25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. Has the Government made a formal protest to the Indonesian authorities regarding the searching of the residence in Djakarta of the Australian First Secretary? Has it been forcibly pointed out that it is not the practice of Australian diplomats to store arms in diplomatic buildings? Has any discourtesy ever been shown to members of the Indonesian diplomatic corps in Australia, which could account for this unwarranted action?
– The answer to the last part of the question is: “ No “. I cannot say whether or not a formal protest has been made but I shall find out from the Department and give the honorable senator an answer.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for the Army seen an article by a Mr. Pat Burgess in today’s “ Sydney Morning Herald “, which refers to the high casualty rate amongst Australians serving in Vietnam, amounting to one in ten front line troops wounded, with even higher casualties from scrub ulcers, ringworm and leech bites? Is this casualty rate proportionately far in excess of the casualty rates among American and South Vietnamese service personnel? Has the Minister seen the leading article in the same newspaper, stressing the unwisdom of dispersing military forces in penny packets? Will the Minister comment on these reports?
– If the honorable senator will put the question on the notice paper, I shall ask the Minister for the Army whether he will comment on the article to which the honorable senator refers.
– I direct a question on the same subject to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army. Will the Minister immediately make a statement for the information and consideration of the public as to whether or not there is any substance in fact in the newspaper article referred to, showing such a degree of confidence to the public that it will be reassured that the circumstances in which our troops are fighting are satisfactory from the point of view of campaign conditions?
– This is a very important question. That is why I would wish the Minister for the Army himself to deal with it. I shall certainly convey the question to the Minister and ask him to make a statement.
– I desire to inform the Senate that a delegation of six members of the United Kingdom Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association led by the Right Honorable F. J. Bellenger, M.P., is at present in the gallery of the Senate. On behalf of the Senate and the Commonwealth of Australia Branch of the Association, I extend to members of the delegation a cordial welcome.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear!
– I direct a question to you, Mr. President. It is prompted by the fact that last night, while I was speaking, to the Estimates, Senator Wood, who was in the chair, said that he found great difficulty in hearing me. This brought to my mind a matter which has been troubling me for some time. Whilst I acknowledge the fact that for the purposes of broadcasting the existing amplification facilities in the Senate may be quite adequate, I doubt very much whether those of us who have to occupy the back benches in the chamber are able to be heard properly by the Senate itself. Would you, Mr. President, have some tests made to ascertain whether it is necessary to install further amplification equipment in the Senate?
– Some little time ago we went into the matter of sound reinforcement in the Senate. I thought at that time that we had the problem fairly well in hand but I shall make further inquiries from the technical staff.
– I direct to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General a question which relates to television translator stations. I refer specifically to paragraph 185 in the annual report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board which states -
Can the Minister inform the Senate whether any of these investigations relate to South Australia arid especially to the Eyre Peninsula area? If not will steps be taken to improve the quality of television reception in this area?
– I have before me the document to which the honorable senator referred and I have sought some information from the Postmaster-General on this matter. The investigations referred to in paragraph 18S of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board’s report have not yet extended to South Australia. As far as the Eyre Peninsula is concerned, there may be a possibility of providing a service by means of translators from the television stations in the Spencer Gulf North area. However, the distance is such that more than one translator unit would be required to relay programmes and due to financial considerations and other commitments, it is not practicable to consider the matter at present in respect of the national service. The question of commercial television translators cannot be considered until a commercial station is in operation in the Spencer Gulf North area. The Postmaster-General has not yet received the report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board on its recent inquiry into applications for a licence. Of course, a service cannot be provided to the whole of the Eyre Peninsula by means of translators. There are a number of areas besides the Eyre Peninsula which have not yet been provided with . television. There are a number of difficulties, both technical and economic, involved in the further extension of the services especially to areas of low population density, and the Postmaster-
General is unable to say at present when a service will be provided to the Eyre Peninsula.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Can the Minister inform the Senate whether the conference held in Canberra on 18th and 19th October, to consider problems involved in handling potatoes from the farm to the consumer was able to suggest methods which would lessen or obviate serious damage in handling? This is a matter of importance not only to the grower and the wholesale merchant, but also to the housewife who is concerned that there is no wastage in the potatoes she purchases for her family.
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is that the purpose of the conference was to bring together all sections of the potato industry in an endeavour to isolate problems which could be profitably investigated by the National Materials Handling Bureau. The Conference, which was convened as the result of a resolution of the Federal Potato Advisory Committee, was successful in suggesting lines of attack for the Bureau’s investigation into losses incurred by damage, particularly in harvesting and transport. A preliminary examination by the Bureau will be undertaken immediately. Active cooperation has been promised by leading members of all interests engaged in the production and marketing of potatoes.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Repatriation. I preface it by reminding him that on 1st September last I asked him a question concerning the inevitability that certain Australian servicemen serving overseas, particularly in Thailand, would become eligible for repatriation benefits. I now ask him: Do I take it from his Press release on Monday last that all Australian servicemen serving overseas are now eligible to receive repatriation benefits?-
– I hope to intro-. duce tomorrow a bill that will contain heanswer to .the honorable senator’s question.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. In view of the widespread hardship being felt in many parts of Australia as a result of the drought in several States and the resulting unemployment in industries allied to and dependent upon primary production, will he consider once again the establishment of a Commonwealth fund to be drawn upon in times of national disaster?
– The effects of the drought which has taken place in at least two of the States are serious and this matter is being reviewed from time to time. I will ask the Treasurer whether he has anything further to add to the constant replies I have given to the honorable senator on this subject.
– I wish to direct a question to the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research. Has his attention been drawn to a statement by the South Australian Minister for Education, Mr. Loveday, on 21st October, that the whole basis of the allocation of Commonwealth grants for research work was most unsatisfactory and that as the research was of national benefit the South Australian Government should protest against such an unreasonable contribution from the States? Mr. Loveday was referring to the fact that 70 members of the Universities of Adelaide and Bedford Park might not receive the special CommonwealthState research grants worth £270,000, for which they had nominated, because the Government of South Australia could not provide the matching contribution unless cuts were made in the South Australian Budget. Will the Minister investigate this matter with a view to reaching some agreement with the South Australian Government?
– I have not seen the statement alleged to have been made by the Minister for Education in South Australia, nor have 1 been informed by him or his Government whether South Australia proposes to match the grants recommended by the Australian Research Grants Committee for individual research and for research teams at the Universities of Adelaide and Bedford Park. But I do know that when the Universities Commission presented its second report it recommended that there should be set aside for research in universities a sum of £5 million, half to be provided by the Commonwealth and half by the States in matching grants. At that time, the Government announced that only part of that sum would be made available on a formula and that the proper method of distributing the rest would be the subject of further consideration. I know that in presenting the report of the Martin Committee to this House and to another place the Government stated that the sum remaining from the £5 million - that is £2 million - would be distributed according to the suggestion of the Australian Research Grants Committee; that it would be allocated to individual researchers whom the Committee thought were carrying out work most likely to advance scientific knowledge in Australia, and that it would be available on the condition of a matching grant from the various States. The Research Grants Committee carried out its work. It chose the people throughout Australia whom it thought were doing the most significant scientific work. It made its recommendations for the grants they should have. The Commonwealth accepted those recommendations and it is up to the State Governments either to accept them or to take the responsibility of not accepting them.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Now that the Government has decided to approve the purchase of DC9 aircraft for domestic airlines is it definite that the cities of Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns in Queensland will be serviced by these jet aircraft when they arrive in Australia? If so, can he give an approximate idea of when that is likely to take place? As the city of Mackay is a very important centre for the distribution of tourist traffic to the Great Barrier Reef, what steps will be taken to improve the airport there, and when? Are any intermediate steps likely to be taken in order to give us even better service than that now provided by the Viscounts and Friendships before the introduction of the jet service?
– Along with the statement concerning the aircraft to be purchased next year by the two airlines concerned, reference was made to the sum of £8 million which is to be spent during the next five years on strengthening various airports in Australia. Those airports are to be strengthened in order to carry the Electra and Viscount services which will be deployed when the new jet aircraft come into operation on the main trunk routes. The honorable senator will realise that the airlines are each buying only three of the aircraft to begin with and therefore the time when the DC9’s will go onto the north Queensland routes is a long way off yet. At the present time the only plan is to strengthen some of the north Queensland airports to take the Viscount and Electra aircraft. These airports are at present serviced by smaller aircraft. I am unable to give the honorable senator the details off the cuff as to when this will be done. He referred to Mackay and I know that the proposal concerning that city is to renew part of the runway and eventually to move the terminal building away from the proximity of the runway. It is a bit too close to the runway at the present time. It is also proposed to strengthen it for bigger aircraft. But when this is to be done I do not know. I repeat that £8 million is to be spent in the next five years on strengthening various airports iri Australia.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Health. Would the Minister inquire from the Department of Health as to whether or not it is true that Alupent tablets used by asthma and chronic bronchitis sufferers are to be included in the medical benefit list in November? If this is the case would the Minister request the Department to include the Alupent spray and special atomiser on the same list? This is used frequently by asthma sufferers to gain immediate relief. I can assure the Minister that chronic asthma and bronchitis patients find the use of the atomiser a necessity and think that it is unjust that they have to pay 38s., in many cases, weekly.
– I will convey the honorable senator’s question to the Acting Minister for Health and get a. reply for him.
– My question is to the Minister representing Che Acting Minister for Trade and Industry. Is the Minister aware, as I am aware, that cargoes of wine from Australia to Vila in the New Hebrides arrive in a damaged condition through inadequate packaging? Does the Department of Trade in any way keep a check or have any investigations made into the nature of packaging of goods leaving Australia to ensure that it is adequate for safe sea transit to the nominated destination?
– The honorable senator’s question is one of importance to Australia which is searching everywhere for export markets at the present time. I am glad to have the information that he brings to us first hand that Australian wines have been landed at an overseas port in a damaged condition. I shall certainly bring this matter to the attention of the Department of Trade and Industry to see whether we can get more adequate packaging because the loss is not good to us as an exporter or to the country concerned as an importer. I shall see that this matter is brought to the attention of the Minister.
– I wish to direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. I ask the Minister whether I am correct in understanding that the policy of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, as announced at its recent conference, was to relinquish’ responsibility for defence east of Suez. I also ask whether or not I am correct in thinking that that agrees with the policy of the United Kingdom Government. Has the Australian Government made any assessment of the effect of that policy upon Britain’s involvement in the South East Asia Treaty Organisation?
– I do not think that I can really be expected to give either governmental or personal interpretations of the policies adopted by political parties in other countries. I noticed in the Press, as did the honorable senator, some remarks attributed to a Mr. Enoch Powell. Whether in fact they represented the considered views and adopted policy of the United Kingdom Conservative Party, I would not be prepared to say and could not be expected to say. The whole question is, of course, one or interest to the Australian Government. Events in this part of the world are constantly kept under review by the Australian Government.
– I wish to address a question to the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Defence. What is the nature of the lectures on political matters and current affairs given to national service trainees and other recruits to the Services, and by whom are the lectures given?
– I do not know the nature of the lectures, but I would be very happy to find out for the honorable senator and, indeed, I would be glad to see them for myself to make sure that they indicated sufficiently and strongly the unpleasant and . in fact vile nature of the Communists who are fighting in Vietnam.
– My question is directed to the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate. Will the Government inform the British Government that the hearing by the Privy Council in England of appeals from State courts as well as other courts in Australia has been widely criticised in Australia as being inconsistent with Australia’s independence and is opposed by the Australian Labour Party?
– As the honorable senator knows, matters of policy are not discussed at question time. I do not today propose to provide an answer on the subject the honorable senator has raised. However, if he places the question on the notice paper we shall certainly give him a considered answer. I should have thought there were sufficient numbers in the Labour Party in Australia - although I admit they are decreasing - to inform those whom they wish to inform of their own policy.
– I raise a point of order. I understand that offensive remarks should not be made in answering . a question. I consider that the Minister was offensive in replying to the honorable senator.
– Order! The matter depends on the definition of “ offensive remarks “. I think that in the give and take of parliamentary procedure we must always allow a certain degree of latitude in replies to questions. I do not think the Minister was offensive. Therefore, the point of order is not upheld.
– la view of the importance of the subject, will the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs make available to honorable senators the full text of what seems to have been a very important statement on the proliferation of nuclear weapons that was made yesterday by Australia’s representative at the United Nations?
– I shall ask the Minister for External Affairs to take note of the honorable senator’s question and will ascertain whether he will distribute copies of the statement to members of the Parliament.
– My question is addressed to the Minister in charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research, who administers the Commonwealth Office of Education. Is the Minister able to inform the Senate when, and by whom, an announcement will be made concerning Australians who are to be awarded the first grants from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust?
– I shall ascertain the facts for the honorable senator. As I understand the position, administration of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust does not form part of the activities of the Commonwealth Office of Education. I understand that the Trust has been set up separately with its own secretariat. It would be from that secretariat, on the instructions of the administering board, that any announcement would be made. As I said, I shall ascertain the facts, but I do not think this matter is the responsibility of the Commonwealth Office of Education.
SenatorDRURY. - Has the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Trade and Industry seen a statement in today’s Press that Mr. Cyril Wyndham, on his return from a visit to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, referred to the difficulty of obtaining Australian wines in those areas? Will the Minister refer this matter to the Department of Trade and industry with* a view to promoting the sale of Australian wines in Singapore and Malaysia?
– Yes,I did read the statement to which the honorable senator has referred. As a matter of fact, on a recent visit that I paid to this area I noted that it was difficult to get the brands of Australian wine that we know. I shall bring this matter to the attention of the Acting Minister for Trade and Industry to see what further can be done to assist - assistance is already being given - the sale of Australian wine in the area mentioned.
(Question No. 548.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Does the Committee state in its report -
– The Prime Minister has provided the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
The Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee has a long’ established practice of regular publication of Australian Sr90 data in scientific literature. The August issue of the Australian Journal of Science contains a recent paper by the Atomic Weapons Tests, Safety Committee reviewing and analysing Australian Sr90 data for the three year period 1961 to 1963. Arrangements have been made for copies of the Journal to be available in the Parliamentary Library. Detailed results for each of these years have previously been reported in the Journal. 2. (a) Yes; the relevant quotation from the Sum mary and Conclusions of the paper is: “ In the absence of further major injections of fission debris into the atmosphere, such as those of 1961 and 1962, Sr90 in Australian diet will rise steadily for a few years, pass through a broad maximum and then decrease.”
The Summary and Conclusions of the paper also states: “Fallout levels in the Australian environment to the end of 1960 were assessed by the Australian National Radiation Advisory Committee in 1962; the National Radiation Advisory Committee concluded that any biological consequence of those fallout levels would be insignificantin comparison with the normal hazards of everyday life. Fallout levels in Australia during the period 1961 to 1963 were generally similar to those previously assessed by the National Radiation Advisory Committee; all of these new data have been provided to the National Radiation Advisory Committee for study.”
Concerning the attitude of the Australian Government to nuclear testing in general, Australia, as a party to the Treaty Banning Tests in the Atmosphere, Outer Space and Under Water, opposes any nuclear testing which is in violation of this Treaty. The Government continues to make its views known in the United Nations and in other appropriate ways on this matter.
(Question No. 560.)
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General upon notice -
What progress has been made towards the establishment of an Australian Council of Law Reporting in connection with the reporting of decisions of the High Court and other courts exercising federal jurisdiction?
– The AttorneyGeneral has supplied the following answer -
The Law Council of Australia has informed me that it favours the establishment of a Federal Council of Law Reporting. Discussions are continuing with the Law Council to clarify what is proposed and the manner of its achievement.
(Question No. 579.)
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows -
(Question No. 609).
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The Minister for Territories has now supplied the following answers - 1 and2. It is not the practice to supply information regarding activities of the security service. So far as the political party is concerned, I have made it clear that its internal affairs are its own concern and not the concern of the Government.
(Question No. 619.)
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
In each of the last five years, what percentage of cases (a) before a single Justice, and (b) in the Full Court of the High Court of Australia, has originated in each of the States?
– The AttorneyGeneral has supplied the following answer -
The following percentage of cases before a single Justice of the High Court has originated in each of the States. Figures relating to the Australian Capital Territory have been included.
The following percentage of cases in the Full Court has originated in each of the States. Figures relating to the Australian Capital Territory have been included-
(Question No. 628.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Primary Industry has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
In the light of the production figures in answer to question 3 above the apple cider component of these export figures would be small.
(Question No. 653.)
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The Minister for Immigration has supplied the following answer - 1, 2 and 3. A decision was given by the Supreme Court at Brisbane on 31st May but the plaintiff has appealed against this decision. It would not, in these circumstances, be proper for me to comment.
(Question No. 662.)
asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice -
– I now provide the following answers -
(Question No. 665.)
asked the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice -
What was the value of Australia’s rutile exports for each of the last five years?
– The Acting Minister for Trade and Industry has supplied the following answer -
The value of exports of rutile from Australia for the five years 1960-61 to 1964-65 was as follows -
Consideration resumed from 26th October (vide page 1215).
Proposed expenditure, £3,936,000.
– Prior to the adjournment last night I had addressed some remarks to Division No. 124 - Conciliation and Arbitration - and to Division No. 1 15 - Administrative. I had pointed out that according to the Schedule of Salaries and Allowances there appeared to be a large increase in the number of steno-secretaries employed by the Attorney-General’s Department. I referred to the lag in replies supplied by the Department to questions on notice asked by honorable senators.
There is little I wish to add on those matters but I direct my remarks now to the proposed vote for the Commonwealth Reporting Branch under Division No. 117. I do this because I noticed in the last report of the Auditor-General that there was a decrease in the revenue of the Commonwealth Reporting Branch last year amounting to £29,494. This resulted mainly from a decision made during the year to cease charging Commonwealth departments for transcripts of evidence.
From time to time I have raised with the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) and with the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) the question of making transcripts of evidence taken before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission under section 28 of the Arbitration Act, completely free to the parties involved in an industrial dispute or a threatened industrialdispute. However, it is only fair that I should mention that a large number of Public Service associations are engaged these days in litigation before the Public Service Arbitrator. Of my own knowledge, one case before the Arbitrator or the assistant to the Arbitrator extended over a period of four years. The cost of transcripts to the association involved was quite substantial.
I suggest that the provision of free transcripts to Commonwealth departments could also well be extended to Public Service associations when they are concerned with hearings before the Public Service Arbitrator. When all is said and done, it is the activities of the Public Service that are involved in these hearings. They relate to important decisions affecting the whole of the Public Service and I suggest that the Attorney-General’s Department could well consider making transcripts, at least of hearings before the Arbitrator, available free of charge not only to the Commonwealth Public Service Board but also to the applicant associations.
– In the debate last night, Senator Murphy asked me about anomalies in the pay of various ranks in the Commonwealth Police Force. The information given to me last night was that these anomalies had been overcome but that was inaccurate. The recommendations for overcoming the anomalies have been sent to the Public Service Board and rest now with the Board but they have not yet been implemented. 1 have heard Senator McClelland refer previously to the supply of transcripts free of charge. This is a matter of his opinion. It is not proposed to make transcripts available free of charge as the honorable senator has suggested and therefore this must be a subject on which there remains disagreement. The question of steno-typists to which the honorable senator referred is similar to the matter raised by Senator Laught last night. There used to be a large pool of typists in one place to whom work was sent. That arrangement has been altered and the pool has been diminished. The people taken from the pool have been attached to various sections of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department. Therefore, this provision is shown in the Estimates now for the first time. Those are all the notes I have of what the honorable senator asked, but if he wishes further information he will have opportunity to seek it.
– I should like the Minister to tell me what progress has been made in discussions between the Commonwealth and State Governments concerning the introduction of uniform legislation on packaging and especially fraudulent packaging? The Minister will recall that in 1964, Mr. Cuthill, a stipendary magistrate in Victoria, was appointed as a Board of Inquiry to conduct an investigation into the weights and markings of Australian packaged goods, following a conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers in June 1962. The report of the Board of Inquiry contained some very startling facts. In particular, Mr. Cuthill found that some types of labelling and packaging were a monstrous fraud on the public and he specified various instances of exaggerated and misleading advertising and of fraudulent advertising of certain items of foods, soaps, toilet requisites and goods of that character. Mr. Cuthill’s report drew attention to the need for uniform laws throughout Australia to protect consumers from such fraudulent practices. It was obvious that in any consideration of this question some constitutional problems would be bound to arise. I understand that some discussions were held between Commonwealth and State
Ministers, following the publication of the report, and I now ask the Minister whether he can give the Senate some indication of the progress that has been made in this matter, if any?
– Strictly speaking this is not a matter which comes within the sphere of Attorney-General’s Department, but I shall take this opportunity of replying to the honorable senator, I have some initial knowledge of this matter because it comes under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Department and I was chairman of the original meeting of Commonwealth and State Ministers held to attempt to obtain uniformity on approvals of patterns used in trading, packaging and things of that kind. As the result of that initial meeting various agreements were made in other areas. Victoria suggested, and the rest of the interested parties agreed, that Victoria should carry out an investigation into packaging, not on its own behalf only, but on behalf of the conference of Ministers. The report of that investigation was later brought down and submitted to meetings of the Commonwealth and State Ministers concerned. The last meeting was chaired by Mr. Bury on my behalf, when I was absent overseas, and agreement was reached between the States and the Commonwealth on the form of legislation which should be brought in to deal with the matters to which the honorable senator has referred. The drafting of the law to meet the form which was agreed upon was referred - I now speak from memory - to one State on behalf of the conference. I would have to look that up in detail in order to provide the honorable senator with the information he seeks, but the matter has reached the point where the form of the proposed legislation has been agreed on and its drafting is now a matter for consideration.
– I refer to Division No. 124, sub-division 1 - Salaries and Payments in the nature of Salary. A substantial increase has been provided for 1965-66 as compared with the previous year. In my remarks on this subject I will have to be somewhat critical. Whilst this provision has been made, I sincerely trust there is going to be some extension of those things to which so many thousands of workers in Australia have looked forward to as a result of arbitration. I want particularly to make some remarks in relation to my own State. Some of these remarks would involve Senator Morris, who was a Cabinet Minister in the Queensland Government. He is not in the chamber, unfortunately, but I would be happy to say them in front of him if he were available. Now that, this added allocation is to be made, I hope it will mean that there will be some real attempt by the Government to satisfy the workers of Australia. But I do not think that the actions of the Government in recent times have been in keeping with any such intention. If I wanted to be severely critical I might refer to a bill which was passed by the Parliament a few days ago relating to the Waterside Workers Federation. That was an extension of provocative action taken by the Government which, obviously, does not believe very much in arbitration.
The statement attributed to the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) in the Press a day or two ago was a further indication of the contempt felt by the Government for the arbitration system. The reply made by the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Mr. Monk, was not only timely but very appropriate. We are told by the employing section of the community that we ought to believe implicitly in- arbitration. If we dare to create any sort of industrial problem at all we are told that such action is a negation of the principles of democracy. In other words, we are bad boys and ought not to be putting on any demonstration of any type.
Looking at this matter of arbitration at both a State and Federal level, there are very wide divisions. We are working under different systems. I know there is some necessity to have the two systems. Nevertheless, so far as my State is concerned the basic wage has been frozen, and will remain frozen, until June or July 1966. Yet the recent cost of living index, published a week or two ago, showed an increase of 6s. 6d. a week in the cost of living in Queensland, the highest increase in Australia. It is reasonable to assume, with inflation getting completely out of hand, that this state of affairs will continue until such time as the basic wage can be reviewed by the
Court in that State. In the meantime, prices continue to rise. No brake is put on in this . regard. There have been strong current rumours that price adjustments are being made now, up to three and four months ahead of C day - the introduction of decimal currency - so that there will be no losses by the trading section of the community when the currency is changed.
– I rise to order, Mr. Chairman. I have difficulty in seeing the relevance of this speech to any matter pertaining to the Department of the AttorneyGeneral. I was waiting to hear Senator Keeffe develop some relevance to the item that deals with conciliation and arbitration and the agency under the control of the Department, but I submit that that should not permit of a general debate upon arbitral matters under this head.
-(Senator DrakeBrockman). - I agree with Senator Wright. But having read the opening remarks made in this debate and having seen that Senator Wright indicated his support for a wide debate on these estimates, I have let the debate continue since I returned to the chair.
– I am sorry if it appears to Senator Wright that I am deviating, from the subject under discussion. But I believe that the discussion is so wide that the points I have mentioned are relevant to the argument I have developed.
– I thought it would be better to deal with this matter when we are discussing the estimates for the Department of Labour and National Service.
– Senator Wright has made his speech. I would like him to refrain from commenting while I am making mine. When dealing with the problems that have developed in this particular field, I must refer to groups of people in the community, particularly female workers and apprentices who, because of the increasing inflation, are in an impossible situation. They do not receive the full award wage that is set down for a male. Consequently, they are not able to keep up with the economic problems that they encounter. If the arbitration system were sufficiently flexible - and again I hope that by my reference to the additional expenditure more time will be given to examining some of these problems - some of the things that happen could be met as they eventuated. I again emphasise that, with the exception of two or three States, female workers in this country do not receive pay equal to that of male workers. In fact, they do not receive anything like it. They are the under-privileged section of the community when we consider the wage adjustments that take place.
The administration of the penal clauses of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act operates adversely so far as employees are concerned. Even minor breaches by employees of State or Federal industrial acts are met with very severe penalties. On the other hand, if an employer is involved in a breach of an industrial act, it is significant that the penalties imposed upon him, compare with those imposed upon trade unions, are quite disproportionate. I think that this is something that ought to be considered if additional money is to be spent under this heading.
I wish to refer to three articles of the International Labour Organisation Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, No. 87 of 1948. They apply to this Government as much as they do to the governments of any of the other contributing countries to the I.L.O. The articles read as follows -
Each Member of the International Labour Organisation for which this Convention is in force undertakes to give effect to the following provisions.
Workers and employers, without distinction whatsoever, shall have the right to establish and, subject only to the rules of the organisation concerned, to join organisations of their own choosing without previous authorisation.
I believe that those articles of the I.L.O. Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise are not always considered when heavy penalties are inflicted on trade unions which dare to make some attempt to protest, which is (he only method they can adopt to try to obtain justice.
I shall conclude my remarks by referring to the alteration that was made to the Queensland Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act some time ago regarding the payment of bonuses under the respective awards. This matter is best illustrated by referring to the major dispute that developed last year and on previous occasions at Mount Isa Mines Ltd. Senator Morris - and I am sorry that he is not present in the chamber - can be described as the arch architect of all the problems that have developed, so far as Mount Isa Mines Ltd. is concerned. It was he and his advisers who took away from the Act in Queensland the right of the Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to increase bonus payments. But they did not take away from the employers the right to apply to the Commission to have bonus payments reduced. In other words, even in times of great prosperity in this or in other industries, the Commission could not award increased bonuses, but it had the right to reduce them at any time it saw fit. If the employees, as a result of their own methods of research through their trade unions, believed that an industry was sufficiently prosperous to be able to pay additional bonuses and if they decided to make an application for the payment of additional bonuses, under the provisions of the Act they were forced to negotiate directly with the employer.
I suggest that it is an unfair and discriminatory act that operates against the employees. As a result of the great dispute that developed at Mount Isa Mines Ltd., very heavy loss of revenue was occasioned to the State. But more tragic was the loss of wages to many hundreds of employees. It will be many years before the employees make good their loss. This struggle would never have taken place had the Act not been amended in the way it was. I believe that the blame must fairly be placed at the feet of Senator Morris, who at that time was the responsible Minister in the Queensland Government. I sincerely hope that in the future these matters will be considered, even if it means increased expenditure, and that we will be able to sort out the respective acts, on both Federal and State levels, in a fair and more humane manner so far as the workers are concerned.
.- I regret that the Committee’s attention has been diverted by the last speech from what is truly relevant for consideration when we are debating the estimates for the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, lt is not that I am out of sympathy with the speech or that I would give it a deaf ear if it were made at the appropriate time. I believe that all too frequently today the place of justice and the administration of law and order in the community are taken very much for granted. At the recent legal convention great public attention was focussed upon the procedure and methods of administering justice in this country. Anybody who looks around our various courts of justice will see that it is half a century since any government really thought that the administration of law and order was one of the paramount social services to be rendered by a government to the community. Some members of the Senate have drawn attention to the need to review the right of appeal to the Privy Council. I refrain from comment on that matter, although 1 think it would be a subject well worthy of very purposeful debate in this chamber. 1 rise to put forward a view with regard to the administration of justice in the Federal system in Australia. It is not a new view, but, as far as I am aware, it has not been advanced in this Parliament. When I say it is not new, I mean that it is not my own original idea. But I do not know of any occasion on which the Parliament has been asked to consider it. We know that when our Federation was adopted we established a Federal judicature separate and distinct from the State systems of judicature. Therefore, certain matters come within Federal jurisdiction and the remaining matters come within State jurisdiction. One of the most vexed and complex matters for legal study and attention is the difficulty in finding out at any particular stage of a case just which system of the judicature has jurisdiction over an issue. If a defendant raises a matter which involves an interpretation of the Federal Constitution, the jurisdiction of the State Court can be ousted and the parties can be left to start all over again in a Federal court. That fact was ably illustrated to a royal commission in 1 929 by, if my memory serves me correctly, the former Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Owen Dixon. This problem ought to be the subject of unremitting consideration by the legal profession and this Parliament to see whether the solution does not tie in a unification of the Federal and State judicial systems. I submit that no real purpose is served by retaining this division of judicature in Australia. From that fundamental proposition I want to pass lo one or two practical matters to which consideration should be given primarily by the legal profession, which is very well represented in this chamber and in another place-
– Hear, hear!
– And also, let me say to the honorable senator, by the Parliament, if it has the will to apply itself to the task. Let us consider the condition of our law courts. Very few of them have been rebuilt in this century. In Hobart we have been discussing the building of new premises for the Supreme Court for 15 years to my knowledge. But there are no votes in such a project. Therefore, it is discarded when the Cabinet sets its priorities. The provision of money is a problem. Judges of the High Court and other Federal judges go to Hobart from time to time and use State facilities. Obviously, the erection of one group of courts should become the joint responsibility of the Federal Government and the State Government. Proper provision should be made for accommodation for both Federal and State judges, who should be served by one library. Let us think of the advantage that would accrue from the point of view of providing transcripts, to which reference was made by Senator McClelland. In some of our State courts no proper system of reporting has been developed. But in the Federal courts the most extravagant and costly system of reporting that has ever been devised by man is in operation. If there was a proper allocation of these services as between the Federal and State courts, the needs of both would be reasonably well served.
I am well aware that my proposition about the unification of our judicature would give rise to qualms on the part of State governments and Federal governments They would be afraid that they would lose exclusive responsibility - I eschew the word “ control “ - for the courts that are at present within their domain and also the exclusive right of appointment to those courts. Surely we could establish a committee of Attorneys-General and thus bring a more composite mind to bear on recommendations for appointment to the Bench. I believe that the difficulties I have mentioned could be overcome.
I suggest that the hierarchy of appeals within the Commonwealth requires revision. I believe that no man can have a sense of justice being available unless he not only has unqualified access to a court but also has a right to at least one appeal. However, I am doubtful about whether, having regard to the cost of justice, it is proper for one to have the right to a whole series of appeals. I believe that the needs of an appellant, which at the present time are met by a decision in an ultimate court of appeal which may be thought to be more correct than a decision of a lower appeal court, would be satisified if there were a right to only one appeal. At present, a litigant has a right of appeal from a single judge of a Supreme Court to the Full Court of a State. There is also a right of appeal from either a single judge, or a Full Court of a State, to the High Court. Now we have under consideration a system whereby an appeal may be had from, say, the matrimonial causes jursidiction to an intermediate Federal court. I suggest that it is timely for us to establish a unified judicature.
Let us look at some of the other practical aspects of this problem. In 1956 we established the Commonwealth Industrial Court to enforce our industrial arbitration law, but this Court has become a magnet for all incidentalFederal jurisdictions that have since occurred to the mind of the Federal Attorney-General of the day. Despite all the miscellaneous tasks with which this Court is charged, I think it will be found that on an average the judges of the Court sit for no more than 50 or 60 days a year. Yet in other courts the pressure of business is creating great backlogs. We cannot afford to waste judicial time. Recently in Hobart there was a hearing involving a small prosecution under the Stevedoring Industry Act. Under the Constitution as it now stands, it was necessary for an industrial judge to fly from Melbourne to Hobart twice. He was accompanied by his personal staff, the reporting staff, and so on. The Crown solicitor came from Sydney. The costs involved, for both the public and the litigant were tremendous by our standards. That matter could have been dealt with very competently by a local magistrate upon whom could have been conferred Federal jurisdiction. The cost, to both the public and the litigant, would not have been one-tenth as great.
I mention these matters in the hope that they will be considered. What is happening in Sydney at the present time in the field of law administration demonstrates the need for the legal profession to keep in step with the public by providing a real service in the law courts. What has happened in Sydney over thelast two months oughtto bring home to members of the legal profession the risk they are running in not making the work of the law courts an inexpensive and expeditious service to the public. I suggest to the Minister for Works, who represents the Attorney-General in this chamber, that the proposition I have advanced merits earnest consideration, if not in the immediate future, then in due time.
– I am sure that Senator Wright would be the last to expect me to be able to enter into a debate on this subject, which is full of complexities and legal problems about which I know nothing. The honorable senator has put before the Senate a proposition which spells out his broad areas of dissatisfaction. However, he has not at this stage provided detailed and factual indications of those areas, nor has he made detailed proposals of the measures necessary to overcome the problems to which he points. I would have thought that if the honorable senator and other members of the legal profession felt strongly about what we have heard, possibly the most satisfactory way for any reforms to be brought about would be to suggest them to the Australiawide legal association so that it could consider specific matters. An approach could then be made to the respective governments for further consideration. All I will do is indicate that I will send to the AttorneyGeneral a copy of the honorable senator’s remarks.
Proposed expenditure noted.
Prime Minister’s Department.
Proposed expenditure, £23,260,000.
Proposed provision, £3,844,400.
– I wonder whether the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) can explain to the
Senate the reason for the remarkable growth in the Prime Minister’s Department. This year an amount of £329,226 is to be appropriated for salaries, as compared with an appropriation of £278,328 for 1964-65. This centralisation of government activities in the Prime Minister’s Department could be a very good thing. I dare say the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) has officers who are in direct communication with other departments. That might work out very well. However, there might be other instances where too much central authority in the affairs of government lies in the Prime Minister’s Department. For example, while there are 1 70 employees in the Prime Minister’s Department - which is a tremendous growth over past years - the number of officers employed by the Deputy Prime Minister is much smaller. It can be seen that in other departments the numbers decrease.
The Prime Minister’s Department is the department with the widest range of government affairs. Perhaps the Minister could explain whether new officers have been appointed, and if so, to what duties? For example, an amount of £54,174 is to be appropriated for 12 first assistant secretaries and assistant secretaries. I am referring to an item set out in the Schedule of Salaries and Allowances for the Prime Minister’s Department. I would like to know whether the assistant secretaries represent the point of view of various other departments and keep the Prime Minister in touch with what is going on. That could be a very good idea. But I would like the Minister to explain to me why such a substantial growth has taken place in. the administrative costs of the Prime Minister’s Department.
About two months ago, the Prime Minister’s Department issued a statement announcing that Vice Admiral Sir Hastings Harrington, K.B.E., C.B.E., D.S.O., had been appointed as Commissioner-General to represent Australia in connection with an international exhibition to be held in Montreal, Canada, between April and October ] 967 as part of the Canadian Government’s celebration of a centenary of Canadian Confederation. The Prime Minister’s statement went on in these terms -
Sir Hastings, who recently retired as Chief of the Naval Staff, will be in charge of the special arrangements to be made for Australia’s participation in the exhibition. The principle feature of this participation will be an Austraiian pavilion.
It has been approved as a first category exhibition. In these times a first category exhibition is a pretty big thing. It is to be a tremendous show at which Australia is to have a pavilion. The statement continued -
As part of the arrangements it is now making, the Australian Government proposes to appoint a representative committee which will be able to furnish expert advice and suggestions to the CommissionerGeneral on the nature of the Australian pavilion and other Australian participation.
It could be a very good appointment, but in my view, it is not. I would like the Minister to tell me what qualifications the admiral has for the job. It is a publicity job, a public relations job, and a sales promotion job in Canada at a very important world fair. I hope I am not being unparliamentary in saying that it seems to be an example of top level nepotism. It can happen in all sorts of places and when it occurs in government affairs it is very dangerous. The appointment was made by the Prime Minister’s Department. I have looked up details of Vice Admiral. Sir Wilfred Hastings Harrington in “Who’s Who”. Reference is made to his great naval record. That is all right. “ Who’s Who “ goes on to tell of the positions he has held. They have all been at sca. There is no record of positions he has held on land. What special qualifications a retired admiral has to be apointed to this job as Commissioner-General at the Canadian exhibition to give sales talks for Australia, I cannot understand.
The statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Department goes on to explain that Vice-Admiral Sir Hastings Harrington will be supported by men who understand publicity, sales promotion and that sort of thing. I have moved around in business circles and businessmen are quite concerned that some top men of their number were not given this job. I refer to men who could really sell Australia. I would like to know from the Minister what were the qualifications of the admiral, and what was taken into consideration in making the appointment. On paper, he does not seem to have any qualifications to fill a sales promotion job. I am not saying that he was not a great sailor. He was. He has a great record. He is 60 years of age and has retired. He has been given this temporaryjob by the Prime Minister’s Department as a sales promoter for Australia in Canada.
In these days, when we are having trade difficulties and are seeking trade overseas, I think we should send specialists overseas to represent Australia. I could understand it if the admiral were being sent to the United States of America on naval matters, or to advise the Canadian Government on naval matters, or to advise the United States Navy on naval policy. In those circumstances, I think we could be prepared to forget the loss of H.M.A.S. “ Voyager “ and recommend him for the job. But this appointment is not related to naval matters. It is a land job. It is a tough salesman’s job. I would like the Minister to tell me whether applications were called for and whether sales promotion men - specialists in their positions - were invited to apply. If they were not, I think that the Prime Minister, or officers in his Department, have done the wrong thing.
I wish now to raise a few matters concerning education. I do not wish to discuss the report of the Martin Committee in detail. I know that the Minister has a great interest in matters of education. I wish to ask him one simple question: Have any conferences been held between State Governments and the Commonwealth Government in relation to the Martin report? We have examined and discussed the report. It has been tabled. I hope the Minister will be able to explain whether the Commonwealth Government is moving on it. He may say: “We have set up this Committee to examine education in Australia. The report of the Committee has been tabled and we are about to act on it “. This Government has a record of receiving reports and doing nothing about them. The archives are full of reports about which the Government has done nothing. This is a very important report. I know that the Minister was reported recently as saying that there is no crisis in education. I will not go into that argument here because I think most other people believe there is a crisis in education.
I should like the Minister to tell me whether the Commonwealth Government is conferring with the State Governments on details of the Martin report. Let me refer more specifically to the statement issued by the Government on 13th September last in which it gave details of the sums allocated to schools in accordance with the provisions of the States Grants (Science Laboratories) Act 1965. Let me say here and now that I am not criticising the Government’s decision on State aid and my remarks are made with no thought of criticism. I think the Government beat us to the jump. It obtained great political advantage out of its decision. In fact, the political advantage which the Government received was probably much greater than the advantage which education received because the amounts involved make a very small contribution towards a solution of the problem of financing education in Australia.
There is every sign of haste in this document. The decision was a hasty one. Most Ministers and many members on the Government side did not know that there was to be State aid. It all happened very suddenly. There probably is a good explanation for the point I am about to raise and I hope that the Minister will give it. Allocations of £16,000 for science blocks are mentioned a good deal, the Brigidine Girls Regional High School at Maroubra has been allocated £16,000; the Brigidine Convent at Randwick has been allocated £16,000; the Christian Brothers College at Burwood has been allocated £16,000 and the Christian Brothers College at Manly has been allocated £16,000. There seem to be dozens of allocations of £16,000. I know the committees appointed by the schools submitted these recommendations but I should like the Minister to give me some details.
What does £16,000 represent? Was a standard set along the lines that there is a brick building 20 feet by 30 feet in which you have this, this, this and this and it all adds up to £16,000? If that is the case and everything is to be standardised, I do not think that is a very clever idea. I do not think science is so standardised that various schools should receive exactly the same allocation. Did the Government say to the committees: “ We have worked it out and this is what we propose to give you “? Does this mean that, say, a science master at one school asked for £26,000 and was he told that he could have only £16,000 and that the school would have to find the balance of the money? How did all this occur?
I believe that the scheme is a good one if it is properly handled and developed and not allowed to remain at its present level.
A suggestion made in the other place by, I think, the honorable member for Hindmarsh, Mr. Clyde Cameron, has a good deal of value. Why do we not have one large central school, particularly in city areas? There are at present central domestic science schools which children from all areas attend. In this case there could be a central science school instead of seven, eight or ten schools having science blocks which cost £16,000 each and in which nothing is really first class, spread throughout the metropolitan area. I believe the suggestion advanced by the honorable member for Hindmarsh is worthy of the Government’s consideration.
In a central science school the very latest scientific teaching methods could be available. Children from non-State schools could take their turn with children from State schools in attending the central school, thereby helping to break down divisions in the community, at least in relation to science education. The Government claims that its reason for giving the aid is to break down divisions in the. community. In a desire to help the non-State schools the Government said: “Here is something which is non-controversial - science. There can be no dispute about this.” We are dragging behind other countries in the field of science. The teaching of science in Australia is well below the international standard. Here is an opportunity to do something. The Commonwealth Government has said: “ We will unite the community by providing money for the teaching of science.” Undoubtedly the community is united on that but it might not be so united if the Government goes further than that. Probably it will not go further. This is an interesting point. With the ecumenical spirit abroad everywhere, here is an opportunity for children from all kinds of schools to attend a central school which would have efficient teaching methods. Do not forget that it is not much use supplying science facilities unless science teachers are supplied as well. According to this Martin report, they are in very short supply. Better use would be made of our teachers if something were done along the lines mentioned by the honorable member for Hindmarsh and if we developed a central science school in much the same way as technical schools are developed.
Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I should like to deal with some of the points which have been raised so far. Senator Ormonde indicated a belief that there was a large increase in the number of senior officers in the Prime Minister’s Department. In fact, compared with last year there is not a large increase. Last year there were three first assistant secretaries and eight assistant secretaries. This year there are three first assistant secretaries and nine assistant secretaries. There has been an increase of only one assistant secretary.
The honorable senator then questioned the appointment of Vice- Admiral Sir Hastings Harrington as Commissioner-General for the exhibition in Montreal. It is not true to say that Admiral Harrington has been at sea all his life. He has had a number of shore appointments and, demonstrating organisational ability, he has risen to the top of his profession. It almost seemed as if the honorable senator thought this was an unusual appointment for a serviceman.
– Or a sailor.
– I cannot see that the organisational capacity required by a sailor, as a serviceman, can be different from the organisational capacity required by an Air Force man, as a serviceman, or by an Army man, as a serviceman. Let me remind the honorable senator that the British CommissionerGeneral is Sir William Oliver, who was a soldier, and that his qualification was the exhibition of organisational ability during the course of his life as a soldier. This is not, as was suggested, a sales job. It is not the function of the head of the committee to be a salesman. In the first place, the exhibition has to be organised, arranged and built within a quite short time because it is to be held in 1967. Incidentally, I am glad to inform the honorable senator if he is interested - Senator Mulvihill may be, too, in view of certain remarks that he made during the discussion of other estimates - that our pavilion will be built by the Department of Works. I hope that the people from the Department of Works were given a brief and told: “ Let us see what you can do. Show yourselves in this job.” I cannot see that there is any reason for querying the appointment of a man who has risen to the top of his profession in a job where he requires, above all else, organisational ability, and who is advised by a very significant senior committee on other aspects, such as salesmanship and exhibition, which the honorable senator mentioned.
Then we had a question about what the Government had done concerning implementation of those aspects of the Martin Committee’s report which the Government told the Parliament it was accepting. The Government has already made provision for an increase in the number of open entrance scholarships at universities, postgraduate scholarships, and later year award scholarships, and it has made provision for 1,000 scholarships in the new Colleges of Advanced Education. It is in the process of implementing the interim grants which were recommended for the Latrobe University and other universities and the Colleges of Advanced Education. The Walker Committee, which has been appointed to act in a somewhat similar way, but not an exactly similar way, to the Australian Universities Commission, vis a vis the Colleges of Advanced Education and the Commonwealth Government, has conducted very useful discussions with the Education Departments of Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, for example, and with universities on the spending of this money. Actually, the money has not yet been appropriated, but the Parliament will be asked to appropriate it very shortly.
The honorable senator had some comments to make on the provision of science blocks. He asked why a number of Roman Catholic- schools - as I think he will find they are - in New South Wales are recommended for grants of £16,000. I think the answer is that the committee for such schools in that State appears to have adopted a practice of recommending the expenditure
Of £8,000 on a laboratory as a first grant towards the cost of a laboratory, but not - as he might have thought - that a laboratory must be built out of the £8,000. The committee recommends that a school building one laboratory should be given assistance, in the first instance, of £8,000; and that a school building two laboratories should be assisted, in the first instance, to the extent of £16,000. I think he will find that the schools to which he referred were all building two laboratories. 1 hope they will be able to be reimbursed for the extra cost, which might vary according to where the school is and so on. They will be reimbursed if we remain in Government to be enabled to do it.
– For 12 months, anyway.
– I think that we will need to be here for longer than that, and I trust that we will. It will be in the next triennium. I think that the honorable senator must have had his tongue in his cheek when he spoke of this assistance having been of little use to education or of less use to education than it was for political purposes. I have a list of schools, other than independent schools, in New South Wales, which is the State from which the honorable senator comes, showing that 84 laboratories have been built entirely from Commonwealth funds. I will not read the list in full. All the schools are State schools and they include Ballina, Beacon Hill, Dubbo South, Endeavour, Forbes, Greystanes, Hornsby, Hurlstone Park, Macquarie, Mount Austin, Murwillumbah, . Pittwater, Punchbowl, Riverside, Sydney Technical, Toronto, Vaucluse, Westville, Wingham, and Woy Woy. That is only a fraction of the number of State schools which have received assistance during the year.
The honorable senator queried the number of private schools which had been given real educational assistance from these funds. It is true that the provision of science teachers rounds out this assistance. I remind the honorable senator that a great deal of assistance is given in that direction by the Commonwealth, because science teachers are in fact trained at universities. I understand that a suggestion was made in another place also that there should be some central edifice to which everybody would have to go. The honorable senator suggested that instead of having a laboratory in each school this would be more convenient. This suggestion is one, I suggest, that would be laughed out of court as ludicrous by those who are really concerned with science education.’ Particularly with secondary school pupils, a laboratory requires to be small. It requires to have in it only the number of pupils who can be supervised easily, and who will be not too far away from the blackboard on which explanations are shown. The laboratories must be able to be used, for various kinds of scientific advice. I do not want to spend too much time on this suggestion, because it is quite absurd from an educational point of view. It is apparently suggested that there be a huge building with many laboratories, which would have to be small. The only result would be that everybody would have to spend an awful lot of time travelling there and back instead of being able to use laboratories in their own schools.
The honorable senator mentioned technical schools. Government assistance to these schools has been of great value. In 1964-65, there was capital expenditure on many technical schools in New South Wales. Granville received a Stage 2 workshop and classroom blocks. At Cooma there was a general purpose block. At Parkes there was a Stage 2 classroom block. At Wauchope there was a new college. At Wollongong there was a Stage 3 workshop. At Sydney, Harris Street, there was a Stage 3 workshop. At Sydney, Thomas Street - an extension of Harris Street - there was a Stage 3 workshop. At Eastern Suburbs there was a new college. At St. George there was a Stage 3 workshop and classroom block. At Belmont there was a new college. At Gunnedah there was a general purpose block. At Newcastle there was an automotive and panel beating workshop. The amount spent on these projects in 1964-65 was £1,133,000, and the total cost will be £2,700,000. That is the benefit in capital expenditure in one State alone from the assistance given in the sub-tertiary technical field. The honorable senator asked about the available technical scholarships that had been awarded in New South Wales.
– There were 292 out of 900.
– The figures are approximately of that order. All were available. The honorable senator will understand, I think - if he does not already know- that State Governments are asked to select for scholarships students who, in their judgment, reach the required standard for the scholarships. The State Governments carried out the tests to their own satisfaction for the awarding of the scholarships. In my State, it was easy for them all to be awarded, because there was a system of full time technical education there. Consequently, they could all be awarded quite quickly. In New South Wales, the Government found it more difficult. There were only about 1,900 applicants in the first year, if I remember rightly, but in the second year approximately three times that number of applicants for scholarships have already appeared. However, the full number will not be awarded until, in the judgment of the State Education Departments, sufficient candidates at what they regard as a proper level are available to take up the scholarships.
Senator Dame ANNABELLE RANKIN (Queensland) [4.51]. - I desire to address two questions to the Minister. The first relates to the Queen Elizabeth TI. Fellowship Scheme. Last year the appropriation was £16,200 and expenditure was £15,948. This year the appropriation has been increased to £67,500. This is a very large increase and I will be very interested to have some details of the scheme. I would like to know how many people are receiving the benefit of the fellowships. This is an excellent scheme and a scheme of which I know all Australians are very proud. I would like to have some details, especially in view of the very large increase in the appropriation. .
I also refer to the proposed expenditure for the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust The appropriation last year was £300,000 and expenditure was £300,000, but this year the appropriation is only £100,000. This is a great deal less money. It is a reduction of £200,000. I am interested to know why the appropriation has been reduced so substantially. It would seem to me that it would be necessary to have as much money this year as in the previous year. I would be pleased to have some details of the reasons for the decrease.
.- I desire to refer to that section of the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department which deals with grants for science blocks. I congratulate the Government on a very statesmanlike decision to make the grants available. I also congratulate Senator Gorton, who has handled the distribution of the grants. Because of the conflicting interests to be dealt with, this could have been a rather difficult problem, but he steered between the shoals with great skill. I think it is a tribute to the way he handled it that all sections have been grateful to him for what they considered was a very fair and just procedure. I do not think the Government was wrong in giving the grants to the individual schools.
I was a teacher for 191 years in State schools and 1 want to say that the suggestion from Senator Ormonde of some kind of a huge central science school to which all the children could go is equally abhorrent to teachers in State schools and to teachers in private schools. They know that it would not work. Teachers in State schools in particular have expressed very firm opposition to any such proposal. Some years ago, domestic arts classes in State schools in Victoria were made available at certain times to children from private schools. The scheme did not work well; it irritated both sides. Science in any school is just part of the teaching and the school programme cannot be interrupted to send children half a mile or a mile to the central science block. Then again, in the course of a school week there may be occasion to change over certain classes. The administration of the schools would be disrupted if children had to be taken away and sent to some separately Organised school. As I said before, both State school teachers and private school teachers are unanimous that such a scheme would not work.
I regard the decision to give science grants as an instalment, not of aid - I do not like the word - but of justice. I do not know why, but this was always regarded in Australia as a sticky problem and one that political parties should avoid because there were no votes to be won and a lot of votes to be lost. I remember an eminent educationalist from Denmark commenting to me that our people seemed to be immature in that they seemed to be afraid to discuss the relationship between private and Government controlled schools. However, we are over that. We have decided to follow the example of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, where a satisfactory relationship has been worked out and where governmental justice, not aid, is given. Now that the Government has made this decision, it has been approved by gallup polls and there has hardly been a stir in the community over a scheme that we were told for 40 or 50 years would, if it were attempted, provoke an educational revolution. Today, assistance has been given to Protestant schools, Catholic schools, Jewish schools and non-religious schools and it appears to give satisfaction to the great bulk of the Australian people.
I support the decision for another reason: I think that the Government gets a very big bargain under this system. At present, there are demands for big advances in education and £100 million is spoken of as the first instalment to improve State education. If that were given and nothing were done, for the private schools, the parents of children in those schools, who now pay a quarter of the education costs, would continue to pay for their own schools. They would pay £25 million of the £100 million to improve the State schools and then, because the only condition under which private schools can be operated is that they have the same standards as the State schools, they would have t,o pay more to elevate their own schools to the standards of the schools controlled by the Government. Obviously, if these people are asked to contribute huge sums for education but will get nothing back, they will oppose the proposal. If we are to get the united public opinion that all of us want for improvements in education, we must deal with all the children in the community and their parents on the same basis of justice.
I have received some correspondence from the Parents and Friends Association in Victoria bearing upon this issue. The Association points out that in the last financial year nearly 27 per cent, of the children in Victoria were educated in nongovernment schools at little or no expense to the Government. The Government in Victoria, my own State, has been saved £18 million in a year. The parents of children in private schools who have saved the Government that money by educating their own children, have received from the State less than £1 million in aid or justice or whatever it may be called. From the point of view of governments, it is a very good economic proposition to keep the private schools in existence. If they went out of existence tomorrow and the children were forced to go to government schools, such an immense sum of money would be required merely to meet the influx that any advance, in education would be impossible for years. In fact, if the children turned up at government schools tomorrow, we would have educational chaos in this country for years to come. The Government schools could not accommodate them and the money required eventually to look after them would make any advance in the other schools impossible for years to come. In Victoria recently, the Archbishop in charge of Catholic schools ordered that the junior classes be restricted to 50 and any children apart from this number would have to go to State schools. The Department of Education has expressed grave alarm as to what it is going to do with these children. It seems that the men; fact that these extra children are to be sent along to the State schools will place a burden on the governmental schools with which they are unable to cope. What would happen if instead of just a few, all of them were placed on the shoulders of the Government? Everybody realises that from the point of view of economics, the State Government is driving a very good bargain. It is saving itself millions and ensuring that it can make other money available for the children in the State schools.
What the Commonwealth Government has done is very good but I hope it will go further. I hope it will have some regard to the needs of the primary schools. What has been done so far has been done for the secondary schools but there is many a working man who, because of his principles, sends his children to a private primary school. He is finding the going very difficult and very tough because today these parents have to pay fees to primary schools as well as to others. I hope that the recent statement of the Minister heralds the possibility that the Government will be able to do something in the future for primary schools as well. To indicate the sort of job that is being done in Victoria by the private schools, with the concurrence of honorable senators I incorporate the following table in “ Hansard “-
Finally I make a plea to the Government to do something more than it is doing in regard to Commonwealth scholarships to our universities. On the figures year by year, the average number of students who seek scholarships compared with those who get them cannot be regarded as satisfactory, and I hope the Government will improve materially the number of Commonwealth scholarships available to students in the coming financial year. I am one who was educated at a university entirely on scholar- ships. I could never have had any possibility of receiving such an education but for the scholarships that were available. 1 have known many youngsters who were not able to attain the educational standards they desired because their parents were not able financially to back them. In a modern democracy, it should be possible for a reasonably talented student to make the best of his educational abilities and I urge the Government to take action on this matter.-
As there has been some suggestion that we should take into account whether the student is likely to be the one to profit most by university education, I hope the Government will adopt the suggestion which I think has a lot of value that all students who complete successfully the first year of a university course shall then be granted a Commonwealth scholarship. If that were done, . it would offer an incentive to the students and would be of great value to many. I conclude by urging the Government to do something on this very vexed question of better educational opportunities for those desiring to attend a university by the provision of more Commonwealth scholarships.
! - Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin asked me two questions. One was the reason why there was an increase in the amount voted for the Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship Scheme. The reason is that in 1964-65, expenditure was in respect of the five Fellows who had received official awards in June 1964. Since then, a further 10 scholars have been granted fellowships and five more will be granted this year. So in 1965, expenditure will be incurred in respect of at least 15 Fellows who will receive Queen Elizabeth II Fellowships.
Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin also asked about a subtraction from the amount to be voted this year to the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust compared with last year. The honorable senator will remember that the Trust sent abroad this year to the Commonwealth Festival of Arts the Australian Ballet Company in conjunction with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The subvention which had been made to the Trust had been running at about ?200,000 a year but in order to put some finance into the Trust to enable it to get ready and send the ballet and the orchestra abroad, it was given a direct grant by the Commonwealth Government of ?40,000 and also an advance on the 1965-66 vote. This was considered to be the appropriate and reasonable procedure after discussions with the Elizabethan Theatre Trust.
For the most part I shall just note the remarks of Senator McManus although I thank him for one or two of them. All I can say on the question of Commonwealth scholarships is to repeat that there will be 1,000 more university scholarships available next year than there were last year. I believe that will allow university scholarships to be awarded at the standard below, which the Martin Committee said they should not be awarded. Honorable senators, will remember that the Martin Committee stated that Commonwealth scholarships should not be awarded to university students of a standard lower than that which they were required to attain to get a scholarship in 1963 because the failure rate would go up very much if that were done.
When discussing the award of university scholarships, we should not lose sight of the provision of other scholarships for tertiary education which will be provided next year for the first time. These other scholarships to the number of 1,000 will be. provided for entry to Colleges, of Advanced -Education. If the scheme worksout in the way the Martin Committee suggested and the way the Commonwealth Government accepted it, a number of those receiving the scholarships to go to Colleges of Advanced Education - if they do well enought and prove themselves during the diploma course - could well move across to a university at the conclusion of the diploma course. But I cannot hold out any promise or hope to the honorable senator that there will be more Commonwealth open entrance scholarships next year than the 1,000 already pledged; that there will be any greater increase in the number of later year awards than the increase of 250 that has been pledged or that there will be any increase in scholarships to Colleges of Advanced Education on the 1,000 already approved. After all, the total of new scholarships for next year will be about 2,500. This is a pretty significant increase in the number of scholarships at tertiary level available in one year.
– I propose to refer to the provision under Division No. 433 for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. I know that when anyone mentions this subject, it might be said to be pregnant with possibilities but if we take a responsible attitude to the matter, it is something that we as a National Parliament should review annually. No honorable senator in his right mind would question that to survive, every nation must have some form of security service, but in a democracy, it is a question of how to evaluate the normal democratic processes with national security. In that connection, the main principle is the virtue of consistency.
My mind goes back to the time during World War II, when Mr. Herbert Morrison was British Home Secretary. That was a period when Britain stood virtually alone, except for the other members of the Commonwealth of Nations. In one of the cells of Broadmoor Prison at that time was Harry Pollett of the British Communist Party. His crime was not his legitimate trade union aspirations but his allegiance to the infamous Ribbentrop-Moltov pact. In other words, he put the interests of Germany and the Soviet Union ahead of those of the British Commonwealth. By contrast, in other cells were members of an organisation known as the “ Link “. A number of them were retired high officers of the Royal Navy, whom one would not define as lower deck militants. They were people who wanted to do a deal with Hitler.
Members who read Barlow’s book entitled “Hour of Maximum Danger”, will find it an object lesson on the motives that from time to time make people become traitors to their own country. The motives are numerous, but this book ‘ provides a good lesson in human psychology. The point I am making is that I am not sure that the classic action by Herbert Morrison is practised to the full here. To substantiate my point I will mention one or two specific instances of what has occurred. We have been told that, over a period, 155 people who wanted to become Australian citizens have had their applications for naturalisation rejected. If the Government was prepared to tell me that a certain percentage of those people had Axis sympathies, belonged to neo-Fascist groups, or were members of subversive groups of the Left, I would be satisfied with that information and would agree that the Government was being consistent. But while it refuses to divulge such information there is always the inference that it has a dual sense of values.
When the Australian Labour Party seeks the establishment of a tribunal to determine these matters it is not a question of us wanting to look over Sir Charles Spry’s shoulder and observe intimate security details. We believe that the Prime Minister, whoever he may be, has enough to do and that a Minister for Home Security should be appointed. I do not think that any Minister who occupied that office would be likely to write his memoirs within three years of retiring from office. With all the upheaval that has taken place in Singapore in recent times the Prime Minister there has still found it possible, while observing maximum security, to allow interned people, the right to appeal to a tribunal and to obtain the services of their own legal adviser.
This brings me to the crux of my argument. At what stage would any parliamentary group have direct contact with our own Security Intelligence Organisation? I think I am in good company in what I am advocating because Senator Eugene McCarthy, a Democrat from Minnesota - not from Wisconsin - together with Senator Mansfield, have expressed the same view in the United States of America. The Hoover Commission, a pretty conservative body, argued on the same basis in 1955. After all, the aim of an intelligence organisation is to supply the policy makers of a country with facts. When looking at subversion I think there is a tendency to be ultra conservative or to have a dual sense of values. A couple of years ago in New South Wales a Mr. Lesic had a mishap involving some form of explosion. I am choosing my words carefully because 1 do not want to rake up old fires but I am placing responsibility on the Security Intelligence Organisation.
Over a period of five years I have seen senior New South Wales police officers exercise commendable patience and tact in situations in which members of the force could have been the victims of serious injury. I recall one occasion at Paddington Town Hall when a number of people, including myself, could have been maimed, had it not been for the tact and restraint of the police. My point is that the New South Wales Police Force has a certain ambit of operations. I recall that when there was a small Nazi group in Sydney, the New South Wales Police, operating under the laws of the State, moved in quickly and effected a mopping up operation. While infinitesimal groups of migrants who have Axis sympathies are able to beat the big drum of anti-Communism and get away with it, they feel that they can indulge in name calling against other people of radical disposition, and so there is this constant friction between different groups. While that situation exists we will always find other people, possibly from the far left and with their own motives, who will indulge in smearing the Security Intelligence Organisation. When that organisation was created by the Chifley Government emphasis was placed on the legal rather than the military side.
In the Parliamentary Library are numerous books on the United States Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. An illustrious former United States General, Bedell Smith, who had a fine war record and an excellent record as United States representative in the Soviet Union, addressed seminars and questioned CLA. officers as to their method of recruitment. One of my fears is as to where our Security Intelligence Organisation draws the line in the matter of recruits. Does it matter whether a recruit comes from a working class background or must he wear an old school tie? I do not say that because of any inferiority complex about where or how a person was educated, but in this age of cloak and dagger espionage I believe the Commonwealth Government is doing Australia a disservice by refusing to give a breakdown of the reasons why people have been refused naturalisation and of their political affinities.
I do not think it would affect our national security if we were told that a man had been refused naturalisation because as a boy he belonged to a Falangist youth group in Madrid, or that somebody else’s application had been refused because he had been involved in European Communist Party activities. I know that we do not rely totally on our own security service for information. We depend also on British security and, in some cases, on United States security. But we must have a sense of values. Senator Murphy will recall the case of an Italian in the New South Wales irrigation area who was refused naturalisation. On making inquiries we were told that when in Italy he had been an ultra leftist. Mr. Al Grassby, M.L.A. representing Murrumbidgee, had, the good fortune to go to Europe, where he made his own check and discovered that this man had belonged to a group who had demonstrated before the mayor of his Italian town about increased rates. I am sure that in many of our own suburban areas when rates are raised one could find a number of old Australians who would come perilously close to tarring and feathering the mayor.
I think a sense of values is lacking. I cannot see how security would be jeopardised if we set up a parliamentary committee which could meet our top security officers and obtain an idea of the principles on which they work. I do not want people’s dossiers to be dragged out. I would not go as far as Lord Acton did in regard to absolute power. I do not think that in a democracy a parliamentary committee should use its powers as a coward’s castle in order to brutally interrogate anybody. But I think it would remove a lot of unfair criticism if there was some way in which we could re-establish principles and dissipate some of the fears that exist not only in my own mind but also in the minds of members of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and other groups which are equally concerned with Australia’s security. We believe that our security will be much stronger when there is consistency in dealing with threats of totalitarianism of various brands.
– Mr. Chairman, I desire to refer to some topics raised by Senator Ormonde and by Senator McManus. I think that the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research (Senator Gorton) and Senator McManus both answered Senator Ormonde’s proposal for large central science teaching institutions which people from many suburbs could attend. Unfortunately, Senator Ormonde was absent at the time. I agree entirely with what Senator McManus said as a former school teacher, that teachers themselves would be horrified at such a suggestion. The disturbance to the education of the children would be laughable and, consequently, I do not think that idea would work.
I would like to commend the Minister on the effort he has put into seeing that the science block scheme has worked. I have had a good deal of experience in South Australia in looking at the existing science teaching equipment and science blocks in the various independent schools in the metropolitan area in that State. Before this scheme was introduced I visited over 20 of these schools and I was appalled at the difficulties under which they were labouring. Recently it was my privilege to attend the opening of four new science blocks. Honorable senators would be surprised at the lift that the Government’s recent legislation has given to the various schools in that State. At independent schools without affiliation to any religious denomination, the Government’s assistance has influenced the school boards to raise large sums of money to add to that provided by the Government. As a result, most noteworthy buildings have been provided. I think the Government was very wise to assist these independent schools by providing technical advice and assistance on the type of structures to be erected. I understand that a man who holds a position as science master at the Melbourne Grammar School was engaged by the Government to proceed interstate and he gave schools which were about to build science blocks great technical assistance, from his own long experience. This meant that no money has been wasted in the construction of the new blocks. Each £1 from the Government has been matched by the £1 from the institutions concerned and an excellent economic result has been obtained. The important thing to remember is that the Government made this money available without bias, discretion or discrimination. State institutions which bad been providing secondary education of a scientific nature received their proportion of the money available as well as the independent schools.
Regarding technical education, the independent schools have not received any of the money to be allocated because they have not provided the necessary facilities. State institutions have received the entire amount. 1 think the money was distributed in a fair way. What is important is that it was distributed with speed because already, in under one year, seven or eight institutions in South Australia have benefited.
I would like to ask the Minister several questions. First, I would like the Minister to explain what the Commonwealth Education Co-operation Scheme is and what the sum of £356,000 is provided for. Perhaps he could give me some subheadings under which that money will be spent. Turning to Commonwealth university scholarships, I think it is significant that this year they will cost over £4.5 million. Last year the expenditure under this heading was barely £4 million. There is an increase in expenditure this year of over £500,000 for one item alone - tuition fees and living allowances. That shows that additional money, of a most significant nature, is being provided. More significant is the fact that maintenance allowances, school fees, and the cost of books and examinations also are being provided for holders of Commonwealth secondary scholarships. Last year the appropriation for this was £1.5 million but this year it has been increased to. over £2.5 million. What is more significant still is the fact that the figure this year for maintenance and other allowances, tuition fees and examination costs for Commonwealth technical scholarship holders is to be increased to £370,000 from the £100,000 allotted last year. It can be readily seen that markedly increased allotments have been made for these important Commonwealth scholarship schemes.
I would also like to comment on the Australian Universities Commission. I believe that this year over £19 million will be allotted for university education. That will include buildings and assistance to State universities. Salaries for the staff of the Australian Universities Commission is a very modest £40,000 and the administrative expenses will cost an additional £37,000. I think it is wonderful that this devoted Commission can operate on £77,000 when it meticulously examines and reports upon expenditure involving many millions for the Commonwealth. I would like to pay a tribute to the Commission for the fantastically painstaking job it does in connection with the allotment of its funds. I have the honour to represent the Senate on the Council of the Australian National University and I am on the receiving end of requests made by the Australian Universities Commission. I can speak from my own knowledge of the thoroughness with which the Commission delves into university expenditure.
I compliment the Government on what it has been doing in connection with education and I would like to add my personal meed of praise to the work of the Senate Minister who has this important portfolio.
– I rise to say a few words concerning science blocks and scholarships. I am prompted to do this by the reply of the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research (Senator Gorton) and the utterances of Senator McManus. The question of establishing central science’ schools was raised and we were told that the idea was simply ludicrous and could not be put into operation. I think every honorable senator recognises the importance of education and the need for State or Federal Governments to provide for the educational system to the best of their financial ability. It would be of great benefit to the community if we could afford to build science blocks and class rooms on every street corner. But as we cannot do that, we must do the best we can with the money that is available.. I do not think that anyone would complain if we had the money to finance and properly furnish science blocks, whether they were in private schools or public schools. But the building and furnishing of science blocks is a very costly item at the present time.
We must ask ourselves how many modern and fully equipped science blocks we have in Australia today. Are we insufficiently equipping the science blocks that we are building and thus creating difficulties for the science teachers? The cry of the State Governments is that we are not providing sufficient money to the States for education purposes. Our inability to adopt the report of the Martin Committee in globo was obviously because of the financial strain which that would place upon the Commonwealth. So we have adopted a system whereby we give assistance in the building of science blocks. No one- has criticised the building of a central science block on the ground that it would not provide adequate science teaching facilities. But the point has been raised that it would interfere with class study and the methods of running a school. I believe that this is not so. In South Australia today all the upper grades of the State primary schools attend, for a half day a week, technical schools which are centrally located. Some of the denominational schools send their children to a central school of the particular denomination for science teaching and domestic science teaching. This system has long been in operation in South Australia. It is not suggested that there would be mass education in a big science block.
At the time when we passed the legislation which provided for money to be used for the construction of science blocks, 1 raised a question. I do not think that anyone is without sympathy for the private schools, which find that the financial burden of providing education today is getting beyond the reach of the average parent. Private schools are finding it extremely difficult to provide education at the present time. On the occasion to which I have referred I suggested that if there was a particular reason why parents wanted their children to attend private schools - it might be because of religious beliefs or because they thought the children would receive a superior education - it might be possible for the children to attend a private school for that part of the education which was of such importance to the parents and which they believed could not be received in State schools. The State could make State school facilities available for the other parts of the children’s education. I visualise a well equipped science block which could be’ used full time by children of denominational or public schools and which could be staffed by permanent teachers.
My lad attends the Woodville High School. He is doing a science course in a science classroom that is not particularly well equipped. Although much of the equipment in the classroom has been bought with money provided by the Government, a good deal of it would not have been purchased if it had not been for money which had been raised by the parents committee. A lot has depended on the ability of parents committees to provide furnishings in science blocks. 1 do not expect that my son’s progress in science or the progress of any other science student at that school will be as great as it would be if there was an up to date science block. The classroom is occupied for possibly two days of the week. Yet it is said that if classes were to take it in turn to use central science blocks, there would be disruption of normal science teaching and difficulties for the teaching staff. I believe that my lad would achieve a much higher standard of science education if he was able vo attend a more modern science institution.
We seem to discuss this question from the religious angle. The proposal is now being advanced that we are establishing a number of science blocks without considering whether they are fully staffed or fully occupied. I have obtained from the Minister for Education in South Australia figures which give the number of students who attend science schools to which grants have been made. One school which received a grant had 30 science pupils.
– Is the honorable senator talking about private schools?
– I am referring to one of the girls private schools in South Australia. Because of the .small number of science pupils, it is obvious that the science block would not be fully occupied during the week. We are giving money for the purpose of building a science block in that school although we are unable to modernise other science blocks which require attention at the present time.
– Unless the honorable senator states the name of the school, his argument is not very effective and I cannot give a reply to him.
– I realise that. Although I have obtained the figures, I did not bring them with me.
– If the honorable senator tells me the name of the school I shall be able to tell him how much it received.
– I have figures showing how much it received and how much that represented per pupil. I think that the school received £6,000.
– Has the honorable senator the name of the school?
– That is the thing I cannot recall. Although we are subsidising the building of science blocks at the present time, we have not made it a condition of the grant that the science blocks must be fully occupied by science students all the time. We are building a number of science blocks which are used only part of the time when we should be building well equipped science blocks which can be used full time. We have been told this cannot be done because of difficulties it would create in the school curriculum, and because of the disruption of classes that would occur and inconvenience that would be occasioned to teachers. I have established that this system is already in operation to some extent in schools in South Australia at the present time, and Senator O’Byrne told me today that it is in operation in Tasmania.
I now want to say a few words about Commonwealth scholarships. The Government refused to grant the number of scholarships suggested by the Martin Committee. Last year there were 67,000 applicants for scholarships, but only 10,000 were offered. The result was that 57,000 applicants bad to go without scholarships. I am concerned about the method of granting these scholarships. Although the Government may seek to distribute them as impartially and as equally as is possible, the question arises as to whether one class of children is enjoying the benefit of the scholarships to the exclusion of others. My attention has been directed to this matter by an article by Mr. Craig McGregor which was published in the “Sydney Morning Herald” on 18th August last and which is headed “Scales weighted against the poorer children “. Mr. McGregor pointed out that it is costly for a child to attend a university and it is only rarely that we find an Aboriginal attending a university. After referring to the English educational system, he said -
But social class has produced inequalities almost as profound in the Australian educational system. Recent research has found that middle and uppermiddle class children get a much better education than working-class children; that a boy with a father in a higher administrative job has 10 times the chance of going to a university, teachers’ college or technical college than one whose father is a semi-skilled or unskilled worker; and that Commonwealth scholarships, so far from getting rid of these inequalities, tend to go to children from wealthier families.
The whole problem of educational inequality was touched on by the Martin Report earlier this year. The report Included, as an appendix, a submission by the Australian Council for Educational Research. …
– Is there any reason why Commonwealth scholarships should go to children in a higher social class?
– Even though we may be unable to ascertain the reason in our discussion here, the fact that such inequalities exist justifies our looking for some way in which to overcome the problem.
– 1 do not object to that. I am wondering whether the honorable senator can suggest a reason.
– It may be a result of environment. It may be that, under our present system of education, the school is not seeking to establish the capabilities of the student. Mr. McGregor went on to say -
Based upon a study of 114,000 of the estimated 145,000 children who left school between April 1959, and March 1960 (i.e, almost all the children to leave school in Australia in a single year) it confirms that the likelihood of a pupil going to university depends very greatly upon his social class. . . .
– It depends upon whether the parents see the opportunity and guide the child to take advantage of study, as I know from the experience of my parents and myself.
– If parents, because they are in a particular social class, lack the capacity to guide children to higher education, surely the educational institution should then step in and do what some other parents are able to do. It may be easy for a solicitor to assist his children to progress through high school and the university, but it is very difficult for a wharf labourer to assist his child towards a higher form of education.
– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– I would like to reply to some comments made by Senator Cavanagh just before the suspension of the sitting. The honorable senator referred to the provision of science blocks, not only at private schools, but at schools generally. He raised once -again- a proposal which previously I think I have described as ludicrous; that is the provision of central science blocks to which pupils from both private and government schools could travel to receive science teaching. He suggested that this would be a good idea, and that something of that nature was already being done in South Australia. He also understood that a similar scheme operated in Tasmania. In fact, Mr. Chairman, no practice resembling that referred to by the honorable senator is being followed either in South Australia or Tasmania.
The honorable senator may be confusing science blocks with area schools. An area school provides all school facilities for an area. That, of course, is a completely different proposition from the provision of central science blocks. Alternatively, he may be confusing the idea of central science blocks with part time technical schools to which pupils travel. Again, a technical high school which provides all school facilities on the premises, including facilities for technical training, is a different proposition.
It is interesting to notice that in all States, including South Australia, the technical schools which take students on through secondary education to tertiary education, provide on their premises the technical facilities necessary for training students, as well as the facilities for teaching all school work given to full time students. Nobody has ever suggested - and I am quite sure that nobody would suggest - that more central technical blocks should be built to which full time students could travel from technical high schools to do some practical work in their trade, and then return to their own school to undertake their ordinary school work. Throughout Australia there are six State departments handling education matters, the department in South Australia being not the least of them. Not one of those departments has failed to provide science teaching facilities either in new high schools as they are built, or by adding to science teaching facilities in existing high schools as those facilities are unable to cope with growing needs.
I do not know where the idea of central science blocks could have sprung from. One thing is certain: It has not sprung from the head of any of the State education authori- ties who are responsible for providing educational training in their schools and who, with the money now being provided by the Commonwealth Government, are adding to science teaching facilities.
– They have to provide all teaching facilities.
– They are provided with very large sums of money for the provision of science teaching facilities and not one authority has suggested that it might bc a good idea to spend the money on the construction of great central science blocks instead of devoting the money, as they have done, to the erection of science blocks in the schools in which the work takes place. I really do not know what has been put forward as being the advantage of the suggested scheme. Senator Cavanagh said it would be a good idea because it costs a lot of money to equip a science laboratory. That is quite correct. The Advisory Committee on Standards for Science Facilities in Independent Secondary Schools lays down that a minimum of, I think, £1,000 needs to be spent on basic equipment for science laboratories for which the Commonwealth Government provides financial assistance. I think that to properly equip a science laboratory would cost more than £1,000. However, it costs just as much to equip a science laboratory, irrespective of its location. It docs not matter whether it is constructed alongside other school buildings, or in a great block divorced from a school.
It might be suggested - I do not think it could be sustained - that there would be savings in building costs by erecting central science blocks. Quite clearly, if one big science block is to be provided for a number of schools to which pupils will travel for tuition, it will be necessary to build a science block of a considerable number of storeys. That is more expensive building than the construction of a single or two storey block.
– What about’ the teacher aspect?
– The teaching aspect presents no difficulty at the moment. Leaving aside disadvantages for the moment, there are no advantages to be gained from the suggested scheme, for the reasons I have given. One disadvantage is that children would have to travel to the central science block and after science lessons, would have to return to their schools. Because of the time spent in travelling there and back, only half the normal teaching time would be available for science tuition. In effect, no laboratory space would be saved, because the number of laboratories required is fixed by the number of science pupils who want to use them. The space required is the same whether it is provided in schools or in a central ‘position. This is illustrated by the fact that in the schools which at present have science teaching laboratories - both private and government schools - it has been found by the education authorities and headmasters of private schools that’ the call on laboratory space is so great that new laboratories need to be added. This indicates clearly that the laboratories at those schools are being fully used.
The Advisory Committee on Standards for Science Facilities in Independent Secondary Schools visits independent schools and checks their requirements. The Committee recommends the amount of space that should be provided in accordance with the number of science training periods and the number of pupils. I really think that in the field of education the idea of central science blocks is one of the silliest suggestions that has ever been made.
– That is praising it.
– That is praising it. It is leaving aside all consideration of the fact that schools do not just have a science teaching laboratory. A laboratory is needed to teach physics, which, in many respects, requites different facilities from a laboratory used for chemistry teaching. In many respects, both such laboratories are different from a laboratory used to teach biology. The question of scholarships has also been raised. I do not think that the reference directly concerns the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department, lt was said that according to a table prepared by Dr. Radford, about 33 per cent, of fathers in Australia are employed in unskilled or semi-skilled occupations, and that they do not provide as many children for university training as do parents employed in a number of other stated occupations. I think that trend is partly due to the practice of sons following in their fathers’ footsteps. It is very interesting that the table shows that the number of people working as university lecturers or university professors is very small, but those people provide for university training the largest number of students.
It is fairly clear that in Australia today schemes exist which make it financially possible for children of ability to proceed through the last two years of secondary school and through university. Approximately the top 15 per cent. or 16 per cent. of students are capable of gaining Commonwealth secondary scholarships. About 22 per cent. - the percentage varies a little - can gain Commonwealth university scholarships, which not only pay all fees but also a living allowance graduated according to the income of the parents. But we must not fall into the trap of thinking that the only way in which children of ability can obtain a university education is with the aid of a Commonwealth university scholarship. It is not. The Presidents of Monash and Melbourne Universities pointed out the other day that 60 per cent. of the students at their universities were subsidised in some way or other by a scholarship of some kind.
– Some are cadetships and some are scholarships. For instance, secondary teachers go through universities and in my own State are paid, I think, £600 a year as well as their fees during the time of their university education. Whatever the reasons for this table may be, the suggestion that children with ability are financially debarred from the opportunity to complete their secondary education, and to get a university or other tertiary education, is not one of them. Other influences may be working against them and these may need to be looked into, but there is no financial bar against people of ability. Those are the only two points upon which I wish to comment at this stage.
.- I wish to direct some remarks to the state of education in Australia. I do not think we should let the occasion of the debate on these estimates pass without reminding ourselves that we have, in the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in
Education and Research (Senator Gorton) a man who will go down in history for some very famous sayings, one of which is that talk of a crisis in education in Australia is nonsense. I understand the Minister uttered those words on the occasion of a teach-in at Monash University a few weeks ago.
– I have repeated them twice since.
– I think that is right. The Minister has left no one in any doubt whatever that he meant what he said and that he was correctly reported. If I had the capacity for lyrical language of my colleague, Senator O’Byrne, I would be tempted to compare Senator Gorton with Lord Nelson who, on a famous occasion clapping the glass to his sightless eye said he was darned if he could see the signal to retreat.
I do not wish to withhold from the Minister a due measure of credit for the work that he has done in this field of the Commonwealth’s interest in education. Much of it was pioneering work in the sense that this is a new province of activity for the Commonwealth. After all, it was not until the Federal election campaign in November 1963 that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) acknowledged any Commonwealth responsibility in education other than in the field of university education. With every due deference to the work that the Minister does, I believe that his denial of the existence of a crisis in education ignored the facts. The overwhelming weight of evidence and public opinion is against him because’ not a day passes without all of us receiving plaintive protests from all sections of the community in all States about the problems of education - overcrowded classes, a lack of library facilities, an insufficient number of teachers, the lack of qualifications of some of our teachers, the need for more buildings, the restrictions on entry to universities by the application of quotas and, generally, the need to lift education to a level at which it is properly recognised as a national responsibility.
I believe that there is no room whatever for complacency about the state of education in Australia today. Every independent expert acknowledges that there are serious problems confronting the Australian education system and that we can by no means pat ourselves on the back. On the contrary, we must keep reminding ourselves of how much remains to be done and how Australia compares with other advanced countries. Whether one is prepared to call the present state of affairs a crisis may be a matter of language, but I believe that to say there is no crisis in education in Australia is to fly in the face of the facts.
In the short time that remains to me I want to refer to the views expressed within recent weeks by three outstanding Australian specialists in education and to draw attention to some remarks that each of them has made so that the pattern of criticism will be clear to honorable senators. In June this year Professor W. F. Connell, Professor of Education at Sydney University, said -
I f we were an under-developed country, we could pride ourselves that our educational systems and accomplishments were very good indeedCompared with Burma or Nigeria wc are doing very well.
But we are not an under-developed country; we are one of the most urbanised” and industrialised of countries, with one of the highest material standards of living in the world.
When wc are compared with other highly developed countries, the plain fact of the matter is that wc are under-educated.
He suggested that the position might be tested by the percentage of full time students in the 15 to 19 years age group. In 1958 the statistics show that the United States enrolled 66 per cent, of this group as full time students, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 49 per cent., Canada 46 per cent., Sweden 32 per cent, and Australia 20 per cent. The Professor’s comment was this -
The extent to which a country was developing an educated, knowledgeable and discriminating citizenry could be judged by the education provision which it made for the IS to 19 years group and by the use which they made of it.
– Does the honorable senator think that the education provision is the only criterion, and that results obtained do not matter?
– Of course I do not. The building of an education system is difficult and complicated and I hope I do not err on the side of being too general. I am quoting the views of a man who is an acknowledged expert in the field of education. Another Professor of Education, Professor Selby-Smith of Monash University,- had this to say on 8th October, less than three weeks ago -
People should be made aware of the extent of the education problem and the poor standards theY had come to- accept . . .
A larger percentage of the gross national product should be spent on education.
At present, it is about the same as that being spent on education in Portugal and Turkey.
– Which is nonsense.
– The honorable senator says that is nonsense. I should like to see him stand and quote something which contradicts it. If he cannot, then he should keep quiet.
– Would the honorable senator repeat the statement?
– The statement is to the effect that in Australia the percentage of gross national product spent on education at present is about the same as that spent in Portugal and Turkey. Another leading educationist, Professor Wills, head of the Graduate School of Business Administration in the University of New South Wales, in August this year said -
If Australia was to occupy the position in the South West Pacific that her citizens wanted, further education spending was essential . . .
Without further educational levels, Australia would remain a nation of reasonably sophisticated, easy-going, lucky people.
I want to say something about those criticisms in the light of the Government’s handling of the Martin Committee’s report on tertiary education earlier this year. I believe that the Government’s decision not to accept that Committee’s recommendation with respect to teacher training was a blunder of the first magnitude. Australia will have cause to regret that decision in years to come unless the Government has the courage to acknowledge that it has made a fundamental error, or better still, unless the people change the Government. The recommendation on teacher training was the heart of the Martin Committee’s report and that heart was cut out by the Government. This has placed in jeopardy all the rest of the recommendations upon which the Government did see fit to act. It also threw substantial doubt on the sincerity of the Government’s desire to improve the education system in the long run. Unless the younger generation is to have the advantage of a new look at teacher training and of an acceptance of responsibility by the Commonwealth for providing funds to improve the output of teachers and the quality of their training, no amount of juggling with figures can hide the big question mark that is over the future of our education system.
With all sincerity I suggest to the Minister that he take heed of the growing body of public opinion that it was a great mistake to reject the Martin Committee’s recommendation on teacher training. No matter what the Minister says there is grave unrest - massive unrest in my own State of Victoria - among teachers, not only with respect to their salaries and conditions of work but also because they understand perfectly well that unless the problem of teacher training is tackled the whole of the education system will be prejudiced and the younger generation will be let down.
I appeal to the Minister to see whether he can find it in his mind and heart to consider reversing that decision. It is a decision which cannot stand for all time. Sooner or later the Commonwealth Government will have to come round to offering financial assistance to the States for teacher training. In my opinion, it should be done sooner, rather than later. So let us rectify our mistakes and let the Minister put the matter to the Government again. It is never too late to learn; but until this error is undone the Government will not be able to calm the massive unrest that exists or confidently say that it is doing something for the future of the younger generation.
The Martin Committee’s report dealt with other matters. Although there is a tendency to forget this, the Government slashed by rather more than half the number of secondary school scholarships recommended. It was, of course, important to have the Commonwealth committed in the fields of secondary and technical education to the extent to which it was committed by its decisions arising out of the Martin Committee’s report. But the fact is that the number of scholarships awarded was less than half that recommended by the Martin Committee and so we start off on the disappointing basis of the Government agreeing to something very much less than was thought to be necessary by those who should be in a position to know what is needed.
I want now to refer to the matter raised by the Minister in reply to Senator Cavanagh who had drawn attention to the socioeconomic aspects of the problem of education. Senator Cavanagh stressed the fact that the scales are still weighted against the poorer children in the community and lie quoted material gathered by Dr. Radford of the Australian Council for Education and Research to show that a much smaller percentage of the children of working people were able to enter university, as compared with children coming from a professional or so called middle class background. With all respect to the Minister, I do not think the Minister really answered the question which Senator Cavanagh raised. He was prepared to dismiss the possibility that there was any longer any inequality of opportunity in the economic sense. He said, in effect, that if there is not the same percentage of the children of working people entering university it is not due to economic factors, because scholarships are now provided. Of course not all those children get scholarships. Some of them get scholarships, but not enough of them. I think Dr. Radford’s comments on the statistics to which Senator Cavanagh has referred really contradicts the Minister. Dr. Radford said -
It is highly improbable that less than 2 per cent, of sons and less than 1 per cent, of daughters of unskilled or semi-skilled fathers have the ability to do university work, as against 36 per cent, of the sons of university professional fathers and 24 per cent, of the daughters of university professional fathers - or 30 per cent, of sons and 14 per cent, of daughters of those engaged in higher administration.
I believe, not that the economic disability has not been removed, but that it still exists in many cases. We must acknowledge progress and I do not suggest that the situation is getting worse. Any sufficiently widespread and generous system of scholarships must accelerate the coming of the time when there will be equality of educational opportunity, but we are still a long way from that.
– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– In reply to Senator Cohen I want to say first that I am glad to see that the former practice of alleged direct quotation from Professor Karmel is no longer with us. It will be remembered that for some considerable time now allegedly direct quotations from Professor Karmel relating to the 15 to 19 years age group, the gross national product and so on have been made. But it is now realised by most people that Professor Karmel, in fact, never said the things that, on many occasions, he is quoted as saying. And on occasions when the professor has been correctly quoted he was referring to a period some seven years ago.
– I did not quote Professor Karmel.
– It is true that Senator Cohen did not quote Professor Karmel, but he quoted somebody who was undoubtedly quoting Professor Karmel. He said that in 1958 we were providing only 20 per cent, of the cost of education. That was a partial quotation originating in a table presented in Professor Karmel’s Buntine Oration-
– But it is still correct.
– It is not. If the honorable senator reads the footnote he will see that Professor Karmel himself said that by 1960 the percentage had risen to 23.2. So the figure was out of date five years ago and, of course, is infinitely more out of date now.
– We are getting closer, now, to the figures for the other developed countries.
– Let us get the initial facts straight. The honorable senator quoted some authority quoting Professor Karmel as giving 20 per cent, as the figure for the 15 to 19 years age group in 1958. What that authority did not say was that the figure for 1960, according to Professor Karmel himself was 23.3 per cent, and it has undoubtedly improved very considerably since then owing to the large increase in expenditure on education which has taken place in Australia over the last five or ten years.
If we care to look at the tertiary education figures alone, it is staggering to notice that some 10 years ago there was only about £2 million a year provided by the Commonwealth. This year the sum provided for tertiary education is over £30 million - an enormous increase. Secondly, I would not agree with the honorable senator that there is any real virtue in a comparison between countries in which the 15 to 19 years age group is undergoing forms of education. I say that because of the great difference in organisation in the various countries and the ages at which the various standards are reached. It is possible in some countries that the standard of education reached at 18 or 19 years of age would not be as high as - or would be higher than - the standard reached in Australia at 16 or 17 years of age, particularly in countries which are battling hard to catch up from the effect’s of a bad education system. In other countries such as France, for example, there is the lycee system under which students remain at a secondary school or its equivalent. The system has no equivalent in this country. It is the end of secondary education and the beginning of university education, all in the one lycee. After this, the students may leave without necessarily going on to a university course. In Australia, very many of our children have a university degree and have left university at the age of 19, 20 or 21 years. Therefore I do not think there is any basic comparison to be made in that case.
I do not quite know to what Senator Cohen was referring - whether he was citing what he alleged to.be an existing situation or the situation seven or eight years ago - when he said something about Greece and Turkey. If the suggestion was that our proportion of gross national product which is contributed to education was less than that of any country other than Greece and Turkey then I have the greatest satisfaction in saying that that is absolutely and completely untrue’ and that I have never seen any indication from any person that it was true.
– I was quoting the view of Professor Selby-Smith about the situation at present.
– I think that either Senator Cohen or Professor Selby-Smith nas mistaken a table in Karmel’s Buntine Oration, which has nothing to do with the proportion of gross national product devoted to education but which Professor Karmel put forward as his proof, or what he thought was proof, that in 1958 Australia was a very low taxed country and had a higher taxable capacity than other countries except Greece, Portugal and Spain. But this has nothing to do with the amount contributed to education. This was just an argument put forward to show that more taxes could have been raised for educational purposes. Professor Karmel, in his Buntine Oration, provided a table which showed the proportion of gross national product which Australia was providing for education eight years ago. It put us somewhere around eleventh or twelfth of all countries in the world. Then, in a footnote, it stated that there is no really satisfactory basis for comparison as to what is considered to be education, because in some countries surveyed by the team which made the investigations in Europe such things as libraries and art galleries were taken into account as being part of the educational system. But even so the report put Australia ahead, not of the two countries mentioned by Senator Cohen, but ahead of 10 of the countries listed. We must accept that this was seven or. eight years ago and that the educational system has improved since that time.
The best estimate I can find now of the proportion of gross national product devoted to education from the various sources in Australia - by that I mean through the Commonwealth Government, the. State Governments and through individuals contributing to education - is somewhere in the vicinity of 4 per cent. I cannot be more precise. It is all very well to attack and be precise, but it is more difficult to be precise in answering that attack. I would say that Australia is between fourth and ninth of all the countries in the world: Of course Australia will never contribute as much to education, I think, as the United States of America. At any rate, not in our life-time. This is like taking a man with an income of £1,000 a year and comparing him with a man with an income of £10,000 a year. The two men have certain basic requirements to meet. It is no good going to the man receiving £1,000 and saying: “The man receiving £10,000 is contributing 10 per cent, of his income for the purchase of motor cars whereas you are only contributing 2 per cent, of your income “. Actual physical requirements take a great lump of what is produced in the country. I believe that all honorable senators who have been abroad and have seen what is going on in other countries and have been able to compare what is being done in the various fields of education with what is being done in Australia would have no need to be ashamed of what is happening in Australia.
It is perfectly true - and it has never been denied by me - that there are still many problems in education in Australia. I think Senator Cohen might have also quoted those words which I have used previously when he quoted my other words. There are still overcrowded class rooms - far too many of them. But there are less than there were and the number is getting smaller every year. There is still not an ideal teacher pupil ratio but it is improving. That is why I say that there are not problems still to be overcome. But the situation is improving. Therefore it is not to be described as a crisis but as something on which we must continue to work and something which we are improving.
Senator WOOD (Queensland [8.38].- I notice that last year £10,000 was set aside for the exhibition of Australian works of art in Australia and overseas and that £11,048 was spent. It is proposed this year that £10,200 be set aside for this purpose. Apparently that sum. is a contribution towards the expenses for such exhibitions. I would like to know whether these exhibitions are confined to the capital cities of Australia or whether they extend to the provincial cities and towns. Also, which are the overseas countries in which exhibitions of Australian works are to be held this year as provided for in the estimates we are now examining? In making selections for these displays, particularly for overseas, I presume that the people who make the selections are highly qualified in the world of art.
The other matter to which I want to’ refer is the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust. This year the Commonwealth proposes to provide £100,000 for the work of the Trust. I have searched in vain to see whether an allocation has been made for work of the Arts Council of Australia.The Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust to a great extent confines itself, to the best of my knowledge, to the capital cities. The Arts Council of Australia traverses the provincial cities and towns. I know that in my own State, Queensland, it does a very good job. I am surprised to see that no allocation is made for that work in Australia. I do not know whether such a provision is made anywhere else in another item. I should like to ask whether consideration may not be given to the making of a grant for this very worthy work. It must be recognised that people in outlying areas where the Arts Council of Australia stages plays and exhibits artistic works are deserving of the encouragement of the Commonwealth Government just as much as is the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust.
The other point to which I wish to speak is covered by Division No. 405. I refer particularly to item 10 of subdivision 2, which relates to the visit of the parliamentary delegation to South America this year. I notice that last year there was an expenditure of £9,348. This year the provision is £8,600. I presume that that is the balance of the cost of sending the delegation. Together those two sums amount, in round figures, to £17,000. The air fares to South America are amongst the most expensive items. I was one of the members of the goodwill delegation that went not only to South America but also to Mexico, and in particular to Mexico City. The delegation was led with very great distinction by the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton), who is in the chamber tonight in charge of the. debate on the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department. The approbation that the delegation received was due very largely to his efforts and leadership .and to the very fine speeches he rendered in which he described this country as it really is and our attitude towards Mexico and the South American countries. He did a very good job and we received very good publicity throughout the tour. I am quite sure that the Commonwealth was amply repaid for the sending of that delegation. It broke new ground and, as a result, Australia is probably much better known and more highly regarded in that part of the world than it was before. Senator Mulvihill has been fighting for the saving of the red kangaroo. We found that one bad mark against Australia in those countries resulted from the killing of kangaroos, koalas and other native life. That was rather amazing. It was very evident, and I was told personally on a number of occasions, that this was the one thing that those people had against Australia.
From Australia’s point of view, it was a very good idea to sent a goodwill mission. In acknowledging what had been done for us, the Minister extended to those various countries invitations to send return delegations to this country. Such delegations, I think, would be very good. There is no question that getting to know such countries is to our advantage. But I do not see in the Estimates provision for funds to meet the costs of any return delegations this year. I do not see in the chamber Senator Dittmer, who was also a member of the delegation, but he and all other members of it would agree that in every country without exception the people were most generous in their treatment of us. It was very heartening and satisfying to experience the provision made for us in the way of transport, entertainment, and the various other things required to make our goodwill mission a thorough success. I would certainly impress strongly on the mind of the Government that if return delegations come to this country we should go right out of our way to make sure that we do not fall short in return for what was done for us. We must go out of our way to make sure that we aire not found wanting in our hospitality. Perhaps the Minister may know whether there is any indication that any of these countries will send delegations to Australia. If they are to do so, I should like to see some provision made for entertainment to be sponsored by the Commonwealth Government not only in Canberra but also throughout Australia. There is no doubt that those people would want to see a wider canvas of Australia than is to be found in Canberra only.
I should like to mention also the Mexican Folkore Ballet, at a performance of which we were entertained. It was really outstanding. The Minister spoke there about the possibility of the company’s coming to Australia and I understand that negotiations are under way. I am wondering what might be done if there were any necessity to meet the expenses of such an organisation in visiting Australia. The Minister, when replying, will be able to tell the Committee that the Mexican Folkore Ballet is really outstanding. It would be a very great pleasure for people in all States to see it. It was sent to Europe last year and won acclaim against all competition. Will the Minister say whether any provision will be made to help that company to come to Australia?
– 1 direct attention to Division No. 400 - Administrative, and in particular to the provision in item 12 of subdivision 3 for the Queen Elizabeth II. Fellowship Scheme. Last year an amount of £15,948 was expended of an appropriation of £16,200. The projected expenditure this year is £67,500. I should like to know upon what that projected expenditure is based. I direct attention, also, to item 13 in the same subdivision. I am wondering why the proposed appropriations for Royal visits, State funerals and science laboratories are grouped together. Last year appropriations amounting to about £120,000 were made for Royal visits. Provision for these is grouped with the provision for State funerals. I myself cannot see a connection. In the same item provision is made, also, for expenditure on the “ Voyager “ royal commission. Why should all these items be grouped in one place? I am wondering whether that was done in the hope that they would be glossed over. The next subdivision provides for grants-in-aid. The provision for the Australian Humanities Research Council remains unaltered from last year. As the Government is usually very, very generous and prolific in its gifts in relation to the scientific side of living, I am wondering why the size of this gift to the Australian Humanities Research Council has remained static from year to year.
The vote for the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia is to remain at £12,000. I pay a tribute to the Association and to all those men and women who throughout the years have given so much of their time voluntarily to the saving of life on our beaches which form such an important part of our way of life in the summer time. These young men and women give up their time for training at no cost to the nation and at great personal sacrifice to save lives on our beaches. I pay tribute to them for the magnificent job they have done throughout the years. I would like to see the grant to them increased to a level commensurate with the great work they are doing. The appropriation this year for the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust is £100,000 compared with £300,000 last year. I should like the Minister to explain why there has been a drop in the grant to the Trust which is trying to bring the best in theatrical entertainment to the people of Australia and to assist in the development of an Australian spirit in drama and the theatre.
– We are waiting for the Sydney Opera House to be finished.
– That is a long term proposition. Finally, I come to the Australian Universities Commission and the proposed expenditure under the vote for the Prime Minister’s Department for university and other education. For the past 15 years the Senate has honoured me by making me one of its representatives on the Council of the Australian National University. I have been a member ever since the inception of the University. I have seen the work done by the Commission grow over the years and I have seen the value of the work that has been done by it at very little cost to the Government. The Australian Universities Commission is one of the most economical sub-departments run by the Parliament. We are getting a return from the Commissioners out of all proportion to the cost of the Universities Commission to the people of Australia. The men who form the Commission are all men of high standing in the community who give unselfishly of their time and abilities to the solution of university problems, particularly in the realm of finance. As Senator Laught has said, as members of the Council of the Australian National University we are on the receiving end of the work of the Universities Commission and really know the value of its work.
With regard to the Australian National University I thank the Government for the way it has faced up to its responsibilities. The National University was the conception of the Labour Government of some years ago and the idea behind it has been fostered by this Government. The University has not lacked anything that the Government could afford, or could not afford at times, so that its development would not be hampered. As a member of the Australian National University Council I pay that tribute to the Prime Minister’s Department for the expenditure it administers on the development of this great national institution. Over the years, the University has achieved a strong place as an educational and cultural centre not only in the life of Australia but also in the life of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The National University has achieved a very high reputation by the very calibre of the men it has attracted to its service. We would not have attracted them had the conditions of employment not been of the high standard they are. I look forward in the years to come to the National University achieving even greater prominence until it rivals the universities of the Old World which have so many centuries of tradition behind them.
Finally, I come to the provision for Commonwealth scholarships for education. I admit that the Government has done a great deal in this field but 1 believe also that there are quite a number of persons who could do much with university education if only they had the opportunity. Senator Cavanagh and Senator Cohen have quoted from an article dealing with the home environment of many candidates for university scholarships who are unable to receive them. 1 know of this from my personal work in this connection many years ago when I was a member of the guild council of the University of Western Australia. We made inquiries into the incomes of parents of university students in the various categories. We found at that time that fewer than five per cent, of university students in the faculties of law and medicine came from homes where there was an income equal to or a little above the basic wage.
– How long ago was that?
– I will not tell the honorable senator. It was before I came to this Parliament and he was only a boy then. The position has not materially altered if we can judge by the statistics that were read today. That situation still applies. I do not think this is because the sons and daughters of the average worker in industry are any less talented than are the sons and daughters of lawyers and doctors. Their home environment and the encouragment they receive from their parents in the latter case is much more conducive to going on to a university course, but the basic material is there, I suggest, in every stratum of society. It is simply a fact that some cannot get the chance to show what they can do. I admit that the university scholarship system does assist a number of young people to get to the university and that otherwise they would not get there, but I think the dice is still heavily loaded in favour of the sons and daughters of those who have already achieved some eminence in their professions rather than in favour of the children of ordinary men and women who are on the breadline or a little above it.
– The honorable senator believes in heredity, then?
– I do in this way: Those parents who are in a more favoured stratum of society can assist. Perhaps Senator Turnbull can advise members of his family and help them much better with their studies than could those parents who have not the means to do so. I know many girls and boys have had to leave school at 14 or 15 years of age to help out the family budget and who would have made excellent professional men and women if given an opportunity. I had the benefit of a university education only because the university I attended was a free university. Unfortunately today that is no longer true because of State grants and Commonwealth control of tertiary education and so on. o The Commonwealth Grants Commission comes into this and accordingly the University of Western Australia to which I am referring has had to charge fees to its students on a par with those charged in other States. It is too early yet to know how many who would be university students are being barred from university education in Western Australia because of the imposition of fees. When we go into the whole question of the cost of universities in Australia, we find that only nine per cent, of the expenses of universities is recouped in university fees. Since the Commonwealth Government is so deeply entrenched now in the realm of university education, the time has come for the whole matter to be investigated to see whether it would not be in the best interests of Australia if the nine per cent, of expenses already charged to students could not be remitted and taken over by the Commonwealth Government. The universities of Australia could then become a part of a free educational system just as are the primary and secondary schools.
It is said that there is a great wastage in free university education. I do not believe that is true. Senator Prowse will agree with me that there was no waste of university education in Western Australia when it was free. Those who had to attend part time were better students and were much more imbued with the importance of getting their university education and making the best of it than are those who today are supported by the State through scholarships so that they can attend the university and do not have to go to work for it. I am glad that many students do not have to take a part time course at the universities, but I do think that the part time students have played and are playing a very important part in the life of this nation. They have a very strong sense of their responsibilities to the universities and to the community in general. I do not think having to work very hard during the day and attend university at night did me any harm. I appreciated what the university was able to do for me and since then I have tried to do something in return. 1 would like to refer to the report of the Martin Committee. Like all my colleagues, 1 regret that the Government does not intend to adopt the recommendation relating to teacher” training. This is the most important part of the whole report. Teacher training seems to be the Cinderella of tertiary education,- though it is the most important aspect. The work or a teacher - I speak from experience - is very important. In addition to training young people for their economic position in life, teachers have the task of training them mentally and morally. That is a very big task and teachers must, approach it not only with the expectation of remuneration but also with a sense of the duty they owe to the community. The one fault I would find with the policy of the present Government ls that the people who are being trained as teachers are not receiving the assistance that they should from the Government, despite the strong recommendation made by the Martin Committee. I give the Government credit for what it has done in the field of education. For instance, it has done a great deal for science and I think that has been a sound move. A great deal of responsibility rests on the Commonwealth Government in the realm of education; hut why does the Government deal only with the top stratum? Surely when framing a policy on education it is most important to ensure that the foundations of the education system are sound. If they are not, the whole of the structure is likely to fall. Therefore, I would like to see the Commonwealth Government take an interest in the primary and secondary stages of education.
– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I would first like to answer the questions asked by Senator Wood. He drew attention to the provision for the exhibition of Australian works of art and asked whether the exhibition went to provincial centres, where it was sent and who chose the pieces that made up the exhibition. The pieces sent on exhibition, wherever they may be sent, are chosen by the members of the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board, who are generally recognised as being amongst the leading artists in Australia. The exhibition is sent abroad. Last year it went to New Zealand, Europe and Japan. It goes to the capital cities of the States and is displayed in the State art galleries. I think there would be some difficulty in sending it to other than capital cities. I am told that there is a feeling that the pieces exhibited may not be completely secure in buildings outside the State capital cities. That is the information given to me. The Arts Council of Australia does not receive a grant from the Commonwealth. I do not know whether it has ever asked for one. I will try to find out and let the honorable senator know the position.
The honorable senator referred to a possible reciprocal visit by people from the countries in South America to which we went. As the honorable senator knows, on behalf of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck), we told these people that we would be glad to see them come here in the same way as we went to their countries. That is to say, they would pay the expenses incurred in coming here, as we paid ours to go there, but we would then like to take charge, show them Australia and look after them while they were here. Should such a visit eventuate, any money required would be drawn from the appropriation under Division 400, sub-division 2, Item 05. This item makes provision for official visits of this kind.
asked about the Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship Scheme. I answered a similar query earlier. Last year was the inaugural year and we were then dealing with five fellowship holders. Since then another ten fellowship holders have been appointed and this year we must provide for fifteen fellowship holders instead of the five’ provided in the inaugural year.
– Fellowships in what?
– In a variety of disciplines. I would have to get that information for the honorable senator. I do not know whether my advisers have it at hand. 1 do not know what the disciplines would be, but I will certainly find out for the honorable senator. I was asked why a number of items have been grouped together. They are not really grouped together. I think the honorable senator was looking at items relating to science laboratories, Royal visits, State funerals and some other matters. When we get to science laboratories we reach the end of the items for which recurrent grants are required. All the items listed after science laboratories are non-recurring and no money is appropriated for them this year. They are included so that the amount spent last year can be shown. No money is required for these items this year. They are presented in that way by the Treasury.
The grant to the Australian Humanities Research Council is continued, as the honorable senator said, at the same level. This year the Australian Research Grants Committee, which recently published the list of individuals to which it would like to make research grants, was specifically asked to make grants not only in the scientific disciplines but also in the humanities. It has iri fact recommended that grants be made for a number of humanities. Reference was made to the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust. The normal vote for the Trust has been about £200,000. The honorable senator will know that this year the Trust sent a ballet company abroad. It was joined by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. A direct grant of £40,000 was made to help meet the expenses of this tour. The Trust was also given an additional £100,000 for this purpose on the understanding that it would not require more than £100,000 during this financial year.
The remarks of the honorable senator about the Australian National University are welcomed. I would point out to her only that the Australian National University is not in fact administered by the Australian Universities Commission. It is administered by Senator Tangney and others, because it is administered by its own autonomous council. The council has been on the receiving end, hot the Australian Universities Commission, of largesse from the Government. I am glad to note that the honorable senator regards the money as having been well applied and sufficient for the University. I have already dealt with the question of whether there are enough scholarships. The only point I want to make on this question is that scholarships ought not to be awarded below a certain level because, after all, this scheme keeps students at a university for a considerable period of time at public expense. That was the recommendation made by the Martin Committee on this aspect. The remarks which the honorable senator made regarding part time students are, of course, entirely in line with the decision which the Government took. It did not accept the suggestion of the Martin Committee that part time students should be wiped out of universities. Instead it supported the continuation of part time students in universities.
AH that I want to say in regard to teacher training, which was the. last point raised by the honorable senator, is that, important as this field undoubtedly is, it is not expensive. If the honorable senator cares to look at the document which was prepared by all of the State ministers who were responsible for education showing the needs of education in Australia, she will find that they say that they would have been able to provide the capital facilities required for extra teachers at that time and they would have been able to refurnish and do up the existing capital requirements for the teachers at a capital cost of £10 million spread over four years. This amount has to be compared with the amount required for other far more expensive items. There were 258 of these items, 98 of which were said to be short fall items. I am speaking only of the capital requirements for teacher training. To have enabled the States to have done all that they said they would have liked to do in that document - and it might not have been physically possible to have done it all - the Commonwealth would have had to be involved in the expenditure of £li million a year over four years. With the £10 million spread over four years, on a £1 for £1 basis, the Commonwealth would have contributed £5 million and the States would have contributed £5 million. I refer to one of the less expensive requirements among the others which were listed such as science blocks and technical schools. It appears to be, not only a matter within the capacity of the States to finance from the increasing grants being made available by the Commonwealth, but also a matter which, because it was so bound up with the States’ education system, might much better be left to them, as was stated in the Martin Committee’s report.
.- I should like to direct the Minister’s attention to the provision in the estimates for the Commonwealth Literary Fund. I note with great interest that an amount of £33,000 is to be allocated to that Fund. I am quite sure that it will be of great benefit to Australian authors and it will be an encouragement for the production of Australian literature. I would like to know whether that amount of money is to be allocated for the publication of Australian literary work or whether it is to be used in providing assistance in research and so on. I express the hope that it might be found possible to establish a similar fund for the composition of Australian music. A great deal is being done to encourage love of music among young people by the establishment of music camps. Young people are being encouraged in performance and in composition. I believe that the establishment of a music composition fund would be a very great encouragement to all those people who are interested in the development of Australian music and performance.
I turn now to Division No. 416, Commonwealth Office of Education. I would like to congratulate the Minister and the Government upon the provision of so many Commonwealth scholarships, and also the maintenance allowances, living allowances and the various other matters which are referred to in this Division. These grants must be of tremendous advantage to many of our young people.
I now wish to deal with the item relating to Australian international awards, including South East Asia scholarships. I note that the appropriation for 1964-65 was £35,000, and that for 1965-66 it has been reduced to £27,500. I should be glad if the Minister could give the reason for the reduction. I refer to a further item regarding scholarships. The appropriation for the Federation of British Industries Scholarships has been increased from £2,350 to £4,150. I would like to know whether the scholarships are of a technical nature, and whether they are awarded to Australian students who are going overseas or whether they are awarded to British students coming to Australia.
The final point I wish to make deals with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. In 1964 the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Act established a council to promote Aboriginal studies and to assist universities, museums and other institutions concerned with research and study in relation to the Aboriginal people of Australia. Similar work is being done in other countries. As a result of numerous archaeological projects, a great deal of information is being gathered about Aboriginal people of other countries. The United Kingdom and other countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas are engaged in this work. We have been very tardy in Australia in realising that we should be conducting research into the culture of our own people and should be attending to the preservation of their folklore and art. I am glad to see that the grant for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies has been increased from £100,000 to £155,000. I would like to know whether this work is being expanded.
– I want to make a brief reference to the item dealing with grants in aid for the World Conference of Corriedale Breeders for which an amount of £3,000 was provided in 1964-65. This Conference was, I think, one of the very important events during the year. There came to Melbourne visitors from South Africa, the United States of America, Mexico and South America. The conduct of the Conference and the assistance given by this Government contributed in a great measure to what was an event of considerable economic importance.
It showed the work that is being done by the sheep breeders of Australia, and it will, no doubt, in the future contribute largely to the development of our trade with those countries.
The other item to which I want to refer deals with the Commonwealth scholarship scheme and more particularly with the suggestion that Senator Tangney made of the desirability of assisting in the education of children of parents who have not sufficient means. It is a popular idea that a free university will contribute to the well-being and education of the children of parents who cannot easily afford to educate those children. The idea that a free university will achieve this better than a scholarship scheme will is a mistaken one.
Senator Tangney said that less than 10 per cent, of the revenue of universities is derived from fees. Let us suppose that the universities were free and that they no longer collected that money. It would have to be made up from some other source. To the extent that it came from government sources, it would reduce the ability of the Government to provide scholarships. Of what help would that be to the children of parents who were not able to support their children at universities? The evidence available shows that the great bulk of this 10 per cent, of university revenue is found by well-to-do parents. The achievement of a free university would have the effect of relieving the wealthier parents of that obligation, but at the same time and to that extent it would deprive the Commonwealth or the States - whichever had to finance the universities - of the means of providing scholarships. To imagine that a free university would have the effect of helping the children of poorer parents is to adopt a shortsighted approach.
I believe that the Commonwealth scholarship scheme should be expanded. Perhaps we need to examine the possibility of introducing a means test if we want to direct the effectiveness of Commonwealth scholarships towards children who can benefit from a university education. There is a lot of cloudy thinking about the statistical evaluation of the number of children who are participating in education. I Relieve that in other countries a number of students attend universities because it is believed that that is the right thing to do. Those young people think that they acquire some sort of social status because they are university students. To my mind, what matters is the efficiency of an educational system. It is not the number of children who are at school or the amount of money that is spent on education that matters; what matters is the way in which that money is spent and the general attitude of the students towards education.
We were reminded by Senator Tangney of the time when the University of Western Australia was proud of the fact that it was free. It was never entirely free. But I do agree with the honorable senator’s statement that there was no evidence of students wasting their time. They dare not do so, because there was a fairly rigid requirement that they should fulfil their commitments and pass their examinations. It is easy enough to police - perhaps “ discipline “ would be a better word to use - the requirement that students should work while at university. Another popular idea is that parents educate their children. That is not so. Parents cannot educate their children. They can put their children in the way to gain an education, but most of us know that the acquiring of an education is hard work.
– The Committee has been generous to me tonight. I should now like to spend a few minutes on clearing up a misconception on the part of the Minister. He is a very competent Minister, and he has dealt very competently with this debate tonight. The Minister derives great pleasure from talking about education; I think it is one of his babies. We on this side of the chamber thank him for his indulgence. Earlier today I spoke about the possibility of the Government’s considering the centralisation of science teaching facilities in certain areas so that secondary school children at both non-State schools and State schools could be taught at one school. I have not in mind big country centres like Orange and Bathurst. I was rather amazed to learn that the Government believes that the most efficient method of teaching science is to have throughout the State a number of science units costing £16,000 or £18,000 each. I had really thought that to establish a big centre would be a proper scientific approach.
The Minister got a bit party political in the middle of his reply to my earlier comments. He said: “ I would like to know where this crazy idea about centralising school teaching originated “. It originated in my mind when I examined the system that has been adopted by the Catholic schools in Sydney. Some 12 or 18 months ago the Catholic authorities commenced a £5 million scheme for the establishment of regional centres for secondary school pupils. The idea that I put forward was more or less an extension of that approach. I understand that Senator McManus also criticised what I said. 1 did not hear him; I hope I am not misquoting him. The same kind of system has been adopted in Melbourne.
– And in South Australia.
– 1 am talking about specific regional schemes that have already been adopted. I give this Government credit for supporting the development of the non-State school system and for giving it a chance to live. My idea related to the establishment of central science teaching facilities in the more closely developed city areas - not in the outback or on the perimeter of the larger cities - where they would be of convenience to the pupils and would permit the conservation of teachers. The Melbourne and Sydney archdioceses have developed the regional system in order to make the best use of the teachers and equipment that are available. This sort of thing is happening in the provision of hospital facilities, and it will have to be done more extensively .in regard to education. We cannot decentralise educational facilities forever. The modern school of thought in relation to hospitals advocates the rationalisation, if I may use that word, of hospital systems so that extensive scientific equipment will not be spread over a dozen different hospitals throughout a city. It will be concentrated in one area. Similarly with the teaching hospitals. The hospitals will be using new equipment and the big heart operations, for instance, will be centralised in one place. Instead of patients being spread out all over the city or the State they will come to better equipped hospitals where they will have the benefit of the best specialist services and the best equipment provided in a new system of hospitalisation. As I have said, this applies to teaching hospitals as well. Therefore, the idea is not so ridiculous as the Minister may think. I believe that was the word he used.
– I think “ludicrous” was the word.
– Well, I will settle for that. However, I thank the Minister for his reply and I thank you, too, Mr. Temporary Chairman, for your indulgence in allowing me to stray from the point a little in order to give this explanation.
Order! Before the debate proceeds I point out to honorable senators that the discussion of this section of the Estimates has gone on lor a considerable time. Unless honorable senators shorten their speeches they will find that there is insufficient time to discuss matters in relation to other sections of the Estimates.
– I wish first to refer to the proposed provision for the National Youth Council of Australia. There are many references throughout the Estimates to youth activities. They include references to the national fitness campaign and other related activities. I imagine that the proposed expenditure for the National Youth Council is a somewhat different matter. I notice that the amount provided is the same as that pro1vided last year and also the same as that expended last year. Is there a particular reason for this consistency? Does the Government have in mind increasing the provision? Does the Council carry out liaison or co-ordinating work?
I should like the Minister to give me some guidance in relation to the proposed expenditure on the Australian-American Educational Foundation. The amount to be provided is £90,000 for the ensuing year. The appropriation last year was of the same amount but the expenditure was only £35,000, which was a substantial reduction. I imagine there are reasons and circumstances to explain this. Perhaps the Minister would be good enough to say whether the. Government gives particular emphasis to the American attitude to education. Has consideration been given from time to time to educational work so far as other countries of the Commonwealth of Nations are concerned? For example, the Royal Commonwealth Society exists for the express purpose of extending educational facilities. From time to time it enters into correspondence with the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and the Government. Would the Government at some time in the future be prepared to consider favourably an approach to this organisation with the sole purpose of extending educational facilities?
On a much lower plane, I direct the attention of the Minister to the grants in aid to historical societies. The Minister will note that there are several such bodies, including the Royal Australian Historical Society, the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, the Tasmanian Historical Research Association and the Royal Western Australian Historical Society. Are the grants in aid the result of applications from the societies listed in the Estimates, or can they be extended to cover the whole framework of historical societies? In other words, does the making of a grant in. aid depend upon an approach from the society in the State concerned?
The only other matter 1 wish to raise concerns the grant in aid of £4,750 to the University of Sydney in respect of the “ Current Affairs Bulletin “. Here again, the amount provided is a stable one. I am sure we all appreciate the distribution of this journal. Is it proposed that the distribution should be extended so that there might be a wider dissemination of information on a large -variety of subjects of public importance? I shall appreciate the Minister’s observations on the matters I have raised.
, - Despite what you have said about the time factor, Mr. Temporary Chairman, there are one or two things which I think should be said in the discussion of these estimates. When the sitting was suspended for dinner I had not finished my remarks concerning the scholarships awarded by the Commonwealth Office of Education. I had been quoting comments by Mr. Craig McGregor who. had said that the scales were weighted against poor children reaching university. He stated that the result of a study of 114,000 children who had left school in one year confirmed that the question of whether the children went to a university de pended more upon the social status of their parents than on their intelligence quotient or school achievements. 1 understand that after the resumption of the sitting the Minister replied to the effect that scholarships are awarded on the ability of children and that whatever the reason that children in the lower income classifications are not attending universities it is not an economic one because scholarships are provided. I join issue with him on this point. I say that the children of manual workers are simply not going to universities, in the words of Craig McGregor, no matter how good their intelligence quotient and their school achievements are. I am as anxious as anyone else to find out the reason for this and also to find a remedy for it because history shows us that if there is anything in heredity it is that the working class has produced children whose mental standard is at least equal to that of children of parents of higher occupational status. Honorable senators on the other side of the chamber must not forget that we have provided them with most of their leaders. In this context we remember William Morris Hughes, Joseph Lyons and even Sir Robert Menzies whose parents, I understand, were small storekeepers. He has boasted that his grandfather was a waterside worker - in the days before the present Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) took charge of the waterfront.
The only leader that I can recall who was not of the class of which I am speaking is Lord Bruce who lost his seat in this Parliament. Many outstanding statesmen, including Abraham Lincoln, had no schooling. The working class, through its children, has contributed greatly to the world throughout the ages. Now we find that perhaps because of economic factors the children of working class parents are not getting the opportunity for advanced education to the same degree as are the children of parents of the professional classes. As I have said, I cannot explain this or provide a solution for it.
A thorough inquiry is needed to determine the number of persons with the capacity for higher education so that they may be assisted to attain the highest standard of education that the nation can afford.
There is more to consider than economic factors. At present Commonwealth scholarships are awarded under which all university fees are paid and varying living allowances paid. Regard must be had to the amount of encouragement a parent can give to a student child to continue his education when he has reached an agc at which he could be contributing to the family income and easing the burden of a parent with a low income and a number of mouths to feed.
The question arises of whether greater consideration should be given to the capacity of students to absorb advanced education, and whether an allowance should be given to those students with the greatest capacity so that their families would not lose if they continued their education. Such a scheme would be of benefit not only to individual students, but also to the nation. Many students capable of completing university courses are forced to terminate their education because of the poor circumstances of their families. I point out that only 10.000 Commonwealth scholarships are awarded although there aTe 67,000 applicants. Tt is probable that more students would apply for Commonwealth scholarships but for the necessity to contribute to the family income.
I have referred to an article by Craig McGregor which appeared in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ of 18th August. He gave, not only his own views, but also those of the Australian Council for Educational Research. According to Senator Cohen, the writer of the article used as his basis a report by Dr. Radford. Craig McGregor stales that a survey conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research discovered (hat although 33 per cent, of young men leaving schools came from unskilled or semi-skilled backgrounds, only 1.5 per cent, entered universities. In contrast, although only 2 per cent, of male school leavers came from university backgrounds. 35.9 per cent, went on to universities. The article went on - lt :s clear from research studies such as this that it is the social class of the parents rather than the ability or the school achievements of the pupil himself which determines whether he goes on to further education after leaving school. To put it bluntly, the upper-middle-class pupil has a good chance of going on and the working class pupil has not. What is the reason for this blatant disparity? ft has been argued occasionally that the children of “ high-class “ parents are more intelli gent than those of working class parents, but that just is not so. As the Robbins Report on English education found out, there appears to be no difference at all between the real ability of children according to their social backgrounds.
I invite the Minister’s attention to the results of the research undertaking. Because of the failure to develop the talent of children capable of receiving higher education for the benefit of the nation, children of working class families are simply not going to universities today. If the aim of the Commonwealth scholarships was to achieve that end, they are failing in their purpose. Commonwealth scholarships are giving a free education and a living allowance to children whose parents would ensure that they attended universities, irrespective of whether scholarships were obtained. The only advantage gained is that parents who could well afford to pay and who would be prepared to pay for a university education for their children are relieved of that liability.
The obvious solution is to award scholarships to all students who reach an educational standard at which they are capable of completing university training. Where student’s are prevented from attending universities because of the necessity of their contributing to the family income, the Commonwealth Government should provide a living allowance to compensate the family for ‘the failure of a student to so contribute. The superior education gained by those students would contribute to the welfare of the nation. They could continue their education as far as their abilities permitted. I ask honorable senators to bear in mind that history has laught that ability comes from the poorer classes of society. It may be well for the Government to remember that. 1 remind the Government that whatever the cost is of providing scholarships to universities, they are not providing a higher education for the class of people whom it was hoped would benefit. Children of parents in the professional classes have ten times as much opportunity to attend university as children of parents in the lower income group, irrespective of intelligence quotient or educational achievements.
.- I cannot remain in my seat after hearing the earnest advocacy of Senator Cavanagh on the theme of education. I am not alone on this side of the chamber in thinking that capacity to reach the higher avocations of life is found in people irrespective of class. I have in mind people who are capable of imparting capacity from one generation to another. I wish to comment upon the irony of the fact that we are conducting this discussion on education during the time devoted to debate on the appropriation for the Prime Minister’s Department. I believe that all honorable senator’s, irrespective of party politics, will pay tribute to the interest that has been bestowed upon the general purpose of education by the present Government. That interest has been expressed over the past 10 or 12 years in a practical measure of assistance in the field of tertiary education. lt may seem illogical that we should bestow advantages by Federal finance in tertiary education, and in some respects in secondary education. It may seem illogical that the whole field of education is not embraced, as is advocated by some teachers’ organisations. There is nothing really of merit in logic in this lopsided world and it may be that despite that apparent illogicality we will fulfil the true function of education before many years have passed.
I will not remain silent in the Senate when 1 hear the earnest advocacy of Senator Cavanagh who seems to imply that some disadvantage or handicap is imposed upon the children of the working class in gaining the opportunities of education which undoubtedly open the door to the pleasures, aspirations and enjoyments of life.
As one upon whom reflections have been cast and who is now a member of a memorable profession, I am a fugitive from a bushfire. I come from a family some members of which remained on the farm. Others went to a State school, thereafter to a State high school and thereafter to a university. Educational opportunities rest not on class but on spirit. I appeal to those so ably represented by Senator Cavanagh who proudly number themselves among the. working class, including the farming community to which my whole spirit goes, to exercise restraint and to consider the transitory economics and the fugitive values of those fruitful years from 18 to 25.
Just as I have pleaded with them to develop a broader and truer attitude to our v.um/es.-s.- [551 current prosperity in their social, economic and trade union activities I plead with them to exercise a little restraint, to accept proper guidance and to make a proper evaluation of the educational opportunities which are available to all. As I have said, I came from humble beginnings. Proper guidance will give the children of the working class a realisation of the advantages that are available to them.
I am a member of the legal profession on the small island of Tasmania. It is my great pride that many of my colleagues came from families of no means. They had only the will to work. They were prepared to study until midnight, five nights a week for seven years, to earn the rewards and pleasures that glimpses into literature or the principles of law can bring.
With the utmost sympathy for the aspirations which Senator Cavanagh has expressed, I say that he should never be under the delusion that opportunities are not available to anyone who will exercise restraint and live as I did in 1923. I earned 10s. a week and paid 25s. a week board. My grand old father made up the difference. For those who are prepared to work hard in their early years there is in store a lifetime of pleasure as well as an assurance of prosperity - a prosperity upon which some people congratulate me while others are more inclined to reproach me. These are the thoughts that I present to the youth of the working class of today. Let it never be said that there are not opportunities for all in the fields of economics, law, medicine and education generally. But scholarships alone are not sufficient. The will to work is essential. Given the will to work and develop capacities there are grand opportunities.
– There is no substitute for hard work.
– There is no substitute for hard work in any avocation of life. I say to the youth of Australia: Do not look to the wages that you will receive in the first threshhold years of your experience. The more you deny yourself in that ten years of apprenticeship the greater will be the reward when you have earned it by restraint and hard work. Perhaps, Mr.. Temporary Chairman, you think that we waste time during an Estimates debate if we speak of matters of principle and do not probe proposed expenditure. But I believe that the Senate has been ennobled by Senator Cavanagh’s advocacy and I have risen not only in recognition of the spirit of his expression but also to put my point of view. I express my opinions not as one of an upper stratum of society, but as one who entertains an unlimited admiration for the capacity of those from the lower and middle grades of society who are prepared to work hard.
– Senator Breen asked whether the allocation for the Commonwealth Literary Fund was for research as well as for composition. The allocation is for research in the sense of someone carrying out research to get the necessary information on which to write a book. If someone is to be written. If someone wants to he will receive a grant to enable him to carry out research into the documents of the family of the man about whom the book is to be written. If some one wants to write a book about the Australians who at one stage settled in South America, the opportunity is given to that person to travel to South America to search for the necessary documents. I have noted Senator Breen’s suggestions in relation to music. South East Asian scholarships are reducing. That scheme is being replaced by a South Pacific scholarship scheme which is under the administration of the Minister for External Affairs. The work done by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies is well known. It was established on the understanding that there would be limits to its work and that it would not become an expanding institution without limits.
asked me about the National Youth Council. This is a Federal body with which many youth associations are affiliated. It co-ordinates their overtures. It does not itself conduct youth clubs but we make a contribution to it of a fixed amount annually to assist with its organisational and headquarters work. The honorable senator also asked about the AustralianAmerican Educational Foundation. As the honorable senator knows, this is the successor of the Fulbright scheme which previously was financed entirely by the United
States. The new scheme is being financed jointly by Australia and the United States, but we were not required to provide our share of the finance, until 1st January this year. That accounts for the difference between the’ expenditure last year and this year’s estimate.
I was asked a question about assistance to Commonwealth education excluding CommonwealthAfrican education. Item 02 of subdivision 3 of Division No. 416 provides for expenditure under the Commonwealth Educational. Co-operation Scheme. The Royal Historical Society is the subject of a fixed grant. The position is the same in respect of the other matter mentioned by the honorable senator. Senator Ormonde had some words to say about the suggestion that . great central science blocks should be built, to which pupils from all schools could come. The idea was put into his head because he had noticed centralised schools being built by the Roman Catholic church in New South Wales. There is no relationship whatsoever between putting a number of small schools together into one central school, providing all the facilities needed for schools, and taking out of all of the schools one of the facilities needed in the schools and centralising it somewhere else.
Senator Cavanagh developed the question of scholarships, to which he had been speaking before. He appeared to me to be under the impression - he may tell me if I am wrong in this - that the authority from which he was quoting has said that 33 per cent, of the school leavers were children of unskilled or semi-skilled fathers but only “1.5 per cent, of the students who went to universities were the children of such fathers. Playing around with those figures might give that impression, but that impression is not true. The original from which the quotations were made is in the report of the Australian Council for Educational Research. It will be found at page 43 of the first volume in relation to tertiary education. The material is compiled by W. C. Radford. We may as well get these facts right if we are to make a reasoned approach to this matter and really see what the score is. It shows that in 1960 of children leaving school, 33 per cent, were children of unskilled or semi-skilled fathers.
It does not say that 1.5 per cent, of the people going to universities come from those families, lt does say - and this is confusing - that of that 33 per cent. 1.5 per cent, went to universities. In fact, the situation is that in 1960 - which is the date of which we are speaking - 8 per cent, of the males who entered universities were the children of unskilled or semi-skilled fathers, who made up 33 per cent, of all fathers. The number of females was much lower at 0.7 per cent.
Let us take tertiary institutions as a whole, not just universities. The figures again relate to the year 1960 and I believe they would have changed very considerably since then. The children of unskilled or semi-skilled fathers, who comprised 33 per cent, of all fathers, numbered 13 per cent, of the males entering tertiary institutions. It is interesting to see that the male children of skilled manuals, who comprised 21 per cent, of fathers, numbered 17 per cent, of those entering tertiary institutions. I suggest that this matter should be further looked into and the reasons for this position should be ascertained. The more we look into problems of education the better. I suggest that the figures indicate that never before has there been in Australia such an opportunity for those with ability from any family to undertake tertiary education.
Senator Wright, in a most moving, sincere and genuine speech, described the circumstances which he had experienced. We have heard that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) had to work up to scholarships through universities. We are all aware of how difficult it was in those days, how much more ability was required to get a scholarship to take one through tertiary education, how much more sacrifice was required if one did not come from a rich family to work through those years of tertiary education, and how much hard work was required. I believe that it is incontrovertibly true that it is now possible to get scholarships at a much lower level of ability than was required in the times of which we are talking. It is not necessary by any means to put up with the difficulties which it was necessary to put up with then and more and more children of all income groups are proceeding to tertiary education now. In the days of which Senator Wright was speaking, in the days of which Senator Cavanagh spoke, when the Prime Minister, Hughes, and others were gaining tertiary education, the children of unskilled or semi-skilled fathers comprised nothing approaching 13 per cent, of the males entering tertiary institutions. That was the percentage in 1960. I believe that today it is much higher. We do need to see that those who have sufficient ability are able to undertake tertiary education. I do not think it is necessary to provide at public expense tertiary education for those who do not demonstrate an ability, no matter from what income group they may come. The position is not perfect, but we must first get the facts right, and this matter needs to be looked into.
.- Senator Cavanagh has raised a very interesting and important question. I was interested in the discussion because I have recently been reading a study of it in a newly published book, “ Australian Society “, by A. F. Davies and S. Encel. It contains an examination of education from this point of view by Mr. J. R. Lawry a lecturer at the University of Queensland. He cites some figures which would tend to support the opinions of Senator Cavanagh. For example, he says -
The educational standard of the parents of students in the 1955 intake at the University of Queensland was much higher than that of the general public. The professional and administrative groups (8 per cent, of working males) produced 42 per cent, of the students’ fathers; only 3.5 per cent, had fathers in the semi-skilled and unskilled groups (35.S per cent.).
He went on to say that in Western Australia a study of science graduates indicated that about one third come from families with a standard of education already above average. There are indications that it is harder for a student with poor parents to get to a university than it is for a student whose parents are better off; but the study goes on to point out that one should not necessarily draw the conclusion that the decisive factor in whether a student goes to a university or not is financial. It points out for example that one of the biggest factors in the determination of a student to go to university could well be the attitude of the parents towards university education. Naturally, parents who are in the professional and administrative groups will have a keener appreciation of the value of education.
– But would the honorable senator not agree that the main factor is economic up to a point when a parent has to keep a child until matriculation?
– I agree. We all know that there are parents who say: “I do not know whether I will be able to put my child to the university. I want him to go but it will be a struggle. I do not know whether I can do it.” That is true. But it is not necessarily finance that determines the question. We all know of the student whose parents have money and are anxious for him to go to university but he just will not go. So we cannot say altogether that finance is the only decisive factor. Frequently a student will fight to go to a university, such as a brilliant student of poorer parents who has had instilled in him by his parents a real appreciation of the value of education. The authors of this survey have stated that the size of the family is one factor which determines whether people will go to university. Certainly, that is an economic factor. The authors make several other interesting points. One which my experience induces me to accept is this -
National origin of the family is related to the educational plans of pupils and is thus a factor in wastage. Children of parents born in Australia or other English-speaking countries are less inclined to consider attending the university than the children of parents born in Europe.
In my experience, there is a lot of truth in that. European migrants generally have a keener appreciation, unfortunately, of the value of university education than have many of our own people. I have the utmost admiration for many migrants from Europe who have come here with, next to nothing, have worked hard and acquired some money. When you speak to them, they tell you that they are spending the money on a night course at an Australian university. The survey suggests that whether children will go to university or not often depends on whether they live in a rural or an urban area. The authors sum up by saying -
Any attempt to explain school-leaving or ‘ continuing upon the basis of a single factor such as economic conditions will provide a distorted picture.
So they say that there are factors other than economic conditions. Having said that, let me say that while there are other factors, I still believe the economic factor - whether the parents can pay the cost or not - is often decisive in deciding whether, a talented student can go to a university or not. Therefore, I would urge that the Government give the utmost possible scope to the talented young men and women of Australia to achieve a. university education.
– This discussion had rather an insignificant beginning but it has developed into, one of the most interesting, sections of the debate on the Estimates. The Minister in charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research (Senator Gorton) referred to the tables published at page 44 of Volume I of the report of the Committee on the future of Tertiary Education in Australia. I do not know how the Minister reached his conclusions on entrants to full time studies at universities in relation to the father’s occupation. Table 42 shows that the percentage of full time university students with fathers in unskilled or semiskilled occupations was 1.5.
– That is 1.5 per cent of 33 per cent. If the honorable senator look’s at the next column he will see that 8 per cent, of all males entering universities in 1960 were the children of unskilled or semi-skilled fathers, and they made up 33 per cent, of all fathers.
– Under the same heading, the percentage of full time students whose fathers were university professionals was 12 per cent. For those in a clerical occupation, the percentage was 17 per cent, and it was 17 per cent, also for those whose fathers were in other professional occupations. The figures I cited were from an analysis by Craig McGregor who said that 33 per cent, of the young men leaving school were the sons of unskilled or semi-skilled fathers and only 1.5 per cent, entered universities. Honorable senators generally appear to be agreed that those whose parents come from the higher classifications of employment have a better opportunity to attend a university than those whose parents are unskilled or semi-skilled. Many reasons are given for this, and it appears that the Minister does not accept the proposition that they are all economic reasons.
We have had an interesting analysis qf his own case by Senator Wright. . Apparently because of some catastrophe in his life, his path was not easy but . he had the urge to spend six to eight years to acquire an education until he reached one of the professions. My complaint is that this urge for education is not apparent in children of the working class as we know them. I do not know Senator Wright’s personal history but he is one who has been induced by someone else or by his own inclinations to study for a long period and ultimately to reap the benefits. I am concerned about those who have not that urge for education. As Senator McManus has said perhaps we cannot expect every lad to know what is best for him. The parents have a big influence upon what a child endeavours to do. He might be influenced by the parents’ realisation of the value of education. Sometimes that is determined by the national origin of the parents. People from some other countries seem to have a stronger appreciation of the value of an education. But it is easier for a parent to influence a child to further his education if this does not mean a severe draw upon the family income. When parents are on a low income, it is often easy for them to decide that a juvenile would be better off continuing in a part time job he obtained in the Christmas holidays. If he. went to university they would lose the youth’s earnings which are used to assist the family. These are all factors that may influence a student. If a lad, such as the lad that Senator Wright mentioned, no matter what his environment may have been, is convinced that education is essential, nothing will hold him back. But we are concerned with the big group of boys who do not believe that education is essential. They may be influenced by parents or guardians who do not have the urge to be educated.
I want to make a plea for the young people who have the capacity for higher education but leave school before they have reached the limit of their capacity. An analysis of the statistics shows that the sons of the lower grade workers are not reaching the universities, and their failure to attend universities does not depend upon, their intelligence or their achievements in primary and secondary schools. We must recognise that there may be a wealth of talent amongst the youths who terminate their schooling at secondary level and that this talent, if lt were developed to the full, could contribute materially to the development of this country. When these people leave school they may become buried in a dead end occupation. They may have had to leave school because the family income was needed for some purpose other than education. Our scholarship system should be sufficiently wide to permit them to continue at school until they have attained the highest educational standard of which they are capable, no matter what other urges may be present. I submit that those people who have the ability should be permitted, through scholarships, to continue with their education until they have attained the highest possible standard. Only 10,000 scholarships were awarded out of some 67,000 applicants.
– Is the honorable senator speaking of universities now?
– Yes, universities. Possibly many of these 10,000 would have attended even if they had not won a scholarship. Scholarships should be awarded to all those who have the urge to reach a certain educational level. If family economic reasons are the bar to their continuing with their education, the Government should provide supplementary assistance so that the family will not suffer a loss if the child attends a university.
– Before adverting to the first part of Senator Cavanagh’s speech, I must say that I do not understand what he means when he says, in the context of universities, that only 10,000 scholarships were awarded although 67,000 people applied. I suggest that the senator is somehow mixed up with secondary scholarships. In the open entrance field, 5,000 Commonwealth scholarships a year have been awarded for universities and 6,000 will be awarded next year. Assuming a course of four years, this means that more than 20,000 Commonwealth scholarships are held at universities at a given time.
– That is right, secondary level.
– Even then, he was not quite right. Let me give the correct figures. I think 10,000 were available and 57,000 applied last year. These are scholarships for secondary schools. I do not quite know what the honorable senator has in mind, but I do not believe that, to cope with any problems that we may have, we should drop the standards at which we award scholarships that are paid for by the public. Sons in the families of unskilled or semi-skilled workers are reaching universities and are reaching them in greater numbers than ever before. Let us be quite clear about that. I am not at the moment dealing with the proposition that somehow or other there is a wastage that ought to be prevented. I am merely making a factual statement that the sons in those families are reaching universities. As the table shows, 8 per cent, of the males starting at universities in 1960 were from such families.
I believe that we should not concentrate only on universities. Other fields of tertiary education, especially the new colleges of advanced education, may well provide more satisfaction to a man and more opportunity for him to use his skills in the future than a university would. I think the standard for entry to those colleges should not be as high as the standard for entry to universities. But if the colleges develop as they can and if they provide a course of two or three years, as they can with the scholarships that will be provided, they will turn out first class technologists. It is better for a man, and for the country, to be a first class technologist than a mediocre scientist. We may have mediocre scientists if we concentrate all our efforts on universities instead of looking to the whole field of tertiary education so that whatever skills a man may have will be developed.
It may well be that some children with the ability needed for entry to either a university or a college and with the ability to win a public scholarship may nevertheless be inhibited by some other factor, such as the need to maintain a sick mother or father or to help support a large family. On the other hand, we should not concentrate all our attention on that aspect either, because undoubtedly it would be much easier for an unskilled or semi-skilled father with one child to put that child through a university than for a clerical or semiprofessional father to put one of six or seven children through a university. This is where the means test on these scholarships is used. Of course, the parents must also decide how much they are prepared to go without in order to give their children the opportunity to have a higher education. This again varies, I think, between people and not between unskilled and clerical or semiprofessional groups. These are all problems of human, nature. They are not problems that can easily be solved and they are not problems that can be ignored. For the moment I suggest that, for those of ability whose parents are willing to do without in order to help them, the door to higher education is not locked as it was 10 or 20 years ago. If we can push it open a little further, that is fine; but at least it is not locked.
– I would like to ask the Minister one question about a problem that has confronted me in the last few weeks. I would like to know whether persons of mature age who have commenced a university education late in life are eligible for Commonwealth scholarships. I refer to people who are, perhaps, in their 30’s, who have taken a mature age matriculation and who wish to attend a university. Perhaps they are family men who find it impossible to pursue their studies part time but would like the opportunity to do a full time course. I would like to know whether they are eligible for Commonwealth scholarships or whether Commonwealth scholarships are only for young people of about 17 or 18 years of age who have just left school and are about to attend a university.
– There is a small allocation, from amongst the open entrance scholarships available, for mature age scholarships. I cannot just remember the number which are awarded each year, but it is of the order of 120. The age at which people cease to be eligible for mature age scholarships is 30 years.
.- I rise to ask two short questions of the Minister. First, I have not had an answer from him to the request I made that the Government should reconsider its decision to reject the teacher training proposals in the Martin Committee’s report. I did make a plea to him not to regard the door as finally closed on this matter and for an early reconsideration of the decision. I ask him whether he thinks there is any prospect now or in the envisageable future that we might have the Commonwealth accepting responsibility in this field.
The second question is on an entirely different matter. I refer to the item dealing with act of grace payments in special circumstances. A few hundred pounds is allocated for 1965-66 and, apparently, a small amount was appropriated and spent in the previous year. 1 want to inquire from the Minister what kind of circumstances give rise to act of grace payments. I know of occasions when requests have been made for some kind of consideration and no great encouragement was given to those seeking special consideration.
– A trust fund is provided for act of grace payments in special circumstances. I think I will have to get the detailed procedures as to how these things are done and I will let the honorable senator have the information in writing. There were two occasions last year on which act of grace payments were made. One was for the widow of a talented Australian composer, and the other was for the widow of a famous Australian singer, both of whom were in necessitous circumstances, being widows. As a result of the particular procedures applied, they were able to get act of grace payments. In regard to the first point which Senator Cohen raised, as to whether the Government might reconsider its decision to reject the teacher training proposals in the Martin Committee report now or in the envisageable future, as he knows very well, all that I can say to him is that Government policy at the moment is the policy which was announced when the Martin Committee report was presented.
Proposed expenditure and proposed provision noted.
Department of Labour and National Service.
Proposed expenditure, £3,579,000.
Administration of the National Service Act
Proposed provision, £338,000.
Post Discharge Resettlement Training.
Proposed expenditure, £1,000.
– I rise to speak on the estimates for the Department of Labour and National Service. The Committee is being asked to consider estimates which total approximately £3± million. I consider that this is one of the important departments which we have to consider because upon the effectiveness of it, I suggest, rests the whole of the Australian economy. The Department has to deal, not only with the question of employment, but also with the question of labour relations between the workers and the employers, the question of apprentices, and also the question of the stevedoring industry, about which we have heard a lot of discussion in recent weeks, not only in the Parliament but outside it. Primarily, of course, this is a very important Department. If it works, the whole of the Australian economy functions in a very satisfactory manner, we have the advantage of the ordinary economic growth which we talk about, and we have good relations between the workers, the employers and the Government. But if the Government fails to use this Department in a proper manner, if it does not intervene in disputes between the workers and the employers in a just manner, or if it does not try to provide the sort of machinery for arbitration which it ought to provide in order to bring about justice, the whole of the Australian economy can fall down and our ability as a nation and our ability to prosecute wars in which we are engaged will be negated. So it is a very important Department. For this reason honorable senators on this side of the chamber do not object to the expenditure of £34 million if it can be justified.
It seems to me that over the last two or three years we have seen a deterioration in the relationship of the Government and the trade union movement. I suggest this is a bad thing. We have the situation in which we have had a rise in productivity, there has been general economic growth, and we have had the chance to recruit more skilled workers, but we have failed to provide a rising standard of living for the general trade union movement and the workers. I suggest that the Government’s policies are directly related to this. Last night we discussed very shortly the decision in the last basic wage hearing before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber suggested that what was needed was more practical advice in arbitration proceedings.
I was pleased to note in the ninth annual report of the president of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission the following comment about the constitution of the full bench for the last national wage case -
In retrospect 1 believe it was a pity that a Commissioner or Commissioners did not participate in the recent national wage case.
I presume that statement referred to the last basic wage case which afforded the opportunity to increase the wage standards of the Australian working population. I take the comment of the President, to which I have referred, to mean that he believes that the addition of a practical commissioner on the bench might have resulted in a different decision being given in relation to the wage policy. As we argued last night, unless a satisfactory wage policy is applied to the general trade union movement and the workers, we will not have a satisfied working class and we will not have the general economic growth that we want. The Department of Labour and National Service ought to function around the great principles of conciliation and afford maximum support to the trade union movement in its endeavour to achieve the sort of standards for the workers that they ought to enjoy in this period of prosperity.
Previously I have said in the Senate that the officers of the Department of Labour and National Service have been very cooperative. I say this because of personal experience. I know that, broadly, the Department has given some assistance to the great trade union movement; it has had fairly satisfactory negotiations with the trade union movement; and there has been a history of consultation which has been of benefit to the community. But in recent years we have found that this relationship has been disturbed by the actions of the Government. I cite the intervention of the Commonwealth Government in the basic wage case;- the failure of the Government to reach agreement with the trade union movement in respect of the stevedoring industry; and the failure of the Govern ment to establish a satisfactory apprenticeship scheme in this country. All of these matters prove to me that recently there have been no proper consultations and no satisfactory relationship between the Department and the trade union movement, which might have resulted in a solution to the problems that exist at the present time. If we cannot find a solution, we will not make the progress that we want to make.
I now wish to refer very briefly to the inquiry that is being conducted into the stevedoring industry. Nobody could embark upon a discussion of this matter without reflecting upon a recent statement by the Minister for Labour and National service about activities on the waterfront and the subsequent statement by the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions which seems to have acted as a check upon the provocative attitude of the Minister. Since Mr. Monk said that he thought the Minister had made a mistake in referring to the waterfront while conferences were pending, the Minister has said in another place that he will try not to engage in provocation. I hope that he will live up to what he has said. This Government must work with the trade union movement to ensure, not only that peace in industry is established, but also that the workers will get a fair share of the returns, which is something that they have not got up till now.
Another matter that arises from a discussion of labour relations is the extent to which unions ought to be penalised for activities in defiance of the order of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. We believe that arbitration machinery is a good thing, but we have always argued that the accent should bc on conciliation, that greater provision should be made for the inclusion of practical men in the membership of the Commission, that there should be greater accent on the appointment of conciliators, and that there should be a greater attempt to establish between the Government and the employees the sort of relationship that will lead to peace in industry. If we establish peace, we will open the way to progress.
We have always been resentful of the imposition of fines upon the unions by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Between 1954 and 1964 fines imposed upon unions by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, quite apart from those that have been imposed by
State authorities, have amounted to £50,255. To that sum must be added the penalty of having been involved in litigation. That is too great a burden to place, upon unions that try to get from the economy a suitable reward for their members in the form of increased wages or improved conditions. I suggest that the Government must take a new look at all these areas of conflict. I am pleased to note that under Division No. 330, Administrative, provision has been made for preliminary expenses in relation to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Third Study Conference. I know from personal experience that this is a kind of expedition into human relations in industry.
I now wish to refer to one or two other matters which I think should engage the attention of the Minister for Labour and National Service. If a satisfactory solution is found to these matters, the sort of industrial relations that we on this side of the chamber are trying to achieve will be established. I relate my remarks to Division No. 330, Administrative, and refer to the provision of equal pay for women. Only this week a supporter of the Government asked whether the Government intended to establish a women’s bureau similar to that which has been established in the, United States of America, and he referred to the matter of equal pay for women. I suggest that the Government should examine its attitude to equal pay for women. Honorable senators will recall that the Opposition has stressed the need for the Government to accede to the request of the A.C.T.U. that equal pay be provided for females employed by the Commonwealth in accordance with recommendations and Conventions of the International Labour Organisation. The Government has stated that it is not obliged to implement these Conventions because Australia is a federation of States, and that all that the Commonwealth has to do is to send the relevant correspondence to the States. While we are getting this sort of reply from the Minister, we know that he is urging employers generally to engage a greater number of female workers. If we are to have a greater number of female workers, we must compensate those employed by giving them improved conditions. If we do not offer improved conditions of employment, we simply will not get more female workers.
Females constitute 25 per cent, of our work force of approximately 4.5 million people. Projections indicate that in the future there will be a great increase in the number of unmarried females in the work force. A document issued recently by the Department of the Treasury reveals that at the time of the 1961 census there were 653,600 unmarried females in the work force. The projected number for 1976 is 904,700. The total number of married females in the work force will have risen from 405,600 in 1961 to 799,000 in 1976. We want the Government to accede to the request of the trade union movement to meet its obligations under the International Labour Organisation Conventions.
I come now to a very important matter - the training and re-establishment of national servicemen. The Opposition has directed attention to the fact that the hasty legislation that was introduced to authorise national service training does not provide for the sort of rehabilitation that should be accorded to these men. Members of the Opposition are solid in their attitude on this matter. I know that provision is made in the estimates for the Department of Labour and National Service for the technical training of ex-servicemen. But whereas a sum of £35,000 was appropriated last year, for this year we are asked to appropriate a sum of only £15,000. I can well understand that ex-servicemen from the Korean war will have been retrained and placed in industry, but the Department is now charged with the responsibility of retraining young men who are now entering upon national service and are about to take part in the Vietnamwar. Irrespective of the decisions that the Opposition has made in the past, we have made it clear that the military expeditions which this Government has decided upon must be balanced against Australia’s defence requirements, and we propose to do our utmost to ensure that provision is made for the retraining of these men. I have pointed out in the past that, unless they go into an operational area, these young people who are entering upon national service are entitled only to the benefits that are provided by the Commonwealth Employees* Compensation Act which, by Australian standards, is not a good Act. If they are handicapped while performing their ordinary occupations in Australia they are entitled only to the usual social service benefits. That is not good enough. I suggest that a national service trainee who is injured outside an operational area ought to be able to select the compensation legislation which he wishes to apply in his case.
-(Senator Drake Brockman). - Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
.- I rise for the purpose of enabling Senator Bishop to proceed with his remarks.
– 1 thank Senator Cohen for his courtesy in allowing me to continue to discuss this important section of the Estimates. I have been making my observations fairly hurriedly and I want to do justice to the matters I propose to discuss. If a serviceman is injured in an operational area he of course becomes entitled to the ordinary repatriation benefits. These are well known. There are facilities to enable an advocate to go before a tribunal and argue his case in respect of war caused disabilities; but if a serviceman is injured outside an operational area he comes within the terms of the very poor compensation legislation.
From personal experience in the trade union movement I know that it can take months to have a claim for compensation settled. 1 have no doubt that Senator Cohen could bear out what I am saying. Another bad feature of the legislation which needs to be considered is that provision can be made for superannuation and entitlements under the deferment pension scheme which applies to the Defence Services to be used by way of compensation of an injured person. That is quite contrary to the trend of compensation legislation in Australia. I suggest that this Government should make sure that national service trainees who are injured in Australia are permitted to select the compensation legislation that they wish to operate in their case. 1 cannot understand why a smaller amount is being provided for training than was provided previously. It seems to me that if we are to do justice to these young national servicemen we should ensure that they are given the maximum opportunity for acquiring skills. The chances are that they will not acquire skill while they are serving. Some may become skilled in transport and mechanical matters, but in any event they will have to adapt those skills to civilian occupations. Generally speaking, national servicemen will have to be trained at the end of their service.. There is an obligation on the Government to provide suitable machinery for such training. The Government should not simply say: “ Yes, we are looking into that question “. Employers and trade union organisations should be approached with a view to ensuring, that young men who have been engaged on national service receive the maximum support to which they are entitled.
I wish to refer again very briefly to a question which has been touched on previously in debates in this chamber. I refer to the matter of apprenticeship which I regard as very important. It will be remembered that recently reference was made to the need for Commonwealth departments when letting contracts for work to be done on their behalf to stipulate that the contractors shall employ apprentices. This obtains in respect of contracts let by South Australian Government departments. We on this side argue that this is an important means of increasing the number of apprentices. The latest figures I have relating to the number of apprentices employed by Commonwealth departments are those for 1963. They show that in 1957-58 there were 875 apprentices employed by Commonwealth departments; in 1958-59 there were 887; in 1959-60, 833; in 1960-61, 941; and in 1962-63, 1,221. The great Commonwealth Railways Department which always operates at a handsome profit employed only 22 apprentices in 1962-63. In that year, there were only slightly more than 1,200 apprentices in a total Commonwealth work force of 245,900.
We know that the Government has failed to reach agreement with the unions and the employers regarding the extension of adult training. Consultations have been held between the trade union movement and employers as a result of which bonuses have been given to employers who employ country apprentices, but the actions of the Government during the credit squeeze of 1961 meant that many employers were loath to take on apprentices. That, of course, has created a lag in the training of apprentices. A special effort is required on the part of the Government to see that more apprentices are trained with the object of providing a greater volume of skilled labour. At the present time we are resting largely on our ability to recruit skilled men overseas. The Government should consider a new policy in relation to the training of apprentices because the plan so far has been faulty. The Metal Trades Federation and the Australian Council of Trade Unions are reluctant to pursue the course which has been selected by the Government with the result that the flow of trained personnel to industry is very modest.
I wish to refer to the provision of £10,000 for the stevedoring industry inquiry. As we know, the inquiry has come to a full stop. We have a new situation. Legislation has been passed by this Parliament and the Government proposes to meet the employers and union representatives with a view to seeing whether negotiation is possible in relation to waterfront conditions. I wonder why this sum has been set aside in view of those circumstances. .
– I shall not have time to do other than reply very briefly to the points raised by Senator Bishop. He referred to the matter of apprentices. I am informed that in some cases there are practical difficulties in the way of increasing the number of apprentices being trained. Many of the projects being handled by the Department of Works are in remote localities and are of limited duration. Those are circumstances which do not allow for the effective training of apprentices. Careful consideration has been given to the practicability of requiring contractors engaged on Commonwealth projects to employ apprentices up to the maximum number possible, but again there are limiting factors such as the location of projects and their duration. However, this matter is being kept very much in mind.
Senator Bishop also spoke of the reduced provision for technical training. This provision relates totechnical training under the rehabilitiation training scheme for ex-servicemen of the 1939-45 war and the Korean and Malayan spheres. No provision has yet been made for the training of national servicemen as the first of these servicemen will not be due, for discharge until 1967. That is the reason for the smallness of the amount allocated for that purpose.
.- I am quite interested in an item to which Senator Bishop referred.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Chairman do now leave the chair and report to the Senate.
Question resolved in the negative.
.My interest is increased in the item. I am indebted to Senator Bishop for his reference to the appropriation of £10,000 for the stevedoring industry inquiry. It is, as Shylock would say, a good round sum. To abstain from reference to policy matters, I ask: “ What for?”
– Order! The question is: “That the Committee take note of the proposed expenditures”.
.- I repeat my question and ask for the courtesy of the Minister to inform me in what way he justifies the appropriation of £10,000 for the stevedoring industry inquiry which, I understand, is being carried out in a nonjudicial way by a barrister. To what period is the £10,000 related? I am inquiring in a spirit of reality. I like to hear questions of policy discussed from time to time, but I also like to deal with the practicalities of life.
– That amount would not be too high, in view of present day legal costs.
– I have my own view of legal costs, and of the moderation of legal costs. I have my own idea of the reasonableness of these things. Why are we providing £10,000 for the stevedoring industry inquiry?
– I will be delighted to try to throw some light on the question raised by Senator Wright. The item referred to is to provide funds for the inquiry into certain conditions on the waterfront, constituted by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) in June 1965. The item provides for funds payable to Mr. Woodward of the Victorian Bar, who has been appointed to conduct the inquiry, and to cover travelling costs, print ing and other incidental costs. I think it is fairly obvious that at present an accurate estimate cannot be made of what the inquiry will cost. That is why the appropriation is for the round sum of £10,000.
Proposed expenditures noted.
Senate adjourned at 11.4 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 October 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1965/19651027_senate_25_s30/>.