannot take the matter any further.
Whilst Dr. Moller’s treatment is not accepted by the doctors of Australia as providing any relief, there is strong evidence to suggest that it is curing people of the disease. The only solution offered by Australian medical practitioners is the amputation of affected limbs. I have before me a file which contains letters from people all over Australia who are suffering from the disease and who have been advised to submit to an amputation of either one or both arms or one or both legs, lt would seem that this country is full of sufferers from this disease, which for the most part appears first in the feet and is accompanied by excruciating pain which prevents the patient from sleeping. Finally an incurable ulcer breaks out and when gangrene sets in, no cure can be found, other than amputation of the affected limb. A great number of people in Australia today are amputees because of the inability of Australian doctors to find a cure. It is not for me as a layman to say that the Australian doctors are wrong. Despite my request for consideration of this matter, Australian doctors have failed to accept Dr. Moller’s treatment. Strong evidence is available from Germany that while his treatment does not provide a permanent cure of circulatory disorders, at least it can save amputations and permit the patients to continue normal lives with recurring treatment by the machine invented by Dr. Moller.
I have notes of a lecture delivered by Dr. Moller to nurses in West Germany. This lecture forms part of the material for one of the theory examinations of nurses in that country. Dr. Moller states -
Since the discoveries of the French chemist Lavoisier who was executed during the French Revolution, it has been known that burning requires oxygen a fact known to everyone today. An important recognition in biology has been that oxygen, is also necessary for life. Doctors have made use of this for a long time by artificially administering oxygen when breathing has been encumbered; e.g., through pneumonia or smoke or other gas poisoning. However, it is barely a decade that oxygen has been used in medicine as a means of healing serious diseases. In general, the term “ suffocation “ is used to denote lack of air and hence lack of oxygen in the lungs. But also individual cells, parts of limbs or whole limbs can “ suffocate “ slowly, should they for one reason or another receive insufficient quantities of oxygen, or be unable to use the oxygen in the blood properly. There is, therefore, the possibility of limited processes of “ suffocation “ in our bodies, if we may use the expression. The doctor then talks about circulatory disorders. Parts of the body can in this way die off, as does for instance occur in circulatory disorders of legs or arms, which can lead to the dying of toes or fingers. Until recently it used to be necessary in many cases to amputate the joint which had become victim of suffocation.
Up to the present day in Australia it is necessary to amputate the joint. The disease still spreads to the legs and we have no solution other than amputation to relieve pain and to stop the spread of the sores that will not heal.
While the Australian medical profession has no knowledge of the advisability or value of Dr. Moller’s treatment, in Australia I submit that there are three cases which could be examined. Honorable senators will recall that during the debate on the Estimates last year I requested that representatives of the Department of Health interview these patients who allege that they have been cured by the treatment of Dr. Moller. My investigations have shown that not one of the patients has been interviewed by officers of the Department of Health for the purpose of tracing their clinical histories or of obtaining the results of the treatment the patients have received. From my investigations, which have included correspondence with Dr. Moller, it appears that there are only two people in Australia who have had his treatment. One of these patients will be returning to Australia in June, and I wish to refer particularly to’ that case. To my mind it would prove conclusively that benefit can be obtained from the oxygen therapy treatment of arteriosclerosis as practised by Dr. Moller in Germany. I do not say that it provides a permanent cure or a cure for all cases, but many patients who today are doomed to amputation could be saved from that necessity if they received the oxygen therapy treatment administered by Dr. Moller’s machine.
I wish to refer, now, to the case of Mr. Willi Herwig who lives at Cabramatta, New South Wales. The report I have states -
Willi Herwig suffered external injuries at a mine disaster and was admitted to the Kassel City Hospital. The mine disaster injuries did not worry his doctors. However, they worried about his right leg which had a deep bluish colour and it seemed that all blood circulation had stopped. Herwig explained to the doctors that the condition of his leg may have been the result of frostbite be suffered on the Russian front and this’ caused a gradually increasing complaint over the years. The doctors’ suggestion that his leg should be amputated if he wished to avoid endangering his life terrified him. Finally he was referred through the Medical Benefits Association to Dr. Moller in Weinberg, who has made a name for himself with the oxygen therapy.
Today, 10 years after treatment, the only thing which remains of his dangerous condition is his great gratitude towards Dr. Moller.
That is the first example of a patient who believes that Dr. Moller saved him from amputation. I do not place great reliance upon his testimony because no record is available of his case history other than his word that it was advisable to have amputation and that Dr. Moller cured his complaint with oxygen therapy. 1 refer now to the case of Mrs. Lang of Largs Bay, South Australia. I referred to this case during the debate on the Estimates last year and asked the Minister to have Mrs. Lang interviewed. She has received treatment at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in South Australia where no cure could be found for the sore that developed on one of her legs after months of pain in her feet which prevented her from sleeping. Doctors at the Royal Adelaide Hospital advised amputation,, but she travelled to Germany where she was cured by the treatment of Dr. Moller. Senator Drury and myself interviewed Mrs. Lang who today has no pain. However, Dr. Moller had advised her that it is not a complete cure and that while she has circulatory disorders the complaint will recur. From .time to time it will be necessary for her to have further oxygen therapy.
The Lang family sold a dry cleaning business to obtain their return fares to Germany. Since their return to Australia they have not been successful in establishing such a profitable business and are faced with the definite possibility that at some time in the future they will again need to pay their return fares to Germany for continuance of the oxygen therapy treatment available there. Such treatment is not available in Australia and the alternative is amputation of one or both of Mrs. Lang’s legs.
The other case to which I refer - and possibly the most startling case - is the only other case in Australia of a person who has received Dr. Moller’s treatment. The case, details of which have been given to the Minister for Health (Mr. Swartz), concerns Mrs. Staniek. Mr. and Mrs. Staniek are of German origin. With their three daughters they migrated to Australia, having a contract with the Australian Government under the specialist and scientist migration scheme. Mr. Staniek is a highly qualified design engineer who has done valuable work in Australian national development. He was employed by Perry Engineering Company.
Ltd. in Adelaide. In 1956 his wife developed the most dreaded arteriosclerosis. She was treated at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. At the request of Mr. and Mrs. Staniek, Mr. Catchpole, the South Australian professor - who specialises in these diseases, used a method of injecting oxygen into Mrs. Staniek’s leg, but this had no effect. There was no comparison between this method and that used by Dr. Moller in Germany. Mrs. Staniek was advised by the Royal Adelaide Hospital that it would be necessary to amputate her left leg.
I have a photostat copy of the record of the Royal Adelaide Hospital relating to Mrs. Staniek. lt is dated 20th April 1956. It shows that her age was 44 years, that she was married with three children and was occupied with home duties. She attended the outpatient department for the first time on 24th June 1952. Her whole treatment from then onwards at the Royal Adelaide Hospital until 20th April 1956 is shown. This report was made out by the hospital so that Mrs. Staniek could take it to Dr. Moller to show what had been done by the Royal Adelaide Hospital. It shows the history of her complaint and how she responded to treatment. It is signed by Dr. C. J. McLeay, R.M.O., Hindmarsh Ward, Royal Adelaide Hospital. The surprising thing is that there is an exchange of information between these doctors. Also, the answer to my question shows that the Commonwealth will pay medical benefits to a contributor to a benefits fund who goes to Germany to receive this treatment. Further, as the Minister for Social Services stated, such persons are entitled to sickness benefit if they are unable to work while receiving this treatment and for this purpose the Government will accept a certificate from Dr. Moller. Nevertheless the treatment to which we subscribe by permitting these people to go overseas we will not adopt in Australia.
Dr. McLeay concluded this report to Dr. Moller with these words -
These notes are a summing up of the attendances at the outpatient department and three admissions to this hospital and it is considered by the surgeon in charge of the case that oxygen therapy will not prevent the need for amputation. .
There is a declaration of the Royal Adelaide Hospital of a need for amputation. It is stated that even oxygen therapy would not obviate that need. When we discover that the need for amputation was overcome, it suggests that the Royal Adelaide Hospital is not fully informed on the method of treatment that would overcome the difficulty that it stated was impossible to overcome. 1 have Dr. Moller’s report of 3rd August 1956, which is written in German. According to the translater, it states -
Dear Mr. Staniek
I thank you for your confidence in sending your wife the long way to Kassel for special treatment. Despite your great expenses, f do hope you will not be disappointed. At admission on 3rd June 1956 the left foot was in a very bad condition, lt was found on examinations and temperature reading that the blood circulation was very poor and therefore the gangrenous process within the range of the previously amputated great toe was spreading over the second toe. The ulcerated area was a dish shaped cavity of the size of two two shilling pieces, lt was covered by a smeary layer. In the middle, the top of the base bone of the toe extended. After, four weeks treatment at the Kasseler Special Clinic for Circulatory Diseases, applying oxygen insufflations into the leg arteries as well as local oxygen injections into tissue, combined with the catalysing oxygen aerosol inhalation therapy, the healing, process being much improved, Mrs. Staniek was discharged from the clinic for further outpatient treatment. Today’s repeated examination has shown the ulcerated area . was reduced by two-thirds of the original one. There is further on a good tendency of healing by formation of new capillaries. The former funnel shaped deep wound is nearly flattened by granulation building up of new cells. The top of the bone is almost completely skin covered already. Also, the general and physical state of the patient has improved so considerably by the oxygen therapy that’ discharge may be expected before long. 1 like to emphasise that now, because of this favorable healing process, the leg is out of danger of being amputated. lt has been saved. 1 would like to mention that the strong will of your wife for recovery was also very favourable.
This is a case in which the Royal Adelaide Hospital said that even this treatment would not save amputation, but after the treatment the doctor who treated the patient says that the leg has been saved. Surely this demonstrates that at least there may be something in the claim that we are making for consideration of Dr. Moller’s treatment.
This was not the end of the case of. Mrs. Staniek. In I960 she developed arteriosclerosis in the right leg, which the Royal Adelaide Hospital again said was a case for amputation. Dr. Moller, having treated her again up till the present, wrote on 3rd February 1964 in the following terms -
Re: Mrs. Gertrud Staniek, born Sth June 1911, residing: Adelaide. 71 Morialta Road, RostrevorMagill, South Australia. Mrs. Gertrud Staniek started on 30th May 1956 to receive my treatment against a disease of blocked arteries on both legs with gangrene in the range of her left toes, which spread to the forefoot and affected also the second toe. This process exists since 1952 and was progressing against every treatment and sympathectomy, therefore amputation of the bad left leg was proposed. Because of the long lasting illness and of the threat of amputation, an intense depressed condition was stated. Mrs. Staniek underwent a special treatment in my clinic for circulatory and vascular diseases, as it was also recommended to her by the Director of the Surgery, Clinic of the University of Marburg, Professor Dr. Zenker, now in München.
After having received the special treatment in combination with the here developed oxygen therapy, which was applied in certain intervals, the gangrenous process on the left foot was healed.
Three years later gangrene developed on her right great toe, which during one year’s treatment at the Royal Adelaide Hospital could not be stopped. Amputation of the right leg was suggested.
Therefore, Mrs. Staniek travelled disregarding the great expense - again to Kassel and underwent once more my special treatment since February 1961. After demarcation on the gangrenous right foe, it could be removed - the first limb of it. Having received further oxygen therapy, in intervals, also the right foot was healed.
Since then Mrs. Steniek is entirely free of pain, is able to walk, feeling physically strong and has great vital energy.
Tn spite of this, Mrs. Staniek should receive, health maintaining, booster treatments- of oxygen therapy from time to lime.
Surely no further proof is needed that there is at least something in Dr. Moller’s treatment that deserves investigation by the Australian authorities. The Director.General of Health, in reply to a request by Mrs. Staniek that this system be introduced into Australia has replied to the effect that it is the responsibility of the doctor treating a patient to prescribe the treatment that shall be used from time to time. With this we agree. But how can a doctor prescribe a treatment about which he knows nothing and about which he can know nothing when he obtains his knowledge of new processes and treatments from journals published by the British Medical Association and the Australian Medical Association which have refused to report the beneficial effects of Dr. Moller’s treatment?
Some institutions are not as conservative as is the British medical profession. Mr. Lawn, the member for Adelaide in the South Australian Parliament, wrote to the British Medical Association and received ‘a copy of a report that was published in a journal emanating from the Westminister Hospital, London, Ontario, Canada, which
Indicates the results of investigations that were made into this treatment by a Dr. G. A. Clark, M.D., F.R,F.P.S.(G.), F.R.C.S. (Edin), and a Dr. C. C. Ross, O.B.E., M.D., F.R.C.S. (Edin. & C.) London, Ont. Senator Dittmer will possibly be able to help us with the significance of those letters after those names. No doubt he will conscientiously read tomorrow’s “ Hansard “ report of the debate. I can guess at the meaning of some of the letters. Obviously Dr. Clark is a man of substance in the medical profession. He refers to intra-arterial oxygen insufflation in the treatment of peripheral vascular insufficiency and gives a preliminary report on 117 cases in these terms -
This method of treatment is not new, although I must confess complete ignorance of the treatment until January of last year when it was brought to my attention by a local businessman who had been advised to have his leg amputated in 1951 for diabetic gangrene of his foot. He had received treatment in the Moller Clinic in Kassel, Germany, in 1951, and again in 1956. The beneficial result of this treatment interested me enough to take the trip to Germany in 1959. The results that were obtained at that clinic could not help but impress one.
– Tell us about the other 116 cases.
– I have not told the honorable senator about any case yet. I am not trying to ram this down her neck; I am merely trying to convey the reports of those who have studied this matter. The doctor states -
We have treated 117 patients - arteriosclerotic, senile and diabetic, Buerger’s syndrome, and postphlebitic syndrome with stasis ulcer. Their ages have varied from 35 to 87 years.
He then goes on to list some ofthe cases and concludes with this remark -
The results we have obtained from this form of treatment have been very promising. Of 117 cases only seven had required amputation.
There is the answer to the honorable senator’s question about what the doctor did with the other 116 cases. I believe that it is a satisfactory reply. He goes on -
As yet we feel it is too early to classify the results further.
He summarises his examination of the 117 cases by saying -
This preliminary report represents a pilot clinical study of the application of intra-arterial and local oxygen injection treatment for limb ischaemia. No explanation is offered at this time to clarify the altered vascular state producing these favourable results. However, the nature of these results is such as to encourage continued application of this procedure, and studies have begun to elucidate the mechanism responsible for these changes.
I have referred to three cases in Australia, and in view of the findings of a medical man from Canada who investigated 117 cases, 1 claim that this is not a wildcat method of treatment devised by some puerile professor. It is a method that is well recognised in Germany, devised by a qualified German doctor who has reported on numerous cases. If our doctors or the Department of Health wish to examine these reports to learn the results that have been obtained, they are available. I have before me a list of at least 20 publications, mostly German, on this particular disease. As the “ Hansard “ report may be studied by certain people who have the right to prescribe this treatment, providing they know anything about it, with the concurrence of honorable senators I shall incorporate the list in “ Hansard “.
Zusammenstellung der wichtigsten Veroffentlichungenuber die
von Dr. med. WILHELM MOLLER, Kassel “ Reaktionen auf Cer-Aerosol-Inhalationen beim Herdgeschehen und bei Klimaempfindliehkeit.”
Vortrag auf dem Kongress fur Herdforschung und-bekampfung in Bad Nauheim am 28.3.1950, ersch. in “ Zahnarztliche Rundschau” 1952, Heft 15.
Die katalytische Steuerung des Sauerstoffumsatzes ais Basistherapie.”
Vortrag auf Deutscher Therapiewache in Karlsruhe am 5.9.1950, ersch. in “ Therapiewoche “ 1951. 9-Folge. “ Therapie der peripheren Durehblutungsstorungen unter Beruchsichtigung einer verbesserten Methodlk der intraarteriellen Sanerstoffinsuftlation.”
Vortrag auf dem Therapiekongress in Karlsruhe am 5.9.1952, ersch. in “Therapiewoche” 1953, 9./10. Heft, 3. Jhg. “Intraarterielle Sauerstofftherapie.”
Vortrag auf demInternistenkongress in Wiesbaden am 15.4.1953,
Vortrag Therapiekongress in Karlsruhe am 3.9.1953, ersch. in “Die Therapiewoche”, Jhg. 1953/54, Heft 17/18, S. 433-439. “ Bedeutung der Intravenosen Dauerinfusion mit Sauerstoff fur den Kreislauf.”
Diskussionsbemerkung Internistenkongress Monchen am 27.4.1954, ersch. Verh, d. Dt. Ges. f. inn. Med. 54, S. 591. “Neue Erkenntnisseund Wdgd auf dem Gebiete der Sauerstofftherapie (intraarteriell und intravends).”
Vortrag Therapiekongress in Karlsruhe am 4.9.1954, ersch, in “ Therapiewoche “ 1954/55, Heft 23/24, S. 579-586.
Die therapeutischen Leistnngen des Sauerstoffes in der prophylaktischen Medizin.”
Vortrag aufinternat. Kongress fur prophylaktische Medizin am 3.10.1954,
Bad Ragaz, ersch. im “Taschenbuch der prophylaktischen Medizin “, Haug-Verlag, S. 377- 384.
Sauerstofftherapie bel Durchblutungsstorungen.’’
Arztl. Praxis VI 42. Okt. 1954. “ Die kalte Peripherie als Storfeld mit berdiilinlichcr Wirknng.”
Vortrag Kongress Herdforschung, Bad Nauheim am 13.4.1955, ersch. in “ Herderkrankungen, Grundlagenforschung und Praxis “, Haug-Verlag, S. 240-243, 257. “ Begriffsbestimmung der Sauerstofftherapie.”
Vortrag auf 61. Internistenkongress Wiesbaden am 18.4.1955, ersch. in “ Verhandlungen d. d. Ges. f. inn. Med.”, 1955, S. 135-160. “ Die Anwendung der Mikrowellen bei der Behandlung von peripheren Durchblungsstorungen.”
Zeitschrift f. Hochfrequenz-Therapic, Heft 4, S. 2 u. 3, Mai 1957. “ Sauerstoff-Therapie,” 1. Rundfunkvortrag am 16.2.1958, “Neue Wege derSauerstoff-Therapie,” 2. Rundfunkvortrag am 13.7.1958.
Beide Vortrage sind im Rahmen der Sendereihe “ Wissenschaft und Forschung “ des Suddeutschen Rundfunks gehalten und im Druckerschienenim “ Medizin. Monatsspiegel, eine Zeilschrift fur den Am “. “ Oxymctrie bei Sauerstofftherapie.”
Vortrag, gehalten am 27.1.1959 auf dem Internal. Colloquim fur Oxymetrie in Bremen,erschien in dem Werk von Prof. Kramer, Gottingen: “Oxymetric,” George Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart. 1960 “ Sauerstoff- Therapie a) beim Krebs, b) bei Durclibliitungsstorungen.”
VortrSge am 1. u. 2.6.1959 auf dem Europiiischen Fortmildungskongrcss unter der Patenchaft des “ European Mcdicum Collegium “ in Montecatini Terme (Italian).
Ersch. im August-September.-Heft 1959 der. Zeitschrifl “ Der praktische Arzt heute “, VI. Jahrgang Nr. 8/9, Berlin. “ Saucrstofttlierapie bei pcriphcren Durcliblutuiigsstorungen.”
Vortrag “Akademfe f. iirztl. Fortbildung “, Berlin, Aula Neue Universitiit, 24.1.1960. “ Die intra vasalc Daucrapplikatiun von Sauerstoff Medikantcnten im Wechselspicl bei der BehandIting von Durchblutungssforungcn.”
Vortrag am 12.4.1961’ auf dem Kongress fiir inncre Medizin in Wiesbaden; ersch. Verh. d. Ges. f. inn. med. Band 67. “Der Vitalfarhstoff Sauerstoff bei der Krcbstherapie.”
Vortrag am 13.9.1961 auf dem Internation. Konvent fiir Vitalstoffe, Ernahrung und Zivilisationskrankheiten in Bad Aachen. “ Arbcitspersonlichkcit und Kreislaufschiiden im modernen Bcriifslebcn.”
Vortrag am 29.11.1961 auf der Arbcitstagung nordhessischer Industrieller fiir Rationalisierung und Wirlschaftsforderung in Volkmarsen. “Spezielle Rehandliingsmethoden bei artcriellen Durchblutungsstorungcn.”
Vortrag am 15.9.1963 auf dem 25. Kongress f. Nttturhcilkunde in Freudenstadt.
Ersch. Februar-Heft 63 Zeitschrift f. “ Physikalischdiittetischc Therapie “.
Among those publications is one which has been translated, to some extent, into English. Jt is an account to justify oxygen therapy after 10 years treatment. It states -
With the application of intravascular oxygen therapy, combined with the recognised physical and medical methods, over 6,000 cases of circulatory disorders were treated successfully between 1950-1959.
The report of the treatment of these 6,000 cases goes on to say -
We have only presented pictures of those patients who permitted the release of their full names and addresses, thus raising the value of this report. Nevertheless we did not publish these names but they will be supplied on request.
I understand there are no facilities for incorporating photographs in “ Hansard “. The booklet contains photographs showing the ulcers on the foot, the decaying of the, foot and,after treatment, the complete cure of the foot. It is available for honorable senators to study if they so desire. 1 want to refer to another publication which I have been given permission to incorporate in “ Hansard “. It deals with the special treatment of cases of certain arterial circulatory disorders by Dr. Wilhelm Moller. I have had it translated into English.It shows the success that he has achieved.
Mr. Staniek includes with his correspondence, which we have asked the Minister to have evaluated by his experts, photographs of his wife’s condition. Again, we cannot have them printed in “ Hansard “, but per-‘ haps I might describe them. Alongside the first photograph are stated her medical history, her date of birth and the diagnosis. It is dated 23 rd April 1956. It shows where the left great toe had been amputated at the Royal Adelaide Hospital’. The second photograph, taken three months after the amputation, shows the ulcers still spreading.
Tt can be seen from the photograph that practically all the big toe has disappeared and that only the bone is showing. A photograph dated 25th May 1956 shows the patient in a depressed condition leaving Adelaide for Germany. The next photograph, which is dated July 1956, shows the remarkable success after the patient had received oxygen therapy for six months. It was applied by Dr. Moller at Kassel. It shows the skin holding over the exposed bone in the toe. The next photograph dated 7th October 1956, shows Mrs. Staniek happily reunited with her family at the Adelaide airport. In January 1957 Mrs. Staniek’s foot had returned to normal. Three years later gangrene developed because she did not receive the treatment which was recommended by Dr. Moller at Kassel. The next photograph, which is dated 10th July 1962, shows further progress in the healing process. The next photograph, which is dated 20th December 1962, shows the wound almost closed, and the photograph which is dated 4th February 1963, shows the foot returned to normal. The last photograph, which is dated 23rd December 1963, shows that the patient can walk for hours and feels healthy and happy.
Therefore, the woman owes the fact that she has two legs to the treatment of Dr. Moller in Germany. Amputation was inevitable had the treatment continued in Australia. Mr. Staniek was a man who was brought out by the Government to help Australia’s future development and progress. He wrote to the then Minister of Health in South Australia, who I am happy to say is now the ex-Minister of Health. I shall read extracts from the letter. It states -
In 1950 I migrated with my wife and 3 daughters aged 17, 10 and 7 to Australia on a contract with the Australian Government, based on the Specialists and Scientists Migration Scheme.
As a high qualified Design Engineer, I have done valuable work regarding National Development of Australia. . . .
In 1960 the same trouble started on the right leg, as foreseen by Dr. Moller, if the oxygen treatment would not be applied in some intervals to maintain her health. My efforts were in vain to get this treatment to be introduced in South Australia.
As a result of several discussions with doctor Mr. Catchpole from the University of Adelaide, it was decided for Mrs. Staniek to receive oxygen injections into the main arteries of her legs. Even this was done by a very primitive method, using an oxygen-filled syringe. It was surprisingly quick releasing my wife from her terrible pain. A simul taneously applied powder treatment resulted in a shocking setback of pain and blackening of the sick toe.
I direct attention to that matter because in another letter the Minister said that suitable machines were available in Australia. The letter continues -
Further oxygen treatment at the R.A.H. did not show much improvement. Mr. Catchpole suggested at beginning of January 1961 to amputate the right leg as no other treatment was available.
I come now to the appeal that was made to the Minister. The letter states -
Now, please consider my problem. I have sacrificed all my savings of 10 years work in Australia. I have lost my home by forced auction of the mortgager, in order to prevent my wife from amputation of both her legs. I am glad my efforts were so much successful. But my wife and 1, we are Australian citizens by naturalisation. We left three daughters and their families behind in Adelaide, when we left temporarily for Germany. We would like to be reunited with them, the sooner the better. 1 think we have the right to stay in Australia, but not being condemned to stay overseas, because of the only lack of one medical treatment not available in Australia, which on the other hand is a vital question for the health of my wife. Everybody with heart trouble, diabetics or other incurable sufferers from any other common disease are receiving their treatments as well in Australia as in any other part of the world. Why, I would like to ask you, should I be made an inexcusable exception to sufferers of so-called “incurable” circulatory diseases? In my opinion, this is not fair to mankind, as long as a treatment somewhere in the world exists, which proved to be so highly successful. Doctors are obliged to help patients with all their knowledge and the up to date scientific medical research in view of new developments … All I want is to return to Australia with my wife, without fears of being lost there. I have been confronted twice within eight years time with the shocking proposition of Australian doctors for amputation of my wife’s legs - and I have experienced twice the wonderful effect of “Dr. Moller’s oxygen therapy” during the same time, who saved both her legs from amputation, herewith returning my wife to a new, happy and normal life.
Surely these facts are worthy of further investigation. The Minister should not simply refer them to his advisers, who have seen nothing about the matter in the Australian medical journals, although there is an abundance of proof in foreign publications. Surely it is reasonable to ask that these people be interviewed by the Department to see whether what they say is correct. I have the medical history of Mrs. Staniek here, but I have not dared to read it to the Senate because I do not know the medical terms. It can be studied by members of the medical profession. It was written by a medical man. According to Dr. Moller, Mrs. Staniek has obtained some relief from the treatment.
The matter was submitted to the Minister for Health for examination by the officers of his Department. In his reply he said -
Whilst admitting that Dr. Moller’s treatment has been beneficial to Mrs. Staniek, the success of an isolated case is not convincing evidence that this form of treatment is superior to that based on orthodox lines.
– That is, cutting the legs off.
– As Senator O’Byrne has said, the treatment based on orthodox lines is to cut the legs off. This method adopted by Dr. Moller has been successful in one particular case. I do not say that it would be more successful than amputations in a number of cases. I am not a medical man and I cannot dispute that fact. But there may be other Mrs. Stanieks in Australia. There may be other people who are suffering from this disease and who would respond to similar treatment.
If the Department of Health were concerned with advance treatment of those who are having amputations today, it would find out by investigation and interview either with the person herself or her relatives the facts of the case of Mrs. Lang of whom I spoke earlier. There is the case, too, of Mr. Herwig about whom I have spoken. We find that there are in Australia at least three cases who have responded to this treatment. I am not holding myself up as an authority on medicine, surgery or the treatment that is necessary for these cases. But I say that there is ample proof here of the success of this treatment. This is not a question of a quack cure. It is a question of treatment administered by a proper medical authority who has had patients referred to him by over 200 clinics in Germany, as revealed in a publication from which I quoted. Patients have been referred to Dr. Moller for this treatment by the Medical Benefits Association of Germany in an attempt to have them cured. This is deserving of some investigation. The Minister finishes his letter by saying -
In conclusion, I should like to mention that the method of treatment by intra-arterial injection of oxygen is not unknown in this country. It has been used on selected cases, but has been shown to be of limited value in the treatment of Arteriosclerosis because this disease is a general systemic disease and any local effects are likely to be evanescent. There is nothing magical about Dr. Moller’s treatment and although there could be varying methods in the techniques of using it, it is thought that, without limitation, it would be available in the major hospitals for the medical staff of these institutions should they consider its use indicated.
Mrs. Staniek had some therapy treatment from doctors in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. By this method they could inject oxygen into her and it had no effect upon her condition. No-one knows whether this is the same type of machine as Dr. Moller has used. The evidence and propaganda suggest that it is not the same machine. But no-one knows whether it is or not. No-one knows whether Australian doctors arc capable of applying this method. If oxygen is injected into the blood, there is the risk at all times of the formation of an air bubble in the oxygen. If that air bubble touches the heart or the brain, it means good-night. For that reason, doctors are afraid to use this method. But with a machine in operation such as Dr. Moller has, which regulates and purines the inflow of oxygen that risk no longer exists. I think the important point about the report made by Dr. Clark, of Canada, is that he had done 117 cases and there had been no danger of any air bubbles forming or any serious complications. 1 conclude, because 1 do not want to weary the Senate although I feel concerned with this question-
– Hear, hear!
– My friend has not had, nor have any of his relatives or friends had, this dreaded disease, otherwise he would be more concerned. The honorable senator complacently lies back in his comfortable chair and does not give a damn for the rest of the world. I am dealing with a matter of great interest. If the honorable senator had any humane spark in him, he would be much concerned with the whole matter.
Mr. Staniek, who is in Germany, has written to me and said -
I am going to return to Australia with my wife on board of the German cargo ship-
– That is very decent of him.
– He has a responsibility. I think Australia would welcome him. After all, he was engaged on development work in Australia. He was given Australian citizenship, which the Government will not give to some migrants here. He has been received as an acceptable citizen. He is a man in unfortunate circumstances who wants to show up the inhuman attitude of neglect that is being shown towards people whose limbs are being cut off and burnt in incinerators, because that is the orthodox method. The honorable senator has some grievance because this man might be returning to Australia. But Mr. Staniek is returning to Australia. He will arrive about 10th June. He is bringing back with him his wife for whose condition one of the best hospitals in Australia, the Royal Adelaide Hospital, said there was no cure but amputation. She will walk down the gangway of the boat or the steps of the aeroplane, whichever it may be, and stand on her feet as long as anyone desires her to stand.
I am holding this example up against the medical profession which says: “ We will not entertain that course of treatment at all “. I am not asking anything unreasonable. I am not saying this is a cure. I am saying only that there is strong evidence that people are enjoying much desired relief as the result of Dr. Moller’s efforts in Germany. If the Government feels any responsibility for the welfare of the Australian people, it will have every investigation made into whether there is any possibility of this treatment being available in Australia or being beneficial to Australians. The Department has not taken the trouble to interview the living examples of the results of the treatment as it was asked to do last October. I have been informed through Mr. Staniek that Dr. Moller would be prepared to visit Australia if he was asked by a university, a hospital or the Government. But the Government is not interested in this question. The Minister wants to dispose of the question because he does not suffer from arteriosclerosis. But any honorable senator opposite could suffer this disease some day. As I have said, I have cited an isolated case. There is a history available of people who are without limbs today because of this dreaded disease and who are seeking some remedial action yet the medical profession, along with the Department of Health, is not prepared to interest itself sufficiently to take any action to investigate this whole matter.
– Mr. President, I do not desire to detain the Senate at any length, but I feel that I must rise in support of the case that Senator Cavanagh has put before us tonight. I have been in close contact with Mrs. Lang over the past 18 months. If anybody was to visit this woman, I am sure that he or she would be genuinely surprised to see her condition now and compare it with her condition before she embarked for Germany to obtain the oxygen therapy treatment. When she returned from Germany, some prominence was given to the case in the Adelaide newspapers. But after two or three days of publicity, for some unknown reason, the newspapers withdrew all reference to this matter. Despite the fact that Mr. Lang and other people concerned with publications approached the Adelaide newspapers to give this case some publicity, they were refused.
I feel certain that if the Government would at least invite Dr. Moller to come to Australia, there are people who would be prepared to undergo his treatment. I know of one woman who lives in my district, close to my own home, who has already had one leg amputated below the knee because of this dread disease. When I went to see her a few weeks ago she told me that the verdict she had received from the hospital in Adelaide was that inevitably she will lose her other leg. She asked me whether something could be done about the Moller treatment. I explained to her that Senator Cavanagh and I were asking for some assistance for sufferers from the disease but that up to this time we had not met with success.
We are only laymen. I have no knowledge of medicine but I feel that if enough laymen rise in support of this treatment being tried in Australia some good will come of that. 1 do not refer to isolated cases of amputation. Many people throughout Australia have to have their limbs amputated. If this treatment would save only half a dozen people from amputation, I believe that bringing it to Australia would be worthwhile. Nobody wants to have limbs amputated. The lady to whom I referred a moment ago said that if she loses her other leg they will be taking her life away. She is an elderly woman, in receipt of a pension. What will be left for her if she loses both legs? She said: “ Once they have taken my other leg, they have taken my life “. I feel that the Government should listen to the request by Senator Cavanagh to do something about this dread disease. We have been told that this treatment is available in Australia but, from what I can see as a layman, sometimes the treatment may be delayed. 1 will read, from Dr. Moller’s report, the signs of the disease. They are -
Stage (1). Cold feet, frequent fatigue in (he legs.
Stage (2). Damage to cellular tissue, blood pulsation hardly to be noticed in the feet, or none at all. The patient limps temporarily.
Stage (3). Foot pulsation cannot be felt any more. The sick limb loses its healthy colour, sudden pains appear at night, which is a typical sign that damage of cellular tissues is present.
Stage (4). Heavy damage to tissues; abscesses and gangrene appear.
Dr. Moller goes on to say that frequently the signs are overlooked. I feel that this may be one reason why treatment is not given in sufficient time to prevent amputation, so I have joined with Senator Cavanagh in asking the Government to do something about this matter. As I have said, if the treatment will save only half a dozen people in Australia from having their limbs amputated it will be a worthwhile speculation on the part of the Government or on the part of some Australian hospital or university.
– Replying very briefly, let me say that no-one in the Senate doubts the sincerity of the two honorable senators who have spoken on this subject. I think we owe them a debt of gratitude for the work they have done and the interest they have shown in this matter. As a layman, I find it very hard to accept that, of the many hundreds of doctors in Australia, some would not have been sufficiently interested to follow up the treatment described tonight. I feel sure they have done so, but that is supposition or conjecture on my part. I cannot do any more than bring the subject of this debate once again to the notice of the Minister for Health (Mr. Swartz). I will do that.
.- Having regard to the late hour I will not delay the Senate at any great length, but I wish to raise the question of the enormously large number of outstanding applications for telephones and the great increase in the number since I last made an inquiry of the Postmaster-General (Mr. Hulme). On 26th August last - I refer to page 241 of the Senate “Hansard” - I was told, in answer to a question, that as at 30th June 1964 there were 50,340 deferred telephone applications throughout Australia. Today, in reply to another question which I asked, the Postmaster-General informed me that in the period of nine months from 30th June 1964 the figure had jumped from 50,340 to 93,067. This is quite an astronomical jump, bearing in mind that on the introduction of its last Budget the Government said it was going to devote more money towards telephone services. Considering the number of outstanding applications in New South Wales I think it is my duty, as a senator representing that State, to bring this matter to the notice of the Senate. Let us go back three years. At 30th June 1962 the total number of outstanding applications in New South Wales was 13,317, but today it is 53,366, out of the Australian total of 93,067. In 1962 Victoria had 15,556 deferred applications and today it has 19,846. There are more people in New South Wales waiting for the installation of telephones at present than there were throughout the whole of Australia some nine months ago.
Frankly, I doubt whether this Government cares two hoots about finding a solution to this problem, and I feel that it should be condemned by the people of Australia for its failure to provide this essential service for Australians generally. I know there has been an increase in the number of outstanding applications for telephones in most of the States, but that is a reason why this matter should be of particular interest to ali senators from all States. I suggest that in the interests of their own States - not only the interests of New South Wales - they also should take this matter up with the Postmaster-General in order to ensure that something will be done to provide an adequate service to the people. The increase in the number of outstanding applications and the great lag in providing telephone services in New South Wales are such that either the Commonwealth is discriminating against the people of New South Wales or the development taking place in that State is so great that the Postmaster-General’s Department just cannot cope with the demand. Telephone rentals are so high these days that I think it is fair to say that practically everyone who makes application for a telephone has an essential need for it. The figures produced by the PostmasterGeneral show that in the period from 11th August of last year to 28th February 1965 the number of telephone services cancelled was 52,919, or over 13,000 more than in the corresponding period of 1963-64. A great many people are affected by this problem. Shift workers are inconvenienced because they do not have telephones; the extension of decentralisation throughout the State - which is so desirable - is greatly impeded; management costs become greater because of the inability to communicate by telephone in an expeditious manner, and the increased management costs are passed on to the consumers.
I have in my hand details of a case in which the Assistant Under-Secretary of an important State Government Department in New South Wales made application for a telephone in December of last year. When the Minister in charge of that department communicated with the Director of Posts and Telegraphs in New South Wales, he was told that this request for a telephone by a senior executive could not be complied with before the end of May. I took the matter up and the earliest I could hope to achieve anything was the end of April. This man is an assistant permanent head of a large Government department and the permanent head is about to go overseas so one can understand that there are great problems in this connection.
I do not intend to say any more about that subject, but it is obvious from the figures supplied by the Postmaster-General himself that the needs of the people of Australia, and more particularly the needs of the people of New South Wales having regard to the figures supplied, have been and are being overlooked by this Government. On 26th August 1964, the PostmasterGeneral stated in a reply to a question asked by me on notice -
Special efforts are being made to accelerate the installation rate and the Government has allocated £77 million for capital works in the current financial year, representing an increase of £8.5 million over last year.
All I can say is that the budgetary allocation obviously is not enough to meet the needs of the people. In the matter of. telephones, the Commonwealth Government cannot pass the buck to the States. This is one case in which it must accept full responsibility. The Government’s record in the light of the figures supplied to me by the Postmaster-General indicates that it should give more attention and higher priority to efforts to overcome this important problem.
[1 0.42J. - I shall direct the attention of the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Hulme) to the speech made by Senator McClelland. It is a fact that this afternoon I gave an answer to a question on notice asked by the honorable senator and supplied him with certain information on this matter from which he has quoted. One needs to be a little careful in making comparisons between information gleaned by the honorable senator last August and that supplied to him today. I should like to reserve judgment on this matter because in matters of this kind one must be careful to compare like with like. To give point to this statement I remind the honorable senator that the answer given to him today stated that applications outstanding totalled 93,067 and it added -
Of these applications, 50,000 are in the process of being satisfied.
– But what does that mean in length of time?
– If the honorable senator accepts that statement given under the signature of the PostmasterGeneral, this automatically reduces the figure from 93,067 to 43,067. So 1 say at the outset that before the honorable senator makes comparisons he should be satisfied that he is comparing like with like. 1 caution him not to draw too many conclusions without very careful analysis of information that the Postmaster-General may be able to give him.
The inference to be drawn from the honorable senator’s statements is that New South Wales is lagging behind the other States in the provision of telephones because the figures for that State are substantially greater than those for the other States. But who would be prepared to compare the figures for New South Wales with those for Victoria? One has only to look at the geographical size of the two States to realise that New South Wales is four or five times bigger than Victoria.
It is quite proper for the honorable senator to put his views into “ Hansard “ on the motion for the adjournment. I shall see that the attention of the PostmasterGeneral is directed to his statements without delay and I am certain that the Minister will be able to demonstrate to the Senate and to Senator McClelland that a tremendous effort has been made to solve the problem of applications for telephones. All honorable senators have this problem referred to them. The telephone is an amenity people like to have. But we also know that the whole of the national Budget cannot be directed into one particular field.
While the Postmaster-General’s Department has had great assistance through loan funds and budgetary allocations, it has to work to a budget just as does every other department. I am sure that when the full story is told the picture will not be as grim as the honorable senator has painted it and will reveal that an outstanding effort has been made to catch up with the lag in telephone installations, particularly in New South Wales.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.46 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 6 April 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1965/19650406_senate_25_s28/>.