25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., aDd read prayers.
– I direct a question to the Acting Minister for Civil Aviation. If Ipec-Air Pty. Ltd. fails to secure a licence to import four aircraft to carry what it says is surplus freight, will the Government extend the freight carrying capacity of the established airlines, TransAustralia Airlines and Ansett-A.N.A.?
– In the absence of my colleague, Senator Henty, I shall endeavour to answer this question. When he returns 1 shall draw his attention to the answer which I give so that if it is deficient in any way he might feel disposed to repair the deficiency. The question of freight carrying by the two main trunk airlines, T.A.A. and Ansett-A.N.A., is one which has been actively before both carriers for over two years. Indeed, the honorable senator may well recall that in a report which I made to the Parliament for the year ended June 1963, I made specific reference to this aspect of air transport in Australia. 1 think it is a matter of public knowledge that in recent times both T.A.A. and AnsettA.N.A. have made known their intentions in respect of this matter. At least one airline - and I think probably the two of them - have had most expensive modifications made to aircraft equipment to cater for the quick handling of freight. The honorable senator no doubt recalls that the modifications made to the DC4 aircraft have brought into the vocabulary of the airlines a new description of an airliner called the “ Carvair “. In addition, I am told that both airlines have in mind the possibility of purchasing a type of aircraft which has just come into use in other parts of the world. It is called a “ quick change “ aircraft and is the type of aircraft which gives optimum return in usability in that it is used during the daylight hours as a passenger aircraft and can quickly be changed - in about 20 minutes - into a cargo carrier for use at night. I indicate these two aspects of airline operations to answer the question and to show that both airlines have very much in mind the desirability of extending and improving their activities in this particular sphere.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Has the Minister seen a number of Press reports in yesterday’s newspapers purporting to cover a statement by Mr. Lee Kuan Yew concerning British bases in Singapore? Can the Minister say whether Mr. Lee has been correctly reported as saying that when Britain is cleared out of the Singapore bases he would not permit the Americans to move in but would welcome a take-over of the bases by Australia and New Zealand? Is it possible for the Minister to make available a factual statement of what Mr. Lee said in this interview which was reported to be exclusive?
– I will give consideration to that part of the honorable senator’s question which asks whether it would be possible to make available a factual text of what Mr. Lee Kuan Yew said. I will confer with my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs, to find out whether that is possible. I have seen, as I think every honorable senator has seen, a number of statements attributed to Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Indeed. I think it will be agreed that from the variety of statements made it is difficult to ascertain for oneself just what he might have said. My reaction - and I have no doubt that other honorable senators had the same reaction - was that of considerable surprise on reading his reference to not permitting the Americans to establish bases in Singapore. I was surprised for the simple reason that I had never before heard, nor had it come within my knowledge, that the Americans might be considering establishing bases in Singapore.
The statement referred to by the honorable senator is one of the outcroppings of the recent secession of Singapore from the Malaysian Federation. In respect of that general matter I would like to tell the Senate that the Australian Government in recent months has certainly taken part in exchanges and discussions on the problems existing between the Government in Singapore and the Government in Kuala Lumpur. When
Mr. Hasluck made his statement on 9th August commenting on the announcement of the separation of Singapore from Malaysia he was able to say that the Australian Government had known for some time of the problems that had arisen between the two Governments. During Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s visit to Australia in March we had full and frank discussions with htm and. as he has now stated in Singapore, he subsequently gave the right honorable the Prime Minister a lengthy letter setting out his view of the problems as he saw them.
Subsequently Mr. Hasluck spent several days in Kuala Lumpur in May and had further conversations with Mr. Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore. In all the talks and discussions that we held, both at the ministerial level and through our diplomatic representatives, we impressed upon the two parties the thought that with time and patience on both sides the deterioration could be arrested. But, of course, these were matters that were the responsibility of those charged with the conduct of affairs in Malaysia. Any Australian advice could be given only on the basis of friendship and mutual respect and in no sense could we involve ourselves- in their internal affairs. During the recent debate on foreign affairs members on both sides of the House of Representatives expressed their regret that the separation of Singapore and Malaysia had occurred. I have no doubt that that regret will be echoed by honorable senators in all parts of this chamber. What made this regret the deeper was the esteem with which the leaders, both in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, are held in this country. I can say no more about the matter at the moment.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. However, I should like the Leader of the Government in the Senate to take particular notice of it, because he may be able to use his undoubted weight and influence to help. Has the Minister read in today’s Melbourne “ Age “ that a gentleman named Ray Holmes, an Australian who served in World War II and who has lived in England ever since, has travelled 12,000 miles by air to see the St.
Kilda football team; which he has followed all his life and which this year for the first time in history has hit the top of the ladder, play its final games for the. season?
– Order! I ask the honorable senator to direct his question.
Senator -SANDFORD. - I am only prefacing my question by giving a few details. This is my question: Will the Minister endeavour to contact somebody in Victoria - the tourist agencies, the Premier if necessary, or the Secretary of the Melbourne Cricket Club- tq see that, after this man has travelled all that distance to. see his favourite team play what is recognised to be the most spectacular and thrilling sport in the world, he will be provided with the necessary tickets?
– I will convey the question to the Minister. Whether he believes that it is fit to be answered is a matter for him to decide.
– The honorable senator was good enough to inform me that she would be asking this question, and I was able to get some information for her from the Minister for Health. Reliable figures are not available for the incidence of skin cancer in all countries, lt is known, however, that the incidence of skin cancer in Queensland is certainly higher than in other States of Australia and this is thought to be due mainly to the effect of sunlight on the skin. The treatment of skin cancer is a responsibility of the respective State Governments. The Queensland Government has provided excellent facilities for the treatment of skin cancer and the public of that State has been made well aware that one of the factors which results in skin cancer is excessive exposure to sunlight.
The public has also been warned to seek medical attention when any suspicious lesions of the skin are seen. These methods have resulted in a notably high proportion of cures of skin cancer in Queensland. The National Health and Medical Research Council has recently set up a special subcommittee to consider the activities of cancer registries in Australia, to define their objectives and those of proposed registries, and to make recommendations to the Council.
– I address a question to the Minister’ for Customs and Excise. Is he in a position to give the Senate further details of seizures of prohibited imports which have been made by customs officers on the vessel “Straat Lombok”?
– lt will be recalled that yesterday I gave a fairly comprehensive report concerning seizures that had been made over the weekend on the ship “ Straat Lombok “. I now wish to report to the Senate, in response to Senator Wedgwood’s question, that a very big team of customs officers went aboard the ship this morning and continued to search it. In the process they discovered some 772 transistor radios. On one occasion the officers had to crawl through ventilators before they came on the haul. The transistors in question are of all types and even include a new type made up in a special presentation pack. This is not the largest haul of transistor radios ever made in Australia but it is very close to it. A haul of 862 transistor radios was made in Melbourne on a former occasion.
By way of a supplementary question yesterday, I was asked about the possible origin df the narcotics that were found on the ship. This is circumstantial’ evidence, but it would seem that the opium was taken aboard the ship in Bombay and the heroin in Singapore. lt is interesting to reveal that customs officers in the ports of Colombo, Singapore, Penang and Port Swettenham had made searches of this particular ship. As I have said, 772 transistor radios were found this morning, and the search is continuing.
– 1 address a question to the Minister for Defence. Is the Minister aware of the statement made by the British Minister for Defence and reported in the midday news bulletin of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, that Britain’s continued use of the naval base at Singapore was dependent on the goodwill of both Singapore and Malaysia and could be terminated at 24 hours notice? In view of this, will the Minister assure the Senate that alternative provision for a naval base will be made on the western or northern coast of Australia, since the security of Australia as a bastion of freedom in the South East Asian region is of paramount importance to all freedom loving peoples wherever they may be?
– I have not seen the statement attributed to Mr. Healey, the British Minister for Defence. Before I comment on it in any way I would like to see the statement and have an opportunity to study just what he said. There are aspects of the statement attributed to him which throw immediate doubt on its reliability, particularly the honorable senator’s reference .to the possibility of Britain’s continued use of the naval base being terminated in a period of 24 hours. I shall be pleased to have a look at the matter, and I shall make whatever comment I feel may be appropriate. I notice that the honorable senator has again returned to the possibility of the establishment of a naval base on the west coast of Australia. In that respect I can only assure her that in no circumstances would it be possible to reach a decision of this nature in a matter of hours.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is he aware that nearly 300 front rank scientists from 25 countries are to meet in Britain next month to exchange information about their latest experiments to harness hydrogen power for use in commercial power stations? Can the Minister advise the Senate whether any Australian scientists will be at this conference? If not, will he cause inquiries to be made with a view to having our leading scientists represented so that the latest information on atomic power can be acquired by them with the object of utilising and harnessing such power for the benefit of ail Australians with the least possible delay?
– I am not aware of the proposed conference to which the honorable senator has referred. My immediate reaction was to ask which conference he had in mind. The position is somewhat confusing because these days scientists seem to confer in every part of the world at the drop of the hat. I have no knowledge of the conference. I have no knowledge of any Australian participation. I will make inquiries to see whether there is any information that I can let him have.
– My question to the Leader of the Government refers to the report on strontium 90 in the Australian environment which was published yesterday by the Atomic Weapons Test Safety Committee. Is the report to be made available to the Senate? Does the Committee state in the report that the amount of radioactive strontium 90 in Australian food will rise steadily over the next few years even if no more weapons are exploded in the atmosphere? In addition, does the Committee state that in Australia strontium 90 gets into food, particularly milk, twice as quickly as it does in Britain and the United States? Does the Committee further report that the Russian and American tests of 1961-62 injected more strontium 90 into the stratosphere than did all previous nuclear tests combined? Do not these sobering facts underline the importance to Australia, and especially to Australia’s children, of taking all possible steps to stop any proposed tests whether they be by France, China, Indonesia or any other nation? In particular, will the Minister assure the Senate that the Government will not permit Australian territory to be used in the transport of equipment or persons to any atomic test site?
– Order! I am concerned about the length of questions that are being asked without notice. Obviously it is impossible for any Minister to reply to the question which Senator Cohen has just asked. I urge honorable senators to heed my advice and place on the notice paper questions which are not’ capable of being answered immediately by a Minister. Otherwise, I shall have to take action.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry aware that the Australian Wool Board is illegally using its funds for the purpose of furthering a wool marketing scheme? Has the Minister any knowledge that the Australian Wool Board has illegally consented to provide funds for the opponents of this scheme? What action does the Minister or the Attorney-General intend to take to stop this illegal use of funds and to make members of the Board who use these funds reimburse the Board?
– I have no knowledge that these funds are being used illegally although I am aware that allegations have been made to this effect. I can answer the question in a very broad way by saying that I understand that the Attorney-General has considered this matter and is of the opinion that any money which has been used for the purposes stated by the honorable senator is not being used illegally.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. In the light of the strategic diplomatic position of Singapore, does the Commonwealth Government visualise an early enlargement of Australia’s diplomatic apparatus in that country?
- Mr. President, as I explained the other day, Australia has already established diplomatic relations with the new State of Singapore and has appointed as the Australian representative, accredited to the Government of Singapore, the gentleman who was the senior officer at the Singapore office prior to the secession of Singapore. The Singapore office was previously a subsidiary of the office at Kuala Lumpur. This appointment has been accepted with stated approval by the Government of Singapore. Any variation in the status of the post will receive consideration if consideration is necessary.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is the Government aware’ of widespread dissatisfaction in the Australian teaching profession as to the inadequate provision of funds for education? Will the Government give urgent consideration to the request of the national education conference which met at Canberra recently for the immediate granting of funds to State Governments for education services and teacher training and for a national inquiry into pre-school, primary, secondary and technical education to supplement the Martin Committee report?
– 1 think the honorable senator would be better satisfied if he were furnished with an answer by my colleague, Senator Gorton, whose principal duty relates to matters of education so far as the Commonwealth Government is concerned. I, like everyone else, have seen statements from time to time emanating from teacher associations and other bodies as to the inadequacy of funds. But I reject at once any suggestion that any inadequacy flows from any failure to act by the Commonwealth Government. Assistance to education at all levels has been one of the outstanding achievements of this Government. One only has to look, for example, at what it has done in the field of university education to be impressed with its keenness to assist in this regard.
– I address my question to the Minister for Repatriation. Has the Minister had occasion to discuss with the Repatriation Department cases concerning applicants for disability pensions whose medical records do not record all illnesses, accidents or injuries suffered during the applicants’ service? In the absence of such details on a medical record and in the absence of supporting witnesses, a situation common to many First World War applicants, what weight is given to the applicants’ testimony? Would the Minister examine this matter with a view to avoiding injustice to an applicant?
– Some cases do come before the determining authorities from time to time in which evidence is lacking, as mentioned by the honorable senator. I would like to inform him that in very many of these cases diaries kept by the applicants have been taken as having some bearing on the case. I can assure him that in these instances, as in every other instance in appeals or in applications to the Repatriation Department, these applicants are given the benefit of the doubt. I think that, broadly speaking, that answers his question. The honorable senator asked in addition, I think, whether I would have a look at this matter. 1 think it is adequately covered by the procedures that have been adopted over the years and are still in use. In every case where the benefit of the doubt can be given to the applicant, it is given.
– I also direct a question to the Minister for Repatriation. ls he aware that some dissatisfaction exists among Australian servicemen serving in certain areas overseas because they are not eligible for the appropriate repatriation entitlements upon their return to Australia? For instance, Australians serving in a Royal Australian Air Force detachment in Thailand are not entitled to Australian repatriation benefits, despite the fact that they are serving alongside American servicemen who, because of the area of operations, are eligible for repatriation benefits in the United States of America? Will he cause general inquiries to be made into this matter and recommend to Cabinet that all Australian servicemen serving anywhere overseas be entitled to repatriation benefits from the Australian Government?
– Yes, I am aware of the conditions outlined by the honorable senator. This matter has been under examination for some months now and I hope to be in a position to make an early announcement on it. I am sure that when the announcement is made the honorable senator and the servicemen will be happy with it.
– I direct my question to you, Mr. President. In your obvious endeavour to tighten up procedure relating to questions without notice, will you also have a look at the matter of what are commonly termed Dorothy Dix questions? It appears to me that the asking of such questions is a form of seeking information without using the notice paper. After all, if a Minister takes steps to obtain in advance the information asked for there does not seem to be much point in asking the question without notice. I suggest that if we are by-passing the notice paper in this way it is hardly fair to one side of the House. If you can give this matter some consideration, Mr. President, you might be able to improve the position.
– I will refer this matter also to the Standing Orders Committee which, I understand, will meet tomorrow.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, relates to the fact that our soldiers in Vietnam are now taking leave. Has the Government considered allowing soldiers from Vietnam to take their leave in Australia? Would this add much to the expense incurred by soldiers going, for example, to Hong Kong for their leave, as I understand is now the practice?
-I am not familiar with all the arrangements that have been made with respect to soldiers serving in Vietnam. I will have a talk with my colleague, the Minister for the Army, and subsequently answer the honorable senator’s question.
(Question No. 504.)
asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice -
– As the information is not available from records held by my Department, I have consulted the Department of National Development on this matter and have obtained the following answers -
Complete details in respect of other charges are not known and therefore total landed costs of crude oil arenot available. However, utilising the above estimated freight figures, and assessing estimated insurance charges on the f.o.b. values published by the Commonwealth Statistician, c.i.f. values of imports of crude oil and other oils for use as refinery feedstock have been estimated as follows -
The f.o.b. values published by the Commonwealth Statistician, in many cases, would not allow for the discounts accorded on posted prices. For this reason, because of the difficulty in identifying different crudes imported from the one source, and because there are some crudes for which posted prices are not available, it is not possible to estimate the extent to which imports of crude oil have been based on posted prices.
Debate resumed from 31st August (vide page 229), on motion by Senator Henty -
That the Senate take note of the following papers -
Commonwealth Payments to or for the States 1965-66;
Estimates of Receipts and Summary of Estimated Expenditure, for the year ending 30th June 1966;
Particulars of Proposed Expenditure for the service of the year ending 30th June 1966;
Particulars of Proposed Expenditure for Certain Expenditure in respect of the year ending 30th June 1966;
Government Securities on Issue as at 30th June 1965;
Income Tax Statistics for Income year 1962-63;
Upon which Senator Kennelly had moved by way of amendment -
At the end of motion add the following words: - “ but the Senate condemns the Budget because -
such taxation increases as it contains add further burdens to wage and salary earners whose living standards have already been eroded by price rises and the Government’s active intervention against wage increases;
such meagre social services benefits as it proposes are inadequate, belated and partial in their application; and
the Budget fails entirely to deal with such problems as increases in imports and Australia’s dependence on foreign capital.
The Senate further declares that only by proper economic planning can Australia rapidly expand the resources required to meet its urgent needs in the fields of defence, development, education and social welfare.”.
– During the debate last night I endeavoured to show the purpose of the present Budget - which to my mind is made very clear in the White Paper - and how it differs from previous Budgets. It could well be termed a financial investment Budget, or a Budget to protect the interests of private enterprise at the expense of Australia’s national development. I pointed out that the White Paper had indicated that there would be certain difficulties this year in ensuring the continuation of the record profits of private enterprise because of the acute shortage of manpower, especially skilled manpower, that would be evident this year. I referred also to the advocacy of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) for the purpose of attracting married women into the industrial force. I indicated that the taxation proposals presented in the Budget, together with the decision of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission last year, had impoverished the family to the extent that there could be some economic compulsion on the female to work and the Minister for Labour and National Service proposes changing the hours of labour, to get the wife away from the family environment and into industry for the purpose of ensuring record profits for private enterprise.
Honorable senators opposite have said that conditions today are better than they were 16 years ago when the Labour Government went out of office. Of course, conditions must improve over 16 years, no matter which government is in office. We cannot compare one period with another period in this way. But it is beyond argument that when the Labour Government went out of office in 1949, the husband, by working a 40 hour week, could provide for his family under the conditions that appertained in that particular period. We cannot say that today. While we admit that the standard of living is higher today, it cannot be said that one individual working 40 hours a week can provide the accepted average living standard for his family. So the working man had to take steps to overcome this problem.
As has been pointed out in the White Paper, 39 per cent, qf males’ are working an average of 8.6 hours overtime per week to supplement their incomes. That makes a myth of the belief that we have achieved a 40 hour week in Australia. Also, 17 per cent, of males have lost the battle with the Government and have sent their wives out to work. But even with these individual efforts to overcome the problem, the breaking point must be reached when opportunity to maintain these conditions is reduced. We have seen the revolt of the working man and his reliance upon associations, particularly the trade union movement. The husband in the Australian family is not willingly giving up his proud prerogative of accepting the responsibility of bringing up bis family and providing for it. Although attempts are being made to put. him in the position where he has to surrender that prerogative, he is not doing it willingly. A result of this situation is the discontent that is evident in the industrial field today.
One matter that concerns all who are interested in Australia’s development, I think, is the battle between the family man and the Government, in which we are seeing the destruction of all those institutions that we hoped would be the salvation of better relations between the employer and the employee in industry. Whilst it is said that we must abide by arbitration, the fact is that arbitration slowly but surely is being killed in Australia; the standard of living and the wages of workers are not being decided by arbitration. The Arbitration Commission, in its last annual report, expressed concern at the number of disputes that were occurring throughout industry in relation to overaward payments. In the majority of these cases the Commission has no jurisdiction because they are not interstate disputes.
The matter has reached such large proportions that today the Commission is apprehensive that it is being bypassed in the present system of negotiations for the takehome wages of employees. The Commission, which was the hope of the working man for ensuring justice, is being clung to by the employers in its dying stages as a means of depriving the workers of justice. It is supported more by employers today than by the trade union movement. The Commission hopes that there will be a continuation of arbitration tribunals, but it is concerned about the fact that it is losing ground. As a result of the recent basic wage judgment the trade union movement believes that its next step must be an approach for over-award payments. The awards of the Arbitration Commission thus become insignificant in Australian wage fixation. Whether we like it or not, we have reached that stage. I understand that the Australian Council of Trade Unions is to meet in Sydney during the week after next. Although, from congress to congress, sections have appealed for a. return to arbitration, anyone would be hard pressed at the next congress to have carried a resolution for a new approach to arbitration to determine the wages that the working man should receive. A bulletin . issued by the.A.C.T.U. points out that overaward, payments have always been a method of wage fixation which is used less when arbitration provides a high standard award and more when, as at present, arbitration does not provide what is considered to be a just wage.
One honorable senator said last night that he believed that the worker was entitled to what industry could pay. At present we see wholesale over-award payments received other than by arbitration, which immediately suggests that arbitration is not giving to the workers what industry can afford to pay. While disputes are going on in isolation, as mentioned in the Commission’s latest report, and are achieving success, when the workers come up against an interstate organisation that believes in certain standards, such as the stevedoring industry, we sec the necessity for prolonged disputes. The justification for the disputes is in the fact that fellow workers in other industries receive increased over-award payments which the bigger entrepreneurs, by reason of their nature, will noi grant to their workers. Of course, low wage rates are part of the Government’s policy to produce conditions wherein females have to contribute to the workforce.
The method of assistance adopted by the Government is to put into operation legislation which makes it essential for a judge of the Commonwealth Industrial Court to find, irrespective of his opinions, that a breach has occurred and that the unions should be fined up to £500 for each offence. An attempt has been made in this way to bankrupt the trade union movement by the imposition of fines. The attempt may have met wilh some success had not the grievances of the unions been justified. Had the decision of the Arbitration Commission in the last basic wage hearing been more generous members of the trade unions would have had a less sympathetic approach to stoppages which in the end create hardship for their families and themselves. The policy of the Government has been accentuated by the Budget which will have the effect of further lowering the standards of the family nian. It should be realised that greater industrial unrest lies ahead than we have known in the past, lt ‘could well be that increasing the female labour force in industry will do nothing to prevent the loss of man hours because the labour force - both male and female - may be forced to lose employment through strike action in an attempt to obtain a reasonable standard of living without working overtime or sending wives out to work. Such measures become necessary for families to join in the conditions operating at the present time.
I wish now to deal with the differences in the industrial policies of the Australian and British Governments. By its approach the British Government is achieving more success than that achieved by the hidebound approach of the Australian Government. I shall cite figures included in a publication of 3rd August 1964 issued by the British High - Commissioner in Australia. The figures show that Britain’s strike record in the last 10 years has been better than that of any other major industrial country in the free world except West Germany. Information issued by the International Labour Office shows that from J 953 to 1962 Britain lost an average of 300 days a year, using for the purpose of the calculations 1,000 workers employed in mining, manufacturing, construction and transport. This figure compares with an average of 1,093 days lost in the United States of America, 423 in Australia. 620 in Canada, 394 in France, 800 in Italy and 440 in Japan. It is clear that the record of Britain for work days lost through industrial disputes is a lot better than the records of the other countries of the industrialised world.
The publication issued by the British High Commissioner states -
Various forms of restrictive legislation have been suggested for dealing with unofficial strikes - for example, making them illegal. Past experience has shown such legislation to be ineffective. Government policy, considering it better to attack the cause of unofficial strikes, has been to work for fundamental improvements in industrial relations at all levels and to seek the observance by trade union members of agreements and constitutional procedures freely entered into.
– Has not Great Britain just set up a wide ranging inquiry into trade unions generally?
– I have no further information than that I have cited. I am suggesting that our practice in the past has not produced the results that we hoped to achieve. Rather than continue with a policy that has caused disruption of industry from time to time, which must increase in the future, I ask the Government to give serious consideration to changing that policy. I ask the Government to consider seriously the appointment of a committee to inquire into industrial relations, the operation of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and wage rates in Australia. This committee of inquiry should have the respect of the workers and should include representatives of the trade union movement. It should examine what is happening in other countries and whether, in order to solve the problems that confront us, means alternative to those that we have adopted in the past should be employed. Let the Government announce proposals that could be presented to the Australian Council of Trade Unions, which will be meeting in Sydney within the next fortnight. Without an expressed intention on the part of the Government to tackle these problems in a manner that will commend itself to working men in industry - they are making a great contribution to Australia’s welfare - there will be greater industrial upheavals than we have known in the past.
I conclude by saying that Labour will always oppose Budgets like the one we are now considering and which impose hardship on members of the work force. Labour will always oppose Budgets that are designed to protect private enterprise rather than to foster national development. The present Budget is no exception. Labour hopes that the time is not too distant when, whatever government is in office, it will see the justification of the many representations that are made from time to time for a better deal for the invalid and aged persons in our community.
– In speaking to the motion for the printing or the Budget Papers, I should like to congratulate the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and the officers of the Department of the Treasury upon the preparation of the clearest and most informative set of papers that have ever been presented to the Parliament. The Joint Committee of Public Accounts has conducted a series of inquiries into the form and content of the financial papers, particularly those that are presented at Budget time. This has been done in an effort to eliminate procedures that have been found to be cumbersome and wasteful and to assist members more easily to identify and to follow through all items of government expenditure. Officers of the Treasury have been working for quite a long time on a better presentation of papers, and the form of those now before us should remove much of the criticism of members about the difficulty they have experienced in reconciling items under different heads of expenditure.
The work of the Treasury has been complicated over the past 18 months because of the Government’s decision in May 1964 that as from 1964-65 the contents of the Appropriation Bill and the Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill would be amalgamated, with the separation out and inclusion in separate measures of particular items which, as a matter of interpretation, do not fall within the description of appropriations for the ordinary annual services of the Government. Many honorable senators received that announcement by Sir William Spooner, the then Leader of the Government in the Senate, with apprehension. My colleague, Senator Wright, was one of the senators who expressed concern. They claimed, with full justification as events were to prove later, that the amalgamation of the Bills in this way could undermine the powers of amendment reserved to and exercised by the Senate since Federation.
I do not propose this afternoon to go over the arguments that were used on that occasion or those that were used to refute them. They are recorded in “ Hansard ‘* and make very interesting reading today. Suffice to say that honorable senators received their first shock some nine days after the Minister announced the change, when the 1964-65 Supply Bill came before the Senate. The Bill covering the ordinary annual services of the Government, the non-amendable bill, appropriated £427 million, and the amendable Bill appropriated between £1 million and £2 million. The second shock came when the 1964-65 Budget Papers revealed the effect of the change over a full year because, whereas the 1963-64 Appropriation Bill, which was non-amendable by the Senate, appropriated £679,980,000. and the Works and Services Bill, which was an Appropriation Bill amendable by the Senate, appropriated £182,691,000, the 1964-65 Appropriation Bill - that is, the non-amendable Bill - appropriated £1,094,117,000 and the Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill appropriated £2,368,000.
Members of the Senate were disturbed, and they expressed their concern very vigorously. The Government agreed to discuss the matter further and when the 1 965- 66 Supply Bill was before the Parliament in May of this year the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) who represents him in this chamber, informed both Houses of the Parliament that after further discussion of the classification of appropriations the Government had decided that henceforth there would be a separate Bill which would be subject to amendment by the Senate and that this separate Bill would contain appropriations for certain purposes. I shall state those purposes because they are very important so far as the Senate is concerned. They are -
The result of that second decision was that the 1965-66 Supply Bill (No. 1), the non-amendable Bill, appropriated £398,654,000. Supply Bill (No. 2), which was amendable by the Senate, appropriated £95,026,000. This was a very different situation as compared with that following the 1964-65 Supply Bill. Senator Henty in his Budget speech has referred again to the change in May 1965 and has repeated the classifications of items which will appear in a separate amendable Bill. We now have before us documents showing particulars of proposed expenditure for the services of the year ending 30th June 1966, requiring an appropriation of £1 ,089,945,000. That will appear in a nonamendable Bill. There is also a document showing provision for certain expenditure in respect of the year ending 30th June 1966 requiring an appropriation of £238,544,000.
I have cited a lot of figures and I should like to summarise them in this way: The 1963-64 Budget, through the Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill, contained an amount of £182,691,000 over which the Senate had the power of amendment. The 1964-65 Budget provided £2.368,000 over which the Senate had the power of amendment, and the 1965-66 Budget provides £238,544,000 over which the Senate has the power of amendment. This is a very satisfactory arrangement from the point of view of the Senate. While these figures are extremely significant in relation to overall expenditure, the more important factor is the extension by the Government of the classifications of items which appear in the amendable Bill.
There is still one matter that is not clear in my mind. Last May I directed the attention of the Senate to the alteration in the long title of the Supply Bills and pointed out that the words “ for the ordinary annual services of the Government “ had been deleted from Supply Bill (No. 1) and the words “ for the services of the year “ had been inserted in their place. In addition, the long title of Supply Bill (No. 2) had been altered. The words “ not being expenditure for the ordinary annual services of the Government” were omitted and the appropriation was described as being for “ certain expenditures “.
Honorable senators may recall that I said I would be interested to know whether the altered words were to cover an interim period or whether they were to find permanent expression in all Appropriation Bills. I raise the question again because I notice that in the documents before us the draftsman has used the same wording as was used in the Supply Bills presented last May. I invite honorable senators to consider whether this alteration in the title of the Appropriation Bills could have the effect ultimately, if not of severing completely at least of blurring the pattern and practice which, until now, has enabled the Senate to relate its power of amendment to sections 53 and 54 of the Commonwealth Constitution.
– Hear, hear!
– To my mind this is a most important point so far as the Senate’s future is concerned and I hope that Senator Wright will address his mind to the proposition that I am now placing before the Senate. I am reinforced in my thinking about the matter and the absence of a reason for the altered wording by reference to the House of Representatives “ Hansard “ of 13th May 1965. On page 1484 the Treasurer is reported in this way -
When presenting the Appropriation (Special Expenditure) Bill 1964-65 last August 1 explained that the Bill contained those appropriations for which, in the opinion of the Government and its legal advisers, a good case could not be made out for the view that they were for the ordinary annual services of the Government. At the same lime I said that discussions on the classifications of appropriations were continuing. Since then there have been further discussions and as a result the Government has now decided that henceforth there will be a separate Bill, on this occasion entitled thu Supply Bill (No. 2), subject to amendment by the Senate, containing appropriations for expenditure on
Then the Treasurer went on to list the classifications to which I have referred already. The interpretation I place on that statement by Mr. Holt is that the classifications which the Government accepted should represent what it believes to be appropriations for the ordinary annual services of the Government, and appropriations for other than the ordinary annual services of the Government: If my interpretation is correct - I should like some opinion on this - .1 fail to see why the draftsman should continue to use the altered words in the title of the Bills. Perhaps the Minister will have a look at this matter, discuss it with the Treasurer and inform the Senate why the alteration is being continued. 1 do not want to turn from consideration of the financial documents without complimenting the Auditor-General on the presentation of his report concurrently with the presentation of the Budget Papers. 1 should like to refer also to the bulletin on Commonwealth finances which is prepared by the Commonwealth Statistician. In the preface to the document the Statistician has said that it includes several new tables and other tables extended to provide a more complete coverage of certain aspects of Commonwealth finance. The early presentation of the Auditor-General’s report and the Statistician’s bulletin provides members of both Houses of the Parliament with more opportunities to study in detail the Budget papers while they are before both Houses. Honorable senators will recall that at one time these documents were placed before this House much later than they are now, and the fact that we are able to discuss them concurrently with the Budget itself is of great assistance to us all.
I should like to turn now to some of the contents of the Budget and to repeat what most Australians think about it - that it is a very good Budget. It is designed to meet Australia’s needs internally and ex ternally and to do that by applying pressures where they can best be tolerated. Likewise benefits - they are substantial irrespective of what the Opposition has to say about them - have been given where the need is considered to be greatest. Despite the criticism of Opposition senators, the majority of people in Australia believe that the Government has resisted - very rightly so - taking any action which could affect the soundness of our economy or Australia’s future growth.
The Budget covers Commonwealth expenditure of approximately £2,666 million and constitutes a record expenditure for a year and a record expenditure increase in a year. These increases are not hard to understand when one realises that Australia faces an urgent need to step up its defences. No longer can we expect to be protected by other nations. We cannot expect other nations to do for us what we are not prepared to do for ourselves. In my opinion the increase of 27 per cent, in our defence expenditure could yet prove to be too little too late.
The Opposition has followed its usual practice of airily waving aside our defence obligations. Indeed, some Opposition members would repudiate them entirely. Others, of course, are more realistic but they are so imprisoned by the left wing of their party that their voices are never heard in any unequivocal statement of their attitude towards the defence of Australia and our responsibilities to the nations with which we are bound by treaty obligations. I notice that Senator Kennelly is laughing. The honorable senator may have some interesting comments to make at times about defence but I cannot say the same for many of his colleagues.
Payments to the States is the largest item in the Budget. There has been an increase of 12.6 per cent, over last year’s provision. But they represent the increasing demand by the States to service their growing populations. The Opposition never mentions the fact that people living in the different States must benefit individually from these additional funds granted to their States. Expenditure from the National Welfare Fund is the second largest item in the Budget. This year it will be approximately £471 million. These are large and ever increasing commitments and to meet the overall increases in expenditure the Government has relied largely upon increases in excise and increases in taxation on income from personal exertion. With respect to excise, the Government must exercise its judgment on the goods that can reasonably take an extra impost and remain competitive. The three items selected in this Budget are petrol, beer and cigarettes, but they are still considerably cheaper in Australia than they are in the United Kingdom.
Company tax remains unaltered this year although the Opposition advanced a doctrine which, if adopted, would be so confiscatory that it would kill the goose which lays the golden egg so far as Australian business is concerned. The 24 per cent, increase in the rate of personal tax is less than was expected by many people. No tax is pleasant, but even a school child would know that it is the price which a modern society pays for its own preservation and its way of life. 1 must say, however, that I am not attracted to the imposition of a flat rate of income tax increase because I believe the impact is felt more severely by those with middle . or lower incomes. Graduated increases appear to. me to be a much better way of obtaining extra revenue from taxation. However, I do not agree with the exaggerated claims pf Opposition senators, nor with the terms of the proposed amendment. As usual in this kind of debate, the Opposition has offered no alternative constructive proposals and, as I said earlier, the benefits included in this Budget have been given to those sections of the community who would benefit most. That is the best type of Budget.
The rise from 10s. to £1 in the supplementary assistance to single pensioners who pay rent and the extension of eligibility for supplementary assistance to a married couple where the husband is a pensioner and the wife receives a wife’s allowance will be a help to a group of pensioners whose circumstances are most difficult. Payment of a wife’s allowance of £3 a week to any age pensioner who. has the care of a child has been claimed not to affect a great number of persons. That may be so. I dp not know the number who would be affected by it. But it certainly will be a real help to those who are entitled, to it. It is much more difficult for an aged person to have the care of a child or children than it is for a younger person, more particularly if the aged person has only the limited income of a pensioner.
But the benefit from which most people will gain comfort and financial relief is the one which removes the existing means test governing eligibility for enrolment in the pensioner medical service. The extensions are anticipated to benefit some 1 20,000 pensioners and their dependants and will remove the irritating and anomalous situations which have arisen when, through one circumstance or another, pensioners have found their eligibility for enrolment affected by a means test within a means test. The value of this service can never be calculated in terms of money. Through it, pensioners can obtain surgery and home consultations from doctors at any time and as often as required. The pensioners themselves know its value and that is the reason why those who were not eligible have struggled so hard to obtain it.
Last night. Senator Mattner dealt with repatriation benefits. My time is running out and I do not propose to do anything more than deal very briefly with that matter on this occasion. I hope to be able to say more when the Repatriation Bill is before the Senate. T would like to congratulate the Minister for Repatriation (Senator McKellar) who is in the chamber at the present time, on the main repatriation benefit in this Budget; that is the introduction of the intermediate pension of £10 2s. 6d. a week which will be paid to war pensioners suffering a disability which is not sufficient to debar them from working entirely. The pension will be granted to men who can do part time or intermittent work. Not only will this be a great financial benefit but it will be a great psychological benefit to such ex-servicemen in that they will be encouraged to work when they can. The remuneration they receive will be of great assistance to them and they will be able to contribute to the national effort. They would not be able to do this if they had to wait to become eligible for the pension for total and permanent incapacity. My colleagues Senators Dame Annabelle Rankin and Breen referred to the Flying Doctor Service and the increase in Commonwealth assistance from £95.000 to £140,000. for the next three years. I can think of no service more worthy of Government assistance. All honorable senators have had some experience of the work it does and we know what it means to and does for the people of the outback.
I want to refer briefly to an item of expenditure which reflects the work and sympathy of a former colleague, the late Harrie Wade, when he was Minister for Health. I refer to the States Grants (Mental Health Institutions) Act 1964 which provided for Commonwealth grants to each State over a period of three years of amounts equal to one third of the total expenditure by the State on buildings and equipment for mental health institutions. Honorable senators will recall that the previous Act contained an upper limit for Commonwealth assistance. The 1964 Act removed that limitation and the States are now free to proceed with their own programmes to the limit of their own finances. Prior to the 1964 Act some States - Victoria was one and I think Tasmania was another - had taken up their entitlement but others had not done so. The effect of the new Act can be seen, however, in the appropriation of £2 million for 1965-66 which is considerably higher than the 1964-65 expenditure of £1,252,000. In other words about another £750.000 is to go into projects that are very worthwhile.
Had time permitted, I would have liked to give the figures for projects completed in Victoria which owe their existence to the provision of this money. I hope to do that on another occasion but it is pleasing to me to see the growing interest in mental health. On previous occasions I have adverted to the change in the public attitude towards this type of illness. This change is particularly marked, not only in regard to the patient, but in regard to psychiatric and mental deficiency nurses. This year I had the honour to present prizes and certificates to a group of male and female nurses who had completed a further one year’s post basic course in the mental health field. lt is interesting to recall that a new syllabus of training was introduced in Victoria in 1961 and that the training requirements and registration of mental health nurses now come under the Victorian Nursing Council. This will help to raise the status of these nurses to the level of that of other nurses in Australia. Since 1963 these nurses have been accepted as members of the Royal Victorian College of Nursing - the professional organisation of nurses in Victoria. I raise these points because of my long and close interest in this work and because I believe there is evidence that the community is beginning to regard mental health as part of total health.
I consider the Budget to be a sound one. lt may not be spectacular but, prepared as it was in a time of great unrest, particularly in South East Asia, and at a time of severe drought in Australia when the future was very unpredictable, the Budget was well described by a Sydney newspaper in these words -
The Budget is not a perfect document, but at least it sought to play ball with the country and the country should play ball with the Government which framed it.
I support the motion and oppose the amendment.
– In supporting the amendment moved by my leader, Senator McKenna, I think it fitting that I should begin with some reference to the sentiments expressed by Senator Marriott in relation to the changing membership of the Senate. Like him, 1 think there are certain lessons to be learned. I believe that in a healthy democracy we can regard national politics as being something like a relay race, with the baton constantly being changed. Like the honorable senator, also, I think it is essential that we have in our own political democracy contention rather than loneliness in discussion.
The honorable senator referred to the turnover of senators in this place. I think we have an obligation to those people who participate in politics but do not necessarily become candidates for public office. They do a lot of our spade work for us. In this, my initial submission to this chamber, I say that my feeling is that if I can espouse some of the hopes and aspirations of those who - in my party as in the Government parties - work unceasingly for us, I may make some contribution towards attaining their aims.
In examining the Budget we should realise that in the years to come, external affairs and military commitments will loom larger in our national expenditure. It is ironical when we look today at the contentions arising in Asia and compare the position there with that in the early postwar years when we were on the sidelines and saw the ideological conflicts which existed in Europe. We all remember the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, Marshall aid; the Berlin airlift, the North Atlantic Treaty and the Warsaw Pact. We had a combination of approaches there, aimed at alleviating the economic position of the - peoples concerned. If we heed the lessons- of those days when considering the future of- Asia, we will obviously avoid a considerable amount of trouble. In saying that I am fully aware that Australia is not a major power; but we still have a strategic role to play. 1 think there is a tendency in our passion for conformity to get a bit confused over genuine nationalism in Asia. It is obviously impossible to get all Asian governments to model themselves on our own, but at the same time I think that the calculated risks that were taken in relation to India and Pakistan when they were given self government with a minimum of dislocation, were justified. It is true that. there were certain birth pangs but I think that the lessons learned in those days, can be applied in the 1960’s. It is notable, for instance, that Kenyatta of Kenya, who was at one time caught up in the maelstrom of political controversy, recently sent a couple of Peking journalists scuttling out of his country because they did not agree with his plans. 1 make that point deliberately, because some people in Australia may feel that the People’s Action Party in Singapore, for instance, does not completely conform with their own ideas. A new government in Thailand might not meet with our approval. But if we do not encourage genuine nationalist causes we may find a sudden movement to the far left or the far right. As one whose socialism is of the pragmatic type I hope that the time is not far distant - to some people this may seem a Utopia - when the outlook will change completely. If it is possible for European countries such as those in the Scandinavian bloc to live alongside the Soviet Union and still believe . in their own democratic form of government, surely it is possible for Asian nations to show similar tolerance. There is a responsibility on us to help the fledgling nations of Asia to follow that course. lt would be extremely foolish of me to attempt to visualise” the day to day situation in South Vietnam, but I think we are agreed that to have a cease fire is not sufficient. We have to look beyond that. One of the problems which have worried the Labour Party is the battle for the minds - of the masses. It is no use our being wishy washy about these things. Only by speedy and major economic projects can we win over the Asian peoples. It always amazes me to see photographs of peasants in the fields. They are not concerned about minor decisions in Hanoi or Saigon. They want something big. No-one can question th: generosity of the United States of America but the tragedy is that the U.S.A. seems to be rather easily taken in by some of the merchant class and the fuedal landlords in Asia when considering where and how aid money should be spent. Prominent members pf the United States Senate were virtually crying tears of blood about the money that was spent on the strategic hamlet programme for very little return.
This brings me back to a fundamental thing when one is trying to reform society.
Aneurin Bevan said that, often delayed reform breeds revolution. That is the tragedy in many Asian countries. Some people in high positions are not prepared to move with the times and accept evolution. In Britain as in Australia, when World War II ended a new society had to be planned. Britain had the Beveridge plan, and improvements to Australia’s social structure were pioneered by the postwar Chifley Government. We must face up to the fact that it is a pretty brave government that attempts to tackle these tasks. The difficulty in Asia has been to get ‘certain people at some levels of society to accept the need for change. Undoubtedly there has been food racketeering. As is always the case in democracies, we hesitate to say what .the punishment for this sort of thing should be.
We know the amount of aid that was given - to China through the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Much of it never got to the peasants who should have received it.
I come now to the core of the matter as far as Australian foreign policy is concerned. The British Minister for Defence, Mr. Denis Healey, recently said that the United Kingdom Government did not mind having its troops act as policemen, provided the laws they upheld were just and were creating a fair and equitable society. 1 will not at this stage argue the vexed question of whether we should have treaties spelled out clearly with the nations of Asia in which we have servicemen. Bui 1 do say that if we are to have some assurance of a stable society in those countries, it has to be emphasised that military assistance and even economic aid must benefit society as a whole in those countries. This, it is true, could bring us on to a collision course because obviously some of the ruling juntas in Asia are not prepared to have their moral failings exposed. But we must make it clear in Asia that our attempts to maintain stability there are contingent upon speedy economic relief being given to the people. Even if this means treading on the toes of certain people, it must be done.
A classical illustration of the problems in certain parts of Asia occurred in the Philippines, where in the early 1950’s there was a President who believed in streamlining things and reaching to the masses of the people. His policy was fairly successful and the Huk insurgent organisation almost disappeared. I think that that line should be developed.
In a statement that was made in this chamber the other night, reference was made to Thailand as being a fairly stable country which had no problems as regards rice production. But there are problems in Malaysia. At the present time there is a certain lessening of world tensions. Stalin is no longer in power in the Soviet Union and better relations exist between that country and the Western powers. It is obvious that if we are to beat the aims of the Chinese Government and reach some agreement, it will not be by adopting a namby-pamby attitude and having the merchant class speaking a lot about private enterprise. I think that we have to see that reasonable dividends are paid for the aid that is being provided by both Australia and the United States of America.
I want to turn now to more of an internal matter. I refer to national health. I make the plea to the Minister for Health (Mr. Swartz) to provide a sort of subscriber democracy, as far as the operations of some of the hospital contribution funds are con cerned. From the latest figures that 1 have been able to obtain, the various hospital and medical benefit funds in the Commonwealth have accrued reserves of approximately £23 million. I refer particularly to the Hospitals Contribution Fund of New South Wales. What concerns me is not what is contained in the report of this organisation, but what is lacking in it. The report states that the reserves of the fund as at 1st July 1963. were approximately £8 million. Yet if one looks at the statements made to the Minister for Health by the various organisations when they are seeking increased premiums, one finds they present a different picture. I might say that, considering the funds that have been accumulated by the various organisations, further benefits could be given. An important point is that if one compares the extent of the publicity given to negotiations regarding increased premiums with the proceedings of a basic wage inquiry, one finds that the searchlight is much more on the latter inquiry than on the former one.
I would like to quote an extract from one national daily newspaper. It states -
Funds tend to be run by self-perpetuating oligarchies, who hide behind the screen of a glossily produced report and a smooth public relations apparatus.
These reports have all the ear marks of a Madison Avenue production. They do not indicate how much money was spent when two rival funds in New South Wales battled against one another in the Press with full page advertisements. I shall go a little further and use the trade union movement as an analogy. I do not know of any trade union that at some time or other has not had to go to a sub-branch or a management committee to get authority to expend a certain amount of money on a particular project. But as a subscriber to H.C.F. I have never received an invitation to attend any annual meeting to consider the policy of the organisation. I think that the Minister should look at this idea of paternalism.
The second criticism I wish to make in relation to national health concerns the operations of the various drug companies. The Commonwealth Government has seriously curbed the activities of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. I know that honorable senators opposite who belong to the Australian Country Party have a wholesome respect for the wonderful effort of that organisation in the preparation of serum for stock. I feci that the operations of that organisation should be extended so that it can compete with overseas drug companies. When I look at the figure of approximately £45 million that has been spent on drugs, most of which have been supplied by overseas companies, I think that if the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories were allowed to compete in this field, the prices would go down with a bump. I was in Britain in August 1964 when the Conservative Government was in office. A few pungent comments were made by the Minister for Health. It was amazing that within a short space of time these drug firms were able to cheapen their operations. Another way in which the Minister for Health could do a service to Australia as a whole is by reducing the costs of drugs and at the same time giving the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories an opportunity to enter this field in which they are well fitted to operate.
I want to turn now to a subject that is dear to my heart. I refer to the action by the Commonwealth Government in supporting the States in the .field of national conservation; particularly with regard to national fauna. I think I can do no better than refer to a quotation by the late President J. F. Kennedy in a foreward to a book entitled “ The Quiet Crisis “ by Stewart L. Udall, an American Secretary of the Interior. The quotation is as follows - the race between education and erosion, between wisdom and waste, has not run its course . . Each generation, must deal anew with the “ raiders,” with the scramble to use public resources for private profit, and with the tendency to prefer short-run profits to’ long-run necessities.
I purposely selected the United States because I know that, with the Federal system under which we operate, there will .be parallel park systems. I say that advisedly because I know that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has had fairly lengthy experience with park operations in his State. I shall use New South Wales as a case history, but I think that each State has its own particular problems. I think that with the rising educational standards which are apparent in every State from school children upwards, people realise that the day is gone when we can squander our national resources without any planning. I qualify that statement. I do not expect conflict between grazing interests, fishing. interests and mining interests. 1 think it gets back to orderly planning. Recently President Johnson of the United States initialled a bill for what was known as the Land and Water Conservation Fund. On 9th February 1965 he gave a grant to certain States for additional national parks. I use this as an analogy because the States were Massachusetts, Maine and South Dakota. The geography of those States is somewhat similar to our own Commonwealth. I understand that the money for those national parks was provided from the Federal Government’s income derived from the gasoline tax, and the tax on one or two other items. I would say that the amount of petrol tax that is collected in this country would not be equal to the amount of money spent on roads. I would strongly suggest - probably to the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Anthony) - that we should do something along the lines followed in America.
I come back to New South Wales where we have the situation that certain western leases in the State will terminate in the next year or so. The New South Wales Fauna Protection Panel has suggested that some of these leases should be acquired by the State Government and used for the conservation of the red kangaroo, in the same way as the United States has acquired land for the conservation of the bison. I think that in a country like Australia, which has a massive area of land, the Commonwealth Government ‘ could assist New South Wales and probably Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia in this regard. But a start has to be made. I believe that we could profit by some of the mistakes that have been made in the United States. I think that we should strike a very positive note in regard to this particular problem. Time is not on our side. The Commonwealth: Government could go further. It could act as the co-ordinator between the States. Certain States provide protection for certain types of wild life, but in ether States there is virtually an open house. 1 do not think this is an academic question. I think that every honorable senator is proud of Australia’s fauna. I think that the day has passed when we should give lip service to it.
I want to conclude by dealing with the question of immigration. I think we can all say that the basic structure of the bi-partisan immigration policy that has been followed has paid large dividends for this country. In this regard I speak from my own personal experience. I am going back to the early 1950’s when I was a sub-branch union official. I have found that the immigration officials gave the same service to me then as they have in recent years when I have been closer to the reins. - The only qualification that 1 have to speak in that respect is in relation to something that is often forgotten, Many people like myself come from pre-war homes which suffered iti the depression, and we know that in the labour market there was a big temptation to bargain excessively with manpower. The trade union movement did forgo a position of strength in many cases to encourage migration. Our conception of internationalism made us content to follow that line.’ I believe that in the long run it was beneficial to the Commonwealth. I often think that people who get a bit scornful of trade unions and some of their customs do not know the full situation.
One of the few criticisms that I have of the Department of Immigration is in relation to Citizenship Conventions. I believe that the basis of these should be extended. Senator Bishop and others who were in the top echelon of the trade union movement at the Australian Council of Trade Unions level will know that the A.C.T.U. has representation and is entitled to it, but I believe that we should seek representation by some of the shop delegates from unions which deal directly with migrants. When the history of migration is written it will be seen that unions such as the Vehicle Builders Union, Australian Railways Union, Australian Workers Union, Federated Iron Workers Association, Waterside Workers Federation, and Clothing Trade Union, have migrant members in the mass. A lot of money was expended by trade unions not on wage claims but on fringe matters that they were happy to take up for migrants and in which they had a considerable amount of success. The basis of the Citizenship Convention should be enlarged because many of the delegates on the workshop floor and on the waterfront see the down to earth human things and they could give very valuable counsel.
There is another point about which I shall probably have a lot more to say in the Estimates debate. Some of us are very concerned about the cases of migrants whose naturalisation fs held up after a - screening. I re-echo the sentiments which I wrote before I came into federal politics. The Minister would do a service if he defined the particular types of people who are refused naturalisation. For a while there was bias against persons who were a bit left of the- Labour party. They were regarded with suspicion but people who had affinities with the Axis powers in World War II were more or less forgiven. I am quite magnanimous about it. If people are coming to this country to make a new start, I am quite agreeable to their coming. If we are to follow a bipartisan approach to bringing people here, we must do the same when it comes to naturalisation. If people misconstrue my attitude to security, I refer them to a statement which I made and which was published in a rather right-wing journal in Sydney, the “ Bulletin “, of 30th May 1964. That statement spelt out my attitude very clearly and I do not think that I could be misquoted on it. I believe that the Minister would do a service by removing many misgivings in this regard.
Some criticism was voiced because the Australian Labour Party referred to schisms in the Yugoslav community. Most of us make a simple approach. We believe in freedom of assembly and we believe that any faction in the Yugoslav community has a right to assemble, in a group of its own, in the hope that there will be no gatecrashers. This is a problem which some people did not seem to grasp. Our attitude was that it did not matter whether their politics were to the left or the right of the Labour Party; they had a right to assemble and have their, own function. It was remarkable that some of the gatecrashing that occurred was by people of the far right, and the people who were holding the functions where this occurred were far from being Marxists. The fact that they did not agree with some members of the Croatian liberation movement made them targets.
I am very happy that during interrogations for naturalisation purposes in the last 12 months migrants have not been asked merely whether they had been with radical groups in Europe. They have been asked whether they were with some of the groups of the far right. I feel that at last the message has got across. It is obvious that some of the anonymous testimonies that were made a few years ago in regard to the background of migrants, which became part of their dossiers, were found to be wrong. This is my maiden speech and I do not want to be provocative on this subject. I know of a number of cases which my colleague, Senator Ormonde, has raised, in all of which we were vindicated. They certainly were not ill-fated cases that could not be proved. There was complete vindication of the attitude which we took but which did not make us popular in some quarters. On the contrary, we were made a target. I conclude on that note and I thank the Senate for the quiet hearing that I have been given.
– Mr. President, I should like in the first instance to say a word of appreciation for this further opportunity to serve in the Senate and then to express appreciation for the presence here a few days ago of the Administrator, Sir Henry Abel Smith, and his gracious association with the swearing in of new senators. As I mention new senators, I am led very quickly to offer hearty congratulations to Senator Mulvihill on his maiden speech. 1 recall very well and very happily my own first appearance here two parliaments ago, when I made a maiden speech and received from Senator Willesee of the Opposition some very generous and much appreciated remarks. I know something of what Senator Mulvihill has been through and what he has done. I hasten to offer him my very sincere congratulations. He referred in his speech to matters in which he obviously is personally interested; and he has put them forward with effectiveness and clarity. I wish him, as all other honorable senators do, a period of satisfying service in this House of the Commonwealth Parliament.
We are debating, Mr. President, a formal motion to “ take note of “ the Budget papers and an amendment to that which makes some critical observations. Any Budget today is a complex paper, because of necessity government has become such that, as one honorable senator said earlier, it is the biggest business in the country. Therefore, the Budget is full of complexities and has to take note of international trade and finance and all the other elements of our society which depend on it. A modern Budget has been described by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) as having important social and economic effects. Because of this, it must be shaped both in the large and in detail with these effects in view. It must be geared to meet not only national needs but also personal needs and it must have its material as well as its human aspects. The Budget which is before the Senate at the present time surely reflects a good programme for a good year ahead. It surely takes cognizance of national needs as well as human needs.
I think that at this point I should direct attention to the widespread public reaction to this Budget. The Press very generally - even that part of it which is critical of the Government - has come out with some very favorable references indeed. It has described the Treasurer as having his priorities correctly placed. A journal published two or three days ago directed attention to the fact that the share market strengthened appreciably in the week following the Budget speech and that there was a notable absence of significant public criticism. That journal went on to state -
An attempt still persists to make political capital out of the impact on the lower income groups of the rise of 2i per cent, in income tax and the increased excise on beer and cigarettes, but the extent to which resentment - if any - exists among “ the workers” has yet to be demonstrated.
All Budgets are not all things to all people, and none of us likes extra taxation. All of us would like to see extra benefits from place to place and from time to time, but it must be conceded that, taken overall in the light of our situation at this point of history, the Budget is a sound and sensible one, which will provide for very good development as well as good conditions among the people. In short, the Treasurer’s theme of the social and economic factors has been sustained right through his Budget speech and in the papers accompanying it.
In a general way there is only time now to deal with some particular matters in which we may be interested and reserve detailed discussion until the various elements of the Budget come before the Senate in separate measures. I wish in the first instance to refer to the section of the Budget which is its largest item - grants to the States. The sum involved is £549 million, an increase of 124 per cent, over last year’s expenditure. One of the matters referred to in the
Budget speech relates to the standardisation of rail gauges right across Australia and, in particular, to a grant of about £14 million to Western Australia and South Australia for that purpose. Honorable senators will be very familiar with the history of negotiations and the programme for the new railway lines which are now being constructed. As long ago as 1958 surveys were made and over the years various negotiations have taken place between the Commonwealth and, in particular, South Australia, the State which I represent here.
Portion of the expenditure of £14 million is for the ongoing work involved in the rail standardisation programme. In addition to continuing negotiations and communications, plans are being prepared for bridges, culverts, earthworks and all the other necessary facets of the modern railway. I am given to understand that the programme for the Western Australian section is designed to fit in with the programme for the South Australian section so that there will be provided right across Australia a standard gauge railway line with all the benefits that such a transport system provides. I think this is a very interesting development because a transport system df this kind across a large island continent like Australia has a very special value. It provides a service for the section of the community that is interested in long range passenger transport at an economic rate and for that section of the community that desires long distance haulage of freight without changes of gauge and duplication of handling.
I was interested to read in the last report of the Commonwealth Railways that the growth of traffic is satisfying evidence that a markedly accelerated development can be expected when the railway used by that instrumentality becomes part of the standard gauge transcontinental railway in 1968. The Commonwealth Railways are running well and are doing good business. Last year’s profit on goods traffic and passengers was over £500,000, exceeding that of previous years.” Currently also designs of rolling stock are now under way which will, of course, include modern features. I make a plea that in the final designs of carriages and cars there will be plenty of modern amenities. I am not looking for luxuries, but for economic and comfortable .travel ling. It will be a long journey from one coast of Australia to the other coast through long stretches of country which may not be particularly interesting. Amenities will be necessary to lighten this long railway journey. Already a programme of promotion is planned under the heading of “ Railways of Australia “. I think it is fair enough to emphasise this fact, because we are living, at a time when road transport and road cartage methods are developing at an enormous rate. Of course, the sky is the limit for the development of air transportation methods and modern aircraft, but there will always be room for the use of railways in Australia. Already it has been proved that the railways provide a profitable and efficient service; and the grant to Western Australia and South Australia included in the Budget will ensure that the service will continue to be profitable and efficient, lt is to be hoped that before many years have passed a standard gauge railway from Port Pirie to Adelaide and from Adelaide to Melbourne will be completed. This is one of the social and economic factors to which the Treasurer referred in his Budget speech.
Provision is included in the Budget also for grants for education purposes. It is interesting to note that a couple of the. items referred to in the Budget speech appear this year for the first time. Honorable senators will be aware that grants to the States for universities have been increased by £2 million to £22 million. The grant for science laboratories and technical training is to be £9 million, in addition to the grant of £750,000 for research. I believe that this represents not only a grant of money but indicates the approach of the Government - and of the Commonwealth Parliament generally - to what I shall call national education. Education is very much the prerogative of the States and, of course, is dealt with by the States at a closer level; but because we are developing as a nation it is important that an interest be taken in education at a national level. I imagine that most honorable senators have associations in’ one way or another with schools or educational institutions which already have felt the benefit of the Commonwealth’s interest in this sphere.
I wish to refer particularly to the interim grant for Colleges of Advanced Education. This item appears this year for the first time and represents what I think could well be described as a new concept in education. As 1 understand it, the Colleges are to provide a superior form of training in educational development for certain kinds of students who, for various reasons, do not wish to undertake a full university course or whose vocations may not be within certain university activities. It is stated that the new Colleges to provide advanced education should be developed from and around certain phases of existing technical colleges, notably at the tertiary level. However, I think it is important to note that the plan clearly provides that technology is only one of the educational fields in which the Colleges will provide advanced instruction. 1 understand that the plan is to provide the relevant kind of instruction for - and I quote the words used - “ the liberal arts, for young mcn and women taking up administrative positions in commerce, industry and government “.
This new concept comes in an age when very much emphasis is placed on science, and rightly so, because our scientific development dictates our national status. Our scientific achievements influence many facets of our lives, including agricultural development. Yet in the midst of this accelerated activity, there is a plea and a plan for a study of the humanities by those who wish to follow that course. 1 submit thai this is a balancing factor in our community which will develop us totally and properly as a nation and help us as we move forward into spheres of leadership in our part of the world. This is in truth a reflection of what the Treasurer has described as the social and economic factors in his Budget speech. The new concept of education is timely. Already the Government has appointed a chairman of the Advisory Committee on Advanced Education and is discussing with the States certain preliminary details. 1 wish now to turn to a comparatively small paragraph in the Budget speech. It deals with an organisation with which I have been intimately involved for a number of years and for this reason I would like to say something about it. I am referring, as honorable senators may be aware, to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. It is my privilege to serve on its Federal Council and in that capacity I observed some of the plans in connection with submissions made to the Government a considerable time ago. The Budget provides for the payment of a subsidy of £ 1 40,000 a year for three years. This amount is an increase from £95,000. the previous allocation. It is a recognition by the Government of the involvement of this Service in the developmental life of our central and northern areas. This is quite a far cry from 1920, when two members of this House, Senator Foll and Senator Newland, made representations to the then Prime Minister with the result that the Government granted a subsidy of up to £2.000 on the basis of £2 for £1. In 1946 the Flying Doctor Service received a grant of £7,500, an amount which remained fairly stationary for a few years. Then in 1949 the grant was increased to £1.2,500, with an additional operation grant of approximately £10,000.
The sum that was referred to by the Treasurer in his speech will be used for a variety of purposes. Obviously the purchase of aircraft will be the greatest benefit. We have just purchased two aircraft for the South Australian section of the Flying Doctor Service at a cost of approximately £25,000. Today as we meet here between 15 and 20 aircraft are on duty throughout Australia on behalf of the Service. In the last operational year these aircraft flew about 720,000 miles and transported 1,500 patients. We may think of all that this involves - including the conduct of clinics, consultations and dental services - in terms of people. In the South Australian section we have bases at Port Augusta and Alice Springs. In an operational year approximately 360 flights - or one a day - are made, 120,000 miles are flown and 430 patients are transported.
I want to mention in particular the Australian scene and the work that is undertaken by the Flying Doctor Service in addition to going out for people who may need medical help. For example, in the last operational year the Service was involved in the handling of more than 320,000 telegrams. They represent quite a fair number of words and a considerable number of the valuable messages that are involved in the total development of central and northern Australia. In addition, 4,000 radio sets have been licensed. The School of the Air has more than 200 sets of a particular kind. All this highlights the fact that the grant that is provided for by the Commonwealth Government in the current Budget will enable an increased capital outlay to be made on aircraft, buildings and radio equipment. On the operational side, it will make provision for maintenance, personnel and related matters.
I am sure that honorable senators will note very quickly that it is not a matter of plugging a romantic line but rather of emphasising that the Flying Doctor Service is involved in many facets of life, not only by providing security for those who need it. but also in enabling a positive, developmental approach all round. Our base directors are in touch with, and render service to, people such as drilling contractors, oil search parties, survey groups, the police, officers of the Northern Territory Administration and patrol padres. The grant will help us to extend the system known as Tress - the teleprinter reperforator switching system - which speeds communication by facilitating the automatic handling of telegrams. Units are situated at Alice Springs and Broken Hill. I understand that, if everything is in order at both ends, a telegram may be sent from an outlying station and a reply received within minutes. This is in truth a co-operative exercise between the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Post Office. I express thanks on behalf of the Flying Doctor Service for the grant that is to be paid over the next three years. It is a recognition of the value of what may be described as a voluntary service; it is a recognition of the value of a helping programme. In every sense of the term, this is an example of social and economic life in Australia as expressed in the Budget.
Further on in the Budget speech reference was made to social services and in particular, as all honorable senators are aware, to various supplementary allowances including guardians’ allowances and allowances for the wives of pensioners with children. I wish to draw attention to the increased sum that has been made available over the years by the Commonwealth Government for social services. We have not to go back far to obtain an idea of the extent to which the Australian community is benefiting from the social services that have been instituted by this Government. The provision for age and invalid pensions has risen between 1959 and the present time from £147 million to £223 million. The allocation for widows’ pensions has risen from £12 million to £25 million, for hospital benefits from £18 million to £31 million, and for medical benefits for pensioners from £4 million to £7 million. Many more benefits have been provided. Of course, we all realise that the increase in expenditure is partly the result of an increase in population and possibly a larger number of old people in the community. Nevertheless, it must be realised that the greater portion of the increase is the result of positive action by the Government which has led to a greater level of benefits and an easing all along the line so that an increasing number of people may enjoy the benefits that are available.
I direct attention to the fact that this year a sum of £470 million will be paid from the National Welfare Fund. That is an increase of more than £25 million. I think I am right when I say that this sum of £470 million is almost one-fifth of the total amount of expenditure for which provision is made in the Budget. We all are hopeful that there will be an extension of social service benefits’ so that people may live comfortably and in security. However, as we plead for this extension we also need to plead with the community to exercise a sense Of responsibility. These benefits must be paid for somewhere along the line. People should bear in mind the need to exercise thrift and to make provision where possible for times that may not be as easy as the present. We should warn against drifting into a state of mind where we believe that everybody else should look after us because we are in somewhat greater need or are in advanced years. While we hope for the ending of the means test so that more and more people may be able to take advantage of social service benefits, at the same time there is need for caution so that people will retain a sense of responsibility not only to each other but also to themselves.
The only other matter I want to mention at this stage, Sir, relates to paragraphs in the Treasurer’s Budget speech concerning international aid. Of course, a great measure of the expenditure provided for in the Budget must of necessity go towards defence. A great deal has been said about the reasons why this is necessary and how it is proposed to implement the defence programme. 1 wish to direct the attention of the Senate to other measures by means of which we can influence international feeling and opinion. Senator Mulvihill put forward some ideas regarding this very line of thinking. Provision for the extension of Colombo Plan aid featured largely in the Treasurer’s Budget speech. From inquiries 1 have made, I understand that quite extensive preparations are in hand for the supplying of material to various areas of South East Asia. These include the provision of irrigation pumps to Burma to enable second cropping in particular areas. Bakery units are being supplied to India, for fairly obvious reasons. In north east Thailand the Colombo Plan provides for a national roads programme which includes not only equipment but also the services of experts and engineers. This will enable the connection of main roads to facilitate the marketing of goods. An overseas telecommunications unit is being supplied to Malaysia. I understand that there is to be a marked increase in the number of Asian students studying in Australia under the Colombo Plan during the coming year.
Other honorable senators have referred to aspects of international aid such as the work of the various organisations which have been concerning themselves in recent times with the provision of assistance in one form or another to underdeveloped countries, particularly those in South East Asia. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck), when speaking in Adelaide only last night at the opening of the annual congress of the South Australian Agricultural Bureau, directed attention to this matter in a very fine and masterly address which I had the privilege to read today. He highlighted the importance of agricultural aid and also the importance of involving the people of the countries concerned in a programme of self help.
The Freedom from Hunger Campaign has been functioning quite well and has resulted in more than £1 million being raised in Australia. The organisers of the campaign are currently engaged in a programme of promotion involving the distribution of booklets of information. Much of this work is designed to alert children to the world situation. This material has been welcomed by the teaching profession and has been used quite extensively in curricula. But it is not enough merely to mention the work that is being done. I think it is proper that we should record somewhere the fact that under this programme a great deal of work has already been done and a great deal of assistance is being provided. In the programme to which I have referred - and I happen to be involved in it personally - money is being used for the provision of rice improvement programmes in Pakistan, milk production schemes elsewhere, agricultural training in India, fertiliser schemes in Ceylon, and reafforestation, water conservation and irrigation in other countries in the South East Asian area. Australia can claim a very good record as a contributor to international aid. In recent years our total aid programme has accounted for an average of approximately .6 per cent, of our national income, which makes us, I understand, the fourth largest aid contributor in the world.
It would not be correct to say that I have covered adequately the budgetary situation, but at least 1 have made comments on some of the major factors covered by the Budget speech. I have tried to list a few matters in which I have been concerned and interested, particularly matters which affect our work in South Australia, the State I represent in the Senate. I. have tried to follow through the Treasurer’s line regarding the social and economic factors which, as he said at the beginning of his speech, are ingredients of a modern Budget. These matters, associated with the other items that are listed in the Budget, surely provide for the wellbeing of the people and enable them to contribute quite readily to the urgent needs of our time. At the same time, they provide incentive for the country to go forward and to play a major part in a rapidly changing, as well as a rapidly developing, world situation. For those reasons, as well as for many others, Sir, I support the motion that the Senate take note of the Budget Papers. I oppose the amendment moved by Senator Kennelly on behalf of the Opposition, for the simple reason that in my view it is a very negative amendment. It speaks in negative terms. I submit to the Senate that the Budget speech by the Treasurer is of a positive and on-going nature.
– I congratulate the honorable senators who have made their maiden speeches this afternoon. At least, Senator Mulvihill spoke for the first time in this chamber, but I understand that Senator Davidson’s speech was his third maiden speech, so to speak, because on two previous occasions, owing to the occurrence of vacancies in the Senate, he had the opportunity to represent South Australia in this Parliament. I again congratulate both honorable senators on the speeches that they made this afternoon.
I support the amendment that was moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Kennelly), in which he pointed out the shortcomings of this Budget that we are discussing, particularly in relation to taxation increases and the meagre increases of social service benefits that have been promised. I think it would be a good idea if I were to read once again the amendment moved by Senator Kennelly. It is as follows -
At the end of motion add the following words: - “ but the Senate condemns the Budget because -
such taxation increases as it contains add further burdens to wage and salary earners whose living standards have already been eroded by price rises and the Government’s active intervention against wage increases;
such meagre social services benefits as it proposes are inadequate, belated and partial in their application; and
the Budget fails entirely to deal with such problems as increases in imports and Australia’s dependence on foreign capital.
The Senate further declares that only by proper economic planning, can Australia rapidly expand the resources required to meet its urgent needs in the fields of defence, development, education and social welfare.”.
I support the amendment because I feel that every word in it condemns the Budget. This is not a bold Budget if one studies it closely. It is unimaginative and presents no new ideas. It is a Budget without purpose. It penalises people in the lower income groups. In the course of my speech I shall indicate how that is being done. I shall show that people in the lower income groups will have to carry the greatest burden. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty) in his speech when presenting the Budget Papers in the Senate stated -
But it has long since become accepted in all advanced countries that, since the Budget has important social and economic effects, the policy of the Budget must be shaped, both in the large and is detail, with these effects in view.
Budgetary policy must necessarily form part of overall economic policy, be consistent with it and serve identical aims. We have often stated the broad aims of our economic policy - the steady growth of Australian population and output, a high standard of living, full employment, stability of prices and a strong external balance of payments.
If we look at this statement closely we see that it relates not to what is being done but to what should have been done. I feel that the Budget this year falls far short of those objectives. Let us look at some of the matters that are covered by the Budget. First, let us consider social service benefits. It is true that certain concessions are to be made to age and invalid pensioners. These will cost Australia approximately £7¾ million. When we appreciate the magnitude of the total expenditure for which the Budget provides, the sum of £7¾ million for increased social service benefits is not large.
I wish to comment on the proposal to return pensioner medical cards to pensioners who have been deprived of them since 1955. Prior to that time all persons receiving pensions were entitled to pensioner medical cards. From information I have received and from conversations I have had regarding this matter, I understand that the benefit was taken away in 1955 because the medical profession claimed that a single person earning £2 a week or a married couple earning £4 a week should not be entitled to free medical treatment. The budgetary proposal in this respect is not new. It is simply a proposal to restore to pensioners something that was taken away from them approximately ten years ago. It is good that those people who have been deprived of the benefits of the pensioner medical service will now be able to enjoy them. We all know what a great drain it is these days, even upon people in the higher income brackets, to pay for medical and hospital treatment.
Another point I should like the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Sinclair) to note is that many people who are physically able to continue working have been compelled to retire and apply for the pension when they reach the age of 65 years. I urge the Government to consider lifting the permissible earnings of these people because many of them are capable of doing a good day’s work. Many of them have come to me, and to other honorable senators, and have said time and time again that it is almost impossible for a single pensioner to obtain any part-time employment which will return him only £3 10s. a week. The position is not so difficult for a pensioner couple because their permissible earnings are £7 a week. The limit of £3 10s. a week on a single pensioner means that he would have to work only one day or one and a half days a week and I do not think any employer would tolerate that situation.
I ask the Government to consider increasing the permissible earnings, if only of single pensioners, to say £7 a week. This is nol a large amount. It would not encroach upon social service benefits and would not cost the taxpayer anything. On the contrary, it would give these people some incentive to carry on and a feeling of independence that they do not have now. I again stress this aspect and ask the Government to consider it.
A number of items in the Budget could be criticised. One such item, which has been touched on only briefly, appears on page 5 of the Budget speech, lt relates to grants to universities, science laboratories and so on. Apart from that brief mention, the field of education has not been referred to. There is a growing need in Australia for increased educational facilities, better equipment and more playing fields. One of the greatest problems confronting our education system is the shortage of teaching staff. The only way to overcome these problems is to give more money to the States. The Budget provides for a grant of £22,714,000 for universities, which is an increase of more than £2 million over last year’s allocation, and for £9,953,000 for science laboratories and technical training. In addition, £750,000 has been allocated for research and £1 million as an interim capital grant for colleges of advanced education. As Senator Davidson pointed out, the last two items which relate to an allocation of £1,750,000 appear in the Budget this year for the first time.
The States have asked repeatedly - I dare say they will continue to ask - for more money for education. In fact, the only way in which the States can carry out their educational programme is for the Commonwealth to give them more money. Unless the Commonwealth does so, education will not go ahead as we would like it to. Education is of prime importance. Indeed, it is the most important thing in Australia today and unless we spend increasing amounts to educate our young people all the money that we spend on defence and in other directions will be wasted.
Recently I had the pleasure of being selected by my party to represent the Australian Parliament at the Anzac Day celebrations in New Guinea. The leader of the delegation was Mr. King, a member of another place. We made an extensive tour of the Territory. I do not claim that 1 am an expert on the affairs of New Guinea simply because I spent a short period there, but from the little time that I was there and from information obtained from people living in the Territory I have come to the conclusion that we must watch it very closely.
The native people are happy at the way they are being treated by Australia. The many millions of pounds that we are spending in developing the Territory and in providing better standards of living for its people are not being wasted. The people realise and deeply appreciate what Australia is doing for them. They do not want us to put an end to the assistance, nor do they want us to vacate New Guinea. In a recent speech dealing with the Territory Senator Cormack said that we cannot continue to pour money into it. He did not realise that the many millions of pounds we are spending in New Guinea are helping the people to expand their production and to compete in certain overseas markets with their coffee, cocoa and copra. There is also the strong possibility of New Guinea becoming a big tea producing country. I have no doubt that the money we are spending in New Guinea to develop these industries will help the native people and will be returned to Australia in due course. We must always think that whatever money we spend in New Guinea is not being wasted.
The Administration is doing an exceptionally good job. Although some officers are a bit concerned about the future, I feel that the Administration is doing the best job possible. The indigenes are quite happy with the way the Administration is working and they want it to continue as long as it is possible for it to carry on. I am not one of those people who feel that we should not hand Papua and New Guinea over to the indigenous people in a very short time. Information gained in . talks I . had with different people there shows that they are of the opinion that economic independence is many years away. I agree wilh them because although the people of Papua and New Guinea may obtain political independence much sooner than economic independence I feel at this point of time that it will be more than a generation, or perhaps two generations, before they will be able to assume the responsibilities of independence. 1 feel that if Australia acts along these lines and encourages these people as quickly as possible to take over in the civil service, and if we educate them to do this by making more educational facilities available, when the time is right to hand over the country they will be in a position to look after their own affairs.
In the course of my visit to Papua and New Guinea I visited the eastern highlands. At one point there is a coffee co-operative. The group I was with was told that this co-operative cost £80,000 to set in operation. It has a membership of 7,000 indigenous people and they contributed that sum towards the co-operative. It has been operating only a very short time but in that time it has paid a dividend of 5 per cent, to the native members and has also paid a royalty of threepence per pound on each pound of coffee that the natives have brought in for treatment. If this sort of thing is encouraged in Papua and New Guinea I feel that it will give those people a much greater sense of responsibility and will help them to obtain their independence in a much shorter time than normal.
I feel that this Budget is one that will penalise people in the lower income bracket. It will increase income tax payments by 21 per cent. That does not sound very much but it should bc considered that the wages of the average working man today are still far behind the living wage which he should be receiving. As honorable senators on the Opposition side have pointed out, wages have been pegged but prices have been allowed to run away. So far as the average working man is concerned, there does not seem to be any relief whatsoever. Even this increase of 2i per cent, in his taxation will be a burden for him. It may not sound very much but, after all is said and done, whatever the amount might be it is taken away from him. There is less money to he spent in the home, whether it be £2, £3, £4 or £5. It means that there is that much less with which the housewife has to try to balance her budget. If the husband or housewife happens to enjoy a cigarette, a drink of beer or any other alcohol why should he be penalised? By increasing excise on cigarettes and alcohol the Government is reducing further the standard of living of these people. In this day and age this is an indictment of the Government. No person should have to reduce his standard of living in any way. We have been told what an affluent society we live in. Yet this Government has brought down a Budget which will deprive these people of a way of life they have become accustomed to - something which is part of the Australian way of life. This should never have been allowed to happen.
Honorable senators have read the statement that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) made in his speech last Thursday when he said that it was incumbent upon industry to adapt its working hours to enable married women to go back into industry. Senator Cavanagh touched very ably on this question last night and again this afternoon. To me this does not seem to be a very good idea. I may be old fashioned in this respect but I believe that the place of a wife is in the home. Again, it is a shocking indictment of this Government if the social standard in Australia will not permit a decent wage or a decent standard of living. By not allowing a decent wage the Government is forcing wives out to work. Regardless of whatever hours may be adopted to enable married women to return to industry I feel that eventually the home must suffer. I, for one, do not believe in this idea of married women having to go to work. I do not feel it is necessary. There are other avenues which could be explored and exploited to enable sufficient labour to be found and placed in industries today, particularly in essential industries.
I think that this is a point which has not been looked at by the Government. In taking this action it is taking a retrograde step as far as Australia is concerned. Nobody wants to see the wife of any man sent out to work. I do not think any man wants to send his wife out to work. However, there are many women working in industry today.
Before I came to this chamber I was working in an industry which employs many women. I found at that time that although it was not necessary for them to go to work many women did apply for positions in that factory.
– What type of industry was that?
– That was a grocery manufacturing industry. It is predominantly a women’s industry. I found that these women went to work in order to obtain some little amenity to help them in the home. I was the person who employed them. They always said that they wanted to buy a washing machine, a refrigerator or some other object that would give them some pleasure in their homes. They said that as soon as that item was obtained they would give up working. However, I found that that did not happen. These women continued to work because they seemed to get some friendship from the other women they worked with.
– The honorable senator must have been a good boss.
– I am too modest to say so. These women continued to work even after they had obtained these amenities. They would buy one thing and then continue working until they obtained something else. It is not good for any country to force married women to work and I think the Government is taking a retrograde step in asking them to return to industry. We hope that the position will alter in the near future and that this sort of thing will no longer be necessary.
I come now to the increase of the supplementary assistance to single pensioners who are deemed to be dependent solely on their pensions and who pay rent. This payment is to be increased from 10s. to £1 a week and this increase is long overdue. The Government is to be commended for having at last considered the plight of single pensioners. Although single pensioners who pay rent have been receiving a higher pension than that paid to married couples, they have been finding it difficult to survive. With rises in rates and taxes and the increase in the cost of living, even pensioners living in their own homes are finding it very difficult to meet their commitments. The supplementary assistance is not payable to pensioners living in their own homes. I believe that something should be done to help single pensioners as a whole rather than that a portion of them only should be assisted.
The wife’s allowance of £3 a week, which is payable to the wife of an invalid or age pensioner who is permanently incapacitated for work will now be paid to the wife of any age pensioner if she has the care of a child. I think it should be paid to the wives of all age and invalid pensioners. This would not cost the country a great deal of money. After all, one pension is not sufficient to keep two people. The granting of the wife’s allowance to a pensioner’s wife who has the care of a child is a good thing, but how many people will it benefit? I do not think many age pensioners in Australia have children under 16 years of age.
I have tried to point out some of the shortcomings of this Budget. They are many and I feel that the Government has not given the people of Australia the full benefits to which they are entitled in an affluent society. I support the amendment.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Mr. President, you will understand, I am sure, my sense of responsibility in rising to speak in this chamber this evening. I hope to be an effective and useful senator and in no way to diminish the growing reputation of this great House of review. As you are aware, I come here from New South Wales to fill the vacancy which was caused by the resignation of Sir William Spooner. At the outset, I would like to pay a tribute to Sir William for the tremendous work that he did for the Commonwealth of Australia and for New South Wales. He has gone into well earned retirement, secure in the knowledge that his contributions to the affairs of Australia in this chamber, which he served as a senator for New South Wales, were both substantial and well recognised. I would like to thank all honorable senators for the kindly way in which they have made me welcome. I also thank the officers of the Senate for the help that they have been to me and for the help that I hope they will continue to be to me.
Mr. President, you will understand that a new senator like myself has a great deal to learn, is not at all well informed and has to pass some time in (his chamber before he can hope to make his best contribution to the aIT.,irs of this chamber. Sir, 1 hope you will not mind my quoting the words of the late Sir George Pearce, which seem to mc to exemplify what this chamber seeks to do. He said -
Tim Senate wass constituted as it is after long fighting, prolonged discussions, many compromises and many concessions on the part of the various shades of political thought throughout the Commonwealth and it stands therefore, in the Constitution, in a position that hits no equal in any Legislature throughout the world.
This, in my view, is not sufficiently well appreciated in Australia. I think it ought to be.
I have not sufficient time this evening to deal with all the material that I would, perhaps, like to. 1 shall be as brief as 1 can. in this debate we are dealing with the Budget. As one would expect, honorable senators opposite have seen fit to criticise it. ] feel it is a skilfully drawn document, lt displays evidence of considerable thought over a long period of time, lt represents to me a sound approach to the wide range of problems of growth, defence and social justice, lt is well to bear in mind that many decisions that affect the Budget are taken well ahead of the time of presentation of the Budget. Considerations of enlargement of defence, national security, improved social service benefits and growth lay down the limits within which the Budget must bo framed. This allows room for manoeuvre by the Treasurer in allowing expenditures and drawing up plans for raising revenue. But it does not give him very much room.
I noted in reading the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) in another place which, I assume, is relevant to the debate in this chamber because it has been mentioned by honorable senators opposite, that great play has been made on comparisons of the gross national product. I am unable to spend time to develop this argument further, but 1 suggest that it is a fairly slender basis upon which to advance a whole argument in a Budget debate. But if this comparison is to be regarded as a valid argument to any extent, I think it is worth noting that in 1949-50 the gross national product in Australia was £2,649 million, and in the papers presented with the Budget it is said to have been £9,562 million in 1964-65. In simple language, this represents a growth in Australia’s potential earning power and productivity of 31 times in 15 years. In any business, in any place, I do not think that anybody can complain about that. I have always held the view that Australia had to continue to grow at the fastest rate possible, consistent with its human resources, its material resources and its financial stability. This sort of approach will only work when people are prepared to face the financial consequences of these matters - when they are prepared to find the necessary energy, time and money. If we want to have sound growth, proper defence and social justice, this will cost money and time. We are all partners in this development. It is not the sole responsibility of the Government. 1 believe that this chamber has a great responsibility in this regard.
We are a pan of this great and growing country, I shall be anxious as time goes on to understand more of the financial implications of this Budget and of earlier Budgets as they effect the growth pattern of Australia. There is no doubt that Australia has a growth programme. A country such as this has to finance its growth programme with something. We will have to finance it in the future, as we have in the past, substantially upon export earnings which come mainly from the primary and mining fields of activity. It has been said that we cannot have a growth programme without inflation. I do not believe that people should accept this argument. I believe in a growth programme and full employment, lt is wrong to assume that this necessarily means inflation. I think that if we make a broad attack upon the cost structure throughout Australia, at the same time as we are trying to grow, we might find that we can do more to restrain inflation than we previously thought we could do.
There are two areas of costs that are quite significant when one examines this matter in the broad sense. Transport costs are of more than ordinary consequence in a country like Australia. There is much room for a critical examination of and a broad attack upon the transport costs. I do not believe that we have carried out the research that we might have in this regard.
I do not think that we have done enough in the field of research. I am equally sure that we have not applied well the research that we have done. I suggest that there arc two areas which could be looked at with a view to trying to reduce our costs. The history of developing countries throughout the world has shown that they have started on a primary basis, just as we have. Their people substantially were employed in the early years in the primary industries. As the countries grew they set out to establish a manufacturing basis and an increasing percentage of people tended to be employed in the manufacturing industries. Then they entered a third stage. We have been iti this stage for some time. In that stage people tend to find employment in the tertiary sector of the economy. I refer to the service industries, professions, the Public Service and other such avenues of employment. It is in this latter area that the growth in employment h likely to be of the greatest consequence. Primary industries have a capacity to earn, but they do not have the great capacity to give increasing employment. The employment capacity is to be found in the manufacturing industries. But it also can be found very substantially in the development of tertiary areas. This is something that we might consider as time goes on.
Despi’te all these things, the productivity of the primary industries - and I include the mining industries - is rising very fast. They are generating funds to permit the expansion of the manufacturing industries and the development of the service industries. The expansion of productivity in export materials within a stable level of costs is vital, not only to the primary industries, but also to the rest of Australia. Everybody has a stake in this matter. Whether we like it or not, our produce has to be sold on a free world market. Australia is a great trading nation. I think it is the sixth largest trading nation in the world, although it has not the sixth largest population. Australia depends far more than do other nations upon its trading ability. It has to trade largely on the free world market and it has to be extremely careful of its internal cost structure. If we do not hold the cost structure, we will trade at a loss. If we continue to trade at a loss, we will not last a long time.
On this question of trying to get growth, full employment and lower levels of internal costs, I do not think there is a group of people with a greater stake in the matter than the employees. The most important thing from the employees’ point of view is to have real income - as distinct from wages - rising, and to have better living standards and the real value of money rising. This is largely a question of productivity with stable costs. I do not want to be unkind, but Senator Mulvihill referred earlier, this afternoon to being a depression product. He is not the only one. There are many people who are depression products, but we will not overcome troubles by looking back over our shoulders. We must grow out of them by becoming bigger and stronger. This is the way to get prosperity for people and to prevent costs from rising. So to me costs are very important indeed because the real value of people’s income is important to me. I do not-like to have the people who have given the best years of their lives to this country see their savings and superannuation eroded by inflation. This is a matter for everybody. We should all be fighting against it. This is a matter of social injustice. It is not a function only for the Government to fight it. People cannot just say: “What is the Government doing about all this?” This is a function in which every Australian should take a hand. We all must take some part in it.
The cost problem may be looked at in two ways. It is common to say: “ We must subsidise these people and make sure that they get a guaranteed income, and if we do this the rest of their costs will look after themselves “. I am not a believer in this school of thought. I believe that we should look at the beginning of costs at the input end and attack them there. At this point of time, Australia has reached an interesting stage. It has been growing fast. It has full employment. It is generating capacity to continue full employment and it now has to examine the stage it has reached in its general economic growth. We should now, I believe, be looking at the general development of the physical resources of Australia in order of priority. In this way we will provide a platform for sound growth in a predominantly pastoral and mining economy. Such resources development is the function of the country as a whole. The question aa to how large we make the base is important, but the base must be stable enough for people to produce growth.
I do not agree with propositions about diversion of resources from the public sector to the private sector and from the private sector to the public sector. This seems to me to be unreal. We are talking about the resources of the Australian people and how they may be best utilised at a given point of time. I express the view that we are now at a stage when the further broad development of the physical resources of the Australian continent is of considerable importance. This, of course, must be taken in conjunction with other problems, including the capacity to do other things, the time that it takes, and the scale of priorities. There must be some system of management to determine what are the best things to do first and how money can be made to go furthest.
We have generated in this country great manufacturing industries. We shall continue to do so and I do not quarrel with this as it is right and proper; but as time goes on - and this, after all, is a matter of the free flow of the market - we shall have to consider how far manufacturing should go as an avenue only for employment. If it went so far as to make things on such a small scale that it could never hope to be efficient, all that would be done would be to provide a strong sheltered system and the community would pay a lot more for the product. In the end, that sort of employment capacity is better expressed in growing a forest, building a bridge, making a better road, widening a railway gauge, or providing a better harvest.
Tonight I can deal only with two broad areas of development. There is no time to do any more. Perhaps later I shall have a chance to deal with some other matters. Some years ago I was fascinated by a statement made by the late Sir Ian Clunies Ross to the effect that if we were to improve the eastern part of this country which is capable of pasture improvement we could double Australia’s livestock population. To me that has always been a fascinating proposition. We have always had a great pastoral economy. We live very largely on the products of our pastures. Here was an authority saying that we could double our livestock population. This is real wealth that we are talking about, wealth of great sub stance and quality upon which so many things can be generated and so many things will endure. A lot more work has been done on this subject. I refer to the work done by Dr. Griffith Davies and Mr. Eyles, and I refer also to the comments made on this subject by Senator Ken Morris. I am grateful to him for suggesting that I could amplify the subject a little.
The work done by Dr. Davies and Mr. Eyles was quite exhaustive. It has been published in the “Agricultural Science Bulletin “. They went back to the thesis of Sir Ian Clunies Ross and they developed it scientifically in more detail. Honorable senators know that pastoral production has been significant in Australia since the first settlement by Europeans. They know that great advances have been made as a result of improved pasture plants and grasses. They know what this has meant to this country. In Australia, as in many other developing countries, the rural industries are called upon to bear a considerable amount of the burden of industrial growth. This is not to involve oneself in a dichotomy, a divided society, and say that farmers are better than manufacturers - nothing of the kind. This is to say that we are primarily a pastoral economy. We have always been so, and it is the pastoral wealth that is exported that generates the income and the funds to do other things of equal importance in manufacturing and service industries. But we do rest a great deal upon the pastoral production of this country. Many of our imports are supplies for the manufacturing and service industries, and these are paid for primarily by the exports of pastoral industries.
The scope of our industrial growth has been truly remarkable, and our ingenuity has been something to be commented upon. Unique skills developed in a short space of time are typical of Australia’s development. These are part of the great qualities that we have as a people. Primarily the development has been on the basis of the wealth provided by the Australian grasslands and Australian animals. In the Australian pastoral zone, in the context of the work done by Davies and Eyles, there are two areas - the southern zone, which is primarily a winter and spring rainfall area, and the northern zone which is primarily a summer rainfall area. In these two areas are 430 million acres capable of pasture development. At this stage only onesixth of this area is pasture improved. It is calculated that in the southern zone, with development, we could carry 450 million sheep and 25 million cattle, three times the Australian livestock population. If the northern zone were developed we could carry an extra 52 million cattle. Beef production could be increased ten times.
Here we are dealing with an area in which we have some skills. We are doing things that we are used to doing and in this area the research work is known and has been fairly well applied. The techniques are known and our natural abilities can flourish. Another consequence of such pastoral development would be a heavy increase in the requirement for superphosphate, which would be multiplied four times. This illustrates the importance of the work done by the Government to encourage the search for phosphate deposits. Advantages will come in better techniques, greater understanding, better management in drought, and water conservation. These are natural corollaries of pasture development in the area about which I speak. I am no expert on the wool industry but it was said by somebody some time ago that we require more wool. If this is the case, we need more grass so that we can have more animals. Improved pasture will permit greater diversity in the economy. It will be possible to grow wool, lamb, mutton and beef. These increased possibilities of development of land resources are of enormous significance to the Australian people and we should be taking them more seriously. The area has not been understood sufficiently well. It was settled in the early days when, it was said, if you saw something moving you shot. it. If you saw something standing still, you cut it down. I think we have passed out of that stage.
I want to stress to honorable senators the importance of forestry in this country. In all the countries of the world with high living standards and in any country seeking to have a developing economy there are four substantially important raw materials. I refer to wood, coal, iron and oil. These materials are important because they produce the essentials of clothing, shelter, communications, and in some cases, food. Of these four basic materials, wood is the only material that can be grown and thus replaced. The other materials are mined and can be exhausted. It has been said that the future of the world is in the hands of the forest countries, for the use of wood- is growing and wood resources are limited. If anything, they are tending to shrink a little.
Great problems may be involved because if honorable senators care to study history they will find that as civilisations lost their forests, in the end they lost their civilisations. It is most critical to bear in mind that wood is renewable. It can be grown. To put it simply, forests are crops with a very long rotation. In this country we can and do grow wood successfully. Nature gave us hardwood forests of useful size, but very little softwood. We have grown a lot of softwood and we will grow a lot more. As far as can be assessed at the present time, our overall forest products consumption is about £270 million a year. Of this amount we are forced to import forest products worth about £80 million. If we maintain only our present rate of forestry development, by the year 2000 we will import about £300 million worth of forest products, which is about equal to the present value of the Australian wool clip. I think that is correct. It is therefore a matter of considerable significance to the people of Australia to consider substantial forest development.
We are now planting about 42,000 acres a year. We need to plant between 60,000 and 75,000 acres a year to be reasonably self-sufficient. The cost will be between £2 million and £3 million a year. When considered in the light of import replacements alone, the consequences to the Australian people are of such significance that the investment is not a great one. The use of the resources of the Australian people in this way would be economically justified, probably in priority to many other projects. It is a project of great consequence and value, calling for co-operation between the States and the Commonwealth. Happily, that co-operation now exists through the Australian Forestry Council, which was formed at the behest of the Commonwealth and is working most effectively.
I repeat that we are an importing country of timber. We import from many countries whose balance of trade with us is already adverse. Luckily for Australia, New Zealand now has the capacity to supply some of our timber needs and the Australia and New Zealand free trade proposal, for which I commend the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen) and the Government, is a great advance for this country. Problems will arise because both Australia and New Zealand have a forestry industry. It is important that the industry in each country should be sustained and developed. Both countries arc short of wood. It is estimated that if New Zealand does not plant at a greater rate, in 1985 that country will lose its capacity to export wood to us. The consultative committee set up to ensure that the forestry industries of both countries worked together will examine methods of making certain that we grow sufficient wood for our own needs and develop the industries to aid our economies. We should examine equally critically whether Australia can grow wood as a new staple for export for many years ahead. It is a long view, but it is a possibility. Forest industries employ people effectively. On 100 acres of softwood plantation areas, three people arc employed directly. On a forest of 100,000 acres, which is not a very large forest, 3,000 people are employed in forestry programmes. This would be sufficient to create a new city somewhere in the Australian countryside. I recommend to the Senate that we take an interest in the Australian forestry programme.
I wish now to deal with the Australian people. Nothing is possible in an enterprise without energetic and capable people. It does not matter what is attempted. If the people do not have the capacity, the operation, as a rule, is not of much value. For my part, 1 am a tremendous believer in the human resources of Australia. I have felt for some years that in peace time we have never managed to obtain from the Australian people those qualities of initiative, leadership, character, ingenuity and resource which so characterise them in times of war. Faced with a challenge, the Australian people can rise to nearly any height. Their capacity is superb. In my humble view the Australian people represent the greatest resource we have as yet not fully utilised.
We are a people small in numbers. We are a great island continent with a great responsibility. We have great resources to be developed and our growth probably has just begun. We have a special place to occupy in the world. We live strategically well placed to two-thirds of the world’s people. In effect, we occupy this island continent to ourselves. It is folly to imagine that Australia will generate a population of such consequence that it will match the populations already generated by other countries lying to our north, east and west. But this is no reason for despair. The history of the world is full of examples of peoples small in numbers but great in influence. Honorable senators are aware that such peoples have had substantial influence beyond their numbers. I believe we should aim at that result.
As is always the case in parliamentary government, criticisms are made - and properly so - of the Government by the Opposition. This is how things work- and should work, lt is a system of checks and balances, but in the end what will count, irrespective of what happens across the floors of these chambers, is to have a body of people who will be prepared to develop their country, who will defend it as in the past if necessary, will risk their lives for it and will stand up to be counted on the great occasions. To me, human beings are the most important consideration and this, I believe, should always be kept in mind. Walter Lippman said -
The world is a better place to live in because it contains human beings who will give up ease and security and stake their own lives in order to do what they themselves think worthy of doing. They do brave, noble, divinely foolish, and the very wisest things done by man. And what they prove to themselves and others is that man is no mere creature of his habits, no mere automaton in his routine but in the dust of which he is made there is also fire, lighted now and then by great winds from the sky.
The next ten years will be very important for us. We will have great external and internal problems. As in the past, we will be worthy of the responsibilities, I am sure, that the Australian people have placed in us. Mr. President, I support the motion and oppose the amendment.
– At the outset, Mr. President, I would like to congratulate Senator Cotton upon the presentation of his maiden address in this chamber. I felt very deeply for Senator Cotton, because he seemed slightly nervous. If he was slightly nervous, I am probably on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
I wish to support the amendment moved by Senator Kennelly. Although I may break with tradition and convention in the Senate, I feel that I have to be extremely critical of the Budget brought down by the Government. A long time ago there lived a famous gentleman known as George Higinbotham. Probably the members of the conservative parties remember him best for the fact that he made donations to strike funds. George Higinbotham also served for fifteen years in the Victorian Parliament. When he retired in 1876 he used a phrase that has become rather famous. He said: “ The field of politics is a pandemonium in which lost souls do their best to increase each other’s torments “. Mr. President, while I am a member of the Senate I intend to torment the souls of my political opponents.I shall do this while we are in Opposition, but I hope that in the foreseeable future I will be doing it as a member of the alternative Government.
This Budget is designed to assist only the more affluent sections of the community. One of the more facetious paragraphs of the Budget speech is tendered as an excuse for the proposed increase in income tax. This is what the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) said-
First, as to income taxation, because of the change-over to decimal currency next year it will be necessary to adjust the existing rates of income tax so that they will be readily convertible from their present form to dollars and cents.
I do not assume, of course, that that was the only reason for increasing revenue from personal income tax by a sum of almost £19 million in a full year; but to my mind that seems to be a very facetious argument, if it is an argument at all, for the increase.
Let us examine some of the other items on which taxation has been increased by this Government. Not the least of these increases is the additional 3d. per gallon that has been charged on petrol. I make an appeal on behalf of Queenslanders and indeed on behalf of all other Australians, but particularly those who live in the more remote parts, whose motor vehicle is their only form of locomotion, whether they travel 8 or 10 miles or a distance of many hundreds of miles. To such persons the additional cost of petrol is a very big impost indeed. We recall that during the general election campaign of 1963 the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) promised faithfully to introduce an equalisation or rationalisation scheme that would enable people who live in the more remote parts to obtain petrol at prices comparable to those charged in the metropolitan areas. Almost two years have elapsed, but this scheme has not yet been introduced. I admit that we have been assured that something will happen by 1st October next.
Perhaps I shall be pardoned for emphasising the needs of my own State most of all, but I point out that in the Brisbane metropolitan area the price of super grade petrol is 3s. 9½d. a gallon. At Alpha the price is 5s. a gallon, at Aramac it is 5s. 2½d., at Augathella it is 5s. 2½d., at Birdsville it is 6s. 8d., and at Iron Range it is 6s.11d. There have been recent statements to the effect that, when the adjustment is made, freight rates will not necessarily be taken into consideration. It has also been stated that other problems could arise in relation to people who live in remote station areas and who, unless they can come to some agreement with the oil companies, may not receive the full benefit of any rationalisation scheme that is introduced. This, then, is the first section of the community that has been hit rather severely by this Budget.
Now I come to the worker’s pleasures - the odd cigarette, the glass of beer, the glass of Scotch or whatever else he indulges in. These are the small pleasures of a lot of people in the community, and perhaps of the man on a limited income most of all. Was any real survey made by this Government of the stocks of these commodities that were held by wholesalers and retailers? I dare to suggest that no such survey was made and that there were some people in the community who filled their coffers at the expense of the people who buy cigarettes, beer or spirits. Numerous newspapers throughout Australia have carried protests such as one I have in my hand which is headed -
Drinkers being fleeced.
In last Sunday’s Brisbane “ Truth “ the following paragraph appeared -
Queensland hotelkeepers are making a staggering11d. profit on every nip of Scotch . . .
Then it went on to say -
In I he new price range, publicans buy their Scotch for 36/6 a bottle, Australian whisky for 2S/7, rum 23/5i …
It is estimated that each nip of Australian whisky costs the publican ls. Id. and that other kinds of spirits cost Hid. a nip. This profiteering is happening not only in Queensland but in other States as well. This is the second example of the way in which the little man has been slugged by this Budget.
Because of the limited time that is available to mc, I hope to be able to devote attention to a number of matters at another time. At this point of time I wish to direct attention to the purposes for which the Government intends to devote the additional revenue. The Government proposes to spend £386 million this year on defence. That represents a considerable increase on the sum that has been spent in the last year or two. How much of this sum will be wasted? Already the Mirage construction programme is behind schedule. Already there are many hold-ups in other sections of the defence set up. Some of the money is to be diverted to our forces overseas, but I shall say more about that in a few minutes time. When the Australian Labour Party went before the people in the 1963 election campaign, it said, when outlining its defence policy, that it would ensure that the Royal Australian Air Force had the best possible replacement for the obsolete Canberra bomber. We have been told about the Government’s programme for equipping the Air Force with Fill aircraft, but that programme is continually being delayed. The Labour Party said that, if it were elected to office, it would re-establish Australia’s aircraft industry, which unfortunately is still staggering on its feet. We said that the Army would be provided with at least 14,000 more men to complete the organisation of three new Army battle groups, one to be armoured and two to be mechanised. The greatest contribution that has been made by this Government since 1963 has been to call up young men 20 years of age.
We are developing in our community a new group of people who are known as draft dodgers. That is a shameful state of affairs to be brought about by any government. I believe that, if pay and benefits, including deferred pay, that were payable in time of war were to be introduced there would be no shortage of volunteers for any arm of the Services. I do not blame many of our young men for becoming draft dodgers.
During the last election campaign the Labour Party said also that it would raise the strength of the Pacific Islands Regiment from 700 to an eventual 6,000. I hope that members of the Government are listening to some of the rumbles that are occurring today within the ranks of the Pacific Islands Regiment. Some sections of the Regiment are very unhappy. Labour said also that, subject to the advice of the defence experts, it would purchase or lease a modern aircraft carrier. So far the “ Melbourne “ has not even been sent in for a refit. Without the delivery of the- few new ships that are on order, our Navy is no more modern than it was when the Prime Minister delivered his policy speech in 1963. The Labour Party said that it would revive the Australian shipbuilding industry to supply our naval needs. The shipbuilding industry is no more advanced now than it was when the 1963 election was held. Moreover, we said that we would review all Service pay rates and pension entitlements and introduce a service housing scheme. Very little more than a couple of crumbs has been forthcoming from this Government, and the indications are that it intends to do no more in this respect.
On the first Monday of every month the sirens are sounded in Darwin. I suppose that at least the mechanism is kept in operation. But there is nothing there to defend the front door of this country. We have a handful . of Sabres, a few other miscellaneous units, and tons of room to develop some sort of defence force. Rather than do this, we waste our money. We spend money on the training of national servicemen and then we commit our forces to a war in Vietnam, a war that cannot be. won by anybody, a dirty war. I wish to quote the following paragraph from an article written by a reputable correspondent -
On a number of occasions the Vietnamese soldiers didn’t want to go into the jungle, so as soon as the ‘copter was ready to take off they’d grab the undercarriage and hold on to it. The Americans had no alternative but to fly low over the trees and knock them off.
Honorable senators opposite perhaps did not get beyond the front page of the magazine in which thai article appeared.
T turn to the development of my home State of Queensland. I have here a copy of the Brisbane “Telegraph” published on 24th April 1950, several months after this Government came to power. In an editorial, the following statement appears -
Discounting political implications, the enthusiasm shown by the Federal Minister for Development (Mr. Casey) for the development of North Queensland is heartening. We are not accustomed to Federal Ministers being so interested in our progress.
We are still not accustomed to Federal Ministers being interested in our progress. The editorial continued -
If Commonwealth aid depends on the results of an expert investigation, then the sooner it is undertaken the better. It is only reasonable to expect the Federal Government to make a thorough survey before allocating millions of pounds for developmental works.
We are still waiting for the millions of pounds to be allocated. I want to refer to some other matters pertaining to this great neglected State. Queensland supplies the major part of the primary export income of this country. According to the latest available figures for all exports and imports, there was a favorable balance of £13,436,046. Queensland’s imports of processed and unprocessed primary produce for the twelve months ended June 1964 were valued at £53,413,791, but our total exports of processed and unprocessed primary produce were valued at £371,160,499. So that virtually Queensland is the backbone of this country so far as primary exports and favorable trade balances are concerned. We contribute more per head of population to the general health of the economy than do the people of any other State, but in return for this we are the most neglected.
The Budget contains an allocation for beef roads. This is not a new allocation. It is merely an amount left over from the original allocation. It will be remembered that after the political fright this Government received in December 1961, in the early weeks of 1962 there was general organisation to put some money into Queensland. Ultimately, by an agreement that was assented to on 14th December 1962, we received a total loan allocation for beef roads of £8,300,000. Up to 30th June of this year £5,997,492 had been passed over. The Budget allocation is £2 million for 1965-66, so that we will still need to receive approximately £300,000. I suggest that some of this money has been misspent. If the Commonwealth is not prepared to supervise in some way the expenditure of money that has been made available to the Conservative Government of Queensland for beef roads it is recreant to its trust to the people of Australia and particularly the people of Queensland.
A number of beef roads have proved totally inadequate. There has been variable consolidation in the areas in which they have been constructed. A Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation report dealing with a regional survey of the Leichhardt-Gilbert area claims that no climatic details regarding rainfall and run-off are available. I have been reliably informed that as a result of this there has been extensive damage to bridges and crossings, including the loss of large beams from a major bridge on the Einasleigh River and extensive damage to crossings on Junction Creek and Sandy Creek. If honorable senators refer to pages 9 and 199 of the C.S.I.R.O. report they will see set out recommendations concerning the work that it is necessary to do before proper construction can be carried out in that area. Unfortunately, much of the country in which the beef roads have been constructed is black soil country. As honorable senators who are familiar with that type of country will know, black soil is not the easiest soil in which to construct roads or on which to travel if there are no bitumen roads.
As a further contribution to northern development, the Postmaster-General’s Department has cut out the telephone exchange at Gilbert River and also, I believe, at Wrotham Park and other places. Those are areas of Queensland that can be developed, but is it encouragement to the people who live in those remote areas when the telephone exchanges are discontinued? They are areas in which there has been a tendency from time immemorial for people to indulge in the grand old game of cattle duffing. Because of the extensive party line system and because the exchanges have been taken away, when people want to exchange information on the movement of cattle and so on, they have to speak in code.
Of course, Queensland did receive a magnificent loan of £17,266,667 to rehabilitate the Mount Isa railway. Seventy per cent, of that amount was a Commonwealth loan, and 30 per cent, of the cost of the rehabilitation of the line was raised from State funds. We received this money on more disadvantageous terms than any other State would have received it. We have to pay it back in equal instalments over 20 years. Up to June 1965 we had already paid back more than £24 million.
As 1 stated earlier, one of the big problems in the development of Queensland has been the overall neglect. The Brisbane airport is probably the shop window so far as overseas visitors to the State are concerned. In the allocations that have been made this year, for expenditure on the Brisbane airport we are to receive the magnificent sum of £25,000 with which to build an incinerator. We shall receive very little else. While the Brisbane airport is one of the shop windows of the State, as it were, it is one of the places we are ashamed of. When we try to get money for developmental works we are brushed aside and do not receive sufficient for our needs. One of our greatest concerns is the lack of finance for water conservation and to increase our primary production. We need money also for the development of roads and for a more stable establishment of secondary industries. If the State and Federal Governments cannot encourage private enterprise to become interested in the field of secondary industry in Queensland, it is up to the Government to enter the field and establish industries that are suitable for governmental control.
It will be recalled that in 1963, when we were told that development was to take place in the north, the Premier of Queensland the Premier of Western Australia and the nominees of the Prime Minister decided they would get together to draft some kind of a plan. There have been approximately three meetings since then, but there has been very little planning. Labour’s policy in this regard envisages the establishment of a ministry, with suitable organisation, for the purpose of going ahead with the development that is required, not only in northern Queensland, but in other parts of the Commonwealth as well.
I want to touch very briefly on three or four of the major primary industries in Queensland which need assistance. At the outset let me say that in the Budget the Government proposes - this is a magnificent contribution to northern development - to give Queensland up to £1,635,000 to finance harbour and township works at Weipa. The Government has allocated £750,000 of this amount for the current financial period. I do not know why the Government will not do something like this for an industry that is wholly Queensland or Australian owned or controlled. The company concerned is at least 95 per cent, controlled by overseas capital. We require help with some of our major crops. A statement on this subject was made recently by Mr. B. Johnson, General Manager of the Queensland Cotton Marketing Board. 1 am raising this matter because cotton could be a major crop in Queensland. It has been proved on the Ord River that, with the assistance of irrigation, up to 1,950 lb. of cotton an acre can be harvested. With the implementation of the system of ratoon cropping, which admittedly is an experimental phase of this kind of primary production, probably an- additional 1,000 lb. an acre could be procured. Mr. Johnson said -
This year’s Australian production of 45,000 bales of raw cotton is only one-third of Australian spinners’ present needs, and these needs will continue to increase.
The raw cotton market in South East Asian countries is in the vicinity of 4.5 million bales, some of which could no doubt be secured by Australia.
This is an industry which has practically disappeared from Queensland. There has been no governmental encouragement by way of an irrigation scheme and every time anyone from Queensland mentions the now famous Burdekin water conservation and irrigation scheme he is usually laughed at by members of the Government.
Another major export earner in our State is sugar. I will have much more to say about this at a later stage. The sugar industry has slipped. Immediately after the Cuban crisis our sugar was at a record price but now it has dropped to between £19 5s. and £19 10s. sterling a ton. This is not good enough. If the sugar industry is not looked after it will go out of existence. In fact, it is on the verge of doing so now.
The tobacco industry is another dying industry. Those who do not smoke might say that this is a good thing. Recently an attempt was made to establish some kind of stabilisation scheme for the growers. Those who come from the tobacco areas know the battle that the growers are putting up. Because of the very poor prices that they are receiving for their crops they may not be able to meet the debts to which they have been committed while the crops have been growing. I venture to say that one tobacco manufacturer in particular is determined that the stabilisation scheme shall not come into existence. The company is being aided in its attempts by an apathetic government. Eventually, this will wreck the economy of the tobacco industry.
The company concerned - I do not like to mention its name but it was mentioned in the Queensland Parliament a few days ago so I will use it - is Rothmans. It is significant that imports of South African tobacco have increased appreciably over the past three or four years. In 1957-58 we imported 28,264 lb. of tobacco from South Africa for which an average price of 60.09d. a lb. was paid. In 1963-64 our imports increased to 4,978,721 lb. for which an average price of 69.36d. a lb. was paid. The total value of the tobacco imported was £1,438,922. The figures I have cited have been obtained from South African documents. Incidentally, South African tobacco is mostly of a particularly poor quality but this has not prevented manufacturers from buying it and mixing it with the best grade Australian leaf so that the South African tobacco is considerably improved in quality.
The South African Tobacco Industry Control Board, in its report of 30th April 1964, gives the average net rate as the Australian currency equivalent of about 31d. a lb. The South African Agricultural Union quotes the average price for flue cured tobacco for 1963-64 as about 36d. a lb. and light air cured tobacco as about 28d. a lb. What is the need to import from South Africa tobacco which is produced under conditions which we would not tolerate in this country? Why do we import tobacco from South Africa and assist in killing what could be one of Australia’s strongest primary industries?
The only other point about which I want to be critical in particular measure is that
Queensland’s minerals are being given away to other countries. Two refineries were established there recently but they cannot process Moonie oil. Incidentally, the oil companies cannot reach agreement on prices so they are processing for only a restricted period. Let me refer to the royalties which are paid to the people of Queensland on the minerals which have been extracted from Queensland’s mines. In this financial year we will spend £750,000 of a total of £1* million developing harbour installations at Weipa, yet for the year ended 30th June 1965 royalties on bauxite amounted to only £7,514. Royalties on Moura coal totalled £29,785, on operations at Mount Isa mines £242,526, and on Moonie oil £158,583 making a grand total of £438,408. In other words, when it all boils down royalties totalled less than half a million pounds. Queensland, the richest mineral producing State in Australia, is giving way its natural resources to outside interests.
Statements were made recently by the Government on drought relief. These statements indicate the Government’s complete lack of interest in the subject. In the statement which he read in this House the Leader of the Government (Senator Paltridge) said -
The provision of assistance such as this is properly a State responsibility and the States have the administrative machinery to handle it. After careful consideration, we have decided that it would not be appropriate for the Commonwealth to participate directly in the financing of such measures.
He was referring to drought relief. The statement relates primarily to the drought in New South Wales and Queensland and not to the drought which has persisted for a number of years in central Australia. The Minister for Territories in another place came out with a magnificent statement about assistance for the drought afflicted people in the Northern Territory. The Minister said that cattle numbers in the Territory had increased to about 350,000 by 1958 but they have now declined to about 130,000. To ease the burden the Government will make the magnificent gesture of giving a direct grant of about £115,000. That might be about enough to buy a bushel of corn for each starving cow in the Territory. As the time allotted to me has almost expired, I shall refer to this subject at a later date.
There is a real challenge to the Government to do something for the pensioners, the underprivileged section in this community, and for the development of Australia to make this one of the great nations, if not the greatest nation, in the Asian sphere.
.- 1 am the third speaker tonight to make his first speech in the Senate. I think I feel as they explained they felt. First of all, I would like to thank all honorable senators on both sides of the House, and the officials for the kind welcome they have given me on taking office in this chamber. I wish to congratulate the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) on his Budget for 1965-66. Its purpose is to maintain our expansion and development programme while at the same time making provision for greatly increased defence commitments. General approval of the Budget by most sections of the Australian Press reflects the general approval of the Australian people.
I would like to draw attention to the severe drought in many parts of Queensland, to its likely effect on the economy of that State and the nation in the near future, and more especially to its effect on our export earnings. This drought, which has persisted in many parts of Queensland for some considerable time, especially some areas where summer rains have failed to materialise, more recently has extended to regions nearer to the coast. It has affected the livestock industry and -agriculture, including wheat and sugar, in some districts. It has caused a setback to business people and residents in many towns. The recent statement by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) on the subject, especially his reference to financial help for Queensland and New South Wales, is welcome. So is the report that the Premier of Queensland is to ask the Commonwealth for substantial financial assistance towards drought relief in his State.
It is very difficult for Government departments to make a correct assessment of losses of livestock in a drought as there is a considerable lag in returns. I believe that stock losses will prove greater than at present estimated. One thing is certain, however, and that is that many stock owners will not forget this drought for some time. They have incurred such debts in keeping their stock alive that it will be years before they can reduce those debts to manageable proportions. In the meantime, development work on their properties must of necessity cease to the detriment of themselves, the country towns and the nation as a whole. There are numerous cases, where, already, stock owners have incurred debts for fodder greater than’ the present day value of their stock and they still do not know when relief will come in the form of drought breaking rain. It is essential that adequate finance be made available to enable stock owners to carry on and see the drought through and to save as many stock as possible. When the drought eventually breaks, many men on the land will require additional finance for rehabilitation, re-stocking and so on. Many of these men will be outside the normal banking risks, being already very deep in debt because of the drought. Arrangements must be made therefore to overcome the situation they will face.
It will be essential that, as soon as rains fall, all possible measures be taken as to help stock owners restore their numbers and so reduce as far as possible the impact on the nation’s export earnings and on the economy. I might mention that although income tax concessions are a help to many they are not much help to those people without an income. Planning to mitigate the effects of future droughts is another problem altogether and I propose to talk about that on a future occasion.
Mr. President, I now wish to deal with the development of the northern part of Australia. I take a much more optimistic view about that development than the previous speaker, Senator Keeffe. In the past eight years the Governments of the Commonwealth and of Queensland in partnership have initiated schemes designed to develop the northern part of my State. Development on these lines had not previously been attempted but already it has had a marked effect on the economy of Queensland and its progress. I would like to mention some of these projects. There is the Mount Isa rail reconstruction, beef roads, the brigalow scheme, port assistance and pasture research. I am pleased to see that this Budget has made provision for the completion of works already under way and for a new scheme, the harbour works at Weipa which are, in my opinion, most important. 1 believe that one of the greatest problems facing Australia today is the lopsided pattern of growth which has concentrated such a preponderance of our population in the south eastern corner of the continent and left the far northern areas so under populated and under developed. This makes Australia very vulnerable from a defence point of view. Much of the far north is in a good rainfall area. The rainfall may be seasonal but it is good. I believe that the best prospects of development are in mining and in cattle raising, with good possibilities from sea food, tropical agriculture and the cultured pearl industry. But first and foremost the area requires communications in the form of good roads. By way of illustration of this point I would like to refer to the case of the gulf country town of Normanton. Isolated as far as roads were concerned since the earliest days of settlement it now has a good bitumen road nearing completion from Julia Creek, about 220 miles away. It has a reasonable dry weather road to Cairns well over 300 miles away. Its isolation has gone. Normanton, formerly a port for the Croydon goldfield, can now go ahead as development proceeds; and proceed it must now that it has good road access.
Mount lsa is an example of what the mining industry means to an area. It is a thriving centre with a population of about 15,000 people enjoying all modern amenities and good living conditions, despite its isolation and its distance from a capital city and the harsh nature of the country in which it is located. I would also like to refer to the adjoining town of Mary Kathleen, about 40 miles away. I understand that there is a possibility of a new uranium contract and this will mean the re-opening of this town. It is at present in mothballs but it is perfectly preserved and just ready to open up when required. This must have some effect on the economy of that part of the State. The provision in the Budget for harbour works at Weipa on the west coast of Cape York peninsula will allow shipments to be made from this northernmost deposit of bauxite to the Queensland port of Gladstone where the alumina refinery is in the course of construction. Weipa, the site of an aboriginal mission station, must develop into a town. The beef industry in the far north for the first time, owing to more remunerative prices, is able to change its outlook and methods and begin to practise the type of management followed for some time in areas closer to markets; that is, to embark on the production of better quality younger stock, through sub-division by fencing, and water and pasture improvement. Beef roads have helped, Mr. President. I have shown already that they enable fat cattle to be got out without loss of condition. Cattle can be moved in time of drought. They save the condition of stock and they are of vital necessity because road drovers are now a thing of the past.
I recently had the pleasure of being present at the opening of the Tropical Pastures Research Station at Townsville. This laboratory is magnificently equipped and is run in conjunction with a field station at Lansdown, which is not far away from it. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s scientists stationed there will be able to concentrate on research, the results of which could revolutionise the growth of the pastoral industry. The fact that a legume, Townsville lucerne, is already acclimatised and has spread over coastal districts of Queensland from Gladstone north to the Gulf country, Cape York Peninsula and the Torres Strait Islands as well as parts of the Northern Territory, is of the utmost importance to north Queensland. Apparently accidentally introduced through the port of Townsville in the early years of the present century, by 1945 it had become widely acclimatised in many areas.
North of the Tropic of Capricorn, the wet season provides an abundance of green fodder but, with the coming of the long dry winter and spring, most grasses either lose their palatability or their protein content or both, and have value for stock only as roughage or bulk. Townsville lucerne, on the other hand, is more palatable dry than when green and, as well, it retains a good ‘level of protein. One of the great soil deficiencies in northern Australia is nitrogen and Townsville lucerne goes a long way to restoring this deficiency. Thus it will be seen that the value of Townsville lucerne to an expanding cattle industry in the north cannot be over-emphasised. Moreover, successful maintenance of pastures containing Townsville lucerne requires that they be grazed hard.
Townsville lucerne is naturally been given the attention it deserves at the Townsville laboratory, along with other promising legumes, pasture plants and grasses. This laboratory could achieve a major breakthrough for the pastoral industry in all parts of northern Australia. The Government and the Minister responsible for its establishment are to be congratulated. It will definitely help in solving the problems of the north.
Water is destined to play an important part in our northern development. Preliminary investigations by the Australian Water Resources Council show that 60 per cent, of Australia’s water resources are north of the Tropic of Capricorn and that the greater part of them are in North Queensland. The percentage run-off is very high, and so far very little of the water is being conserved. Oil prospecting has revealed hitherto unknown sources of underground water and these bores should be utilised and not just abandoned as they are at present. They should be put to some practical use. In the northern areas, where rainfall is confined to the few months of the summer season it is. essential that water be conserved to tide stock, and later crops, over the remaining parts of the year.
Investigations by the Water Resources Council have already achieved much but this work should be intensified and extended right up to the top of Cape York so that the best and most economical way of using all this water can be learnt. I might add that as yet, one of the best rivers on Cape York Peninsula, the Jardine, has not been tested by the Council. I hope a start will be made on that very soon. There are apparently good reserves of underground water in parts of the Peninsula, as is shown at the workings at Weipa, where large quantities have to be pumped out daily. In a continent which, over all, is so short of water we, as a nation, cannot afford not to make more use of these now mostly unused water resources.
Another essential for the quick develop-, ment of Cape York Peninsula and the Torres Strait islands is a good all-weather road right to the top of the Peninsula, with a branch to Weipa. This does not present any great engineering difficulties, except for the crossing of the Jardine River. There is at present a good road from Mareeba to
Cooktown. Cars can travel us far as Coen in the dry season but, from there on, there is only a jeep track along the overland telegraph line to Cape York and it is used by the telegraph linesmen to patrol the line in dry weather only. There is no road at all to Weipa, which will soon have a population of about 1,000.
On the Torres Strait islands, Thursday Island and Bamaga, there are between 7,000 and 8,000 people - white, Aboriginal, Torres Strait island and mixed Asiatic. Bamaga alone has 1,000 people and Thursday Island 2,500. In no other part of Australia are there so many people without road access. The only passenger communication with the area is a bi-weekly plane service to Cairns, 450 miles away, and a few berths on a infrequent shipping service. The single air fare is £22 8s. and the single fare by sea is £29 and that takes passengers only to Cairns. They are still 1,000 miles from Brisbane and 2,000 miles from Melbourne. It is not hard to work out the cost of a holiday for a Thursday Island family; they just do not go.
A good road to the top of the Peninsula would make a tremendous difference to communications and would greatly speed development and provide access to markets. North of Bamaga there are between 50,000 and 60,000 acres of solid untouched rain forest, among the best of its kind in Australia. South of Bamaga there are tens of thousands of acres of reasonably good open forest cattle country. All this country forms the Cape York Government settlement for aboriginal people and, as assimilation proceeds, it must be developed by and for them, with their eventual ownership of farms and grazing properties. Already some of these people have been settled in this way, but road access and improved communications would greatly expedite this highly desirable development. In fact, they are essential.
The Aboriginal population of Queensland is estimated to have been about 50,000 at the time of the coming of the white man. By the end of the nineteenth century the Aborigines were considered to be a dying race and in 1910 there were only 10,000 of them - an all-time low. Today our Aboriginal population, including 8,000 Torres Strait Islanders, numbers 50,000 - the original number when white settlement began - and is increasing rapidly. The Aboriginal people form a significant part of the overall population of the State. The greatest concentration is found in the far north. The building up of the native people is a great credit to the Queensland Department of Native Affairs.
The Torres Strait Islands people, who have a culture and language of their own, are also increasing rapidly in number but their main source of livelihood - diving for pearls, trochus and beche de mer - has just about come to an end. Many of them have left or are leaving to seek work further afield, for example, on rail construction or on the cane fields. Six pearl culture stations in Torres Strait provide some employment for the Island men. There arc about 500 employed in pearl culture work. There are 35 Japanese technicians directing the work, lt seems hard to understand why, in an area apparently abounding in fish and other sea foods, a fishing industry could not be established for a seafaring people like these Islanders. Unfortunately there are not cannery or freezing works in the north. I understand that the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industry and the Queensland Department of Fisheries are conducting a survey of fish life in northern waters, including the Gulf of Carpentaria. This survey should soon show what are the possibilities in that area. It is not generally understood that the Torres Strait Islands are part of the Slate of Queensland. I cannot too strongly emphasise that they are not territories, but part of our State.
The whole Strait is a mass of islands and reefs, with only one steamer passage near Thursday Island. One of the Eastern Islands, Stephens Island, is approximately 120 miles north east of Cape York. Two of the Western Islands, Saibai and Boigu, are within sight of the Papuan mainland. In fact, whilst still in Queensland on Saibai Island it is possible to look across and see with the naked eye several Papuan villages about five miles away. Boigu, an inhabited part of Queensland, is less than 70 miles from the nearest point of West Irian, our nearest foreign neighbour. Altogether in the Torres Strait there are about 18 inhabited islands. Livestock of any kind are not permitted on any of the Torres Strait Islands. This is in order to preserve a buffer area against the introduction of overseas livestock discuses. I refer particularly to the foot and mouth disease. The people on Thursday Island have to get their meat in frozen form from Cairns.
Queensland has more to offer the visitor from the southern States and overseas than has any other part of Australia. From Coolangatta to Cooktown there is a variety of scenery and attractions which are unsurpassed. The Barrier Reef, fishing and the climate are all good currency earners for the State. When road communication to the top of the Cape York Peninsula and possibly a car ferry to Thursday Island are established, as must be done in the not too distant future, a vast new tourist area with many unique attractions will be added. This will include the historic residency at Somerset, which was established by the Jardine brothers and which has long since been abandoned. Further south in the Fitzroy basin the brigalow scheme, which is the result of a Commonwealth and State partnership, has hastened development of a large region which has a reasonably good rainfall and which is reasonably close to markets. The brigalow tree, a member of the acacia family, is possibly Australia’s largest legume. It has enriched the soil in the brigalow areas for countless centuries, and it accounts for the nitrogen content and fertility of the soil. However, experience has shown that this fertility tends to decline after 15 to 20 years when the brigalow growth has been removed. Provision then has to be made for restoring the nitrogen by the leguminous crops or fertilisers. Experience has shown also that the brigalow tree is very difficult to destroy. Extreme care must be taken to establish pastures as soon as possible after clearing, otherwise the resultant sucker growth costs more to clear than the original brigalow scrub. Associated with the brigalow lands development are the Fitzroy River basin and the Burdekin River basin. They are two of the best river systems in Queensland for large scale water conservation.
Queensland’s sugar industry is just completing a great expansion programme. Unfortunately, world prices have fallen to a low level, and part of the Bundaberg sugar district has been hard hit by drought. The Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen), and the Premier of Queensland, Mr. Nicklin, carry our good wishes in their coming trip to Geneva to negotiate a new sugar agreement. 1 turn now to mining. Mention must be made of coal. Despite dieselisation, Queensland is now mining more coal than ever before in its history. Most of it is for export to Japan. Moura in central Queensland, so far, is the principal source of supply. The coal is being shipped through Gladstone. A new direct railway from the Moura field to this port is being built. There is a good prospect of another field being opened up soon near Blackwater, also in Central Queensland, for the export trade. All of this must make a substantial contribution to our export income.
Queensland is at last establishing secondary industries. One major undertaking now under construction is the alumina plant at Gladstone to refine Weipa bauxite. Calcap, which is a huge power station on the Callide coal field in central Queensland, has just been commissioned to help supply the electric power requirements for the alumina refinery. There are two oil refineries in Queensland now. One is already in production, and the other will soon commence operations. A new cement works and a new meat works have been established in Rockhampton, where also a barrage is to be built across the Fitzroy river to provide unlimited fresh water for secondary industry. The expanding industrialisation of Townsville, and the Army base which is being established there, mean a greatly increased population to a city north of the Tropic of Capricorn. All of these things which I have mentioned constitute major progress for this State. I definitely do not agree with what Senator Keeffe said about the lack of development. I believe that the development is continuing and that it will proceed on a much greater scale. But there is room for much more progress and much more industry. We have started now. We want industry in the north - the further north the better. There is room for many more people - again, the further north the better. More access roads must be provided in the far north.
As I have pointed out, investigations into our water resources and pasture experiments must be greatly accelerated. I am quite sure that the people in the southern part of Queensland and in the southern States will give full support to a sound programme to develop and people the far northern parts of Australia. This will help the defence aspect by removing the temptation to others of vast open spaces, and it will provide more home markets and thus enable this area to share generally in the increasing costs of Government and services. But time is against us. It is limited. We cannot afford any further delays. Let us get on with the job.
As I said earlier, I support the Budget and oppose the amendment. The Budget will not do anything to hinder the expansion and development programme in which this country has been engaged for many years. It provides a greatly increased amount of money for our defence commitments, and provides the incentive and encouragement for free enterprise people to carry on a heritage handed down to us by the pioneers. It is our obligation to pass on a better Australia to our childern and to those who succeed us in this country. Let us make the decade of the sixties the greatest period of expansion and development that Australia has ever known, with special emphasis on the northern part of the continent.
– Mr. President, at the outset I desire, on behalf of Senator McManus and myself, to congratulate you and Senator DrakeBrockman on your re-election to the positions of President and Chairman of Committees respectively. From the reports I received before and since coming to this Senate, your reputation is one of fairness and efficient control of the Senate. I realise that you have an onerous task, as President of the Senate, and a very important one for the preservation of our Parliamentary system of Government. You have the task of preserving the dignity and prestige of this branch of our parliamentary system. Indeed, each and every senator shares that responsibility. I believe they will accept it and carry it out.
After 28 years experience in the State Parliament of Queensland, I am satisfied that much of the criticism, cynicism and ridicule that is heaped on Parliament from time to time by a section of the Press and the public is brought about by some unthinking parliamentarians themselves. Fortunately, they are in the minority. I suppose tn that case we can console ourselves with the old saying: There are weeds to be found in the best kept gardens.
At this stage I should like to express my sincere and deep regret that my colleague and friend, Mr. George Cole, was narrowly defeated in the Senate election in December of last year. Mr. Cole served in this Senate continuously since 1949. During those years he may be credited with having served the people of Australia, and Tasmania in particular, with distinction, conscientiously and well. Mr. Cole demonstrated during his public life that he was a man of character who was never prepared to compromise when a principle was involved. I am confident that his absence from this chamber is only temporary and that he will return at the next opportunity that the people of Tasmania have of electing him as one of their representatives to the Senate. In the meantime, I am sure that honorable senators join with me in wishing him well. If it is not inappropriate, Mr. President, I should like to say that I assume my new position with the same measure of enthusiasm as I believe characterised my many years of public service in the parliament of my native State. I come into this sphere of Australian politics with a full consciousness and realisation of the bigger and more vital matters with which the Federal Parliament is required to deal compared with those that concern State parliaments. However, I feel that my years of experience as a member of parliament, a Minister, and Premier of Queensland, and my knowledge of the State, should stand me in good stead and be of some value to this Senate. I am primarily hopeful that, in co-operation with other Queensland representatives of all political shades we shall, between us, succeed in persuading the Government to give Queensland and its development greater recognition than has been the case over the years.
For many years it was my privilege to attend meetings of Australian Loan Council and Premiers’ Conferences, and I am compelled to say that my constant appeal to the Commonwealth Government to assist financially developmental projects of a national character in Queensland received little or no response. I was often chided by my political opponents in the State Parliament that I did not make the proper approach and that I should have used the honeyed tongue. With the passing of the years a political accident happened in Queensland and the Opposition became the Government. The same gentlemen who had counselled me to use the honeyed tongue very soon found that the fact that they belonged to the same political parties as those in government in Canberra counted for nought; and the results of their missions to Canberra for several years were as successful as Mother Hubbard’s to the cupboard. When I used to complain, members of the Opposition charged me with making a political football of the matter of financial aid from the Commonwealth. Imagine my secret mirth, Mr. President, when the present Premier and Treasurer commenced to complain publicly of the poor deal that they received from Canberra.
During the period that the Government of Queensland was led by the late Mr. Hanlon and later by myself, several important developmental works were undertaken, such as the Burdekin River high level railway and traffic bridge, the Burdekin River flood prevention, hydro-electric and irrigation scheme, the Tully Falls hydro-electric scheme, the Walsh River irrigation scheme, the Mareeba-Dimbulah scheme and the Tinaroo Dam. Ali of these projects were carried out and financed by the State Government alone. Not one penny of Commonwealth money was contributed in the form of a grant or loan to any of those projects, notwithstanding definite and public promises by Federal Ministers that the Commonwealth would assist financially. Mr. R. G. Casey, as he was then, as Minister for National Development in 1950 said that he could see more opportunity in Queensland for constructive developmental works than in any other State of the Commonwealth and that the people of Queensland would not find the Commonwealth Government hanging back in these matters. The same gentleman, in a letter dated 28th August 1950. said in regard to the Burdekin and other developmental schemes, that the Commonwealth officers agreed that it would be desirable to proceed as early as possible with the irrigation of about 30,000 acres of better class soils adjoining the river for production of tobacco and other high value crops.
The view was held that if the scientific and farm management problems were attacked vigorously there was every reason to expect that the economic use of these areas would be possible by the time the water could be made available. Mr. Casey said, further - lt looks as if the anticipated demand for power in I he area within the economic reach of the Burdekin could warrant the main Burdekin Dam being largely justified from the power point of view.
With regard to the Mareeba-Dimbulah scheme, Mr. Casey had this to say -
The tentative view of officers is that provided some Government contribution is made to the capital cost of the headworks the irrigation project could be regarded as economically sound when compared with irrigation projects in other States.
On the Tully Falls project, Mr. Casey said -
I believe there is unanimous agreement on the desirability of proceeding with this scheme as speedily as possible.
But not a penny of Commonwealth money or assistance was received for any of these projects. The facts are than on 23rd April 1950 Mr. Casey was such an enthusiastic supporter of the Burdekin scheme that he hailed it as a great potential scheme which he hoped and believed was going to be one of the greatest developmental works. Three days later, on 26th April 1950, Mr. Casey was reported as saying that the development of Queensland was an Australian responsibility. My old friend, Sir Arthur Fadden, said in his policy speech at Boonah on 17th November 1959-
We will proceed with the Burdekin scheme immediately and not keep it in the pigeonhole as a blueprint for depression.
I mention these cases not because 1 am living in the past but in order to prove that Queensland’s development has not been recognised by the Commonwealth Government in the past. Really, as another speaker has already said, it was not until the Commonwealth Government got a big fright in 1961 that it became interested in Queensland and then provided financial aid in the form of grants and long term loans for the brigalow land development scheme, beef cattle roads, and loading facilities for the export of coal to Japan. I am pleased to note that in the Budget now under discussion provision is made for a loan to finance harbour and town works at Weipa and further finance is being provided for beef roads. I sincerely hope that the Government will not falter and that it will continue to see the great - importance of these beef roads. For as long as I was in the State Government 1 heard them talked about, but not a penny of assistance could the State Government get towards implementing them. Having started them, let us continue with them and we might get somewhere in the beef cattle industry.
Anyone who has been associated with a State Government knows that it is not able to handle financially any major developmental projects because of its limited loan allocation and the great demand that is made upon it, particularly at this time, for school buildings, hospital buildings, forestry and main roads works. There is not any money available to enable the State Government to undertake a large project. One might ask from where did the Queensland Government get the money to carry out the projects that I have enumerated here this evening. Those funds were accumulated and husbanded during the war years when revenues were buoyant. From those funds we were able to carry out those projects. It is true they were slow, because we were unable to obtain any supplementary assistance from the Federal Government. Often we were chided because the projects took so long to complete, but it was necessary to supplement our loan allocations from the funds we had accumulated and, at the same time, carry on the works which we believed to be national in character and indispensable to the development of Queensland and Australia.
A State Government has a lot of financial problems. I agreed with Mr. Casey when he said that if public works are national in character, they become a national as well as a State responsibility. They should be carried out by a Commonwealth and State partnership in the interests of the nation. I do not suppose that any honorable senator would suggest that Queensland is yet a completely developed State. When works in an underdeveloped State receive Commonwealth aid, not only does the State benefit, but benefit accrues also to the Commonwealth. The National Government must be associated with national works and should financially assist State Governments in national development.
Decentralisation is closely allied with national development. I refer to the decentralisation of industry and people, and ultimately of administration and ownership. It is an essential ingredient of any balanced and progressive plan for national development. The Federal Government has shown no evidence that it has a positive policy of decentralisation. Surely it must be patent to every thinking person that this young country is lopsided. With a population of about 1.1 million people, approximately 7 million are living in two States and about 60 per cent, of that number are living in the two capital cities of those States. The major industries are concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne or in nearby cities such as Newcastle, Wollongong and Port Kembla, and cities close to Melbourne. These cities provide excellent targets for an enemy. Many of them could be blown to smithereens by a few. modern missiles, but nothing is being done to decentralise population or industry. I wonder whether it has occurred to honorable senators when in our big cities that a tremendous and almost unbearable burden is borne by local government authorities in the provision of foot paths, water reticulation, lighting, gas and all the other services essential to the daily lives of the people.
The Australian Democratic Labour Party has a positive and detailed policy for decentralisation. We propose that the taxation structure should be altered so that decentralisation of industry and population can and will occur. We do not intend that the Government should take an extra penny for this purpose out of national income. We say that the manner in which the Government raises the necessary revenue can be altered in order to achieve decentralisation. The D.L.P. proposes that income tax, company tax and sales tax should be reduced and a decentralisation tax imposed to balance the Budget. It is our policy to provide low interest, long term shifting and setting up loans for industries moving from large cities to rural areas. These industries should be helped by the supply of cheap power and housing, and health and educational facilities as the population develops. The D.L.P. would make special taxation rebates for decentralised industry. We support the establishment of new States in areas placed at a big disadvantage in their development by centralised political and economic control. We would make a special drive to progressively open up and exploit our huge undeveloped northern areas. With this in view, we would immediately establish a
Northern Australia Development Commission as a statutory body, comprised of representatives of the Northern Territory. The Commission would be supplied with funds to survey the natural resources and communication needs of the area and to plan for stage by stage development.
Anyone with knowledge of Queensland - particularly of the far north - knows that the most urgent need is for increased communications through more roads. Cape York Peninsula is one of the most fertile parts of Queensland. There is a great and urgent demand for a road north of Mossman across the beautiful Daintree River into the heart of the Peninsula, through an area known as Bailey’s Creek. I am informed that it is one of the most fertile parts of the State. After World War II many ex-servicemen, including Victorians, settled in that area. I met some of them on the southern bank of the Daintree River after they had rowed across to meet me. They told me that they could grow almost anything there, but their difficulty was in getting their produce to market. A lot of the bays along the coast, such as those near Cape Tribulation, are very aptly named. They are not all-weather bays, and boats cannot enter at all times to bring out the products of the primary producers there. A road is therefore an urgent need and I believe that the Commonwealth Government should give some consideration to this matter. I believe it to be a necessary part of our national development to open up that part of the country.
I have always believed that the development of States such as Queensland has been retarded over the years because of petty State jealousies. I think there was a lot of that trouble at one time. I hope we have grown up sufficiently to recognise that we are all Australians and that what is done in Queensland, because of its natural potential, whether in the field of minerals or primary products, ultimately will bring benefit to. Australia in return for any Commonwealth moneys expended there in the interests of national development. I am sure that petty State jealousies once did exist. I hope that we have seen . the end of the bigger States using their strength to influence the Commonwealth Government to exclude the claims of the smaller States. I hope also that national development will not become a political football. I emphasise that because of the recent announcement that Dr. Rex Patterson, the Director of the Northern Division of the Department of National Development, has exercised his undeniable right to ally himself to a particular party. I hope that that will not be the cause of any disputation and that everybody will be big enough to recognise the merits of each case that comes forward for consideration.
Now, Mr. Acting Deputy President, I desire to address myself to the Budget that was presented by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) on 17th August. An attack is called for on the Government’s revenue proposals, with some comments about social services. It is not my intention to devote a lot of time tonight to social services, as 1 understand that an opportunity to discuss the subject will be available when the estimates of the various departments come before the Senate, lt has been said that finance is government and government is finance. That being so, it can safely be said that the Budget, which is a report on the economy, a financial statement on the previous year’s operations, and an outline of the Government’s proposals for the current year, unquestionably is the most important document to which we have to direct our attention.
No Treasurer succeeds in giving entire satisfaction through his Budgets, and the Budget with which we are dealing is no exception. I recall Sir Arthur Fadden saying to me one day in the streets of Brisbane after he had delivered what is commonly known as the little budget: “ I think I could entertain my friends at the present time in a telephone box”. Probably he was right. That reflected the reaction to his Budget. I have been a State Treasurer, although with less responsibility than a Federal Treasurer in the field of taxation and for introducing measures that make one unpopular, and I know that there are many people and organisations in the community which everlastingly say: “ Give me, give me.” But, as Forgan Smith used to say, you cannot get more out of a paint tin than the paint in it. There is a lot in that saying. We must display some sympathy for a Treasurer because I am sure that, if he is at all human, he does not introduce unpopular measures because he likes doing so.
The present Federal Treasurer can be assured of two things: First, he can be assured that a big section of the community which expected the Budget to provide for greater tax increases is very pleased with the Budget. Secondly, he can be assured that pensioners believe that their just claim for increased payments to meet increases in the cost of living and the services that are provided received scant consideration. If the pensioner was able to have a pot of beer or a packet of cigarettes before the Budget was introduced, he now can have none at all because of the increased cost of living, which has been aggravated by increased excise and customs duty on beer, spirits and tobacco products.
I am opposed to this form of taxation, because it is sectional and unfair. A man who is in receipt of £5,000 a year and another man who receives £1,000 a year and who consumes the same quantity of beer or spirits or who smokes the same quantity of cigarettes or tobacco pay the same amount of tax on those commodities. I should have preferred to see a greater increase in income tax which, when all is said and done, is the fairest form of taxation.
I am sorry that provision was not made in the Budget for an increase in pensions and for the abolition of taxation on the fixed income of a superannuated person - an income for which he contributed when he was in active service, usually at great sacrifice to himself and his family. When he was contributing for superannuation he was required to pay income tax as well, but because he made provision for his old age he is now unable to obtain a pension. Nevertheless, he has the privilege of paying tax on his income which, I repeat, in the main is his own money but which includes some subsidy from his employer, particularly if he was in government service.
If the Government believes that it is not in a position to increase pensions, then it has an obligation to protect the pensioner, and for that matter the general public, from the constant increases in the cost of essential items and services which, of course, have the effect of reducing the purchasing power of the pension below what it was intended to be. The Government itself is guilty of reducing the value of the pension by increasing customs and excise duties on spirits, beer and tobacco. The man who is still in active service has some chance - how great is a matter of opinion - of recouping some of it from increasing wages, but the pensioner has none at all. The society or government that ignores the just claims of the needy of our community and deprives them of the necessities of life is falling far short of what one mi’ght expect at this time of buoyancy and unprecedented affluence.
I should have been better pleased with the Budget if it had provided for some increased payments under the heading of child endowment, particularly for large families. Surely that was not too much to expect at a time when the Australian birth rate is at the lowest level in 22 years and when family subsidies as well as pensions have been drastically undermined by inflation. The new modern method of birth control that has received much publicity is being blamed for the alarming drop in the natural birth rate. I am not in a position to confirm or deny the truth of that assertion, but I suppose there is a measure of truth in it. But let us not overlook the fact that the economic factor has an influence on the position, too. The only way in which the situation can be remedied is to give the family man something more. The most effective way in which lo help him is to increase child endowment. The “Financial Review” pointed out in a recent issue that “French, Canadian and Australian Governments offer direct economic awards for childbearing in the form of progressive child endowment and maternity allowances “. However, it pointed out that in Australia in 1963-64 the family subsidies took more than 4.2 per cent, of total Commonwealth. expenditure compared with the Canadian figure of 13 per cent. I believe that increased child endowment is the only way in which we can compensate the worker with a. family for his additional commitments. It would be timely to increase child endowment for the reasons I have stated and because of the fall in the birth rate. It would help a section of the workers who were overlooked by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission when it recently granted an increase in margins. The family is the pivot of our society. That may be a hackneyed phrase. Nevertheless it is as true today as it was when it was first used. So let us encourage the family and assist it in every way possible.
On the question of social services I think it is becoming more apparent every day that it is urgently necessary to adopt the policy of the Australian Democratic Labour Party which provides for the establishement of a tribunal to determine social services for our people. The need for such a tribunal has been confirmed by the comments of some of the speakers in this debate. They have said, in effect, “ Well, the pensioners did not get anything this year because it is not an election year, but they can look forward to something next year because that will be an election year.” If that is the major consideration in determining whether or not pensioners should receive an increase of pension, I think it is poor and scandalous. There is only one consideration that should determine this question and that is the merit of the case. One would not need to be a Philadelphia assessor to determine whether or not the recipients of social services benefits were entitled to an increase.
There are many other items in the Budget about which I should like to comment, but I shall postpone any lengthy comments for the time being. Those items include assistance to schools for the construction of science blocks, which I approve, and the question of scholarships. I am all for giving every assistance to our talented and brilliant sons and daughters to enable them to go on to higher education. I have always advocated the removal of financial barriers which prevent brilliant boys and girls from proceeding to our universities and graduating in one or other of the many faculties. Those barriers deny to Australia the talent and brilliance that could be utilised in many important fields of our community life. I am on side with assistance to universities provided that a very close scrutiny is made of the expenditure of moneys allocated to universities. I have not had very much experience in this respect, but I have had sufficient experience to know that those who direct universities have a one-track mind - perhaps it is to the good - in that they believe that money grows on trees and is to be expended sometimes in a wild and woolly fashion. I hope that those who are charged with the responsibility of seeing that disbursements from the Treasury to universities, and for that matter to the Army, the Navy, the Air Force or in any other direction, will see to it that the money is properly expended.
I move on to the all-important matter Oil the amount to be appropriated for defence. I wish to express my support of the decision to increase the appropriation for the defence of this country, but I consider it still inadequate. Because I consider it inadequate I propose to move an amendment to Senator Kennelly’s amendment to the motion that the Senate take note of the Budget Papers. I move - “ At end of Senator Kennelly’s proposed amendment add the following words -
The Senate further declares that provision for defence in the Budget is still inadequate to meet the needs of Australia’s security, and the essential and justifiable commitments, which we have undertaken in South Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and South East Asia generally.
The Senate declares that effective defence requires much increased specific and separate budgetary provision.’.”.
For many years the Party to which I belong has been urging the Government to increase the defence vote and to step up and modernise the defence of Australia. Unfortunately the Government was content year after year to provide the sum of £200 million, and of course, year after year that sum, because of the increase in costs, had less purchasing power and less value. Although there were developments in South East Asia sufficiently serious and significant to justify additional expenditure the Government hud been sluggish and slow to take the required action. We also advocated the reintroduction of national service training, but we were assured repeatedly by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge) that their advisers, the heads of the Services, did not believe that national service training could be reintroduced without dislocating the present defence system. However, not long before the 1963 general election and a few weeks after the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) reiterated that national service training was impracticable, the Prime Minister announced that if the Government was re-elected it would introduce a selective national service training scheme. Why the change of heart? Why the sudden decision to disregard the advice of the Service heads? I have good reason for believing that the heads of the Services generally were in favour of the reintroduction of national service training but that the Government shied away from it probably because of the additional expense involved. Had the
Government heeded our advocacy Australia would have more trained personnel available for defence today than it has.
I have often wondered whether the Government’s thinking on defence waa influenced by fear of criticism by the public, a section of the Press and some members of the Opposition, had it appropriated a larger sum for defence. Surely the developments to the north of us have justified much more activity in the field of defence than has taken place in the last eight or tcn years. The apathy of the Menzies Government in regard to building up our defences can be likened to the indifferent attitude of the Baldwin Government in the United Kingdom prior to the last World War. We read in Churchill’s book “ The Second World War “ of Baldwin’s confusion on having failed to do what he conscientiously believed he should do but did not do because of fear of public criticism and because he believed that the Liberals and the Labour people in the House of Commons would tear him to pieces for talking about armaments when they were looking for disarmament. He failed to do what his convictions told him should be done, with the result that Germany caught Britain on the wrong leg.
Only fools or those who are not on Australia’s side would dispute the necessity to strengthen and modernise our defences. As President Kennedy once said when he was speaking to the American people on the eve of one of the many Berlin crises, “ We must hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” That is simple common sense in my book. To prepare for the worst is not to yield to foolish pessimism. It is to take out insurance cover against what may well occur. We can do that only by providing funds with which to modernise and strengthen our defences, and surely every decent Australian would readily play his or her part in achieving that end. It is a matter of paying up or putting up with the loss of our democracy and of all that goes with it.
In connection with the financing of our defence policy the Democratic Labour Party believes that a defence Budget, separate from the annual Federal Budget, should be drawn up so that expenditure on defence would be removed from the field of party political wrangling. This separate defence
Budget should be financed by a defence contribution specifically earmarked as such in the taxation return of every taxpayer. Such a defence budget would clearly reveal the proportion of tthe national product which was spent on defence. The fact that the defence expenditure was contained in a separate budget financed by earmarked contributions would serve as a major educative factor on public opinion and would force all political parties to stand clearly responsible for their defence policies.
I think it is patent to all thinking people that Communist China will seek to dominate the whole of South East Asia, and much more besides. The area in which it will seek predominance includes Australia and New Zealand. If we are prepared to accept the military and political predominance of China in our country, we have no problem at all. If we are not prepared to accept the military and political predominance of China, we have a serious problem. Therefore, we believe that it is a matter of great urgency that we build up our conventional military strength at the greatest speed so that we can really do something to help the British in Malaysia and the Americans in South Vietnam in order to keep them actively engaged in our near north. To keep the British and the Americans in South East Asia must be the first objective of our policy. If we want them to stay we must help them. If we do not help them they are more likely to clear out, leaving Australia alone and isolated. After all, it is more our problem than theirs.
We contend that it is equally urgent to develop an alternative defence policy to meet the situation which would arise if, in fact, our allies did not stay in South East Asia and we were left on our own. We have advanced a defence policy to meet both contingencies. Tt is the only defence policy that can do so. Let me enumerate the ten points of basic defence policy for which the D.L.P. stands. First, we believe that Australia should build up as rapidly as possible a Regular Army of a minimum of three divisions. The Governments recent defence measures will not achieve this for many years. Existing military plans have to be accelerated with this end in view. Secondly, we believe that the plan of selective national service, . which provides for full time training for a period of two years and with adequate refresher courses thereafter, should be expanded at once to give us the desired result in the shortest possible time. We accept compulsory military training, the integration of national servicemen in regular units, and overseas service, if necessary, in areas vital to Australia’s security. We believe that national service should be widened to include non military service for those youths who might not be able to meet the physical standards of military combat.
Thirdly, we oppose the Menzies Government’s propositions concerning the Royal Australian Navy and the Fleet Air Arm. If there is any logic behind these proposals, which reduce the Navy to a mere anti submarine force and destroy the Fleet Air Arm, it is the assumption that we can always rely on our allies to transport Australian troops, to keep open the sea lanes and to provide air cover. This we do not accept. Fourthly, we are totally dissatisfied with the Menzies Government’s provisions for the Royal Australian Air Force. Again, after taking skilled technical advice as to the best way of making our policy effective, we would insist that Australia itself provide adequate cover for our military units in the type of jungle operation in which they are most likely to be used.
Fifthly, an Australian Government, pursuing this real and not merely nominal defence policy, could at once make it clear to its allies that it would assist them to the utmost in remaining in Malaysia, in South Vietnam and in any other part of South East Asia necessary to our security.
Sixthly, in view of Red China’s new nuclear power, of Indonesia’s new rockets which can be used, to develop a nuclear threat against Australian cities and of the recurring danger that our allies might leave South East Asia, in my opinion Australia should begin to develop its own nuclear deterrent sufficient in strength to inhibit any attacks upon any part of this country. It is possible, for Australia to create its own small but adequate nuclear stockpile specifically to guard against nuclear blackmail. Professor Titterton of the Chair of Nuclear Physics at the Australian National
University has stated that the cost of these purely defensive weapons is within Australia’s financial compass.
Seventhly, we demand that every necessary measure be taken to develop a sufficiently high level of munitions production in Australia to enable this country to defend itself should the sea lanes be threatened by hostile navies. To maintain this essential continuity of production in the munitions industry, we would move to prohibit the employment of any member of the Communist Party in any defence establishment or in any organisation associated with the transport of war materials. Further, we would make it an offence to give aid and comfort to the enemy against whom Australian troops are engaged, such as the North Vietnamese, although there has been no formal declaration of war.
Eighthly, even with the most recent increases in defence expenditure, Australia will spend about 4i per cent. - it is just under that - of its gross national product on defence compared with 8 per cent in Britain and 12 per cent in the United States. 1 point out that the percentage is much greater in the Communist countries which threaten our survival.
Ninthly, since defence cannot be considered apart from foreign policy, our defence programme should be used to strengthen our hand in attempting to build a military, political and economic alliance in the Pacific based on India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and any other Asian power willing to join with us to create a balance of power to contain Communist China.
Tenthly, the D.L.P. does not rely solely on arms in facing the future. The possession of adequate armaments will enable Australia to pursue a policy of peace, not appeasment, based on support for the United Nations in its work for peace, support for world disarmament, conventional and nuclear, with adequate inspection and safeguard, and assistance for the have-not nations of Asia with Australia contributing 1 per cent of her national income. As an instance of this, the D.L.P. initiated the recent campaign to secure aid for famine stricken India.
In conclusion I repeat that if we are prepared to accept the military and political predominance of Red China in our country, we have no problem. If we are not prepard to do that, we have a very serious problem. Let us face up to it.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood). - Order! An amendment has been moved by Senator Gair to Senator Kennelly’s amendment to the motion. Is Senator Gair’s amendment seconded?
– I second Senator Gair’s amendment to Senator Kennelly’s amendment.
.- I understand the word “ Parliament “ is derived from words which mean a place for talking. In the Senate today we have had impressed upon us some speeches of the greatest prominence and some of excellence. They have contained a mass of information which almost dulls the mind.
It is not my habit to presume sufficient experience to offer congratulations to honorable senators making their maiden speeches. I have been ruminating on the irony which prompted the Whip to place me on the list of speakers for today after, I think, five maiden speeches. I do not include Senator Gair in that number because he is in a class of his own - a premier speaker. I was reminded of that story told of Sir Winston Churchill when A. P. Herbert made his maiden speech. Herbert, I believe, is on record as saying how lovely Winston was personally for he came over to the writer and said: “That was not a maiden speech. It was a hussy of a speech “; I thought that perhaps the Whip had put me in as the hussy.
I am not inclined to go along with mischief except to create a variation in the concentration of thought because tonight I am in the happy position in my own mind of being able to congratulate the Treasurer of the Commonwealth (Mr. Harold Holt) upon the structure of the Budget he has put forward for the financial government of the Commonwealth during the coming year. It is most satisfying to me that the Treasury has not thought that this was an occasion to indulge its economic fancifulness and it is most reassuring to me to find in the Budget what I think are sound approaches to the economic situation and to the requirements of this country from a financial point of view. - The first thing to be noted with regard to this Budget is that the item which involves the greatest increase in expenditure is that of defence, to which Senator Gair so forcefully and, I think, properly, referred. In that respect it is proposed to advance the expenditure of last year, £304 million, to £385 million, an advance of £81 million. At this point I would like to remind honorable senators that the Democratic Labour Party owes its genesis to the theme its leader expressed here tonight, for it took the whole of its political existence at risk when it declared for support of the Menzies Government’s policy of defence and external precaution and the positioning of our troops in Malaya in 1954. In that respect Mr. George Cole, formerly Senator George Cole, earns eternal credit for the leadership that he gave.
That reminds honorable senators that fully ten years ago this Government was realising the significance of South East Asia and lending assistance to eradicate Communist guerrilla attacks from the very peninsula of Malaya. But Senator Gair was not quite fair when he went on to imply that ;the Menzies Government thought that the defence vote should remain static at £200 million a year. That figure represented, when first fixed, a great increase on any Budget in peace time of a previous government. Fairness will dictate that honorable senators should admit that when that increase was made the Government was busy building that treaty structure around the Pacific without which today our weakness would leave us exposed without any confidence at all.
I think it was as long ago as 1952 that the Government was able to negotiate the treaty with New Zealand and the United States of America and a few years later, on the other side of the Pacific, it negotiated the South-East Asia Collective Defence Treaty. I get no real satisfaction from increases in defence votes, and I would not support an increase in the defence vote unless the strategic threat to the country warranted that degree of our assets being diverted to wasteful weaponry of war. I think that the Government very prudently maintained its expenditure at the £200 million mark or thereabouts, moderating it according to the intensity of the Pacific threat.
Now’ America has taken up the challenge of Churchill. It has heeded what’ he was trying to preach to Europe in the 1930’s-the period to which Senator Gair referred - and has taken up the responsibility of providing the men and the materials which chiefly go to the defence of the Pacific in Vietnam. This Government is moving step by step proportionately with her great ally and shouldering her fair share of responsibility for defence effort in that area. Therefore I think that the country ought to be satisfied that the Government has not been properly accused of deficiency in defence preparation. But even in the present situation of Indonesia’s truculence or irresponsibility, and even with the growth of Communist’ Chinese power, this is not the occasion to damage our development which is essential to recruit our economic strength on the basis to which Senator Cotton so intelligently, impressively and clearly referred tonight. It is not an occasion for panic. It is an occasion for a persevering programme of expenditure. I agree wholeheartedly with the Labour senator who said it should only be agreed to on condition that no part of the expenditure is wasted. I agree that there is a very grave responsibility on all Service Ministers and T hope every senator will watchfully attend to this matter during the consideration of the Estimates.
The other part of the Budget that calls for a great increase in expenditure is that relating to payments to or for the States. This involves an increase this year of £61 million, bringing the appropriation for the States up to £549 million. We realise that the States have great responsibilities to discharge in the respects which have been mentioned so fully by our Queensland friends who have preceded me - in public works, development projects,- education and the arterial services of any-community such as law and order, fundamental health services and so on. Great as is the appropriation for the States, it yet leaves public finance bedevilled by political contention because the State Governments duck shove responsibility by saying that they are not getting enough money from the Commonwealth. These things are going to bedevil the progress of this nation sufficiently to make this question of the financial provision of the States’ requirements by the Federal
Government a paramount political issue - a constitutional issue - within the next 10 years. This country has to consider whether that situation is handicapping the progress of this nation or whether the nation can survive notwithstanding that particular situation.
Some reference has been made to social service expenditure. It should be understood that the Budget provides for an increase of no less than £25 million in social service expenditure from the National Welfare Fund this year. It is fundamental to the concepts of this growing nation that rates of pension shall be fair, but we should not make an advocacy for what we call social justice in this area such as to damage development, and certainly not such as to compete with defence appropriations.
How is the increased expenditure being financed?. Nobody, so far, has mentioned company taxation. Let me say that while I am here I hope I will be as vigilant as anyone to detect undue growth of metropolitan company activities. If time permits I will have something to say about a few of the advantages that are derived from the iniquitous income tax measure of last November. Anyone here who has looked over some of the balance sheets which have been published in the last two months and has compared the taxation provisions with the dividends paid by the companies, will appreciate how in the modem structure of budgetary finance, any increase of the income tax rate of 8s. 6d. in the £1 now paid by companies might well damage completely the whole basis on which private enterprise goes on from decade to decade, improving and expanding the economy and providing employment for our people. People who believe that unlimited funds can be derived from company tax are not keeping up with the times. Only in the last 20 years has income tax been regarded as a means of appropriating half - or in many cases more than half - of people’s income. I heard some reference to the graduated scale of income tax, I keep beside me an bid’ and battered tax scale. It is about four or five years old, but it will do to show the relativity. An income of £1,000 bears £106 of tax and an income of £4,000 bears about £1,100 of tax. So it cannot be said that an income of £4,000 bears four times the tax payable on an income of £1,000. If one goes into the higher ranges one finds that the rate of taxation becomes infinitely greater.
As we are evolving an economy upon this basis, anybody who is a little thoughtful about the matter will realise that income earners will so arrange their affairs as to make the impact of taxation as moderate as possible. In another 20 years probably people will not be carrying on gaily on the present income basis. They will be getting, through their business structures, advantages which are equivalent to income, but which are not income in the taxing sense. They will be making all sorts of arrangements so as to moderate the tax impost. I say that, realising that income tax is a wonderful contributor to Treasuries. As my esteemed colleague Senator Wedgwood said this afternoon, he is a simple soul indeed who does not realise that in paying income tax he is making his contribution to the economy and so to the maintenance of the standard of living and general way of life that we enjoy as a democratic community. But I offer what I have said about company tax as a word of warning. It would be frightening to advance company tax beyond 8s. 6d. in the £1, which I believe is a higher rate than was ever levied in this country in time of war. .
The Budget does impose an increase of 2i per cent, in individual income tax and this afternoon I heard observations to the effect that it was a flat rate increase. But it is not. It just means that the man who paid £106 on an income of £1,000 now pays 2i per cent, of the £106 in addition, whereas the man who paid £1,100 on an income of £4,000 now pays 2i per cent, of the £1,100 in addition. In my book the 2i per cent, addition is the even way of keeping uniform the scale of rates that applies to income tax. There is not much significance in these matters, but when I hear criticism of indirect taxation and of the defence vote, it is some satisfaction to me to support the basis upon which these main items have been included in the Budget.
I now turn away from that to make some reference to the Senate’s treatment of the Budget. In the first place, we debate this Budget at a time when the Senate’s political representation is poised in a very interesting way which affords this Senate, as one chamber of the National Parliament. a unique opportunity to show whether the faith of those who founded the Senate is to be justified. I hope I will notintroduce any discordance if I say quietly how disappointed I am with one aspect of Budget debates as well as other debates. It seems to me that Cabinet Ministers think that Senate debates are to be ignored and that they can go into another corner of the building for their Cabinet discussions. We assemble here to offer speeches which Ministers and their advisers seem to ignore. If the officers and advisers of the Treasury were to treat the debates in this chamber with the attention they deserve, they would be here listening. We in this chamber speak as spokesmen for the people and not as spokesmen for governments. That is why there was great significance in the remarks of Senator Wedgwood this afternoon, when she called attention to the fact that there has been constitutional history in the making in the efforts of the Senate over the last two or three years. The Constitution under which we are established gives this chamber a power and significance greater than that of any other second chamber in the world, with the exception only of the Senate of the United States of America.
We do not exist on an hereditary basis as does the House of Lords, nor do we exist upon a basis where the Executive appoints people to this chamber. We come here as direct representatives of the people. It is for that reason that the Constitution limited our powers of initiation of legislation in only some respects, and limited our powers to amend legislation that comes to us, whether initiated here or in another place, in only two respects. That is to say, we cannot amend legislation so as to tax the people, nor can we amend legislation so as to alter the appropriation for the ordinary annual services of the Government. But we have full and complete power to amend other appropriations.
The Senate over the last two years has been concerned at the attack that has been made upon that power of amendment. I remind the Senate that the matter first went on record in this chamber when I asked a question on 7th May 1963. It related to the form of the Appropriation Bill. As the question had not been answered, it lapsed on the dissolution of the House of Representatives in November 1963. Nobody would be dis appointed with my perseverance. As soon as we returned to the Senate after that election. I reinstated the question on the notice paper. That was on 27th February 1964. After one or two reminders, the question evoked a statement from our greatly respected former Leader of the Government in the Senate. Sir William Spooner, and his remarks rather indicated that he had become the captive of the Treasury.
Then as Senator Wedgwood reminded us today, the decision of the Government took expression in the subsequent appropriation bills that were presented to us. Our amendable bill was reduced to £2 million and the non-amendable bill covered the rest of the expenditure.I think that action aroused the interest of both sides of the Senate.I think it is a tribute to the work and insight of the Senate that we have now had twice repeated in the Senate an acceptance by the Government of a properly formulated principle1for the first time,I might say, since Federation - concerning the basis on which our amendable bill would be constructed. I remind the Senate of what the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty) said on 17th August 1965 when introducing the present Budget. He said -
. henceforce there will be a separate measure containing appropriations for expenditure on -
If, as Senator Wedgwood mentioned in the course of her speech, there is a continuing failure on the part of the draftsman to understand the appropriate long title to give expression to the principle in the bill, it will provide the first occasion upon which, if these rights that have been reserved to the Senate are realities and not merely academic instructions, we will have the opportunity to offer to the House of Representatives, I hope, an amendment of these measures or a request for an amendment of the measures. This will make that long title, which purports to describe the bill, a true and genuine reflection of the arrangement that has been made, and which I repeat so that honorable senators on both sides of the Senate can consider it to see whether it meets with their approval.
I believe that those things concerning the Constitution and the powers of the Senate are important. As Mr. Justice Isaacs. I think, said on one occasion with regard to the rights of the Senate and its corresponding responsibilities, no court could prevent or restrain a breach - the whole matter is left for political action. If the Senate does not uphold its privileges, there is no other remedy. That is why it is for us to be vigilant in this matter, not in any spirit of self esteem but in a spirit that this chamber affords to the people of Australia, even if we look 100 years hence, a forum for democratic, dynamic action which may correct the drift that is taking place in all British parliamentary establishments. I refer to the overwhelming predominance of cabinet over the legislature. Looking down the corridor of history, I think the opportunity that is presented to this place is one which gives us responsibilities of very great importance. They are responsiblities not to ourselves but to the country. That is why I ask that they be taken into consideration.
Let me add a word, with rumblings as to a constitutional amendment, if not this year then perhaps next year. A comprehensive report on the Constitution was produced by a joint committee of both Houses of the Parliament. That report has now been lying in the pigeon holes with dust upon it for three years. As one of the constitutional referendum proposals involves a matter that is discussed in that report - that is, the nexus between the House of Representatives and the Senate - it will be my endeavour to get that report out and to give it a bit of a dusting as a preliminary to a consideration of the proposed referendum. I shall do so because although it is very easy to say that we will break the nexus between the two Houses which has significance now only from the point of view of a joint meeting following an election which follows a deadlock, there are those within Parliament and in Government, and more so in Opposition, who will have that joint meeting not only in those remote circumstances but in circumstances much more significant from the point of view of the Senate. It is therefore, in my book, a matter about which we should take forethought and to which we should give consideration.
I had wished to make some reference to the very impressive remarks of Senator Cavanagh this afternoon on the subject of the wage adjustment machinery in Australia. If I am trespassing over my time I ask the Senate to forgive me, and I ask forgiveness for saying just one thing that is on my mind. Senator Cavanagh produced a phrase in which he referred to the proud prerogative of the Australian working man as the provider for his family. A more pregnant phrase has never been uttered on the floor of the chamber. If this is the kernel of the spirit that lies at the basis of his prayer for a revised organism to adjust wages so as to give justice to the working man, I repeat it so that it may be the theme of a speech on the subject on a later occasion.
– Although this is not in the order of subjects on which I intend to speak, I should like” first to refer to an important issue about which we should be concerned. Government supporters have complimented the Government upon the Budget, but we on the Opposition side have consistently condemned it because we take an entirely different approach. We are looking at the realities of a democracy. We are looking at the realities of a democracy’s ability to organise and produce a satisfactory economy. This attitude is bound up with the question of defence. It seems to me quite unreal to try to defend the impositions that are placed on the workers and pensioners in the Budget by saying that we have an increasing defence commitment, because looking at the situation properly one realises that defence is bound up with the people themselves and their standards. If we have a work force which is poorly paid, is not trained, and has interruptions to its economic life because of bad policies of the Government, and if we have a social service system which does not do justice to pensioners, who are very close to poverty, this is bad for any sort of defence effort.
We have always been concerned about this aspect. The I960 recession was occasioned, as we all know, by direct Government policies which caused an interruption to manufacturing industries, particularly the motor car and consumer durable industries. 1 believe that these were haphazard policies of a Government which learned its mistake in the 1961 election. We draw attention to the great need for the country to use its manpower to the best advantage and to use the great plants and machines to train workers. All agree that we are now in a situation in which there is some tension externally. Government speakers make great play on this. They talk about small burdens upon workers and pensioners and they talk about the basic wage case. We say that the origin of many of our disabilities in the economy today is in the Government’s policies. While it has learned something, it is impossible to say that it has learned to plan in this sort of society. For that reason, I support the amendment that has been moved by Senator Kennelly. It seems to me to put very aptly the reasons why the Australian Labour Party condemns the Budget. The first reason contained in the amendment reads -
Such taxation increases as it contains add further burdens to wage and salary earners whose living standards have already been eroded by price rises and the Government’s active intervention against wage increases.
The second reason for our condemnation reads -
Such meagre social services benefits as it proposes are inadequate, belated and partial in their application.
The third reason reads -
The Budget fails entirely to deal with such problems as increases in imports and Australia’s dependence on foreign capital.
As we have said, the Government does not plan, lt makes appearances annually before the Arbitration Commission in basic wage hearings. It makes observations about overseas investment in Australia and about the establishment of an Australian overseas shipping line but it never gets down to planning. We say that the Government’s policies are not in fact comprehensive and composite in relation to the development of Australia. The Government appeared, by counsel, before the Arbitration Commission this year and in my opinion it adopted a completely dishonest attitude. Initially, it stated that it took up a neutral position. Subsequently, of course, it reversed this attitude and argued against specific policies which had been established by the Commission. I refer to interpretations that the
Commission had made in 1961 and 1964 in relation to consideration of the growth of productivity and the consumer price index in assessing wage levels. It seems to me that in this respect the Government has to be condemned. It appeared before an important tribunal, which fixes a level of wages for almost the whole Australian work force, and influenced it against treating the issue before it on the basis of matching rising prices and maintaining the wage standards of the workers in a period of increased productivity.
– The Government was neutral against the workers.
– Yes, the Government should be neutral, but it acts against the workers. At Budget time it acts in the same way. It says: “ What are these light burdens on the community in the face of the need for increased defence expenditure and in the face of tensions which might take us into war quickly or in the near future? “ We say that the Government should not impose on people who cannot bear them increased burdens which will aggravate the price spiral. The Government is always saying: “ We do not want a rise in price levels”. When it goes before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission it says exactly that. Yet in its Budget it aggravates the price spiral and, of course, it does not deal with the needs of the community.
As 1 mentioned briefly in opening my speech, the Government, first, ought to have regard to the overall situation of the members of the work force and their standards of living. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty), in opening this debate, referred to the economic policies of the Government. He said that the Government intends to apply itself to raising the standard of living, maintaining full employment, maintaining price stability and improving Australia’s balance of payments position. But, in respect of all those matters it does not plan in the way that we have suggested over the years. Only in one respect in this Budget has any consideration been given to the point of view of the Opposition. I refer, of course, to the abolition of the means test in respect of the pensioner medical service.
We believe, and so does everybody else, that the Government ought to see that the wage standards of Commonwealth public servants and other employees are adequate and are maintained in a time of rising prices. Under an Act of this Parliament, the Commission has an obligation to ensure that. It seems to me that the Commission should not retard wage standards by arguing about economic and political factors which are not really within its province. The Government has an obligation not to impose undue burdens on the people. In addition, it has the great responsibility of ensuring that social service standards are adequate comfortably to maintain people who served in the work force and who can no longer perform useful duties.
Most of us know - if we do not know this, we only have to move around the great cities of Australia to see it - that there is much poverty among people whose sole income is the pension. Previously in the Senate 1 have directed attention to the fact that, although some people would be able to improve their circumstances by receiving additional State supperannuation benefits, it is not possible for them to do so. If a person receives a bonus from the South Australian Public Service superannuation scheme as a result of its prosperity, there is an immediate reduction in his social service payment. It seems to me that the Government does not face up to the issue as it should.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, 1 formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 1 September 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1965/19650901_senate_25_s29/>.