25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for the Army comment on the statement in the week-end Press that because of the failure of Australian authorities to provide entertainment for Australian troops in Vietnam the entertainer Lucky Starr was going to Saigon to entertain our troops at his own expense? What plans are in train to provide additional amenities for our troops in Vietnam at the Christmas season?
– I myself shall not comment on the Press report because I do not know the facts, but I shall certainly ask the Minister for the Army to make a comment on the matter that the honorable senator raises.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry aware that the Blackwood Flax Co-operative is likely to cease operations shortly because it is unable to compete in price with flax produced overseas? Were any steps taken by the Minister for Trade and Industry to refer this question again to the Tariff Board or to the Government, following his visit to Perth earlier this year, when he received requests for additional assistance to this industry? If so, what has been the result?
– I would hesitate to answer that part of the honorable senator’s question which refers to what the Minister for Trade and Industry did when he was in Western Australia. If the honorable senator will put that part on the notice paper the Minister may answer it himself when he comes back to Australia. If my memory is correct, the Tariff Board conducted an inquiry into this industry and did not find it worthy of further support. The Government at that stage used every endeavour to carry the industry on. This is, I think, the last of the flax undertakings that were set up in wartime in Australia. The Government gave it assistance to enable it to carry on and I think that the Western Australian Government also gave assistance.
– This is in Victoria, at Myrtleford.
– No, it is not.
– This is the Blackwood Flax Co-operative.
– This is in Western Australia - just a few yards away. As far as I know, the Government does not propose to render any further assistance to this particular industry.
– Has the attention of the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research been drawn to a Press statement of the Tasmanian Minister for Education that his Government’ has made no budgetary provision to match the £101,949 university research grant offered by the Commonwealth Government, thus implying that the University of Tasmania may not receive this generous Commonwealth grant? In view of the fact that a sum of £101,949 is an item of no small importance in an annual budget of the Tasmanian Government, can the Minister state whether the Tasmanian Government was informed of the likelihood of that sum or a similar sum being made available from Commonwealth sources if the State provided a like amount, and if so, on what date? Did the Tasmanian Government have any knowledge of Commonwealth policy in this important matter prior to September last? Is it a fact that the Tasmanian Government has only 10 days in which to state whether it can accept the money under the conditions laid down in the ministerial announcement made last weekend?
– I shall answer the honorable senator’s questions in reverse order, because his last question is freshest in my mind. Nobody has told the Tasmanian Government that it has only 10 days in which to make up its mind about this matter or, indeed, that there is any time limit on such a decision. The honorable senator asked whether Tasmania and other States had any previous knowledge of this type of research grant. The answer is: “ Yes “. The honorable senator will remember that the second report of the Australian
Universities Commission contained a recommendation that £5 million should be divided for research purposes amongst universities, according to the formula set out by the Commission. The Government stated at the time in Parliament that it would make available only the first £1 million - the balance to be distributed later - and would make further examination of the best method of distributing the balance. Subsequently, in March of this year, it was announced in both Houses of this Parliament that the £2 million remaining to be distributed for research purposes amongst all the States would be distributed by the Australian Research Grants Committee amongst individual researchers and research teams who convinced the Committee that their projects were most likely to advance science knowledge in Australia. That announcement last March was a clear indication of the sum of money in total to be distributed, and how it was to be distributed.
In August of this year all State Governments were informed that recommendations were coming close. In September, they were given a rough idea - which was all we had then from the Australian Research Grants Committees - of the total sum likely to be required.
The Tasmanian Government is not required to find about’ £102,000 for this purpose. That sum is the total grant for research purposes, £51,000 of which comes from the Commonwealth while £51,000 is required to be supplied by Tasmania. Had the whole £5 million originally recommended for research been distributed on the original formula of the Australian Universities Commission, one could not be exact as to what would have been required of the Tasmanian Budget; but the sum required would have been somewhere between £30,000 and £40,000. It seems now that the Tasmanian Government will be required to find between £11,000 and £21,000 more than it might have been required to find under the original formula. I think this is a tribute by the Australian Research Grants” Committee to the work being carried on by researchers in the University of Tasmania.
– In the absence of the Minister for Defence, my question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Can the Minister inform the Senate whether the Defence Standards Laboratories have tested various types of sun glasses and have found the majority of them to be deficient in light filtering properties? Are sun glasses that are labelled “ Polaroid “ included amongst those that have been rejected? Will detailed information about the various types of sun glasses that fail to meet the requirements advertised be conveyed to the various State Ministers for Health so that effective protection can be given to the general public?
– I think this matter comes within the administration of the Minister for Supply. I shall refer it to him and ask whether any investigation has been made.
-Will the Minister for Civil Aviation initiate action to provide reasonable protection for airline passengers when going to and from aircraft in bad weather?
– I am sure the honorable senator will be happy to learn that the new terminal buildings to be constructed at the Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport will provide the protection that he desires. They will embrace a telescopic covered way which will be moved out towards the aircraft so that passengers may move under cover at the one level. The honorable senator suggests that something should be done between now and the ultimate provision of these facilities. I shall have this matter examined in other areas where we are not building new terminals-
– What about the Adelaide airport?
– I said in other areas. I shall have the matter examined to see what possibility there is of providing such cover on a temporary basis.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. In View of the serious situation which exists in the drought ravaged areas of Queensland and New South Wales and which has assumed the proportions of a national disaster, will the Prime Minister call for an immediate report on the economic consequences to the nation if young breeding ewes die within a very short period of time through lack of feed or water, or both, and so set the wool industry back for 10 years? Will the Prime Minister also have investigated the economic consequences of a greatly reduced wool clip next year and in the next four or five years, even if the drought breaks soon? Will he also have a report made on the possibility of purchasing sugar cane from the glutted sugar industry and diverting chopped up cane for use as feed for starving stock in New South Wales and Queensland? Will the right honorable gentleman also declare the drought stricken areas of these two States to be national disaster areas?
– Naturally, the matter of the disastrous consequences of the drought is before the Government and has been before it for many months. Many of the matters that the honorable senator has raised have been under consideration. However, this is a very important question and I think that the honorable senator should place it on the notice paper. If he does so, I shall see what information I can obtain for him.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services say whether the Department of Social Services was responsible for statements in the Sydney Press that about 20,000 pensioners in New South Wales have forgotten to apply for pension increases that were granted in the last Federal Budget? I commend the Department if it was responsible for this valuable publicity, but I ask whether it would be possible, in the case of pensioners who are likely to be affected, for the Department to place an appropriate notice in the envelope with the cheque informing them of the increases in benefits that were made available in the recent Budget. Will the Minister request the Department to take this action?
– There has been some publicity in relation to recent Budget increases in social service benefits. I shall refer to the Minister for Social Services the honorable senator’s proposition that notification could be given when pension payments are made, and obtain a reply for him.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for
Health. Has the Minister seen a report in the Press that the Australian Cancer Society intends to ask the Minister for Health to have a survey conducted to ascertain the incidence of juvenile smoking in Australia and the reasons why children start smoking? In view of the repeated statements that there is an alarming increase in lung cancer and that compounds in tobacco have been proved to cause lung cancer, will the Minister for Health give this request favorable consideration when he receives it?
– No, I have not seen the Press statement to which the honorable senator has referred. As to the second part of her question, I will convey her request to the Minister for Health.
– My question is directed - to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. Some time ago I addressed a question to the Minister regarding the safety of Australian citizens in. Aden which is in a state of revolution; Has the Minister read a report published in the Press last weekend that the wives and families of British military, personnel in Aden were being returned to Great Britain in the interests of safety? Has the Minister anything to say now about the safety of Australians who may be in Aden?
– I have not seen the Press report but I have received from the Department of External Affairs an answer to the honorable senator’s previous question and will read it later.
– Has the Acting Leader of the Government read reports of an address given yesterday by Mr. Staniforth Ricketson, a leading Melbourne investor, in which he severely criticised the Prime Minister for attacking the Vernon report so strongly before the majority of Australians had seen the report and were in a position to evaluate the right honorable gentleman’s criticism? Is not Mr. Ricketson’s comment richly deserved by the Government? Is the Government’s treatment of the Vernon Committee to be taken as a model to be followed in relation to reports of future expert committees of inquiry that this Government may appoint? It so, does the Government intend in future to call for volunteers for appointment to such committees?
– I have read the comment to which the honorable senator has referred. I do not think the honorable senator could have read all of it. I think that Mr. Ricketson was a little touchy about the fact that the comment in the report might have some effect on the stock market. I have found Mr. Ricketson somewhat sensitive to criticism of that sort. If the honorable senator will put the remainder of his question on the notice paper I will see whether the Prime Minister wishes to provide an answer.
-I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. Has the Minister read Press reports of a statement by the High Commissioner for Pakistan under the date 11th October in which he is reported to have said that India is meting out inhuman, barbarous treatment to passengers and crews of Pakistani ships which have been interned by the Indian Government? Does the Minister know whether these allegations are true? Will he seek information and if the reports are true, will the Government protest to the Indian Government?
– I have no knowledge whether the statements are true or not. I shall bring the honorable senator’s question to the notice of the Minister for External Affairs who will take any action he thinks ought to be taken.
(Question No. 511.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
In view of statements by the Minister that effective action would be taken to eradicate terrorist activity by the Croatian Liberation Movement, (a) has Ambrozije Andric, found guilty at Geelong in May 1965, of throwing a chemical bomb at a Yugoslav function, sought Australian citizenship and, if so, what is the attitude of the Australian Government to such an application; (b), has Tomislav Lesic, involved in a Sydney bomb incident, applied for naturalisation and, if so, what is the result of the application; and (c), did Ivan Butkovic, who was placed on a bond in early January 1965, for inciting a riot at Paddington Town Hall, Sydney, seek naturalisation and was this application approved?
– The Minister for Immigration has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator’s question -
(Question No. 554.)
– Notice of this question was given on 2nd September 1965 when this matter was current. I asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice -
– My answers to the honorable senator’s question are as follows - 1 In accordance with a practice introduced in 1958, I recently asked the Literature Censorship Board to advise me whether any books of merit on the gazetted list of prohibited works could be released having regard to standards used in judging current importations of similar publications. This is the third such review since 1958.
(Question No. 564.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice. -
Resources have been (at completed; and (b) issued in each of the following categories of publications - (i) reports, (ii) bulletins, (iii) explanatory notes to accompany maps, (iv) preliminary editions of geological maps, and (v) final editions of geological maps?
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answer. - 1. (a) The Bureau of Mineral Resources has completed the following publications in the last five years:
The Bureau has issued the following publications in the last five years: 1,250,000 geological maps and explanatory notes arc not issued separately.
Times for explanatory notes and 1,250,000 coloured geological maps are printing times. Maps and notes are not issued to the public until the corresponding notes and maps are ready also, generally within one to three months. The above times are the average of 23 reports, 15 bulletins, 47 explanatory notes, 92 preliminary geological maps and 66 coloured maps. Times taken for some of the earlier publications are not readily available.
Bulletins - Vardon Price, 4; West Australian Government Printer, 3; Mercury Press, 2; Printmaster, 2; Commonwealth Government Printer, 1; Dominion Press, 1; Hal’stead, 1; and Testro Print, 1.
Reports - Commonwealth Government Printer, 21; and Central Drawing Office, Department of Supply, 2.
Explanatory notes - Victorian Government Printer, 20; Modern Printing, 20; and Commonwealth Government Printer, 7.
Preliminary geological maps - Commonwealth Government Printer, 92.
Coloured geological maps - Mercury Press, 51; Ruskin, 6; Vardon Price 4; South Australian Government Litho, 2; Press Etchings, 2; and Commonwealth Government Printer, 1.
(Question No. 562.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 563.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
Supervising Geologist and (v) Assistant Chief Geologist?
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answer - l.-
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has provided me with the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
(Question No. 576.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for National Development has provided the following answers -
It is impossible to list all the development work which is being undertaken in the north in an answer to a question such as this, but I am arranging for the honorable Senator to receive a copy of a document recently produced by the Department of National Development showing the tremendous activity which is occurring in the north and detailing the projects now under construction or recently completed.
Dr. R. A. Patterson of my Department intends to nominate for election to the Commonwealth Parliament but I do not know the reason for his candidature.
(Question No. 582.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The Minister for Immigration has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
The chartering of vessels to carry migrants has not applied for some years now. Both the Department of Immigration and the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration book an agreed number of berths on specified sailings of vessels engaged in normal passenger traffic. The carriers issue to assisted migrants normal passenger tickets and have the same obligations to assisted migrants as they have to passengers who pay their own fares. Bookings for assisted migrants are made only in vessels of lines which are already operating commercially to Australia and they are required to provide the same standards as they do for tourist class or one class passengers who pay their own fares.
The “ Australis “ will be carrying a group of British assisted migrants for the first time when it sails from Southampton in October next. The vessel was inspected when in Sydney recently.In discussions between representatives of the line and the Department of Immigration, assurances were given that unforeseen difficulties which arose during the initial voyage to Australia had been overcome and that no further trouble had been experienced since the vessel left Sydney on the northbound voyage, with a large number of Australian passengers on board. It is to be noted that the same shipping line has carried almost 3,000 assisted British migrants since mid-1964.
(Question No. 586.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The Acting Minister for Health has furnished the following reply -
(Question No. 588.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 589.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 600.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
Because of the possible temporary strengthening of the market for Australian oil, what action, if any, does the Government intend to take to encourage or compel Queensland oil refineries to process oil from the Moonie and Alton fields?
– The Minister has supplied the following answer -
Under the arrangements being administered by the Minister for Customs and Excise each importer of crude oil or motor spirit into Australia will have to pay a penal import duty on those imports unless he accepts his share of Moonie crude and, if it is offered, of Alton crude on the price basis that has already been announced. It is, however, left to the industry to make its own arrangements as to where that crude will be refined.It seems likely that the industry will make arrangements which arc geographically convenient and economic and thus the scheme may, in fact, well operate to encourage the refining of these crudes in Queensland oil refineries. But no other measures are envisaged at this time by way of encouragement, or compulsion, to that end.
(Question No. 611.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Housing, upon notice -
Will consideration be given to granting to members of the Salvation Army Red Shield, the Red Cross and other similar bodies, who have been on active service with Australian troops, the same right of obtaining a home, under the provisions of the War Service Homes Act,as is given to members of the defence forces?
– The Minister for Housing has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator’s question -
Any proposal to amend the War Service Homes Act to extend the categories of persons eligible to receive, assistance under the Act involves a question of future Government policy and as it is not the practice to give answers to questions of this nature, it is impracticable to provide an answer to the honorable senator’s question.
(Question No. 613.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The Minister for Immigration has supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 612.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice -
– The Acting Minister for Trade and Industry has supplied the following answer -
(Question No. 633.)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Acting Treasurer has supplied the following answers -
The question of placement of advertising by the Commonwealth Banking Corporation is an administrative matter which, under the Commonwealth Banks Act 1959-1963, is entirely one for determination by the Corporation. The Managing Director of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation has, however, advised that the project number C.B. 52.62 is placed in a large number of weekly, monthly and periodical publications including many New South Wales publications. He has also advised that advertisements are regularly placed in many foreign language newspapers.
(Question No. 639.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The Minister for External Affairs has furnished the following replies -
(Question No. 659.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
Are any overseas shipping lines being subsidised by the Commonwealth Government? If so, by which countries are those shipping lines controlled, what Subsidies are being paid to the companies and what are the reasons for the subsidies?
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport’ has provided the following answer -
An annual subsidy of £200,000 is currently being paid to Burns Philp & Co. Ltd., an Australian registerd company, to enable the Australian registered vessels, “ Bulolo “, “ Matekula “ and “Moresby”, manned with Australian crews, to compete with non-Australian vessels with substantially lower operating costs, in the Australia and Papua-New Guinea trade.
Financial assistance is also being given to two shipping companies operating direct services to South America. These services were introduced to assist Australian exporters to develop the South American markets.
In respect of the service to the west coast of South America and the Caribbean, the present agreement with Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. of Kobe, Japan, provides for 10 sailings overa period of 12 months, the tenth sailing being dependent on trade developments. The agreement provides for a guarantee against loss of up to £185,000 for the 10 voyages. The guarantee for the tenth voyage is £15,000, so that in the event of nine voyages only being carried out the maximum Commonwealth liability will be £170,000.
The east coast service operated by the AustraliaSouth America Line under a two year agreement, which provided for eight voyages between main Australian ports and ports in Argentine, Uruguay and Brazil, was due to expire in May 1964. It also provided financial assistance to a maximum of £175,000 over the period of the agreement at a maximum rate of £21,873 per voyage. As the line operating this service could not complete the required number of voyages within the period of the agreement, due to circumstances outride its control, the Commonwealth has agreed to an extension of the agreement with the managing owners of the line. William Heale Pty. Ltd., an Australian registered company, until December 1965, which will allow the company to complete the remaining three voyages.
(Question No. 661.)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice; -
Are donations to the Freedom from Hunger Campaign allowable income tax deductions? If not, will the Government consider including such donations among allowable deductions?
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answer -
Donations to the appeal for funds currently being organised by the Australian National Executive Committee of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign arc not allowable as income tax deductions.
Following representations to him by the National Executive Committee, the Treasurer had occasion very recently to consider the question of allowing such donations as deductions from income. His conclusion, after very careful examination of the request, was that the concession should not be extended to the appeal for the Freedom from Hunger Campaign.
– On 28th September 1965, Senator Lillico asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry the following question -
In view of the fact that New Zealand dehydrated peas known as “ Surprise “ peas are underselling the Australian product on the local market and the machinery used in processing “ Surprise “ peas is patented, I understand, what are the prospects of Australian processors devising a similar method of processing? Will the Minister make inquiries in this direction?
The Acting Minister for Trade and Industry has supplied the following answer -
Inquiries have been made by the Department of Trade and Industry in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, and the Department has been unable to establish that dehydrated peas from New Zealand are underselling Australian dehydrated peas on the Australian market. Several processors of vegetables have been approached but they did not express concern about the current imports of dehydrated peas. Separate statistics on dehydrated peas ave 0/ available but it is understood that imports from New Zealand are not significant at the moment If imports of dehydrated peas do affect local production, I am confident that Australian processors are capable of developing a process which is at least comparable to tha patented process mentioned by the honorable senator. Australian, food processing methods are continually being improved and compare most favorably with methods used overseas.
– On 23rd September 1965, Senator Devitt directed to Senator Paltridge as Minister representing the Minister for Housing, a question concerning the Homes Savings Grant Act. He asked him to take up with the responsible Minister the question of amending the Act to enable persons who commenced pouring the foundations of their homes before the date of commencement of the Act, but who did not complete the building of the home until after that date, to receive a grant. He promised to seek the comments of his colleague, the Minister for Housing, on the matter.
The Minister for Housing has pointed out, as he indicated to the honorable senator in his answer to the question at the time, that there had to be a starting point for the scheme. The Minister has also pointed out that the Government was most reasonable in its selection of the commencement date. Although the Act was assented to on 28th May 1964, the legislation applied retrospectively to persons who commenced to buy or build their, homes on or after 2nd December 1963. Honorable senators will recall that the scheme was first mentioned in the Prime Minister’s policy speech just prior to the 1963 Federal election; and 2nd December 1963 was the first day of business following that election.
It was also necessary to decide the point in time at which a person would become eligible for the grant and at which the savings period would end. It was decided that this point in time - the prescribed date - should be the date on which the person first took definite steps towards acquiring a home. Thus, in the case of someone building a home, his prescribed date is the date he enters into a contract for its construction, or the date on which contraction commences if that is earlier or if the home is being owner built. The commencement of construction is the commencement of the laying of the foundations of the building.
This decision as to the prescribed date was consistent with the objective of the scheme to encourage young people to save over a period of years to acquire their own home. Moreover, it enables young people to be paid the grant as early as practicable in the process of acquiring a home when financial assistance of this kind is generally of most benefit.
The provisions relating to the date of commencement of the scheme and the prescribed date must, of course, have universal application. It was also inevitable that, no matter what starting points were selected, there would still be some people who would be placed just outside, and some people who would be placed just inside, the boundary of eligibility. This is a problem that is inherent in any new scheme and would not be removed but merely shifted by amending the legislation in the way Senator Devitt appears to contemplate. For these reasons, the Minister for Housing is not prepared to recommend any amendments of this nature to the Government.
(Question No. 638.)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has furnished the following reply -
A report that such a conference is being arranged appeared in the press on 20th September 1965. The Commonwealth Government, however, has no official knowledge of the conference and the question of Commonwealth representation at the conference has not arisen. It will no doubt be for the convenors of the conference to decide on the disposition of any report that may be prepared.
Assent to the following Bills reported -
Wheat Tax Bill 1965
Loan (War Service Land Settlement) Bill 1965
Diesel Fuel Tax Bill (No. 1) 1965
Diesel Fuel Tax Bill (No. 2) 1965
Diesel Fuel Taxation (Administration) Bill 1965.
Australian Universities Commission Bill 1965
Repatriation Bill 1965
Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Bill 1965
Stevedoring Industry Bill 1965.
– I present the following paper -
Tertiary Education in Australia - Report of the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia to the Australian Universities Commission (Volume III).
Honorable senators will recall thatI presented volumes I and II of the report on 24th March 1965. At that time volume III was not available. The Government received it from the Australian Universities Commission on 24th September last.
– I present the report of the Special Advisory Authority on the following subject -
– I present the following report of the Public Accounts Committee -
Seventy-second Report - Treasury Minutes on the Fifty-fourth, Sixty-first and Sixty-sixth Reports together with summaries of those Reports.
I ask for leave to make a short statement.
– Order! There being no objection, leave is granted.
– This report deals with three Treasury Minutes relating to the Fifty-fourth, Sixty-first and Sixty-sixth Reports of the Committee. The first two Treasury Minutes, which relate respectively to the Committee’s reports on the form of the Estimates and the reports of the AuditorGeneral for 1961-62 have been examined and found adequate. In its examination of the Treasury Minute relating to the Committee’s report on the Auditor-General’s reports for 1962-63, however, the Committee found that several of the statements made reflected incomplete or tentative action. In these circumstances, the Committee felt that it could not accept the Treasury Minute without qualification and submit it to the Parliament as a completion of the inquiry concerned. The Committee proposes to discuss with the Department of the Treasury the elements in the Treasury Minute which are commented upon in chapter 5 of this report and will, in a subsequent report relating to Treasury Minutes, inform the Parliament of the outcome of the discussion.
Ordered to be printed.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1910-1962 sets out the arrangements made by the Parliament for the government of the Northern Territory. The Bill now before the Senate proposes two principal amendments to the Act. The first of these amendments is of a constitutional nature and provides that the Administrator should be withdrawn from the Legislative Council for the Territory both as a member and as President of the Council; and that the Legislative Council elect the President from among the elected and non-official members of the Council. A number of consequential changes to other provisions of the Act flow from this amendment and these are also contained in the present Bill.
The other purpose of this Bill is to change the name of the Wards Benefits Trust Fund which is established by section 21 of the Act to the Aborigines Benefits Trust Fund. It might be of assistance to honorable senators if I first dealt with this proposed amendment leaving the constitutional amendment until later. Section 21 of the Act now provides that royalties from mining and timber operations on land reserved for wards shall be paid into the Wards Benefits Trust Fund. The Minister can direct that payments be made out of that Fund for the benefit of wards or institutions established for the care and assistance of wards. I might explain here that the only persons in the Territory who were declared to be wards under the legislation of the time were Aborigines. The Social Welfare Ordinance which repealed the law under which wards were declared came into operation in September 1964 and since then there have been no wards. It is necessary, therefore, to change the present name of the Fund, and to direct that payments from the Fund shall be made to or for the benefit of Aborigines.
Returning to the constitutional amendment, honorable senators will recall that the last occasion on which the constitutional arrangements for the Northern Territory were reviewed in detail by the Senate was in 1959. At that time the Senate was considering amendments to the principal Act following discussions between the Government and the Legislative Council. As a result of amendments made to the Act on that occasion the Legislative Council, which up to that time had contained a majority of official members, was reconstituted to comprise the Administrator, six official members, eight elected members and three non-official members appointed by the GovernorGeneral on the nomination of the Administrator. The Administrator’s Council was also established as an advisory body to the Administrator on executive aspects of government, and the procedures with respect to assent to and disallowance or nondisallowance of ordinances were amended so that ordinances could be returned by the Administrator or the Governor-General with recommended amendments.
At the discussions which preceded those amendments, Legislative Councillors strongly urged that the subject of constitutional progress in the Territory should be reviewed at least every five years. The principle of reviewing constitutional arrangements in the light of other development in the Territory is one which the Government has always endorsed. When introducing the 1959 Bill, the Government made it quite clear these changes were transitional and not final proposals on constitutional development in the Territory. They represented only what the Government felt could be done at that time and as further change in the Territory situation took place further progress could readily be made. In 1963, following a report of a select committee which it had appointed, the Legislative Council requested further discussions with the Government on constitutional arrangements for the Territory. For a number of reasons, including impending Federal elections, these discussions could not take place until July 1964, when the Treasurer, the Attorney-General and the Minister for Territories met a delegation of members of the Legislative Council.
In brief, the particular scheme of government proposed by the delegation from the Legislative Council was that the Legislative Council should be expanded to consist of between 18 and 22 members, of whom two would be official members; that a separate Revenue Fund be established, revenue raised locally to be paid into that fund, such payments being supplemented by a Commonwealth grant. The Legislative Council would have the power to make appropriations from the Revenue Fund and an Executive Council of six members, including the two official members, of the Legislative Council should be established with responsibility for the administration of departments, the Administrator being required to act on the advice of the Executive Council. The scheme also called for the progressive assignment of powers and responsibilities of the Commonwealth until the powers of the Commonwealth in the Territory were confined to normal Federal functions. Although the functions to be initially transferred were not specifically listed, Legislative Councillors had indicated that the functions which they proposed for transfer included lands, mining, agriculture, animal industry, water resources, forestry, fisheries and other functions which they considered to be of a local nature. This scheme was combined with a statement that this was a transitional constitution to give elected members experience in the administration of government with a view to the establishment of a fully representative and responsible government by 1972 depending on population and development of the Territory at that time.
There are obvious objections to a scheme of government under which, for example, Commonwealth public servants who are responsible to their Minister would also be responsible to such an Executive Council for administration of departments of government and indeed such an arrangement would place the public servants concerned in a most difficult situation. The real issue, however, is what would be the effect of a scheme of government on the lines proposed. If there is an almost wholly elected Legislative Council with the power of appropriation, and there are Northern Territory Executive Councillors controlling the operations of departments concerned with most, if not all, of the functions which in our Federal system are the province of the States, the result of agreeing to this scheme of government would be to transfer at once to Legislative Councillors the substantive authority which would be vested in the Northern Territory if it were a State’ of the Commonwealth.
In considering whether the Northern Territory has developed to the stage where a form of government which transfers to members of the Territory legislature all the authority which is necessary to constitute self-government could be introduced, there are certain factors in the Territory situation which must be taken into account. The first of these is the size of the population. The total population has risen from some 39,000 people in 1958 to more than 51,000 today, and the number of electors in the same period has increased from 8,000 approximately to 16,160. This is barely half the number of electors in the smallest Commonwealth electorate. It is quite true to say that there has been a substantial increase both in the Territory population and the electorate since the Parliament last considered the constitutional arrangements for the Territory. These figures must, however, be looked at in the context of the vastness of the Territory and the uneven spread of the population before they can be given their real meaning. In an area of 523,000 square miles the population figure represents something like one person to every 10 square miles and this lack of human resources available to develop the Territory is accentuated when it is considered that more than 21,000 of the people and two-thirds of the electors reside in Darwin and Alice Springs.
The second factor to be taken into account is the financial dependence of the Territory. In 1964-65 Commonwealth expenditure in the Northern Territory on local or Statetype functions, as distinct from expenditure on matters such as civil aviation, social services, posts anu telegraphs, totalled £19.3 million. In comparison, revenue of. a local or State nature totalled £2.8 million. The dependence of the Territory on Commonwealth expenditure can be best illustrated if the difference between local revenue and local expenditure can be assumed to represent the equivalent of a Commonwealth grant to a State. In 1964-65 this difference represented a Commonwealth subvention of £3.19 per head while Western Australia, the State receiving the largest per head grants from the Commonwealth, received £84.1 per head for the same period. The same figures based on the 1965-66 Estimates are £365 per head, for the Northern Territory and £99.4 per head in the case of Western Australia. In other words the Northern Territory subvention per head of population, is over three and a half times the Western Australian per head figure. In the Northern Territory there is, in fact, a continually increasing gap. The pattern for expenditure by the Commonwealth on local matters in the Territory has for some years been one of annual increase. It has risen from £.9 million in 1946-47 to £8.6 million in 1958-59 with an estimated expenditure this year of £22.84 million. In the same period local revenue has risen from’ £148,648 in 1946-47 to an estimated £3.05 million this year. Even if we add to estimated local revenue this year a generous figure for a State-type grant from the Commonwealth of, say, £150 per head of population, this would mean an additional £7.77 million, bringing total estimated revenue for the Territory this year to £10.81 million,, as against estimated expenditure of £22.84 million.
The conclusion that must be drawn from these figures is that, for some years at least, this gap between expenditure and what a Territory Executive might expect to receive in revenue, will continue. In time this situation will change. The climate of opportunity established and maintained by the Government is beginning to yield significant results. Honorable senators will be aware of some of the prospects, which are particularly striking in the field of mineral development. The Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd., is engaged in a substantial project to mine manganese on Groote Eylandt. The construction work is well in advance and some 300 men are now employed on the project. At Frances Creek the iron ore deposit is being developed under a contract to export three million tons of ore to Japan over a period of eight years commencing early in 1967. Mount Isa Mines Ltd. hold prospecting and mining rights in the Macarthur River area where they have proved deposits of lead and zinc. Substantial exploration for natural gas and oil is continuing in the Mereenie area. The Minister for Territories announced on 15th September 1965, the Government had approved the grant of a lease over the main Gove bauxite deposits, to Nabalco Pty. Ltd. The agreement with the Government will require the company to establish an alumina plant at Gove of 500,000 tons per annum capacity, and to examine the economics of establishing an aluminium smelter in the Territory. This is not an exhaustive list and there are other substantial enterprises now at the stage of negotiation. Nor is the development in the private sector limited to mining; for example, the Shell Company of Australia is building a £500,000 hot bulk bitumen plant in Darwin.
On the Government side, the development activity is equally formidable. Under the programme for construction of beef roads, the Katherine-Willeroo beef road is being constructed and sealed at a cost of £775,000; work is expected to begin later in the year on a 104 mile stretch of bitumen sealed road from Willeroo to Top Springs costing £860,000. In the four years ended 30th June 1965, expenditure on beef roads totalled £2.85 million. In connection with the Frances Creek iron ore project Commonwealth Railways are acquiring new rolling stock, workshops and permanent way equipment and the Northern Territory Port Authority is constructing the necessary stock pile loading and wharf facilities at Darwin; the total Government expenditure on these projects will be in excess of £2 million, the bulk of which will be recouped over eight years. As part of the arid zone research work being undertaken in Central Australia, a new Animal Industry Research Laboratory is to be established at Alice Springs costing £225,000; the work is to start this financial year.
The pastoral industry is, of course, one of the basic elements in the development of the Territory and progress in this field is resulting from combined activities in the public and private sectors. The establishment of meatworks at Darwin and
Katherine, the creation of a stable market, the construction of beef roads and the results of research and experimental work by the Administration have provided an incentive to substantially increased private investment in the pastoral industry. The result of these developments is that the annual increase in beef carcase production has in recent years averaged 18.7 per cent. A major consideration with development is security of investment. Substantial investors are always concerned about security and want assurance that laws concerning leases, for example, would not be changed during the currency of the leases.
Development is a national responsibility. At this stage development is likely to require substantial public investment, in research, trial and experiment, and in public facilities, to match substantial private investment. Generally the public investment is as essential to the establishment of the project as the private investment, and shares the same risks. There is therefore a special responsibility to the taxpayers, who provide the money, to keep the right balance between, on the one hand, a positive approach to development and on the other ensuring that there is a sound basis for the expenditure of public money when all considerations are taken into account.
For the reasons which I have outlined, the Government was not able to agree at this stage to the proposals of the Legislative Council for constitutional reform. Legislative Councillors were informed that the Government considered that any measures to enlarge local autonomy should begin with the extension of local government in the Territory. In this connection, note must be made of the fact that only the people of Darwin have accepted the responsibility for local government functions although the Government has offered to assist the establishment of further councils and subsidise their operations as was and is being done for the Darwin City Council. The Government has also offered to consider any request by the Legislative Council for the transfer of business undertakings, such as electricity and water supply now operated by the Commonwealth to either local government or specially constituted boards or commissions.
The Government did, however, consider a number of specific requests from the. Legislative Council delegation. One of these, on which the delegation placed a good deal of emphasis, was that the Administrator should withdraw from the Presidency of the Legislative Council and that an elected or non-official member should be elected to that position. The provisions of this Bill, other than those which I have already explained which relate to the Aborigines Benefits Trust Fund, give effect to this proposal. Apart from the withdrawal of the Administrator; the composition of the Legislative Council remains unchanged. The Bill provides for the election of a President, and an Acting President, and for filling a vacancy of President when the Council is not in session. Consequent upon the reduction in the number of members, the number of members who may request the holding of a session and the number who make up a quorum are reduced by one. Consequential changes are proposed also to the provisions of the Act relating to resignations of members and to the minutes of the Council and authority for appropriation measures.
In relation to other matters raised by the delegation, which do not require legislative changes, the Legislative Council has also been informed that the Government sees no objection to the Administrator considering the views of members of the Legislative Council, other than official members, before the Administrator makes his nominations from those members for appointment to the Administrator’s Council.
The Legislative Councillors also asked that they be given some opportunity to discuss the Territory Estimates. While the Commonwealth Parliament continues to appropriate in detail the public expenditures of the Territory, constitutional arrangements between the Parliament and the Legislative Council do not permit the Legislative Council to debate the Territory items of the Commonwealth Estimates. In the normal business of the Legislative Council, members do, of course, express opinions which have a bearing on the Territory Estimates and works programmes and these opinions are taken fully into account when the draft Estimates and works programmes are prepared. Arising from the constitutional discussions the Legislative Council has been informed also that there is no objection to the Administrator giving the Administrator’s Council specific opportunity each year, in advance of the preparation of the draft Estimates, to put forward suggestions on particular items for the Estimates and works programmes.
The Government does not have a restrictive approach in this matter. Nor is it correct to represent that the people of the Northern Territory are bereft of political rights. Through the majority of private members in the Legislative Council, through the private members of the Administrator’s Council and through their member in this House, the people of the Northern Territory have a very substantial voice in their affairs.
It would be appropriate to mention here the work done by the Legislative Council through its committees. During 1965 the Legislative Council, through its committees, has inquired into the development of local government in the Territory, the preservation of native and historical objects and areas and the development of the coastal plains region of the Territory. In addition, the Council has formed a Standing Committee on Integration whose functions include reporting to the Council on matters relating to the welfare of Aborigines in the Northern Territory. As part of its function the Committee recently visited Yirrkala and had some discussions with the Aborigines and the mission authorities on the effect of the mining operations at Gove on the people of Yirrkala. It is right that the people of the Territory shall have this very substantial voice in their own affairs. But it is also right that regard should be had to the facts of the situation which have determined the Government’s conclusions at this stage.
The arrangements will again be reviewed at appropriate intervals. Any proposals which may be put forward at any time will be fully considered against the background of the relevant facts as they then appear. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Benn) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill proposes a number of amendments to the Export Payments Insurance Corporation Act 1956-1964. The most important are those relating to the insurance of certain classes of Australian investment in overseas countries. The remaining amendments will have the effect of generally strengthening the Corporation’s ability to providefacilities for the benefit of Australian exporters. Before I go on to outline the details of the proposed amendments relating to investment insurance I would like to mention briefly the reasons why the Government proposes to make such amendments to the present Act. An examination of the markets to which our exports are being sent shows that roughly 15 per cent, go to the developing countries. The Government is convinced that in the years ahead these markets will grow in importance to Australia. We are also sure that there will be a change in the composition of goods flowing into these countries and that these changes will require a different approach on our part if we are to maintain and expand our present share of these markets.
The developing countries are determined to industrialise as quickly as possible and will doubtless protect their industry as it develops. Therefore, if Australian manufacturers do not participate in this development they will eventually find their existing markets for finished goods in these areas threatened and their scope for expansion into new lines restricted. We considered that one of the most effective methods the Government could adopt to induce manufacturers to participate was to remove from the investment made by them overseas the risks not encountered in investment in Australia, risks such as expropriation, nationalisation and war and civil strife which, we believe, are at present inhibiting them from establishing factories in overseas countries. In short, then, the case for encouraging investment is simply that it is beneficial to us and at the same time should provide material assistance to developing countries in pursuing their industrialisation plans.
The investment insurance amendments will authorise the Export Payments Insurance Corporation to insure certain types of Australian investments in overseas countries against non commercial risks which might arise in these countries. No insurance will be provided against the normal commercial risks an investor faces in an overseas market. The amendment will authorise the Corporation to insure Australian investors against three categories of risk - namely, expropriation, transfer or convertibility and war and insurrection, lt is proposed that separate contracts will be available for each of these risks separately; that is, an investor will not be obliged to contract for a blanket cover of all three risks. .
The expropriation contract will provide cover against loss through confiscation and nationalisation as well as expropriation arising, either from the action of governments or from the action of private groups where this is subsequently condoned by the government. This contract will also cover losses caused by repudiation by a government or official organisation of a specific agreement with the investor and discriminatory treatment by a government against an Australian investor in, for example, taxation, exchange rates or allocation of import licences. The inconvertibility or transfer risk contract will provide cover against losses due to inability to repatriate capital or remit earnings in Australian currency as a result of the imposition of exchange restrictions. A war risk contract will cover losses due to physical damage to property as a result of war, civil war, riot, insurrection or any similar occurrence.
I should now like to refer to the kind of investments which will qualify for insurance. Several criteria will be used when deciding whether an investment can be regarded as eligible for insurance. At the outset I should point out, however, that these criteria are by no means rigid and each application will be considered separately and on its merits. Indeed, the Government is aware that because of the wide variety pf investment arrangements which exist its approach to this matter, and in fact to the whole scheme, will have to be fairly flexible.
In the first place, only new investment will be eligible for cover. However, to avoid any difficulties this might raise for investors who may have found it necessary to conclude investment negotiations in recent months, it is proposed that investments entered into after 1st January 1965 should be eligible for consideration. Secondly, in order to qualify for insurance the investment must be consistent with the primary objective of the legislation, that is, the preservation or expansion of Australian exports. Thirdly, the investment should involve the Australian investor in direct participation in the production or marketing of goods. This requirement is intended to exclude portfolio and other types of invest; ment in which the primary purpose is the earning of dividend or interest income.
In addition, it is our intention wherever possible to encourage joint venture type investment. We will do this by offering, wherever appropriate, a lower premium rate to investors making joint venture arrangements. Here, we are merely acknowledging that we should encourage a type of investment which most countries including ourselves prefer to see. It is proposed that the same premium rate should apply to insured investments in all countries regardless of their varying economic and political conditions. It is proposed that cover will be available for investments in developed as well as less developed countries. The Government believes, however, that most of the insurance contracts will be confined to investments in developed countries. It reserves the right to refuse to insure investment in a particular country for any reason.
Provided the investment is acceptable in other respects insurance will be made available to all Australian citizens, Commonwealth statutory bodies, Commonwealth and State marketing authorites, semi-government institutions, private organisations, partnerships and companies. However, there may be cases where because of the structure or operations of an investing company, it would not be in our best interest’s to provide insurance, even though the proposed investment might otherwise be quite acceptable. If, for example, the investing company were wholly or very substantially foreign owned or was subject to extensive franchise restrictions in its export operations it would need to be demonstrated that there were very real and substantial export prospects in the investment before it could be accepted for insurance.
The Export Payments Insurance Corporation will undertake the day to day administration of the scheme as agent for the Government. The scheme will operate on a government financed, non-commercial basis similar to the present “ national interest “ payments insurance, in which the Government undertakes to meet any claims against contracts while receiving income from premiums and other sources from E.P.I.C. Contracts will normally be issued with a maximum term of 15 years and a minimum term of 5 years. The provision for a minimum term of 5 years is designed to discourage the short term, quick return type of investment. In the event of loss, Government liability will not generally exceed 90 per cent, of the amount insured, the investor bearing the remaining 10 per cent.
It is not intended that the present scheme will provide cover for investments in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, or for that matter, in other Australian Territories. This is because one of the Government’s objectives in Papua and New Guinea is to encourage the development of a more viable economy with a reduced dependence on imports. Hence, a scheme aimed at expanding Australia’s exports is unsuitable for application to that Territory.-
I should now like to deal with other amendments to the Export Payments Insurance Corporation Act which arc proposed in the Bill and which relate to the Corporation’s present payments insurance and guarantee facilities. The Government has decided that the capital of the corporation should be increased from £1 million to £2 million. This proposal is the direct result of a considerable increase in the volume of business being written by the Corporation and the consequent increase in its contingent liabilities. These liabilities have increased from £10.6 million in March 1959 to £41.6 million in June 1965. Although its contingent liability is fully guaranteed by the Commonwealth, the increase in capital is needed to enlarge the reserves readily available to the Corporation to support its business.
An increase is also proposed in the maximum contingent liability which the Corporation can accept under contracts of insurance and guarantee. The present maximum contingent liability of the Corporation is £75 million, considerably above current liabilities of approximately £42 million. But in view of the rapid growth of business in the last few years, it is possible that the present limit may soon begin to restrict the Corporation in the conduct of its business. Hence, this Bill provides for an increase in the statutory maximum from £75 million to £100 million.
Last year Parliament passed legislation authorising E.P.I.C. to issue guarantees to banks which provide finance for export transactions involving credit terms of two years or more. At that time it was decided that these guarantees should be limited lo export contracts valued at £100,000 or more. The Government has now decided that in order to increase the range of export transactions which may qualify for this facility the amount should be reduced to £25,000. The other changes will also be made in conditions under which guarantees may be issued. These do not require amendment of the legislation but nevertheless should be of interest to honorable senators. First, E.P.I.C. will be given authority to increase the cover provided under a guarantee during the first two years of the credit period from the present limit of 90 per cent, to 100 per cent. Secondly, the range of eligible exports which is at present confined to capital and semi-capital goods will be widened to include manufactures which are normally sold on credit terms of two years or more.
Finally, may I once again emphasise the significance of the amendments relating to investment insurance which this Bill proposes. They mark a new strategy in the Government’s drive to increase exports - a strategy placing more emphasis on the longer term means of increasing exports, a strategy demanding that manufacturers look beyond their present horizons towards gains which are likely to accrue in the longer term, and a strategy which I am sure will prove to be of considerable value in future years to both the nation and the Australian manufacturer. I commend the Bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Henry) agreed to -
That the Senate resolve itself forthwith into a Committee of the Whole for the purpose of considering the Particulars of Proposed Expenditure for the Service of the year ending 30th June 1966, and the Particulars of Proposed Provision for Certain Expenditure in respect of the year ending 30th June 1966.
Motion (by Senator Henry) agreed to -
That, unless otherwise ordered, the Particulars of Proposed Expenditure be considered in the following order -
Department of Civil Aviation, £18,705,000
Department of Civil Aviation, £2,600,000
Department of Works, £14,156,000
Civil Defence Buildings, etc., £62,000.
Department of Works, £16,120,400
Department of Customs and Excise, £7,292,000
Department of Customs and Excise, £20,500
Repatriation Department, £132,818,000
Repatriation Department, £40,000
Department of Trade and Industry, £6,003,000
Department of Trade and Industry, £35,700
Department of the Treasury, £148,070,000.
Department of the Treasury, £2,136,800.
Department of Defence, £10,444,000
Department of the Navy, £95,467,000.
Department of the Army, £128,916,000.
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, £12,800.000
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, £645,000
Prime Minister’s Department, £23,260,000
Prime Minister’s Department, £3,844,400
Attorney-General’s Department, £3,936,000
Department of External Affairs, £16,726,000
Economic and Defence Support Assistance to members of S.E.A.T.O. and Protocol States, £1,160,000.
Aid to India, £18,000
Department of Labour and National Service, £3,579,000
Administration of the National Service Act, £338,000.
Post Discharge Re-settlement Training, £1,000.
Department of Territories, £793,000
Department of Territories, £8,200
Christmas Island, £100
Cocos (Keeling) Islands, £47,100
Cocos (Keeling) Islands. £67,000
Norfolk Island, £38,000
Northern Territory, £12,802,300
Northern Territory, £10,043,000
Papua and New Guinea, £31.229,000
Papua and New Guinea, £168.000
Department of Immigration, £19,756,000
Department of Immigration, £464,000
Department of Shipping and Transport, £13,303,000
Department of Shipping and Transport, £14,990,000
Department of Housing, £1.988.000
Department of Housing. £35,000.000
Department of Social Services, £9,935,000
Department of Social Services, £15,500
Department of Supply, £36,235,000
Postmaster-General’s Department, £135,730.000
Postmaster-General’s Department, £91,600,000
Broadcasting and Television Services, £20,104,000
Broadcasting and Television Services, £4,013,000
Commonwealth Railways, £6,996,000
Commonwealth Railways, £5,000,000
Department of Health, £4,884,000
Department of Health, £1,358,000
Department of the Interior, £10,301,000.
Department of the Interior, £1,121,000.
Civil Defence, £320,000
Australian Capital Territory, £9,580,500
Australian Capital Territory, £22,613,000
Department of Primary Industry, £17,318,000
Department of Primary Industry, £1,196,000
Department of Air, £108,649,000
Department of National Development, £14,479,000
Department of National Development, £14,595,000
Motion (by Senator Henry) agreed to -
That, in relation to each division in the Particulars of Proposed Expenditure, the Chairman shall put the Question - “ That the Committee takes note of the proposed expenditure”.
– Before proceeding with the debate, for the benefit of newly elected senators I point out that this debate gives honorable senators an opportunity to investigate thoroughly the particulars of proposed expenditure for 1965-66. It gives them an opportunity to ask questions as to why a greater amount is not provided in a particular item, why a lesser amount is being provided in another item, details of each item and so on. I hope that honorable senators will avail themselves of the opportunity to ask questions.
Department of Civil Aviation
Proposed expenditure, £18,705,000.
– I would like, Mr. Temporary Chairman, to advert to your opening remarks, which were made particularly for the benefit of new senators. You said that the Estimates debate enabled us to consider whether the money provided under various items was enough or not enough, and to deal with individual items mainly on a monetary basis. I hope that that is not the outlook which will guide you throughout this debate. I point out that consideration of the Estimates, whether under a procedure of this type or when we are considering them in due course as Schedules to Appropriation Bills, enables policy to be reviewed under the heading “ Administration “. Administration raises questions of policy. It has been the practice - I think under your chairmanship, too, Sir - to discuss policy in Estimates debates. I therefore feel that 1 should not let your opening remarks, confined to one aspect of our consideration of the Estimates, pass without raising with you the aspect that I now raise.
I hope that you will find no difficulty in subscribing to the view I have put. In support of it I argue that unless the Senate, in considering the Estimates, can address itself to the policies that are administered by the various Departments, it might just as well not consider the Estimates at all. Perhaps that is a view that is shared by more than just the members of the Opposition. I suggest that if we proceed as we have done in the past we shall all get along very happily - Government members, Opposition members and you, Sir, as you hold the scales between us.
.- I listened to your opening remarks, Mr. Temporary Chairman, and I did not regard them as being such that I should rise to express any view in modification of them, but as Senator McKenna has expressed a view I do not wish to leave him alone in it. I think it is fundamental that if we are to consider the propriety of expenditure we must also consider and submit to real examination the policies that are being pursued with the aid of that expenditure. The extent to which those policies can be pursued depends upon the appropriations that we approve. The Senate has been accustomed to using its own judgment in these matters in the past. 1 hope in saying that, I do not mean that we will treat the past as the full measure of our ambitions on this occasion or in the future. Let us try to do our best.
– There are one or two comments I would like to make. We are addressing our remarks particularly to the new senators. I think that, having had an opportunity to discuss the Budget for some considerable time, we should avoid making what amount to second reading speeches on any particular subject during the Estimates debate. Honorable senators may not agree with me, but I think that in recent years there has been a tendency to make broad speeches - what are, in effect, second reading speeches - on various departments and not to address ourselves to particular items. I think that should be avoided. The opportunity to make second reading speeches occurs during the Budget debate, when we have a wide field open to us. This is a matter for the judgment of honorable senators, but I feel that we should confine our remarks as nearly as possible to the particular items of expenditure that we discuss, although the policies underlying those expenditures are matters that we must keep in mind. I hope the debate will not be inhibited in any way. I am sure that all Ministers in this chamber desire to give as much information as possible to honorable senators who seek information. If we seek information about items in the Estimates I am sure we will get along very well and will be better informed.
The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty) said that honorable senators had ample time during the Budget debate to discuss certain matters. That is true up to a point, but other matters have arisen and important decisions have been made since then. Surely it is not the Minister’s intention that we should confine our remarks in this debate to things that happened prior to the Budget debate. If we had to do that, we might as well pass all these items in one fell swoop and then go on to deal with other measures. I take it that the Minister intends that there will be ample scope to discuss certain matters. One in which I am particularly interested concerns the administration of his own Department; it relates to something which has happened in the last five or six days. I am sure the Minister does not want us to accept his decisions without debate or comment.
I join with other honorable senators in hoping that we will proceed as we have proceeded in the past. The conduct of the business of the chamber is in the hands of the Government. If the Government does not like the way in which we are proceeding, it can take the appropriate steps. In the past it has found ways and means to close a debate when it has decided there had been enough discussion.
– I am quite in accord with the spirit of the remarks made by Senator McKenna, supported by Senator Wright and Senator Kennelly, but I think the aspect of the matter mentioned by Senator Henty is also worthy of consideration. I have referred to analysis of expenditure. In Estimates debates sometimes we become cramped for time; honorable senators seeking information about items of expenditure are unable to obtain it because other honorable senators have made lengthy speeches which might well have been made during the Budget debate. It will be for the Chair to decide, of course, whether honorable senators go beyond the bounds and make what amount almost to second reading speeches. This debate affords us an opportunity to obtain information about various items, but long speeches which verge on being second reading speeches bar honorable senators from obtaining the information they desire. I think the remarks of Senator Kennelly, Senator Wright and Senator McKenna have some merit. The Chair will do its best to facilitate the debate.
Senator Dame ANNABELLE RANKIN (Queensland) [4.48]. - There are. a few questions I would like answered in relation to the Department of Civil Aviation. The first relates to Division 140 - Civil Aviation Facilities, “ Maintenance and Operation “, item 01 Aerodromes, and the second relates to Division 144, Development of Civil Aviation. In Division 144, item 06, “Aerodromes - development grant “, the figure of £375,000 is shown, and under item 07, “ aerodromes- maintenance grant “, the figure is £150,000. I wish to pay tribute to the work that is being done by the Department of Civil Aviation throughout the country on all-weather airstrips. They have been a tremendous advantage in very many areas throughout Queensland. Local government authorities and the Department of Civil Aviation have done this excellent work. I would be interested to know how and where these grants of £375,000 for development and £150,000 for maintenance will be spent, how and where the allocation for Queensland will be spent and what is the future planning.
.- I wish to raise the matter of the recent decision of the Government to allow a 6 per cent, increase in air fares. Irrespective of applications from the two airlines, under regulation 106 of the Air Navigation Regulations the Minister for Civil Aviation has the say on whether or not air fares rise. It is rather remarkable that this latest increase is the sixth since December 1957 and the fifth since October 1959.
– What total percentage rise is involved?
– These increases are rather interesting. In December 1957 air fares were increased by 5 per cent. In October 1959 first class fares were increased by 3 per cent, and tourist class fares by 10 per cent. In May 1960 first class fares were increased by 7± per cent, and tourist class fares by 10 per cent. In December 1961 all fares were increased by 10 per cent. In April 1964 all fares were increased by 6 per cent. Now, in October 1965 there is another 6 per cent, increase. If these figures are compounded, we find that tourist class fares have been increased by 57 per cent, and first class fares by 44 per cent, since December 1957. Whatever might be said in condemnation of the two airlines that have applied for this increase - I intend to say something about them later - the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty), if he so desired, could have prevented this unjustified slug on the people of this country. As he agreed to it, the responsibility is his and the Government’s.
Before I explain why this increase is not justified, I want to make one or two other comments. One very remarkable fact is that last year, when fares were increased by 6 per cent., we had not received the report of the Australian National Airlines Commission which operates TransAustralia Airlines. This year, when fares have been increased by 6 per cent, again, we did not receive the report of T.A.A. until six or seven days after the increase was announced. It was tabled today. One is justified in asking himself this question: Is the reason why we cannot receive the report of T.A.A. in time to give it fair scrutiny the fact that the application for the 6 per cent, increase in fares could not be supported financially by the figures in the report? In a Press statement on 28 th September, the Chairman of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. said that he had advised the stock exchanges that his company would show a record profit for the past year after meeting record costs. Am I right in saying, without having had time to consider the report of T.A.A. that was tabled today, that the airline is in the same position as Ansett Transport Industries Ltd.?
Another matter that I raise is that, when I first asked the Minister for Civil Aviation about an application for an increase in fares by the two airlines, he said that he knew nothing about it. I am not doubting his word; but if he did not know anything about it he does not keep his ear very close to the ground. It was common talk in Melbourne that both airlines were contemplating an increase in fares. A few days after the Minister gave me the information to which I have referred, both airlines applied to him for an increase in fares.
– I said in my answer that I had not received an application. I told the honorable senator as soon as I received an application.
– All the Minister said was that he knew nothing about it and that he had not received any application. I say that it was common knowledge in the airlines world that the two airlines were on the point of submitting an application for an increase. From what I heard, the matter went even further than that. At the time I first raised the matter, unofficial talks had taken place between the Department of Civil Aviation and the airlines. They may have been by telephone. I am not saying that they were with the Minister. But a certain party was able to tell me that fares would rise.
Seemingly, in this industry, as long as the two airlines agree the people must pay. Why should T.A.A. agree? Everyone knows why. It is run by people who have said “ yes “ to authority all of their lives. Anyone would know that they would agree. An industry that is run by the nation is entitled not to worry about what its competitor does in regard to price rises. I do not mind what Mr. Ansett charges. He has a perfect right to charge what he likes, as long as he acts in accordance with the Regulations. If he wants to make 10 per cent, profit, as he states every time he submits his annual statement to his shareholders, I do not mind. What I am concerned about is that people have to pay increased air fares when, in my opinion, the profits of both airlines do not warrant the increase.
It is true that this year the airlines will meet increased expenditure in the form of increased landing fees, increased taxation on aviation fuel, increased taxation because of an alteration in the approved rates of depreciation, and increased wages. In answer to a question, the Minister said that the expected increase in cost to each airline was £800,000. That is a figure that I know well, because when the airlines asked for an increase of 6 per cent, in fares last year, Sir Giles Chippindall said that the increased costs of T.A.A. would amount to £800,000. It is most remarkable to find that, when the airlines want increases in fares in two succeeding years, their costs have increased by the same percentage in each year. We all know that there will be increased costs. There will be extra costs because of the great increases in the amount of business that the airlines do. While I admit that it is difficult to forecast the amount of these increases, I have assessed it, in round figures, at £500,000, which represents an expansion of about 15 per cent, in the direct and indirect operating costs which I have not already covered. On this basis, each airline would have to meet increased costs amounting, roughly, to £1.3 million.
In the limited time available to me, let me examine the various factors that are working in the interests of both airlines. Over the past 12 months they have had the benefit of the 6 per cent, increase in passenger fares that was imposed last September. This increase would have returned an additional £1.2 million to each airline. That increase will continue to apply, in addition to the new impost of 6 per cent. I suppose no industry in the nation has had such an unqualified growth in recent years. Last year, according to the Minister, the’ rate of expansion was 16 or 17 per cent., or possibly more. In his report for the year 1964-65, he said -
The buoyant conditions have shown no signs of diminishing in 1965 and figures for the major intercapital routes, for the first six months of 1965, show that passenger miles were 18.7 per cent, higher than for the same period in 1964 which in turn were 171 per cent, higher than in 1963.
Let us, for ease of calculation, assume that the increase is 20 per cent. This will mean that each airline receives at least one fifth more revenue. The total revenue of the airline in which I am interested was £25 million last year. The increase will be achieved at a proportionately lower operational cost. The indirect operating costs will not rise by anything like the same amount. The airlines are introducing newer and more profitable equipment and discarding the older and less profitable aircraft that have been in operation.
Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I listened closely to the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty) when he was advising new senators not to make second reading speeches when seeking information about items in the Estimates. I thought that was rather impertinent of the Minister. When we make speeches on the Budget we try to cover the economic policy that the Government puts before the people. When we go into Committee to consider the Estimates, we deal with specific subjects. The first paper that we pick up is the Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure. Then we have a look at particulars of proposed expenditure. The Civil Works Programme and the Capital Works Programme are before us. In addition, we have the reports of the Australian National Airlines Commission, which operates Trans-Australia Airlines, and Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. Yet the Minister does not want honorable senators to make second reading speeches on matters in the Estimates.
I am interested in some of these subjects. I notice from the Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure that the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) estimates that in the year ending June 1966 an amount of £974,000 will be received as a dividend from Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. But we find that the Qantas report contains these words -
While the recommended dividend of 6) per cent, will absorb £1,150,500,000 . . .
Therefore, Qantas will pay to the Government £176,500 more than is provided for in the Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure. Where do we go when figures of this sort are put before us at this time?
Senator Kennelly, when speaking about the increases in fares, referred to increases in wages. Under Division No. 135 - Ad ministration, provision is made for the appropriation of £6,840,000 for salaries and allowances. The appropriation last year was £6,471,000 and the amount expended was £6,465,000, so this does not give a very clear picture at all of what is going on. Provision is made for the expenditure of £2,600,000 in the Capital Works Programme. Air routes and airway facilities, including power and lighting plant and equipment, are expected to cost £1,980,000. The amount appropriated under this item last year was £2 million. Aircraft, launches, vehicles, engines and equipment should cost £620,000.
– At present the Committee is considering particulars of proposed expenditure for the service of the year totalling £18,705,000. Is it the wish of honorable senators to consider at the same time the particulars of the proposed provision for certain expenditure by the Department of Civil Aviation in respect of the financial year amounting to £2,600,000? Would the Minister like to have them taken together?
– Yes. If it suits the Opposition, it suits me.
There being no objection, that course will be adopted.
– The programme set out in the document, “Civil Works Programme”, shows that the Department proposes a total expenditure of £11,688,749, of which amount the Department estimates £9,775,600 will be spent this year. No where in the estimates of receipts and expenditure for the ordinary annual services of the Government or in the capital works programme is that huge amount of money referred to. It is in addition to the amount of £18,705,000 referred to by you, Mr. Temporary Chairman, and the amount of £2.600,000 referred to by the Minister.
– To what sum is the honorable senator referring?
– I am referring to the document, “ Civil Works Programme “, page 17, where the works estimated to cost over £20,000 are listed. The total is £9,775,600. Apparently about £2 million will be left over for expenditure in 1966-67. This makes it very complicated and hard for any one to follow the papers. We have been advised through Press reports - I do not know whether the Minister has advised Parliament - that fares on internal air routes are shortly to be increased by 6 per cent. In this respect it is worth examining the report of Trans-Australia Airlines for 1964-65. It does not require a great deal of research to find that in 1964-65 the revenue passenger load factor increased by 6 per cent, over 1963-64. The percentage increase of .6 represents a rather large figure because the passenger miles flown - excluding charter flights - increased from 698,225,752 in 1963-64 to 811,267,805 in 1964-65. The percentage net operating profit on average capital for 1964-65 was 9.4 per cent., as compared with 8.6 per cent, for 1963-64. Yet the airlines have asked for an increase of 6 per cent, in air fares. This request has been made despite the huge growth in business that has occurred in the past two years, and despite the increase in the revenue passenger load factor. To me it does not seem justified that air fares should be increased.
I can appreciate that the Minister may approve of an increase or a decrease in air fares, but the history of the airlines shows all increases and no decreases. I believe that Parliament should be advised how these huge sums of money are to be spent. The people who use the services provided should have all the information available to decide whether they support the profit motives of Ansett-A.N.A. and other businesses conducted by Ansett Transport Industries Limited. I can see no reason to justify a 6 per cent, increase in air fares.
Senator Sir WALTER COOPER (Queensland) [5.15]. - 1 would like an explanation in respect of Division No. 144, item 08, Aviation Research. The appropriation last year for this item was £115,000. This year it has dropped to £90,000. 1 think all honorable senators will agree that research is necessary in the aviation industry, t should like the Minister to explain why the appropriation for aviation research has dropped from £115,000 to £90,000.
.- 1 thank you, Mr. Temporary Chairman, and the Minister for the opportunity to speak again on the estimates for the Department of Civil Aviation. I have referred previously to two factors acting in favour of the air-, lines. One is the increase in air fares last year and the other is the tremendous increase in the number of miles flown. Of course, an increase in the number of passengers carried also occurred with the increase in the number of miles flown.
I turn now to a third factor; that is the introduction by the airlines of newer and more profitable equipment and the discarding of the old and less profitable aircraft. The new Boeing 727 jets are tremendous profit earners, not only because of their very high passenger loading capacity, but also because of their relative low breakeven point. As more 727 jets are introduced, -together with the DC9’s, the greater will be the proportion of profit earned on any flight. A fourth factor in favour of the airlines is the steady increase in the revenue load factor, which is now at a record high level. Honorable senators are aware that the revenue load factor is vital to the profits of an airline.
In the United States of America airlines are able to operate profitably on a revenue load factor below 50 per cent. Although the Minister has often said that our air fares are low in comparison with those in other parts of the world, I have ascertained that the air fare on a route between two large cities in the United States is 3.97 pence a mile for pure jet aircraft and 3.36 pence a mile for Electras. I am not saying that that rate is much less than the rate applicable to Australian air routes.
– Fares charged in the United States are pretty close to Australian air fares.
– Often I have asked the Minister questions on this subject and he has implied that our air fares are lower than those charged by other airlines of the world. At no time in answering my questions or in any debate has the Minister said that air fares in the United States are practically on a par with Australian fares, as he has now said. If this debate has done nothing else, at least it has dragged that admission out into the open. In the United States the load factor is about 50 per cent., but here it is about 68 per cent.
– And do not forget that our service here is a lot better.
– Th e honorable senator may speak later. I am glued to the time limit. I made a mistake last week, and I do not want to make another. Our load factor is 67 per cent, in the case of AnsettA.N.A. and 68 per cent, in the case of Trans-Australia Airlines. When we compare our load factor with that of the United States, and when we compare the cost per mile in the two countries, we note that we in Australia are in a much better position. I repeat that if T.A.A. cannot operate efficiently, if it cannot show a profit, if it cannot pay a dividend of H per cent, and if it cannot give to the people of Australia the service that it should give, then something is wrong. I do not like the existing form of control of the activities of T.A.A. 1 have never liked putting in charge of organisations people who, all their lives have been trained to say: “ Yes, Mr. Minister.” I believe that this organisation ought to be run by a manager. He could be made to give an account of his control, first, to the Minister, and secondly, to the Parliament and the people.
I do not care what profit Ansett makes. I know that he wants to make a profit of 10 per cent, on all his commitments. He wants to jack up air fares because he cannot make a profit of 10 per cent, in relation to his television station ATV-Q in its developmental stage. That project is costing him a lot of money. So to get a return of 10 per cent, on all the. undertakings in which he is interested he wants to jack up air fares. And T.A.A. is going along with him. I want T.A.A. to give a good service. I have always wanted any industry to pay its way, and in particular I want T.A.A. to be able to pay a return of 7i per cent, into Federal revenue. But, having made an examination of this airline’s accounts and activities, I believe that it can provide the service and return that I have referred to without continually having to come to the Minister to ask for an increase in fares. I remember quite well what the Minister said last year when I presented certain figures showing the profit that T.A.A. would make following an increase in fares and an increase in air traffic. The Minister did not agree with my figures. Whereas this airline’s revenue in the previous financial year was £21.1 million, the latest report shows that , its revenue for the last financial year was £25 million. According to Sir Giles Chippendall, the organisation’s costs rose by £800,000 in the previous financial year. Remarkably, costs rose by £800,000 in this last financial year, too. It is indeed quite remarkable that costs should have risen by the same sum in both years.
With great respect, I think the Minister has been a bit too soft. I do not say that he wants to bolster up Ansett-A.N.A. But I am prepared to say that, if the facts were examined by independent outside people, the case I am submitting would be found to be the correct one. There are only two major airlines in the industry. The air services supposedly have been rationalised so that each operator will get a fair share of the business. We will prove later from the Department’s report that they do not get a fair share. However, no-one can honestly say that this latest rise of 6 per cent, in air fares was justified.
.- I should like to draw Senator Kennelly’s attention to a question that he addressed to me and my reply, as reported in “ Hansard “ on Thursday, 23rd September 1965, at page 557. Senator Kennelly had raised the matter during the adjournment debate on the previous day. I had only short notice of his intention to raise the matter. I telephoned Melbourne to obtain the requisite information, but as that day was a holiday in Melbourne the Department was not open and I was unable to get the information.
– The Minister said at the time that he knew nothing about the application for an increase.
– I did not say anything of the sort.
– Let the Minister read the relevant passage.
– I cannot find the “Hansard” report just now. I shall come back to. the matter later. Senator Kennelly stated that he had not had a great length of time in which to read the annual report of the Australian National Airlines Commission. That is quite obvious. He received it only this afternoon, and he has not given it very close study. But he will have plenty, of .time in which to study it. We will be considering the Estimates for a fortnight. There was no need for him to rush in with this matter this afternoon. He could have raised it at any time while we were considering the estimates for the Department of Civil Aviation. He will have all tonight, or all tomorrow, to study it if he wants to.
– The Minister knows when he wants consideration of the estimates for his Department to conclude. If consideration is not finished within the desired time, consideration of the Estimates will bc chopped off at the other end.
– Consideration of the Estimates will conclude when honorable senators have finished dealing with them. This is what I said in reply to the honorable senator when he raised this matter during an adjournment debate, as reported at page 554 of “ Hansard “-
The honorable senator has raised the question of increased air fares. I can only say to him that I have not had an application for increased fares made to me, and I have not considered one. One cannot consider an application until it is received. ] was interested to note that Senator Kennelly built his case on the figures for last year. He said that the only statistics on which he had to rely were those for 1963-64. He built a case around statistics which might not be worth two bob.
I said I did not receive an application for an increase in fares and therefore I had not considered the matter. I said I could not do so until I received an application.
– Why does not the Minister read what he said subsequently?
– I shall read that, too. I said -
I cannot give the information that the honorable senator seeks. 1 telephoned to Melbourne this morning to see whether I could get any information on this matter, which he raised last night, but today is a holiday there and I was unable, before I came into the chamber, to get the DirectorGeneral to supply the information sought.
– What is wrong with the comment I made?
– You said that I had no information.
– I said the Minister did not know anything about it. He has read what he said. What does it mean?
– I did not say I did not know anything about it.
– Then what did the Minister mean? He said he had to telephone Melbourne to find out about it.
– We will get down to the substance of Senator Kennelly’s speech.
He raised the question of the increase in air fares of 6 per cent. I told the Senate previously and I repeat that the application for an increase was thoroughly examined by the Department of Civil Aviation before any increase was granted. Both the major airlines substantiated their applications for an increase. They produced figures relating to the additional costs they will have to meet this year and showed that they would need to increase fares by 6 per cent, to make a profit comparable with that they earned last year. In the case of Trans-Australia Airlines this profit resulted in a dividend of 7i per cent, to the Government.
Senator Kennelly referred to the increase in revenue by T.A.A. which is disclosed in the annual report and balance sheet. The report shows that in 1964-65, T.A.A. had a record total income of £25,009,025 compared with £21,118,274 last year. That is an increase of approximately £4 million. But two lines further down in the summary of the report it is disclosed that total expenses and tax provision in 1964-65 totalled £24,304,499 compared with £20,477,583, an increase of about £4 million. That is the point I am making. Although T.A.A. had record revenue, the net profit was only about £60,000 more than it was the previous year. The net profit in 1964-65 was £704,526 compared with £640,691 the previous year.
– - Might I with respect ask the Minister a question? He mentioned the profit motive and said income was £4 million more than last year. Then he went down to the operating costs which are £2 million more. Where has the other £2 million gone?
– I do not want to be rude to Senator Kennelly; but expenses increased by £4 million. If he will subtract £20,477,583 from £24,304,499 he will find that the increase was roughly £4 million.
– I suggest the Minister look at the operating costs.
– r-We will have to send Senator Kennelly back to school so that he can learn to read a balance sheet. The disquieting fact is that costs in the aviation industry have risen considerably. The report of T.A.A. shows that the percentage of net operating profit to average capital - Treasury advances - was 9.4 per cent, compared with 8.6 per cent, the previous year. This is very lean indeed. Anybody who believes there is a. big margin of profit in aviation should study these figures closely. There is nothing of the sort. The margin between profit and loss is mighty small. As I have said, costs have risen in the past year by approximately £4 million. Naturally, T.A.A. and Ansett-A.N.A. have examined the prospects and the additional expenses they will have to meet. The two airlines expect their total annual expenses to rise by £2.7 million. This is made up of increased fuel tax, higher navigation charges, the per cent, increase in margins - as I told the honorable senator the other day - and increases in the costs of wages and materials. East-West Airlines submitted a similar application for increased fares and this small organisation has shown that its costs this year will rise by £42,000.
– Did I hear the Minister say that the total extra costs of the two major airlines would be over £2 million?
– The estimated increase in costs over the next year for the two airlines is £2.7 million.
– How is it that the Minister told the Senate that the increases would be roughly £800,000? Read that from “ Hansard “.
– The expected annual costs of T.A.A. will total £1,211,000 and of Ansett-Transport Industries £1,476,000. That is a total of £2,687,000 or near enough to £2.7 million. Those are the figures upon which the increased fares are based.
asked for information about the development of country aerodromes in Queensland. The civil works programme in Queensland for this year includes a new terminal building at Mount Isa to cost £100,000 and the expenditure of £640,000 at Cairns to strengthen the runway and taxiway. Reference has been made to the local ownership plan. The Government’s aerodrome, local ownership plan was introduced in 1957-58. It provided for full reimbursement to Tocal councils of the costs of aerodromes established by them and commenced a scheme under which locally owned aerodromes and Commonwealth aerodromes to be transferred to councils free of cost would bc eligible for 50 per cent, grants by the Commonwealth towards the cost of developmental works. A total of 168 country aero dromes now operate under the scheme and the Commonwealth has provided assistance totalling £2.7 million up to 1964-65. The current year’s Estimates provide for a further expenditure of £375,000 on development of these aerodromes. In additon, the Commonwealth also assists by reimbursing 50 per cent, of the cost of maintenance of all local ownership aerodromes and these maintenance grants are expected to total £150,000 this year. The provision for local ownership works in Queensland totals £250,000 for 1965-66. Queensland works in progress total £84,000, and expenditure in 1965-66 against total expenditure, of £330,000, will be approximately £1 1.0,000.
Senator Sir Walter Cooper referred to the provision for aviation research in Division No. 144, item 08. Expenditure will fall from £100,000 in 1964-65 to an estimate of £90,000 in 1965-66. This is due to the non-recurrence of some special research performed in 1964-65 particularly in relation to studies of fatigue suffered by jet aircraft crews. There is no intention that the activities in regard to aviation research would be allowed to decline. Some research was instigated by the Department which sought a special report on fatigue suffered by pilots in jet aircraft. It was a special project for 1964-65. Except for this item, normal research will continue. It will not be allowed to diminish.
The question asked by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin related to Division No. 140, subdivision 1, item 01, “ Aerodromes “. An estimate of £3,795,000 is provided for the maintenance of movement areas, runways, taxiways, roads etc., buildings, marine bases, fixed fire fighting installations, fire and crash alarms, the operation of fire fighting services and marine facilities, and cleaning, night watching and caretaking services. The split-up of the estimate is as follows: For the maintenance of aerodromes, the amount provided is £1,884,000; for the operation of fire fighting services, the amount is £683,000; £734,000 is provided for the maintenance of buildings; cleaning and night watching, etc., accounts for £290,000; and £204,000 is provided for all other contingencies.
.- The Commonwealth is a member of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The Estimates show that the
Commonwealth’s contribution to this Organisation amounts to £62,000. Australia has a representative on this Council. He resides in Montreal in a house provided and furnished by the Commonwealth Government at a cost of precisely £40,766.
– When was that purchased?
– It was purchased towards the end of the last financial year.
– Is this matter in the estimates of my Department?
What is the item?
– I will leave it to the Minister to sift the item from all the others. I refer to Division No. 140 - Civil Aviation Facilities. The Minister will find therein such headings as “ Aerodromes, Air route and airway facilities “, etc. Item 04. of subdivision 1. of this Division provides for £750.000 for “ Electrical energy “ and item 10. provides £645,000 for “Travelling and subsistence “. The Division deals with all these matters. This is the fact. We are dealing with the estimates of the Department of Civil Aviation. I am not making this thing up. I understand that rent would be paid by the official for the premises he occupies. I do not know whether the Minister has complete knowledge of this house in Montreal-
– The honorable senator’s argument is addressed to Division No. 144, item 02. - “ International Civil Aviation Organisation- Contribution £62,000 “?
– If Senator Wright is able to break up all these items, perhaps he can find” where this house is located in Montreal and what rent is paid by the person who is occupying it. This person is an official of the Department of Civil Aviation.
Order! The honorable senator mentioned the amount of £62,000. Senator Wright has pointed out that this relates to Division No. 144, item 02. - “International Civil Aviation Organisation - Contribution “. Is that the item the honorable senator means?
– Yes. The Commonwealth Government has a representative in Montreal. He is in receipt of a salary.
There is no question about that. I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation: Who is the, officer there? What salary is he receiving? I have some more questions on this matter, too. I accept that the Minister, before he approved the expenditure of £40,000 for this home in Montreal, studied all the information that was supplied to him by his departmental officers.
– I did more than that. I inspected the house itself when I was in Montreal.
– Then the Minister will be able to speak of this matter from first hand knowledge. Montreal is a long way from Canberra.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Before the sitting was suspended I had mentioned a house in Montreal for which the Department of Civil Aviation paid £40,766. The Minister kindly informed me that he had seen the house and the furniture, which the Commonwealth had bought, but he did not express any opinion of them. I would like to know whether he believes that the Commonwealth got fair value for its money. I know that in Australia you can get a very good home for £40,766 and I should imagine that in a highly industrialised country like Canada you would get almost a palace for that sum. Will the Minister tell me whether Australia was fairly treated when she paid £40,766 for the dwelling?
I have looked through the documents and I find that only two officers of the Department of Civil Aviation are overseas and that their total salaries amount to £6,420. I would imagine from this - I am sure the records are correct - that one of the two officers is occupying the house. I should like the Minister to tell me that officer’s salary. I am entitled to know, because it seems to me to be out of all proportion to provide one of these officers overseas with a home which cost £40,766. Will the Minister clear up that matter for my benefit and for the benefit of other honorable senators?
We all recollect that in 1959 the Senate passed a measure which is now known as the Airports (Business Concessions) Act. The
Commonwealth Government has carried om certain operations under the provisions of that Act. It has granted licences to certain people to conduct certain classes of business at airports. Will the Minister tell mc how many licences have been approved for Brisbane airport and in respect of what classes of business? I should like to know also how the licences are appraised. Is this done by an officer of the Department or by someone associated with the hotel business? I am sure the Minister can give me that information.
I know there are parking areas at the Brisbane and Sydney airports so I assume that there are parking areas at the airports in the other capital cities. Last year, apart from the revenue obtained from these areas, the sura of £4,574 was paid in penalties by persons who perhaps parked in them for too long. Were these penalties inflicted by a magistrate in a court? Does the Department of Civil Aviation approve of on the spot penalties? I know that the Minister will give me a firm answer to each question that I have raised so far so I shall pass to another matter.
I turn now to Division No. 140, item 08, which relates to a proposed appropriation of £210,000 for the supply of petrol, fuel and oil and lubricating oils. The. Department of Civil Aviation uses a fair quantity of petrol and oil during the year and, under the provisions of the Audit Act, it is required to call tenders for its supplies. I do not want to pry too deeply into what may be called a private aspect of the Department’s business. Knowing that the Treasury insists upon the calling and approval of tenders, I will not ask the Minister the name of the oil company which was the successful tenderer. However, the Department of Civil Aviation controls the operations of Trans-Australia Airlines and, as T.A.A. is a governmental instrumentality, it is required to call tenders for its supplies of fuel oil. Let us all be clear on that. I am satisfied that is done, because the Treasury would insist upon it. There is in operation a scheme known as rationalisation. I am pretty confident that T.A.A. obtains its oil and fuel supplies at a price lower than the wholesale price. However, rationalisation raises the question of whether Ansett-A.N.A. is entitled to obtain its oil supplies at the same price as does T.A.A.
The honorable senator is speaking to item 08, which relates to petrol, fuel oil and lubricating oils.
– That item is in the Estimates. I am referring, as Senator Kennelly did, to T.A.A., which is an instrumentality controlled by the Department of Civil Aviation.
– I do not know whether the honorable senator has this matter mixed up. The item refers to petrol, fuel oil and lubricating oils pertaining to the Department of Civil Aviation itself.
– This does not refer to T.A.A. It has nothing to do wilh T.A.A.
– The honorable senator is hopelessly lost. He is not listening. I referred to that aspect and I have finished with it. I outlined the procedure and 1 moved on to T.A.A.’s operation. To keep the matter in order I mentioned the fact that the Department of Civil Aviation controls the operations of T.A.A.
– Well, it provides runways, navigational facilities and other services. Does the Minister tell me there is no connection between the Department of Civil Aviation and the Commission which controls T.A.A.? If there is no connection, what Department controls it?
– I will tell the honorable senator about this later.
– There must be some connection. We have in our possession a report by the Commission, but it was the Minister who furnished the report to the Parliament. The Minister can clear up (his matter if he wishes to do so. Does AnsettA.N.A. get the benefit of rationalisation when purchasing its supplies of oil and petrol?
There is another matter I should like the Minister to clear up. It has been observed that the dividend - I will call it that - paid by T.A.A. to the Government’s coffers amounts to 7i per cent. Qantas Empire Airways Ltd., on the other hand, pays a dividend of 5 per cent. Will the Minister tell me the reason for the difference? Perhaps an airline that operates within the
Commonwealth and to Papua and New Guinea is a much more profitable business than is an international airline. The Minister may have an explanation on this point. If he has, I would be very happy to hear it.
– Whilst I have a number of points to raise concerning the estimates for the Department of Civil Aviation, I want to deal particularly with Division No. 135 - Administrative. I lend my voice to the views that have already been expressed in this chamber concerning the proposed increase in air fares. The remarkable thing is that the first intimation of a proposed increase in fares came from an honorable senator on this side of the chamber. The Government displayed some uncertainty on the matter. When the Minister was asked whether the proposed increase in air fares was justified in Vew of the many increases that had been granted over a period of years, he said the basis for the proposed increase was an increase in operational costs of, I think, £2.7 million, in the ensuing 12 months. The Minister did not mention whether the increase in operational costs could have been absorbed by the increased passenger and freight traffic.
We received the report of Trans-Australia Airlines for 1964-65 only today. Since 1948 T.A.A. has had continual increases in both passenger and freight traffic. It can be seen from the report that there was an increase of 17.3 per cent, in the number of passengers carried last year compared with the previous year and that the number of first class passenger miles flown increased by 1.1.3 per cent, over the previous year. I think that when suspicion is cast upon the action of the Department in permitting the increase in air fares, the Minister should clear up all these questions so that we may know whether the increase was justified. It is not sufficient to say that the increase has been granted because operating costs will be so much higher next year. The opening up of a new service or the introduction of new type of aircraft may increase the operational costs, but it also increases the income earning rate of the particular company.
The report of T.A.A. shows that the company provided £3,015,471 for depreciation in the last financial year. It set aside £425,228 for future income tax liability and it paid £425,174 tax to the Commonwealth.
The net operating profit after tax was approximately £704,000 compared with £640,000 for the previous year. The return on capital, after providing for tax and all the other items, was 9.4 per cent. The airline companies cannot hope to make the high profits that are made by other companies which take bigger risks. Not only do the airline companies have a monopoly, but they have the protection of the Government in this monopoly. Although they may be in competition with one another on some routes, if the passenger traffic drops to the extent where it is not economical for both airlines to operate, the Government steps in and rationalises the service. So there is very little possibility of these companies incurring a loss for very long. I do not think that we can consider their profits in the way that we consider the profits of other companies.
There is one question that I would like the Minister to answer. During the debate on Ipec-Air Pty. Ltd., it was claimed that the Government was subsidising freight rates by passenger fares. How long is it since freight rates were increased? If there is an increase in operational costs, should not an increase be made in both passenger fares and freight rates? Should people who seek quick transport from one centre to another have to subsidise firms which desire to transport their goods from one State to another? If there is an increase in operational costs, there should be an overall increase in all the charges of the airline companies and not just in one section. I hope that the Minister will tell us what increases have been made in air cargo charges so that we can see whether everyone is being hit with increases or whether it is only the travelling public that is being hit.
I would like information from the Minister on the salaries and allowances that are paid to the overseas representatives. Senator Benn mentioned that an amount of £6,420 is to be provided in this financial year for the overseas representatives. I note from the estimates that last year we provided the sum of £5,990 for Directors - Head Office. The figure suggests to me that there was only one director, but I may be wrong. On this occasion we are being asked to approve an appropriation of £12,839. I ask: How many additional directors does the Department intend to employ? Is it essential that the Department employs additional directors in the Head Office?
– The Estimates give the numbers. Two were employed last year and four are to be employed this year.
– We find that there were two directors last year and the Department intends to double the staff to four directors this year. I would like to know the reason for the increase. There is a reduction in the provision for officers on the unattached list. I am wondering whether some of them are to be transferred and promoted. There is an increase of about £1,000 in the provision for miscellaneous allowances - administrative, living away from home, first aid and flying insurance. Then I would like to know what higher duties allowances refer to. If they have reference to the promotion of officers to higher duties for short periods, why increase the provision in that respect instead of giving permanent appointments to those who are performing higher duties?
Under the heading “ Officers on Loan from Other Departments” there is an increase in the appropriation from £6,124 last year to £10,246 this year, so apparently there is to be an increase in the number of officers on loan. We find that last year’s appropriations under the headings “ Administrative “ and “ Civil Aviation Facilities” were underspent to the extent of £1,324,904, yet the appropriations are to be increased this year. Did the Department fall behind in its programme last year so that it could not spend its full appropriation? We find that the increased activities proposed for the Department this year are under the headings of administration and civil aviation facilities, the latter of which include aerodromes, air routes, airway facilities and so on, but there is a reduction in the appropriation for the development of civil aviation and for meteorological services. The total expenditure of the Department in 1964-65 was £17,481,753, and the proposed vote this year is £18,705,000. A decrease is proposed this year in the provision for payments under the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act, and I would like to know the method used to estimate that liability. Do we simply follow the appropriation of the previous year?
Under the heading “ Civil Aviation Facilities “, provision is made for telephone services, local government services, maintenance of movable plant and equipment, petrol, fuel oil and lubricating oils, general stores and equipment, and travelling and subsistence. Last year the expenditure did not equal the appropriation under these headings, yet this year an increased appropriation is proposed. I would like to know whether the petrol subsidy which has been granted to country areas will mean that aviation petrol used in country areas will be cheaper in future than it has been in the past. It would be helpful if the Minister would clear up this question.
Motion (by Senator Henty) agreed to -
That further consideration of the proposed expenditure of the Department of Civil Aviation be postponed until after consideration of the proposed expenditure of the Department of Customs and Excise and the Repatriation Department.
Department of Customs and Excise.
Proposed expenditure, £7,292,000.
Proposed provision, £20,500.
The Department of Customs and Excise perhaps does not figure dramatically in debates on the Estimates, but it is one of the main revenue gathering departments of the Commonwealth, and is expected to produce £450 million in this year. It is also estimated that £7,292,000 will be expended in administrative expenses.
Provision has been made for remissions of duty under special circumstances, for a contribution by the Federal Government to the Customs Co-operation Council and for the sale of petroleum products in the Northern Territory, involving a matter of £70,000. During the past year there have been introduced into the Parliament numerous bills which are of great importance to the economy of the country. Amongst them were measures dealing with various bounties. It is often difficult to separate the areas covered by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Customs and Excise. It seems that the Department of Trade and Industry takes a major part in policy formation, and when the policy is formed the responsibility for carrying it out becomes that of the Department of Customs and Excise.
The payment of bounties to various industries has its effect on Tasmania. I refer particularly to the bounty on refined copper, which benefits a very important industry on the west coast of Tasmania. At Mount Lyell a company is actively engaged in the production of copper. It is a very low grade of ore; but that mine has a big effect on the economy of Tasmania generally and of the west coast in particular. The bounty is payable until 31st December of this year. There does not seem to be any certainty that it will continue to be paid. It is more or less an annual affair.
I ask the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) whether there is any long range policy in respect of this bounty with the object of enabling the industry to plan developmental work and the like, so giving the vast number of people engaged in the industry a greater feeling of security. Provision is also made for the payment of a raw cotton bounty. The cotton industry is a new and growing industry in Australia. During the year 1964-65 these bounty payments amounted to £957,782. This industry is being encouraged. I ask the Minister whether any continuity in respect of the payment of bounty is to be offered in order to encourage the growing of cotton.
One of the most important activities of the Department of Customs and Excise is the administration of the collection of customs duties at the points of entry into this country. During the year we have had examples of the vigilance of the Department at the various points of entry, particularly of contraband. I believe that the Department deserves credit for the results that it has achieved. If some people are able to gain an advantage over the rest of the community by bringing goods into the country without paying the same duties as are paid by other people who observe the law, the Department has the responsibility for seeing that this practice does not reach great proportions.
The Minister has admitted that the Department has difficulty in policing the various wharves and other points of entry and in inspecting all classes of imports. At times the Department is criticised. This brings into very sharp relief the need for co-ordination among the various Commonwealth departments - particularly the Department of Customs and Excise - the stevedoring authorities and the State Govern ments, with the object of achieving better planning of the entry of all of our imports. It would appear that customs activities are haphazard because at the present time the whole of the stevedoring industry is haphazard.
I ask the Minister whether any plans are afoot for, or whether the Department envisages any way in which it could bring about, an improvement in the facilities and general administration of the wharves.
– Does that come under this Department?
– It comes under the the Department of Customs and Excise, which is collecting £450 million. Quite a lot of that money is collected in the form of excise duty. A little research would show the exact division between excise duty and customs duty. This is a very important department. Its activities covering the collection of customs duty, in my view, should be efficient and streamlined for the collection of this vast amount of money.
Recently the Department came under criticism by the Press because certain exits and entrances in wharf areas were not covered by customs officials. I think it was my colleague, Senator McClelland, who said that there were 19 or 20 separate wharves in Sydney alone-
– Yes, 19 miles of wharves and 40 wharves. The fact that the Department is criticised so little, although it is expected to police that large number of wharves, reflects credit on it. I believe that there is an opportunity here for the Department to initiate some form of streamlining and co-ordination of these activities. The lifeblood of a nation is its trade. We can live on our own bread if we wish; but the exchange of goods with other nations, which can produce goods that a nation is unable to produce or which are prepared to buy goods that it is able to produce, is the lifeblood of that nation. Much of our revenue is produced in this field of imports and exports. Yet the position that exists at the focal point of this international trade - that is, at the points of entry and exit - is verging on chaos. I ask the Minister whether the Department has any plans for greater co-ordination among the various authorities associated with the waterfront.
On an earlier occasion we put forward from this side of the chamber a proposition that the Commonwealth Government take over full responsibility for the waterfront. This is a national issue. The revenue is received by the Commonwealth itself.
– And it has the power.
– The Commonwealth has the power. It is only evasion of the Commonwealth’s responsibilities to leave the situation as it is today. We appreciate the magnitude of the revenue that the Department of Customs and Excise receives on behalf of the Government and of the people. Its duties could be lightened, and its responsibilities in respect of imports could be more ably discharged, and a much greater degree of peace could be brought to the waterfront as a result of the coordination of which I speak. The Department’s expenditure comprises mainly salaries and allowances, for which an appropriation of £5.218.700 for the current year is proposed. This is more than was appropriated last year. Provision must be made not only for increases in salaries along the line but also for more officers to handle our expanding trade.
Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I should like to inquire about the employment position in relation to customs officers. Some two years ago during a debate on the Estimates I raised this matter. I had been approached by officers working on the Sydney waterfront, who complained that because they were so much understaffed they were not to blame for the failure to keep the drug trade under control. I knew of their position personally. Can the Minister tell me to what extent the staff has been increased and what added facilities there are for the staff to handle the drug trade?
Customs officers have a great responsibility and I dare to say that most are not fully trained detective types able to handle the problems and people they have to deal with. The drug trade is in the hands of highly skilled persons. I remember an experience that I had as a pressman, when some of us were able to get information about an illicit drug ring that operated in Sydney. Drugs were dropped on to the wharf somewhere and then taken to a most unlikely sort of address in the city of Sydney. From there they went out to customers per medium of the panel van service of one of the leading Sydney retailers. A man engaged in the drug running trade would go to this firm - it was David Jones Ltd., as a matter of fact - and order a pair of blankets or a set of blankets for Mrs. So and So. of Edgecliff Road, Woollahra; that is the golden half mile.
Order! The honorable senator is getting a little astray of the items we are considering.
– I am concerned with Division No. 155 - Administration. The purpose was to deliver the drugs to customers per medium of a small parcel sent out with a pair of blankets that had been bought ostensibly by the customer who was to receive the drugs. I mention this only to show that the drug trade was a pretty highly skilled business. It is quite possible that the Department does not give enough attention to training men around the wharves in the type of work that they have to do. I am particularly interested in what has been done to increase the labour force engaged in this work. I should also like to know what happens to the merchandise that the Department gets hold of as a result of its raids on ships.
– I have no ulterior motive in asking. I was interested to read in Sydney newspapers recently that transistorised radio sets were offered for sale at £6 10s. each. These were sets which had been collected from ships that had come from the East and they were on sale to the general public. How does the Department go about selling this contraband material? Does it call tenders? Does it do as the New South Wales Government Railways does in selling publicly from time to time materials that have been lost on the railways and not claimed? 1 thought that the advertisement that I saw in the newspapers was cheap looking. It is rather bad for the reputation of the Department that within weeks of the Minister’s announcement of successful raids it should have 5,000 or 6,000 transistorised sets for sale at £6 10s. each. Most other Sydney senators probably saw the advertisements. This is not fair to the retail trade and I wonder why retailers have not protested about it. I am interested to know the method of operation. How does the Department operate to get rid of stocks of transistorised radios that it must have built up, for example, over the past few months?
– 1 think that I should intervene now; otherwise I may not cover all the points that have been raised. Senator O’Byrne asked questions in relation to Division No. 155, sub-division 3, concerning remission of duty under certain circumstances, contribution to Customs Co-operation Council, and financial assistance in relation to the sale of petroleum products in the Northern Territory. The last mentioned item will involve the expenditue of £70,000. Item 01, relates to remission of duty in special circumstances. An amount of £46,000 is sought for this purpose this year. Expenditure of this nature is variable but over recent years greater calls for remission of duty are being approved. The difficulty in estimating expenditure of this type is illustrated by the classes of goods coming within the remission field. These include: First, presents to friends and charitable organisations from members of the Services stationed abroad or returning to Australia; secondly non-commercial parcels, the duty on which does not exceed 7s. 6d. and goods in relation to which claims for additional duty of less than £1 are not issued. I think the Committee understands the processing that would be involved in an article on which the duty was less than 7s. 6d. The logical thing is to write off the duty.
The third category is tobacco and cigarettes distributed to invalid Service personnel. The fourth category covers goods for persons in necessitous circumstances and for charitable or religious organisations. Goods for use by the War Graves Commission are the fifth class of goods on which duty may be remitted. Other examples could be obtained if we were to search for them. The point is that under certain circumstances duty may be remitted. Last year the total duty remitted was £40,156 and the estimate for the coming year is £46,000.
Last year in respect of the Customs Cooperation Council contribution, an amount of £9,600 was appropriated and £8,566 was expended. The appropriation for the coming year is £10,000. Australia’s contribution to the Customs Co-operation Council for 1964-65 was reduced from 1,107,176 Belgian francs to 946,726 Belgian francs due to over-payment of contribution in 1 964 and to a surplus in the Council’s accounts. At the same time, owing to the adherence of developing countries such as South Africa and Japan, Australia’s contribution was reduced from 4.89 per cent. The reduced percentage will again be applicable in 1965-66. It may be anticipated that the Council’s expenditure will rise owing to increased activities. Expenditure is currently in the region of 28 million Belgian francs a year. Estimates for Australia’s contribution should therefore be for 4 per cent, of this amount; that is 1,120,000 Belgian francs, or approximately £A1 0,000.
The appropriation in respect of the sale of petroleum products in the Northern Territory is £70,000. It seems quite natural that this item should excite the interest of Senator O’Byrne and the Committee. The provisions of the States Grant (Petroleum Products) Act do not apply to the Northern Territory. However, administrative action has been taken to enable the advantages of the petroleum subsidy scheme to be applied to the Northern Territory. Honorable senators are aware that in the Northern Territory - not necessarily at Darwin, but further south - the introduction of the States Grants (Petroleum Products) Act has brought about substantial reductions in petrol prices. The legislation provides that petrol should not be sold at a price in excess of 4d. a gallon above city prices. It is necessary to provide in the Estimates for the cost of the application of the scheme to the Northern Territory. The estimate for this financial year is £70,000.
Senator O’Byrne referred to the bounty applicable to several products, one of which is copper. At present, no bounty is being paid on copper because of fluctuating prices on the world market. When bounty is paid, it is calculated on the basis of overseas copper producers prices. Legislation has been introduced in another place to extend the Copper Bounty Act until the end of 1966, even though at the moment no bounty is being paid on copper. Payment of the cotton bounty will continue until February 1969 and is fixed at an annual amount of £2 million. That amount has not yet been reached, if my memory serves me correctly.
Senator O’Byrne also referred to the function of the Department of Customs and Excise. It must be recognised, as Senator O’Byrne said, that it is a huge department. It is one of the main revenue collecting departments of the Commonwealth. Apart from collecting revenue of over £400 million annually, the Department administers about 32 separate acts of Parliament. About 3,690 people are employed by the Department.
Reference was made to wharfage facilities at the port of Sydney - Port Jackson. I think I said in answer to a question from Senator McClelland that there are about 40 wharves in Sydney with berthing facilities for over 100 vessels. The wharves extend from Woolloomooloo to Balmain, and perhaps a little beyond. Security in the Port of Sydney is not good. It is not humanly possible to police, all the time, all the ships of first entry in the port. Security men are directed to ships according to our experience. Ships coming from the Far East receive more attention than ships arriving on other routes, because it has been found that their crews are more prone to attempt to enter goods illegally. The Department of Customs and Excise does not have any control beyond its customs control for which it has a statutory obligation. The construction, maintenance and replacement of wharfage is the responsibility of the State port authorities, maritime services boards and such State Government authorities. Because of the huge area to be covered and the frequent turnabout of ships, the Department’s officers operate in a difficult situation. It is not possible to place customs staff all the time on all ships in the port.
Senator Ormonde referred to wharfage facilities and the number of staff employed. I do not have the exact figures available at the moment, but I can tell the honorable senator that a big build-up has occurred in the number of prevention and detection staff. Although honorable senators may have thought otherwise, personnel who enter the employment of the Department of Customs and Excise for duty on the wharves are sent to a school to be trained in the practice of detection of illegal entry of goods. For example, the prevention and detection staff probably would know more about the workings of a ship than many people who have spent their working lives in ships at sea. It is their business. They dissect a ship, guided by long experience. They are taught where and how to look and how to reduce to a very few the possible number of hiding places on a ship. The full establishment set by the Public Service Board has not yet been employed. We are in the process of attaining that establishment. Extra personnel will be appointed in the port of Sydney. They will be put to school and eventually they will come out and enter the service. Senator Ormonde asked about the disposal of seized goods and referred in particular to transistor radios. Narcotics and other such prohibited imports are destroyed.
– Even though they might be of value medically?
– There is a trap in that. An analysis of the quality of a drug which might be peddled illicitly might reveal, say in the case of heroin, that it contained some boracic acid. To go to this trouble is just not satisfactory. Therefore these drugs are destroyed. That is the short answer to that question. I thought that the point which the honorable senator made about the railways departments was pertinent. They do conduct auctions. We have periodic auction sales which are advertised, and goods are put under the hammer. I am sure that upon reflection we all would agree that there is no other way in which to dispose of these goods.
– Some of the advertisements might be false.
– That is the point I was about to make. As a gimmick, somebody might advertise a sale as being a customs sale. The person in question may have bought the goods at a customs sale and in fact be reselling them. These goods have to be put under the hammer. Naturally, members of the trade go along to bid. I should think that the best way in which members of the trade can make certain that the market is not flooded with cheap articles is for them to bid at these auction sales.
Although the number of transistor radios that we seize is dramatic, in relation to the normal market that number would not be significant. Finally, I make the point that there has been a quite substantial build-up of the preventive staff. That build-up is continuing. The people who join this staff are assured of a future in a worthwhile and important department. They are trained, they become expert, and they do a good job.
Senator Sir WALTER COOPER (Queensland) [9.3]. - I direct attention to the fact that last year a sum of £153,389 was expended on office requisites and equipment, stationery and printing, but that; this year the proposed expenditure is £183,000. This will be an increase of approximately £30,000. Perhaps office furniture or something like that will be purchased, but the increase is quite substantial. I note, too, that whereas last year a sum of £24,701 was expended on the hire, maintenance and operation of launches and the supply of equipment, the proposed expenditure this year is £10,000. That is a significant difference. I ask the Minister to give us some explanation of these variations.
– I wish to relate my remarks to the provision for salaries and payments in the nature of salary. On each occasion on which we discuss the estimates for the Department of Customs and Excise we find that provision is made for a great number of casual employees. Even though the proposed expenditure for the current year is less than the expenditure for the last financial year, quite a number of these employees are involved. I ask the Minister why it is necessary each year to provide a substantial sum for this purpose. Why cannot excise and customs officers be employed permanently? If permanent employment is determined by the passing of an examination, why cannot the requirement be satisfied by setting an acceptable examination for these employees?
I note that in the Schedule of Salaries and Allowances provision is made for the employment of lockers and collectors. These are the officers who are responsible for excise and customs inspections. The proposed expenditure for these personnel is less than the sum expended in previous years. I should have thought that, with the growth of trade and increased customs activity, the appropriations would have been greater. I ask the Minister why the Depart ment still has a large number of officers engaged on a temporary basis. This state of affairs has existed for years. These men should be taken on as permanent employees. As I indicated a little earlier, I should also like to know why the appropriation for collectors and lockers is less than in previous years.
Provision is made for a payment to the Postmaster-General’s Department for the collection of duty on goods imported through the parcels post. I note that this payment is growing in size. I ask the Minister what the average citizen is allowed, to import through the postal service. Is this duty extracted by the Postmaster-General’s Department, or are officers of the Department of Customs and Excise responsible for collecting it?
– I refer to the proposed expenditure on salaries and allowances, for the purpose of raising a matter that I raised with the previous Minister for Customs and Excise when we were considering the Estimates for, I think, 1962-63. I appreciate that the Department of Customs and Excise is an administrative and revenue collecting Department. That being so, I. can understand that there is some difficulty in its presenting an annual report to the Parliament for consideration when the Estimates are under discussion. In previous years reports have been compiled for annual collectors’ conferences which take place in, I think, October each year. In either 1962 or 1963 the then Minister for Customs and Excise said he would consider ensuring that reports that were compiled for presentation at these conferences would be made available to the Parliament prior to consideration of the estimates for this Department so that members might obtain a better appreciation of the overall activities of the officers of the Department. I do not think that has been done. I have not seen a copy of the report and I raise this matter again with the present Minister for Customs and Excise in the hope that he will give it consideration next year for certain. I hope, that a document will be made available to us.
I direct the attention of the Minister to the schedule for the Department of Customs and Excise under the heading of “ Administrative “. I notice from this schedule that the Department of Customs and Excise has only one office in Asia and that is at Tokyo. Having regard to the expansion of trade with Asian nations, and paricularly Singapore and Malaysia, I should like to know whether the Department has considered establishing an office in a port such as Singapore. I remember that following the seizure of a great number of transistors in Sydney recently, the Minister stated in Parliament that the ship had been searched by other customs officers - I assume at Singapore by officers of the Singapore Government - without success. I suggest that to stop these goods entering Australia at all, the Department might consider the establishment of a customs office in a port like Singapore.
I turn now to Division No. 155 and the item “ Incidental and other expenditure, £37,000”. I refer to this item because I understand it relates principally to the activities of the Commonwealth Literature Censorship Board. Might I say in passing that I am one who is opposed to censorship as a general rule because I believe the banning of a book gives it undue and unnatural publicity. Banning places an unnecessary premium on a book to which it is not entitled and which tends to inflate the monetary value of the publication. In the last report of the Collector of Customs I saw some three or four years ago, I understand that under item 22 of the second schedule of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations some 799 publications were reviewed and 602 were rejected. That is a rather high proportion, being from 70 to 75 per cent. The banned publications were paperbacks, comics and publications of that nature which are dealt with under item 22, but books come under regulation 4A.
The Commonwealth Literature Censorship Board has received much publicity in recent times. For example, in May last, the Minister announced in the Senate that “ The Trial of Lady Chatterley” had been removed from the. banned list and another book “ The Quest for Love” had also been removed from the list after it had received further consideration. At that time, the Minister undertook to make a more complete review of all the other books that- remained on the banned list and incidentally he said that some of them had been banned since about 1920. What is being done to review the large number of books that still apparently remain on the banned list not only under regulation 4A but also under item 22 of the second schedule?
I direct the attention of the Minister now to a matter that was brought to my attention by the Council for Civil Liberties in New South Wales. The Council pointed out that the ban on “The Trial of Lady Chatterley “ could be challenged in Australia only following the publication in Australia of such a book. The Council stated that a writ against the Commonwealth was practicable only when the book had been banned under regulation 4A of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations but “The Trial of Lady Chatterley “ was banned under another section- presumably item 22 of the second schedule - relating to comics and paperbacks and things of that nature. What is the position in this regard? Does the Commonwealth Literature Censorship Board peruse these books? I ask the Minister to inform the Committee what action is being taken by the Department of Customs and Excise to bring about uniform censorship in the States.
– I believe it best to deal progressively with some of the matters that have been raised by honorable senators. Senator Sir Walter Cooper referred to Division No. 1 55 and the item “ Office requisites and equipment, stationery and printing, £183,000”. The expenditure on this item last year was £153,389. Owing to delays in the preparation of the new Brussels Tariff and because of the size of the task, certain charges for which provision was made in 1964-65 will now be made in the current financial year. Honorable senators will recall the introduction of the new tariff which is of historical importance since it was contained in the biggest bill in terms of number of pages to come before this Parliament. In addition the printing of departmental general orders and confidential instructions in a new form is expected to cost £3,400. Because of the introduction of decimal currency, a reprint of the Customs Tariff is necessary and is estimated to cost another £4,000. Expenditure under this item is expected to increase in all States, and in New South Wales equipment will cost £7,000 more than the expenditure on this item in 1964-65.
Senator Sir Walter Cooper also referred to the item under Division No. 1 55, “ Hire, maintenance and operation of launches and the supply of equipment, £10,000”. It is refreshing to note that this is less than the amount provided last year when expenditure was £24,701, and this is significant. Over £15,000 was expended last year under this heading on major overhaul of a departmental launch in Victoria. Expenditure of this size on such repairs is not expected to occur in this financial year. However, provision has been made to meet increased costs for the hire of launches and running expenses of departmental launches. I want to put Senator Ormonde’s mind at rest regarding transistors. 1 am informed that the normal price of an eight transistor radio at auction is £20 to £25. 1 think the honorable senator had the explanation when he said the matter he raised involved a sales gimmick.
Senator Bishop referred to salaries and payments in the nature of salaries and the provision for temporary and casual employees. In every Commonwealth department there are temporary employees and this provision is not peculiar to the Department of Customs and Excise. My brief says that, compared with 1964-65, a saving of £36,686 has been estimated for this financial year on the employment of temporary officers. By process of deduction, we conclude that the staff is building up and that the number of our temporary employees is going down. Obviously, the very thing the honorable senator hoped would happen is happening. To 31st March 1965, the number of temporary officers was 381. However, it is estimated the number of temporary personnel during the current financial year will be further reduced. Provision was made for 334 temporary employees as at July 1965 and for a further reduction to 314 employees by the close of the financial year 1965-66.
Senator Bishop also made reference to lockers, preventive officers, etc. The number of people employed in these positions has actually risen. I think the point the honorable senator was making was that this number has been declining.
– What I want to know is this: Why have the numbers in the London office and the New York office not increased?
– The London and New York offices are another matter entirely. This was a reference to lockers. I answer this question by referring also to the query raised by Senator McClelland regarding our Tokyo office. As honorable senators know, we have Customs officers in our offices in London and New York. We also have a customs establishment in Tokyo. These offices are strategically placed. From our Tokyo office, many visits are made to parts of the perimeter of this area. For instance, our officers visit Singapore.
– Does the Minister think there are enough officers to do the job?
– I understand that the staff in the Tokyo office has been increased from two to three. This is a matter of departmental judgment. The number of staff members is adjusted to meet the load of work. I think it is true to say that more and more burdens are being placed upon these officers. A simple example which comes to my mind regarding Tokyo is the question of our dumping procedures. We need to station our officers around the world in order to provide information on this matter for us. Very often, when they cannot obtain this information in the country of origin, they have to evaluate the matter in some other country. Consequently, they are busy people. This work is quite apart from the inquiries they handle in the normal field of customs.
– But the size of the staffs remains the same?
– I cannot suggest any reason for that fact beyond this point: We have tremendous establishments in the United Kingdom. The Department of Trade and Industry and other departments in London are interlocked with the Department of Customs and Excise. In addition, we have almost daily liaison with the British Board of Trade in relation to the United Kingdom-Australia Trade Agreement where the question of by-law entry is involved. In a lot of the work those Departments naturally would be interlocked. But I have no information which would suggest that the various offices of the Department of Customs and Excise overseas are understaffed. I am sure that any need for increasing our staff will be provided for.
asked a question in relation to the payment to the PostmasterGeneral’s Department for the collection of duty on goods imported through parcels post. On articles up to a value of £20 the Post Office collects the duty without entry. If the value exceeds £20, we require the goods to enter Australia in accordance with normal customs procedures. As honorable senators know, quite a big change is to be made at the Redfern Mail Exchange. This will make the task of those concerned a lot easier, particularly in view of what was going on at Railway Square Post Office where both postal officers and customs officers had to work under very difficult conditions.
Senator McClelland made reference to literature censorship. He referred to Item 22 of the second schedule of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations and also Regulation 4a of those Regulations. Normally, matters arising under Item 22 are dealt with administratively. Matters under Regulation 4a are subject to reference to the Commonwealth Literature Censorship Board. The right of appeal is given from the decision of that Board to the Appeal Censorship Board. An appellant has the right to go to law if he so desires, after all those avenues have been exhausted.
– On what question?
– On the question of action taken under Regulation 4a, where a publication is deemed to be blasphemous, indecent or obscene. It must be carefully stated here that the Minister has to make the decision. He has the advice of the Commonwealth Literature Censorship Board. If, on the advice of the Board, he decides to prohibit a book, the publishers have the right to go before the Appeals Board. If that appeal is disallowed, the publishers, if they are still not happy, have the right to take the matter to law.
As to books on the banned list, I gave an answer to a question today which indicated that a review is still proceeding. It is a big task. In any event, certain books have been released from the banned list. I cannot give any specific time as to when the next release will be made, if there is to be any release. All I say to the honorable senator is that the review is continuing in relation to books that have been on the list for some considerable time. As for “ Lady Chatterley’s Lover “ and the “ Trial of Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, these books are no longer an issue in the sense that they are no longer on the prohibited list.
– Why would those books be dealt with administratively under Item 22 and not under Regulation 4A?
– “Lady. Chatterley’s Lover” was prohibited a long time ago. In the circumstances, I would have to make some inquiries in relation to the matter. But one would naturally presume, because “ Lady Chatterley’s Lover “ was on the prohibited list, that “The Trial of Lady Chatterley” which, in a sense, repeated a great deal of “ Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, would follow the other volume onto the prohibited list. In any event, these books have now been released and therefore the Minister for Customs and Excise has not to live with recurring criticism about them.
asked a question about uniform censorship in the Commonwealth and State spheres. All I can tell the honorable senator at this stage - and I do not want to say any more than this - is that the States had a meeting on this matter. Following this meeting, they prepared what they considered to be a code which would suit their requirements regarding uniformity. Through the Premier of New South Wales, they have written to the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) setting out their views which were published, if I remember rightly, in the Press because they were released to the Press. I am happy to say that I propose to convene, at an early date, a meeting with the State Ministers responsible for censorship. When I say “ early date “ I mean early date. The purpose of the meeting is exploratory. The meeting is to examine the proposals of the States on this issue. I want to make it perfectly clear at this point of time that this meeting is merely an exploratory exercise on the basis of proposals which the States themselves have worked out as being acceptable to them regarding literature censorship. It should always be remembered that the Commonwealth has- a very important statutory role in this field. As we all know, this is a continuing role under Regulation 4A, which relates to the literary merit of publications, and under item 22, which requires an astronomical volume of magazines and the like to be dealt with administratively from day to day. I expect that the conference to which I have referred will be convened at a very early date.
– I direct my remarks to Division No. 155 - Administrative. Frankly, I am not concerned with censorship. I do not think it unreasonable that certain books should be kept out of Australia. What I quarrel with is what comes in. I do not agree that books such as “ Lady Chatterley’s Lover “, “The Trial of Lady Chatterley “, “The Quest for Love “ and so on should be allowed to enter Australia. It is ridiculous that their entry should be permitted. I do not think that they contain anything of literary value. There are many substitutes that are really worthwhile in the literary sense. The Government is allowing too much rubbish to come into Australia in the form of paperbacks, and the Minister should direct his attention to them. In any case, those remarks were only by way of digression. The Minister and others have dealt with this aspect, Madam Temporary Chairman, so do not look so sourly at me; they have been dealing with this aspect for 20 minutes.
I want to deal particularly with excise. I do not think time will permit me to deal with the customs aspect or with the pimps that we have on the waterfront, but if I get an opportunity I will do so. I want to deal with the excise duties on alcohol and tobacco. Why, for heaven’s sake, must the Government punish the users of these two commodities, which are features of human life? The last Budget did not punish alcohol but the preceding one did. The last Budget directed its attention to tobacco. I want to know how Noel Foley, the head of W. D. & H. O. Wills (Aust.) Ltd.- the British Australian Tobacco Trust - and Mr. Irish of Rothman’s of Pall Mall (Aust.) Ltd. can say that by paying £100,000 they will escape duty of £1 million. That statement has been published in the Press. The chairman of the Tobacco Growers Association said - this has not been contradicted by Noel Foley - that worse tobacco is coming into Australia than is grown here. Why do the administrative officers of the Department permit such low grade tobacco to be imported to the detriment of the Australian tobacco growers?
I do not deny the ability of Noel Foley or Irish but they are wedded to particular sections of the industry. They have said that by paying £100,000 for inferior Australian leaf they can escape duty of £1 million. That is what I am particularly concerned about. We must remember the plight of Australian tobacco growers as a result of leaf not being sold. I know that the tobacco industry is a particularly difficult one. You have to sterilise the soil; you have to watch the plant from the moment it starts to grow and you must continue to watch it every day of its growth; you must watch it into the shed until it is cured and, worst of all, you must watch what the buyers do with it - even first grade tobacco - when it is cured. The departmental officer opposite can scribble as much as he likes, but I have seen the tobacco buyers cut the price down. If the officer wants to scribble, I can tell hint where to go - Bundaberg. The buyers offered 40d. per lb. for the tobacco and the growers would not take it, because they had spent £28,000 growing the crop. Then the buyers offered 60d. per lb. but the growers would not take that because it was not a sufficiently high price, so the buyers offered 80d. per lb. and the growers took that because at least it got them out of their financial distress. The departmental officer can scribble as much as he likes and pass his notes backwards and forwards.
– Madam Temporary Chairman. I do not know what Senator Dittmer has in mind but I think his remarks are objectionable in every respect. During every debate on the Estimates departmental officers are in the chamber to supply certain information which is passed on to honorable senators for their assistance and guidance. It is not proper that slighting references should be made to officers who are here to help honorable senators. I object very strongly to Senator Dittmer’s remarks and I ask you to make him desist.
– Order! The honorable senator will confine his remarks to the Estimates.
– Let us get to the facts. All honorable senators know that I am factual, irrespective of whether the departmental officers write notes. All honorable senators know that.
Senator Dittmer, will you please continue with your remarks on the Estimates?
– I said: Do not let us worry about notes, irrespective of who writes them. Did I not say that?
Senator Dittmer, you will confine your remarks to the Estimates.
– I am referring to Senator Mulvihill, who is writing. Let us talk about the tobacco industry. There are three prominent men in the tobacco industry - Mr. Irish of Rothman’s, Noel Foley of W. D. & H. O. Wills and the chairman of the Tobacco Growers Association. They disagree. The chairman of the Tobacco Growers Association - this comes under the heading of excise - has said that the growers are putting up for sale leaf which is no worse than the low grade leaf that the companies are importing. I am not an expert on this, neither do I purport to be an expert, but we have the statement by Mr. Irish and Mr. Foley that they are prepared to pay the Commonwealth Government £100,000 to be passed on to the tobacco growers so that they will save excise duty of £1 million.
Senator Dittmer, to which item are you referring?
– Division No. 155 - Administrative. I am dealing with excise, which includes alcohol and tobacco.
– It is on page 153.
– I am not worrying about the page number. I am dealing with Division No. 155.
– The honorable senator is not showing temper, is he?
– I never get in a temper, as everyone knows, but I am concerned with the rights of the primary producers, as surely representatives of the County Party in this place or those who allegedly come from the country, such as Senator Mattner, should be concerned. This matter is particularly important not only for the Queensland tobacco growers but also for tobacco growers along the Australian coast because we have in Australia soil which can grow all grades of tobacco - good, bad and indifferent and mild, mellow and strong.
The tobacco growers are in a quandary.’ Many of them are walking off their farms; many of them have invested a lot of money; many of them have used a lot of endeavour to no effect. We have in office a so-called Liberal-Country Party Government. I wonder how interested the Country Party is in these primary producers. The Minister should realise that they are irate and determined. They will not be satisfied unless they get a satisfactory answer. It will not come from Noel Foley or Mr. Irish.
Let me now deal with customs. I shall not refer to alcohol. We know that the Government derives revenue from the excise duty on alcohol. It is entitled to do so. Each man or woman is entitled to deny himself or herself that luxury. Let us think in terms of customs and the unsatisfactory conditions which exist on the waterfront. It must bc realised that the men who work on the waterfront have temptation placed in their way. Someone offers them a transistor radio, a length of silk or a length of cotton material. Although there is someone there to tempt them, there is no-one there to watch over them. Thinking in terms of pimps, -it is interesting to note the men who are picked up. They are not the men who are acceptable to the stevedoring companies. It is only the militant men who are picked up. It is not that they do anything more than the other men. It just happens that way. Over the years I have noticed that only a certain section of the waterside workers are picked up. The Communists are left alone because that suits the Government.
I am not condoning the offences, but I wonder why these things happen on the waterfront. If satisfactory port facilities were provided and the men were given reasonable working conditions and wages, perhaps they would not be susceptible to temptation and would not be guilty of committing these crimes. But the Government does not want it that way. I am not saying that this happens, Mr. Minister, but waterside workers have told me that some of the customs officers are just as guilty as the waterside workers. I would not know and I would hate to blame either the waterside workers or the customs officers. But why are certain people picked up? That is the matter which concerns me.
The Government in an inhuman and inhospitable way has attempted to stand over the waterside workers. The Stevedoring Industry Bill has been passed. We in this chamber can do nothing about it. Perhaps the Government might one day regret its urgent approach to this particular problem. Perhaps if the Government had been more humane and had understood the difficulties in this industry it might have realised that there are particularly good types of men on the waterfront. If the Government had given me, not a minute and a half, but an hour and a half in which to tell the story of these people who work to serve an industry which provides in no small measure the customs revenue that the Government derives-
Senator Dittmer, you cannot speak on the Stevedoring Industry Bill. Would you please return to the estimates of the Department?
Senator DITTMER__ I have finished with that particular aspect. I realise that if the Government had considered these matters, there might not be the evasion of customs that occurs at the present time. If the Government had done something worth while on the waterfront, such as providing better facilities and giving the waterside workers reasonable remuneration, perhaps these people would not have been picked up. Temptation would not have been placed in their way and there would not have been the pimping.
– I would like, the Minister to unravel a particular matter if he can. I refer to the amount of money provided this year for the Chief Film Censor. I have not been able to discover from the estimates the cost of the wages in the film censorship section of the Department. I had the impression that the number of men employed in the Department had decreased considerably. I thought that the film industry was a very much smaller industry today than it was 10 years ago. At one time when we went into a town we found there were three picture theatres but now there is only one. In my book, that means that there are fewer people working in the industry and less work for the Film Censor.
– I think the short answer is that the honorable senator must not forget television films.
– That is the point I am coming to. The Minister says that I must not forget television films, but most of them are old films that have already been looked at by the Censor.
– Only the feature films.
– I am trying to get information from the Minister. The cost of this section of the Department seems to be rising, although the work performed is decreasing. It could be that I am completely off the beam and that television films are the reason for the increased cost of this section.
– I want to refer first to the singularly unfortunate and deplorable remarks of Senator Dittmer. I think it is a poor thing indeed for an honorable senator to come into this chamber, say that he does not know, and then attempt to take away the character of public servants who are doing a conscientious and good job. The honorable senator suggested some impropriety on the part of customs officers, but in the same sentence he said: “ Of course, I do not know, but they say”. It is a wicked thing to take away a person’s character without giving him the right to defend himself. I reply to his remarks only for the purpose of making that comment. I am sorry that Senator Dittmer is not in the chamber to let me say it to his face. The question of excise to which he referred is, of course, a Treasury matter in the main. I think that his remarks relating to the tobacco industry might perhaps be directed when the estimates of another department are being considered. I do not want to make any other comments on the matter at this point of time.
Senator Ormonde raised the question of film censorship. In. the 1964-65 Annual Report of the Department of Customs and Excise, under the heading “ Commonwealth Film Censorship “ and the sub-heading “Bulk Purchase of Films”, the following appears -
Work pressures on the section continue to ex>pand. Two significant features ia, this expansion re the opening up of new television stations and the continued growth of film festivals. A development in the television area is the number of “ package deals” being made by importers and distributors. These usually consist of the purchase of old feature films and the number of films in some “package deals” runs into several hundreds.
The main problem of the Film Censorship Board centres around the classification of films. This is quite a big job and the Board is doing excellent work. As honorable senators know, films are classified for the States. The task of the Film Censorship Board is a continuing one and the work load is very heavy.
.- I have an idea that the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) is unpopular with some book publishers because I do not think he has banned a book, ls that so?
– I do not think that is quite accurate.
– The Department of Customs and Excise carries out its work in a rather obscure way; it is not at all a showy department but it works effectively. There are people in the community who do not know that there is a Department of Customs and Excise, because the taxes it collects are hidden taxes. However, its collections are considerable. This year the Department hopes to collect £449,868,000 - an increase of £77,176,000 over last year’s collections. It is perhaps correct to say that people pay these taxes without being aware of having paid them.
– It is what one might call painless extraction.
– That is so. I thought that when the excise payable on beer, whisky and other drinks was increased there would be an outcry, but there was no interruption at all to the drinking habits of people who are fond of beer and spirits. It is probable that in the near future the Department of Customs and Excise will be commonly referred to as the transistor radio department, because Senator Anderson has made a name for himself by organising his staff into raiding parties to seize illegally imported goods. He has increased his staff by about 138 since he took over the administration of the Department and, according to the results attained, the recruitment of the extra staff was warranted. If we stand for tariff protection, we must support any action taken to ensure that customs dues are paid. I have examined the position and compared the staff employed this financial year with that employed last year. The central staff will be increased by 12. The staff in New South Wales has been increased by 67, that in Victoria by 36 and that in Queensland by 23. It is probable that things have broken down on the waterfront and that the men there have become lax, or that the officers in charge of men with certain duties to perform have not exercised enough influence. But whatever has happened, I know that recently there have been auction sales of transistor radios and other goods.
– Sales of contraband goods.
– That is quite correct. The sales have, been advertised. It now appears that the Department of Customs and Excise is very good at catching people who bring .transistor radios and other contraband goods into Australia. It has also developed a good sales technique, because it waits, in Brisbane, until there is an event such as a show. It holds its auction on that day in order to give the benefit of the sale to people from the country. I have no fault to find with what the Department is doing. I believe it is doing a good job and that the officers are doing what they are paid to do. If the Department catches a man taking a transistor radio away from a wharf without having paid customs duty on it, that is his fault. I hope the Department continues to do its work as it has in recent years. I do not know whether the Department had become run down or whether there was an element of laxity in its work in the past, but it is certain that in recent months, since Senator Anderson has been in charge, it has come to life. That is all to the benefit of the Commonwealth.
.- I am interested in the administrative side of this Department, because I seem to have suffered under some misconception about it. I thought the Department of Customs and Excise put customs duties on articles which, if allowed to enter this country duty free, would cause great harm to Australian manufacturers. I also understood that under an agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the British Government there was a preferential tariff, in respect of articles not manufactured in Australia, in favour of British articles as against articles made in other countries. In recent weeks it has been brought to my notice that in some instances the Department of Customs and Excise is as great a revenue producer as is the Taxation Branch. I am certain that the people of this country believe in protection; they believe that Australian industries should not be swamped by the importation of goods from cheap labour countries. They desire that our budding industries should be protected, and we use the tariff for that purpose. However, I am amazed to find that there is tremendous difference in the amount of duty paid on articles of a kind that are not manufactured in this country - a difference between the duty on such articles manufactured in Great Britain and similar articles made in other British Commonwealth countries.
I can understand the 7i per cent. British preferential tariff. I have no objection to that. But it amazes me to think that as between one Commonwealth country and another this Department is used as a revenue producer. Persons who import goods that are manufactured in a Commonwealth country other than the United Kingdom are required to pay at least seven times as much duty as persons who import goods that are manufactured in the United Kingdom. I believe that the people of Australia are unaware of the great extent to which this Department is using its powers to raise revenue rather than its powers to protect the industries that have been established here, whilst giving the United Kingdom the 7) per cent. British preferential tariff under the United Kingdom-Australia Trade Agreement. I am not concerned about the Department’s revenue raising activities in respect of excise. But I am concerned about its revenue raising activities in respect of imported goods. I did not know that the tariff was used to bolster up British industries or to prevent the importation of goods manufactured in an eastern Commonwealth country.
I would be pleased if the Minister could add to my knowledge on this matter. I am certain that he would be adding not only to my knowledge but to the knowledge of the great mass of people outside the Parliament. This Department seems to be a revenue raising department to a very great extent, quite apart from the excise duties on liquor and other commodities. I was rather appalled at my lack of knowledge of this Department when these matters were brought under my notice. I do not want to say any more at this stage. I will have a lot to say about this matter at a later date. I would be pleased if the Minister would give us information on the point that I have raised, namely whether one of the Department’s main functions is to raise revenue rather than to protect the industries of this country and, if so, whether he believes that this process should continue.
– I understand that the Minister condemned me allegedly for attacking public servants. I did not attack public servants. I drew attention to their activities and the fact that they are extraordinarily efficient. But, peculiarly enough, they always sit on the Government side of the chamber; they never sit on the Opposition side. No-one has a greater admiration for public servants than I have. I appreciate their efficiency. I merely draw the attention of the Minister to that.
– Lest Senator Dittmer have any doubt about the point that I made when he was not in the chamber, I repeat that I do not appreciate his reference to the improper behaviour of customs officers. But he has withdrawn his reference, so we will forget it.
– I referred to what they were doing-
– The honorable senator has withdrawn his reference, so we will forget it.
– I have not withdrawn it altogether; I have drawn attention-
– If the honorable senator has not withdrawn it, I will repeat my statement now that he is in the chamber. I object very strongly to the reference that he made to customs officers doing improper things and to his saying in the same breath that he had nothing to substantiate his statement.
– I did not say that.
– I suggest that the honorable senator read the report of his speech in “ Hansard “ tomorrow.
– Just as the Government says that the waterside workers-
– The Minister cannot get away with both things.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order! The honorable senator will cease interjecting.
– In regard to the point raised by Senator Kennelly, I think he would be the first to recognise that at this stage we should not enter into an examination of a matter of policy in relation to customs duties, tariffs and the like. The Department of Customs and Excise is a revenue producing department. It is responsible for the collection of customs and excise duties. But it is not a policy making department.
Perhaps Senator Kennelly’s comments would be made more appropriately in the debate on the estimates of the Department of Trade and Industry because it is the policy making department in relation to duties and tariffs. It makes a reference to the Tariff Board; the Tariff Board makes a determination which goes to the Minister for Trade and Industry, who makes a submission to the Government; and then the tariff proposal is brought down. I think I would be on rather shaky ground if I set off on an examination of the broad policy on revenue duties as distinct from protective duties. I do not think this is the occasion to do that. Perhaps on another occasion we could do it. Some tariff proposals will be coming before us. They will present an opportunity for us to ‘have a good debate on this matter.
Speaking generally, we have to recognise that we have the United Kingdom-Australia Trade Agreement. Under the terms of that Agreement, we can give a by-law concession only when a suitable equivalent is not readily available from the United Kingdom. Under our by-law we give duty free entry if a suitable equivalent is not readily available in Australia or in the United Kingdom. The matter is subject to the United Kingdom Board of Trade and the establishment of the fact that a suitable equivalent is not readily available in the United Kingdom.
When there is neither an Australian equivalent nor a United Kingdom equivalent, we are in a position to give duty free entry. When there is not an Australian equivalent but there is a United Kingdom equivalent, the rate of duty is 7i per cent. That is a very quick enunciation of the broad principles of by-law entry. I think Senator Kennelly would agree that, as we will have tariff proposals before us later, it would be better to raise this matter in the second reading debate on them rather than even in the debate on the estimates for the Department of Trade and Industry. I think we could have a very interesting debate on it at that stage.
– Earlier in this debate I raised the matter of the remission of duty under special circumstances. The Minister dealt with it, but did not answer the question that I had in mind. I was referring to the refunds of customs duty amounting to £12,102,964, as referred to in the Report of the Auditor-General. He referred to the fact-
– At what page?
– On page 5 of his Report, he said -
Refunds of revenue totalling £154.739,621 were made during 1964-65 as shown in the Treasurer’s Statement - Part 1, Table No. 5 - Special Appropriations. . . .
The balance of £37,749,573 was charged to the Special Appropriation provided by section 37a of the Audit Act 1901-1964. Details are-
That was the item about which I inquired, having seen the reference in the AuditorGeneral’s Report and the provision for a proposed expenditure of only £46,000. I accept the Minister’s explanations in relation to remissions connected with the return of various customs officers to the country, and in relation to items under 7s. 6d. and so on, but the amount of £12 million is tremendous. What is the reason for this refund and can anything be done to minimise the requirement, because obviously such a large amount involves the employment of additional valuable accounting and clerical staff and equipment? Similar considerations apply to the excise item. Possibly there are breakages and losses through spillage of spirituous liquors and damage to tobacco, cigarettes and cigars, for which refunds of excise are made, but the excise item, in my view, does not warrant explanation so much as does the customs item of £12 million. I am not certain whether this is a recurring annual item, but the Auditor-General has directed special attention to it.
The Schedule of Salaries and Allowances contains particulars of various officers in respect of whom an appropriation of £5,218,700 is sought. At the London office there is one customs representative, whose salary will be £2,760, being increased from £2,685. Two investigation officers together will receive £4,724. Local allowances and child allowances are estimated to be £1,920 and £360 respectively. The salary of £2,760 seems to be very mediocre for a customs officer in London, whose presence there is apparently considered to be warranted. I should like to know the nature of his duties and whether or not the Department is being adequately represented there. I note that the Australian customs representative at New York is to be paid £2,713. I cannot make out the reason for the slight variation. I do not know whether these men are members of the Public Service; they may not be. I should like the Minister to inform me on that matter. The investigating officer in New York is apparently in receipt of the same salary as that of the two officers in London, but the local allowances and child allowances for only two officers in New York are £4,005 and £1,570 respectively. In London the allowances for three officers are very much less, being £1,920 and £360 respectively.
Finally, I ask whether the Department of Customs and Excise is responsible for the administration of the new petrol price concessions in country areas. What measures have been taken to ensure that these concessions go right back to the people for whom they were designed? The Minister will know that many people in country areas are not as avid readers of daily newspapers as are members of Parliament or city dwellers generally, and the date of introduction of the concessions may have been forgotten shortly after it was heard, perhaps, as an announcement over the radio. It seems to me that there is a need either for a continuing message to be sent to the people about the making of this concession or for some method of inspection to ensure that the intentions of the legislation are being fulfilled and that the people in the outback are getting the full concessions that are being subsidised by the Australian taxpayer. lt appeared to me, on a recent visit to outback Queensland, that very haphazard methods apply. Some people buy petrol in bulk, perhaps 500 or 1,000 gallons at a time. This may last two, three or six months. I wondered whether any allowance was made for the amount of fuel they had in their tanks, whether oil companies were able to fill tanks on the day before the new prices came into effect, and whether there was any precision in the administration of procedures concerning the change over date. The matter is rather important to those at whom the legislation was directed. I should like the Minister to state what his Department has done about it and the methods that it is using to ensure that the purpose of the legislation is being fulfilled.
– First, I should like to refer to the items of £12,102,964 for customs and £1,588,015 for excise, referred to under the heading “ Refunds of Revenue “ in the AuditorGeneral’s Report. The short answer is that these advert to the matter that Senator Kennelly and I were discussing, namely, by-law entry. Quite obviously, there is often delay in the clearance of goods because of the necessity to decide whether duty is to be paid; or the duty may be paid and the question of a concessional allowance may arise. I think the case of the United Kingdom Government is a classic example of this exercise. The United Kingdom Government pays the duty. If it is proved, by the criteria employed, that a concession may be given, there is a remission of duty.
– According to the Minister, the money is paid first. Is that the case?
– We must always get the duty. It is an elementary principle of business that if the goods are to be cleared, the duty has to be paid. Senator O’Byrne referred to administrative problems. Honorable senators can imagine the administrative problems that would arise if we did not first obtain payment of the duty. In the case of excise, I am told that this relates to liquor which is proved to be not of proper quality. A remission of excise is then involved. Senator O’Byrne referred to officers in London, New York and Tokyo. It should be understood that these officers are public servants whose salaries are based on public service standards. One would think that the officers in London and New York would be graded similarly, with slight adjustments in respect of the cost of living.
I am proceeding fairly quickly now because I am hoping that we will finish tonight the estimates for the Department of Customs and Excise. The Commonwealth Government has tried to pass the message right across the Commonwealth that legislation in respect of petroleum prices has been passed and that concessions are available. Radio, television and local and regional Press have been used in an endeavour to make certain that people in the areas where concessions are available are aware of the legislation. I have instructed my officers to check across the Commonwealth whether the legislation is effective. Broken Hill is the only place where we have discovered that the legislation is not effective. We checked at first the areas around Broken Hill but did not check Broken Hill. The question of petrol prices at Broken Hill has been taken up with the New South Wales Prices Commissioner because the resellers there were claiming a reseller’s margin, contrary to the State law relating to price control.
The fact that a lot of companies are involved acts as a safeguard. The industry is co-operating with the Commonwealth Government to ensure that the resellers are passing on the benefits conferred by the legislation. Should an honorable senator hear of a case where the provisions of the legislation are not being applied, my Department would welcome that information. At question time in the Senate I have with me a book containing details of the concessional allowances at all registered distribution centres. I can give that information instantly to any honorable senators. If the correct allowance is not being passed on by resellers, we shall do our best to ensure that the position is corrected. Isolated cases have occurred, but so far as we can tell, the benefits prescribed by the legislation - and they are quite substantial - have been passed on by resellers.
.- I seek some information from the Minister in relation to Division No. 155 - Administrative.
– To which item is the honorable senator referring?
– I am referring to administrative expenses. Generally, I seek to know from the Minister what progress has occurred with the proposal made at the August conference of State Ministers with the Commonwealth. I refer to the recommendation that the Commonwealth should be asked to co-operate in the establishment of an advisory board on which all Governments would be represented to replace the Commonwealth Literature Censorship Board.
– I answered this question earlier tonight. I can answer it again, if the honorable senator wishes.
– I should like to know the present position, because it seems to me that one of the most important questions we face today is the utter confusion of the various State laws governing censorship. Our censorship laws generally are in a devil of a mess. I come from a State which, in many respects, can be regarded as the hillbilly State on the question of censorship, because of the attitude of the State Government in giving powers to police officers to exercise a type of unofficial censorship. It seems to me that much depends upon the capacity of the States to get together to devise a system of censorship which will cease to make a laughing stock of one State as compared with the other States. The ink is hardly dry on the proposal to which I have referred but I am hopeful that the Minister will be able to say that some progress has been made. It is obviously an extremely desirable step if the consent of the Commonwealth and of all State Governments can be achieved.
– The answer I gave earlier this evening is that the States have made submissions to the Commonwealth in respect of censorship. I propose - through the normal procedure, which is from the Prime Minister to the Premiers - to convene a meeting with State Ministers at an early date to consider on an exploratory basis the proposals which they have said areacceptable to them in, a concept of uniformity. I cannot say more on the subject because as yet I have not formally invited the States to a meeting. They understand that they are to be invited to confer with me at a very early date to consider the proposals.
Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) (10.29]. - I seek information concerning the purchase of launches referred to in Division 908 in the Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1965- 66. Last year the expenditure on this item was £9,157 and the proposed expenditure for 1965-66 is £20,500. As the plural term is used, I ask the Minister what launches it is proposed to purchase and to what use they will be put. I also ask whether this item has any relation to item 07 in subdivision 2 of Division No. 155 - Administrative, in Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1965- 66, which relates to the hire, maintenance and operation of launches and the supply of equipment. I understand that Senator Sir Walter Cooper referred to this item earlier this evening.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Temporary Chairman do now leave the chair and report to the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative. (The Temporary Chairman having reported accordingly) -
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I desire to take a few moments to endeavour to shed some light on the murky waters of the dispute that has been taking place in the Victorian Press and elsewhere between Mr. Whitlam, the Deputy Leader of the Australian Labour Party in another place, and bodies affiliated with his Party in relation to the vexed question of unity tickets - that is, lists of candidates in trade union elections where Communists and members of the Australian Labour Parly share the position between them.
Honorable senators will recall that at the Federal Conference of the Australian Labour Party a couple of months ago changes were made to make the Labour Party better able to enforce its rules against the use of unity tickets. We were told that certain guarantees that these tickets would no longer be permitted were given by the Victorian Branch of the A.L.P. Some representatives of the Press were so bold as to say that the bogy of unity tickets had now been exorcised and that the Australian Labour Party had nothing to fear from this issue in the future. Other sections of the Press were not so gullible.
– You are only a marionette for Alan Reid.
– Senator O’Byrne ought to talk about marionettes. Everybody knows the strings that pull him.
– You look like a character in a Judy show.
– Well, I will put my looks against yours in front of anybody. Following the statement that the bogy of unity tickets had been exorcised, Mr. Whitlam, in a letter to Mr. Wyndham, the Federal Secretary of the Australian Labour Party, laid charges against Mr. J. Healy, a member of the Victorian State Executive of the A.L.P., and Mr. R. J. Pauline, Mr. A. H. Pauline, and Mr. A. W. Morelli in connection with the June election of the Australian Railways Union. When that happened, Mr. M. O’Brien, the Federal Secretary of the Union and a member of the A.L.P., stated that he had sent Mr. Whitlam the following telegram -
On behalf of the Australian Council of the A.R.U., I resent your arrogant assumption of authority to interfere in the internal affairs of this union.
I indicate to you that people of standing within the Labor Movement - which you have not got - have in the past found it to their disadvantage to interfere in our affairs.
– Chase them out.
– I have never run out on a fight. The telegram continues -
On behalf of the Australian Council, I say that we will challenge you at all levels should you continue your disruptive tactics.
It is clear to me you are a careerist rather than a fundamentalist in the Labor Movement.
I intend to make available to all A.L.P. branches in your electorate a copy of my letter to the General Secretary of the A.L.P. in which I expressed opposition to you advancing the programme of the D.L.P. in the A.L.P.
That was a telegram from one member of the Australian Labour Party to another.
Following that, at a meeting of the State Executive of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Railways Union on 6th July 1965 a resolution was carried condemning Mr. Whitlam and declaring his statements to be a blatant attempt to cause disruption within the Labour movement. The motion was proposed by Mr. J. Healy, a member of the State Executive of the A.L.P., and R. J. Pauline, also a member of the A.L.P., both of whom have regularly appeared on unity tickets over, I suppose, the last seven, eight or nine years. They were strongly supported in their condemnation of Mr. Whitlam for wanting unity tickets to be stopped by members of the Communist Party named Brown, Cregan, Loye and Leno.
Mr Wyndham referred the charges to the Victorian Central Executive, and on 6th September 1965 the Executive declared that there were no grounds ,or disciplinary action against the four men. It decided that Mr. Whitlam’s charges were null and void because the alleged breaches occurred under party rules which had been changed. It said that Mr. Whitlam’s claims that there was sufficient evidence of collusion between Communists and A.L.P. men were not upheld, and it advised the Federal Executive of the A.L.P. that no action was necessary.
Then a conference was held and, apparently in an attempt to suggest that they perhaps were not going to be as lenient on unity tickets as they had been in the past, the unity tickets clique in control of the Australian Railways Union issued a statement that in future in the “ Railways Union Gazette “ they would not print the unity ticket in its hallowed form in which the A.L.P. members’ names appeared on one sheet and opposite them appeared the Com munist’s names. No Communist opposes an A.L.P. man and no A.L.P. man opposes a Communist. As I have said, that happened because they met in caucus some months before and determined that they would run a unity ticket in defiance of the rules of the A.L.P. An attempt has been made to suggest that in doing that the Union intends to break down in future the practice of running unity tickets.
I am indebted to a supporter of the Australian Labour Party who was a delegate to that conference and who is disgusted with the chicanery, crookedness and corruption that is used to get around or to defy the rules of the A.L.P. This man made available to me the unity ticket that was issued at that conference, within the last fortnight, for the election of representatives on the Superannuation Anomalies Committee and other committees. I hold in my hand the ticket that was issued and which was handed in sealed envelopes to A.L.P. men and Communists who it was thought would be prepared to vote for the unity ticket. I ask for leave to incorporate this unity ticket in “ Hansard “.
– Is leave granted?
– Leave is not granted.
– Then I propose to read the unity ticket. I ask honorable senators to note that all I am doing is pointing out that the rules of Australian Labour Party are being flagrantly broken by a body affiliated with the A.L.P. and that senators who claim to represent the Australian Labour Party are trying to defend those who are breaking the rules and are showing their disapproval of those who want the rules observed. I point out to Senator Cavanagh, who is interjecting, that for years people have been expelled from the Labour Party on the ground that they did not accept Federal Conference decisions. The honorable senator ought to be expelled, because he is in here tonight defending people who are prepared to break decisions of the Federal Conference of the A.L.P.
– ‘You were expelled; that is the difference.
– First of all, I was not expelled. Senator Cavanagh knows little about it. When the Federal body decided that the old executive should be removed from office, only three persons were not declared removed and 1 was one of the three. After the special conference when the new executive was elected, I was invited to be a member, but I declined because I thought I would be in better company outside. My reply to Senator Cavanagh is this: If I were in a party where persons like him were prepared to break the rules frequently by associating with Communists and then were prepared to stand in this place and put in a word for those who are working for the Communist Party, 1 would say it must be a very different Labour Party from the one with which I was associated.
– Of course, it is.
– It is; and Senator Cavanagh found that out in the days when Mr. Chifley, the former Prime Minister, would not let him go to Woomera, lt was a different Labour Party then from what it is today. This ticket has the heading “ Vote Thus “ and underneath it suggests for the representative on the Superannuation Board, B. Fitzpatrick. The names suggested for the Superannuation Anomalies Committee are
That is a ticket - a unity ticket - that has been issued within the past fortnight by the conference of the Australian Railways Union. It was issued in blatant defiance of the Federal rules of the A.L.P. and nothing will be done about it by the State Executive of the A.L.P. in Victoria because it condones the flouting of the rules. That is one of the reasons why the A.L.P. is in the situation it is today.
– Who issued it?
– J. J. Brown and the President of the Australian Railways Union who is a member of the A.L.P. I want to say this in conclusion: When people go to the country and ask that they be made the government, the least the Australian people are entitled to expect is that those who seek office should be straightforward and honest in their utterances within their own party. Every crooked tactic that could possibly be used has been used over the years and is still being used to inflict this sort of thing on the trade unionist’s of Australia. As I have said previously, what hope is there for the A.L.P. of ever getting anywhere if this sort of thing is permitted? Let us contrast the two States: In New South Wales the State Executive attempted to take the opposite line. It wanted merely to certify, when a man standing for certain union elections might be opposing a Communist, that he was simply a good Labourite and to leave it at that, but the Federal body stepped in and stopped it. It would noi permit it. In Victoria, they can issue these unity tickets and when members of the A.L.P. and Communists blatantly break the rules, nothing is done about it.
– The speech that we have heard from Senator McManus tempts me to rise because I think I should speak in defence of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in another place, the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam), who has the respect of the members of the Opposition and of Labour caucus. He has a difficult battle to fight as has been said. Apparently, Mr. Whitlam has the secretary of the Australian Railways Union, Mr. Brown, against him. The union by resolution has also expressed itself opposed to him. His path is not an easy one. Mr. Whitlam is ambitious and it is thought that some day he might rise to the leadership of the Australian Labour Party; but I am afraid his hopes will be sadly dashed if it becomes known to the Party and to the general public that Senator McManus is championing what Gough Whitlam says. Mr. Whitlam can stand up for himself. But when somebody seeks to do him an injury as a prospective leader by being his champion and this comes from the source it has tonight with all the filth we have heard, we owe it to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to give him support. We have to say that he is not responsible for any of the statements quoted tonight or at least he did not supply the information.
For some years the Australian Labour Party has been opposed to unity tickets. It has been alleged rightly or wrongly that the Victorian State Executive has not been enforcing the rules on unity tickets. There was an allegation in South Australia that three members had their membership of the Australian Labour Party cancelled on those grounds but Victoria, it was alleged, was not enforcing the rules. To make the position watertight, I suppose, and to provide for complete uniformity in all sections of the Federal Labour Party including the New South Wales branch which has been held up to us tonight as worthy of notice, the rules were altered to ensure that in future there would be no unity tickets between the Labour Party and the Communist Party. We are told that some erstwhile member of the Labour Party in Victoria discovered unity tickets in the Australian Railways Union elections and did not refer the matter to his organisation as he was under an obligation to do, so that an inquiry could be held to ascertain whether those who were alleged to be party to the unity ticket were guilty or not.
Who gave Senator McManus, the most unsavoury person, the right to be prosecutor, judge and jury in this matter? Although there has been no inquiry or trial, Senator McManus has alleged tonight that certain men are still participating in unity tickets. It suits some Government supporters for Senator McManus to bring forward matters critical of the Labour Party which are too filthy for them to handle themselves, but there are at least some among them who believe in a fair and just trial. There are some elements among the members of the Government parties who believe that nobody should be accused of breaking the rules until they have had the advantage of a fair trial. Any member of the Australian Labour Party who would supply Senator McManus with information so that he could use it publicly in the Senate cannot be trusted. I am informed that this information was given to Alan Reid earlier today. I say that these people cannot be trusted for the purpose of laying a charge with their own organisation. They are not in the Australian Labour Party to assist the cause of the Party. They are in it for the purpose of assisting the Democratic Labour Party to wreck the Australian Labour Party, because they are anti-Labour.
We have also heard that, despite some allegations before that there were breaches, the Victorian Executive decided after an inquiry that no breaches had occurred, following an alteration to rules. Someone here says that, despite the inquiry - and he does not say what information he has - he has decided that these men are guilty on this question. They have not had a trial or anything else. This is the basis, without an inquiry, for this demonstration tonight in which this filth has been thrown at us. This is the basis on which a lot more mud slinging at the Australian Labour Party will take place during the existence of the D.L.P. through its elected representatives in this chamber. But that is the purpose of the existence of the D.L.P.; that is the only justification for its existence. The two D.L.P. senators are somewhat bewildered and concerned at the fact that they are no longer members of the party that gave them political birth and brought them, in their maturity, to the positions of prestige and high office in Australian political life. Then they saw fit to rat on the party, vilify the Party from time to time, and carry out continuous campaigns against it. It is no desire of mine -
– Do you think it would hurt anyone not to be mixed up with you?
– Honorable senators see the filth of the question - that we had a different party on the occasion when, he said, I was not allowed to go to Woomera. What has that to do with unity . tickets? There is a story about Woomera. I hope, if I have not already told it, that when an occasion arises I can tell -
– Tell us now.
– It has nothing to do with the question of Victorian unity tickets.
– Well, don’t squib it.
– My loyalty to the Australian Labour Party at any time will compare with that of Senator McManus. After the same opportunities that the Party has given me as it gave Senator McManus, whatever its decision, 1 am not prepared to stab my Party in the back, now or ever. I am not prepared to allow these forces to hold up our Deputy Leader in a way which will do him harm in the eyes of the Australian Labour Party and in the opinion of the public.
.- Mr. President, I never cease to wonder why persons who have been expelled for life from the Australian Labour Party, and who are so anxious to prevent the Australian Labour Party from attaining office politically either in the State of Victoria, or in any other State, or in the Federal Parliament should be so anxious to appear as the champions of the Australian Labour Party.
– Were you expelled from the Jewish Council?
– No, I was not.
– Well, your organisation was.
– No. My organisation was not expelled. Please do not ever dare to introduce the sectarian question here because we cut it to ribbons years ago in the Senate.
– You ran away from lt in Russia. You would not defend your own people.
– I did not run away from anything. I stood up here and told the Senate of the efforts that I had made to protest against certain happenings in Russia when some people in this House were not concerned with anti-Semitism in Australia but only in a far-off country. Do not start to draw red herrings across the matter relating to the position of the Victorian A.L.P. You raised the question of the Victorian A.L.P. and unity tickets and, by God, you will stick to it! You will not deal with any red herrings.
Mr. President, I have said that there is on the part of Senator McManus and his political followers and supporters, an extraordinary, almost pathological preoccupation with the Victorian Central Executive of the Australian Labour Party and with this much vexed question of unity tickets. I happen to be a member of the Victorian Central Executive of the Australian Labour Party. I am very proud of having been elected by the members of the Party in Victoria to that position for the last five years. I do not need to apologise to Senator McManus or to anybody else for the internal affairs of the Australian Labour Party. He cannot behave as though he is still a member of the Australian Labour Party because he just is not.
– How long were you a member of the Australian Labour Party before you got into this Parliament?
– I have been a member since 1946.
– You entered the Party pretty late in life.
– At the end of the war, I joined the Australian Labour Party. That was in 1946.
– As soon as you made money, you joined the Australian Labour Party.
– That is about the filthiest accusation, Mr. President-
– That is as about as filthy as what you have said.
– Mr. President, I do not need protection but this is really getting a little beyond the pale.
– Don’t start to talk about being clean.
– Senator McManus raised here tonight the question of an alleged unity ticket about which he says he has some information in a union in Victoria. He has invited the Senate to pass some judgment on it. If he was not doing that, he had no right to be on his feet speaking on the adjournment debate. I began to reply to his allegations as a member of the Executive of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labour Party. He has descended to some irrelevancies about some views that I may or may not hold about other matters. This does not matter. The important thing is what my fellow senators think about these allegations that he has made. Senator McManus has got to sit quiet and listen to my reply without any kind of filthy innuendo. If he wants to mix it at some other place, Mr. President, I will accept his challenge any time. But he is not going to stand here and make these nasty and filthy insinuations.
– Are you not passing them?
– No, I am not.
– Of course you are.
– You started this and you are not game to finish it.
– Why are you crying? You cannot take it.
– Order! You will get on much better, Senator Cohen, if you address your remarks to the Chair.
– I merely want to put a case in reply to the one that has been put.
– Get on to it.
– If that seems to my fellow senators to be an impertinence, then 1 can only apologise for it. If the occasion calls for a reply, then it must be given. It is my grievous privilege and heavy responsibility to give it. I do not care whether I have to sit here all night: I will give. it.
The reply is very simple. The rules of the Australian Labour Party in relation to union elections or any other aspect of the Party’s work are for members of the A.L.P. to carry out. I have not the slightest doubt that the Victorian Executive of the Australian Labour Party, of which I am proud to be a member, will carry out the rules of the Party in every situation. These rules are decided by the governing body of the Australian Labour Party - that is, the Federal Conference of the A.L.P. Nothing else is relevant. Senator McManus is not entitled to appear here as a friend of the A.L.P. He is its sworn enemy. He has done his best in every election and indeed at all times to drag it down to a level at which he hopes it will forfeit public support. That is his aim. He wants the Australian Labour Party to lose public support. He does not want it to win the confidence of the people. He is prepared to use every device of advocacy and political chicanery in order to achieve that objective. I for one do not propose to be intimidated by the sort of tactics in which he indulges.
Every member of the Australian Labour Party is proud to fight for the things in which this great Party believes. That is why we serve in this place and in other places outside the Parliament. When we assume that responsibility we will defend the Party’s integrity. We do not want, nor do we seek, the support of people who are anxious to destroy the Party. That is the plain answer I give to Senator McManus.
As a loyal member of the Victorian Executive of the Party, I say that we will abide by the rules of the Party and that we will deal with every situation as it arises. We do not need the advice of people who have no respect for the Party, who have no love for the Party and who desire only to see the Party’s political extinction.
– I do not intend to speak at any length on this subject. Senator McManus seems to have forgotten some of the things that he learned in his days in the Australian Labour Party. A cardinal rule of the Australian Labour Party, which is ons of the greatest democratic organisations in the world, is that any man in any branch of the Party can raise any matter at any time, but when a majority decision is made he must abide by it. The honorable senator from Victoria comes into this place and tries to make us believe that a delegate to the Federal Conference of the Australian Labour Party gave him a document which he alleges to be a unity ticket. He does not say who authorised it or where it came from.
We rather suspect, as Senator Cohen has said, that Senator McManus’ purpose in raising this matter tonight is not to express concern about the allegations of unity tickets or about Communist activity in Australia. I believe that he raised this matter only to try to drag down the Australian Labour Party. We realise that in a fortnight there will be two by-elections in the State of New South Wales, one in the electorate of Bondi and the other in the electorate of Oxley. The honorable senator from Victoria was conversing at length in Kings Hall this evening with a notorious journalist from the Sydney “Daily
Telegraph”, and when that journalist walked into this chamber at 20 minutes past 10 I was able to go to my Deputy Leader and tell him then that Senator McManus would be speaking in the adjournment debate. I say that this matter has not been raised by Senator McManus for the purpose of expressing concern at Communist activity in Australia or at alleged unity tickets between members of the Australian Labour Party and members of the Communist Party. It has been raised merely because Sir Frank Packer of the “ Daily Telegraph “ has decided that the by-election in New South Wales must be fought once again on the old Com bogy.
The people have put up with this for a long time and I assure the honorable senator from Victoria and Sir Frank Packer of the Sydney “ Daily Telegraph “ that they are getting well and truly fed up and sick and tired of it. The sooner Senator McManus appreciates that the only way to eliminate Communism in this country is by the election of a Federal Labour Government so as to remove injustices and inequalities, the sooner Australians generally will be better off.
– Some words of Shakespeare occur to me after listening to members of the Australian Labour Party reply to my colleague, Senator McManus. Instead of the women protesting too much, the men are protesting too much on this controversial matter of the great liaison and unity which exists between the Communist Party of Australia and the Australian Labour Party, particularly in union ballots not only in Victoria but also in other States of the Commonwealth, including Queensland.
What better evidence can we adduce in support of the allegations made by Senator McManus than the statement of a former leader of the Australian Labour Party in this Parliament, Dr. Evatt, who referred to the unity ticket issue as the running sore of the Australian Labour Party? What better evidence can we get than the protestations of the Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Mr. Whitlam, as recently as the last Federal Conference of the Australian Labour Party? It is of no avail for honorable senators on my right to protest against the allegations made by Senator McManus. Was Dr. Evatt wrong when he said that unity tickets were the running sore of the Australian Labour Party? Did he have no grounds for making that statement? At the same time as Dr. Evatt made that statement we had the spectacle of Mr. Calwell denying, through the Press and in television interviews, the existence of such a thing as a unity ticket. He said that he had never seen one, but I know very well that copies of unity tickets were given to him prior to him going into a City Hall meeting in Brisbane. Senator Keeffe knows that he has been provided with copies of unity tickets for ballots in the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union and the Waterside Workers Federation and for other ballots conducted for union executive positions in Queensland over many years, but no action has been taken. We are not concerned about whether the Australian Labour Party Executive, State or Federal, takes any action. At least I am not concerned. That is their own business. But why go on with all this political humbug and say that unity tickets do not exist and that they have never existed? I believe that we are at least entitled to present the case properly to the people of Australia, who are concerned about this.
We are charged with being engaged in dragging down the Australian Labour Party. The Party does not need our assistance to be dragged down. It is dragging itself down more effectively than I or Senator McManus could drag it down. It is all very well for members of the Australian Labour Party to console themselves with the thought that they must continue in this way and keep in sweet with the Communist boys, otherwise they may lose a measure of support. That is very fallacious thinking. Surely they must know by now that this is costing them a lot more votes than they get from any Communist elements in this country. This is costing them the votes of traditional Labour men and women, who will not be associated with a political party which allies iteslf with a political organisation which stands for everything that is contrary to ideals and aspirations of decent Australians.
– I rise at this relatively late hour because it is amazing that people can intrude into some aspects of the trade union movement while remaining blind to other aspects of it. At the recent congress of the Australian Council of Trade Unions it was fairly evident that the stability of the trade union movement was more than vindicated by the overwhelming vote of confidence that was given to the Executive of that body. If there is talk about treasonable influences in the trade union movement, that is the first test to apply. It would be a very simple matter for me to refer tonight to some of the disunity that occurred in past years in the Australian Democratic Labour Party in New South Wales, when the Rev. Lang, Alan Manning and others left the Party, but I think there are much more important things to submit to this chamber.
Let me revert to the original remarks made by Senator McManus. It is obvious to any student of politics that it is very easy to snatch at something in the window and say that is the whole picture. The Labour Party, through its own branches, the Federal Executive and the Federal Conference, is fully competent to assess things at their particular value.
I do not speak with my tongue in my cheek because 1 am still a member of the Australian Railways Union in New South Wales. 1 have been assailed at various times by “ News Weekly “ on the one hand and the “Tribune” on the other hand. So I do not have to pander to any element. 1 suppose that nobody has endeavoured more than I have to inculcate an A.L.P. viewpoint in a trade union. But I also know that the difficulty in trade unionism is not merely a question of talking about some of the happenings of the Left; it is a question of other unions and of the muddling of people with whom Senator McManus is on good terms being very much to the fore. The other night in the Senate 1 referred to the fact that the history of the Melbourne branch of the Waterside Workers Federation stemmed from the machinations of a gentleman named Clarke.
After World War II the rise of Facism in Germany and Italy resulted in domination by the Soviet Union. We have a parallel in a trade union. I shall give a second illustration. In my own State, all the officials of the Clothing Trades Union, except Mr. Kinnear, were active members not only of the Labour Party but of various football codes. In deference to Senator Henty I shall not mention the codes. Nevertheless, they were people who made their name in public life. But when there was a ballot in the union, there were no Communists involved. Mr. Kinnear was a D.L.P. supporter and he was also on its State Executive. He led the fight in the vilification of Collins and other people. They were hit with everything but the kitchen sink. What was the sequel. It so happened that the Collins faction was successful. Mr. Kinnear had to appear before a magistrate and admit that the books would not balance. It has taken him three years in which to pay back the union’s contributions that were muddled up with his own funds. I do not like being paltry in these things. But if the members of the Australian Labour Party, in the face of vicious and personal vilification, had not fought and gained control of the union, it might have gone over to the people to the Left of the Labour Party. There was no pay off. There was no laying off and saying: “They are Labour moderates; give them a go “. They copped the same abuse in “ News Weekly “ and from Mr. Kane and others as they would have if they had been members of the Country Party. I do not like this duplicity.
I shall take the matter a little further. I do not know all the inside workings of the Victorian branch of the Australian Railways Union or the Victorian branch of the Australian Labour Party, for that matter. But let us take the matter to its logical conclusion. I think that Senator McManus was probably referring to a man by the name of Cochrane, although I do not know. But whether he was or was not, does anybody imagine that if the Gould faction had won, they would have been prepared to support the Labour Party with finance? That could not have been the case. But if we are to use the Senate as a forum and late in the night to vilify people - I know there are smirks on the faces of some honorable senators opposite - it would be a simple thing for a Labour senator to get up and ask: “ Was the Australian Minister in Greece always a good boy in the precincts of this Parliament?”. Some honorable senators opposite would say that is hitting below the belt. But this is the question that Senator McManus has raised.
I do not think that I have to prove my attitude to Marxism, but I am also not so naive as to imagine that the trade union standards are not assessed on this very point. It is a simple thing at a given time to look at a decision of a State branch of the Liberal Party and to contrast it with a decision of the Federal branch of the party and say: “ Is that the final outcome?”. We can do the same thing with the Country Party. All those things can be done. But I do not like these hit and run tactics. I have no illusions about the matter. On the one hand we have the statement that Charlie Fitzgibbon has a difficult row to hoe. He has been belted in some far Left wing publications, but if I were to go through editions of “ News Weekly “ with Senator McManus we would find that Charlie Fitzgibbon has copped his corner there, too. Let us be frank about the matter. Let us be realistic but not infantile about it.
– Mr. President, I am reluctant to engage in debate at this hour of the evening, but 1 believe that I must reply to some of the statements made by Senator Gair. 1 am as surprised as was Senator Mulvihill at Senator Gair’s using the forum of the Senate to say things that he knows are not true. I thought that, as he had behaved himself in these matters since his entry into the Senate, he might have mellowed. He talked about the issue of unity tickets in Queensland. Yet, in 1956, when he was Premier of that State, he said that no such associations were going on and that none of these things ever happened in the Australian Labour Party. When he was no longer a member of the Labour Party he suddenly found all sorts of things wrong with it. Is not this the attitude of a man who is soured, who is beaten and defeated? No longer having about him the colleagues whom he was used to, he is left like an owl on a rock. So now he tries to take it out on everybody.
The honorable senator referred to a ballot in the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union. If it is the one to which I think he was referring, he would know that the incident in question represented one of the best hoaxes ever perpetrated in Queensland by the Australian Democratic Labour Party. Known members of that Party quietly had how to vote papers printed and distributed them in the name of the Australian Labour Party.
– That is not true.
- it is true, and the honorable senator knows it to be true. That is one of the things that his Party did, and he is ashamed of it. Senator Gair said that the Australian Labour Party took no action. The Labour Party has always taken action when necessary, but not on the evidence of the D.L.P. or of the National Civic Council.
– What about the note by Whitlam? No action was taken on that, either.
– I shall make my own speech. Senator Gair would know that these things that I have mentioned have happened. He knows now that he has no alternative but to adopt the line he has taken, because the National Civic Council has taken control of the central organisation of the D.L.P. in Queensland.
– Did the honorable senator ever appeal to the National Civic Council for help when he was trying to get somewhere?
– No, I did not.
– Yes, he did.
– That is an utter untruth. The same sort of thing that I have just mentioned is happening in the Liberal Party in Queensland, where somebody is moving in, and I hope that the Queensland members of the Liberal Party are aware of it.
I believe that I ought to say one other thing, Mr. President. I do not like indulging in exchanges of this kind, but when untruthful statements are made here by D.L.P. senators, they have to be answered and I am justified in making countercharges. It was said recently that the draw for the appointment of Leader of the Australian Democratic Labour Party in the Senate was made from a hat. This was not so. The draw was made by the executive of the Party, and the story about a draw from a hat was published. The very reason why Senator Gair left the Australian Labour Party was that he was afraid of direction by a party executive. However, when this sort of thing occurs in the D.L.P., it is a different story, and the tale told is that the draw was made out of a hat.
– It is a different story, all right, because two different names went into the hat, not two slips of paper with the same name.
– The honorable senator may enjoy himself while he can.
– Senator Keeffe was present when a draw was made on another occasion. Let him tell us about that.
– I am telling the honorable senator about his own Party at the moment. Statements of the kind that Senator Gair has made here this evening do not add to the dignity of this chamber, Mr. President. A Party that has to drag up the sort of things that he brought up is bereft of policy. Without the charity of the Liberal Party, it would not exist. In Townsville, a plebiscite is at present being conducted to select a D.L.P. candidate for an election. Apparently, there are five members of that Party in the city, and all have nominated. There are now a lot of problems in determining who will be the candidate. The D.L.P. is a small Party that lives on hate. It feeds on hate and believes in some of the most reactionary things that can happen in any community, lt believes in the atomic bomb. It declares that Australia should stockpile atomic bombs. It believes in all the things that the Fascists believed in years ago and still believe in. It believes in the power of the gun and the jackboot. This sort of organisation should not exist in a democracy. I say this, not with any hate, but as a warning. In its own way it does as much damage to this country as is done by the Communist Party and, on occasions, it works hand in glove with the Communist Party when it has to. It did this in the electorate of Moreton during the 1961 general election. The Democratic Labour Party and the Communist Party worked in close association on that occasion, but in this chamber we have seen the D.L.P. working against trade unions. We saw its representatives working against the Waterside Workers Federation when we were debating the Stevedoring Industry Bill recently. On that occasion they uttered all the filthy things that they could about waterside workers. I understand that somewhere outside the Parliament Senator Gair became so confused about the waterside workers that he could not even answer question. That shows how long he has been dissociated from trade unionism. I am sorry that I have had to talk in this vein, but I believe that statements that have been made should be corrected promptly. 1 have endeavoured dispassionately to set before the Senate some of the facts that 1 believe should be placed on record if we are to continue to live in a democracy, without organisations of this sort dragging us down into the dust.
– I also wish to speak only briefly in this debate. I feel that the time of the Senate is being wasted, as the time of the Australian people has been wasted for a very long time, on issues concerning unity tickets and such matters which are the delight of the Press and which have been developed primarily by the Democratic Labour Party, as has been mentioned by other honorable senators on this side of the chamber, for the purpose of defeating the Australian Labour Party.
– Will the honorable senator tell us how he beat Joe Cooke?
– I beat him on a ballot.
– With Chamberlain’s assistance?
– I beat him on a selection ballot. Does that satisfy the honorable senator? I am glad that Senator McManus interjected because his remark followed a succession of other remarks which he has directed to Senator Cohen, Senator Keeffe and various other senators. We understood that he rose tonight for the purpose of bringing to the attention of the Senate a very serious matter which was taking place inside the Australian Railways Union. The matter was so pressing that he had to inform the Sydney “ Daily Telegraph “ of it before he came into the chamber. He had to ensure that the Press representatives were in the gallery when he spoke. It was a burning issue which took precedence over all the other issues which could have come before the Senate on the adjournment motion. But having said a few words about that matter he referred to Senator Cohen’s war record, which apparently compared unfavorably with his own, to Senator Keeffe’s record in Queensland and to all sorts of matters which appeared to have nothing whatever to do with what has been happening inside the Australian Railways Union in Victoria.
I should like to come back to what was said about the Victorian Branch of the union and refer to the document that Senator McManus brought before us tonight. I will then make a suggestion to the honorable senator - one which I think he will be delighted to adopt if he has the best interests of the Australian Railways Union and the Australian Labour Party at heart. He said that a dedicated member of the Australian Labour Party had been disgusted by unity tickets. That man must certainly be a slow learner. We have been hearing about unity tickets for the last 10 years, but he has only become disgusted during the last week or so. This nameless hero who has become disgusted has produced to Senator McManus a document which completely reveals a foul conspiracy between members of the Australian Labour Party and members of the Communist Party in the Victorian Branch of the Australian Railways Union. There has been produced a piece of paper which, from where I sit, looked like an ancient Egyptian papyrus, but which I take it was some sort of photographic copy of a typed paper. Senator McManus said that his nameless and dedicated Australian Labour Party member informed him that certain persons who were members of the Communist Party and the Australian Labour Party were surreptitiously given this document in an envelope. Apparently they were such trustworthy people that they were given the document inside an envelope. Yet, apparently, they were not trustworthy enough to know how to vote without it. This is one of those mysteries that only someone with a very inventive mind could explain. But this is what happened, and of course it shows that there has been a serious breach of the rules by the Australian Labour Party members whose names appeared on the document.
– Dr. Evatt must have had a copy of a similar document when he said that unity tickets were the running sore of the Labour Party.
– I do not know whether he got a copy of this document or not. I am talking about this document and not about the old stories that were used from 1955 onwards. Let us stick to the matter which has been raised tonight - to this particular document. I do not want to hear about the Jewish Council or what happened in Brisbane or about ex-Senator Cooke. I want to hear only about the document/we are discussing. I asked Senator McManus who produced this document and he said it was produced by the President and Secretary of the Australian Railways Union. I would like him to clarify that statement. Is it stated on the document that it was authorised by these people?
– You do not think they would be fools enough to put their names on it.
– Senator McManus was holding up the document and I asked him who produced it. He said it was authorised by the President and Secretary of the Union, but apparently it was issued anonymously.
– I did not say “ authorised “. I said “ issued “.
– I am sure the honorable senator, being an honorable Christian, would not make in the Senate any statement that he could not substantiate with evidence. I am sure that if he said it was produced by these two men he has evidence to show that they produced it - not just a suspicion or hearsay or a rumour. He is an honorable man and I am sure that the evidence as to who produced the document would be in the possession of our nameless hero. I will make a suggestion and I hope Senator McManus will take it up. I am not worried about the Federated Clerks Union. I want to talk about the Australian Railways Union. I want to talk about the matter which the “honorable senator raised and not about the Jewish Council or the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union in Queensland or the Federated Clerks Union in Western Australia. I want to talk about the Australian Railways Union in Victoria - the urgent matters which the honorable senator raised tonight, having invited the Press along to hear his recitation.
– It is a touchy point, is it not?
– It is not at all touchy, but I want to stay with the matter which the honorable senator raised. I will make a suggestion and I do not think the honorable senator will like it. Obviously, he would not have said that this document had been produced by the President and Secretary of the Australian Railway Union in Victoria unless our nameless friend had good solid evidence to that effect. Senator McManus’s nameless friend is a member of the Australian Labour Party. We know what the offence involved is, because everybody has been told about it. This is the most burning issue of the day - not what is happening in Indonesia, Vietnam or anywhere else in the world, but only what is happening in the Australian Railways Union. That is the most important scene of struggle in the world today and we must hear about it, day in and day out. We all know the position. I think most honorable senators know that the offence committed by members of the Australian Labour Party in regard to unity tickets is to knowingly have their names ona how to vote card which includes the names of members of another political party, or to produce such a document. If this evidence is available I invite Senator McManus to invite his friend to lay charges before the Victorian Central Executive of the Party and give evidence concerning the names of Australian Labour Party members which appeared on the ticket. He may not be able to do that. It may be too hard. He has made charges against them although he cannot prove those charges, but he does know that the President of the Australian Railways Union in Victoria, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Union, who is a member of the Communist Party, produced this ticket. Let them produce the evidence. Let them lay the charges. If what they say is so, then there can be no other way out but to expel from the Australian Labour Party the President of the Australian Railways Union. Let us have the evidence before the Senate, before the Victorian State Executive, in the Sydney “ Daily Telegraph “ or anywhere else. Unless that is done I think the members of the Senate will know how to treat this latest intervention by Senator McManus; that is, as merely another daub of filth which is given by members of the D.L.P. to the Labour movement before scampering off on their way.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.31 p. m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 October 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1965/19651019_senate_25_s29/>.